Weeks after White House hype over the budget sequester fizzled as the policy went into effect, on Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams signaled a new media push to scare viewers about the modest reductions in government spending: "On the subject of air travel, sooner or later the so-called sequester in Washington is going to affect all Americans." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Following gun background check legislation being voted down in the Senate on Wednesday, anchor Brian Williams led off NBC Nightly News that evening by proclaiming: "There are cries of 'shame' from victims of gun violence watching from the Senate gallery and the President reacts with anger." Williams later touted how Obama "called it 'a pretty shameful day for Washington'" when ranting about the loss from the Rose Garden that afternoon. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell portrayed opponents of gun restrictions as unsympathetic to shooting victims: "...many of those Newtown families watched senators they had personally met with vote down expanded background checks....Patricia Maisch, [a] Tucson shooting survivor who shouted at senators, 'Shame on you!'" A sound bite was included of Maisch condemning senators who voted against the bill: "They have no souls. They have no compassion."
CBS finally ended their on-air coverage blackout of the Kermit Gosnell murder trial on Monday's CBS This Morning, airing two segments on the story a month after opening arguments began. Jan Crawford acknowledged that the Gosnell case "has received little national news coverage". Meanwhile, ABC and NBC's morning and evening newscasts continued to ignore the ongoing legal proceedings against the abortionist.
Crawford pointed out how conservatives "accused the media of ignoring the story because what it called a bias in favor of abortion rights", and how those "charges went viral on Twitter". She even played a sound bite from a former attorney for the murder suspect who questioned the national news media's lack of coverage of the trial: "A case involving a medical doctor charged with eight counts of murder would seem to me that just that fact pattern would make national news" [audio available here; video below the jump].
On Tuesday's World News and Wednesday's Good Morning Ameica, ABC's George Stephanopoulos and Jim Avila ballyhooed far-left magazine Mother Jones's secretly-recorded audio recording of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's strategy meeting with political advisers about potential opponent Ashley Judd. Stephanopoulos touted the "startling secret tape revealing how the Senate's top Republican was planning to go after...Judd if she ran against him."
Avila played up McConnell's apparent "cutthroat attack on a Hollywood opponent" and the Republican's "private and politically-embarrassing strategy session", all the while omitting left-of-center ideology of the publication that released the audio clip and minimizing the possible illegality of its recording.
On the eve of a proposed deal on a limited expansion of background checks for guy buyers, Tuesday's NBC Nightly News went after Republicans for opposing gun restrictions, with Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell proclaiming: "In a provocative move, more than a dozen Republicans are threatening to use Senate rules to block a vote on new gun restrictions....Sensing public disdain, a rift emerged among Republicans. A dozen now saying publicly they would not support a filibuster..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In her report, O'Donnell cast GOP senators as the villains opposite family members of Newtown shooting victims: "The families here today were looking lawmakers in the eye with a direct appeal. A movement and a deeply personal cause, one Senate office at a time." O'Donnell declared that the possible Republican filibuster of new laws was "adding an extra urgency to the Newtown families' visit."
For the past couple of weeks there has been a steady drip of bad news for ObamaCare, but you wouldn't know it if you only get your news from the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks. From a Society of Actuaries report that determined premium costs will shoot up thanks to a thirty-three percent average increase in claims; to thirty-three Senate Democrats joining Republicans in voting to repeal an ObamaCare tax on medical devices; to a Quinnipiac University poll showing even two-thirds of self-identified Democrats saying the law will either hurt them or have no effect, the recent news has been bad for the President's chief legislative victory. However, not one of these trouble spots for ObamaCare has been mentioned on ABC, CBS or NBC's evening or morning show broadcasts.
The following setbacks for ObamaCare haven't received a single second of air time on the Big Three networks:
The Big Three networks' Friday morning newscasts all highlighted the "backlash" over President Obama's "best-looking attorney general in the country" compliment of California's Kamala Harris. But in addition to ignoring First Lady Michelle Obama's recent "single mother" gaffe, as of Saturday morning, ABC, CBS, and NBC have yet to report on the President's erroneous claim about the use of an automatic firearm at the Sandy Hook massacre.
The Democrat made the false statement at a Wednesday fundraiser in California. Mr. Obama asserted, "It is possible for us to create common-sense gun safety measures that respect the traditions of gun ownership in this country...but also make sure that we don't have another 20 children...gunned down by a semiautomatic weapon – by a fully automatic weapon in that case, sadly."
All three networks on Wednesday and Thursday parroted the exact same talking points from the White House, touting Barack Obama for expressing "solidarity" with struggling workers by taking a five percent pay cut. The President made the move, which amounts to a minuscule $1700 a month, in the wake of sequestration. On Good Morning America, Josh Elliott trumpeted, "[Obama] says he wants to show solidarity with government workers who face a furlough because of budget cuts." [See a video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
Over on NBC's Today, Natalie Morales touted, "In an attempt at solidarity with federal workers feeling the sequester spending cuts, President Obama is giving himself a five percent pay cut on his $400,000-a-year salary." Offering a remarkably similar thought, World News anchor Diane Sawyer rounded up the amount to a year's total: " That's $20,000, to show solidarity with government employees who will be furloughed." In an impressed tone, the host praised, "The White House says Obama will personally write a check to the Treasury."
New EPA regulations could increase the price of gas by nine cents or more when they take effect in the next four years, American Petroleum Institute (API) scientists say. However, ABC, CBS and NBC news programs gave little credence to those concerns, and hyped EPA’s claims of “significant health benefits” instead.
ABC was the worst of the three. Diane Sawyer and Jim Avila on the March 29 “World News” spoke of alleged benefits of the new environmental regulations which would further reduce sulfur emissions. Meanwhile, “World News” not only failed to give equal time to opponents of the regulations, they portrayed them as greedy.
The Big Three networks' morning and evening newscasts still haven't covered the murder trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell as of Monday morning. ABC, CBS, and NBC have maintained their coverage blackout despite the graphic witness testimony and the in-your-face courtroom antics of Dr. Gosnell's defense attorney during the first two weeks of the proceedings. The Philadelphia physician is charged with murdering seven newborn children at his decrepit abortion facility.
This glaring omission by the broadcast networks would have continued, if Peggy Noonan hadn't provided the first mention of the murder trial on Sunday's Meet the Press on NBC. The Wall Street Journal columnist spotlighted the "haunting and disturbing story of this doctor", and pointed out how coverage has been "hard to find."
At the top of Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie seemed to get swept up in the network's own one-sided reporting on the gay marriage cases before the Supreme Court, proclaiming: "Supreme decision. This nation's highest court taking up the divisive issue of same-sex marriage this morning. Will the justices make it legal in every state?"
In the report that followed, justice correspondent Pete Williams touted the anticipation of gay marriage supporters: "The day has finally come for the people who've lined up for days to see the historic argument....The two California couples at the heart of today's case are already here after a brief visit Monday to see the Constitution at the National Archives. Their lawyer says Prop 8 should be struck down because allowing them to get married would have no effect on traditional couples."
Radio hosts like Mark Levin and Web sites like Canada Free Press are mocking President Obama’s statement in a press conference yesterday with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, where he compared the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to U.S.-Canada relations. What? Levin called him a "moron" for the comparison.
But ABC, CBS, and NBC failed to notice. They acted like a press release service for Obama on their newscasts Thursday night and Friday morning, offering Obama 18 soundbites adding up to 215 seconds, often ending in applause. Only Chuck Todd on NBC Nightly News aired a soundbite from anyone other than Obama.
ABC continued ignoring Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's move on Tuesday to drop a proposed federal ban on so-called assault weapons. Neither Wednesday's World News nor Thursday's Good Morning America covered the congressional development. This lack of coverage stands out in light of the network's hype of President Obama's supposedly "dramatic and emotional" lobbying effort for the ban during his State of the Union address.
NBC and CBS's Wednesday evening newscasts also ignored Senator Reid's deep-sixing of the gun control legislation. Their morning shows on Thursday devoted news briefs to Vice President Joe Biden and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's "renewed call" for the assault weapons ban, but failed to explicitly mention the Nevada Democrat's role in dropping the bill.
After President Obama scolded NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd as "incorrigible" for asking too many tough questions during a Wednesday press conference, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams mocked Todd's grilling and agreed with the President: "He is incorrigible, come to think of it. Our own Chuck Todd called out today in Jerusalem, and guilty as charged, truth be told." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing a clip of Obama lecturing Todd, which completely edited out any of the challenging questions, Williams explained: "Both leaders had opening statements, the actual press conference part was limited to two questions from Israeli journalists and two questions from the visiting Americans. So when our own friend Chuck Todd asked a multi-part question, he got called out for it."
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.
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."
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.
The Obama administration in 2009 dropped the Bush administration’s plan to add missile interceptor capability against North Korea, yet on Friday, when Obama’s Pentagon realized their error and scrambled to announce a reversal to implement the Bush plan, ABC, CBS and NBC failed to mention Obama’s dereliction. (Below: Krauthmmer zinged “Democratic resistance” to missile defense. “Reagan was right.”)
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, on the eve of the Wednesday election of Pope Francis, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed to viewers: "...this is a decidedly bad time for the Catholic Church. There are hopes among many that the new pope will signify a new direction." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Lester Holt hyped the divide between the Vatican and some liberal American Catholics: "It's roughly 4,000 miles between Vatican City and the nearest shores of the U.S., but for American Catholics who often find themselves out of step with the Church here, it can seem a lot farther....Abortion, the role of women, and attitudes about homosexuality have been at the heart of much of the disconnect between American Catholics and the Church."
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.'"
Introducing a report on Monday's NBC Nightly News about a New York City ban on large sugary drinks being overturned by a New York State Supreme Court judge, anchor Brian Williams touted how Mayor Michael Bloomberg "is saying this isn't over yet."
In the report that followed, correspondent Rehema Ellis proclaimed: "In a city of more than 8 million, where health officials say the obesity epidemic is responsible for more than 5,000 deaths a year, the Mayor says his fight to make New Yorkers healthier will continue."
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.
Two food bloggers have launched an attack against Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, referring to an outdated study, and ABC and NBC have been quick to rush to their aid.
ABC’s “Good Morning America” and NBC’s “Nightly News” both ran stories promoting the crusade. The bloggers claim Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 food dyes used in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese can lead to hyperactivity and other health problems in children. They are petitioning Kraft to stop using the dyes in their products.
Both dyes have been approved by the FDA, though they have been banned in the small nations of Norway and Austria.
It is well-established that the broadcasts networks covered rising gas prices different under President George W. Bush’s administration than they did President Barack Obama, in tone and even the amount of coverage.
In addition to fueling discontent with many gas price reports, one of the networks’ frequent suggestions for lowering gas prices during the Bush years was for the federal government to release oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), a 727 million barrel emergency supply of oil stored in salt caverns in the Gulf states. These same media outlets have been much less insistent about Obama releasing oil from the SPR, and were quicker to praise him when he did.
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.
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.
Appearing on left-wing actor Alec Baldwin's weekly WNYC talk radio show, Here's The Thing, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams laughably asserted that his reporting was void of any political bias: "My work has been so cleansed, as I see it, and as I've tried, of political opinions over 27 years....I can try to call it down the middle, and try to be fair about it, and do a 'just the facts'..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Throughout the interview, Baldwin gushed over how supposedly objective Williams was: "Although loud personalities with extreme views gobble up more air time, television news is an industry that still rewards unbiased, thoughtful, and direct reporting....many people in your business, you can feel little belches and little fissures of their opinions coming through, or a sense of that, and with you, there's none....I think that's what makes your program so successful. That's why I watch you."