White House homeland security advisor Fran Townsend made the rounds of the TV morning shows on Wednesday – except for NBC, which was too busy chronicling the Senate Democrat stunt on Iraq. ABC’s Diane Sawyer pounded Townsend with criticism from former Clinton adviser Dick Clarke and a quip from New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd that Bush created a "spa" for Osama bin Laden. CNN’s Kiran Chetry homed in on how critics say Iraq was a diversion from the war on al-Qaeda. On the Early Show on CBS, co-host Hannah Storm pulled a Dan Rather – as in the man who liked to use the words "the group calling itself the Christian Coalition" – and referred to the "so-called War on Terror."
Storm's first question was this: "So we're almost six years after 9/11. Billions of dollars spent on the so-called War on Terror. Thousands of Americans lives lost. And yet we hear this report that we're no safer now than we were then. Why not?"
NBC proved to be a media anomaly on July 17, leading its “Nightly News” broadcast with the record-high close on Wall Street and admitting that the stock market does benefit “a majority of Americans.” This historic bull run by the stock market was virtually ignored by other media. Katie Couric briefly mentioned it on the CBS “Evening News,” and ABC “World News” ignored it on July 17.
Michael Moore claimed in his movie “SiCKO” that there are 50 million uninsured Americans, according to his own Web site. But he’s wrong.
He’s certainly not alone though. So were President Bush, Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) as well as The Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CNN, CBS and ABC just to name a few.
“It’s really indefensible that we now have more than 45 million uninsured Americans, 9 million of whom are children, and the vast majority of whom are from working families,” said Sen. Hillary Clinton in a May 31 speech.
ABC medical expert Dr. Tim Johnson cited the incorrect data as he praised a "bold" and "politically brilliant" universal coverage plan on the April 26 “Good Morning America.”
Monday’s Early Show on CBS picked up on Time magazine’s promotional cover story "How The Democrats Got Religion." Reporter Jeff Glor used two guides to explore how the Democrats would "level the praying field," but didn’t exactly tell viewers that these guides were involved in the drive to help the Democrats. The first expert was Time magazine’s Amy Sullivan, who wrote a "God Gap" essay for the magazine. CBS didn’t explain she was an aide to then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and during her stint with the liberal magazine The Washington Monthly, she advised the Democrats on how to "get religion" in the last presidential election cycle, to no avail.
The other expert was so-called "conservative evangelical" Rev. Joel Hunter, a man eager enough to help the Democrats that he was selected by the people at the left-wing magazine Sojourners to ask Hillary Clinton a question at the CNN/Sojourners Democrat debate (clips of that event were sprinkled throughout the CBS story.) He asked Hillary Clinton a seemingly pro-life question that enabled her to proclaim that she's always been for abortion being very rare. Rev. Hunter’s also written a book titled Right Wing, Wrong Bird: Why The Tactics of the Religious Right Won't Work with Most Conservative Christians.
“Private” must be the new cuss word, because “CBS Evening News” sure made it sound dirty on July 16.
“It was the winter of 2003, when Congress, in the dead of night, overhauled Medicare … [Medicare Advantage] and it put a large part of a government-run program into the hands of private insurance companies,” said investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian.
With an ever-increasing discussion that the Iraq surge is working, the old guard in the MSM is frantic to deride the administration’s war effort. This scenario played out in Bob Schieiffer’s interview of National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley on Sunday’s Face the Nation.
During the interview, Hadley stated the administration’s familiar position that it would give the surge a chance to succeed, at least until September’s assessment from General David Patreaus. A clearly perturbed Schieffer snapped, “With all due respect, [the Bush administration] set out this policy and it’s not working.” When Hadley disagreed, Schieffer responded, “I understand that’s your position,” and further commented that he wasn’t sure he agreed with Hadley. Further prodding Hadley to retreat from his position, Schieffer said, “I will give you a chance because we have to end this.” Hadley didn’t oblige.
“In stock market terms alone, this is now the longest consecutive uninterrupted stock market rally,” said Lawrence Kudlow on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on July 13.
“It started in early 2003, so that’s four and a half years. And it’s incredible how much wealth is being created out there and it’s unfortunate, really – almost tragic – that the president just doesn’t get any credit for it at all because he’s got a lot to say on the economy.”
While Kudlow found the record worth cheering, the three major networks supplied "some worries" and "some dark clouds" to viewers on July 12. Each one offered its own spin of gloomy news following the record high closings of the Dow and S&P 500.
"There are still some dark clouds looming over this market," said correspondent Dan Harris on ABC’s "World News with Charles Gibson." "The housing market is in a slump, interest rates are rising and gas prices are ticking back up."
The segment, called "Hidden Charges," did not include comment from the banking industry and it also ignored the risk taken by banks by offering overdraft protection service – which can be a benefit to consumers. Bouncing a check is costly too from what I've heard.
Not all news insiders believe Katie Couric's disastrous stint as anchor for the CBS Evening News has anything to do with sexism or people having a thing against Couric. Steve Adubato of MSNBC simply believes Couric was the wrong person for the job. He tries to sweeten the criticism by making sure he compliments Couric on her strengths:
While I respect Katie Couric tremendously as a broadcaster who has had an impressive career doing personal profiles and engaging interviews, this CBS experiment was a really long shot right from the beginning. Simply put, Katie Couric is not a great news anchor or an even particularly good news anchor, at least not a network evening news anchor. That's not a crime. A lot of great football players can't play baseball or basketball, but they are still great athletes. That's how different Katie Couric's job on "The Today Show” was from what she was expected to do for CBS News.
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay-left lobby, announced yesterday that it will host a one-hour Democratic presidential debate on August 9 on Logo, the Viacom gay channel and sister network to CBS. (CBS News has its own newscast on Logo with gay anchor Jason Bellini, formerly of CNN.) Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have confirmed their attendance. As a colleague joked yesterday about Democrat refusal to acknowledge Fox as a news network: "Oh, so the Democrats won’t go on networks with an agenda."
The debate won’t be moderated by Bellini or any journalist, but by HRC Chairman Joe Solmonese and rock singer Melissa Etheridge. Actually, it’s not so much a debate as a series of interviews, a lot like the CNN/Sojourners magazine event designed to highlight the Democrats’ religious views – except this pander-to-the-libertine-left event ought to cancel out the impression that these candidates are devoted to their Bibles.
At the end of the 7 PM Eastern hour of CNN’s The Situation Room on Monday night, reporter Jeanne Moos did one of her light "Moost Unusual" stories on Katie Couric’s producer-slapping incident – which prominently included a screen shot of Tim Graham’s Monday morning NewsBusters blog post on "Slap Happy Katie." (No mention of Tim or the blog.) Brian Stelter at TV Newser reported the third most popular video this afternoon on the CNN Video website. It unfolded like this:
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): First we couldn't stop calling her perky. And now, we're perking up our ears because Katie Couric supposedly slapped someone?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my god.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow, that is so unlike Katie Couric.
MOOS: It's more like what Zsa Zsa Gabor might do to a cop or what one Czech politician did to another. Politicians are one thing, but Slap Happy Katie? [NB screen shot]
Kristin Gore, daughter of former Vice President Al Gore and author of a new political satire set in Washington, appeared on the Tuesday editions of "Good Morning America" and "The Early Show." Both shows only gingerly addressed the subject of Kristin’s brother, Albert Gore III., and his arrest for marijuana and prescription-drug possession after being pulled over last week in California. GMA guest host George Stephanopoulos misleadingly characterized the incident as getting "in trouble speeding." "Early Show" host Harry Smith didn’t mention the drug angle at all.
Stephanopoulos, a former top Clinton aide who worked in the same White House as Al Gore, conducted an extraordinarily cozy interview with the former Vice President’s daughter. Apparently completely oblivious to any conflict of interest, he hyped "Sammy’s House," calling it "very funny." The ABC anchor even joked with Kristin Gore about whether the main character, Sammy Joyce, was based on him:
Kristin Gore: "Have you recognized yourself yet? ‘Cause I should come clean and let you know you’re Sammy."
That's less than 20 million (19,940,000) for all three combined, and a 5.4% drop from the low-water mark of a year ago. The 25-54 demo for all three nets was under 6 million (5,920,000), and their combined 25-54 demo ratings of 4.9/21 are down 14% and 19% from last year's 5.7/26. Ouch.
You don't suppose that almost 20 years of Media Research Center truth-telling about the relentless bias in the nets' evening news shows might have something to do with the ongoing decline? Nah, can't be (/sarcasm).
Previous related posts are here (NB), here (NB), and here (BizzyBlog).
Dan Rather might have left CBS under a cloud, but his star still shines brightly -- at least among some on the distaff side of the NBC networks.
Rather was a scheduled guest on today's "Morning Joe," and neither Erin Burnett, reporting in from CNBC, nor MSNBC newsreader Mika Brzezinski, could curb her enthusiasm.
Burnett was first to confess.
CNBC'S ERIN BURNETT: You know who I had a crush on? . . . Don't you have Dan Rather coming on in a couple of minutes? Alright, so, when I was little, I thought I was going to marry Dan Rather. I watched the news every night, I blew him a kiss every night.
Rebecca Traister at left-wing Salon.com (yes, endure the leftists' commercial) brings the feminist scolding to Katie Couric for granting a whiny, bitter interview to New York magazine, including the odd detail that she slaps male producers for using medical terms for lung mucus. Traister wants to see a "mofo" in action:
Suddenly, the woman who used to refuse to talk to reporters about her astronomical salary and hard-bargaining skills, who unapologetically drove the high rate of turnover among "Today" show producers, and who radiated a steely self-confidence, cannot shut up about everything that's gone wrong since she left NBC for CBS! Oh, girlfriend: Get a grip....
Slam a table; grow a pair; be the mean motherf---er we know you can be.
It seems not even Al Gore and his stable of celebrity talent could keep Live Earth at the top of the ratings this past weekend. Greg Pollowitz from The Corner has the breakdown from Nielsen Media Research:
Saturday 7/07/07 Note: The following results are based on the fast affiliate ratings (Live Plus Same Day data).
That's right; NBC had a total of 2.75 million viewers for their three-hour airing of the Live Earth concerts. As a small consolation, they had more viewers than this spot in Brisbane, Australia, where a large outdoor screen had been set up for the anticipated throng.
Katie Couric’s downward publicity spiral has gone from her typical poor-me-America’s-sexist pleading to tales of male beatings. A new profile in New York magazine by Joe Hagan recounts the Woody Allen-esque tale of Couric slapping a producer named Jerry Cipriano repeatedly on the arm in a fight over the word sputum. I kid you not. But not before she plays the diva and whines about all the people that fervently hate her and want her to go eat worms:
"I think that bugs people even more," she says, "that I’m not a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown. It’s probably disappointing to some people. Because in the arc of the story, that’s what they want to see."
Among Friday's broadcast evening newscasts, NBC Nightly News uniquely reported a federal appeals court ruling, tagged by anchor Lester Holt as a "victory for the Bush administration," regarding the controversial NSA spying program that involves warrantless monitoring of international phone calls when one participant is a terrorist suspect. Friday's court action overruled an August 2006 court decision against the program by a liberal judge appointed by President Carter.
As documented by the MRC's Rich Noyes, all three broadcast evening newscasts had trumpeted the earlier ruling against the administration on August 17 of last year. ABC's Charles Gibson had labeled it a "major legal defeat" while ABC's Martha Raddatz had called it a "significant blow" to the administration. But neither ABC's World News with Charles Gibson nor the CBS Evening News mentioned Friday's ruling. But even on NBC, while Holt read news of the ruling, the words "Domestic Spying" appeared on screen, thus not conveying to the audience the international nature of the calls. Those words had similarly appeared during the NBC Nightly News coverage of the August 17 ruling. (Transcripts follow)
The following was submitted by Jason Aslinger, a private practice attorney in Greenville, Ohio. Portions in bold below are the added emphasized of NB managing editor Ken Shepherd. It's a long post but it's worth the read:
In the wake of last week’s Supreme Court decision regarding racial
integration in public schools, the media have gone out of their way to
obscure the facts for the purpose of advancing its familiar political
agenda, not to mention skipped over giving readers a glimpse of the concurring opinions of Justices Thomas and Kennedy, both of which shed light on the case's significance to the average American.
In a prior NewsBusters post, I called out MSNBC's Keith
Olbermann for his false and race-baiting claim that the Supreme Court
had “overturned” the landmark decision of Brown v. Board of Education.
The subsequent commentary by the media has at least been more clever,
but no less false. Undoubtedly, the press and “expert commentators”
have calculated that the general public would not check their factual
(and political) conclusions by reading the Court’s 185-page opinion.
Without knowing the specific facts, the media distortions can not be
fully appreciated. Below we'll take a look at the facts of the case as well as the reasoning from the justices, reasoning that all too often is glossed over if not outright ignored in the media.
Do you have a bad case of poison ivy? According to "The Early Show" you can blame that on those that drive SUV’s and cook on the grill. On the July 2 edition’s usually non-controversial "Health Watch" segment, host Harry Smith began the segment stating "scientists say [poison ivy] is worse than ever for a number of reasons, including global warming."
"Early Show" medical contributor Dr. Emily Senay cited a study that "rising levels of carbon monoxide" is "spurring poison ivy to grow bigger, to grow faster, and to produce a more potent form of this oil that it makes, urushiol."
While ABC and NBC both led off their Thursday night newscasts with the Supreme Court decision barring an exclusively race-based approach to assigning students to various schools, the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric began with the demise of the Senate immigration bill. CBS’s reporters emphasized how the vote was a defeat for President Bush, even though top Senate Democrats like Ted Kennedy and Harry Reid, plus a few Republicans like John McCain had also fought for the measure and failed.
CBS White House correspondent Jim Axelrod asserted that Thursday’s vote marked “a defining day in the Bush presidency.” CBS’s resident historian (and John Kerry biographer) Douglas Brinkley went even further: “George Bush is beyond being a lame duck President. He’s a dead duck President.”
The following is submitted by Jason Aslinger, a NewsBusters reader and a private practice attorney from Greenville, Ohio. Cohen pictured at right (file photo).
In his June 28 "Court Watch" article, CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen laments the
conservative bent of the U.S. Supreme Court under Chief Justice John
Roberts. But rather than give readers sound legal critiques, Cohen sounds out a decidely political lament.
With a title like “Rightward Ho!” you might think that
Cohen would attack the Court’s conservative justices, and he
does, dismissing Justice Samuel Alito as a "rigid starboard-facing
ideologue" while he derides Chief Justice John Roberts as "silly and
Cohen lists several cases from the 2007 term in which, in Cohen’s
view, Justice Alito delivered the deciding vote. Cohen writes:
CBS’s "The Early Show" followed the other morning shows on June 28 to basically give free air time to the Edwards campaign. Anchor Harry Smith, who rarely, if ever, gives Republicans or conservatives a freeride, ran a largely softball interview to Elizabeth Edwards and her recent confrontation with Ann Coulter.
At the start, Smith labeled Ann Coulter a "conservative political commentator," but no label in front of Elizabeth Edwards.
The CBS anchor did ask a few mildly challenging questions such as using Coulter as a fund raising ploy, and why she called in and not Edwards. However, as Mrs. Edwards called for "speaking out against the language," Smith did not ask why she did not speak out against the hateful language of her own campaign staffers. Back in February, when questioned by Wolf Blitzer about his anti-Catholic blogger Amanda Marcotte, Edwards dismissed the criticism as coming "particularly from the far right."
As the media continue to pile on Ann Coulter in the wake of her being ambushed by Elizabeth Edwards and Chris Matthews on Tuesday’s “Hardball,” a disturbing yet predictable double standard is emerging.
On the one hand, Coulter is being pounded for using “hate words,” so much so that Matthews advocated Wednesday that people not buy her books.
Yet, Edwards and her Democrat presidential candidate husband John appear to be getting a pass regarding the hiring of two anti-Christian bigots back in February as official bloggers for his campaign.
In fact, Mrs. Edwards was interviewed this morning by ABC, CBS, and NBC to get another chance to speak about Coulter's "hate words." Yet, not one host asked her any questions concerning these bloggers.
With that in mind, MRC President Brent Bozell issued the following statement Thursday:
Brent Boyd, a former offensive lineman for the Minnesota Vikings, “slugged it out in the trenches” during the 1980s and now he feels the NFL owes him restitution – even though the league paid him for his efforts. Boyd, the subject of the CBS report, claimed he just “wanted to get his story out there while he could tell it.” But, CBS News correspondent Cynthia Bowers forgot to tell us Boyd had previously sued for disability benefits from NFL … and lost.
He shows “compassion” and “generosity,” he’s a great “campaigner” and an “adroit politician,” reporters have declared.
He’s “taking on America’s deeply flawed health care system,” said Terry Moran on ABC’s “Nightline” June 13. And “… the point his movie ultimately makes: fixing health care is a moral, even a religious obligation.”