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.]
In a major new development in the IRS scandal, House Republicans voted on Wednesday to send a criminal referral to the Department of Justice for former IRS chief Lois Lerner. FNC's Special Report with Bret Baier devoted a full story to the vote by the committee chaired by Congressman Dave Camp, but none of the three broadcast network evening newscasts covered the vote.
The letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder stated that "findings" from the Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Republican Camp, "suggest that Lerner may have violated multiple criminal statutes." The letter went on to add that "the Committee asks that you pursue this evidence." The three networks ignored this letter, however, although CBS and ABC talked about Hillary Clinton's presidential aspirations.
Tuesday's NBC Nightly News highlighted MSNBC host Al Sharpton's past as an FBI informant but glossed over serious controversies, ignoring his infamous role in the 1991 Crown Heights riot.
The overall tone of the report was positive. Correspondent Pete Williams lauded Sharpton: "as mainstream as a civil rights activist can be, a frequent visitor to the White House, a friend of Attorney General Eric Holder and nightly cable host on MSNBC." Anchor Brian Williams stated that "tonight, newly released documents are shedding new light on another role from Al Sharpton's past, that of FBI informant."
On Tuesday evening, the networks all dutifully touted President Obama's call for equal pay for women in the workplace. NBC and CBS ignored Obama's hypocrisy – the pay gap that exists among his own White House staff.
ABC's Diane Sawyer put a dramatic spin on the news, saying Obama called for "action" on the "explosive issue of equal pay for equal work." The World News did note the GOP response that women in the White House earn 88 percent of the men's salaries, but relegated that important fact to the very end of the report. Neither NBC nor CBS reported it.
The “Green is Universal” network is at it again, warning about the threat of man-made climate change. Ann Curry’s latest NBC production, “Our Year of Extremes” was billed as a documentary even though it was thoroughly alarmist and ignored plenty of scientific disagreement.
In the hour-long program Curry, kept up the hype about a connection between “extreme” weather events and global warming, presented “controversial” science about ice melt and staved off skepticism with claims of a 97 percent “consensus” on the issue of climate change.
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, White House correspondent Major Garrett completely dismantled President Obama's left-wing talking points on the supposed gender pay gap of women making 77 cents on the dollar compared to men, reporting: "The White House is getting...roughed up by hits own pay equity rhetoric." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Garrett used the administration's hypocrisy on the issue to fact check the false claims: "An analysis of White House salaries, which nobody here disputes, shows that the median income of female staffers is 88% of that of male staffers....Now, the White House said it's gender pay gap is tied to job experience, education, and hours worked, among other factors. This matters because those explanations, according to the Labor Department, explain a good deal of the gender pay gap nationally."
We know that NBC loves to lob softball questions at First Lady Michelle Obama when interviewing her, and apparently they also enjoy it when others do the same. On Saturday’s Today show, co-anchor Lester Holt brought on Nene Sy, a high school girl who recently interviewed the First Lady.
Holt hyped the story, calling Sy, “the young woman who was recently handed a very big assignment – a chance to interview First Lady Michelle Obama.” That’s right, Sy did not seek out this opportunity. She was chosen to do it because Mrs. Obama wanted to be interviewed by someone who, like her, was the first in her family to go to college. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Monday morning, NBC, ABC, and CBS all found an excuse to cover Obama's selfie with Red Sox player David Ortiz one more time, expressing their collective fear that the White House may ban selfies with the commander-in-chief. On NBC's Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie fretted: "Has David Ortiz ruined the presidential selfie for the rest of us?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After the networks initially promoted the photo-op as a "good day in Washington" last week, they were chagrined when word came that Ortiz may have staged the supposedly spontaneous moment in order to promote cell phone maker Samsung, with whom he had an endorsement deal.
Last week, the Supreme Court eliminated limits on how much money individuals can donate to all campaigns in any two-year election cycle and NBC’s David Gregory lamented how “American democracy is for sale.”
Appearing on “Meet the Press” on Sunday April 6, Gregory asked Shaun McCutcheon, the plaintiff in McCutcheon v. FEC: “How do you have candidates in the future now going to the wealthiest donors in the country and saying I want an unlimited amount of money? How does that is not at some-point lead to corruption?” [See video below.]
On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported that NBC, ABC, and CBS turned down a White House request for primetime coverage of a presidential address on Tuesday to spike the football on ObamaCare reaching the seven million enrollment mark. Instead, the President was forced to settle for an afternoon pep rally in the Rose Garden which only ABC and NBC covered live.
These were the same networks that fretted over Republicans not agreeing to let Obama give a primetime campaign speech to Congress at the same time as a Republican presidential primary debate in 2011.
Teasing an upcoming special on global warming hosted by Ann Curry, on Friday's NBC Today, news anchor Natalie Morales hyped the danger: "The head of the World Bank is warning that climate change will lead to violent conflict over shortages of food and water. And this Sunday night, NBC's Ann Curry shows us how ordinary people are already witnessing the impact of rising global temperatures." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the preview that followed, Curry proclaimed: "It feels like an all-out assault. For the last year and a half, it seems mother nature has thrown everything at us. What on Earth is going on?" She touted how "for more than a year" she and her news crew had been "searching for answers to what's causing these weather extremes."
Longtime NBC sportscaster Bob Costas appeared on Wednesday's edition of the network's hour-long Late Night program, which is hosted by Seth Myers. The former member of the Saturday Night Live cast threw softball questions at his guest regarding “minor controversies” he caused by inserting liberal political commentary into his sports coverage.
After a discussion that included the TV broadcaster's views on the “gun culture” within the National Football League, his fawning description of Vladmir Putin at the beginning of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and his strong dislike of the name of the Washington Redskins NFL team, Costas was praised by Myers for “making sports a lot more interesting.” Costas suggested mostly "angry" people on "extreme" venues were upset, not so much the average American on the street.
