In an interview with President Obama on Wednesday, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams lobbed this softball: "How is it that with – what, 13 days to go, you're fighting for your life in a 47/47 race?... So after the excitement of '08, given the power of incumbency, you got Bin Laden, you did not expect to be sitting on a more substantial race than we are as we sit here today?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Obama argued he was exceeding media expectations: "...we always knew this was gonna be a close race from the start....you guys have some short memories. Folks in your business were writing me off a year ago, saying there's no way I would win."
In a continued effort to tag Mitt Romney with a flip-flopper label, on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed that Romney's performance in the final presidential debate "seemed to be a move to the center" on foreign policy issues and asserted that the Governor was "taking positions he has not taken before."
In the report that followed, correspondent Andrea Mitchell declared: "Mitt Romney's switch to a more moderate foreign policy last night was clearly aimed at independent women voters.... Clearly having decided that undecided voters, those swing voters, are more likely to choose a moderate Republican than a hawk."
On Tuesday evening, CBS broke wide open a story on State Department e-mails showing the White House knew on September 11 that the consulate in Benghazi was subjected to a terrorist attack, and that terrorists took credit on Facebook and Twitter. But by Wednesday, the three network morning shows weren't leaping to follow up. ABC and CBS combined devoted just over a minute to the story, while NBC completely ignored it.
By contrast, all three newscasts showed that they were more interested in helping the Democrats in Indiana, aggressively spotlighting Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock's faith-based affirmation that he did not support abortion even in the case of rape, that even those are children "God intended." Mourdock's "controversial comments" drew more than seven and a half minutes of coverage.
Shortly following the conclusion of the final presidential debate Monday night, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams posed this question to Richard Haas of the Council on Foreign Relations: "I noticed a columnist for the New York Times tonight tweeted out that this was an etch-a-sketch moment for Governor Romney....Did you see that kind of movement on his part?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Williams reminded viewers of the origin of the phrase: "It was obviously a knock of the campaign story that came up about changing policy, moving toward the center with an ease of erasing an etch-a-sketch." Haas avoided any validation of the liberal talking point: "I'm almost more comfortable, Brian, leaving the politics to others, about, you know, what Governor Romney was trying to do tonight."
The Big Three networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) gave the faux furor over Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” statement in Tuesday’s debate a whopping 22 mentions through Friday morning. Yet when Vice President Joe Biden, on Thursday, told an audience member that Republican “young guns” like Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan had “bullets” aimed at him the networks delivered just a scant two total mentions (on NBC and CBS, ABC skipped the gaffe entirely.)
On the morning after the debate ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas, on Good Morning America, singled out the “binders” comment: “You remember the Big Bird line that dominated the conversations online and around the water cooler, in essence, after the first debate? Last night, it was another Romney comment, ‘binders full of women’ that caused the heat to turn on.”
Near the top of Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie jumped on "a comment from Mitt Romney's son Tagg that's getting some attention....he said he wanted to, quote, 'take a swing' at the President for some of the attacks on his dad." Pretending it was a newsworthy item, she added: "The Romney campaign says this was just a joke. We'll get into that."
Introducing a campaign report minutes later, Guthrie declared the Romney son's comment in jest was "making some waves." Correspondent Peter Alexander promised viewers, "We'll play that comment for you from Tagg Romney in just a moment." For all the build-up to the supposedly controversial comments, at the end of his report, Alexander revealed the light-hearted nature of them: "During a radio interview Wednesday, Governor Romney's oldest son Tagg joked about his reaction to some of the contentious exchanges during Tuesday's debate."
Between Wednesday's Nightly News and Thursday's Today, NBC displayed an obsession with the liberal meme of attacking Mitt Romney's "binders full of women" remark during Tuesday's presidential debate. The network's delusional hyping of the manufactured controversy reached a crescendo when Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski appeared on Today to proclaim: "Romney just completely doesn't have any leg to stand on when it comes to women and the economy." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Today co-host Savannah Guthrie teed up Brzezinski to slam Romney: "...it has taken on a life of its own. The Democrats love it. They think it really shows Mitt Romney at his most awkward. But if the fight is for independent, undecided women voters, do you think this is an issue that's weighty enough to resonate?"
A not so undecided “undecided voter.” At 10:12 AM EDT Wednesday on CNN, faux “undecided voter” Susan Katz, who had asked Mitt Romney at the debate the night before how he’s different from George W. Bush, told Carol Costello she voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and plans to do so again this year because “I saw in President Obama someone who has ripened with time who deserves another four years to see his vision through.” (“Ripened”?)
A little more than eight hours later, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, on Nightly News, looked at debate reaction from “undecided voters chosen to ask questions” who “were not entirely happy with what they heard,” starting with Susan Katz whom Mitchell showcased trashing Romney for liking “to be in charge,” as if that’s a bad thing for a President.
In an obituary for former Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter on Sunday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell summarized his shift in political allegiance this way: "Specter's views, supporting abortion rights, immigration reform, and gun control, made him too liberal for the Tea Party movement...Under assault, he bolted to the Democratic Party."
Introducing O'Donnell's report, anchor Lester Holt declared Specter to be "a longtime voice of moderation in Washington, and at times a figure of controversy." As evidence of Specter's controversial nature, O'Donnell cited him questioning the credibility of Anita Hill during a 1991 Supreme Court hearing: "Specter angered many women over the spectacle around Anita Hill, who claimed Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her."
As the presidential contest enters its final weeks, one loser is clear: the Big Three television networks' evening newscasts, home of some of the worst examples of ongoing and still influential media bias.
Chris Ariens at Media Bistro noted this on October 2 in covering the results for the week of September 24: "Leading into a presidential election, one might think the tune-in to the evening news programs would increase. But one would be wrong." The trend continued during the following week, as will be seen in the graphic following the jump.
On Friday afternoon, Joe Biden lived up to his reputation for committing gaffes, not even a day after Paul Ryan zinged the Vice President over how "sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way" during Thursday's debate. At a rally in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Biden claimed Planned Parenthood "under law cannot perform any abortions." In reality, the organization is the largest abortion racket in the country.
Hours later, none of the Big Three's Friday evening newscasts had covered Biden's patently false claim. But just two days earlier, these programs devoted a combined five minutes and 1 second on Wednesday to Mitt Romney's statement to The Des Moines Register that "there's no legislation with regard to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda." NBC's Brian Williams mouthed the Obama campaign's spin - that "what Mitt Romney said about abortion that sure sounds like a change."
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams recited Obama campaign talking points as he proclaimed: "What Mitt Romney said about abortion that sure sounds like a change."
Moments later, Williams attempted to frame Romney's innocuous comments on the subject to the Des Moines Register as a misstep: "Mitt Romney is trying to take advantage of a bounce coming off the last debate, but it was something he said on the subject of abortion that is getting a lot of the attention today and tonight. It's where we begin tonight..."
Liberals, Peggy Noonan noted on Sunday’s This Week roundtable, want Mitt Romney “to be more specific so that you can rouse people against” budget cuts to any program. Indeed, earlier in the program, host George Stephanopoulos cited Romney’s wish to end the federal subsidy for PBS, pointing out how PBS “only takes about 1/100th of one percent of budget” and asking if “it a mistake to target” Big Bird?
On Friday night, NBC’s Brian Williams provided a full brief in defense of PBS’s subsidy, misleadingly suggesting the end of the federal subsidy would mean the end to children’s television programming and forwarding its small share of the federal budget as a justification for it, but if you can’t eliminate the small stuff how will you ever take on the big stuff?
Reporting the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll numbers on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, political director Chuck Todd touted a rather obvious finding in the numbers, relentless media attacks on Mitt Romney have negatively affected how voters view the Republican nominee.
Todd proclaimed: "That 47% remark, it has left a mark, if you will. When we asked, 'Is there anything you've heard in the last few weeks that's made you more favorable or less favorable on Mitt Romney?', 51% said what they've heard has made them less favorable."
In a stunning omission on Wednesday's NBC Today, brief coverage of a 2007 video of Barack Obamacompletely ignored the then-Senator praising his controversial pastor Jeremiah Wright as a "great leader, not just in Chicago, but all across the country." The NBC morning show adopted a dismissive attitude toward the video, with co-host Savannah Guthrie leading off the broadcast: "Conservatives circulate a five-year-old video, in a move the Obama campaign calls desperate." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd further quoted Obama talking points: "In a transparent attempt to change the subject from his comments attacking half of the American people, Mitt Romney's allies re-circulated video of a 2007 event that was open to and extensively covered by the press at the time."
UPDATE: Still no ABC, CBS, NBC coverage of Univision's Fast and Furious report on Monday's evening newscasts or Tuesday's morning shows.
Over the weekend the Univision network broke major news in the Fast and Furious gunwalking scandal. They found 57 previously unreported guns used in crimes by Mexican cartels, but ABC, CBS and NBC have yet to report the Spanish-language network’s findings.
There were zero mentions on Sunday night’s ABC's World News and CBS's Evening News (NBC's Nightly News was pre-empted by Ryder Cup coverage) or on any of Monday’s morning shows. The blackout on ABC’s broadcasts is particularly confounding since they have an excerpt from Univision's September 30 report on ABC's official Web site. (video after the jump)
ABC's Jake Tapper's Thursday report on World News stands alone as the only Big Three coverage so far of what The Daily Beast's Eli Lake reported on Wednesday - that U.S. intelligence officials had "strong indications" within a day that Islamist terrorists were behind the September 11, 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi - not a mob enraged at a controversial Internet video.
By contrast, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw tried to point the finger at Mitt Romney on Friday's Today show for the media's apparent lack of curiosity at the inconsistencies in the Obama administration's narrative about the terrorist attack. Otherwise, NBC only aired two reports on the story since Wednesday - twice running the same Ann Curry interview of Libyan President Mohammed Magarief.
Economic growth grew at an incredibly sluggish 1.3 percent in the second quarter, revised down from 1.7 percent. According to business writer Jim Pethokoukis, this is "dangerously slow." However, NBC skipped the bad news for Barack Obama entirely. ABC allowed it a mere 21 seconds. CBS was the only network to allow the story a full report.
Although Nightly News correspondent Chuck Todd couldn't find time to mention the scant amount of growth, he did hype the fact that the President is trying "a new line." Todd then played a clip of the President calling "for a new economic patriotism." The journalist helpfully parroted that the President's "idea of economic patriotism includes tax hikes on the wealthy and more government spending on infrastructure."
ABC's Good Morning America hasn't once reported on U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's claim on the September 16, 2012 edition of This Week that the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was "a spontaneous - not a pre-meditated - response to what had transpired in Cairo." Even worse, the morning show hasn't reported on the subsequent developments on the consulate attack over the past 12 days that cast doubt on Ambassador Rice's statement.
NBC's Today show also hasn't covered Rice's talking points on the attack, after she appeared on Meet the Press on the same day as her This Week appearance. News reader Natalie Morales merely reported on September 19 that "the White House says there is currently no evidence that last week's deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya was planned and pre-meditated. Officials say it appears that the violence was sparked by that anti-Islam film made in the U.S." Two days later, Morales gave an update on how "the White House is now classifying the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya as a terrorist attack....But intelligence officials now believe it was a planned attack in the guise of a protest."
Both of those programs provided voluminous coverage of Romney's "47%" tape, but have no time to scrutinize the Obama administration's public statements about an incident that claimed the life of an American ambassador?
Leading off Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, fill-in anchor Savannah Guthrie declared the presidential race in one key battleground state all but over: "Tonight, both candidates are in Ohio as a spate of new polls shows the all-important bellwether may be slipping away for the Republican challenger."
In the report that followed, correspondent Ron Allen reiterated that "new polls show Ohio slipping away" from Romney and quickly asserted the cause: "Romney down by ten points in a new poll out this morning, and nearly that in another recent poll, after that video of Romney talking disparagingly about the 47% who pay no income tax."
At the top of Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams framed President Obama's address to the United Nations as him getting tough on Iranian nuclear ambitions: "Drawing the line. The President today with a strong new warning to Iran, plus what he had to say about the recent violence against Americans."
In the report that followed, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd touted that Obama "appeared to draw a real line in the sand on Iran's effort to build nuclear weapons." Todd then sneered that "the President's strong words weren't enough to satisfy Mitt Romney."
Repeating a common mythology that a person’s federal income tax rate equals the effective tax rate they actually pay after deductions, ABC’s Jonathan Karl on Friday night forwarded the canard that Mitt Romney’s 14.1 percent rate is lower than what a $75,000 earner pays. NBC’s Peter Alexander, however, correctly noted “the average middle class American family pays roughly 13 percent.”
On World News, Karl reported that Mitt Romney “made $13.7 million last year and paid nearly $2 million in taxes. His effective tax rate, 14.1 percent.” Then, without citing any source, Karl asserted: “That’s a lower rate than an auto mechanic who made $75,000 in pay.”
Mitt Romney on Wednesday put into play newly uncovered video of Barack Obama in 1998 advocating redistribution of wealth, but of the broadcast network evening newscasts, only the NBC Nightly News bothered to inform viewers of the display of Obama’s far-left economic philosophy. And that only came inside the newscast’s first of two stories on media-fueled fallout from Romney’s observation that 47 percent don’t pay income taxes.
“These are tough days for the Romney campaign,” NBC anchor Brian Williams led his program, declaring: “Inside 50 days to go now until the election, and they are dealing with something of a public relations disaster.”
Since September 2, NewsBusters has been 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 next week.
Click here for blog posts recounting the worst of 1988 through 2004. Today, the worst bias of 2005: NBC’s Brian Williams equates America’s Founding Fathers with the zealots running Iran; ex-New York Times editor Howell Raines goes on a post-Katrina rant about the human carnage caused by the Bush administration’s “churchgoing populism,” and Ted Turner tries to defend North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il . [Quotes and video below the jump.]
NBC and CBS felt compelled Tuesday night to fact check Mitt Romney’s assertion “47 percent of Americans pay no income tax” and both had to acknowledge his accuracy, but then tried to undermine Romney’s point. Noting the statistic had become “Tea Party mantra,” NBC’s Andrea Mitchell allowed “it’s true that approximately 47 percent of Americans do not pay federal income taxes, as Mitt Romney said, but,” she quickly added, “not because they are living off of the 53 percent.”
Over on CBS, Anthony Mason relayed how “Roberton Williams with the non-partisan Tax Policy Center says, to be precise, 46.4 percent of Americans pay no federal tax. But,” Mason insisted, “it’s more complicated than that.”
As the broadcast network evening newscasts on Monday recounted protests in Beirut, Lebanon, organized by Hezbollah, only the CBS Evening News noted that the U.S. government considers Hezbollah to be a "terrorist group," while ABC called it a "militant group" and NBC gave the organization no label.
As he listed Muslim countries where protests against the United States had been occurring, CBS anchor Scott Pelley noted:
Once again serving as the broadcast arm of MSNBC, Monday’s NBC Nightly News devoted a full segment to the supposed outrage over what Mitt Romney said in a surreptitiously-recorded video promoted by the left wing Mother Jones magazine, remarks which Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz and Rachel Maddow put at the top of their MSNBC shows. And CNN soon joined in the hysteria with Anderson Cooper 360 treating it as “Breaking News.”
Of course, Romney had simply provided an obvious assessment of the state of the electorate where many have an “entitlement” mentality and nearly half avoid the income tax.
Barely able to contain his glee over the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll on Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams enthused to political director Chuck Todd: "...some of these numbers are ahead of the wildest dreams of the Democratic campaigners." Todd agreed: "They are." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd touted leads for President Obama in the battleground states of Virginia, Ohio, and Florida, and eagerly noted: "...the right track, wrong track numbers, for the first time since we've been testing in these state polls, the right track is over 40%." Todd then cited partisan talking points to explain the modest improvement: "Some Democrats have been telling me, that's the Clinton bump, referring to Bill Clinton's speech [at the Democratic National Convention]."
The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) Wednesday evening newscasts devoted more than 9 minutes (9 minutes, 28 seconds) to the flap over Mitt Romney's statement criticizing the administration's handling of the Libyan crisis but spent just 25 seconds on questions regarding Barack Obama's Middle-East policy, a greater than 20-to-1 disparity.
NBC's Brian Williams opened the Nightly News telling viewers: "Romney is taking fire tonight for the way he went on the attack politically...somehow [Romney] wanted today to be about America apologizing for its values, even after it became clear today was about the death of an American ambassador and others." CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley dutifully noted: "Democrats said the governor had injected politics into a tragedy." Over on ABC's World News Diane Sawyer announced: "Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney under fire for comments he made about the upheaval as it was unfolding." (video after the jump)
In light of the tragic events that just transpired in Egypt and Libya on Sept. 11, both presidential candidates felt obligated to host separate press conferences that aired just 30 minutes apart. In yet another example of the ‘journalistic integrity’ that saturates the MSNBC network, the Jansing and Co. hostess and guests openly showed favoritism to President Obama, who was glaringly devoid of any time for questions from the media.
Anchor Chris Jansing engaged in a conversation with NBC’s Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd that continued off and on throughout the allotted hour. Republican challenger Romney was taken to task for sharing his opinion on the matter without the benefit of “any foreign policy experience,” or as they described it as “launching a political attack” after the murder of an ambassador.
That it’s entirely possible there were dangerously incompetent policies in place regarding diplomatic security in both Cairo and Benghazi were not even considered.