All three networks on Tuesday hyped an "interesting" exchange between Barack Obama and a liberal heckler. ABC, CBS and ABC declined, however, to specifically note that the man's concern was that the President simply wasn't liberal enough on the issue of immigration reform. On NBC's Today, Natalie Morales praised, "You know, I think that the President handled it well by engaging." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Co-host Willie Geist defended the President's insistence that he needs Congress to pass legislation. Geist sympathetically noted, "The President's argument was 'I can't wave the magic wand and make this go away.' But he did do that for some of the younger dreamers." The younger dreamers? Quite the loaded term.
On Sunday's 60 Minutes, CBS's Steve Kroft boosted the agenda of Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-identified socialist, by granting him 30 seconds of air time to attack billionaire Pete Peterson, who was featured on the November 17, 2013 edition of the news program. However, this half-minute block was 2.5 times the amount that Peterson got during Charlie Rose's report [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Rose merely played a 12-second soundbite of Peterson during the segment, and mentioned the former Nixon Cabinet official's involvement with a group of philanthropists, who are donating at least 50 percent of their wealth to charity:
Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell stayed true to form and badgered a Republican/conservative guest on Monday's CBS This Morning – this time, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor over his criticism of the Obama administration's nuclear deal with Iran. Rose questioned the congressman's opposition to the proposal, which he labeled "dangerous". Rose asked, "Why isn't that a good deal to freeze things and delay?"
O'Donnell twice touted the deal as "positive", in an attempt to defend the White House's controversial diplomatic efforts: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today on Friday did their best to downplay Senate Democrats' Thursday move to curtail the Republican Party's filibuster power. The two newscasts devoted a combined 39 seconds to the controversial vote, which ABC's Dan Harris labeled a "bold move". GMA apparently thought the potential marriage of serial killer Charles Manson was more important, as it devoted over two minutes of air time to that eyebrow-raising story. [audio of the ABC and NBC coverage available here; video below the jump]
By contrast, Friday's CBS This Morning spent nearly three minutes on the "historic change in the Senate", as Norah O'Donnell put it. O'Donnell also wondered, "Will Democrats regret invoking the nuclear option?"
After going 72 hours without even mentioning ObamaCare on its air waves, NBC's continued refusal to cover the disastrous policy on Thursday's Nightly News or Friday's Today brought that total up to 96 hours. Amazingly, Friday's Today had the audacity to include two segments about Vice President Joe Biden buying lunch at a Washington D.C. sandwich shop rather provide any ObamaCare updates.
Even ABC's Good Morning America, a morning show generally devoid of all substance, managed to find time for at least a few seconds on the topic: "Speaking of President Obama, more trouble this morning for ObamaCare. The Wall Street Journal says it has obtained documents that show some insurance companies are drastically cutting payments to doctors. Forcing those doctors to reconsider whether they want to participate in the new exchanges, which could hurt choice for consumers."
On Thursday, CBS's Sharyl Attkisson reported on Twitter that the White House Correspondents Association, along with "dozens of associations & media outlets", sent a letter of protest to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. Attkisson outlined in subsequent Tweets that the letter blasted the Obama administration for restricting the access of photojournalists at certain presidential events, "while releasing government photos and videos of the same events".
Politico's Hadas Gold posted the full text of the letter to Carney in a Thursday item, which was signed by "leading media outlets like ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, The Associated Press, Reuters, The New York Times, The Washington Post and Yahoo News". In the letter, the WHCA board asserted that the Obama White House's policy was a "troubling break from tradition", and hinted that it ran counter to the President's claim that his was "the most transparent administration in history":
After censoring any coverage of the continuing ObamaCare disaster since Monday morning, NBC did manage to find time to cover Michelle Obama's fashion choices and the First Couple's first date on Wednesday's Today, with co-host Matt Lauer excitedly telling viewers to stay tuned: "First Lady Michelle Obama opens up about her very first date with the future president as well as her biggest fashion regret." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the segment that followed, news reader Natalie Morales gushed: "We're used to seeing First Lady Michelle Obama looking very stylish and picture perfect, but in a new interview with BET, the First Lady admitted there is one particular look that she now regrets....the First Lady was also asked about her first date with the President and she revealed more about their day-long adventure than she's ever really revealed before."
Wednesday's CBS This Morning stood out as the only Big Three morning show to spotlight Henry Chao's stunning revelation to Congress – that a significant portion of the I.T. infrastructure needed to support HealthCare.gov has yet to be built. NBC's Today completely ignored Chao's testimony, while GMA aired a 19-second brief that vaguely summarized the hearing. Meanwhile, the ABC show devoted a 1 minute and 45 second report to a puppy that sleeps with a baby.
