All three networks on Wednesday and Thursday parroted the exact same talking points from the White House, touting Barack Obama for expressing "solidarity" with struggling workers by taking a five percent pay cut. The President made the move, which amounts to a minuscule $1700 a month, in the wake of sequestration. On Good Morning America, Josh Elliott trumpeted, "[Obama] says he wants to show solidarity with government workers who face a furlough because of budget cuts." [See a video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
Over on NBC's Today, Natalie Morales touted, "In an attempt at solidarity with federal workers feeling the sequester spending cuts, President Obama is giving himself a five percent pay cut on his $400,000-a-year salary." Offering a remarkably similar thought, World News anchor Diane Sawyer rounded up the amount to a year's total: " That's $20,000, to show solidarity with government employees who will be furloughed." In an impressed tone, the host praised, "The White House says Obama will personally write a check to the Treasury."
New EPA regulations could increase the price of gas by nine cents or more when they take effect in the next four years, American Petroleum Institute (API) scientists say. However, ABC, CBS and NBC news programs gave little credence to those concerns, and hyped EPA’s claims of “significant health benefits” instead.
ABC was the worst of the three. Diane Sawyer and Jim Avila on the March 29 “World News” spoke of alleged benefits of the new environmental regulations which would further reduce sulfur emissions. Meanwhile, “World News” not only failed to give equal time to opponents of the regulations, they portrayed them as greedy.
The Big Three networks' morning and evening newscasts still haven't covered the murder trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell as of Monday morning. ABC, CBS, and NBC have maintained their coverage blackout despite the graphic witness testimony and the in-your-face courtroom antics of Dr. Gosnell's defense attorney during the first two weeks of the proceedings. The Philadelphia physician is charged with murdering seven newborn children at his decrepit abortion facility.
This glaring omission by the broadcast networks would have continued, if Peggy Noonan hadn't provided the first mention of the murder trial on Sunday's Meet the Press on NBC. The Wall Street Journal columnist spotlighted the "haunting and disturbing story of this doctor", and pointed out how coverage has been "hard to find."
At the top of Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie seemed to get swept up in the network's own one-sided reporting on the gay marriage cases before the Supreme Court, proclaiming: "Supreme decision. This nation's highest court taking up the divisive issue of same-sex marriage this morning. Will the justices make it legal in every state?"
In the report that followed, justice correspondent Pete Williams touted the anticipation of gay marriage supporters: "The day has finally come for the people who've lined up for days to see the historic argument....The two California couples at the heart of today's case are already here after a brief visit Monday to see the Constitution at the National Archives. Their lawyer says Prop 8 should be struck down because allowing them to get married would have no effect on traditional couples."
Radio hosts like Mark Levin and Web sites like Canada Free Press are mocking President Obama’s statement in a press conference yesterday with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, where he compared the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to U.S.-Canada relations. What? Levin called him a "moron" for the comparison.
But ABC, CBS, and NBC failed to notice. They acted like a press release service for Obama on their newscasts Thursday night and Friday morning, offering Obama 18 soundbites adding up to 215 seconds, often ending in applause. Only Chuck Todd on NBC Nightly News aired a soundbite from anyone other than Obama.
ABC continued ignoring Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's move on Tuesday to drop a proposed federal ban on so-called assault weapons. Neither Wednesday's World News nor Thursday's Good Morning America covered the congressional development. This lack of coverage stands out in light of the network's hype of President Obama's supposedly "dramatic and emotional" lobbying effort for the ban during his State of the Union address.
NBC and CBS's Wednesday evening newscasts also ignored Senator Reid's deep-sixing of the gun control legislation. Their morning shows on Thursday devoted news briefs to Vice President Joe Biden and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's "renewed call" for the assault weapons ban, but failed to explicitly mention the Nevada Democrat's role in dropping the bill.
After President Obama scolded NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd as "incorrigible" for asking too many tough questions during a Wednesday press conference, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams mocked Todd's grilling and agreed with the President: "He is incorrigible, come to think of it. Our own Chuck Todd called out today in Jerusalem, and guilty as charged, truth be told." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing a clip of Obama lecturing Todd, which completely edited out any of the challenging questions, Williams explained: "Both leaders had opening statements, the actual press conference part was limited to two questions from Israeli journalists and two questions from the visiting Americans. So when our own friend Chuck Todd asked a multi-part question, he got called out for it."
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, which began on Monday. Gosnell is charged with murdering seven babies who were born after viability in his rundown abortion facility. The Big Three also gave the story minimal coverage back in January 2011, after the Philadelphia physician was arrested. ABC completely ignored it, CBS Evening News aired one full story, and NBC gave just 50 words on Today.
Even the New York Times covered the trial in a Tuesday article, though it appeared on page A-17. Writer Jon Hurdle documented how Gosnell is charged with killing the babies by "plunging scissors into their necks and 'snipping' their spinal cords."
Over the winter, the three networks eagerly compared Barack Obama's push for more gun control to "defeating the Nazis," hyping his "dramatic," "emotional" effort. Yet, when the President suffered a serious setback, Tuesday, ABC, CBS and NBC failed to portray it as a defeat for the Commander in Chief. Harry Reid announced on March 19 that Senate Democrats were dropping an effort to ban so-called assault weapons.
Tuesday's World News and Nightline and Wednesday's Good Morning America totally skipped the development. Yet, in the minutes following the State of the Union, George Stephanopoulos praised the President's "dramatic and emotional" plea for an assault weapons ban. On January 16, CBS's Bob Schieffer compared, "Surely, finding Osama bin Laden; surely, passing civil rights legislation...defeating the Nazis, was a much more formidable task than taking on the gun lobby." However, on Tuesday's Evening News, in the wake of the defeat in the Senate, the long-time journalist offered no similar hyperbolic lament.
The media backlash against Pope Francis may be beginning. After relatively positive coverage last week, ABC and NBC on Monday both highlighted the Argentinean President denouncing his "medieval" views on social issues. World News's Ron Claiborne offered no ideological label for the country's left-wing leader, praising, "Cristina Kirchner stands for a new view of a changing world-- embracing gay marriage, sex education in schools, free contraceptives in hospitals." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
He added, "But when [the now-pope] was a cardinal in Argentina, Kirchner described his social views as medieval." Yet, while Claiborne didn't call Kirchner a liberal, he made sure to point out that although Francis is "enormously popular," "what the world is just beginning to learn is how conservative he is on social issues."
Since the tragedy at Sandy Hook, the media have come out with guns blazing against firearms and the business that sell or produce them. The broadcast networks’ coverage of the gun industry has been no exception.
Between Dec. 14, 2012, and Feb. 22, 2013, the evening news shows on all three networks attacked the gun industry and gun businesses three times as often as they defended them. Altogether, there were 44 attacks compared to just nine pro-industry interviews and 12 statements in defense of gun business and the industry during the same time period.
The Obama administration in 2009 dropped the Bush administration’s plan to add missile interceptor capability against North Korea, yet on Friday, when Obama’s Pentagon realized their error and scrambled to announce a reversal to implement the Bush plan, ABC, CBS and NBC failed to mention Obama’s dereliction. (Below: Krauthmmer zinged “Democratic resistance” to missile defense. “Reagan was right.”)
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, on the eve of the Wednesday election of Pope Francis, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed to viewers: "...this is a decidedly bad time for the Catholic Church. There are hopes among many that the new pope will signify a new direction." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Lester Holt hyped the divide between the Vatican and some liberal American Catholics: "It's roughly 4,000 miles between Vatican City and the nearest shores of the U.S., but for American Catholics who often find themselves out of step with the Church here, it can seem a lot farther....Abortion, the role of women, and attitudes about homosexuality have been at the heart of much of the disconnect between American Catholics and the Church."
While NBC and CBS both highlighted a quote from an anonymous senior White House official labeling President Obama's recent budget meetings with members of Congress "a joke," ABC managed to leave the controversial remark out of its coverage of the budget negotiations, with Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos even failing to ask the President about it in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
In a National Journal article posted Tuesday morning, Ron Fournier recounted: "'This is a joke. We're wasting the president's time and ours,' complained a senior White House official who was promised anonymity so he could speak frankly. 'I hope you all (in the media) are happy because we're doing it for you.'"
Introducing a report on Monday's NBC Nightly News about a New York City ban on large sugary drinks being overturned by a New York State Supreme Court judge, anchor Brian Williams touted how Mayor Michael Bloomberg "is saying this isn't over yet."
In the report that followed, correspondent Rehema Ellis proclaimed: "In a city of more than 8 million, where health officials say the obesity epidemic is responsible for more than 5,000 deaths a year, the Mayor says his fight to make New Yorkers healthier will continue."
Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) was convicted yesterday on 24 separate federal corruption charges, which could cost him up to 20 years in prison. However, ABC, CBS, and NBC could not be bothered to even mention the conviction of this disgraced ex-mayor of a major, blighted American city on their nightly news programs.
Perhaps they were busy with what are clearly weightier matters. Monday’s NBC Nightly News, for example, found time to mention Justin Timberlake’s recent appearance on Saturday Night Live, the ten worst places to retire in America, and the plight of penguins in Antarctica.
Two food bloggers have launched an attack against Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, referring to an outdated study, and ABC and NBC have been quick to rush to their aid.
ABC’s “Good Morning America” and NBC’s “Nightly News” both ran stories promoting the crusade. The bloggers claim Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 food dyes used in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese can lead to hyperactivity and other health problems in children. They are petitioning Kraft to stop using the dyes in their products.
Both dyes have been approved by the FDA, though they have been banned in the small nations of Norway and Austria.
It is well-established that the broadcasts networks covered rising gas prices different under President George W. Bush’s administration than they did President Barack Obama, in tone and even the amount of coverage.
In addition to fueling discontent with many gas price reports, one of the networks’ frequent suggestions for lowering gas prices during the Bush years was for the federal government to release oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), a 727 million barrel emergency supply of oil stored in salt caverns in the Gulf states. These same media outlets have been much less insistent about Obama releasing oil from the SPR, and were quicker to praise him when he did.
ABC's World News on Wednesday and Good Morning America on Thursday offered confusing, incomplete and brief explanations for why Rand Paul filibustered John Brennan, Barack Obama's Central Intelligence Agency nominee. According to GMA news reader Josh Elliott, "Paul was protesting the Obama administration's use of drone strikes against Americans." [Video of the terse explanations can be found below.]
World News anchor Diane Sawyer insisted the "Tea party firebrand" was opposing "the use of drones against U.S. citizens." This is hardly a full explanation for ABC's viewers. On the Today show, Chuck Todd produced a more accurate description: "[Paul] decided to filibuster the confirmation of CIA director John Brennan in an attempt to get the White House to once and for all promise to never target Americans with drones on U.S. soil." The "on U.S. soil" part is key. ABC allowed only news briefs on the filibuster. CBS and NBC offered full reports.
CNN's Dana Bash fact-checked President Obama's falsehood about the sequester on Friday, but the major networks didn't exactly follow CNN's lead in reporting the distortion that Capitol Hill janitors and police would receive a pay cut because of the sequester.
In his Friday press conference, Obama claimed, "They're going to have less pay, the [Capitol Hill] janitors, the security guards. They just got a pay cut." Shortly after that, CNN's Bash obtained from the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms that the workers would not receive a pay cut, just a limit on overtime pay. NBC ignored the distortion on its weekend newscasts, while CBS and ABC reported it one time each.
Appearing on left-wing actor Alec Baldwin's weekly WNYC talk radio show, Here's The Thing, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams laughably asserted that his reporting was void of any political bias: "My work has been so cleansed, as I see it, and as I've tried, of political opinions over 27 years....I can try to call it down the middle, and try to be fair about it, and do a 'just the facts'..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Throughout the interview, Baldwin gushed over how supposedly objective Williams was: "Although loud personalities with extreme views gobble up more air time, television news is an industry that still rewards unbiased, thoughtful, and direct reporting....many people in your business, you can feel little belches and little fissures of their opinions coming through, or a sense of that, and with you, there's none....I think that's what makes your program so successful. That's why I watch you."
“Deadline day. Hours, now, until massive government cuts go into effect that could impact every American. Jobs vaporizing. Flights delayed. Even criminals walking free.” That’s the call to panic with which ABC’s Josh Elliot greeted viewers on the March 1 Good Morning America. Elliot’s frenzied tone, on the day sequestration was going into effect, was typical of the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) network coverage of Washington’s most recent fiscal debate.
MRC analysts reviewed all of the 88 sequestration stories, from when coverage began on February 14 through March 1 when the “cuts” took effect, and found 58 (66 percent) of them advanced the most horrific Obama administration talking points. Another 10 offered the same scary forecasts but at least included the skeptical view that the sequestration reductions weren’t that big and their effects were being overhyped. (Videos after the jump)
At the top of Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams made this hyperbolic declaration: "A moment of crisis for the Catholic Church hit by a wave of scandals, just as the leaders must gather to select a new pope." Introducing the lead story moments later, Williams further hyped: "The problem for the Catholic Church is the drumbeat of scandal is now growing so loud and so vast, it's taking a lot of attention from this process." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Anne Thompson ominously declared: "... the world is seeing the darker side of the Church, the in-fighting and scandals....It's all revealing the sometimes nasty politics behind the pageantry."
Picking up on a Saturday front page New York Times story on how the Obama campaign is selling access to the White House through its newly formed Organizing for Action group, a revelation ignored all weekend by ABC, CBS and NBC, on Monday’s Daily Rundown on MSNBC, Chuck Todd declared: “This just looks bad. It looks like the White House is selling access.” He pointed out the hypocrisy, recalling: “Offering this kind of access to big donors was precisely what Obama was campaigning against in 2007 and 2008.”
Yet, though Todd is NBC’s chief White House correspndent, nothing about it aired on NBC’s Today, Nightly News nor Meet the Press all weekend, Monday or Tuesday morning.
Acting like an extension of the White House press office on Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander promoted Obama administration talking points on the upcoming budget sequester: "This morning, the White House is picking up the pace of its PR offensive, they are rolling out reports for each of the country's states and how they will be affected by these automatic budget cuts." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Alexander listed the "dire warnings" coming from the executive branch: "In California, 9,600 low-income students could lose their college financial aid. In Florida, nearly $4 million could be slashed to provide meals for needy seniors. And in Texas, nearly 10,000 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases like whooping cough and the flu."
Sadly, MSNBC cannot follow sister network NBC’s lead in reporting the story of disgraced Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill) and his impending prison sentence for illegally using campaign funds for personal usage.
On the February 20 edition of NBC Nightly News as well as on the February 21 edition of Today, both shows correctly identify Jesse Jackson Jr. as a Democrat, but their MSNBC morning show Morning Joe skipped the important detail. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
All too often when reporters are discussing Democrats caught in scandals, they develop a peculiar speech impediment that prevents them from uttering the "D" word. However, when members of the GOP stumble, the word "Republican" cascades out of the mouths of reporters.
When news broke on February 15 that former Democratic Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. was charged with improperly spending campaign funds on (among other items) Michael Jackson and Bruce Lee memorabilia, the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) network anchors and reporters struggled to get their lips to form the word "Democrat." In 15 total stories on Jackson, reporters failed to utter the "D" word in 11 of them (73 percent). On the February 21 CBS This Morning Jackson was labeled a Democrat, but only in an on-screen graphic.
The NBC, ABC, and CBS evening newscasts on Tuesday all recited the same White House talking points as anchors and correspondents wrung their hands over the upcoming sequester budget cuts set to take effect on March 1. While all three broadcasts touted President Obama using "dire language" to warn against the cuts – only amounting to less that three percent of the federal budget – none of them noted that it was the President's idea in the first place. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the top of NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams sounded the alarm: "Deep impact....deep budget cuts poised to have a major impact on the military, law enforcement, even food inspection." In the report that followed, correspondent John Yang fretted: "Through 2021, it means cutting $85 billion a year, half from the Pentagon, half from non-defense programs. Everything from education to national parks to Meals on Wheels." Yang failed to mention the current annual federal budget is around $3.5 trillion.