Tuesday's Early Show on CBS brought on PolitiFact's Bill Adair to reveal what he labeled as the "biggest lie of the year" inside politics, which was "the claim by many Democrats that the Republicans voted to end Medicare." But CBS let Democratic operatives spout that falsehood several times without scrutiny earlier in 2011.
The network did stand out in bringing on the PolitiFact editor, something ABC and NBC didn't do on Tuesday. Adair stated that Democrats "say that the House voted to end Medicare. That's not what they did. What the House did was vote to protect Medicare on people who are 55 and older, but to privatize it and restructure it...for people who are younger...it's wrong to say 'end Medicare,' and it's a...classic scare tactic that we've seen targeting the elderly for many years."
CBS's Bob Schieffer displayed his liberal leanings on Sunday's Face the Nation when he raised the issue of illegal immigration. Schieffer claimed during an interview of Newt Gingrich that "Mitt Romney has taken such a hard line, it seems to me, on immigration that some within the Republican Party are saying he is simply running off Hispanic voters."
The journalist asked Gingrich for his take on this claim about halfway through the half-hour long interview. Gingrich replied, "I'm not going on comment on Governor Romney," and simply recited his policy recommendations on illegal immigration. When the candidate stated near the end of his answer that "I do not believe the American people are going to send police out to round up folks who have been here 25 years," Schieffer followed up and asked, "There are 11 million of these people. I mean, what are you going to do with them? I mean, you can't build that many prisons to put them in jail....and you can't get that many buses to haul them back."
On Wednesday's Early Show, CBS somehow thought a Democratic super PAC's cynical ad aimed at discouraging Republican primary voters from voting for Mitt Romney was newsworthy. Correspondent Chip Reid outlined that Romney's French-speaking ability might be "political poison," and cited how French fries were renamed "freedom fries" in 2003 and how John Kerry was accused of looking French in 2004 [audio clips available here; video below the jump].
Fill-in anchor Rebecca Jarvis stated in the introduction to Reid's report that "something from Mitt Romney's past is coming back to haunt him...Apparently, he speaks French." Co-anchor Jeff Glor added that "apparently, speaking French is not a plus when you're running for president."
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning shows on Monday all used news briefs to highlight how home improvement giant Lowe's is "facing a backlash" after it pulled its ads from TLC's "All-American Muslim" reality TV series. All three noted that the company reacted to a complaint from a "conservative" or "Christian" group who threatened a boycott. CBS's Early Show played up how Lowe's "critics call that bigotry."
NBC's Natalie Morales stated in her brief that the chain is "sparking outrage after its pulled its ads from a reality show about American Muslims. The retail giant bowed to pressure from an evangelical Christian group, which called for a boycott against the chain of home improvement stores." Morales added that a "California state senator, meanwhile, says he is considering a boycott and legislative action if the company does not reverse its decision."
ABC's Good Morning America and CBS's the The Early Show on Saturday, as well as Friday's World News on ABC, seized on GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry forgetting the name of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor as the Texas governor criticized President Obama's tendency to appoint activist judges. As he teased Saturday's The Early Show, CBS anchor Russ Mitchell even asked, "How long can his presidential candidacy survive?"
As CBS correspondent Jan Crawford appeared on the show, Mitchell posed to her:
ABC, NBC, and CBS all reported on former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich receiving a 14-year prison sentence for corruption on their evening news programs on Wednesday and their morning shows on Thursday, but only CBS's Early Show gave his Democratic affiliation. ABC devoted only 3 news briefs total to the conviction, while NBC Nightly News and The Early Show aired full reports.
News anchor Jeff Glor introduced correspondent Michelle Miller's report on the CBS morning program at the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour by stating that "Rod Blagojevich is paying a very high price for corruption. Is it too high? In Chicago Wednesday, a judge sentenced the former Illinois governor to 14 years in prison"
The Big Three network morning shows on Wednesday highlighted the upcoming sentencing of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, but only CBS's Early Show identified the disgraced politician as a Democrat and devoted a full segment to him. ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today omitted his party ID, and just gave news briefs on the convict's possible sentence.
CBS correspondent Cynthia Bowers wasted little time before noting that "the former Democratic governor was convicted on 18 counts of corruption, after being caught on a profanity-laced federal wiretap offering political favors in return for financial gain." Bowers played two sound bites from the wiretap recording, including the infamous "bleeping golden" clip from Blagojevich.
The same networks that jumped on every flub by Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann have, so far, ignored video of President Obama confusing Kansas with Texas. Only Fox News and CNN played the clip.
Special Report's Bret Baier, however did cover the President's speech about taxes, calling the moment "inauspicious." He then showed Obama, in Osawatomie, Kansas, asserting: "Well, it is great to be back in the state of Tex -- oops." Panelist Charles Krauthammer quipped, "Look, it's hard to remember all 57 states." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Tuesday's Early Show, CBS's Cynthia Bowers let abortion advocates decry new pro-life legislation at the state level, barely letting supporters speak in her report. Bowers slanted by a three to one margin in the number of sound bites that she played from "abortion rights" supporters versus those from pro-lifers. She labeled Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback a "staunch abortion opponent," while giving no equivalent label to a pro-choicer.
The correspondent led the segment with a clip from an unidentified woman who aborted her unborn child who had been diagnosed with anencephaly, a disorder where most of the baby's brain fails to develop. She continued that the woman's obstetrician "suggested...one of only three clinics in the entire state [of Kansas] that still performs abortions- access that could soon be cut even further."
On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, White House correspondent Bill Plante hyped an upcoming speech by President Obama: "The President is going to Osawatomie, Kansas....where former President Teddy Roosevelt made a famous speech more than a century ago...it was a call for economic fairness, not unlike the President's own argument for taxing millionaires to extend the payroll tax cuts." [Audio available here]
As Plante quoted Roosevelt's call for a "square deal" in 1910, the headline on screen read: "Channeling Teddy: Obama To Echo Historic Roosevelt Speech." A sound bite was included from liberal historian Douglas Brinkley declaring: "[Obama's] trying to paint the Republicans as sort of being anti-American, of being Grinch-like, being misers....He's got to reclaim the great American center right now, and the figure who speaks for the center is Theodore Roosevelt." [View video after the jump]
On Monday's Early Show, CBS's John Dickerson and Time's Joe Klein harped on Newt Gingrich's overwhelming "liabilities." Klein hinted that the former House Speaker's ego would get the better of him: "This is a guy who cannot stand prosperity....[He] cannot control his ego when he is riding high." Dickerson played up how Gingrich's "negatives were very, very high when he left Washington in the mid-'90s."
Fill-in anchor Jeff Glor asked the CBS political director, "What are the chances Newt Gingrich is the nominee?" Dickerson punted on making a prediction, but borrowed a line from colleague Jan Crawford, stating that "he has a great deal of baggage." When co-anchor Rebecca Jarvis followed up by asking about how the Obama reelection campaign saw the former Speaker, he raised the "likeability" issues with Newt:
CBS's Jan Crawford played up Newt Gingrich's "baggage" on Friday's Early Show, underlining how the Republican presidential candidate is "going to be hit hard for his ties to corporate interests, the ethics allegations...even his personal relationships- his adulterous affairs." Crawford also spotlighted the claim that only Herman Cain's "die-hard supporters...think that he can stay in this race."
The correspondent first reported on the allegation that Cain had a 13-year affair with Ginger White and how the candidate recently admitted to helping White financially. Crawford shifted to Gingrich by stating that "in a crowded field, that could help candidates like Newt Gingrich, who continues to surge ahead." She then used her "baggage" term, and highlighted a "scathing new ad" from GOP competitor Ron Paul, which targeted Newt.
All three morning shows on Tuesday trumpeted the latest woman to make accusations against Herman Cain, hyping this as a possible "death blow" and sign of coming "doom" for the "Sixth Sense" campaign. [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Ginger White insisted that she and Cain had engaged in a 13-year affair. CBS, unlike NBC and ABC, made no mention of the woman's past legal problems, which include claims of stalking.
On Tuesday's "Good Morning America," co-host Robin Roberts pounced, "Campaign bombshell...Do [White's] shocking revelations spell doom for his troubled campaign?" On CBS's "Early Show," correspondent John Dickerson proclaimed, "At the worst, it's a death blow to the campaign."
The Big Three network morning shows on Monday all reported on the possible showdown between Occupy L.A. protesters and the LAPD. NBC's Today and CBS's Early Show highlighted that the left-leaning demonstrators held a "block party" as they defied law enforcement. All three media outlets also played up the supposedly "peaceful" nature of the protest, while ignoring other media reports of violence.
On Saturday's Good Morning America, ABC's Ron Claiborne claimed that "unlike other cities, the ['Occupy'] protests there in L.A. have been peaceful." However, Kate Linthicum of the Los Angeles Times noted in a November 5, 2011 article that "police were called to two violent incidents at Occupy Los Angeles on Friday, adding to questions about the protest and its future."
CBS's Early Show on Wednesday boosted a claim by Democrats that a recent Mitt Romney ad takes a line from a 2008 speech by then-candidate Barack Obama out of context. However, CBS noted at that time that Obama was using that line to counter a McCain campaign ad which played up the Democrat's association with left-wing terrorist Bill Ayers.
Anchor Erica Hill raised the controversy over the Romney ad towards the end of a segment with political correspondent Jan Crawford about the most recent Republican presidential debate. After playing the relevant part of the commercial, which includes a clip of Obama stating that "if we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose," Hill asked, "A lot of controversy over that ad, Jan. Why?"
CBS's Erica Hill urged "conservative activist" Grover Norquist to influence the members of Congress who have signed his no tax hikes pledge to consider raising taxes during an interview on Monday's Early Show: "There's still not a lot getting done in Washington, even with some of the compromise. So why not push those people to maybe do a little bit more?"
Hill pressed the idea of compromise from the very start of her interview of Norquist. She first asked the Americans for Tax Reform leader, "As we look at Congress and the way the approval rating has continued to plummet...for a lot of people, this is a failure, the fact the super committee cannot come to some sort of agreement on what to cut here. To you, though, is it a success, in that your side, technically, that you're backing, or either side, didn't give in?"
The three network morning shows, which have been mostly ignoring crimes at the Occupy Wall Street protests, hyped the "ugly" and "disturbing" "outrage" of students at the University of California, Davis campus being sprayed with pepper. Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos interviewed the school's chancellor and repeatedly berated her about resigning.
On NBC's Today, Ann Curry warned, "And also this morning, some disturbing video. Take a look at this, two police officers have been placed on administrative leave for using pepper spray on seated protesters at an Occupy demonstration on the campus of a California university." The Today show, as well as GMA made sure to push the protest as "peaceful," but only GMA pointed out that the students had encircled the police.
Good Morning America's Josh Elliott on Monday repeated White House talking points in regard to the booing of Michelle Obama at a NASCAR event on Sunday. News reader Elliott played a clip of the booing and then parroted, "The White House says it was a chaotic event. It was not clear, perhaps, what the boos were specifically for."
The Today show didn't cover the event at all. On the Early Show, Jeff Glor linked, "Some people booed [Michelle Obama and Jill Biden] when they showed up last night. They were on hand to honor military troops and their families." [See video of the booing here.]
On Friday, CBS's Early Show was the only Big Three morning show to cover Energy Secretary Steven Chu's testimony before a congressional hearing on the $528 million loan to the bankrupt solar panel company Solyndra. NBC previewed the hearing on Thursday's Today show, but avoided it the following morning. ABC's GMA completely ignored it both days.
Fill-in news anchor Betty Nguyen gave a 44-second news brief during the 7 am half hour of The Early Show, noting how Secretary Chu "made no apologies for the loan of more than $500 million to Solyndra back in 2009" during the hearing. However, the CBS morning show didn't air a full report on the controversy until the top of the 8 am hour.
According to Politico, Barack Obama's "lazy" gaffe is "catching fire," but you wouldn't know that if you got your news from the major networks. The President's remark, made at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Hawaii on November 12, that "We've been a little bit lazy" in attracting "new business into America" received a grand total of just 36 seconds on the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) morning and evening news shows. In contrast, Herman Cain's long pause -- when answering a question about Libya on November 15 -- generated 11 segments on the Big Three networks in just two days. This, of course, was on top of the Big Three's frenzy over women accusing Cain of sexual harassment.
The tiny bit of coverage of Obama's "lazy" remark came during Kelly O'Donnell's report on Monday's Today show. O'Donnell initially played a soundbite of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticizing the President and then offered the official Obama campaign response.
The network morning shows on Thursday took a mostly light-hearted look at clothing company Benetton's ad campaign featuring the Pope kissing a Muslim cleric. The ads, which have now been pulled under legal pressure, were summarized by Good Morning America's Josh Elliott. He parroted, "It was part of Benetton 's Unhate campaign, challenging people to have the courage not to hate."
Elliott described the company's removal of the ad as "bowing to pressure from the Vatican." None of the networks, however, mentioned any possible negativity from Muslims. Only NBC's Today referred to them as "very, very controversial," with fourth hour co-host Hoda Kotb blanching, "Put your breakfast down. Because you're going to want to."
CBS's Chris Wragge spotlighted a millionaire's bid to raise taxes on the rich on Thursday's Early Show, all the while omitting that his guest is a big money donor to liberal candidates like Al Franken and to Moveon.org. Wragge didn't bring on any opponents of higher taxes, nor did he play sound bites from them. Instead, he played three clips from proponents, including former Clinton aide Robert Reich.
Wragge and co-anchor Erica Hill trumpeted the "so-called patriotic millionaires [who] are begging Congress to raise their taxes" as they teased the segment three different times before it began. Hill did mention once that "they also spoke with a critic who said if they want to pay more, then they should make a contribution on their own, instead of raising taxes on all millionaires."
On Wednesday's Early Show, CBS's Erica Hill pressed Rep. Michele Bachmann during an interview about her attack on Newt Gingrich for his notorious 2008 commercial with Nancy Pelosi on climate change: "Why is that a bad thing, to try to work across the aisle?" This came just two days after the morning show wondered if Gingrich himself needed to "play a little more dirty...to win the bid."
Hill noted that "the Minnesota congresswoman is criticizing each of her fellow candidates for not being conservative enough" in a new online ad, and first asked Bachmann, "In that ad, there's...a clip of Newt Gingrich and Nancy Pelosi talking about the importance of working together. Why attack Newt Gingrich on that point, when so many Americans...really want their lawmakers to start working together in Washington to- finding some sort of way that they can work out a bipartisan answer to so many of the issues?"
The Washington Post, no conservative paper it, gave front-page coverage today to the latest development in the Solyndra scandal: E-mail records show that the Obama White House urged the solar energy company to postpone layoffs until after the 2010 midterm elections.
"The announcement could have been politically damaging because President Obama and others in the administration had held up Solyndra as a poster child of its clean-energy initiative," Post staffers Carol Leonnig and Joe Stephens noted in the November 16 paper. Sure enough Solyndra publicly announced a round of layoffs on November 3, "immediately following the Nov. 2 vote."
While this development broke yesterday afternoon, ABC, CBS, and NBC have ignored the development in their November 15 evening newscasts as well as their November 16 morning programs.
CBS's Erica Hill tossed softballs at a survivor of the Tucson shooting and the executive director of a pro-gun control group on Tuesday's Early Show, just hours before they were due to speak at a congressional hearing to promote tighter gun regulations. Hill played up fellow survivor Rep. Gabrielle Giffords's recent interview and asked, "What does that do to you and to this cause that you have now adopted?"
The anchor led the 8 am Eastern hour of the morning show by playing a clip of ABC's Diane Sawyer asking the Arizona representative about the January 2011 shooting. Hill then gushed over Giffords's recovery as she introduced her guests- Patricia Maisch, who helped subdue Jared Loughner, and Mark Glaze of Mayors Against Illegal Guns: "I know that watching the recovery...has been encouraging in ways that are probably tough to describe."
Through the month of October, as this MRC study found, the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks completely ignored the numerous charges of sexual assaults at OWS protests on their evening and morning news shows. In fact, it wasn’t until this weekend that one and only one network, ABC reported on the rape of a woman in Philadelphia, and that was only after that city’s Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter expressed concern about safety.
On the November 13 edition of ABC’s World News reporter Cecilia Vega mentioned: “In Occupy Philadelphia, an arrest after a woman was dragged into a tent and sexually assaulted.” Vega then threw it to a soundbite from Nutter charging: “Occupy Philly has changed. We’re seeing serious health and safety issues playing out on an almost daily basis. The people of Occupy Philly have also changed and their intentions have changed.”
Four years ago, the ABC, CBS and NBC morning shows celebrated the “rock star” Democrats running to replace George W. Bush, and no candidate set journalists’ pulses racing faster than Barack Obama. Now, after three years of high unemployment, trillion dollar deficits and an onerous new health care law, how are those newscasts covering Obama’s re-election campaign and the candidates vying to replace him?
To find out, the MRC’s Geoff Dickens and I (with a huge assist from Scott Whitlock, Kyle Drennen and Matthew Balan) examined all 723 campaign segments, including 101 interviews, which aired on the three broadcast network weekday morning programs from January 1 to October 31, 2011, using the same methodology we employed to study campaign coverage on those same programs for the same time period in 2007. Excerpts following the jump; read the full report here. (or download the printer-friendly PDF version)
On Monday's Early Show, CBS's Rebecca Jarvis wondered if Newt Gingrich would "have to play a little more dirty...to take on the other GOP contenders to win the bid." Bob Schieffer replied cynically that Gingrich would "save his criticism for attacking the media, which is always the safe thing to do." Chris Wragge prompted the former Speaker to criticize Herman Cain and Rick Perry on Friday, but he didn't bite.
Jarvis brought on the Face The Nation host for his take on Republican presidential debate hosted by CBS and National Journal on Saturday. Near the end of the interview, the fill-in anchor raised how Gingrich was "gaining momentum" and that he "held true to this no real confrontation with the other candidates" during the debate. She then directed her "dirty" question to Schieffer.
Good Morning America's John Berman on Friday made no effort to hide his derision of Rick Perry, noting that former FEMA Director Joe Allbaugh is running his campaign. Berman openly mocked, "...[Allbaugh] ran FEMA. So, he knows how to recover from disasters, Robin."
Earlier in the segment, the reporter made another comparison, joking, "You know, there's no question that Rick Perry is in full-scale political rehab. It's like a 12-step plan." Supposedly objective journalists on Thursday's evening newscasts and Friday's morning shows pounced on Perry's debate flub from Wednesday. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Friday, both NBC's Today and CBS's The Early Show offered news briefs on two deadly shooting incidents at two separate Occupy Wall Street protests Thursday night, while ABC's Good Morning America failed to make any mention of the deaths.
On Today, news anchor Natalie Morales reported: "Occupy Wall Street protests turned deadly overnight in two cities. In Oakland, California, Police are investigating a gun fight that left one man dead....And in Burlington, Vermont, a 35-year-old war veteran apparently shot himself..." On The Early Show, news anchor Terrell Brown noted: "In Oakland, California last night, a man was shot and killed just outside the anti-Wall Street demonstrations....A Wall Street protester committed suicide in Burlington, Vermont yesterday."