The liberal media continue their effort to spin the Obama administration right out of trouble. On Saturday’s Today, NBC brought on John Harwood, CNBC’s chief Washington correspondent, to provide some analysis of the three scandals that rocked the administration last week. Harwood, with help from co-anchor Erica Hill, attempted to make the discussion about the Republicans and their shortcomings rather than the White House’s failings.
Hill brought up the fact that some senior Republicans, such as Newt Gingrich, have cautioned the party about not going after Obama too aggressively over the scandals. Harwood agreed, adding that the party does not have a wide enough base. He then chastised Republicans: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
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 Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer described how President Obama was "trying to move past" the scandals plaguing his administration. In the report that followed, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd began by parroting the President's attempts to downplay the political firestorm: "Aides say the President's keeping things in perspective and believes this is just a blip, he'll bounce back." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After playing clips of Obama's Thursday news conference, including Reuters reporter Jeff Mason asking about comparisons to Nixon, Todd promoted more White House spin: "In the end, aides say Mr. Obama does not feel under siege this week. The New York Times reporting the President has 'talked longingly of going Bulworth,' referencing the movie featuring Warren Beatty as a senator who suddenly decides to speak his mind whatever the political cost."
On Thursday's NBC Today, in a desperate attempt to deflect from the scandals engulfing the Obama administration, co-host Savannah Guthrie wondered: "I read a headline yesterday that said Republicans see blood in the water. That they see a president who's very vulnerable politically. Is there a danger that they will overreach?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd agreed with the slanted premise: "There is. I mean, that's what happened to Republicans in 1998 with Bill Clinton. And if all of Congress is focusing on hearings to do scandals, the voters will punish them. They've done it in the past."
With a headline on screen lamenting "Obama's Second-Term Blues" on Wednesday's NBC Today, the worst criticism Meet the Press moderator David Gregory could muster against the President amid growing scandals was this: "And there is a passivity about the President and the White House that even his aides and allies on the outside acknowledge is a problem. Why there has not been a faster, more stringent response."
Noting the IRS, Benghazi, and Associate Press phone records scandals, co-host Savannah Guthrie asked Gregory: "Is there a common narrative that is a critique of the administration here?" Gregory couldn't manage to find one: "Well, I don't know that you can necessarily tie all of them together....I think there is a feeling that there is too much passivity, that the President's too much of a bystander, learning about these things, as he said about the IRS, from news reports."
On Wednesday's NBC Today, regular panelist Donny Deutsch downplayed the scandals embroiling the Obama administration as merely the result of the public not having anything else to focus on: "I think in this media age we spend so many year – four years, night and day staring at these candidates, that after a while we get a little bored and turned off. And really the only story to report going forward is what I'll call that kind of slippery slope." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Matt Lauer called out Deutsch's dismissive tone: "I think you're making a little light of some of these stories. Some of these are pretty important, big stories." At the end of the discussion, Deutsch doubled down: "I think this is a function of, as I said again, of we are gonna over-magnify versus diminish anything that happens for any second term president."
ABC and NBC led their morning shows on Tuesday with nearly 10 minutes of "breaking news" coverage of Angelina Jolie's double mastectomy. This celebrity-driven story was apparently deemed more important than abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell being found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder, as Good Morning America and Today devoted just 38 seconds to the Gosnell trial. (audio clips of Jolie coverage available here; video below the jump)
Altogether, the ABC and NBC morning newscasts aired 19 minutes and 3 seconds of coverage on Jolie. Tuesday's CBS This Morning waited 12 minutes to cover the Hollywood news item, but ultimately ended up setting aside 7 minutes and 49 seconds of air time to the surgeries, versus a 18 second news brief on Gosnell. The total Big Three coverage of Jolie on Tuesday morning, including CBS's reporting, added up to 26 minutes and 52 seconds, as opposed to 56 seconds on the Gosnell case.
In an interview with former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer tried to dismiss the growing Benghazi scandal: "Do you think that the administration has answered enough questions on it? Do you think it's possible that some Republicans are trying to use this to discredit Hillary Clinton in case she decides to run for president in 2016?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Rumsfeld replied: "No. I think that's a side – that's the sideshow, is the Hillary Clinton piece of it. No, the first problem was if you're going to put people at risk, you have to try to protect them....And the Americans were left in and they weren't provided the kind of security that they needed, obviously, because they're dead."
