Presuming Bush administration dissembling and illegality, NBC anchor Brian Williams considered it “big” news Thursday night that the administration “secretly authorized abusive interrogation techniques for terrorism suspects, including torture, despite denial from everyone from President Bush on down. And the policy remains even though the Supreme Court ruled against it.” Picking up on the front page New York Times disclosure of the classified documents, which neither the ABC nor CBS evening newscasts considered newsworthy, the NBC Nighty News ran a very slanted story that, other than one short soundbite from White House Press Secretary Dana Perino about how “they were safe, necessary and lawful, these techniques, and have helped save American lives,” aired only condemnatory comments as reporter Andrea Mitchell assumed the methods are torture.
She reminded viewers that “after a political firestorm, devastating pictures from Abu Ghraib and a Supreme Court ruling,” last year the President promised “the United States does not torture” and “I will not authorize it,” yet the New York Times reported that in 2005 the Justice Department under Alberto Gonzales issued memos “authorizing much harsher techniques, including head-slapping, waterboarding, frigid temperatures and 'combined effects' -- using several practices simultaneously, despite dissent on his staff. Today leading Democrats vowed to pass new laws.” Without any consideration for how the memos could have been written to allow the use of the techniques in only the most dire circumstances, and thus the techniques may not have been employed, Mitchell warned: “There's also a big impact on foreign policy. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has promised U.S. allies that the administration does not use torture, even though officials say she knew about the memos.”
“Blackwater has a perfect record when it comes to protecting American diplomats,” CBS correspondent David Martin said. “But private security firms, not just Blackwater – but other contractors seen here firing on Iraqi vehicles for no apparent reason – often undermine the larger mission of the American military – protecting the population and winning hearts and minds.”
Erik Prince, CEO of Blackwater USA, testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform making the lead story on “World News,” “NBC Nightly News” and “CBS Evening News.”
“Glad to come here and correct some facts,” Prince said to the committee.
But, out of the 13 comments on the three broadcasts from members of the 41-person committee, only one was a Republican. Rep. Christopher Shays was also the only member to say something positive about the company.
According to the media's parade of children who need government assistance for insurance, President Bush must really just hate children. After all, he vetoed a bill today that would have expanded the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
Leading up to the October 3 veto, the media couldn’t resist scripting it as a vote against children.
What’s at stake, though, included a proposed $35-billion expansion of taxpayer-funded insurance made possible by a huge tax increase on tobacco users many of whom are poor -- burdening the same families the program is designed to help.
NBC Nightly News and ABC’s World News both brought out their Republicans-might-be-racists handbook and took advantage of PBS’s and Tavis Smiley’s decision to hold a Republican debate on black issues on the last week of the third-quarter fundraising crunch. Instead of trying to negotiate a better time, Smiley and PBS painted Republicans as making a huge and possibly racist mistake. Both networks loaded up on soundbites trashing the GOP frontunners for snubbing minorities and creating an "image problem" for themselves and their party.
On Thursday’s Nightly News, hours before the Smiley debate took place, NBC was already casting the debate’s losers as the no-shows. MRC’s Brad Wilmouth compiled the transcript:
CBS's 60 Minutes got the first interview with Clarence Thomas on the occasion of the release of his memoir and ABC's Good Morning America is in line for the morning show exclusive interview with him to air multiple days this week, thus leaving NBC News out of the mix. So, the losing network decided to resurrect Anita Hill. Anchor Lester Holt teased Sunday's NBC Nightly News: “Her story. Justice Clarence Thomas speaks out, and tonight so does the woman who nearly derailed his confirmation. My exclusive interview with Anita Hill.” Though Hill's charges against Thomas look pretty tame through the later revelations of Bill Clinton's actions with women, Holt depicted them as “charges of crude sexual advances” and “shocking allegations.” Also, without any mention of the left-wing activists with whom Hill colluded, Holt sympathetically described her as “a reluctant witness.”
When members of the Duke University lacrosse team were falsely accused of raping a black stripper last year, media focused great attention on the woman in the middle of the controversy, and the supposed crime.
Yet, as pointed out Thursday by NewsBuster Matthew Balan, as the press report activities in Jena, Louisiana, the name of the white boy who was beaten by the "Jena 6," Justin Barker, is rarely mentioned, and the assault which precipitated the arrest of the "6" is either ignored, or downplayed.
Such was certainly the case on Thursday's "Nightly News" which led with the day's civil rights protests in Jena, but, for all intents and purposes, ignored the assault which precipitated the arrests of the six students in question.
Ironically, NBC's Brian Williams began the broadcast:
CBS and NBC on Thursday night aired brief updates on how the Justice Department filed a criminal complaint against Norman Hsu, the captured fugitive Democratic/Hillary Clinton campaign donor, for bilking $60 million from investors -- but ABC was once again absent on the story. ABC's World News hasn't uttered Hsu's name since its one and only story the Friday night of Labor Day weekend while Thursday's mention was the fifth for NBC and fourth for CBS. (Coverage details below.) On the NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams read this very short item: “Norman Hsu, that Democratic fundraiser indicted today by federal prosecutors -- accusations of a massive Ponzi scheme. Hsu funneled a lot of money to Senator Clinton's campaign.”
Over on the September 20 CBS Evening News, Katie Couric relayed a bit more expansively:
On Thursday’s morning shows and Wednesday’s evening newscasts, CBS and ABC discussed a possible visit to Ground Zero by Iran’s President and, at the same time, ignored Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s connections to terror and also his statements about wiping out Israel. On "Good Morning America," Chris Cuomo briefly mentioned the upcoming U.S. trip and only cited construction at New York’s Ground Zero and "security concerns" as reasons to deny the man a visit. On CBS's "Early Show," reporter Russ Mitchell filed a similarly bland report. Neither mentioned that the Iranian leader in 2005 called for Israel to be wiped from the map and Iran is a state supporter of terrorism.
Only on NBC’s "Today," did Ahmadinejad’s extreme statements and actions warrant a reference. Reporter Andrea Mitchell labeled the attempted visit to Ground Zero a "PR stunt" and pointedly observed, "[Bush] Administration officials called it appalling. Presidential candidates condemned the visit and one 9/11 widow said it's like letting Osama Bin Laden visit Ground Zero." With a series of anchor briefs, Wednesday night’s news broadcasts featured a similar pattern. NBC’s "Nightly News" host Brian Williams proclaimed that the request had been rejected because of security and the fact that "Iran is, as the U.S. said today, among the world’s leading sponsors of terrorism." However, "World News" host Charles Gibson provided no reason at all. In a news brief, he simply asserted, "[Ahmadinejad] told New York police he’d like to visit Ground Zero. The New York City police department has said no." "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric didn’t cover the subject at all.
In case you were out of the country and missed it, the Federal Reserve on Tuesday surprisingly cut two key interest rates by a half percentage point - twice what most analysts expected - causing one of the largest one-day rallies on Wall Street in years.
Yet, the folks on the "NBC Nightly News" seemed a tad unhappy with the Fed's move, as anchor Brian Williams wondered "is it good for everyone," and correspondent Kevin Tibbles cautioned, "But experts say beware of the downside of any economic upturn."
I kid you not.
The News began Tuesday evening mostly with the positive side of the rate cut, bringing in CNBC's Maria Bartiromo to discuss the day's events on Wall Street. However, as Williams introduced Bartiromo, he foreshadowed the gloom to come (video available here, h/t NB reader Tim O'Donnell):
The media's global warming hysteria is clearly becoming unhinged.
First, ABC News published a photo essay at its website Friday prominently displaying computer generated images of U.S. cities drowned by climate change raised seas.
Then, on Monday's "Nightly News," NBC's environmental correspondent Anne Thompson, reporting from Greenland, cautioned viewers that the "summer thaw, picking up dangerous speed 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle...could ignite worldwide disaster."
