In an appearance on CBS This Morning on Tuesday, the network's political director John Dickerson stopped by to briefly discuss the impact Hurricane Sandy could have on the upcoming election.
The segment was primarily focused on how the candidates will try to sensitively make up for lost time on the campaign trail, but there was an underlying question. Who stands to gain the advantage as a result?
NBC’s David Gregory isn’t always a news reporter. As we're seeing with increasing frequency on that network, he's squashing stories. Call him an unreporter. On Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” he showed the extent to which he'll vaporize any suggestion that Team Obama failed to offer adequate protection from terrorists at our consulate in Benghazi.
Businesswoman Carly Fiorina slammed Obama’s Libya response: “That attack went on for seven hours…[with the] Secretary of Defense saying he denied requests for help over that seven hours.” Gregory cut her off: “We’ll get to Libya a little bit later.” Surprise: It never came up again.
Liberal historian Douglas Brinkley gushed over President Obama on Thursday's CBS This Morning and Friday's CNN Newsroom, and tried to put the incumbent in the best possible light: "He's [Obama] a very natural person....He's a really warm and genial person. What he has going for him is he exudes family values." Brinkley later asserted to CNN's Suzanne Malveaux that Obama is an "intellectual...he reads all these books about Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, FDR...he's wonkish, in a sense of detail in history."
Both times, the Rice University professor downplayed the President's "BS-er" smear of his opponent, Mitt Romney, that emerged during his recent Rolling Stone interview of the Democrat by using the veneer of history: "It's another part of 'Romnesia', I suppose. The working man's 'Romnesia' is BS-er....I mean...there's no love between even John F. Kennedy and his own vice president, Lyndon Johnson; let alone Harry Truman, who once said about Eisenhower, he knows no more about politics than a pig knows about Sunday."
CBS This Morning brought on liberal Colin Powell on Thursday so he could break his endorsement of President Obama and boost the Democratic candidate that he supported in 2008. Norah O'Donnell spotlighted Powell's service with "several Republican presidents" and wondered if he was "still Republican." When the former secretary of state claimed that he's a "Republican of a more moderate mold," Rose pressed him if he "may have to leave the Republican Party, if it continues in the direction that it's going."
Despite noting Powell's past service as secretary of state and national security advisor, and asking for his "concerns...about Governor [Mitt] Romney's foreign policy," neither Rose nor O'Donnell once mentioned the ongoing issue of the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. They decided instead to joke with their guest about his love of the viral musical track, "Call Me Maybe."
Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell badgered former RNC head Haley Barbour on Thursday's CBS This Morning on Indiana Republican Richard Mourdock's strongly pro-life stance, that even children conceived in rape are "God intended." Rose strongly hinted that the media firestorm surrounding Mourdock could affect the presidential race: "Romney may be gaining support among women. And the question arises, could this Mourdock controversy impact that?" [audio available here; video below the jump]
The CBS morning newscast stood out among its Big Three peers in significantly adding to the more than seven and half minutes of coverage from the previous day. The network devoted three minutes, 6 seconds to Mourdock, which is nearly three times the one minutes and 7 seconds that ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today set aside to the story combined.
NBC's Today on Wednesday glossed over the State Department e-mails showing that the Obama administration knew that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was carried out by terrorists. Their colleagues at ABC and CBS also minimized their coverage of this latest development, as they boosted the latest slam on Republicans from David Axelrod and the President's reelection campaign.
But all three network morning shows cordoned off significant amounts of air time to completely frivolous and celebrity-driven news stories. Here are some examples from Good Morning America, the Today Show, and CBS This Morning:
**UPDATE** At 2:30 p.m. EDT, MSNBC mentioned the damaging emails for the first time, coupling it with breaking news of an arrest in the attack on our Libyan consulate.
Following in the footsteps of its sister broadcast network, MSNBC has continued to ignore the shocking revelation that the White House knew on September 11 that the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was under a well-coordinated terrorist attack.
As NewsBusters’ Matthew Balan noted, NBC's Today was the only broadcast network morning show this to ignore the story altogether, with MSNBC following suit by remaining silent as well throughout the day. In contrast, both Fox News and CNN have run numerous stories Wednesday morning.
On Tuesday evening, CBS broke wide open a story on State Department e-mails showing the White House knew on September 11 that the consulate in Benghazi was subjected to a terrorist attack, and that terrorists took credit on Facebook and Twitter. But by Wednesday, the three network morning shows weren't leaping to follow up. ABC and CBS combined devoted just over a minute to the story, while NBC completely ignored it.
By contrast, all three newscasts showed that they were more interested in helping the Democrats in Indiana, aggressively spotlighting Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock's faith-based affirmation that he did not support abortion even in the case of rape, that even those are children "God intended." Mourdock's "controversial comments" drew more than seven and a half minutes of coverage.
