Government & Press

By Curtis Houck | September 3, 2014 | 12:05 AM EDT

On Tuesday night, the three major broadcast networks omitted from their coverage on the Islamic group ISIS a report that President Barack Obama has received briefings on the terrorist organization “for at least a year before the group seized large swaths of territory over the summer.”

ABC, CBS, and NBC all led their evening newscasts with multiple segments on the gruesome murder of American journalist Stephen Sotloff at the hands of ISIS in a propaganda video released on Tuesday afternoon. Over on the Fox News Channel (FNC), Special Report with Bret Baier aired three segments on the story, including a report from chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge. [MP3 audio here; Video below]

By Curtis Houck | August 29, 2014 | 12:50 PM EDT

On Friday morning, the major broadcast networks were out in full force to defend President Obama after his remarks at a press conference Thursday afternoon in which he said that “we don’t have a strategy yet” in how to militarily address the Islamic terrorist group ISIS in Syria.

Leading the way was NBC’s Today, where co-host Matt Lauer told NBC News political director and moderator of Meet the Press Chuck Todd that “[c]ritics pounced” when Obama made that remark and wondered if they took “his words too literally.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]

By Mark Finkelstein | August 29, 2014 | 9:17 AM EDT

Alexander the Great.  Stonewall Jackson. George S. Patton. To this list of some of history's greatest military strategists, a new name must be added: that of Barack Obama.  That is, if you agree with Joe Scarborough's take on President Obama's statement at yesterday's press conference that "we don't have a strategy yet" regarding possible attacks on ISIS in Syria.

According to Scarborough, speaking on today's Morning Joe, President Obama's "no strategy" statement was "straight out of The Art of War where when you were weak, you make your enemies think you were strong. When you were strong, you make your enemies think you were weak." It's what Scarborough would have done, he told viewers, if he were president. When Sam Stein said that he couldn't tell if Joe was joking, Scarborough assured him: "I'm serious. Dead serious . . . I am dead serious.  I am not joking."  View the video after the jump.

By Ken Shepherd | August 28, 2014 | 8:31 PM EDT

While competing newscasts on ABC and CBS led tonight with the president's stunning admission at a press briefing that he hasn't formulated a strategy to deal with ISIS yet, NBC placed the story in the third slot in the lineup, after a lead-off report regarding the NFL's "tough new policy" on domestic violence and a story by New York-based correspondent Katy Tur about comedian Joan Rivers's hospitalization.

On top of that, Nightly News substitute anchor Lester Holt completely left out both ISIS and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia from his opening-credit tease. By contrast, both ABC's Amy Robach and CBS's Maurice DuBois led off their opening-credit teases by citing the most quotable nugget from today's presidential presser [LISTEN to MP3 audio here; WATCH video montage below page break]:

By Curtis Houck | August 28, 2014 | 4:00 PM EDT

As reported on Tuesday night, two of the three major broadcast networks covered a new report from the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Veterans Affairs on the scandal-ridden agency and its Phoenix VA hospital that led to a nationwide investigation of delayed wait times and secret waiting lists. 

While the coverage was mixed with ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer completely omitting the story, the coverage in print and online sources such as Politico, the Associated Press, and The Washington Post completely missed the boat.

By Curtis Houck | August 26, 2014 | 11:30 PM EDT

Reporting on the latest in Ferguson, Missouri for Tuesday night’s CBS Evening News, CBS News correspondent Vladimir Duthiers interviewed a St. Louis detective on what Missouri state law says regarding the ability of law enforcement to use deadly force. After reading from the law directly, Duthiers opined to the detective that it “[s]ounds to me as if the cops are protected no matter what they do.”

To Duthiers’s comment, Detective and St. Louis County Police Association President Gabe Crocker responded that police officers are not “protected by a blanket policy where they can just shoot people and get away with it,” but emphasized that “I do think the law allows for police officers to use deadly force.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]

By Ken Shepherd | August 26, 2014 | 9:55 PM EDT

Last week I noted how MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who usually has tingles down his leg for the president, was taken aback by Barack Obama's statement regarding the ISIS beheading of American freelance journalist James Foley. 

