All three evening newscasts on Wednesday continued to ignore a super PAC ad by top Obama supporters that accuses Mitt Romney of, essentially, killing a woman. At the same time, CBS and NBC amplified the Obama administration's "war on women" talking point, playing up attacks from Sandra Fluke, who previously tangled with Rush Limbaugh over contraception. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
NBC and CBS uncritically parroted a vicious new campaign quote from the President: "They [Republicans] want to take us back to the policies more suited to the 1950s than the 21st century." NBC's Andrea Mitchell cheered, "Playing a starring role for the first time in the campaign, Sandra Fluke, the former law student who became a lightning rod after Rush Limbaugh denounced her for supporting contraception rights."
“On our broadcast tonight,” Brian Williams teased his lead story Wednesday night, “extreme heat, but more than that: the official confirmation that came today that it has never been this hot in America.” Citing a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report which pegged the average July temperature in the lower 48 at 77.6 degrees fahrenheit, Williams proceeded to hyperventilate over the “official word that arrived today that” July was “the hottest of all time since they started keeping records.”
Yet, as fill-in CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer noted in a short item deep in his newscast, the “previous record for a single month [was] 77.4 in July 1936 during the dust bowl.” [jpg]
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, as correspondent Andrea Mitchell filed a report recounting that President Obama is running ahead of Mitt Romney with female voters, Mitchell referred to liberal birth control activist Sandra Fluke's political activities as a push for "contraception rights" rather than more accurately relaying her desire to force health insurance to pay for birth control pills for women as if they could not choose to purchase such products on their own.
It took NBC News nearly a week to mention Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's sleazy and unfounded charge that Mitt Romney failed to pay taxes, with chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd declaring on Nightly News Tuesday: "Reid has just as doggedly refused to divulge his source or back up his claim with documentation. And the White House has stood aside, letting the poisoned atmosphere fester."
By waiting five days to get around to the Democratic mud-slinging, NBC was able to diffuse the low-ball tactics as just another part of a contentious campaign season, with anchor Brian Williams announcing: "Also, getting personal in the race for president. Tonight what the candidates are now calling each other....the dialogue has become a bit less than presidential in the past few days."
Introducing a report on the ongoing civil war in Syria on Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams made sure to promote PR from the White House: "...the State Department and the Pentagon are now working together on plans for Syria after Assad, hoping to avoid the chaos they believe broke out because of the lack of planning for a post-Saddam Iraq." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
However, the report that followed by chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel seemed to undermine the notion of a well-planned U.S. strategy in Syria against the Assad regime: "A rebel commander with a hundred fighters in [the city of] Aleppo told us today if the rebels don't receive a massive influx of weapons within the next 72 hours, they'll have to give up the fight."
The three networks have, thus far, ignored the revelation that American taxpayers will only recover a mere $24 million of the $527 million lost on Solyndra, a new report by the Dow Jones newswire revealed last week. The evening newscasts and morning shows have skipped the announcement.
The Washington Examiner explained on Thursday, "In a little-noticed move, Solyndra LLC officially released it bankruptcy plan this week. The official word from it is that taxpayers will recover only $24 million of the about $527 million." The only utterance of Solyndra last week came when Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus brought it up on Sunday's This Week.
In a glowing tribute to radical left-wing commentator Gore Vidal on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams could barely contain his adoration for the "prolific writer" who was "unquestionably brilliant." Williams further gushed that Vidal, "got his larger wish in life, to be remembered as both a polemicist and a man of letters. One of the most active and agile minds of his generation."
Compare that fawning eulogy to the shots Williams took at conservative icon William F. Buckley, upon his death in 2008: "Buckley paid dearly for some of his words: His defense of Senator Joe McCarthy, his early views on race and remarks he made about AIDS, saying those with AIDS should be tattooed to prevent its spread."
On its Wednesday evening and Thursday morning newscasts, CBS didn't file one report or news brief on the controversial federal abortifacient/contraception mandate going into effect. Even worse, the only mention of religious liberty scandal over the regulation was CBS This Morning playing a clip of liberal comedian Stephen Colbert making fun of it.
ABC's Diane Sawyer heralded the mandate taking effect as "an important day for women's health" on Wednesday's World News, and forwarded the White House's talking points on the regulation: "Religious employers, like Catholic charities and hospitals, do not have to directly include free birth control under their health plans." On NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams lamented that "simply by taking effect, it started up the health care fight all over again."
Mitt Romney's week-long international trip resulted in unrelentingly negative coverage from the big three broadcast networks, a stark change from the glowing press awarded to then-candidate Barack Obama's world tour in 2008. While Obama was treated like a rock star (from the Associated Press: "It's not only Obama's youth, eloquence and energy that have stolen hearts across the Atlantic...."), Romney endured a focus on gaffes and the trivial.
MRC analysts examined all 21 ABC, CBS and NBC evening news stories about Romney's trip to London, Israel and Poland between July 25 and July 31. Virtually all of these stories (18, or 86%) emphasized Romney's "diplomatic blunders," from his "golden gaffe" at the Olympic games to "missteps" that offended the Palestinians.
On Aug. 1, CBS Evening News ignored the massive crowds that turned out that day at Chick-Fil-A restaurants around the nation in support of traditional marriage, free speech, or simply tasty fast food. ABC and NBC, by contrast, covered “Chick-Fil-AAppreciation Day” with full and surprisingly respectful reports on their evening newscasts.
The August 1 episode of CBS Evening News completely failed to mention the massive crowds at Chick-Fil-A restaurants across the country. And it’s not as though the network was unaware of it. CBSNews.com mentioned Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day (without providing video), reporter Stephanie Condon treated the event as an inside-the-beltway political affair, calling it a “rallying point for conservative pols.” The site also featured commentary from writer Erik Sherman, arguing that Chick-fil-A’s “brand perception” took a major hit because of Chick-Fil-A President Dan Cathy’s remarks.
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams smugly dismissed Mitt Romney's overseas trip as having, "ended today almost the way it started here in London, with controversy, some hurt feelings, and some raw tempers. Campaigning back home in the states is hard enough. The stakes weren't supposed to be this high for the campaign overseas." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Correspondent Peter Alexander followed: "...this trip has been supposed to be, according to his advisors, a low-risk one....But it was at times marred by missteps. Romney offending his Olympic hosts and Palestinian leaders."
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams read a short item noting the decision of Ohio Republican Congressman Steve LaTourette to retire from the House of Representatives this year, noting that he is "one of the last GOP moderates in Congress."
The NBC anchor also relayed LaTourette's complaint that "compromise has now become a dirty word."
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Stephanie Gosk promoted the Occupy-Wall-Street-stye rhetoric of left-wing British Member of Parliament Oona King: "King believes economic inequality was a driving force behind London's riots last year....The physical recovery from the riots has been slow....But the effort to improve lives is even more difficult."
Gosk interviewed King as they walked through London's East End, near the Olympic Village: "This is not the London that tourists typically get to see. Here the double-dip recession has hit hard. Unemployment is over 14%." King lamented: "Huge, vast repositories of wealth. And yet, that wealth doesn't trickle down anywhere, you know?" Gosk helpfully added: "So, they can see it....but they can't get there."
Journalists are quite eager to undermine Mitt Romney’s trip. “A new diplomatic dust-up,” CBS anchor Scott Pelley teased Monday night, citing how “Mitt Romney in the Middle East says culture makes Israelis economically superior to Palestinians.” NBC’s Peter Alexander declared upsetting Palestinians meant Romney’s “day began in Israel with another diplomatic misstep” as ABC’s David Muir saw “another overseas controversy in a trip with missteps already.”
Muir also discovered, without citing any evidence, “fallout today from a question we asked Romney during our one-on-one last night on World News,” specifically Muir’s demand to know: “Was there ever any year when you paid lower than the 13.9 percent” income tax rate?
Only two minutes into Friday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Chris Jansing gushed over "sounds of unadulterated joy"at the opening of the 2012 Olympics and offered this bit of pro-Obama fluff: "From cheers for the torch making its way along the River Thames, to delighted children playing with First Soccer Mom Michelle Obama and superstar David Beckham."
Moments later, anchor Brian Williams continued the fawning: "It's the first time every nation has women athletes on the team. And for the first time on Team USA, the women outnumber the men, as they do in the work place and on college campuses in the U.S. So it's fitting the ranking ambassador from the U.S. is First Lady Michelle Obama..."
Sunday's CBS Evening News and the NBC Nightly News tried to spin negatively a vague statement by Mitt Romney advisor Dan Senor that the GOP presidential candidate would "respect" the Israeli government's decision if it chose to attack militarily Iran's nuclear capability, suggesting that the Romney campaign's words amounted to a criticism of the Obama administration, and thus a breach of protocol that American politicians in a foreign land should not criticize the U.S. government.
But the effort to paint the statement into a gaffe contrasts with the media silence in July 2008 when then-Senator Barack Obama, during a trip to Israel as he campaigned for the White House, claimed to be a member of a Senate committee on which he did not serve, in an effort to portray himself as tough on Iran, as he tried to take credit for the actions of the Senate Banking Committee.
In a live interview with Mitt and Ann Romney on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer fretted over the "very negative" presidential race and wondered: "Are you proud of the campaign you're running so far? Is this the campaign you'd like to run?"
Romney responded: "I'm very proud of the fact that my campaign is focused on the economy. It's focused on my vision for what I do to get more jobs for America. And about the President's-" Lauer interrupted: "And what President Obama has done wrong with the economy." Lauer pressed: "Do you think your campaign has been less negative than the Obama campaign?"
Wrapping up an interview with Mitt Romney in London on Wednesday, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams asked about a potential vice presidential pick in the most obnoxious way possible: "So here's a Republican official familiar with your campaign selection process, told the folks at Politico you are looking for a, quote, 'incredibly boring white guy' for your vice presidential nominee. Can you confirm or deny?" Romney quipped back: "You told me you were not available." Williams replied: "Touche, Governor." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In an interview with Mitt Romney in London on Wednesday, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams grilled the Republican candidate about releasing more tax returns: "People hear he's not going to release the rest of his returns and they wonder why. They wonder, is there a year there where he paid no taxes? They wonder about expensive horses and houses....what is it that is preventing you from releasing the rest of your returns?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In another question designed to portray Romney as secretive, Williams quoted New York Times columnist David Brooks exclaiming: "[Romney] has an amazing personal story....He can't talk about it because it involves Mormonism. He is personally a decent guy. For some reason he's not willing to talk about it. He's a hidden man." Williams fretted: "Are you a hidden man?"
Debuting the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, political director Chuck Todd concluded that campaign "hits seem to be taking a greater toll on Romney" and proclaimed: "Call it a likeability gap. 46% of voters told us they didn't like Romney personally. That compares to just 31% who said the same about the President." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
However, on Wednesday's Morning Joe on MSNBC, Todd admitted the poll was skewed: "...our sample was a little Democratic heavy."Hot Air examined the partisan breakdown of poll respondents and discovered just how "Democratic heavy" the survey was, with Democrats having a 12-point advantage over Republicans.
When Barack Obama insulted job creators everywhere, last Friday, by charging: "If you've got a business, you didn't build that, somebody else made that happen," the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks didn’t pounce on the politically damaging remark. It took five days and Romney making it the centerpiece of his speech on Tuesday before the first network mention - by Peter Alexander on last evening’s NBC Nightly News. In fact, Obama’s soundbite was ran exactly once, in the aforementioned Alexander report. Neither CBS or ABC ran Obama’s actual quote.
However, when former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, on Tuesday, said he wished Obama "would learn how to be an American" NBC jumped to report the story on the very same day on that evening’s Nightly News. CBS got to the Sununu remark on Wednesday’s This Morning. ABC’s World News and Good Morning America have yet to mention the Sununu statement.
Despite Mitt Romney clearly going on the offensive by seizing on President Obama's gaffe that business owners "didn't build" their businesses, on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Peter Alexander dismissed it as a futile effort: "...the Romney campaign right back where it started the day...on the defensive."
Early in the report, Alexander did his best to downplay Obama's comment that: "If you've got a business, you didn't build that, somebody else made that happen." Alexander spun that Obama made the remark,"While outlining his vision of American progress as a partnership between business and government last Friday."
All three evening newscasts on Tuesday and two out of the three morning shows on Wednesday skipped the dramatic story of an elderly Florida man who saved a cafe full of people from gun-wielding robbers. Only Good Morning America covered the story of seventy-one-year-old Samuel Williams using his own weapon to fend off attackers.
News reader Josh Elliot lauded the "gun-toting senior citizen" for his quick action and for "not taking it anymore." Co-host George Stephanopoulos narrated the video: "There he is right there. Takes them on. Saves the whole cafe." Elliott praised it as "remarkable." He misleadingly described, "Williams does have a gun license and is not expected to be charged." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Sunday's NBC Nightly News, CNBC chief Washington correspondent John Harwood warned that, unless the Romney campaign succeeds in changing the campaign subject away from Bain Capital, he could be "left out in the political wilderness pretty quickly" if both the Obama campaign and the media press Romney on the subject persistently.
After host Lester Holt asked "why is the question of when" Romney "was actually running things" at Bain Capital "so key," Harwood responded:
In a nasty rant at the end of Thursday's Rock Center on NBC, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams slammed the hosts of FNC's morning show for daring to criticize the uniforms for the U.S. Olympic team: "Trouble on Fox & Friends. It started when the morning show crew mocked the new Ralph Lauren outfits...." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After playing a clip of Gretchen Carlson being critical of berets being part of the uniform, Williams sneered: "The jingoism continued. Another host wondered why they couldn't wear something more American, like baseball caps or cowboy hats. Until the viewer e-mails started pouring in, reminding them some real Americans, U.S. soldiers, are issued berets."
All three morning shows on Thursday ignored the House vote to repeal Obamacare. Despite finding time for such important topics as women who are addicted to tanning, Good Morning America, as well as Today and CBS This Morning, skipped the latest on the President's unpopular legislation.
In contrast, all three evening newscasts on Wednesday did cover the story. Both CBS and ABC whined about Republicans holding yet another vote on Obamacare. World News anchor Diane Sawyer complained, "As ever, the vote now goes to the Senate, where it will almost certainly, once again, be voted down if it is even voted on at all." On the CBS Evening News, Scott Pelley lamented "how much it cost taxpayers for the House to repeal the law again and again."
As I noted yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) yesterday refused to call a vote on extending the Bush tax cuts, even though President Barack Obama days earlier urged passage of such tax cuts as soon as possible. Predictably, however, the July 11 editions of the network evening newscasts -- ABC's World News, the CBS Evening News, and NBC's Nightly News -- all ignored the development. Ditto with the network morning shows today.
Each evening newscast did, however, note the House vote to repeal ObamaCare, the first such vote after the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate as a tax.
On Tuesday night, all three network evening newscasts ran with stories on a newly released government report blaming man-made climate change for recent extreme weather. ABC's World News led the charge, as anchor Diane Sawyer sounded the alarm: "Hot planet. The world is heating up. And for the first time, a U.S. Government-backed report ties that searing heat, those epic storms, to man-made global warming."
Sawyer cited a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as a "major alert about the speed of climate change on this planet" and wondered if the study represented "a tipping point" on the issue. Turning to weather editor Sam Champion, Sawyer hoped there was "still time to do something." Champion proclaimed: "I would say is, now is the time we start limiting man-made greenhouse gases if we're starting to see that that is exactly what other studies are showing."
NBC, which shamefully ignored the "Fast and Furious" controversy for months, failed to cover on their newscasts Monday evening and Tuesday morning the FBI offering a combined $1 million reward for the capture of four suspects in the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
ABC devoted a full report to the FBI reward on Monday's World News, but omitted mentioning Attorney General Eric Holder's part in the controversy. On Tuesday, ABC's GMA and CBS This Morning both devoted news briefs to the new development in the Terry case, but like World News, the two programs didn't mention Holder's name in their stories. Anchor Diane Sawyer introduced correspondent Pierre Thomas's report on the reward, and got a detail wrong out of the gate:
Uniquely among the broadcast network evening newscasts, on Friday's NBC Nightly News, substitute host Kate Snow briefly noted that it was former President George W. Bush's 66th birthday, and that the former President was in Africa as part of an effort to fight against cancer on the Third World continent. Snow read the item: