Correcting a common media refrain repeated moments earlier on CBS’s Face the Nation, CBS News correspondent Barry Petersen offered “to bring a little Western perspective to this issue of gun control,” pointing out that what Easterners (ie: journalists) see as an unusually large ammunition purchase of six thousand rounds is really not all that noteworthy:
In the West, you need guns to, literally, protect yourself sometimes against wild animals. The amount of ammunition that he bought, six thousand rounds, somebody said is really not that unusual if you are an avid target shooter. You would buy that much in a month. You’d go through it.
The media pandering on behalf of the Obama Re-election camp already is astonishing. During the George W. Bush years, everything bad that happened in America somehow was connected to the malignant reign of “The Decider.” Last year, CBS even sought out journalist Sally Quinn to claim that Bush’s victory in 2000 could be blamed for unraveling Al Gore’s marriage ten years later.
God knows, and so too do most Americans, that the state of the union is a mess. But in the Obama era, nothing that goes wrong can be traced back to the Democrats in power.
NBC barely covered the Thursday arrests of two Islamists in a planned terrorist attack on a military facility in Seattle. The network didn't cover the breaking news at all on Thursday's Nightly News, and devoted only 17 seconds to it on Friday's Today Show. Thursday's CBS Evening News had a minute-long report on the arrests, while ABC had full reports on the arrests on World News and GMA.
CBS anchor Scott Pelley introduced correspondent Bob Orr's brief report on the terror plot: "It has been a busy 48 hours for the FBI. We learned today that agents have arrested two men in what the feds say was a terrorist plot to attack a military recruiting station in Seattle." Orr only made one indirect and vague reference to the suspects' religion: "The two men...somehow had become radicalized on their own." Actually, in an online report on Thursday, ABC referenced unnamed officials who stated that they are "believed to have met in prison and to have converted to Islam in prison."
Over two programs totaling two and half hours of air time, ABC allowed only 65 seconds of coverage for Barack Obama's decision to break a campaign promise and try 9/11 terror suspects at Guantanamo and not in a civilian court. In contrast, all the other network evening shows on Monday and morning shows on Tuesday provided full reports.
On Tuesday's Good Morning America on ABC, Juju Chang mildly explained in a news read, "Well, we begin with a legal turnaround for the Obama administration." On Monday's World News, Diane Sawyer delicately described it as a "switch in positions." Reporter Jake Tapper noted the President has "blinked" in the face of criticism and pointed out this was a breaking of a campaign promise. (This brief mention came during a larger story about the 2012 campaign.)
In contrast, CBS's Katie Couric actually provided much stronger language. She began by asserting, "In other news, a lot of people thought it was a terrible idea to put Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other men on trial here in New York City for the 9/11 attacks." Reporter Bob Orr, unlike Chang, labeled it a "stunning reversal" to try suspects at Guantanamo.
On Saturday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Bob Orr filed a report on the incoming Republican congressional freshmen, and, after noting that Rep.-elect Allen West was taking a "hard line" on federal spending, and after showing a clip of the Florida Republican raising doubts about compromising "your principles," the CBS correspondent used the cliche "partisan bickering" as he warned that such views could end the recent "collaborative spirit" in Congress, and plugged President Obama’s call for "cooperation." Orr:
It's a warning of sorts that the collaborative spirit of the recent lame duck Congress may soon dissolve into renewed partisan bickering. President Obama, vacationing in Hawaii, today made a preemptive bid for continued cooperation.
After soundbites from Republican Rep.-elect Ben Quayle and the Politico’s David Mark, Orr concluded his report predicting that Tea Party Republicans could "cause trouble" within the Republican caucus:
A night after CBS's Bob Orr insisted botched terrorist bomber Faisal Shahzad's “motive also remains unclear” and fretted “he has not realized any American dream,” Orr on Thursday night asserted “investigators say financial pressures may have helped fuel his rage” because “he defaulted on both his mortgage and another $65,000 equity loan.”
Orr highlighted Inside Edition video of Shahzad's Bridgeport, Connecticut apartment, empathetically describing how Shahzad “lived a spartan and seemingly lonely existence” as evidenced by “a weight bench that passed for furniture, a collection of art supplies, a largely empty kitchen with a solitary plant on the counter. And in the bedroom, a rumpled air mattress on the floor.”
ABC's Diane Sawyer saw “a bare kitchen” with Oreos, but she also showed “a shelf with the George Clooney movie in it – Up in the Air,” as well as “professional paints on the table” he may have used to make a painting of “a mosque and a tree.” Unmentioned by ABC and CBS? The Inside Edition's site reported their video “found a copy of the Koran written in English.”
Botched bomber Faisal Shahzad's failure to achieve the “American dream” may have been an important motive for his terrorist act, CBS's Bob Orr contended Wednesday night in a story in which he declared: “Shahzad's motive also remains unclear.” After noting how Shahzad “told interrogators he's upset with U.S. policies which he feels unfairly target Muslims and he's angry over Predator strikes that have killed both terror leaders and civilians in his native Pakistan,” Orr proposed:
Investigators say a quest for revenge seems to have played some role, but personal financial pressures may also have pushed Shahzad to act. He became a U.S. citizen just a year ago, but he has not realized any American dream. He quit his job, lost his house, and was separated from his family.
How about the hypothesis Shahzad became a U.S. citizen as a ruse to make it easier to carry out his Islamic jihad – and so quitting his job, moving his family to Pakistan and not paying his mortgage were not what drove him to terrorism, but were what he did to get training and rid himself of encumbrances.
Tuesday night ABC's Brian Ross highlighted how in a 2007 presentation mass-murdering Army Major Nidal Hasan exposed his radicalism and adherence to Islam over the U.S. Army as he charged “it's getting harder and harder for Muslims in the service to morally justify being in a military that seems constantly engaged against fellow Muslims,” and declared: “We love death more than you love life.”
But neither CBS nor NBC cited those quotes for their viewers as they gave short-shrift to Hasan's remarks in “The Koranic World View As It Relates to Muslims in the U.S. Military,” a slide show disclosed by Dana Priest in Tuesday's Washington Post (click on “Launch Photo Gallery” for Hasan's entire presentation at Walter Reed in June of 2007).
On the NBC Nightly News, Pete Williams just briefly noted how Hasan asserted that “releasing Muslim soldiers as conscientious objectors would increase troop morale and, quote, 'decrease adverse events.'” Bob Orr, on CBS, at least characterized it as “a shocking presentation to colleagues,” and related only how “Hasan argued forcing Muslim soldiers to fight wars in Muslim countries puts them 'at risk to hurting/killing believers unjustly' and he ominously warned of 'adverse events.'”
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Bob Orr highlighted a report released by the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center claiming a recent increase in the number of militias, and warning of the possibility of increased violence by anti-government, right-wing groups and individuals, angry at Democratic party control of the government and of a black President holding office. Orr warned: "Officials say a sour economy, a Democrat-controlled government, and a black President present the kind of perfect storm that could further fuel the growth of the militia movement."
Orr's report notably ran just eight minutes after a piece filed by fellow correspondent Ben Tracy in which Tracy had referred to the anti-government views of some anti-ObamaCare protesters who have showed anger at recent town hall events. Tracy: "Some experts believe a growing anti-government sentiment, fueled by extraordinary events such as the bailouts of the banking and auto industries, is spilling over into the health care debate."
On Wednesday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Ben Tracy filed a report linking angry protesters opposing ObamaCare at town hall events to conservative groups, examining the possibility that the "outrage" has been "organized" by these groups, or even affected by "anti-government" sentiment over other issues, rather than legitimate concerns about the plans under consideration.
Tracy began his report: "For some, their anger is tightly focused on health care reform. But for others, this issue is simply the final straw." After a soundbite of a woman complaining about the legalization of abortion and the removal of prayer from public schools, Tracy continued: "Some experts believe a growing anti-government sentiment, fueled by extraordinary events such as the bailouts of the banking and auto industries, is spilling over into the health care debate."
Notably, eight minutes after the end of Tracy’s report, a piece was run in which correspondent Bob Orr relayed concerns by the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center about right-wing extremism motivated by "anti-government" sentiment, Democratic party control of the government, and the first black President, and the possibility of violence from these extreme groups in the near future.
On Wednesday, the CBS Early Show once again feared a rise in right-wing extremism as co-host Russ Mitchell cited a report from the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center: "A report out this morning says anti-government and white racist militias are regrouping around the country. The Southern Poverty Law Center says it is in part a reaction to the election of America’s first black president." [Audio/video (1:21): Mp3 | WMV]
The CBS morning show touted a similar report from the liberal group on April 15, with co-host Harry Smith declaring: "The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report found 926 active hate groups in the country. That’s up more than 50% from just 2000...And they say part of it is because of the election of President Obama." Smith went on to describe how that report coincided with a controversial Homeland Security report that was released at the same time.
The Wednesday story was reported by correspondent Bob Orr, who cited anecdotal evidence:
Tuesday's CBS Evening News gave attention to a proposed new gun law that would strengthen the right of gun owners who hold a concealed weapon permit to carry a weapon across state lines into states with more restrictive gun laws than where the permit was obtained. As he presented arguments both for and against passage of the law, while Orr presented two soundbites opposing the law and only one from a supporter of the law, the report also devoted twice as much time – 35 seconds versus 17 seconds – to the anti-gun arguments opposing the law compared to pro-gun arguments supporting it.
Orr began his report by relaying that supporters of the new law "call it a crime fighting tool," and by showing a clip of Republican Senator John Thune arguing that potential hate crimes victims could protect themselves more effectively if the law were passed.
The CBS correspondent then touted the views of "450 U.S. mayors who signed this full-page ad in USA Today," and showed two soundbites opposing the law -- one from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the other from Democratic Senator Charles Schumer -- as both argued that the new law would increase crime:
CBS, CNN, FNC and the AP on Tuesday all failed to identify Ingmar Guandique, for whom an arrest warrant was issued for the 2001 murder of Chandra Levy, as an illegal alien. In a full story on the CBS Evening News, reporter Bob Orr described him simply as a “Salvadoran immigrant.” During CNN's Situation Room, Zain Verjee benignly called him “a laborer from El Salvador” and later, on Anderson Cooper 360, news reader Erica Hill referred to him as “a U.S. prison inmate from El Salvador.” (In between, the contrarian Lou Dobbs did identify Guandique as “a criminal illegal alien.”)
FNC's Bret Baier, on his 6 PM EST show, cited the new charge against “a Salvadoran immigrant” while multiple dispatches from the AP's Brian Westerly described Guandique as “an imprisoned Salvadoran immigrant.”
Nearly eight years after the disappearance of congressional intern Chandra Levy dominated national headlines, D.C. authorities charged with murder an illegal immigrant who had been questioned in the early stages of the investigation.
CBS and NBC on Thursday night were as interested in highlighting the claims of torture, from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and four 9/11 terrorist attack co-conspirators who were arraigned by a military commission court in Guantanamo Bay, as to informing viewers about the charges against them. ABC didn't consider the torture allegations relevant and so didn't mention the topic as Jan Crawford Greenburg uniquely described KSM as “evil.” In contrast to NBC which called him a “man” and “defendant,” CBS anchor Katie Couric at least described him as a “terrorist.”
CBS reporter Bob Orr, who emphasized that “some legal critics called the hearing...a complete and utter farce,” relayed how “the self-proclaimed mastermind of 9/11 said openly in court that he had been tortured by the U.S., and he called the case against him a sham.” With the quote on screen, Orr reported: “KSM, who the CIA admits was subjected to water-boarding, questioned the legitimacy of the military hearing. 'For five years, they torture,' he said. 'After the torturing they transfer us to inquisition-land in Guantanamo.'” Orr proceeded to showcase how Aziz Ali charged: “This government failed to treat me as a human for five years.”
On NBC, Jim Miklaszewski highlighted how KSM “called the legal proceedings 'evil'" and featured criticism from the ACLU. Miklaszewski also highlighted the “after five years of torture, they transfer us to inquisition land, Guantanamo” quote, before asserting: “Mohammed was water-boarded by the CIA. Defense attorneys had intended to challenge any of Mohammed's statements on the grounds he was tortured.”
"The biggest tab for taxpayers is defense," CBS correspondent Bob Orr reported. "The average American household is paying $2,761 in 2007 - or put another way, enough to cover 12 car payments for a new Honda Accord. Social security is nearly as expensive, $2,663 - enough to heat and cool a home for a year. In total, the average tax bill this year tops $13,000 and most taxpayers have no idea what the government is doing with their cash."