On Sunday, the CBS Evening News and NBC’s Meet the Press both briefly noted an unfolding sex scandal involving Oregon Democratic Representative David Wu, who is being accused of making unwanted sexual advances toward the teenage daughter of a political donor.
CBS substitute anchor Norah O’Donnell directly labeled Wu as a Democrat, While NBC’s David Gregory indirectly hinted at Wu’s Democratic ties by noting that the Congressman had met with "leader of the Democrats, Pelosi."
Both broadcasts noted the scandal toward the end of the program.
Below are the transcripts of portions of the CBS Evening News and NBC’s Meet the Press where the Wu story were covered:
Over a span of just four days, the three major networks devoted 12 minutes and 59 seconds to highlighting the "campaign controversy" of Michele Bachmann's migraines. The report first appeared online and then was quickly picked up on ABC, NBC and CBS. On Wednesday, Good Morning America's Robin Roberts warned, " But now a new story is raising questions about her health."
On NBC's Today, Kelly O'Donnell insisted, "A report on Michele Bachmann's struggle with migraines is a political headache on the campaign trail." In total, the story of a relatively minor medical condition was featured on GMA, Today, World News, Nightly News and CBS's Early Show.
ABC, CBS, and NBC ignored the existence of the Cut, Cap and Balance (CCB) bill until last week, a Nexis search revealed, despite multiple polls demonstrating overwhelming public support.
In addition to the blackout, none of the broadcast networks ever mentioned the positive polls in their coverage of the bill, even though 65 percent of the public backed a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget in a Mason-Dixon poll from May and 72 percent approved of such a measure in a Fox News poll from June.
House Republicans have a budget-cutting proposal that stands no chance of getting by President Obama while some Senators have a big tax-hiking plan which stands no chance of passage in the House, but CBS, in illustrating the larger media take, framed the conservative plan as a distracting waste of time while cheerleading the Senate’s “Gang of 33” plan in the name of “bi-partisanship.”
Tuesday’s CBS Evening News poked fun at 80-year-old Rupert Murdoch being nearly hit by a pie as the show led with the News Corp founder’s appearance in front of the British parliament to discuss the News of the World phone hacking scandal. During the opening teaser, after playing a clip of Murdoch exclaiming that "This is the most humble day of my life," Schieffer made a quip about "humble pie." Schieffer: "Elizabeth Palmer and Anthony Mason on the News Corp chief getting a taste of humble pie."
After Schieffer opened the show recounting the Murdoch story and introduced correspondents Elizabeth Palmer and Anthony Mason, Mason could be seen with a big grin, presumably in response to the CBS anchor’s opening. Schieffer summed up the day’s events:
Reporters have repeatedly portrayed Barack Obama as a deficit hawk committed to "slashing" spending, as MRC Research Director Rich Noyes documented in April ahead of the president's much-anticipated budget speech.
While the media touted Obama's budget blueprint, which contained puny cuts, as "deeply painful," CBO Director Doug Elmendorf told Congress the president's framework lacked sufficient detail to be scored as a credible plan.
Since then, Obama still hasn't revealed a serious plan to cut spending, yet correspondents continue to paint the president as a budget cutter.
On Friday’s World News on ABC, correspondent Jonathan Karl took a moment to go beyond the budget debate between House Republicans and President Obama with the GOP unwilling to support a tax increase, and noted that House Democrats have also been just as resistant to voting for cutting the growth of Medicare spending. But the same night's CBS Evening News focused on Republican reluctance to support some of the budget proposals and even gave the impression at one point that congressional Democrats were willing to curtail Medicare growth.
On ABC, after recounting some of the Republicans who have resisted voting for budget plans that have been brought up, Karl continued:
The 2010 elections, which changed the balance of power in the House, were driven by popular opposition to government spending, debt and the threat of tax increases. Yet even with the federal debt limit already breached and only days left to prevent a national default, the media continue to ignore the public's wishes.
The theme of network reports on the debt ceiling battle is that some agreement MUST be reached so that the limit can be increased, but many Americans disagree with raising the debt limit and are more concerned about government spending. But that has barely been mentioned in stories.
Polls taken by Gallup, CBS and AP have all registered significant worry about federal debt and opposition to an increase in the debt ceiling. But ABC, CBS and NBC coverage of the debt limit battle being waged on Capitol Hill has not reflected that fact.
Out of 45 reports on the broadcast network's evening news programs between June 16 and July 12, only one mentioned a poll that showed public opposition to raising the debt ceiling. That's a mere 2 percent of reports. An additional two stories had some reference to what the public might think, but without polling data.
On Thursday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Nancy Cordes filed a report on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as a "lightning rod" for sharp criticism from Democrats because of his role in budget negotiations with President Obama. After beginning the report with a clip of Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer asserting that Cantor "has yet to make a constructive contribution," and after recounting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had called the Republican leader "childish," Cordes seemed to legitimize the insults as she asserted that Cantor had provided "plenty of ammunition":
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Dean Reynolds highlighted sob stories surrounding the current shutdown of the Minnesota state government, providing a possible template of how the mainstream media would cover a potential federal government shutdown if the debt ceiling issue isn't resolved by August 2.
Before getting to Reynolds's report, substitute anchor Russ Mitchell played a clip from his colleague Scott Pelley's interview of President Obama, where the Democrat stated that "some courage and some tough choices" were needed to resolve the stalemate over the federal budget. Mitchell then used the President's own phrase as he introduced the situation in Minnesota: "They did not make those tough choices in Minnesota. As a result, the state government shut down two weeks ago. Like Washington, it's a budget deadlock between a Democratic chief executive and a Republican-controlled legislature. Dean Reynolds shows us what it looks like when lawmakers can't figure out how to keep a state running."
America's only admittedly socialist member of Congress said Wednesday that he disagreed with President Obama's comments concerning Social Security checks possibly not going out on August 3rd if the debt ceiling isn't raised.
When Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said he felt checks to seniors and disabled vets would be issued no matter what, the host of MSNBC's "The Ed Show" responded, "So you would take issue with the President on that statement, that he may have been fear-mongering in essence?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As a result of Scott Pelley's interview with President Obama on the "CBS Evening News" Tuesday, the media are once again scaring seniors with the absurd notion Social Security checks won't go out in August if the debt ceiling isn't raised.
An examination of the video and transcript of the relevant sections of this exchange bring into question whether or not that's actually what the President said (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In a relatively inoffensive interview with President Barack Obama for Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Scott Pelley implied the Tea Party (and maybe congressional liberals too) should be blamed for blocking a debt ceiling deal (“Isn't the problem that a large number of the Members of Congress will not follow your leadership or the Republican leadership?”) and fondly recalled how “it wasn't that long ago when compromise in Washington was considered a virtue, not a vice.”
Pelley touted how “Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill were on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but they respected each other, they liked each other and they got things done.” That allowed Obama to use Reagan to scold conservatives: “If Ronald Reagan could compromise, why wouldn't folks who idolize Ronald Reagan be willing to engage in those same kinds of compromises?”
After showing behind anchor Russ Mitchell an image of the sign "To Gaza with Love" from one of the flotilla boats planning to challenge Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, Saturday’s CBS Evening News showed a report highlighting the allegedly nonviolent intentions of American activists on board one of the ships - named "The Audacity of Hope" - without noting that, during last year’s anti-Israel flotilla trip, some activists attacked Israeli troops as they attempted to board. CBS correspondent Barry Peterson merely recounted that Israeli troops killed some of the activists without explaining why:
Last year, boats ran the blockade. Israeli commandos stormed one ship, killing nine. This time, politics was enough to have Greece ban any boats leaving in a new flotilla. Israel and Greece do more than half a billion dollars in trade, and Israel is planning a natural gas pipeline to Greece. The American activists knew getting to Gaza was a long shot, but still practiced to resist Israeli soldiers who might have boarded their ship.
A clip was shown of this year’s activists sitting on the floor in a circle as if practicing to nonviolently resist Israeli troops.
On Thursday's CBS Evening News and Friday's Early Show, CBS glossed over President Obama's aim to break a campaign promise with a proposal to raise taxes on people who make less than $250,000 a year. Both Chip Reid and Bill Plante noted that "the White House is also insisting on...a limit on deductions for people...making more than $200,000 a year," but didn't reference the Democrat's 2008 tax pledge.
