On Friday’s "Early Show," there were three stories worth noting here on NewsBusters. First, CBS News correspondent Wyatt Andrews painted the ruling by the FDA allowing the morning after pill, known as Plan B, to be sold without a prescription in many cases as an election year ploy by the Bush Administration and as a victory for women’s groups at the expense of conservatives. Next, correspondent Mark Strassmann, reporting from Baghdad, actually noted some progress in securing Iraq, "…But since then, U.S. and Iraqi forces have ratcheted up pressure in Baghdad's meanest neighborhoods. The results look promising. City-wide, murders are down 41%." Finally, viewers were given a preview of this Sunday’s "60 Minutes" interview with Ray Nagin, in which Nagin defended the slow pace of progress in New Orleans’ recovery from Hurricane Katrina by comparing his cities recovery to New York’s after 9/11: "It's alright. You guys in New York City can't get a hole in the ground fixed, and it's five years later. So let's be fair." Further analysis of each of these stories follows.
On Thursday’s "Early Show" on CBS, co-host Hannah Storm promoted the leftist hype about the link between global warming and hurricanes in a segment with global warming enthusiast, and author of the new book "The Ravaging Tide," Mike Tidwell. Storm acted as more of a facilitator than interviewer, asking leading questions, questions that assumed Tidwell’s comments were accurate, and allowed her guest to make some ridiculous statements that went unchallenged.
Storm’s feelings on the matter can best be summed up by her statement, "…this dependence on fossil fuels needs to be addressed. So what’s your recommendation?"
The new season of CBS’ hit show "Survivor" was previewed on this morning’s "Early Show," and viewers learned that the show will have a segregationist beginning as contestants will be divided according to their race. In the past, tribes on the show have been determined by age or sex or by choosing sides, but this is the first time they have been determined by race, a fact which seemed to appall the co-hosts of "The Early Show."
At the top of the 8:00 hour, Harry Smith asked a random man gathered on the plaza for his reaction to this news, and the response was "it should be pretty interesting." Harry Smith, declared that a "safe" answer, which caused co-host Rene Syler to exclaim:
When the New York Times originally broke the story of the NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program, the rest of the media leapt to the bandwagon, and immediately began referring to President Bush's "Domestic Surveillance Program." One of the forums where this has been particularly egregious is CBS' The Early Show. Well, the last 7 months and all of the discussion has done nothing to change the view of the program held by CBS. There were two separate comments in a 30-second news snippet from Tracy Smith that were either inaccurate or incomplete, and, of course, they were inaccurate or incomplete in a manner that made the program sound worse than it is.
The first was the continued mis-labeling. The program is not, despite the mainstream press' continued insistence, a "domestic" surveillance program. The NSA is not monitoring American's domestic calls without warrants, or at least, if they are, that has not been made public. That's not what the program being talked about covers. The NSA is monitoring overseas communications of suspected terrorists and terrorism supporters. If some of those communications are into the United States, they're continuing to monitor. That doesn't make the conversations "domestic."
Friday’s morning shows largely preferred the JonBenet Ramsey case over yesterday’s district court ruling declaring the National Security Agency’s terrorist surveillance program to be unconstitutional. NBC’s "Today" and CBS’ "The Early Show" limited their reporting on the issue to brief anchor reads, as did their evening news counterparts, as the MRC’s Brad Wilmouth previously reported.
"Good Morning America," however, did devote more than a few seconds on the topic, with ABC’s Jessica Yellin reporting from the White House. In her report, Yellin never acknowledged the liberal background of Judge Ann Diggs Taylor, who, Yellin pointed out, "accuses the President of acting like a king" and says the NSA program "blatantly disregards" the parameters established in the Bill of Rights. Yellin labeled the court’s decision a "stinging setback" for President Bush, and highlighted this warning to the President from George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley :
Jonathan Turley: "He could be impeached. And people should not be underestimating that. It's true that this Congress does not want to--"
On this morning’s "Early Show" on CBS, Tracy Smith, co-host of the "Saturday Early Show," served as a substitute co-host. Ms. Smith interviewed Evan Thomas, assistant Managing Editor of "Newsweek" magazine regarding the potential political impact the foiled London terror plot may have. As such, Smith suggested the Republicans are losing ground on the issue of terrorism and seemed hopeful that Democrats would be able make it one of their own issues, and even pounded her fists on the table to emphasize her point.
After talking with Mr. Thomas about airport security measures and how another terrorist attack can be prevented, Ms. Smith changed the subject to the politics and noted that President Bush hasn't received a bump in the CBS poll after the London terror arrests:
As many anticipated, Senator Joe Lieberman lost his bid for renomination to the U.S. Senate in Connecticut yesterday. This morning, as reported here by MRC analyst Geoff Dickens, all three network morning shows interviewed Mr. Lieberman and in essence told him to quit the race. And as reported here by Lyford Beverage, Harry Smith, co-host of the "Early Show" questioned the Senator from the left.
However, some important points have been neglected regarding Mr. Smith’s questions. As to Smith’s point:
"Incumbents do not get turned out of office, especially in primaries in this country."
Harry Smith makes it seem as this is something that has never happened before, that is an incumbent Senator losing a primary. Quite the contrary. In 2002, New Hampshire primary voters defeated incumbent Republican Senator Bob Smith in favor of then Congressman John Sununu. In 1992, Illinois Democrats threw out then Senator Alan Dixon and nominated Carol Mosely Braun. And in 1980, Alaska Democratic Senator Mike Gravel lost his bid for renomination to Clark Gruening, the grandson of the incumbent Senator that Gravel himself defeated in a primary in 1968. But if Smith needs further evidence that incumbents in fact do lose primaries, two other incumbents went down to defeat yesterday, Georgia Democrat Cynthia McKinney (who also lost a primary election as an incumbent in 2002) and Michigan Republican Joe Schwartz.
On Wednesday's edition of CBS' The Early Show, anchor Harry Smith discussed the primary election results from the state of Connecticut with Senator Joe Lieberman and political analyst Amy Walter. Harry took his standard, normal position - the left side. (I would bet that at some point in his life, some place and some where, at some time, Harry Smith asked a question of someone from the more conservative side of an issue, but I've never seen it.) In the course of his interviews, Smith asked a question or prompted Lieberman with a comment, 5 times. 4 of them could be considered as coming from a neutral point-of-view, though the emphasis and context certainly seemed to be the Democratic point-of-view. The fifth was clearly a question from the Democratic point-of-view. (You can click here to see Harry Smith's questions for Senator Lieberman...)
HS: Incumbents do not get turned out of office, especially in primaries in this country. Do you understand that your support for the war is the reason you lost Tuesday?
HS: And that's why you've said you're going to run as an independent, even though polls show among Democrats, 61% of people polled yesterday said don't do it.
Matt Lauer, Diane Sawyer and Harry Smith aren't dumb, they know a potential roadblock to Democratic success when they see one, and that's why all three of them collectively told Sen. Joseph Lieberman to drop out. Lieberman appeared on all three network morning shows and received identical reactions from all three hosts.
NBC's Matt Lauer on this morning's Today show: "Senator is there any phone call you could receive, is there anyone in the Democratic Party who could call you today and ask you to drop out that you would listen to?" ABC's Diane Sawyer on this morning's Good Morning America: "Senator, I heard you say I'm a Democrat. But you're talking about running as an independent and there are members of the party who've already said, commentators, that this is a selfish decision. How can you run against the party? What will happen?" CBS's Harry Smith on The Early Show: "A final quick question. You will run as an independent at risk of losing the seat to the Republicans? You understand that risk? By splitting the Democratic vote."
Q. How can you tell when the MSM's liberal slip is showing?
A. When a host argues from the left with his own non-partisan expert!
That's just what happened on this morning's Early Show. Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report was brought on to analyze yesterday's CT senate primary results. Cook presents itself as non-partisan, and certainly no one can accuse Walter of being a closet conservative. As per her bio, "prior to joining The Cook Political Report, she served as Political Director of the Women's Campaign Fund and worked for Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky (D-PA-13)."
From the get-go, host Harry Smith tried to depict Lamont's victory as having far-ranging anti-war implications: "The blogosphere was on fire. Does this send a message to Democrats to say, if you want our support, you better get out there and be against the war and against the president?"
Twice on Tuesday, CBS News correspondent Trish Regan labeled as “infamous” the embrace, derided as “The Kiss” by supporters of Connecticut Senate hopeful Ned Lamont, between President George W. Bush and incumbent Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman in the well of the House after Bush's 2005 State of the Union address. Regan didn't attribute the characterization to Lieberman's opponents. She stated it as fact. On the Early Show she explained over brief video of the event: "Ned Lamont has used this now infamous kiss to his advantage on campaign buttons and television ads, suggesting Lieberman is just too cozy with the President." Then on the CBS Evening News, Regan asserted over the same video: “His campaign has used images like this now infamous kiss." (Picture of "The Kiss" follows)
Today is primary day in Connecticut, one in which liberals on the fringe left hope will be Senator Joe Lieberman’s day of reckoning. On Tuesday’s "Early Show" on CBS, correspondent Trish Regan previewed this race, and provided her insight on how Joe Lieberman has fallen from three term incumbent and former Democratic vice Presidential Candidate to now underdog in this race:
Trish Regan: "Ned Lamont has used this now infamous kiss to his advantage on campaign buttons and television ads, suggesting Lieberman is just too cozy with the president."
Infamous is a strong word. Perhaps Lieberman being embraced by President Bush at the 2005 State of the Union Address may be infamous to the far left, but I highly doubt mainstream America views two former rivals of differing political parties hugging as an infamous act.
On yesterday's The Early Show, as noted by Michael Rule, CBS's Dave Price blamed the current heat wave on global warming but over on NBC's Today this morning, as noted by Mark Finklestein, Al Roker refused to take Matt Lauer's bait to do the same. While Roker hedged a bit and didn't completely rule out global warming as a cause, the fact that he expressed some reservations contrasted with Price who went as far to take time out of the weather update to cite his "experts." Still one can only assume Roker will be brought back in line by Lauer. After all it was Lauer who brought viewers this very serious and sober piece of journalism. The following is a quick recap of the different takes taken by the CBS and NBC morning weathermen:
On Tuesday’s "The Early Show" on CBS, substitute co-host and regular weatherman Dave Price alluded to global warming as the cause of the heat wave that has moved into the Northeast and Mid Atlantic regions:
Dave Price: "Temperatures are hotter and they're longer-lasting and farther reaching. Experts are saying it's historic and global warming may be to blame."
Price cited Jay Gulledge of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change as someone who believes Global warming is to blame:
"According to Gulledge, global warming is the most likely culprit but he says whatever's causing it, the prognosis isn't good."
In Miami, Cuban-Americans were literally dancing in the street at the prospect that the repressive regime of Fidel Castro might finally be drawing to an end. But back in Cuba, people greeted the news of the great liberator's illness with dismay. At least, they did according to CBS News' woman-on-the-spot.
On this morning's Early Show, CBS ran a brief clip of a phone interview with Portia Siegelbaum, a CBS News producer based in Cuba. Here is the entirety of her report:
"The news of Castro's illness was most unexpected. I spoke to half-a-dozen people last night and they seemed most shook up by his handing over power, even if provisionally, to his younger brother Raul."
A sample of my latest article available at MRC's BusinessandMedia.org. For the full article, click here.:
It’s not every
day a politician calls for a 100-percent tax rate on national TV. Even the most
liberal-friendly of journalists would be inclined to question such a punitive
idea. But when former presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich called for such a
tax on the “windfall profits” of oil on the July 28 “Early Show,” CBS’s Hannah
Storm didn’t even bat an eyelash.
interview segment with the liberal Rep. Kucinich (D-Ohio) and the libertarian
Cato Institute’s Jerry Taylor on the so-called windfall profits tax, Storm
asked Kucinich how such a tax would “translate to consumers and help the people
who are paying at the pump.”
It's been a tough week for the MSM. You just know they'd like to find a way to spin events in Lebanon and Israel for purposes of criticizing the Bush administration. But one senses they've had a tough time getting traction. Even for our liberal media heroes, making common cause with Hezbollah might be a bridge too far.
When the MSM is reduced to fixating on a mild four-letter word the president let fly, and to second-guessing tactics - as opposed to goals - you know the media's Bush-bashing cupboard is alarmingly bare.
The last best hope for the MSM seemed to be the alleged slowness of the evacuation of Americans in Lebanon. There was Tucker Carlson accusing Israel of 'doing nothing' to help stranded Americans. And the MSM widely reported the number of Americans in Lebanon at 25,000, downplaying the fact that the great majority have dual Lebanese citizenship and are not looking to leave. The actual number of those wishing to get out is apparently in the 5-8,000 range.
Is Harry Smith's goal at every stage of every war to stop it? If he had been around on June 6, 1944, would he have been asking what could be done to stop D-Day? The question arises in light of Smith's questions on this morning's Early Show to Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution.
Right out of the box, cease-fire seemed to be on Harry's mind: "We have Hezbollah content to fire rockets into Israel, just as we heard a couple of minutes ago from [CBS reporter] Sharyn Alfonsi. We have Israel intent on squashing Hezbollah. Is there any country in the world, any group of countries, for that matter, that can compel either side to stop?"
O'Hanlon didn't think so, noting that at this stage neither side shows the remotest interest in a cease fire.
Quiz time: When is a political ad that features pictures of deceased, flag-draped American heroes controversial? Apparently, the answer is only when Republicans produce such a commercial. The Democratic Campaign Committee has posted a 60 second spot on their Web site, and it shows images of the coffins of American military personnel, as well as a soldier standing in front of a makeshift grave marker. (Update, 5:40pm EDT July 14: The ad has now disappeared from the DCCC Web site, replaced by one calling for a hike in the minimum wage.)
Unsurprisingly, ABC, NBC and CBS expressed no outrage over the Democrats attempt to politically exploit America's fallen. NBC'sToday show,ABC's Good Morning America, and CBS's The Early Show this morning all completely ignored the issue.
Let's imagine an American World Cup team member 'of pallor' had head-butted, oh, an Arab or African player. Would the MSM be quick to excuse, even to make the incident the object of humor? Or would we have been treated to mind-numbing disquisitions on racism in sport as a microcosm of society at large?
But when a French player of Arab ancestry head-butts an Italian? Well, CBS tells us, boys will be boys. CBS's Elizabeth Palmer, who narrated a segment on the incident on this morning's Early Show, informed us that "it's a male thing understood around the world." To prove her point, CBS ran a clip from an Adam Sandler flick showing the comedian, as a football player, taking a flying foot leap into another player who had insulted his mother. We were also treated to images of video spoofs and video games that the incident has generated.
For the second day in a row, Harry Smith, co-host of CBS’s "The Early Show" interviewed a guest about North Korea and its missile tests. Today’s analysis came from frequent guest Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution. And while Smith once again referred to Kim Jong-Il as a nutcase and even inferred that he is a despot, he was easily amazed at O’Hanlon’s suggestion that he is crafty.
As noted, Harry Smith’s first question to O’Hanlon in essence described who Kim Jong-Il truly is:
"Before we talk about missiles I want to talk about Kim Jong-Il for a minute. It's not too extreme, I don't think, to say this guy is nuts. He has nukes. He runs a ruthless regime in North Korea where people routinely don't have enough to eat. This guy is the wild card of all wild cards. What else can we know about this guy?"
CBS "Early Show" host Harry Smith performed two interview segments on North Korea's failed missile test. While he showed noticeable restraint from the usual isn't-Bush-bumbling line of questioning, even showing concern at America's adversary here -- asking Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns "Is Kim Jong Il just nuts?" -- he didn't press former Clinton diplomat Bill Richardson on the Clinton administration's policy of appeasement and arms-control agreements that the North Koreans egregiously violated.
The Burns interview came first. In addition to the "just nuts" question (Burns demurred diplomatically, "let's just say he's unpredictable"), Smith asked: "The Chinese as recently as last week were reaching out to the North Koreans, saying please don't do this. They seem to do whatever they want. How do you deal with a country that is so willful and disregards the pleas of even its friends in the neighborhood?"
The disgust of conservatives directed at the New York Times after the newspaper on Friday again undermined national security, this time by taking the lead in exposing a program to monitor international financial transactions by terrorist operatives, hasn't much disturbed the broadcast networks. While the cable news channels have been filled with coverage, especially after President Bush on Monday called the disclosure “disgraceful,” the CBS Evening News with Bob Schieffer hasn't touched the controversy -- though it has made time for stories on how at Wimbledon women are paid less prize money than men and on a left-wing (un-labeled) group's efforts to raise the minimum wage -- and other broadcast network coverage has questioned the administration's motives.
On Monday night, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell asserted that “today's coordinated White House assault is more than simply shared frustration. Analysts say there is political upside as well." Tuesday, on NBC's Today, co-host David Gregory doubted the White House, wondering “whether we should be taking their word for it. That these are legal programs, inappropriate programs. Do you think the administration has earned the right, has any administration earned the right in this kind of war to protect that kind of secret?" Chris Matthews replied: "Well not this one.” On CBS's Early Show, Harry Smith called the paper an “easy target” and suggested: "Is this just a way to attack the evil media or does he have a legitimate beef here?" Meanwhile, on Tuesday's GMA, ABC's Jessica Yellin featured New York Times reporter Eric Litchblau's insistence that “we're not trying to tilt the debate, we're not trying to influence the debate one way or the other. We're just trying to inform the public debate," as well as a great zinger from radio talk show host Scott Hennen about how the Times has become “a terrorist tip sheet."
On the "Saturday Early Show" this past weekend on CBS, co-host Tracy Smith interviewed CBS terrorism analyst Michael Scheuer. Scheuer, who once attempted to spin the death of the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab Zarqawi, as being good for al Qaeda, used this occassion to claim that we are losing the global war on terror:
"There's an element of desperation, and it wouldn't matter if the Democrats or the Republicans were in power. We really are losing the war on terrorism overseas and probably within North America and Europe also. Bin Laden has inspired a whole generation of Muslims--young Muslim men, especially--to hate our foreign policies. They're very comfortable with our society and with the tools of modernity, whether it's communications equipment or anything else, but our foreign policies are driving people to attack us, and I think that's what we saw in Florida."
Given NewsBusters' goal of exposing outrageous liberal media bias, perhaps I should switch focus from the Katie-less Today to Harry Smith & Co. at the Early Show. I rarely check in on the show, which has languished seemingly forever in last place. But, happening upon it this morning, Smith's bald-faced bias left me breathless.
Smith's guest was Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report. Talk was first of the proposed flag-burning amendment. A snide Smith observed:
"I'm just curious about this. Because somewhere I read in the last couple of days in the entire history of the republic there have only been 200 documented serious incidents of this in the entire history of the United States." Lotta history there, Harry.
In the second hour of "The Early Show" on CBS Monday, co-host Harry Smith promoted one of Ted Kennedy's two new books this year: this one is a children's book called "My Senator and Me," written from the perspective of Kennedy's dog: "Splash." If you thought for one second that anyone at CBS was going to ask about the dog's name and er, Chappaquiddick, you might think "Captain Kangaroo" was still on the air.
MRC's Mike Rule reported that Smith asked vaguely about Kennedy's son Patrick and how his rehab is going, and then very gently asked Kennedy about "your feelings as we move forward" considering recent progress in Iraq. (A better question might have been: "So, Ted, still the best vote you ever cast?") I think the whole transcript is the best way to digest this interview:
The three broadcast networks have focused growing attention on inflation recently – 42 stories since early May. CBS anchor Bob Schieffer declared on June 14 “Well, it is back, inflation, that is.” The following day, ABC’s Bill Ritter cautioned, “everything from mowing the lawn to joining a gym could cost you more money.”
Yet, when positive inflation news was announced just hours later by the new chairman of the Federal Reserve, ABC didn’t even bother reporting it on its evening news program. Meanwhile, the other two broadcast networks paid inflation relatively little notice compared to their other stories that night.
On June 15, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke told Chicago’s Economic Club that higher energy costs haven’t had a big impact on other prices, and there are even signs that such pressures may be waning. The stock market exploded on the announcement with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising by almost 200 points, or 1.83 percent – its best one day showing since April 2005.
Rather than welcome the news after focusing on the evils of inflation, the networks paid little attention. ABC’s “World News Tonight” didn’t even report Bernanke’s statement about inflation. This was particularly odd as “Good Morning America” just hours a few earlier did a rather lengthy segment on the issue.
On this morning’s "Early Show" CBS terrorism analyst and former FBI agent Christopher Whitcomb told co-host Hannah Storm that he believes the seized al Qaeda documents are believable, i.e. the ones where al Qaeda admits it’s losing in Iraq, and that the United States is making significant progress in the overall war on terrorism.
Ms. Storm began her interview of Mr Whitcomb inquiring about the authenticity of these al Qaeda memos:
"The Iraqi government has released a document it said was found at the site of the bombing when al Zarqawi was killed. Actually, the U.S. government says it was found a few weeks before on a hard drive. But the bottom line is this document says that al Qaeda's weakening. It's an al Qaeda document, supposedly. Do you buy it? Can we take it at face value?"
Yesterday Lee Cowan, of CBS News, may have exaggerated the size of the protests in Baghdad by people loyal to cleric Muqtada al Sadr, in response to President Bush’s surprise visit. But today, he made up for it. Cowan, reporting from Baghdad for "The Early Show" on CBS, was the only reporter on the 3 major network morning shows to quote from al Qaeda documents found after the death of terrorist leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi.
While "Good Morning America" on ABC and "Today" on NBC gave only cursory mention of the documents, "The Early Show" led the program with the story. Co-host Julie Chen noted the significance of the documents and what they could mean when she introduced Cowan’s piece:
After being off the last two days, Harry Smith returned to CBS’s "Early Show" this morning and apparently he didn’t forget the bias. Today Smith interviewed Dan Bartlett, a counselor to President Bush. While Smith set up Senator Joe Biden on June 5 to go on the offensive against the war, he tried his best to keep Bartlett on the defensive while downplaying President Bush’s surprise visit to Iraq yesterday.
Smith began the questioning:
"Well, the Iraqis now have a constitution. Now they actually have a government as well. What they don't have in Baghdad is day-to-day security or even electricity. How does the president's visit change that?"