The network news outlets - ABC, CBS and NBC - have missed a great opportunity to cover actual political news in the last week by failing to report on the loan scandal surrounding two Democratic senators, Business & Media Institute Managing Editor Amy Menefee told "Fox & Friends Weekend" June 21.
"This story has everything," Menefee said. "It has a former presidential candidate, Chris Dodd. It has two senators who are getting, like you said, sweetheart loans. It has Kent Conrad, another senator, who called the CEO of the lender to get his loan, which is not what we normally do, and then said, ‘Oh, I didn't get any preferential treatment and I didn't do anything wrong, but I'm going to give a charitable donation to remedy the fact that I didn't do anything wrong.'"
Menefee said it was "very sad" that the networks failed to report the scandal - not just because they refused to go after two Democrats, but because they missed an opportunity to expose the bailout plan Dodd has been defending.
While print media and cable news channels are all over the "sweetheart" mortgage deals given to two Democratic U.S. senators, network news shows on ABC, CBS and NBC are keeping mum even though the scandal involves one of their favorite targets: Countrywide.
"This is a huge story ever since Portfolio magazine broke with this story. Print media outlets have covered it, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, the cable networks are there," Business & Media Institute Vice President Dan Gainor told "Fox & Friends" June 20. "And then you look at the evening news shows: they're non-existent."
MRC President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell appeared on the June 10 "Fox & Friends" to discuss yet another poll noting that the public perceive what the MRC has documented for nearly 21 years: the media are not only biased ideologically, they tailor campaign coverage in a way that goes softer on candidates they favor, such as Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
For example, Bozell note, the Illinois Democrat's numerous gaffes have received widespread play in blogs and on video-sharing sites like YouTube, yet are virtually ignored by the MSM:
Barack Obama has a long history of gaffes on this campaign trail, Bosnia sniper type of gaffes. We've documented them. Others have documented them. But you won't see them on the news media. So you just can't say, I mean it's, what Ed has said is true, Hillary did stumble and did make mistakes and Bill did make mistakes but so did Barack Obama and they weren't covered.
Audio from the two segments is available here. Transcript below by MRC intern and NewsBusters blogger Lyndsi Thomas:
"Fox and Friends" called out left wing anchor Keith Olbermann on his own lies. The co-hosts on the June 4 edition of "Fox and Friends" discussed the TV Newser story that NBC veteran Tim Russert is reportedly taking orders from Olbermann. Steve Doocy noted Olbermann’s rising in the ranks at NBC and also a blogging for the hard left site, "Daily Kos."
After Gretchen Carlson responded to Olbermann’s intelligence insult, Doocy noted Olbermann’s claim he does not go after public figure’s children, but named Doocy’s own son "Worst Person in the World." Doocy fumed "So next time you see Keith Olbermann on TV, just remember he is somebody who picks on people’s children. And he is a liar."
Olbermann also named Doocy’s son "Worst Person in the World," after issuing an apology for David Shuster’s Chelsea Clinton "pimped out" comment.
MRC President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell appeared this morning on the May 28 "Fox & Friends" to discuss the Oprah effect on the 2008 presidential race. It appears the daytime host may be taking a ratings hit from erstwhile loyal viewers chagrined by her backing the Illinois senator, although Obama himself seems to be benefiting from the backing. Also discussed: former Bush press secretary Scott McClellan's new book. [audio available here]
Below is a transcript taken down by MRC intern and NewsBusters blogger Lyndsi Thomas:
GRETCHEN CARLSON, "Fox & Friends" co-host: All right, so the details being leaking about this book, who better to discuss it than media hounds like you guys. Brent, let me start with you because McClellan says in this book that "as Press Secretary I spent countless hours defending the administration from the podium and the White House briefing room. Although the things I said then were sincere I have since come to realize that some of them were badly misguided." Is this a bitter guy or this a guy who just wants to get the truth out?
The news media have covered recent economic trials with four times as much negativity as they covered the worst economic period in the nation's history - the Great Depression - a new study from the Business & Media Institute shows.
"They were four times more negative during the Bear Stearns buyout than the worst economic couple days in our country's history," BMI Vice President Dan Gainor said on "Fox & Friends" May 27, announcing the release of the new study, "The Great Media Depression."
On Friday’s Fox & Friends, Fox News military analyst Colonel David Hunt rattled off a series of U.S. and Iraqi achievements, then blasted the liberal media for failing to report them. “If you talk about success in Iraq, then you’re somehow giving credit to McCain,” Hunt surmised, “and I think it’s wrong, because it does not give credit to the soldiers who have earned this, and we need to stop it.”
Hunt noted that the Iraqi military and police have become more professional and are acting independently of U.S. forces, putting down a Shiite rebellion in the southern city of Basra; that an Iraqi force is stabilizing the Sadr City portion of Baghdad and the government has achieved a truce with radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr; al-Qaeda in Iraq is badly damaged and could lose its last stronghold in Mosul; and the successful campaign against al-Qaeda in Iraq has contributed to a 40 percent decline worldwide in deaths due to terrorism.
Yet, Hunt pointed out, “if it’s not Abu Ghraib with 50 stories in the New York Times, no one in the press that I’ve heard -- besides here -- will even talk about success.”
This morning's "Fox & Friends" repeated some misreporting on a dozen nuns who were supposedly "barred" from voting yesterday at their South Bend, Indiana, polling station due to lack of proper ID. As I noted in my May 6 blog entry, the sisters were not refused the vote, they chose not to vote using the provisional balloting option. [audio available here]
As the AP's Deborah Hastings reported in an early draft that was later excised from her story:
They weren't given provisional ballots because it would be impossible to get them to a motor vehicle branch and back in the 10-day time frame allotted by the law, Sister McGuire said. "You have to remember that some of these ladies don't walk well. They're in wheelchairs or on walkers or electric carts."
Of course last night's race between Clinton and Obama was close, but not by a margin of 12 votes. Simply put, these sisters could have voted and opted to not follow up with the validation process should none of the races they voted in remain undecided within the 10-day window. In other words, no one barred these sisters from voting but the sisters themselves.
Hillary Clinton's recent appearance on "The O'Reilly Factor" was a play for superdelegate support at the Democratic Convention, MRC President Brent Bozell argued on the May 2 "Fox & Friends" in a segment joined by liberal talk show host Mike Papantonio. [audio available here]
Asked about the media and if it will follow up any more on the Rev. Wright controversy, the NewsBusters publisher quipped that, "[u]nless Jeremiah Wright sends a cruise missile back in their direction, no, the networks aren't going to touch this, and the New York Times is going to leave this alone. That's the end of the story, that's the way it goes."
Below is a transcript of some remarks from Bozell's appearance on the May 2 "Fox & Friends":
MRC President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell appeared on both the April 29 "Hannity & Colmes" and the April 30 "Fox & Friends" to discuss media treatment of the ongoing Barack Obama/Rev. Jeremiah Wright saga. Bozell discussed a taxpayer-funded "puff piece" interview by PBS's Bill Moyers on "Hannity & Colmes." The next morning on "Fox & Friends," in addition to addressing Moyers's bias, Bozell discussed reports that Hillary Clinton backer the Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds was the person responsible for arranging Rev. Jeremiah Wright's April 27 National Press Club event.
While Reynolds has a political agenda in view, Bozell noted, he doubted there was a direct link to Hillary Clinton herself. [Audio excerpt here]
An excerpt from the "Fox & Friends" segment:
GRETCHEN CARLSON, co-host: Well how did Rev. Jeremiah Wright end up as a keynote speaker at the National Press Club? And what role Barbara Reynolds, openly a Clinton supporter, what role did she play in arranging Rev. Wright's appearance? More details coming out this morning now.
BRIAN KILMEADE, co-host: Yeah, Brent Bozell, you have a theory here. And we know now thanks to one of the reports that she had brought up Rev. Wright's name two years ago as a speaker and he has spoken before at 2007. But when they needed Rev. Wright, they had to go to Reynolds who does know him personally.
MRC President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell appeared opposite liberal radio talk show host Mike Papantonio on the April 24 "Fox & Friends" program in two short segments in the 8 a.m. half-hour. Topics included the cancellation of a planned CBS North Carolina Democratic primary debate and the recent Los Angeles Times's article hinting that John McCain "may face "fitness questions" in light of his U.S. Navy disability pension. [see video here; audio available here]
In the first segment, Bozell applauded ABC for a hard-hitting Pennsylvania debate and lamented that the primary debates up to it had mostly been "a farce." In the second, the MRC president slammed the April 22 Ralph Vartabedian article in the Times as worse than being a mere "cheap-shot," it's just merely "stupid" and nonsensical.
Is this the network all of the Democrats were afraid of just months ago? Glowing from her victory in Pennsylvania, Senator Hillary Clinton braved the April 23 edition of FNC’s "Fox and Friends" to face a barrage of...softball questions. This is not new for the Fox News morning show as they've already given Senator Clinton two other easyinterviews.
Co-host Gretchen Carlson started the segment asking "May I call you ‘Rocky’ this morning, Senator?" Carlson and fellow co-host Steve Doocy allowed Clinton to answer any way she pleases and did not interrupt the New York senator. At one point, it appeared as if Doocy was setting up a tough question, recounting some of the many Clinton scandals, but gave Clinton a tee-ball, opining "I thought Barack Obama wasn’t going to run that kind of a campaign." [audio available here]
Gainor told viewers of the Saturday morning broadcast April 19, "Time magazine basically tried to co-op an icon of American heroism to push their global warming agenda. They're trying to claim that their war against global warming is similar to what our veterans endured during WWII."
He went on to say that there were 28,000 casualties and more than 6,000 people killed at Iwo Jima, exclaiming, "That's real war."
Before ABC News on Sunday night described Charlton Heston as “polarizing” for his conservative views and CBS News dubbed him “controversial,” the Fox News Channel aired a obituary piece which impugned Heston as “infamous for his politics, including his belief that the Bill of Rights is built upon the bedrock of the Second Amendment.”
The MRC's Rich Noyes caught the characterization on Fox & Friends Weekend, at about 7:12 AM EDT Sunday morning, in a pre-packaged piece narrated by Bill McCuddy, though he was never identified or shown, possibly because he is no longer with FNC.
The Oxford dictionary defines “infamous” as “well known for some bad quality or deed” or “morally bad; shocking.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary: “Having a reputation of the worst kind: notoriously evil,” or “causing or bringing infamy: disgraceful.”
Who's the best political talk show host on television every Sunday? Tim Russert? George Stephanopoulos? Bob Schieffer? Wolf Blitzer?
Get real! There's nobody on the television landscape that comes close to Fox News's Chris Wallace. And, there's nobody on Fox News that better exemplifies and understands what the network's slogan "fair and balanced" means.
[This was first posted on January 1, 2008] On the Tuesday, January 1 Fox and Friends, Democratic strategist and FNC contributor Bob Beckel found amusing Hillary Clinton's contention that her trip to Bosnia in 1996, which Clinton has been accused of exaggerating as a dangerous mission despite the presence of daughter Chelsea and comedian Sinbad on the plane as she mentioned the need for a "corkscrew" landing and running on the tarmac in case of sniper attack, was evidence of her foreign policy experience. Clinton's comments, which were a response to Barack Obama's charges that her foreign policy experience consisted only of talking and "having tea" with foreign dignitaries, evoked an amused and cynical reaction from the liberal Beckel: "It's almost too hard to say this straight. I mean, I've had a few corkscrew landings myself, but I was not, well, it had been a long night before I did it. I mean, I don't know what that gives you in terms of foreign policy experience except a bad case of heartburn. I probably would have thought of something else besides that. I wonder what Sinbad did during that landing. I wonder if she hid behind him or not. Dangerous that would probably be." (Transcript follows)
I count Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace among the fairest and most incisive interviewers in the business, and hope his tenure at Fox News is a long one. Anyone who can relentlessly cross-exam Mitt Romney on his changed position on abortion the way Wallace did a while back, then turn around and have Bill Clinton near the point of taking a poke at him, is doing his job and playing no favorites. But should Wallace ever wish a change of venue, never fear: MSNBC apparently can find a place for him.
Wallace made some news when, appearing on this past Friday's Fox & Friends, he criticized the hosts for dwelling longer than Chris thought appropriate on Obama's comment that his grandmother was a "typical white person."
On this evening's Hardball, Chris Matthews devoted a segment to the exchange. Eugene Robinson, the affable WaPo columnist and MSNBC political analyst, suggested that refuge awaited Wallace should he need it.
Imagine for a moment Tim Russert, George Stephanopoulos, or Bob Schieffer being interviewed on their respective network's morning show, and scolding the co-hosts for excessive George Bush or John McCain bashing.
Wouldn't happen in a million years, right?
Well, Fox News's Chris Wallace was the guest of "Fox & Friends" Friday morning, and before allowing any of the co-hosts to ask him a question, he actually admonished them for spending too much time in the first two hours of the show on Barack Obama's "typical white person" remark (h/t Politico):
As conditions in Iraq improve to the point where even adamant Iraq War opponents concede the surge has worked, the press seems less interested in questioning the Bush administration on the war. On the March 6 edition of "Fox and Friends," co-host Brian Kilmeade asked White House press secretary Dana Perino when she last received a question about Iraq. Perino responded that she does not remember "having sustained questions about Iraq...since probably early December," and added "I think that’s as a result of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker in conjunction with the Iraqis really making some progress on the ground."
Does the media only want to report the bad news in Iraq? A recent MRC study suggests just that, noting "their zeal for reporting on Iraq declined as the violence and casualties did." The MRC documented that the number of stories declined in 2007 from 178 in September, 108 in October, to 68 in November.
The Fox & Friends crew welcomed both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on their airwaves on Wednesday morning. The Fox hosts were cheerful, but a bit tougher than in previous interviews this year. Here's the most interesting part of the Hillary interview, where she sends Rush Limbaugh a message:
STEVE DOOCY: Let me ask you, let me ask about this. Over the last week or so, Rush Limbaugh has been suggesting to his listeners, Republicans, conservatives mainly, to go ahead in Texas and Ohio to vote for you. What’s your message to Rush Limbaugh today?
HILLARY CLINTON: Be careful what you wish for, Rush.
With new data out of the earth’s significant cooling, at least one morning show picked it up, predictably "Fox and Friends." On the February 28 edition, co-host Brian Kilmeade noted that worldwide snow cover is the highest it has been in over forty years. Steve Doocy quoted a meteorologist in California who noted that the temperature has dropped by "a value large enough to erase nearly all the global warming recorded over the last 100 years" and "it’s the single fastest temperature change ever recorded up or down."
"You know, Steve, I just wrote a book about the naked fawning for Hillary Clinton by the media over the past 15 years. I picked the wrong subject," MRC president Brent Bozell joked to "Fox & Friends" co-host Steve Doocy.
Bozell appeared on the February 26 program to discuss media coverage of the Democratic primary contest, including the latest dustup: a controversy about a photo of Sen. Obama (D-Ill.) from a 2006 Africa junket allegedly leaked by a Clinton staffer. Bozell noted that the Clinton campaign's tactics are "just goofy" and are "backfiring on them, every single time."
Bozell argued that Clinton's desperation is in part due to Obama's soft treatment by the press although, "there's no way you can say that the media have treated her [Sen. Clinton] poorly overall."
With the New York Times smear on likely Republican nominee John McCain and his alleged inappropriate relationship with lobbyist Vicki Iseman, Fox News political correspondent Carl Cameron called in to add his take. Cameron revealed on the February 21 edition of "Fox and Friends," that Fox News came across these rumors last fall. Cameron stated that they were "unable to substantiate any of it."
In regards to the alleged affair with lobbyist Vicki Iseman, Cameron asserted that they "were able to find precisely nobody who would go on the record or even suggest off the record that there was truth to the suggestion that there had been any sort of an inappropriate personal relationship."
"The New York Times" uses fuzzy math to smear volunteer soldiers and "Fox and Friends" picked it up. MRC’s Clay Waters reported on the "Sunday Times" January 13 story, "Across America, Deadly Echoes of Foreign Battles," essentially smearing soldiers linking some committed murders to the Iraq and Afghanistan conflict.
However, the numbers show that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are far less likely to commit murder. On the January 16 edition of "Fox and Friends," co-host Steve Doocy noted that veterans are "five times less likely to commit murder." Gretchen Carlson noted the danger of putting out these dubious stories adding "You don't have time to actually get to the bottom of all of these articles. People just assume that what they read, wrong or right, is truth."
The Democrats may still refuse to debate on Fox News Channel, but they’re getting increasingly competitive enough with each other to appear on the morning show Fox & Friends all of a sudden. Hillary Clinton made her second appearance of the year on Wednesday after her New Hampshire squeaker, and Barack Obama followed. But this may be the one media outlet where Obama gets tougher treatment than Mrs. Clinton. While co-host Brian Kilmeade turned at the end to some tougher questions on al-Qaeda, it was smooth sailing for Hillary.
Here were the toughies Hillary had to face on the supposedly harsh and right-wing Fox News Channel [transcripts by MRC's Justin McCarthy]:
1. Gretchen Carlson asked: "You know, I thought of course the line of your speech last night that everyone will be talking about this morning is the one where you said ‘I listened to you,’ meaning the people in New Hampshire, ‘and in the process I found my own voice.’ What did you mean by that?"