It doesn't matter if they talk about it on the evening news or not according to Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana.
Pence, along with two of his Republican colleagues - Reps. Dan Burton. Ind., and Bob Goodlatte, Va., met with reporters about the protest they are waging against congressional Democratic leaders at the Capitol on Friday. Democrats, led by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, have prevented an up-or-down vote on expanding offshore oil exploration and drilling.
"We don't need to be on the mainstream media," Pence said. "I think the switchboard at the Capitol is melting. Quite frankly, you know, I went home to the state fair and went to the ham breakfast, which starts at 6 a.m. There were 300 farmers from all 92 counties of Indiana. There was no mention made from the podium about our protest, but I stood up and simply said, ‘It's an honor to be here with the governor and the lieutenant governor.' And I said, ‘Quite frankly, it's just nice to be speaking where the lights are on and it brought the house down - people from all 92 counties.'"
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," anchors Robin Roberts and Diane Sawyer touted the marital relationship between Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and his wife. Co-host Robin Roberts recounted the often repeated story of how the Edwards couple spend their wedding anniversary, including their recent 30th, at the restaurant Wendy’s.
Roberts, perhaps in a Freudian slip, even referred to the former North Carolina Senator as "presidential nominee John Edwards." Sawyer gushed that the candidate and his wife "are going to renew their vows." "Happy anniversary," she added.
Yet, this is the same morning show that has vastly underplayed stories that aren’t quite so cute and endearing for the '08 contender. For instance, during a recent GMA town hall with John Edwards on the subject of poverty, Ms. Sawyer only managed to mention the trial lawyer’s 28,000 square-foot mansion once.
The Big Three networks continued to ignore the party affiliation of the now-incarcerated Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on Friday morning, just as they had done in their evening news programs the previous night. The Early Show on CBS chose to ignore the story of Kilpatrick’s arrest on a bail violation entirely, while ABC’s Good Morning America devoted one 16-second news brief to the story near the beginning of its 7 am Eastern hour.
Ironically, NBC’s Today show, which is devoting most of its programming to the Summer Olympics in Beijing, spent the most time on the subject. It first aired a 12-second news brief just after the top of 7 am Eastern hour, and devoted an entire segment to the story at the beginning of the 8 am Eastern hour. The report by correspondent Ron Allen was just shy of 2 minutes long, but still ignored Kilpatrick’s Democratic affiliation.
Could the NBC honchos be a tad touchy about criticism of the Beijing Olympics—especially when it comes from its own talent pool? Was there a kernel of truth in Mika Brzezinski's light-hearted warning that MSNBC's Morning Joe crew would "get a call" if it persisted in its mocking of the games for whose broadcast rights the Peacock Network has over the years paid billions?
When the subject of the Olympics arose during the opening segment of today's show, the panel went into an extended coughing fit, coupled with cracks about tanks in Tiananmen Square. Mika joined in the joshing for a while, before finally putting her foot down . . .
In a pre-taped segment, delivered from the Forbidden City in Beijing, NBC's Matt Lauer pointed out a poll that showed the Chinese are happier than Americans and repeated his line that protestors could be seen as "party crashers," on Tuesday's "Today" show.
During an interview with NBC News China analyst, Joshua Cooper Ramo, Lauer made the following observation:
LAUER: There's a recent poll that said some very high percentage of the people in China are happy with their lot in life. Something around 80 percent. You compare that to polls in the United States that say only about 25 percent of Americans are, what's the root of their happiness here?
Then a little later in the segment the "Today" co-host, repeating an earlier worryhe made on Monday's program, declared the average Chinese citizen would disapprove of any protests:
NBC's Meredith Vieira, at the top of Tuesday's "Today" show, greeted viewers with the following teaser and jarring charge that "A scathing new book...claims the Bush administration's case for war...wasn't a mistake but deliberate deception...It is worse than Watergate."
Vieira, in the 7am half-hour interviewed journalist/author Ron Suskind about his new book, The Way of the World, and his claim that the Bush administration ordered the CIA to forge a letter that would link Iraq and al Qaeda. While Vieira and David Gregory did cite denials from former CIA Director George Tenet and Condoleezza Rice no Suskind critic appeared, live on the air, to debate him. In fact Vieira, at the end of the interview, noted that Suskind will be on tomorrow's "Today," as well.
The following is a complete transcript of the Gregory set-up piece, followed by the full Vieira interview with Suskind as it aired on the August 5, "Today" show:
This will give you an idea of just how far to the left NBC's Andrea Mitchell is.
Although many industry insiders and media watchers on both sides of the aisle view the cable network MSNBC as being a journalistic disgrace as a result of its blatantly obvious liberal bias, Mitchell says, "Nothing could be more important to our future."
And that's not all. For those with strong stomachs, here's Mitchell's complete response to a question on this subject from TVNewser (emphasis added):
NBC’s Matt Lauer, broadcasting live from the Great Wall of China on Monday’s "Today" show, referred to the "double-edged sword" of the world’s attention being on China for the Summer Olympic Games and asked a Chinese professor about how that "spotlight" might be "co-opted by party crashers who have a bone to pick with this country. He then asked the professor, "How worried are the people here about that?" [audio available here]
Lauer, who will be in China during the next weeks for the Olympics, interviewed Professor Teng Dimeng of the Beijing Foreign Studies University 20 minutes into 7 am Eastern hour of the NBC program. According to the University’s own website, it is a "key university under the [Chinese] Ministry of Education" and that "since her initiation, the [Communist] Party Central Committee and the late Chinese leaders, including Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, has provided great care and teachings for the development of the university." Therefore, Lauer, despite introducing Teng as a professor, was actually speaking to an employee of the Communist Chinese government.
Now that the government has signed off on a $25-billion bailout of home mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the obvious question is: What next?
Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine, thinks breaking up is hard to do, but necessary. "The Bush Administration should vigorously push to have Fannie and Freddie recapitalized and broken up into 10 to 12 companies, with their ties to the government completely severed," as he explained in the August 11 edition.
According to Forbes, getting 10 to 12 smaller private companies involved in mortgages "will help revive and reinvigorate that sector."
On Sunday's The Chris Matthews Show on NBC, during a discussion of how well a President McCain might work with a Democratic Congress, host Matthews seemed to generalize about the political opinions of women as he contended that "one of the biggest fears women especially have" is that McCain would appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices, whom Matthews branded as "hawkish" on abortion: "One of the biggest fears women especially have is that we'll have a Supreme Court judge retirements or deaths or whatever, need to [be] replaced. McCain could come in there, he's a pro-lifer, pick some real hawkish people on the topic of a pro-life anti-abortion stance." He also euphemistically referred to the Democratic majority's ability to block pro-life appointments as being a "safety net." Matthews: "Would one of the safety nets be for the Democrats, they've got almost 56, almost 60 Democratic Senators that would say no way?" (Transcript follows)
On Friday, NewsBusters wondered how much attention media would pay to the Republican revolt that occurred after Speaker Pelosi adjourned the House for a five week vacation without allowing a vote on offshore oil drilling.
It turns out that if you rely on the evening news programs of the three broadcast networks, you didn't hear about this extraordinary event at all (photo courtesy AP).
And, if you're one of the few people that still reads newspapers, the one thrown on your driveway Saturday morning likely also ignored this story, or buried it well off the front page.
Conceivably the worst of the network offenders was the "NBC Nightly News" which actually addressed the fact that Congress adjourned without a vote on drilling, but completely ignored the GOP revolt that ensued afterwards (from closed captioning):
Keeping with the tone of the political campaign, the media are in full Britney Spears mode. To quote the pop tart, "Oops, they did it again." It, this time, is the economy. The mainstream media continue to be wrong about the U.S. economy.
The 2nd Quarter Gross Domestic Product numbers came out Thursday morning and the economy continued to grow, this time at a stronger pace than last quarter - 1.9 percent.
As many pundits point out, the economy has to actually recess for there to be a recession. That hasn't stopped the media, who have in many ways never stopped talking recession since we escaped the last one.
This year it has been worse, with regular references to "recession" or even "depression." These days, "depression" may be how journalists feel about their own industry. But they continue to be wrong about the economy.
Chuck Todd has some advice for John McCain: embrace Ted Stevens' demise. The NBC News political director made his suggestion in the course of kibitzing McCain campaign strategy with Joe Scarborough on today's Morning Joe.
CHUCK TODD: Joe, why isn't McCain jumping on this Ted Stevens thing? He hated Ted Stevens.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: He did!
TODD: He should be dancing on this guy's political grave today. This is the John McCain Republican party versus the Ted Stevens Republican party. And he ought to be, he ought to be gloating today. And he's not touched it.
It's a strange dichotomy. While NBC News continues to maintain a wall of silence regarding the alleged John Edwards scandal, the comedians on that network are having a field day joking about it. On Monday night Jay Leno told the following John Edwards joke:
John Edwards asks Kobe Bryant, 'What's a good jewelry store?'
Conan O'Brien went even further on Tuesday night with an extended joke that incorporated video shots of his band leader, Max Weinberg, as well as trombonist Richie "LaBamba" Rosenberg:
So the Big 3 networks sent their evening news anchors on the road to follow Barack Obama around last week on his Excellent Overseas Adventure.
If the nets' managements harbored any hopes that doing so might significantly increase their overall audience, or meaningfully increase the number of viewers in the key 25-54 demographic, those hopes were dashed when last week's ratings were released Tuesday (Source for all ratings info in this post - Media Bistro Newser: July 21, 2008; July 14, 2008; July 23, 2007; July 16, 2007):
The Big Three broadcast networks lavished an incredible amount of attention on Barack Obama's tour of the Middle East and Europe last week. Compared to a very similar trip by John McCain last March, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts gave Obama more than ten times the coverage — 92 minutes for the Democrat's eight-day trip, compared to just eight and a half minutes for the Republican's seven-day tour.
The MRC's Peter Sasso calculated that the CBS Evening News was the most obviously tilted, with more than 34 minutes of Obama coverage during the eight days from July 20 through July 27. Back in March, McCain's seven-day trip garnered a piddling ten seconds from CBS, a ridiculously lopsided 200-to-1 disparity. For its part, ABC's World News gave Obama nearly as much coverage as CBS (about 33 minutes), or roughly 15 times more attention than they provided McCain's trip (slightly more than two minutes). NBC Nightly News spent nearly 25 minutes covering Obama, or about four times more than they gave McCain back in March (a little over six minutes).
The networks suggest Obama is driving the narrative, but it's the liberal press themselves doing the driving for Obama
(Editor's Note: This essay originally appeared today in Human Events.)
Just Another Clown Delivering the News
The Big Three networks just foisted a week long Obamathon upon the American people, a political, "journalistic" perversion of Jerry Lewis's annual televised good deed.
Mr. Lewis raises money for a very worthy cause. CBS' Katie Couric, NBC's Brian Williams and ABC's Charlie Gibson attempted to raise the Presidential credibility of an inexperienced candidate by dutifully following Illinois Senator Barack Obama to the Middle East and Europe for six days and five nights of wall-to-wall slavish and adoring reporting.
This was an unprecedented media extravaganza. Never before have all three evening news anchors been drawn out of their chairs and all over the world together and on behalf of a candidate. Their coverage of Sen. Obama was as glitteringly positive as it was all-encompassing: the primary season without the Clinton distraction.
By week's end, the voters back here Stateside could well have forgotten that Senator Obama has an opponent.
Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello reported Friday that NBC is talking to Rosie O'Donnell again, but this time about putting her in prime time with a variety show, as if she was Carol Burnett:
Multiple sources confirm to me exclusively that Hasselbeck's former View nemesis, Rosie O'Donnell, is in active talks with NBC to return to television with her own weekly primetime variety show....
The possible NBC-O'Donnell hook-up is particularly ironic in light of the fact that less than a year ago the network's cable news arm, MSNBC, was close to giving the Koosh Ball-lovin' funny lady her own one-hour showcase. But when word of the discussions leaked out before the ink was dry, O'Donnell claimed the network "panicked" and the deal went south.
O'Donnell's rep declined to comment, but an insider with knowledge of the Peacock negotiations tells me that NBC isn't the only major network making a play for the ex-View moderator. CBS is (or was) also said to be interested in giving the ratings magnet her own series, but at this point, NBC is said to have the upper hand.
Roger Friedman at Foxnews.com (a Rosie fan) offered more scuttlebutt:
When the Israeli government and the terrorist group Hezbollah carried out a prisoner release agreement in which Israel released five Lebanese prisoners while Hezbollah released the bodies of two Israeli soldiers who had been killed, there was a substantial contrast in the way the broadcast network evening newscasts reported the story. While ABC’s Charles Gibson and Simon McGregor-Wood reported on World News that one of the prisoners, Samir Kuntar, had been convicted of the "vicious murder" of an Israeli man and his four-year-old daughter, and that upon release he was "greeted in Beirut as a returning hero," NBC and CBS both skipped over any details of Kuntar’s crime, and CBS’s Katie Couric even listed the prisoner exchange as one of several "glimmers of hope" in the conflict between Israelis and Arabs. Couric: "For the first time in years, there are some glimmers of hope in the Arab-Israeli stalemate -- a virtual cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, a prisoner exchange with Hezbollah, and the beginning of low-level talks between Israel and Syria."
CNN and FNC further detailed the brutality of Kuntar’s crime, and FNC noted his popularity among many in Lebanon. FNC’s Morton Kondracke: "What’s most disgusting is that the Lebanese performance, tens of thousands of people turning out to welcome home a terrorist who had killed a policeman, a civilian, and then bashed in the head of the civilian's four-year-old daughter. And he's being welcomed home as though he’s a national hero, with the president there, the prime minister there, the speaker of the parliament. This is supposed to be an ally of the United States, Lebanon. What it indicates is that Lebanon, that Lebanese politics is now owned by Hezbollah ... they have veto power over whatever the Lebanese government does, you know. Lebanon is close to being lost." (Transcripts follow)
Appearing on the Monday, July 21, Tonight Show, MSNBC host Chris Matthews defended his declaration from last February that a Barack Obama speech caused him to feel a "thrill going up my leg," and suggested he really is not biased in the presidential race as he contended that "I’m a freaking American" and "who I’m rooting for" is "us." Referring to Obama having "seen on both sides of that San Andreas Fault of race in this country," Matthews effused that Obama was "inspiring." Matthews: "I was inspired by it, and I said so at the time, and I took some heat for it, but I’d rather be honest and say what I feel ...You know, I mean, I'm a freaking American. I do have a reaction to things, and I do react emotionally to my country. I care about this country. I want to look out for it. It's my job. I'm not just some umpire. You know, I take a side: Us. That's who I'm rooting for." Video of Matthews' "thrill" comment from February 12 can be found here.
But after seeming to claim that he was not cheering for either candidate, as he discussed the expected closeness of the election, Matthews focused on his fear that many 70- and 80-year-olds will be "suspicious of change," which sounds like a reference to Obama, as he advised the elderly to "think like your kids for once." Matthews: "I hope one thing. When people go to vote, they look at the guy's background, they look at the age of the two candidates, they look at their abilities and really open up their hearts and say what's really good for my kids, who don't have any color awareness. Kids don't think about that, race. Think like your kids for once. Think the way they think. It would be great if the older people in the country, the 70-year-olds, the 80-year-olds who are suspicious of change, to say, ‘You know, why don't I think the way my kids are thinking and think about the future?’ Whatever they decide, just open up your heart to this prospect of something different. That's what I hope we do." (Transcript follows)
On July 16, Andrew Malcolm at the Los Angeles Times's Top of the Ticket Blog wrote the following (bold is mine):
When President Bush ordered the surge in January 2007, (Barack) Obama said: "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse," a position he maintained throughout 2007. This year he acknowledged progress, but maintained his position that political progress was lacking.
This YouTube video (different from the compare/contrast video at the bottom of the LAT's link) shows Obama reciting the lines just quoted.
The LAT Blog notes earlier in its entry that "The parts (of Obama's web site) that stressed his opposition to the 2007 troop surge and his statement that more troops would make no difference in a civil war have somehow disappeared."
Something else disappeared this week. Team Obama, for all its posturing, probably saw something like this coming -- which explains their web site scrubbing.
Hopefully this event will repeat itself frequently. You have to get all the way to the end of an apparently weekly routine Associated Press report to see it, but there it is:
Are reporters in the business of reporting fact or rumor? Andrea Mitchell, for one, doesn't scruple to circulate "scuttlebutt" that if true would be deeply damaging to John McCain.
Barack Obama's cancellation of plans to visit injured military members at bases in Germany has drawn considerable attention and criticism. On today's Morning Joe, Mitchell passed along an Obama-campaign inspired rumor that McCain used his Pentagon connections to sabotage the Obama visit.
The Biz Flog, the video blog over at the Business and Media Institute, takes at look at the effect the high cost of oil has had on the airline industry, and the effect that has had on passengers seeing higher ticket prices and fees.
Instead of focusing on and explaining the real causes of higher ticket prices, the media have accused the airline industry of trying to “nickel-and-dime” passengers.
On “MSNBC Live” July 9 host Tamron Hall gave a report on the quality of commercial airline travel, calling price increases “nickel-and-dime fees.”
“Passengers think they’re getting nickel-and-dimed,” host of the Today show, Matt Lauer said July 9 on the morning program. “All the things that were free on planes are now costing us.”
In another sign that the bloom might be coming off the Obama rose, the NBC "Nightly News" Wednesday reported some new poll results that not only suggest this election has suddenly become "areferendum on Obama," but also that 55 percent of those surveyed felt "it's Obama that's the riskier choice."
Frankly, more shocking than the results of this survey was that NBC would report them while the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee was on his so-called "Tour of Duty" overseas, and do so coincident with anchor Brian Williams being in Berlin to interview Obama before his big speech there today.
Yet, as the following demonstrates, NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd wasn't Williams's guest Wednesday evening just to cherry-pick the pro-Obama aspects from this poll (video and full transcript below the fold):
NBC's David Gregory, substitute-hosting on Tuesday's "Today" show, argued with Rudy Giuliani that any notion of Barack Obama's foreign policy naivete has been refuted by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. Gregory contended that Maliki's suggestion of a U.S. troop withdrawal by 2010 "validated" Obama's position. Giuliani scoffed that Democratic presidential nominee wouldn't have even been able to visit with the Prime Minister in Iraq, if it weren't for the surge that the Obama opposed.
The following exchanged occurred on the July 22, Today show:
Three days after former Vice President Al Gore gave a speech outlining his plan for countering climate change, he appeared on “Meet the Press” with Tom Brokaw who lauded the former Vice President's efforts but also pressed him on his own energy usage and suggested that Americans must sacrifice in order to fight climate change.
Brokaw started off his program lauding Gore, claiming that since losing the presidency to Bush in 2000, Gore has “since focused on his environmental crusade, winning an Oscar for his documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ as well as the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. On Thursday he proposed a bold new plan to address global warming and the energy crisis.”
After Gore joined the program, Brokaw again lauded the former Vice President and showed his personal beliefs on global warming by describing him as “Nobel Laureate, Oscar winner and crusader for conservation of energy and attacking the climate change that we're all experiencing in this country.”
Even though the United States is still technically not in a recession, NBC's Meredith Vieira doubted John McCain's ability "to lead us out of a recession," on Monday's "Today" show. Vieira pointed to McCain's former economic adviser Phil Gramm's "mental recession" comment as a reason to "question" McCain's "judgment," when the Republican presidential candidate appeared on the July 21 "Today" show:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: You know you said, "In a time of war a commander-in-chief's job doesn't get a learning curve," but we are facing a crisis here, domestically, that a lot of people consider more significant in their lives right now, than the war, and that is the economic crisis. You have admitted that your economic policy is a weakness for you, so do you deserve a learning curve, to get up to speed?
Have the broadcast networks gone too far with their obvious infatuation with presumptive Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama?
If the Associated Press is starting to think so, maybe the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz was right on Sunday when he warned "Reliable Sources" viewers that "there could be a big backlash against news organizations if this trend continues."
On the other hand, wouldn't it be nice if the repercussions Kurtz presaged came from other media members similarly disgusted by what is passing for journalism this election cycle?
Consider what the AP's David Bauder had to say about this issue in an article published moments ago with the headline, "Is Media Playing Fair In Campaign Coverage?" (emphasis added throughout, h/t NBer nkviking75):
For many months, NewsBusters has been reporting the financial interest Nobel Laureate Al Gore has in advancing global warming hysteria, and has continually wondered when media will raise this issue to the American people.
On Sunday's "Meet the Press," Gore gave host Tom Brokaw the perfect setup to ask him about his investments in renewable fuel technology when the former Vice President mentioned how much money T. Boone Pickens has put into windmill farms.
Predictably, Brokaw missed this opportunity to be the first major, mainstream media member to ask the Global Warmingist-in-Chief about his own investments, and just how much he stands to make if America does indeed shift all of its electricity production to renewable sources of energy.
Here's the exchange in question (video embedded below the fold):