In a brief on Tuesday's NBC Today, news anchor Natalie Morales portrayed a minimum wage hike in Seattle as the first step toward a nationwide increase: "Well, with talks across the country ongoing about boosting the minimum wage, workers in Seattle are soon going to be seeing a big boost....The Seattle city council passed an ordinance Monday that bumps the minimum wage up to $15 an hour. That's the highest in the nation." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The headline on screen declared: "Landmark Minimum Wage Hike; Seattle's $15 an Hour Could Set New Standard." In a later news brief, Morales proclaimed the policy to be "A historic victory for workers in Seattle that could have a big impact nationwide."
CBS and NBC's morning shows on Monday avoided any mention of the potential job killing-harm that new Environmental Protection Agency rules will create. The three networks spent a scant 61 seconds total on the global warming regulations, but it was only Amy Robach on Good Morning America who raised a red flag. She pointed out: "The new rules will require power plants to cut Earth-warming pollution by 30 percent. Opponents say this will drive up energy costs and kill thousands of jobs."
On CBS This Morning, co-host Amy Robach cheered, "This morning, the EPA announces a groundbreaking plan to cut power plant emissions blamed for global warming." She allowed that "carbon dioxide limits are a hot political issue," but the journalist quickly added, "This is America's first ever policy to limit those emissions and the EPA says power plants are the largest source of greenhouse gases in the U.S." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Monday, NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer actually held outgoing White House Press Secretary Jay Carney's feet to the fire over the administration releasing five Taliban terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to secure the release Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl: "These are guys who are considered at very high risk to launch attacks against the U.S. if they were freed. So has the administration now, though, endangered the lives of all Americans for the safety of one American?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Carney argued: "...we believe that this is not a security threat to the United States and that there's sufficient mitigation to be comfortable with the transfer of those detainees to Qatar." Lauer pushed back: "Is this semantics here, Jay? Are we calling it a prisoner swap when, in fact, it is negotiating with terrorists?"
On Friday, both NBC's Today and CBS This Morning dutifully promoted quotes from Hillary Clinton's new memoir leaked to Politico of the former Secretary of State blasting critics of her mishandling of the Benghazi terrorist attack. Today co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed: "If there was any doubt Hillary Clinton's clearly ready to go on offense on this." Political director Chuck Todd agreed: "There's no doubt at all. In fact, there's a concerted campaign effort." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On CBS This Morning, correspondent Nancy Cordes declared: "...the former Secretary of State strikes a defiant tone about the attack and all the investigations into it..." Moments later, Cordes observed: "Democrats are going to see this as a kind of template for how to talk about the Benghazi attacks. In fact, the Clinton team is reportedly meeting with Democratic groups to explain her tone in the book so that everyone is on the same page."
In an apparent effort to help bolster Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign and her advocacy for revamping the menu of the nation's public school cafeterias, NBC's Today show plugged the first lady's May 29 New York Times op-ed on the subject.
The peacock network hailed Mrs. Obama as one who typically avoids playing politics, but who has courageously decided to step in and make her voice heard on this issue, taking on Republicans who oppose her fight to make America's kids thinner and healthier.
CBS journalists on Thursday morning investigated the latest details of the expanding Veterans Affairs scandal. Yet despite calling the newest revelation "ugly," correspondent Nancy Cordes somehow managed to avoid using Barack Obama's name or to discuss the White House. Instead, she focused on congressional culpability: "But the Inspector General's report points out Congress and the VA have known about similar manipulations and delays for nearly a decade." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Cordes talked to a GOP House member and pressed: "Florida Republican Jeff Miller is the chair of the House VA committee. If you've known about problems like this for years why are you only now calling on the V.A. Secretary to resign?" NBC skimped on discussing how much this issue could hurt the President personally. At the very end of a Nightly News discussion, Kelly O'Donnell briefly noted, "From the White House, NBC's Kristen Welker reports the President considers Secretary Shinseki to be on probation."
Eight months before the 2006 midterm election, President Bush made a “surprise” visit to Afghanistan. On the March 1, 2006 edition of the Today show, hosts Katie Couric and Matt Lauer made sure to paint Bush’s visit as a publicity stunt due to his approval rating being at an “all-time low” and the controversy surrounding a bid by a United Arab Emirates-based company to run operations at various U.S. seaports. Couric touted it as an “important symbol.” Kelly O’Donnell cited the visit with all its baggage as a “difficult stretch for the president.”
At the time, the network insisted their viewers be absolutely clear about the president’s approval rating and scandals bedeviling his administration back at home. Not only that, Today's coverage included a guest who argued that it was simply impossible to “divorce how the war is going with the perception of how President Bush is doing as president.”
At the time when the country is remembering the ultimate sacrifice veterans have given this country ABC’s (World News) evening and (Good Morning America) morning shows didn’t devote a second to the VA scandal over this Memorial Day weekend. However, those shows did spend time on President Barack Obama receiving “cheers” during his surprise visit to Afghanistan.
While ABC didn’t offer a second on its newscasts (from Friday evening through Monday night) on the VA scandal CBS devoted a total of 8 minutes, 39 seconds on its (Evening News) evening and (CBS This Morning) morning shows during that same time period. NBC spent 3 minutes, 34 seconds on its (Nightly News) evening and (Today) morning shows over the long weekend.
However ABC did find a story it wanted to trumpet.
On Tuesday, only NBC's Today reported on the White House accidentally leaking the name of the CIA station chief in Kabul, Afghanistan, which correspondent Peter Alexander described as "an incredibly embarrassing and actually potentially dangerous mistake." Neither ABC's Good Morning America nor CBS This Morning mentioned the administration screw-up that occurred during President Obama's trip to Afghanistan over the weekend to visit the troops. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
ABC and CBS did find time to promote other favorable White House stories. GMA did a full segment on First Lady Michelle Obama defending school lunch standards against criticism and This Morning devoted a full report to the White House holding a science fair for girls.
In early May, CBS's morning and evening newscasts spotlighted congressional Democrats' vehement opposition to the formation of a select committee to investigate the September 11, 2012 Islamist attacks on the U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, Libya during 10 minutes and 14 seconds of reporting.
However, when Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi named five Democrats to the committee on Wednesday, the CBS news programs minimized their coverage of the development. Wednesday's CBS Evening Newsset aside 23 seconds to the story, while Norah O'Donnell gave a 14-second news brief on Thursday's CBS This Morning about the story: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
A day after President Obama finally reacted to the Veteran's Affair scandal after weeks of silence, NBC's Today could only manage a couple news briefs on the development, totaling forty-seven seconds. Meanwhile, the morning show devoted one minute and nineteen seconds to First Daughter Malia Obama learning to drive this summer.
ABC's Good Morning America at least provided a full report on the VA scandal, but edited out any criticism of Obama. On Wednesday's World News, correspondent Jim Avila included a soundbite from a family member of a veteran who died waiting for care who accused the President of "lying" about the scandal. However, that clip vanished from Avila's GMA report Thursday morning.
NBC and CBS on Wednesday hyped a win by Senator Mitch McConnell as an example of a major setback to the Tea Party movement. But it was only ABC's Good Morning America that highlighted the "big loss" suffered by Bill and Hillary Clinton as their candidate went down to defeat. CBS This Morning co-anchor Charlie Rose lectured, "Tea Party backers are reeling this morning from primary election results in six states." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
He added, "Tea Party favorites lost in all of the most important Republican races heading into the November midterms." The journalist trumpeted, "...A CBS News poll out this morning show that Tea Party support fell over nine point this past year." Surprisingly, it was former Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos on GMA who exposed a "House race in Pennsylvania that was a big loss for both Clintons."
Pressuring Democratic congressional candidate and former American Idol contestant Clay Aiken from left during an interview on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie fretted that the openly gay singer wasn't campaigning on gay marriage: "You've been open about your own status and you have criticized North Carolina's ban on gay marriage in the past. But for observers of your race, it seems you're downplaying this in this particular campaign. Is that a fair assessment?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Aiken gave a rather surprising answer: "I don't know that we're necessarily particularly specifically downplaying anything. You know, we're up-playing the things that are affecting people's lives....We're talking about the things that are affecting people's lives and that's not necessarily one of them."
On Tuesday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd proclaimed that a series of congressional primary races were evidence "the ongoing family feud between the Tea Party and the establishment wings of the GOP festers." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd detailed how Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell "waged a ruthless campaign" against his Tea Party challenger, then announced: "As tough as Kentucky's been, it's even nastier and more personal in other GOP primaries."
On Sunday, May 18, ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today hyped President Obama’s selection of Julian Castro, Democratic Mayor of San Antonio, to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Both NBC’s Jenna Wolfe and ABC’s Ron Claiborne beamed at how Castro is a “rising star in the Democratic Party” with Wolfe praising how “there’s been speculation that he could be vice presidential pick in 2016.” [See video below.]
In the 9 a.m. ET hour on Friday, NBC's Today provided only 26 seconds to another major change to ObamaCare that news anchor Natalie Morales acknowledged "may end up costing you thousands of dollars out of pocket." Neither ABC's Good Morning America nor CBS This Morning bothered to mention the development, which was reported overnight by the Associated Press.
Morales explained: "The Obama administration has given the go-ahead for a new cost-control strategy, it's called reference pricing. It lets insurers and employers put a dollar limit on what health plans pay for some expensive procedures such as knee and hip replacements. Some experts worry that undercuts financial protections in the new health care law." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While a Thursday article posted on MSNBC.com celebrated college commencement speakers who "drop like flies" due to to "feisty campus dissent," on Friday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander warned: "On campuses in the last two years, 25 speakers have withdrawn or been disinvited....The growing trend is fueling concern that campuses could become islands of intolerance." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A soundbite was included of Greg Lukianoff of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education observing: "The danger here is that we send a message to students that they have a right to only hear from people that they already agree with. It becomes very difficult to find anyone you can invite to speak who's done anything interesting with their lives."
Despite the rise in deaths from preventable childhood diseases, the networks spent the last 15 years fueling speculation that vaccines cause autism. Just in the past seven years more than 1,300 died from such diseases, according to CDC data.
The medical community widely refuted such claims and the medical journal that once published the study later retracted it. But for years the broadcast networks continued to report on the alleged connection between vaccines and autism.
On Tuesday, the cast of NBC's Today felt it necessary to spend a minute of air time defending Hillary Clinton from Karl Rove raising questions about her health, with co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaiming: "Karl Rove's explosive new claims about Hillary Clinton. The Republican strategist has suggested that she may have a brain injury." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Guthrie quoted Rove "reportedly" claiming at a recent conference that Clinton being hospitalized for "thirty days" in 2012 after suffering a fall may have been evidence she had a "traumatic brain injury." Following the quote, Guthrie noted: "Well, for the record, Clinton was in the hospital for three days, not thirty. And her team is hitting back hard this morning."
Despite the overwhelmingly positive reaction to Michael Sam being drafted by the St. Louis Rams as the first openly gay player in the NFL, the Big Three network morning shows on Monday all hyped a negative one-word tweet from another NFL player as evidence of a social media "backlash" against Sam, where "every creep and cretin" could attack him. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the top of ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos touted Sam "making history," but fretted over "the backlash that blew up over his celebration sealed with a kiss," referring to Sam embracing his boyfriend as he got the news. In a later report, correspondent Mara Schiavocampo warned that "not everyone is celebrating the news," proclaiming: "It's sports history sealed with a kiss, and this morning, a little controversy."
Talking to NBC sportscaster Bob Costas on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer reacted to openly gay football player Michael Sam being drafted by the St. Louis Rams on Saturday: "The big picture here in terms of the NFL, is this a sea change or is this a one-off? Is this the league moving to the right side of history? Which by the way, they really can't do unless more players come forward." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Costas responded: "Oh, I think more players will come forward. And in that respect, Michael Sam, no matter what kind of NFL career he has, is a significant figure....And this stuff is moving at warp speed. This kind of acceptance is happening quicker than any of us might have thought. And so I think the NFL is just getting in line with what's happening in society overall."
Not even a full vote by the House of Representatives to hold Lois Lerner in contempt can shake the networks out of their slumber in covering the IRS scandal. On Wednesday the House voted 231-178 (all Republicans voted yes with six Democrats) to hold Lerner in contempt for refusing to testify about the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups. Total coverage by ABC, CBS and NBC? Just a 15-second brief on Thursday’s edition of ABC’s Good Morning America.
However the Big Three networks did find the 110x more time this week to tout the “dire” and “alarming” findings from the White House climate change report.
During a report on Thursday's NBC Today about Monic Lewinsky's article in Vanity Fair magazine, correspondent Peter Alexander touted liberal spin that the former Bill Clinton mistress speaking out would actually help Hillary Clinton's political prospects: "Clinton watcher Ruth Marcus argues Lewinsky has done Hillary a big favor." A soundbite followed of the Washington Post columnist proclaiming: "Now if there's a Hillary Clinton campaign for president in 2016, we can move on from the Lewinsky scandal of yore."
In a discussion segment that followed Alexander's report, co-host Matt Lauer wondered to MSNBC host Alex Wagner: "How does this article, this essay, impact Hillary Clinton should she run for office in 2016?" Wagner argued: "Every time Lewinsky is mentioned, it is good for Hillary Clinton. It reminds everybody of her major accomplishments on the world stage. And people tend to be more sympathetic to Hillary Clinton than Monica Lewinsky because she is the woman scorned." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After enthusiastically promoting an upcoming White House climate change report on Tuesday, all three network morning shows on Wednesday happily touted interviews with President Obama on the subject and continued to hype the "dire" and "alarming" findings. Meanwhile, critics were dismissed as an anti-science minority. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the top of NBC's Today, co-host Matt Lauer proclaimed: "Millions coping with the first record-breaking heat wave of the season, while the White House issues a dire warning about the nation's climate change." In the report that followed, weatherman Al Roker dutifully parroted White House talking points: "This report has taken years to complete with input from hundreds of scientists and technical experts. The President saying the report's conclusion is clear: If we want to stop climate change, the time to act is now."
After a big promotional push by ABC and NBC, Democratic House candidate Clay Aiken leads his primary opponent by 372 votes out of 28,000 cast on Tuesday. According to Good Morning America on Wednesday, the "American Idol congressional candidate" may pull out a razor thin victory. Co-host Lara Spencer enthused, "Clay Aiken in the public eye for almost a decade, making headlines for his songs, his personal life and now a run at the United States Congress." [MP3 audio here.]
Spencer stated the obvious, noting, "He was considered by many the underdog. [Primary opponent Keith] Crisco outspent him by nearly a half million dollars." However, the liberal candidate has had a lot of help from journalists. On February 6, Mara Schiavocampo enthused, "Well, simply put, he is a long shot but that hasn't stopped Aiken from throwing his hat in the ring."
Summary: After a partisan report last June absurdly suggested that progressive groups were just as likely to be scrutinized as conservative ones, ABC, CBS and NBC essentially abandoned their coverage of the IRS targeting scandal which broke one year ago this week. After producing 136 stories on their morning and evening news show during the first seven weeks of the scandal, broadcast news coverage dried up, with just 14 more reports over the next 10 months, as the Big Three ignored numerous damning developments in the case.
Appearing on Tuesday's NBC Today, former CNN talk show host Larry King ridiculed his former employer when asked if he would ever return to the cable channel: "The tough time I would have at CNN now, I think, would be doing this airplane story. Because I think I'd crack up laughing. I think I would have – you know, how many times can you cover a plane? Six weeks and all we know is it made a left turn." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Willie Geist asked: "So you wouldn't do that story?" King replied: "Well, what if they forced me to? I would probably not want to do it. I think it would get embarrassing after a while."
On Tuesday, the NBC, ABC, and CBS morning shows all seized on a new climate change report being released by the White House ahead of a slate of interviews with President Obama conducted by network meteorologists. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On NBC's Today, weatherman Al Roker stood in front of the White House holding up a draft copy of the report and proclaimed: "This is why we're here. This document, the National Climate Assessment Report, it comes out later this morning, and once it does, there are going to be administration officials, scientists around, we'll be talking with them. And then this afternoon we interview the President of the United States about this report."
On Monday, the three network morning shows provided 12 minutes 24 seconds to Saturday night's White House Correspondents' Dinner but only CBS This Morning reported House Speaker John Boehner on Friday announcing a new investigation into Benghazi – a news brief that totaled a mere 47 seconds. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
This Morning co-host Charlie Rose noted: "Both parties on Capitol Hill are sniping over new a investigation of the deadly Benghazi attack." After a soundbite of Republican Senator Lindsey Graham discussing the scandal on Sunday's Face the Nation, Rose added: "House Speaker John Boehner is calling for a new investigation based on a White House memo released last week. Republicans say the document proves the Obama administration tried to spin the attacks for political gain." NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America completely ignored the story on Monday.
On Friday, NBC's Today kicked off its 2014 midterm election coverage by doing a fawning puff piece on former American Idol contestant Clay Aiken running for Congress in North Carolina as a Democrat. Co-host Willie Geist proclaimed: "A race that's getting a lot of attention. Clay Aiken is used to being at the mercy of the voters. He came in second on American Idol in 2003 and now he's running for Congress in North Carolina..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell touted Aiken on the campaign trail: "When he says hello at Brownie Lou's restaurant or breaks out a smile for selfies, Clay Aiken is campaigning for a big career change. From pop singer to politician."