If Speaker Newt Gingrich's Republican majority had faced a 9 percent approval rating at any point in the 1996 presidential election year, the media would have not let anyone forget it.
So given that and the media's frequently reminding Americans of President Bush's low approval numbers, why are the broadcast media ignoring the latest Rasmussen poll on the approval rating for Congress under the leadership of Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)?
Rasmussen's survey hit the wires yesterday, but none of the broadcast evening news programs covered the story, not even as a brief anchor mention. The July 9 "Today," ABC's "Good Morning America," and CBS's "Early Show," similarly paid no heed to the development.
The polling firm's official news release noted that the numbers are really bad even among Democrats -- who are only in the low-double digits in strongly approving of Congress -- and the harshest criticism comes from independents (emphasis mine):
A seemingly worried Matt Lauer hit Barack Obama from the left as the "Today" co-host warned the Democratic presidential nominee, on Wednesday's "Today," that "people" were "nervous" about any perceived shift to the center on his part.
First up Lauer recited, to Obama, liberal New York Times columnist Bob Herbert's fears that the Illinois Senator was, "lurching to the right."
LAUER: Let me read you what Bob Herbert said or wrote in the New York Times, on Tuesday. He said this, quote, "Senator Obama is not just tacking gently toward the center. He's lurching right when it suits him, he's zigging with the kind of reckless abandon that's guaranteed to cause disillusion, if not whiplash."
Conservatives across America mourned at the news of the death of Senator Jesse Helms, a man credited with impeccable conservative credentials in the U.S. Senate, a conscience of a movement devoted to the defeat of communism abroad and the defense of liberty at home. He was the staunchest of social conservatives as well, unflinching in his opposition to the abortion lobby and the gay agenda.
To liberals he was "Senator No," which meant only that he would strongly oppose everything they wanted to impose on America. Their badly disguised loathing of Helms, well-expressed over the decades, only endeared him to conservatives all the more.
Jesse Helms relished that opposition. In 1990, the media declared him politically dead, his re-election an utter impossibility. On election night, a thousand cheering supporters were made to wait before their man finally emerged to declare victory, 20 minutes late. He opened his remarks by apologizing for his tardiness. "Ah was up in mah room," he explained, "ah had to watch the grievin’ face of Dan Rathuh when he had to say we’d won agin." The crowd went wild.
Federal investigators have electronic surveillance evidence that allegedly links Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Monica Conyers with receiving a payment or payments in connection with a city-approved sludge contract.
Ruh-roh. Conyers is the wife of John Conyers, the Dem Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who continues to toy with the notion of seeking to impeach President Bush. So how did this morning's Today show report the story?
Thursday’s "Today Show" gave yet another demonstration that the mainstream media can’t get over the success of Rush Limbaugh. NBC correspondent Michael Okwu, reporting on Limbaugh’s new contract, which the New York Times has indicated is worth $400 million, "reminded" viewers of three past "controversies" involving the talk radio host: his 2003 resignation from ESPN after remarking on the sport media’s coverage of NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb; how Limbaugh mocked Michael J. Fox, "accusing the actor of exaggerating symptoms of Parkinson's Disease;" and the legal trouble he faced in Florida related to his addiction to prescription painkillers.
On this "doctor shopping" issue, Okwu remarked, "In 2003, Florida authorities charged Limbaugh with illegally-deceiving multiple doctors, in order to get overlapping painkiller prescriptions. He pled not guilty and the charges were later dismissed, though Limbaugh admitted he was an addict."
At about 8:05am ET this morning, MRC President Brent Bozell, publisher of NewsBusters, appeared on Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends" to discuss the networks' slavish coverage of Barack Obama and his campaign for President.
As Mr. Bozell says himself in the video (Windows Media), the Big Three (NBC, ABC and CBS) aren't delivering news stories so much as they are issuing Obama campaign press releases, save for the fact that the campaign itself would be too embarrassed to engage in this kind of overwrought hyperbole.
Mr. Bozell expounds on the glowing coverage of Barack Obama, and juxtaposes it with the now vicious reporting on his opponent John McCain, and goes on to predict how the two Party conventions will be covered.
With Starbucks’ announcement that it will closing 600 of its locations nationwide, the network morning shows on Wednesday heralded this news as another sign of a bad economy. ABC’s Bianna Golodryga on "Good Morning America" lamented that "Americans are struggling just to pay for a cup of Starbucks coffee." NBC’s Matt Lauer’s clever headline: "Trouble brewing -- Starbucks announces its closing 600 stores in the next year. Is the demand for $4 lattes dying in a tough economy?"
But CBS’s "The Early Show" took the puns and the "doom and gloom" to a new level. Host Maggie Rodriguez teased the headline news: "Starbucks shutting its doors on hundreds of stores. Tough economic times or just a grande letdown?" Correspondent Ben Tracy, in his report on the closings, quipped, "The economic slowdown has been a real grind for Starbucks' profits. After filling up their gas tanks, some coffee lovers don't have enough left to fill up their cups."
Despite the "historic" nature of Thursday's Supreme Court ruling that the Second Amendment is an individual right, all three morning shows virtually ignored the decision, devoting a combined total of three minutes and 33 seconds to the story. And between CBS's "Early Show," NBC's "Today" and ABC's "Good Morning America," that's out of eight hours of programming.
In fact, the three and a half minutes of story time does not even equal the over four minutes that Wednesday's "Early Show" alone gave to the critically important subject of how to Feng Shui your house for pets. On Friday, however, the CBS program could only find a mere 30 seconds for the most definitive gun ruling the Supreme Court has ever made. And while "Good Morning America" spent almost three minutes on Madonna and whether or not she's getting divorced, the show only allowed 93 seconds of air time for the D.C. gun case. Similarly, the "Today" show devoted 90 seconds to the topic, despite admitting that it was "the most important ruling ever on gun rights." Now, what could the cause for all this be? Could it have something to do with the fact that presidential candidate Barack Obama has repeatedly flip-flopped about his position on the case? Or maybe it's because Democrats in general don't seem eager to see gun control become a major issue in the 2008 presidential race and liberals in the media are helpfully playing along.
On Tuesday’s "Today" show NBC's Matt Lauer confronted Dick Morris about anti-Obama rhetoric in his new book, as the "Today" co-host seemed disturbed by the political consultant's use of terms like "dangerously radical," to describe the Democratic presidential nominee.
Lauer asked Morris if he was "fearmongering," and probed "Are you trying to scare people here?" Lauer then sucked up to the Obama campaign as he pondered that a lot of the "enthusiasm" for Obama is because "he's telling people he's gonna move away from exactly that kind of politics."
The following is the full interview as it occurred on the June 24, "Today" show:
MATT LAUER: Dick Morris is a veteran political warrior. The former Clinton aide turned Clinton nemesis, is out with a new book with the longest title we have ever seen. It's called, Fleeced: How Barack Obama, Media Mockery of Terrorist Threats, Liberals Who Want to Kill Talk Radio, The Do-Nothing Congress, Companies That Help Iran, And Washington Lobbyists For Foreign Governments Are Scamming Us...And What To Do About It. Phew! Dick Morris, good morning. That's a mouthful.
NBC's "Today" show handed "New York Times" columnist Thomas Friedman a platform, on Tuesday's show, to rail against President Bush's "incoherent mess" of an energy policy, and demand a $1/gallon gas tax, as well as a $4.50 price floor on gas.
"Today" co-host Meredith Vieira spurred on Friedman as she recited the most inflammatory passages from his Sunday column:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: Well in this column on Sunday, you don't hold back. You refer to the President as our "addict-in-chief." You say his energy plan is, "Get more addicted to oil." You go on to say, "It is hard for me to find the words to express what a massive, fraudulent, pathetic excuse for an energy policy this is." What is it, Tom that, you find so offensive in his energy plan?
On to promote his new movie "Hancock," Will Smith was pushed by "Today" co-host Matt Lauer to express his support for Barack Obama and the actor/rapper, channeled his inner Michelle Obama, as he declared it's the "first time" in five to 10 years it's been good to be an American overseas [audio available here]:
WILL SMITH: You know I just, I just came back from Moscow, Berlin, London and Paris and it's the first, I've been there quite a few times in the past five to 10 years. And it just hasn't been a good thing to be American. And this is the first time, since Barack has gotten the nomination, that it, it was a good thing.
The following is an excerpt from the interview as it occurred on the June 22, "Today" show:
NBC's "Today" brought on "Newsweek's" Howard Fineman, on Monday's program, to promote a new poll, from his magazine that shows Barack Obama has jumped to a 15 point lead, and even though no other poll shows that big of a gap Fineman boldly bragged: "But we have a tendency, sometimes, to pick up on a trend before others do and...you're probably going to see some movement and I think our poll is the first sign of it."
Fineman also seemed to forget about the Jeremiah Wright fiasco, when he declared of Obama's ability to handle the race issue in his campaign:
On NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, during a roundtable discussion of Barack Obama's running mate possibilities, correspondent Andrea Mitchell argued that one of the "minuses" for Obama choosing former Democratic Senator Sam Nunn would be that Nunn is "anathema to the gay and lesbian community" as she seemed to portray the "young Bill Clinton" as a victim who had the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military "shoved down his throat" by Nunn and then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell in 1993. Mitchell: "Minuses: He is anathema to the gay and lesbian community because of 'Don't ask, don't tell.' He's tried to moderate his position, but it was he and Colin Powell who shoved that down the young Bill Clinton's throat in 1993, as a new President. So there are large Democratic interest groups who would rebel at the convention if Sam Nunn were the nominee." (Transcript follows)
The softening of Michelle Obama’s image continued Friday morning on NBC’s Today. As if Michelle were an up-and-coming Jackie Kennedy, NBC devoted a story in its first half-hour (usually devoted to substantive news) to raving over Mrs. Obama as a "fashion icon" and the sleeveless dress she wore on ABC’s The View as starting a "frock frenzy." At the top of the show, co-host Matt Lauer announced: "Fashion frenzy. Why women everywhere are dying to get this $148 dress, today, Friday, June 20, 2008."
Nineteen minutes into the first half-hour, the screen graphic was "Fashion Icon? Michelle Obama Frock Frenzy." Co-host Meredith Vieira raved the Michelle dress was a "steal" and that fashion designers "would die to dress her right now." With the celebrated dress hung like a Smithsonian Institution museum piece in the background (reserving Mrs. Obama’s place in the First Lady pantheon already?), Vieira did the gooey girl-talk job Kathie Lee Gifford was hired to do in the 10 am hour:
While print media and cable news channels are all over the "sweetheart" mortgage deals given to two Democratic U.S. senators, network news shows on ABC, CBS and NBC are keeping mum even though the scandal involves one of their favorite targets: Countrywide.
"This is a huge story ever since Portfolio magazine broke with this story. Print media outlets have covered it, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, the cable networks are there," Business & Media Institute Vice President Dan Gainor told "Fox & Friends" June 20. "And then you look at the evening news shows: they're non-existent."
As anyone aware of the concept of supply and demand could have foreseen, Americans are driving less now that gasoline prices have passed $4.00 per gallon. So on this morning’s Today show, NBC’s Tom Costello dutifully noted that Americans have driven 20 billion fewer miles so far this year, but then declared a “bad news” side effect of drivers buying less gasoline:
“We use federal tax money that comes from gasoline sales to maintain the nation’s roads and bridges. We’re looking at a billion-plus-dollar short fall right now, and the National Governors Association wants Congress to come in and fill the gap.”
I guess “filling the gap” could either mean hiking the tax on gasoline, or supplementing the highway fund with other tax dollars. Maybe the real “bad news” for consumers is that some politicians seem determined to collect all of the gasoline taxes they desire, whether drivers actually buy the gas or not.
As we've noted at NewsBusters, there's been scant coverage of a new scandal involving Sens. Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Kent Conrad (N.D.). Both senators chair committees with oversight of the financial industry and Dodd is behind a bailout package for mortgage lender Countrywide. Both senators got "VIP" treatment from Countrywide Financial for refinancing agreements on their respective mortgages.
So today I thought I'd check our internal records at the MRC and the transcripts at Nexis to see what sort of coverage the three broadcast networks have devoted to this story.
What I found was a big fat zero.
Countrywide did, however, pop up three times on NBC newscasts between the beginning of June and today. All three stories were about celebrity Ed McMahon's foreclosure woes.
The day after Al Gore endorsed Barack Obama in Detroit, MSNBC kept repeating the allegedly big news with the on-air question "Will Gore Help or Hurt Obama?" Left out of that question: Who cares? Does Gore’s endorsement matter at all?
Pundits usually declare in today’s media-saturated world that endorsements from major politicians or movie stars just don’t have much impact. A Who’s Who of the Beautiful People in Hollywood endorsed and actively campaigned for John Kerry – and had no impact.
With Al Gore it’s the same thing. He doesn’t bring a single vote Obama doesn’t already have. He could have participated in the process but he waited until the primary challenge from Hillary was over. Now he supports Obama. Where in the world is the news there?
The sudden and shocking death of NBC's Tim Russert brought an outpouring of kindness and generosity. The deluge of coverage suggested Russert had become a very central figure in the media-political complex. He was much better known than about 500 members of Congress, and had more political clout than about that many as well. Not enough people have wondered how the un-elected media have gained so much power and influence in the nation's capital. For our part, we hailed Russert's tough but fair questioning first in 1993, when he was asking tough questions about Bill Clinton's first big tax hike. From the August 1993 edition of MediaWatch:
NBC Meet the Press host Tim Russert has added historical perspective to the budget debate by comparing the Clinton plan to the 1990 deal. On June 27, he grilled Budget Director Leon Panetta: "You raised taxes, the economy went further into recession, and there was no deficit reduction. Why is it going to be different in `92 when it didn't work in `90?" Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen received the same welcome on July 25. "1990. Congress got together with the President, raised taxes, cut defense, tried to limit Medicare growth, promised a $500 billion dollar deficit reduction....The deficit went up. Why isn't the same going to happen this year?"
A few moments ago, NBC News reported that "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert passed away this afternoon. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Russert family and his extended family at NBC News.
MRC President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell has issued the following statement:
Whenever I’ve been asked to give examples of a fair, balanced and honest journalist, Tim Russert’s name was the first name that came to mind. This was a view shared by everyone and the ultimate testimony to his professionalism. As a moderator he was in a league of his own, always knowing when to speak and when to let his guests do the talking. As an individual he was an absolute class act, and always a gentleman. The world of journalism is vastly diminished today.
Has NBC White House Correspondent David Gregory turned over a new leaf?
Gregory, who has earned a lot of critics for having an anti-Bush/liberal bias, made it seem that way during a discussion about ethics in politics and journalism Thursday. He claimed to struggle with Jewish teachings about saying bad things about others - at least when it comes to Democrats.
On Wednesday's Countdown show, during the show's regular "Worst Person in the World" segment, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, who rarely hits liberals during the segment while he often targets conservatives, turned his ire toward CBS News anchor Katie Couric for her recent charges that some media figures were guilty of anti-Clinton, or pro-Obama bias. Olbermann accused Couric of taking out of "context" comments by NBC correspondent Lee Cowan, who, as he covers the Barack Obama campaign, has said he finds it "hard to be objective," as she, not naming him, suggested he "find another line of work." Olbermann, who has attacked Hillary Clinton on several occasions while being softer on Obama, declared Cowan's reporting to be "utterly objective and accurate," and castigated Couric for "her own promulgation of the nonsense that Senator Clinton was a victim of sexism." (Transcript follows)
On Monday's "Today" show, NBC's Amy Robach sat down with a French climber who was arrested for scaling the "New York Times," building to promote his belief that global warming kills more people every day than 9/11.
The "Today"' show graphic bragged it had an exclusive with the global warming alarmist, Alain Robert, and while Robach did note the criminal charges being brought against him, she never challenged Robert's assertion that climate change was deadlier than al Qaeda.
AMY ROBACH: What is it about scaling skyscrapers that makes you so passionate?
ALAIN ROBERT: This is something a bit different, but most of all, you know, now since nearly a year, I have decided to fight on global warming, and that's the reason why I have decided to climb the "New York Times" building.
ROBACH: Yeah this climb was different than others, because the other times, you did it perhaps just for the thrill of it. This time you did it with a message. Tell us about this organization and why it's so important to you.
ROBERT: In fact, you know, actually, global warming is killing more people every week than 9/11, so which is a big amount of people.
The following is the full interview as it occurred on the June 9, "Today" show:
The same network newscasts that hyped the 2005 "alleged massacre" by U.S. soldiers in Haditha are so far ignoring the acquittal on all charges of Lieutenant Andrew Grayson on Thursday. Grayson was accused of attempting to cover up details of the events surrounding a raid that lead to the death of 15 Iraqis. However, Grayson's acquittal was skipped by ABC's "Good Morning America," CBS's "Early Show" and NBC's "Today" show. (CNN's "American Morning" covered the story only as a news brief.)
In contrast, the morning shows seemed much more interested in the subject back when dark allegations were made about the actions of U.S. solders in Haditha. On Memorial Day 2006, then-GMA host Charles Gibson intoned, "America honors its fallen war heroes, but troubling new information about Marine misconduct in Iraq. A new eyewitness on what could be a mass murder of civilians. Was there a cover-up?" On the March 20, 2006, "Nightly News," host Brian Williams touted the "disturbing new allegations" made by Congressman John Murtha about Haditha. (It should be noted that, so far, five of the eight originally charged with murder or cover-up have been acquitted.) On May 25, 2006, referencing the massacre of hundreds of Vietnamese civilians in 1968, "Nightline" host Terry Moran speculated, "Will Haditha be the My Lai of the Middle East?" On June 7 of that year, reporter Andrea Mitchell opined on "Today" that Haditha was a "black eye for American policy."
For well over a year, NewsBusters has been reporting the media's almost romantic obsession with Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama.
This unprofessional infatuation eventually became so obvious that press members themselves have been openly discussing it for the past couple of months.
With this in mind, conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin absolutely skewered two of the most obvious Obama lovers during his program Wednesday, describing the "slobbering" that happens when "the news in this country is turned over to politicians, or the staffers of politicians."
Playing audio clips of NBC's Tim Russert and MSNBC's Chris Matthews, Levin accurately demonstrated how the sycophantic adoration exhibited by the press for the junior senator from Illinois during this campaign is a bias and a journalistic disgrace likely worse than anything Americans have ever witnessed concerning a presidential candidate.
On the day after Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination, NBC's "Today" show invited on Kerry Kennedy to promote her book about her father, Robert F. Kennedy, but during the interview viewers were subjected to an anti-Republican rant.
Asked by NBC's Matt Lauer if there can be "unity in the Democratic Party," Kennedy responded by listing a series of grievances against the Bush administration -- from health care to Iraq to Guantanamo -- that would rally the Dems behind Obama.
MATT LAUER: You, you're obviously politically active. You supported Hillary Clinton, your uncle Ted supported Barack Obama. In many ways your family is representative of what happened in this country. There was a split down the middle. So are you confident, are you hopeful that there can be unity in the Democratic Party?
"Fox and Friends" called out left wing anchor Keith Olbermann on his own lies. The co-hosts on the June 4 edition of "Fox and Friends" discussed the TV Newser story that NBC veteran Tim Russert is reportedly taking orders from Olbermann. Steve Doocy noted Olbermann’s rising in the ranks at NBC and also a blogging for the hard left site, "Daily Kos."
After Gretchen Carlson responded to Olbermann’s intelligence insult, Doocy noted Olbermann’s claim he does not go after public figure’s children, but named Doocy’s own son "Worst Person in the World." Doocy fumed "So next time you see Keith Olbermann on TV, just remember he is somebody who picks on people’s children. And he is a liar."
Olbermann also named Doocy’s son "Worst Person in the World," after issuing an apology for David Shuster’s Chelsea Clinton "pimped out" comment.
During MSNBC's live coverage of Tuesday's Democratic primaries in Montana and South Dakota, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw appeared visibly annoyed at a crack made by MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann at Hillary Clinton's expense -- ironic given the timing of reports that Chris Matthews and Tim Russert are not happy with the ultra-left face Olbermann is giving MSNBC. Shortly before 8:00 p.m., after Brokaw finished describing what he called the "very strong credentials" and "remarkable stories" of Barack Obama and John McCain, Olbermann chimed in: "And a third one trying to shoe-horn her way into those, the coverage of the first two."
After flashing for a moment a disapproving frown, Brokaw chided Olbermann for disrepecting Clinton: "Well, I think that's unfair, Keith. I don't think she shoe-horned her way in." Brokaw then went on to recount her electoral accomplishments, contending that she "will have some real bargaining power" on behalf of blue-collar workers and women. (Transcript follows)