Jamieson interviewed Tom Branon and his wife, who run a sugaring business in Vermont. Branon told ABC "springs are coming earlier" and "winters are less harsh." Then the ABC reporter mentioned researchers who say the state is caught in a "long-term warming trend" that might eventually cause the decline of the industry.
But NBC "Nightly News" proved that the syrup story didn't have to be doom and gloom. Instead, NBC focused on a sugar farmer's decision to adapt. "Some years, like last year, we lost out. We lost the first run, but I'm not worried this year. We're going to-we're almost fully tapped," said Burr Morse to "Nightly News."
ABC anchor Charles Gibson teased his lead Wednesday night story by touting how “Al Gore goes back to Capitol Hill for the first time since the year 2000 and finds a heated debate on global warming.” But the broadcast network evening newscasts didn't get to the debate. They were too busy trumpeting Gore's cause and barely touching his critics. ABC's Kate Snow gave a doubter ten words before running a much longer laudatory clip from former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill) which ended with Hastert calling Gore “a movie star.” When Gore demurred that “I just have a slide show,” Snow, far from exploring the “debate,” endorsed the premises of Gore's most dire ideas: “Of course, that slide show won an Oscar. And the man dubbed the 'Goracle' now jets around the planet trying to save it. Gore today called on Congress to freeze carbon emissions and figure out how to drastically reduce all greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050. The message endorsed by much of the scientific community.”
With “Planetary Emergency” on screen, NBC anchor Brian Williams excitedly announced, “Look who was back on Capitol Hill today: Al Gore.” Over on CBS, Katie Couric celebrated “a lot of excitement on Capitol Hill. A movie star showed up to testify before Congress -- a movie star named Al Gore.” Gloria Borger recalled that “the last time Gore appeared on Capitol Hill was in his official role as Vice President, certifying his own loss in the disputed 2000 election,” but she championed how “he came back today as a winner, his popular movie, An Inconvenient Truth, grabbing an Oscar.” Borger concluded: “Gore could still get in late and run for President. Maybe that's why Hillary Clinton didn't gush all over him today like her fellow Democrats.” What excuse do journalists have for their gushing?
“Sixty bucks! That’s ridiculous,” said one woman filling up her gas tank, on ABC’s “World News with Charles Gibson” March 12.
Consumer complaints and frequent mentions of "the most expensive gasoline" in the country are used by the media to hype rising gas prices. And what state has the most expensive gasoline? California.
“Let me show you what is the most expensive gasoline location in the country. A gallon of unleaded in California right now going for $3.08 a gallon,” said NBC reporter Tom Costello during the March 12 “Nightly News.”
Costello's report, like many others on NBC, CBS and ABC left out the explanation for exorbitant prices at California pumps: higher taxes and excessive environmental regulation.
Some journalists are starting to project parallels between the media-fueled controversy over the Bush administration replacing eight of 93 U.S. attorneys and Watergate, what many reporters see as their glory days of the early 1970s. A brief video snippet in David Gregory's story on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News showed Fred Fielding, Chief Counsel in the Bush White House who worked in the counsel's office during the Nixon administration, walking down a Capitol Hill hallway as a male voice off-camera, presumably a reporter, asked: “Does this bring back memories of Watergate?” NBC didn't play Fielding's reply. And that most likely took place before President Bush's address at 5:50pm EDT in which he promised to turn over more documents, have Justice officials testify before Congress and to allow Senators to interview Harriet Miers and Karl Rove.
Bush's offer only antagonized a couple of media figures. On MSNBC's Countdown, Keith Olbermann proposed that “the President sounded awfully like President Nixon during Watergate.” Newsweek Senior Editor Jonathan Alter readily agreed: “That is a great point. You know if you go into executive privilege land, you do take us on a kind of a return trip to Watergate.”
ABC anchor Charles Gibson led on Monday night, the fourth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, with the results of a door-to-door survey of more than 2,000 Iraqis conducted for ABC News (and USA Today). Gibson started the “sobering report” with how “fewer than half the Iraqis, just 42 percent, said life was better now than it was under Saddam Hussein.” Gibson, however, failed to explain that when asked, “compared to the time before the war in spring 2003, are things overall in your life much better now, somewhat better, about the same, somewhat worse or much worse?”, fewer than 42 percent -- 36 percent -- said worse and 22 thought things are the same. A poll of 5,000 Iraqis reported in the Times of London discovered, as highlighted by FNC's Brit Hume, that “49 percent said life is better under the current Iraqi government” and “just 26 percent preferred life under Saddam Hussein.”
NBC anchor Brian Williams opened by emphasizing the length and cost of the war: “U.S. involvement in this war is now longer in duration than the Korean War, longer than World War I or World War II. And here are the numbers of great importance to all Americans. So far, at least 3,218 Americans have died. At least 24,000 have been wounded. Estimates of Iraqi dead are close to 60,000...” CBS's Katie Couric began with how “the war goes on, there is no end or victory in sight, thousands of Americans are dead, but the President says victory is still possible.” Reporter Allen Pizzey, who on The Early Showhad insisted that “Iraqis have very little to be thankful for,” also delivered a dire assessment on the Evening News: “And so four weary and blood-soaked years on, the so-called coalition of the willing has become the coalition of those who are stuck with it.”
The three broadcast network evening newscasts were similar Friday night in featuring full stories on Valerie Plame's testimony before the House Government Reform Committee, including video of Plame with a woman behind her wearing a pink “Impeach Bush” T-shirt -- ABC even caught a moment when the woman was making the “shame” sign with her fingers (see screen shot to right) -- and not mentioning Richard Armitage, the former Deputy Secretary of State who was the source for columnist Robert Novak's reporting of her name. CBS's Gloria Borger, remarkably, concluded her report by listing every big name involved but Armitage's: “When asked whether she'd gotten an apology from the President, the Vice President, Karl Rove or Scooter Libby, she said no.”
But there were differences. Only NBC Nightly News led with Plame as fill-in anchor Campbell Brown announced: “The CIA operative at the heart of a scandal tells Congress the Bush administration blew her cover and wrecked her career.” NBC's Chip Reid uniquely highlighted how Plame contributed to Al Gore's 2000 campaign and that she conceded “I am a Democrat.” While CBS's Borger concluded with a missing apology to her, ABC's David Kerley ended his piece by noting how Plame is taking advantage of her situation: “While Plame may have lost the undercover job she loved, the blown cover is allowing her to find a new career. She signed a book deal for more than $1 million. And oh, about all those ingredients for a Hollywood movie, there will be one of those, as well.”
ABC's World News separated itself from the media pack Thursday night. Though ABC's coverage was keyed to how e-mails supposedly show that Karl Rove was at “the center” of early 2005 discussions about replacing all 93 U.S. attorneys, anchor Charles Gibson pointed out how “these U.S. attorneys do serve at the pleasure of the President. He can fire them at any time. So did anything really get done that was wrong?” Jan Crawford Greenburg answered, in a broadcast network evening newscast first, by informing viewers of how “President Clinton, in fact, fired all the U.S. attorneys when he came into office from the previous Republican administration.”
Meanwhile, NBC and CBS continued the obsession on the story for the third night in a row. NBC Nightly News anchor Campbell Brown breathlessly teased her lead, “The prosecutor purge: Did the idea of firing all U.S. Attorneys start with inner circle adviser Karl Rove? If so, what now?” The CBS Evening News led with two stories on the subject, starting with Jim Axelrod on Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher's call for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign. Next, Bob Orr looked at how Gonzales “was tangled in controversy" before becoming AG. “As the President's chief lawyer, Gonzales sanctioned the widespread use of warrant-less wiretaps,”Orr thundered, thus “allowing the government to snoop on Americans without court orders.” Plus, “he also approved the so-called 'torture memo'” and “under Bush-Gonzales policies, prisoners were allowed to be held indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay with no access to U.S. courts,” policies reflecting an “attitude,” Georgetown law professor David Cole charged, in Orr's words, which “led directly to the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib.”
Before I started as NewsBusters managing editor, I finished up a study of the media's bias when it comes to reporting on prescription drugs. The study was released on March 14.
After the page break are some findings from the executive summary. Here's a link to the PDF version of the study.
Even when one new drug was hailed as a “major advance in combating
breast cancer” and a “major medical breakthrough,” its manufacturer was
given only a passing mention on one network. BMI looked at 132 stories
on prescription or over-the-counter drugs from the ABC, CBS, and NBC
evening newscasts between January 1 and Sept. 30, 2006.
How many networks does it take to change a lightbulb? Two.
CBS "Evening News" and ABC "World News with Charles Gibson" both ran segments on a coalition supporting a ban on incandescent light bulbs in order to save money and save the planet through decreased energy consumption.
“Brian Castelli is part of a growing coalition that wants to ban your standard bulb and replace it with compact fluorescents (CFLs). Advocates say it’ll cut greenhouse gases, save electricity and money,” said CBS technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg.
Both networks left out the anti-regulation perspective that if compact fluorescent bulbs are really more efficient and will save consumers money in the long run there is no need for a mandate from the government.
"A new drug that proved to be so effective so quickly, the approval process was sped up," lauded CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric on March 13.
Couric and other reporters had reason to praise the newly FDA-approved drug Tykerb. The drug is approved for treatment of a specific kind of breast cancer, called HER-2 positive, and is showing tremendous promise.
Cancer patient Marsha Brekke told ABC "World News with Charles Gibson" that the drug was her last chance. Brekke has been cancer free for more than a year.
But what all three networks, ABC, CBS and NBC, left out of the evening newscasts on March 13 was any mention of the company that developed this breakthrough drug.
Last night, ABC "World News with Charles Gibson," and CBS "Evening News" both blamed increased foreclosures on lending companies and mentioned tightened regulation instead of discussing the issue of personal choice. NBC "Nightly News" was the only network to bring individual choice into the story on March 13.
"Mortgage companies were lending to people with questionable credit," said ABC's David Muir.
But it is not as if lending companies run around just handing out money to bad credit risks, people actually have to apply for home loans because they want to buy a home. Both ABC and CBS missed that.
Instead Muir's "World News" report pitied one couple "fighting to hold on."
The broadcast network evening newscasts, which didn't care in 1993 about the Clinton administration's decision to ask for the resignations of all 93 U.S. attorneys, went apoplectic Tuesday night in leading with the “controversy,” fed by the media, over the Bush administration for replacing eight U.S. attorneys in late 2006 -- nearly two years after rejecting the idea of following the Clinton policy of replacing all the attorneys. Anchor Charles Gibson promised that ABC would “look at all the angles tonight,” but he skipped the Clinton comparison. Gibson teased: “New controversy at the White House after a string of U.S. attorneys is fired under questionable circumstances. There are calls for the Attorney General to resign.”
CBS's Katie Couric declared that “the uproar is growing tonight over the firing of eight federal prosecutors by the Justice Department” and fill-in NBC anchor Campbell Brown teased: “The Attorney General and the firestorm tonight over the controversial dismissal of several federal prosecutors. Was it political punishment?” Brown soon asserted that “it's a story that has been brewing for weeks and it exploded today” -- an explosion fueled by the news media.
Of the broadcast network evening news shows, on Friday the NBC Nightly News uniquely covered the "history-making" federal court ruling striking down Washington, D.C.'s restrictive gun control laws. While anchor Brian Williams made the story his show's lead item, with correspondent Pete Williams calling it "the most important gun control ruling in 70 years," the CBS Evening News and ABC's World News ignored the story entirely.
Pete Williams set up his report relaying the story of D.C. resident Tom Palmer, "who was once assaulted and wants a gun in the house for self-defense." A party to the lawsuit against D.C., Palmer argued that since "criminals don't obey the law," that "it's the law-abiding citizens who are disarmed by this law." The report then featured opposing viewpoints in the form of soundbites from Democratic Mayor Adrian Fenty and gun control advocate Paul Helmke complaining that the ruling could "weaken gun laws nationwide." (Transcript follows)
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: