There is a jobs crisis in the U.S. that is going virtually unnoticed by the broadcast networks. The unemployment rate for African Americans towers over the national average, upsetting conservatives and liberals.
In spite of bipartisan outrage, the three broadcast networks gave just 10 seconds combined to the black unemployment rate around the monthly jobs reports in the past year. Liberal Rev. Jesse Jackson was one of many frustrated people. He has complained that “the media [is] dismissing it as not important.”
Forget all the unanswered questions about ObamaCare or the President's sinking poll numbers or the Democratic Party's vulnerability in the midterm elections, on Wednesday's NBC Today, all that was wiped away by President Obama taking a selfie with Red Sox player David Ortiz. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
As fill-in news anchor Tamron Hall put it, "In a town where they don't agree on a lot, I think everyone agrees that this was a pretty cool moment....The Red Sox meeting with the President.... Big Papi [David Ortiz] with the President preparing to take his official photo. Then, he went rogue....The Big Papi selfie....Look at those smiles there. A good day in Washington."
While ABC, NBC, and CBS all hyped President Obama slamming Republican opposition to ObamaCare during his Tuesday "victory lap" in the White House Rose Garden, the network coverage that evening and Wednesday morning did not include a single GOP sound bite on the topic. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Tuesday's ABC World News, White House correspondent Jon Karl proclaimed: "It looked like a victory celebration, and the beginning of a new campaign." A clip ran of Obama asserting: "The debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay."
Tuesday's NBC Today fawned over Vice President Joe Biden sharing his skin care tips with daytime talk show host Rachael Ray on Monday, with co-host Matt Lauer declaring: "Vice President Joe Biden's smooth complexion was long admired by Rachel Ray. So he revealed his beauty regimen to her. Take a look." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
All three morning shows on Tuesday hyped an "eye-popping" surge on the final day of ObamaCare sign-ups, but NBC's Today minimized the latest problems for those attempting to meet the deadline. Despite two segments on the topics, the four-hour program covered this angle for a scant 22 seconds.
In contrast, Jon Karl on ABC's Good Morning America threw cold water on the celebration. Ignoring co-host George Stephanopoulos's claim that "all signs point to an eye-popping surge in sign-ups for health insurance," Karl warned of "big, unanswered questions." He explained, "One of the biggest is how many of those have signed up were previously uninsured? Remember, this was about expanding insurance coverage." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] He added that "we don't know how many people signed up here...simply had their previous plans cancelled."
While Monday's NBC Today began its 7 a.m. ET hour coverage of the ObamaCare enrollment deadline by noting the healthcare.gov website had crashed yet again, it took an hour for ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning to notice the malfunction and mention it in their reporting. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Good Morning America's initial coverage was particularly stunning in that it touted how well the website was supposedly working. Co-host George Stephanopoulos proclaimed: "After all those early problems with the website, the White House now saying things are now back on track." White House correspondent Jon Karl declared: "That's right, George. They say they saw a huge increase of traffic to the website over the weekend....And so far, the website seems to be handling it without any major problems."
Appearing on Monday's Today, NBC's chief White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd seized on ObamaCare hitting the six million sign-up mark by the March 31 deadline, proclaiming: "So at a minimum, the importance of hitting the six million....it means the law is unrepealable....It means that it's here to stay." Todd made no mention of only 26% of Americans supporting ObamaCare in a new poll. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Matt Lauer accepted Todd's declaration and wondered about the political impact of the health care law: "You can't repeal it, but does that mean seven months down the road, as the midterm elections come around, that this will be any less of an issue in terms of close races in congressional districts?" Todd admitted: "No, I don't think – at this point, the law is so embedded as sort of a – as a political negative for the Democrats and political negative overall, that I don't think anything's going to change by November."
On Thursday evening and Friday morning, ABC, NBC, and CBS all touted a "surge" in sign-ups for ObamaCare ahead of Monday's March 31 deadline. What none of the networks mentioned was that the percentage of young, healthy enrollees was still short of the minimum necessary to sustain the health care law.
On ABC's World News on Thursday, anchor Diane Sawyer hailed the enrollment numbers as an "achievement" for President Obama as she proclaimed: "ObamaCare has hit a new milestone. More than 6 million people have now signed up. That's almost the original goal of 7 million. They have seen a surge in this final sprint before the deadline on March 31st..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
All three network evening newscasts on Thursday found time to cheer the JFK Library Foundation announcing former President George H. W. Bush would the 2014 recipient of its annual Profile in Courage award. So what specific accomplishment did the organization cite from the Republican's decades of public service? His decision to hike taxes in 1990 that cost him re-election and paved the way for Bill Clinton to become president. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On NBC Nightly News, fill-in anchor Lester Holt proclaimed: "Bush had famously said, 'Read my lips. No new taxes.' His decision to break that promise not only took courage, as the award says, it also may have cost him re-election."
On Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer couldn't resist mocking a nice gesture from House Speaker John Boehner to Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. News reader Tamron Hall explained: "...the House Speaker knows that his Democratic counterpart Nancy Pelosi just loves chocolate. So, for her 74th birthday on Wednesday he gave her something sweet, pints of chocolate gelato." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Moments later, Lauer remarked: "If there's ever a need for a food taster, that would be it right there." After a chorus of "ohs" from his fellow hosts, he added: "I'm kidding."
During coverage of President's Obama meeting with Pope Francis on Thursday, both NBC's Today and CBS This Morning hoped the papal visit would boost the commander-in-chief's sinking poll numbers. Today co-host Matt Lauer wondered: "The Pope, enormously popular....Is there something in just rubbing elbows with the Pope for President Obama?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd observed: "I think that the President, particularly right now where his own approval ratings are not so hot, just being seen with the Pope, particularly in some places where there are a lot of Catholic voters in the United States, it's not gonna hurt. So, yes, I think the White House sees this as a potential political up side."
Thursday's network morning shows tripped over themselves in their rush to fawn over President Obama meeting Pope Francis for the first time at the Vatican. At the top of ABC's Good Morning America, co-host Robin Roberts touted how the President "feels a special bond with the Pontiff." On NBC's Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd spoke of an "ideological comfort level" between the two leaders, while on CBS This Morning, White House correspondent Major Garrett described their "genuine connection." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While ABC, NBC, and CBS provided a combined 14 minutes 30 seconds of coverage to the papal meeting on Thursday, only 2 minutes 21 seconds of that air time referred to the fundamental disagreements between Obama and the Pope on a host of issues. Instead, the morning broadcasts chose to play up the "common ground" between the two men on issues of "income inequality" and "social justice."
Introducing a story on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer touted the Washington Post publishing the resignation letter of Massachusetts kindergarten teacher Suzi Sluyter, who decided to quit her job after being "frustrated by what she says is too much emphasis on test scores and testing instead of the kids themselves." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed – amid clips of Sluyter reciting her letter on camera – correspondent Ron Mott declared: "A sobering assessment about standardized tests, how children are damaged by what she calls a broken system more focused on scoring them." He soon found who to blame: "When President George W. Bush signed No Child Left Behind into law in 2002, supporters applauded the sweeping reform for holding schools and teachers accountable for student performance. But it wasn't long before complaints surfaced."
On Wednesday, all three network morning shows repeated the White House line that the reason for delaying the March 31 ObamaCare enrollment deadline was due to a last-minute "surge" of people signing up. In a 20-second news brief on NBC's Today, fill-in news reader Tamron Hall announced "a reprieve this morning for people who've been trying to sign up for ObamaCare," before noting that "the Health and Human Services Department says there has been a last-minute surge in demand." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
During a 17-second news brief on ABC's Good Morning America, fill-in news reader Amy Robach gently described the law's new setback as a sign-up "grace period" and declared: "...the White House predicts a crush of applicants in the final hours could cause a computer traffic jam."
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, co-host Gayle King adopted liberal spin on the ObamaCare contraception mandate being challenged in the Supreme Court: "It pits the rights of a woman's access to contraception against a company's religious freedom." That description of the case was nearly identical to the false framing of the issue in Monday's New York Times. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed on This Morning, correspondent Jan Crawford teed up the faulty argument: "Women's rights groups and doctors say the cases are about women's health." A clip ran of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists president Jeanne Conry ranting: "As a physician, I need a number of ways to treat women, and treat them appropriately. And I don't need an employer coming into my exam room and telling me how to treat a patient."
With one week to go before the March 31 ObamaCare enrollment deadline, Monday's NBC Today completely skipped any reporting on the latest sign-up numbers still being below administration projections. Instead, the hosts of the morning show devoted air time to discussing rumors that President Obama may trade in his BlackBerry for a new smart phone. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Matt Lauer announced to viewers: "Is President Obama finally ready to part with one of his most prized possessions?....Since he first took office back in 2008 [sic], Mr. Obama said there were two habits he could not kick, smoking and using a BlackBerry. Well, he ditched cigarettes a long time ago and now his beloved smart phone could get the boot."
In a report for Monday's NBC Today, political director Chuck Todd described how "Democrats seem comfortable with the idea of a coronation of Hillary Clinton" in 2016, as "many of them are almost begging her to run." Meanwhile, he asserted that Republicans, "nervous about the influence of the Tea Party," were looking to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as a potential candidate. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The segment played a clip of one of Clinton's adoring fans pleading for the former secretary of state to run: "If you don't represent women in politics in America as future president, who will?" Moments later, Todd warned that Bush "has family matters to consider" given that "his own mother has said she doesn't want him to run." A sound bite ran of Barbara Bush remarking on the Today show in 2013, "We've had enough Bushes."
First Lady Michelle Obama is wrapping up her tour of China today and even though the American press was shut out from her trip, the First Lady has received glowing coverage of her taxpayer-funded visit.
Despite the already over-the-top praise, NBC’s “Today” had a unique take on the trip. Appearing on Sunday, March 23, CNBC’s Eunice Yoon commented that both Mrs. Obama and the wife of the communist president of China were a “hip fashion icon from a small town who happens to be married to a very powerful man who’s running a country.”
When lives are lost due to a faulty product the media point fingers all the way up to the top of the company. Just not when the government owns the company.
The broadcast networks have aired 42 reports on the GM safety recall of faulty ignitions; malfunctions that resulted in more than 300 deaths. But in the course of their reporting, ABC, CBS and NBC only once said something that could remind viewers that GM was, for a time, Government Motors. More than half of fatalities occurred during the period of federal ownership of GM.
In a full report for Friday's Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "This trip is really focused on building good will. White House aides are confident that the First Lady's personal story will also resonate with the Chinese people....It's a highly anticipated visit to a country whose relationship with the U.S. is complicated at best." All the more reason to allow American journalists to go along. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Thursday, NBC's Today and CBS This Morning dutifully parroted the White House line that First Lady Michelle Obama's trip to China was "not political" but ignored the fact that the press corps was banned from traveling with her on the overseas junket. ABC's Good Morning America skipped the topic. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
During a report on Thursday's NBC Today about the impact of NCAA March Madness office pools on worker productivity, correspondent Kerry Sanders casually touted: "March Madness, an American distraction....Even the President takes a break from world affairs to fill out his bracket." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At no point did Sanders offer any criticism of Obama taking a "break from world affairs" during the Ukrainian crisis. Co-host Savannah Guthrie introduced the segment by wondering: "Does March Madness really interfere with getting actual work done?" Amid clips of employees filling out their brackets, Sanders declared: "If you're calling a business today, don't be surprised if your call goes unanswered."
Bill Plante acted as a stenographer for the Obama administration on Thursday's CBS This Morning, as he spotlighted the "multi-tiered state and national effort to get young people enrolled" in ObamaCare before the end of March. Plante touted the "supportive celebrity Tweets and videos....and a tongue-in-cheek tool kit that teaches parents how to get on social media and 'nag' their children 'mercilessly.'"
The correspondent again noted Zach Galifianikis' mock interview of President Obama, which the Big Three networks spent 100 times more coverage on than the low enrollment the previous week. However, CBS This Morning at least mentioned how the administration fell millions short of its original seven million goal. ABC nor NBC have yet to mention the new enrollment figures on their morning and evening newscasts. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie touted an exclusive preview of Fortune magazine's list of the world's 50 greatest leaders and wondered about one name that was absent from the ranking: "Bill Clinton comes in at number five and makes the cover. There are a lot of other notable names here. Tell you what, though, there may be some talk about one leader who did not make the list, the leader of the free world, President Obama. Fortune tells us he was not overlooked, he just did not make the cut." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Matt Lauer reacted: "Yeah, that's surprising." He then noted leaders who "did make the cut": "Pope Francis takes the top spot. Congratulations to him....Some other folks you may recognize, Bono, Derek Jeter – yes! – Angelina Jolie, and Malala Yousafzai."
This winter the networks have seized on all sorts of extreme weather, making it appear new, exciting or unusual. In the case of the California drought the broadcast networks have been hot and bothered claiming it is “historic.”
ABC, CBS and NBC evening news shows hyped the California drought, describing it as unprecedented and the “worst drought on record.” But Dr. Martin Hoerling, a federal climate researcher, disagrees with that assessment. He said that the drought was consistent with previous California droughts.
ABC News completely ignored the Monday death of heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, who used her wealth to help conceal the mistress of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. CBS and NBC both noted the passing of the 103-year-old and her connection to Edwards, but failed identify Edwards as a Democrat. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O'Donnell touted how Mellon "was a horticulturist who redesigned the White House Rose Garden at Jackie Kennedy's invitation." However, when it came to her involvement with Edwards, O'Donnell only vaguely mentioned: "In later years, she gave money to help presidential candidate John Edwards."
As of Monday evening, ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover North Korea's firing of 25 short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan on Sunday. NBCNews.com did post an unsigned article from Reuters on Sunday about how the "missiles flew for 45 miles before splashing into the sea," and ABC News' website went with AP's write-up on the development, but neither outlet devoted any air time to the story.
By contrast, CNN's New Day on Monday devoted a 20-second news brief to the Obama administration's reaction to this latest instance of North Korean sabre-rattling: [video below the jump]
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is married to ABC News Washington correspondent Claire Shipman and now there’s another cozy media-Democratic political world power couple with the marriage, in Arizona over the weekend, of Today show co-host Savannah Guthrie to Clinton-Gore political operative Michael Feldman, founder of a Democratic PR/lobbying firm.
Guthrie was a White House correspondent for NBC News, covering President Obama, and co-host of MSNBC’s Daily Rundown, until heading north to New York City in 2011 to take a role on the Today show where she’s been co-hosting with Matt Lauer since mid-2012.
St. Patrick’s Day may be a time of revelry and fun, but that didn’t stop ABC and NBC from hitting New York’s parade as anti-gay. Today co-host Natalie Morales on Monday lectured, “And today is St. Patrick's Day, of course, but some controversy hanging over some of the country's biggest celebrations.” [UPDATED with video below. MP3 audio here.]
Morales added, “New York's mayor Bill de Blasio isn't marching in today's parade because it does not allow gays and lesbians to openly take part.” Over on ABC’s Good Morning America, news reader Josh Elliott remarked, “And New York's St. Patrick's Day parade, the largest in the world, lost a major sponsor overnight.”
NBC, ABC, and CBS marked the one-year anniversary of Pope Francis being elected leader of the Catholic Church with positive stories about the Pontiff's personal style while impatiently pleading for him to reject the moral values he swore to uphold. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Thursday's NBC Today, correspondent Anne Thompson summed up a discussion she had with a group of students at Loyola University by proclaiming: "Now, these young Catholics don't expect change on the divisive issues of contraception, gay marriage, or abortion. But they are thrilled that that's not all the Pope talks about." She added that they were happy avoiding such social issues and "getting back to the original message of Jesus Christ."