The Big Three networks unequivocally celebrated the end of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy as a "historic moment" on their Tuesday morning programs. CBS's "Early Show" turned to a discharged Air Force major who pushed for further recognition of same-sex couples by the military. NBC's "Today" brought on a homosexual playwright to promote his one-man movie on the policy. ABC's "GMA" only had a news brief on the development, but still highlighted how a magazine is "publishing photos of more than 100 active duty gay and lesbian troops who served in silence until now." None of the programs brought on dissenting voices to advocate the continuation of the policy.
"The Early Show" devoted the most amount of air time to the expiration of the policy, and led the 7 am Eastern hour with a slanted report from correspondent David Martin. Martin played sound bites from President Obama and outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, both opponents of the ban on open homosexuals from serving in the military, but none from supporters:
On Monday's Early Show, CBS's Terrell Brown spotlighted Tinseltown discontent with President Obama, citing an unnamed Hollywood executive who lamented the Democrat is 'not the idealistic guy we thought he would be." However, the three actors Brown turned to who are regulars on CBS programming all heartily endorsed Mr. Obama: "I'm going to do everything I can to help him. He's a really good guy."
Anchor Chris Wragge noted in his introduction for the correspondent's report that the President is "going to Hollywood for a fundraiser next week. But what kind of reception he will receive, now that some of Hollywood's most liberal voices are questioning him more than ever before?" Brown picked up where Wragge left off: "For a town used to measuring success and box office numbers, Hollywood is down on President Obama and his sagging poll numbers."
On Friday's Early Show, CBS's Bob Schieffer wildly spun Congress's 12% job approval as good news for President Obama, despite his own low poll numbers: "My heavens! He's 20 points ahead of the members of Congress....I mean, I think that probably some car thieves have a higher approval rating." But in 2010, when Democrats led Congress, The Early Show ignored a poll which showed low numbers for Nancy Pelosi.
The morning program led its 7 am Eastern hour with the ultra-low poll numbers for the Republican-led Congress. Anchor Erica Hill noted that "President Obama's job approval rating is reaching all-time low, but he is still miles ahead of Congress, when you look at the numbers. A CBS News/New York Times poll out just this morning shows only 12% of Americans say Congress is doing a good job. That is the worst showing in the history of our polling."
Two out of three CBS local affiliate political reporters featured on Thursday's Early Show bluntly stated that President Obama faces "major uphill battle" in recapturing key states for the 2012 election. Anchor Chris Wragge noted the "all-time low" approval rating for the President, while an Ohio journalist highlighted how a Democratic strategist thought Obama was "feeling more Carter than Clinton."
Wragge turned to David Crabtree of WRAL-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina; Jim Heath of CBS affiliate WBNS in Columbus, Ohio; and Sam Brock from WTVR in Richmond, Virginia for their takes on the President's recent stops in their states following his jobs bill speech to Congress earlier in September. Crabtree reported on the positive reaction from those who attended Mr. Obama's speech in North Carolina, but then outlined that the Democrat faces several challenges in the months ahead:
The Today show, which is a four hour program, on Wednesday devoted a scant 43 seconds of air time to a surprising loss by Democrats in a New York special congressional election. Both CBS and ABC offered more expansive coverage.
ABC's Good Morning America saw the election of Republican Bob Turner as a "stunning upset." Referencing another GOP win in Nevada, host George Stephanopoulos surprisingly speculated, "Landslide victories for Republicans in two key races. Could these early wins spell big trouble for President Obama?"
On Tuesday's Early Show, CBS targeted Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry by using their 'Fast Draw' animators to depict the Texas governor as gun-slinging, right-wing extremist. Cartoonists Josh Landis and Mitch Butler turned to a Texas journalist who claimed that Perry "would turn back the clock. He would take America back to where there was basically no safety net" [audio clips available here].
The largely animated segment focused on Perry as part of "a contest to find out who will be 'America's Next Top Republican,'" a parody of the TV show "America's Next Top Model." After labeling the governor a "true believer," Landis noted the Texas politician's beginnings in "the dusty little town of Paint Creek," highlighting how "he bathed on the back porch," even depicting this with feet hanging out of a bathtub.
[Video clips from the segment available below the jump.]
CBS's Early Show on Monday devoted two segments and a news brief to the Obama "jobs bill," but in none of the three stories did they allow a single Republican to speak. Correspondent Bill Plante filed a report that was almost all Obama soundbites -- and to make the sound of a sales job complete, it even included a clip of a TV ad from the Democratic National Committee to help push the $447 billion "stimulus" package.
Plante led the 7 am Eastern hour with his report on the President's legislation, and mentioned the Republicans only in passing: "He's [Obama] been saying that both Republicans and Democrats support the kinds of ideas that he's got in this job bill. But he knows that Republicans are reluctant to embrace the kind of spending he wants. So, he's taking his case directly to the voters, as he did Friday in Richmond, Virginia."
On Thursday, the day after the Republican presidential debate, the network morning shows turned to a high profile Democrat for a response. On Friday, the day after Barack Obama's jobs speech to Congress, the same programs turned to Democratic Vice President Joe Biden.
On Friday's Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos offered this softball to Biden: "Mark Zandi, the economist says this can create close to two million jobs. Is that what you expect? And what is the down side risk for the economy if the President's plan doesn't pass?"
The morning after eight Republican presidential candidates debated each other in California, all three morning shows brought on a Democrat, White House chief of staff William Daley.
Good Morning America, the Early Show and Today all offered varying degrees of tough questions for Mr. Daley. But, couldn't the networks have at least found one Republican candidate willing to appear on-air?
Good Morning America on Tuesday skipped any mention of James Hoffa's call for war against the Tea Party and the union leader's exhortation to "take these son[s] of bitches out." The ABC program was the only network evening or morning show to ignore the heated rhetoric entirely.
All three evening newscasts on Monday and CBS's Early Show and NBC's Today offered brief references to Hoffa's comments in Detroit (although, in many parts of the country, the CBS broadcast was pre-empted for coverage of the U.S. Open). Bill Plante on the Early Show asserted that Hoffa "took aim at the Tea Party." Nightly News' Kate Snow added that the labor leader simply "turned up the political heat."
Check out Labor Secretary Hilda Solis [she of the solicitude for the rights of illegal immigrants at the expense of American workers] on the CBS Early Show this morning. She ticks off a list of industries in which the government will make "investments" because "we know" they will be growing in future years. Kinda like the Obama admin "knew" solar energy was the wave of the future when it "invested" about a half-billion in taxpayer dollars in Solyndra, a company that backed by a major Obama fundraiser.
Participating in pure partisan politics, Solis claimed the unemployment rate in Rick Perry's Texas would be "much higher" were it not for the spending of stimulus money there. Right. That vaunted stimulus that for only $800 billion managed to keep the national unemployment to only 8%. Oh, wait, three years later it's 9.1%. Never mind. View video after the jump.
CBS's Jim Axelrod spotlighted a Michigan high school football team mostly made up of Muslim students on Friday's Early Show and trumpeted the "the strength of this diverse community." An array of student athletes and school officials from Fordson High School in Dearborn, Michigan fought against a phantom of "Islamophobia" that was only vaguely described.
In covering Fordson's custom of holding August practice from midnight to 4 am to be Ramadan-friendly, and despite playing video of students praying in Arabic while in their football uniforms, Axelrod didn't raise the usual ACLU-flagged church-state issues one might find a similar story on devout Christian students upsetting "diversity" in a school setting.
[Video clips from the segment available below the jump.]
CBS's Bill Plante hyped the supposedly "testy confrontation" between President Obama and Speaker Boehner on Thursday's Early Show over scheduling a presidential address to Congress: "This may prove that there is no argument too petty in today's Washington." By contrast, on Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Norah O'Donnell placed more blame on Obama for giving Boehner only a "15-minute heads-up."
Plante began with his "petty" line during his report just after the beginning of the 7 am Eastern hour, and added that "it was the timing of the President's speech that became the subject of a testy confrontation between the President and the Speaker, and the Speaker won." An on-screen graphic trumpeted the "speech spat: Obama & Boehner spar over jobs address."
Representative Andre Carson's inflammatory attack on the Tea Party has yet to have receive any attention from the Big Three networks. As reported by Politico on Wednesday, Rep. Carson accused Tea Party-friendly members of Congress of wanting to bring back Jim Crow and went so far to accuse his colleagues of wanting to bring back lynching: "Some of them...would love to see you and me...hanging on a tree."
Jake Sherman's report for Politico noted that the "explosive comments, caught on tape, were uploaded on the Internet Tuesday, and Carson's office stood by the remarks." The Blaze, a website run by Glenn Beck, uploaded a video compilation onto YouTube on Tuesday morning which included the Indiana Democrat's smear of the Tea Party. Carson attacked the Tea Party immediately after complimenting Congressional Black Caucus Chair Rep. Emanuel Cleaver at a CBC town hall in Miami on August 22:
CBS's Bill Plante inserted the oft-repeated media spin about the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina into his report on Monday's Early Show. Plante ignored the poor handling of Katrina at the state and local levels, spotlighting instead how "the stranded and homeless wandered the streets of New Orleans" as Bush flew overhead. But three days earlier, CBS brought on former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin as an "expert" on hurricane preparation without mentioning his failures.
Fill-in anchor Jeff Glor stated in his introduction for the correspondent's report that "Irene was not as bad as some thought it might be, but politicians were not taking any chances. They know what happens when government is ill-prepared for disaster." Plante began by spotlighting the Obama administration's response to Hurricane Irene:
Taking advantage of the east coast hurricane displacing all political news this weekend, a chance for me to catch up with something from July 4 when, as part of the Ronald Reagan Centennial celebrations, a ten-foot tall bronze statue of Reagan was unveiled in London.
Only CBS’s Early Show aired a full story on the event, and video of that is below, in which reporter Elizabeth Palmer concluded that in Britain he’ll be remembered “for a rare combination of skill, luck and courage that gave him a giant’s role in modern history.”
On Friday's Early Show, CBS somehow thought it was appropriate to bring on former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin to offer "lessons learned from other hurricanes," as Hurricane Irene bore down on the East Coast. Anchor Chris Wragge not only failed to ask Nagin about his failures in leadership in the lead-up to Hurricane Katrina, but also twice labeled his guest an "expert in the field" [audio clips available here].
After making his first reference to the former mayor as an "expert," Wragge first asked the Democrat, "What comes to mind for you when you hear about a hurricane this size bearing down on the East Coast, a region- especially up here in the Northeast, it's not always used to this kind of weather conditions?" In reply, the politician took the time to not only promote his new book, but also tried to rehabilitate his damaged image:
[Video clips from the segment available after the jump]
CBS referenced Vice President Joe Biden's recent gaffe about "fully understanding" China's one-child policy on Friday's Early Show as "off-the-cuff remarks" and "interesting comments," but failed to get to it during the segment. Anchor Chris Wragge merely explained that viewers would find "more on that on our website." Oddly, Wragge and his colleagues did broach the subject in an online video segment.
The anchor, along with co-anchor Erica Hill, brought on political correspondent Jan Crawford to discuss "the busy week in politics" 46 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour. Besides mentioning the Vice President's "off-the-cuff remarks," Wragge also previewed another subject of the segment, which was Senator Marco Rubio Tuesday save of former First Lady Nancy Reagan, who stumbled while walking with the Florida politician. But even before getting to that, the three first discussed Texas Governor Rick Perry becoming the presumptive front-runner in the race for Republican presidential nomination. After briefly noting Perry's lead in the polls, Crawford decided to zero in on the possible drawbacks to his candidacy and highlighted one of the caricatures of the governor:
While both ABC's Good Morning America and CBS's Early Show on Tuesday gave due credit to Senator Marco Rubio for catching former First Lady Nancy Reagan as she tripped at Reagan Library event, NBC's Today strangely avoided making any mention of the Florida Republican being present, even as video footage clearly showed him holding Reagan's arm. [Audio available here; Video follows page break]
CBS's Jan Crawford highlighted Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney 's fortune on Tuesday's Early Show and how "wealthier candidates, like Romney, John Kerry, and Jon Huntsman, are...hit with that nasty insult they're an elitist." Crawford did mention how that label has also been leveled at President Obama on more than one occasion, but also forwarded a myth about former President George H. W. Bush's 1992 encounter with a supermarket scanner.
Anchor Chris Wragge didn't use the "elitist" term as he gave the lead-in for the correspondent's report, but stated, "With millions of Americans out of work, and countless more struggling to pay the bills, how can a multi-millionaire presidential candidate not seem to be out of touch?" Crawford continued that "it's not exactly an issue of money, but how its used and...how you carry yourself. And now, Romney is certainly getting some criticism, as he tries to expand this home away from home. But this kind of criticism is always an issue, and other presidential candidates, and the President himself, are getting hit with it, too."
NBC has yet to cover a major shift by the Obama administration that would halt deportation of illegal immigrants who have not committed a crime. According to the Washington Times, up to 300,000 cases could be impacted by this decision.
Despite ignoring the development, NBC did find time to cover the story of Boris, the 550 pound pig. Natalie Morales explained, "His owners have him on a diet and he's dropped an impressive 75 pounds."
As Saturday's The Early Show on CBS hosted John Avlon of the Daily Beast and conservative commentator Margaret Hoover for a discussion of Texas Governor Rick Perry and other GOP presidential candidates, both guests had skeptical views of the current field, with Avlon finding some of Perry's recent statements "sort of irresponsible," and quipping that "George Bush looks like Abraham Lincoln compared to the whole crowd right now."
NBC on Friday offered a light-hearted defense of Barack Obama's vacation, justifying it by pointing out how hard it is for world leaders to take trips.
On Today, NBC's Savannah Guthrie implored, "Well, is there ever a good time for a world leader to take a vacation? President Obama is receiving some criticism for his summer getaway to Martha's Vineyard and he's not the only one."
This year’s crop of GOP presidential candidates includes strong conservatives, just like the top Democratic candidates four years ago — Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards — were all staunch liberals. But a major, glaring difference between today’s campaign coverage and the early coverage of the 2007 Democratic nomination race is the impulse of journalists to repeatedly brand the 2012 GOP candidates as “conservative” despite offering extremely few “liberal” labels four years ago.
Media Research Center analysts reviewed the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news programs from January 1 through July 31 and found 62 “conservative” labels for Republican candidates or those talked about as potential candidates. A check of the same broadcasts for the same time period in 2007 found a paltry three “liberal” labels for the Democrats running that year, a greater than 20-to-1 disparity.
The recent decision by Standard & Poor's to downgrade the U.S. credit rating to AA+ from AAA upset many on the left, especially those within the Obama administration. The White House lashed out at S&P and some in the news media did too. So Business & Media Institute decided to look back at six years of network (ABC,CBS and NBC) coverage of S&P.
BMI found out that bulk of network criticism of the ratings agency came AFTER the Obama administration went on the attack and that the networks relied on S&P experts three times more than they criticized them.
On Thursday's Early Show, CBS brought on Dr. Logan Levkoff, a radical sexologist, who not only advocated distributing birth control to 11-year-olds during an October 2007 appearance on ABC's Good Morning America, but also wouldn't rule out giving contraceptives out to elementary school students. When anchor Chris Wragge asked if "eleven is too young" for sex education, Levkoff replied, "There's no such thing as being too young."
Wragge and fill-in anchor Rebecca Jarvis turned to the sex educator for her take on a recently-passed New York City law which mandates sex education in schools. Instead of having guests on from both sides of the issue, Levkoff appeared by herself during the segment. Jarvis first asked, "Parents will tell you- or some critics will tell you, parents should be teaching this, right? But why do you think it should be taught in the schools?" The sexologist made her extreme view on teaching sex ed pretty clear in her initial answer: "There's no question that parents should be talking to their kids about sex and sexuality, from the time they're born on....We're talking about anatomy. We're talking about sexual development, healthy choices, responsibility, consent, respect. And these are all, you know, topics that it's never too young to learn about."
ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday ignored the $14 million failure of labor and liberal groups to win back the state senate in Wisconsin through a recall vote. Both CBS's Early Show and NBC's Today covered the effort to retaliate against that state's legislation stripping collective bargaining rights for public workers.
Early Show's Elaine Quijano covered the story in a full report (though not until the 8am hour). The Today show, a four hour program, mentioned it only once. Quijano explained that four of the six GOP senators held on and added, "For Wisconsin Democrats, Tuesday's vote was supposed to be a chance at revenge." However, these same networks, back in February, found time to feature signs comparing Scott Walker to Hitler and other dictators.
On Monday's Early Show, CBS's Norah O'Donnell promoted the left-of-center talking point that Standard & Poor's recent lowering of the U.S.'s credit rating is a "Tea Party downgrade." O'Donnell played three sound bites of notable liberals using this line of attack, versus only one opposing from a center-right politician. She also spun Treasury Geithner's decision to stay as "good news for the President."
The correspondent began her report by trumpeting how apparently, "this was supposed to be a week when President Obama was going to turn his attention toward jobs with a positive message. But instead, he's dealing with this talk of a double-dip recession, that the terrible week in the markets last week, and that credit downgrade."
Should anything happen to the Obamas' Portugese water dog Bo, perhaps the First Family could adopt Jeff Glor as a pet parrot. The weekend Early Show weekend co-host proved the perfect White House mimic this morning. Glor dutifully echoed the Obama admin line, dismissing as "political" Standard & Poor's downgrade of the US government's credit rating.
In support of his point, Glor twice mockingly referred to the fact that the country of Liechtenstein now has a better credit rating than the US. And your point is, Jeff?
While CBS's Early Show and the New York Times both highlighted their own poll showing support for further spending cuts, the CBS Evening News ignored it. Americans three-to-one believe the spending cuts in the debt ceiling deal were too small rather than too big, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll.
As NewsBusters reported, Thursday's CBS Evening News ignored the support for cuts while reporting increased disapproval of the Tea Party and support for tax increases. "The Tea Party fares poorly in the poll," declared CBS's Chip Reid.