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.
During a report on Monday's NBC Today about the Benghazi and IRS scandals wracking the Obama administration, a headline on screen wondered if they were the result of "Obama's Second Term Curse?" White House correspondent Peter Alexander lamented: "Fewer than four months since his ambitious inaugural address, President Obama is facing significant political obstacles.... Some observers are already asking if Mr. Obama is falling victim to the second term curse."
After Alexander detailed second-term problems for past presidents, "From Watergate to Iran-Contra, even Bill Clinton's impeachment," a sound bite followed of NBC's liberal presidential historian Michael Beschloss offering this bit of advice to Obama: "The presidents who have weathered these crises best have been those who do not let themselves get distracted."
My alternate headline for this item: “NBC’s Today Show on Benghazi: ‘There Are So Many Issues the Country Faces. This Is One of Them.’” That dismissive attitude came from ABC News veteran Mark Halperin, now MSNBC’s senior political analyst who also toils for Time magazine, putting the burden on Republican to make an issue of Obama administration dishonesty on Benghazi.
Failing to see any role for the news media after months of malfeasance, Halperin put the burden on a political party: “I think the events of this week mean Republicans now have a chance to make the case to the American people. There are so many issues the country faces. This is one of them.”
The network morning shows on Thursday went into tabloid overdrive for the Jodi Arias verdict and an abduction case in Ohio, offering a staggering 56 minutes of coverage. In contrast, NBC, CBS and ABC allowed just under seven minutes combined to hearings on the 2012 terrorist murder of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Libya. This is a disparity of eight-to-one.
Good Morning America proved to be the least interested in the national security issues raised by Benghazi. The morning show devoted 19 minutes to the Arias conviction and the kidnapping of three women in Ohio. Yet, whistleblower testimony in Washington D.C. warranted a mere 53 seconds. The four hour-long Today show on NBC spent 27 minutes on the two cases and a scant two and a half minutes on Libya. The most balanced network turned out to be CBS.
Teasing an upcoming panel discussion on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer proclaimed: "Today's Professionals are going to weigh in on what could be a game changer in the gun debate, a plastic pistol undetectable by most security systems that almost anyone can make at home using some modern technology." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Fretting over details being released on how to construct the weapon using a 3D printer, Lauer posed this questions to the usual group of liberal pundits: "What do we do about it?" Attorney Star Jones admitted that there wasn't much that could be done under existing law, "other than really step up our efforts at gun control....if you make the behavior, the penalty for the behavior, the possession of a gun, no matter how it's manufactured, much more stringent."
On Wednesday's NBC Today, news reader Natalie Morales touted a "Today exclusive" with Michelle Obama, playing a clip of a "wide-ranging conversation" between the First Lady and Kelly Wallace of the NBC-owned iVillage website that amounted to little more than a friendly chat about current events and Obama's 2012 book, American Grown.
On CBS's Sunday Morning, correspondent Lee Cowan conducted an identical fawning exchange with Michelle Obama, putting special emphasis on her White House garden: "This is the garden's second term as well....Ever since ground was broken four years ago, kids from all over the country have come to play and plant in the dirt, everything from peas and carrots, to a new crop this year: wheat."
Appearing on Wednesday's NBC Today, Huffington Post contributor Abby Huntsman proclaimed that following Mark Sanford's win in Tuesday's special congressional election in South Carolina, disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner "probably slept well last night knowing that he can potentially come back, too."
Co-host Willie Geist agreed: "Absolutely, absolutely." News reader Natalie Morales chimed in: "I was thinking the same thing this morning."
The extent of the media's influence to shape public opinion was on full display in a new Pew Research Center poll that shows, even though gun crime has dropped by half since its peak in the mid '90s, most Americans (56 percent) wrongly think gun violence has increased.
In anL.A. Timesarticle that highlighted the poll, Emily Alpert posited "It's unclear whether media coverage is driving the misconception that such violence is up. The mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., were among the news stories most closely watched by Americans last year, Pew found."
