The broadcast networks gleefully reported the White House Easter festivities on Monday evening while ignoring President Obama's new plan to step around Congress and consider clemency for thousands of drug offenders.
On their evening newscasts, both CBS and NBC smiled upon Obama reading "Where the Wild Things Are" to children, with CBS capturing the moments using a photo album graphic. NBC's Brian Williams chuckled that Obama, with his dramatic narrating of the story, "left it all on the South Lawn."
If there's a prize for most words spent in Obamacare avoidance, NBC News's Martha C. White is definitely in the running.
White managed to burn through almost 40 paragraphs and nearly 1,600 words in a report carried at CNBC on the all-time record number of workers employed by temporary help services. But she somehow managed to completely avoid mentioning Obamacare, which used to be known as the Affordable Care Act until President Obama and his Health and Human Services regulators made 40 changes to the law originally passed by Congress, some of which directly contradict the original law's language. The closest she came was noting that using temps "lets companies avoid the cost of providing benefits like health insurance" — which has always been the case, except that health insurance is and will continue to be a lot more expensive, giving companies even more incentive to avoid adding to their own payrolls. Excerpts follow the jump.
On Friday April 18, the Obama Administration announced yet another delay on whether or not to proceed with the Keystone XL pipeline. The Obama Administration’s decision came in the wake of a new ABC News-Washington Post poll which found 65 percent of Americans support the construction of the pipeline with only 22 percent opposed.
Following the latest delay, NBC mostly ignored the story, giving it a paltry 18-seconds on the Saturday April 19 Today. Keystone was briefly mentioned on Sunday’s Meet the Press during an interview between moderator David Gregory and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL). CNBC’s Squawk Box was the only NBC program to mention that Democratic billionaire and environmentalist Tom Steyer had pledged $100 million for Democratic candidates on the condition that Keystone not be approved. [See video below.]
Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi wrote a big Style section front-pager for Monday on how NBC's Meet the Press, "Sunday's most venerable news show has stumbled in the ratings."
The shocking paragraph that will get discussed around Washington today is that NBC commissioned a psychological consultant to figure how who MTP host David Gregory is, and what makes him tick. Or maybe, why people just don't like him very much:
According to the liberal network journalists, being part of a Democratic family makes you "royalty." Reporters on ABC, CBS and NBC gushed over the announcement that Chelsea Clinton is pregnant. Good Morning America's Bianna Golodryga enthused, "Move over, Prince George, though. This morning, Americans have their own royal, or, rather, presidential baby, to look forward to. "
On CBS This Morning, Jan Crawford was almost as excited, hyping, "...This is not as quite as big of a deal as when Prince William and Kate Middleton said they were expecting. But in the U.S., I guess you could say political dynasties might be the thing we've got closest to royalty." [Video to follow. MP3 audio here.]
At the top of the 9 a.m. ET hour on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Natalie Morales seized on Chelsea Clinton answering a question she "gets asked all the time, just about every other day": "In a new interview she is saying she is now perhaps is opening that window that she may possibly think about running for public office." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After Morales touted Clinton's comments to Fast Company magazine on the subject, fellow co-host Willie Geist proclaimed: "She is a very, very impressive woman." Morales agreed: "She is." Geist continued: "And she'll do whatever she wants to do in life."
The network morning shows on Thursday were thrilled by Vice President Joe Biden joining Instagram on Wednesday and posting a selfie of himself with President Obama. On NBC's Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie couldn't contain her excitement: "Presidents and vice presidents, they're just like us! The latest selfie racing around the web today." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos hailed: "...the selfie craze has hit the White House again....Joe Biden set up an Instagram account overnight, sending out his first picture, it went viral immediately." CBS This Morning co-host Norah O'Donnell gushed: "It's being called the selfie to end all selfies....The White House Twitter account also posted the photo with the caption, 'Pals.'"
The showdown between federal authorities and rancher Cliven Bundy, his family and supporters in Nevada is one of those rare topics from the libertarian-conservative news agenda that actually made its way into the establishment media. Between last Thursday and Monday, ABC, CBS and NBC gave the story a total of nearly 16 minutes of coverage on their morning and evening newscasts.
Network journalists have consistently framed the case as one of a rancher failing to pay the requested fees for his use of government land. But they have failed to use the case to tell the larger story of how environmental rules — in this case, regulations to protect the desert tortoise, have been implemented in ways that help favored interests (land developers, or solar companies) while hurting others (cattle ranchers, for example).
As stoners prepare for their annual 420 smoking “holiday” on April 20, the broadcast networks have done little to educate users on the risks of their leafy drug of choice in spite of extensive reporting on state legalization of pot.
Network evening news reported the growth and legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington state and Colorado. ABC, CBS and NBC evening news programs spent more than 30 minutes discussing the newly legal drug between Oct. 1, 2013, and March 31, 2014. However, the networks rarely addressed marijuana-related health or safety risks, despite blunt support for such education among pot advocates.
Wednesday's NBC Nightly News featured an overwhelmingly positive profile of Michael Bloomberg's new gun control advocacy group. That built upon the network's cheerleading of Bloomberg on Wednesday morning.
Almost the entire story featured quotes from Bloomberg and supporters, with just one soundbite from the NRA. Anchor Brian Williams reported Bloomberg's $50 million pledge without a hint of irony after lamenting big money politics two weeks before.
During a hard-hitting question and answer session with Jill Biden on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Tamron Hall wondered what made drew the Second Lady to the Vice President: "What made you fall for Joe Biden? Was it his humor? What was it?" Certainly not a question Lynne Cheney was ever asked about Dick Cheney on the morning show. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Tuesday the Republican National Committee (RNC) filed a lawsuit against the IRS for that agency’s “illegal stonewalling” of the RNC’s request of documents related to the targeting of conservative groups.
So far there hasn’t been one second of airtime on ABC, CBS, NBC’s Tuesday evening shows or Wednesday morning shows. The New York Times and Washington Post also have yet to devote even a sentence to RNC’s lawsuit in their print editions.
In a glowing interview with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie touted the anti-gun activist's latest crusade: "You're putting $50 million into the effort....saying essentially this new group is going to borrow a page from the NRA's playbook. The NRA has been very successful in frightening lawmakers who oppose them....You're quoted in The New York Times this morning saying, 'We have to make them afraid of us.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Only two weeks earlier, NBC was wringing its hands over a Supreme Court ruling loosening campaign finance restrictions. On the April 3 Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "And you thought there was already too much money in politics. Fasten your seat belts. From now on, there's gonna be a whole lot more."
In the first of a series of tweets sent out Tuesday morning, NBC senior political editor Mark Murray complained: "Why ObamaCare's (un)popularity is probably going to continue: ACA opponents have sole control over the airwaves." In a follow-up tweet, Murray cited the Campaign Media Analysis Group: "Per CMAG's Elizabeth Wilner, number of anti-Obamacare commericials since March 31: 32 Number of pro-Obamacare commercials: 0"
In a third tweet minutes later, Murray explained: "Political scientists believe TV ads have an impact on public opinion when one side has unilateral control over the airwaves." What the NBC journalist failed to acknowledge was the massive pro-ObamaCare push his network and others have engaged in over recent months.
At this point it might take a dead body to get the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks to give the IRS-Tea Party scandal any sort of real coverage. Huge developments in the last week – like IRS official Lois Lerner receiving a criminal referral from the House Ways and Means Committee and e-mails proving she fed tax information on a targeted group to the staff of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D) – were completely censored by ABC and NBC news. Only a 90 second report on Thursday’s CBS This Morning kept last week’s revelations from being totally blacked out on the Big Three networks.
In the last seven days the following IRS scandal developments have emerged:
On Friday, Erik Wemple -- a blogger for the Washington Post -- announced that the “renowned investigative reporter” Michael Isikoff was leaving the “Peacock Network” that day because “it was increasingly clear" that the news division “was moving in directions in which there were going to be fewer opportunities for my work,” Isikoff told the New York Times.
After 33 years, NBC investigative reporter Lisa Myers left the network in January. In a statement later on Friday, Richard Esposito -- the senior executive producer of the shrinking NBC News investigative unit -- praised Isikoff by asserting:
Hyping the latest alarmist global warming study on Sunday's NBC Nightly News, fill-in anchor Carl Quintanilla proclaimed: "A new U.N. report out today warns the world must act now to address climate change to avert disaster." In the report that followed, correspondent Anne Thompson fretted: "The report says time is running out to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Melting ice sheets that will raise sea levels and swamp coastlines. Stronger heat waves and droughts that could put the world's food supply at risk....The U.N. panel says the world must act now." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A soundbite was included of the report's lead author, Leon Clarke: "If we wait for more than about ten or fifteen years, we really make it extremely difficult for us to keep climate from changing substantially, and really, exposing ourselves to some substantial harms." Thompson followed: "To protect itself, the report says the world must reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 to 70% by the year 2050 and be near zero by 2100."
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning newscasts on Monday all omitted the arrest of a Utah woman, after the bodies of seven newborn babies were discovered in her house on Saturday. The Big Three morning shows did understandably devote a significant amount of air time to a white supremacist's shooting rampage at two Jewish community centers near Kansas City.
However, the networks also set aside over two minutes each to a bear mauling in central Florida, and CBS This Morning and NBC's Today also covered the so-called "blood moon" lunar eclipse. CBS's lack of coverage of the murders in Utah is even more puzzling, given how CBS Morning News aired a news brief to the story: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The journalists at NBC's Today on Friday rhapsodized over a liberal economic policy coming out of France. Regarding new rules that would bar some employers from e-mailing workers after hours, co-host Matt Lauer enthused, "[The French] get some things very right over there!" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Co-host Savannah Guthrie praised, "Vive la France!" Al Roker deemed the concept "fantastic." At no time did any of the hosts ponder whether this kind of problem could best be decided between businesses and their employees. Nor did they note the disastrous election results the country's socialistic government just endured. Instead, the on-screen graphic declared "Freedom in France."
On Monday, all three network morning shows found time to worry about IRS budget cuts meaning fewer audits and longer wait times for taxpayer assistance, but not one mentioned the ongoing scandal embroiling the agency, including Congress issuing a criminal referral for former IRS official Lois Lerner. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, news anchor Amy Robach warned: "More tax evaders could slip through the cracks this year....we are learning the IRS will have the fewest agents auditing returns since the 1980s due to budget cuts and new IRS responsibilities." On Friday, ABC's World News covered the same story – while ignoring the House Ways and Means Committee calling for Lerner's prosecution.
Over the last seven days, three major revelations have emerged surrounding the IRS’ targeting of Tea Party groups. Despite the new stories, on Sunday April 13, three of the four Sunday shows, NBC’s Meet the Press, CBS’s Face the Nation and ABC’s This Week, all ignored them, whereas Fox News Sunday was the only program to mention the IRS at all.
On Wednesday April 9, The Washington Times revealed that a Dallas IRS office was covered with Vote for Obama stickers and engaging in campaign cheerleading. On the same day, The Hill broke a story revealing that Lois Lerner fed tax information to Elijah Cummings (D-MD) who sits on the committee in charge of overseeing the IRS investigation. And finally, the House Ways and Means Committee voted last week to refer Lois Lerner for criminal charges, yet the big three didn’t mention any of these stories on Sunday.
Adrianne Haslet-Davis is a Boston Marathon bombing survivor who insists that she not be called a "victim" ("I am not defined by what happened in my life. I am a survivor, defined by how I live my life").
The Boston Herald writes that "Haslet-Davis became a symbol of Boston Strong when she made good on her vow to dance again in a front-page Herald story last year. This past month she performed a rumba on a bionic leg designed by an MIT brainiac who is himself a double amputee. The performance was at a TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference in Vancouver." On Friday, NBC News, which three weeks ago posted a story on Haslet-Davis's first post-bombing performance, deliberately and by its own admission broke a promise it had made to her as a condition for her appearance in a taped panel discussion in advance of the network's next Meet the Press program.
On Friday's World News, ABC's David Kerley pressed I.R.S. Commissioner John Koskinen about taxpayers who are unable to "get an answer as to how much they're supposed to pay," due to long wait times on the agency' help line. However, Kerley didn't bother to ask Koskinen about the House Ways and Means Committee's Wednesday vote to refer former IRS official Lois Lerner to the Justice Department for prosecution, over alleged targeting of Tea Party groups for auditing.
In fact, as of Friday, none of the Big Three evening newscasts have covered the House committee's criminal referral, nor the House Oversight Committee voting on Thursday to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress. Instead, the ABC correspondent zeroed in on taxpayers' complaints about the IRS help line, as well as the commissioner's YouTube video warning about how to deal with the poor service there: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Friday, all three network morning shows fretted over a woman throwing a shoe at Hillary Clinton during a speaking event in Las Vegas. NBC Today co-host Tamron Hall was particularly melodramatic: "I mean, but how scary is that?...Had it hit her, that would have been awful. It would have been awful." Weatherman Al Roker added: "Jeez, that's frightening." Hall declared: "It's hard for me to watch, actually." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The shoe was on the other foot in 2008, when an Iraqi journalist threw two shoes at then-President George W. Bush during a Baghdad press conference. At that time, ABC and CBS referred to the shoe-thrower as a "celebrity" and "folk hero" who "thrilled the Arab world." In 2009, then-MSNBC host David Shuster actually cheered the release of the footwear assailant from prison. Tamron Hall happened to be on the show at the time and observed that people would have been "more outraged" if someone threw a shoe at President Obama.
All three network morning shows on Friday highlighted the departure of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Good Morning America's Jon Karl insisted that the exit was a "chance for her to leave on a relatively high note." CBS This Morning's Jan Crawford claimed that "Sebelius made clear the decision to leave was hers." Over on NBC's Today, Chuck Todd dished dirt, explaining, "In addition to the management issues, the White House also lost confidence in her ability to sell the product publicly."
He gossiped, "Senior aides were not happy with how she struggled in what should have been a friendly interview with Jon Stewart." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] However, if Sebelius struggled, Today viewers didn't know about it for weeks after the October 7th Daily Showappearance. It wasn't until October 31, 2013 that the botched interview was mentioned on Today. Back then, Todd briefly conceded, "When she went in front of Jon Stewart at the Daily Show, that became a big problem. It became another PR problem." Despite this "PR problem," Today viewers didn't see an actual clip until Friday.
On Thursday evening, both CBS and NBC hailed the arrival of comedian Stephen Colbert at CBS but failed to acknowledge his routine of posing as a mock-conservative host at Comedy Central.
Colbert's persona was a conservative TV host who was, in his own words, a "well-intentioned, poorly-informed, high-status idiot." His show was a mockery of a conservative host. Yet CBS and NBC glossed over the "conservative" bit, remaining neutral on the details and referring to his character as simply his "know-it-all alter ego."
Promoting the civil rights summit being held at the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library on Thursday, NBC Today co-host Savannah Guthrie turned to "NBC special anchor" and full-time liberal activist Maria Shriver for a report on the event: "This is pretty rarefied air you're in. We've got these former presidents all speaking at the summit. What are the themes you've been hearing so far?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Shriver proceeded to fawn over the speeches given by Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton: "President Carter...spoke about the growing disparity between rich and poor....gender pay gap....President Clinton...talked about the lack of civil discourse going on in Washington. He longs for a time when he was president when people actually worked together....He also criticized Republicans for their lack of support of the voting – Voting Reform Act."
In an interview with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer fretted over the Killing Jesus author wanting the historical life of Christ to be taught in schools: "[In] public schools these days, you go sit in one of those classes and you're surrounded by kids of four or five, six different faiths. Why should they sit there and listen to the story of Jesus Christ?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
O'Reilly replied: "If they are American children, because that's what forged the Constitution. And if they don't like it, that's too bad." Lauer worried: "How do you protect, though? How do you draw the line and the balance between someone who would go into a classroom, a teacher, and teach the historical story, as opposed to imposing religious beliefs?...Who enforces that?"
The big issue for Obamacare has long been how many people would enroll. When the deadline finally hit, broadcast news networks parroted the administration’s claims and raised few concerns about heavily spun results.
Breaking from a long silence over Obamacare, ABC, CBS and NBC declared “victory” for the now “unrepealable” Affordable Care Act but ignored problems with enrollment numbers 90 percent of the time. In fact, a Rand Corporation survey found that 1.4 million previously uninsured people gained insurance and that didn’t even factor in who had actually paid for their plans.
On Wednesday April 9, the House Oversight Committee voted to send a criminal referral to the Department of Justice for former IRS official Lois Lerner. Despite the severity of this most recent revelations into the IRS’ targeting of Tea Party organizations, ABC and NBC continue to ignore the story.
After all three networks failed to cover the story on their nightly news broadcasts on Wednesday, only CBS This Morning bothered to mention the revelations on Thursday April 10. Co-host Norah O’Donnell described the events as such: “The House Oversight Committee today is expected to hold a retired IRS official in contempt of Congress. Republicans say Lois Lerner led an effort to investigate Tea Party organizations. She's refused to testify at two committee hearings claiming her Fifth Amendment rights.” [See video below.]