Poor Katie Couric. She's been stuck in a ratings rut since taking over the "CBS Evening News" anchor slot and has been rumored to be departing the Eye network. Now comes more bad news for the former morning star: Barack Obama has begged off on CBS's North Carolina debate.
That leaves Couric as the sole broadcast news anchor who hasn't moderated a debate this cycle. That isn't likely to change either since general election debates are usually Jim Lehrer's province. Couric isn't the only CBSer who's disappointed:
"It's a shame because the debates have been interesting and appealing to the audience, and because I think Katie would have done a really good job," CBS senior vice president Paul Friedman told the New York Times.
It shouldn't come as a surprise, though. After Obama's dreadful performance in the most recent ABC debate it's no wonder he canceled. Still, you have to wonder how this makes Couric feel about her position at CBS. Will I have to make a CBS-Couric breakup image sometime soon?
The Media's Reaction to George and CharlieCall it the Audacity of Journalism.
ABC's Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos slipped and let a bit of actual reporting seep into their Democrat Presidential debate moderation efforts on April 16. They mistakenly engaged in fifty minutes worth of pertinent inquiry, largely regarding the patriotic perspectives and numerous troubling relationships of Illinois Senator Barack Obama -- and to a lesser extent examining the fact that New York Senator Hillary Clinton has a Herculean ability to create her Living History out of whole cloth.
The response from the Left has been withering and unremitting.
On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported results of a new poll it undertook with ABC News wherein Hillary Clinton's unfavorable rating skyrocketed to its highest point ever.
In the same poll, her husband Bill's unfavorable rating rose above 50 percent for the first time since August 1998 when he was embroiled in the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Although some media outlets other than the Post did report this news, given the ongoing Democrat presidential campaign, and the elections less than seven months away, this clearly didn't get the kind of attention one would have expected.
Just a puny personal pronoun, yet one that perhaps spoke volumes about MSM attitudes toward religion. On the occasion of the Mass that Pope Benedict XVI will be celebrating later day at DC's Nationals Park, Early Show co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez interviewed Father Thomas Williams, a Roman Catholic priest who also serves as a CBS religion analyst.
For the liberal media, even a subject as seemingly innocuous as a nice spring day can suddenly turn into a PC minefield should it put an MSMer in the position of having to recognize God's work, as this exchange suggests.
Some of the toughest competition American businesses face comes not from other companies, but from the media. Journalists often exaggerate an issue to make a story sexier. Other times, "consumer groups" work with the media to advance an anti-business agenda.
All too often, those exaggerations or manipulations result in lost jobs, lost revenue, unfounded health scares, unnecessary government intervention or even the death of millions of innocent victims.
The Business & Media Institute has compiled a lit of the Nine Worst Business Stories. The list illustrates the lengths to which the media have gone in the last 50 years to attack agriculture, restaurants, the automobile industry, chemical manufacturers and health care.
It also details the ill effects of those stories, which range from "Oprah's Beef with Beef" to Connie Chung's silicone scare to Wendy's "Finger Food" to the infamous "Dateline" exploding trucks, to coverage that resulted in a ban on DDT. Relive foul Food Lion, rolling Jeeps, accelerating Audis and Alar on apples with video from most of the reports!
Check out the list, then come back to NewsBusters to add your comments and suggestions for other bad business coverage!
All three broadcast networks on Tuesday led their evening news programs with Pope Benedict XVI’s arrival at Andrews Air Force Base to begin his visit to the U.S., as well as his comments during a press conference on the plane about the priest sex abuse scandal. ABC’s "World News" and CBS’ "Evening News" especially focused on the scandal. In addition to this, "World News" also highlighted what the Pope said about illegal immigration during the press conference and gave a false impression of what the Pope had said on the issue.
ABC correspondent Dan Harris gave the following spin on Benedict XVI’s comments on immigration. "Also on the plane, the Pope addressed another hot issue, immigration. Hispanics are the fastest-growing part of the American church right now, and the Pope said he would discuss this issue with the President, particularly the 'dangerous' impact of families of illegal immigrants being separated."
On Tuesday's CBS Evening News, Katie Couric asked Father Thomas Williams (formerly an NBC expert) to comment on Pope Benedict's arrival in America. Couric, who fretted out loud in 2006 about Catholic orthodoxy "infringing on civil liberties" in a new Florida town, stressed to the priest that the Pope was "extremely conservative," and "very conservative," and at odds with "62 percent of Catholics" who say the church doesn't reflect their views. It's a little strange for an anchor to note someone else is "out of touch" with the public when their network is consistently dragging behind in third in the ratings.
After two generic questions about what the Pope is like, and whether succeeding John Paul II is a tough act to follow, like Gordon Brown replacing Tony Blair as British prime minister, Couric brought up Benedict's first two papal encyclicals, deep intellectual tracts that aren't easy to characterize for TV anchors:
Never mind nightly TV newscasts are geared toward older generation. Never mind scandals like Dan Rather and the falsified National Guard documents leading up to the 2004 presidential elections have caused people to look for their news from other sources like the Internet and talk radio.
"[B]ut there were so few [good TV news writers] because we became dependent on pictures and that coupled with deregulation of television, when you had three, four networks - and suddenly, there are 20, then there are 50 and now there are 300 and however many - 500," he said. "And as a consequence, the pie that used to be sliced three or four ways is now slivers and as a consequence, everybody is trying to hold on to their little audience and to do that, you got to entertain."
Should Hillary make it to the White House, don't look for Bill to be taking an early twirl on the Inauguration Ball dance floor with Nancy Pelosi. Appearing on today's Face the Nation, Madame Speaker made a nasty joke at the former president's expense.
Host Bob Schieffer [who might have experienced some schadenfreude this week with all the talk of Katie Couric being pushed out of the Evening News anchor chair he kept warm for her], asked Pelosi what might have prompted Bill Clinton to resurrect the issue of Hillary's tussle with the Tuzla truth. He had famously chalked it up to the tribulations of a tired 60-year old late at night. In answer, Pelosi sardonically suggested Bill might have had a senior moment of his own.
None of the April 11 editions of the network morning shows: ABC's "Good Morning America," CBS's "The Early Show," and NBC's "Today," noted the April 10 unanimous ruling of the California Supreme Court striking down a San Francisco handgun ban.
I mean, what other reasons could this possibly be newsworthy besides that:
The average American will receive a $2,500 tax refund this year, a statistic that left CBS “The Early Show” host Harry Smith “stunned” on the April 11 broadcast.
“I am stunned to know what the average refund is,” Smith said. “$2,200 [in 2007], that’s too much, right?”
“It is too much,” said Money magazine senior writer Janice Revell.
She explained that the checks actually represent an interest-free loan between the government and taxpayers.
“When you get your refund it feels like this big windfall, you’ve won the lottery, but in essence what you’ve done is you’ve loaned your money, interest-free, to Uncle Sam for the year,” Revell said. “It just makes no sense.”
Interesting news coming out of CBS today. First, the Wall Street Journal reporting that Katie Couric is "likely" to leave the network--before her contract expires, possibly after the inaguration of the next president:
After two years of record-low ratings, both CBS News executives and people close to Katie Couric say that the "CBS Evening News" anchor is likely to leave the network well before her contract expires in 2011 -- possibly soon after the presidential inauguration early next year.
Ms. Couric isn't even halfway through her five-year contract with CBS, which began in June 2006 and pays an annual salary of around $15 million. But CBS executives are under pressure to cut costs and improve ratings for the broadcast, which trails rival newscasts on ABC and NBC by wide margins. [...]
Our news analysts at the MRC have combed through the April 9 editions of ABC's "Good Morning America," CBS's "The Early Show," and NBC's "Today," and found zero mentions of the comments that Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) made smearing McCain and military pilots past and present.
Yesterday I noted how news agencies were slow to cover the story, and certainly were not blowing up the incident into a major gaffe for Sen. Barack Obama, whom Rockefeller supports for president, to publicly and personally denounce.
Confirming the important role that NewsBusters played in exposing Hillary Clinton’s bogus “sniper fire” story, CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson told the Los Angeles Times’s “Web Scout” blog that it was in fact our March 18 NewsBusters item that prompted her to debunk Clinton’s claims in a March 24 report for the CBS Evening News.
According to the April 8 posting by David Sarno, the Times’ Internet culture and online entertainment writer:
CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson didn’t realize she had a story on her hands until a colleague e-mailed her a link to 12-year-old footage of the Bosnia trip that she herself had reported on, which had been posted on newsbusters.com [actually, NewsBusters.org] several days earlier. “I clicked on a link and was stunned to see it was the same trip,” Attkisson said in an interview.
It's no longer profitable for networks to have their own news organizations, according to CNBC's David Faber.
In the wake of the news that CBS is in negotiations to outsource its news division to CNN, Faber explained on CNBC's April 8 "Squawk on the Street" CBS's news division is a victim of an evolving business.
"The news that CBS is once again considering a deal under which it would outsource some of its newsgathering operations to CNN - certain to get those critics out there who say, ‘Oh, this is the end of news as we know it on television,'" Faber said.
"Well, if you haven't noticed, news on television ended a long time ago, other than '60 Minutes,' which is by the way a CBS program. I challenge you to come up with actual newsgathering that is taking place on the networks," he said. "That ship has sailed."
Can you imagine any major television news network doing a report on a Republican Congressman's history of exorbitant earmarks without mentioning his Party affiliation?
The words "Republican," "GOP," "right-wing," or "conservative" would likely appear in almost every sentence, correct?
Well, as amazing as it might seem, the "CBS Evening News" on Friday did a fabulous segment about Congressman Jack Murtha (D-Penn.) and his free-spending ways when it comes to his own district, but never once informed viewers that he was a Democrat (video embedded upper right, h/t Hot Air via NBer Blazer):
CBS, the home of the most celebrated news division in broadcasting, has been in discussions with Time Warner about a deal to outsource some of its news-gathering operations to CNN, two executives briefed on the matter said Monday.
Over the last decade, CNN has held intermittent talks with both ABC News and CBS News about various joint ventures. But during the last several months, talks with CBS have been revived and lately intensified, according to the executives who were given anonymity because of the confidential nature of the negotiations.
Here's a deliciously inconvenient truth: five days after Nobel Laureate Al Gore told CBS's Lesley Stahl that folks who don't believe man is responsible for warming the planet are "like the ones who still believe that the moon landing was staged in a movie lot in Arizona and those who believe the Earth is flat," the BBC proclaimed "Global Temperatures 'To Decrease.'"
You really can't make this stuff up.
Putting a cherry on top was Investor's Business Daily which published an editorial hours later entitled "The Chill Is On." But, before we get there, let's first hear from the BBC (emphasis added throughout, picture courtesy AP):
Men don't have babies. Period. Yet in covering the ‘pregnant man' story this morning both the "Early Show" and "Good Morning America" neither outlet dealt with this fact. Rather, both were completely focused on the fact that Thomas Beatie was speaking publicly for the first time and would be shown on today's "Oprah" show. Both outlets also reported that Beatie's story would appear in this week's issue of People, due on news stands tomorrow.
So really, the media were reporting on the media reporting on the pregnant man. Which really amounts to a public relations boon for Oprah, People and of course the Beaties.
Here's an interesting idea: instead of replacing the soon to retire Bob Schieffer with another liberal shill, CBS should "tweak the format" of its Sunday stalwart "Face the Nation" by having two hosts with opposing viewpoints...let's say former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and the Global Warmingist-in-Chief Al Gore.
Now THAT would be entertainment.
Before you get all excited about this possibility, such was just one suggestion amongst many in a New York Observer article Wednesday about how CBS should deal with Schieffer's imminent departure (emphasis added throughout, h/t TVNewser):
Of the three morning shows, only ABC's “Good Morning America” highlighted the implications of a new report on pork barrel spending by the group Citizens Against Government Waste [CAGW]. GMA was the sole network morning program to mention that Democrats broke their campaign promise to cut such pork projects in half. On Wednesday, NBC's “Today” show skipped the subject completely and although CBS's “Early Show” covered the report, correspondent Sharyl Attkisson ignored the $296 and $97 million, respectively, in pork spending that Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are responsible for.
GMA reporter Jake Tapper, while discussing the just released Pig Book, a CAGW compendium of wasteful government spending, announced, “Congress stuffed into the fiscal year 2008 spending bills 11,610 pork barrel projects, the second highest total ever.” Tapper alone highlighted this salient point about the differences between Clinton, Obama and Republican Senator John McCain: “Senator Hillary Clinton is the biggest porker of the three. 281 earmarks worth $296 million. Senator Obama is next. 53 earmarks worth $97 million. Senator John McCain has never requested an earmark.”
ABC News anchor Charlie Gibson, in a news brief on Tuesday’s "World News," spun the Bush administration’s decision to fast-track the construction of a fence along the U.S.-Mexican border, focusing almost entirely on the "more than 30 laws and regulations to be bypassed," as the graphic accompanying the brief put it. "The Bush administration today announced plans to speed up construction of the fence along the Mexican border by sidestepping more than 30 laws that now stand in the way. The administration says it will use its authority to bypass those laws in an attempt to finish 670 miles of fence along the southwest border by the end of the year."
The following was adapted from the Media Research Center's April Fools Day Media "Reality" Check. The quotes are all fabrications written by the imaginative News Analysts at the MRC.
Panicked by the success of Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" — urging conservatives to vote for Hillary Clinton in upcoming primaries to keep the Democrats in disarray — liberal reporters are becoming even more outspoken in praising the man they regard as the all-but-certain Democratic nominee, Barack Obama.
CBS's Harry Smith sounded like a teenage groupie on the April 1 Early Show: "Obama's rock star status is reaching historic levels. His rallies attract more fans than a Hannah Montana concert and seats are impossible to get. Believe me I've tried." Over on ABC's Good Morning America, correspondent Claire Shipman didn't want either liberal to lose: "Think of the race as a pro wrestling match between Martin Luther King and Eleanor Roosevelt. Whoever loses, it will be America that winds up feeling bruised."
When This Week assembled a round-table of four liberals versus one conservative yesterday, I kvetched. Maybe I should have cheered. ABC's idea of balance looks good compared to that of CBS. This morning's Early Show preview of the Bush admin's plan, to be announced later today, to regulate the financial industry was essentially conservative-free. OK, to be absolutely accurate, there was a brief clip of Treasury Secretary Paulson saying the plan would protect the Fed's balance sheet and US taxpayers.
But in her set-up piece, CBS's Kimberly Dozier emphasized the negative: "critics say it's win-win for banks, not the consumer. Less regulation, but no new legal limits to stop questionable lending practices or to stop the shell-game financial structures that led to the current mortgage debacle." The only expert she aired was University of Maryland economist Peter Morici who griped that under the plan: "[banks] can still engage in sharp practices that got them in trouble. There's no reason to believe that this regulatory format will keep the kind of crisis we just had from happening again. Nor will it get us out of this recession."
Co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez took the baton from there. She first interviewed Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), who claimed Congress had already given the Fed "massive" regulatory authority. Dodd predictably blamed the current situation on "a failure of leadership." Then it was on to Rodriguez's in-studio chat with CBS News biz correspondent Anthony Mason who--surprise!-- was also a critic of the plan.
After anecdotal reports that people who used the allergy drug Singulair may develop suicidal tendencies, the Food and Drug Administration announced March 27 that it would investigate. How big the problem might be depends on what network you watch.
Even though CBS's "The Early Show" and NBC's "Today" included statements from Merck (NYSE:MRK), the manufacturer of Singulair, analysis of the investigation was mixed.
Just as Noel Sheppard and Rich Noyes noted rare kudos to the "better late than never" coverage done by CBS in exposing Hillary's fabrications on her Bosnia trip as First Lady, I too was shocked that a major news outlet was actually giving the story coverage. I know that many Newsbusters readers were as well.
Hillary had originally hyped her foreign policy experience with a lie that she landed there under sniper fire and that the welcoming committee was cancelled. Newsbusters exposed the lie and CBS video surfaced showing the world beyond a shadow of a doubt that Hillary was caught in a lie.