Since its announcement in March, the University of Notre Dame's decision to invite President Barack Obama to give this year's commencement address and receive an honorary doctorate in law has been a big story for American Catholics. Pro-life Catholics were outraged and more than 366,000 people signed a petition urging Notre Dame to rescind the invitation. Somehow, though, the controversy didn't merit notice by the broadcast networks. They refused to cover it.
Yet after the fact, Obama's commencement address led ABC and NBC's evening news programs on May 17. (CBS' "Evening News" was preempted by golf, but anchor Russ Mitchell did offer a newsbreak that included a brief mention of Obama's address.) The broadcast networks' morning news programs, including CBS, also discussed Obama's speech. In each case they praised his words and ignored what had stirred so much controversy: the president's history of supporting even the most extreme abortion rights measures. And they turned to mostly liberal Catholics to provide context and perspective on the debate.
After three weeks of virtual silence, all three broadcast networks provided full reports last night (Thursday) about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s shifting story about what she knew about the interrogation methods used against al Qaeda terrorists, methods that liberals have decried as criminal torture. This morning (Friday), NBC and CBS also provided full reports, but ABC’s Good Morning America weirdly relegated Pelosi’s rant that the CIA “misleads us all the time” to a brief, 28-second report during the 8am ET hour.
That’s about as much time as the newscast gave to the rescue of a kangaroo caught in deep water off an Australian beach.
NBC’s Today was by far the toughest on Pelosi this morning, with co-host Matt Lauer opening the show by demanding: “What did she know and when did she know it? The CIA claims in a 2002 briefing, they told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi they were using harsh interrogation techniques. She says that’s a lie. So who’s telling the truth?”
Gender and sexual orientation matter more than judicial philosophy and experience, at least according to the CBS "Early Show" on May 14.
The morning news program focused its discussion of only two of the potential Supreme Court nominees - two openly gay women.
Co-anchor Julie Chen announced the story saying, "Washington is all a buzz over the two openly gay women under consideration." Senior White House correspondent Bill Plante's story followed, which he began by asking "Is America ready for a gay Supreme Court justice?"
For the past three weeks, controversy has swirled around Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has called for a “truth commission” to expose the supposed war crimes of the Bush administration but who herself was briefed years ago on the use of waterboarding and the other enhanced interrogation techniques that are now drawing howls of outrage.
ABC, CBS and NBC have said nothing about the Speaker’s shifting stories, or the potential hypocrisy of her once supporting (or at least not objecting to) policies that she would later condemn as illegal “torture.”
The current round of stories began April 22, after the Obama administration released selected memos from the Bush administration on the legal limits to interrogation. That night, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell offered a brief mention of how Pelosi was one of those who had been told: “Members of Congress were briefed at the time and reportedly didn’t dissent, including intelligence committee leaders Nancy Pelosi, Porter Goss, Bob Graham and Richard Shelby.” ABC and CBS said nothing about Pelosi that night.
MSNBC anchor David Shuster continued his outspoken disdain for anyone that supports traditional marriage. Directly after Donald Trump announced Miss California Carrie Prejean could keep her title on May 12, Shuster asked "Can I vomit?"
In a typical rant, Shuster repeated his criticism of Prejean:
"Can I vomit right now? I mean, literally. Can I vomit?" Shuster said. "Doesn't this represent everything that is wrong with the superficial nature of these pageants? I mean, she talked about how women can make a difference in the world. She lied. She avoided taking personal responsibility. She blamed others whether it's Perez Hilton or the photographer."
During Trump's press conference Shuster commented on his Twitter page, "Prejean, who got cosmetic surgery before the pageant, just spoke of ‘how women can make a difference in the world.' Absolutely revolting."
On Monday morning’s Today, NBC seemed to respond to Wanda Sykes making jokes about hoping Rush Limbaugh being the 20t terrorist and hoping his kidneys would fail...by making the issue Limbaugh’s potential to be a liability for the Republicans. There was no question whether Wanda Sykes was a liability for the Democrats, or the White House correspondents who invited her to wish Limbaugh dead on a national stage. In a report by NBC’s Savannah Guthrie (complete with the on-screen question "Is Limbaugh a Liability To The GOP?"), Rush was controversial, while Sykes was apparently just funny:
GUTHRIE: Meantime over the weekend, radio host Rush Limbaugh continued to dominate the political conversation in Washington.
OBAMA: The Republican Party does not qualify for a bailout. Rush Limbaugh does not count as a troubled asset. I'm sorry.
GUTHRIE: On Sunday, former Vice President Dick Cheney, was asked if he had to choose between having Limbaugh or former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who endorsed Obama, in the Republican Party, the former VP did not hesitate.
DICK CHENEY: Well if I had to choose, in terms of being a Republican, I'd go with Rush Limbaugh I think. I think, my take on it was that Colin had already left the party. I didn't know he was still a Republican.
During his first 100 days as President, Barack Obama has pushed an audaciously liberal agenda which, if enacted, would have radical consequences for America for decades. With Democrats enjoying monopoly control of the House and Senate, the news media have a professional duty to scrutinize those policies, and give audiences both sides of the story — not just the perspective of a powerful Chief Executive.
Unfortunately, a Media Research Center analysis of ABC, CBS and NBC evening news coverage of President Obama’s first 100 days in office shows network reporters have failed as watchdogs. The networks have raised few doubts about Obama’s left-wing agenda and showered each of Obama’s major policy initiatives with positive press.
MRC analysts looked at all 982 broadcast evening news stories about Obama and his administration from Inauguration Day (January 20) through April 29. Key findings:
A member of the mainstream media actually said something nice about Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
I kid you not: "Saturday Night Live" senior producer Marci Klein said during an interview last week, "This is the most confident person I've ever met."
Certainly not the impression created by CBS's Katie Couric or ABC's Charlie Gibson, wouldn't you agree?
Appearing on Julie Menin's "Give and Take," Klein had absolutely nothing but nice things to say about the press's current public enemy #1 (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, relevant section at 2:25):
For your TGIF viewing fun, NBC “Today” show co-host Meredith Vieira has lost control of her verbal filters again.
From Vieira’s Super Bowl week performance, in which she claimed that she and NBC weatherman Al Roker were “moist,” to the last unfortunate double-entendre involving speculation on the past tense of “Tweet,” the morning show hostess today wondered whether the Statue of Liberty was wearing undergarments beneath her robes.
Once again, colleague Matt Lauer played the long-suffering professional, keeping a straight face. Weatherman Al Roker, however, pounced. Video of the latest gaffe is embedded at right.
Despite running two segments in the last week on Elizabeth Edwards and how she has coped with the extramarital affair of former Senator John Edwards, ABC's "Good Morning America" has yet to feature a single story on the news that a federal probe has been launched into whether the then-presidential candidate paid off the woman he was having a relationship with. This is despite the fact that Edwards acknowledged on Sunday that such a investigation is under way (though he denied any guilt).
CBS's "Early Show" briefly noted the probe on Wednesday. "Today" featured a segment on Monday. NBC reporter John Yang explained that investigators were looking into whether or not campaign money was improperly paid to Rielle Hunter, a videographer for Edwards in 2006. And while GMA hasn't followed this latest development, the show highlighted Elizabeth Edwards' new book on Friday and, on Wednesday, her upcoming appearance on the "Oprah Winfrey Show."
CBS "The Early Show" attacked sexual abstinence while Bristol Palin appeared on "Good Morning America" and "Today" to voice her support for it. Levi Johnston, the father of Bristol's child who has told numerous stories to hurt the family, went on CBS in what can only have been an attempt to counter or distract from Palin's message.
The daughter of former Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Bristol gave birth to son Tripp on Dec 27 2008. Since then, Bristol has become a Teen Ambassador for the Candies Foundation, which promotes teen abstinence.
On the eighth annual national day to prevent teen pregnancy, CBS continued its derision of abstinence with the help of Johnston. Anchor Maggie Rodriguez said before beginning the interview that Bristol was on TV talking about teen pregnancy and asked Johnston if he agreed with her encouraging abstinence. He responded that he did, but "you need to enforce, ya know, condoms and ya know birth control and things like that to have safe sex. I don't think just, uh telling young kids uh you can't have sex is just not gonna work - it's not realistic."
Chris Matthews asked his panel of reporters, on this weekend's syndicated "The Chris Matthews Show," to offer their prescriptions on how the GOP, in the wake of the Arlen Specter departure, can regain its popularity to which most of the liberal reporters like Joe Klein and Howard Fineman suggested they needed to abandon their "cut taxes, shrink government," message and some of their "trollish"spokesmen like Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney and Newt Gingrich because they're turning off families, women and "people who think that caring matters."[audio available here]
First up Time magazine's Joe Klein suggested the GOP should moderate on health care because it would finally make them, "look sane!" and "bring them into...the mainstream of American politics." Then Newsweek's Fineman charged it was the conservative message of "cut taxes, shrink," government that was the problem: "But it doesn't sell with, with people outside of their base demographic which are white males. There's something about that message that turns off families, that turns off women, that turns off people who think that caring matters about other-, I know that this sounds silly, but caring about other people." And finally Matthews went further saying it's not just the GOP's message but it's messengers who are the problem: "Can you, can you, can they get past the cacophony of Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich? These are sort of trollish figures. These aren't the caring people, are they?"
The following exchange occurred on the May 3 edition of "The Chris Matthews Show":
Today's Los Angeles Times has a story about freelance comedy writers who get paid for their jokes submitted to late night comics that actually make the cut and air in a monologue. Times staffers Matea Gold and Richard Verrier report that "For some late-night hosts, the laughs come cheap."
But alas, it's actually a violation of labor contracts for late night shows to pay freelancers. What's more, with Conan O'Brien acceeding to Leno's throne in June, the practice is expected to stop altogether for NBC's "Tonight Show."
O'Brien is one of the few late-night hosts to refuse freelance jokes, and East Coast guild officials usedhis move to privately remind their California counterparts of the prohibition.
"Conan is one of the key players in this industry, and we knew he was pure on this issue," said Lowell Peterson, executive director of the WGA, East. "This was just an opportunity to let the West know that this was a culture that was moving west. We just want to encourage that culture."
In a piece that could've been crafted by Hillary Clinton's PR shop, NBC's Andrea Mitchell, on Monday's "Today" show, gushed on and on about the Secretary of State's new "role of a lifetime," as a "a foreign policy superstar," and cheered Clinton has the "highest approval ratings of any time in her career."
Mitchell's theme throughout her story was that the "anger of the primaries," between Clinton and Barack Obama was long gone and that in her role of Secretary of State she has proven to be a "key asset to Team Obama," as "Today" co-anchor Matt Lauer observed in the intro. There wasn't a hint of skepticism or negative note in the story as Mitchell threw in soundbites from John Podesta, Joe Klein and presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin who chimed: "She seems to be really enjoying herself, as does he."
The following is a complete transcript of the segment as it was aired on the May 4, "Today" show:
In the wake of back to back disappointments the past two elections, as well as Arlen Specter's recent defection to the Democrat Party, liberal media members -- and even some not-so liberal media members -- have been blaming the GOP's supposed demise on Republicans being too conservative.
On Sunday's "Meet the Press," MSNBC's Joe Scarborough took issue with this popular yet obviously debatable theme:
[W]hen I hear Democrats like Arlen Specter and read editorialists like E.J. Dionne saying how liberal--or, or how conservative the Republican Party's become, they've got it backwards.We have not been conservative as a party, we've been radical.
That was just one of many eye-opening statements by Scarborough during this segment that have been edited together in the video embedded right. Below the fold is a partial transcript of this enlightening discussion that included former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie:
CBS's "Early Show" on Wednesday completely skipped any follow-up on the gaffe of having Air Force One fly over New York City on Monday, terrifying residents. Instead, the program highlighted stories on Barack Obama's first 100 days and still found time for a piece on male celebrities and whether or not they are gaining too much weight. ABC's "Good Morning America" and NBC's "Today" both had segments on the developing story and the revelation that the exercise, designed as a photo op for the White House website, cost $328,000. ABC reporter Jake Tapper intoned, "Asked if the President thinks the costs in both money and stress were worth it, the White House said no."
He also explained to viewers that Senator John McCain had written a letter to the Defense Department, charging, that the flight "represents a fundamentally unsound exercise in military judgment and may have constituted an inappropriate use of the Department of Defense resources." Tapper labeled the debacle a "terrifying photo op." "Today" correspondent Lisa Myers covered similar ground and speculated, "And what about the cost to taxpayers during a financial crisis?" She featured a clip from Steve Ellis of the organization Taxpayers for Common Sense. He charged that the "government wasting money on a photo shoot really flies in the face of fiscal responsibility."
On Wednesday's "Today" show, NBC's Chuck Todd called the decision of Arlen Specter – a Republican senator who has such a liberal voting record and has been such a constant-thorn-in-the-side of his party that he faced probable defeat in his own primary – to leave the GOP, "devastating." In a piece about Barack Obama's first 100 days that trumpeted his own network's new poll showing high ratings for Obama, Todd buried the GOP: "But for the Republican Party it's devastating, not just to their hopes of slowing President Obama's agenda in Congress but for what it says about the future of the GOP."
Todd then aired a sound bite from a Philadelphia area radio talk show host Michael Smerconish who advised the best way for the GOP to win seats was to "clone" Specter.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, AUTHOR, MORNING DRIVE: The Republican Party in the aftermath of the presidential race should have come to him and tried to clone him. They need more Arlen Specters. And instead they deride him as a R.I.N.O - Republican In Name Only.
The following is the full segment as it was aired on the April 29, "Today" show:
Jessica Valenti, founder of the vaguely pornographic sounding Feministing.com, has decided that there is no such thing as virginity in America's young girls and the Today Show is entirely pleased with itself to give her a national TV venue from which to say so. Never mind how silly it all sounds.
On April 23 Valenti and Today pushed the idea that sexually active girls should not be thought of as a problem, that an expectation of virginity is harmful, and that religion is a baneful influence on young women today. Valenti says that if young men can have their sexual exploits given a wink and a nod, then so should the sexual activity of young girls.
Naturally, being a good left-wing, feminist, Valenti draws all the wrong conclusions and advocates all the worst solutions to address the real problems in American society. Just as naturally, NBC gives a legitimate stage for her absurd proclamations and ill-thought-out prescriptions.
If George W. Bush's White House military office had staged an Air Force One photo op flyover of Manhattan without warning New Yorkers beforehand resulting in buildings being evacuated and widespread panic, would media have castigated him for his wreckless stupidity and obvious disengagement from tensions those in the area still have due to 9/11?
This seems an important question given what happened Monday, and how the press are covering the incident with someone in the White House they can't hide their love for.
As the Associated Press reported Tuesday (video of incident embedded right to give you an idea of the panic this caused h/t NBer klchadwick, vulgarity warning):
Earlier on Monday, my colleague Tim Graham previewed a study from the Center for Media and Public Affairs finding that Barack Obama received more television coverage in his first 50 days in office than George W. Bush and Bill Clinton did through similar points in their presidencies combined.
The final report has now been published, and the results are even more absurd.
NBC Universal and its networks have been criticized for the global warming alarmism it parades on a regular basis. However, now the criticism is coming from its own affiliates.
Prior to its April 26 airing on MSNBC, shows on NBC had been promoting the first part of the climate special "Future Earth" - an MSNBC program that used computer animation to show the possibilities of a polar icecap melting. That prompted Bill Steffen, a meteorologist for NBC's Grand Rapids, Mich. affiliate, to call out MSNBC for that special.
At a time when Americans increasingly aren't buying into the theory of anthropogenic global warming according to a recent Rasmussen poll, NBC and its cable news network MSNBC are bringing out the big guns to slow the rise of that mentality down.
On NBC's April 26 "Today," anchor Lester Holt previewed his special "Future Earth: Journey to the End of the World," slated to appear on MSNBC on the night of April 26. According to the preview shown by Holt, the TV special is remarkably similar to Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," forecasting several doom-and-gloom scenarios.
"With the Arctic possibly ice free as soon as the summer of 2013, the world will warm even faster as the Arctic's waters absorb the sun's rays rather than being reflected by ice," Holt said. "The result unfortunately might bring on a doomsday scenario befitting a Hollywood disaster film. But this will be no movie - the likelihood of super storms picking up strength from warming ocean waters, oceans on the rise."
News editors need to retake Journalism 101 or move to features when stories about the White House dog take precedence over a controversial veto by the President's unconfirmed appointment to Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius vetoed a bill, House Substitute for SB 218, April 23 which would have placed additional restrictions on third trimester abortions and allowed more criminal charges over late-term procedures to occur.
With the exception of "Special Report with Bret Baier" that night and "Fox and Friends" the morning of April 24, the broadcast media avoided covering the controversial decision. But "Today," "The Early Show," and "Good Morning America" all had time to cover Michelle Obama talking about the first family's new dog Bo the morning of April 24.
"NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams appeared in a brief cameo for Thursday night's edition of the sitcom "30 Rock" and spoofed himself as someone interested in trolling for anonymous sexual hook-ups. The scene revolved around characters "Jack Donaghy" (Alec Baldwin) and "Tracy Jordan" (Tracy Morgan), an actor on the show within the show. (The episode involved Baldwin's character, a network executive who produces a sketch show that Jordan stars in, trying to help his co-star find an anniversary present for his wife.)
Towards the end of the program, Jordan broke down and admitted to Donaghy that, despite impressions to the contrary, he had never cheated on his wife. "The partying is just for show...All the phone numbers you see me hand out, they're not even mine," he explained. As an example of such a phone call, the show then cut to a scene of anchor Brian Williams quietly reading the newspaper in his Connecticut home. He picked up a ringing phone and answered: "Hello? No, this isn't Tracy Jordan. [Williams pauses, listening.] Really? I've not heard of that term before. Do you know how to get to Connecticut?" A distinguished news anchor joking about random sex with strangers? What's next? Charlie Gibson on "Dancing With the Stars?" Katie Couric on "Survivor?"
As readers here know from Noel Sheppard's report last night, at yesterday's annual GE shareholder meeting, CEO Jeffrey Immelt was challenged on the subject of media bias at GE-owned NBC, CNBC and MSNBC.
The story is far from over.
I encourage those interested in it to watch the O'Reilly Factor tonight for additional in-depth reporting, including the airing at least part of an audio recording of the Q&A session inside the stockholders' meeting made by Tom Borelli and shared with Fox News. (As of this writing, Fox has also made a tiny portion of the tape, the part featuring Fox reporter Jesse Watters asking about about Keith Olbermann's handling of the recent infamous Janeane Garofalo interview, and the shareholders booing when GE cut off Jesse Watters' mike, available on its website now here, and it has been linked to by Drudge.)
Introducing a segment, on Thursday's "Today" show, featuring Time magazine's photos of the President from his first 100 days, NBC's Matt Lauer, over a shot of Obama in Oval Office, marveled that the stills were "captivating." In an ensuing segment Lauer's colleague, Meredith Vieira asked the easily impressed Time photographer Callie Shell how Obama was "handling" the job, to which Shell cooed: "I think he does very well," and "He reads each night, at least 10 letters from 10 different people...and he answers them, usually the next day."
The following is Matt Lauer's tease and then the full segment as it was aired on the April 23, "Today" show:
Is Donald Trump angry at Miss California Carrie Prejean? Or is it just another trumped up charge from the liberal media?
The April 22 episode of "Access Hollywood" teased viewers that Miss California was under a serious threat of losing her crown - since she was late for a meeting with Donald Trump, the organizer of the Miss USA pageant in which Prejean was the runner-up, and that her position on same-sex marriage somehow contradicted what Miss California's position was supposed to be.
"New and serious trouble for Miss California you will only find out here," "Access Hollywood" co-host Nancy O'Dell announced in the show's teaser.
Ladies and Gentlemen, The Lamestream Media The media coverage of the more than 800 Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party protests that took place in all fifty states on April 15 ranged from disdainful dismissal of their nature, significance and import, to outright hostility towards the events and individual participants, to sexual innuendo-based full-on ridicule.
In this summary, we focused on the three major networks - NBC, ABC and CBS, the two left-of-center cable news networks - CNN and MSNBC and the three major "national" newspapers - the USA Today, the New York Times and the Washington Post.
While not an exhaustively comprehensive oeuvre of TEA Party bias, it contains many, many examples which serve to illustrate the broader antipathetic themes.
[Updated 2009-04-21 16:02:29] All three morning shows skipped an exclusive story broken in Tuesday's Washington Times that explained how Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation in January to send "$25 billion in taxpayer money to a government agency that had just awarded her husband's real estate firm a lucrative contract to sell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than the industry norms."
ABC's "Good Morning America," CBS's "Early Show" and NBC's "Today" completely avoided discussing the piece by the Times' Chuck Neubauer. On the "Today" show, correspondent Amy Robach found time to mention that Feinstein had pressed President Obama not to make a final decision on prosecuting CIA employees who used harsh interrogation tactics, but ignored this potential scandal. GMA spent time on discussing dwarf rabbits with Jack Hanna, while the "Early Show" featured a segment on co-host Julie Chen's pregnancy.
On Friday’s Hannity show on FNC, host Sean Hannity challenged former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw to speak out in response to Janeane Garofalo’s recent tirade on MSNBC host Keith Olbermann’s Countdown show on Thursday, a screed which seemed to have Olbermann’s approval as he appeared to agree with her accusations of racism against Tax Day Tea Party participants.
During a discussion with FNC’s Kimberly Guilfoyle and conservative columnist S.E. Cupp, Hannity addressed Brokaw as he introduced the clip: "I want to address this specifically to Tom Brokaw. Tom Brokaw, are you proud of this?"
Then played a portion of Garofalo’s comments:
JANEANE GAROFALO CLIP #1: You know, there is for more interesting than seeing a bunch of racists become confused and angry at a speech they're not quite certain what he's saying. It sounds right to them, and then it doesn't make sense, which – let's be very honest about what this is about. It's not about bashing Democrats, it's not about taxes. They have no idea what the Boston Tea Party was about.
KEITH OLBERMANN: That's right.
GAROFALO: They don't know their history at all. This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up. That is nothing but a bunch of teabagging red necks.