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.”
If you went to see a double feature of "An Inconvenient Truth" and "Red Dawn" you might come close to one of NBC's "Nightly News" stories last night.
An August 12 broadcast of the NBC show found a unique way to promote the war on global warming: Russian imperialism. Then they promoted a treaty that President Ronald Reagan refused to sign in 1982 on the grounds that it would tie America's hands too tightly to United Nations regulations.
Russia recently made claim to an underwater tract of the Arctic and likened it to the planting of the U.S. flag on the moon in 1969.
"Why the polar rush? Global warming," said correspondent Kerry Sanders. "Call it the new Cold War."
Reporting on the resignation of presidential political adviser Karl Rove, ABC's World News on Monday night absurdly blamed Karl Rove for the ads from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and featured John Kerry's condemnation of Rove as all three broadcast network evening shows castigated Rove for his criticism of how Democrats want to coddle terrorists and highlighted his “leaking” of Valerie Plame's name. ABC's David Wright cited Rove's “political ju-jitzu” in “turning opponents' strengths against them.” With a Swift Boat ad clip on screen, Wright described a “sustained attack on John Kerry's war record, an audacious move considering Bush's Vietnam War record was weak.” Wright contended that Rove sometimes went “too far,” such as when “he accused the Democrats of offering therapy and understanding to our attackers. 9/11 families asked him to stop.” Rounding out Rove's offenses, Wright asserted that “he's been on the defensive over the leaking of a CIA agent's name as political payback against her husband, and for his part in the fired U.S. attorneys scandal.” Following Wright's report, anchor Charles Gibson showcased how Kerry “said he orchestrated a political strategy 'that promised to unite Americans but instead left us more divided than [ever] before.'”
On the CBS Evening News, which found the oldest video of Rove -- from 1972 -- Jim Axelrod stressed how “Rove survived five grand jury appearances during the Valerie Plame CIA leak case without being indicted. He's currently defying congressional subpoenas to testify about the fired U.S. attorneys.” Axelrod maintained Rove “lost some of his luster last year when painting the Democrats weak on terror and the Iraq war backfired, and the GOP lost the House and Senate.” NBC's Kelly O'Donnell recalled how “he enraged Democrats” by “accusing them of weakness after 9/11.”
On Tuesday’s "Nightline," co-anchor Martin Bashir filed a report on businessman Tom Monaghan, founder of a Catholic university in Florida and a community that will attempt to embrace traditional Christian values. Bashir regurgitated a two-year-old criticism that the town has "been described as a Catholic Jonestown, a kind of Catholic Iran, where individual rights and liberties are curtailed."
The various network news shows have come to this shocking conclusion: It’s summer and it’s hot. Could global warming be to blame? Ann Curry, guest anchoring NBC’s "Nightly News" on Tuesday, speculated, "Record heat and drought in the United States and Europe. New fears tonight that it's all the result of global warming." Harry Smith, over on CBS’s "Early Show," had the same idea. The morning show anchor definitively asserted, "Before we do anything else, there is in fact, global climate change.
NBC has apparently abandoned any doubt about the formulation that bad or hot weather in the summer proves man-made global warming since just two years after NBC Nightly News pointed out how “three of the five warmest summers on record were in the 1930s,” Tuesday's newscast showcased a UN report to contend “extreme weather” and an August heat wave demonstrates man-made global warming. Back on the July 25, 2005 NBC Nightly News, after a man on the street declared that “it seems like each summer is a little warmer than the one before,” reporter Carl Quintanilla countered: “Actually, that's not right.” He noted that “three of the five warmest summers on record were in the 1930s. Climate experts like Kevin Trenberth say the one-degree increase in temperature this century is no reason to break a sweat.” (MRC CyberAlert item which began with panic from CNN's Lou Dobbs: “Record heat and drought in the United States and Europe. New fears tonight that it's all the result of global warming. Is the Earth witnessing a massive environmental change?”
Two years later, on Tuesday night, fill-in NBC anchor Ann Curry segued from a summer heat wave story to how “a new report out from the UN says we are in an extreme weather year all over the globe and the question tonight: Is global warming to blame?” Citing “a worldwide path of destruction,” Anne Thompson asserted that “global land surface temperatures in January and April were likely the warmest since records began 120 years ago, extremes scientists say are consistent with an increase in carbon dioxide, man-made global warming.” Thompson moved on to a report from the left-wing, though naturally unlabeled, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) on how heavy rains caused by global warming “churn up pollution in waterways, ruining beach plans.”
A pronounced example of how bad news is news and good news is much less newsworthy: On Friday night, ABC and NBC teased full stories on the 281 point plunge that day in the Dow Jones average, but on Monday, after the Dow rebounded by five points greater than Friday's loss in the biggest one-day gain in five years, the networks limited coverage to a few seconds. “The stock market stumbles again today exposing fault lines in the nation's housing market,” ABC's Charles Gibson teased a full story Friday night on the stock market and troubles in the mortgage industry which he introduced by emphasizing how “the gains of the past couple of days were more than wiped out by a dramatic late-day sell-off.” But on Monday night, Gibson didn't tease the rebound news and held coverage to barely 20 seconds.
Brian Williams teased Friday's NBC Nightly News: “Stocks slide again on Wall Street. What is spooking the market tonight as we head into the weekend?” Williams spent a minute-and-half with CNBC's Jim Cramer discussing reasons for the plunge, but on Monday fill-in anchor Ann Curry gave the good news just 20 seconds, not counting time for more bad news: The bankruptcy filing by American Home Mortgage. CBS's Katie Couric on Friday only devoted 25 seconds to how “investors headed for the exits, and the Dow plunged 281 points. So, since hitting a record high 14,000 two weeks ago, the Dow has now given up more than 800 points.” On Monday, however, she squeezed in a piddling eight seconds on the rebound, not counting unemployment news and a note about American Home Mortgage.
Our TV network media personalities really want you to believe they can relate to the average American. After all, when you’re a high-minded soldier fighting on the side of the proletariat, it’s important to be a victim of the economic injustices you bring to light, right?
Not so fast. It turns out some of the most prominent journalists are doing quite well, according to the July 26 TV Guide. Early this year, a Business & Media Institute report exposed the “income inequality” talking points of the news media. Some journalists continue to attack the wealthy and complain about the downtrodden “middle-class” despite their own $3, $8 and $15 million salaries.
“NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams has been highly critical of CEO compensation, referencing “stratospheric sums some CEOs make” and complaining about “golden parachute[s].”
Good thing “Nightly News” is focusing on global warming solutions or the network might even try to pin that on the housing market.
“Even Toyota sales fell and blamed a weak housing market for a plunge in light truck sales,” said “Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams on August 1. Williams also managed to mention that the DJIA finished up 150 points “despite the fact that the housing and mortgage market are showing even more signs of weakness now.”
Though many journalists impose their views regularly in biased political coverage, and last year the New York Times publisher made clear his left-wing world view, on Tuesday night the broadcast networks framed Rupert Murdoch's acquisition of the Wall Street Journal around what agenda the “controversial” Murdoch will “impose.” That matches the “fear” expressed in online journalism forums and media magazines about Murdoch's “conservative” agenda. Leading into pro and con soundbites, CBS's Kelly Wallace described Murdoch as “a conservative who put his imprint on the New York Post and brought topless women to the Sun in London. His critics say he may not impose tabloid on the Journal, but will impose his point of view.”
NBC's Andrea Mitchell called Murdoch “a controversial press lord” and declared Murdoch “deeply conservative,” but noted he's also a “pragmatic” man who has been “a supporter of liberal politicians.” Mitchell relayed how Murdoch insists he “does not mix politics and business,” but, she cautioned, “still, some are skeptical.” The liberal Ken Auletta of The New Yorker contended Murdoch “often” uses “his publications and his media to advance either his business or his political interests.” Over on ABC, David Muir warned that Murdoch “already wields great power over much of what we watch and read” and asserted that “critics caution being a brilliant businessman does not guarantee brilliant journalism.” After a soundbite from Auletta about how Murdoch's politics influence his publications, Muir worried: “For that reason, this has turned into a painful decision for members of the Bancroft family, who controlled the Wall Street Journal for more than 100 years. Sell for $5 billion? Or is that selling out? There were tears within the Bancroft family and fears in the newsroom.” On screen, a WSJ headline: “Fear, Mixed with Some Loathing; Many Reporters at Wall Street Journal Fret Over Murdoch's Arrival.”
NBC Nightly News on Monday ignored a development both ABC and CBS found newsworthy, that after eight days in Iraq, two Brookings Institution scholars who describe themselves has “harshly” critical of Bush's Iraq policy, determined the situation in Iraq is better than they assumed and so the “surge” should continue into next year. Instead of reporting the fresh assessment from Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack, NBC anchor Brian Williams, citing “a draft U.S. report,” aired a full story on how “there are disturbing new details about corruption at the very top of the Iraqi government.” But the NBC Nightly News has hardly been reticent before about running soundbites from O'Hanlon with dire warnings about Iraq.
ABC anchor Charles Gibson declared “the column was the talk of Washington today.” From Iraq, Terry McCarthy related that “the report tracks fairly closely with what we're seeing both in our visits to U.S. bases in and around Baghdad involved with the surge, and also our trips out to Baghdad neighborhoods talking to Iraqi population. Clearly, security is improving as the U.S. military footprint expands so the violence goes down, the sectarian killings go down.” Indeed, on CBS, David Martin noted how “with one day left in the month, American casualties in July are the lowest since the troop surge began in February. And civilian casualties are down a third.” Martin aired soundbites from Pollack and O'Hanlon as he described “just enough progress so that a critic like Michael O'Hanlon, who used to think the surge was too little too late, now believes it should be continued.”
It seems the media know why the stock market declined recent. Some journalists are blaming this recent correction in the stock market on widespread credit problems and point to troubles in the housing market as evidence.
“[B]ut nothing is likely to unsettle the markets as much as more credit woes,” said NBC News correspondent Pat Dawson on the July 29 “NBC Nightly News.” “Any additional problems with mortgage defaults or companies trying to borrow and coming up short is likely to send investors running for the exits again.”
“Don’t let that scenic [Aquafina] logo fool you, this water is not bottled from a mountain stream,” said Rob Marciano CNN’s “American Morning.”
Aquafina, the country's best-selling brand of bottled water, was portrayed as shamefully dishonest by "CBS Evening News," "NBC Nightly News," ABC "World News with Charles Gibson" on July 27. And by the July 30 "American Morning."
PepsiCo, the bottler of Aquafina, was under attack the day it announced labeling changes for the product from "P.W.S." to "Public Water Source."
Nets Barely Notice Surge in GDP as They Focus on Dow Plunge
The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Friday all devoted full stories to the fall in the stock market, touted as "the worst two-day point drop for the Dow in five years," but barely had time for a sentence about the 3.4 percent second quarter jump in the GDP, the biggest in over a year. In fact, neither ABC nor NBC cited the specific 3.4 percent rise in the Gross Domestic Product, the measure which the AP on Friday described as the "best barometer of the country's economic fitness." Not one of the three evening newscasts mentioned how the Dow is still well above the 13,000 level it broke through in April and none noted fresh good news on inflation.
Not even reporting what second quarter GDP growth actually was (repeat: 3.4%) is flat-out negligence.
ABC's World News Sunday featured a report about the upcoming meeting between President Bush and recently elected British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, which included speculation about how Bush's relationship with Brown will compare to that with Tony Blair. Between anchor Dan Harris and correspondent John Cochran, the derogatory charge by Blair critics that he was Bush's "poodle" was mentioned three times. While Cochran described the label as "perhaps unfair," when the report concluded, Harris, after having already mentioned the "poodle" insult once as he introduced the story, followed up by remarking, "Potentially no more poodle." (Transcript follows)
The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Friday all devoted full stories to the fall in the stock market, touted as “the worst two-day point drop for the Dow in five years,” but barely had time for a sentence about the 3.4 percent second quarter jump in the GDP, the biggest in over a year. In fact, neither ABC nor NBC cited the specific 3.4 percent rise in the Gross Domestic Product, the measure which the AP on Friday described as the “best barometer of the country's economic fitness.” Not one of the three evening newscasts mentioned how the Dow is still well above the 13,000 level it broke through in April and none noted fresh good news on inflation.
ABC was the most negative. “Stock slide,” World News anchor Charles Gibson teased, “Wall Street finishes the worst week of the year down nearly 600 points.” Gibson soon highlighted that news, as he only alluded to the good GDP number, when he reported “the worst week for the Dow in five years. Even positive news on economic growth wasn't enough to keep investors from selling. Among other things, they had to contend with a battered housing market.” Reporter Betsy Stark agreed as she too only made a passing reference to the GDP: “It sure is, Charlie. In fact, buried inside that positive report on Gross Domestic Product today was more evidence of what economists now describe as an outright recession in the housing sector.” ABC didn't even put the GDP number on screen as Stark devoted her entire story to the impact of the declining housing market before concluding that “it increases the odds of a downturn in the overall economy since housing now accounts for roughly one in ten American jobs.”
Thursday's NBC Nightly News combined the usual with the unusual for an evening newscast story: A breast cancer survivor story which would appeal to woman and a look at an Army Sergeant who has now fulfilled her 'dream' of getting to serve in Iraq, hardly a view expressed very often on network news. Anchor Brian Williams introduced the profile: “Tonight we have a story of a woman who is serving her country and serving as an example, in her bravery, to the rest of us.” Checking in on the state-side training being undergone by Army Sergeant Elizabeth Cowie, reporter Jennifer London explained how “it's been her dream to serve in Iraq.” Cowie, however, was sidelined by breast cancer. But now that she successfully treated it, her dream has been “realized,” London related, as “this was Sergeant Cowie's final training mission before deployment.” Cowie expressed her idealism and commitment: “We have a lot of liberties, we have a lot of freedoms that other people around the world don't have, and so for me that's important, so I'm willing to do what I have to do and put my own life at risk.”
After London's piece, Williams followed up with how Cowie arrived in Iraq and sent an e-mail to NBC News “with the following request, quote: 'Keep our soldiers in your prayers. They are the best of America.'”
Going green is the simple solution to Detroit's woes, according to NBC "Nightly News."
"[W]ith gas prices up and global warming at the forefront, Americans are looking for better mileage and cleaner cars these days," said anchor Brian Williams, broadcasting on July 24 from the Motor City.
NBC correspondent Kevin Tibbles promoted Ford's "experimental green fleet of the future" which includes a hydrogen/electric car. Tibbles also celebrated GM vice president Bob Lutz' green ideas.
"And while analysts predict it could take five years for Detroit to pull even [with Japan in the production of hybrid vehicles], Lutz doesn’t think it’s too little, too late," Tibbles said.
In May, when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted an above average hurricane season, the media reported the announcement with a vigor.
Two months later, with no serious hurricanes yet hitting the mainland, a private forecaster has reduced its tropical storm expectations.
Less hurricanes should be good news, especially for folks along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, right? Shouldn't this get aggressively disseminated by media outlets that certainly have a public service responsibility?
Before we get there, the following was reported by Reuters Tuesday evening (emphasis added):
The list of media-approved drinks in dwindling. Bottled water is out for its contribution to global warming, we're not supposed to chuckle at beer ads and energy drinks make kids sick according to the news media.
Soda "may be bad for our hearts," worried CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric.
The CBS report focused on a woman "hooked" on soda, consuming eight glasses of soda a day according to CBS Medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook.
What CBS left out was an industry response, although the network had the opportunity. The American Beverage Association told Business & Media Institute that "Evening News" interviewed ABA president Susan Neely, but left it out of the broadcast.
As CBS and NBC evening newscasts ignored dropping gas prices on July 23, ABC's Charles Gibson found a way to provide negative spin.
"News today in this country, that gas guzzling is getting cheaper while coffee guzzling gets more expensive. The price of gas took a dive in the past week. The government says it was down nine cents a gallon, to an average of $2.96," Gibson said on "World News with Charles Gibson."
But the cost of an optional Starbucks latte has nothing to do with gasoline. Still, Gibson oddly correlated the nine-cent price drop per gallon of gas since last week with the nine-cent price increase at the popular coffee joint.