Wednesday's NBC and CBS evening newscasts paid tribute to only the third Marine private ever, and the first since Vietnam, to be awarded the Silver Star, for heroism in the battle for Fallujah, who was killed in July during his third tour in Iraq. “At Camp Pendleton today,” NBC's Brian Williams reported at the end of his newscast, “a ceremony to honor a fallen U.S. Marine.” Williams outlined how “Corporal Sean Stokes was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, accepted by his dad for his heroism during the battle for Fallujah back in '04 when he was a private. Stokes is just the third buck private to receive the Silver Star in the past 40 years of U.S. military history, the first since the Vietnam war.”
The CBS Evening News concluded with a full story on the award to Stokes. Reporter Ben Tracy explained how Stokes was a “former athlete who chose the Marines over college after 9/11.” Noting he was “only a private,” Tracy related how “Sean stood out, often volunteering to go in first, directly in the line of fire. Wounded several times, he made it home twice.” Interspersed with reflection's from the Marine hero's father, Tracy observed that “this morning, on what would have been his 25th birthday, Sean was awarded the coveted Silver Star for courage in battle.”
Martin Fletcher, NBC News Correspondent and Tel Aviv Bureau Chief, has been known to hail Palestinians as "victims" before. He has also been known often to blame Israel for all the ills suffered by Palestinians, so Fletcher is an expert at assigning blame while excusing the behavior of Palestinians. Here is a story that fits in perfectly with Fletcher's penchant for blaming everyone but the guilty party along with extolling the supposed victimhood of the Palestinians.
Fletcher's tale starts with the pitiful story of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy who was shot in the neck by an "Israeli soldier" paralyzing him from the waist down. He was shot because he and his other young friends were throwing rocks at Israeli security forces. Apparently, those security forces had had enough of that nonsense.
However, when a presidential candidate accuses one of the leading broadcast anchors of "getting too many memos from the Clinton camp," we at NewsBusters have to take notice...while we chuckle, of course.
Here's the setup: Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama was Brian Williams' guest on NBC's "Nightly News" Monday, and was asked: "Let's talk about the Latino vote. Could you admit now, as we are one day away from super Tuesday, you perhaps didn't take it -- the shot at it seriously enough?"
Obama offered viewers the following absolutely delicious response (video available here, relevant section at minute 1:29):
After months of improving security in Iraq, the big network morning shows on Friday cited one horrific suicide bombing as proof that “mayhem and misery are back in Baghdad,” as CBS correspondent Mark Strassmann put it. But over the last five months, the broadcast networks have consistently reduced their coverage of Iraq, as if the story of American success in Iraq is less worthy of attention than their old mantra of American failure in Iraq.
Media Research Center analysts tracked all coverage of the Iraq war on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts from September 1 through January 31, and we documented a steady decline in TV coverage of Iraq that has coincided with the improving situation in Iraq. Back in September, the three evening newscasts together broadcast 178 stories about the war in Iraq; in January, that number fell to just 47, a nearly fourfold decrease. (See chart.)
The broadcast network anchors and reporters were almost as giddy as Barack Obama over liberal Democrat Ted Kennedy's endorsement of the presidential candidate. ABC, CBS and NBC all led Monday night with it and ABC's David Wright adopted campaign slogans as he enthused about how “today the audacity of hope had its rendezvous with destiny. The Kennedy clan anointed Barack Obama a son of Camelot.” CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric teased, “Passing the torch: Barack Obama is tapped as the candidate to continue the Kennedy legacy.” NBC's Lee Cowan, who earlier this month conceded “it's almost hard to remain objective” when covering Obama, showed he also has a soft spot for the Kennedys as he radiated over how “the endorsement brought the Kennedy mystique to this campaign, not in a whisper, but a roar.” Viewers then got a soundbite of Kennedy yelling during the event at American University.
[UPDATED with Nightline, 1:05 AM EST: With “New Son of Camelot” on screen over video of Obama and Ted Kennedy, anchor Terry Moran trumpeted the “new son of Camelot. Ted and Caroline Kennedy pass the torch to Barack Obama to carry the legacy of JFK.” Moran soon hailed how “the political world was transfixed by the spectacle of the most powerful Democratic family of the 20th century christening a new torch bearer for the 21st.” David Wright repeated his “the audacity of hope had its rendezvous with destiny” line before championing the “merging ideals from two different eras” as “Obama is now an adopted son of Camelot.”]
