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:
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Erica Hill cheered the passage of financial reform legislation as "another huge milestone for President Obama." Hill went on to explain: "The first was when he signed the historic health care bill back in March. Today he is set to sign a bill aimed at completely overhauling Wall Street."
White House correspondent Chip Reid began a report on the new bill by proclaiming: "It's being hailed as the biggest shakeup of Wall Street since the Great Depression." Reid enthusiastically touted provisions in the legislation: "The bill's centerpiece is the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection....charged with regulating financial products, including mortgages, credit cards, and student loans. The legislation also gives broad new powers to the federal government, allowing it to take control of and shut down large financial institutions..."
Reid pointed out criticism of the legislation: "But critics say the bill fails to reform mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, does not create a fund to help shut down big banks when they fail, and gives too much power to federal regulators to create reams of new rules." After noting GOP concern that bill "will curb growth and kill jobs," Reid turned to an analyst from the left-leaning Brookings Institution for reassurance: "Still, former investment banker Douglas Elliott believes the bill is better than doing nothing." Elliott argued: "The bill addresses most of the problems and makes a good start. It's not perfection, but in the real world, we don't get perfection."
After the network pushed Congress for weeks to extend unemployment benefits, CBS's Early Show cheered the expected passage of the legislation on Tuesday. Co-host Harry Smith noted how Democrats "have enough votes to break a GOP filibuster" and White House correspondent Chip Reid later added: "Democrats appear to have won a major battle in the long fight to extend unemployment benefits."
Reid portrayed the Democrats as standing on the side of the American people against obstructionist Republicans: "...this unemployment benefits extension has been stalled in the Senate since June. If it passes, millions of Americans will start getting about $309 a week." A headline on screen read: "Jobless Relief; Senate Set to Extend Unemployment Benefits."
Describing White House attacks on the GOP over the issue, Reid declared: "President Obama accused Republicans of indifference to out of work Americans for refusing to extend benefits." After a clip of the President was played, Reid explained Republican objections: "they support the extension but want the $34 billion cost paid for by an equal cut in the budget." A clip of House Minority Leader John Boehner was played, but Reid chose to end with Obama: "The President fired back, saying the Republicans have a double standard."
Following a report on Saturday's CBS Evening News, in which White House correspondent Chip Reid defended President Obama's Maine vacation with a comparison to President Bush's vacation time, Monday's Early Show took the same approach as correspondent Michelle Miller reported:
But it's not just where and when presidents travel, it's how often. Ronald Reagan took 349 vacation days at his California ranch during his eight years in office. In his first year and a half as President, George W. Bush vacationed 96 days. Over that same time period, President Obama has taken 36 days.
On Saturday, Reid had similarly noted: "Whatever criticism there may be of the President's vacation choices, he's spent 33 days on vacation in his first 18 months. His predecessor, Bush W. Bush, spent 96 in the same period."
When Obama vacationed on Martha' Vineyard in August of 2009, Reid highlighted how it helped the local economy: "One thing that’s going to give a huge boost to the economy is all the Obama paraphernalia...t-shirts, it’s baseball caps and magnets and coffee mugs and glasses. And restaurants are selling the ‘Baracko Taco.’ Bars are selling ‘Ale to the Chief.’ And all of it is selling like crazy."
CBS and NBC on Saturday night ran full stories on criticism of President Obama for vacationing with his family this weekend in Maine instead of along the Gulf coast, but Chip Reid, CBS White House correspondent, couldn’t resist defending Obama by invoking an unfavorable comparison with George W. Bush, enhanced by an on-screen graphic:
Whatever criticism there may be of the President's vacation choices, he's spent 33 days on vacation in his first 18 months. His predecessor, George W. Bush, spent 96 in the same period.
Reid proceeded to assure CBS Evening News viewers that Obama is on the job despite video of him walking up a mountain path and licking an ice cream cone: “Since the President's been here, even though he's technically on vacation, he's received numerous briefings on everything from the economy to national security to the oil spill.”
On Thursday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric touted the just-passed financial reform bill as a "big win" for President Obama, "as was the passage of health care reform." She then lamented how despite that: "...there are rumblings he's in big political trouble as the midterm elections approach."
In the report that followed, White House correspondent Chip Reid proclaimed: "...the President was reveling in another victory on a major piece of legislation.... he'll add it to a long list, headlined by health care reform and the stimulus." A graphic then appeared on-screen actually listing half a dozen of the Obama administration's supposed accomplishments for viewers.
Turning to Obama's falling poll numbers, Reid seemed puzzled: "With so many accomplishments in just 18 months, you'd think the President would be flying high. Instead, his approval rating continues to sink and now stands at just 44 percent."
Reid then observed: "So, what's the problem? In a word: jobs." He highlighted the President's recent trip to stimulus-funded projects in Michigan and sympathized with how Obama "seems powerless to do anything about an unemployment rate stuck at an excruciating 9.5 percent."
CBS's Chip Reid on Thursday railed against the Senate for failing to extend unemployment benefits. The Evening News reporter opined, "So who's fault is that? On the surface, it appears Senate Republicans are to blame. Led by Mitch McConnell, they killed the bill with a filibuster."
At no point did Reid or fill-in anchor Scott Pelley discuss whether unemployment benefits should be extended yet again. Democratic culpability included having one member who sided with the Republicans. Reid chided, "Democrats also have themselves to blame. One Democrat, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, voted no. If he had voted with his party, the bill would have passed."
The networks Monday night skipped lightly over the late Senator Robert Byrd's segregationist and racist record, devoting as much time to the Democrat's fiddle-playing prowess as his years in the Ku Klux Klan, which CBS's Chip Reid excused as “an effort to help his political career.”
Leading into file video of Byrd playing his fiddle, ABC anchor Diane Sawyer declared “Byrd was a powerhouse and old-fashioned crowd-pleaser on the stump, whipping out his fiddle.” Though Byrd is the only Senator to have voted against both Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, Cokie Roberts asserted that “as the country changed, Robert Byrd changed with it. He readily endorsed Barack Obama for President.”
After touting how by “writing several volumes of Senate history” Byrd had followed in Caesar's “footsteps,” she concluded: “Like the Constitution and the bible, Robert Byrd will be a permanent fixture of the Senate.”
President Obama's decision to relieve General Stanley McChrystal of command in Afghanistan and replace him with General David Petraeus was met with a chorus of praise in the media, as anchors and pundits on CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC all sang in unison that it was a "brilliant" move. [Audio available here]
During live special coverage leading up to the announcement in the 1PM ET hour on CBS, White House correspondent Chip Reid proclaimed: "it sounds like a pretty brilliant decision really." At the same time on NBC, correspondent Jim Miklaszewski described it as a "stunning development" and added "at a quick glance, almost brilliant." Minutes later, White House correspondent Chuck Todd declared: "politically, in this town, it's going to be seen as a brilliant choice by the President."
Over on CNN, moments after Obama finished speaking, anchor Wolf Blitzer remarked that it was a "major moment for this president" and later observed: "a very brilliant move to tap General Petraeus." Finally, in the 2PM ET hour on MSNBC, Meet the Press host David Gregory concluded: "I think he took swift and decisive action. I think that's how it's going to be read."
The American lawyers who flock to Guantanamo Bay to represent captured terrorists are simply fulfilling their duty to provide representation, it is often argued by those who seem to enjoy mucking up efforts to curtail future terrorism. But once representing the American beverage giant Coca Cola makes Attorney General Eric Holder a “corporatist” who’s going to “do the Devil’s work” and only “pretend” to go tough on BP after the oil spill, lefty talk radio host Mike Malloy (a onetime CNN news writer) argued Wednesday night. (Audio here.)
I guess you know this by now, the, uh, Justice Department under Eric Holder who defended, uh, was it Coca-Cola, against murder charges in, uh, South America? Good old Eric Holder, another corporatist, who, uh, is going to do the Devil’s work now and pretend that he is conducting a criminal investigation into the events that led to the oil gush?
For their part, the big three network evening newscasts reported Holder’s announcement of a “criminal investigation” against BP during their Tuesday night broadcasts, but only CBS’s Chip Reid struck what could be called a skeptical note about the Obama administration’s motives in publicly touting the investigation after a week of criticism about the federal government’s less-than-effective handling of the matter.
The White House press corps just loved President Obama's press conference anecdote meant to prove the pressure he's under and responsibility he's taking (“When I woke up this morning, and I'm shaving and Malia knocks on my bathroom door and she peeks in her head and she says: 'Did you plug the hole yet, daddy?'”). The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts all showcased the clip, with fill-in ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos incorporating it into his lead:
Good evening. The buck stops with him. President Obama acknowledged today that the worst oil spill in American history is his crisis by quoting his daughter.
Earlier in the day, wrapping up ABC's live coverage of the afternoon session, Stephanopoulos was “struck” by the soundbite: “Pretty clear what the President was trying to convey today, Jake [Tapper]. He is in charge. I was struck in that final answer he even brought Malia back into this.”
Back to Thursday night, CBS's Chip Reid began his report by playing the bite, setting it up: “Well, Harry [Smith], if there's one thing the President made clear today it's that pressure to plug that hole is coming from everywhere.” Over on NBC, Chuck Todd introduced the video: “As if realizing he had not yet driven home the message that he came to the East Room to make, the President at the very end made it personal.”
At the end of a joint press conference between President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Wenesday, CBS White House correspondent Chip Reid attempted to ask Obama a question about Tuesday's electoral results but was given the brush off for the second time in a week.
Later that afternoon, Reid described the incident on CBSNews.com's Political Hotsheet blog: "As he [Obama] and President Calderon turned to walk back toward the Oval Office I asked, loudly enough for him to hear, if he had any comment on the elections. No response. I then shouted 'Do you have any plans for a real press conference?' No response, not that I expected one."
On Monday, the President refused to answer a question from Reid moments after signing the "Press Freedom Act" into law.
CBS morning and evening news broadcasts have ignored both the Monday and Wednesday snubs by Obama, with Reid only making his displeasure known online.
On Monday, President Obama signed into law the "Press Freedom Act," but refused to answer a question from CBS White House correspondent Chip Reid at the conclusion of the signing ceremony. While Reid described the ironic incident on the CBSNews.com Political Hotsheet blog, neither Monday's Evening News nor Tuesday's Early Show mentioned the President's dodge.
On the CBS blog, Reid described the purpose of the law, which "expands the State Department's annual human rights reports to include a description of press freedoms in each country." He then noted how "It seemed a good opportunity to showcase press freedom in this country....So after he signed the bill, and as the press 'wranglers' began aggressively herding us out of the room, I asked if he still has confidence in BP. He ignored the question."
Reid also pointed out that Obama "has not held a prime-time White House news conference in many months, despite much pleading from pundits and members of the media." However, not much of that "pleading" has been featured on CBS broadcasts.
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith lamented Republican opposition to the Democrats' financial reform legislation: "The Senate is expected to vote for a third time on financial reform.Republicans blocked the previous two attempts. President Obama says he can't understand why, and plans to make his case once again later today."
In the report that followed, White House correspondent Chip Reid described the Democratic strategy against Republicans:
Of course, both parties have accepted millions of dollars in political contributions from Wall Street over the years. But now Democrats are doing everything in their power to portray Republicans as the party of Wall Street. It's an argument the President believes is especially effective here in the heartland. President Obama was back where it all started, Iowa, this time denouncing Senate Republicans for blocking debate on financial reform.
A headline on screen read: "Presidential Push; Obama Takes on GOP on Financial Reform."
On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared that when it comes to financial reform legislation, "Democrats have all the leverage right now." Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer appeared on the show and observed that "They think this is the time to picture Republicans as trying to protect fat cat bankers, as it were."
In her first question to Schieffer, Rodriguez wondered: "Do Democrats have anything to lose by going for a vote on Monday even though the Republicans have said they'd like a little bit more time to work on a compromise?" Schieffer replied: "No, they have absolutely nothing to lose. They want to get this out and get it on the table as quickly as possible."
Following his comment about the image of Republicans supporting "fat cat bankers," Schieffer added: "it's one thing to oppose health care reform, but on this case, I think most people would agree that doctors are more popular than bankers, especially at this particular time when you've had this lawsuit filed against Goldman Sachs." The headline on screen throughout the segment read: "Financial Reform Face-Off; Obama Takes on Wall Street, GOP."
At the top of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "At an historic summit, President Obama joins world leaders to try to stop terrorists from obtaining nuclear weapons." He later declared: "It's the largest gathering of world leaders hosted by a U.S. President since the 1945 conference that founded the United Nations. And it's already yielded some quick results."
White House correspondent Chip Reid reported on some of those "quick results": "Ukraine announced it will send its entire stockpile of highly enriched uranium, enough to build several nuclear weapons, out of the country, perhaps to the United States, by 2012....China...has shown a new willingness to consider sanctions against Iran, but is still reluctant to fully endorse them because it gets so much of its oil from Iran." In a news brief at the top of the 8AM ET hour, fill-in news reader Betty Nguyen mentioned another dangerous regime giving up its nuclear stockpile: "Canada announced it's returning a significant amount of its spent nuclear fuel to the U.S."
In concluding his report, Reid touted: "Now, at most international summits, they try to lower expectations to kind of soften the disappoint of not accomplishing much. At this summit, the President is taking the opposite approach. He is building up expectations, promising that by the end of the day, there will be a concrete plan of specific actions to lock up those loose nukes." Given that dealing with rogue states like Iran and North Korea are not subjects of the summit, it is unclear how much will really be accomplished at the meeting.
Sounding more like MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann than impartial newscasts, ABC, CBS and NBC all led Wednesday night by legitimizing Democratic talking points meant to discredit critics of the just-passed health care bill. “Opposition to health care turns menacing,” ABC’s Diane Sawyer warned. CBS teased with audio clips -- “Baby-murdering scumbag,”“You are a dirtbag” and “I hope you die” -- as fill-in anchor Maggie Rodriguez cited “threats of violence against Democrats who voted for health care reform, even as public support for the plan is growing.”
On NBC, Brian Williams teased: “It's getting ugly as anger over health care reform erupts into some over-the-top rhetoric, including threats now against members of Congress.” He opened by declaring: “It can now be said that the debate over health care reform has gone too far. It's now veered into threats of violence.” Reporter Kelly O’Donnell relayed how “Democrats accuse Republicans of stirring a hostile mood” before Savannah Guthrie rued “Washington's epic 14-month battle over health care has exposed an angry side of America.” She recounted:
Wrapped around the brick that smashed the door of Democratic party headquarters in Rochester, New York, a note with the Barry Goldwater quote: ‘Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice.’ On Twitter, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin told followers, ‘Don't retreat, reload.’ While an Alabama man advocated armed uprising....At a conservative Tea Party protest at the Capitol this weekend, some demonstrators hurled racially and sexually-charged insults at members of the Congress.
CBS’s Nancy Cordes dutifully reported “Democrats accuse their GOP colleagues of inciting such acts with inflammatory rhetoric” as “Democrats complain Sarah Palin is also using violent words and imagery. On Twitter, she urges conservatives: ‘Don't retreat. Instead, reload.’ And the Web site of her political action committee posts bull's-eyes on districts of vulnerable Democrats.”
At the top of Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed the passage of ObamaCare: "A major victory for President Obama as House Democrats work late into the night to pass health care reform." A headline on screen read: "Historic Victory."
Co-host Maggie Rodriguez later introduced a report on the legislation by remarking that Smith, who was pleased with his NCAA March Madness bracket picks, was "not the only one who's happy this morning. So is President Obama." She went on to declare: "We begin with Congress's historic passage of health care reform late last night." Rodriguez recited ObamaCare talking points: "Now under this law...insurance companies will not be allowed to drop your coverage if you get sick. There will be no cap on lifetime insurance benefits and you can keep your children on your health insurance through the age of 26. Also, coverage will be available for uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions."
In the report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes began by describing the "sense of relief for Democrats," in the wake of the bill's passage. The on-screen headline read: "Historic Vote; Health Care Reform Passes; Heads to Obama's Desk."
CBS and NBC, which have delivered very friendly interviews with President Barack Obama (link below the jump to examples), on Wednesday night characterized Bret Baier's sit-down with Obama for the Fox News Channel as “contentious,” while ABC decided to devote nearly two minutes of World News (1:50) to Obama's college basketball tournament choices.
Anchor Diane Sawyer teased at the start of the March 17 newscast, “Top picks: Stream of consciousness as the Fan-in-Chief completes his college basketball bracket.”
On the NBC Nightly News, Kelly O'Donnell referred to the “contentious interview with Fox News.” Chip Reid, on the CBS Evening News, added a modifier as he saw “a very contentious interview.”
The ABC story on Obama's basketball picks consisted of highlights from corporate cousin ESPN's session with Obama as he filled out a big bracket chart, and World News included Obama's spelling challenge. “Should be an R in there,” ESPN's Andy Katz corrected Obama upon spotting how the President had misspelled “Syracuse” as “Sycacuse.”
“Based on some mild and indiscernible shouts by people in a hallway outside the office of a House member,” NewsBusters noted Tuesday night, “CBS's Chip Reid tried to discredit anti-ObamaCare protesters,” claiming the Tea Party activists “tried to lobby undecided Democrats. At times, it got ugly.” (Watch the video to assess the commotion Reid characterized as “ugly.”)
But in today's Politico newspaper, Marin Cogan relayed how “staff members for Democrats reported orderly, even polite conversations with protesters.” In her article, “Dems play nice with tea partiers,” Marin not only did not cite any ugliness, she discovered the protesters were so calm that they were actually bored by them: “'It was like a high school classroom,' an aide to one lawmaker who hosted tea partiers noted glumly. 'It was so boring.'”
Based on some mild and indiscernible shouts by people in a hallway outside the office of a House member, CBS's Chip Reid on Tuesday night tried to discredit anti-ObamaCare protesters, claiming “at times, it got ugly.”
Reid recounted: “Outside the Capitol, a few hundred members of the conservative Tea Party movement called on Congress to kill the Democratic health care reform bill as Republicans urged them to keep fighting.” Following a clip of Republican Congressman Mike Pence, Reid announced over the hallway video: “Moving inside, they tried to lobby undecided Democrats. At times, it got ugly.” Then, leading into pro and con TV ads, Reid asserted: “The angry war of words over health care reform in Washington is echoing across the nation.” Watch the video to see what CBS considers “ugly” behavior. (MP3 audio clip.)
After citing “a growing controversy over a parliamentary maneuver the Speaker may use to get reform passed,” Katie Couric had introduced Reid by maintaining that “as a vote nears, the tension, confusion, and anger are all building.” Reid agreed: “The closer we get to a vote, the nastier the debate becomes. Some on Capitol Hill say it gives new meaning to the expression 'March Madness.'”
On Monday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Chip Reid reported on President Obama's annual physical exam and lamented: "For all his immense power, there's at least one adversary President Obama seems unable to defeat, his addiction to cigarettes." One wonders how "immense" Obama's power is amid sinking poll numbers and an inability to pass health care reform. [Audio available here]
Reid noted how the President's smoking is "a battle he's been waging since he was a teenager" and played a clip of Obama joking with reporters last year that he was "95% cured" but adding "there are times where I mess up." Sounding like a worried mother, Reid continued: "Eight months later, he's still struggling....when and where he does smoke and where he gets the cigarettes is a White House mystery."
Near the end of the report, Reid listed a series of other Democratic president's who have enjoyed having a smoke: "FDR was a chain smoker, known for keeping his cigarette holder at a jaunty angle. JFK enjoyed the occasional cigar. And President Clinton often chewed on unlit cigars while playing golf." Is that the only thing Clinton enjoyed doing with a cigar?
Reporting on Republican Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning blocking spending legislation over deficit concerns at the top of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "Congressional quagmire. Democrats blame one Republican senator for preventing thousands of federal workers from working."
In a later report, White House correspondent Chip Reid continued to assail Bunning: "The White House is pointing its finger at a single Republican senator who they say is standing in the way of federal aid for hundreds of thousands of unemployed Americans....he is single-handedly holding up a routine piece of legislation." Rather than address Bunning's spending concerns, Reid declared: "Because of his objection, 2,000 federal transportation workers had to be furloughed without pay. 400,000 Americans risk losing their unemployment benefits over the next seven to ten days. And Medicare fees for doctors suddenly slashed by 21%."
Reid briefly noted: "Bunning wants the Democrats to come up with a way to pay the $10 billion price tag." A couple clips were played of the Kentucky Senator voicing his opposition: "And I'm going to object every time because you won't pay for this....We cannot keep adding to the debt."
“The President often seemed exasperated with Republican arguments,” CBS's Chip Reid empathetically conveyed in reporting on Thursday's health care policy summit before he declared that President Obama had achieved what he needed to accomplish:
Well, he really did, Katie. What he really wanted to do was convince the American people, and more importantly wavering Democrats in Congress, that the Republicans are the party of no. They won't compromise and he now has no choice but to move ahead with Democrats alone.
On ABC, anchor Diane Sawyer led with what she described as “a landmark event today, a televised political duel.” Echoing Reid's assessment of Obama's “exasperation,” Jake Tapper saw “from the Republicans, some old arguments and new frustrations for the President.” George Stephanopoulos decided Obama had “reinforced his bipartisan bonafides, showed that he was reaching out.”
Parting with Reid, however, Stephanopoulos considered it an “honorable draw” since “both sides...gained something” as “Republicans were able to show they had real substantive ideas, there are just differences about how to achieve health care reform in this country.”
President Obama’s health plan announced Monday is little more than the Senate bill with a new tax and federal price control regime, but ABC’s Diane Sawyer touted how “Obama today officially put forward his plan” and CBS’s Katie Couric hailed “a plan of his own,” though she pointed out “it includes no public option.” (In contrast, NBC’s Savannah Guthrie observed: “This new plan of the President's looks a lot like the old plan, just repackaged.”)
All three evening newscasts employed terminology congenial to Obama’s wish to interfere in the marketplace by trumpeting how Obama would “block insurance companies from unreasonable rate increases” while CBS and NBC both advanced Obama’s effort to disparage insurance companies by showcasing sympathetic victims of a health insurance rate hike – pregnant women.
Sawyer delivered a very innocuous summary: “It would give the government new power to control big hikes in insurance premiums, it would give a maximum of nearly $8,500 to a family of four to help them buy insurance and it would prevent insurers from denying coverage to anyone who's already sick or at risk of illness.”
On CBS, Couric segued to “a lot of anger about soaring insurance premiums” and reporter Ben Tracy found a woman “seven months pregnant” upset by a 35 percent hike. She scolded: “You have a right to make money but not at the expense of abusing other people.” NBC’s Guthrie noted “the White House has seized on a California company's decision to jack up rates 39 percent. This Redondo Beach mother was stunned.” Viewers then heard from the woman, near tears: “Do I go without insurance? Does my daughter go without insurance? What are we supposed to do?”
Though polls and recent election results illustrate public antipathy to big government deficit spending and a preference for right-leaning Republicans, Thursday’s CBS Evening News foresaw an “incumbent backlash” in which Democrats are only more vulnerable because more of them hold national office. Katie Couric asserted “a lot of incumbents are in trouble” before reporter Chip Reid declared it’s “an election year that's looking more and more perilous for incumbents” since “the mood in the country is increasingly ‘throw the bums out.’”
CBS’s John Dickerson contended Democrats are only in more peril because they hold power, as if their policies are irrelevant: “The voting public is angry and they're in a mood to punish. 81 percent say they don't like the incumbent and that hurts the Democrats since they are in power in both the House and Senate and the White House.”
After noting how “even some long-term Democrats are in trouble” as Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid is “trailing his potential Republican challengers in the polls,” Reid argued “Republican incumbents have a big problem of their own this year” since “Tea Party activists are challenging sitting Republicans.” Of course, those will take the form of Republican primary races while Democratic losses would lead to a party change.
On the one-year anniversary of the Obama administration's “stimulus” spending bill, ABC, CBS and NBC all eagerly corroborated the White House's claims about how it “saved or created” many jobs and staved off economic disaster, though they all offered a range of numbers and definitions (ABC: “800,000 to 2.4 million new jobs,” CBS: “about 1.8 million” jobs “saved or created” and NBC: “1.6 to 1.8 million jobs have been created so far.”)
ABC and CBS touted anecdotes about companies and government agencies which asserted the spending had prevented layoffs or allowed them to hire new staff. ABC's Jake Tapper cited buses for Santa Monica, construction jobs in Baltimore, “63,000 green jobs” (with a solar panel-maker's CEO declaring “it is working and we're proof of that”) and a school system superintendent who told Tapper the funding “ helped save 61 jobs and create 73 new ones.”
On CBS, Chip Reid began with how “this highway paving equipment company in California canceled plans to lay off 40 workers because of demand created by stimulus projects,” before trumpeting how “in Washington, D.C. about 20 people are working on this road project” where “manager Matthew Johns calls the stimulus a lifesaver.” [audio available here]
Though “many independent economists put the number of jobs saved or created at about 1.8 million,” Reid relayed that “to the great frustration of the White House, most Americans simply refuse to believe it. In a recent CBS News/New York Times poll, a mere 6 percent said the stimulus has created jobs.” Reid's culprit: “That skepticism due in part to a relentless campaign by Republicans who say the stimulus is a bloated, big-government failure.” (The online “Political Hotsheet” echoed Reid's theme: “On Stimulus, Perception Doesn't Match Reality.”)
On Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric and White House reporter Chip Reid cast President Obama’s push for “bipartisanship” in a favorable light, with Obama “working hard,” “following through on a promise” and “open to ideas from Republicans.” But in an item posted on CBSNews.com, Reid’s fellow CBS White House correspondent, Mark Knoller – who has covered every President since Gerald Ford in the mid-1970s – was far more skeptical: “When a sitting President calls for bipartisanship by the opposition – he really means surrender.”
Knoller painted the President as motivated by frustration: “His top legislative priorities are going nowhere and he’s searching for a way to get them out of lockup.” After recounting past Presidents’ tactical demands for bipartisanship, Knoller outlined the political motive: