Gas price rage has blended with executive pay rage recently, since the media have been bashing ExxonMobil’s departing CEO, Lee Raymond, for his pay and pension package.
“Runaway pay,” said NBC’s Brian Williams on April 20, calling executive salaries and benefits “stratospheric” and “staggering.” CBS’s Bob Schieffer compared Raymond’s “golden” retirement to the “average American” on April 13. “How much is too much?” asked NBC’s Matt Lauer on April 11. And ABC’s “Good Morning America” said, “You Must Be Kidding!” referring to Raymond’s package as “stunning” on April 14.
Criticizing highly-paid executives has been in vogue at the news networks lately, but there’s something the anchors aren’t telling you: their colleagues’ top wages could soon be disclosed to the world, and Big Media are fighting it.
Large media companies have been doing everything within their power to hide the compensation plans of their own highest-paid employees from public disclosure. As reported by the Associated Press on April 11:
As reported last week, Dave Price, the weatherman on CBS’s "The Early Show" went to Iraq along with country music artist Charlie Daniels to entertain American troops. This morning, Price gave the first part of a two part series detailing his travels and interaction with the troops.
Once again, Price reassured viewers that troop morale is high, and showed some comments from men and women in uniform, for instance Price made the following statements:
"I went to cheer up the soldiers, but in most cases, they didn't need it."
"Of course morale was sky high during the shows, but what surprised me was what I heard after the music and the laughter faded."
On Sunday’s “60 Minutes,” Andy Rooney didn’t come right out and say that Americans should vote for Hillary Clinton in 2008…but you didn’t have to be telepathic to figure it out (hat tip to Expose the Left with video link to follow).
In his regular closing arguments – in which he has had free reign for decades to say whatever he feels with total impunity – Rooney suggested that women are smarter, nicer, more disciplined voters, and more honest than men. This makes one wonder how many men were still watching the broadcast when Rooney got around to actually making his point. After all, it's not often that one runs across such an unashamedly proud and outspoken male misandrist during prime time, is it?
MRC's Mike Rule noticed CBS's "Early Show" on Friday was going to extremes to play up the drama of recent gas price increases. People are now suddenly pawning items for gas money?
Julie Chen: “Oil prices reached a new record this morning, at one point they topped $73 a barrel. That's not helping high gas prices; some are going to extremes to pay for gas, pawning their belongings.”
Not even Harry Smith’s day off from the "Early Show" on CBS could spare viewers from his liberal agenda. In a previously taped segment, Smith interviewed actress Eva Longoria about her new movie "The Sentinel." While most of the interview revolved around the movie, Smith couldn’t resist asking the Latin actress about her views on immigration:
"Let me ask you a serious question. All the stuff that's happened over the last couple of weeks with immigration, and what's happening in Washington, what has your own heart been feeling about it?"
Longoria’s response was full of cliche and support for immigrants. However, like Harry Smith, she doesn’t distinguish between legal and illegal immigration. She even went on to infer that Mexicans have a right to be in America:
Harry Smith was at it again on CBS’s "The Early Show" this morning. He had two segments of note today. In the first notable segment, during the 7:00 half hour, he interviewed former Bush Administration aide Mary Matalin about the staff shakeups at the White House. And in the 8:30 half hour, he interviewed Jane Fonda about her memoirs, My Life So Far, which are being released in paperback.
In his interview with Mary Matalin, Smith wasted no time in getting to the bias. His first question to her was:
"What does it mean to the Republican faithful, these changes? What does it mean to these people who want to see the President succeed?"
The CBS Early Show this morning continued its tradition of "fair and balanced" reporting, as they addressed the interminable firestorm that has surrounded Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, seemingly since he was first appointed 5 1/2 years ago. They addressed the Rumsfeld issue twice in the first hour, and both times the focus was on the critics and criticism. There were no defenders of Rumsfeld in evidence, save for short clips from the President and the SecDef himself, and their comments were immediately followed by critics explaining how they're lying.
The first segment was the "straight news" report from CBS White House correspondent Bill Plante. This segment did include short clips from Bush and Rumsfeld, but immediately followed by "balancing" their comments with those of critics.
