After spending about $2.3 trillion in stimulus since 2008, the Federal Reserve’s controversial quantitative easing (QE) strategy’s days may be numbered. MarketWatch expected a decision on the policy from the Fed on Dec. 18, following their two-day meeting.
The policy has many critics including the former Fed employee who lashed out at it in a “Confessions of a Quantitative Easer” op-ed. Studies also show that QE hasn’t been the economic stimulus the Fed had hoped. Yet, when the broadcast networks have discussed how QE impacts the economy they almost unanimously supported the Fed’s purchase program.
Getting a glimpse of the kind of real reporting that can occur on NBC Nightly News when Brian Williams isn't in the anchor chair, on Sunday's edition of the program, weekend anchor Lester Holt informed viewers that "official photo releases" from the Obama administration were "at the center of an escalating battle between the White House and the news media over access and image control." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, White House correspondent Kristen Welker cited National Journal's Ron Fournier calling "images like these pure propaganda, arguing the Obama White House consistently blocks journalists from events they routinely covered in previous administrations." A sound bite followed of Fournier warning: "The White House is getting most of the control. That's not healthy for democracy."
Earlier this morning (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), in a post primarily about the Associated Press's whitewashing of President Barack Obama's quote of the year acknowledging that his multi-year guarantee — "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health clinic care plan, period" — was, ahem, "not ... accurate" (Obama's words), I noted that the related web page for NBC's "Today" show followed the AP's lead by claiming that Obama's original promise and not the admission was the quote of the year.
The video clip present at that same web page is both funny and sad. It's funny, because Tamron Hall began her report by ignorantly asserting that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is "everyone's favorite mayor from the Northeast." It's sad, because like the AP, NBC's video truncated Obama's actual November 14 admission and let it slide without further comment, effectively giving what Ford said about his drinking and use of drugs more weight than Obama's admission that he lied to the American people for years. The clip follows the jump:
All three networks on Monday night and Tuesday morning covered the "major blow" a judge delivered by ruling that the National Security Agency's massive data collection is likely unconstitutional. Yet, NBC's Nightly News managed to mention the President only once in passing. Instead, anchor Brian Williams kept the nearly three and a half minute segment politically vague: "Privacy violation: A surprise ruling about the government's spying on the phone calls made by Americans. The question tonight, what will this change and when?"
Williams lectured, "In the name of keeping us safe, Americans have sacrificed a number of freedoms since 9/11, including the privacy of communications." Journalist Pete Williams added, "It's a serious legal blow to one of the most controversial practices of the NSA." Is it a blow to Obama? Neither journalist said. In contrast, NBC's Today on Tuesday immediately mentioned the President. Matt Lauer opened the segment by noting that "the Obama administration's beginning to plan an appeal of a major court ruling." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In what appears to be a deliberate watering down of the significance of the statement a Yale University librarian has identified as the year's top quote in his eighth annual list, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, used the following headline in its Sunday morning "Big Story" coverage: "OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE PROMISE IS 2013 TOP QUOTE."
Uh, no. The statement tagged as 2013's top quote is Obama's admission that the guarantee he made dozens of times over a several-year period — "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan, period" — was, ahem, "not ... accurate" (Obama's words). The wire service also truncated what Obama actually said in his November 14 admission, yet didn't employ an ellipsis in doing so.
Teasing an upcoming story on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer fretted over "the emotional debate ignited by a Fox News anchor over Santa's true race," referring to FNC host Megyn Kelly saying that Santa Claus is white. Minutes later, news reader Natalie Morales promoted the same segment by proclaiming: "Why St. Nick has suddenly become the most controversial figure of the season." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Kristen Welker declared: "This debate is focused on Santa Claus, but really it's about a much larger issue in this country – the issue of race. And it all started when a popular cable news anchor declared Santa is white....Words that got her on the naughty list of some news organizations, pundits, and late-night comedians."
Print, broadcast or web, the media sure aren’t Nostradamus. In spite of their best attempts, the news media have gotten it wrong prediction after prediction on a wide range of business and economic issues in 2013.
Just in the past year, reporters warned of “economic doomsday,” thought Healthcare.gov was going to be “easy” just like Amazon.com, and warned of melting polar ice, even as a new record was set for ice mass.
CBS This Morning stood out on Monday as the only mention so far on the Big Three's morning and evening newscasts of the New York Times' Sunday item about sheriffs in Colorado who are "refusing to enforce" gun control laws passed earlier in 2013, "saying that they are too vague and violate Second Amendment rights. Many more say that enforcement will be 'a very low priority,' as several sheriffs put it."
Anchor Charlie Rose devoted a 14-second news brief to writer Erica Goode's story about the law enforcement officials' stance against the new laws in the Centennial State: [audio available here; video below the jump]
In an attempt to stir tensions within the Republican Party over the recent budget deal, on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, host David Gregory falsely claimed that Florida Senator Marco Rubio had denounced the agreement as "un-American." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Gregory cited the fictional quote twice to Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, one of the architects of the deal: "On the Right, my colleague Kelly O'Donnell spoke to your colleague Marco Rubio. He calls this an un-American deal....when Senator Rubio says it's un-American, is that just because he's running for president, do you think?"
Jay Leno took some more shots at the current White House resident Friday.
During his opening monologue, the NBC Tonight Show host likened Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III to President Obama saying, “He had a great first year in Washington, he showed incredible promise, then the whole thing fell apart” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Managing Editor's Note: Due to a Media Research Center Christmas party held this afternoon, this post was pre-written Friday morning -- well before the school shooting today in Centennial, Colorado -- and was scheduled to automatically post at 3 p.m. Eastern. We regret the unfortunate but accidental timing and our thoughts and prayers are with the citizens of Centennial.
Two days ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Newtown mass murder, Dr. Nancy Snyderman took to the air on NBC's Nightly News, labeling gun violence a public health issue. However, neither Snyderman nor anybody quoted in the story made it clear exactly why the gun issue is a matter of public health.
Anchor Brian Williams introduced the December 12 news package like this:
Al Roker’s man crush on Vice President Biden took a new and unusual turn on Friday’s Today.
Speaking with co-hosts Natalie Morales and Willie Geist, the NBC weatherman (jokingly?) expressed his desire to, “make the pitch [for Biden to co-host Today] wrapped in a box. I'm going to deliver myself on the front steps. Big bow in a box. He's going to open it. Mr. Vice president.” [See video after jump.]
Leading off Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams declared: "It's war. A private battle blows wide open in public as the most powerful Republican in Washington says he's had enough, coming out swinging against members of his own party." Moments later, he hailed House Speaker John Boehner's "rare outburst of candor mixed with anger and frustration" at conservatives critical of the new budget deal in Congress. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Williams contemptuously observed: "His problem has been the rise of the Tea Party faction, the newly arrived and highly motivated members who do not go along or get along with the wishes of the leadership....Now they've gone after a budget deal that represents real compromise and keeps the country running. The Speaker today decided he's had enough and he said so."
Earlier this week, NBC Sports announced that "Moscow-based TV journalist Vladimir Posner (also frequently spelled "Pozner") will be a correspondent for NBC Olympics’ late-night show with Bob Costas during the Sochi Games."
To call Posner's background "problematic" is like saying that Bob Filner, former Democratic Mayor of San Diego, has a bit of a problem with how he treats members of the opposite sex. Posner is an old hand at defending and dissembling the worst excesses of the Soviet Union, including but not limited to the following exchange from 1980 cited by Lisa de Moraes at Deadline.com on Wednesday (bolds are mine throughout this post):
On Tuesday's Nightly News, after news broke of a budget deal in Congress, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell announced: "...the usual Washington dysfunction is on hold tonight." She touted the agreement to anchor Brian Willams by noting: "It would also roll back some of the harshest automatic spending cuts, the sequester for the Pentagon and domestic programs." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
O'Donnell cautioned that the deal "does not extend jobless benefits for those out of work the longest..." On Wednesday's broadcast, fill-in anchor Ann Curry picked up on that point and fretted: "While the agreement avoids another government shutdown next month, it also sidestepped dealing with the crisis facing 1.3 million Americans who've been out of work for a long time. And that means their unemployment benefits will stop at the end of the month unless Congress takes action."
The journalists at the CBS Evening News on Wednesday portrayed the possible scuttling of a budget compromise as the fault of conservatives opposing a "too-good-to-be-true" deal. Over on NBC's Nightly News, the reporters derided the plan as not spending enough, worrying about extending unemployment benefits. ABC's World News on Wednesday and Good Morning America on Thursday totally skipped the story.
Evening News anchor Scott Pelley opened the show by lamenting, "It sounded almost too good to be true when we told you last night that Democrats and Republicans agreed on a federal budget without driving the nation to edge of fiscal disaster." Reporter Nancy Cordes alerted, "Scott, what made Republican leaders so angry was the fact that these powerful outside groups were once again urging Republicans to vote against a fragile compromise that had been worked out by a party standard bearer," referring to Paul Ryan. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
All three networks on Wednesday engaged in damage control for the White House following criticism of President Obama's selfie during Tuesday's Mandela memorial service. On CBS This Morning, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante even made this absurd assertion: "The President might have caused a diplomatic incident if he had declined the invitation to be in a photo with two long-time allies." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The cast of NBC's Today also justified the incident, with co-host Savannah Guthrie arguing: "I think some people thought it's not appropriate because it's a funeral. On the other hand, it wasn't a funeral, it was a memorial service." Weatherman Al Roker added: "It was a memorial, it was a celebration." Matt Lauer chimed in: "There were people singing and dancing all around them."
After Brian Williams touted President Obama's handshake with Cuban dictator Raul Castro as "one of the better moments" at Tuesday's memorial service for Nelson Mandela, correspondent Lester Holt went further on Wednesday's NBC Today, hailing the encounter as "a true Mandela moment." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A sound bite followed of Democratic Congressman John Lewis gushing: "It's the power of Nelson Mandela to bring President Barack Obama together and Raul Castro together here in South Africa." Prior to Williams on Tuesday, Holt had similarly declared that "the measure of Mandela [was] so great" that "America's presidents shared a stage" with Castro.
Jay Leno took another shot at the President Tuesday night.
Early in his opening monologue, the NBC Tonight Show host commented about Kanye West wanting to be the Obama of clothing saying, “To achieve his goal, he's designing fashion nobody wants and offering it on a website that doesn't work” (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
Reporting from South Africa on Tuesday's NBC Today about the memorial ceremony for Nelson Mandela, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams noted how the "dignitary section has some criminals, some thieves, some kings, some presidents" and that "Several have been life-long sworn enemies." He then proclaimed that President Obama's "handshake with [Cuban leader] Raul Castro was one of the better moments." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Williams gushed that oppressive dictators sitting side by side with democratically elected leaders of the free world was somehow part of Mandela's legacy: "What would Nelson Mandela say to all of them and say to all of this? Most of the speakers have urged the crowd, 'Go on, behave like him, live like him, be infused with his spirit going forward and maybe we could get some place.'"
As NewsBusters has been reporting, NBC Tonight Show host Jay Leno has been very critical of the current White House resident in recent months.
Possibly his harshest joke yet came Monday when he said, "I tell you, this winter storm has left thousands without electricity. It's as if President Obama had taken over the power companies" (video follows with commentary):
Saturday, Dec. 14 marks a year since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. In the run-up to that tragic anniversary, Americans can expect to hear demands for gun control from sanctimonious Hollywood stars, just as they did in the wake of the shooting.
Their demands were hypocritical then, and they’re even more hypocritical now. The entertainment industry makes huge profits depicting and often even glorifying violence – especially gun violence. For proof, look no farther than the top TV dramas that anchor prime time for both the broadcast networks and basic cable channels. Video after the break.
Lisa de Moraes of Deadline.com reports NBC has found that somehow, Bob Costas just isn’t enough of a liberal blowhard for its Winter Olympics coverage in Sochi, Russia.
“The network announced this morning it has hired New Yorker editor (and former Washington Post Moscow bureau chief) David Remnick to provide guest commentary on the network’s air during its coverage of the Games,” which basically combines all the expected liberal Obama-loving attitude with someone who lived and reported in Moscow as the Soviet Union collapsed:
On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, host David Gregory used the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela to lecture American politicians: "Mandela refused to be consumed by hatred and insisted on working toward a common purpose with his political foes. That, seems to me, is what is missing from this era of argument in Washington." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
However, Gregory portrayed President Obama as the victim of such polarization, rather than one of its instigators: "The election of our 44th president was similarly an example of how countries can overcome their past....Yet, President Obama has struggled since he made history. He still aspires to achieve political consensus on some of the country's most pressing challenges."
Norah O'Donnell's 20-second news brief on Monday's CBS This Morning is the sole Big Three network mention so far of the Wall Street Journal's Sunday report about a "troubling element" of ObamaCare – exorbitant deductibles with the no-frills plans available on the health care exchanges.
O'Donnell zeroed in on the item by reporters Leslie Scism and Timothy W. Martin, who cited a new report that found that "the average individual deductible for...a bronze plan on the exchange...is $5,081 a year": [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
When Rush Limbaugh caused a stir with his comments about feminist activist Sandra Fluke, the media were whipped into a frenzy, with the Big Three broadcast networks devoting 32 stories to the row in two weeks' time. Yet there were a grand total of zero stories devoted to former MSNBC host Martin Bashir expressing on his November 15 program that he would like to see someone defecate into the former Alaska governor's mouth.
"It was 100-fold more serious than anything Rush Limbaugh has ever said about anyone in 30 years on his show. Yet [there were] 32 stories, which is a tsunami, on Rush Limbaugh, nothing, crickets about Martin Bashir," Media Research Center founder and president Brent Bozell told Fox News host Megyn Kelly on the December 6 edition of The Kelly File. Bozell added that Bashir was symptomatic of "a real misogyny" at MSNBC against conservative women [WATCH video below page break; LISTEN to MP3 audio here]:
Amid the tributes looking back at the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela following his death on Thursday, Friday's NBC Today and ABC's Good Morning America both managed to take shots at Ronald Reagan for not being supportive of Mandela during Apartheid. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Today, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell proclaimed: "The U.S. wasn't always on Mandela's side. In the 1980s, President Reagan supported the Apartheid regime, a cold war ally, even as protests broke out on college campuses across America demanding that the U.S. punish the regime....Finally, Congress, including key Republicans, overrode Reagan's veto, imposing the economic sanctions that helped break the Apartheid regime."
On Thursday, ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning newscasts all spotlighted how "fast food workers across the country are holding strikes to demand higher wages", but failed to point out the involvement of left-leaning groups in organizing the protests. ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning featured spokesmen from the "Fast Food Forward" movement, but didn't include their respective involvement in the SEIU and a successor organization to ACORN.
The ABC and CBS morning shows also slanted towards the protesters by a two-to-one margin in the number of soundbites from the protesters and liberal supporters, versus opponents of raising the minimum wage. While NBC's Today didn't feature any of the protest organizers, the show played three clips from a fast food employee and a protest supporter, versus two from opponents. [MP3 audio available here; video clips below the jump]
On Monday Rep. Darrell Issa, the chairman of the Oversight Committee investigating the IRS’s targeting of the Tea Party, made a stunning claim that the FBI was stonewalling his investigation.
Last week, Issa was so frustrated with William Wilkins' testimony, in which he used the phrase “I don’t recall” 80 times, he accused the IRS chief counsel of “either a deliberate attempt to obfuscate” or “gross incompetence.” Number of Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) stories on these stunning allegations? Zero.
CBS This Morning stood out on Wednesday as the only Big Three newscast so far to devote any air time to a new gun control proposal by Democrats in Congress. Nancy Cordes reported on the "fierce opposition" to a proposed amendment to an extension of an existing ban on so-called "plastic guns", which would "require that all guns contain a piece of metal that cannot be removed".
However, both of Cordes' talking heads during the segment were from Democratic supporters of the proposal, and she failed to include any soundbites from gun rights supporters. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]