During the 2012 presidential campaign, somehow each and every Republican presidential contender had a sink thrown at him (or her) via what reporters call “investigative journalism.” Every time a Republican rose in the polls, the media tried to knock him or her down, like a game of Whack-a-Mole.
The very last man standing was Mitt Romney, who didn’t receive the official “Gotcha!” from The Washington Post until May, with a 5,000-word opus on “Teenage Haircutgate.” That’s why it’s so strange that the national media would decide so early it was time for journalistic carpet bombing of the Great Squishy Northeastern Hope of 2016, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
CBS stood out as the only Big Three network to devote full coverage to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's Tuesday night stay of the federal government's birth control/abortifacient mandate under ObamaCare. As of Thursday morning, CBS This Morning and CBS Evening News devoted three full reports and a news brief to the ruling against the controversial regulation.
By contrast, NBC's morning and evening newscasts have only aired one news brief on Sotomayor's decision, and mentioned it in passing in two other reports on the Affordable Care Act. ABC has yet to report on the development on either Good Morning America or World News.
CBS This Morning has given the White House a big Christmas gift this year in the form of a glowing story about Americans signing up for ObamaCare. In a December 24 puff piece, CBS Reporter Chip Reed offers up what amounts to no more than ObamaCare propaganda on the eve of the ObamaCare signup deadline.
The segment began with fill-in host Vinita Nair touting the Obama Administration line that, “Healthcare.gov is seeing a Christmas rush as Americans try to sign up for health insurance that starts January 1st… The demand was so high the deadline is extended through today.”
Monday's CBS Evening News unsurprisingly ginned up the ideological struggle inside the Republican Party as it covered the ongoing partial government shutdown. Chip Reid spun the face-off inside the House Republican caucus as being between "staunch" Tea Party-aligned representatives inside the House and "mainstream" Republicans.
Reid later played up how House Speaker John Boehner could "face a dilemma" if the Senate came up with a compromise to end the shutdown, and that Boehner "can either allow the House to vote, which will likely split the Republican Party in two and create a major backlash from the Tea Party; or...he can refuse to allow a vote, which could lead to default." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Chip Reid forwarded the talking points of "some Democrats [who] say less vocal victims of the budget slashing have been left out in the cold ". Reid asserted that "millions of Americans harmed by the sequester [are] wondering what Washington plans to do for them" after Congress expedited the passage of a bill that ended the furloughs of air traffic controllers.
CBS News political director John Dickerson also spotlighted how "these across-the-board cuts have affected...all kinds of things – kids getting their Head Start, meals for poor people, even cancer treatments for Medicare patients – but they haven't been able to put the pressure on lawmakers that happened in this case."
CBS lined up gun control supporters on Wednesday's CBS Evening News and Thursday's CBS This Morning. Chip Reid and Major Garrett played 11 soundbites from President Obama and other Democrats, as well as family members of the Newtown massacre victims. The only gun rights supporter that the two correspondents could find was Chuck Grassley. Reid played two clips from the Republican senator during his reports.
Reid led his second report by hyping how "forces opposed to gun control proved that they are still in control here in Washington". Garrett sounded like a stenographer for the White House as he reported on the "somber and frustrated" President's press conference after the Senate votes.
On Tuesday's World News and Wednesday's Good Morning Ameica, ABC's George Stephanopoulos and Jim Avila ballyhooed far-left magazine Mother Jones's secretly-recorded audio recording of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's strategy meeting with political advisers about potential opponent Ashley Judd. Stephanopoulos touted the "startling secret tape revealing how the Senate's top Republican was planning to go after...Judd if she ran against him."
Avila played up McConnell's apparent "cutthroat attack on a Hollywood opponent" and the Republican's "private and politically-embarrassing strategy session", all the while omitting left-of-center ideology of the publication that released the audio clip and minimizing the possible illegality of its recording.
On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, national correspondent Chip Reid glossed over proposals in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's fiscal cliff plan that would add to the deficit.
"The bill would also extend long-term unemployment benefits, patch up the alternative minimum tax that threatens to hit even more middle class families and prevent a scheduled dropoff in Medicare reimbursement to doctors," Reid rattled off the proposals without noting whether they would add to or subtract from the deficit.
CBS This Morning stood out as the only Big Three network morning show on Thursday to cover a conservative group's allegation that the Obama administration gave a movie director and writer "special access to government officials involved in the commando operation that killed Osama bin Laden," as reported by Reuters on Wednesday. ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today ignored the story.
