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.]
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."