Former CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer told Columbus Dispatch writer Tim Feran that the gossip was untrue that he was trashing Katie Couric in the press. "I was not the source for that story, period. I had nothing to do with it...and I don't know who did." Schieffer also took exception to the Bill Moyers theory that the national media were enablers to President Bush's runup to war in Iraq.
Q: In his recent PBS report about the run-up to the Iraq war, Bill Moyers said: "The press has yet to come to terms with its role in enabling the Bush administration to go to war on false pretenses." Do you agree?
A: I don't think we enabled them to go to war, although there's no question we should have asked harder questions. But I think the Democrats should have asked harder questions, the CIA should have asked harder questions, the people within the administration should have asked harder questions. Somewhere along the way, the decision to go into Iraq somehow became the fault of the press.
Now that Rosie O’Donnell has announced she’s leaving "The View," her left-wing rhetoric seems to have gotten even more extreme. This week, the liberal comedienne smeared U.S. troops by saying they only join the military because they’re mostly uneducated and poor. (This isn’t true, but why bring facts into the debate?)
This week, "Good Morning America’s" weatherman (and liberal environmentalist) Sam Champion touted the left-wing advocacy of actor Robert Redford. Oddly, he tried to persuade GMA viewers that Redford’s positions were somehow new.
One-third of Americans say
they have a negative view of Katie Couric, her personal popularity
lagging behind rivals Charles Gibson and Brian Williams just as her
evening news program trails in the ratings.
A “promising” new drug could save lives of people fighting osteoporosis, but neither ABC “World News with Charles Gibson,” nor CBS “Evening News” even mentioned the drug’s manufacturer - Novartis Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: NVS) - in May 2 broadcasts.
Zoledronic acid “may be just what the doctor ordered,” according to Katie Couric. The broadcasts cited a new study that found a 70-percent decline in spine fractures and a 41-percent decline in hip fractures among the patients studied.
CBS on Wednesday night turned over a full story to promoting the cause of one interest group which wants a 12-fold hike in federal spending on health care for children. As if it were some kind of scoop to hype a report from a group yearning for media attention, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric trumpeted it as an “exclusive look tonight at a stunning report by a respected children's health care group. It says nearly 24 million children in this country do not have regular access to medical care and that's twice as many as experts believed.”
Reporter Sharyl Attkisson's story was completely devoted to the Children's Health Fund (CHF) study (as of 8pm EDT Wed, not yet on CHF's Web site) that she outlined: “It's estimated nine million children are completely uninsured, but the new study says 11.5 million more kids end up without medical care for part of the year and another three million can't get a ride to the doctor. That's over 23 million children. To close the gap,” the co-founder of CHF, Irwin Redlener, “is on Capitol Hill lobbying for a dramatic expansion of the $5 billion federal children's health insurance program, or CHIP.” Attkisson relayed his quest: “Redlener wants to add nine million more people to CHIP, plus dental and mental health benefits and transportation. The price tag for all that?”Redlener answered: “What we need is $60 billion.” That would be an incredible 12 times more. (More below on CHF connections to NBC News, Bill Clinton and Chris Dodd)
On April 25, 2007 the Dow soared to another record close, this time above 13,000. As Newsbusters reported here, here and here, the networks did anything but cheer. In fact, network broadcast reporting of the Dow's recovery since 2003 has been marked by pessimism.
Katie Couric introduced the April 25, 2007 CBS "Evening News" report with this dismal statement:
"Even as investors are making money in the market, Anthony Mason reports there are concerns tonight about the rest of the U.S. economy."
Mason made good on Couric's tease, with a class warfare remark that "Wall Street and Main Street appear to be headed in different directions" because of housing and gas prices.
While the ABC and NBC evening newscasts led Tuesday night with President George W. Bush's veto of the Iraq funding bill with pull-out deadlines, CBS began with back-to-back stories trumpeting the cause of illegal immigrants and portraying them as the victims. “Tonight,” Katie Couric teased the CBS Evening News, “tens of thousands of protesters take to the streets of America to rally in support of illegal immigrants” and then, over video of a teen girl and her little sister, Couric fretted, “she was born here, but her parents were deported and there are many more like her.” Of course, it was the choice of the parents to not take the kids with them back to Mexico.
Citing how “it's estimated there are as many as 12 million in this country illegally,” Couric framed CBS's coverage around their agenda: “What are they and their supporters demanding?” Bill Whitaker highlighted the protests and the views of their advocates before acknowledging “the chance for real immigration reform seems slim again this year, so these marchers plan to keep up the pressure to change the laws and stop the deportations, which they say are breaking up families.” The next report picked up the theme: “I'm Sandra Hughes in San Diego, where nine-year-old Adeline Munoz packs for her weekly trip to Tijuana, Mexico. It's the only place she can see her parents. In February, Abel Munoz and Zulma Miranda were deported by immigration officials.” After obligatory heart-rendering soundbites from the kids, Hughes featured the mom: “The deportation was inhumane. Our kids will never forget it. The little one always tells will me, every time I hear a knock on the door, I think it's Immigration." Not until the very end of her piece, about six minutes into the newscast, did viewers hear from someone not so enamored with the cause of the illegals. Hughes set up a clip: “Critics of illegal immigration concede it's a tough situation, but one the parents themselves created.”
Less than a week after Havana-based CBS News producer Portia Siegelbaum trumpeted on CBSNews.com how “thanks to the socialist island’s free health care system -- which emphasizes preventive medicine -- Cubans enjoy a very high life expectancy," Monday's CBS Evening News salivated over the anticipated May Day return of Fidel Castro as Lara Logan confidently relayed the views of “Cubans” and “people here” in the repressive totalitarian state supposedly “enraged” by the U.S. release of a man convicted of blowing up a Cuban airliner in 1976.
Anchor Katie Couric heralded: “In Cuba tonight, a lot of anticipation. Reports there say Fidel Castro may lead tomorrow's May Day celebration.” From Havana, Lara Logan asserted: “Just as Cubans are hoping that Fidel Castro will make his first public appearance since falling ill nine months ago, people here have been enraged by the re-emergence of one of his oldest and most hated enemies. Luis Posada Carriles is to Cubans their Osama bin Laden.” Speaking for all Cubans, Logan insisted that “Cubans want him to face terrorism charges. Outraged, they've taken to the streets here in silent protest day after day.” After video of those protesters of supposed free-will, Logan issued another generality: “People here accuse the U.S. of hypocrisy, asking how America can condemn countries who harbor terrorists while refusing to hand over Cuba's most wanted terrorist.” She offered no soundbites or names to support her assumption.
In the wake of NBC's and MSNBC's embarrassment over the firing of Don Imus for his racial insensitivity to black women on the Rutgers basketball team, NBC News promoted Lyne Pitts, a member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), to be vice president of NBC News. Mrs. Pitts, the wife of CBS correspondent Byron Pitts, has ascended rapidly since she arrived to produce the Weekend Today programs in February 2006.
It's not hard to imagine this has a lot to do with assuaging the roiling internal rage over Imus that boiled over in that meeting NBC News President Steve Capus had with Al Roker and the gang before Imus was canned. Don't miss this sentence in her job description: "She also serves as the division's point person on diversity issues."
Yet a review of the questions to Craig betrays Couric's leanings towards Helmke's pro-gun control position as well as some ignorance of the modern history of gun control (see her 10th question, for example).
Below are the questions to Craig with my comments/snark included in italics. Portions in bold are my emphasis:
In the wake of yesterday's announcement that Rosie O'Donnell will be departing "The View," the folks at "Today" had some fun this morning with the notion that Meredith Vieira, the "View" regular who Rosie replaced there, might return to the ABC gabfest.