On April 10, left-wing organizations held a massive rally in Washington and other cities, demanding rights (and taxpayer benefits) for illegal aliens, and the liberal media couldn’t have been more excited. The networks had multiple stories, going from city to city, and breathless phrase to breathless phrase. CBS anchor Bob Schieffer played the worn cliche card: “Not since the protests of the Vietnam era has there been anything quite like it.” Bet ten bucks that CBS has said that about just about every large liberal protest they’ve covered. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, CBS also used on-screen graphics with earth-shaking metaphors like “Awakening Giant” to describe the protesters.
The April 18 Fox and Friends First provided a welcome alternative to the mainstream media’s fawning over the dissident generals attacking Donald Rumsfeld. FNC co-hosts Steve Doocy and Page Hopkins interviewed retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Robert Maginnis about his support for Rumsfeld. Doocy teased the segment this way:
Doocy: "Lieutenant Colonel Robert Maginnis. We’re going to talk to him live from down in D.C. about Mr. Rumsfeld. There is that drumbeat, okay, would you call it a drumbeat if there are seven generals, all retired, out of 8,000 active duty and retired generals, is that really a drumbeat?"
If you want a comprehensive picture of the situation in Iraq, you probably won’t get it from traditional news anchors. In fact today, on CBS’s "The Early Show" it took a report from Dave Price, the weatherman, for viewers to get a full picture of the conditions. Price has spent the last week in Iraq touring with entertainers, such as musician Charlie Daniels, who are performing for our troops. This morning, he filed a report from Baghdad where he hinted that things in Iraq really aren’t as bad as the media are making them out to be:
"And throughout this whole journey, despite what the headlines that we read and see in the United States are, the morale of the troops may surprise you."
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has been under attack lately from those in the press, and with Congress out of session, and not much happening in the world of politics over the Easter weekend, the attacks continued this morning on CBS’s "The Early Show." And, once again, Harry Smith got confused by the facts (remember this and this).
Smith interviewed Evan Thomas, Assistant Managing Editor of "Newsweek" magazine regarding an article that appeared in today’s edition of the publication, particularly the portions of the article that dealt with a chat Thomas had with former Army Chief of Staff, General Eric Shinseki. Smith’s first question contained erroneous information:
For the first time in 20 years, since Bill Moyers left the set, CBS wants commentary on the Evening News - and it wants Bob Schieffer to do it. Twice a week, beginning with Katie Couric's debut in September.
"My answer is, 'I don't know,' " says Schieffer, who does a weekly commentary in the closing minutes of Face the Nation. "I don't know if I have three [commentaries] a week in me. I'll decide over the summer."
Hard-left anti-war reporter Seymour Hersh, who tried so hard in 2004 to get President Bush defeated with the Abu Ghraib scandal, and was given many media opportunities to make his case, had another great week in the media this week with his New Yorker article suggesting Bush wanted to drop bunker-busting nukes on Iranian nuclear sites. As usual, the article was larded with anonymous sources that no one can check or evaluate for political motives.
In interviews on network morning TV this week, no challenge to Hersh’s reporting genius emerged. Both hyped his Pulitzer (is that required before he accepts the invite?) On CBS Monday, MRC's Mike Rule found co-host Hannah Storm didn't challenge Hersh's methods or conclusions, just asking instead for wisdom from the oracle. Notice how many times she promotes him by saying "You say" and repeating his publicity points:
Tim Graham and Mark Finkelstein have already reported on the mainstream media's Rumsfeld bashing interviews with retired General John Batiste. So it’s no surprise that TheEarly Show has also piled on. In a segment that aired at 7:05AM EDT, on the April 14 edition, correspondent Bill Plante listed the generals who are calling for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation. It was a fairly straightforward piece, but Plante couldn’t resist getting in at least one liberal zinger:
Plante: "The White House says that the defense secretary hasn't discussed resigning with the president and the president isn't about to fire him. Of course if the president did, he'd be admitting that he had failed."
Over at CBS's Public Eye blog, "Face the Nation" executive producer Carin Pratt sounds typical liberal-media notes: she wants more coverage of the planet's demise, loathes bloggers, and loves John McCain:
What single issue should be covered more at CBS News?
The environment. Although with the global warming situation hard to ignore, I figure that will change...
Do you read blogs? If so, which ones? If not, what do you read on the Internet?
I don't read blogs. In fact, I am anti-blog. If I want to hear a bunch of unedited thoughts -- that's what friends are for. Who has the time? Too many newspapers and magazines. Which, one hopes, have been edited.
While ABC and NBC presented viewers last night with many of the reasons for the rising cost of gasoline, CBS ignored the link between Iran’s push for nuclear power and rising oil prices. Instead, the network cheered on a “corporate catfight” between automakers and oil companies.
“I won’t be able to afford either rent or gas,” CBS News’s Anthony Mason showed a woman complain on the April 11 “CBS Evening News.” Warning of $3-a-gallon gas this summer, the CBS correspondent sought a culprit in American business, and highlighted a war of words between corporate executives.
Mason pointed to a blog posting by a DaimlerChysler executive blaming oil companies for high prices, and an ExxonMobil advertisement blaming SUV makers for fuel inefficiency.
Yesterday, many people from around the country gathered in cities and demanded rights for illegal immigrants, and these protests were the primary focus of this morning’s "The Early Show" on CBS. In one segment, co-host Harry Smith interviewed Lou Dobbs, host of CNN’s "Lou Dobbs Tonight" and Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico. Through his questions, Smith made it pretty clear where he stood on the immigration issue.
In his first question to Lou Dobbs, Harry Smith was awe struck at the outpouring of patriotism demonstrated by the protestors:
"When you saw these pictures yesterday from these demonstrations in all these cities across the country, hundreds of thousands of people, American flags unfurled, people draping themselves in the American dream, what did you think?"
As the MRC’s Brent Baker reported, the broadcast network news programs focused much attention Monday on immigration issues and rallies. In an effort to demonstrate growing public sentiment in favor of giving such folks guest worker status, the “Evening News” presented data recently obtained from a CBS News poll on the subject. Unfortunately, CBS only shared the parts of the poll that seemed to support its own position on this issue while ignoring the results that didn’t (video link to follow). White House correspondent Jim Axelrod claimed: “According to a new CBS News poll, 74 percent of Americans favor allowing illegal immigrants to stay and work if they have been here at least five years, pay a fine and back taxes, speak English and don't have a criminal record. But even when you wipe away all those conditions, more Americans still favor allowing illegals to apply for work permits than oppose the idea.”
In addition, Axelrod concluded his piece by suggesting that it was conservatives that are blocking legislation that would make these protestors happy: “And despite the latest poll numbers, don't forget that in this town there is still a strong feeling among conservatives that the only nonnegotiables in immigration reform are tighter borders and stricter law enforcement. So this would hardly be the first group to demonstrate at the Mall and ultimately be disappointed.”
Yet, Axelrod and CBS chose not to include in this report other numbers from this poll suggesting that Americans are not only opposed to illegal immigration, but also think legal immigration is too high:
On his new blog over at U.S. News & World Report, cranky old liberal John Mashek (who earned the C.O.L. title for dismissing MRC's DisHonors dinner as "preposterous" a few posts back) reports from a media panel at Middle Tennessee State University. He heard one Mary Mapes, still outraged by people who would insist she should prove a story before she puts it on the air:
Mary Mapes, the CBS producer who was fired over her role in a 60 Minutes II story about George W. Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard, said profiteering had taken over at television networks at the expense of news. Mapes defended her professionalism in the controversy, indicating that a rush to run the story played a role in the errors admitted by CBS. Mapes implied that she took the fall, along with other female operatives, while the male executives at the network escaped with their jobs intact. Of course, Dan Rather, who had to humble himself for the mistake, left the network anchor chair a few months later.
A turn of the channel for Katie Couric on CBS Evening News is a vote for Hillary Clinton in '08, or so proclaimed Chris Matthews on the syndicated The Chris Matthews Show yesterday morning. Matthews, right before he signed off, said if Katie Couric pulls good ratings it may mean the country is ready for Hillary Clinton as president: "Will the verdict on Katie constitute an early verdict on a Hillary sitting in the President’s chair? That’s right, before we get to vote on Hillary for President we’re gonna get to vote for Katie for Anchorwoman. We’re gonna be showing our hand about how we feel about a woman with such power. How we are going to feel about the same question in 2008. This time it will be in our living rooms using a remote flicker, the next time it will be in a voting booth. "
Please check out your local MRC bias buster as we fan out to critique the new personnel moves in TV news. National Review Online was kind enough to offer me a little real estate today to argue that Katie Couric is just another Dan Rather: "But as different as her sparkly 'That Girl' personality is from Dan Rather's wizened weirdness, they have one thing in common: Truth is a malleable commodity, something to be stretched and smudged like Silly Putty on the Sunday funnies if the political cause is right."
Over at Human Events Online, MRC's Rich Noyes says the message to conservatives in the Couric and Vieira appointments is, well, tough luck, troglodytes: "CBS’s decision to name Katie Couric as Dan Rather’s permanent replacement on the 'CBS Evening News,' and NBC’s choice of daytime talk show host Meredith Vieira to replace Couric on 'Today,' both indicate a defiant attitude toward viewers fed up with the media elite’s insular liberal approach to covering political and social issues."
Newsweek puts Katie Couric on the cover this week, and the cover story by Marc Peyser and Johnnie Roberts is easy, breezy, and totally free of any troublesome analysis of whether Couric is fair and balanced enough to attract non-liberal viewers. The most eye-opening line comes from former CBS reporter Marvin Kalb, responding to Andy Rooney's nobody's-happy-about-Katie rant on the Imus show:
"I remember when CBS hired [former game-show host] Mike Wallace and gave him the morning news," says Marvin Kalb, a former CBS correspondent who is now a senior fellow at Harvard's Shorenstein Center. "You should have heard the men's room conversation. My God, what have they done? They destroyed the Murrow tradition—all that. I think the negative spin on Katie Couric is unfair, and I think she is going to prove those people wrong. So take that, Andy Rooney, and screw you."
Columnist and author George Weigel has a nice article on CBS's 60 Minutes and embryo-destroying stem cell research, which is mostly a list of the tough questions Lesley Stahl could have (but did not) ask the liberal advocate in the segment. He began:
The CBS news magazine 60 Minutes prides itself on asking the hard questions that other television news vehicles are too polite, or perhaps too afraid, to ask. That tough-minded approach to an important issue wasn't much in evidence, however, when 60 Minutes recently took on the question of whether "spare" embryos "left over" from in vitro fertilization procedures should be used for stem-cell research that would result in the embryos' death.
During the segment, Princeton's Robert P. George, a member of the President's Council on Bioethics, tried to explain certain basic moral facts to Leslie Stahl...[But] The editing of the segment strongly suggested that 60 Minutes preferred the approach of the University of Pennsylvania’s Dr. Arthur Caplan, an enthusiast for research that, as he put it, would destroy "embryos...that no one will ever use for any purpose whatsoever." That, of course, is the conventional wisdom in the bioethics guild, which frequently serves as a permission-slip factory for scientists and the biotech industry.
USA Today omitted any reference to incoming Today host Meredith Vieira's anti-war activism in Peter Johnson's April 7 Life section article, even as a brief, indirect allusion to NewsBusters.org coverage of the controversy was included in an online filing posted the evening of April 6:
Conservative bloggers pounced on NBC's choice, saying Vieira has a long record on The View as an anti-war liberal. But Vieira said that on The View,
which she expects to leave in May, she was paid to express her
opinions. "There is nothing I have ever said that I am ashamed of," she
said, but on Today, her opinions "have no place. It's a different animal."
CBSEvening News anchor Bob Schieffer praised Katie Couric’s selection as his successor in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer aired during the 4pm EDT hour, and again in the 7pm EDT hour, of Thursday's The Situation Room. As MRC analyst Brian Boyd reported here, CBS correspondent Andy Rooney appeared on the April 5 Imus in the Morning radio program, where he told Don Imus that he was "not enthusiastic" about Couric’s hiring, and that "I don’t know anybody at CBS News who is pleased that she’s coming here." When Schieffer was asked about Rooney’s comments, he politely disagreed with his colleague.
Bob Schieffer: "Well, if he says he didn’t know anyone I, I hate to tell you, Andy, but you must have not talked to me, because I’m pleased she’s coming here, so I’d have to question you on that. You know, I, I learned a long time ago that I let everybody speak for themselves. That’s Andy’s view. That’s what, you know, that’s what Andy does. He, he speaks his mind. I, I just don’t agree with him. He’s a great friend of mine but I don’t agree with him on that."
Yesterday it was made official, Katie Couric is leaving the "Today" show on NBC to anchor the "CBS Evening News." While some CBS employees have been less than welcoming -- Andy Rooney for example -- for the most part CBS reporters have been good soldiers in promoting the company line. But, on this morning’s "The Early Show," co-host Harry Smith went above and beyond the call of duty in narrating a piece that was so laden with praise, it could have been mistaken for a eulogy. Take the following quotes for example:
Harry Smith: "Does Katie have the gravitas to anchor the evening news, to be the go-to guy, so to speak, on breaking news? Absolutely. Did you see Katie on 9/11? Have you seen her interview a president? She makes the powerful, uncomfortable, and makes real folks feel at home."
Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney appeared on CBS, CNN, and FNC on Wednesday morning to address charges she hit a Capitol Police officer in the chest with her cell phone when he tried to stop her as she tried to walk right past security screeners. Well, actually, she refused in all three interviews to address the basic facts of the fracas. In all three interviews, she forced in her talking points, that the kerfuffle was "much ado about a hairdo" and that 250 black officers sued the Capitol Police for racial discrimination. CNN's Soledad O'Brien was especially dogged in trying to get out the basic facts, not that it worked.
On CBS's "Early Show," MRC analyst Mike Rule found that co-host Harry Smith was the fastest to cave in to the refusal to answer the basics:
Smith: "Congresswoman, let me, please help me construct what happened. You're entering a Capitol building, you're bypassing a metal detector, which is routine for members of Congress, what happened then?"
The American public does not seem to be too thrilled about the prospect of Katie Couric's upcoming move from doing news in the morning at NBC to in the evening at CBS.
In a twist of fate, considering that Couric has reported on polls about politicians for years, a survey commissioned by the Associated Press reveals that most Americans would rather watch her in the morning than in the evenings.
Now that Katie Couric is making the move from dawn to dusk, her legacy and the future of CBS News depends on an audience that, according to a new poll, prefers to see her in the morning.
Asked if they would rather see Couric in her longtime role as "Today" host or as the first woman to anchor a network weekday evening newscast on her own, 49 percent favored the morning and 29 percent said evening, according to a poll conducted this week by The Associated Press and TV Guide.
After 15 years as morning television's queen, Couric confirmed Wednesday that she is leaving NBC's "Today" show to become anchor and managing editor of the "CBS Evening News" this fall. Her audience at "Today" is about 6 million viewers; "CBS Evening News" has about 7.5 million.
Thinking ahead to 2008, it's clear that new CBS anchor Katie Couric has to be counted as a positive political asset for Hillary Clinton. Hillary's "Today" interviews have been almost universally sappy and sympathetic. (In a big-picture way, you might also see in solo-anchor Katie another sign, like Geena Davis's "Commander in Chief" on ABC, of an attempt by liberal media to push hard on the equal plausibility and authoritativeness of women in the top jobs.)
Katie may have been speaking both herself and Hillary in the interview that aired on February 18, 2004: "Hillary Clinton's choices in just about everything have been scrutinized and analyzed by almost everyone. She hopes as more women themselves assume positions of power voters will be less judgmental and more forgiving." Katie has been extremely forgiving in her Hillary interviews, ignoring almost all topics Mrs. Clinton would rather not discuss. Instead, Couric has treated her as a serious policy wonk and feminist icon. Here's some notable pro-Hillary quotes from the Clinton era forward:
A leading hurricane forecaster, name not given, was to release his predictions today for the 2006 hurricane season, and Harry Smith of CBS’ "The Early Show" used this as an excuse to relive the problems with FEMA during hurricane Katrina. As his guest, Smith interviewed Jane Bullock. Smith introduced Ms. Bullock:
Harry Smith: "Jane Bullock is a former Chief of Staff at FEMA."
Yet he never mentions that while she worked for several decades at FEMA, she held this lofty position exclusively during the Clinton Administration for Clinton buddy James Lee Witt. Her high place in the Clinton administration could have helped put her anti-Bush comments into some context. (The same omission occurred on the CBS News website.) Bullock claimed: