As they did on Thursday, ABC, CBS and NBC again this morning (Friday) omitted any reference to Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid’s evident failure to properly disclose $1.1 million land deal (although all three programs broadcast updates on the two-week old Mark Foley scandal). So far, the only broadcast network coverage has been a benign 30-second mention on Thursday’s NBC Nightly News.
One new development skipped by the networks this morning: an editorial in the liberal Washington Post spanking Reid for showing “a casual disregard” for following the ethics rules, and declaring Reid’s claim that his transactions were “transparent” were “transparently wrong.” The networks usually aren’t shy about telling viewers when a conservative editorial page condemns a conservative leader, but they’re apparently uninterested in the liberal Post’s scolding of Harry Reid.
Today’s Las Vegas Review-Journal pointed out that Reid was actually serving on the Senate Ethics committee at the time of the undisclosed transactions, and that his financial disclosure forms were prepared by Claude Zobell, once Reid’s chief of staff.” Tagged at the end of the news story is the interesting disclaimer that Claude Zobell “is the brother of Charles Zobell, managing editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.”
Former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw returned to the Nightly News set on Thursday night to forecast big trouble in Big Sky country for Montana’s Republican Senator, Conrad Burns: "This campaign sums up a lot of the Republican problems nationwide." Brokaw theorized that the country’s just tired of less-than-honest GOP majority rule: "For Burns and other GOP candidates across the country, their toughest opponent may be their own party, after six years of White House and Congressional rule."
He touted Montana’s Democrat governor, Brian Schweitzer, as popular, and projected a Democrat win: Schweitzer "could help pull independents and Republicans across the line for Jon Tester on Election Day and that in effect would change Montana from a red to a blue state. It would be a big change." Brokaw’s two local pundits on the race both blasted Bush and the GOP for misleading the country into war in Iraq. Brokaw ignored how Tester’s getting major support from far-left outlets like the Daily Kos website and is calling for the outright repeal of the Patriot Act, which is currently the buzz in Montana.
In running some amazing microscopy photos of a developing baby, NBC's Today show, probably inadvertently, undercut the arguments of their friends on the pro-abortion side. On this morning's Today co-hosts Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer oohed and ahhed as they ran dramatic photos of a 24 week old fetus with Vieira even calling it a "child," something the abortion-on-demand types are loath to do. Interestingly neither Lauer or Vieira even mentioned the abortion word during the entire segment.
The following is a full transcript of the Ron Mott segment and ensuing discussion that took place in the 7:30am half hour of the October 12th Today show. First, some segment teasers:
Al Roker: "Also ahead some dramatic pictures from a groundbreaking book. This is the hand of an 11-week-old fetus."
On the heels of the Google purchase of YouTube, NBC warned of another dot-com bubble on the horizon. [See here for more on NBC's fixation on the "housing bubble."]
Of course, some experts will warn that's the worst-case scenario while others tend to think that the billions spent on YouTube will not lead to an escalating arms race for its less popular competitors like MetaCafe.
Meta what, you just said? Yeah, thought so. Here's a taste of my article. You can find the complete story here:
Over an onscreen graphic that read “Internet Insanity: Is the Dot.Com Boom Back,” Quintanilla suggested the Google purchase of YouTube may presage another “dot-com bubble” like the one that bedeviled the stock market, and the economy, in 2000.
NBC's obsession with the Kennedy family is beginning to border on the absurd. A few days ago I noted how the liberal media and in particular NBC worships at the altar of the Kennedy clan, reporting on every little Kennedy item that comes across their news desks. Well now the Kennedy references are showing up in the most random places. On this morning's Today, NBC's Michael Okwu reported on a USA Today study that showed most CEOs were spanked as children. After a back and forth on the appropriateness of spanking, Okwu finished with this endorsement:
Michael Okwu: "Damage or discipline? Whatever the answer CEOs like Joe Moglia are in good company. One mother describes spanking as the most effective 'means of instruction,' her name was Rose. Her son, the future president, John F. Kennedy. For Today, Michael Okwu, NBC News, Los Angeles."
Have a look at this screen capture from the opening of this morning's 'Today': Barbra Streisand says "SEND IN THE #$&!! CLOWNS"
Since 'Today' only offered a tease at the top of the show, it was hard to know just what Babs had been up to. Was she cursing out a fan or, perhaps, calling for a takeover of power by her team of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, John Conyers, Henry Waxman et al.?
Turns out the correct answer was 'A' - cursing a fan. According to this New York Post article, VULGAR BABS RIPS BUSH - AND FAN - AT MSG:
As they padded for time waiting for a live statement on the North Korean nuclear test from President Bush in the 9 am hour of Today on Monday, NBC's Andrea Mitchell scolded that Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright were building reconciliation between North and South Korea, but Bush came in and ruined it, overruling his Secretary of State, Colin Powell, "cutting him off at the knees." Typically, Today co-host Matt Lauer insisted the North Korean nuclear test was just the latest in a string of bad news for Bush, from Iraq and Iran to the Mark Foley page scandal.
Matt Lauer led into the Clinton-praising section: "Andrea, I have to say as David [Gregory] mentioned a second ago, when I was there a few years ago it was surprising to me that there is starting to be this communication and actual physical contact between South and North Korea. This, there's a super highway being built that really connects the two."
It takes a lot of effort to miss 810,000 new jobs. The Labor Department managed it, but at least they corrected the problem. The networks have over-reported job losses and now this huge piece of good news got lost in the shuffle.
The October 8 Washington Post highlighted the incredible revision. “Unemployment is down to 4.6 percent, the lowest in five years, the Labor Department reported, adding with some embarrassment that it had suddenly discovered an estimated 810,000 net new jobs that it had somehow overlooked in the year ended in March,” wrote Steven Pearlstein.
"A North Korean ICBM hit Hawaii with a 10-kiloton atomic weapon today. Now back to Meredith and Matt for the latest on the burgeoning Mark Foley scandal. Is it doom for Republicans?"
Perhaps I exaggerate a tad with that imaginary bit of dialogue, but judging by this morning's 'Today,' you have to wonder. Good Morning America devoted the lion's share of its first half-hour to the N. Korean test of a nuclear device, with no fewer than four segments focusing on it. Over at Today, after a correspondent in China gave a report, and Lauer and Andrea Mitchell batted things around for a while, it was over. No expert analysis, no nothing. It was time to move to a report on . . . the latest lettuce recall. Have a look at the clock in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. It was only 7:06.
At the end of Sunday’s Meet the Press, Tim Russert warmly remembered longtime New York Times reporter R. W. Apple, well known not only for his journalism, but for his love of fine food and his tendency to wear bright dress shirts (some looked like picnic table tablecloths). As he displayed an old clip of Apple in a very early 1970s long-hair-and-big-sideburns combo, Russert put it this way: "For 43 years, he wrote for The New York Times with brio and clarity...R.W. ‘Johnny’ Apple, one great writer, one very unique character."
May he rest in peace. It should come as no surprise that a famous Timesman like Apple would display a fair amount of Manhattan ultraliberalism in his public career. Here are a few examples culled from the Notable Quotables archives:
The TV networks have enough trouble noticing a single governor's race across the country. But for some reason, the attorney general's race in New York drew attention when Republican candidate Jeanine Pirro drew a federal investigation for wanting to have her cheating husband wire-tapped. (NBC's Today has aired five segments or mentions of Pirro in the last ten days.) Will NBC and others in national TV news report on her opponent, Andrew Cuomo, and his weird habit of investing campaign money in risky hedge funds run by supporters? The New York Times reported on page A-24 on Friday:
Two years ago, Andrew M. Cuomo put more than half of his campaign treasury into a hedge fund, making him one of the few New York politicians to invest campaign money in anything riskier than a sure bet.
In the case of Mr. Cuomo, the Democratic candidate for attorney general, the hedge fund was directed by one of his largest financial backers, a man who also handled Mr. Cuomo’s personal money. The investment of $750,000 turned out to be all upside, with a return of nearly 20 percent after one year.
Just in time for the November elections, a new MSM theme is emerging: Iraq's not the only mess - Afghanistan's in trouble too. Just a couple days I described here the Pentagon's systematic rebuttal of Newsweek's hyper-negative portrayal of the situation in Afghanistan in its article "The Rise of Jihadistan."
One of Newsweek's "news partners" just happens to be NBC, and sure enough, NBC's 'Today' show ran a segment this morning recycling many of the charges contained in the Newsweek piece. The Taliban and Al-Qaeda were depicted as resurgent, with violence up, the opium trade flourishing, and President Karzai's influence largely limited to Kabul.
File this story under media hero worship. The liberal media establishment just cannot get enough of the Kennedy clan and the whole Camelot myth that surrounds them, viewing them as America's unofficial royal family. It seems every time a member of that family so much as has a closet cleaning the media makes a huge deal of the ensuing exhibits or auctions. Such was the case on last night's NBC Nightly News report on the Kennedy Presidential Library unveiling Rose Kennedy's old personal items. Okay, sure, JFK's golf clubs were the inspiration for a classic Seinfeld episode but does it really need a story on a major network's nightly newscast? NBC's Brian Williams described Rose Kennedy in positively regal terms opening his October 5th story:
NBC’s Matt Lauer and Tim Russert continued their pile-on of Denny Hastert and the GOP overall, on this morning’s Today show. Still pushing the Mark Foley story, Lauer and Russert noted how Republicans were running away from Hastert and cited Bush’s declining poll ratings in a new NBC poll. In the 7am half-hour Russert ticked off the negatives for Republicans:
Matt Lauer: "Alright we got some new poll ratings. NBC News/Washington or Wall Street Journal ratings. We've got the President's approval ratings down to 39 percent from 42 just about a month or so ago. What's driving these numbers down in your opinion?"
Tim Russert: "Well Matt, we've, we've polled American people Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday. So clearly the breaking of the Foley story, the National Intelligence Estimate came out on Iraq, the Woodward book. We've had 13 deaths now in Iraq over the last couple of days. It, it is a two-prong attack, if you will. The culture of corruption beginning to take hold--"
All three broadcast networks last night reported on the Dow record high, pointing to falling oil prices as a reason for the latest market rally.
But the market's been heading on an upward trend for years, throughout climbing oil prices and the media's persistent pessimism on the economy.
Of the three networks, I found CBS had the most negatively-slanted coverage, and NONE of the big three gave any thought to the Bush tax cuts being a catalyst for economic growth.
For my full story, check out the MRC's BusinessandMedia.org.
Here's an excerpt:
While CBS’s Anthony Mason offered qualified praise for the market’s recent rally, he sowed seeds of doubt about the market’s strength. Mason highlighted a retiree who “doesn’t trust this new rally” and then warned that “some Wall Street analysts see another bubble in the economy” with real estate.
In the midst of Day 3 the Today show's exhaustive coverage of Mark Foley, NBC's Norah O'Donnell actually shoe-horned in one more reference to Bob Woodward's State of Denial in her Foley story. Right before she concluded the set-up piece to Matt Lauer's interview with Joe Scarborough, O'Donnell referenced the Woodward book as yet another nail in the coffin for Republicans.
Norah O'Donnell: "Republicans are increasingly nervous that the Foley scandal raises questions about their credibility on moral values. Add to that the new book by Bob Woodward, State of Denial, that raises questions about another GOP strength, national security."
Network morning shows stayed on the Mark Foley scandal on Tuesday. ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN all harped on the "conservative" Washington Times editorial calling for Speaker Dennis Hastert to resign. (The Times is conservative, but no one expects the networks to describe the liberal newspapers -- or themselves -- with an ideological label.) ABC's Brian Ross came on strong, suggesting the Republican problem was "one of hypocrisy, talking tough about going after pedophiles on the Internet but not doing much about it when it comes to one of their own." CBS's Hannah Storm wondered if the scandal would "take down the Republican leadership in the House." NBC's Tim Russert used a rare P-word quoting a panicked Republican: "If there's a perception that we overlooked perversion in order to hold on to power we are finished." And CNN brought on a braying Paul Begala and found Democrats were "particularly enjoying the fact" that House campaign chairman Thomas Reynolds was ensnared in the controversy.
Former attorney general John Ashcroft was invited on this morning's Today show to promote his book Never Again but he found himself talking about somebody else's book instead. In the 8:30 half hour NBC's Meredith Vieira assaulted Ashcroft with excerpts from Bob Woodward's latest book and even went on to question Ashcroft about the "moral basis of the war on terrorism," and asserted, "Many people feel that our civil liberties have been chipped away bit by bit since, since 9/11."
Teasing the segment Matt Lauer called Ashcroft, "a very controversial figure," and in her opening Vieira noted he was "a lightning rod for criticism." Hmm, I wonder how many times Today referred to Janet Reno in those terms?
NBC anchor Brian Williams was criticized for skipping out on the Congressional Medal of Honor ceremony that he had agreed to MC. He had another engagement: a two-minute appearance on Saturday Night Live.
“NBC Nightly News” nabob Brian Williams came under fire yesterday after he reportedly beat a hasty retreat from his MC duties at the Congressional Medal of Honor Society soiree in Boston to appear on “Saturday Night Live.”
One event participant griped to the Track that the newsie “was there for the reception, then kicked off the program around 7:30 and was out of there by 8:30.”
When it comes to the Foley scandal, the MSM is definitely keeping its eyes on the prize: the Democratic takeover of Congress. In this NB item, I described how the New York Times editorialized this morning that it doesn't care what else flows from the scandal. So long as the Dems re-take power, the Foley flameout "will have done its job."
Over at 'Today' this morning, Matt Lauer fretted that the fallout might not come fast enough to swing the election to the Dems. Interviewing Tim Russert, Lauer said "the most cynical scenario, the worst-case scenario for Republicans is that they kept this under wraps because Foley's seat was important to holding control of the House at a time when the entire control issue is up for grabs in the mid-term elections." Matt didn't bother painting a more innocent scenario.
If there was a competition on Monday morning to see who would give Bob Woodward the most free publicity, NBC's Today was the hands-down winner. Between the introductory promos, an Andrea Mitchell report, a Tony Snow interview, and a Bob Woodward interview, NBC gave "State of Denial" 15 minutes of publicity in the first half hour of Monday's show. In those 15 minutes, NBC viewers saw the book's red cover displayed on the screen six times, the title was mentioned at least five times, and the on-screen graphics carried the title for most of those 15 minutes.
After Matt Lauer promoted the Mark Foley story, he added: "Counterpunch. The Bush administration fights backs, fights back against explosive claims in Bob Woodward's new book that it bungled the war in Iraq." Seconds later, Meredith Vieira added: "And another big story out of Washington, that bombshell book from legendary investigative journalist Bob Woodward paints a scathing picture of the Bush administration's handing of the war in Iraq, that goes as far as to say the White House is deliberately misleading the public."
In the wake of Rep. Mark Foley's sudden resignation over ABC finding his sexually charged electronic messages to teenage male House pages, Monday's broadcast network morning shows all began with Foley, and the networks presented doom-laden scenarios of a crumbling Republican majority and some demands for Speaker Dennis Hastert and other Republican House leaders to resign. "But this is more than just one man's downfall," insisted Matt Lauer on NBC. "It could be a major blow to the Republican Party, desperately trying to hold on to control of Congress in the coming midterm elections." ABC's Robin Roberts wondered, "this morning, newly revealed e-mails, the denials, dealings of a Congress in chaos. Could the Foley scandal cost the Republicans the House? "
ABC's Chris Cuomo and CBS's Julie Chen each pushed Tony Snow to suggest Hastert and others should resign. Chen also asked if Republican leaders should be questioned "under oath." ABC's George Stephanopoulos dramatically called the scandal "a Category Three hurricane and it's picking up steam." When CNN's Soledad O'Brien then tried to suggest she was "certainly not rushing for anybody's resignation," Snow protested: "Sure you are." None made historical comparisons with Democrats caught in sexual relationships with House pages or other teenagers.
If Matt Lauer ever decides to leave 'Today,' he has a promising career ahead of him interpreting for the hearing-impaired at meetings of Moveon.org and like-minded groups.
Interviewing Bob Woodward on this morning's 'Today' about his Bush-bashing State of Denial, Lauer served as a cheerleader worthy of Katie at her perkiest.
At one point, Lauer summarized matters thusly:
"You paint a picture of a White House and administration that is not tone deaf in some cases but that literally in some cases puts their hands over their ears and said we don't want to hear the information if the information is not going to bolster our company line."
That's when, in the screen capture shown here, Lauer 'helpfully' mimed the White House's 'hear no evil' attitude that Woodward alleges.
Being a regular Fox News Watch viewer, there was nothing surprising, tuning into last evening's discussion of the Clinton-Chris Wallace dust-up, in hearing lefty panelist Neal Gabler take his employer and colleagues to task.
Among his moves, Gabler:
Claimed "this network's reputation [presumably as right-leaning] precedes it."
Asserted that Chris Wallace "did not frame the question properly. He asked 'why didn't you do more?' Which is like asking 'will you stop beating your wife?'"
Defended Wallace only at the expense of other Fox colleagues: "He is not a Hannity, he's not an O'Reilly he's not a Brit Hume, Cavuto, Gibson." Hume of course is not merely an on-air personality but also the powerful FNC managing editor.
Spurned host Eric Burns' entreaty to add someone from another network to his list of partisan TV personalities.
Later, amiable liberal Jane Hall chimed in - after smilingly mentioning that she was glad she had recently re-signed with FNC [and thus presumably was not vulerable to recriminations]. Claimed Jane: "this network's commentary beat up on him, beat up on Clinton, and did not beat up on Bush."
The latest "Media Myth" study from the MRC's Business & Media Institute is out. BMI deputy editor Amy Menefee and researcher Julia Seymour found that the media were quick to hype rising gas prices but slow to recognize the ground-rocketing they've been taking lately.
In 35 straight business days of falling gas prices, evening news shows emphasized “high” or “rising” gas prices more often than falling prices.
In half the stories where journalists mentioned falling gas prices, they undermined the news with warnings of future price increases.
It took NBC three weeks to report falling prices on the "Nightly News." By that time, the average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline had fallen 24 cents.
This morning's big political news at 'Today' was the Bob Woodward book, State of Denial. Turf battles and rivalries in a White House - who would have thought it? Dems are presumably clinging to it as the Last Best Hope for Liberal-kind.
But in terms of revealing the liberal MSM mindset, I found much more interesting a few off-the-cuff comments made by members of the Today cast. At the end of the first half hour, the entire gang gathered on the studio couch, and talk centered on a just-completed segment on a proposal in NYC to ban the use of trans-fats by city restaurants.
The Dow Jones had its second-best closing average ever and
consumer confidence shot up, but CBS and NBC undercut the good news with
speculation on hurricanes and “echoes” of corporate scandals.
“With gas prices dropping by the day, Americans are suddenly
feeling a whole lot more confident” about the economy, CBS anchor Katie Couric
noted during the September 26 broadcast, before introducing an Anthony Mason
story on the dropping price of natural gas.
Even so, Mason warned viewers, “don’t count your savings
just yet. Even though the forecast is for a milder energy bill this winter,
your meter will still be at the mercy of weather and world events.” Using the
backdrop of video clips of hurricane devastation and war, Mason then posited
that “another Katrina whipping through the Gulf or an escalation of tensions”
could send crude oil and natural gas prices up again.
While the Today show noted there was some good news for the Bush side in the declassified NIE report they spent most of their time emphasizing the negative. Today host Matt Lauer, in an interview with William Bennett, stressed the portion of the NIE report most likely to hurt Bush, highlighted a poll of Iraqis to push the Democratic line of early withdrawal and then quoted Hillary Clinton's most recent attack on the administration.
At the top of the show Lauer opened: "On Tuesday the President declassified parts of an intelligence report that's both good and bad news for the administration. While it claims that a victory in Iraq would demoralize the terrorists it also says the war there has strengthened the jihadist movement."
Pundits are pondering Bill Clinton’s feverish attack on “Fox News Sunday,” laying into Chris Wallace for alleged oh-so-clever smirking and pounding the host’s leg with his pointy finger for emphasis.
No one asked if Clinton’s outburst hurt the publicity for his “Clinton Global Initiative.” (It didn’t help.) The first question was: staged outrage, or a spontaneous reaction? It’s quite a commentary on the Slick One that millions on both sides of the political fence would guess he plotted this tantrum in advance. Count me in on that number. I believe it was staged, a plan to please left-wingers who loathe Fox News with a passion and want them demonized as the communications center of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.