Tuesday's Today show didn't even mention the retirement of Lois Lerner, the IRS official at the center of the Tea Party targeting scandal, but it aired two full segments on President Obama talking about his old smoking habit.
"The President caught on an open mic bragging to a fellow world leader about finally beating the smoking habit," political director Chuck Todd started his report. He pointed out Obama's inconsistency with the facts in saying he hadn't smoked in six years, by noting that the President confessed in 2009 to giving into his habit.
The censorship of the IRS scandal by ABC, CBS and NBC has reached a new low. Not even the news of Lois Lerner’s retirement, the official at the center of the IRS Tea Party targeting scandal, could break the Big Three networks’ months-long streak of no scandal coverage.
The Drudge Report splashed the news on the top of its site on Monday but not a single network bothered to report the stunning news that night or Tuesday morning that Lerner, as the Washington Times reported, “retired from the agency Monday morning after an internal investigation found she was guilty of ‘neglect of duties’ and was going to call for her ouster, according to congressional staff.”
The new, ultra-violent Grand Theft Auto V video game debuted last week and raked in over $1 billion in just the first three days of sales. It was so impressive that the three major broadcast networks all took note and reported on the game on their weekend morning shows. But all three networks focused on the stellar sales numbers for the game while failing to explore a possible connection between violent video games and desensitization to violence that helps lead to mass shooting incidents.
CBS This Morning: Saturday was the worst of the three networks. CBS essentially fawned over the game while devoting only two sentences to criticism of it. Co-anchor Anthony Mason began the hype right at the top: “It was a blockbuster debut that would make any Hollywood executive jealous, except you couldn't see it on the silver screen but rather on the small screen.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Monday's Today, NBC's Chuck Todd claimed that Congress could pass gun control legislation but is just too afraid to do it.
Todd reported that "the reality is there's political paralysis when it comes to the gun issue," even though the Senate already tried and failed to pass a background check bill in April. Todd instead blamed "recall elections that took place in Colorado just a few weeks ago" for Congress' lack of "motivation."
The Big Three broadcast networks made their slanted priorities clear on their Thursday evening newscasts, as they fawned over Caroline Kennedy's Senate confirmation hearing earlier that day, but failed to cover the emotional congressional testimony of Pat Smith. Smith is the mother of Sean Smith, who died in the 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. post in Benghazi, Libya.
ABC's Martha Raddatz was awestruck over JFK's daughter: "For one brief shining moment, senators from both sides of the aisle seemed to harken back to the so-called Camelot days." NBC's Harry Smith gushed that "history and legacy were more important this morning than party or partisanship. The daughter of a president said she wanted to fulfill her father's wish." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The network morning shows on Friday derided the move by House Republicans to defund ObamaCare as simply "bowing to demands" from the Tea Party. But it was CBS's Bob Schieffer who made no attempt to restrain his contempt, declaring the ObamaCare fight "over" and linking GOP members to elderly Japanese veterans of World War II who refused to accept that the fight was futile.
After noting that the Wall Street Journal derided the plan as a kamikaze move, the Face the Nation anchor built on the analogy, sneering, "But even more apt...way on into the 1950s when they go into the jungles of the Philippines and they find these Japanese soldiers that thought World War II was still going on?" This prompted This Morning hosts Charlie Rose, Gayle King and Norah O'Donnell to break up in laughter at the mockery of Republicans. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The three networks on Thursday morning allowed a scant 65 seconds to Senator John McCain's "blistering" op-ed published in the communist newspaper Pravda, featuringa call for freedom and tolerance in Russia. Although ABC, CBS and NBC quickly summarized the Senator's international rebuttal to Vladimir Putin's New York Times op-ed, the morning shows offered the briefest of quotes and mostly portrayed the piece as a grudge match with Putin.
CBS This Morning devoted just 19 seconds to the "blistering opinion piece." Rose narrated, "[McCain] accuses Russian President Vladimir Putin of corruption and repression." Good Morning America's Josh Elliott allowed 23 seconds and insisted that the Senator "blast[ed] Russian President Vladimir Putin." According to Today's Savannah Guthrie, McCain offered a "scathing" attack on Russian corruption. Mostly absent from the three networks were full quotes highlighting the Senator's main topic, a defense of democracy and freedom.
After framing a doctor's plea to end gun violence as a push for gun control earlier this week, NBC's Today teed up D.C.'s police chief to defend the city's strict gun regulations and slap gun "loopholes."
In a segment on the Navy Yard shooter, correspondent Jeff Rossen transitioned into gun control. "You have fought hard for gun control. Yet here is somebody who is clearly mentally disturbed, but he was still able to legally get a gun. What's wrong here?" he asked D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
ABC, CBS and NBC have so far refused to report the latest bombshell in the IRS scandal - a newly released list from the agency that showed it flagged political groups for “anti-Obama rhetoric.” On September 18 the USA Today, in a front page story, reported the following: “Newly uncovered IRS documents show the agency flagged political groups based on the content of their literature, raising concerns specifically about ‘anti-Obama rhetoric,’ inflammatory language and ‘emotional’ statements made by non-profits seeking tax-exempt status.”
Not only have ABC, CBS and NBC not reported this story they’ve flat out stopped covering the IRS scandal on their evening and morning shows. It’s been 85 days since ABC last touched the story on June 26. NBC hasn’t done a report for 84 days and CBS last mentioned the IRS scandal 56 days ago on July 24.
On Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie noted an offensive tweet by one Russian lawmaker reacting to Monday's Navy Yard shooting in Washington D.C.: "After those terrible shootings in Washington yesterday...he tweeted that the tragedy was, quote, 'A clear confirmation of American exceptionalism.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Guthrie explained the comment was a "not-so-subtle reference to Vladimir Putin's op-ed in TheNew York Times last week" and concluded: "Now this Russian lawmaker has followed up with a tweet that I really think is in some pretty poor taste." Fellow co-host Matt Lauer agreed: "You want to score political points, that's one thing. 12 people get killed, you shut up. You just shut up."
In an interview on Tuesday's NBC Today with Dr. Janis Orlowski, chief medical officer for Medstar Washington Hospital Center, co-host Matt Lauer seized on her call for an end to gun violence following Monday's Navy Yard shooting as a demand for gun restrictions: "You say you didn't want to wade into the issue of gun control and yet your comments are resonating with people..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Though Orlowski never specifically mentioned gun control, Lauer fretted: "...but we also heard emotional comments after Newtown and Aurora, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Are you worried that your comments will be soon forgotten, as it seems some of those other comments have been forgotten?"
A Friday article in Politico described a "GOP on the Rise" while citing the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, noting that "Republicans are now leading Democrats on handling several key issues..." By contrast, on Friday's NBC Today, political director Chuck Todd minimized that development, claiming that Republicans "only fare a little bit better" in the poll than Democrats. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The Today segment began with news reader Natalie Morales declaring: "...many remain disappointed with high unemployment, a sluggish recovery, and limited job growth. 45% now approve of the President's handling of the economy in our new poll. 52% disapprove." She then turned to Todd and wondered: "...we've got a gridlocked Congress, so does the President have much of a shot of turning this around? Do Republicans fair much better?"
NBC's Today behaved like the White House press office on Thursday as co-host Matt Lauer announced: "By the way, the White House is coming out with a brand new initiative today and the First Lady, Michelle Obama, sent us a special message about it. Take a look." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the White House-produced video that followed, the First Lady declared: "Hello Today show viewers....I'm working to inspire Americans from all across the country to drink more water. That's why I've stolen Matt and Savannah's mugs and exchanged them with water glasses. Water is the best and easiest choice we can make to feel energized, focused, healthy, and refreshed....So drink up."
Wednesday's CBS This Morning stood out as the only Big Three network morning show to devote a full report to Colorado voters recalling two pro-gun control state legislators. Barry Petersen highlighted how "those who oppose gun control have a lot to celebrate" with the recall, and how "those backing the two senators spent seven times more money – $3.2 million" than the gun rights supporters who spearheaded the campaign [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump].
By contrast, NBC's Today on Wednesday didn't devote a second of air time to the Colorado recall election. Instead, they set aside 36 seconds of reporting to Hillary Clinton receiving the Liberty Medal. ABC's Good Morning America also minimized their coverage, as they merely broadcasted a 16-second news brief on the story.
In news briefs on Tuesday and Wednesday, NBC Today anchor Natalie Morales touted: "Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be given the National Constitution Center's Liberty Medal for her years in public service and her work on human rights." The two segments totaled 36 seconds of air time. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the network morning show only managed to offer a couple mentions, totaling 10 seconds, to the anniversary of the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans – a major security failure that occurred during Clinton's tenure at the State Department.
All three networks on Tuesday and Wednesday touted a new report showing the gap between the wealthiest one percent of Americans and everyone else has grown to its widest level since the Great Depression. Yet, none of them mentioned that Barack Obama was president for the last five years, the time in which the disparity grew so large. In contrast, ABC, NBC and CBS hammered Mitt Romney in 2012 for supposedly being out of touch with average Americans.
On Tuesday, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams apocalyptically hyped the new study by a group of international economists: "We learned today that a dangerous, devastating, and paralyzing trend in the U.S. economy, the wealth gap, is getting worse." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] He added, "...The richest Americans, the top one percent, made nearly 20 percent of all the available income in America last year." If this is a "devastating" problem, it should be pointed out that Williams's yearly salary is $13 million and the journalist has a net worth of $40 million (according to CelebrityNetWorth.com).
The Big Three network morning shows on Wednesday briefly noted the one-year anniversary of the Islamist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, but not one pointed out the latest development in the ongoing controversy over what happened. On Tuesday, CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reported on Twitter that Secretary of State John Kerry "tells [C]ongress he will not honor the request to make Benghazi survivors available for questioning."
Norah O'Donnell highlighted on Wednesday's CBS This Morning that "Republican Congressman Darrell Issa wants to interview survivors" and that "he's giving the State Department until Monday to meet his demand", but didn't mention Kerry's refusal. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
According to the three networks, the serious effort by conservatives to defund ObamaCare isn't worth as much coverage as the addition of a new dog to the President's family. In just a 24-hour period, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening and morning shows devoted six minutes and 23 seconds to the debut of the puppy "Sunny." In contrast, those same shows have granted a scant two minutes and 26 seconds over a two-month period (July 9 through September 8) to the move by conservative senators such as Mike Lee and Ted Cruz to strip funding from the increasingly-unpopular ObamaCare.
The networks didn't bother to stack the deck with segments heavily opposed to the "Defund It" push, promoted by influential conservative organizations and some GOP lawmakers. Instead, they chose to deprive the campaign of nearly all publicity, omitting it from their normal political coverage. ABC was the worst offender, with the network offering a mere eight second reference to the defund effort.
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer and chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd engaged in a strategy session over how President Obama could minimize any political damage from Congress voting down a strike on Syria. Lauer fretted: "Is there an escape hatch for the President? Is there a way for him to save face politically if this vote goes against him?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer's concern was prompted by Todd observing: "[The White House is] very concerned, Matt, because it's not just that they believe they need Congress on this and they want to punish Assad and all of the Syria policy, but they realize a loss like this could be politically crippling to him [Obama] all over Washington on all the different battles that he's got coming in the next six months."
Wednesday marks the one year anniversary of the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi that left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead and sent the Obama administration scrambling for a cover story that the Big Three broadcast networks initially bought and were slow to unravel.
A similar pattern has emerged in 2013. As new information about the administration’s actions before and after the attacks have been revealed through congressional testimony, whistleblowers, and eyewitnesses, the Big Three have responded by censoring, breezing past or spinning politically damaging bombshells. (full special report after the jump)
Wednesday's CBS Evening News twice underlined President Obama's 2012 "red line" remark before playing a soundbite of the Democrat's "I didn't set a red line" reversal earlier in the day. Scott Pelley noted that "a year ago, he [Obama] warned the Syrian dictator that a red line would be crossed if the dictator used chemical weapons against his rebellious citizens." Major Garrett soon added that Obama "set a red line on the use of chemical weapons 13 months ago." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
None of the Big Three evening newscasts played the actual clip of the President's 2012 warning. On NBC Nightly News, Chuck Todd did his best to explain away the President's denial: "The President redefined what he meant by his red line". Jonathan Karl didn't even mention the original "red line" comment during his report on ABC's World News.
In an exclusive interview with former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie attempted to blame the Bush administration for President Obama's difficulty in garnering support for military action against Syria: "Looming over this debate time and time again has been the specter of Iraq. Most recently, the U.K. Parliament, many members cited the failure of intelligence leading up to Iraq as the reason that they won't take action now in Syria..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Turning to Rumsfeld, Guthrie wondered: "Do you personally take any responsibility for that? Or feel any responsibility for that?" Rumsfeld reminded Guthrie of the lengthy process that led up to the Iraq War: "President Bush went to the congress, got the support of the congress. Went to the U.N., got the support of the U.N. And fashioned a very large coalition. So it seems to me that all the appropriate steps were taken and the congress, a Democratic congress, voted for regime change in Iraq."
In a puff piece on Wednesday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Kristen Welker heralded President Obama's upcoming speech marking the anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech: "President Obama has delivered a number of big speeches before, but this one is different. He'll be speaking in the shadows of Dr. King, a man who gave his life fighting for civil rights. So, today, the stakes couldn't be higher." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Only Obama's fellow liberals were given sound bites throughout the report that sounded more like a press release. First, White House aide Valerie Jarrett declared: "Are comparisons inevitable? Sure. But I think he's looking forward to the opportunity....I think, as the original speech was about not just civil rights but it was about jobs, and so I think he'll talk about that, and I think it'll also be a message to the next generation."
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie conducted a cooking segment with White House chef Sam Kass to promote First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign and wondered: "So do you feel like the program is having the intended effect? Do you think people are thinking differently about food, now?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Kass, boyfriend of MSNBC host Alex Wagner, declared: "Oh, absolutely. I think we're seeing the country unite around our kid's health....last year the new school lunch standards were put in place. School chefs are cooking much healthier food, and that's going to happen gain this year." However, on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported: "After just one year, some schools around the country are dropping out of the healthier new federal lunch program..."
Why should things change now? NBC and ABC on Thursday night and Friday morning yet again refused to identify San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, accused of sexually harassing 18 women, as a Democrat. ABC's Good Morning America devoted two segments to his impending resignation, but mentioned only "Mayor Bob Filner."
In contrast, GMA on Thursday hyped the controversy of the Lieutenant governor of Texas, a "rising Republican star," caught on a 911 call after he attempted to free his niece from jail. On Friday, only CBS This Morning identified Filner as a Democrat. Reporter Bill Whitaker interviewed the ex-fiancee of "Democrat Bob Filner." Whitaker explained, "They already shared a passion for progressive politics, the fight for the homeless, civil rights, immigrants."
In an exclusive interview with Bradley Manning's attorney David Coombs on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie read a "bombshell announcement" from the convicted military leaker: "I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female." After referring to Manning as "he" throughout the segment, Guthrie immediately switched pronouns: "Why did she choose this moment to announce this?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Guthrie then fretted: "She wants hormone therapy. Fort Leavenworth does not provide that. Are you going to sue to try to force the government to give her hormone therapy, and perhaps a sex-reassignment surgery?" Coombs replied: "...as far as the hormone therapy, yes. I'm hoping Fort Leavenworth would do the right thing and provide that. If Fort Leavenworth does not, then I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that they are forced to do so."
A chemical attack in Syria that may have killed as many as 1300 people was of little interest to ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday. The network morning show allowed a mere 25 seconds to the large scale gassing. In such a small amount of time, it's not surprising that guest news anchor Amy Robach skipped the salient point that this attack violated the so-called "red line" set out by Barack Obama in 2012.
NBC's Today allowed a little more time, two minutes and eight seconds, but also ignored the red line angle and any mention of Barack Obama. It was only CBS This Morning that noticed this. Anchor Charlie Rose pointed out, "President Obama has said that Syria's government would cross a red line if it uses chemical weapons against its own people. We're monitoring the White House for any response." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Tuesday's CBS This Morning stood out as the only Big Three network morning newscast to cover the latest development in the controversy surrounding the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. Gayle King gave a 26-second news brief to Secretary of State John Kerry clearing four mid-level diplomats to return to duty, after they were placed on leave by his predecessor, Hillary Clinton [audio available here; video below the jump].
Neither ABC's Good Morning America nor NBC's Today devoted any air time to Kerry's move. Instead, the two programs set aside full reports to Sunny, the new dog adopted by the Obama family.
Rather than focus on the myriad of problems plaguing the implementation of ObamaCare, on Tuesday, all three network morning shows instead provided coverage of the First Family getting a second dog. On NBC's Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander happily announced: "Move over Bo, there's a new dog in town, Sunny. And for her inaugural play date, the White House released it's own music video. A pair of presidential pets frolicking on the South Lawn, that'll get tails wagging." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, news reader Elizabeth Vargas reported: "The one-year-old female Portuguese water dog is described as full of energy and very affectionate. First Lady Michelle Obama took to Instagram to make the announcement, tweeting, 'So excited to introduce the newest member of the Obama family – our puppy, Sunny!'" On CBS This Morning, co-host Charlie Rose declared: "That is the same breed as Obama's other dog, Bo....The two dogs appear to be getting along just fine."
NBC hasn't covered the ongoing Bob Filner sexual harassment scandal an almost a week, despite a fifteenth woman – a 67-year-old great grandmother – coming forward on Thursday, accusing the former congressman of making lurid comments to her. The last time that NBC's morning and evening newscasts covered the Filner story was on August 10, 2013.
On Friday, ABC and CBS's morning newscasts aired news briefs on the latest development in the Filner controversy, but both failed to identify him as a Democrat. Mere seconds before reporting on the San Diego mayor, CBS This Morning pointed out the Democratic party affiliation of Filner's former congressional colleague, Jackie Speier, who blasted the Defense Department on their handling of sexual assaults in the military. [audio available here; video below the jump]