How pleasant, wouldn't you agree? I sincerely hope few Americans were watching this abomination while they were eating dinner. After all, Thompson ominously began her report (video available here, h/t Marc Morano):
Two weeks after NBC Nightly News was the first broadcast evening newscast to air a story on Norman Hsu, the fugitive donor to Hillary Clinton's campaign, on Thursday the show uniquely ran a full story on Hsu's court appearance following his capture and new accusations about the extent of his fraud. Noting that Hsu is now being held on a $5 million bond, anchor Brian Williams asserted “he is at the center of a series of alleged money scams that are becoming a serious embarrassment now for the Democratic front-runner.”
Over video of a frail Hsu at a court appearance in Grand Junction, Colorado, Andrea Mitchell cited his “remarkable fall” from “once hobnobbing with the Clintons and other top Democrats, then on the run, escaping a sentencing hearing on an overnight train” from California heading east. Mitchell highlighted “new accusations” of “$73 million in alleged Ponzi schemes in California and New York,” then asked: “So how did Clinton not know Hsu had been a fugitive for 15 years?” After a soundbite of Senator Clinton claiming “obviously we were all surprised by this news,” Mitchell noted “the campaign is scrambling to control the damage. It has returned more than $850,000, a record amount, from 260 donors solicited by Hsu, an average of $3,300 each. Experts say that alone should have been a red flag.”
In his speech preview over lunch with television anchors and Sunday hosts, President George W. Bush expressed anger over the MoveOn.org ad which maligned General David Petraeus, a view Katie Couric vaguely relayed Thursday night without mentioning MoveOn.org while, on NBC, Brian Williams and Tim Russert specifically highlighted Bush's “outrage.” Russert related how Bush said “those who are responsible could, in effect, stuff it.” On ABC's World News, George Stephanopoulos, who attended the lunch, discussed some of Bush's comments during the gathering, but didn't mention his take on the full page ad, in Monday's New York Times, which declared: “GENERAL PETRAEUS OR GENERAL BETRAY US? Cooking the Books for the White House.”
Interviewing General David Petraeus for Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams insisted he admit “al Qaeda in Iraq wasn't around” on 9/11, demanded to know “how are we so sure all of these insurgents can be labeled al-Qaeda?” and derided Petraeus's admission that he's not sure if the war has made Americans safer: “I heard a commentator on television say, 'Can you imagine Eisenhower saying the same thing?'” That unnamed commentator: Williams's corporate colleague, Chris Matthews.
Williams challenged Petraeus: “Over the last two days of testimony, you mentioned al-Qaeda by our count 160 times. Now, for a lot of Americans, al-Qaeda, that's the guys who flew those planes into the buildings in New York and Washington and Pennsylvania. Explain what you mean because al-Qaeda in Iraq wasn't around that day.” When Petraeus answered that “they're the organization that has carried out the most horrific, most damaging terrorist actions in Iraq with just barbaric casualties,” Williams pressed Petraeus over “all these insurgents, how can you be so sure in a war without uniforms or membership cards, the claim by the critics is it fuzzes it up, it makes it a convenient, unified argument....How are we so sure all of these insurgents can be labeled al-Qaeda?” Williams ended by recalling how “moments after you responded to a question that you weren't sure that the war in Iraq had made Americans safer, I heard a commentator on television say, 'Can you imagine Eisenhower saying the same thing?'”
Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, as the New York Times revealed Tuesday, may be concerned about how much evening news program coverage fugitive donor/fundraiser Norman Hsu attracts, but they had nothing to worry about Tuesday night. ABC didn't utter a word about the campaign's decision to refund the largest amount ever, $850,000 solicited by Hsu, yet anchor Charles Gibson found time to note how the New England Patriots broke an NFL rule by videotaping New York Jets coaches giving signals, while CBS's Katie Couric gave Hsu barely 20 seconds -- about half the time she devoted to the death of “Alex the Parrot” -- and NBC allocated 25 seconds, but only after a three-minute piece framed around how Rudy Giuliani's 9/11 image “stirs angry resentment.”
CBS and NBC, but not ABC, squeezed in brief updates Friday night about how Norman Hsu, the fugitive Hillary Clinton/Democratic candidate high dollar donor, failed to appear in a California court on Wednesday for a bail hearing and was captured Thursday night in Colorado. Both the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News, which aired full stories late last week on Hsu but not since, allocated about 20 seconds to the developments with Hsu. CBS anchor Harry Smith announced: “Back in custody tonight: Norman Hsu, the political fundraiser who donated hundreds of thousands to Democratic candidates while still a fugitive.” NBC anchor Brian Williams reported how “the Democratic party fundraiser who skipped bail on fraud charges this week and disappeared....was found when he got sick on an Amtrak train in Colorado.”
Two days before Oprah Winfrey is to host a celebrity-packed fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, NBC's Andrea Mitchell championed her potential ability to “turn her magic into votes for Barack Obama” and ABC's David Wright marveled: “Imagine the power of Oprah in an Obama campaign ad.” In a soundbite, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile gushed that “O plus O equals opportunity for Barack Obama to win in 2008.”
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams justified his show's story by asserting that Winfrey's “support for him [Obama] is getting new attention” -- attention NBC decided to give the topic. Mitchell admired how Winfrey “can turn a first-time author into an instant best-seller, single-handedly reviving an industry,” leading her to wonder: “Can the billionaire entertainer, and richest woman in America, turn her magic into votes for Barack Obama?”
Norman Hsu's appearance in a San Mateo County, California courtroom Friday to answer for a 1991 grand larceny charge, prompted full stories Friday night on the ABC and CBS evening newscasts catching up with the case of the fugitive donor to many Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton. On Thursday night, the NBC Nightly News became the first broadcast network program to report on Hsu, in a story from Lisa Myers detailed in this NB item, and on Friday night anchor Brian Williams offered a brief update about Hsu's court appearance.
On Friday's CBS Evening News, Sandra Hughes pointed out how “a large group of Hsu's bundling checks came from this little green house in Daly City, California that Hsu once listed as a home address. The Paw family, which lives here, has given $45,000 to Hillary Clinton since 2005.” Hughes also noted how Clinton has returned $23,000 in direct donations from Hsu, but on ABC's World News, Brian Ross reported that “in the last year Hsu has helped to raise more than a million dollars for Senator Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign” and he highlighted how Hsu “was scheduled to be one of the hosts of a major Clinton fundraiser in California next month.” Ross also saw a pattern, as he recalled a fact which has received little broadcast network air time -- that Clinton's “kickoff Senate fundraiser in 2000 was organized by a convicted felon.”
NBC on Thursday night became the first broadcast network to air a story on the Clinton presidential campaign scandal over donations from Norman Hsu, a fugitive from a grand theft charge who is also suspected of illegally funneling excess donations through another family. While ABC's World News and the CBS Evening News, as well as the NBC Nightly News, found time for a third straight night of coverage of Larry Craig's travails, only NBC caught up with FNC and CNN and highlighted the fundraising irregularities involving Democrats. Lisa Myers noted how Hsu has “given a quarter of a million dollars to a who's who of Democratic candidates in the last three years. But Hsu is also a fugitive, wanted in California in connection with a 1991 fraud case. The Clinton campaign initially defended Hsu, listed on her campaign honor roll as a man of integrity. Today the Senator said she's giving his $23,000 in donations to charity.”
Over video of a small, lime-colored house in Dale City, California, Myers also relayed how “questions also have been raised about big donations Hsu raised for Senator Clinton from others, some seemingly of modest means. This house in California is one of Clinton's biggest sources of campaign cash. Campaign records indicate that six members of a family listed at this address have given Clinton $45,000 since 2005 and a total of $200,000 to Democratic candidates.” Myers concluded by recalling an earlier scandal much of the media were reluctant at the time to pursue: “It resurrects images of campaign finance scandals during her husband's presidency, of Johnny Chung handing over a $50,000 check in the First Lady's office and donors sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom.”
The media spun the report by the U.S. Census Bureau yesterday to show that although poverty numbers were lower, the number of Americans without health insurance was increasing. But they didn’t even get that right.
“There's news on the economy tonight,” said NBC News anchor Brian Williams. “The percentage of Americans living in poverty dropped a bit last year to 12.3 percent from 12.6 percent of the population the year before. But there was bad news on this front as well. The number of Americans without health insurance has gone up from nearly 45 million in 2005 to 47 million Americans last year.”
The statistics Williams is referring to come from the U.S. Census Report, “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2006.” It broke down the 47 million uninsured and reported that a little over 10 million of those uninsured are not a citizen of the United States, something Williams failed to disclose.
The Census Bureau announced a drop in the poverty rate, but NBC and, especially CBS, on Tuesday night managed to turn the good news into bad by emphasizing an increase in the number of Americans without health insurance while ABC, in contrast, portrayed the decrease in poverty as good news. “A bright spot of economic news today,” fill-in ABC anchor Kate Snow announced, “the percentage of Americans living in poverty dropped last year” by “three-tenths of a percent from the year before.” Reporter Barbara Pinto actually acknowledged some positive trends during the Bush years, pointing to how “in the past four years, the country has added nearly 7 million jobs. And in those four years, the average household income has risen about $700.” Pinto didn't ignore liberal class-warfare arguments, but after a left-winger asserted “there's very little that trickles down to those at the bottom,” Pinto countered: “Obviously, some of that growth is trickling down.”
Though the AP headlined its story, “U.S. poverty rate declines significantly,” NBC anchor Brian Williams reported it dropped “a bit” and CBS anchor Katie Couric relayed how “the poverty rate is down slightly.” And while most of those in poverty manage to have many comforts of life, from good-sized homes to cars, Couric insisted poverty level income is “hardly enough for food and housing, much less other items like health insurance.” Wyatt Andrews devoted a full story to “the highest number of uninsured Americans in 20 years: 47 million without health insurance.” Andrews failed to note that 16 million of the uninsured are illegals or on Medicaid while most people are uninsured for only short periods.
“Now we switch to the housing market and the U.S. economy and this is a big story,” said NBC “Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams on August 23. “Listen to this number on mortgage foreclosures in this country. They’re up 93 percent nationwide last month from the same period last year. This situation is dire. It’s creating a lot of anxiety about how that’s going to affect a great many homeowners and the economy as a whole.”
Republican Senator John Warner's call for the withdrawal of 5,000 troops from Iraq by Christmas was trumpeted by the broadcast network evening shows Thursday night: CBS's Katie Couric touted a “major blow tonight to President Bush's Iraq policy” and ABC's Martha Raddatz saw a “stunning announcement that could have a powerful effect on the war” as the NBC Nightly News, for the fifth time in two years, heralded a “turning point” against the war. NBC anchor Brian Williams introduced “another major story we're covering this evening that could amount to a turning point in the debate over America's involvement in Iraq. Tonight, there has been a major defection from President Bush's camp.” (This wasn't the first time Williams has hailed the prescience of the very same Senator. When Warner warned last October that Iraq was drifting “side-wise,” Williams teased: “Is this a new turning point?”)
After a report from Andrea Mitchell, which began with “Turning Point?” on screen, Williams compared Warner to Walter Cronkite, reminding Tim Russert about how during Vietnam President Johnson “famously said, 'If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America.' Well, if George W. Bush has lost John Warner, how big is this, Tim?” Russert affirmed: “In a word: Very big.” Similarly, on the CBS Evening News, Bob Scheiffer declared that “John Warner is the single most influential Republican voice on Capitol Hill” and so his recommendation will “have a major impact.”
Glancing over blogs that have written on the CNN "God's Warriors" miniseries, I came across a critical entry by liberal activist Sharon Cobb, formerly a contributor to the "NBC Nightly News."
While Cobb professes immense respect for CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour, she's not well-pleased with the jet-setting journalist's latest special. Cobb is particularly chagrined with how Amanpour's special seems to treat Judaism. Here are the first few grafs of her August 22 blog post (emphasis mine):
The broadcast network evening news shows on Wednesday night pounced on President Bush's reminder that the U.S. pullout from Vietnam led to millions being killed, as all three shows featured historians to discredit Bush's parallel to what may happen if the U.S. withdraws from Iraq, and NBC portrayed Bush as hypocritical for raising Vietnam after earlier rejecting comparisons to Iraq as a Vietnam-like quagmire. Only ABC, leading into Bush recalling “killing fields,” showed a picture of stacks of skulls and ABC also uniquely featured two Vietnam vets who backed Bush's case.
NBC anchor Brian Williams asserted that “after years of rejecting any comparisons to Vietnam, today President Bush invoked the Vietnam War as a way of saying the U.S. must stay the course and not pull out.” Reporter Kelly O'Donnell noted that “after years of pushback rejecting the Vietnam-Iraq comparison, today in Kansas City, before the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the President made a turn and embraced his own Vietnam analogy.” O'Donnell insisted: “Mr. Bush's comments to the VFW today contrast with what he said last year when asked if he saw an Iraq-Vietnam connection.” Viewers then got just this very short soundbite from Bush at a June 14, 2006 press conference: “I don't see the parallels.” Contrary to NBC's implication, there is no conflict between scorning of a liberal comparison of Iraq to a Vietnam-like quagmire and suggesting other lesson about Vietnam.
If George W. Bush's approval rating hit a low point for any president in 33 years, do you think the network evening news programs would have reported it?
Maybe as the lead story, right?
Well, a new Gallup poll was released on Tuesday stating that the approval rating for Congress tied the lowest point since Gallup began tracking such a thing, and none of the broadcasts networks thought it was newsworthy last night.
The likely reason for the boycott, beyond the obvious fact that the Democrats are now in control, is that much of the recent decline in this favorability has come from Democrats and Independents (emphasis added):
Rather than attack the government for its inability to manage air traffic, the August 20 “NBC Nightly News” shifted the blame to the airlines – specifically attacking American Airlines.
“So far this summer, Flightstats.com has reported American Airlines has had the lowest on-time arrival rate at 65 percent. But yet another Dallas-based carrier, Southwest, has had the highest on-time rate at 78 percent,” said correspondent Tom Costello making the case against American.
However, Costello’s comparison was faulty because it ignored major differences between the two airlines.
There are a few chinks in Cramer’s armor, though. Beyond his infamous meltdown on August 6 and his admission in December 2006 on TheStreet.com (NASDAQ:TSCM), a financial Web site he launched in 1996, of manipulating the press to influence the markets when he was working at a hedge fund, he’s not an all-knowing stock guru.
Only days after Newsweek was embarrassed when its own columnist, Robert Samuelson, excoriated the magazine for a “fundamentally misleading” and “highly contrived” cover story meant to defame the global warming “denial machine,” Wednesday's NBC Nightly News aired an equally distorted story which smeared “deniers,” a term no doubt meant to conjure a similarity to dishonorable Holocaust deniers. Reporter Anne Thompson began her crusading piece with “In Denial” on screen over video of the Cato Institute's Patrick Michaels. She fretted about “interest groups fueled by powerful companies, including oil giant ExxonMobil.” Citing the far-left Union of Concerned Scientists, she highlighted their claim that “ExxonMobil gave almost $16 million over seven years to denier groups, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute.” But as Marc Morano, of the minority staff of the Senate's Committee on Environment and Public Works, disclosed in a posting, “proponents of man-made global warming have been funded to the tune of $50 BILLION in the last decade or so,” not even counting the impact of one-sided media reporting, “while skeptics have received a paltry $19 MILLION.”
Nonetheless, touting Michael Oppenheimer as an expert, whom NBC identified only as an “atmospheric scientist” with Princeton University, Thompson asserted that “climate experts say whether hired guns or honest dissenters, deniers are confusing the issue and delaying solutions.” Oppenheimer, who NBC failed to note is “science adviser” to the left-wing Environmental Defense organization, ominously warned: “This is a problem that needs to be attended to very soon, immediately, or else it threatens to get out of control.” Thompson's conclusion echoed: “The scientific debate is no longer over society's role in global warming. It is now a matter of degrees.”