Major Garrett reported that Chao "told Congress Tuesday the team making emergency repairs still has another major task to accomplish: building 30 percent to 40 percent of the web systems needed to make payments to insurance companies." Garrett also featured two soundbites from the testimony of a panel of cyber-security experts, who warned that the ObamaCare website remains vulnerable to hackers: [audio available here; video below the jump]
Race and class comments spell network fodder any day – except when the topic comes to “white suburban moms.”
When Secretary of Education Arne Duncan blamed “white suburban moms” for opposition to the new Common Core school standards on Nov. 15, only CBS’ “This Morning” covered the story – devoting a total of 19 seconds to the controversy. Host Charlie Rose cited The Washington Post in the Nov. 19 report, and noted Duncan’s “apologizing” for the remarks that “sparked outrage on social media.”
Despite a running time of four hours, NBC's Today show on Tuesday skipped a blistering poll for Barack Obama and the latest news about the disastrous rollout of the President's health care law. Yet, the morning show managed five minutes for discussing the new TV special from singer John Rich and three minutes on table etiquette for Thanksgiving. Not exactly pressing topics. In contrast, both ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning covered the current wave of bad news.
An ABC News/Washington Post survey found Obama's approval rating at just 42 percent, what Jon Karl referred to as "the lowest job approval we have ever seen" for his presidency. GMA's George Stephanopoulos conceded that these are "brutal numbers." Karl even relayed this result: "We asked voters if they can have a mulligan on the 2012 presidential election, who they would vote for? A plurality now say they would vote for Romney over Obama." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The journalists also focused on what the administration knew in advance of the impending ObamaCare collapse.
Norah O'Donnell and Charlie Rose unsurprisingly conducted a hostile interview of Scott Walker on Monday's CBS This Morning. The two anchors, who have a long record of hammering Republican/conservative guests, badgered the Wisconsin governor on ObamaCare, the 2016 presidential race, and over the immigration issue.
O'Donnell, in particular, went after Walker, asking, "You have said that the next nominee has to come from outside of Washington – has to be a governor. Isn't it a bit presumptuous to rule out people like Senator Marco Rubio; Senator Rand Paul...Congressman Paul Ryan?" She later rephrased this same question, and hinted at her liberal slant on the immigration issue: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Monday's CBS This Morning is the sole Big Three newscast so far to cover the firing of William P. White, a day after the now former D.C. official criticized President Obama's plan to let insurers temporarily restore canceled health insurance policies for a year. Nancy Cordes revealed how "D.C.'s insurance commissioner was abruptly fired by the city's Democratic mayor...after he warned that reinstating canceled plans 'undercuts the purpose' of the new health care exchanges." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Cordes's mention of Mayor Vincent Gray sacking the commissioner came a day after the Washington Post buried their story on the firing on page C7 of its Metro section on Sunday.
On Friday’s CBS This Morning, the co-hosts interviewed Mitt and Ann Romney at 8:17 in the show's second hour. Strangely, CBS Evening News couldn’t find a single soundbite of any length from that interview that was worth re-airing on Friday night, nor did CBS re-use any of it over the weekend.
It’s obviously a favorable environment for Romney after the Obamacare failures, and CBS’s Charlie Rose wanted to see how negative Romney would get: “But do you think the President lied to the American people on purpose for personal gain?” Romney suggested the media already documented that answer: (Video and transcript below)
Major Garrett pointed out on Friday's CBS This Morning that the politician's Thursday "attempt to fix the problem of canceled insurance policies...fell flat", as it failed to satisfy his Democratic allies in Congress, who are nervous about the next election. Garrett devoted much of his report on the morning newscast, as well on Thursday's CBS Evening News, to his hard-hitting questioning of the politician, where he hounded the politician over the ObamaCare debacle.
The journalist also underscored that "many state insurance commissioners...[are] unlikely to enforce the President's new policy". He also spotlighted an insurance industry expert's stinging assessment of this supposed fix: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Nancy Cordes zeroed in on the three Republican congressmen who grilled top administration officials during a hearing on ObamaCare, ballyhooing that "none of them were really able to explain why this product they worked on for years was so flawed". Cordes played extended clips from the hearing totaling 51 seconds – nearly twice the combined number of ABC's World News and NBC Nightly News, which each played 13 seconds from it.
The correspondent played up one clip in particular from White House chief technology officer Todd Park, who gave indications that HealthCare.gov might not be fixed by the target date of November 30 [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]:
CBS journalist Major Garrett grilled Barack Obama at a White House news conference, Thursday. On the subject of ObamaCare's disastrous rollout, the reporter repeatedly zeroed in on what the President knew and when: "You said after the law was implemented or signed, if like your plan, you can keep it. Americans believed you, sir, when you said that to them over and over."[See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Garrett pushed, "Do you not believe, sir, the American people deserve a deeper, more transparent accountability from you as to why you said it over and over and when your own statistics, published in the Federal Register, alerted your policy staff, and I presume you, to the fact that millions of Americans would, in fact, probably fall into the very gap you are trying to administratively fix now?" The journalist wasn't done. He offered up two more hard-hitting queries.
At least for Thursday, the network morning shows admitted that ObamaCare is an "embarrassing," "botched" failure that has landed with a "resounding thud." ABC, NBC and CBS offered blunt, stark descriptions of the health care law's low enrollment rates and the disastrous implementation. Good Morning America reporter Jim Avila explained, "The President's signature achievement, health care for everyone, officially got off to a resounding thud." He added that Republicans are "seizing on the botched rollout."
Over on NBC's Today, Savannah Guthrie unloaded on the President: "A new poll that has the President's approval rating hitting an all-time low as the administration is forced to acknowledge health care enrollment numbers that are embarrassingly low." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Correspondent Peter Alexander marveled, "For a better sense of just how few Americans signed up for ObamaCare in the first month – 106,000 total – consider that's barely enough to fill a large football stadium and only one-fifth of what government officials had projected."
On Tuesday, ABC's World News and CBS Evening News both reported the latest poll numbers from the "respected" Quinnipiac University, as CBS's Scott Pelley labeled the institution, regarding President Obama's "lowest ever" approval rating, along with Americans' dim view of the politician's honesty. ABC's Diane Sawyer noted that "for the first time in his presidency, a majority of American voters – 52 percent...say President Obama is not honest and trustworthy."
Both evening newscasts reported these numbers as they led into their coverage of former President Clinton's recent word of advice to Obama on his health care law – that "the President should honor the commitment...[he] made to those people, and let them keep what they've got." NBC Nightly News also devoted air time to Clinton's remarks, but failed to mention the current President's drooping approval number. [MP3 audio from the ABC and CBS reports available here; video below the jump]
ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning on Tuesday both picked up the Wall Street Journal's Monday revelation about the HealthCare.gov website – that "fewer than 50,000 people had successfully navigated the troubled federal health-care website and enrolled in private insurance plans as of last week".
CBS anchor Norah O'Donnell zeroed in on the "newest blow to ObamaCare – how the White House enrollment expectations could be off by 80 percent." On GMA, Jonathan Karl underlined that this figure is "far short" of the Obama administration's target of 500,000 enrollees. However, NBC's Today ignored this development. Instead, the morning show devoted an entire segment to trying to get Vice President Joe Biden to be a co-host. [MP3 audio of the CBS report is available here; video below the jump]
On the Monday, November 11, All In with Chris Hayes show on MSNBC, host Hayes fretted about CBS News correspondent Lara Logan being biased in favor of military action against terrorists. He also theorized that her retraction for using a dishonest source in her Benghazi piece "would be a huge story" if a conservative was being criticized, as he alluded to Dan Rather's story about former President George W. Bush and the National Guard. Hayes began:
The broadcast networks have aired more than a few critical stories about the ObamaCare rollout -- from "glitches" with the HealthCare.gov website to the millions of individuals who are losing their health insurance in spite of the President's oft-repeated promise to the contrary (a lie that NBC's Chuck Todd naively argued was not "intentional.")
But an exchange on Monday night's The Kudlow Report on CNBC included evidence the troubles are much deeper than the pro-Obama media have generally acknowledged.
Sharyl Attkisson revealed on Monday's CBS Evening News that the Obama administration had prior knowledge of HealthCare.gov's numerous security flaws, but went ahead anyway with its October 1, 2013 launch. Attkisson spotlighted a government memo that outlined "important security risks discovered in the insurance system....The memo said, 'The threat and risk potential to the system is limitless'."
The correspondent also obtained a partial transcript of a closed-door congressional hearing, where HealthCare.gov's project manager claimed that he was unaware of this memo, and that he "testified he'd been told the opposite" about the website's security risks. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The news media worried a lot about how awful the government shutdown would be and estimated it would take a huge toll on the economy as well. Now it looks like they were wrong about the size of the damage.
The networks touted a recent Standard & Poor’s (S&P) estimate that the shutdown would cost $24 billion. That figure was mentioned on the networks five times from Oct. 17 to Oct. 24. But according to new figures from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the economic toll was one-fourth that size or less: between $2 billion and $6 billion. The OMB estimate was only mentioned in one Nov. 8 story on CBS, according to a Nexis search from Nov. 7 through Nov. 10.
Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the IRS scandal and the NSA snooping have all failed thus far to cause the liberal mainstream media to break away from their instinctive partisan-protect mode into a cover regardless of political implication mode.
The betting here is that team Obama is counting on the liberal media giving them the breathing room they need to get things straightened out [on Obamacare] and so the liberal mainstream media will never come down too hard on them. Just enough to be able to say that “we did our jobs as journalists,” but never so much as to cause any real harm to the liberal cause."
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Major Garrett emphasized the Obama administration was "desperate" to reverse the debacle over its so-called Affordable Care Act, twice asserting the executive branch was trying to "end the ObamaCare blues". Garrett also pointed out that "the White House has lowered expectations – both politically and mathematically – about as low as humanly possible" regarding ObamaCare enrollment numbers.
However, unlike his colleague Jan Crawford, the correspondent failed to explicitly point out how millions of Americans are losing their current health care coverage due to the controversial law. Instead, Garrett played up the larger expense of the new ObamaCare-friendly plans: [audio available here; video below the jump]
CBS wouldn’t invite Dan Rather to remember the JFK assassination for its 2013 anniversary coverage. “No loss,” said former CBS producer Michael Rosenblum in a guest column at The Hollywood Reporter. Rosenblum was Robert Pierpoint’s producer at “Sunday Morning.”
“As Rather was not invited to participate in the 50th anniversary, Bob Pierpoint was not invited to participate in the 25th anniversary,” despite being at the center of the story that dark day in Dallas for CBS. Someone sitting in the anchor chair in 1988 was an egotistical jerk, brushing his colleague out of CBS history's frame.
CBS and ABC on Thursday and Friday offered respectful tributes honoring "America's pastor," Billy Graham. The networks, which are often hostile or dismissive of religion, all featured segments on the minister's 95th birthday and played clips of what has been announced as his final sermon. (However, NBC's Today allowed a mere 24 seconds to the topic.) World News correspondent Dan Harris observed, "Throughout his life, it's been the Gospel that has sustained him."
The journalist oddly related, "...In private, he's a surprisingly humble man, married to the same woman, Ruth, for more than 60 years." But Harris also included ample footage of Graham's final sermon, featuring the pastor leading his worldwide audience in a prayer: "I invite you to come into my heart and my life. I want to trust and follow you as my Lord and savior, in Jesus's name, amen." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Scott Pelley hyped the latest United Nations global warming report on Wednesday's CBS Evening News, proclaiming that "climate scientists have never seen greenhouse gas readings like what they announced today....scientists with the United Nations said that greenhouse gases, which influence climate change, have hit their highest level in 800,000 years – mostly because industry is ramping up in the developing world".
John Blackstone underlined the supposed apocalyptic nature of this finding. He asked a University of California, Berkeley researcher Daniel Kammen if it was "too late" to do anything about climate change. However, Blackstone failed to mention that this sole talking head has advised President Barack Obama on energy policy. He just noted Kammen's academic affiliation: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
ABC on Wednesday and Thursday managed a mere 21 seconds total for the latest revelations about the botched ObamaCare rollout, minimizing the grilling that Kathleen Sebelius took before Congress and the resignation of one of the people behind the website. Instead, Good Morning America focused on deeply irrelevant topics such as promoting "Thor's leading lady," star Natalie Portman. In comparison to ObamaCare, the actress appeared for over three minutes on Thursday.
NBC's Today also yawned at the resignation of Tony Trenkle, the chief information officer at HealthCare.gov. Wednesday's Nightly News featured the testimony of Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius for two minutes and 20 seconds. In contrast to ABC, which featured no clips of Sebelius's appearance, NBC included Republican senators such as John Thune, deriding, "This is a dishonesty. You've been misleading the American people!" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In a move as rare as finding a four-leaf clover, Norah O'Donnell actually disclosed on Wednesday's CBS This Morning that New York City Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio ran a "very liberal campaign". Jeff Pegues also noted how the "52-year-old liberal" is a "proponent of...taxing the wealthy". The program was also the sole Big Three morning newscast to underline de Blasio's political ideology, and devote a full report to his electoral win.
However, the show ended up gushing over the hard-left politician. O'Donnell asserted that de Blasio is "suddenly a national political figure", while Pegues trumpeted that "Bill de Blasio will soon be a household name". Charlie Rose and Gayle King later ballyhooed the election results: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]