As Vieira began a tease, in "Today's" opening, for an upcoming segment on the parting of ways at "The View," weatherman Al Roker shouted from off-camera "are you going to go back?"
Vieira went with the flow, announcing tongue-in-cheek: "So yes, I'll be leaving the 'Today' show to rejoin my friends at 'The View.' Sayanora." That's when co-host Matt Lauer, in the image shown here, picked up the phone, said "Barbara, hold on a second," handed it to Meredith, who continued "Barbara, I'm back there."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared past the 13,000 level on Wednesday, but the CBS and ABC evening newscasts reported the good news in the media's all-too-frequent “yes, but” framework. CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric fretted that “even as investors are making money in the market, Anthony Mason reports there are concerns tonight about the rest of the U.S. economy.” Mason talked with a celebrating stock trader before turning downbeat: “But Wall Street and Main Street appear to be headed in different directions. While the stock market's been racing ahead, the economy has been slowing down. Housing is mired in a slump.” Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab confirmed bad news for the overall economy, citing how “we have seen economic growth get cut in about half in the last year, so clearly the economy is not as strong as it was a year ago.” Mason ominously warned: “Rising gas prices, up 70 cents already this year, could slow the economy even more.”
ABC anchor Charles Gibson teased World News: “Tonight, the Dow moves into uncharted territory, zooming past 13,000 for the first time. But is the economy as hot as the market?” Gibson set up his lead story by contrasting how “the rise in recent months has been steep, despite less-than-inspiring news on the economy overall.” Betsy Stark featured pleased investors before cautioning how “there were fresh signs today of trouble in the housing market” and “oil prices shot up another dollar today, which will only add to consumers' woes at the pump.” Gibson stayed on the negative, proposing to Stark: “We've had four years of a straight bull market. Doesn't just the timing of this suggest that there might be a correction?” Stark agreed: “By historical standards, Charlie, we're actually overdue for a correction.”
Following the tragedy at Virginia Tech, the media found someone other than Seing-Hui Cho to blame -- legal businesses like Roanoke Firearms, Glock and eBay.
Roanoke Firearms' owner John Markell was treated as an accomplice to the horrific crime by ABC's Brian Ross:
“The Roanoke Firearms store where Seing-Hui Cho bought his murder weapon has a history of selling guns involved in murders. It is the fifth time a gun sold in this store has been used in a homicide, according to gun shop owner, John Markell,” said Ross on the April 18 “Good Morning America.”
The solution to government problems is more government according to CBS "Evening News" on April 23.
Two stories from that broadcast criticized the Food and Drug Administration, though neither report included a response from the agency. Still, Katie Couric said politicians are "not sure the FDA is up to the job."
Reporter Wyatt Andrews made it sound like everyone supports increased FDA regulation and funding.
"Every proposal to fix the FDA says the real job belongs to Congress. That Congress has to deliver new funding and new authority to bring the FDA into the 21st Century," concluded Andrews.
Reporter Nancy Cordes echoed the cry for more funding, although she stated that an additional $11 million is already slated for food safety efforts in 2008. But that's not enough.
Roger Friedman, gossip blogger for FNC has an interesting item about the anti-Katie Couric piece that I blogged about yesterday. According to Friedman, the piece was done partly at the behest of Couric's predecessor, the seemingly avuncular Bob Schieffer.
That wouldn't surprise me, but before I get into why, here's Friedman:
[O]ne of Couric's frequently
mentioned enemies is Bob Schieffer, the lovable, durable veteran
journalist who filled in as anchor of the "CBS Evening News"
between Dan Rather's departure and Couric's arrival.
But sources say that Schieffer has been
unhappy lately, mainly because his airtime, which was prominent when
Couric first started, has dwindled in recent weeks.
It's been suggested that a hit piece on
Couric written by Gail Shister in yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer
was inspired by Schieffer as its main source.
"He has a direct line to her,"
one insider said.
This type of thing is hardly unprecedented within the television news business. CBS isn't quite the San Diego of "Anchorman," but it's had no shortage of anchor feuds.
Sunday’s Philadelphia Inquirer story on the troubles at the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric — a story bulging with anti-Couric quotes from anonymous CBSers — included a revealing window into the news network’s intolerant liberal mindset, with the newsroom in “an uproar” after the father of a slain high school student was given roughly 60 seconds to condemn the lack of morality in public schools and said the culture of abortion devalues human life.
“‘There's a difference between free speech and responsible speech,’ an embarrassed correspondent says,” according to Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Gail Shister.
CBS's $15 million experiment of hiring Katie Couric has not
paid any dividends. Six months into her tenure as anchor of the
"Evening News," Couric has actually fallen in the ratings from her
predecessor, Bob Schieffer, sparking talk within the network that the
former NBC star will soon be shown the door.
Besides ratings, CBS insiders and TV observers quoted by
Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Gail Shister take
issue with Couric over
her inability to relate to the 50+ news viewer and fluff news
Couric's personal pride seems to be the stickler, though:
On her "Couric & Co." blog today, the CBS "Evening News" anchor posted a 10-question interview with gun control activist Paul Helmke. Couric's questions largely lobbed softballs for the Brady Campaign's Helmke to hit out of the park. But beyond that, she let slip a suggestion a keener ear might have caught and followed up on.
Helmke suggested he'd prefer a law making law-abiding citizens have to show references for purchasing a gun.
That's right, references, as in asking friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. if they think you should have the right to own a gun. References for the government to pry into your life (well beyond any criminal record) before you, a law-abiding citizen, to purchase a gun, something you have the right to do under the Constitution.
The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Tuesday night all ran full stories on the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling upholding the Partial Birth Abortion Act, but while each included arguments from justices in the majority, featured a soundbite from pro-life lawyer Jay Sekulow and offered at least a brief description of the procedure, they all framed the stories in ways favorable to those on the losing side. All led into competing soundbites by putting abortion supporters on the side of “rights” -- describing “abortion rights supporters” versus “abortion opponents” -- characterized the ruling as imposing a further “restriction” on abortion instead of as expanding protection for the unborn, and creatively distanced themselves from the “partial-birth” abortion term.
ABC's Charles Gibson saw “a long-sought victory for abortion opponents” before Jan Crawford Greenburg fretted that “abortion rights activists were devastated.” CBS's Wyatt Andrews highlighted how “abortion rights supporters bitterly protested” since “the ban is now the first abortion restriction ever approved with no exception for the health of the mother.” NBC's Chip Reid related that “abortion rights activists worry this may be only the start of a campaign to limit abortion rights.”
Without any regard to how school shootings in recent years have occurred in states and nations with stricter gun laws, including one last year at a college in Quebec, Canada, ABC and CBS on Tuesday night focused stories and questions on Virginia's “lax” gun laws. “How the gunman purchased the murder weapon,” ABC anchor Charles Gibson teased an upcoming story, “Virginia's controversial gun laws: How lax are they? Brian Ross investigates.” Ross confirmed that “Virginia's gun laws, indeed, are regarded by law enforcement officials as among the most lax in the country.” Ross relayed how “for gun control advocates, the ease with which Cho [Seung-Hui] was able to legally get his Glock and a box of ammunition reveals the problems with Virginia's gun laws.” Over undercover footage recorded by the New York City Police Department, Ross explained how it shows “it's possible to buy a handgun at a Virginia gun store with no waiting period and only what is called an instant background check.” Though Ross aired a condemnatory soundbite from NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, he failed to note that Virginia has a lot fewer gun crimes per capita than does New York City.
As if the media have nothing to do with “igniting” a debate on guns (ABCNews.com on Monday posted the question: “Do you think this incident is a reason to pass stricter gun control legislation?”), Gibson asked President Bush: “After Columbine, there was ignited a national debate on guns. Do you think this is going to rekindle the national debate?” Over on the CBS Evening News, Katie Couric, also on scene in Blacksburg, pressed Bush: “As you well know, after events like this, discussions about gun control inevitably follow. Is it too easy, in your view, for unstable people to purchase guns in this country?” Leading into an earlier story from Armen Keteyian, Couric cited “the question I asked the President about gun control. It's something many people are thinking about after the tragedy here at Virginia Tech, especially considering the gunman needed only two IDs and a credit card to buy the weapons and ammunition he used.”
UPDATE: Showcasing the same undercover video as Ross, on NBC's Dateline Chris Hansen interjected how “gun sales in Virginia have been more than a sticking point with gun control advocates.” (See more at end of item below)
Yesterday I noted that the New York Sun reported Melissa McNamara to be the producer CBS fired for plagiarizing the Wall Street Journal in a script she wrote for Katie Couric's April 4 "Notebook" vlog. For its part, CBS News refused to publicly release the name of the fired producer. As of publication of this blog post, CBS's ombudsblog "Public Eye" has not addressed the Sun's reporting. Now there's another development in the story.
Yesterday, the New York Observer reported that McNamara was slated to teach journalism courses offered by Media Bistro.
I checked the course Web site today and it notes that the course has been postponed with a new start date to be announced. These development have not been covered by CBS's "Public Eye" blog.
Yet here's how "Public Eye" envisions its mission within CBS News and as a service to CBSNews.com readers:
The New York Sun is reporting today that CBS "Blogophile" Melissa McNamara is the producer that was fired for plagiarizing from a Wall Street Journal column. The fired producer recycled language from a Jeffrey Zaslow column in the script she wrote for a Katie Couric "Notebook" entry published to the CBS Web site on April 4. CBS has refused to name the fired producer, but I'll update this post should CBS News address the matter on the network's "PublicEye" blog.
Regardless of the identity of the fired producer, Couric's "Notebook" lives on. Yesterday the "Evening News" anchor vlogged about the religious background of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
I critiqued McNamara once on NewsBusters on an unrelated matter:
Ben Franklin once said, "In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes."
That truth is even more painful for the increasing number of people who fall into a separate tax structure called the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). Those qualified for the AMT face a flat tax rate of as much as 28 percent.
Lately, a number of politicians have been crying out for AMT reform to save the middle-class, but the media has a faulty memory when it comes to who is responsible for the AMT monster.
“House Democratic leaders, in an effort to upstage Republicans on the issue of tax cuts, are preparing legislation that would permanently shield all but the very richest taxpayers from the alternative minimum tax,” reported The New York Times on April 9. “Democrats Seek to Lead the Way in Tax Overhaul,” was the headline.
Both ABC and CBS on Monday night used the fourth anniversary of the toppling of the Saddam Hussein statue in Baghdad as a chance to highlight the regret of a man who used a sledgehammer to destroy the pedestal. After starting her story with anti-U.S. protests inspired by Moqtada al-Sadr, ABC's Hilary Brown, presumably referring to ABC's March poll of Iraqis, asserted that “the appalling bloodshed has turned most Iraqis -- 78 percent -- against the occupation. Thirty-six percent now say that life is worse than it ever was under the dictator.” She proceeded to focus on how “one Iraqi in particular remembers, and now regrets, that iconic moment four years ago when the huge statute of Saddam Hussein was toppled.” Brown relayed how Khadim Yabani “says 'but now I just feel regret because nothing has improved.' That's why he says it would have been better that Saddam had never been overthrown.” On the CBS Evening News, Martin Seemungal, before he highlighted Yabani, at least acknowledged that “in some places, like in the southern city of Basra, people were out celebrating the anniversary.”
Meanwhile, ABC's World News led with Diane Sawyer in Afghanistan where she suggested misplaced priorities as she pointed out that “on this anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, the leaders here note the U.S. has spent some four-times the amount in Iraq, per person, as in the place the fight against terrorism started.” Sawyer reminded Afghan President Hamid Karzai of how “you have said if the U.S. had given Afghanistan what it spent in Iraq, it would be like 'heaven' here. Did the U.S. give too little? In your view?" Karzai refused to take Sawyer's bait, responding: “We are grateful to the American people, to the taxpayers, for having helped Afghanistan, in a big way.”
Members of the media are working environmental bias into the oddest segments. "Good Morning America" weatherman Sam Champion reported this week on the trendy new concept of "green weddings." According to Mr. Champion, "more and more Americans" are embracing ideas such as not using electricity during their wedding and holding the reception in a barn. Sounds great, right ladies?
On the same topic, the "Today" show’s Martin Savidge worried that climate change could have a negative effect on the nation’s pets. (Presumably, this includes Savidge’s dog "Girlfriend.") On Friday, the aforementioned Mr. Champion plugged a global warming study that predicted overly warm spring temperatures. This was right after his early April forecast of brutal cold for the Northeast.
The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Friday all hyped the “dire” warning on global warming from the UN's “prestigious” Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), with the CBS Evening News leading with two full stories. But ABC's Charles Gibson acknowledged “a bit of irony on the day global warming report was released,” given “parts of the Northeast are digging out from April snow” as “temperatures could be 20 to 40 degrees below normal,” making it “colder on Easter day than on Christmas day." NBC anchor Brian Williams followed up his newscast's global warming story with how “the problem isn't warming but what could be a record cold Easter weekend in parts of this country.” CBS anchor Russ Mitchell didn't point out any contradiction with the hyperbolic stories on global warming as he described the current weather simply as “strange” since “a Spring freeze is on” in the Northeast.
Mitchell teased his top story of the day: “Tonight, dire new predictions about disappearing species, melting glaciers, shrinking continents and more. Scientists say all the results of global warming.” Over on ABC, Gibson echoed: “Dire warning. The world's top scientists issue a stark forecast of drought, crop failure and floods because of climate change.” NBC's Williams hailed the “new report on global warming from a prestigious panel of scientists” who issued “blunt” findings: “Climate change is happening, it will lead to tremendous changes around the world that could have a very negative impact on the well-being of people, animals and entire ecosystems.”
Wednesday's CBS Evening News, anchored by Russ Mitchell, provided a sympathetic look at efforts to win an early release for John Walker Lindh, the American citizen who was convicted of giving aid to the Taliban during the war in Afghanistan. Mitchell and correspondent John Blackstone, who only displayed soundbites sympathetic to Lindh, relayed the argument of Lindh's parents that his 20-year sentence was "not fair considering Australian David Hicks was sentenced to just nine months for his terror conviction," without considering whether Hicks' sentence was too light. CBS legal analyst Andrew Cohen further contended that because Lindh was tried relatively soon after the 9/11 attacks, that he was a "victim of timing" in a "harsh atmosphere." Andrew Cohen: "He was the first person to go through the legal system after 9/11 in federal court, and the atmosphere at that time was so intense and harsh that he is essentially a victim of timing." (Transcript follows)
He's "America's best-known forecaster" according to CBS's Mark Strassman and a "veteran forecaster" to ABC's Ned Potter.
Bill Gray the well-known and well-respected hurricane forecaster is revered by journalists when he's predicting hurricanes, but as soon as Gray starts talking about global warming, the media for the most part stop listening.
"At today's national hurricane conference in New Orleans, 700 weather watchers talked about one man ... Bill Gray, America's best-known forecaster. And his prediction for this hurricane season, watch out," said Strassman on CBS "Evening News" April 3.
According to Charles Gibson of ABC, Gray is "something of a renegade." Yes, when it comes to the media's collective opinion on global warming, he is.