Consumer confidence plummeted in January to a 14-month low of 58.6. The Conference Board announced the drop on Jan. 29 and cited a tax hike as the reason for the 8.1 point drop, but the bad news got no mention on the evening network news programs that night. Instead ABC joyfully reported good news on the economy.
“World News with Diane Sawyer” led its broadcast with an upbeat story about the housing market. David Muir actually mentioned consumer confidence in his story on the housing “comeback” of rising home values, but not the drop. As he discussed the housing story with Diane Sawyer he actually said that good home news boosts consumer confidence. Neither he, nor Sawyer seized that opportunity to mention the latest confidence data that had been released that very day.
The annual pro-life march, this year marking the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision, drew tens of thousands to Washington, DC on Friday, but didn’t garner a syllable of coverage on Friday’s World News on ABC nor the CBS Evening News. Yet on Saturday night, both newscasts highlighted a pro-gun control protest in DC which CBS anchor Jim Axelrod pegged at drawing “close to a thousand people.”
The NBC Nightly News noted both protests and on Friday night also reported how a federal appeals court unanimously decided that President Obama violated the Constitution when he made recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, a rebuke neither ABC nor CBS found newsworthy.
On their evening and morning news shows on Thursday and Friday, NBC and CBS were quick to tout Democratic efforts to reimpose an assault weapons ban, with NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams proclaiming the move to be "the latest step in the ongoing response to the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings."
On CBS Evening News, correspondent Nancy Cordes described the scene as the legislation was announced on Thursday: "Flanked by police officers, doctors, and mayors, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California made her case today for banning the types of weapons used to carry out mass shootings." Cordes further highlighted the stagecraft: "Feinstein also asked half a dozen gun victims to share their stories, to give the measure a human face. Lilly Habtu was shot three times at Virginia Tech."
[See Update at bottom on how they caught up with reality the next night]
“Analysts on the left and the right are calling President Obama’s second inaugural address the most liberal speech he has delivered in office,” FNC’s Bret Baier announced at the top of Monday’s Special Report. Those on the left and right may, but that didn’t include the reporters on the ABC and CBS evening newscasts who scrupulous avoided applying a liberal description to Obama’s address.
On ABC’s World News, Bill Weir innocuously cited how Obana’s speech delivered “a theme of moving forward together,” before George Stephanopoulos asserted: “What you saw today, is the President gave a meditation on freedom and equality, was a President who also felt free.”
All three broadcast network evening newscasts on Friday night ran short items on the federal corruption indictments against the bumbling former Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, but skipped his party affiliation, a fact Reuters considered newsworthy – if not until their sixth paragraph: “Nagin, 56, and a Democrat...”
ABC anchor Diane Sawyer generously described Nagin as “the face of Hurricane Katrina...then the Mayor of New Orleans fighting for his city.”
It has become clear where CBS News comes down on the debate over guns in America: on the side of the Obama White House. On Thursday night’s CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley highlighted a new CBS News/New York Times poll showing “an overwhelming number of American approve of the president’s call for universal background checks for gun buyers” but ignored findings in the very same poll that show 74 percent of Americans support having armed guards in public places such as schools, movie theaters and malls. You may recall it was the National Rifle Association (NRA) that proposed armed guards in schools -- much to the derision and even outrage of the liberal media -- last month.
The entire segment was meant to highlight supposed support for President Obama’s gun control measures and comes just one day after CBS’ Bob Schieffer compared President Obama’s gun control effort to the hunt for the Nazi’s during World War II. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
All three evening newscasts on Tuesday hyped a report that 2012 was the hottest on record for the United States. NBC actually mislead viewers into thinking the data relates to the entire planet and not just one country. On ABC, Dan Harris blamed the study's results on Congress for failing to take "action" over global warming.
World News reporter Dan Harris lamented, "Many cities had record warmth, including Washington, D.C., where a lack of action on man made climate change is likely to mean 2012 is just a glimpse into an unpleasant future, according to many scientists." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Yet, the New York Timesconceded, "Even so, the last year’s record for the United States is not expected to translate into a global temperature record when figures are released in the coming weeks."
All three network evening newscasts on Monday found time to tout Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's return to work after hospitalization for a blood clot, "clearly enjoying a prank gift" from her staff and being greeted by a "standing ovation."
NBC's Nightly News devoted a full report to the development, with anchor Brian Williams declaring: "...we got our first official look at Secretary of State Hillary Clinton since she emerged from the hospital. It came in the form of some still photos of her first day back at work, a view of her carefully managed by her team after a tough couple of weeks."
Over 13 months ago, the NBC, CBS and ABC newscasts touted Barack Obama as a tough talker who wouldn't back down on threatened spending cuts. Now, that he's backed down, the same networks have ignored the President's retreat. On November 21, 2011, Obama thundered, "My message to [Congress] is simple: No. I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending. There will be no easy off-ramps on this one." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
This allowed the then-presidential candidate to portray himself as a budget hawk taking a hard line on sequestration. Nightly News anchor Brian Williams introduced Obama's comments by describing the country as a "nation of addicts, spending addicts kicking the can down the road." According to Williams, the President "pushed back hard." Williams and other journalist didn't question the seriousness of Obama's pledge. On Wednesday, the President signed a deal to avert the fiscal cliff and kept those cuts from going into place.
ABC’s Diane Sawyer described Robert Bork, who passed away Wednesday at age 85, as “an icon to conservatives” and NBC anchor Brian Williams called him a “conservative icon,” but CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley decided he was an “arch conservative.” He then played, without censure, a portion of Senator Ted Kennedy’s disgraceful attack and offered up an innocuous definition of “to Bork,” which Pelley asserted simply “means to attack a nominee for political reasons.”
On FNC’s Special Report, however, James Rosen more accurately conveyed: “So epic and nasty was the battle over Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court in the summer of 1987 that the process gave rise to the verb ‘to Bork,’ which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as ‘systematic vilification in the media to block a person’s appointment to public office.’”
Yes, the newscasts were dominated by the aftermath of the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy, yet the NBC Nightly News managed to squeeze in 24 seconds to note Scott’s historic appointment.
[UPDATE, 3:10 PM EDT Dec 18: On Tuesday morning, ABC’s Good Morning America spiked the news of Scott’s appointment, yet had time for far more frivolous matters, while CBS This Morning and NBC’s Today squeezed in very short items, though Today’s didn’t air until the third hour of the program.]
All three networks on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning ignored the violent assaults by union protesters in Michigan, instead vaguely insisting that activists were simply "voicing their anger" at the "showdown raging in the heartland." The morning shows on Wednesday allowed little coverage of Michigan at all, a mere 72 seconds out of eight hours of programming. (On Tuesday, the nightly newscasts offered eight minutes out of a possible 90 total.)
On Tuesday, World News reporter Alex Perez put the focus not on out of control violence, but on the fact that Michigan's right-to-work bill actually passed. He began, "The anger boiling over. Officers turning to pepper spray to control the crowd at least 10,000 deep. But it wasn't enough." One might think the journalist was speaking of the attack on Fox News contributor Steven Crowder. No. Perez kept the attention on the new law: "Michigan Republican lawmakers approving landmark legislation, lifting the requirement that workers in unionized workplaces pay union dues." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Tuesday's CBS Evening News showed a video clip of Hamas terrorists dragging the body of a suspected informant for Israel through the streets of Gaza, and Wednesday's ABC World News showed a photograph of the dragging.
But ABC correspondent Alex Marquardt seemed to provide a bit of cover for Hamas as he inserted commentary suggesting that it is "inevitable" that some "participants" in such a war would resort to such "savagery," as if brutality were normally out of character for the terrorist group. Marquardt: (Video of ABC below)
One of the recurring myths sometimes repeated about the Gaza Strip's relationship with Hamas is that the terrorist group gained control through the electoral process. On both the Monday and Tuesday editions of the CBS Evening News, anchor Scott Pelley devoted a brief segment to providing background information on the Gaza Strip. And, on both nights, he erroneously suggested that Hamas came to power through election. (Video below)
Israel was attacked by more than 200 rockets on Nov. 15 by a known terror organization – known by everyone but ABC, CBS and NBC.
Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, was declared a “foreign terrorist organization” more than 15 years ago by the United States. But not one rocket attack story on the network morning or evening news shows called the terrorists anything other than “militants.”
In 61 percent of the stories (8 out of 13) in 2012, the three networks wemt to great pains to avoid calling Hamas terrorists. Instead, they were “militants” with “militant Islamic leaders”
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, anchor Scott Pelley read a brief item highlighting the view by "weather forcasters from the U.S. government" that climate change "may have intensified" Hurricane Sandy.
Dan Rather, the former CBS Evening News anchor who presented a forged document on the air about President George W. Bush weeks before the 2004 elections, said on MSNBC's Morning Joe Tuesday, "Something in my gut tells me that it’s going to be a good day for Romney" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
ABC, CBS and NBC did their part Friday night to minimize the negative impact to the Obama campaign from the rise in the unemployment rate from 7.8 to 7.9 percent in October.
ABC anchor Diane Sawyer allocated a piddling 18 seconds to the news as she characterized the 171,000 jobs growth as “beating predictions,” NBC’s Brian Williams stressed how the 171,000 additional jobs number “was better than the experts had expected” and the CBS Evening News focused on one “flourishing” company which has grown this year from 80 to 450 workers.
Presidential elections have been won or lost due to the economy. Herbert Hoover lost to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Jimmy Carter lost to Ronald Reagan. This election season is no different as polls, including a recent one from NBC News/Wall Street Journal, continue to show the economy is the top concern of voters.
But the network news media often skew economic coverage in favor of liberal candidates and against conservatives. In September 2012, President Barack Obama continued to face a barrage of poor economic news including a GDP downgrade to 1.3 percent, an unemployment rate still above 8 percent and “record” high gas prices. But media coverage of economic issues from that month did not accurately reflect that turmoil. When President George W. Bush sought re-election in 2004, during the exact same time period, broadcast coverage criticized him on the economy despite a GDP of 3.3 percent, an unemployment rate of just 5.4 percent and gas prices a low $1.82.
Earlier today, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell accurately noted that the Big Three TV news networks are "as guilty in ... (the Benghazi) cover-up as is the administration." He did so based on the fact that "For the sixth night in a row, ABC World News, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News refused to give one single second of coverage to a Fox News report that the Obama Administration denied help to those attacked and killed by terrorists at the US consulate in Benghazi on September 11."
Not that it mitigates the legitimacy of Mr. Bozell's outrage, but one can take some comfort in the fact that fewer people are tuning in to the three nightly news broadcasts than were doing so a year ago, and that their ratings in the 25-54 demographic in the past five weeks are down by almost 20 percent from the same five-week period during the 2008 presidential cycle. A table containing individual results from the past two weeks and the average results from the past five is after the jump (a previous NewsBusters post on the first three weeks is here).
**UPDATE** At 2:30 p.m. EDT, MSNBC mentioned the damaging emails for the first time, coupling it with breaking news of an arrest in the attack on our Libyan consulate.
Following in the footsteps of its sister broadcast network, MSNBC has continued to ignore the shocking revelation that the White House knew on September 11 that the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was under a well-coordinated terrorist attack.
As NewsBusters’ Matthew Balan noted, NBC's Today was the only broadcast network morning show this to ignore the story altogether, with MSNBC following suit by remaining silent as well throughout the day. In contrast, both Fox News and CNN have run numerous stories Wednesday morning.
On Tuesday evening, CBS broke wide open a story on State Department e-mails showing the White House knew on September 11 that the consulate in Benghazi was subjected to a terrorist attack, and that terrorists took credit on Facebook and Twitter. But by Wednesday, the three network morning shows weren't leaping to follow up. ABC and CBS combined devoted just over a minute to the story, while NBC completely ignored it.
By contrast, all three newscasts showed that they were more interested in helping the Democrats in Indiana, aggressively spotlighting Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock's faith-based affirmation that he did not support abortion even in the case of rape, that even those are children "God intended." Mourdock's "controversial comments" drew more than seven and a half minutes of coverage.
When CBS’s longtime Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer sits down in Boca Raton, Florida, tonight to moderate the final 2012 presidential debate, he’ll be following three journalists who became targets for criticism over how they handled their moderating duties.
Upset liberals scorned PBS’s Jim Lehrer for taking a hands-off approach in the first debate on October 3, with MSNBC analyst Howard Fineman slamming him as “practically useless” for not jumping into the debate on behalf of President Obama.
The Big Three networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) gave the faux furor over Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” statement in Tuesday’s debate a whopping 22 mentions through Friday morning. Yet when Vice President Joe Biden, on Thursday, told an audience member that Republican “young guns” like Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan had “bullets” aimed at him the networks delivered just a scant two total mentions (on NBC and CBS, ABC skipped the gaffe entirely.)
On the morning after the debate ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas, on Good Morning America, singled out the “binders” comment: “You remember the Big Bird line that dominated the conversations online and around the water cooler, in essence, after the first debate? Last night, it was another Romney comment, ‘binders full of women’ that caused the heat to turn on.”
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Jan Crawford devoted a full story to President Obama's deceptive claim that he called the Benghazi attack an "act of terror" early on, as she recounted the administration's initial reluctance to call it a terrorist attack. The CBS correspondent also implicated debate moderator and CNN anchor Candy Crowley in bolstering Obama's distortion.
After showing a clip of Obama and Romney clashing over whether Obama had used the words "act of terror" early on, Crawford showed a clip of what the President said the day after the Benghazi attack, but then exposed Obama's revisionism:
As the presidential contest enters its final weeks, one loser is clear: the Big Three television networks' evening newscasts, home of some of the worst examples of ongoing and still influential media bias.
Chris Ariens at Media Bistro noted this on October 2 in covering the results for the week of September 24: "Leading into a presidential election, one might think the tune-in to the evening news programs would increase. But one would be wrong." The trend continued during the following week, as will be seen in the graphic following the jump.
On Friday afternoon, Joe Biden lived up to his reputation for committing gaffes, not even a day after Paul Ryan zinged the Vice President over how "sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way" during Thursday's debate. At a rally in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Biden claimed Planned Parenthood "under law cannot perform any abortions." In reality, the organization is the largest abortion racket in the country.
Hours later, none of the Big Three's Friday evening newscasts had covered Biden's patently false claim. But just two days earlier, these programs devoted a combined five minutes and 1 second on Wednesday to Mitt Romney's statement to The Des Moines Register that "there's no legislation with regard to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda." NBC's Brian Williams mouthed the Obama campaign's spin - that "what Mitt Romney said about abortion that sure sounds like a change."
On the eve of the vice presidential debate, President Obama sat down for an exclusive interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC's World News.
When she asked what his message would be to Joe Biden as he prepares himself to go up against Paul Ryan in Kentucky, Obama humorously answered the pointless question without hesitation -- smiling as he did. [ video below, MP3 audio available here ]
UPDATE: Still no ABC, CBS, NBC coverage of Univision's Fast and Furious report on Monday's evening newscasts or Tuesday's morning shows.
Over the weekend the Univision network broke major news in the Fast and Furious gunwalking scandal. They found 57 previously unreported guns used in crimes by Mexican cartels, but ABC, CBS and NBC have yet to report the Spanish-language network’s findings.
There were zero mentions on Sunday night’s ABC's World News and CBS's Evening News (NBC's Nightly News was pre-empted by Ryder Cup coverage) or on any of Monday’s morning shows. The blackout on ABC’s broadcasts is particularly confounding since they have an excerpt from Univision's September 30 report on ABC's official Web site. (video after the jump)
ABC's Jake Tapper's Thursday report on World News stands alone as the only Big Three coverage so far of what The Daily Beast's Eli Lake reported on Wednesday - that U.S. intelligence officials had "strong indications" within a day that Islamist terrorists were behind the September 11, 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi - not a mob enraged at a controversial Internet video.
By contrast, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw tried to point the finger at Mitt Romney on Friday's Today show for the media's apparent lack of curiosity at the inconsistencies in the Obama administration's narrative about the terrorist attack. Otherwise, NBC only aired two reports on the story since Wednesday - twice running the same Ann Curry interview of Libyan President Mohammed Magarief.