Imagine you're getting ready to head to church one fine Sunday morning and on your television you hear a man say, "Let's give up on the Constitution."
Such actually happened when CBS News Sunday Morning aired a rather inflammatory commentary by a Georgetown University law professor teased by host Charles Osgood asking, "Is the U.S. Constitution truly worthy of the reverence in which most Americans hold it?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
During a retrospective on 2012 on the December 30, 2012 edition of CBS's Sunday Morning, Charles Osgood ludicrously oversimplified the continuing scandal over the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Osgood conspicuously omitted U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's Sunday show appearances five days after the assault, which conflicted with intelligence agencies' early conclusion that the attack was pre-planned.
The journalist's 14-second look at the story merely consisted of two sentences noting who died in the American installation and one of the most recent developments [audio available here; video below the jump]:
Sunday’s Today show on NBC and Sunday Morning on CBS presented seemingly contradictory polling results on how much ObamaCare is supported by the American public, although both seemed to be citing the same AP poll. As Meet the Press host David Gregory appeared on Today, anchor Lester Holt suggested that Republicans are going against the majority of Americans in promising to repeal ObamaCare as he vaguely referred to polling data and contended, "But new polling out suggests that most people not only do they not want to, don't want it repealed, they want more added to it," and added, "Do Republicans have to refine this message and take a better look at it?" According to the AP poll as reported at msnbc.com, "four in 10 adults think the new law did not go far enough to change the health care system."
By contrast, on Sunday Morning, CBS anchor Charles Osgood briefly recounted numbers from the AP poll which suggested that ObamaCare is unpopular. Osgood: "A poll commissioned by the Associated Press finds just 30 percent of Americans in favor of the new health care law, 30 percent are neutral, and 40 percent oppose it. Four out of 10 respondents say the new law doesn’t do enough to change the health care system."
Returning to NBC, Gregory did not comment directly on whether he believed the poll’s accuracy, as he argued that the Republican message may indeed be successful, and went on to raise the theory from the left that ObamaCare will become more popular as people benefit from it:
On CBS’s Sunday Morning show, a week after airing conservative actor and economist Ben Stein’s pre-recorded commentary in which he criticized the drive to increase taxes on the already overtaxed wealthy, a liberal response from Syfy Channel producer Linda McGibney was shown in which she personally attacked Stein and other wealthy people as "greedy," and suggested that he "just doesn’t care about" the poor. McGibney: "I suppose he thinks he’s beyond sharing his good fortune with the rest of Americans who are suffering financially or he just doesn’t care about them. ... I have always understood that the have’s are greedy. This is the first time I've heard one of them express it out loud so openly."
She even mocked Stein’s reference to his family’s many pet cats and dogs as if he were counting that as part of his charitable contributions. McGibney: "Now it's time to help the rest of America. AndI don't care how many dogs and cats you adopt, how many people you give a paycheck to or how many dollars you make. If Ben Stein believes this tax increase is a punishment, then he's out of touch with the average person."
As she did not address the issue of wasteful spending by government, she asserted that it is "patriotic that I am taxed in this way. I want to help my country," and claimed that it would be "grownup" to accept a tax increase. McGibney: "This is about being a grownup and accepting the fact that we made money during the bogus uptick in the economy."
At the top of CBS's Sunday Morning, host Charles Osgood proclaimed: "From sky-high air-conditioning bills to gasoline-fueled vacations in the car, there's nothing like summer to remind us that we Americans are power hungry." In the story that followed later, correspondent Seth Doane declared: "In the wake of the Gulf oil disaster, calls for cleaner, greener energy, are growing louder."
Doane lamented: "America is still powered by the energy of yesterday. 95% of our electricity comes from an aging network of coal, natural gas, nuclear, and hydroelectric plants. Despite decades of promise, today less than 5% of our electricity comes from all other forms of alternative energy combined." He then turned to "Nobel Prize-winning physicist" and Obama administration energy secretary, Dr. Steven Chu: "Secretary Chu sees the oil spill as a tragedy, of course, but also as something else." Chu argued: "The United States has an opportunity to lead in what I consider to be essentially a new industrial revolution."
After detailing different forms of alternative energy, Doane moved on to liberal advocacy. He warned:"But agreeing on a national energy policy won't be easy....And the coal and petroleum lobbies spend millions to protect the status quo." Doane then cited the head of the left-wing group Environmental Defense Fund, Fred Krupp, who whined: "You know, we've passed three energy bills in the last ten years and none of them has done a damn thing to get us a brighter energy future."
On CBS's Sunday Morning show, correspondent Jim Axelrod filed a report touting the movement in America to make it the law of the land that some employers must provide paid vacation to their employees, even giving controversial Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson - known for making vicious attacks against conservatives – a chance to plug his proposal to make paid vacation, which the Florida Democrat called a "right," legally mandated:
Alan Grayson is adamant that vacation is a right. In fact, he wants to make it a law. ... Grayson wants to guarantee at least one week of paid vacation for every worker at a company with 100 or more employees. He says it will lead to greater productivity from well rested and healthier workers.
Touted as the show’s "cover story" by host Charles Osgood, the segment was teased:
On CBS's Sunday Morning, host Charles Osgood marked Easter Sunday by proclaiming: "For many Roman Catholics, the joy of this Easter is mixed with sadness over continuing charges of child abuse and of cover-ups within the Church's hierarchy." In a report that followed, correspondent Dean Reynolds declared that the scandal was "like a heavy blow to the soul."
Reynolds went on to cite the latest accusations of abuse by a Milwaukee priest in the 1960s as mounting evidence: "damming stacks of court exhibits, documenting the abuse of predator priests...Documents, the victims say, leave a long and shameful trail." A clip was played of attorney Jeff Anderson, who was representing one of the victims: "That all trails involving the cover-up and the concealment of sexual abuse by Catholic clerics lead to Rome and the Pope."
Remarking on the "corrosive effect" of the accusations, Reynolds pointed to poll numbers on the Pope: "A new CBS News poll finds only 27% of American Catholics view Pope Benedict XVI favorably now; 55% gave him poor marks for the way he's dealt with the priest abuse scandal." The poll appeared on screen, showing that 36% were undecided, a number Reynolds failed to highlight. He also failed to mention – and the on-screen graphic did not show – the 19% who "haven't heard enough" to have an opinion on the Pope.
On CBS’s Sunday Morning correspondent Martha Teichner touted President Obama’s latest PR blitz to promote health care reform: "For the third time in five days, Barack Obama used the presidential bully pulpit on behalf of what he’s now calling health insurance reform. No more letting the angry opposition control the agenda."
Teichner dismissed that "angry opposition" by declaring: "Here’s a question. Do they even know what’s in the bills currently being considered by Congress? Do you?" Teichner and two liberal supporters of the Obama health care plan proceeded to educate viewers as to what was being proposed.
She spoke with former head of the left-wing group People for the American Way, Ralph Neas, now CEO of the supposedly "non-partisan" National Coalition on Health Care that is pushing for reform. In addition, Teichner spoke with University of North Carolina Professor Jonathan Oberlander, who in a July 22 article for the liberal British newspaper The Guardian wrote: "The Obama administration is pushing Congress to enact health reform legislation this year. And against all odds, Obama may pull it off....Obama’s election, after all, is a reminder that history is not always repeated. Sometimes it is made."
Last Tuesday, NewsBusters Editor-at-Large Brent Baker noted that seven soldiers who had been killed the week prior in Afghanistan received just 1/20th of the evening newscast time that ABC, CBS, and NBC devoted to the passing of pop star Michael Jackson.
The same day, NewsBusters Publisher and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell slammed the broadcast networks in a statement: "There is no justification for determining that the death of a celebrity over a week ago merits 20 times more news coverage than the tragic deaths of American soldiers in Afghanistan."
Perhaps in some measure reacting to the criticism, CBS's "Sunday Morning" program yesterday aired a nearly 3-minute-long opinion segment featuring Martha Gillis, whose nephew, 1st Lt. Brian Bradshaw, was killed on June 25 in Afghanistan.
In the video, Gillis criticized the media for its lack of coverage [audio available here]:
On Monday’s American Morning, CNN anchor John Roberts interviewed former Playboy CEO Christie Hefner, and introduced her as being “added to our roster of economic analysts.” Roberts also failed to mention Hefner’s long-time support for President Obama during the segment.
The interview, which started just before the bottom-half of the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, began with Roberts giving the following introduction of the former Playboy CEO: “...[T]he economy is issue number one here at CNN....We love to get expert commentary on this, and we are pleased and proud this morning to have added to our roster of economic analysts the former CEO and chairwoman of Playboy Enterprises, Christie Hefner.” He first asked Hefner about the jobs market, and the economy as a whole. Hefner touted how that the “sense that I’m getting, in talking to CEOs, is that people are hoping for a late 2010 recovery.” Later, the anchor asked the former CEO about executive bonuses, and played a sound bite from Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, who railed against the “bunch of idiots on Wall Street.” Hefner praised McCaskill’s “very good characterization” and labeled her a “pro-business Democrat,” despite her vote last year against a proposed increase in the exemption on the “death tax,” which would have aided small family-run businesses.
On CBS’s Sunday Morning, host Charles Osgood teased a story on politician Harvey Milk, who was the first gay man elected to San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors in 1977: "The story of a rebel with a cause is being retold in the form of a just-released motion picture. And as it happens, the timing could hardly be more appropriate." The movie, starring left-wing actor Sean Penn, is set to come out just after the 30th anniversary of Milk’s murder, as correspondent John Blackstone explained: "He became the first openly gay man elected to office in the United States. A breakthrough that ended with assassination. Harvey Milk served less than a year here on San Francisco's Board of Supervisors but it was a year that changed history."
Blackstone, who has done numerous stories on Californians efforts to legalize gay marriage, made a comparison between Milk’s election and the current battle over Proposition 8: "In California, the renewed battle over same sex marriage has echoes in a new movie about triumph and tragedy in San Francisco 30 years ago...It is an accident of timing. Just as gay right activists have taken to the streets, angry over the ban on same sex marriage in California, the struggle for gay rights has also moved to the big screen."