On Tuesday's Early Show, CBS's Bigad Shaban, seemingly grasping for straws for any reason to report on "Occupy Wall Street," played up the music performances from protesters down in lower Manhattan. Shaban emphasized how "music has helped spur movements," and gushed that "some believe if history is any indication, they could provide harmony to a movement."
The correspondent highlighted that in the Zuccotti Park, where the protesters are camped out in New York City, "there are more musical performances than actual marches. They're almost constant, but impromptu." He added that "they [the protesters] call it the heartbeat of the revolution, from loud battle cries to soothing throwbacks to the civil rights era. They've become a soundtrack to the 'Occupy Wall Street' movement" [video clips from the segment below the jump; audio available here].
Add the CLASS Act to the ever growing list of damaging stories (Solyndra, Fast and Furious) to the bungling Obama administration that the media are, for the most part, whistling by. The news last Friday that a key part of Obamacare, the Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act (CLASS), meant to provide long-term care for the elderly – was deemed not sustainable by the Obama administration itself, drew a total of just 40 seconds on the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) broadcast network news shows.
ABC's Good Morning America, on Saturday, included just a 20 second brief by Ron Claiborne who alerted viewers that the "Obama administration is killing a key part of its signature health care overhaul" because it was not "financially viable." Then, later that evening CBS Evening News -- seen by few since college football meant it did not air in the Eastern and Central time zones -- also aired a 20 second brief with weekend anchor Anthony Mason notifying viewers: "The Obama administration has scrapped the long-term care component of the health care reform law before it even took affect." NBC has yet to cover the topic on either NBC Nightly News or the Today show. There wasn't even a word of it on the political roundtable Sunday shows (ABC's This Week, CBS's Face the Nation, NBC's Meet the Press).
CBS political analyst John Dickerson might have stepped too close to calling GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain a minstrel on Tuesday's Early Show: "Now that he [Cain] is a top-tier candidate...he probably has to moderate the jester act a little bit, and show that he can...be seen by voters as a president." Dickerson was replying to Cain's recent controversial remark about an electrified border fence [audio available here].
Anchor Erica Hill brought on the political analyst to preview the next Republican presidential debate, scheduled for later in the day in Las Vegas. She raised the electric fence issue towards the end of the segment, and cited a new CNN poll which has Cain "running, really, almost neck and neck with Mitt Romney." She then asked Dickerson, "How is this going to affect him in how he deals with this question of illegal immigration moving forward?" [video clip below the jump]
On Monday's Early Show, CBS took advantage of Americans' love of coffee to hype climate change, bizarrely claiming that "your morning cup might be heading toward extinction." Contributor Taryn Winter Brill turned to a left-leaning organization to reinforce the claim that climate change "could have a devastating effect on future coffee production."
Fill-in anchor Jeff Glor teased Winter Brill's report by stating that "the top scientist at Starbucks says climate change threatens to severely limit coffee production around the world for decades." As he introduced the segment, he went even further by using the "extinction" line. The contributor explained that it was actually "the director of sustainability for Starbucks [who] said that climate change is threatening the world's coffee supply" [video clips from the segment available below the jump; audio available here.]
The network newscasts over the weekend proved that no occasion is too small to fawn over "rock star" Bill Clinton. Over the course of three days, the morning shows and evening newscasts donated six segments to hyping Clinton's birthday celebration and the "sultry" serenade he received from Lady Gaga.
On Sunday's Today, reporter Richard Liu could barely restrain himself, lauding, "It was Bill Clinton's 65th and this diplomatic rock star celebrated with rock and roll royalty." He included a clip of comedienne Ellen Degeneres enthusing, "In a world where people look for heroes who make a difference, none is bigger than Bill Clinton."
The Big Three networks' seeming desperation to report on "Occupy Wall Street" reached a new level on Friday, after they led their morning shows with New York City's decision to not clear the park where the protesters are camped. NBC touted how the demonstrators were "proclaiming victory" in response to the move. ABC highlighted the "celebratory" atmosphere, while CBS played up the "mood of jubilation" there.
Today show anchor Ann Curry noted that a "showdown [was] averted at the site of the 'Occupy Wall Street' movement here in New York." She then turned to correspondent Maria Schiavocampo, who reported live from Zuccotti Park, the home base of the left-leaning protesters for about a month. The correspondent immediately zeroed-in on how one could "hear the celebrations taking place behind me here as protesters are proclaiming victory in their showdown with the park's owners."
Texas Governor Rick Perry conducted interviews with all three network morning shows on Friday and all used controversial comments made by Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress as a line of attack. This despite Perry having already distanced himself from the pastor's remarks labeling Mormonism a "cult."
On NBC's Today, co-host Matt Lauer led the charge by leveling this accusation against the Perry campaign: "...the issue of faith was really introduced – the can of worms was opened by a surrogate of your own campaign..."
On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos wouldn't let the issue go: "The Romney campaign...have called on you to repudiate him and his comments. Will you do that?...do you want his support, or will you repudiate that?...do you repudiate Reverend Jeffress?"
One day after NBC's ''Today'' celebrated the ''end of traditional marriage,'' CBS's ''Early Show'' went even further, entertaining the view that marriage is an ''unnatural'' institution and a ''morality cage.''
CBS anchor Erica Hill teased a segment on Oct. 12: ''You know, as much as we all may love a good wedding, more and more women are saying, 'I don't need one!' They're either getting married later in life, or deciding 'I'm not getting married at all.' In fact, according to one poll, nearly half of Americans under the age of 40 think marriage is becoming obsolete.''
The Occupy Wall Street protestors have received overwhelmingly positive coverage from the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) news networks, as they used their airtime to publicize and promote the aggressively leftist movement. In just the first eleven days of October, ABC, CBS and NBC flooded their morning and evening newscasts with a whopping 33 full stories or interview segments on the protesters. This was a far cry from the greeting the Tea Party received from the Big Three as that conservative protest movement was initially ignored (only 13 total stories in all of 2009) and then reviled.
Where the Tea Party was met with skeptical claims of their motivations -- with some reporters claiming they were merely corporate backed puppets and others implying they were spurred on by their racist opposition to the first black president – the Occupy Wall Street crowd was depicted as an almost genial “grassroots” movement.
CBS's Bigad Shaban filed a puff piece about the "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrators on Tuesday's Early Show, trumpeting their "self-operating mini-community in lower Manhattan" and how they were "hungry for change," all the while ignoring the radical left wing politics of many in attendance. Shaban took more time to note that "this isn't your average protest. Yoga classes are taught in the off-time."
Co-anchors Chris Wragge and Erica Hill played up the "mini-village, complete with a daily newspaper, recycling, a free breakfast buffet, [and] yoga" during their promo for the correspondent's report. Shaban picked up where his colleagues left off with his "not your average protest" line, and added that "a makeshift library has been set up with at least 1500 books...and the grounds even has (sic) its own medical tent and newspaper, 'The Occupied Wall Street Journal.'" [video clips available below the jump]
On Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer interviewed Obama advisor David Plouffe and asked about the frustration of the left-wing Occupy Wall Street protesters: "These people are out there and they're angry at Wall Street, the so-called fat cats....They're also angry at Democrats and the administration for not taking them on and doing anything about it."
While morning and evening newscasts from all three broadcast networks in the last few days have focused on anti-Mormon sentiment within the Republican Party that may hinder Mitt Romney's bid for the presidency, FNC's Special Report with Bret Baier on Monday noted that self-identified Republican voters are substantially more willing to accept a Mormon President compared to Democrats.
FNC correspondent Carl Cameron observed that Democrats are "least tolerant" compared to Republicans and independents as he recounted the findings of a Quinnipiac poll:
CBS sided with supporters of the "Occupy Wall Street" protests on Monday's Early Show, bringing on former Democratic Senator Russ Feingold to boost the left-leaning demonstrations, with no Republican and/or conservative critics appearing as guests during the program. Feingold slammed Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain as "un-American" for his critique of the protests.
Near the end of her interview of the Wisconsin politician, anchor Erica Hill raised Cain's attack on the continuing anti-corporate rallies: "Republican candidate Herman Cain, weighing in over the weekend. He said that, basically, it's un-American to protest capitalism. Businesses have to make money, and if they can do a better job making money oversea- it's an unfortunate reality for many Americans- but they're concerned about their bottom line. Can there be some sort of common ground here?"
CBS's Bigad Shaban failed to disclose the far-left politics of an "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrator on Monday's Early Show. Jesse LaGreca, a Daily Kos contributor who wrote in August that "Hurricane Irene is like having Christmas early" for Republicans, was identified on-screen as simply a "Wall Street protester." Shaban also barely devoted any time to critics of the nascent movement.
CBS's Erica Hill let DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz bash congressional Republicans unopposed on Thursday's Early Show. Hill also failed to ask the Florida Democrat about her eye-opening claim on Wednesday that "anyone" can see that the economy is improving "and now, we've begun to turn the corner."
The anchor brought on Wasserman Schultz, the morning show's only political guest, for a softball interview on the recovery of her friend and colleague, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Near the end of the segment, though, Hill raised President Obama's jobs bill: "Is there anything that you found, in talking with your colleagues on either side of the aisle, that you think can bring lawmakers together in Washington, to find some sort of compromise that will satisfy as close to everyone as you can get?"
The network newscasts on Wednesday downplayed Democratic obstruction of Barack Obama's jobs bill, offering only minor coverage. Good Morning America and Early Show allowed brief mentions. In an otherwise unrelated segment, GMA's Jon Karl admitted that the President "has a problem with [congressional] Democrats."
Karl added, "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said yesterday, he does not plan to have a vote on the jobs bill in its entirety, rather he's gonna try to pass bits and pieces of it." CBS's Early Show highlighted the President's complaints about Republicans. Reporter Bill Plante explained, "...[Obama] attacked Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor by name for not passing his jobs bill and bringing it to the floor."
Mark Hemingway of The Weekly Standardreported on Wednesday afternoon that he had attempted to interview CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson about her dogged coverage of the ongoing "Fast and Furious" controversy, but was told that she was "unavailable." Attkisson has been the sole journalist on the Big Three networks regularly covering the story, particular during the past several weeks.
Hemingway described in his blog entry that he called CBS News to interview the correspondent, but was "told by CBS News senior vice president of communications Sonya McNair that Attkisson would be unavailable for interviews all week. When I asked why Attkisson would be unavailable, McNair would not say." On Tuesday, the reporter revealed on Laura Ingraham's radio show that Obama administration officials had "screamed and cussed" at her over her coverage of the story.
"CBS Evening News" distinguished itself among the Big Three networks on Monday by devoting an entire segment to the ongoing controversy over the "Fast and Furious" program, where the federal government smuggled guns to Mexican drug cartels. NBC hasn't mentioned the story on its news programs since April 17, while the last time ABC covered it was a news brief on June 15.
Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reported that "new documents obtained by CBS News show Attorney General Eric Holder was sent briefings on the controversial 'Fast and Furious' operation as far back as July 2010. That directly contradicts his [May 3, 2011] statement to Congress." After playing a sound bite from Holder's testimony, Attkisson continued that "at least ten months before that hearing, Holder began receiving frequent memos discussing 'Fast and Furious.' They came from...Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer."
CBS's Early Show was the only morning show of the Big Three networks on Monday to cover the controversy over a ranch leased by the family of Texas Governor Rick Perry that formerly used the racist "N" word in its name. Political analyst John Dickerson hinted that the Republican's presidential campaign may not "weather" the controversy, adding that "it's a real problem."
Fill-in anchor Jeff Glor led the 7 am Eastern hour of the CBS program with a teaser on the news story: "Texas Governor Rick Perry faces tough questions over a family hunting camp named with a racial slur. Fellow presidential candidate Herman Cain calls Perry 'very insensitive,' as Perry insists the word were removed decades ago." Nine minutes later, Glor labeled the issue a "race-related firestorm," as he introduced correspondent Jan Crawford's campaign 2012 round-up, which began with the story.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s admission, on Thursday, that he approved more taxpayer money to the financially strapped solar panel company Solyndra, after it defaulted on a $535 million loan from that agency. Big Three network coverage? Zero. This is just a continuing pattern of ABC, CBS and NBC barely touching the bourgeoning scandal for the Obama administration.
What initially began as an embarrassing collapse of one of the green companies touted by the Obama has turned into a story of coverup of still more stimulus money being wasted on the left’s pet cause of climate change. Yet, as a search of Nexis shows, the networks have glanced over the Solyndra story with the Big Three networks running a total of just eight total full stories, two anchor briefs and a couple of mentions on their evening and morning news shows, since the company declared bankruptcy in August.
The three network morning shows on Friday all highlighted the United States' success in killing terrorist Anwar al Awlaki. However, although these same programs were sensitive to the slightest possible civil rights violation by the Bush administration, they did not seemed interested the fact that Al Awlaki was an American citizen.
Good Morning America, Today and the Early Show mentioned this detail, but didn't provide any analysis or question the President's authority to make such a move. GMA's Brian Ross simply offered, "He was considered such a serious threat to the U.S. that the President had authorized the use of lethal force against him, even though he was an American citizen."
In the weekly take-down of the liberal media on Fox News Channel's "Hannity" on Thursday, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell condemned efforts to "demonize the Tea Party, to marginalize the Tea Party, to suggest that the Tea Party's extremist" simply because GOP debate audiences voiced support for the death penalty. [Audio available here]
Following a clip of CNN's Jack Cafferty asking viewers to tell him whether or not Republican primary voters were "bloodthirsty," Bozell pointed out, "...the vast majority of Americans support the death penalty for convicted murderers and terrorists. That's the reality....Only CNN finds something radically strange about somebody expressing this support."
On Thursday's Early Show, CBS's Chris Wragge bizarrely wondered if the dissatisfaction with the current GOP field of presidential candidates would give President Obama an edge: "Is this just primary politics, or does this make candidate Obama kind of lick his chops, thinking he's got a real advantage here?" Mr. Obama actually trails a generic Republican candidate in two recent polls.
Just moments before Wragge dropped his question, correspondent Jan Crawford had explained during a report that such dissatisfaction from primary voters wasn't unusual in either party from a historical perspective. Crawford cited the Democratic presidential fields in 1991 and 2003 as examples:
CBS's Erica Hill channeled the overblown worries of liberals about influence of the Tea Party on Thursday's Early Show, asking Newt Gingrich, "The Tea Party has really made some big inroads...But there's a feeling by some folks that this very small group of people is starting to control the conversation. Do there need to be more voices at the table, in general, at this point?"
Hill brought on Gingrich to discuss his new Contract With America package, due to be released later in the day. Just as in The Early Show's interview of Herman Cain the previous morning, the anchor flattered her guest by congratulating him for his good showing in a recent poll, but wasted little time before launching a critique of one known part of his proposal, thinly veiled in conservative language:
On Wednesday's Early Show, CBS's Chris Wragge complimented GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain for his recent win in the Florida straw poll, but then wasted little time in throwing cold water on the future of his campaign. Wragge, along with co-anchor Erica Hill, asked why Cain would "stick with it," and wondered if the Republican could compete if Gov. Chris Christie entered the race.
The two anchors began the segment by heralding the former Godfather's Pizza CEO's "surprise over the weekend" and how he "shook up the GOP race on Saturday, winning the Florida straw poll with more votes than Rick Perry and Mitt Romney combined." Wragge then congratulated Cain and asked, "Someone like Sarah Palin says late last night that you're the flavor of the week. How do you respond to something like that?"
On Monday's Early Show, CBS's Jim Axelrod pressed Gov. Mitch Daniels to anything derogatory about the Republican presidential field, leaving the Indiana politician little time to say anything about his new book. Axelrod also devoted a significant amount of time during the interview to the question of whether New Jersey Governor Chris Christie would get into the presidential race.
The substitute anchor led the segment with the issue of the recent Florida straw poll, which businessman Herman Cain won: "Cain didn't just win in Florida this weekend. He had more votes than both Governor Romney and Governor Perry combined. What does that tell you about the state of the Republican field?" After his guest gave an initial answer, Axelrod followed up by asking, "When you see what's happening with the inability for a single candidate to, sort of, get some traction, does it make you rethink your decision, at all, to get out of the race?"
Both CBS's "Early Show" and CNN's "Newsroom" sought out Rep. Maxine Waters on Monday for her reaction to President Obama's "stop complaining" rejoinder to the Congressional Black Caucus on Saturday, but neither outlet mentioned the continuing ethics investigation into the ultra-liberal Democrat. CNN anchor Suzanne Malveaux even went so far to flatter Rep. Waters as having her "marching shoes" on.
CBS's Erica Hill brought on the liberal politician just minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour and first asked, "What was your reaction to that when he [President Obama] said, 'Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying'?" The representative gently critiqued the President's language:
On Friday's Early Show, CBS's Erica Hill advocated for a liberal pet cause, urging Michele Bachmann to allow children of illegal aliens to receive in-state college tuition. Hill also spotlighted Gov. Rick Perry's attack on his competitors in the GOP presidential race on this issue: "Basically, [Perry is] saying to the other eight folks on the stage there, including yourself, that you don't have a heart."
The anchor raised the immigration issue towards the end of her interview of the Minnesota representative. Hill first quoted Gov. Perry's line on the in-state tuition issue from the previous night's debate: "He said, 'If you say we should not educate children who come into our state by no fault of their own, I don't think you have a heart.'" She then made a budget-based appeal to the Republican: "I know you said you don't want any resources to go to illegal aliens or their children. Why not, though, give them a tuition break now, rather then, perhaps, down the line, having to hand over unemployment, or even welfare?"
CBS's Erica Hill lauded homosexual activist Dan Savage, the mastermind of an Internet smear campaign against Rick Santorum, as a "tireless advocate" for bullied schoolchildren on Thursday's "Early Show." The Big Three networks all turned to Savage as their "expert" for their Wednesday and Thursday coverage of high school freshman Jamey Rodemeyer's suicide, but only "The Early Show" brought him on.
Hill's radical guest, who revealed his torture fantasy against the Republican in July 2011, founded an online campaign called the It Gets Better Project, where Rodemeyer posted an online video in May. The anchor began by claiming that Savage "has been a tireless advocate to stop this bullying, to give kids some hope." She then tossed a softball question: "His [Rodemeyer's] mom said he had a big message, but it shouldn't have to be a message. What would you say to her this morning, to so many teens who may be watching Jamey and what happened to him?"
For most Americans, the 2012 presidential campaign will be experienced on television, and voters will evaluate the candidates based on their performances at televised debates, daily news coverage, and in long-form interviews. Even with all of the changes in the media landscape over past several years, the most-watched regular forums for candidate interviews are the broadcast network morning news programs — NBC’s Today, ABC’s Good Morning America, and CBS’s The Early Show, with a combined weekday audience of more than 13 million as of the second quarter of 2011.