Tonight a frustrated Matthews expressed his frustration with Mr. Obama once again, asking his guests Bobby Ghosh and Howard Fineman why the president didn't couch the U.S. response to the bloodthirsty Islamist terrorists as a defense of American honor. Why, Matthews wondered, did Obama stick to business as usual "playing golf last week when he had the American people's attention?" Why doesn't Obama "fight like a street fighter when it comes to defending the lives of Americans"? The relevant transcript appears below the page break (emphais mine; MP3 audio here; video follows page break):

By Curtis Houck | August 26, 2014 | 9:35 PM EDT

On Tuesday evening, NBC Nightly News offered a soft news brief on the scandal-ridden Veterans Affairs (VA) Administration by promoting President Barack Obama’s calls that the VA’s many issues will be fixed on his watch. In addition, substitute anchor Lestor Holt made quick mention of an inspector general’s report that the actions of the agency in delays in veterans waiting for care did not result in any veteran’s death. 

What NBC Nightly News failed to mention in their one-sided report was that skepticism surrounding the VA remains as both widows of veterans who died awaiting care and one of the whistle-blowers who brought the problems at the VA to light are publically raising doubts about the report’s findings. [MP3 audio here; Video below]

By David Limbaugh | August 25, 2014 | 9:52 PM EDT

One does not need to be Sun Tzu or George Patton to know that a nation must recognize an enemy before it can develop a strategy to defeat it. But one apparently does have to be someone other than President Barack Obama.

Since he took office, Obama has spent considerable energy trying to convince us how peaceful and magnificent the religion of Islam is and how exceptional acts of terrorism springing from it are.

By Curtis Houck | August 25, 2014 | 9:15 PM EDT

Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton appeared on the Fox News Channel (FNC) Monday afternoon and informed viewers that a Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney admitted to his organization on Friday that the e-mails belonging to former IRS official Lois Lerner that were thought to be lost likely still exist. He declared to FNC’s Shannon Bream that the story of Lerner’s hard drive being damaged and destroyed and thus her e-mails were permanently lost has “all been a pack of malarkey” and “a big lie.”

When it came to the major broadcast networks covering this huge story on their Monday evening newscasts, there was no coverage to be found as ABC, CBS, and NBC all carried out the latest censoring of news surrounding the IRS. [MP3 audio here; Video below]

By Ken Shepherd | August 25, 2014 | 4:53 PM EDT

"Patriotism may be the last refuge of a scoundrel, as Samuel Johnson put it, but a lack of it may be the last refuge of corporate executives who have run out of ideas on how to improve their business," groused Daily Beast global finance editor Daniel Gross in the open of his 9-paragraph screed "Burger King Plots Canadian Invasion to Save His Faltering Kingdom." "It’s one thing for a fairly anonymous company that sells pumps or valves or industrial products to other businesses to renounce its citizenship for the sake of saving a few bucks on taxes. It’s quite another when you’re an iconic American consumer-facing company that relies on fickle consumers for a large share of its business," Gross fumed. 

By contrast, folks reading coverage of the planned merger at Time.com's money section were treated to an article which actually dealt with the facts rather than diving into overheated political rhetoric. As Time.com's Paul J. Lim explained, "Burger King Wants to Cut its Exposure to Hamburgers, Not Just Taxes" (emphasis mine):

By Curtis Houck | August 22, 2014 | 1:02 PM EDT

Friday’s CBS This Morning dove into the subject of President Obama vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard while events domestically and internationally rage, including the brutal murder of American journalist James Foley at the hands of the Islamic terrorist group ISIS. While they were the only network to mention this story, the report from CBS News White House Correspondent Major Garrett and discussion among the hosts afterward did little more than cover for the president.

At the segment's conclusion, co-host Norah O’Donnell compared Obama’s golfing minutes after making a statement about Foley’s murder to former President George W. Bush going golfing after speaking about a suicide bombing in Iraq. O’Donnell observed that: [MP3 audio here; See the video after the jump]