However, the glowing reception the $150-billion taxpayer-funded stimulus plan got from each of the network newscasts gave that impression last night.
"Cash is on the way," ABC's "World News" anchor Charles Gibson said. "The check is in the mail, or it will be to 117 million Americans. The president and congressional leaders reached agreement on a $150-billion economic stimulus package today. When passed by Congress, the package will result in the distribution of $100 billion to individuals and families. And it will mean businesses will get $50 billion in tax breaks."
Meacham appeared on Comedy Central's January 21 "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and told viewers the media gear reporting toward conflict.
"I absolutely believe that the media is not ideologically driven, but conflict driven," Meacham said. "If we have a bias it's not that people are socially liberal, fiscally conservative or vice versa. It is that we are engaged in the storytelling business. And if you tell the same story again and again and again - it's kind of boring."
American capitalism - it's so great even the Chinese Communist government loves it!
That's sounds like it ought to be a bumper sticker, but the January 16 "NBC Nightly News" advised it is something we should be cautious of.
Foreign investors have been on a buying spree in the U.S. stock markets - as stock prices have fallen with all the skittishness in the wake of the credit crunch.
"So far foreigners buying chunks of Wall Street has not triggered the same political uproar as a Dubai company's ill-fated effort to take over operations of U.S. ports, perhaps because politicians know the alternative could be painful," NBC correspondent Lisa Myers said.
Nine days after a glowing segment with Barack Obama, NBC's Brian Williams on Wednesday night again delivered a very friendly session with a Democratic presidential candidate, this time Hillary Clinton. Since the Iowa caucuses, Williams has not interviewed any of the Republican candidates for the NBC Nightly News, but last fall he did and displayed quite a contrast in approaches -- quizzing Republican Rudy Giuliani about controversies in his past while tossing softballs to Democrat John Edwards.
In the Wednesday NBC Nightly News segment, Williams provided a congenial chat with Clinton, showing her on a rope line and then wondering: “How do you explain the energy of a rope line to a rookie?” Raising her “emotional” moment, Williams cued her up: “How did that question convert itself, in your mind, into a moment of grace?” As for her Granite state comeback, simply: “What do you think happened in New Hampshire?” Williams ended by empathizing with her tough grind: “For the Senator from New York, the business of politics comes after the public events. Today it's a conference call with Democratic governors on the economy. Tonight it's on to Reno, tomorrow to California. And that's life on the road.” Standing in a holding room, he quipped: “At least the food on the road makes it all worthwhile.”
NBC didn't even air the most unctuous question Williams posed. An MSNBC.com online transcript and video of the entire 28-minute interview includes: “Akin to the question in New Hampshire, it has gotten personal quite early. How have you kept going?”
“In 2006, the Antarctic peninsula near South America lost 60 billion metric tons of ice; 132 billion tons disappeared in West Antarctica,” said Anne Thompson, NBC News chief environmental affairs correspondent. “Big numbers that could have a big impact.”
Thompson blamed mankind as the “prime suspect” for the changes – ignoring all other possibilities, despite some scientists that are skeptical of that theory.
On Friday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Jim Maceda reported that Europeans have an unusually high interest in this year's presidential election as "they say they'd be very happy with anyone who makes a clean break with the past eight years. In a word, change." Maceda also suggested that Hillary Clinton reminds some of President Bush because of her "talking tough on Iran and terrorism." Notably, while liberals have long criticized Bush for his "You're either with us or against us" line after the September 11th attacks, according to USA Today, Senator Clinton, a week before Bush's speech, used similar words as she argued that Bush should articulate "to every nation in this world, you're either with us or you're not, and there will be consequences." And, appearing on the CBS Evening News the same day, she spoke approvingly of Bush's plan to "make it clear that every nation has to either be with us or against us." (Partial audio available here.)
"Nightly News," however, based its report completely on a 78-year-old story who felt she was deceived.
"Reverse mortgages allow seniors 62 and older to borrow against the equity they've built up in their home," NBC correspondent Tom Costello said. "But upfront costs can be steep, $12,000 for Ms. Munoz. Then, her attorney claims, the sales agent who suggested the reverse mortgage sold the 78-year-old woman long-term investment annuities that don't mature until 2033. When she tried to withdraw some of that money, she faced a 20-percent penalty."
The morning after appearing with NewsBusters senior editor Tim Graham at the National Press Club (pictures and audio from that event posted below) to discuss the media's lack of interest in Hillary Clinton's role in Clinton administration scandals, MRC president and NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell appeared on the January 11 "Fox & Friends" to discuss NBC's gauzy treatment of Barack Obama.
On a Wednesday blog entry on The Daily Nightly, NBC anchor Brian Williams candidly admitted the media screwed up in expecting a massive Obama wave, but then said "virtually everyone got it wrong." He also said "Give us a few weeks – we will promptly forget the lessons of this debacle in polling, predictions and primary politics" and "live to screw up another day."
But then, Williams went back to swooning over the historic moments of Obama touching voters in Lebanon, New Hampshire, and his "beautiful, soaring concession speech." He even defended Obama for thinking he was going to win big: "A colleague of mine contends Obama got caught up in the history he was making. I don't think that's quite fair. The candidate didn't change his message as much as Iowa changed the way we heard it. That day, I saw people embrace Obama the way people embrace loved ones returning from foreign battlefields."
Doesn’t Williams see that once again, he’s only underlining his utter lack of objectivity and identifying himself as Swooner-in-Chief? (Another sign he doesn’t care about the appearance of objectivity: he allows this swoon to be cross-posted for the trendy Left at The Huffington Post). It seems more plausible that he wants fellow liberals to know that he is one of them and yes, he, too, is caught up in the magic.
On his blog The Daily Nightly, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams took offense at "spinning" about his Obama-swooning patter on MSNBC about how reporter Lee Cowan admitted they've found it hard to remain objective about the Obama phenomenon. NBC, biased? Williams said "rival political efforts" (the Clintons?) charged him with bias and that's "just ridiculous." The anchor demanded viewers look at NBC against and judge the "quality and fairness of our journalism." But isn't that a little like Gary Hart challenging reporters to look for Donna Rice? Exhibits of Cowan's liberal bias on the campaign (not to mention NBC's) have been posted here at NB. From the anchor's blog:
Lee admits "...it's almost hard to remain objective..." which as he implies is our goal in our work every day. He's referring to what all of us who have covered campaigns have felt from time to time: it's impossible to get the long view...the view from 40,000 feet...while operating at sea level, and inside the bubble.
Lee was talking about the swirl of excitement that has hit the Obama campaign after Iowa -- the crowds, the hoopla -- all of it. Today we learned that rival political efforts were spinning this as some kind of "bias" on the part of either Lee, or me, or this News Division, and that's just ridiculous. My response is as it always is in these situations: look at it again, listen to what's being said, and judge us by the quality and fairness of our journalism.
In interviews aired Monday night, NBC's Brian Williams slobbered over Barack Obama while CBS's Katie Couric told John McCain the surge in Iraq has not been a success and pressed Mitt Romney to apologize for his negative ads. Riding on a bus in New Hampshire the day before the Granite state's primary, Williams showed Obama the Newsweek with the Democratic candidate on the cover and wondered: “How does this feel, of all the honors that have come your way, all the publicity? Who does it make you think of? Is there, is there a loved one?”
This week's Newsweek cover has a picture of Obama with an Obama quote: “Our time for change has come.” The headline over the cover story by Richard Wolfe, a frequent guest of MSNBC's Keith Olbermann: “Inside Obama's Dream Machine.” The subhead hailed Obama as “an icon of hope.” Echoing that theme, Williams later observed how “in his stump speech, he now says 'we' instead of 'I.' The implication: What happened in Iowa was the start of a movement.”
Journalists often fret about Big Business. Yet their coverage leans so pro-union that they won't give the business side of the story - even when they ARE the business.
The writers' strike has cost the networks millions in lost ad revenue from the lack of new primetime and late-night shows. But now that late night lives again, the coverage is all about "awareness" of the writers' guild and the strike.
Once the late-night comedy shows returned January 2, a new controversy arose: guests who dared to cross the picket line to appear on the writer-less shows. One of those was Baptist preacher and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.
"I don't think Jesus would cross the picket line, no, I'm almost positive Jesus would be on our side," one striking writer said to CBS's January 3 "Early Show."
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, Andrea Mitchell showcased “a lifelong Republican, who twice voted for George Bush, now canvassing for Obama” as a “precinct captain” in Iowa. In an interview two months ago, however, Monica Green listed Ronald Reagan as the last Republican President with whom she “identified” and, asked whether she'd vote for Reagan if he were running against Barack Obama today, she equivocated as she implied Reagan was too anti-communist: “You mean if he was running against Obama today? Oh my goodness. That's a good question...His views on communism were probably not the view I would appreciate today. I've got a much more global perspective today, and Obama touches that.”
Mitchell and NBC producers hardly stumbled upon Green by accident since the official Barack Obama campaign site features a video of Green as one of its “Republicans for Barack.” In the NBC story, Mitchell cued up Green to explain how she rationalizes to her kids her party change: “In the beginning, they would call me and say, 'Who are you? You raised us to be Republicans. I don't understand.' And I just keep saying, 'Look at the problems in the world, and look at who you think is going to be able to solve these problems?'”
On Monday's "NBC Nightly News," correspondent Mike Taibbi oddly suggested that Barack Obama could be considered an "independent" or centrist politician as he included the liberal Senator as one of several politicians with an "independent streak" with whom New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been associated. Taibbi: "Bloomberg was a long-time Democrat, turned Republican mayor, turned Independent, who has kept company with others with an independent streak, from Senators Joe Lieberman and Barack Obama to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger." Such a juxtaposition seems especially out of place in light of National Journal's 2006 vote ratings which found that Obama had a more liberal voting record than all but nine of his Senate colleagues. (Transcript follows)
A “war on terror” is also a war on democracy? On Thursday’s NBC Nightly News, the broadcast closed with substitute anchor Lester Holt asking reporter Jim Maceda for his thoughts on the day’s top story, the assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. Maceda relayed that Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf would probably be saying “I told you so,” as he had warned against Bhutto holding a rally in the park in Rawalpindi. After the death, Maceda expected that Musharraf would “continue his crackdown on political rallies, on liberties, on protests, basically on democracy, all of that in the name of heightened security and Musharraf’s war on terror.”
MRC’s Kristine Lawrence found the item and offered the transcript:
According to MasterCard SpendingPulse, retail sales were up 3.6 percent during the holiday season - 2.4 percent excluding gas prices. But because it's not as big an increase as recent years have produced, the media reported it as bad news.
On NBC's "Nightly News," reporter Savannah Guthrie announced a "dramatic" 2.4 percent decrease in women's clothing sales. She didn't think the same percentage increase was "dramatic," however. Instead, she referred to the overall sales increase as "disappointing."
Other media labeled the figures "dismal," "small," "weak," "bleak" and "a clear sign that the economy is slowing down." Most made sure to point out, like "Good Morning America's" Ryan Owens, that the increase is "the smallest in four years."
On Friday's "Countdown," viewers were treated to a retrospective of MSNBC host Keith Olbermann's series of "Special Comment" attacks on conservatives, featuring four of his favorites from the year 2007. An announcer teased the show glorifying Olbermann while intermixing complimentary quotes from various media with clips of Olbermann reading his "Special Comments." The announcer read a quote from "Playboy" calling the MSNBC host the "truth teller in chief," and a quote from the "Akron Beacon Journal" claiming that he is "the one journalist actually working to save the democracy." Among the quotes from Olbermann featured in the teaser was the MSNBC host's charge that "the presidency of George W. Bush has now devolved into a criminal conspiracy to cover the ass of George W. Bush." (Transcript follows)
Nothing is deadlier to a campaign than a rumor that a candidate might be dropping out. But NBC has seen fit to suggest that Rudy Giuliani might be withdrawing from the presidential race based on what it itself calls "speculation" in the blogosphere.
NBC Nightly News weekend anchor Lester Holt interviewed John Harwood on this evening's edition.
LESTER HOLT: Let's turn to Rudy Giuliani. He's had a health scare, he's had a drop in the polls. You've seen it in the blogosphere: a lot of speculation as to whether he'll stay in this race. What do you think?
Viewers of ABC's World News on Tuesday night learned of good news in the Pentagon's latest quarterly report on conditions in Iraq, but the positive developments went unnoted on CBS while NBC, the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, AP and McClatchy all stressed the negatives in the status report. ABC anchor Charles Gibson pointed out that “in the past, these reports have offered a brutally negative assessment” but the new one “shows real progress, across the board. On security, the report says weekly IED attacks have dropped 68 percent since June. The number of U.S. troop deaths from IEDs fell to the lowest level since January 2006.” Gibson proceeded to cite lower inflation and a boost in electricity production.
Wednesday's New York Times turned that into: “Pentagon Says Services in Iraq Are Stagnant.” USA Today headlined an AP dispatch in Wednesday's edition, “Pentagon: Transition to Iraqi security forces lags.” The Washington Post's story: “Iran Continues to Support Shiite Militias in Iraq, Pentagon Says.” The Washington bureau of McClatchy Newspapers, which infamously headlined an October story, “As Violence Falls in Iraq, Cemetery Workers Feel the Pinch,” headlined a Tuesday story: “Despite drop in violence, Pentagon finds little long-term progress in Iraq.” The Los Angeles Times provided an exception to the downbeat spin with an article which echoed what ABC stressed: “Pentagon reports security gains in Iraq.”
As Eat the Press has reported, NBC Nightly News has a famous new voice pitching Brian Williams at the program's introduction every night. It’s the actor Michael Douglas, best known as Aaron Sorkin’s liberal "American President" and as the evil Gordon Gekko character in the Oliver Stone Decade of Greed movie "Wall Street."
Douglas announces: "From NBC News world headquarters in New York, this is NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams."
It seemed a little under modulated on Debut Night, or maybe it just doesn’t match up to the James Earl Jones "This....is CNN" sonorous standard. But it’s easy to remember how much all the networks loved the Gordon Gekko line to sum up those greed-head Ronald Reagan 1980s, as we wrote in our newsletter at the time:
Brian Williams Veteran journalist who became anchor of NBC Nightly News in 2004, replacing Tom Brokaw.
My nominee for 2007 Person of the Year is a woman--a woman with a history of abuse, a woman who has never run for elective office, someone we all know, someone who makes her presence known on a daily basis in all our lives and, for my money, is better than any male alternative. That woman is Mother Earth. I think the environment is the compelling issue of our time.
Yes, Time really felt the need to inform readers that Williams anchors the "Nightly News," although he's done so for three years now.
The Associated Press is reporting a second Hillary Clinton campaign volunteer has been shown the door for furthering rumors about rival Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) being a "Muslim possibly intent on destroying the United States.":
The Clinton campaign has decried the rumors as offensive and outrageous, and last week forced volunteer Jones County coordinator Judy Rose to resign after learning that she forwarded a such an e-mail on Nov. 21. But it turns out Rose wasn't the only one.
Linda Olson, a volunteer coordinator in Iowa County, had forwarded a similar version on Oct. 5, without comment, to 11 people. One of the recipients was Ben Young, a regional field director for Democrat Chris Dodd's campaign, who provided a copy to The Associated Press on Sunday.
As NewsBusters editor Brent Baker noted in an October 31 post, NBC "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams tossed Obama a softball at an interview on the matter of the Illinois Democrat being subtly "swift-boated" about his religion.
Williams hinted that Republicans were most likely to unfairly smear Obama, but given the fact that TWO Hillary Clinton workers have been given the boot thus far, what are the chances Williams will apply the left-wing "swift-boating" canard to Hillary Clinton? (emphasis mine):
Asked by NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt on Sunday evening about how a new MSNBC/Mason-Dixon poll found that Iraq is not “the dominating issue” as “the economy is immensely important to voters,” Tim Russert suggested Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani will have “to re-calibrate” for “a bread and butter election” since “with the surge in Iraq and the level of American deaths declining, it is off the front pages.” Iraq is also now of less interest to the television networks. A MRC study released last week documented how Iraq stories on the three broadcast network evening newscasts fell from 178 in September to 68 during November, “with only eleven (16%) actually from the war zone itself.”