In discussing the resolution passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee expressing disagreement with President Bush, CBS’s "Early Show" only featured sound clips from senators who voted for the measure, including from Senator Chuck Hagel, the lone Republican on the panel to vote for it. There was no video of any of the nine Republicans who voted against the proposal. Though many of these nine oppose President Bush’s troop surge, they view a non-binding resolution to be the wrong tool to express this.
CNN’s "American Morning," however, recognized the differences of opinion on the panel. They aired footage of Indiana Senator and ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee Richard Lugar, who opined:
On Wednesday’s "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith pressed Republican Senator and presidential candidate John McCain on the war in Iraq and the president’s handling of it, but in a subsequent interview with Democratic presidential hopeful and Illinois Senator Barack Obama, Smith only had softball questions. For instance, Smith wondered what Obama was thinking while he was listening to the president’s speech and what running for president has taught the Illinois Senator. Smith also neglected to question Obama regarding his inexperience.
Mr. Smith first talked with Senator McCain, and Smith spent much of the interview discussing Iraq. Given the tone of the interview, it seems unlikely that McCain will be the media sensation he was in 2000. During today’s segment, Smith first wondered if President Bush even deserved another chance on Iraq:
On January 18, CBSNews.com posted an interview that "Public Eye" blogger Brian Montopoli conducted with business correspondent Anthony Mason. In the interview, Mason explained how he wound up reporting the business beat and why he thinks the media have a tendency to be critical of business, as well as admitting that the media in general have a liberal bias in story selection. You can find the full blog post with a link to the interview audio here.
I also took the liberty of clipping a few sound bites from his interview. It runs almost two minutes and can be found here.
In January 2006, Mason made similar comments about the media's coverage of American business:
CBS’s live coverage of the State of the Union speech was dominated by gloom for President Bush Tuesday night. Anchor Katie Couric described Bush as "resolute, yet resigned." In the very first seconds after Bush concluded, Couric jumped in with the fact that CBS News polls showed President Bush had an 82 percent approval rating at State of the Union time in 2002, just months after 9/11, and now "reverse it," CBS’s approval rating number for Bush was 28 percent, an "all-time low." CBS has traditionally held the lowest poll number of the media outlets. The other polls in the current time period aren't great either, but found numbers between 31 percent (Newsweek, also traditionally low) and 39 percent (LA Times-Bloomberg).
Couric then turned to Bob Schieffer, and stressed it was odd that Bush went from opposing nation-building in the 2000 campaign to now favoring the spread of democracy. (It could be argued you can support democracy-building without doing the tougher work of nation-building.) With a pessimistic tone, Couric asked "Has he changed any minds tonight?"
CORRECTION: An earlier post incorrectly said none of the
evening newscasts carried a mention of the falling gas prices. I apologize for
Gasoline costs nearly 20 cents less than it did the same
time last year, but the good news merited only a passing mention on the night
before President Bush’s State of the Union address. By contrast, the networks
spent more than 10 minutes combined interviewing 2008 presidential candidate
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.).
"The price of gasoline fell by 6 cents last week to an
average of about $2.16 a gallon nationwide – a 14-cent decline over three
weeks,” the Associated Press reported January 22. AAA's Fuelgaugereport.com,
which displays data from the Oil Price Information Service, shows similar data.
"Retail gasoline prices have fallen 17 cents from this time
last year," and the price of crude oil has also been on a downward track, "down 86 cents at $51.13 a barrel Monday on the New York Mercantile
Exchange," the AP reported.
ABC's Charles Gibson mentioned the drop in a 15-second bit
on "World News," while CBS and NBC had no time for that good news. Each
network, however, gave the junior senator considerable air time on its January
ABC anchor Gibson gave the former first lady the most face
time with 5 minutes and 9 seconds in a satellite interview on "World News." NBC’s Brian Williams and CBS’s Katie Couric gave Clinton about the same time as a full-length
news report. Clinton’s
taped sit-down with Couric lasted 2 minutes and 40 seconds, while Williams’
taped in-studio chat was 2 minutes and 20 seconds.
In perhaps an ominous sign of the fawning media coverage Senator Hillary Clinton will receive as she runs for president, CBS News correspondent Joie Chen proclaimed that "it may be easier to get an audience with the Wizard of Oz than steal Clinton’s thunder right now." Yet isn’t it the media that is creating this thunder? Monday’s "Early Show" ran four stories pertaining to Hillary Clinton entering the Democratic race for president, including an interview with her top advisor, Howard Wolfson, and to be fair, "Early Show" co-host Hannah Storm did ask him some tough questions. Yet, when top tier Republican candidates have announced their intentions, as Arizona Senator John McCain, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney have all formed exploratory committees, the "Early Show" has not provided any coverage at all.
So when are the Big Three Networks going to do something about their hopelessly outmoded and out-of-touch evening-news dinosaurs?
The 2006 report on The State of the News Media from Journalism.org, which covered 2005 results, showed that the Big 3 Networks' evening news audience that year averaged 27 million (the exact number is not noted, but inferred from reading the graph at the link; if anything, the actual number may have been slightly higher).
Rounding up slightly, that's a total of 24.3 million -- not exactly the disaster yours truly thought might occur this summer after a particularly bad week for evening news viewership, but a pretty steep decline nonetheless. On average during 2006, over 200,000 fewer people each month tuned in to see NBC's Nightly News (currently anchored by Brian Williams), ABC's World News Tonight (currently with Charles Gibson), or the CBS Evening News (with Katie Couric).
Eyeballing the following graph from last year and looking at the 2006 numbers above, it looks like NBC was down about 14%, ABC about 11%, and CBS about 6%:
On January 4, 2007, Consumer Reports released what the media considered a damning report that found that many infant car seats are unsafe at 38 mph side-impact crashes. In other words, small children were a car crash away from a grave injury or fatality.
The next morning, ABC, NBC, and CBS's morning programs played up the report, featuring the story prominently. CBS's Hannah Storm even used a newborn baby in a car seat as a prop during an interview.
Well, two weeks and a federal government study later, Consumer Reports issued a retraction. Turns out the laboratory they hired basically performed crash tests that simulated a side impact at 70 mph, a speed at which you are very lucky to come out alive regardless of your age or whether or not you're restrained in a car seat.
Of course, industry insiders felt this was coming, and one even said so on the January 5 "American Morning." But you didn't hear any of that two weeks ago on "Today," "Good Morning America," or "The Early Show." [full story here]
ABC’s Dr. Timothy Johnson leveled the harshest criticism,
telling anchor Charles Gibson that President Bush was "misleading" about his
government medical research, which he lamented had actually been "cut" last
Johnson’s liberal complaint about inadequate spending isn’t
surprising. The Business & Media Institute (BMI) has previously documented
Johnson’s advocacy of government-run health care and higher tobacco taxes.
She practically blamed Mel Gibson* for why diet supplements are not regulated as drugs by the FDA and attempted to scare viewers with the extreme case of a woman's nose falling off, but Sharyn Alfonsi's hit pieces on nutrition supplement makers weren't biased enough for CBS's in-house blogger-cum-media critic Brian Montopoli.:
"The real problem is that any topical product such as the one described in this section of Mr. Hurley's book is not a dietary supplement, and cannot be legally sold as one in the United States. By law such products are drugs. If either Mr. Hurley or his editors had bothered to look at the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, they could have avoided this fundamental mistake," wrote Marc S.Ullman, a New York attorney who represents clients "in the dietary supplement/natural products industry."
Particularly when you consider the ramifications for millions of children growing up without a two-parent family, the news that 51% of women in America now live without a spouse [up from 35% in 1950] is serious indeed. But the decline of the basic building block of society was nothing but a laughing matter for the boys of the Early Show.
Rather than seeing any cause for concern, CBS displayed the graphic seen here blithely informing viewers: "No Husband Needed."
As Russ Mitchell threw the story to Harry Smith, he mirthfully proclaimed:
"So Harry, now there's now statistical data for what we always knew: they really don't need us, do they?"
"Do you owe the Iraqi people an apology for not doing a better job?"
This is one of the questions President Bush faced from "60 Minutes" correspondent Scott Pelley on Sunday’s program. Pelley also cited the same "Military Times" CBS’s Chief White House correspondent Jim Axelrod cited on the January 11 edition of the "Evening News," which shows more miltiary troops now disapprove of the President’s handling of the war in Iraq, and was highlighted by Brent Baker here on Newsbusters. However, when John Kerry and John Edwards and their wives were jointly interviewed on the program on July 11, 2004, correspondent Lesley Stahl did not mention a CBS poll that showed war veterans supporting President Bush for reelection by a large margin, and that poll was significant in that veterans were a group that Senator Kerry was actively courting.
Last week saw the dawning of the new Democratic majority and members of the media seemed to be charmed by the event. ABC reporter Cokie Roberts described a photo-op of new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holding her grandchild as "fun" and "completely natural." CBS’s Bob Schieffer interviewed Pelosi and pressed her to raise taxes. And "60 Minutes" commentator Andy Rooney became nostalgic for Democrats of old, saying it’s "hard to dislike Jimmy Carter."
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann continued his fevered attack on all things Republican and conservative. He’s now accused White House Press Secretary Tony Snow of "bald-faced lying" about a Bush speech. Olbermann’s cohort in liberalism, Chris Matthews, described the Vice President of the United States as someone "who always wants to kill." Later in the week, he told his "Hardball" audience that he was "terrified" of the President’s plans for Iran. Chris, calm down!
By the time President Bush delivered his Iraq speech Wednesday night, the news media had spent several days engaged in what the military calls "preparing the battlefield." The media's air war against the plan to try to actually win the Iraq war assured that most of Bush's audience would have already heard journalists claiming the new mission is wrong-headed and doomed to failure. A few examples:
"Like a folly." Last Tuesday on NBC's Today, anchor emeritus Tom Brokaw argued that the way Saddam Hussein was executed revealed Iraq as "a deeply divided country along tribal lines," and that sending more troops would "seem to most people...like a folly." Brokaw added: "I think a lot of people who are raising their hands to join the armed services are wondering, ‘I'm giving my life for that?'"
Washington Post media writer Tom Shales noticed how CBS introduced yesterday's Bush speech, but said it was only a "regularly scheduled program."
CBS viewers, especially those who are always suspecting the network of tilting left, may have been jolted by the recorded announcement played during the closing credits of "Armed & Famous," the show that preceded the president's speech on the network. Said an announcer: " 'Criminal Minds' is next, here on CBS."
That, of course, was the regularly scheduled program, the one to which CBS rushed back at about 9:29.
Here are how the Big Three networks introduced Bush's Speech (HT TV Newser):
Illinois Senator Dick Durbin appeared on Thursday’s "Early Show" to discuss President Bush’s new strategy for Iraq, and, as one would expect, Senator Durbin was highly critical of the plan. However, it wasn’t anything that Durbin or "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith said that was attention grabbing, but the information CBS provided under Mr. Durbin’s name that was perplexing. For example, CBS informed viewers that the senior Senator from Illinois supports the presidential ambitions of his junior colleague, Barack Obama. Other tidbits of information provided by CBS included that Mr. Durbin is in his second term in the Senate and that "Time" rated him as one of the Senate’s ten most effective members.
Appearing on this morning's "Early Show," CBS Chief Foreign Correspondent Lara Logan lit into President Bush's Iraq plan. Harry Smith opened the exchange: "the question of the morning is, can Prime Minister Maliki's government hold up its end of the bargain?"
Replied the South-African born, French-educated Logan: "That's a very good question, because most people agree that this whole plan depends on the Maliki government living up to their promises. Very, very few people in Baghdad believe that Maliki is willing or able to do this. And what you're looking at is essentially a government where all signs point to a sectarian government pursuing a sectarian agenda. And so when Maliki says he's going to act against the militias the Sunnis simply just don't believe him."
ABC and CBS (not NBC) featured interviews Wednesday morning with White House communications director Dan Bartlett. Both networks were fairly harsh in their questioning. ABC’s Diane Sawyer read a long list of eminent people who opposed a surge, and pressed, "What don’t they get?" She even used soundbites of soldiers saying it was a hopeless civil war and "I don’t think we need to be here." CBS’s Harry Smith aimed his barbs at Bartlett more from the right, questioning whether 20,000 troops would be enough, and insisting that the Iraqis weren’t up to the "blood and guts" job of security. He also hammered on the president’s low approval ratings and asked "Why should the American people have faith in the president at this moment?"
MRC’s Justin McCarthy reported that Sawyer opened Good Morning America with the spin that the President was going exactly against public opinion: "Amid calls in this country for a withdrawal of American troops, the president is going to be sending more troops to Iraq."
From a 72-degree January day in Manhattan to "polar bears in peril," the media have done anything but chill about the weather lately.
"Never has good weather felt so bad. Never have flowers inspired so much fear. Never has the warm caress of a sunbeam seemed so ominous. The weather is sublime, it’s glorious, it’s the end of the world," wrote Joel Achenbach on the January 7 Washington Post Style section front.
CBS’s Sandra Hughes was once again impressed with California’s liberal policy initiatives. On October 31, 2006, Hughes praised California for tackling liberal issues that ‘the federal government won’t touch," such as funding embryonic stem cell research and for enacting "the nation’s most restrictive law on greenhouse gas emissions. And on Wednesday’s "Early Show," in reference to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s health care initiative, Hughes continued to laud California for once again leading "where the federal government fears to tread."
Recently added "Early Show" news anchor Russ Mitchell introduced the piece calling Schwarzenegger’s health care idea a "bold plan." Hughes’ report tried to gain support for the plan by featuring an uninsured man who suffers from diabetes, who claimed that there are a lot of uninsured people in his community, and manyof them are single mothers. Yet, Ms. Hughes neglected to mention that Schwarzenegger’s plan would cover illegal aliens as well as legal California residents. Wouldn’t this type of benefit encourage more illegal immigration, and shouldn’t it, therefore, be explored?
Anyone remembering the ascent of Newt Gingrich to House Speaker in 1995 surely noticed a difference between media coverage of that historic event and Nancy Pelosi taking the gavel back for the Democrats in 2007. One had all the joy of a child’s funeral. The other was New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.
CNN even had a countdown clock to the Democrats regaining the majority. All that was missing was a lighted crystal donkey that would descend down a pole on the top of the Capitol dome. CNN’s Dana Bash called Pelosi’s gavel grab a "moment to savor," surely true for her supporters, but the bitterest of pills to swallow for those who worked their hearts out last year to keep Pelosi and her liberal army from retaking the House. CNN left no doubt where it stood on this divide.
The liberal media despised Newt, and adore Nancy. They’ve demonstrated this by the way they played up the Gingrich threat in the weeks after the ’94 GOP tsunami, while virtually ignoring Pelosi and her radical agenda for the last two months.
CBS "60 Minutes" correspondent Morley Safer interviewed Oscar-favored actress Helen Mirren for Sunday, and CBS sent out press materials highlighting her fondness for nude scenes. She even suggested she and Safer do their interview naked. At his routinely liberal blog for Broadcasting & Cable magazine, reporter John Eggerton applauded the silly idea as "a stroke of genius" in flouting those dictators downtown at the FCC:
For one brief shining moment I was ready to celebrate one of the gutsiest programming moves in recent years, one calculated to suggest the ludicrousness of a fixation on nudity. With CBS fighting the FCC's indecency crackdown, what a stroke of genius to have both Safer and Mirren in the nude for their interview about how Mirren, and her mother, think her past nude scenes (Caligula, Calendar Girls) are no big deal...
The blog "Couric & Co." at CBSNews.com has transformed from mostly Katie to mostly other CBS personnel in the last few weeks. On Monday, Couric writer (and former CNN anchor) Mary Alice Williams recounted how the ascent of Nancy Pelosi was a "very big deal" and went a little overboard about how much better women were:
The picture alone demonstrated what a difference her leadership will make. Instead of a lone male gaveling Congress into session, here was a female surrounded by children. Women, in ways far different from men, represent families.
Williams wrote that her 16-year-old daughter Alice was there to witness history, courtesy of her congressman (no name or party affiliation attached). She also made it seem likely that she's the one who wrote for Couric that it's taken too long: "In helping women gain true equality in every aspect of life, Susan B. Anthony always said 'failure is impossible.' Today the only quibble she might have is that it took so long."
In a story about politically indexed mutual funds the Gray Lady notes:
Two funds started recently by Blue Investment Management, a New York fund company that is less than a year old, will limit their holdings to companies that donate the majority of their political contributions to Democrats...
What isn't mentioned is that one of the companies that the Blue Fund finds slanted far enough to the Democratic side of the aisle to invest in is...the New York Times Company (CBS, too).
Brian Stelter at TV Newser reproduced some New Year's resolutions from CBS News stars from their weekly newsletter called the "C-Note." The head-turner in an otherwise routine pile (like morning show host Hannah Storm resolving to "take more naps") is long-standing "60 Minutes" correspondent Morley Safer saying he never wants to be a saint, since they are "the most tedious people." He boasted:
"I resolve to never make resolutions. My sins are all pleasurable, my virtues impeccable. I love animals, small children and I am never cruel to grown-ups, unless it is absolutely necessary. I smoke too much and occasionally over-medicate on good red wine. Saints are the most tedious people, humorless and lacking in imagination. I have no intention of ever becoming one."
According to Bob Schieffer, the Democrats in Congress will be pursuing an "ambitious schedule" on ethics reform. Yet, Schieffer neglected to mention what the Democratic leadership is going to do about ethically challenged Democrats like William Jefferson of Louisiana or Alan Mollohan of West Virginia. Schieffer, appearing on the "Early Show’s" weekly "Capitol Bob" segment, noted loopholes in the Democrats plan on ethics reform, but was pleased that the new Congress was "going to get started."
However, when the Republican controlled Congress attempted to overhaul ethics procedures in June, Schieffer classified these attempts as "not much more than a joke." In a June 11, 2006 commentary on CBS’ "Face the Nation," Schieffer lamented:
The passing of President Gerald Ford drew a dignified, even warm farewell from the national press. There was near-consensus that he would be remembered for his decency and the risk he took, pardoning Richard Nixon from Watergate prosecutions in an effort to heal the nation. It is proper that the press is kind today. It ought to be remembered, however, that the press was not of this opinion when Ford took office.
For example, Time magazine’s cover story on the pardon in September 1974 declared that "Ford's first major decision raised disturbing questions about his judgment and his leadership capabilities, and called into question his competence." The cover carried suggestive sub-headlines like "Squandered Trust" and "Premature and Unwise." Such was the media’s mood toward this man’s actions in office.
It's not too early to declare Katie Couric a failure as an evening news anchor and to suggest she return to her successful slot as a morning news show host. That's the considered opinion of Jon Friedman, "Media Web" author at Dow Jones's Market Watch. Read "How CBS can salvage the Couric debacle" here.
Friedman's frank assessment::
"America loved the early-morning Katie. Whether she likes it or not, it's evident that viewers embraced her for the 'P' word: perkiness. Fair or not, however, the nation isn't willing to accept her in the traditionally solemn evening-news time period."
Unfortunately they don't give you any perspective from the medical community or the makers of distilled spirits or beer. Nope, they just give you two liberal critics of the alcohol industry to scare parents with tales of stomach pumps and binge drinking.
Billy Graham may seem like an American icon to some, but not to Katie Couric, who scorned him during live Ford memorial service coverage on CBS Tuesday morning. She complained about him for writing a "remarkably partisan" letter comforting Gerald Ford after he lost to her hero Jimmy Carter in 1976. Who is Couric to judge "remarkably partisan," since she leans exactly the other way when it comes to her hero, President Carter? At about 10:40 am, Couric talked with liberal Carter-boosting historian Douglas Brinkley about Ford's religious faith, which brought out this exchange about Ford's relationship with the evangelist: