Few national media outlets were interested in focusing on how John Burton, the chairman of the California Democratic Party, compared Republicans to Nazi propagandist Josef Goebbels on Monday. Among those skipping the story were ABC, CBS, NPR, the PBS Newshour, MSNBC in prime time, USA Today, and The New York Times. The omission should be considered especially shameless for CBS – Burton made his remarks on KCBS radio in San Francisco.
AP and The Washington Post offered tiny items of less than 150 words. (The Post headline was "John Burton went there.") NBC’s Chuck Todd threw in 20 seconds on the story on Monday’s Nightly News:
Each morning, NewsBusters is showcasing the most egregious bias the Media Research Center has uncovered over the years — four quotes for each of the 25 years of the MRC, 100 quotes total — all leading up to our big 25th Anniversary Gala on September 27. (Click here for ticket information)
Already this week, we’ve published the worst quotes of 1988, 1989 and 1990; today, the worst bias of 1991. Highlights include journalists saluting Anita Hill while disparaging Clarence Thomas (“if you gave Clarence Thomas a little flour on his face, you’d think you had [former KKK Grand Wizard] David Duke talking”), and a Boston Globe arts critic writing about patriotism: “Oh, say, we’ve seen too much. The Star-Spangled Banner pushes like a cough through America’s mouth...” [Quotes and video below the jump.]
Andrea Mitchell gushed over Michelle Obama on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, labeling her a "political superstar" and "her husband's best campaigner, hardly needing to practice with the Teleprompters or get a feel for the stage." Mitchell went out of her way to point out how Mrs. Obama apparently is "all about hugs, connecting to people with a physical embrace." [audio available here; video below the jump]
The correspondent also emphasized the First Lady's supposed celebrity status by noting how she has "become a regular on late night," and playing clips from interviews she gave to Ryan Seacrest, David Letterman, and to E! News.
When the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks preview Vice President Joe Biden’s 2012 Democratic National Convention speech, will they fill their programs with a montage of the mental mistakes that have plagued him over the years? If recent coverage is any indication, they will choose to bypass Biden’s bumbling.
While the Big Three networks were quick to make fun of GOP vice presidential selections in the past from Dan Quayle to Sarah Palin for their campaign trail stumbles, they’ve either downplayed or completely ignored Biden’s most embarrassing and offensive moments. From insensitively telling a wheelchair-bound state senator to “Stand up!” to not recognizing how many letters there are in the word “jobs,” the media have let Biden get away with gaffes that would have gotten GOP VP picks pilloried. (Video compilation after the jump)
On Friday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams touted the stimulus spending that went to renovating the reflecting pool between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC: "Tourists in Washington this holiday weekend will find water in the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool for the first time in two years. It was actually stimulus funding that paid for the major renovation project - $34 million worth."
Scott Pelley also gave a brief on the pool's renovation on Friday's CBS Evening News, but chose not to play up the stimulus detail, only noting that "the pool was closed, so that workers could fix leaks and stop it from sinking."
New York Times "TV Watch" columnist Alessandra Stanley focused Friday on MSNBC's embarrassingly partisan coverage of the Republican National Convention and tried to contrast it with the struggle of NBC's more objective reporters to remain above the fray: "MSNBC, Arch Counterprogramming to Fox." The online head was more interesting: "How MSNBC Became Fox’s Liberal Evil Twin." Stanley even accused MSNBC host Chris Matthews of "thuggish" behavior in an interview with a female Republican governor.
But do NBC reporters Andrea Mitchell and Chuck Todd (or anchor Brian Williams) really "keep their opinions to themselves" as Stanley claims? Hardly. In fact, they fit in quite well with the liberal partisans at MSNBC.
NBC News demonstrated again Thursday night it has become little more than the more-watched broadcast arm of MSNBC, advancing the same left-wing attacks on conservatives as first trotted out on the cable side. While ABC and CBS managed to refrain from airing entire stories and interviews aimed to discredit Paul Ryan, NBC did not.
In packaging Obama campaign talking points, however, Chuck Todd had to concede the accuracy of what Ryan asserted in his Wednesday night convention address, humorously leading Todd to conclude that “what he said many times was technically factual” but, “by what he left out,” he “actually distorted the actual truth.”
NBC anchor Brian Williams reprimanded Ann Romney for saying “I believe in my heart that Mitt is going to save America,” suggesting it would have been incendiary if Michelle Obama had made such a promise.
As the two sat in the NBC News booth at the Republican convention, Williams told Mrs. Romney the phrasing “jumped off the screen to me” and maintained, without identifying the supposed source, that “someone who knows you conceded that if Mrs. Obama used words like that...there’d be all kinds of hubbub.”
In an interview with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer was aghast at an off-the-cuff joke by Mitt Romney on Friday: "...he said, 'No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate,' an obvious reference to the birther debate. Is it – he says it was a joke. Is it funny to kind of pay attention to a fringe group and question the very legitimacy of the President of the United States's citizenship?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Christie replied: "Yeah, but he hasn't. I mean, he has been the clearest, the most affirmative of all the Republican candidates who are running for this nomination, in saying that he didn't think that was an issue." Lauer ignored the fact that President Obama himself has joked about his birth certificate on more than one occasion and that the Obama campaign actually raised money off the issue, selling mugs and t-shirts mocking the conspiracy theory.
For the second straight night, NBC Nightly News on Monday played the Hurricane Katrina card against Republicans, as Tropical Storm Isaac veered away from Tampa and took aim at New Orleans. Andrea Mitchell hyped that "both Republicans and Democrats...have a challenge - a political challenge here with this approaching storm, especially for the Republicans. No one here can easily forget the iconic picture of President Bush flying on Air Force One...looking down at New Orleans during Katrina." [audio available here; video below the jump]
Anchor Brian Williams also played up how the Romney family has been "forced to talk about their rightfully gained enormous wealth - having been successful in business, the garage for their cars at their home in La Jolla, California."
In a report for Monday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd was eager to paint a picture of Republicans in disarray prior to the GOP convention: "The specter of New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina, which proved so politically damaging to George W. Bush, looms large here in Tampa. It's the latest in a series of distractions that has jolted the Romney campaign off its core economic message..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Sunday's Today, co-host Jenna Wolfe proclaimed: "It's been a tough week for Republicans." As the headline on screen announced "GOP's Hurdles Heading Into Convention," Wolfe proceeded to rattle off supposed evidence of her assertion:
Now that Hurricane Isaac missed Tampa thereby dashing liberal media hopes the Republican National Convention would be destroyed by it, so-called journalists are taking up a new theme to rain on Mitt Romney's pending nomination.
Take NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd who said on Sunday's Nightly News, "When you think as this storm moves to and closer to Louisiana, the specter, the sort of shadow of Bush and Katrina does hang over this convention" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Sunday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Chuck Todd raised the invoked former President Bush and Hurricane Katrina from seven years ago as potential embarrassments for the Romney campaign as Hurricane Isaac heads toward New Orleans the same week as the Republican National Convention.
During a discussion of the GOP convention being delayed from Monday because of the hurricane, Todd asserted that "the sort of shadow of Bush and Katrina does hang over this convention" and also worked in Todd Akin as he observed:
Last week when President Barack Obama raised the old tale of how Mitt Romney once put his dog in a car top carrier, the NBC Nightly News gave a sentence to how Obama “took a dig at Romney” and the CBS Evening News didn’t mention it, but on Friday night both newscasts pounced on Romney for daring to make a birth certificate joke.
“Was it a joke?” fill-in NBC anchor David Gregory demanded, teasing a full story: “What Mitt Romney said on the campaign trail today that immediately erupted in controversy.” Reporter Peter Alexander recalled Donald Trump’s tie to Romney and highlighted how “the Obama campaign quickly cried foul, insisting ‘Romney’s decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America.’”
Eager to keep the Todd Akin controversy alive on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams declared the Missouri Republican's comments were "inflicting unforeseen and great damage on the national party." Correspondent Andrea Mitchell began her report by proclaiming: "...only days before their convention, Republicans remain trapped in a national debate about abortion and rape." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Mitchell quickly attempted to link vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan to Akin: "Ryan co-sponsored one bill with Akin that critics say could outlaw all abortions, even for rape victims." She then tried to connect Mitt Romney: "Romney once supported abortion rights, but reversed course before his first run for the White House. In 2007, he embraced anti-abortion activist Dr. John Wilkie, the man who came up with the discredited rape theory that Akin was citing."
"A grand jury indicted Floyd Lee Corkins II, 28, of Herndon, Va., on a federal charge of interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition, and two District of Columbia offenses: assault with intent to kill while armed and possession of a handgun during a crime of violence," reported CBS News and the Associated Press yesterday shortly after 5 p.m. Eastern. CBSNews.com carried the story in the "daily blotter" section of its Crimesider feature. "Corkins' parents told investigators that he was a supporter of gay rights, and he said he didn't agree with the FRC's politics before the shooting, according to the documents," the article added.
Yet last night's CBS Evening News completely ignored the story, as did ABC's World News and NBC's Nightly News. The August 23 editions of those networks' morning shows also ignored the story. A search of our DVR recordings also found no mention of the indictment on the ultra-liberal, fervently pro-gay rights MSNBC network. John Berman of CNN's Starting Point did briefly touch on the story in the 7:00 a.m. news brief:
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams brought on political director Chuck Todd to give a "damage assessment" for Republicans in the wake of the Todd Akin controversy. Todd attempted to blame the conservative grassroots for the uproar: "...the Tea Party effect....will maybe cost Mitch McConnell a shot at controlling the United States Senate. Their own infighting has done this." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
What Todd failed to mention was that Tea Party Express and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin backed one of Akin's opponents, Sarah Steelman, in the Missouri Republican Senate primary.
A week after giving relatively light coverage to Joe Biden's "chains" smear, the broadcast networks eagerly dove into the Todd Akin controversy, giving over four times more coverage to an uproar involving a statewide (conservative) politician than a controversy involving a national (liberal) politician. NBC, CBS and ABC's evening and morning shows have devoted an astonishing 88 minutes (or 40 segments) of coverage to Congressman Akin's "legitimate rape" remark. Over a similar three day period, the networks allowed a scant 19 minutes (or ten segments) to a racially charged gaffe by the Vice President of the United States.
CBS This Morning reporter Norah O'Donnell on Tuesday pronounced, "If Akin is still running for the United States Senate, everybody is going to be asking about Akin, abortion rights, women's rights, etc., during the Republican convention." CBS journalists certainly did their best to make sure "everybody" would be talking about the Republican. The network hyped the story the most, pushing the controversy for 13 segments and 37 minutes.
At the top of Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed: "Firestorm. A Congressman's words about rape rocket across the country...women's issues are front and center again." Introducing the lead story moments later, Williams announced how "suddenly" Republican Todd Akin's comments "exploded well beyond the borders of Missouri."
Correspondent Andrea Mitchell began her report by nationalizing the gaffe made by Akin during a local news interview: "Republicans fear their hopes for the White House and control of the Senate could turn on what happened at a St. Louis TV station..." Mitchell later touted: "In a race where the President had a 15-point advantage with women voters in the last NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, Republicans were reeling."
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, sanctimonious anchor Brian Williams lamented the fact that "spending on 2012 presidential radio and TV ads has now surpassed the half-billion-dollar mark" and proceeded to list other things the money could buy, such as feeding "9.2 million malnourished children for 50 days" or "provide clean water for 500 million children for 40 days."
While Williams's philanthropic suggestions are certainly worthy causes, he only briefly noted where that money actually went: "By and large this money goes to TV stations and networks." NBC and others could always give away the air time for free.
According to TV Guide, Williams himself is the third highest-paid television news personality, hauling in $13 million a year. Maybe he could take a pay cut this year.
On the day after gunman Floyd Corkins attacked the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., ABC's World News on Thursday was the only broadcast network evening newscast to run a followup report which elaborated on Corkins's political opposition to the group's conservative views.
Imagine if, God forbid, this exact same thing had happened at a Planned Parenthood or the Southern Law Poverty Center, which labeled both Chick-fil-A and FRC hate groups. We’d be hearing an endless loop of stories about the danger of militant, hate-filled right wing wackos.
Reporting for Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, White House correspondent Kristen Welker discussed the "remarkably ugly political week so far" in the presidential campaign following racially-charged comments by Joe Biden, but then touted him as "the ever-outspoken Vice President" who "today doubled down on being the President's other best weapon, attack-dog-in-chief."
In a report for Thursday's NBC Today, Welker similarly proclaimed that Biden had "doubled down on being outspoken" while "still taking heat from Republicans for comments" on Tuesday in which he ranted to a crowd in Virginia that the GOP would "put y'all back in chains" if Mitt Romney won the November election.
Comedy Central's Jon Stewart asked NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams the $64 trillion question on Wednesday's Daily Show.
"What is preventing the media from discussing more substantive issues before the introduction of Paul Ryan, and then since the introduction, and then, let's say, you know, after the election?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As the broadcast network evening newscasts on Tuesday gave attention to Vice-President Joseph Biden asserting that Mitt Romney, by "unchaining" Wall Street would effectively "put y'all back in chains," only CBS's Bob Schieffer informed viewers that about half the audience in Danville, Virginia, was African-American, thus suggesting the Vice-President was making an embarrassing pander to black audience members who likely have ancestors who used to be "in chains."
On the CBS Evening News, as he set up a soundbite of Biden, substitute host Schieffer related:
Leading off Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams struck a patronizing tone as he noted "things get rough for the new guy on the trail" Paul Ryan, with "incoming fire on his own record and a not so warm welcome to the big leagues during his appearance today at the Iowa state fair."
In the report that followed, correspondent Peter Alexander seized on protestors showing up at a Ryan stump speech in the state: "Ryan campaigned on his first solo stop at the Iowa state fair, largely ignoring hecklers, several of whom rushed the stage."
All three broadcast network evening newscasts recounted President Obama's charge that Rep. Paul Ryan is holding up a farm aid bill as the President campaign in Iowa, but only CBS's Nancy Cordes took the time to forward to viewers the Romney campaign's rebuttal that "Ryan voted in favor of a drought relief package that's currently languishing in the Senate."
On ABC's World News, correspondent David Muir set up Obama's complaint:
Chuck Todd has chutzpah. Jake Tapper has some integrity. For decades, journalists have aided liberals by mischaracterizing proposed slight reductions in the rate of spending hikes on a program as a “cut” or “slash” to it, so many trusting people, naively presuming the words have meaning, thus assumed there’d be an actual reduction.
NBC’s Peter Alexander repeated this fallacy on Monday’s Today when he described Paul Ryan as “the architect of a politically polarizing budget plan to slash trillions in federal funding, including cuts to Medicare...” NBC’s chief political correspondent, Chuck Todd, however, had the gall to correct Mitt Romney over a “cut” claim while ignoring Alexander’s falsity.
As she substitute-hosted CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday, Nancy Cordes managed to avoid bringing up the controversial Obama super PAC ad that blames Mitt Romney for the death of a man's wife, even though Obama advisor Stephanie Cutter was a guest in the first segment.
By contrast, George Stephanopoulos on ABC's This Week and and David Gregory on NBC's Meet the Press both raised the issue as Obama advisor David Axelrod appeared as a guest on both shows. Cordes stayed non-specific:
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams eagerly touted ongoing trouble for the nation's largest breast cancer charity: "...the controversy involving the Susan G. Komen Foundation has soiled one of the great names and best-known brand names in all of charity....it was the symbol of the fight against breast cancer until controversy came along and Komen cut funds for Planned Parenthood, a decision it later reversed."
Williams noted how "senior leadership has given way" as "founder, Nancy Brinker, whose late sister was Susan G. Komen, is stepping down from her role as CEO." He wondered: "But will it be enough to restore faith and quiet the critics?" Correspondent Lisa Myers declared the move "was welcomed as much-needed change at Komen affiliates."
At no point in the segment was Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, described as controversial.