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.
CBS News has lately been running ads touting their new Evening News anchor Scott Pelley as bringing “the world class original reporting of 60 Minutes, now every weeknight.” If so, those who hoped CBS would finally shift towards a more fair-and-balanced approach to the news may again be disappointed.
Last year, MRC news analysts reviewed “the world class reporting” on 60 Minutes and found a lopsided agenda that strongly favored liberals. In the previous five years, 60 Minutes aired 35 interviews with liberal leaders and celebrities, most of which (69%) were friendly and unchallenging. In contrast, only five of the 17 conservative segments (29%) were soft, a huge tilt both in the amount and the tone of CBS’s coverage.
For those too young to remember, invoking a "long, hot summer" was a favorite pastime of the establishment press and so-called "civil rights leaders" after the race riots of the 1960s (example here). The message: Get that federal money flowing to us, or there will be violence in the streets.
At CBS News, reporter Bill Whitaker wrapped his coverage of the teen unemployment situation as follows: "For many teens with no jobs and no money, it could be one long, hot summer." Perhaps Whitaker was unaware of how loaded those words once were (and still may be). But he shouldn't get a pass for failing to mention three minimum-wage increases enacted late last decade as potential contributors to the 2007-2010 rise in teen unemployment. Whitaker also mentioned "cuts in federal funding" as affecting summer jobs programs, but "somehow" forgot to tell readers and viewers that the funding consisted of so-called "stimulus" dollars that everyone knew was going to go away (see the reference to "the end of Recovery Act funding that might have helped create some public jobs" at this link). Whitaker's omission leaves an implication that meanies in the current Congress must have done something to reduce funding, which isn't so.
Old and new media clashed on CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday.
After CBS News Congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes blamed Andrew Breitbart for her network's slow response to the ongoing Weinergate scandal, Gawker staff writer Maureen O'Connor said, "I think even if that's the case, it was very quickly that you could have looked into this story and verified it for yourself" (video follows with trancript and commentary):
ABC’s World News and the CBS Evening News on Wednesday night both allocated full stories to Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner and his evolving non-denial denials over the lewd photo sent from his Twitter account, but not the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.
Williams instead made the news judgment to skip Weiner and highlight the “PR problem” Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie faces for taking a state police helicopter to his son’s high school baseball game – and later found 25 more seconds to note the retirement of NBA star Shaquille O'Neal.
The evening newscasts on Thursday night eagerly devoted time to fresh speculation, prompted by Sarah Palin’s upcoming bus trip from Washington, DC to New Hampshire, that she may jump into the presidential race, but they all made sure to point out her high negatives amongst non-Republicans, characterizing her as “divisive” and “polarizing” while raising concern she couldn’t beat President Obama.
“She's a divisive figure,” CBS’s Jan Crawford declared,” citing how “our latest polls show that a majority of Republican voters do view her positively, but, among all voters, only 26 percent do. So that gives Republicans some pause. They want someone that they think can beat President Obama.”
The network evening news programs on Wednesday and morning shows on Thursday skipped covering the suspension of MSNBC host Ed Shultz for trashing Laura Ingraham as a "right-wing slut." Yet, these same networks eagerly jumped all over the story of Don Imus referring to college basketball players as "hos."
On Wednesday, ABC's World News, CBS's Evening News and NBC's Nightly News avoided reporting on this May 24 remark by Schultz: "Like this right-wing slut, what's her name, Laura Ingraham? Yeah, she's a talk slut." (Good Morning America, Today and Early Show did the same.) Later in the day on Wednesday, MSNBC suspended Schultz.
Plugging an upcoming story on Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Russ Mitchell highlighted that “Congress gives Israel's Prime Minister dozens of standing ovations but,” Mitchell warned as if it were just as relevant or surprising, “the Palestinians are not buying his peace plan.” The Palestinians haven’t yet bought into the right for Israel to even exist.
Setting up the subsequent report, Mitchell repeated his formulation: “Nancy Cordes reports he got a standing ovation, but the Palestinians were not impressed.” Cordes emphasized how Benjamin Netanyahu “refused to compromise on the biggest prize: Jerusalem” and “an aide to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas called that a ‘declaration of war against the Palestinian people.’”
NBC's Nightly News on Monday and the Today show on Tuesday ignored a controversial, ideologically divided Supreme Court ruling that ordered California to release at least 38,000 prisoners. ABC, over two days, allowed a scant 11 seconds. Only CBS provided a full report.
In a blistering dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia warned that "terrible things are sure to happen" if the action is implemented as a result of overcrowding. On the CBS Evening News, Jan Crawford provided the sole full report, observing the controversial nature of the 5-4 split.
She described, "Now, this case produced an extraordinarily heated debate between the conservatives and liberal justices." Crawford highlighted a separate dissent by Sam Alito. He worried that the majority was "gambling with the safety of the people of California." She repeated Alito's foreboding statement: "I fear that today's decision, like prior prisoner release orders, will lead to a grim roster of victims."
The cause for the end of the world has been imagined by screenwriters to include everything from giant insects and malevolent robots to asteroids the size of Texas. But five year ago in May 2006, Hollywood found a new menace: carbon dioxide. This scenario was different in another respect. It was supposedly true.
The documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" wasn't intended to be the blockbuster end-of-the-world tale that "Armageddon" was, but it was intended to frighten. The new film was full of disaster footage and catastrophic predictions about climate change. Its leading man: former vice president Al Gore.
The apocalyptic warning earned nearly $50 million worldwide and turned Gore into a "movie star," according to the fawning networks. Gore won accolades, including an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize. Reporters and anchors on ABC, CBS and NBC also made a hero of Apocalypse Al, embracing his views and bringing on guests with the same views including one who said Gore had been busy "saving the planet - literally."
Gore received almost entirely uncritical coverage from the network morning and evening shows over global warming, despite plenty of evidence - scientific evidence - that would have discredited him and his film. Since the movie's release, nearly 98 percent of those stories have excluded criticism of the so-called "science" of the film.
It turns out retired CBS News anchor Katie Couric had at least one fan during her failed attempt to lift the network's evening newscast out of the ratings cellar: Gail Collins, former editorial page editor of the New York Times turned feminist columnist. Collins devoted her Saturday column to Couric’s significance as the first female nightly news anchor: "Katie Couric Moves On."
After hailing Couric’s (of course) "historic Sarah Palin interview," Collins declared Couric a "total success," ratings be damned. How so? By managing "not to screw things up." (The soft bigotry of low expectations?)
From my perspective as a charter of the progress of American women, Couric was a total success. The first great mandate for a First Woman is not to screw things up for the Second Woman or the Third. On that count, Couric did great. She was under incredible scrutiny and pressure, and she held up her end. There was never a point at which American viewers turned to each other and said: "Well, that certainly didn’t work out."
Ending her final night as anchor of the CBS Evening News with a “five years in five minutes” video retrospective, Katie Couric went out in sync with how she conducted herself since 2006 – challenging and discrediting conservatives while providing a platform to liberals to disparage conservatives.
Her Thursday night highlight package began with Couric pressing President George W. Bush in 2006: “Is there anything that you wish you had done differently?” From there, CBS jumped to actor Michael Fox: “I could give a damn about Rush Limbaugh's opinion.” After clips on wild fires, steroids and the Virginia Tech shooting, viewers heard this blast from Valerie Plame: “I never once considered that, in fact, this administration would betray my identity as payback.”
Getting to the 2008 campaign, CBS played a friendly clip of Couric empathizing with Joe Biden: “Are you worried you're going to have to pull your punches a bit?” Then, instead of re-running her “what newspapers do you read?” question, Couric chose instead to highlight, just weeks after Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan, how Sarah Palin had said that nation was not protecting al-Qaeda. (Video excerpt after jump) MP3 audio
CBS's Elaine Quijano filed a slanted report on Wednesday's Evening News about the new report on the Catholic priest child sex abuse scandal. All but one of the sound bites which Quijano played during the segment either leaned negative against the Catholic Church or completely slammed the religious body.
Anchor Katie Couric heralded the negative reaction about the report from some quarters in her teaser for Quijano's report at the very beginning of the half-hour program: "Tonight, a report commissioned by the Catholic Church claims to know why the child sex abuse scandal happened, but victims' groups aren't buying it." A minute later, the correspondent picked up where Couric left off in her introduction: "For survivors of clergy sexual abuse, today marks another deep disappointment."
Tomorrow marks Katie Couric’s last night at the anchor desk of the CBS Evening News. Five years ago, CBS executives were so excited about the Today show star taking over, her September 5, 2006 debut was preceded by a massive publicity campaign. Outgoing interim anchor Bob Schieffer vouched for his replacement: “She’s tough, she’s fair, she’s a straight shooter....Just watch.” Long-retired anchorman Walter Cronkite even lent his voice to a new opening segment, announcing: “This is the CBS Evening News, with Katie Couric.”
Intrigued by the publicity, more than 13 million Americans tuned into that first night, according to Nielsen research, but Couric’s honeymoon was brief. CBS had been in third place for years under Dan Rather and Schieffer, but the slide worsened after Couric took over. By August 2010, the CBS Evening News was recording its lowest ratings ever — fewer than 5 million viewers. (A review of Couric's worst bias, with video, after the jump.)
Since last year's elections, the GOP has spearheaded a number of efforts derided by various reporters as wastes of time or distracting political gimmicks. None of the reporters so concerned about Congress's valuable time, however, seemed too concerned when Harry Reid brought bill to the Senate floor Tuesday evening fully aware that it could not gain congressional approval for the simple reason that it was unconstitutional.
Reid's admitted goal was simply to score political points against Republicans by forcing them to preserve standard tax benefits for oil companies (benefits enjoyed by virtually every American company). But he acknowledged Tuesday that he knew the measure was unconstitutional, so the whole thing was just a political farce.
And yet it hasn't drawn the media scorn to any notable degree, in stark contrast to GOP proposals to read of the Constitution to kick off the session in January or to repeal ObamaCare later that month, both of which were blasted in the press as, essentially, wastes of time.
In surveying the wreckage of the Katie Couric experiment at CBS – $75 million flushed away for a distant third-place finish each week – the liberal journalists are blaming elderly viewers for not accepting Sunny Katie. Here’s James Rainey in the Los Angeles Times:
A change-averse viewership doubtless greeted the initial formatting changes for Couric's "Evening News" as confirmation that "America's Sweetheart," straight from her sunny a.m. perch, didn't have the gravitas for the job. Actually, those impressions had little to do with the newscast that emerged over Couric's five-year tenure.
And what, pray tell, proves Couric’s gravitas? Bashing Sarah Palin, of course, as uninformed. Rainey didn’t ask how Couric would have performed if the tables were turned and Palin was the one holding the microphone like a baseball bat: