The morning after CNN and MSNBC began salivating over a potential “Imus moment” pushed by a far-left group to suppress Bill O'Reilly over a supposedly racist remark, CBS and NBC on Wednesday advanced the liberal group's cause with multi-part segments on the topic. But while NBC's Today at least provided some balance and proper labeling, CBS's Early Show, with “In Hot Water” and “O'Race Factor” on screen, aired a story which failed to identify the ideology of Media Matters and followed with Julie Chen pressing the only guest to agree O'Reilly's comment was racist and that he must issue an apology. Amazingly, neither show bothered to mention that Juan Williams, the black journalist who was on O'Reilly's radio show when the FNC host made the remarks in question, defended O'Reilly: “It had nothing to do with racist ranting by anybody except these idiots at CNN.”
Harry Smith teased Wednesday's Early Show: “Bill O'Reilly in hot water over race remarks. The controversy ahead, early this Wednesday morning, September 26th, 2007.” Chen hyped a “firestorm” over O'Reilly before reporter Bianca Solorzano innocuously described Media Matters as a “watchdog group.” Solorzano asked an employee at the Harlem restaurant O'Reilly talked about: “Do you feel Bill O'Reilly's comments about his meal here are racist?” The woman affirmed: “Definitely. One of the worst stereotypes ever of our customers, of our people.” Chen next interviewed Alex David of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. She pressed him: “You say ignorance, but do you think racist?” Chen also urged him to agree: “Does he need to apologize at this point, do you think?”
CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric lined up with her hero Hillary Clinton in opposing the current war in Iraq, reports the Washington Examiner:
“Everyone in this room would agree that people in this country were misled in terms of the rationale of this war,” said Couric, adding that it is “pretty much accepted” that the war in Iraq was a mistake.
“I’ve never understood why [invading Iraq] was so high on the administration’s agenda when terrorism was going on in Afghanistan and Pakistan and that [Iraq] had no true connection with al Qaeda.”
Jeff Dufour and Patrick Gavin added the former Today co-host traced her discomfort with the administration’s march to war back to the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.
It's not enough that the media is waving the white flag of defeat in Iraq but now they're declaring yet another war lost. NBC's "Today" co-host Meredith Vieira seemed so convinced that the U.S. had lost the war in Afghanistan she was perplexed when Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai didn't share her assessment of failure. On the Monday "Today" show, in a taped interview, a bewildered Vieira responded to Karzai's statement of victory with: "What have you won?"
The following exchange occurred in the 7am half-hour of the September 24, NBC "Today" show:
On this morning's "Today," weekend co-anchor Holt introduced a segment on Rudy Giuliani's Friday speech to the NRA, in which Rudy tried to take some of the sharp edges off his prior anti-NRA positions . . .
On Thursday’s morning shows and Wednesday’s evening newscasts, CBS and ABC discussed a possible visit to Ground Zero by Iran’s President and, at the same time, ignored Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s connections to terror and also his statements about wiping out Israel. On "Good Morning America," Chris Cuomo briefly mentioned the upcoming U.S. trip and only cited construction at New York’s Ground Zero and "security concerns" as reasons to deny the man a visit. On CBS's "Early Show," reporter Russ Mitchell filed a similarly bland report. Neither mentioned that the Iranian leader in 2005 called for Israel to be wiped from the map and Iran is a state supporter of terrorism.
Only on NBC’s "Today," did Ahmadinejad’s extreme statements and actions warrant a reference. Reporter Andrea Mitchell labeled the attempted visit to Ground Zero a "PR stunt" and pointedly observed, "[Bush] Administration officials called it appalling. Presidential candidates condemned the visit and one 9/11 widow said it's like letting Osama Bin Laden visit Ground Zero." With a series of anchor briefs, Wednesday night’s news broadcasts featured a similar pattern. NBC’s "Nightly News" host Brian Williams proclaimed that the request had been rejected because of security and the fact that "Iran is, as the U.S. said today, among the world’s leading sponsors of terrorism." However, "World News" host Charles Gibson provided no reason at all. In a news brief, he simply asserted, "[Ahmadinejad] told New York police he’d like to visit Ground Zero. The New York City police department has said no." "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric didn’t cover the subject at all.
Environmental activist and An Inconvenient Truth producer Laurie David received a very warm welcome, from the green-friendly anchors on the Wednesday "Today" show, when she came on to promote her children's book, A Down-To-Earth Guide to Global Warming. During David's interview NBC's Natalie Morales noted that the book's publisher, Scholastic, was trying to place the book into schools everywhere and proclaimed: "We hope to see it there." Morales even bragged that her own son was already being indoctrinated: "They're already talking and learning about this in school. I mean, my own son already knows, 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.' You know the three 'R's."
No slouch herself, when it comes to preaching about global warming, Morales' colleague Ann Curry also proudly showed off her own son's concern about climate change in the following tease for the segment:
Matt Lauer may have approached Hillary Clinton from the left (as if she were a centrist) on health care on Tuesday’s Today, but Lauer was the only morning show host to ask the former First Lady about her campaign-finance scandal surrounding the crook Norman Hsu. ABC, CBS, and CNN all whistled past her campaign’s decision to refund $850,000 in contributions that Hsu “bundled” to her campaign. Granted, Lauer simply asked “How to you respond?” But in a follow-up Lauer also tweaked her campaign’s claim that they used an “abundance of caution” in returning the money, asking if there was perhaps not so much caution in the original fundraising.
Lauer did not remind the audience that the Clinton-Gore campaign in 1996 was riddled with illegal foreign contributions that were returned -- but only after the news media started reporting on it. Geoff Dickens did the transcript:
Delivering his best Michael Moore in "Sicko," impersonation NBC's Matt Lauer hit Hillary Clinton from the left on health care reform on Tuesday's "Today" show. Appearing in the first-half hour of "Today, Clinton was tagged repeatedly by Lauer as he worried that Hillary "watered down" her new health-care reform plan and feared Hillary had sold out to the insurance industry as he wondered: "Are you losing some leverage in asking these insurance companies to get on board and make tough choices?"
The following are all of Lauer's questions, on health care, to the Senator from New York and her responses as they occurred on the September 18 "Today" show:
Matt Lauer: "Senator Hillary Clinton is in Washington this morning. Senator, good morning to you."
As Brent Baker noted, NBC’s Matt Lauer claimed the "liberal bloggers" were going to have a field day with Alan Greenspan’s new memoir – especially the remarks critical of Bush. But before the bloggers jumped, the whole Bush-bashing publicity cycle began with the Dinosaur Media. Their field day began with the newspapers, in particular, Bob Woodward at the Washington Post (noted here on NB by Matthew Sheffield), and continued in the usual network television bashing cycle, starting with "60 Minutes" on CBS. NBC's "Today" demonstrated its routine appetite to inflict another bad-news bruising on the GOP.
NBC's Meredith Vieira actually seemed disappointed that a Republican senator wasn't running for re-election, of course that Republican senator, Chuck Hagel, is a noted war-critic. On the Thursday "Today" show, a crestfallen Vieira asked the RINO: "Senator, very quickly now, this, this week you announced you that you are not running for any office in 2008. Why quit now, given how impassioned you are about this war?...But why did you decide not to run for president? That surprised a lot of people."
Just before the Hagel interview Vieira plugged NBC News's primetime coverage of the President's speech tonight but didn't exactly give it a hard sell as she wondered if anybody would even care: "Meanwhile we're gonna turn now to President Bush addressing the nation tonight about the future of U.S. troops in Iraq but his words may fall on deaf ears."
The morning shows on CBS and NBC both ignored the embarrassment and discomfort that a new MoveOn.org ad, which vilifies General David Petraeus, is causing Democrats running for the White House. While "The Early Show" and "Today" failed to cover the print advertisement from the liberal group, ABC’s "Good Morning America" at least briefly addressed the subject. The ad in question wondered if four-star general David Petraeus would "betray" the U.S. and also accused him of "cooking the books for the White House."
GMA co-host Robin Roberts took pains to discuss the advertisement, which appeared in the New York Times on Monday, in neutral terms. She claimed it simply "caught everybody’s" attention and caused "a lot of reaction." Explaining the political ramifications, ABC's George Stephanopoulos went further. He asserted the MoveOn ad puts "Democrats on the defensive" and "in a bit of a bind." The "This Week" anchor also provided a reason as to why Democratic '08 contenders haven’t rejected the advertisement. He explained, "They want the support of MoveOn.org, so you saw the presidential candidates saying, ‘Well, we don’t like what they said,’ but they wouldn’t repudiate it."
NBC "Today" show co-host and weatherman Al Roker invited on Susan Sarandon to promote her latest movie, Mr. Woodcock, but couldn’t get through the full interview without praising her liberal activism, as he called her a "good role model," and celebrated her "great job" of combining acting and protesting. For her part, Sarandon actually took a dig at NBC News on its own airwaves, on the Monday edition of "Today", as she wistfully recalled the good old days when "news programs" showed "what was going on, not like now."
The following is the relevant out-take from the Sarandon interview as it took place on the September 10, "Today" show:
"Today" newsreader Ann Curry managed to work a snide and not-so-subtle shot at President Bush into her news recap this morning.
ANN CURRY: The U.S. military is reporting that seven U.S. troops were killed on Thursday, four Marines in fighting in Anbar Province,where President Bush hailed gains in security this week, and three soldiers who died in a roadside bombing in northern Iraq. Their deaths bring the U.S. toll to 3,750 since the war began.
NBC's "Today" show devoted its entire 7:30am half-hour of its Wednesday morning program to Bill and Hillary Clinton as it invited on the former president to tout his wife's candidacy and his new book. During almost 13 minutes of one-on-one interview time with Clinton, Matt Lauer brought up the issue of too much money in politics but never asked about Bill's or Hillary's fundraising scandals, asked about Republican Larry Craig's sex scandal, but didn't mention Bill's own personal indiscretions and even let Clinton rant about the GOP's "Swift boat tactics" against Hillary.
Bill Clinton promoted his new book "Giving" in the second half-hour of NBC’s Today on Wednesday morning. Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira repeatedly promoted how the idealistic former president would arrive to tell viewers "how you can change the world." (That's a play on the book's subtitle.) To set up the interview, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell compiled a story in a typical story on the Clintons, with no conservative or Republican critics in it, and the toughest, most skeptical expert in the piece was Dee Dee Myers, the former Clinton press secretary. Myers declared that Hillary has the problem that her husband is "a global rock star and one of the most popular people on the face of the planet." Mitchell concluded that the former president is "one of her biggest assets."
It was not exactly a plum assignment for a Republican to go on network television to discuss the alleged foot-tapping ways of the soon-to-be former GOP senator from Idaho. But Republicans also could easily see the delight in the eyes of the liberal media when word of Sen. Larry Craig’s Minneapolis airport arrest broke. The press went right back to last year’s smash-mouth Foleygate talking points about how this wasn’t just about the moral turpitude of one member of Congress, but it was about the impending end of the Republican Party, and potential doom for American conservatism.
On Tuesday, NBC’s "Today" show had opened with Matt Lauer asking: "Can the right wing withstand yet another scandal involving one of its own?" (Try imagining Matt Lauer, or any other network journalist out there, asking if "the left wing" could withstand yet another scandal after the breaking news of any one of the endless scandals revolving around Bill and Hillary Clinton.) Ann Curry chimed in, wondering "how does this specter of hypocrisy affect the Party?"
On Tuesday's "Today" show Matt Lauer discovered the solution to all the environmental crises Al Gore and his ilk have warned about, there's just one hitch, it involves the extinction of all mankind. Promoting a book that examined how long it would take for the Earth to clean up "the mess we've made" Lauer and his co-host Meredith Vieira pondered how pristine the planet would be without us:
Matt Lauer: "Then we're gonna talk to the author of a book and this is, really asks an interesting question. The book is called The World Without Us and it asks the question what would happen to planet Earth if human beings were to suddenly disappear. What would happen to our cities? What would happen to our landmarks? How quickly would our streets turn to rivers? How quickly would our farmland turn to forest? What would happen to natural wonders and man made wonders, like the Panama Canal or the Statue of Liberty. We're gonna talk to the author about that. And really it's all about trying to figure out how long it would take nature to reclaim what we've created."
Meredith Vieira: "The mess."
Lauer: "How long it would take nature to fix the mess we've made?"
At the end of the first half-hour of NBC's Today show, the anchors were on camera when they clearly thought they were off-camera. At least here in the Washington area, while Meredith Vieira was looking down and waiting on screen, viewers heard Matt Lauer matter-of-factly critiquing an interview segment: "I wouldn't have echoed that first question...I already saw it in the intro...I already killed it." Meredith then looked up with a practiced smile and said, "Nice to see ya, Debra," and moved into promoting the next half-hour. Then they went back to assuming they were off-camera. Lauer again fussed about his interview prep. Meredith said she couldn't sleep last night and took a NyQuil, and her mouth is so dry this morning.
In a nice touch, Meredith turned around and waved and whispered Happy Birthday to a well-wisher behind her in the window. Did they get an inkling someone had messed up?
Several media outlets used the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina as an excuse to promote the 2008 Democratic candidates. On CNN, right after running a glowing piece on Democrats such as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, anchor Soledad O’Brien sermonized that "no event has damaged the Bush White House more than Katrina." Over on ABC, "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts claimed that candidates from "both parties" would travel to New Orleans to "point out the Bush administration's shortcomings in fixing many problems that still exist, like those being forced to still live in trailers."
"Hardball" regular David Shuster managed to combine both the Katrina coverage with the scandal over Senator Larry Craig. He bizarrely claimed that the Craig incident "adds moral insult to the injuries being suffered today by the victims of Hurricane Katrina."
NBC’s "Today" Show’s heart-touching feature on Geraldine Ferraro’s blood cancer survival on Friday morning gave a hint at the ulterior motive that they had for running it. Substitute host Ann Curry introduced the segment, a "Today’s Update" feature by gushing, "She’s always been a ground-breaker, and she is still at it."
In the segment which ran during the 8 am hour of "Today," NBC News national correspondent Jamie Gangel interviewed Ferraro about her nine-year-long struggle against a type of blood cancer called multiple myeloma. Gangel, in her retrospective look at Ferraro’s 1984 run for vice-president, which introduced the segment, reported, "In 1984, Geraldine Ferraro made history as the first woman picked to run for vice president.... Twenty-three years later, she's making history again, but this time, medical history."
This could be something of a first: a major MSM player admits there's a case to be made that the media is incredibly biased against Republicans.
As I noted here, when Tom DeLay accused the media of bias on this morning's "Today," Matt Lauer stonewalled: "I'm not going to let it, you know, end with that assumption, congressman, because I clearly don't agree with it."
But appearing on this afternoon's Harball, DeLay successfully wangled an admission from host Chris Matthews.
TOM DELAY: If [Craig] has been found guilty of what he's been accused of, then yeah. But I do know that the Republicans will do something about it. I do know that if he were a Democrat they would rally around him and they would not do something about it. I do know that the national media is incredibly biased against Republicans that find themselves [in trouble] --
CHRIS MATTHEWS: That's a charge which I've heard before and I can understand why you make it. You make it a lot. Sometimes you have a case to make. Sometimes.
Associated Press reporter David Bauder wrote a story on the new MRC study on the wide and deep disparity of morning TV news coverage of the presidential candidates in 2007. It's fair and balanced. But for us, obviously, the most entertaining part was hearing the network producers respond to the charges. They said it's all the Republicans' fault for being so shy with interview requests, and declared the Democratic race was so stuffed with historic firsts, it just demands blockbuster coverage:
You've got a former first lady and a black senator fighting for the nomination," said Jim Bell, executive producer of NBC's "Today" show. "That's historic. We're not going to make apologies for covering that."
Stories about the cancer relapse of Democrat John Edwards' wife Elizabeth were also counted in the total. It's unfair to count a personal story like that in a tally that suggests bias, said Jim Murphy, executive producer of ABC's "Good Morning America."
It's rare to see a leading MSM light directly confronted over the liberal media's bias. But it happened in spades this morning as Tom DeLay (R-Texas) called out Matt Lauer on the MSM's double-standard in handling Republican, versus Democrat, scandals.
Watching network morning show anchors interview the Democratic presidential candidates often makes you wonder if you’ve seen tougher interviews on overnight acne-care infomercials. Their questions are often so simple and promotional that you wish they’d just go ahead and wear their "Hillary!" or "Obama ‘08" buttons on the set.
There is no pretense of political balance. They are actively rooting for a Democratic victory next year, and they have the power to make a real difference. Notwithstanding their overall loss of audience in the last decade, ABC, CBS, and NBC morning shows draw nine times the audience of their cable-news competitors and are geared toward the mostly apolitical mainstream, which makes them an important free-media showcase for presidential hopefuls. A new study shows that if this year’s campaign coverage on the TV morning shows were a primary election, the Democrats would win in a landslide of attention and hyperbole.
Rich Noyes of the Media Research Center assessed all morning-show coverage on the Big Three from January 1 through July 31.
For NBC's "Today" show crew it wasn't enough to label Larry Craig's scandal as a crisis for him personally or even to call it a crisis for the Republican Party, no "Today" went even further as it declared it a "crisis" for conservatives everywhere. NBC's Matt Lauer opened the Tuesday "Today" show asking his viewers: "Can the right wing withstand yet another scandal involving one of its own?"
Lauer's colleague Ann Curry, then piled on, as she wondered if the Craig incident spelled doom for the GOP's chances in ‘08: "How does this specter of hypocrisy affect the party, especially as we're now moving into a very critical time for the Republican Party facing this presidential election year?"
On Friday, National Review writer Myrna Blyth unwrapped some of the nuggets in the forthcoming Ed Klein biography of Katie Couric, the one the Katie camp is trying to squash, in very Hillaryesque fashion, as "old news." [Klein appeared Monday night on FNC's Hannity & Colmes.] Before she kindly noted that the MRC has piles and piles of examples of Katie's liberal bias, Blyth dished Klein's claims:
In fact, there is not much unexpected here including the portrait of the young Katie as wildly ambitious and manipulative when she was desperately trying to make her dream “of becoming the next Barbara Walters” come true. Though a bit surprising, Couric, who in her prime was always seen as a feminist icon, often relied on relationships with important men to help her in her climb. According to Klein, she had affairs with both a married CNN executive who saved her from being fired a couple of times, and a media spokesman for Metro Dade Police Department who tipped her off on big stories when she was a TV reporter in Miami.
NBC’s "Today" show continued its global warming alarmism this week. Reporter Bob Dotson profiled a polar explorer who is teaching, or indoctrinating, today’s youths about global warming. The "Today" crew couldn’t refrain from gushing over this "sobering," "beautiful" message from an "impressive guy." However, NBC doesn’t want viewers to get excited over every issue. Correspondent Andrea Mitchell recently told viewers that "internet writers" need to take "a breath" over reports that Michelle Obama was attacking Hillary Clinton during a campaign speech.
"Situation Room" reporter Jack Cafferty, CNN’s answer to Andy Rooney, this week concluded that conservatives are dumb and George Bush should be impeached. Discussing a new poll on American reading habits, Cafferty claimed, "Liberals read more books than conservatives. Why?" Earlier in the week, he railed against Democratic Senator Chris Dodd’s statement that impeaching President Bush would be counterproductive.
Matching the theme of NBC Nightly News from the evening before, the Today show on Friday morning portrayed Republican Senator John Warner's call for 5,000 troops to return home by Christmas as “a major defection” and “sharp rebuke” to President Bush, but to the astonishment of co-host Matt Lauer, who described Warner as “a pretty heavy domino” falling against Bush, guest Bill Kristol rejected the media's presumptions about the importance of Warner's stand. On Thursday, NBC anchor Brian Williams had hailed a possible “turning point in the debate over America's involvement in Iraq” because of “a major defection from President Bush's camp.” (NB rundown of Thursday night hype of Warner) Friday morning, Andrea Mitchell echoed Williams as she trumpeted “a major defection from the most authoritative Republican Senator on all things military. It is a sharp rebuke to the President” from “the Senate's most influential Republican on the Armed Services Committee.”
When Kristol made clear he didn't think Warner's comments were such a big deal since he remains opposed to a pull-out timetable, Lauer argued: “What about the signal it sends to moderate Republicans in Congress? You know everybody talks about some sort of large scale defection. Isn't John Warner a pretty heavy domino?” Kristol countered: “No, because it hasn't fallen. He's not going to vote against the President in September, that's the more important thing.” Turning to the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq, which Mitchell had described as “grim,” Kristol highlighted positive findings about defeating al-Qaeda, prompting an incredulous Lauer to wonder: “Are they looking at the same country that you just saw?” Lauer soon insisted: “It paints a much more pessimistic picture than you just painted for me.”
Almost a year ago, the "Today" show went out of its way to promote the "legendary" Jane Fonda's new liberal radio network but since the Women's Radio Network's final broadcast on Friday, "Today" has yet to mention the latest liberal talk radio failure.
The following excerpt is from an announcement by GreenStone Media's CEO, Susan Ness. Ness blamed the network's demise on, what she believed, was the ignorant perception that they were "too feminist."