Wrapping up a report on Monday's NBC Nightly News about a fresh round of congressional hearings on the Benghazi terrorist attack, correspondent Andrea Mitchell dismissed the development as political posturing by the House GOP: "There is an obvious political undercurrent. Republicans are taking direct aim at Hillary Clinton, the country's most popular Democrat and a possible presidential contender." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Mitchell began the report by noting new testimony from Gregory Hicks, the State Department's deputy mission chief in Tripoli, Libya at the time of the Benghazi attack, "who said he called for military help from four more special forces operatives in Tripoli, but was overruled." Mitchell emphasized that Hicks was "a diplomat, not a military officer," just before quoting his statement on the lack of U.S. military air support during the attack.
The air was thick with disingenuousness on Saturday’s Today show as NBC conducted a long-distance interview with the daughter of the slain Sandy Hook Elementary School principal. Co-anchor Erica Hill brought up the charge that Erica Lafferty has been used as a prop by the gun control crowd. Of course, in the process, NBC was using Lafferty as a prop during that very interview.
Lafferty was in Houston, ostensibly hoping to meet with leaders and members of the NRA at their convention. Ever since the Sandy Hook shooting, Lafferty has been active in the push for stricter gun laws, and Hill mentioned this. But then the anchor added, “You have also been accused of being used as a prop. Is there anything that you think you could have done differently to change the outcome in Washington?” Lafferty scoffed at the notion: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
CBS used its Sunday evening and Monday morning newscasts to keep the spotlight on the question of a "possible cover-up" surrounding the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Jeff Glor led CBS Evening News with the scoop from earlier in the day on Face the Nation – that a "career U.S. diplomat is raising new questions" about the Obama administration's claim that the attack spontaneously erupted in response to an early protest in Egypt.
Monday's CBS This Morning also aired a report on this latest development on the September 11, 2012 attack. Meanwhile, ABC and NBC have yet to pick up on the veteran diplomat's allegations, despite the fact that he is set to testify publicly to Congress on the issue on Wednesday.
Jan Crawford touted how ObamaCare going into full effect in early 2014 is "causing all kinds of concern and anxiety, especially with...small business owners" on Friday's CBS This Morning. Crawford also pointed out Senator Max Baucus' April 17, 2013 "train wreck" label of the upcoming implementation of the health care law. This was the first time that a Big Three morning or evening newscast mentioned Baucus' blunt remark.
The correspondent zeroed in on a California bakery whose owner asserted that he "can't make any decisions, because the federal government is giving no guidance" with regard to ObamaCare.
Previewing an upcoming story for NBC's Rock Center on Friday's Today, correspondent Ann Curry warned that tribes of the Amazon rain forest "are sharpening their spears and preparing their blow guns to fight Ecuador's new plan to auction as much as 8 million acres of the rain forest for oil drilling." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
She then cited Boston University biology professor Kelly Swing arguing that "America, a top importer of oil from Ecuador, shares responsibility for this coming conflict....And the toxic legacy of past oil drilling in other parts of the rain forest." A sound bite played of Swing declaring: "We're definitely guilty in this story."
On Friday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah noted start of the National Rifle Association's convention in Houston, Texas by declaring that it "gets under way as the country engages in a heated gun control debate." In the report that followed, correspondent Gabe Gutierrez described the event as "a nine-acre gun show in the middle of a national gun fight."
Gutierrez acknowledged the recent "major congressional victory" of the gun rights group and lamented failure to pass gun restrictions: "After mass shootings in Aurora and Newtown, the NRA's opponents seemed to have momentum....But two weeks ago, a bipartisan compromise on expanded background checks for commercial gun sales was shot down in the Senate."
Thursday's CBS This Morning singled out the FBI's pursuit of three persons of interest who could provide information on the September 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Margaret Brennan touted how "what happened that night is still the topic of debate in Washington", and noted that members of Congress "want to speak to those Americans evacuated from Benghazi, but claim the White House won't release the names."
ABC devoted a news brief to the FBI's investigation on Wednesday's World News, but didn't cover the development the following morning on Good Morning America. NBC apparently didn't find the story newsworthy, as they failed to cover it on their evening and morning newscasts.