All three morning shows on Wednesday touted White House talking points linking Mitt Romney to a Republican Senate candidate in Indiana who, while speaking about "the horrible situation of rape," called life a "gift from God." Only one program, CBS This Morning, seemed to notice how closely this story mirrored Democratic spin.
As though he was referencing a connection to a criminal, former Democratic operative George Stephanopoulos intoned, "Mitt Romney catching some flak for his ties to a GOP Senate candidate making controversial comments about abortion and rape in a Tuesday debate." Trying to make trouble, reporter David Muir asserted that the GOP campaign is "trying to distance itself from a Senate candidate that Romney endorsed, did a TV ad for." Muir needled, "The [Romney] campaign did not say whether it would ask [Richard] Mourdock to take down this ad." CBS's Norah O'Donnell speculated that the remark could cost Republicans a shot at "control of the Senate." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
One of Barack Obama's biggest fans in the media, David Letterman, said on Tuesday's Late Show that he was "upset" and "discouraged" the president during Monday's debate lied about Mitt Romney wanting to let Detroit go bankrupt (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In their third Presidential debate analysis, the Jurassic Press Media last night and thus far this morning have failed utterly in their role as fact checker and record-corrector - at least when it comes to what President Barack Obama had to say.
As but one glaring example, there were the President’s absurd assertions regarding the auto bailout and China.
When CBS’s longtime Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer sits down in Boca Raton, Florida, tonight to moderate the final 2012 presidential debate, he’ll be following three journalists who became targets for criticism over how they handled their moderating duties.
Upset liberals scorned PBS’s Jim Lehrer for taking a hands-off approach in the first debate on October 3, with MSNBC analyst Howard Fineman slamming him as “practically useless” for not jumping into the debate on behalf of President Obama.
The Obama-loving media were out in force Sunday downplaying the significance of the White House's ever-changing position on the attacks on our consulate in Benghazi last month.
After New York Times White House correspondent Helene Cooper called the death of four Americans "peripheral to what's going on right now" on Meet the Press, Time magazine's Joe Klein told Face the Nation viewers this matter "has been like the October mirage - it really isn't an issue" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The Big Three networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) gave the faux furor over Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” statement in Tuesday’s debate a whopping 22 mentions through Friday morning. Yet when Vice President Joe Biden, on Thursday, told an audience member that Republican “young guns” like Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan had “bullets” aimed at him the networks delivered just a scant two total mentions (on NBC and CBS, ABC skipped the gaffe entirely.)
On the morning after the debate ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas, on Good Morning America, singled out the “binders” comment: “You remember the Big Bird line that dominated the conversations online and around the water cooler, in essence, after the first debate? Last night, it was another Romney comment, ‘binders full of women’ that caused the heat to turn on.”
On Friday's CBS This Morning, John Dickerson was all too eager to pour cold water on the latest Gallup daily tracking poll that has Mitt Romney with a seven-point lead over President Obama: "There is a lot of debate about that...poll - whether it lags behind where the race really is....there's also other criticisms about...the way it looks at likely voters...it's a bit of an outlier from some other polls. So, if you're Mitt Romney, you like it, but we should, with all polls, be really, really skeptical."
The CBS political director raised no such objections back in mid-September, when the morning newscast spotlighted the same poll at a point where the two candidates were in a statistical dead heat, with Obama slightly ahead among both registered voters and swing state voters.
Gayle King's support of President Obama - both vocal and financial - emerged on air on Thursday's CBS This Morning, as the newscast covered Mitt Romney's much-ballyhooed "whole binders full of women" answer at Tuesday night's debate. King blustered, "I think it's going to be the joke that keeps on giving. I really do." [audio available here; video below the jump]
Correspondent Seth Doane hyped "Romney's now-infamous phrase", and spotlighted how "on Twitter, a conservative binder backlash unfolded." Strangely, Doane cited a Tweet from Obama-defending journalist Mark Halperin as an example of a "conservative."
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Jan Crawford devoted a full story to President Obama's deceptive claim that he called the Benghazi attack an "act of terror" early on, as she recounted the administration's initial reluctance to call it a terrorist attack. The CBS correspondent also implicated debate moderator and CNN anchor Candy Crowley in bolstering Obama's distortion.
After showing a clip of Obama and Romney clashing over whether Obama had used the words "act of terror" early on, Crawford showed a clip of what the President said the day after the Benghazi attack, but then exposed Obama's revisionism:
While CBS This Morning hosts served Vice President Joe Biden softball questions on mostly horserace issues and debate optics, they challenged Paul Ryan to defend his voting record.
"Does Governor Romney believe the President was right to sign the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law? You voted against that act, didn't you?" pressed co-host Anthony Mason. In contrast, when Biden was asked about the Libya fiasco at the very end of his interview, Norah O'Donnell molded it into a more friendly question.
All three morning shows on Tuesday highlighted Hillary Clinton "falling on her sword" and "taking blame" for the growing scandal over Libya. But NBC and ABC avoided specifics. On Good Morning America, reporter Reena Ninan failed to press the Secretary of State on details concerning Barack Obama's role.
In contrast, CBS reporter Margaret Brennan pushed for details on what the administration knew and when. She singled out United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice and her initial claims that the murder of Chris Stevens was a result of an anti-Islamic movie: "Who briefed Ambassador Rice that day? Did you sign off on that briefing and those speaking points?" Clinton said no and curtly replied, "You would have to ask her...Everybody had the same information." Yet, according to ABC's Ninan, "...Clinton appeared to fall on her sword."
On Monday, the Cato Institute's Michael F. Cannon spotlighted how more than 150 employers inside the District of Columbia have signed onto a protest letter that decries the local ObamaCare board's "dismantling and recasting the separate health insurance marketplaces that serve small employer groups and individuals." One of the signatories was Chef Geoff's, owned by Geoff Tracy, who happens to be married to CBS This Morning anchor Norah O'Donnell.
This puts Tracy in, perhaps, an uncomfortable position, as O'Donnell has a record of defending the President's health care law. Here a few examples from the MRC's archives from the past few months:
"Either they are misleading the American people or incredibly incompetent."
So said Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on CBS's Face the Nation Sunday about the administration's reporting of what happened when four Americans were killed at our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last month.
As the presidential contest enters its final weeks, one loser is clear: the Big Three television networks' evening newscasts, home of some of the worst examples of ongoing and still influential media bias.
Chris Ariens at Media Bistro noted this on October 2 in covering the results for the week of September 24: "Leading into a presidential election, one might think the tune-in to the evening news programs would increase. But one would be wrong." The trend continued during the following week, as will be seen in the graphic following the jump.
On Friday afternoon, Joe Biden lived up to his reputation for committing gaffes, not even a day after Paul Ryan zinged the Vice President over how "sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way" during Thursday's debate. At a rally in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Biden claimed Planned Parenthood "under law cannot perform any abortions." In reality, the organization is the largest abortion racket in the country.
Hours later, none of the Big Three's Friday evening newscasts had covered Biden's patently false claim. But just two days earlier, these programs devoted a combined five minutes and 1 second on Wednesday to Mitt Romney's statement to The Des Moines Register that "there's no legislation with regard to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda." NBC's Brian Williams mouthed the Obama campaign's spin - that "what Mitt Romney said about abortion that sure sounds like a change."
The ABC and NBC morning shows on Friday showed no interest in fact checking some of Joe Biden's misstatements during Thursday's vice presidential debate. CBS This Morning partially debunked some of Biden's claims, ignoring the Vice President's suggestion that he opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
During the debate, Biden asserted, "It came from this man [Paul Ryan] voting to put two wars on a credit card...I was there. I voted against them. I said, ‘No, we can’t afford that.’" Actually, the then-senator voted to authorize force in both Afghanistan and Iraq. However, this point was ignored by ABC's Good Morning America, NBC's Today and CBS.
While CBS This Morning asked only one tough question on the Obama administration and Libya on Friday, guest Newt Gingrich came out swinging and dismantled Democratic guest Jennifer Granholm's defense of the administration. CBS has at times been friendly to the administration over the fiasco.
"I think with regard to the debate and the election, I don't think people are going to be voting on Benghazi. I think they are going to be voting on who do you trust," Granholm ridiculously argued. "You want to talk about trust? Having an American ambassador and three other Americans killed while the President lies to you is a pretty big question," Gingrich shot back. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
On the eve of the vice presidential debate, President Obama sat down for an exclusive interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC's World News.
When she asked what his message would be to Joe Biden as he prepares himself to go up against Paul Ryan in Kentucky, Obama humorously answered the pointless question without hesitation -- smiling as he did. [ video below, MP3 audio available here ]
On Thursday's CBS This Morning, co-hosts Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell waited until the fifth interview question to press Obama adviser David Axelrod about the fiasco in Libya. The question wasn't even a tough one, basically asking for the administration's spin.
"David, the consequences of what happened in the death of the Ambassador in Libya has caused some scrutiny in those incidents in the security there, and people are writing in editorials this morning that perhaps there was some pressure on Ambassador Rice to say what she said," Rose brought up the charges against the administration. "What is the response of the President to these questions and charges?" he asked.