Well the verdict is in and it looks like the GOP has been severely damaged by its opposition to Obamacare, well at least that was the conclusion of all the liberal members of "The Chris Matthews Show" panel over the weekend. On the syndicated show, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell and HDNET's Dan Rather were unanimous that the "branding" of the GOP as "The Party Of No," has "hurt" them. The New York Times' Helene Cooper chimed in that the Republicans were "gonna be in a really tough spot," and the Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan judged "The town halls clearly hurt them. They turned the debate around in favor of the President."
The following exchanges were aired on the October 18 edition of "The Chris Matthews Show":
Last week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that people in "responsible positions" in his league are held to a "higher standard," reacting to the notion that Limbaugh could be a part-owner of an NFL franchise.
"I have said many times before that we are all held to a higher standard here," Goodell said. "I think divisive comments are not what the NFL is all about. I would not want to see those kind of comments from people who are in a responsible position within the NFL. No. Absolutely not."
After months of investigation, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) released a report addressing accusations from some humanitarian groups that its use of white phosphorus (WP) munitions in the Gaza War was a violation of international law, as the report distinguishes between the use of WP as a weapon and the more common non-weapon purposes such as providing smoke screens to conceal troop movements. The pro-Israel group CAMERA recently quoted from the report in the article, "Did Israel’s Use of White Phosphorus Constitute a War Crime?" by Steven Stotsky, on its Web site. The report not only argued that the military's decision to explode the munition in the air was safer for civilians than it would have been to explode it on the ground, but it also suggested that the use of WP to facilitate troops movements also meant civilian casualties were lower than they otherwise would have been by making attacks on Hamas more accurate.
Last January, evening newscasts and some morning newscasts on the broadcast networks and on CNN and FNC reported on accusations from humanitarian groups – with varying degrees of accuracy – with CBS even referring to WP as a "banned weapon," and a "horrific new weapon, " and contending that the IDF may have committed "war crimes." At one point, CNN similarly incorrectly identified WP as a "banned substance." ABC showed a clip of a wounded Palestinian boy charging that Israelis have "no mercy" even for children. (MSNBC does not have a morning or evening newscast equivalent to NBC’s Today show or the NBC Nightly News, so MSNBC coverage was not examined.) But, according to a Nexis search, none of these news programs showed any interest in updating viewers once the Israeli military had made public its say on the matter.
As previously documented by NewsBusters, the January 22 CBS Evening News ran a report (video here), introduced by anchor Katie Couric, which left the impression that the Israeli military had used a "banned weapon," without informing viewers that there are non-weapon uses for WP, and passed on accusations of "war crimes." Couric: "Hamas just ended a bloody war with Israel in Gaza, and tonight there is growing evidence the Israelis may have used a banned weapon. Some even accuse them of war crimes."
On the January 25 World News Sunday on ABC, as he introduced a report by correspondent Simon McGregor-Wood, anchor Dan Harris played up complaints against "both sides" in the war, and even suggested that the Israeli side may have been worse in its conduct of the war as he highlighted that there was "especially tough criticism" leveled at Israel. Harris: "Both sides are being dogged now by complaints that they violated the rules of war. Israel has come under especially tough criticism for its use of a chemical agent."
When a UFO shaped helium balloon took off from Colorado, possibly harboring a 6-year-old boy, the broadcast and cable news organizations were transfixed. But when it turned out to be a possible "publicity stunt" the networks continued to give it enormous amounts of coverage.
That's exactly the opposite of the way the networks covered made-up quotes attributed to conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh that had portrayed him as racist.
ABC's "Good Morning America," CBS's "The Early Show," and NBC's "Today" devoted 80 minutes and 55 seconds to the story of "balloon boy" Falcon Heene on Oct. 16, when it was clear the boy had not been in the balloon and even after the boy told CNN's Larry King that he was hiding because "we did this for the show."
But since the fictional Limbaugh quotes were exposed, the networks spent only 47 seconds discussing it. Only ABC addressed it at all - on "World News with Charles Gibson" Oct. 12 and re-airing David Muir's brief on "Good Morning America," the next day.
That included a comment from Limbaugh defending himself saying, "They have to go somewhere to find concocted quotes, which are now bordering on slander, libel, whatever it is."
Last night ABC News, as the MRC’s Brent Baker noted, showcased the "Why People Hate You Obama?" kid and on Friday’s "Today" show it was NBC's turn to be charmed by the Obama-adoring child. NBC's Savannah Guthrie, reporting from College Station, Texas about Obama's latest health care pitch and his upcoming joint appearance with George H.W. Bush to promote volunteerism, squeezed in a clip of Tyren Scott asking Obama why people hated him, when they're supposed to love him? After which Natalie Morales cooed: "Alright cute kid there."
The following is the full report as it was aired on the October 16 "Today" show:
Michael Moore makes propaganda movies and many in the news media embraced his latest screed against the free markets: "Capitalism: A Love Story." To NBC, hating capitalism makes Moore a go-to expert for Wall Street bashing.
"Today" interviewed Moore, along with MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan on Oct. 15, in a hit piece on Wall Street bankers and bonuses.
Moore reacted to the bonuses with condemnation of the capitalist system saying, "And I mean, I mean, Matt, these people, they burned down our economy. They completely crashed it. And now they're getting rewarded for it. It'd be like if I burned down your house today and then tomorrow you send me a check for it thanking me. I mean, it's, it's absolutely insane that we allow this to happen. But not surprising, because that's our capitalist system. They can get away with it because it's legal."
NBC and CBS’s morning shows on Thursday completely skipped any reference to the false quotes that forced Rush Limbaugh to be dropped from a group bidding to buy the St. Louis Rams. Only Good Morning America had any coverage at all. News anchor Chris Cuomo simply recapped the development and added, "[Limbaugh] had been criticized for past statements about black players."
Cuomo made no mention of the untrue quotes, such as Limbaugh supposedly having said in the past that "slavery had its merits." Wouldn’t it be only fair for Good Morning America, NBC’s Today and CBS’s Early Show to at least discuss how false statements derailed the conservative’s attempts to own a team?
Wednesday’s NBC Nightly News aired a full report by correspondent Lisa Myers on the ongoing investigation into Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel’s failure to report income over several years to the IRS. Myers detailed some of the numbers:
The powerful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee recently revised six years of financial disclosure statements, revealing more than $600,000 in previously unreported assets and tens of thousands of dollars in unreported income. Among the holdings Rangel failed to report, an investment account and a checking account, each worth at least $250,000. Rangel also has admitted that he failed to report and pay taxes on $75,000 in rental income on this villa in the Dominican Republic.
Reporting on the prospects of an ObamaCare bill coming up for a Senate committee vote, NBC's Athena Jones told Tamron Hall during MSNBC's 4 PM hour today: "It looks like it's going to work out fine to pass tomorrow."
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: “Washington’s largest gay rights rally in a decade puts pressure on President Obama.” Co-host Harry Smith later introduced the story: “An issue that was on the back burner for President Obama suddenly got turned up to high over the weekend. Thanks to a group that is normally supportive of the President, gay rights activists.”
The Early Show coverage failed to label the protestors as being liberal or part of the left-wing base of the Democratic Party. Instead, they were simply referred to as “gay rights supporters.” White House correspondent Bill Plante explained: “The President has yet to deliver on the promises that he made to the gay community and members of that community are concerned. They’ve gathered here in Washington to remind him of those campaign pledges.”
Meanwhile, NBC’s Today and ABC’s Good Morning America downplayed the march, only offering perfunctory news briefs. At the top of Today, co-host Ann Curry reported: “Tens of thousands of gay rights supporters took to the streets of Washington DC on Sunday and demanded that the President keep his promise to allow gays to serve openly in the military. They also want the President to work to end discrimination against gays.” She later repeated the exact same brief in the 9:00AM hour.
NBC’s Today show on Sunday devoted a three-minute report to President Obama’s speech to “gay rights” proponents, where he promised a repeal of the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The report had several sound bites from homosexual critics of the President, and none from proponents of keeping the policy. On the other hand, ABC’s GMA on Sunday had only one 23-second news brief on Obama’s speech.
Thus began El Rushbo’s interview with NBC national correspondent Jamie Gangel. It is remarkable that, even when the media sit down with Limbaugh, they still find a way to be biased. To be fair, Gangel did not conduct the interview like Keith Olbermann might have. But there were a few points of interest which must be noted – and some even pointed out by Rush during the interview.
First up, Gangel asks Rush if he’s a racist or a homophobe:
JAMIE GANGEL [voice over B-roll]: Rush’s brand of satire also keeps everyone talking. Parodies like this one, of Congressman Barney Frank, who also happens to be gay:
BARNEY FRANK IMPERSONATOR, singing: “I am the banking queen!”
GANGEL: And this one about race, and candidate Barack Obama:
In 2006, Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz found that NBC correspondent Richard Engel had strong political feelings: "I think war should be illegal...I'm basically a pacifist." That pacifist opinion is still surfacing, Kurtz reported Monday, although he didn’t recall the sentence from 2006:
Richard Engel, NBC's chief foreign affairs correspondent, has kicked up a fuss with some decidedly pessimistic comments on the war in Afghanistan.
"I honestly think it's probably time to start leaving the country. I really don't see how this is going to end in anything but tears," Engel said last week on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." He added: "The idea of going in to nation-build and win hearts and minds, I think, over the long term is kind of a loser."
Did you think that marriage was about love and selflessness and sharing? Not anymore. Marriage is about getting what's yours. At least according to Suze Orman, the personal finance expert known for saying "I told you so" when the economy crashed.
On Oct. 9 Orman advised "Today" show listeners not to invest in their marriage, saying, "Just to have everything [all your money] together allows you to have a big downfall if something goes wrong." She says it's just commonsense to have three bank accounts, "His, Hers, & Ours," so "nobody could take anybody else's money."
"You enter a relationship as an autonomous human being," Orman said. "You need to have your own money. He or she needs to have his or her own money. And then there needs to be a joint account."
Moments after President Obama’s remarks in the Rose Garden this morning, NBC anchor Brian Williams took a weird shot at the blogosphere as the “comic element of our society,” suggesting perhaps that Obama or the Nobel committee would face three days of mockery over what Williams in the same broadcast himself termed the “bizarre” selection of Obama as this year’s Peace Prize Winner.
In his typically overblown and convoluted fashion, Williams argued to White House reporter Chuck Todd that “the way our society and civilization is set up now,” the “comic element of our society -- the blogosphere, pundits, the opinion-based economy in the United States” would “just get a free shot and have at it for the next three days at least.” [MP3 audio available here]
Even Barack Obama’s fan club on NBC’s Today were stunned at the President’s winning of the Nobel Peace Prize. Co-host Matt Lauer found it baffling: “We’re less than a year into the first term of this president and there are no -- I'm not trying to be, you know, rude here -- no major foreign policy achievements, to date.”
Meet the Press moderator David Gregory felt the need to point out the “left-leaning” impulse of the Europeans who christened Obama as the world’s leading peacemaker for 2009: “This is a lot more about tone than it is substantive accomplishment. In many ways, this is a European body who is more left-leaning, certainly, and opposed to the administration of George W. Bush.”
Lauer followed up: “So, what you're saying in some ways and, again, not to be rude here or sarcastic, that in some ways he wins this award for not being George W. Bush?”
Wednesday’s CBS Evening News With Katie Couric and Thursday’s Early show completely ignored any mention of the fact that the deficit has risen to a staggering $1.4 trillion, triple what it was a year ago. The Early Show, however, did find time to report the incredibly important news that Levi Johnston will be posing for Playgirl.
Just one year ago, on October 7, 2008, Katie Couric made sure to single out the "record federal deficit." She intoned, "Today the Congressional Budget Office reported the red ink totaled $438 billion for the budget year that ended last week. Now, that's nearly three times last year's deficit." Apparently, tripling the deficit is only interesting when it’s done by a Republican.
ABC and NBC’s morning shows all managed to report the new numbers, though mostly in news briefs only. On Wednesday, however, World News anchor Charles Gibson highlighted the report by the Congressional Budget Office on Barack Obama’s health care bill, but skipped the deficit.
In his latest push for a health care overhaul bill, President Obama spoke to doctors in the White House Rose Garden yesterday. Painting a nice picture of the event were many media outlets that neglected to mention the White House's doctoring (forgive the pun) of the audience in an attempt at a powerful photo-op.
Doctors attending the event were instructed to show up in white lab coats to give observers the feeling that doctors stand behind the President's health care plans.
On September 25, NewsBusters asked, "Will SNL take off the gloves and set its sights on the suddenly stumbling, bumbling President?"
On October 3, we got our answer, for on the most recent installment of NBC's "Saturday Night Live," the opening sketch absolutely skewered Barack Obama for having accomplished absolutely nothing since Inauguration Day.
In fact, according to actor Fred Armisen portraying Obama, his two biggest achievements thus far are "JACK and SQUAT!" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, h/t Story Balloon):
It's not too often where both a prominent conservative and a prominent liberal would deviate from their ideological consensus on a particular issue.
However, the news of the day - Chicago being beaten out by Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games is one such instance. MSNBC "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough, who identifies himself as a conservative, said he was glad President Barack Obama gave it shot in an Oct. 2 post on the Huffington Post.
Ironically, the editor of the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington, who is identified as a progressive, said on NBC's Oct. 2 "The Jay Leno Show" that Obama shouldn't have gone to Copenhagen - but not for the reason a lot of critics are suggesting.
Just contrast the current David Letterman sex scandal against the 2004 Bill O'Reilly sex scandal.
Last night, left-leaning CBS Late Show Host David Letterman announced on his program that he had sex with female staffers. Letterman's announcement was spurred by the plot of a CBS producer to force the host to pay $2 million in exchange for his silence on the matter.
ABC, CBS and NBC largely portrayed Letterman as a victim on the morning shows.
CBS, Letterman's network, unsurprisingly went to bat for the comedian. "Early Show" guest host Chris Wragge even used it as way to plug Letterman's show.
A shocking announcement last night. The big headline today for the ‘Late Show' with David Letterman should have been that for the first time in over 15 years since the ‘94 winter games in Lillehammer his biggest ratings gap over ‘The Tonight Show,' but instead he wakes to headlines like this, ‘I had sex with staff' and other various papers here and around the country that are going to lead with this story today. It is big, shocking news.
Correspondent Kelly Wallace began her report by putting Letterman in the victim's spotlight.
We looked specifically at seven months of coverage in 1982 and again in 2009 that had very similar periods of unemployment where it was going up between 8 - between 8 and the high 9 percent range. And what we found was that the network reporting on ABC, NBC and CBS was overwhelmingly negative to Reagan but positive toward Obama. They were actually 13 times more negative to President Reagan than they were to Obama.
CNN’s Candy Crowley tried to prompt former President Jimmy Carter to explain his charge of racism against opponents of President Obama on Thursday’s American Morning, but the Democrat tried to worm his way out of what he said. Crowley paraphrased, “You said, overall, you thought the protesters were upset that there was a black president,” to which Carter replied, “That’s not what I said” [audio clips from the interview are available here].
The topic of the former president’s inflammatory accusation came midway through the CNN correspondent’s live interview during the 8 am Eastern hour. Crowley had first asked Carter about the revamp of his presidential museum and library. Before turning to the Obama/race issue, she also prompted Mrs. Carter, who was also present, to comment on the future of mental health care.
Carter was clearly defensive about his allegation when Crowley brought it up. The correspondent put her question this way: “Mr. President, let me ask you first- domestically, you made some remarks recently about how you felt about the protesters that were protesting against President Obama. You said, overall, you thought the protesters were upset that there was a black president, that there was racism involved.” The former president interrupted, “By the way, that’s not what I said.”
NBC's Natalie Morales, on Wednesday's "Today," was bowled over by the First Couple's "tag-teaming" effort to lure the Olympics to their home city of Chicago. Reporting live from Copenhagen, Morales cheered that "it doesn't get any better in terms of PR blitzes than this," and effused the First Lady was "turning on the charm, as only she can."
"Today" co-anchor Matt Lauer introduced the segment touting the "star-studded campaign" led by the Obamas and Oprah Winfrey, as Morales called that combo a "one, two, three punch" that would require "a secret weapon," for the likes of other competing countries, like Brazil and Japan, to counter. Morales ended her report noting "the glitz will be on once again in full," as the First Lady is expected appear at a gala, that Morales giddily wished to attend: "I'm hoping I get a red carpet ticket today, at least, for that event."
The following segment was aired on the October 1, "Today" show:
Unemployment is currently at a 26-year-high of 9.7 percent and expected to continue rising. The last president to govern with such high unemployment was President Ronald Reagan.
But in 1982, when unemployment was rising similarly to the way it has in 2009 the network news media were merciless quoting attacks from Democrats, union leaders and the unemployed to attack Reagan's "sadistic" fiscal policies.
2009 was a different story, for a different president. Even though unemployment has shot up from 8.1 percent since February, network reporters looked for "hopeful signs" of an economic turnaround in their jobs report.
The Business & Media Institute just released a Special Report: Networks Flip Flop on Jobs that exposes that double-standard of unemployment coverage from 1982 and 2009 (See video below). The full report is available here, but here are some of our major findings:
What do you do to unwind at the end of the day? Read a book? Take a bath? Watch some TV? Well, maybe you should think about smoking some pot. At least that's the latest advice from NBC's "Today" show.
On Sept. 30 an entire segment was devoted to discussing the positive aspects of pot smoking and included a pitch for legalization. "Today's" Matt Lauer interviewed Joanna Coles, the editor-in-chief of Marie Claire, about the magazine's recent article "Stiletto Stoners," which highlighted "educated, career-minded, successful women" who are "casual, recreational" pot smokers.
Coles said that these "Stiletto Stoners" are "highly functioning women who - you know - these are not people who are lying on park benches - the typical picture of someone who's addicted to drugs. They're casual, recreational users who find it very effective."
Uniquely among the broadcast network evening newscasts, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams gave attention to "incendiary" comments made by Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida, who charged that the Republican plan for health care is that people should "die quickly" if they get sick, prompting Republicans to demand an apology.
Williams seemed to signal his own disapproval of Grayson’s words as the NBC anchor introduced the item by remarking that "there’s something about this health care debate that makes some people say the most incendiary things." After playing a clip of Grayson’s comments, Williams informed viewers that the Democratic Congressman not only refused to apologize but "compared America’s health care situation to the Holocaust."
Below is a complete transcript of the relevant portion of the Wednesday, September 30, NBC Nightly News:
NBC's Matt Lauer gave a "Today" show guest a free pass when she insisted that director/criminal/former fugitive Roman Polanski did not rape a 13-year-old girl in 1977. Debra Tate, sister of Polanski's late wife Sharon Tate, told Lauer, "There is, as I said, rape and there is rape. It was determined Roman did not forcibly have sex with this young woman. It was a consensual matter."
Lauer's response was simply, "Right."
Tate continued, "I am a victims' advocate, and I know the difference." Lauer agreed, saying "And I understand that, and yes, there is a difference."
Tate was the latest in a parade of Polanski defenders to appear on network television.
At no point in the interview did Lauer bring up the grand jury testimony of the 13-year-old girl which refuted the idea that Polanski's encounter was not "forcible" and that it was consensual. Only later did he note that Polanski did commit statutory rape.