After eagerly promoting President Obama's selfie with Red Sox player David Ortiz on Wednesday, Thursday's NBC's Today and CBS This Morning expressed their dismay that Ortiz may have staged the seemingly spontaneous cell phone picture to promote his sponsor Samsung. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie lamented: "Okay, so turns out that wasn't as spontaneous as it looks. The selfie was captured with a Samsung phone and it turns out, mm-hm, you guessed it, David Ortiz has an endorsement deal with Samsung....I think it's kind of ridiculous that it's a product placement. And also because I thought it was a really cute moment, so I guess I'm kind of disappointed."
Despite a tragic shooting at Fort Hood, a major Supreme Court ruling and developments on Benghazi, all three morning shows on Thursday devoted time to Bill Clinton's discussion of aliens on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Yet, NBC's Today, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning ignored a profoundly dumb question from the comic regarding Clinton running for vice president. [See video of the question below. MP3 audio here.]
Instead, GMA's Amy Robach enthused, "And finally, former President Bill Clinton isn't ruling out a possible alien invasion here on Earth. He visited Jimmy Kimmel last night and revealed that he did, in fact, look into the possibility when he was president." Talking to co-host and former Democratic operative George Stephanopoulos, she wondered, "George, was it the common topic of conversation in the Clinton administration?"
On Thursday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander decried Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling striking down some campaign finance restrictions: "So just consider this, in just twelve year from the 2000 elections to those in 2012, total campaign spending in this country doubled from $3 billion to $6.3 billion. And the Supreme Court ruling now opens the door even wider for unlimited money in politics that has obviously already skyrocketed." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Alexander assumed viewers agreed with that liberal narrative: "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. The Supreme Court struck down a decades-old campaign law..."
There is a jobs crisis in the U.S. that is going virtually unnoticed by the broadcast networks. The unemployment rate for African Americans towers over the national average, upsetting conservatives and liberals.
In spite of bipartisan outrage, the three broadcast networks gave just 10 seconds combined to the black unemployment rate around the monthly jobs reports in the past year. Liberal Rev. Jesse Jackson was one of many frustrated people. He has complained that “the media [is] dismissing it as not important.”
Both CBS's Bob Schieffer and NBC's Brian Williams cried foul on Wednesday evening at the Supreme Court striking down the cap on overall political donations, showing sympathy for supporters of the law.
Schieffer lamented that "More and more, the very rich are taking control of our politics" and that "this ruling is just one more sign that we no longer have any campaign laws that really matter." Brian Williams actually quoted liberal Justice Stephen Breyer and asked what opponents of the decision could do. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Forget all the unanswered questions about ObamaCare or the President's sinking poll numbers or the Democratic Party's vulnerability in the midterm elections, on Wednesday's NBC Today, all that was wiped away by President Obama taking a selfie with Red Sox player David Ortiz. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
As fill-in news anchor Tamron Hall put it, "In a town where they don't agree on a lot, I think everyone agrees that this was a pretty cool moment....The Red Sox meeting with the President.... Big Papi [David Ortiz] with the President preparing to take his official photo. Then, he went rogue....The Big Papi selfie....Look at those smiles there. A good day in Washington."
While ABC, NBC, and CBS all hyped President Obama slamming Republican opposition to ObamaCare during his Tuesday "victory lap" in the White House Rose Garden, the network coverage that evening and Wednesday morning did not include a single GOP sound bite on the topic. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Tuesday's ABC World News, White House correspondent Jon Karl proclaimed: "It looked like a victory celebration, and the beginning of a new campaign." A clip ran of Obama asserting: "The debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay."
“Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon had some tough words for ObamaCare following the deadline for people to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Speaking on Tuesday April 1, Fallon joked that regarding the 7 million Americans that have signed up for health insurance, “It's amazing what you can achieve when you make something mandatory and fine people if they don't do it and then keep extending the deadline for months.” [See video below.]
As the networks reported on President Obama's Tuesday "victory lap" over ObamaCare's new enrollment numbers, CBS played right into the administration's hands by highlighting the "peace of mind" of a young adult who signed up for health care.
In what could have passed for a White House commercial, CBS's Ben Tracy interviewed an uninsured 33 year-old who "felt like a ticking time bomb" before he signed up for ObamaCare at the deadline. He told CBS "now I have it, so it's – it's sort of a peace of mind thing for me." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Tuesday's NBC Today fawned over Vice President Joe Biden sharing his skin care tips with daytime talk show host Rachael Ray on Monday, with co-host Matt Lauer declaring: "Vice President Joe Biden's smooth complexion was long admired by Rachel Ray. So he revealed his beauty regimen to her. Take a look." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
All three morning shows on Tuesday hyped an "eye-popping" surge on the final day of ObamaCare sign-ups, but NBC's Today minimized the latest problems for those attempting to meet the deadline. Despite two segments on the topics, the four-hour program covered this angle for a scant 22 seconds.
In contrast, Jon Karl on ABC's Good Morning America threw cold water on the celebration. Ignoring co-host George Stephanopoulos's claim that "all signs point to an eye-popping surge in sign-ups for health insurance," Karl warned of "big, unanswered questions." He explained, "One of the biggest is how many of those have signed up were previously uninsured? Remember, this was about expanding insurance coverage." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] He added that "we don't know how many people signed up here...simply had their previous plans cancelled."
The networks all hyped the new United Nations report on climate change on Monday evening, touting it as a dire call for action and an "urgent new warning."
NBC's Brian Williams gave by far the most dramatic take on the report, even starting the Nightly News with the story. "Good evening, the world has never been spoken to quite this way," he soberly began. [See video below.]