Correspondent Chip Reid outlined that "the documents...obtained by Judicial Watch, a conservative government watchdog group...reveal that director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal...met with top national security officials; gained access to Seal Team 6; and visited the CIA."
On Wednesday, two out of the Big Three broadcast networks yawned at Mitt Romney's wins in five primaries the previous evening and minimized covering this story on the morning newscasts. ABC's Good Morning America didn't air one report on Romney's victories, and NBC's Today offered just two news briefs. By contrast, NBC devoted a full report and a news brief to a woman spilling frozen yogurt on President Obama.
ABC also covered the "embarrassing" yogurt encounter on GMA, but with only one brief. CBS This Morning, on the other hand, devoted one full report and a discussion segment to the Romney win and ignored the dessert story.
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)
On Wednesday's Early Show, CBS somehow thought a Democratic super PAC's cynical ad aimed at discouraging Republican primary voters from voting for Mitt Romney was newsworthy. Correspondent Chip Reid outlined that Romney's French-speaking ability might be "political poison," and cited how French fries were renamed "freedom fries" in 2003 and how John Kerry was accused of looking French in 2004 [audio clips available here; video below the jump].
Fill-in anchor Rebecca Jarvis stated in the introduction to Reid's report that "something from Mitt Romney's past is coming back to haunt him...Apparently, he speaks French." Co-anchor Jeff Glor added that "apparently, speaking French is not a plus when you're running for president."
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Chip Reid filed a report which took a sympathetic look at a family of illegal immigrants in Alabama who fear enforcement of the state's new law against illegal immigration. Reid also highlighted aspects of the law that even supporters consider to be flaws that should be fixed.
The CBS correspondent began the report by focusing on the "agonizing" plight of a 15-year-old illegal immigrant who fears separation from his parents:
Just like in Groundhog Day when Bill Murray wakes up to the same day each and every morning, it appears Americans will feel a frustrating sense of déjà vu listening to President Obama's jobs speech on Sept. 8.
According to Bloomberg, Obama's not-so-new plan "follows the contours of his $830 billion 2009 economic stimulus package." This time around, Obama will call for $300 billion for tax breaks and infrastructure spending. Never mind that the first one didn't work as promised. Meanwhile, the network news media are treating the ideas from his speech like new solutions, instead of more of the same.
Running through the findings of a new CBS News/New York Times poll, on Thursday’s CBS Evening News Chip Reid highlighted how, after weeks of media hostility the Tea Party has lost popularity, as he also located people to illustrate how more wanted, and still want, taxes raised over spending cuts alone.
Reid ignored, however, how far more – Republicans, independents, and even Democrats – believe the spending cuts “didn’t go far enough” over “went too far.”
On Friday’s World News on ABC, correspondent Jonathan Karl took a moment to go beyond the budget debate between House Republicans and President Obama with the GOP unwilling to support a tax increase, and noted that House Democrats have also been just as resistant to voting for cutting the growth of Medicare spending. But the same night's CBS Evening News focused on Republican reluctance to support some of the budget proposals and even gave the impression at one point that congressional Democrats were willing to curtail Medicare growth.
On ABC, after recounting some of the Republicans who have resisted voting for budget plans that have been brought up, Karl continued:
Six out of seven reporters, called on by Barack Obama at today's press conference, asked a question of the President that came from the left and/or blamed Speaker John Boehner and the Republicans for standing in the way of a deal on the debt ceiling.
Ben Feller of the AP, began the trend of questioning when he asked how Obama was going to deal with Republicans who were "adamantly" opposed to tax increases. CBS News' Chip Reid followed with "isn't the problem the people who aren't in the room, and in particular Republican presidential candidates and Republican Tea Partiers on the Hill?"
On Thursday's CBS Evening News and Friday's Early Show, CBS glossed over President Obama's aim to break a campaign promise with a proposal to raise taxes on people who make less than $250,000 a year. Both Chip Reid and Bill Plante noted that "the White House is also insisting on...a limit on deductions for people...making more than $200,000 a year," but didn't reference the Democrat's 2008 tax pledge.
Near the end of his report, which aired 44 minutes into the 6 pm Eastern hour, Reid highlighted the Obama administration's push for tax hikes:
While the morning show hosts on NBC and CBS showcased the looming political threat of high gas prices for Barack Obama, ABC, Friday, simply repeated White House talking points and explained how the President will try and blame Republicans.
Reporter Bianna Golodryga noted that Obama "wasted no time" in going after the GOP. She parroted, "During his speech in Reno, President Obama argued that budget cuts proposed by Republicans would keep the country from making critical investments in new alternative technologies that could wean our dependence on foreign oil."
Golodryga offered no hint of political danger for the President, instead highlighting his claim to expose "speculators." She touted, "President Obama told a crowd here he's going to go after anybody who gouges." CBS, on the other hand, painted a different picture.
“Critics say it’s about time” for President Barack Obama to offer his plan to reduce the deficit, CBS’s Chip Reid acknowledged Tuesday night before he proceeded to rationalize Obama’s disengagement, validated by CBS’s in-house political analyst. Reid asserted: “Political analysts say the President had good reason to wait. He wanted the Republicans to go first and they did last week when influential Congressman Paul Ryan released his controversial plan.” CBS News political analyst John Dickerson proposed:
The President needed Paul Ryan's House budget plan to use as a foil for his own argument about what government should do, what government priorities are. He will say that the Ryan plan does not match up with American values.
Indeed, Reid contended the White House saw “an irresistible opportunity to portray Republicans as callous and extreme.”
Prior to this week, President Obama had been so detached from the budget debate that some in his own party have openly criticized him. Obama, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin declared in early March, has “failed to lead this debate or offer a serious proposal for spending and cuts that he would be willing to fight for.”
Yet when the President chose to parachute into the budget talks earlier this week, most of the mainstream media neglected to remember his long absence, but instead acted like White House stenographers in praising his “adult” and “grown-up” approach — conveying the obvious implication that House Republicans and/or the Tea Party have been acting like children.
A video compilation of some of the more noteworthy these comments appears below the fold; a link to audio of remarks by CBS’s Chip Reid, CNN’s Gloria Borger and CNN’s Eliot Spitzer, all from April 5, is here.
On Tuesday's All Things Considered, NPR's Melissa Block grilled Congressman Joe Walsh, a newly-elected member of the House Tea Party Caucus, on the impasse over the federal budget. Block questioned Rep. Walsh if there was any "middle ground" on the issue, and pressed him with the Democratic caucus's label that the Republicans' budget proposals are "out of whack and unreasonable."
The host led her interview of the Illinois Republican by noting how there was "still no deal. House Republicans holding out for $61 billion in cuts," and then asked, "Is there any middle ground for you?" After Rep. Walsh gave his initial answer, she followed up with the Democrats' talking point: "Democrats, though, say that it's the Republicans who've been intransigent, that the numbers are just out of whack and unreasonable, that you are the side that's not compromising here."
Block forwarded this label of the congressman and his GOP colleagues in her third question, using one of his own quotes to accent her point: "You said in an interview with Time magazine, I came here- meaning to Washington- ready to go to war. The people didn't send me here to compromise. It sounds like you are just as intransigent as you're accusing the Democrats of being."
At the top of Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge touted President Obama's statement on the violence in Libya: "...making his first public statements on the situation there with some very strong words." However, moments after Obama's Wednesday comments, liberal MSNBC host Chris Matthews admitted: "...that was pretty tame language given the horror that's going on in Tripoli."
On Thursday, Early Show co-host Erica Hill spoke with correspondent Mandy Clark, who was reporting from Libya, and asked about the impact of Obama's words on the crisis: "...he was saying the suffering and bloodshed is outrageous and unacceptable. How much of President Obama's words have made it to people on the streets of Libya?" Clark claimed: "Everyone we spoke to felt encouraged that the President had come out with such strong words. They now feel that the eyes of the international community is upon Qadhafi, and that will force him to hold back on any bombing campaigns or any war crimes that he might commit."
Of the three evening newscasts, only NBC's Chuck Todd on Wednesday offered no critical analysis of Barack Obama's call for both new spending and deficit reduction. ABC's Jake Tapper actually investigated the proposed plans and concluded, "...It almost looks like a wash between his new ideas for cutting and his new ideas for spending."
CBS's Chip Reid also highlighted Republican opposition and the fact that the deficit reduction plan doesn't include Medicare or Social Security. Yet, Todd, appearing on Nightly News, simply parroted, "The President was reinforcing a call he made last night for greater investment and innovation and infrastructure to keep America competitive."
At the top of Wednesday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric lamented: "The President tries to comfort a nation in mourning, but even on a rare day of unity, politics and controversy intervene." A clip was then played of Sarah Palin's Facebook video reaction to the Tucson shooting and media finger-pointing: "Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel."
Later, correspondent Chip Reid reported that in his speech at the memorial service for the victims, "one thing we're told he [President Obama] will not do is get into the political battle that's developed over this tragedy." Reid then added: "a battle that became even more heated today when Sarah Palin joined the fray."
Covering President Barack Obama’s White House meeting with congressional leaders, ABC and CBS portrayed incoming House Republicans as the ones obstinate about tax rates, refusing to compromise – meaning agreeing to Obama’s wish to raise income tax rates on many – or match Obama’s conciliatory tone, though NBC’s Chuck Todd pointed out how Obama “seemed unwilling” to even agree with a Democratic proposal to raise “the middle-class tax threshold from $250,000 to those Americans making more than $1 million.”
ABC’s Jake Tapper reported “Obama pushed Republicans today to allow Congress to vote separately on Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and on those for everyone else,” but, he noted, “Republicans rejected that idea.” He concluded with how “Obama told the Republicans” that “he should have reached out more to them over the previous two years. Republicans,” however, “who oppose the President's domestic agenda lock-step, offered no such mea culpa.”
On CBS, Chip Reid, who relayed how Obama “did offer an olive branch, taking some responsibility for partisan tensions” while “Republicans did not return the peace offering,” contended: “Republicans, with their hands strengthened by the election victory, appeared even less inclined to bend than the President.”
Both ABC and CBS on Wednesday played up Barack Obama's attempt to reignite his Democratic base and defeat surging Republicans. Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos labeled the President's trip to Madison, Wisconsin a "glory days tour."
On CBS's Early Show, Chip Reid used nearly identical language, claiming the President was "recalling his glory days on the 2008 campaign trail." The two networks played up the Democratic comeback storyline with little focus on the Republicans.
GMA and The Early Show also ignored what it meant for the President to be traveling to an extremely liberal city in order to excite his Democratic base.
While teasing an upcoming report on President Obama campaigning for Democrats on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Chris Wragge touted: "...plunging poll numbers haven't stopped the President from raking in millions at fund raisers across the country."
Later, White House correspondent Chip Reid observed: "You know, the President's approval rating is only 44%, but he is still quite popular with the party's base and he's using that clout to raise millions of dollars for fellow Democrats." Reid went on to declare: "President Obama and the Democratic Party are managing to raise big bucks in the hope of retaining control of Congress. The Democratic National Committee is committing $50 million to help candidates in 2010, $20 million in cash, and $30 million to get out the vote."
A campaign sound bite was played of the President attacking Republicans: "We do not fear the future. We shape the future. That's part of what this election's about. The other side wants you to be afraid of the future." Reid concluded: "President Obama is doing six fund-raisers over three days in five states. By week's end, he'll have raised over $56 million this campaign season."
Only at the end of his report did Reid briefly notice the money raised by the GOP: "Now, Republicans are also raking in the cash this campaign season. The Republican Governors Association, for example, has brought in $58 million since President Obama came into office."
Dan Harris, who last year gave credence, by including their attacks in his stories, to those who wished to discredit the Tea Party as “actually largely orchestrated by people fronting for corporate interests” and smeared participants as “driven, in part, by a refusal to accept a black President,” on Monday night read from the same playbook in maligning the motivations of those opposed to building a mosque near Ground Zero.
Harris began his World News story with “how this issue is creeping into campaigns all over the country” and “today conservatives were turning up the volume against the planned Muslim community center.” He soon arrived at:
Muslim activists say angry rhetoric is fueling a dangerous level of Islamophobia with protests over proposed mosques in places like Tennessee and Wisconsin, the bombing of a mosque in Jacksonville, Florida, in May, and a church in Gainesville, Florida, that's now planning to burn Korans on September 11th.
That led into a soundbite from Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, followed by a bite from Republican Congressman Peter King, a mosque opponent. Harris, however, then concluded with how more enlightened Republicans realize King's misdirection:
All three broadcast evening newscasts on Monday ran full reports on President Obama’s declaration that all combat troops would leave Iraq by the end of this month, leaving behind 50,000 troops designated for training and support. But only ABC’s World News bothered to point out how the end of American combat involvement in Iraq can be credited “in large part, because of the final actions of the last administration.”
Correspondent Yunji de Nies uniquely pointed out: “Just before leaving office, President Bush sent an additional 20,000 troops to Iraq and extended the tours of many more — a move then-Senator Obama opposed.”
ABC even showed a clip of Obama on the Senate floor in 2007 predicting the surge would fail: “I cannot in good conscience support this escalation. It is a policy that has already been tried and a policy that has failed.”
Neither CBS nor NBC pointed out how Obama was capitalizing on a policy he opposed, but all of the networks were skeptical of Obama’s claim that Iraq was a healed nation: