For the first time in over a week, CBS covered the murder trial of abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell on Wednesday's CBS This Morning. But instead of a full report, as on April 15, Norah O'Donnell read a news brief that lasted just 13 seconds on the trial judge dismissing three of the murder charges against the Philadelphia physician [audio available here; video below the jump].
ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today on Wednesday failed to cover this noteworthy development in the case. Neither broadcast network has aired one second of reporting on the Gosnell trial on their morning and evening newscasts.
After initially airing more substantive portions of her April 15 interview with President Obama, on Wednesday, NBC Today co-host Savannah Guthrie made time to show a third part of the exchange: "...because of breaking news, we weren't able to show you yet our brief chat after that interview..." The "chat" that followed covered such hard-hitting topics as the First Lady's "mom dancing" on Jimmy Fallon, the President's own dance skills, and what viral videos he watches. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Guthrie wondered: "What did you think of her [Michelle Obama's] mom dancing?" A clip followed of the First Lady recently dancing with Late Night host Jimmy Fallon. Guthrie followed up: "Do you have dad dancing that can give it a run for its money?" The President explained: "You know, she consistently maintains, and I don't argue with her, that she's a better dancer than me....And in private, you know, I can bust a move and I think I'm pretty good."
NBC and ABC completely skipped a scathing new report that singles out Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for blame after the September 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. CBS, in contrast, offered full reports on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Evening News anchor Scott Pelley announced, "House Republicans fired off a blistering report today criticizing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell trumpeted, "House Republicans issued a scathing report on the Benghazi attack. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed last September." Yet, the ABC programs World News, Nightline and Good Morning America ignored the development. GMA, however, found time to promote important topics, such as "dancing babies" and the "secrets" behind America's favorite game shows. NBC's Nightly News and the Today show also avoided the subject.
At the top of Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams eagerly parroted Obama administration talking points when it came to blaming the sequester for sporadic flight delays: "The traffic jam starting to build up at our airports. Flight delays just beginning to emerge today as those budget cuts in Washington begin to hit home." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Later on the broadcast, Williams again declared the delays to be a sign of "the impact of Washington all across this country" and predicted: "Now the American people as a whole just might take further notice because now the sequester is responsible for delaying airline flights across this country."
Well that didn’t last long. In fact, it barely happened at all. After a month of ignoring the trial of Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortionist accused of murdering one woman and seven infants, it looked like the media had been shamed into covering the story.
Barely. Even after the most gruesome detail in a trial full of them came out – a baby who survived an abortion “swimming” in a toilet and “trying to get out” – the silence resumed. In fact, the only major news outlet that bothered to report on that testimony was The Chicago Tribune. CNN.com mentioned it, it got no air time. Video after the break
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie and legal analyst Lisa Bloom worried about Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev not yet being read his Miranda rights after being taken into custody on Friday, with Guthrie arguing: "...officials are citing what's known as the public safety exception....As time passes, does the justification for that exception grow weaker? Are they on, I guess, less strong ground?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Bloom proclaimed: "Well, it sure does, because as you know, Miranda rights are a bedrock constitutional principle....The public safety exception is a very narrow exception, there has to be an imminent threat to the public. As the clock keeps ticking, hours and days pass, it certainly seems less imminent."
Following gun background check legislation being voted down in the Senate on Wednesday, anchor Brian Williams led off NBC Nightly News that evening by proclaiming: "There are cries of 'shame' from victims of gun violence watching from the Senate gallery and the President reacts with anger." Williams later touted how Obama "called it 'a pretty shameful day for Washington'" when ranting about the loss from the Rose Garden that afternoon. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell portrayed opponents of gun restrictions as unsympathetic to shooting victims: "...many of those Newtown families watched senators they had personally met with vote down expanded background checks....Patricia Maisch, [a] Tucson shooting survivor who shouted at senators, 'Shame on you!'" A sound bite was included of Maisch condemning senators who voted against the bill: "They have no souls. They have no compassion."
In part two of her interview with President Obama aired on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie lobbed several softballs, wrapping up the exchange by wondering: "I know you're not endorsing, but do you personally hope that Hillary Clinton runs in 2016?...Do you miss her around here?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Obama used Guthrie's prompting to praise Clinton: "I think she was an extraordinary secretary of state and she became not only a great partner for me in foreign policy, but a good friend....I do [miss her]. She's earned her rest and I know that she's going to be able, whatever she does, to continue to be a leader and an incredibly positive force for the causes I care about and that she cares about, all around the world."
