There must have been a twitch in the universe on Wednesday evening as NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams – who has a history of highlighting concerns of interest to the environmentalist left – actually ran a story highlighting complaints by some Europeans that the "going green" movement is going too far as the European Union is banning the use of old-fashioned lightbulbs in favor of a more energy efficient model. Correspondent Dawna Friesen noted that the new bulbs not only are more expensive but that the quality of light produced is inferior to traditional lightbulbs, as she warned that the same ban is coming to America in just a few years.
Williams’s history of devoting time to environmental issues has included such notable episodes as the time he confessed to fretting about whether he should choose paper or plastic at the grocery store -- which he referred to as "quaking with fear" -- as well as a discussion from his days anchoring MSNBC’s News with Brian Williams on whether it was "downright unpatriotic" to drive an SUV after the 9/11 attacks because of America's dependence on oil imports. So, if even Brian Williams has hesitation about switching over to these newer-style bulbs, they must really be awful.
Four years have elapsed since one of the most amazing cases of Republican-bashing media bias in the television era began. The media elites laugh when preachers say immorality causes God to send hurricanes, but they suggested with straight faces that Hurricane Katrina was a death sentence President Bush and his cronies brought to the less fortunate.
In the early spin, race-baiting rapper Kanye West and "objective" anchors like Brian Williams were in rhetorical sync: George Bush didn’t care about black people. On "The Daily Show," Williams said "everyone" knew Bush would have done better if white people were endangered: "Everyone watching the coverage all week, that kind of reached its peak last weekend, kept saying the same refrain: ‘How is this happening in the United States?’ And the other refrain was, ‘Had this been Nantucket, had this been Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, how many choppers would have –’"
Williams couldn’t finish. The liberal audience drowned him in applause.
"My first date with my girlfriend Susan was at a shooting range," Maddow said. "That was awesome. It was ladies' day on the range. Her sister is a lifetime NRA member and she was organizing ladies' day on the range at her gun club. So we did it. We shot AR-15s and we threw tomahawks and we did archery, pistols and skeets."
The death of Edward Kennedy was undeniably a big political story, but the five days of intense media coverage also exposed how journalists see the Senator's ardent liberal agenda as an unquestionable good for America, not as controversial policies that fueled high-tax big government at the expense of the free market.
Reporters painted Kennedy as Mother Teresa. "Over five decades, Ted Kennedy carried the torch passed on by his brothers, for civil rights, for the poor, and for the sick," CBS's Harry Smith opened The Early Show on August 26, just hours after Kennedy's passing. "For nearly half a century in the Senate, Ted Kennedy spoke for the people who had no voice — the poor and the disabled, children and the elderly," anchor Katie Couric echoed on that night's CBS Evening News.
NBC's Ann Curry, on Thursday's "Today" show, asked Senator John McCain if "the death of Senator Kennedy" would "be the catalyst" to pass health care reform, but when the Arizona senator responded that it may change the partisan way in which the Democrats have had "no real negotiations" with the GOP to get it passed, Curry demanded that McCain and the Republicans should be the ones to relent as she pushed McCain to "cross the aisle." McCain said he was "willing," but reiterated to Curry, "There's been no opportunity to do so," as seen in the following exchange:
ANN CURRY: Well, one of the next battles before Congress, which is one that, what mattered really most to the Senator, is of course about health care reform. And you faced a lot of rancor, some anger yesterday at a town hall meeting. What do you say about this idea? Could, in fact, the death of Senator Kennedy be the catalyst that might spark the possibility that this actually might go somewhere, as it doesn't seem to be right now? [audio available here]
On Tuesday, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann said Fox News is "serving propaganda to tin foil hatters, conspiracy theorists, paranoids and racists."
On Wednesday, Fox's Bill O'Reilly struck back.
Speaking during his "Pinheads & Patriots" segment during Wednesday's "O'Reilly Factor," the leading voice on cable news once again went after NBC (video and partial transcript embedded below the fold, h/t TVNewser):
The death of columnist and reporter Bob Novak was a sad occasion for conservatives who voraciously read his columns and cheered his verbal punches on cable television for decades. On TV, Novak’s passing was treated with respect, but only briefly: ABC, CBS, and NBC all noted it on their evening news on August 18, but by the next morning, NBC offered only a sentence or two. ABC and CBS had nothing at all. (All three squeezed in the mandatory daily update on Michael Jackson.)
Perhaps this wouldn’t be surprising for a newspaper columnist, since it’s unrealistic to expect self-adoring TV people to think a mere national print journalist would be worth much air time. After all, who even knows what these newspaper people look like? But Novak wasn’t just a newspaper man, but he was a TV personality as well – starting with almost 250 appearances on NBC’s "Meet the Press," many of them well before he became known as a cable gladiator for conservative principles. (This makes is stranger for "NBC Nightly News" to offer him a mere 67 words on the night of his death.)
"I think right now for example, this health care debate looks like it's - we could lose it because I don't think [Obama] he has been tough enough," Maher said. "You know, he used to say in the campaign, ‘It's your time.' This is his time. He should get mad, stop [expletive] around."
One of the hurdles Obama is facing to get his brand of health care made law is some of the more moderate Democrats in the Senate aren't willing to agree to the far-reaching plan Obama and the Democratic congressional leadership want. Maher said it really didn't matter what they thought.
Are you tired of all the focus on what Michelle Obama wears?
Well, the good folks at the "Today" show certainly aren't, for they spent a lot of time this week discussing whether or not the First Lady was dressed appropriately when she got off Air Force One Sunday on her way to the Grand Canyon.
As the nation grapples with such important issues as the ongoing recession and healthcare reform, NBC's morning show actually spent TWO DAYS days talking about Michelle's shorts.
In case you missed it, here are some of the gushing highlights (videos embedded below the fold with full transcripts):
Lost in Thursday's "Today" coverage of Senator Ted Kennedy's letter requesting a succession plan, should the Massachusetts senator be unable to serve due to health reasons, was how nakedly partisan the act was. While NBC's Matt Lauer noted, at the top of the show, that Kennedy sent a "poignant letter to lawmakers," asking for a succession plan, he nor any other NBC correspondent, mentioned that Kennedy was asking for a change in a rule the state Democrats put in place to prevent a then-Republican Governor Mitt Romney from appointing a replacement for Democratic Senator John Kerry, if Kerry had won the presidential election in 2004. Now that Democratic Governor Deval Patrick is in charge, Kennedy is asking the rule be changed back to ensure an extra Democratic vote for a health care bill.
NBC's Anne Thompson missed the partisan ramifications as she depicted a missing Kennedy vote as only a loss to the people of Massachusetts in her piece:
The network morning news shows could not have cared less about the passing of conservative columnist Robert Novak. While ABC, CBS and NBC all ran obituaries during their August 18 evening news shows, ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS’s The Early Show completely skipped over Novak this morning, not once mentioning his death.
Over on NBC’s Today, fill-in news anchor Hoda Kotb squeezed in a brief item during the 7am update: “Friends and fellow journalists are remembering famed columnist and TV commentator Robert Novak. He died Tuesday in Washington after a battle with brain cancer. Robert Novak was 78 years old.”
Push Poll: technique in which an individual or organization attempts to influence or alter the view of respondents under the guise of conducting a poll.
By that definition, it sure seems that NBC is push polling on behalf of ObamaCare. On this morning's Today, NBC News Political Director and Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd reported on a new NBC poll that reflected the fact that, according to him, many Americans continue to believe "the myths" about ObamaCare. But Todd reported that the NBC pollsters also gave people "the facts" about ObamaCare. And after hearing those "facts," a majority supported the plan. Sounds like classic push polling.
And what were those "myths" that NBC supposedly busted? That ObamaCare:
With President Obama and congressional liberals facing loud protests over their big government health care plan, journalists are casting the anti-ObamaCare forces as “ugly,” “unruly,” “nasty” mobs, with reporters presenting the most odious images (like pictures of Obama drawn as Hitler) as somehow representative. But when President George W. Bush faced left-wing protests, the media scrubbed their stories of radical voices and depicted demonstrators as mainstream, and even “prescient.”
In January 2003, all of the broadcast networks touted an anti-war march organized by the radical International ANSWER, an outgrowth of the communist Workers World Party. Signs at the rally read: “USA Is #1 Terrorist,” “Bush Is a Terrorist,” and “The NYPD Are Terrorists Too.” National Review Online quoted several protesters who claimed 9/11 was a Bush plot, “like when Hitler burned down the Reichstag,” and argued Bush would “build a worldwide planetary death machine.”
Reporters bypassed all that hate and showcased the protesters as everyday Americans. On ABC, Bill Blakemore stressed how the protest attracted “Democrats and Republicans, many middle-aged, from all walks of life,” while CBS’s Joie Chen saw “young, old, veterans and veteran activists — all united in the effort to stop the war before it starts.”
NBC's Matt Lauer opened Monday's "Today" show worrying about the possible loss of a public option in Barack Obama's health care reform as he teased viewers at the start of the show: "Reining it in. As President Obama and his family tour the wild west, signs he may drop a key part of his health plan. Is he bowing to pressure from the Republicans and those shouters at town hall meetings?" Later on in the show Lauer pressed Howard Dean from the left, as the "Today" co-host asked the former Democrat Vermont Governor "Without the public option could you support reform?" and pried Dean about his concern that Obama would "compromise further than you'd like him to compromise?"
Lauer began the interview by defining the public option in the most favorable terms possible, terms the former DNC chair found quite acceptable:
MATT LAUER: Let, let's start by making sure people understand exactly what we're talking about when we say this public option. This is a government-run insurance agency that would give people greater choice, some say break the monopoly held by the private insurers and, thus, drive down costs. Is that fair?
On Sunday's "Meet the Press," a bit of a squabble happened when panelists Dick Armey and Rachel Maddow bickered over whether or not MoveOn.org once ran an ad equating former President George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler.
Regardless of who was right, someone should instruct Maddow as to the difference between being a guest and a host, for her continual interruptions when Armey was speaking, though quite commonplace for an MSNBC anchor, were downright rude.
Just watch what happened when host David Gregory asked the very first question directed at Armey (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, relevant section at 3:25):
On Saturday, ABC’s World News Saturday and the NBC Nightly News each ran a story touting the high number of patients arriving at a free clinic in Los Angeles, operated by Remote Area Medical, as evidence of the need for health care reform. For the NBC Nightly News, it was the third such story on the facility of the week.
While ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson had run one story on Friday that focused on the generous work of the organization and its founder, Stan Brock, Saturday was the first time World News had touted the clinic as evidence of the need for reform, or compared America’s poor to the Third World, as stories on the CBS Evening News and the NBC Nightly News had already done previously. And on Saturday, ABC and NBC again failed to inform viewers that patients who arrived at the free clinic were not required to prove financial need to receive service, but were merely accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.
On World News Saturday, ABC anchor Dan Harris set up the piece:
In Inglewood, California, tonight, a vivid demonstration of the health care crisis: A clinic that provides free health care has been inundated with patients. Almost 46 million people in this country do not have health insurance, but the problem is a lot bigger than that. Many people who do have insurance still cannot afford the care that they need.
On today's Meet The Press, Rachel Maddow demanded to know whether Dick Armey was a member of a coalition with the Tea Party Patriots, a group she alleges to promote "violence." Moderator David Gregory joined in the cross-examination of Armey, head of Freedom Works.
On Friday’s broadcast network evening newscasts, the CBS Evening News uniquely noted that Democrats in Montana had "orchestrated" a friendly environment for President Obama at a Montana town hall event as many Democrats arrived early to secure tickets. After CBS correspondent Chip Reid filed a report in which he relayed that "this crowd was on [Obama's] side," and that "the questions were mostly softballs," Reid brought up "orchestration" as one of the reasons for a friendly crowd: "So why wasn't there more anger in here? For one thing, after accusing Republicans of orchestrating their protests, Democrats did some orchestrating of their own, getting in line early in large numbers and snatching up most of the tickets."
On the NBC Nightly News, substitute anchor Ann Curry led with Obama's town hall appearance:
The President was to squarely take on the anger we’ve seen in recent weeks over health care reform, flying to a town hall in a conservative part of Montana. The audience, we were told, was not pre-screened. But the meeting was more like a campaign rally than a debate over health care. The President even getting a standing ovation.
All three broadcast networks this week have reported on the charity Remote Area Medical's offer of free medical care at a temporary facility in Los Angeles, citing the arrival of many patients as a sign of how many Americans there are who need "free health care," and even relaying the words of program volunteers who compared the health care challenges of some Americans to problems in Third World countries like Guatemala and India.
But only by watching ABC's Good Morning America did one see a soundbite of program founder Stan Brock informing viewers that the free clinic does not even screen patients to learn if they really are in need financially. Brock:
It's first-come, first-served basis, no questions asked, no financial information required. There are a lot of good programs in this country, but they tend to have hurdles that the patient has to leap through in order to get the care.
Reporters seemed shocked that thousands of people would stand in line for hours to receive hundreds -- or even thousands -- of dollars worth of free medical care.
Of the three major networks, only CBS has managed, thus far, to ignore controversial comments from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that compared America’s disputed election in 2000 to political corruption in Nigeria. ABC, however, highlighted the August 12 remarks on Thursday’s Good Morning America. GMA news anchor Chris Cuomo challenged, "Now, did [the comments] cross the line?"
Co-host Robin Roberts chided, "Hillary Clinton in the hot seat. She compares Nigeria’s politics to the controversial Bush/Gore election here in the U.S. Did she go too far?" Clinton, who was in Nigeria at the time, said this: "Our democracy is still evolving. We had all kinds of problems in some of our past elections, as you might remember. In 2000, our presidential election came down to one state where the brother of the man running for president was the governor of the state, so we have our problems, too."
In addition to GMA, ABC played the remark on the previous night's World News. CBS avoided the comments during Wednesday’s CBS Evening News and Thursday’s Early Show. Brian Williams briefly reported on the quote for the August 12 NBC Nightly News, featuring the remark and labeling it "another off-the-cuff comment" for the Secretary of State. NBC did not discuss the story during the four hours of Friday’s Today show.
Among Tuesday’s network evening newscasts, all three of which ran stories on the death of Kennedy family member Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the NBC Nightly News uniquely noted that she was strongly opposed to abortion, even while she was liberal overall. Anchor Brian Williams filed a full report on Shriver, which concentrated largely on her work on behalf of those with special needs, including her founding of the Special Olympics. After a clip of former President Reagan awarding her the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work, Williams noted that she was a “lifelong opponent of abortion.” Williams: “While a lifelong liberal Democrat, she was a lifelong opponent of abortion – she said, based on her strong Catholic faith.”
Below is a complete transcript of the story from the Tuesday, August 11, NBC Nightly News:
The media have repeatedly stated how "angry," "hostile" and "ugly" town hall meetings across America are becoming. They are of course largely ascribing the nastiness to conservatives voicing their opposition to (among other things) President Barack Obama and Congress' proposed government takeover of the health care system.
The press has been particularly offended by the "extreme" use of references to Adolf Hitler specifically and Nazis generally. One image they have repeatedly used as an example of this alleged right-wing extremism is a poster of President Obama - on whose face a Hitler mustache has been Photo Shopped - bearing the caption "I've Changed."
We have compiled a video montage (at right) of just some of the recent news programs that have ascribed this Obama-with-Mustache poster to conservative town hall attendees. (The Obama-with-Mustache image itself appears just below the fold.)
With the Obama administration and their friends in the media denouncing the sometimes loud dissent that liberals are facing in town hall meetings on health care, it’s worth recalling how some of those same journalists celebrated the anti-Bush dissenters and denounced what they claimed was the Republican administration’s attempts to stifle dissent.
Back in 2006, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann attacked what he called President Bush’s “portable public chorus” (does President Obama have one of those?) For telling “those who dissent...[that] we are somehow un-American.” PBS’s Bill Moyers in 2003 found it “galling” to see “all those moralistic ideologues in Washington...attacking dissenters as un-American.”
In 2003, Olbermann saluted protests: “It is political dissent that created this country and sustained it and improved it.” But on Friday’s Countdown, Olbermann called the anti-Obama protests “societal sabotage,” determined that the grassroots groups are “fake” and insisted that “the protestors are not interested in hearing any voices other than their own.” (But the anti-Bush protesters were open-minded?)
NBC's Matt Lauer, on Tuesday's "Today" show, invited on Robert Gibbs to preview Barack Obama's town hall meeting on health care and warned the White House press secretary that it could become a "Super Bowl for shouters." In a segment headlined: "Town Hall Tensions, Obama Battles Health Care Outrage," Lauer, given all the "tension" at the meetings, worried about the President of the United States being shouted down:
MATT LAUER: Let me start with a blunt question. Is this a good idea? I mean, you're gonna send the President out there in a town hall forum and two more later in the week. This will, in some ways, become the Super Bowl for these shouters.
ROBERT GIBBS: Yeah.
LAUER: They're gonna get a chance to shout down the President of the United States. They've got nothing to lose, but the President certainly does. Doesn't he?
A little later in the interview Lauer granted that protestors "may give voice" to "real concerns" about health care reform but noted they may do it "in an inappropriate way." Lauer then went on to comment that once "you take the shouting out of it," Obama faced opposition from within his own party but feared that, that could lead to "health care reform-lite."
"There is not a Black America and a White America and a Latino America and an Asian America -- there's the United States of America." -- Barack Obama, 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote address.
"theGrio.com. The African-American perspective on news. Our lives, our world, our stories. theGrio.com. Part of NBC News." -- promo for new NBC News website, August 9, 2009.
So much for Barack Obama's promise of a post-racial America. NBC News apparently believes that African-Americans can be pigeonholed. In NBC's view, there exists "the" African-American perspective on news. So announced the NBC News promo, aired during today's Meet The Press, for a new website, theGrio.com.
Michael Jackson’s tragic, untimely death was certainly newsworthy. The network news organizations covered it from every angle in the following days. A previous Culture and Media Institute study found that 13 days after Jackson’s death the networks devoted over one third of their evening shows to Jackson.
But every news story fades, right? Not Michael Jackson and not on the network morning shows.
The networks have made it a part of their morning programs for more than five weeks. In what have come to seem like regularly scheduled daily segments, “Good Morning America,” “The Early Show” and “Today” have continued to obsess over every detail of Jackson’s life and death, and even tie him into segments that are irrelevant to him. All this comes at the cost of information of actual value to viewers.
On Thursday, all three network morning news programs reported the conviction of former Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson on bribery charges, but only NBC’s Today identified him as a Democrat. CBS’s Early Show and ABC’s Good Morning America simply referred to him as a "former congressman."
In contrast, Wednesday’s NBC Nightly News did not provide a Democratic label for Jefferson, while ABC’s World News did identify his party affiliation. The CBS Evening News made no mention of the conviction. While both Good Morning America and Today featured news briefs early in the 7AM ET hour on Thursday, The Early Show did not mention the story until early in the 8AM hour.
While CBS finally managed that single news brief Thursday morning, reporter Russ Mitchell framed the story in the context of Jefferson’s attorney appealing the decision: "A lawyer for former Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson says he will appeal Jefferson’s conviction on 11 counts of bribery, racketeering, and money laundering." Neither Today nor Good Morning America mentioned the appeal.
Today NewsBusters' parent organization, the Media Research Center (MRC), revealed that ABC News is not the only network guilty of giving Democratic-donating medical doctors a microphone to "report" on President Barack Obama's government health care proposal.
CBS and NBC medical physician correspondents have also chipped in their own cash to Democratic - but never Republican - candidates.
"ABC, CBS and NBC have no excuse for the applause these doctors have given to promote the largest expansion of government-run healthcare our country has ever seen," MRC President Brent Bozell said in a statement. "There's nothing benign about giving a megaphone to doctors who have a financial stake in the success of liberals' most aggressive platform in decades," he added.
Darlene Haynes was only 23 years old when another woman brutally slashed her open and removed her eight-month-old baby girl from her womb. Her decomposing body was found on July 27, wrapped in a blanket and dumped in a closet inside her apartment in Worcester, Massachusetts. The body was so mutilated that when they found it, the police said they couldn't immediately determine its gender.
The suspected murderer, 35-year-old Julie Corey, lived in the same apartment building and was found soon after the crime in Plymouth, New Hampshire, claiming the baby was her own.
This heart-rending story is also notorious for how the "pro-choice" media sputter and struggle to deny the humanity of a baby, even as the child is slashed away and stolen by a psychopath. I would highly doubt Corey said to bewildered onlookers, "Look at my new fetus."
And yet journalists insult this motherless baby as merely a "fetus," this their dismissive blob-of-tissue word suggesting an unborn baby is subhuman until birth, no matter how many months along in the pregnancy, and no matter how physically able it is to survive outside the womb.