The Big Three all punted on covering the Capitol Hill "Audit the IRS" rally on their Wednesday evening and Thursday morning newscasts. CBS This Morning played a four-second soundbite of Senator Ted Cruz addressing the thousands of Tea Party activists in attendance, but CBS, along with ABC and NBC, didn't air a full report or news brief on the protest.
The CBS morning show also stood out for spotlighting how the "IRS is under fire again...it's paying $70 million in employee bonuses, despite a White House order." CBS This Morning devoted 47 seconds of coverage to this latest IRS controversy, while ABC and NBC ignored the development.
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, reporting on President Obama's trip to Europe, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd fretted over the commander-in-chief's declining popularity overseas: "Obama comes to this [G-8] summit...to a much more muted reception than in the past. Once heralded as the anti-George Bush...now he's on the defensive over U.S. policies, including some he's kept in place from the Bush era." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd listed some of the ways in which Obama hasn't been liberal enough for European sensibilities: "The NSA surveillance programs, widely panned on this privacy-conscious continent. The failure to shut down the prison at Guantanamo Bay, his hesitancy to engage in Syria, and a perceived lack of focus on climate change."
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Andrea Mitchell seized on NSA leaker Edward Snowden attacking former Vice President Dick Cheney, who labeled Snowden a traitor for publicizing classified information: "Snowden wrote, 'Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Mitchell went out of her way to hit Cheney on Monday's Today, noting that he "helped institute warrantless evesdropping, no court orders required, a policy Congress later rejected in favor of the current surveillance programs."
Saturday's CBS Evening News ballyhooed the "enormous strain on resources" that the budget sequester has apparently put on extinguishing a massive wildfire in Colorado. Carter Evans played up how, in addition to fighting the flames, "federal firefighters are facing another challenge: a loss of $50 million, mandated by the budget sequester. That forced the Forest Service to cut 500 firefighters and 50 engines, just when they're needed most."
The CBS evening newscast was actually late to the game, as the network's Big Three competitors also spotlighted the same figures earlier in June.
Banks are bad because they make a profit on things requested by their customers, according to both NBC and CBS. The two networks highlighted a study released June 11 by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau [CFPB] that said banks made $12.6 billion in overdraft fees and non-sufficient funds from bounced checks in 2011. Though only 20 percent of customers actually opt-in for overdraft protection, NBC called these fees “one of the most common financial mistakes Americans make.”
Anchor Lester Holt opened the segment with alarmist, accusatory language: “A government report out today makes it clear just how much this country’s banks are profiting from your mistakes. We’re talking about those hefty overdraft charges when checking accounts are overdrawn. Well it turns out the banks are now making most of their fees from these penalties.”
When news broke that IRS agents were abusively targeting conservative groups particularly the Tea Party, it looked at as if this was an Obama administration scandal that would stick. Even reporters like NBC’s Andrea Mitchell counted it as among the “most outrageous excesses I’ve seen.” Obama sycophant Chris Matthews predicted it could be worth “five or 10 points” for Republicans in the next midterm elections. Even theNew York Timeseditorial board proclaimed: “The IRS Audits Are Condemned.”
The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) news networks actually jumped to cover the story, filling their evening and morning shows with a total of 96 stories in the first two weeks (May 10 through May 23) of coverage. But after those two strong weeks, the broadcast networks lost interest in the scandal, and the coverage slowed to a crawl -- just 31 stories in the subsequent weeks (May 24 through June 12). This week, the networks have run only one story (June 11 on ABC’s Good Morning America) on the IRS scandal.
While a series of Obama administration scandals have left many Americans questioning the trustworthiness of government officials and bureaucrats, NBC News decided to use the recent National Security Agency leaks by Booz Allen contractor Edward Snowden to bash the role of the private sector in assisting with intelligence gathering. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman summed up the network's smear campaign during a panel discussion on Wednesday's NBC Today about the NSA snooping controversy: "...the number of contractors who aren't government workers, who are hired because they're young and geeky and they have computer skills....But they also are rather unmoored, they don't have a sense of patriotism, they don't really belong anywhere, so their sense of right and wrong is very different than how we see it."
The latest State Department scandal, involving a possible cover-up of sexual misconduct by an ambassador and security officials, was only newsworthy enough to merit one full report each on ABC and NBC's morning and evening newscasts before the two networks moved on. NBC led Tuesday's Today with the "damaging documents" concerning the "possibly illegal...behavior", but ignored it the following morning. NBC Nightly News hasn't even touched the story yet.
ABC arrived late to covering the allegations on Tuesday's World News, but Good Morning America has yet to mention the issue as of Wednesday. CBS broke their scoop on the scandal on Monday's CBS This Morning, and covered it as well on Tuesday and Wednesday.
America’s daughters will now be able to buy the “morning after” abortion pill with their Justin Bieber fan-zines and “Twilight” novels. To many people, that’s important news. But ABC didn’t think it was worth noting on “World News with Diane Sawyer.”
Perhaps ABC felt it was already covering an important health story and couldn’t fit another in the broadcast. And really, a segment on women wearing high-heels even though their feet hurt is hard-hitting journalism.
For the week of May 27, the Big Three networks' evening news broadcasts declined, both compared to the previous week and the same week last year, and garnered an average combined daily audience of just under 20 million.
Somehow, Chris Ariens at Media Bistro apparently wasn't looking at the same numbers his readers were when he did his post, and wrote the following while linking back to the related post from last year which contradicted what he wrote (bolds are mine; link is in original):
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd cheered President Obama picking Susan Rice to be his new national security advisor and nominating Samantha Power as U.N. ambassador: "They are now among the most powerful women in the American foreign policy community. Behind-the-scenes power players now front and center."
Amid sound bites of Obama praising both women, Todd joined in extolling their accomplishments: "Both come with a long list of impressive credentials. Rice, a Harvard graduate and Rhodes scholar with a Ph.D. from Oxford. In 1990's she served as assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration. Power is a human rights expert and Pulitzer Prize-winning author; she's also the mother of two young children."
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams failed to mention Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan's traditional Islamic orientation as he reported on the "anti-government protests" in the Mediterranean country. Williams merely described the demonstrations as a "display of frustration with the prime minister...who has been trying to impose more conservative values on that mostly secular country."
CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley had no such qualms the same evening as he reported on the same rallies. Pelley asked correspondent Holly Williams, "When the protestors say that Erdogan is trying to impose his Islamic values on the country, what are they talking about?"
Following the death of New Jersey Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg on Monday, Tuesday's NBC Today immediately began speculating on his replacement and the potential fallout for Chris Christie, with co-host Matt Lauer announcing it to be a "dilemma" and "political hot potato" for the Republican governor. The headline on screen read: "Lautenberg Seat Poses Political Problem." [Watch the video after the jump]
Lauer proclaimed: "I think the New York Times summed it up pretty well...Normally a governor would love to have this opportunity...but there's a lot of personal political risk for Chris Christie." Political director Chuck Todd agreed: "There is...any time you introduce a new factor into all of this, is always unsettling. Chris Christie is on the verge of getting a whole bunch of bipartisan support, Democrats crossing the aisle...So this is now actually a lot trickier than it should be."
The ice seems to be cracking beneath Attorney General Eric Holder's feet.
When asked by NBC Meet the Press host David Gregory Sunday if Holder is going to "stay in the job" given the leaks investigation scandal, former NBC Night News host Tom Brokaw replied, "Boy, I think it’s tough to see how he does" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The Tea Party grassroots protesters have made no secret of their support for limited government and lower taxes. But from the perspective of network reporters and anchors, the Tea Party’s message was more radical: “no government” and “no taxes.”
On May 10, the IRS admitted to flagging more than 100 Tea Party-related applications for higher scrutiny, including applications that included the words “Tea Party” and “patriot.” But even before that targeting began, the networks had portrayed the Tea Party as a extreme group opposed to taxation, instead of one supporting smaller government.
ABC and NBC on Wednesday night continued to hype the "stunning" retirement of "lightning rod" Michele Bachmann. World News reporter Jeff Zeleny noted that although the politician "rode the Tea Party wave," her "words often created trouble." The journalist made sure to use the words "Tea Party" and "Republican" six times in the two and a half minute segment. In contrast, when controversial, scandal-prone Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned from Congress, the networks failed to use a partisan label 73 percent of the time.
Zeleny also highlighted, "But Bachmann downplayed the fact that she's at the center of three investigations, including an FBI probe over allegations of aides misusing campaign money."
Once again demonstrating the NBC Nightly News is the broadcast arm of MSNBC, anchor Brian Williams – matching what has animated MSNBC hosts – devoted a segment to former Senator Bob Dole railing against the modern Republican Party; ie: conservatives.
With “Fighting Words” on screen, Williams on Tuesday night highlighted comments neither the ABC nor CBS evening newscasts found newsworthy, how the 89-year-old “made it clear in a rare interview this weekend the GOP of his day is unrecognizable. He thinks they should pause, rebuild and start over.”
During Saturday’s NBC Nightly News coverage of recent weather phenomena, like the flooding in San Antonio, heavy snowfall in Vermont, and tornado aftermath in Oklahoma, correspondent John Yang posed the question, “Why all this severe weather?” and then stated that “government scientists say it’s partly the result of manmade climate change.” That statement was followed by a clip of Kenneth Kunkel, a NOAA scientist, who claimed that our continued contribution to greenhouse gases “will warm the globe and … increase the risks of certain types of extremes” in weather occurrences. [Link to the audio here]
We saw similar reporting tactics months earlier after Hurricane Sandy devastated seaside resorts in New Jersey, as many networks have interviewed “experts” who claim that anthropogenic, or manmade, contributions to the production of greenhouse gases have caused global warming, which they claim is the cause of the recent happenings in nature.
As of Friday morning, NBC News broadcasts had completely ignored an important scoop from the network's own national investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff that Attorney General Eric Holder personally approved the Justice Department's aggressive investigation of Fox News reporter James Rosen. Meanwhile, both CBS News and FNC provided on-air coverage of the new development. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In an article for NBCNews.com on Thursday, Isikoff reported that Holder "signed off on a controversial search warrant that identified Fox News reporter James Rosen as a 'possible co-conspirator' in violations of the Espionage Act and authorized seizure of his private emails, a law enforcement official told NBC News."
Already moving on from the IRS scandal? On Thursday night, only the CBS Evening News of the broadcast network evening newscasts bothered to note how Lois Lerner, the IRS official in charge of the division which processes tax-exempt applications, was put on administrative leave after she took the Fifth and refused to answer questions at a House hearing the day before. Anchor Scott Pelley squeezed in 20 seconds on it.
Yet, ABC World News and the NBC Nightly News made room to highlight a photo of a 17-year-old Barack Obama and his prom date along with a friend and his date.
The Big Three networks coverage so far of the Justice Department's questionable investigation of Fox News' James Rosen has followed a similar pattern to that of their coverage of the Kermit Gosnell case. Jan Crawford's report on Thursday's CBS This Morning was the first full report on growing controversy on ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts. NBC briefly covered the investigation on Tuesday's Today, and ABC has yet to mention it.
Crawford pointed out how the DOJ's "unprecedented" surveillance of Rosen has "really just set off a firestorm of criticism from the left and right. For the first time ever, a presidential administration is treating news reporting like a crime, and a reporter like a criminal suspect." [audio available here; video below the jump]
What does a murderous jihadist terrorist have to do to get some recognition for his cause? You hack a British soldier to death in broad daylight on a London street while shouting “Allahu akbar” and then “swear by the almighty Allah” that you’ll never stop fighting, and the U.S. broadcast networks still can’t bring themselves to utter a word about Islam.
True, the ABC CBS and NBC evening broadcasts called the attack “terrorism,” but for all the information they gave viewers, the attackers might have been Basque separatists or animal rights zealots.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is under fire for soliciting donations from health care companies to underwrite ObamaCare PR efforts to increase enrollment but you wouldn't know that if you only got your news from ABC and NBC or skipped Sunday's edition of CBS's Face the Nation.
The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks have effectively buried the scandal that was first broken by the Washington Post on May 10.
On Sunday's NBC Nightly News, White House correspondent Peter Alexander led off with Obama team spin on the scandals rocking the administration: "...the White House is aggressively responding, calling accusations of mismanagement 'offensive and absurd.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A sound bite played of Obama advisor Dan Pfeiffer ranting: "There is no question that we want to – that Republicans are trying to make political hay here....What they want to do when they're lacking a positive agenda is try to drag Washington into a swamp of partisan fishing expeditions, trumped-up hearings, and false allegations. We're not gonna let that happen."
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, after proclaiming President Obama to be "on the offensive" amid growing scandals, anchor Brian Williams hinted at those controversies being only temporary setbacks for Obama: "And some folks are already calling the President's problems the curse of the second term. And yet it's tough to know the staying power of any given scandal in the making, along with the effect any of this might have on his overall planned agenda." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
This is the same Brian Williams who in February quipped that Florida Senator Marco Rubio taking a sip of water during a response to the President's State of the Union address was a moment "that just might live on forever."
The media furor that began Monday night over the Justice Department obtaining two months of phone records from the Associated Press marks the first time in 335 days that any of the Big Three evening newscasts have even mentioned the existence of two criminal investigations into whether White House or other national security officials leaked sensitive secrets, perhaps to politically benefit Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.
This week’s coverage has generally referred to how the FBI is investigating “who leaked details of a highly-classified effort to foil a terror plot,” as NBC’s Pete Williams put it on Tuesday’s Today show. On ABC’s Good Morning America that same day, reporter David Kerley insisted that “the President and White House made it clear they want to go after leakers,” without letting viewers in on how the leading suspects are presumably all top administration officials.
It seems the liberal media are desperately determined to shield Hillary Clinton from any attacks on her handling of the Benghazi fiasco. On Sunday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, the host attempted to blunt the criticism by suggesting that Mrs. Clinton’s opponents have taken her memorable "What difference, at this point, does it make?" quote from her testimony in January out of context.
Witt was talking with Steve Thomma of the left-leaning McClatchy Newspapers chain about how far the Benghazi talking points fiasco will go. Thomma predicted that Republicans would use the issue against Democrats in the 2014 midterms and the 2016 presidential race. He pointed out that a GOP Super PAC has already put out an attack ad that excerpts Secretary Clinton’s angry eruption. But Witt had a problem with the way the ad used that quote: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
While the Big Three (ABC, CBS and NBC) networks have all done stories on the Obama administration's seizure of Associated Press (AP) reporters phone records, what is striking is their reluctance to attach Barack Obama's name to the controversy. In seven total stories aired on their evening and morning shows, since the story broke on Monday afternoon, Obama's name was used only six times. Reporters were much more likely to use the generic term "government." For example, CBS's Bob Orr on Wednesday's This Morning described the controversy this way: "The government just simply came in, got the subpoenas, took the phone logs and then notified the AP after the fact."
The reluctance to put Obama's name in these stories is important because it allows the low-information voter to write off the scandal as one caused by faceless government bureaucrats.
While Monday's NBC Nightly News was content to accept President Obama labeling the Benghazi scandal as a "political circus" worthy of ridicule, on Fox News Channel's Special Report, chief Washington correspondent James Rosen was actually being a journalist and fact-checking the commander-in-chief's deceptive assertions on the controversy.
Introducing the Nightly News report on Obama attempting to downplay the scandal during a midday press conference, anchor Brian Williams announced: "...the President took the opportunity to hit back hard over accusations of some sort of a cover-up, saying that defies logic."
“In Philadelphia today,” anchor Scott Pelley said on the May 13 CBS “Evening News,” there was a verdict in a murder trial that got national attention.” He was talking about the murder trial of Kermit Gosnell, and whatever “national attention” it received was given grudgingly by the media – including Pelley’s own network.
In fact, it took 56 days, multiple letters from members of the House of Representatives and a public demand from conservative groups, before all three broadcast networks reported on Gosnell.