Nightline, the show born out a crisis in the Middle East, has devolved into a superficial, tabloid-heavy program that has hardly bothered with the growing crisis in Syria and Barack Obama's handling of it. Since August 21, the program has allowed a mere four segments (18 minutes and eight seconds).
In contrast, Nightline has devoted over 24 minutes to light-weight topics such as the Amish Mafia TV show, a full report on the best summer songs of all time. Other stories include a look at "color runs" (a "fun" race in which joggers have paint thrown at them.) Another segment profiled James Dyson, the man who made vacuum cleaners "sexy."
The military trial of Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan began Tuesday, with the government arguing that the onetime Army psychiatrist was motivated by “a jihad duty to kill as many soldiers as possible,” while Hasan — representing himself — seemed to agree, arguing: “Evidence will clearly show that I am the shooter and the dead bodies will show the war is an ugly thing.”
But in the hours and days after the November 5, 2009 shooting that killed 13 soldiers and wounded more than two dozen others, liberal journalists resisted the idea that this episode was part of the broader war on terrorism and openly fretted about how everyday Americans would respond to news that a Muslim soldier had committed such a massacre. As NPR’s Nina Totenberg mourned at the time: “It really is tragic that he was a Muslim.”
Here are some of the quotes MRC/NewsBusters gathered at the time:
Nightline co-anchor Bill Weir on Tuesday belatedly celebrated Earth Day by touting a left-wing environmentalist who is pushing for new carbon taxes and opposing the construction of the Keystone oil pipeline. Weir failed to label Bill McKibben as a liberal. Instead, the journalist simply referred to him as an "organizer," an "agitator" and a "lobbyist."
Weir lectured his audience, "So, how does [McKibben] convince a nation of oiloholics to dry out?Well, he organizes and agitates and lobbies for a tax on carbon. He gets arrested for protesting that big new pipeline from Canada and tries to convince colleges to dump their oil company stock." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Unlike Weir, McKibben's own website has no problem with ideological labels. One post begins, "So you’re a progressive and you’ve been sitting on the sidelines of the Keystone XL fight. Sure, you’ve heard about the pipeline but you haven’t yet drawn your sword and taken up the struggle."
Four years ago, ABC journalist Bill Weir swooned that "national pride" made the cold of Inauguration Day seem warmer and that even the seagulls were "awed." On Monday, the reporter was at it again, hyping "history" is "keeping [inauguration-goers] warm." On Good Morning America, the morning show crew gushed over every detail.
News reader Josh Elliott referred to the First Lady's new haircut as the "bangs that thrilled the nation...[Obama's] dear wife and the hair."Later, during live coverage, Weir talked to a 16-year-old in pajamas, visiting Washington for the inauguration. He wondered, "History is keeping you warm, right?" "Outstanding," enthused the journalist. World News anchor Diane Sawyer liked the line so much she repeated it later: "And I heard you say earlier, Bill, people are counting on history to keep them warm." [Video to be added soon. MP3 audio here.]
You may recall when CBS fired Charlie Sheen early last year from the popular Two and a Half Men series for a string of "felony offenses involving moral turpitude." In the weeks and months that preceded this decision, an increasingly erratic Sheen received an inordinate amount of media attention for his drug-induced rants. To this day however, Sheen's bad boy persona is received warmly by the media, and he's been rewarded for it with ad spots for Fiat and DirecTV and even another show on the FX network that jokingly plays off his history of reckless hedonism.
By contrast, Sheen's former co-star, Angus T. Jones, the titular "half man" on the sitcom, has been castigated by the media for his recent religious conversion and subsequent YouTube testimonial in which he urged folks to avoid his popular TV series. Perhaps pressured by producers, Jones has since apologized for coming across as indifferent and unappreciative for the lucrative opportunity, but that hasn't stopped the media for characterizing Jones's video as another celebrity meltdown. [ video below the page break ]
Martha Raddatz boosted President Obama on ABC after the final presidential debate on Monday evening, just as she did during the earlier vice presidential debate that she moderated. Raddatz asserted that Obama "humanized what he was talking about. He talked a lot about the troops; he talked about the survivors from 9/11; he talked about the people in Israel. So if, in fact, he was going towards the female vote, he probably got their attention with that sort of approach." [audio available here; video below the jump]
NewsBusters is showcasing the most egregious bias the Media Research Center has uncovered over the years — four quotes for each of the 25 years of the MRC, 100 quotes total — all leading up to our big 25th Anniversary Gala on Thursday night.
Click here for posts recounting the worst of 1988 through 2008. Today, the worst bias of 2009: Journalists are thrilled by Barack Obama’s arrival in the Oval Office, with ABC’s Terry Moran suggesting he’s the “first President since George Washington to be taking a step down into the Oval Office,” and Newsweek’s Evan Thomas seeing Obama’s approach to foreign policy as being “above the world. He’s sort of God.” [Quotes and video below the jump.]
Next week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of ObamaCare, but if the media were the judges, the Court would rule 9-0 in favor of it. During its coverage of the health care debate, the liberal press never permitted questions about ObamaCare’s legality to interfere with their dream of a government takeover of the health care sector.
Starting even before Barack Obama became President, the press has been campaigning hard for passage of the most liberal version of health care reform as a cure-all elixir to all of America’s health problems. First, they pitched the public on the desperate need to, as ABC’s Dr. Tim Johnson demanded, fix America’s “national shame” of no universal coverage. (Worst of the Worst quote compiliation with videos after the jump)
Nightline co-anchor Bill Weir on Monday couldn't help but fawn over former Obama White House social Secretary Desiree Rogers, lauding her as a "fashionable, vivacious, interesting, telegenic person in a town with not a lot of that, frankly."
The journalist failed to offer much in the way of tough questions. Regarding the 2009 fiasco of having Michaele and Tareq Salahi crash a state dinner with the President, Weir gently wondered, "...What are your thoughts now that that night won't be remembered for [being a success]?"
Instead, he hyped, "But in those heady days of Obama mania, how could anyone ignore the well heeled woman in charge of the guest list? The one who fit right in with Anna Wintour, Kanye West at fashion week, the one who beat the First Lady into the pages of Vogue?"
ABC’s Bill Weir inaccurately lectured Friday night: “Consider Japan's state of the art undersea sensors and tsunami gates, protecting key ports, while just last month, our House of Representatives voted to slash funding for the Hawaiian tsunami warning center that issued last night's alarm.”
Then on Saturday’s World News, reporter Clayton Sandell found it newsworthy to highlight how “Democrats accuse Republicans of being irresponsible for proposing budget cuts to NOAA, the federal agency that provides forecasts and early warnings of natural disasters.”
Sandell cued up a California Democrat with a loaded question: “NOAA's budget gets cut, are people's lives more at risk?” The Congressman, who represents the state’s northern coast, naturally, agreed: “Absolutely.”
According to Nightline anchors Terry Moran and Bill Weir, new Republican Senator Rand Paul is "radical," "controversial" and longs to take a chainsaw to the Department of Education. Using hyperbolic language, Weir profiled Paul for Wednesday's program.
Co-anchor Moran previewed the segment by attempting to isolate the Kentucky politician: "Up next, even the most conservative Republicans balk at his proposals for slashing government." As a cartoon graphic of a crazed-looking Paul appeared onscreen wielding a chainsaw, Weir hyperventilated, "So, while the President argues for a budget scalpel, Rand Paul would use a chainsaw, shutting down the Departments of Energy and education."
The journalist continued, "He would kill the Consumer Product Safety Commission, shrink the Pentagon and cut off all foreign aid." Dismissing Paul's call for spending restraint, the ABC anchor challenged, "Does the richest nation in the history of nations have a responsibility to take care of its weakest?"
Condemning everyday Americans as racist, anti-immigrant Islamophobes was a favorite media theme in 2010, as documented by the Media Research Center's year-end Best Notable Quotables of 2010. Polls showed most Americans supported Arizona's effort to curb illegal immigration and opposed building an Islamic center near the site of the destroyed World Trade Center towers — but on both scores the media elite stacked their coverage against the public.
Winning the "Hazing Arizona Award for Denigrating Immigration Enforcement" was longtime New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse, who summoned images of resistance to Nazi occupation in an April 27 op-ed hoping for protests of the "police state" she claimed Arizona had become for trying to protect itself from illegal immigration.
Nightline co-anchor Bill Weir talked to TV Newser on Tuesday and offered a sarcastic answer to the question of how to be a careful journalist. Weir mocked, "Well, I've drastically scaled down the size of my meth lab."
He joked, "And I no longer tweet, you know, race baiting comments." When asked his impression of reporting from war zones in Iraq or Afghanistan, the ABC anchor fretted, "You know, the one drawback, and I'm not the first to bring it up, is when you're embedded with U.S. forces, you're really only seeing one side of the story."
Weir exclaimed, "thank goodness" for American troops and complimented them for "literally looking out for your life." But, he also complained, "And that's kind of one of the real joys that I find in this job is when the seat belt light goes off in some country you've never been to before and the door opens and there's new smells and new sights and you can really explore at your own pace. That doesn't happen in a war."
ABC's Bill Weir, the former co-host of weekend Good Morning America, debuted on Monday as the new co-anchor of Nightline. ABC President David Westin lauded Weir in July for conducting "some of our most innovative reporting." But, he may be better known for standard liberal bias, such as hyperbolically asserting during Barack Obama's inauguration: "From above, even the seagulls must have been awed by the blanket of humanity."
More recently, during the debate over Arizona's new immigration law, Weir fretted, "There is a fear-driven exodus going on in Arizona tonight." In April, he interrogated Sheriff Joe Apraio: "With this new law, will you ramp it up? Will you, will you grab people on street corner?" Examples of Weir's bias, with video and audio, can be found below:
Good Morning America's Bill Weir on Thursday touted a court ruling that removed key portions of Arizona's immigration law. He announced the judge's decision as one spanning "from rage to relief." He derided the possible implementation of the legislation as "the day when reasonable suspicion would take on a whole new meaning."
Weir, who will soon take over as the new co-host of Nightline, chided Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. He asserted that she "seems ready to take an appeal all the way to the Supreme Court. Goading President Obama and Congress all the while."
The ABC journalist's example of Brewer's goading? This comment: "They need to step up, the feds do, and do the job that they have the responsibility to do."
ABC on Wednesday continued to attack Arizona's tough new immigration law. Good Morning America devoted three segments to the subject, even misstating what the legislation does.
News anchor Juju Chang incorrectly asserted, "The law would allow police to question anyone suspected of being in the country illegally."
In fact, the law would allow police to check immigration status only if an individual has already been stopped for a legitimate police reason. An onscreen graphic derided, "Target: Immigrants: Arizona Law Set to Take Effect." Notice that, according to ABC, Arizona is simply focusing on immigrants, not illegal immigrants.
Less than two days before Arizona's immigration enforcement law is scheduled to go into effect, ABC delivered another installment in the national media's efforts to discredit it and paint the law as doing more harm than good as anchor Diane Sawyer warned that “undocumented immigrants – many working in this country for decades – are fleeing the state, or hiding in fear.” [Audio available here]
With the on-screen heading “PREPARING FOR WORST” over video of an abandoned house, reporter Bill Weir intoned: “There is a fear-driven exodus going on in Arizona tonight. More vacant apartments, more empty shops, more kids disappearing from school.”
Weir explained that “Latino activists are urging their community to check their taillights, not travel in big groups and even remove the Catholic rosary beads from their rear view mirrors” while “law student Daniel Rodriguez, undocumented since his mother brought him at age six, tells me of all the parents giving power of attorney to neighbors in case they're deported without their American-born children.”
The network morning and evening news shows have all but ignored President Obama's Saturday letter to congressional leaders asking for $50 billion in additional spending to prevent the "massive layoffs of teachers, police, and firefighters." Only Sunday's Good Morning America on ABC has covered the President's request so far.
The chief executive's June 12 letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Minority Leader John Boehner urged "swift action" on the multi-billion dollar proposal to prevent the public sector layoffs and "give our nation's businesses added impetus to hire and grow."
ABC anchor Bill Weir brought up the President's letter with White House correspondent Jake Tapper 13 minutes into the 8 am Eastern hour of Sunday's Good Morning America:
When political scientists compare populism and elitism, they could certainly find a test case in the new Arizona law on immigration enforcement. While Rasmussen found 70 percent of Arizonans favored the crackdown on illegal aliens, and new national media polls found majority support as well, ABC, CBS, and NBC denounced the popular will as short-sighted and discriminatory.
From April 23 to May 3, the top three television networks offered viewers 50 stories and interview segments on their morning and evening news programs. The tone was strongly hostile to the law and promotional to the "growing storm" of left-wing protesters: 37 stories (or 74 percent) were negative, 10 were neutral, and only three were positive toward the Arizona law's passage -- 12 negative stories for every one that leaned positive.Stories were much kinder and sympathetic to illegal aliens than they were to police officers. Cops were potential abusers of power. Entering the country illegally was not an abuse of power. It was portrayed as an honorable step by the powerless.
The soundbite count was also slanted, with 92 quotes against the law and only 52 in favor. The pro-law numbers, however, included many soundbites of Arizona public officials defending themselves against liberal charges that they were racists or in favor of racial profiling.
Liberal political pundits frequently remind Americans that words matter, which makes broadcast network reporters' coverage of Arizona's new crack down on illegal immigrants so appalling.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a law on April 23 that would make it a misdemeanor for immigrants to not carry documentation proving they are in the country legally. The bill gave state law enforcement the power to determine the immigration status of any person during "any lawful contact." Amid allegations that this law would lead to "racial profiling," Brewer later amended it to allow law enforcement to only check the immigration status of those involved in a "lawful stop, detention or arrest."
Reporters on ABC, NBC and CBS misled the American people about the law by calling it "anti-immigration" twice as often as correctly identifying the law as "anti-illegal immigration" and reporting, as ABC's Bill Weir did on the April 24 "Good Morning America, "Police [in Arizona] now have the power to stop anyone and make them prove they are legal."
ABC's weekend coverage of a tough immigration bill in Arizona focused mostly on the anger and outrage against it, minimizing supporters of the legislation. Talking to Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a fierce critic of illegals, Good Morning America co-host Bill Weir on Sunday berated, "But with this new law, will you ramp it up?...Will you grab people on street corners? I mean, what will you do with this new law?" [Audio available here.]
He also challenged Arpaio about his own fight against illegal immigration and derided, "...How is it possible to enforce these sorts of laws without sweeping up innocent citizens in the process?"
Good Morning America's Bill Weir and Reuters editor Chrystia Freeland on Saturday gushed over Obama administration talking points on the new unemployment numbers. After Weir talked about a White House-created graphic showing job losses slowing, Freeland unselfconsciously rhapsodized, "Well, I was going to say, what I think that first tells you is that [presidential adviser David] Axelrod is a really smart guy, because that is a beautiful graphic."
Continuing to tout how useful the show was being to the Obama administration, she added, "And I'm sure he's really, really happy to see it on TV." Perhaps wanting to spread the credit around, Weir complimented, "Might be [Obama adviser] David Plouffe who came up with that one, too."
Freeland couldn't get over the cleverness of this graphic, which featured the Obama logo, enthusing, "Okay! Okay. Both of you guys, well done." Now, it's one thing to repeat Democratic talking points, but to tout the brilliance of said talking points is quite another.
ABC anchor Diane Sawyer, who in February demanded to know who will “keep insurance companies from jacking up premiums while making huge profits?”, on Friday found her champion in the Superintendent of Maine’s Bureau of Insurance, hailing Mila Kofman as a “super-cop” and a “gladiator” for rejecting a rate hike requested by Anthem Blue Cross.
Kofman proclaimed “we are the super-cops on the street. I take that responsibility as an insurance regulator very seriously,” a self-promotional description Sawyer adopted in her introduction, touting “a woman in Maine who is acting as a super-cop, and telling the insurance companies ‘no.’”
Reporter Bill Weir recounted how Kofman turned down an 18 percent increase in premiums for individual policies, allowing “11 percent. Enough for Anthem to cover their rising costs, but not enough to make a profit. She says they're doing just fine.” Presuming nefarious motives by insurance companies, Weir asserted the new health care law “depends on state regulators to keep them honest every day.”
Good Morning America on Thursday worried about the possible violence Sarah Palin's Twitter page could cause to Democrats who voted for the health care bill. Guest host Bill Weir interviewed Barney Frank and fretted, "Some on the left have also been pointing to Sarah Palin's Twitter message encouraging her followers to 'Do not retreat. Instead, reload.'"
He ominously explained to viewers, "And her Facebook page has a map with cross-hairs on 20 Democrats who voted for the bill." Reporter Pierre Thomas also rehashed Democratic fears that"a toxic political environment is a catalyst for ugliness."
He touted complaints by Democratic Congressman Steve Driehaus that Republican Minority Leader John Boehner said he would be a political "dead man" if he voted for the bill. Thomas intoned, "The fears that all this angry talk could push a deranged person over the edge."
On Wednesday, both NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America exclusively cited the latest Gallup/USA Today poll, which shows significantly more public support for ObamaCare than other recent polls. Both programs failed to mention several polls that continued to show public opposition to the massive legislation.
NBC Today co-host Meredith Vieira used the Gallup poll to grill Republican Senator Jim DeMint, suggesting the tide of public opinion had turned in favor of the bill: "by a margin of nine percent, Americans say it was a good thing that Congress passed this bill. Half describe their reaction as enthusiastic or pleased. 48 percent called the bill a good first step. So who is out of touch with the public? The Democrats or the Republicans?" DeMint replied: "we would expect hype with – with all the hype and propaganda – that we would get a bump....I don't think the anger's gonna go away. I think you're gonna see it continue to build."
On Good Morning America, fill-in co-host Bill Weir noted the poll after Democratic strategist James Carville touted it: "The new USA Today Gallup poll say 50 percent, or just under, 49 percent, say passing this bill is a good thing. 40 percent call it a bad thing." Weir then turned to Republican strategist Kevin Madden and wondered: "Those who are opposed to it, though, are very angry. Will that be enough? Will there be enough steam left in that anger come November?"
On Saturday’s Good Morning America, reporter Rachel Martin cast President Obama and Democratic leaders as working hard to nail down the votes needed to pass their massive health care bill, but made no suggestion that liberals were using devious or heavy-handed tactics. But when it came to the Republicans, reporter David Kerley included an indignant Democratic congresswoman, who charged that the mean-spirited GOP was casting her as “soft on cancer” just weeks after both of her parents died of the disease. (Friday's ABC World News highlighted the same complaint, MRC's Brent Baker noticed.)
The two reports, which aired back-to-back at the top of the March 20 program, were a good illustration of the liberal media trope that Republicans sink to using offensive hardball tactics while Democrats are seen as offering lofty arguments.
On the one hand, Martin’s story showed only soundbites from Democrats: President Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and a freshman Congressman who was switching his vote from “no” to “yes.” Martin helped cast Representative John Boccieri as a profile in courage:
Good Morning America's Bill Weir on Sunday trumpeted Barack Obama for "keeping a campaign promise" to broadcast the health care debate on C-SPAN. Counting the upcoming televised summit between Republicans and Democrats on the issue as fulfillment, Weir gushed, "...The revolution will be televised."
He extolled the event, saying, "And for the first time, live in your living room, President Obama keeping a campaign promise set up by a televised summit to try to revive health care reform." Reporter David Kerley sounded a similar note, asserting, "With health care reform on life support, the President hopes to save his efforts with the transparency he promised as a candidate."
Of course, Barack Obama's promise was not that health care would be discussed on TV in vague terms, several months into the process. He pledged that the negotiations for the formation of the legislation would be broadcast on C-SPAN.
The year 2009 might be classified as the year Barack Obama came down to Earth. The latest NBC-Wall Street Journal poll found that 47 percent approve of the job Obama is doing, and 46 percent disapprove. Those are not exactly Messiah numbers.
And that’s the big difference between the public and the press. The media do believe he’s God.
Evan Thomas of Newsweek has a way of summing it all up. On "Hardball" in June, Thomas explained that while Ronald Reagan was just a "parochial" and "provincial" president of the United States, Obama can lead the whole world. "In a way, Obama is standing above the country, above the world. He's sort of God. He's going to bring all different sides together." After the inevitable furor, Thomas said he wasn’t "being literal."