As 2012 winds down, it's time to look back at some of the year's most egregious media bias, as documented by the Media Research Center's "Best Notable Quotables of 2012."
Much of what made this year unique was how the so-called "mainstream media" linked arms with the Obama campaign to denigrate and demonize conservatives and Republicans, even those as mild and moderate as GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
Strangely missing from NBC's look back on the 2012 campaign were gaffes and controversial statements from the Obama-Biden campaign. Friday's Today featured a mini-blooper reel of GOP mishaps on the campaign trail, but made no mention of Democratic controversies.
In its lengthy string of highlights from the 2012 campaign, Today included Mitt Romney's infamous "47 percent" remarks along with Rep. Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" meltdown. Today said nothing, though, of Biden's controversial "chains" comments or Obama's "you didn't build that" remark.
With four days until the "fiscal cliff," CBS This Morning peppered its report on the Congressional negotiations with four Democratic sound bites compared to just one from Republicans.
Chief White House correspondent Major Garrett quoted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) three times and simply relayed his smear of Rep. John Boehner's Speakership as a "dictatorship." Both ABC and NBC called out Reid's rhetoric, however. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
Howard Kurtz of The Daily Beast has some tough talk for the D.C. Police investigating NBC's David Gregory. In an interview with the NRA's Wayne LaPierre on Sunday's Meet the Press, Gregory had produced an high capacity magazine on-air in violation of D.C. gun laws, thus attracting a police investigation.
Kurtz lamely implied that although Gregory broke the law, he shouldn't be prosecuted for it. "But the D.C. Police Department apparently has nothing better to do than examine whether he violated the city’s gun laws," Kurtz scoffed in his column at the Daily Download.
Both NBC and CBS covered the outrage Thursday morning over a New York newspaper publishing the names and addresses of gun permit holders in two counties. ABC made no mention of the controversy, however.
"A suburban New York City newspaper is in the middle of a big controversy this morning after it put up online the names and addresses of everyone with a gun permit," reported CBS This Morning co-host Jeff Glor. "Call it a battle between the First and Second Amendments," said NBC News correspondent Katy Tur on the Today show.
William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has relayed the latest turns of events in the David Gregory Meet the Press magazine brandishing incident (previous posts here, here, and here). The press is finally paying attention: "Now that the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department is on record that it told NBC News not to use the high capacity magazine in its segment with Wayne LaPierre, the big media is paying attention and taking this seriously."
Except that some in the press are, with anonymous sources, trying to excuse Gregory's and NBC's situation by saying that they somehow got permission to display the magazine. Uh, except that the New York Times says that any permission obtained doesn't matter. The permission supposedly came from the federal government's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF):
It's pretty close to a tie, but based on time stamps, Legal Insurrection's William Jacobson, at 11:23 a.m., was 22 minutes ahead of local DC TV station WJLA in breaking an important update to the David Gregory magazine clip saga going back to Sunday's Meet the Press program. (The classless credit hogs at Politico published a related story, didn't credit Jacobson, and while citing WJLA, failed to link to its report; thus I'm not linking to Politico.) Previous related posts on Sunday (NewsBusters; BizzyBlog) and Tuesday evening (NB; BB) only relayed the possibility that NBC might have asked DC Metro Police whether they could show a high-capacity magazine on the air.
The fresh news via Jacobson is that "NBC requested and was denied permission to use (i.e., show a) high capacity magazine in news segment" -- but went ahead and did it anyway (bolds are mine):
Warner Todd Huston at Breitbart, Katie Glueck at the Politico, and William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection all reported today that NBC's David Gregory is under investigation by the Washington, DC Metro Police in connection with his apparent brandishing of "a 30-round magazine purportedly for an AR-15 or similar 'assault rifle'" on Sunday morning's "Meet the Press" program.
Jacobson further noted another potentially serious complication for NBC:
Two blog posts today should shred the credibility of Meet the Press's David Gregory in making arguments for gun control and against appropriate armed staff or security personnel at schools -- or they would, if journalists had the least bit of interest in exposing lawbreaking and hyprocritical behavior by their professional colleagues.
During the show, as reported at the Patriot Perspective, relaying a point first brought out by a member of the AR15.com forum site, Gregory "decided to wave around a 30-round AR-15 magazine" in direct violation of the District of Columbia "DC High Capacity Ammunition Magazines" statute. Given the Supreme Court's Heller ruling affirming that the right to keep and bear arms (and ammo) is an individual right, that law may not be enforceable, but it would also be interesting to know if Gregory's possession of an AR-15 magazine or his showing it on the air violated any of NBC's corporate policies. Additionally, the Weekly Standard's Daniel Halper pointed to Gregory's hypocrisy in mocking the NRA's Wayne LaPierre over his organization's advocacy of having armed guards in schools (internal link is in original; bolds are mine):
NBC News correspondent Luke Russert marveled at Code Pink's disruption of the National Rifle Association's press conference in a Friday post on Twitter: "That was probably the most effective code pink protestor I've ever seen."
On Friday's Today, NBC's David Gregory used the Newtown tragedy to buttress President Obama's push for more gun control. During a heartbreaking story about the grieving father of shooting victim Emilie Parker, Gregory switched to a massive petition for the White House to pursue gun control.
"This morning, President Obama has posted this video response online to nearly 200,000 people that signed a petition on the White House website, pushing the President for action on gun control," reported Gregory. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
It seems apparent that NBC is following orders from The White House to continue to argue for stricter gun control in the wake of the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Appearing on Thursday morning's Today, NBC’s White House Correspondent Kristen Welker continued to peddle The White House message to “pledge action to prevent such a massacre from every happening again.”
Welker provided a one-sided segment in favor of President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden’s new gun control task force. The segment was peppered with gun control advocates and White House talking points, with only one pro-gun quote sited throughout the entire segment.
Jay Leno said a really inconvenient truth about the fiscal cliff negotiations on NBC's Tonight Show Wednesday
"John Boehner told Congress to prepare for plan B," Leno teased during his opening monologue. "You know what that means when Congress talks about plan B? The rest of us end up with plan F and U. Okay? That's the plan we get, F and U."
Missing from NBC's rosy Wednesday interview of Michelle Obama is her family vacation's cost to taxpayers. Reports are that the taxpayer bill for the Hawaii vacation will top $4 million.
"Come Christmas the First Family, Bo included, will head some 5,000 miles away from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," Today contributing correspondent Jenna Bush Hager said during NBC's "A White House Christmas" segment. "After an exciting but exhausting election season, the Obamas are happy to take this time to be together and enjoy the simple pleasures of family."
News of the State Department report on the U.S. government’s failures surrounding the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, broke too late last night for the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts, but all three broadcast networks had full reports on their Wednesday morning shows.
Of the three, ABC’s Good Morning America was the most perfunctory, with a less-than 90 second report from correspondent Martha Raddatz that completely failed to mention the controversy over the Obama administration’s preposterous initial explanation that the attack was the result of a “spontaneous” demonstration over an anti-Muslim video posted on YouTube.
But as detailed in the very first of the official report’s “Findings,” the determination that there was no “spontaneous” demonstration: “The Board concluded that there was no protest prior to the attacks, which were unanticipated in their scale and intensity.”
Although Time magazine revealed that 15 percent of Obama voters didn't even care about politics, NBC's Today show still wouldn't challenge the President's supposed mandate from the public to raise taxes when Time's Richard Stengel was on Wednesday.
"And one of the things they found out is that there's about 15 percent of voters who actually don't care about politics," Stengel referred to Time's story on the matter. "These are the people we didn't know who were going to show up at the polls who actually like Barack Obama in the sense they feel like he's outside of politics."
For many Americans, ABC, NBC and CBS are the major source of news on business and the economy. Unfortunately, this is like depending on the middle school student newspaper for information about important local school board deliberations.
Network reporters are either ill-prepared to discuss complex issues of economics, finance and business or choose to be advocates for viewpoints rather than objective reporters who strive for balance. Liberal preferences for government solutions and interventionism as well as hostility toward wealth and profit dominate network coverage.
In his Sunday appearance on "Meet the Press" (HT The Blaze), New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg answered host David Gregory's first question relating to the Sandy Hook massacre by saying that "It's so unbelievable, and it only happens in America." That statement is so obviously false that I would have expected even a Bloomberg- and gun control-sympathetic press, including Gregory himself, to point out how wrong that statement is. Nope: A search on Bloomberg's name at the Associated Press at 1:45 p.m. returned four relevant articles containing Bloomberg's name; none reports that statement, let alone its erroneous nature.
Further, a Google News search on [Bloomberg "only happens in America"] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets; sorted by date) returned 42 items, most of which were versions of a short, unbylined AP Sunday report containing the incorrect Bloomberg assertion. The AP clearly made it disappear in subsequent national site dispatches without identifying the statement's falsehood. To its credit, AP did issue a correction to an earlier "worst in U.S. history" statement in a different report:
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams was eager to seize on any perceived momentum for greater gun control in the wake of Friday's school shooting: "The President said he would use the power of his office to prevent more gun tragedies, and tonight he is being joined by a growing number of prominent voices."
In the report that followed, correspondent Tom Costello listed some of those voices. While pro-gun Democratic senators like Joe Manchin and Mark Warner were noteworthy, Costello attempted to pad the list with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a longtime anti-gun activist. To create the appearance of bipartisanship, Costello even threw in MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, who he pointed out was a "former Republican Congressman." On Thursday's Today, he went so far as to label Scarborough an "influential Republican."
The NBC, ABC, and CBS morning shows on Monday all touted President Obama seemingly calling for more gun control during a Sunday night vigil for the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting. NBC's Today provided the most hype as correspondent Lester Holt proclaimed: "While he offered words of comfort, he also laid down a political gauntlet....sketching the outlines of what amounted to a policy statement on gun violence."
Holt acknowledged: "He did not utter the words 'gun control,' but his message could set the stage for such a debate." Speaking to co-host Savannah Guthrie later on the broadcast, Holt observed: "He didn't talk specifics, Savannah. But you got the sense that he was laying down a political gauntlet, saying perhaps it's time now to look at this issue of gun violence from all perspectives, political risks laid to the side." Guthrie replied: "Well, we'll see what happens when lawmakers get started in January with the new term."
This morning, the Media Research Center is releasing the “winners” of our 25th annual Best Notable Quotables awards, with MSNBC weekend anchor Melissa Harris-Perry taking the dubious honor of “Quote of the Year” for a bizarre Fourth of July tribute to America that referred to “the imperialism, the genocide, [and] the slavery” upon which our country was built.
Runner-up was David Chalian, who was fired from his job at Yahoo! News after being caught on an open microphone disparaging Mitt and Ann Romney during an ABCNews.com Webcast of the first night of the Republican National Convention: “They are happy to have a party with black people drowning.”
Here are a few of the “winners” of 2012, each with video of their offending quote. The results were determined by a panel of 46 judges -- radio talk show hosts, magazine editors, columnists, editorial writers, and expert media observers -- who were extremely generous with their time. For the full issue, please visit www.MRC.org:
Most of the anti-Second Amendment media have been predictably thrilled with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's call for stricter gun regulations in the wake of Friday's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Apparently not New York Times columnist David Brooks who said on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday, "It’s counterproductive to have him as the spokesperson for the gun law movement" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Roughly 48 hours after the tragic shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, a powerful Democrat claimed that on the first day of the new Congress in January, she will be introducing a bill to both chambers of Congress that bans assault weapons.
So said Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif), the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday.
On a night when NBC's Saturday Night Live began with a reverential tribute to Friday's massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, the writers also had a perverse fascination with female body parts.
After guest host Martin Short mentioned kissing a vagina during his opening monologue, he later played a representative from Buckingham Palace instructing an Ob/Gyn, played by Bill Hader, how to treat and refer to Kate Middleton's vagina during her pregnancy (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
In an exclusive interview on Thursday's NBC Rock Center with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice following her withdrawal of her name to be secretary of state, host Brian Williams worked to portray her as a victim of unwarranted political attacks: "She's been under withering attack for weeks....Were you set up? Were you a victim of circumstance? Bad data? Bad information?...Are you blameless in all this?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Referring to her Sunday show statements on the Benghazi attack, Rice responded: "I'm not a victim. I wasn't set up....I don't think anybody is ever wholly blameless, but I didn't do anything wrong. I didn't mislead. I didn't misrepresent. I did the best with the information the United States government had at the time."