The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks were so excited by Democratic Texas state senator Wendy Davis’s filibuster they failed to notice she is on the losing side of the abortion debate.
Anchors like NBC’s Brian Williams and ABC’s Diane Sawyer were so busy hailing Davis’s “epic” filibuster and her rise to “folk hero” status that they failed to report the findings of a National Journal poll showing her extremist pro-abortion stance is an unpopular one. (video after the jump)
Leading off a panel discussion on Thursday's NBC Today applauding the Supreme Court's gay marriage decisions, co-host Natalie Morales proclaimed: "Wednesday's historic ruling on same-sex marriage is being celebrated across the country, but it was sixteen years ago when Ellen Degeneres marked a milestone, breaking a huge barrier in front of millions of people on primetime TV." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After a clip played of Degeneres coming out on her sitcom in 1997, fill-in co-host Carson Daly posed the question: "So how much influence has pop culture had on America's changing attitude and the Supreme Court decision?" Later in the segment, Morales observed: "I mean, pop culture always seems to be ahead of the courts in these instances, right?"
Celebrating Wednesday's Supreme Court rulings in favor of gay marriage, on Thursday's NBC Today, correspondent Gabe Gutierrez reported live from San Francisco city hall and announced: "In one of the country's oldest and largest gay neighborhoods, vindication. It was the day San Francisco's Castro District had been waiting for." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A series of sound bites followed of gay rights activists expressing their jubilation over the ruling. The plaintiff in the Defense of Marriage Act case, Edith Windsor, declared "The beginning of the end of stigma." Rabbi Camile Shira Angel proclaimed: "I feel blessed with every fiber of my being to be an American and a Californian today." Ellen Cerf, identified as an "equality supporter," tearfully uttered: "I love America every day, but I love it so much today."
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning newscasts on Wednesday spotlighted Texas State Senator Wendy Davis's filibuster against pro-life legislation, hyping how she stood for hours in "comfortable pink sneakers" to stop a vote on the bill. The networks trumpeted how "the unfolding drama topped the list of worldwide Twitter trends", but ABC and NBC failed to include any tweets or soundbites from supporters of the proposal. [audio available here; video below the jump]
CBS This Morning did include two clips from a pro-life Texas state legislator, but anchors Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell gushed over Davis. Rose harped about her "very interesting life story", while O'Donnell asserted that "she's going to become big figure now, I think, in Texas politics."
President Barack Obama’s new climate change initiative will purportedly share “a national plan to reduce carbon pollution, prepare our country for the impacts of climate change and lead global efforts to fight it.” Although he intends to demand action, most Americans do not see climate change as a “major threat,” according to Pew Research.
The Washington Post reported Obama will include “a plan to limit carbon-dioxide emissions from existing power plants.” That’s an agenda item the media will love. It was just a month ago when CBS “This Morning” interviewed Time magazine senior writer Jeffrey Kluger on May 11 who said “we have to curb the use of fossil fuels.”
Thursday's CBS Evening News all but hinted that the border security measures included in a new compromise attached to the immigration reform bill in Congress was overkill. Scott Pelley emphasized, "To win over Republicans, negotiators today added a military-style surge for the southern border." NBC's Tamron Hall echoed Pelley on Friday's Today: "It [the bill] would involve fortifying the U.S.-Mexico border and flooding it with a military-style troop surge."
CBS correspondent Nancy Cordes also spotlighted how "the compromise...spares no expense to fortify the southern border....And it would blanket the border with infrared ground sensors, thermal imaging cameras, and drones."
Introducing a report on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer announced "a significant breakthrough in a bitter fight on Capitol Hill," followed by correspondent Kelly O'Donnell declaring that "immigration is pitting Republican versus Republican."
O'Donnell explained that Senate lawmakers "worked late into the night writing a new version of immigration reform with more border security," noting how, "Democrats want to get something passed with a dozen or more Republicans, and that's the hard part."
President Obama's speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin was much anticipated by the network morning shows on Wednesday. On ABC's Good Morning America, Jonathan Karl announced: "Expectations are high." On CBS This Morning, Major Garrett touted the White House hope that the address would rank among past "famous and memorable speeches." On NBC's Today, Matt Lauer reminisced over the President being "greeted like a rock star" in 2008. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
However, after Obama's lackluster performance on Wednesday, there was nothing but silence on Thursday's morning shows, not even a mention of the supposedly "historic speech" that was promised.
How’s this for chutzpah: On the June 10 Today, did a segment on the difficult process of jury selection for the George Zimmerman trial, given the highly publicized racial issues surrounding the case. NBC’s Carl Quintanilla asked “Today” Legal Expert Lisa Bloom, “Has media coverage already influenced this jury?”
Yes it has, and NBC has more to answer for than most. For a full week in March, 2012 NBC “Nightly News” and “Today,” along with its local Miami affiliate ran audio tape of George Zimmerman’s 911 call the night he fatally shot Trayvon Martin. NBC viewers learned that Zimmerman had said to the 911 dispatcher, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.”
ABC's Good Morning America on Thursday deemed the admission by the FBI that they have used drones inside America to be a "stunning revelation." Yet, news reader Josh Elliott somehow managed to ignore the fact that his own program already talked about this fact back in February. Elliott breathlessly related, "And another stunning revelation as lawmakers look at the National Security Agency's controversial surveillance programs."
He added, "For the first time, the FBI has acknowledged using drones to spy on Americans here on U.S. soil." However, on February 4, 2013, ABC reporter Gio Benitez covered the story of a young boy behind held hostage in Alabama. He explained, "This morning, drones like this are flying over the homemade underground bunker." If this wasn't clear enough, a graphic underlined, "Drones Now Flying Over Bunker." The FBI was heavily involved in this case. The news is hardly "stunning."
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 morning, NBC and ABC ignored a new poll showing President Obama's approval had fallen by eight points in a month, from 53 to 45 percent. CNN reported on its own poll numbers, while CBS and MSNBC picked up the numbers as well.
While CBS This Morning briefly reported the poll numbers, CNN touted them repeatedly throughout the morning. New Day co-host Chris Cuomo said the President's image was "taking a beating," while correspondent Jessica Yellin noted that his support among young voters has "collapsed" and "is an astonishing cratering."
The hosts on Monday's NBC Today were all in agreement that New City Mayor Michael Bloomberg forcing all residents to sort out rotten food scraps from their garbage for composting – and to hold on to the refuse for days – was a "great idea" that would be "good for the environment." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Matt Lauer briefly explained the program: "[Bloomberg] wants you to take your food scraps, put them in a container about the size of a picnic basket in your home, hold them for a few days and then later put them in some larger...containers out on the sidewalk....This is going to be part of a voluntary program at first, which will then become a mandatory program." He added that "they've tried it with a few pilot programs here in New York and the participation was very high."
In a report on Monday's NBC Today about new leaks from National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell took a jab at former Vice President Dick Cheney: "Cheney, who helped institute warrantless evesdropping, no court orders required, a policy Congress later rejected in favor of the current surveillance programs." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The implication from Mitchell seemed to be that the NSA surveillance program under the Bush administration was wrong but that the program under President Obama is fine. She failed to mention Obama's dramatic shift on the issue, having been a harsh critic of such methods under President Bush.
Amid the debate over immigration reform and media predictions that the Republican Party will never again win a national election due to demographic shifts in the country, correspondent Tom Costello appeared on Friday's NBC Today to eagerly promote a new study: "You know, by 2043, just three decades from now, the Census Bureau says whites will be a minority....a changing complexion that will have huge, social, political and economic implications for the entire country."
Costello remarked: "Far from the 50s, a new kaleidoscope of color....For the year ending July 2012, the Asian population expanded by 530,000 people, African Americans added 560,000, and the Hispanic population grew by the most, 1.1 million people. Non-Hispanic whites, long the dominant demographic group in the country, added only 175,000 people to their ranks, and for the first time, deaths, by a slim margin, out-paced births for whites..."
During a fawning report on Hillary Clinton's "first time kicking off the Clinton Global Initiative" on Friday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander also cheered the "double feature" of Clinton and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaking at the event: "Today it is Bill Clinton who could soon be advising his wife's next presidential bid, giving her possible rival Chris Christie the reins for a major platform to showcase his own leadership skills."
Continuing to hype Christie hobnobbing with Democrats, Alexander declared: "Chris Christie, the Jersey-shore-reopening, carnival-playing presidential pal is the former President's guest of honor, speaking this afternoon, while his Republican rivals address a conference of religious conservatives. Insiders say, for the moment, Christie is focused on 2013, not 2016, eyeing his own re-election race in a heavily blue state."
In a report for Friday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander gushed over Hillary Clinton speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative: "Call it Hillary Clinton 3.0." A sound bite played of Clinton joking: "So after visiting 112 nations over four years, I'm still jet lagged." Alexander added: "But no signs of wear..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Alexander continued the Hillary promotion as if she was already running for president: "[Clinton] is essentially raising the curtain on her next act, empowering women and girls.... Her recent return to the spotlight certainly appears carefully choreographed. The newly renamed Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation and a brand new Twitter account, nearly a half million followers waiting to hear what's 'TBD.'"
On Tuesday's NBC Today, the hosts of the morning show applauded Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine promoting the proposed immigration bill by addressing the Senate in Spanish. Co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed: "...something happened on the Senate floor on Tuesday that apparently has never happened before in history....Tim Kaine delivering an entire speech in Spanish in support of the immigration reform bill..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Guthrie noted some mixed reaction: "This was to the delight of some Hispanic civil rights groups. But one of those groups actually said they wanted the immigration debate to be something that everyone could understand, thought it should be in English." However, she happily concluded: "Nevertheless, it's hard to get a first these days, especially in the U.S. Senate. This apparently was one."
Uncle Jesse isn’t quite so family-friendly as he used to be. John Stamos, who played “Uncle Jesse” in the family-oriented hit TV show “Full House,” is set to host a new show in which he prompts friends and celebrities to open up about their first sexual experience.
Entitled “Losing Your Virginity,” the new show is launching as a Yahoo! webseries in which Stamos interviews mostly-celebrity guests to reveal the details about their “first time.” Stamos is interested in whether his guest’s experiences were “a loss of innocence,” or humorous, or … (wait for it) … “love.” Although he insists it will not be graphic, he also suggested the show will re-create the guest’s loss-of-virginity experiences “with puppets or dolls or something – animated possibly.”
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.
On Tuesday night's O'Reilly Factor, mentioning his appearance on NBC's Today that morning, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly observed that the Peacock Network was having a difficult time covering the scandals plaguing the Obama administration: "Look, even when I was at the Today show this morning, NBC News, okay? I would say the most fervent Obama news agency in the country....Even them, they're going, 'Whoa, whoa.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Guest Monica Crowley replied: "Even NBC, Holy smokes! That's when you know he's in trouble..." O'Reilly added: "...they can't defend him anymore, the President, because he's in charge." Crowley countered: "Well, I mean, look, they still go to great lengths to protect him." O'Reilly declared: "Not today they didn't."
In an interview with Bill O'Reilly on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer seemed perplexed by the Fox News host asserting that "the Obama administration doesn't tell us anything" about numerous government scandals: "So you think there's been less transparency under this administrations than there has been under past administrations?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
O'Reilly responded: "I don't know. I mean maybe, but I can't find out anything. Can you? I don't know what happened in Benghazi, I don't know what happened in the IRS, I don't know what happened with James Rosen....they won't tell us anything."
On Monday, CNN ignored a CBS News report that, according to the State Department's Inspector General, the department stymied investigations into allegations of sexual assault by its security employees. Neither NBC nor ABC touched the story either.
As CBS reported, an Inspector General memo detailed specific examples of alleged sexual assault and soliciting of prostitutes by State Department security officials abroad. The department's watchdog tried to investigate the cases but the investigations were "influenced, manipulated, or simply called off." The memo noted that security details engaging prostitutes in foreign countries was an "endemic" problem.
The ABC and NBC morning shows on Monday ignored or downplayed the role the President of the United States played in the unfolding spying scandal that broke last week. The journalists at Good Morning America never once uttered the name Barack Obama. The hosts of NBC's Today left it to their guest to question the implications for the President.
It was CBS This Morning that saw possible damage to Obama. Major Garrett warned, "The White House knows that this is an intelligence crisis that could become a political crisis." The reporter added that the administration "had to admit a politically and tactically startling truth: It conducts more surveillance than the Bush White House." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Appearing on Monday's NBC Today, Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald corrected co-host Savannah Guthrie on her framing of the NSA phone and email surveillance controversy after she inaccurately cited government leaker Edward Snowden: "Snowden makes what I consider to be a rather remarkable claim stating, quote, 'I, sitting at my desk certainly had the authorities to wiretap you'....He didn't say that he had the ability to do it....He said he had the legal authority to do it." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Greenwald responded: "That isn't what he said. He didn't say he had the legal authority. That's a word you included in the statement that he didn't actually include....he said authority, not 'legal authority,' which is what you just quoted him as saying. And what I'm telling you is that is a misquotation..."
After fretting that numerous government scandals were becoming a "big problem" for President Obama at the top of Friday's NBC Today, in the 7:30 a.m. ET half hour, correspondent Andrea Mitchell eagerly engaged in reporting that was more enjoyable, the promotion of a new Hollywood biopic of Hillary Clinton ahead of the former secretary of state's potential 2016 presidential run. [Watch the video after the jump]
Mitchell began the puff peice by proclaiming: "Hillary Clinton has been America's first lady a senator from New York, and most recently, secretary of state. But a new film called Rodham will focus on Hillary Rodham's days fresh out of law school." Mitchell's supposed news story devolved into entertainment gossip: "So who will play a young Hillary? Reports have linked some of Hollywood's hottest stars to the film, including Scarlet Johansson and Reese Witherspoon. A source close to the film wouldn't confirm that, but did tell NBC News Kerry Mulligan is being strongly considered for the role. The British actress most recently appeared in The Great Gatsby."
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."
Both NBC and CBS led their Thursday morning shows with news that the Obama administration has secretly obtained the phone records of millions of Americans, but ABC's Good Morning America started its show reporting on Tropical Storm Andrea in Florida instead.
Overall, Thursday's two hour-long GMA spent less than three minutes total on the phone tracking story, giving over five times more coverage to the attempted suicide of Michael Jackson's daughter Paris. Back in 2006, however, ABC showed far more scrutiny to a similar story of the Bush administration tracking phone calls.