NBC's Matt Lauer, on Wednesday's "Today" show, invited on conservative columnist and author Michelle Malkin to discuss several topics ranging from Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s arrest to Malkin's critique of Michelle Obama, but when the subject of only one Republican voting for Sonia Sotomayor in the Senate Judiciary committee came up, Lauer wondered if that would hurt the GOP with Hispanics as he queried: "After the, the last election it was said that the Republicans need to broaden the tent, they need to reach out to minorities. Reach out to Hispanics. Is that, are those six 'no' votes gonna hurt Republicans down the road?"
Lauer also expressed incredulity that Malkin dared to "take on," the First Lady as seen in the following exchange:
MATT LAUER: Let me ask you about your book. In it -- I mean clearly we know by the co-, we know by the title where it goes – you take on Michelle Obama-
MICHELLE MALKIN: I certainly do.
LAUER: -in this book. You call her the "First Crony."
We know how the media relished the fall of the GOP, and lovingly analyzed divisions within the party. But their beloved Democrats are falling apart before their eyes, and the strain is beginning to tell. The Blue Dog Democrats are for being the only thing between this nation and socialized medicine, a fact that has some liberals coming out swinging – literally, in at least one case.
“Social commentator” Nancy Giles appeared on the “Today Show” July 28 along with Dan Abrams and Willie Geist during Kathy Lee Gifford and Hota Kotb’s segment “News Flash.” The usually all small-talk segment got heated when it turned to health care.
Kotb posed the simple question “Do you guys think health care will pass…?” Abrams and Willie gave simple answers. Giles, however, got passionate.
“It better and I could punch every Blue Dog Democrat in the nose. And I’m a Democrat. I could punch them, I’m so annoyed. And I’m annoyed with Harry Reid. I better not find him in an elevator.”
Liberal hopes for a quick health care bill are in collapse, as Senate Democrats push any floor action off until the fall, a move House Democrats may match this week. But if the Obama White House is upset that their plans for a huge expansion of government health care have been delayed, they surely cannot complain about the media coverage.
Last week, a new study by the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute (BMI) found broadcast coverage during the first six months of 2009 tilted heavily in favor of Barack Obama’s big government plan. BMI’s Julia Seymour and Sarah Knoploh looked at 224 health care stories on the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows from Obama’s January 20 inauguration through his June 24 prime time special on ABC.
Imagine the post-oil apocalypse, with modern American society heading into a direction with no Disney vacations, no airlines - a world devoid of one-stop convenient big retailers. Sounds like a desolate place, but that's an ideal society according to Forbes magazine Christopher Steiner.
Steiner appeared on NBC's July 24 "Today" and described a world with gas headed to $20 a gallon, but according to him it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.
"Well, it's important to understand that $20 per gallon, those types of figures, those are a couple decades away," Steiner said. "But what's important to understand is that we are running out of oil. Over the next 30 years, you're talking about another 2 billion people entering the globe living American-style lives. Right now there's only a billion of those people on the globe and those people are going to want oil. And so our supply is going to slowly go down and demand's going to go up."
The networks might just as well have hung out a sign this morning: non-African-American experts on policing and racial profiling need not apply. Good Morning America, the Early Show and Today had a total of six guests on the subject . . . and every one was African-American.
Among the highlights: a writer from Tina Brown's Daily Beast suggested that given our incarceration rate, the USA meets the definition of a "police state."
As the DOW hit 9000 for the first time since January, NBC’s “Today” refused to give up its crusade against big banks. Dylan Ratigan of MSNBC appeared on July 24 to offer his opinion on what caused the economic crisis and what needs to be done in order to prevent another.
Not surprisingly, his answer to one of these questions was government regulation. And here’s a shocker, it was not the answer to the first. Ratigan came out swinging against the bank’s greed that supposedly brought the American economy into “total collapse, essentially” as host Meredith Vieira worded it.
Looking for a “great” television show that you can watch with the family? Then NBC’s “The Today Show” has a recommendation for you: “The Secret Life of the American Teenager!” Never mind that it’s about a pregnant fifteen-year-old. During the July 23 “Today Talk” host Kathie Lee Gifford and guest host Steve Schirripa were discussing the ABC family show “The Secret Life of an American Teenager,” which Schirripa stars in.
Schirripa described the show as being, “about a fifteen year old kid that gets pregnant and how it affects everyone’s life, and I mean everyone – everyone at school and the other kids and it really is show that you could watch with your kids.” Gifford touted, “And learn something.” Yep – a great show to learn about sex, promiscuity and contraceptives.
Gifford also praised the show because “it’s got great critical raves because of Brenda Hampton who’s behind it.” Gifford apparently didn’t read CMI’s 2008 article about the show’s reviews. “The Los Angeles Times summed up “Secret Life” by stating, “the tone of the pilot [episode] careens between an after-school special and “American Pie,” with a bit of “Pretty in Pink” grabbed along the way.” The New York Times called it “a parody of an after-school special” and said “‘Secret Life’ doesn’t take the fun out of teenage pregnancy, it takes the fun out of television.” The Hollywood Reporter said ‘it feeds into parental hysteria in ridiculously one-dimensional ways.’”
It’s not new that the networks skipped the anniversary of Mary Jo Kopechne's death in Ted Kennedy's car at Chappaquiddick. In 1989, NBC mentioned it as a sour moment now overcome, as an introduction to a story on how Kennedy gained new bipartisan respect as a great legislator, as "King of the Hill." In 1994, in our newsletter MediaWatch, we summarized how they also tried to ignore the 25th anniversary, or mentioned it in passing.
Sen. Ted Kennedy faces his toughest reelection bid ever, yet the national media conveniently ignored the tragedy at Chappaquiddick. The 25th anniversary of the incident came and went on July 18 with little media attention shown to the mystery surrounding the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. On July 18, CNN's Inside Politics ran a short story on Chappaquiddick, and it was alluded to during a segment on anniversaries on the July 17 Late Edition. It also received a brief mention on the July 24 CBS Evening News in a story on anniversaries. The New York Times on July 18, and Newsweek's July 25 edition also mentioned the tragedy as part of broader stories; ABC, NBC, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Time and U.S. News & World Report did not.
NBC's Matt Lauer, on Wednesday's "Today" show hit Senator Jim DeMint over his statement that health care reform could be Barack Obama's Waterloo as the "Today" co-host accused, "People are saying that you are playing pure politics with this issue," and, as seen in the following exchange, pressed "Are you rallying conservatives to the cause of health care reform? Or are you rallying conservatives to the cause of breaking a President?"
LAUER: Let's start with the obvious. There are real differences of opinion in terms of how to achieve health care reform in this country and how to get insurance to the some 50 million people who don't have it. But over the past couple of days, I don't have to tell you, you've ignited a firestorm, and people are saying that you are playing pure politics with this issue. How do you respond?
DEMINT: Well, it has nothing to do with politics or it's certainly not personal. But, but the President's policies have not matched up to his promises so far. We saw that in this giant stimulus, his trillion dollar stimulus that has stimulated the government, but really cost American jobs and, and, and loaded lots of debt on top of future generations. [audio available here]
The banks are profiting once again and Meredith Vieira is livid about it. During her July 21 interview with President Obama, Vieira questioned Obama about the banks having the audacity to do what taxpayers bailed them out to do: profit.
“You know I wanted to ask you about Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan reporting these big profits in the second quarter,” Vieira told Obama as they walked through the White House. “And they're talking about bonuses for their employees. People hear that, taxpayers, and they're very frustrated.”
While the big liberal media usually find it hard to skip any news related to the Kennedy family, ABC, CBS and NBC breathed not a word about Saturday’s 40th anniversary of Chappaquiddick. On the night of July 18, 1969, Senator Edward Kennedy left a party with 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne and later drove off a bridge. Kennedy left the scene with Kopechne still in the submerged vehicle; he did not call the police until the following morning.
The Saturday and Sunday New York Times and Washington Post also had nothing about Chappaquiddick. Several newspapers did carry a brief, if inadvertent, mention, since on Saturday the Associated Press made it the day’s “Highlight in History” in their re-cap of big news events that happened on a July 18, beating out the start of the Great Fire of Rome in A.D. 64 and the death of naval hero John Paul Jones in 1792.
The House Ways and Means committee approved a half-trillion dollar tax increase overnight, but the ABC and NBC morning news shows offered only a single sentence to the development, while CBS’s Early Show skipped it entirely.
Neither NBC’s Today nor ABC’s Good Morning America mentioned the tax increases $544 billion price tag, as each newscast folded the development into larger pieces on President Obama’s push for health care “reform.”
ABC’s Deborah Roberts first gave a mere two sentences to the CBO report that contradicts White House claims that Obama’s plan would save money. She then mentioned the big tax increase: “Meantime, a House committee approved billions in new taxes on the wealthy to pay for the reforms.”
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Randall Pinkston described President Obama’s Thursday address to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People: "The crowd responded to his soaring, almost sermon-like rhetoric."
Obama’s speech was part of the NAACP’s annual convention and marked the 100th anniversary of the organization’s founding. Fill-in co-host Jeff Glor introduced Pinkston’s report by declaring: "The NAACP has spent a century trying to break down racial barriers...last night's anniversary party in New York featured the man who broke the ultimate barrier."
In contrast to the two news briefs the Early Show dedicated to the President’s speech, both ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today offered only single-sentence reports. [audio available here]
As the media mark the tenth anniversary of the death of John F. Kennedy Jr., it's worth recalling the overwrought coverage of ten years ago. Here is an op-ed by MRC's Brent Baker, originally published in Human Events on August 6, 1999 detailing the media elite's reaction to Kennedy's demise.
The sudden death at too early an age of the only son of an assassinated President is certainly a major news story, but the television networks wouldn't leave it at a few stories reviewing the good works of John F. Kennedy's Jr.'s life. Instead, they used his July 16 death as a chance to launch a week-long tribute to him as America's "crown prince," gushing about the wonderful contributions of the entire Kennedy family, recreating the myth of "Camelot" and praising the achievements of Sen. Ted Kennedy (D.-Mass).
"He laughed off the attempts to elevate his status but, in fact, he was as close to royalty as this country had," declared NBC's Tom Brokaw barely nine hours after the news broke that JFK Jr.'s single-engine plane was missing.
But the networks certainly did "elevate his status" by giving him the royal treatment. As soon as the networks learned on Saturday morning, July 17, that his plane was missing they all went wall-to-wall with live coverage, though they had little new to report as the day progressed. ABC and NBC even shifted their sports programming to sister cable channels. That night ABC, CBS and NBC rushed to produce prime time specials.
Two months ago, as President Obama was contemplating a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter, many in the media elite — particularly NBC News reporters and anchors — sycophantically touted Obama’s credentials as a constitutional law professor as evidence of his deep experience when it came to the judiciary.
Yesterday, however, Obama’s pick for the Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, explicitly repudiated Obama’s belief that judging should be based on “empathy” or “the heart.” Sotomayor told senators: “I don’t, wouldn’t, approach the issue of judging in the way the President does.”
None of the broadcast networks juxtaposed Sotomayor’s slap at Obama with the President’s supposed brilliance as a constitutional scholar, or explored whether it was credible that Obama’s nominee really disagrees on the role of empathy, what the President previously declared the “essential ingredient” of a good judge.
President Obama's healthcare initiative is currently in a lot of trouble on Capitol Hill as legislators grapple with finding money -- amidst staggering budget deficits and a declining economy -- to fund the new program.
As a result, on Wednesday, the news divisions of all three broadcast networks have decided to come to Obama's rescue, and on the very same evening, air interviews with the President concerning this issue.
It's good to be a Democrat president the press are in love with, isn't it?
As reported by TVNewser Tuesday (h/t Stewart Thomas):
NBC's Ann Curry, on Tuesday's "Today" show depicted a political minefield for those Republicans who dare to challenge Sonia Sotomayor during her hearings. The co-anchor, in a 9am half-hour news brief sketched out the arduous task the GOP senators have in front of them as they attempt to avoid "offending women and Hispanics," in their questioning of the Supreme Court nominee.
The following was aired on the July 14 edition of the "Today" show:
Last year, banks were “too big to fail” and were arm twisted into taking a federal bailout. Now that many of them have repaid the TARP money, the media deems their profits to be a betrayal of the taxpayers.
NBC “Today” host Meredith Vieira began the segment on Goldman Sachs by pitting the average American against the big companies, “While you may be struggling financially these days, happy days appear to be here again for some companies on wall street, and now they are getting set to pay out some big bonuses.”
Correspondent Melissa Francis also continued this storyline in her report. “With the nation’s unemployment rate moving closer to ten percent, a housing market still plagued by foreclosures and households struggling to make ends meet, it might be hard for most Americans to believe that it’s back to business as usual on Wall Street,” she said.
When a well-known individual creates a disruption at a highly public, widely televised event and is then arrested, any news organization worth the name would include the incident in its coverage of that event. Right?
Not CBS’ “Evening News with Katie Couric.” And NBC’s “Nightly News” only gave the story 21 words. On July 13, Norma McCorvey, better known as “Jane Roe” in the infamous Roe v. Wade case that made abortion legal, was arrested for disrupting Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill.
Over the weekend, on his syndicated "The Chris Matthews Show," Chris Matthews asked his media panel if Barack Obama was governing as "more clearly a radical like FDR was, or more like a true conservative?" The latter part of the question -- the rather absurd proposition of Obama being a conservative -- actually drew a couple of affirmatives from the panel.
The USA Today's Joan Biskupic responded she thought the President was being more conservative, at least in his judicial nods, "If you look at what he's doing, not just with his Supreme Court choice but his appeals court choices. None of them have really caused a big problem. You probably couldn't name one of those appellate judges off the top of your head. They're sort of middle-of-the-road folks. Not taking a page from Ronald Reagan in terms of seeking lightning rods."
It’s like clockwork. Gas prices have fallen, and so has network news coverage of them. This direct correlation between prices and coverage has caused news of gas prices to essentially disappear in the past week.
The latest Lundberg Survey of fuel prices, released on July 12, showed that gas prices have fallen more than 10 cents over the past two weeks. However, in keeping with the warped coverage of gas prices, the largest drop in prices since December went unreported by all major network morning shows except NBC’s “Today Show”, and even this was hidden away in the hourly news reports.
Perhaps Americans have lost interest in gas prices, and therefore networks now fail to find the topic newsworthy. If that’s the case, the public must have changed its mind since mid-June when, with prices on the rise, coverage was extensive.
Democrat strategist Bob Shrum on Sunday not only praised Reaganomics, but used it as an example as why Americans should be patient in allowing President Obama's stimulus plan to take effect.
During the panel discussion on Sunday's "Meet the Press," host David Gregory asked his guests, "Why shouldn't the Republicans, who certainly spent a long time spending a lot of government money and under whose watch the economy took the turn that it did, why shouldn't there be more patience from the Republican aisle?"
Shrum amazingly offered the following answer (readers are advised to prepare for an alternate reality):
We're in the middle of the worst recession in decades.
Congress is currently debating sweeping changes to healthcare and energy policy that could cost trillions of dollars in new taxes in the foreseeable future.
We've got soldiers risking their lives on two fronts in the Middle East, and despots in North Korea and Iran developing nuclear weapons.
Yet, when one of the most powerful men in Washington visited "Meet the Press" Sunday, host David Gregory spent almost 30 percent of the time allotted grilling him about -- wait for it! -- Sarah Palin.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, of the 19 1/2 minutes Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) spent Sunday morning chatting with Gregory, he was questioned for 5 3/4 minutes about Palin's resignation and her future in politics (video embedded below the fold with transcript):
In yet another moment of Obama puffery the "Today" show highlighted a hotel dedicated to Barack Obama. During a segment headlined: "Hotel Obama, Small Country Goes Wild For President," NBC's Mara Schiavocampo, on Friday's "Today," showcased a new hotel in Ghana named after the President that is run by a former campaign worker and joined her as she took viewers on a room-by-room tour devoted to places and people important in Obama's life history [audio excerpt available here]:
MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO: It's run by Ghanaian-American Coretta Owusu, whose father owns the business. She worked for this Obama during the campaign and then moved to Ghana to work for this one. It's a budget conscious hotel featuring 18 themed rooms priced at $60 to $100.
CORETTA OWUSU, HOTEL MANAGER: And this room is the Obama suite. Most people stay here if they come for a special occasion or they're coming with their family. Well we have Michelle Obama right next to Barack Obama. Across from Obama it's Joe Biden's room.
In January, NBC News couldn't breathe a single word about the thousands of pro-lifers who came to Washington for the annual March for Life. But Brian Williams hailed 12 hard-left Greenpeace activists illegally hanging a banner at Mount Rushmore on Wednesday's Nightly News and showed their banner on screen for a full 15 seconds. Williams announced:
Look at what they did to [Mount] Rushmore and Abe Lincoln today. Three Greenpeace climbers rappelled down to hang a 65-foot-tall banner featuring President Obama's face. There were 12 arrests in all of environmental activists. They say they timed their message to coincide with that G-8 conference going on in Italy, and to remind the president that great presidents show leadership.
The banner read "America honors leaders, not politicians. Stop global warming." Obama's eyes and nose appeared between the sentences. Note Williams never even called Greenpeace "liberal."
There's no doubt about it. Celebrity is the media's top priority.
Michael Jackson's June 25 death overshadowed all other news for almost two weeks.
Nightly news programs on ABC, CBS and NBC featured at least one story each night about Jackson since his death. More than half of those broadcasts aired since June 25 lead with a story about Jackson. A Pew poll found cable news devoted 93 percent of its coverage to Jackson on June 25 and 26. The broadcast networks joined CNN, MSNBC and Fox News in airing Jackson's July 7 memorial from Los Angeles' Staples Center.
Despite a separate Pew poll that found 64 percent of people believe there was too much coverage of Jackson, the media continue to hit the story hard. CNN's Don Lemon even labeled critics of the coverage "elitist," and said, "Michael Jackson is an accidental civil rights leader, an accidental pioneer. He broke ground and barriers in so many different realms in artistry, in pictures, in movies, in music, you name it. So, no, I don't think it's overkill."
Previewing Barack Obama's trip to Italy for the G8 summit, on Wednesday's "Today" show, NBC's Matt Lauer asked Savannah Guthrie what kind of reaction the President will receive as Lauer noted the President got a "chilly reception" in Russia. Guthrie responded that "It was a real contrast," because she is used to seeing, "really swooning Europeans who are very excited about Mr. Obama." [audio excerpt here]
MATT LAUER: And, and what kind of reception will the President receive from the Italian people? We all know that it was a rather chilly reception when he went to Russia the other day.
Reacting to Media Research Center (MRC) analysis showing the deaths of seven U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan recently has received just 1/20th of the network coverage devoted to Michael Jackson, NewsBusters Publisher and MRC President Bozell Bozell released the following statement earlier today:
This is a prime example of why network television news audiences are disappearing before our eyes. There is no justification for determining that the death of a celebrity over a week ago merits 20 times more news coverage than the tragic deaths of American soldiers in Afghanistan.
For anyone to say - with a straight face - that such a disparity was an ‘editorial judgment' only further insults the collective intelligence of the audience these newscasts claim to serve. In fact, it's just more evidence that network ‘news,' for all practical purposes, no longer exists.
As the broadcast network evening newscasts on Friday reported on Sarah Palin's decision to resign as Alaska's Governor, they gave little attention to the toll taken on the Governor by the onslaught of frivolous lawsuits from her political enemies. But, by contrast, FNC gave much of the credit for Palin's decision to these lawsuits that have tied up the Governor's time and forced her family to spend a fortune in legal expenses.
On Friday's Fox Report, FNC correspondent Carl Cameron informed viewers: "Those ethics complaints have all been dropped or dismissed, and yet they've taken a toll and she acknowledged as much earlier." Then came a soundbite of Palin from her news conference, which was partially played on the CBS Evening News but not on ABC or NBC. Palin:
Todd and I, we’re looking at more than half a million dollars in legal bills just in order to set the record straight. And what about the people who offer up these silly accusations? It doesn't cost them a dime. ... My staff and I spend most of our days, we're dealing with this stuff instead of progressing our state now.