On Tuesday, ABC's World News and CBS Evening News both reported the latest poll numbers from the "respected" Quinnipiac University, as CBS's Scott Pelley labeled the institution, regarding President Obama's "lowest ever" approval rating, along with Americans' dim view of the politician's honesty. ABC's Diane Sawyer noted that "for the first time in his presidency, a majority of American voters – 52 percent...say President Obama is not honest and trustworthy."
Both evening newscasts reported these numbers as they led into their coverage of former President Clinton's recent word of advice to Obama on his health care law – that "the President should honor the commitment...[he] made to those people, and let them keep what they've got." NBC Nightly News also devoted air time to Clinton's remarks, but failed to mention the current President's drooping approval number. [MP3 audio from the ABC and CBS reports available here; video below the jump]
On Wednesday’s NBC Nightly News and Thursday’s Today, NBC hyped the notion that Palestinian guerrilla leader Yasser Arafat “may have” been assassinated by poisoning. They let Palestinians accuse Israel, and bizarrely suggested only Israel “considered” Arafat a terrorist (forgetting decades where the U.S. officially agreed).
There was no NBC update Friday when NPR’s All Things Considered reported the Palestinian Authority released a separate Russian study that did not confirm the notion of poisoning with Polonium-210. NBC didn’t offer any journalist or government official who disagreed with the pro-Arafat line:
Touting chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd's exclusive interview with President Obama on Thursday, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams proclaimed: "We are all about to hear the President of the United States apologize, and not just for the troubled rollout of this new health care website, but for the fact that his promise to the American people that 'If they like their current health insurance, they can keep it,' has not held true for all." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, Todd sympathetically observed: "...the President's apparent broken promise about folks keeping the plans they like has been weighing heavily on the entire White House. So it was a chastened commander-in-chief that I spoke with earlier today."
Yeah, he caught and corrected himself. Too late. When the chips were down, President Obama didn't step up and truly take responsibility for the disastrous rollout of Obamacare. Instead of acting like a leader and the President of the United States, Barack Obama's first impulse was to cast himself as the victim.
In an interview with NBC Political Director Chuck Todd aired on this evening's NBC Nightly News, President Obama said that "I've been burned by a website." View the video after the jump.
ABC on Wednesday and Thursday managed a mere 21 seconds total for the latest revelations about the botched ObamaCare rollout, minimizing the grilling that Kathleen Sebelius took before Congress and the resignation of one of the people behind the website. Instead, Good Morning America focused on deeply irrelevant topics such as promoting "Thor's leading lady," star Natalie Portman. In comparison to ObamaCare, the actress appeared for over three minutes on Thursday.
NBC's Today also yawned at the resignation of Tony Trenkle, the chief information officer at HealthCare.gov. Wednesday's Nightly News featured the testimony of Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius for two minutes and 20 seconds. In contrast to ABC, which featured no clips of Sebelius's appearance, NBC included Republican senators such as John Thune, deriding, "This is a dishonesty. You've been misleading the American people!" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On October 31 theWashington Examiner’s Paul Bedard reported the following: “The Internal Revenue Service shared highly confidential tax information of several Tea Party groups in the IRS scandal with the Federal Election Commission, a clear violation of federal law, according to newly obtained emails. The public watchdog group Judicial Watch told Secrets Thursday that it was former scandal boss Lois Lerner who shared the information on groups including the American Future Fund and the American Issues Project.’”
So far none of the Big Three (ABC, NBC, CBS) networks have reported the latest IRS scandal finding. In fact, they’ve stopped reporting on the IRS scandal altogether.
Exhibit A on Friday night for how the news media are an impediment to any rational discussion of reining in federal spending. “The ax falls for more than 47 million Americans struggling to put food on the table as tonight time has run out,”NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams ominously and fatuously intoned Friday night, as if payments to them are about to be eliminated.
Spending on the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), aka “food stamps,” will increase “over the next decade by 57 percent,” as the number of Americans on the program has doubled under Obama, yet NBC focused on the victims of “cuts.”
ABC and NBC journalists on Wednesday and Thursday hailed Kathleen Sebelius as "falling on her sword" and "taking responsibility" for the ObamaCare website debacle. On World News, reporter Jim Avila complained about the Sebelius grilling as a "rude grandstand" and a "three hour circus of a congressional hearing." He dismissed it as "official finger pointing day on Capitol Hill."
Yet, on Thursday, Avila sympathized with the Democratic Health and Human Services secretary, praising, "...The woman in charge of the Affordable Care Act fell on her sword with her first full-throated apology." The Obama official "was reluctant to pass the buck, even when pressed." Over on NBC's Today, host Matt Lauer gushed, "Kathleen Sebelius went before Congress yesterday and she did something you don't see happen in Washington very often, she took the blame." [Video of both morning shows below. MP3 audio here.]
On Tuesday's NBC Tonight Show, host Jay Leno provided harsher criticism of President Obama falsely claiming that Americans could keep their current health insurance plans under ObamaCare than any of the network's reporters. Leno told the audience: "Well, it's being reported that the President has known for three years that people would lose their coverage. The press is now saying the President lied." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Leno setup a mock defense of Obama: "But today the White House said that's not true. He did not lie. And they released this tape from three years ago to prove it. Here's what he said three years ago." A comically dubbed-over sound bite followed of Obama saying people "cannot" keep their doctors and health insurance.
As NewsBusters has been reporting, NBC News has largely ignored senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers’ bombshell report about how the White House knew for at least three years that millions of people would lose their health insurance once ObamaCare was implemented.
Having given only 21 seconds to her report Monday, the NBC Nightly News actually began with Myers talking about the millions of people losing their insurance coverage, but not once did she mention her findings that the Obama administration knew for years that this was going to happen (video follows with transcript and commentary):
During the 2008 banking crisis, then-Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel famously said, “Never allow a crisis to go to waste.” The broadcast networks certainly followed his advice when reporting on Hurricane Sandy since the storm became a hurricane one year ago, hitting the New Jersey coast on Oct. 29.
Network reporters and experts have repeatedly claimed that the storm was either caused or worsened because of climate change. In fact, 100 percent of the 32 news stories and briefs in the past year that mentioned climate change and Hurricane Sandy claimed global warming directly impacted the storm – even though “no single weather event can be linked directly to a long-term driver, such as global warming,” according to climate change activists.
Striking the Northeast on Oct. 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy tragically devastated communities causing an estimated $50 billion in damages. By the end of January 2013, a relief bill was passed for Sandy aid, after the bill was delayed because of wasteful spending.
House Republicans opposed a pork-ridden $60 billion Senate bill ($10 billion higher than damage estimates) and chose not to vote on it. Politicians, including some Republicans, and the media criticized them for delaying this legislation. A $51 billion bill was passed by both houses of Congress by the end of January, after a $9.7 billion flood insurance bill passed in early January.
Near the end of the fourth story on Monday's NBC Nightly News, White House correspondent Peter Alexander managed to squeeze in a mention of the network's scoop that the Obama administration knew for years that millions of people would be kicked off of their current health insurance plans because of ObamaCare, despite the President's repeated assurances to the contrary. [Listen to the audio]
Alexander provided a mere twenty-one seconds of air time for the revelation: "That millions will lose or have to change their individual policies is not a surprise to the administration. NBC News senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers found buried in the 2010 ObamaCare regulations, language predicting, 'A reasonable range for the percentage of individual policies that would terminate is forty percent to sixty-seven percent.'"
On Sunday's NBC Today, co-host Lester Holt wondered if Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had "successfully separated herself now from this trouble" with the ObamaCare website failure. He further asked: "Is her job safer than it was maybe a week ago?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A somewhat puzzled David Gregory, moderator of Meet the Press, replied: "Well, I think her job may be okay for the moment. But I don't think she's separated herself from it....all of these problems really do undercut the potential effectiveness of ObamaCare, whether it can be affordable to insure more and more people. If they don't achieve that, there are enormous problems....enormous problems for how it works for years to come."
After consistently blaming Republicans for the government shutdown, on Sunday's NBC Nightly News, fill-in anchor Carl Quintanilla warned that while the budget stalemate ended days earlier, "Many people who were furloughed or otherwise affected are still paying the price, and will do so for some time." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, CNBC correspondent Bertha Coombs touted: "A new survey says about forty percent of consumers cut their spending because of the government shutdown. And store traffic was down seven percent compared to last year." She then proclaimed: "Retailers are hoping the shutdown doesn't become the Grinch that stole Christmas, but they're worried it will."
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd parroted laughable Obama administration talking points regarding who was to blame for the disastrous rollout of the ObamaCare website: "...nobody in the West Wing feels that this is an administrative error, that this is a competency issue....But in a few months, if they find incompetency, I'm told nothing should be ruled out." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The segment began with anchor Brian Williams wondering: "A lot of folks in the business world say if this happened to a private company in the real world, it could be curtains for the company, curtains for the CEO. In this case, though, the CEO people are asking about pointing to would be Health and Human Services – the cabinet secretary Kathleen Sebelius." Todd replied: "Well, everything I hear in talking to the administration, her job is safe."
Continuing to hammer home the Democratic talking point that the Republican Party is to blame for the government shutdown, on Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams gloated: "Politically, it's widely agreed to have been a big loss and self-inflicted wound mostly for the Republican Party." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In a later report, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell asserted: "For many Republicans, they're now at that acceptance phase after a bruising defeat. Many, are admitting mistakes, assessing some responsibility." She then noted how "one of the most visible and divisive figures in this whole episode," Texas Senator Ted Cruz, "started the day trying to create some goodwill" by greeting visitors to the U.S. Capitol.
As the government shutdown was nearing it's end Wednesday evening, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams conducted a live interview with John McCain, urging the Arizona Senator to slam fellow Republicans over the budget showdown: "Senator, let's talk about the damage in order, to the country, to your party, your profession, and how much of this do you lay at the feet of Senator Cruz from Texas?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
McCain began by noting political damage for both parties in the wake of the stalemate but then quickly obliged Williams, launching into an rant against conservatives in Congress: "The problem with their strategy was that it was a fool's errand. We were not going to de-fund ObamaCare. That's why we had an election in 2012. That's part of what that was all about. So it was a terrific mistake. We inflicted pain on the American people that was totally unnecessary....We Republicans have a hole that we've got to come out of."
For millions of Americans, big political contests such as presidential elections and pivotal congressional hearings are still largely witnessed through the lens of ABC’s, CBS’s and NBC’s evening newscasts. According to Nielsen Research, more than 20 million viewers tuned in over the past twoweeks for the Big Three’s take on the shutdown drama.
What those viewers heard, according to a just-completed Media Research Center study, was a version of the shutdown story that could easily have emanated from Barack Obama’s own White House. The broadcast networks invariably blamed Republicans for the impasse; spotlighted dozens of examples of how Americans were being victimized; and ran scores of soundbites from furloughed federal workers and others harmed by the shutdown — even as they ignored examples of how the Obama administration and Senate Democrats were working to make the shutdown as painful as possible.
Between the government shut down and the debt ceiling limit about to be crossed Oct. 17, the news media is screaming like the house is on fire. The Obama administration has also warned of dangers. Of course, that’s nothing new.
In many cases following the Obama administration’s reports and threats, the networks were hysterical in their coverage of the “fiscal cliff” and the sequester in late 2012 and early 2013. They repeated predictions and made claims that in many cases, simply failed to happen.
If you watch ABC, NBC and CBS, you might think that the debt default is inevitable. Market experts aren’t so sure. While the debt ceiling will be reached on Oct. 16 without Congress intervening, the jury is out on what would actually happen. Many experts, including Forbes, Bloomberg Business Week and Moody’s Corp., have argued that the default would actually hit weeks later, if at all.
Since the shutdown was first mentioned – from September 20 until October 12 – the term “default” has been used in 67 morning and evening news stories. Of these, 58.2 percent (39 out of 67) talked about the default as if it were inevitable. ABC was the worst, with 74 percent (17 of 23 stories) insisting that the default was inevitable. Fifty-six percent of CBS stories (14 out of 25 stories) said the default would definitely occur on the 17th, and NBC had 42 percent (8 out of 19 stories).
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams continued to blame Republicans for the government shutdown, asserting that the budget impasse "traces its history back to a determined core of GOP House members who are vehemently against ObamaCare and were willing to shut down the government because of it." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
However, he took it a step further by hinting at a way to get rid of such troublesome members of Congress holding up President Obama's agenda: "These members happen to be from very conservative districts where they won by big margins, and their jobs are secure more or less. And in both parties there are congressional districts that are set up by the states to keep the parties in power. But some believe if the system stays this way, our politics will kind of stay this way."
After NBC spent weeks painting congressional Republicans as the villains who caused the government shutdown, on Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams opened the broadcast by smugly announcing: "Who do the American people blame for the shutdown of their government? Tonight our new NBC News poll is out and the answer is clear." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Friday's Today, political director Chuck Todd melodramatically touted the polling data: "Look, the shutdown has been, there's no sugarcoating this, an unmitigated political disaster for the GOP. Here is who's to blame. Nearly 53% blame congressional Republicans for this. Just 31% blame President Obama....This is something unprecedented, even for shutdown politics."
President Obama nominated Janet Yellen, Fed vice chair, to head the Federal Reserve on Oct. 9. If confirmed, she will take on Ben Bernanke’s role as chairman and be the first woman in that role. Networks lauded her nomination that evening, after having paid little attention to her liberal policies in recent months.
Broadcast network evening and morning shows were giddy at the nomination of Yellen. Her economic experience, intelligence and “working class roots” were all praised the night of her nomination and the following morning.
On October 9The Blaze reported the following: “Sarah Hall Ingram, the Internal Revenue Service official who used to head the office directly involved in the targeting of conservative groups, may have shared confidential taxpayer information with White House officials, according to 2012 emails uncovered by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Ingram, who now heads the IRS’s Obamacare enforcement division, counseled senior White House officials on how to deal with a lawsuit from religious groups opposed to the Obamacare contraception mandate.”
So far ABC, CBS and NBC have yet to report on the latest IRS scandal disclosure. In fact they’ve stopped reporting on the IRS scandal altogether. It’s been 106 days since ABC last mentioned the IRS targeting scandal, way back on June 26. NBC hasn’t touched the story in 105 days and CBS last did an IRS story 77 days ago on July 24.
[UPDATED BELOW] CNN aired an exclusive interview with a Fast and Furious whistleblower on Monday morning, but NBC, CBS, and ABC all ignored the story and failed to interview the whistleblower, ATF agent John Dodson. The government is blocking publication of Dodson's new book, his insider account of the failed gun sting Operation Fast and Furious.
In addition, CNN dropped its own interview after it aired during the 8 a.m. ET hour of New Day. The network aired no clips of the interview for the rest of Monday into Tuesday morning after it brought Dodson on to "set the record straight" on Fast and Furious. [Video below the break.]
The next Federal Reserve Chairman will be Janet Yellen. President Barack Obama plans to nominate her on Oct. 9. Ahead of the announcement, Yellen, the liberal Fed vice chairman, was considered the most likely candidate to replace Ben Bernanke ever since Larry Summers, her chief rival for the nomination, bowed out of the race on Sept. 16.
She was a frontrunner even before Summers’ withdrawal. But between July 12 and Oct. 8, the networks paid very little attention to Yellen and the Fed candidacy. In fact, they spent more time covering Miss America in one day, than in three months of coverage of the future Fed chairman.
On Friday night's NBC Nightly News, reporter Kelly O’Donnell and producer Shawna Thomas brought out more tweets addressed to its “Dear Congress” hashtag. It’s a little fun now to see what other tweets these Twitter correspondents are posting.
A “MrKristoff” was quoted for tweeting “@johnboehner Enough already. Stop claiming to speak for American people & start Listening. #DearCongress”. But right next to that was a vulgar attack on that "monster with no soul" Ted Cruz:
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams introduced a full report on cancer research at the National Institutes of Health being stopped under the government shutdown: "And there are the millions who are feeling the impact of this shutdown very close to home and across this country, including some for whom this standoff feels very much like a matter of life and death for them."
In the story that followed, correspondent Tom Costello declared: "The NIH funds research nationwide. At its headquarters, a lack of funding means 200 patients, including 30 children, each week will be turned away from clinical studies." What he failed to mention was that congressional Republicans proposed a bill to provide the needed funding, but were rebuffed by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.