Near the end of his report, which aired 44 minutes into the 6 pm Eastern hour, Reid highlighted the Obama administration's push for tax hikes:
ABC, CBS, and NBC all failed to mention former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's affiliation with the Democratic Party on their Monday evening news broadcasts and the Tuesday morning shows. Blagojevich was convicted by a jury on Monday on 17 out of 20 charges, mainly related to the attempt to sell the Senate seat of President Obama. Only CBS's Early Show noted his party with a "D" on-screen.
NBC devoted the least amount of time to the breaking news, a total of 1 minute and 50 seconds between NBC Nightly News and the Today Show. Brian Williams actually didn't mention the party of the new felon or his predecessor during his report on Monday, but noted that "Blagojevich will become the fourth Illinois governor in recent memory to go to jail. His predecessor, George Ryan, is still in federal prison, also for corruption." The following morning, news anchor Natalie Morales gave three news briefs on Blagojevich, all about 15 seconds long each.
When ABC and NBC interview First Ladies, both the tone and substance of the discussion tend to hinge on whether the husband is an Obama or a Bush.
On Wednesday's ABC "World News" and NBC "Nightly News," network correspondents sat down with Michelle Obama in South Africa for exclusive interviews in which they lobbed softball questions and avoided her husband's policies. But in interviews with Laura Bush in 2007 and 2010, ABC questioned the then-First Lady's Mideast trip and NBC re-litigated President Bush's response in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
NBC barely covered the Thursday arrests of two Islamists in a planned terrorist attack on a military facility in Seattle. The network didn't cover the breaking news at all on Thursday's Nightly News, and devoted only 17 seconds to it on Friday's Today Show. Thursday's CBS Evening News had a minute-long report on the arrests, while ABC had full reports on the arrests on World News and GMA.
CBS anchor Scott Pelley introduced correspondent Bob Orr's brief report on the terror plot: "It has been a busy 48 hours for the FBI. We learned today that agents have arrested two men in what the feds say was a terrorist plot to attack a military recruiting station in Seattle." Orr only made one indirect and vague reference to the suspects' religion: "The two men...somehow had become radicalized on their own." Actually, in an online report on Thursday, ABC referenced unnamed officials who stated that they are "believed to have met in prison and to have converted to Islam in prison."
Barack Obama's confusing one living American war hero with a fallen one he honored in 2009, has been completely ignored by the Big Three Networks shows, including the same NBC Nightly News that threw a fit over Sarah Palin's recent recounting of an event over 200 years ago, Paul Revere's ride.
ABC and NBC have delivered fawning coverage of First Lady Michelle Obama's visit this week to South Africa and Botswana, oozing over the "celebrity" and "excitement" of the "patented Michelle power" on display. To its credit, CBS has largely taken a pass on the idolatry.
The Supreme Court on Monday unequivocally rejected the notion that courts should force power companies to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, but none of the major broadcast networks covered the unanimous decision on their evening newscasts or morning shows.
The New York Times teased the ruling on the front page of Tuesday's paper, directing readers to a thorough analysis of the 8-0 decision, but ABC's "Good Morning America" and "World News," CBS's "Early Show" and "Evening News," and NBC's "Today" and "Nightly News" all skipped a decision that prevents environmentalists from using the courts to impose greenhouse gas regulations on electric utilities.
In a combined ten hours of programming, Wednesday, the networks devoted a mere 41 seconds to an important ruling by the Wisconsin Supreme Court that allowed Scott Walker's collective bargaining law to be implemented. NBC Nightly News' Brian Williams, however, found time to focus on Spider-Man and the 2012 Academy Awards.
On June 15, only NBC's Today and CBS's Early Show covered it. That day's newscasts, including Evening News and World News, totally skipped it (as did Nightline).
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) conducted hearings on Wednesday to investigate a highly controversial ATF operation that led to the death of a U.S. border agent, but neither NBC nor ABC covered the story on their nightly newscasts.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman lambasted a Justice Department official who claimed to be cooperating with the investigation but offered not much more than severely redacted documents. "You should be ashamed of yourself," scolded Issa. "How dare you offer an opening statement of cooperation."
On Saturday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Cynthia Bowers filed a report documenting the success of a charter school in Chicago which has managed to substantially increase the graduation rate and college attendance rate of its African-American male student population as compared to other schools in the city. Anchor Russ Mitchell teased the report: "In a city where most African-American males don't make it through high school, every member of this graduating class is going on to college."
He later introduced the report: "When it comes to African-American high school graduation rates, Chicago's Urban Prep is a shining standout, boasting a rate of almost 70 percent. And that's only the beginning of its success story as we hear from Cynthia Bowers."
Previewing Tuesday’s Early Show town hall meeting with Republicans on the economy, CBS’s Bob Schieffer, who pushes his Face the Nation guests to agree taxes must be raised, hailed a Republican, Senator Tom Coburn, for expressing a willingness to include a tax increase in deficit negotiations.
After dismissing the Republicans CBS assembled -- Monday afternoon at the Newseum -- for how they “pretty much stuck to the Republican line: Low taxes and cutting the deficit will eventually lead to economic growth,” Schieffer championed: “But it was Coburn who may have won the prize for candor.” Viewers then heard Coburn declaring: “I’ll stand up as a conservative Republican, one of the biggest deficit hawks in Congress, and say ‘I'll negotiate on taxes’ -- because our country’s in trouble.”
The June 13 edition of MRC’s Notable Quotables has now been posted over at www.MRC.org, showcasing the most outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes from the liberal media over the past two weeks. This edition features: CNN’s Piers Morgan snootily slamming the Tea Party as “not the brightest” and perhaps similar to the mobs Hitler and Mussolini employed in the 1930s; MSNBC’s Martin Bashir seriously arguing that Sarah Palin is a criminal because of the American flag painted on the side of her tour bus; and news reporters fretting over Weinergate, worried that President Obama might lose a “very important" left-wing critic now that a “rising star” of the Left has become tainted by scandal.
The entire package (including four videos) is posted at www.MRC.org (click here for the nicely-formatted three-page PDF); here are some of the highlights:
In the '80s the liberal media filled the airwaves with tales of woe from the homeless as a way to distract viewers from the runaway success of Reaganomics. In the 2000s, the same media chatted with one frustrated gas station customer after another to slam then-President George W. Bush.
However in 2011, with over 44 million Americans on food stamps, a new high according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (See Table 2), the Big Three broadcast network news programs have been virtually devoid of anecdotal sob stories of moms and dads struggling to pay for their kids' box of Frosted Flakes, as a way to hammer Barack Obama's failed economic policies.
Asked by new CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley why Congressman Anthony Weiner “matters,” CBS Capitol Hill reporter Nancy Cordes on Monday night maintained he’s vital as a critic pushing Obama from the left.
“The President has a lot of critics on the right,” Cordes noted, “but Weiner is one of his most outspoken critics on the left wherever liberals feel that the President is straying too far from their principles,” so “it's unclear how well he's really going to be able to perform that role now, a role that even the President has said is very important.”
The Washington Post published a seriously misleading headline Tuesday. At top of the Style section, it read: “Anthony Weiner is everywhere – except CBS: Anchor Scott Pelley takes the high road in his debut, focusing on other news.”
It would be natural for readers to think Pelley skipped Weiner’s confession entirely on Monday night. But TV critic Hank Stuever was merely thrilled and impressed that Pelley showed a “ray of serious sunshine” by delaying Weinergate until midway through his first newscast:
On Friday, Cass Sunstein, the White House's 56 year-old Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (pictured at right), attempted to disavow a 42-page paper he wrote called "Lives, Life-Years, and Willingness to Pay," which recommended that the government reduce resources directed at benefitting the elderly in favor of increasing what goes to young people, because young people have more years of life ahead of them. His statement, as carried at CNS News:
“I’m a lot older now than the author with my name was, and I’m not sure what I think about what that young man wrote,” he said. “Things written as an academic are not a legitimate part of what we do as a government official. So I am not focusing on sentences that a young Cass Sunstein wrote years ago.
So, dear readers, before you go to the rest of this post, guess how "young" Sunstein was when he engaged in his de facto "death panels" advocacy.