If I were a rich man, the media would likely bash me. But if I were a female billionaire, I would become "good news" according to ABC and NBC.
While both ABC and NBC have called very successful CEOs examples of "runaway pay," there was no animosity to be found toward extremely high-earning women during the March 8 "World News with Charles Gibson" or "Nightly News."
In fact, after CNBC's Maria Bartiromo stated that 83 women made Forbes magazine's billionaires list on NBC "Nightly News," anchor Campbell Brown chimed: "All right, that's good news."
ABC's "World News" lauded the 1 percent club: "self-made members of the fairer sex," but left out Forbes statement that 60 percent of those on the billionaires list all made their fortunes from scratch.
NBC had some "horror stories" to share with its audience on March 7, according to "Nightly News" anchor Campbell Brown. Brown introduced the report by Lisa Myers that told the story of Wesley Wannemacher, a man who's $3,200 credit card debt ballooned to $10,700 after interest and penalties.
Wannemacher's plight also featured prominently in similar segments on ABC "World News with Charles Gibson" and CBS "Evening News" for the same day. [continued after jump]
Something is happening on the ground in Iraq. Something that even certain representatives of the MSM can't deny. Earlier this week, as NewsBusters noted here and here, NBC's Brian Williams, reporting from Iraq, offered some unusually positive observations. Now comes this eye-opening exchange from earlier this afternoon on CNN International between host Jim Clancy and correspondent Michael Ware, also reporting from Iraq:
JIM CLANCY: "The Democrats are pressing for a deadline, be it at the end of 2007, 2008 to bring all U.S. troops home. How is that going to affect General Petraeus, the Iraqi government and the Iraqis themselves?"
NBC Nightly News anchor, Brian Williams graces the cover of Men's Vogue this month and is profiled by Deputy Editor Ned Martel as being an anchor who, because of "today's debunking culture" (Wink Wink Newsbusters.org), is both "in the know and in on the joke."
Martel panders to Williams as an anchor who is "affable", "witty", and even "an unapologetic throwback to the era of Cronkite".
Martel says that viewers can relate to Williams because he, "has a vast interest in so many of their passions." He further says that Williams "embraces his regular-guy status" and "trumpets his middlebrow tastes".
Williams apparently considers his "instinctive understanding of Middle America" to be a payoff for Nightly News. That understanding must be a tall order for someone who wears a "black-faced Rolex and Supreme Court cufflinks" and splits his time between a "pied-a-terre in a new Upper East Side tower" and a "restored farmhouse in Connecticut".
The media love a "green" story. As Al Gore and Hollywood celebrities champion the practice of carbon offsetting -- donating money toward an energy-saving project while still taking your vacation -- the media buzz in agreement.
"If more people do it over time, it's a good thing," said CBS reporter Russ Mitchell during a carbon offset story on the February 22 "Early Show."
Carbon offsetting is hypocritical because it allows the extremely wealthy, like Al Gore, to still use enormous amounts of energy (1 million miles of global air travel in 2005 and more than 20 times the national average of power usage in 2006), while telling everyone else to conserve energy to save the planet from climate destruction.
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams, reporting from Baghdad, delivered a refreshing end to the show as he showcased several U.S. troops who voiced support for their work in Iraq, and for America continuing its presence there. While Williams did present one soldier who was less than enthusiastic about the mission, other troops, featured in pre-recorded soundbites, spoke of "staying until the job is done," and of feeling "proud" about helping the Iraqis.
As the NBC anchor introduced the story about how the military tries to deliver foods and items to comfort the troops stationed in Iraq, he featured an Army lieutenant colonel who does not feel "trepidation" about going out on patrol, even after the recent loss of American lives. Lieutenant Colonel Quammie Semper commented: "I think we should stay here until the job is done." (Transcript follows)
The broadcast network evening newscast coverage Tuesday night, of the guilty verdicts for perjury and lying found against Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, painted the case through the prism of administration opponents who presumed a nefarious scheme led by Vice President Cheney against the heroic Joe Wilson. Though the legal status of Valerie Plame remains in dispute, ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas and CBS's Gloria Borger described her as an “undercover” CIA agent. And while ABC's Pierre Thomas noted how Plame “had been outed as a CIA operative in a column by Robert Novak,” neither Thomas, nor reporters on CBS or NBC, ever pointed out how Novak learned of Plame's identity from then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, a war opponent outside the Cheney/Karl Rove circle.
CBS and NBC managed to connect Libby to the Reagan years. “Guilty,” Katie Couric teased at the top of the CBS Evening News, “the highest ranking White House official found guilty of a felony since the Iran-Contra scandal." Over on the NBC Nightly News, Kelly O'Donnell echoed: "What happened here today makes Lewis 'Scooter' Libby the highest-ranking White House official convicted of a felony since the Reagan era and the Iran-Contra scandal.”
CBS's Gloria Borger ominously concluded: "The prosecutor said there was a cloud over the Vice President's office. And today he said it's still there. Only now, Katie, it may be darker." Bob Schieffer soon piled on: “I think it's going to hurt the administration because it's going to raise new questions about their credibility when they already have more problems on their plate than they can really handle right now." On ABC, Vargas picked up on how “Joe Wilson...said today he wants Karl Rove fired from the White House. Do you think that might happen?" George Stephanopoulos rationally retorted: "No. It ain't going to happen.”
from Baghdad this morning, and continuing a theme that MRC's Brent Baker spotted last evening, NBC Nightly News host Brian Williams let a
cat out of the bag that could leave some serious scratch marks on
MSM/DNC calls for stopping the surge and withdrawing US troops from
Iraq. Williams said that US troops:
"are also aware, especially in the outposts, that it's
the Iraqi people who are very reluctant to see the Americans go,
because in many cases that's what's keeping the peace in town."
Visiting Iraq, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams learned from Army officers that Iraqis want U.S. forces to remain in their country, from NBC News Baghdad reporter Richard Engel that Al-Sadr's insurgents have stepped down and are counting on pressure from anti-war opponents to provide them with victory, and from retired General and NBC News military analyst Wayne Downey that U.S. troops are proud of their mission. Traveling with Lieutenant General Ray Odierno for stories on his Monday newscast, Williams ran a clip of Army Colonel John Charlton proclaiming that Iraqis “do not want us to leave” and a soundbite from Army Lt. Colonel Charles Ferry who asserted: "The people here are very glad to see us.” Williams marveled: "You just said, 'They don't want us to leave.' That's the tenth time today I've heard that. I've got to go back to the States and do a newscast that every night has another politician or 12 of them saying, 'We have got to get out of that godforsaken place.'"
To explain the decrease violence in Baghdad, Engel noted how “the militia decided they fought the U.S. two-and-a-half years ago, didn't have a lot of success. They decided this time they're going to wait it out, see if political pressure in the U.S. can help them win this time." Downey related how “every soldier that I ran across today I asked him: 'How do you feel about what's going on,” and “without exception -- this was spontaneous, especially when you start talking to PFCs and Spec 4s, they're going to tell you the truth, no party line. Very proud of what they're doing. Very, very dedicated.”
Last night, "Nightly News" and "Evening News" chose to inject a negative reference to the housing market into economy stories following Tuesday's stock market drop to make it look worse to viewers.
Both programs mentioned the 16.6 percent decrease in new home sales for January calling it the biggest drop in 13 years. But both networks also left out positive data for the same month available from the National Association of Realtors.
NBC reporter Carl Quintanilla even provided viewers with what he termed a "nightmare scenario: that home values plummet, more Americans default on their mortgages and stop spending."
The entire Business & Media Institute story can be found here.
Is there any canard against President Bush more tired than the notion that he ignores the Establishment Clause, or as his liberal critics tend to put it, the "separation of church and state"? Maureen Dowd offered a classic exemplar of the criticism on this morning's Meet the Press, telling Tim Russert that: "W has sort of merged church and state while trying to keep them apart in Iraq."
Russert didn't ask Dowd to substantiate her assertion. But when Bush antagonists are pressed for proof, they typically point to the president's Faith-Based Initiative and the manner in which the W incorporates religious themes in his public pronouncements. But as has been documented, Pres. Bush has in fact invoked religion much less explicitly than many of his predecessors, including liberal icon FDR. In his D-Day prayer, for example, Roosevelt stated, among other things, that "with Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy." I defy Dowd or others sharing her view to provide an example of Pres. Bush coming anywhere close to FDR in suggesting that God is on our side. As for the Faith-Based Initiative, it incorporates a variety of safeguards specifically designed to prevent violation of the Establishment clause, including the following:
On last night's Hardball, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams unintentionally slammed Chris Matthews on his own show. Discussing Walter Cronkite's famous declaration of U.S defeat in Vietnam, Williams claimed it was a watershed moment because the former CBS anchor had earned the "credibility" of his viewers but warned today's anchors can't have the same effect because: "People do Cronkite-esque statements on topics every day now. On, on cable, you can see one an hour." Williams was probably referencing Matthews' competitors but as any regular viewer of Hardball knows the charge is easily applied to his NBC colleague as Matthews is constantly making his own "Cronkite-esqe" declarations of U.S. defeat in Iraq.
If you make more money than I do is that anyone’s problem?
The news media made a big deal out of “income inequality” especially “out of control” CEO pay as NBC’s Carl Quintanilla called it on Oct. 20, 2006 during the “Today” show. Robin Roberts took aim at the same topic: “Now to the golden parachute that has a lot of people seeing red,” during “Good Morning America” on January 4.
But the reports on the income gap missed two alternative perspectives from economists: that the widening income gap is an illusion and that in either case the gap really doesn’t matter. Read the full Business & Media Institute report here.
Keith Olbermann's arrival as the lone commentator at NBC Nightly News is the first overt commentator NBC's hired since PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers in 1995. A quick Nexis search shows Olbermann has been very rarely on NBC News airwaves. He actually anchored NBC Nightly News as a weekend substitute on April 12, 1998 (Easter Sunday, see accompanying photo) and May 9, 1998. In recent years, he's surfaced a few times on the Today show. He was interviewed to plug his "Worst Person In the World" book last September 15. He reported on major-league shortstop Alex Rodriguez on February 16, 2004, and co-hosted the Saturday edition of Today with Campbell Brown on August 23, 2003.
In the commentary and prime-time special clauses of Olbermann's new deal, there are obvious parallels with Moyers. They are two fiercely left-wing commentators who oddly deny a liberal bias when asked by the press.
The NBC announcement that they've kept Keith Olbermann as the erratic quarterback of their anti-Bush offense came larded in praise. First, the NBC News press release:
"Keith Olbermann is a tremendous talent and a superb broadcaster," said NBC News President Steve Capus. "He is an asset to NBC News and the timing of this announcement couldn't be better given the momentum Keith's program is enjoying right now."
A compelling hour of nightly news, delivered with Olbermann's particular wit and style, "Countdown" takes a fast paced look at the top five news stories of the day – from politics to pop culture and from the mainstream to the oddball. The program has enjoyed particular success in the past year, finishing the month of January with an average of 283,000 viewers in the adult demographic (25-54) and 715,000 total viewers, up +89% and +85% respectively, over a year ago.
"I've been overwhelmed by the support for this newscast, both inside NBC, and among our remarkable viewers," said Olbermann. "I'm delighted we can continue 'Countdown,' and continue to try to hold politicians and other newsmakers accountable for what they are doing, or not doing."
As reported by the Associated Press, along with a contract extension for “Countdown” through 2011, “Olbermann will also contribute occasional essays to ‘NBC Nightly News’ and there will be two prime-time ‘Countdown’ specials a year on NBC, a division of NBC Universal, said NBC News President Steve Capus.”
Hmmm. So, rather than add another conservative contributor to a staff heavily laden with liberals, NBC News has decided to give more airplay to one of the most partisan and vitriolic personalities on television today.
Of course, this shouldn’t surprise readers given the sentiments expressed by Capus in this article:
Making up for advancing the view that soldiers in Iraq are upset by anti-war opponents at home? Exactly two weeks after the NBC Nightly News featured a report from Richard Engel about how “troops here say they are increasingly frustrated by American criticism of the war,” Friday's NBC Nightly News ran a dispatch from Engel which showcased soldiers who want the war to end. Engel ran just one soundbite, from a Staff Sergeant with the First Infantry Division, who declared: “It is pretty much almost a lost cause. I mean, nothing it seems we do is doing any good. Every country goes through a civil war. So, I mean, maybe it'd be better for them to have a civil war and hash it out and then try to help them after that." Engel added about the unit he had traveled with which narrowly escaped an IED explosion: “They all told me it's time to end this war. And, Brian [Williams], the soldiers also asked why it seems from here there are no plans to end the war, just discussions of battle tactics?" (Screen shot is of Engel inside the Army convoy vehicle)
To listen to Harry Smith, you'd think Mickey was drowning.
ABC, NBC and CBS were so busy with their hysterics about global warming as the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) summary report was released that they missed downward revisions to predictions of rising sea levels.
“Do people here [South Beach, Fla.] know that very likely in the next – well several decades – all of this is going to be underwater?” CBS “Early Show” anchor Harry Smith asked in an interview about the appeal of Miami, Florida.
Sometimes media bias can be found in what the networks don’t say. On Tuesday, Wal-Mart suffered a major blow when the liberal 9th Circuit Court in California ruled that a class action lawsuit claiming sex discrimination could proceed against the company. All three evening newscasts reported the story, with ABC and CBS noting that a "federal appeals court" had sided with the female plaintiffs. Over on NBC, "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams simply used the phrase "federal court."
However, the 9th circuit isn’t just any court. This is the group of judges that ruled the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional. And, according to a report by the Center for Individual Freedoms, 32 percent of the reversals by the United States Supreme Court in 2003 came from the 9th Circuit. And yet, none of the network anchors thought this a pertinent point. "World News" anchor Charlie Gibson instead chose to hype the enormity of the case:
Charles Gibson: "It is a lawsuit so large in scope and size, that it staggers the imagination.A federal appeals court ruled today that a gender bias suit against Wal-Mart can proceed in what is known as a class-action suit. That means a million and a half to two million women would-be plaintiffs arguing, as a group or class, that Wal-Mart discriminated against them in providing promotions and in paying them less than male employees. Here's our senior law and justice correspondent, Jim Avila."
About 12 minutes into Thursday’s NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams warned viewers about “global warming,” but just eight minutes later NBC ran a story about the month-long “deep freeze” in Colorado. If journalists can fret about global warming every time there’s a heat wave, it’s just as legitimate to point out such a glaring contrast on a newscast even if the events are really no more contradictory than claiming above average temperatures one month are evidence of global warming.
With “Global Warming” on screen in the graphic over his shoulder, Williams promoted the “much-anticipated” upcoming report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: “Global warming, they are to say, is very likely to be caused by people, by very likely, the scientists behind this report say, that means 90 percent certain.” Williams went on to trumpet how “Al Gore has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his work fighting global warming.” Then, 20 minutes into the program, viewers saw “Deep Freeze” on screen as Williams noted how a month ago “the devastating first wave of winter smacked into Colorado,” and as a result, “many of the cattle in Colorado are in deep trouble and suffering badly now.” Reporter Kevin Tibbles began with a newborn calf struggling “to survive in an especially brutal Colorado winter.” Tibbles highlighted how the majority of calves born to one rancher have died and the rancher blamed the temperature: “They were born in the snow and it was too cold...”
The ABC and CBS evening newscasts on Wednesday night carried full stories on the racially-tinged remarks by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, but only NBC’s David Gregory reminded viewers of how Biden “has made indelicate remarks before.” In an interview with the New York Observer published Wednesday, Biden said of competing candidate Barack Obama: “You got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”
In his piece, which led the NBC Nightly News, Gregory recalled: “Biden, who admits he has a tendency to bloviate, has made indelicate remarks before. Last year speaking about Indian-Americans:” Viewers saw video from C-SPAN, of Biden in a crowd, dated June 17, 2006: “You cannot go to a 7/11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent.” Gregory then noted: “Biden's first presidential run twenty years ago was undone after evidence emerged that he plagiarized a speech from a British politician, Neil Kinnock.”
The broadcast network evening newscasts on Tuesday, especially NBC and ABC, jumped to hype a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing meant to publicize a report from two far-left groups about how the Bush administration supposedly suppressed science about the dire threat of global warming -- as if that view isn't already getting plenty of play in the mainstream media. “The question in Washington today was this,” anchor Brian Williams intoned in leading the NBC Nightly News: “Did the Bush administration in any way try to cook the books on the topic of global warming? Government scientists were called before a congressional committee today and asked if the White House or anyone else ever tried to stifle or squelch or silence the evidence that climate change is taking place around the globe.” Andrea Mitchell refused to properly label the groups as she trumpeted: “With Democrats holding the gavel in both houses, advocacy groups were given the chance to present a new study revealing unprecedented and widespread interference with scientific reports, largely by a former oil industry lobbyist working for the White House.”
ABC's Jake Tapper largely followed the same script, but World News did not lead with his piece and he at least included a brief note of doubt as he cited a same-day Senate hearing on global warming and how “the committee's previous Chairman, Senator Jim Inhofe, has called global warming a 'hoax.'” Like Mitchell, however, he followed up with the same John McCain-enabled formulation: “For the most part, though, Senators from both parties expressed concern.” Tapper began with the House confab as he relayed how “scientists say their work on global warming has been watered down and twisted by a White House that does not want the public to hear about it.”
On Saturday evening, the networks highlighted the anti-Iraq War protests in Washington, D.C., and other cities. While ABC's World News Saturday drummed up the anti-war movement as "getting warmed up," displaying the words "Peace Surge" on-screen, the CBS Evening News focused on military families who are part of the movement, suggesting that such participants could provide "political cover" to Democrats who fear looking "unpatriotic" if they "stand up to the President." The NBC Nightly News led with the story, with correspondent John Yang relaying a Newsweek poll showing that 67 percent of Americans believe the President's Iraq policy is "based on his personal beliefs regardless of facts." (Transcripts follow)
A week after NBC News reporter Jane Arraf conceded that life in Iraq “isn't entirely what it seems” from the constant media focus on bombings, the Friday NBC Nightly News gave rare voice to soldiers in Iraq disturbed by criticism of the war back home. Embedded with the Army's Stryker Brigade's Apache Company (the Fort Lewis, Washington-based 1st Battalion of the 23rd Infantry Regiment; newspaper story) in Hurriya, Richard Engel relayed how “troops here say they are increasingly frustrated by American criticism of the war. Many take it personally, believing it is also criticism of what they've been fighting for. Twenty-one-year-old Specialist Tyler Johnson is on his first tour in Iraq. He thinks skeptics should come over and see what it's like firsthand before criticizing." Johnson asserted: “You may support or say we support the troops, but, so you're not supporting what they do, what they're here sweating for, what we bleed for, what we die for. It just don't make sense to me."
Staff Sergeant Manuel Sahagun directly took on the spin of war critics, complaining that “one thing I don't like is when people back home say they support the troops, but they don't support the war. If they're going to support us, support us all the way." Engel soon powerfully concluded: "Apache Company has lost two soldiers, and now worries their country may be abandoning the mission they died for.”
A night after CNN anchors fretted about how Katrina and the recovering Gulf region were “thunderously missing” from President Bush's State of the Union address, CBS and NBC picked up the cause. CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric regretted on Wednesday night how “there was not one mention of Katrina, though the suffering and hardship continue.” Noting that “there are still 13,000 people living in FEMA trailers,” Couric asserted: “Some who lost everything are asking, 'What about us?'” Reporter Armen Keteyian, a veteran of HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, featured one New Orleans man who, “like many here, watched the President's speech, his rage rising with every word." Keteyian listed how “there were 5,596 words in the President's speech last night,” and insisted that “reaction to the fact that not a single one was either Katrina or Louisiana was felt...all across the Gulf." Kateyian concluded with how “words like 'relief' and 'recovery' now seem as empty to them as last night's presidential address.”
Leading into an image of a headline in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, “New Orleans left out of president's script,” as if a local newspaper story should have national import, David Gregory highlighted on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News: “That focus on Iraq, and the political toll it's taken, has led the White House to divert its attention from other priorities -- like rebuilding New Orleans after Katrina. Last night, not a word. The omission was headline news.”
CORRECTION: An earlier post incorrectly said none of the
evening newscasts carried a mention of the falling gas prices. I apologize for
Gasoline costs nearly 20 cents less than it did the same
time last year, but the good news merited only a passing mention on the night
before President Bush’s State of the Union address. By contrast, the networks
spent more than 10 minutes combined interviewing 2008 presidential candidate
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.).
"The price of gasoline fell by 6 cents last week to an
average of about $2.16 a gallon nationwide – a 14-cent decline over three
weeks,” the Associated Press reported January 22. AAA's Fuelgaugereport.com,
which displays data from the Oil Price Information Service, shows similar data.
"Retail gasoline prices have fallen 17 cents from this time
last year," and the price of crude oil has also been on a downward track, "down 86 cents at $51.13 a barrel Monday on the New York Mercantile
Exchange," the AP reported.
ABC's Charles Gibson mentioned the drop in a 15-second bit
on "World News," while CBS and NBC had no time for that good news. Each
network, however, gave the junior senator considerable air time on its January
ABC anchor Gibson gave the former first lady the most face
time with 5 minutes and 9 seconds in a satellite interview on "World News." NBC’s Brian Williams and CBS’s Katie Couric gave Clinton about the same time as a full-length
news report. Clinton’s
taped sit-down with Couric lasted 2 minutes and 40 seconds, while Williams’
taped in-studio chat was 2 minutes and 20 seconds.
Senator Hillary Clinton sat for interviews aired Monday night on all three broadcast network evening newscasts to promote her presidential candidacy, though only ABC’s World News got her live. CBS’s Katie Couric first pushed her from the left: “You're against sending additional troops to Iraq, and according to our latest poll, 66 percent of Americans agree with you. So why not vote to cut off funding so the President can't carry out this policy?” Couric did note that “some” call her health care policy management in the Clinton administration “a disaster” before worrying: “Even those who approve of you as a candidate have questions about your electability, some of those people. What would you say to them?” The “Couric & Co.” blog features a picture of Senator Clinton and Katie Couric, both smiling, posing together shoulder-to-shoulder.
NBC anchor Brian Williams treated her as a victim of the “burden” of celebrity: “Is it any kind of a burden for you, Senator, that so many opinions are pre-formed? Americans know Hillary Rodham Clinton.” And, in a question not aired, but posted in an online transcript, Williams fretted: “Because you've been a public figure, is it a burden for you to go back and amend or explain issues like health care, the vote for the war, things like that?” ABC’s Charles Gibson dared to raise a unique point: “You are a strong, credible, female candidate for President of the United States, and I mean no disrespect in this, but would you be in this position were it not for your husband?”Gibson pressed her from the right (“Would you take a pledge not to sign a bill that raised taxes?”) and then the left (“Can we finance this war without raising taxes?”) before echoing Couric: “Was your vote to authorize war in Iraq a mistake?”
You gotta love network blogs, if for nothing more they bring out those hidden gems of bias you otherwise wouldn't get from the people behind the camera. Like Ed Deitch, one of the men behind the curtain as it were.
Deitch, a senior producer for the NBC "Nightly News" expressed
bemusement recently on the NBC News "Daily Nightly" blog at the notion that there's opposition to a Bangor, Maine,
ban on smoking in cars with children.
NBC's Thursday night comedy "30 Rock" took some good-natured potshots at "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams in a scene that depicted his office as rife with liquor bottles, dirty underwear, pornography ("Junk in the Trunk") and wall graffiti declaring "Katie Couric Sucks." (h/t TVNewser.com)