The election of Barack Obama was certainly historic, and the great attraction of that historic moment led to more history: an Obama-smitten news media that completely avoided their responsibility to test the nominee with hard questions. It made the gooey 1992 Clinton campaign look like a fistfight by comparison.
Obama faced none of the withering scrutiny applied to even the Republican vice presidential candidate. Instead, he was treated to a nearly constant string of encomiums and tributes to his transformational candidacy, while nearly every possible pitfall of political embarrassment or inconvenience has been omitted or dismissed.
Even though the votes have all been counted, NBC couldn't resist taking one last shot at GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin on this morning's Today broadcast.
Last week, CMI released a study documenting the media's character assassination of Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Analysts found that during a two-week period earlier this fall the media pushed three major narratives about Palin: that she was unqualified and unintelligent, that she's tearing apart the conservative movement and that she's little more than McCain's attack dog. All three networks reinforced the "unintelligent" theme by repeatedly playing clips from Saturday Night Live's skits ridiculing Palin, and embarrassing moments from Palin's interview with CBS anchor Katie Couric.
Reporter Savannah Guthrie virtually recapitulated CMI's study in a single news segment, rehashing all three narratives during her brief report on Palin's future in the Republican party.
Jaws dropped among NBC viewers just after President Bush's gracious White House speech today in the 10am hour of Today welcoming President-Elect Obama. NBC political analyst Chuck Todd accused Bush of looking like he "wanted to bask in the reflected glory of the history that was made...just like John McCain did last night." Todd also said it was striking since Bush was "the man who's probably more responsible for not just Obama's election but John McCain's defeat than anybody else." Todd also insisted Bush was "responsible" for all the GOP congressional losses. [audio available here]
Is this how NBC wants to greet two Republicans energetically offering gracious concessions? Trashing them for "basking" in Obama's glory? Here's a fuller transcript:
LAUER: Very gracious comments from the president during extremely difficult times for him this morning.
NBC anchor Brian Williams appeared on the Tavis Smiley show on PBS on Monday night and trashed Joe the Plumber's anti-tax cause as a silly issue, not a serious question about the redistribution of wealth: "Look at how our attention was able to get pulled into pigs and lipstick and plumbers. We got a plumber who's the third member of the GOP ticket, in effect, and that's - it's all of our fault, yes, and there will be time to bloody our own backs with chains, but it's also the sorry state of our discourse as if, Tavis, we don't have enough serious issues to concentrate on." Williams added: "I think we may find out it was a movement year, we may find out we all had to step aside and just let it happen, and we may decide we went down too many rat holes of distractions on our way there."
Williams also complained once again about the delay in his Sarah Palin interview, given his network’s leading stature. "I went more than third -- I went fifth or sixth," even as he added: "I think she's a professional at her job, I try to be at mine, and we kind of quickly got over it." Sounds like he hasn’t.
On his syndicated Chris Matthews Show on Sunday, the conspicuously pro-Obama MSNBC host announced how he expected that “election night is going to be emotional for all of us....Particularly if it goes in that historic direction, it’s going to be very emotional for everybody. I mean, everybody.”
A few minutes later, in his closing commentary about the election, Matthews (a potential Democratic Senate candidate in 2010) offered a not-very veiled endorsement of Barack Obama, suggesting his election would mean a “leap towards something better and uniting our country as never before in our history.”
So we’ll be more united than we were after 9/11? More united than during World War II? Maybe the bartender who serves the Obama Kool-Aid at MSNBC had better cut Matthews off — he’s had a few too many.
"Saturday Night Live" absolutely skewered MSNBC's Keith Olbermann last night accurately depicting the "Countdown" host as a pompous, dishonest buffoon who regularly takes things completely out of context, or just plain makes things up, in order to lambast Republicans.
Frankly, it was shocking to see an NBC program so aggressively attack a fellow employee, and to watch the excessively liberal actor Ben Affleck, playing the part of Olbermann, participate in the skit.
This must-see video is embedded below the fold with a rough transcript:
Going into Tuesday’s election, polls show Democrat Barack Obama with a modest lead over Republican John McCain, but one group whose support of Obama should not be in doubt is the national media. Surveys of journalists conducted over the past three decades show the media elite are extremely consistent in choosing Democratic candidates on Election Day.
If only journalists were permitted to vote, we would never have had a President Reagan or a President Bush, but would have instead faced Presidents McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis and Kerry. It wouldn’t have been close.
In their 1986 book, The Media Elite, political scientists S. Robert Lichter, Stanley Rothman and Linda S. Lichter reported the results of their survey of 240 journalists at the nation’s top media outlets: ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report. When asked about their voting patterns, journalists admitted their preference for Democrats:
Mark Whitaker, head of the NBC News DC bureau, got off today's unintentional laugh line when he described Barack Obama as having "lifted himself up from the streets of Hawaii."
Oh those mean streets of Hawaii. You know, the sort pictured here at the Punahou school that Obama attended from 5-12th grade. While attending Punahou, Obama lived with his grandparents. Readers will recall that grandma Dunham was . . . a vice-president of the Bank of Hawaii.
Yes, the media are rooting for Barack Obama. Two studies out in the past couple of days show that it’s not just conservatives who see a strong tilt by journalists in favor of the Democrats: A nonpartisan media monitoring group and a liberal-leaning research organization both confirm the pro-Obama, anti-McCain bias of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC.
In reports this week, the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) and the Pew-funded Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) found the most balanced campaign coverage was on the Fox News Channel, although PEJ claimed FNC’s balance was actually a right-leaning bias, since it deviated from the “norm” of other big media:
Busybody Keith Olbermann couldn't wait to see how Saturday Night Live was going to portray him. So, says Politico.com's Michael Calderone, he apparently breached the show's (I thought) tight security to find out.
And of course, when contacted, the MSNBC host took yet another cheap shot at his personal obsession, Sarah Palin. It was just a few weeks ago on NBC's Sunday Night Football that Olbermann made a Palin Derangement Syndrome-betraying allusion when describing the mental condition of a just-injured NFL quarterback.
My 14-year-old daughter informed me that the many of the young teens in her school are dressing up as Sarah Palin for Halloween. Given that she attends school in very blue Northern Virginia, I asked her if the girls were dressing up as Governor Palin because they thought she was "scary."
"Oh, yes," she replied.
Well, at least they'll be dressed conservatively. A few less skankily-clad kids parading through the neighborhood.
Yes, Cruella, it's Halloween, the time for costume makers to make their annual contribution to the premature sexualization of young children.
NBC's "Today" show, on Thursday, aired an "Access Hollywood," clip of Cher wearing a "Barack the Vote," t-shirt as she actually bashed George W. Bush, to his first cousin's face. The President's first cousin, and "Access Hollywood," host Billy Bush conducted the interview in which Cher declared: "I've been alive for 11 presidents and I feel that this is the worst time I've ever seen," and called the current President, "The Big Divider." Cher also claimed the only way she would be seen at a Sarah Palin rally would be "in my nightmares."
The following exchange was aired on the October 30, "Today" show:
As longtime NewsBusters readers are painfully aware, the supposedly objective news media have showered Barack Obama with fawning press coverage throughout his campaign for the White House. (That, plus a $600 million war chest, will apparently get you pretty far in politics.) The Media Research Center has assembled a special Campaign 2008 edition of our bi-weekly Notable Quotables, chock full of journalists’ most adoring pro-Obama quotes. The full collection can be found here, but here are a few of the choicer quotes and along with a memorable video:
Love at First Sight
“I think the real breakout tonight is [Illinois Senate candidate Barack] Obama. I mean, Teresa [Heinz-Kerry] is a fascinating story, but Obama is a rock star!” — NBC’s Andrea Mitchell during MSNBC’s live coverage of the Democratic convention, July 27, 2004.
NBC's Andrea Mitchell devoted virtually her entire story, on Wednesday's "Today" show, to jotting down all the negatives going against the McCain campaign including Obama's advantages in fundraising, ad time, the polls and even the weather as she passed along this omen:
Still at a time when everything can be viewed as a sign of how things are going, they [McCain campaign] called off their midday rally outside Philadelphia because of stormy weather.
First up, Mitchell started her piece by tallying up all the Obama media appearances:
John McCain is trying to get his message out as Barack Obama tries to dominate the airwaves with a prime time infomercial just before the World Series game, a late night rally with Bill Clinton and an appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
Now Mitchell did air a clip of McCain quipping to Philadelphia voters that at least he's not going to delay their chance to watch the Phillies in the World Series, but she countered:
John McCain took a shot at Barack Obama's planned TV blitz, but he struck out when Fox, broadcasting the rain-delayed fifth game, said that wasn't the plan. Fox is simply bumping its pre-game show for Obama's program. The Series will start on time.
Is it any wonder that polls revealed a 17 percent increase in Palin's unfavorability ratings in just one month?
After examining the TV news coverage of Palin from September 29 to October 12, CMI found that ABC, NBC and CBS news shows ran 69 stories about Palin. 2 stories were positive, 37 were negative and 30 were neutral. The 2 positive stories were a two-part interview with Palin's parents on the CBS Early Show. Not one of the major network evening news programs - ABC's World News, NBC's Nightly News, and CBS's Evening News - ran a single positive story about Palin.
ABC was hardest on Palin, as 60 percent of its stories on Palin were negative. NBC came in second, as 54 percent of its stories were negative. CBS also ran 54 percent negative stories, but also ran the only two positive stories (8 percent).
CMI found that the networks promoted three major narratives about Palin:
If Obama wins on Tuesday night, Chris Matthews's mocking this morning of the notion that the polls are tightening will be soon forgotten. But if McCain pulls off the upset, Matthews's smirking triumphalism will take its place in the halls of journalistic hubris near the famous photo of Harry Truman holding up the Dewey Defeats Truman front page.
Just before Matthews came on, Andrea Mitchell ended her set-up segment by mentioning that the McCain campaign had released internal polls showing the race tied in the battleground states. When Meredith Vieira opened the Matthews interview by asking him to comment, the Hardball host went into full mock mode.
Well the media has officially gotten cocky when they start predicting that the reddest of red states could be in play for Barack Obama, and that's precisely what NBC's Ron Mott did on Tuesday's "Today" show, when he cheered that Texas, "May be surprisingly competitive." [audio excerpt available here]
In a report on early voting, Mott noted the long lines for those willing to participate in early voting and celebrated:
So far Democratic voters appear to be the ones most willing to wait, and that could spell good news for Senator Barack Obama who's encouraged supporters, including his legion of newly registered young voters, to take advantage of early voting in 32 states and they've answered the call.
Then a little later, before throwing it back to "Today" anchor Meredith Vieira, Mott concluded the story with this overly confident observation:
Polls here in Texas give Senator McCain a relatively comfortable advantage but Democrats are nonetheless optimistic. They point to record turnout that we've seen so far, and a record number of registered voters, 13.5 million, as two signs perhaps that Texas may be surprisingly competitive this time next week. Meredith?
The following is the full story as it was aired on the October 28, "Today" show:
ABC's "Good Morning America" and CBS's "Early Show" on Tuesday avoided any mention of the newly found 2001 audiotape in which then-state Senator Barack Obama lamented to a radio interviewer that "the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth." Only NBC's "Today" show played any of the tape.
GMA and "Early Show" hinted around the subject, but simply in terms of describing it as an attack on Obama. ABC co-host Robin Roberts vaguely asserted, "John McCain claiming Barack Obamais a socialist. Obama countering that McCain is a Bush Republican." On CBS, reporter Jeff Glor continued the equivalence. He derided, "Meanwhile, the campaigns were making their closing arguments, with special emphasis on the arguing part."
Both morning shows replayed McCain's critique in a Pennsylvania speech: "Senator Obama is running to be redistributionist [sic] in chief. I'm running to be commander in chief." But without the context of the audiotape, GMA and "Early Show" portrayed it as just more negative campaigning.
If you needed any more evidence that the media meme regarding Sarah Palin not being qualified for vice president is nothing but liberal propaganda from America's Obama-loving press you got it on Sunday's "The Chris Matthews Show."
After the panel of New York magazine's John Heilemann, the Washington Post's Anne Kornblut, NBC's Andrea Mitchell, and the Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page unanimously concluded that Palin was a horrible choice as John McCain's runningmate due to her lack of qualifications, they all agreed that she will be a serious candidate for president in 2012 if Obama wins this November.
Interesting hypocrisy, wouldn't you agree?
Readers are strongly encouraged to strap themselves in before proceeding to the following partial transcript of this astonishingly revealing segment (video embedded upper-right):
Barack Obama was so pleased with the findings of a CBS News/New York Times poll that he gave it a plug at the October 15 presidential debate: "Two-thirds of the American people think that Senator McCain is running a negative campaign, versus one-third of mine."
That's what the poll showed, but do people believe this because McCain's ads really are more negative, or because the media have spent more time complaining about them? MRC intern Lyndsi Thomas went over all 213 broadcast morning and evening news stories that discussed the candidates' ads from the end of the primaries (June 4) through October 21. The results show the networks aired nearly three times as many stories criticizing McCain's ads (84) as hitting Obama's (32).
If observers of this campaign have learned one thing, it's that you had better not stand up David Letterman or Brian Williams if you hope to run for high office, lest you risk their diva-like wrath and pouting. Promoting his exclusive interview with John McCain and Sarah Palin, on Thursday's "Today" show the anchor of "NBC Nightly News" repeatedly complained about how long he had to wait to interview Palin, as Williams whined at the top of the segment:
Well let's be very blunt. We have waited patiently, 55 days since Sarah Palin was named to this ticket to get this interview, since her naming as vice presidential nominee.
Then after airing a few clips from the interview, Williams moaned to "Today" show anchor Matt Lauer:
So Matt, again, a 55 day wait for this interview, limited amount of time between the three of us and then later the two of us.
Williams also emphasized his own network's poll that Palin had become a drag on the ticket:
Amanda Carpenter at Townhall brings our attention to something amazing: NBC and MSNBC are working with ACORN and other left-wing interest groups in a "nonpartisan" effort at "Election Protection." Is that a bad joke, working with ACORN on ballot integrity? An NBC press release on Tuesday announced:
With less than 14 days before Election Day, NBC News and Election Protection will be joining forces to help voters ensure that their vote will count. The news leader and the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition will work together to promote the 1-866-OUR-VOTE Hotline and www.866ourvote.org website so that voters can receive live assistance if they encounter problems, and access the information before they head to the polls now through Election Day.
Election Protection is the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition, led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
That would be the same "nonpartisan" lobby group that's staunchly opposed conservative Supreme Court nominees from Bork to Alito.
NBC's "Today" show has yet to report on the scandal surrounding Florida Democratic Congressman Tim Mahoney paying off a former mistress, but on Wednesday's show David Gregory did find time to report on Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann being in "hot water," for her criticisms of Barack Obama on last Friday's "Hardball."
Furthering the story his NBC colleague Chris Matthews started with Bachmann's "Hardball," interview, co-anchor Matt Lauer introduced the Gregory piece: "Call it a million dollar mistake. A controversial congressman, congresswoman went on television and said some things she probably regrets. And her remarks, then helped her opponent raise a staggering amount of money."
Matt Drudge, with some apparent glee, given the black and white picture he used, reported something yours truly has followed for some time: The Big Three networks' evening newscasts continue to lose viewers.
The NBC/MSNBC family of networks has been getting maximum mileage out of Chris Matthews's interview of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) last week. Matthews himself has been recycling clips ever since. This morning, David Gregory narrated a Today show segment about the interview and its aftermath. The only journalist whose views Gregory aired were those of Nick Coleman, columnist at the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
NICK COLEMAN: I think Michele Bachmann unfortunately is one of those politicians who doesn't understand the boundaries of common sense and sometimes common decency.
Over the past few days, the Obama campaign has been claiming — both in ads and in statements by Barack Obama himself — that John McCain would “cut” Medicare benefits by “$882 billion,” a charge that the Associated Press called “shaky” and that FactCheck.org bluntly dismissed as “bogus” and “false.”
Yet of the three broadcast networks, only ABC News has thus far joined the condemnation of Obama’s deceptive ad. NBC on Monday would only go so far as to say “McCain’s advisors say that’s not true...” — implying that it’s merely a partisan difference of opinion — while CBS has thus far refrained from questioning Obama’s truthfulness on this issue.
For weeks now, the networks have complained about the McCain campaign’s supposed nasty and unfair campaign attacks against Obama, so when will NBC and CBS join ABC in punishing this nasty and unfair charge from the Democrats?
Halloween can be an especially eco-unfriendly holiday. There’s the single-use plastic of red devil costumes, countless candy wrappers (not to mention the refined sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and artificial color of the candies themselves) and disposable decorations. According to the National Retail Federation’s Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, Americans will spend more than $5 million on Halloween paraphernalia this year. That’s more than $5 million worth of stuff that ultimately ends up impacting the earth.
Fortunately for us, Belger has some handy tips, such as "organic treats." But before you egg her house, kids, she insists she doesn't mean fruit is the only alternative to candy: