Incredibly, in lead stories Monday night about New York Governor Eliot Spitzer being linked to a prostitution ring, neither ABC's World News nor the NBC Nightly News verbally identified Spitzer's political party. Must mean he's a liberal Democrat -- and he is. CBS anchor Katie Couric, however, managed to squeeze in a mention of his party. Last August when news of Larry Craig's arrest broke, both ABC and NBC stressed his GOP affiliation.
On ABC, the only hints as to Spitzer's party were a few seconds of video of Spitzer beside Hillary Clinton as they walked down some steps and a (D) on screen by Spitzer's name over part of one soundbite. NBC didn't even do that.
While ABC and NBC failed to cite Spitzer's political affiliation in the four minutes or so each network dedicated to the revelations, both managed to find time to applaud his reputation and effectiveness as the Empire State's Attorney General before becoming Governor. Fill-in ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas hailed how “he gained a reputation around the country for aggressively cracking down on corporate corruption. He was elected Governor with a reputation for fighting crime.” ABC reporter Dan Harris maintained “Governor Spitzer is known as a straight arrow, an ambitious overachiever...” Substitute NBC anchor Ann Curry pointed to how Spitzer's “reputation for righteously prosecuting wrongdoing gave him the nickname Eliot Ness.”
"More than a dozen lenders have pulled out of the federal student loan program, unable to raise enough money to make loans," NBC correspondent Tom Costello said. "Now - Pennsylvania, Missouri, Michigan, New Hampshire and Iowa have suspended parts or all of their student loan programs - unprecedented."
Last Tuesday, when before a John McCain campaign rally, Cincinnati radio talk show host Bill Cunningham used Barack Obama's full name and derided Obama as “the great prophet from Chicago,” NBC and ABC pounced with full stories on the “controversy.” But after over the weekend, where at an event touted as “One Million for Hillary with Gloria Steinem” the left-wing feminist icon ridiculed John McCain's years as a prisoner of war, ABC did not utter a word about the remarks while NBC on Monday gave them -- sanitized -- a few seconds. A New York Observer posting on Sunday quoted Steinem:
“Suppose John McCain had been Joan McCain and Joan McCain had got captured, shot down and been a POW for eight years. [The media would ask], 'What did you do wrong to get captured? What terrible things did you do while you were there as a captive for eight years?'” Steinem said, to laughter from the audience. McCain was, in fact, a prisoner of war for around five and a half years, during which time he was tortured repeatedly. Referring to his time in captivity, Steinem said with bewilderment, “I mean, hello? This is supposed to be a qualification to be President? I don't think so.”
On the NBC Nightly News, which had run six Cunningham soundbites, David Gregory quoted only a small portion of Steinem:
It certainly is no surprise the stock market's big decline on Friday would be the lead story for evening news programs.
But, citing an economic study from an organization with direct and verifiable ties to Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as simply a "consumer group" while not even mentioning the liberal leaning of the think-tank seemed pretty absurd even for NBC.
Yet, that's what occurred Friday evening as the NBC "Nightly News" began its broadcast:
If you haven't gotten to check out the Business & Media Institute's new weekly video blog, The Biz Flog, this week's topic is the media's shift from reporting on "recession" to all-out "depression."
Complete with old-timey piano music and grainy film, this week BMI gives you our take on the many instances when reporters have compared the current economy to a time when soup lines and the Dust Bowl carried headlines.
One year ago, liberal journalists depicted the surge of U.S. troops to Iraq as a certain failure. “A lot of people are going to go to bed tonight terrified,” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews opined just minutes after President Bush announced the policy on January 10, 2007. Other journalists were only slightly more subtle. “Many experts warn, it’s too little, too late,” NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski argued on the January 8, 2007 Nightly News. The next morning on NBC’s Today, the network’s graphic describing Iraq was “Lost Cause?”
At the same time, leading Democrats left themselves no wiggle room as they, too, denounced the surge. Senator Barack Obama called it “wrong-headed” and countered with a proposal to pull nearly all U.S. troops out of Iraq by March 2008. Senator Hillary Clinton came back from a quick trip to Iraq to declare: “I am opposed to this escalation,” while another Democratic candidate, Senator Joe Biden, blasted the troop surge as “a tragic mistake.”
They're starting to get it. The media are figuring out government meddling in U.S. energy policy is taking a toll on the American economy.
On February 20, the Labor Department reported that the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a key inflation reading, rose 0.4 percent in January, matching December's rise. Why? Increased food costs because corn is being used for ethanol.
"Farmers are replacing wheat fields with corn to meet the demand for alternative fuel, but that means higher flour prices - and in one Pennsylvania pizza shop, more expensive pies," NBC News correspondent Chris Jansing said on the February 27 "NBC Nightly News."
ABC, CBS and NBC on Wednesday night delivered laudatory tributes to the late William F. Buckley, Jr., but while ABC's Charles Gibson, as well as Katie Couric and Richard Schlesinger on CBS, stuck to the positive and his many achievements as an editor, author and TV show host, NBC anchor Brian Williams couldn't resist including a political slap from the left on the day Buckley passed away at age 82:
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.
ABC anchor Charles Gibson hailed how “Buckley loved debate. Loved to provoke. And love him or hate him, agree or disagree with him, no one could deny he was one of the country's finest minds....His message was, in essence, an intellectual war on big government. And a passion for the free market. Delivered with dazzling language and a bone-dry wit.”
During Tuesday night’s presidential debate, NBC’s Tim Russert tried to test the Democratic candidates’ basic knowledge of foreign policy, asking what they knew about the man who will almost certainly be elected president of Russia in Sunday’s elections. After Hillary Clinton gave a general answer that kept referring to “Putin’s handpicked successor,” Russert pounced: “Do you know his name?”
But if the fact that Dmitry Medvedev will assume the Russian presidency is actually important, Russert and his co-moderator, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, have utterly ignored it as journalists. A Nexis search shows just one reference to Medvedev on NBC, an April 14, 2007 story about Russia’s giant energy company, Gazprom, of which Medvedev was chairman of the board. (The story aired on a weekend, when Lester Holt, not Brian Williams, was in the anchor chair.)
With cover from John McCain, NBC and ABC on Tuesday night condemned the “caustic” and “mocking” remarks of Cincinnati radio talk show host Bill Cunningham who, on stage before an Ohio campaign appearance by McCain, dared to utter Barack Obama's middle name and call him “a hack” Chicago politician.
Though Hillary Clinton on Sunday, without upsetting journalists, ridiculed Obama with religious overtones (“Let's get unified. The sky will open. The light will come down. Celestial choirs will be singing!”), NBC's Kelly O'Donnell asserted: “Cunningham's nearly ten-minute provocative performance veered into more controversy when he parodied Obama as a religious figure.” Cunningham's supposedly offensive line: “When the great prophet from Chicago takes the stand and the world leaders who want to kill us will simply be singing Kumbaya together.” O’Donnell maintained that Cunningham's words “compelled John McCain to apologize” and she took for granted that he properly acted “to quickly undo any damage.” Damage the media assumed needed undoing.
"Critics say emissions are exactly the issue, because coal-fired power is the nation's biggest producer of CO2 emissions," Thompson said in a February 21 report from Ely, Nev. "That's why Nevada is in the center of this fight. The Ely energy center, which would sit in this valley, along with the other two proposed coal-fired plants, could more than double those greenhouse gas emissions, sending another 31 million tons into the sky."
All three broadcast network evening newscasts led Thursday night with the New York Times story alleging an improper relationship by John McCain with a female lobbyist, but questions about the journalistic standards of the newspaper were given as much consideration as the allegations against McCain. All three ran a soundbite from Rush Limbaugh denouncing the paper while ABC and CBS featured establishment media observers who castigated the Times for basing a story on the feelings of unnamed sources: Ken Auletta on ABC and Tom Rosenstiel on CBS.
“John McCain began his day answering questions about a story in the New York Times alleging an improper relationship eight years ago with a female lobbyist,” ABC anchor Charles Gibson announced before cautioning: “The story had no evidence the relationship was romantic -- only unnamed sources reportedly claiming they were convinced it might be.” With “Fit to Print?” on screen, Gibson set up a second story on how the Times article “raised as many questions about the paper and what standards of proof it would need to publish such a story as it did about the Senator.” Reporter Dan Harris began: “Today, conservative talk radio hosts accused the New York Times of a supremely cynical slam job.”
Michelle Obama proclaimed that “for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country,” but instead of putting the burden on the Obama campaign to defend her admission of a lack of pride in her nation, NBC on Tuesday night framed its coverage around Cindy McCain's “rhetoric” in issuing a “political jab” over the remark and concern over whether that “was a knock at Michelle Obama?” But at least NBC highlighted the comment from Monday. ABC's World News didn't utter a word about it while CBS's Jim Axelrod pointed out how the Obama “campaign says don't slice apart the quote to infer she's not a patriot.”
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams set up the story: “For the Republicans, the rhetoric today was also largely about words. And today it involved the wife of the frontrunner, Cindy McCain.” Kelly O'Donnell relayed how “the most memorable political jab of the day did not come” from John McCain but from Cindy McCain who declared “I'm proud of my country.” O'Donnell treated that as an attack which required justification: “Asked directly if this was a knock at Michelle Obama, John McCain steered clear.”
"And John Kilduff, who I know you speak with often, as well, Brian, he says we could see prices at the pump as high as $4 a gallon," Burnett said. "And that could be by the middle of February. So it could be anytime in the next six weeks. So that's going to be an increase, and we've seen it across the board, Brian. Commodity prices are going up, and that is causing worry for stocks."
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.”