ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, which began on Monday. Gosnell is charged with murdering seven babies who were born after viability in his rundown abortion facility. The Big Three also gave the story minimal coverage back in January 2011, after the Philadelphia physician was arrested. ABC completely ignored it, CBS Evening News aired one full story, and NBC gave just 50 words on Today.
Even the New York Times covered the trial in a Tuesday article, though it appeared on page A-17. Writer Jon Hurdle documented how Gosnell is charged with killing the babies by "plunging scissors into their necks and 'snipping' their spinal cords."
Over the winter, the three networks eagerly compared Barack Obama's push for more gun control to "defeating the Nazis," hyping his "dramatic," "emotional" effort. Yet, when the President suffered a serious setback, Tuesday, ABC, CBS and NBC failed to portray it as a defeat for the Commander in Chief. Harry Reid announced on March 19 that Senate Democrats were dropping an effort to ban so-called assault weapons.
Tuesday's World News and Nightline and Wednesday's Good Morning America totally skipped the development. Yet, in the minutes following the State of the Union, George Stephanopoulos praised the President's "dramatic and emotional" plea for an assault weapons ban. On January 16, CBS's Bob Schieffer compared, "Surely, finding Osama bin Laden; surely, passing civil rights legislation...defeating the Nazis, was a much more formidable task than taking on the gun lobby." However, on Tuesday's Evening News, in the wake of the defeat in the Senate, the long-time journalist offered no similar hyperbolic lament.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s controversial ban of large soda and sugary drinks was overturned March 11, yet the liberal media continued to promote such a ban.
NBC portrayed Bloomberg’s law as a noble fight for the health of New Yorkers. CNN “Starting Point” anchor Soledad O’Brien threw away her objectivity in an interview by announcing she had been a “long supporter” of the soda ban. CNN host Piers Morgan also chimed in support for the overturned law. But MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski had a complete meltdown, referencing it as a “serious issue” and calling sugar “poison” four times and “toxic” twice.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday linked the accidental deaths of seven U.S. Marines to sequester spending cuts. All three networks have, thus far, skipped the story. After highlighting the details of the botched training event in Hawthorne, Nevada, the Democrat manipulated the tragedy: "But one of the things in sequester is we cut back in training and maintenance."
He added, "This sequester should go away...These men and women, our Marines were training there in Hawthorne. And with this sequester, it's going to cut back this stuff." These comments came on the floor of the U.S. Senate, yet ABC's World News and Good Morning America, NBC's Nightly News and Today, the CBS Evening News and the CBS This Morning all ignored Reid's remarks (though they discussed the accident itself). ABCNews.com covered the story, but acquitted Reid of bad motives: "Harry Reid Commemorates Dead Marines, Calls for End to Sequester."
Just how superficial is ABC? On Monday and Tuesday, the network allowed a mere 20 seconds to "outrage" over a plan by the European Union that would have seized ten percent of the money Cyprus residents had in their bank accounts. ABC's World News skipped the story entirely, as did Monday's Nightline. Good Morning America on Tuesday offered 20 seconds. In contrast, the program devoted over five minutes to important topics, such as the newest season of Dancing With the Stars.
NBC and CBS both showcased more coverage. On Monday, Nightly News's Brian Williams featured the story in a full report. Describing the potential default of Cyprus as a "banking crisis," he explained, "European leaders decided to take a chunk of that bailout money directly out of the bank accounts of everyone in the country." Displaying interest not seen on ABC, Williams added, "It was a shocking move heard around the globe today and the fear on the Mediterranean island rippled through world financial markets today."
Monday night's CBS Evening News followed CNN and ABC to the ugly decades-old accusations against Pope Francis from his time in Argentina. CBS featured the same critic of Pope Francis that ABC did on Sunday. CNN, meanwhile, was the only one of the three networks to seriously question the accusations.
"There are still questions, though, about the Pope's relationship with Argentina's former government, a military dictatorship that kidnapped and killed thousands in the '70s and '80s," reported fill-in anchor Bob Schieffer. CBS centered the story around Francis' accuser, with only one quote in his defense. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Allen Pizzey readily identified Pope Francis as a "conservative" on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, but failed to give an equivalent ideological label to Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who attended his installation Mass in St. Peter's Sqaure. Pizzey spotlighted the apparent "stark contrast" between the new pontiff and the two liberal politicians, whom he described as being "pro-choice and support[ing] same-sex marriage."
The media backlash against Pope Francis may be beginning. After relatively positive coverage last week, ABC and NBC on Monday both highlighted the Argentinean President denouncing his "medieval" views on social issues. World News's Ron Claiborne offered no ideological label for the country's left-wing leader, praising, "Cristina Kirchner stands for a new view of a changing world-- embracing gay marriage, sex education in schools, free contraceptives in hospitals." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
He added, "But when [the now-pope] was a cardinal in Argentina, Kirchner described his social views as medieval." Yet, while Claiborne didn't call Kirchner a liberal, he made sure to point out that although Francis is "enormously popular," "what the world is just beginning to learn is how conservative he is on social issues."
As Sarah Palin told a crowd of cheering conservatives this weekend, CPAC is the time of year when journalists present their annual “conservatives in crisis” stories. That was certainly the case on Saturday’s CBS This Morning, which featured Politico’s Maggie Haberman as the sole CPAC analyst.
Asked by anchor Anthony Mason if the tone at CPAC was different this year following the Republican loss in the 2012 presidential election, Haberman replied, “The tone is sort of defeatist, frankly.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Sunday's 60 Minutes, CBS ran to the aid of dissident Catholic sisters in the U.S. and recycled many of its talking points from their sympathetic coverage of the sisters' "Nuns on the Bus" tour in 2012. Bob Simon trumpeted the supposed "rock star" status of the leader of the sisters' coalition and tossed mostly softball questions at her. He also repeatedly used the loaded term "Inquisition" to ballyhoo the apparent "crackdown" against the heterodox nuns.
Simon made his slant toward the dissenters clear when another prominent dissident sister compared the battle between the bishops and her allies to a schoolyard battle of the sexes: "The boys played the girls. And for once, the girls won, and the boys are upset." The journalist replied, "Isn't that what it's all about?"
Since the tragedy at Sandy Hook, the media have come out with guns blazing against firearms and the business that sell or produce them. The broadcast networks’ coverage of the gun industry has been no exception.
Between Dec. 14, 2012, and Feb. 22, 2013, the evening news shows on all three networks attacked the gun industry and gun businesses three times as often as they defended them. Altogether, there were 44 attacks compared to just nine pro-industry interviews and 12 statements in defense of gun business and the industry during the same time period.
On Thursday's World News, ABC News correspondent Terry Moran acted like it was a big surprise that newly-elected Pope Francis stands by the Catholic Church's teachings on sexuality: "Now, as the world comes to know him, it turns out, on many issues, Pope Francis is a staunch traditionalist. He compared abortion to a death sentence; called gay marriage 'destructive of God's plan.'"
By contrast, CBS surprisingly reported on the continuing persecution of the Catholic Church in China on Friday's CBS This Morning. Though he didn't explicitly label the Chinese government as communist, correspondent Wyatt Andrews noted how "millions of the faithful worship in groups at home, praying in underground churches where religion, if practiced too openly, can lead to arrest." Andrews' report stands out from his network's biased coverage of the papal election.
CBS wasted little time to play up newly-elected Pope Francis' "conservative" views on issues like abortion, same-sex "marriage", and birth control. On Thursday's CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell underlined how the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was "described as a staunch conservative". Mark Phillips also used the "conservative" label, and pointed out how the Pope's doctrinal stand has "not made him popular with relatively progressive Jesuit brothers."
Charlie Rose also pressed New York City Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan during the morning newscast about "doctrinal changes on ordination of women, on celibacy, on divorce." When Dolan emphasized that "doctrine can't change," Rose interjected, "But how do you respond to the fact that this really is the century of women?"
That was fast. The celebration in St. Peter’s Square hadn’t yet died down and the world was still digesting the news that Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio had become Pope Francis. Almost immediately, some media outlets were out to find downsides and discord.
CNN had the dubious distinction of being first out of the gate, waiting just seven minutes after the white smoke signaling a new pope to interview activists for women priests. “We have been hosting pink smoke vigils to raise awareness on women's inclusion,” said Erin Saiz Hanna of the Women's Organization Conference to CNN Correspondent Miguel Marquez. Once the new pontiff’s identity had been announced, ABC’s “Nightline” co-anchor Terry Moran celebrated the new Pope Francis, saying that now the Catholic Church can “turn a corner” and “revive” its original mission of aiding the poor. When the Church abandoned that mission, he didn’t say.
During CBS's special coverage of the papal election on Wednesday, correspondent Mark Phillips singled out two dissenters from Catholic tradition in the middle of a crowd of hundreds of thousands in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, mere minutes after the white smoke went out of the Sistine Chapel's chimney, and before Pope Francis emerged onto the balcony over the piazza.
The two activists, who wore pink "ordain women" pins, not only sought to change the Catholic Church's teachings on the all-male priesthood, but spotlighted "LGBT issues [and] reproductive health care" – a thinly-veiled reference to abortion and contraception – as issues that need to be drastically changed inside the Church. [audio available here; video below the jump]
While NBC and CBS both highlighted a quote from an anonymous senior White House official labeling President Obama's recent budget meetings with members of Congress "a joke," ABC managed to leave the controversial remark out of its coverage of the budget negotiations, with Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos even failing to ask the President about it in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
In a National Journal article posted Tuesday morning, Ron Fournier recounted: "'This is a joke. We're wasting the president's time and ours,' complained a senior White House official who was promised anonymity so he could speak frankly. 'I hope you all (in the media) are happy because we're doing it for you.'"
Scott Pelley's liberal bias got the better of him on Monday's CBS Evening News as he interviewed three American seminarians studying in Rome. When one seminarian expressed his hope that next pope continues the "beautiful legacy of John Paul II and Benedict XVI," Pelley replied incredulously, "But you mentioned two popes who have a reputation for being doctrinally conservative. And this is something you'd like to see carried on?" [audio available here; video below the jump]
Hours later, on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, the Big Three network again gave a platform to agitators who aim to radically alter the Catholic Church's traditions from the inside. Fill-in anchor Anthony Mason wondered if "the winds of change [are] wafting through the Catholic Church" as he hyped a CBS News/New York Times poll that found apparent support for the ordination of women among American Catholics.
Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) was convicted yesterday on 24 separate federal corruption charges, which could cost him up to 20 years in prison. However, ABC, CBS, and NBC could not be bothered to even mention the conviction of this disgraced ex-mayor of a major, blighted American city on their nightly news programs.
Perhaps they were busy with what are clearly weightier matters. Monday’s NBC Nightly News, for example, found time to mention Justin Timberlake’s recent appearance on Saturday Night Live, the ten worst places to retire in America, and the plight of penguins in Antarctica.
CBS's Barry Petersen slanted in favor of dissenters agitating for the repeal of the Catholic Church's centuries-old practice of celibacy for priests on the March 10, 2013 edition of Sunday Morning. Petersen hyped how "many American Catholics wonder how long celibacy will be a part of today's Church, or perhaps, how soon it may become a fading tradition."
The correspondent also failed to mention that Bill Wisniewski, one of his talking heads, is a board member for a dissenting group headed by Sister Christine Schenk, who was also featured during his report.
CBS’s Bob Schieffer was clearly uncomfortable Sunday when two of his perilously liberal guestsclaimed there are many gay priests.
At the end of a Face the Nation discussion about the pending selection of a new Pope, Schieffer pushed back when the Washington Post’s Sally Quinn brought up homosexuality in the priesthood, and then he cut quickly to a commercial when Vanity Fair’s Carl Bernstein supported her contention (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Charlie Rose, Norah O'Donnell, and Gayle King gushed over Caroline Kennedy on Friday's CBS This Morning. O'Donnell asked Kennedy is she supported a potential Hillary Clinton presidential run in 2016, which prompted Rose to wonder if the daughter of JFK might run herself for the highest elected office in the U.S.
King hyped the potential nomination of Kennedy to be an ambassador to Japan: "Madame Ambassador – does that have a ring to it for you?" O'Donnell tossed the softest of softballs as a follow-up: "Do you like Japan or Canada better?" (audio available here; video below the jump)
Being that March is Women’s History Month and March 8 is International Women’s Day, what better time to showcase a prominent female journalist being treated poorly by her male colleagues, particularly ones from the "war on women" network itself, MSNBC.
Speaking with the liberal Huffington Post, CBSThis Morning co-host Norah O’Donnell describes a not-so-pleasant experience with former NBC colleagues Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann back in 2008:
ABC's Good Morning America on Friday ignored new details of Barack Obama's pay-for-access scheme, the only morning show to skip the story. The President's campaign group, now renamed Organizing for Action (OFA), has promised quarterly meetings with the President for donations of $500,000. NBC's Today and CBS This Morning both covered the growing controversy. GMA, which did find time to focus on the latest Justin Bieber gossip, avoided it.
Today's Chuck Todd offered surprisingly hard-hitting criticism of Obama, lecturing, "When it comes to Barack Obama's views on money and politics, his actions have rarely matched his words...When it comes to big money in politics, President Obama has often talked the talk...But critics say he's rarely walked the walk." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Wednesday and Thursday, two of the Big Three networks ballyhooed how the Arkansas state legislature overrode Governor Mike Beebe's veto of a pro-life bill that outlaws abortion once the unborn baby's heartbeat is detected. Scott Pelley hyped "the most restrictive abortion law in the country" on Wednesday's CBS Evening News, echoing the New York Times' label of the new law – "the country's most restrictive ban on abortion".
Natalie Morales used nearly identical language to Pelley on Thursday's Today on NBC. ABC punted on covering the move by Arkansas state legislators on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning newscasts. By contrast, Norah O'Donnell didn't use such language during her news brief on the story on Thursday's CBS This Morning:
ABC's World News on Wednesday and Good Morning America on Thursday offered confusing, incomplete and brief explanations for why Rand Paul filibustered John Brennan, Barack Obama's Central Intelligence Agency nominee. According to GMA news reader Josh Elliott, "Paul was protesting the Obama administration's use of drone strikes against Americans." [Video of the terse explanations can be found below.]
World News anchor Diane Sawyer insisted the "Tea party firebrand" was opposing "the use of drones against U.S. citizens." This is hardly a full explanation for ABC's viewers. On the Today show, Chuck Todd produced a more accurate description: "[Paul] decided to filibuster the confirmation of CIA director John Brennan in an attempt to get the White House to once and for all promise to never target Americans with drones on U.S. soil." The "on U.S. soil" part is key. ABC allowed only news briefs on the filibuster. CBS and NBC offered full reports.
[Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Good Morning America as airing the Brandi Hitt story. Her piece was posted on GMA's website, but did not air on the program.] ABCNews.com on Wednesday greeted the death of Hugo Chavez by avoiding the word “socialist.” Instead, journalist Brandi Hitt touted the repressive leader as someone who “appeared to never back down from a challenge.” The reporter never mentioned Chavez’s crackdown on free speech or democracy. Instead, she featured a woman in the streets of Venezuela gushing, “He’s a man that cared about us…He did not give anything to me, but he gave it to my people.”
Over on Today, NBC’s Mark Potter offered this friendly description of the individual who made friends with Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: “Many here were still surprised when he died, in part because of his larger-than-life personality.” Potter announced that crowds in Caracas were chanting “Chavez lives” and “the struggle continues.” Both Today and Good Morning America made sure to play footage of Chavez’s 2006 appearance at the United Nations. There, the authoritarian leaded mocked George W. Bush as “the devil.”
Whoah! What place was Mika Brzezinski talking about? On today's Morning Joe, Brzezinski said that at a place where she used to work, "any woman who did anything or got to the top immediately had something revealed to the press or online or whatever that would bring them down." And whatever happened to solidarity among the sisters? Mika added: I suggest that some might even argue that it's women doing that."
We don't know which employer Mika had in mind, but before coming to MSNBC, by far Brzezinski's longest stints were at CBS. View the video after the jump.
CNN's Dana Bash fact-checked President Obama's falsehood about the sequester on Friday, but the major networks didn't exactly follow CNN's lead in reporting the distortion that Capitol Hill janitors and police would receive a pay cut because of the sequester.
In his Friday press conference, Obama claimed, "They're going to have less pay, the [Capitol Hill] janitors, the security guards. They just got a pay cut." Shortly after that, CNN's Bash obtained from the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms that the workers would not receive a pay cut, just a limit on overtime pay. NBC ignored the distortion on its weekend newscasts, while CBS and ABC reported it one time each.
In the aftermath of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, CBS has made up its mind about Catholicism: the Church is in crisis and must be reformed! Whereas Martin Luther tacked his theses on the Wittenberg church door, however, CBS opted to ensure its stab at church reformation would go largely unnoticed by including the segment on Saturday's CBS This Morning. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
To discuss this topic, CBS anchor Anthony Mason brought in three liberals: Jim Frederick of Time Magazine, the Rev. Paul Raushenbush of the Huffington Post -- the great-grandson of Baptist minister and Social Gospel champion Walter Rauschenbusch -- and Sister Maureen Fiedler, who hosts her own public radio show. All three agreed with the premise that the Catholic Church needs to change. If the message wasn’t clear enough, a screen behind the guests read “Catholic Church in Crisis” (with no question mark) and the chyron read “Catholic Church in Crisis: Is the Vatican Capable of Reform?”