In the days leading up to Margaret Thatcher's funeral on Wednesday, the three networks repeatedly hyped hateful, ugly attacks on the former Prime Minister of Britain, describing her as a "polarizing," "divisive" figure. On Rock Center, his low-rated Friday night show, Brian Williams explained that it was "sad, but necessary to report" that, while Americans may like Thatcher, "It's been a harsh couple of days ...Tonight, the number one song on iTunes in Great Britain is the Wizard of Oz classic [Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead], in this case celebrating the death of the Iron Lady."[See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Sunday's Today, Lester Holt began by insisting, "Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is proving to be as polarizing in death as she was in life." He, too, highlighted angry liberals in Britain gleefully playing the mocking song. Leftist journalist Martin Bashir appeared on the program to bemoan the "controversial" Thatcher. He touted, "An online campaign has pushed the song Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead up towards the top of the British music charts."
While for five weeks NBC News completely censored any mention of the Gosnell abortion trial from its airwaves, in an interview with President Obama conducted on Monday and aired on Wednesday's Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie wondered: "Have you been watching the Gosnell trial? It's a Philadelphia abortion doctor accused of gruesome crimes. Are you following it and do you think it animates a larger debate about abortion in this country?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The President certainly wasn't "watching" the case on NBC, it was the first time viewers of the network heard anything about the ongoing trial.
Appearing on Tuesday's NBC Today, special correspondent Tom Brokaw warned his media colleagues about premature speculation regarding the motivation of the Boston bombing: "I think everybody has to take a deep breath...report what we know, and do the best we can with the information that we're able to get reliably." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
That statement was prompted by co-host Savannah Guthrie observing: "It always bears reminding at this time, Tom, as a long-time practitioner of our craft, that early reports are often in error. I think we've become used to getting more information, even this soon after an attack, we often do know something of the nature of the attacker. In this case, there really are more questions than answers."
In an exclusive interview with President Obama aired on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie began the exchange by fretting over gun legislation in Congress "hanging by a thread" and scolding the President for not pushing for gun restrictions sooner: "You are asking Democrats in conservative states to take a tough vote politically, something you, yourself, did not do. You didn't run on this in 2008 or 2012, not after Tucson, not after Aurora."
Later in the discussion, Guthrie helped to portray Obama's budget plan as a centrist compromise that riled both Republicans and Democrats: "[Republicans] say it's not enough and they say it's not enough to make a deal....you've got Democrats a little mad at you, too, saying you've cut Social Security and Medicare and now this is going to come back and haunt them in their races." The President touted: "It does not give Republicans everything they want, frankly it doesn't reflect everything that I would like to see."
When a secret, closed-door conversation about campaign strategy is recorded, illegally, and put out in the public domain, it's a significant story about invasion of privacy that should generate media attention. But of course, the target of the recording in question was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), so naturally the liberal media are turning a critical eye on him rather than the group that made the illegal recording.
On Saturday’s Today, NBC brought on the Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman to spin the controversy into a story about McConnell’s weaknesses and wrongdoings. Co-host Erica Hill started by asking if the conversation was recorded illegally. Fineman danced around the matter with an evasive answer: “Well, that's an open question... In Kentucky law and federal law it's possibly illegal, but that's open to question because the person recording it could also hear it.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
CBS finally ended their on-air coverage blackout of the Kermit Gosnell murder trial on Monday's CBS This Morning, airing two segments on the story a month after opening arguments began. Jan Crawford acknowledged that the Gosnell case "has received little national news coverage". Meanwhile, ABC and NBC's morning and evening newscasts continued to ignore the ongoing legal proceedings against the abortionist.
Crawford pointed out how conservatives "accused the media of ignoring the story because what it called a bias in favor of abortion rights", and how those "charges went viral on Twitter". She even played a sound bite from a former attorney for the murder suspect who questioned the national news media's lack of coverage of the trial: "A case involving a medical doctor charged with eight counts of murder would seem to me that just that fact pattern would make national news" [audio available here; video below the jump].
During a segment on Friday's NBC Today that suggested a "turning point for gun laws," co-host Matt Lauer declared: "Big story in Washington this morning, the Senate agreeing to move forward with the first major gun control legislation in decades, this after more Republicans than expected agreed to debate a proposal on new federal background checks for gun purchases."
Meet the Press moderator David Gregory proclaimed: "...the feeling among Republicans was, 'Don't stop the debate. That would be political suicide for Republicans to not let the debate go forward.'"
On Thursday's NBC Today, political director Chuck Todd urged Republicans to back gun restrictions or risk alienation from female voters: "Look at the massive gender gap....65% of women want stricter gun laws, 44% of men. So if you make the argument to Republicans...if you want to continue to have problems with women voters, don't deal with this gun issue. If you want to start trying to win over suburban women, maybe you need to tackle it." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Thursday, the morning shows on NBC, CBS, and ABC all touted a New York Times Magazine profile of disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, an article designed to rehabilitate the Democrat's image in preparation for a mayoral run in New York City. On NBC's Today, correspondent Stephanie Gosk explained: "Most people wanted to know whether or not he had learned from his mistakes before they could vote for him. His wife says she forgives him."
Gosk detailed Weiner's expression of regret for the 2011 sexting scandal that ended his congressional career: "Both Weiner and his wife revealing in their own words how it happened, why it happened, and the damage it caused....Weiner describes the shame and the guilt." A sound bite was featured of NYT magazine interviewer Jonathan Van Meter sympathetically recalling: "[Weiner's] still wracked with a sort of shame and pain and guilt about it, and – and he cried, I think every time I interviewed him, at some point."
On Tuesday's World News and Wednesday's Good Morning Ameica, ABC's George Stephanopoulos and Jim Avila ballyhooed far-left magazine Mother Jones's secretly-recorded audio recording of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's strategy meeting with political advisers about potential opponent Ashley Judd. Stephanopoulos touted the "startling secret tape revealing how the Senate's top Republican was planning to go after...Judd if she ran against him."
Avila played up McConnell's apparent "cutthroat attack on a Hollywood opponent" and the Republican's "private and politically-embarrassing strategy session", all the while omitting left-of-center ideology of the publication that released the audio clip and minimizing the possible illegality of its recording.
On the eve of a proposed deal on a limited expansion of background checks for guy buyers, Tuesday's NBC Nightly News went after Republicans for opposing gun restrictions, with Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell proclaiming: "In a provocative move, more than a dozen Republicans are threatening to use Senate rules to block a vote on new gun restrictions....Sensing public disdain, a rift emerged among Republicans. A dozen now saying publicly they would not support a filibuster..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In her report, O'Donnell cast GOP senators as the villains opposite family members of Newtown shooting victims: "The families here today were looking lawmakers in the eye with a direct appeal. A movement and a deeply personal cause, one Senate office at a time." O'Donnell declared that the possible Republican filibuster of new laws was "adding an extra urgency to the Newtown families' visit."
The journalists at Good Morning America on Wednesday could barely contain themselves, hailing the compromise over gun control legislation as a "major," "big, significant breakthrough." Guest host Elizabeth Vargas marveled, "Boy, is that big news."
Yet, the reporters on NBC offered less effusive coverage. Today's Kristen Welker conceded, "Democrats had been hoping for background checks to be universal. They didn't get that. This is going to be a pared down, watered down version of background checks." She asserted, "The deal is far less than the President was hoping for." In contrast, ABC's Jon Karl promoted, "And it is a big, significant breakthrough. It doesn't get you all the way there, but it gets you a long way there." Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos trumpeted, "Looks like a major breakthrough."
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated its public statement on bisphenol A, a chemical commonly found in some plastics as well as can linings, in March 2013. The FDA’s “current perspective on BPA” is that the chemical is “safe” at the exposure levels from product packaging.
The March 29 “Today” show aired a segment about healthy and natural groceries with Miranda Van Gelder of Prevention magazine.Van Gelder said people should avoid BPA coatings and cans because of BPA. Neither Hoda Kotb, nor Kathie Lee Gifford told viewers that the FDA has said such packaging is safe.
Leading a panel discussion on Tuesday's NBC Today about the possibility of a professional athlete coming out as gay, frustrated co-host Matt Lauer implored: "It's interesting that in 2013, with attitudes towards homosexuality changing so dramatically in this country, there isn't a single major athlete in a major professional sport playing right now who has come out and said, 'I'm gay.' Why is that?...What is it going to take to change that and have someone come out and say it?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer made the same plea on Friday, lamenting that the unwillingness of athletes to announce their sexuality to world "says something about the times we're living in."
Lapdog journalist Josh Elliott on Tuesday offered no skepticism about a controversial trip Beyonce and Jay-Z took to Cuba. The Good Morning America news reader insisted that there was nothing troubling about the fact that the music power couple, who raised over $4 million dollars for Barack Obama's reelection, received special permission to visit the communist country of Cuba. (American tourists are barred from traveling there.)
Elliott reassured, "Meanwhile, an uproar over Beyonce and Jay-Z's trip to Cuba may be much ado about nothing." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] After noting that the visit drew "criticism," he insisted that no laws were violated and added, "The trip was reportedly approved by the Treasury Department as a cultural visit." Elliott never mentioned the financial help Beyonce and Jay Z provided Obama, nor did he ask why the vacation was approved. In contrast, Hoda Kotb on NBC's Today deemed the trip "controversial." NBC reporter Natalie Morales offered far more skepticism: "New questions and outrage from lawmakers this morning following Beyonce and Jay-Z's trip to Cuba."
During a panel discussion on Tuesday's NBC Today about a new survey on how Americans view the 1980s, co-host Willie Geist noted an interesting political finding: "If a presidential election were held today, according to this survey, 58% would vote for Ronald Reagan over President Barack Obama." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Weatherman Al Roker couldn't let that data be reported without putting his own spin on it: "But the interesting thing is a lot of people probably – I mean Ronald Reagan probably would be seen almost liberally today as opposed to being a conservative. I mean, he did a lot of great things. But, I mean, things have shifted." Geist agreed: "Relative to what you see now, absolutely."
During a report on Tuesday's NBC Today, correspondent Michelle Kosinski took gratuitous shots at Margaret Thatcher while detailing funeral plans for the former British prime minister who died Monday: "...many feel this is appropriate that it will not be a state funeral because she remains so controversial....How controversial is Thatcher still today?...in Glasgow, jubilant dancing in the streets." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Kosinski did explain that a friend of Thatcher's "was quoted as saying that [Thatcher] herself did not want [a state funeral], thinking it would be a waste of money." However, during a news brief in the 9 a.m. ET hour, anchor Natalie Morales stated Kosinski's initial remark about the funeral plans as fact: "Although Thatcher will receive a large ceremonial funeral with full military honors, it will not be state funeral. Thatcher, known as the Iron Lady, was apparently too controversial for that honor."
For the past couple of weeks there has been a steady drip of bad news for ObamaCare, but you wouldn't know it if you only get your news from the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks. From a Society of Actuaries report that determined premium costs will shoot up thanks to a thirty-three percent average increase in claims; to thirty-three Senate Democrats joining Republicans in voting to repeal an ObamaCare tax on medical devices; to a Quinnipiac University poll showing even two-thirds of self-identified Democrats saying the law will either hurt them or have no effect, the recent news has been bad for the President's chief legislative victory. However, not one of these trouble spots for ObamaCare has been mentioned on ABC, CBS or NBC's evening or morning show broadcasts.
The following setbacks for ObamaCare haven't received a single second of air time on the Big Three networks:
Following an one-sided report on Monday's NBC Today about the push for more gun restrictions, which touted Democratic Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy dismissing the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre as a "clown at the circus," co-host Matt Lauer lamented: "There does seem to be a disconnect...90% of the Americans, when asked about expanding background checks say, 'Yes, we're in favor of that.' And yet, if you look at the prospects for doing it in Congress, they don't seem all that positive." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
White House correspondent Peter Alexander responded by informing Lauer: "Yeah, Matt, that's very much the White House's argument, a point that the White House, President Obama will make again this afternoon in Connecticut."
At the top of Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer eagerly promoted the possibility of Chelsea Clinton, currently an NBC News special correspondent, one day running for office: "Following in the footsteps? Chelsea Clinton opens up in a rare interview about her mom's presidential ambitions, while leaving the door open for her own run for office."
In the later report, designed to increase buzz about Hillary Clinton's possible 2016 run, correspondent John Yang heralded: "Chelsea Clinton is stepping out....For the first time taking a leading role with her father at CGIU, the Clinton Global Initiative's meeting for college students, and appearing on the cover of Parade magazine. In a rare TV interview...[she] gives her unique perspective on the clamor for her mother to get into the 2016 White House race....And she's leaving the door open to a candidacy of her own."
Appearing on Monday's Today, Abby Huntsman, daughter of former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, offered kind words eulogizing Margaret Thatcher: "What we know about Margaret Thatcher is she's a woman with so much courage...She really sticks to her convictions, and that's rare today. I think she really paved the way for women in politics....her legacy will be remembered forever." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
News reader Natalie Morales seized on Huntsman's comments as the "perfect segue" to a panel discussion about the political aspirations of Hillary Clinton. Co-host Willie Geist declared: "Absolutely, our Take Three, talking about the woman who could be the leader of this country, about 35 years or more than after the fact in Great Britain, Chelsea Clinton speaking out this morning on speculation that her mother will once again run for president."
As news broke of the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Monday morning, Today co-host Matt Lauer turned to correspondent Michelle Kosinski in London, who proclaimed Thatcher was "Known as the Iron Lady and for her conservative politics, she was also quite controversial during that time for reducing the power of the trade unions." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In a full report that followed, correspondent Martin Fletcher used similar language to describe the tenure of the British leader: "She was known as an iron lady, both loved and loathed....Consensus and compromise, they said, were not in her vocabulary. She'd won a bloody war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands, took on Britain's powerful labor unions. She ignored IRA hunger strikes....Determined, dynamic, and deeply controversial, Thatcher leaves an indelible mark on the world's political landscape."