After seven weeks of the news media deriding Sarah Palin, Brian Williams and Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday night seemed to delight in emphasizing how, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll which led the NBC Nightly News, Palin is hurting McCain as Obama surges ahead. And Williams touted Colin Powell's Sunday endorsement of Barack Obama as “the shot heard 'round the world.” After reciting how the survey of registered voters put Obama up by ten points, 52 to 42 percent, Williams asserted: “Perhaps more dangerous for the GOP ticket, most of those polled do not believe Sarah Palin is qualified to be President, by a margin of 55 percent to 40 percent.”
However, take a look at the PDF of the full poll, which did not pose the same question about Obama, and you learn that despite the media's pounding the public perception of her qualifications has been remarkably consistent across three NBC/WSJ surveys (see question 29d) with more considering her unqualified than qualified not anything new: 40 percent called her “qualified” in the September 19-22 poll, 41 percent replied qualified in the poll conducted October 4-5 and she returned to 40 percent in this new survey. Meanwhile, “not qualified” grew only slightly, from 49 to 50 to the current 55 percent which Williams treated as big news.
Over the past few days, the Obama campaign has been claiming — both in ads and in statements by Barack Obama himself — that John McCain would “cut” Medicare benefits by “$882 billion,” a charge that the Associated Press called “shaky” and that FactCheck.org bluntly dismissed as “bogus” and “false.”
Yet of the three broadcast networks, only ABC News has thus far joined the condemnation of Obama’s deceptive ad. NBC on Monday would only go so far as to say “McCain’s advisors say that’s not true...” — implying that it’s merely a partisan difference of opinion — while CBS has thus far refrained from questioning Obama’s truthfulness on this issue.
For weeks now, the networks have complained about the McCain campaign’s supposed nasty and unfair campaign attacks against Obama, so when will NBC and CBS join ABC in punishing this nasty and unfair charge from the Democrats?
Twisting in the knife. While Barack Obama gets gushing coverage (ABC's Jake Tapper marveled on Monday's World News over Obama's “rather unbelievable weekend where he had his largest campaign crowd ever -- 100,00 in St Louis -- he announced record-breaking fundraising, $150 million in September and, of course, he secured the endorsement of that Republican Secretary of State, retired General Colin Powell”), ABC and CBS took gratuitous shots at John McCain and Sarah Palin, twisting upbeat events and a Joe Biden gaffe into negatives for the Republican ticket while NBC skipped over Biden's warning Obama's election will invite “an international crisis.”
ABC reporter Ron Claiborne cited McCain's “concentrated attack on Obama as not just a tax raiser, but someone whose policies are socialist. McCain never utters the S-word himself. That's left to his running mate.” But, he warned, “Palin may be a damaged carrier of the McCain message.” Claiborne then paired her Saturday night success with a negative poll finding as he noted “her appearance this weekend on Saturday Night Live was a boost for the show's ratings, but an ABC News poll finds that 52 percent of voters said McCain's choice of Palin made them less confident of his judgment.”
Journalists on TV Sunday heralded the importance and impact of Colin Powell's long-expected endorsement of Barack Obama which he made on Meet the Press. Later in that show, NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell touted Powell's endorsement and critique of the McCain campaign as “a very powerful political statement.” On the same panel with Mitchell, Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham declared that “having Colin Powell endorse the Democratic nominee for President is like having the seal of approval from the most important military figure of the age.”
MSNBC was so excited by the news the channel produced a special Sunday Hardball devoted entirely to Powell's news. Chris Matthews teased: “Colin Powell, right in the kisser. Barack Obama gets the endorsement of the year. Let's play Hardball.” Cuing up a Meet the Press re-play at the end of the 5 pm EDT hour, Matthews celebrated: “This is history in the making, on Meet the Press, right now.”
NFL football bumped the EDT/CDT CBS Evening News, but both ABC and NBC made Powell their lead. With “Major Endorsement” as it's on-screen heading, ABC anchor Dan Harris teased, “Tonight on World News: On a roll. Obama wins a major endorsement from a major Republican.” CNN's 10 PM EDT Newsroom, which dedicated its first 30 minutes to Powell, plastered “Big-Time Endorsement” on screen before anchor Don Lemon wondered: “I know it is important, but just how important is this?”
Friday's NBC Nightly News devoted a story to how around the world “people want to turn a page on the Bush years” and, as if it's relevant, “if the world had a vote, Barack Obama would win in a landslide.” A suggestion to viewers on what they must do to restore America's honor? Reporter Dawna Friesen warned that the next President “faces a grim reality: Much of the world deeply distrusts, even dislikes, the United States” and she rued “much of the sympathy and solidarity that existed after 9/11 evaporated during the Bush years.”
Pointing to Iraq as the primary culprit (“so many believed it was invaded on false pretenses”), Friesen also highlighted “other reasons,” such as how “after Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. is perceived by many as a violator rather than an upholder of human rights” and “America is seen contributing, but not doing much to solve, global warming.” From Istanbul, she concluded:
Here in Turkey, as in much of the world, people want to turn a page on the Bush years. In fact, polls show the image of the U.S. has improved slightly this year simply because President Bush is leaving. And, that if the world had a vote, Barack Obama would win in a landslide. Regardless of who wins, the world is clamoring for a new America in 2009.
Network polls put McCain-Palin ten-plus points behind Obama-Biden and Brian Williams introduced Thursday's NBC Nightly News by asserting “some senior Republicans are getting edgy at the prospect of a long up hill climb in a short amount of time,” but Williams and other journalists may not be so confident of an Obama victory -- how else to explain NBC's decision to air hit piece Thursday evening about Sarah Palin's husband Todd? Or maybe it just reflects continued animosity.
With “Palin abused her power” on screen with a picture of Todd and Sarah Palin, from Alaska reporter John Larson related that in the “troopergate” probe “state investigators noted in their report the pressure Todd Palin used to try to get his brother-in-law fired, and that Governor Palin’s firing” of public safety commissioner Walter Monegan, “who resisted that pressure, was an abuse of power, though she did not break any laws.” Nice caveat there.
Larson framed his story around how, horror of horrors, “state employees testified 'he had significant influence' on government affairs, that he occupied the Governor's office at least half the time.” Larson intoned, as if it were some kind of new and damaging revelation: “In fact, in this, his first nationally televised interview” Monegan “told NBC News Todd attended the Governor's closed cabinet meetings.”
Three weeks out from Election Day, surely more Americans are tuning into the Big 3 networks' evening newscasts, right?
In the past two weeks, Big 3 evening newscast viewership has actually declined by 360,000, or 1.6%. What's more, in percentage terms, viewership among "The Demo" of ages 25-54 has declined even further (220,000, down 3.1%).
On Monday, NewsBusters wondered how much coverage the sex scandal involving Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Fl.) -- the Democrat Congressman who in 2006 won the seat previously held by the disgraced Mark Foley -- would get.
Early indications suggest that as far as the television news outlets are concerned, the answer is "not much."
In fact, though all three broadcast network evening news programs covered the Foley sex scandal when it was first revealed on September 29, 2006, not one of them felt that the man who replaced him admitting to having an affair with a former campaign staffer was at all newsworthy.
A large front-page photo and above-the-fold story in Friday morning’s New York Times offered more evidence that the troop surge that Barack Obama and Joe Biden vehemently opposed last year has substantially improved the lives of everyday Iraqis. The headline, “As Fears Ease, Baghdad Sees Walls Tumble,” pointed to a new phase in the Iraqi capital, one where some of the cement barricades that divided Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods are now being torn down.
“The slow dismantling of the concrete walls is the most visible sign of a fundamental change here in the Iraqi capital. The American surge strategy, which increased the number of United States troops and contributed to stability here, is drawing to a close. And a transition is under way to the almost inevitable American drawdown in 2009,” the Times reported.
But over the last few months, the big three broadcast networks have paid extremely little attention to the progress in Iraq. ABC’s World News last presented a report from Iraq on September 16 — 23 days ago — as reporter Jonathan Karl covered the ceremony in which General David Petraeus handed his over his command over to General Ray Odierno. NBC Nightly News last carried a report from Iraq on September 7, more than a month ago. And the CBS Evening News hasn’t broadcast a story from Iraq since July 31, 70 days ago.
NBC anchor Brian Williams reported Wednesday night “there were no devastating or towering moments in the Obama/McCain debate in Nashville last night,” but he insisted, though neither ABC nor CBS mentioned them in their next day stories, “two moments from last night loomed large today.” Both, no surprise, were supposed insults from John McCain, but before getting to those, reporter Andrea Mitchell focused on the “rowdy” McCain and Palin crowds and elevated the importance of a local Lehigh County, Pennsylvania GOP official who dared use Obama's full name:
At one point, someone shouted “off with his head” about Obama. And the Republican County Chairman, William Platt, asked, “Imagine if you woke up on November 5th and Barack Obama -- Barack Hussein Obama -- was our new President?” The campaign later said: “We do not condone this inappropriate rhetoric.” But that kind of rhetoric is becoming commonplace, especially at Sarah Palin's rallies. Today Joe Biden challenged her.
After a clip of Biden castigating Palin, Mitchell relayed how “Democrats are also buzzing about McCain's debate performance last night, saying he seemed dismissive and disrespectful when he referred to Obama as 'that one,'” a reference she asserted has “spawned howls and a cottage industry of headlines on liberal blogs and even T-shirts on Web sites.” Again, for expert condemnation of McCain she went to the Democratic VP candidate: “Biden with Ann Curry on Today explained...” Mitchell then moved to the second McCain foul: “Critics also jumped on McCain for seeming to patronize one questioner in the debate, Oliver Clark, who asked what it will take to help people having a difficult time in the economic crisis.”
When Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld testified before the House Oversight Committee Oct. 6, the media criticized his wealth and spending amidst financial turmoil in his company and on Wall Street. But conspicuously missing was the story of Fuld's political contributions.
In the latest news from the actions have consequences department, Brian Williams recently told David Letterman that the McCain camp is punishing him by not allowing him to interview Sarah Palin because the McCain camp is mad at MSNBC's extreme leftism as evinced by Chris "Thrill up my leg" Matthews and Keith Olbermann. Is Brian crying? There's no crying in broadcasting!
During his visit on The Late Show with David Letterman, Brian Williams admitted that he is the only network anchor that has yet to be granted an interview with Governor Palin but that he "cannot wait" to interview her.
Update's Update: I have been assured by IT that we are FINALLY ready to go with this.
The American people in poll after poll and in greater and growing numbers are railing against the egregious liberal bias of the press. And nowhere are the media more horrendously slanted than in their coverage of the presidential campaign of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. They are (to say the least) very, very sweet on him.
The MRC has put together this college basketball tournament-style bracket event, the Sweet-On-Obama Sixteen Media Bias Tournament, so that you, the angered members of the media’s audience can vote for who gives Sen. Obama the most loving and fawning coverage of all.
It was eight years ago this week that France 2 TV introduced the world to Mohammed al-Dura, the Palestinian boy who was allegedly shot and killed during a gunfight between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen, in a video whose authenticity has increasingly been called into question years after it inspired anti-Semitic violence around the world. The American news media not only highlighted the story -- as the ABC, CBS and NBC evening and morning newscasts collectively aired the video at least 28 times between September 30, 2000, and June 30, 2003 -- but the networks also showed other clips depicting Palestinians involved in fighting, supposedly with Israelis, that have been challenged by some media analysts, calling into question how many of the scenes shown by American media during times of Israeli-Palestinian conflict may be faked video that were passed off to international media as genuine. ABC's Good Morning American notably seems to have ignored the al-Dura story.
Boston University Professor Richard Landes has been a leader in delving into the practice by some Palestinian cameramen of staging scenes of violence to be used as propaganda against Israel. Landes notably took on CBS’s 60 Minutes in the film Pallywood, the first in a series of short documentaries produced by the Boston University professor. On his Web site, theaugeanstables.com, Landes recounts his unsuccessful attempts to convince the American news media to help expose the Pallywood hoax video phenomenon. While he recounts that American journalists he spoke with did generally agree with him that the deceptive practice likely exists, they were reluctant to be perceived as breaking neutrality by siding with Israel over the Palestinians, as he encountered a view that it would not be “even-handed” to relay such unflattering activities by one side without finding similar examples from the other side. Professor Landes also cited an unnamed journalist at ABC as contending that there would be little “appetite” for the subject at his network. On his Web site, theaugeanstables.com, Landes recalls these conversations:
Before Monday's House vote on the largest government bailout in American history, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cali.), in potentially one of the most poorly-timed displays of partisanship in recent memory, blamed President Bush and Republicans for the turmoil in the financial services industry (video embedded right).
Such ill-advised finger pointing seemed to surprise press members of all shapes and sizes as some prominent print media outlets including the Washington Post and the New York Times quickly published articles quoting Republicans who blamed the bill's failure on Pelosi's hyper-partisan speech.
On the television side, CNN aired Republican reaction to the Speaker's comments moments after the votes were counted (partial transcript and embedded video follow):
Since Friday’s presidential debate, all three major broadcast networks have highlighted one of Barack Obama’s more commanding moments when he charged that John McCain was wrong in some of his pre-Iraq war predictions, but the media have so far ignored Obama’s incorrect assertion that "there was no Al-Qaeda" presence in Iraq before America’s invasion in 2003. Before the 2003 invasion, various news sources – some American, some from other countries – were already citing the governments of various countries as they reported that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the former leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, not only was already in Iraq plotting attacks to be carried out in Europe, but that he already had an association with Osama bin Laden and had spent time in Afghanistan. But during Friday’s debate, Senator Obama asserted: "Now, keep in mind that we have four times the number of troops in Iraq, where nobody had anything to do with 9/11 before we went in, where, in fact, there was no Al-Qaeda before we went in, but we have four times more troops there than we do in Afghanistan."
By contrast, ABC, CBS, and NBC have all played the following soundbite of Obama from the debate which is more favorable to the Illinois Democrat: "John, you like to pretend like the war started in 2007. You talk about the surge. The war started in 2003. And, at the time, when the war started, you said it was going to be quick and easy, you said we knew where the weapons of mass destruction were. You were wrong. You said that we were going to be greeted as liberators. You were wrong. You said that there was no history of violence between Shia and Sunni. And you were wrong."
Notably, back in January 2003 and again in March 2004, the NBC Nightly News relayed claims that the Bush administration had "passed up several opportunities to take [Zarqawi] out well before the Iraq war began." The below was first posted on February 29 of this year, and lists some of the relevant reporting on Zarqawi from various sources and countries:
Wednesday morning, ABC News and the Washington Post released a new poll showing Barack Obama leading John McCain by 9 points, 52% to 43%. The next day, NBC News and the Wall Street Journal released a poll showing a much tighter race — 48% for Obama, 46% for McCain.
Any guesses as to which poll excited the press more? And which poll has come under fire for over-sampling Democrats?
ABC, naturally, reported its own poll on Wednesday’s Good Morning America, with Diane Sawyer touting at the top of the broadcast: “Breaking news this morning: Barack Obama gains ground in a new ABC News poll, a nine-point lead over John McCain.” The on-screen graphic exclaimed: "Obama Surges Ahead"
The night before CBS's Katie Couric will sit down with Sarah Palin to discuss foreign policy and just under two weeks after ABC's Charles Gibson got three interview sessions over two days with Palin in Alaska, the NBC Nightly News, the only broadcast network evening newscast snubbed so far by Palin, devoted a full story to how reporters were initially barred from her photo-ops with foreign leaders and her general lack of availability to the press.
“The McCain campaign has been launching something of a campaign against the news media these days, and when things heated up for a time today, we almost didn't see those pictures” of her in Manhattan with Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai, Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe as well as Henry Kissinger. Reporter Savannah Guthrie explained how “campaign officials invited the media to attend the beginning of the meeting but at the last minute banned reporters, a departure from the usual practice, saying only photographers would be allowed. When news organizations threatened to pull the cameras if reporters were banned, the campaign relented.” Guthrie rued:
In the month since Palin joined the ticket, she’s granted just two major interviews, appeared at one joint town hall and held no news conferences. Reporters on the trail rarely see her.
For years, NewsBusters has not only pointed out liberal bias in traditional media outlets, but also when it occurs in sports coverage.
In a fine example of why this is so important, ABC sportscaster Suzy Shuster on Tuesday published a letter at the Huffington Post begging actress Tina Fey to make weekly appearances as Gov. Sarah Palin on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" in order to get Barack Obama elected president.
I kid you not.
Here are some of the lowlights of this disgraceful piece (emphasis added, photo courtesy Boston Herald):
Notes on Friday night coverage of the Wall Street bail out:
On the NBC Nightly News, the always hyperbolic Jim Cramer saw “Great Depression II” avoided by the rescue effort, anchor Brian Williams raised 9/11 as he contended “this was the kind of jittery week in New York a lot of people had to go back to 9/11 to remember how they felt then,” prompting an “oh, wow” from CNBC's Maria Bartiromo, and Williams passed along how “a Democratic politico said to me this week, if the Democrats do their job, they'll make this 'fundamentals of the economy' quote to McCain what 'mission accomplished' was to President Bush.”
ABC's World News brought up Iraq as David Muir referred to how a man in Manhattan “asked today what about the more than $600 billion already spent on Iraq?” Muir also read an e-mail: “Why make the little people bail out these companies?” Of course, the “little people” won't since they barely or don't pay any income tax. One-third of those who file pay nothing or get money back while the bottom 50 percent ($32,000 down), who earn 12 percent of the total income, pay less than 3 percent of taxes collected. The top 25 percent ($65,000 up) pay 86 percent and the top 1 percent ($389,000) pay 40 percent, so maybe the wealthier will get something for all they put in.
On The Situation Room today, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer made a surprising admission to, of all people, real estate entrepreneur Donald Trump:
BLITZER: What do you think of his (Obama's) decision to pick Joe Biden as his running mate?
TRUMP: I really don't know Senator Biden but I know one thing. He's run a number of times for president. He's gotten less than 1 percent of the vote each time. And that's a pretty tough thing. You know, he's also been involved in pretty big controversy like plagiarism in college and various other things. That's a pretty big statement. So perhaps you change over a period of time. But when you plagiarize, that's a very bad statement. That hasn't been brought up yet, but I'm sure at some point it will. I'm sure that Sarah Palin will bring it up in a debate or somebody's going to bring it up.
BLITZER: Are you talking about plagiarism when he was running for president?
TRUMP: No, I'm talking about when he was a college student as I understand it, and this was a big issue originally but he supposedly plagiarized as a college student. That's a pretty serious charge.
BLITZER: I don't remember that. We'll check it out. But maybe you obviously have a better memory about that.
Comparisons to the current Wall Street financial situation to the Great Depression have not been unusual in the media, but Thursday's NBC Nightly News went a step further into inducing panic. Delivering a healthy dose of hyperbole, Steve Liesman of CNBC prompted a “wow” from anchor Brian Williams when he raised the spectre that the credit troubles could lead, “some” would say, to the “U.S. becoming a banana republic” while those in favor of federal action to take over bad debt “would say by losing our banking system, and maybe even Wall Street the way we're going, we would be that much closer to being a banana republic.” Leisman's warning:
I think there are some people who would say that this is, creates a danger, taking on all this bad debt of the U.S. becoming a banana republic. I think those, the proponents of this plan would say by losing our banking system, and maybe even Wall Street the way we're going, we would be that much closer to being a banana republic.
Two weeks after Sarah Palin's convention speech “reporters are still fact-checking what they hear from her, as our own Savannah Guthrie does for us tonight,” NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams announced Wednesday evening. But of Guthrie's five presumed misstatements by Palin, two were remarks made by Palin “aides,” not Palin herself; one, the “Bridge to Nowhere,” was already dissected eight days ago on the same newscast; and on another, how previous VP nominees have not met foreign leaders, Guthrie didn't disprove Palin's contention.
Up first, how Palin asserted “my job has been to oversee nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of oil and gas.” Guthrie pounced: “She's wrong. Alaska accounts for only 3.5 percent of America's total energy production, 7.5 percent of oil and gas.” Unmentioned by NBC: How the Alaska Resource Development Council's Web site has stated: “Alaska's oil and gas industry” accounts “for an average of 20 percent of the entire nation's domestic production.”
Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, Ariz., has acknowledged his technological shortcomings, but some in the media continue to portray him as a techno-phobe with no meaningful contributions to that sector of the economy.
The September 16 "NBC Nightly News" examined McCain's rhetoric on the campaign trail in the wake of a serious banking crisis. Correspondent Kelly O'Donnell reported one campaign advisor cited McCain's legislative effort opening the door to technological advancements as evidence of his ability to steer Americans through the turbulent time.
"And Brian, when an adviser today was stressing John McCain's economic credentials, he told reporters that McCain quote ‘helped make this little miracle happen' - the Blackberry or cell phone - citing his work on the Commerce Committee," O'Donnell said.
On CNN's American Morning today, White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reported on Barack Obama's campaigning in Virginia. Afterwards, anchor Kiran Chetry had a question:
CHETRY: All right. And Suzanne, what's on tap for the campaign today? And please tell me it's not lipstick again.
MALVEAUX: Let's hope not. He's going to be in Norfolk, Virginia. That is in southeast Virginia, and it's home to the world's largest Naval base. It's one of the most competitive areas that the Democrats and Republicans are fighting over. It's a critical piece of property, piece of land there with folks in Virginia, and they want those voters.