During a panel discussion on Thursday's NBC Today, attorney and regular pundit Star Jones compared gay NBA player Jason Collins to a civil rights icon: "I don't think that, say a Rosa Parks, set out to be the person that people will call the mother of the civil rights – civil rights era. I don't think that Jason Collins started out thinking, 'I'm going to be this gay hero.' But if it becomes a movement that equalizes people not based on their sexuality, it works." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Matt Lauer started off the conversation by touting a panel topic from weeks earlier: "I wanna start with a subject that brings us full circle to a subject we discussed here about a month ago. We were asking the question when will a male in a professional major sport in the United States come out and say, 'I'm gay'? We got the answer this week....What's next? What happens? Do we see a lot of other players come out?"
Leading off Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams eagerly touted gun control supporters going after Republican New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte at a recent town hall meeting: "Pushing back. A tense moment as a U.S. senator gets an earful about her no vote on gun control." Williams hopefully added: "And with lawmakers home from Washington on a break, is this about to start happening more often?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While Williams promoted the incident as a genuine public uprising, emphasizing "9 of 10 Americans support expanded background checks," he failed to mention that President Obama's campaign machine, Organizing for Action, was motivating many of the anti-Ayotte protests. On FNC's Special Report on Wednesday, anchor Bret Baier reported: "OFA took to the streets of New Hampshire at the end of April for an impassioned protest against [Ayotte]...One sign spattered in what appears to be fake blood reads, quote, 'More shot in one day than marathoned.'"
After reporting on the FDA allowing girls as young as 15-years-old to receive the morning-after pill without a prescription or parental consent, NBC's chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman voiced her support for the controversial decision: "13, 14, and 15-year-olds are having intercourse. So we have to talk about, if we want to prevent abortions, should we have birth control, contraception that's safe, condoms, and put all of this stuff out there for active teenagers?"
In her report, Snyderman touted how "The pill's manufacturer, Teva Pharmaceuticals, welcomed the ruling, calling it 'a significant milestone for women.'" But she also admitted that "lowering the age restriction is likely to dramatically raise the level of controversy, especially among parents and teens."
While NBC's chief White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd pressed President Obama during a Tuesday news conference on the possibility of ObamaCare being a "train wreck," the network coverage of the presser completely avoided any mention of the question, instead seizing on Obama being pressured from the left to close the Guantanamo Bay prison.
Anchor Brian Williams lead off Tuesday's Nightly News by declaring: "The hunger strike at Guantanamo that's now gotten so bad prisoners are being force fed, as the President faces tough questions." Introducing a report on the topic, Williams lectured: "We don't get to see them or know their names, and most Americans actually prefer not to spend a whole lot of time thinking about the men who've been rounded up as enemy combatants and imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba."
Philosopher George Santayana once said “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” In regards to socialism, the media has turned a blind eye to the more than 100 million victims of the ideology. In fact, May 1 actually marks a socialist holiday – International Workers’ Day, or May Day.
“Socialist” is a word often used in conjunction with President Obama, but seldom explained by the major media. During the White House Correspondents Dinner, the president even joked that “I'm not the strapping young Muslim Socialist that I used to be.” It might be a joke to the president, but to millions who have lived under socialism, it has been a nightmare.
While Tuesday's NBC Today began by heralding gay NBA player Jason Collins as "a towering figure on the court" and in "sports history," later in the 7 a.m. ET hour, correspondent Craig Melvin regarded NFL quarterback Tim Tebow as an athlete who's "play never really matched the hype" and someone who became "spoof-worthy" due to his "well-publicized faith."
A clip played of Late Night host Jimmy Fallon mocking Tebow with a parody song set to David Bowie's "Ground Control to Major Tom": "Tim Tebow to Jesus Christ." Melvin followed: "On the field, Tebow struggled. His only season as a Jet, lackluster....His football future is uncertain. But Tebow could still cash-in on his carefully cultivated persona."
Amid the celebration on Tuesday's NBC Today over the "groundbreaking" "game changer" announcement by NBA player Jason Collins that he is gay, co-host Matt Lauer brought on liberal New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica, who ranted: "I hope that the league of old men and women on the Supreme Court are paying attention to this....Because same-sex marriage and the constitutionality is now going to be heard....This is a human rights issue, it's not a civil rights issue." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Moments later, after Lauer wondered about the possibility of other players coming out, Lupica proclaimed: "Women have been doing this in sports for a long time. And women have been more accepting about this. And it just kind of verifies that women are a lot smarter and cooler about this stuff and I'm hoping that that transfers now to guys."