ABC, CBS, and NBC all failed to mention former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's affiliation with the Democratic Party on their Monday evening news broadcasts and the Tuesday morning shows. Blagojevich was convicted by a jury on Monday on 17 out of 20 charges, mainly related to the attempt to sell the Senate seat of President Obama. Only CBS's Early Show noted his party with a "D" on-screen.
NBC devoted the least amount of time to the breaking news, a total of 1 minute and 50 seconds between NBC Nightly News and the Today Show. Brian Williams actually didn't mention the party of the new felon or his predecessor during his report on Monday, but noted that "Blagojevich will become the fourth Illinois governor in recent memory to go to jail. His predecessor, George Ryan, is still in federal prison, also for corruption." The following morning, news anchor Natalie Morales gave three news briefs on Blagojevich, all about 15 seconds long each.
Good Morning America on Friday spun the protests in Wisconsin from the perspective of the unions and Democratic lawmakers who oppose Republican efforts to reform collective bargaining. Co-host George Stephanopoulos even interviewed a Democratic lawmaker from a top secret location outside the state.
Correspondent Chris Bury's piece on the protest featured five clips of those protesting the efforts by Republican Governor Scott Walker to make government employees contribute to their retirement plans. He allowed just one in support.
The reporter narrated, "Last night, more public workers, including these firemen, poured into the capitol. Some families camping out overnight, in a last-ditch effort to protest budget cuts they fear would cripple their union rights."
ABC on Thursday night championed a “mutiny in America” by public employees in Wisconsin whom NBC’s Brian Williams trumpeted for “rising up and saying no to some of the most extreme cuts in the nation.” ABC’s Diane Sawyer teased: “Tonight on World News, a mutiny in America. Public workers take to the streets as governors try to cut their pay and perks.” Sawyer framed coverage from the grievance of the unionized workers:
Today, we saw America's money trouble meet a reality, a human reality, as teachers, nurses, tens of thousands of state workers took to the streets in this country protesting cuts by the governors, saying to these governors, a promise is a promise. One lawmaker looked out at the crowds gathered in the Wisconsin capital today said it's like Cairo moved to Madison. [Audio available here]
NBC’s Williams also offered a comparison to “citizen uprisings” overseas: “Tonight after watching citizen uprisings now across the globe for weeks, how about a big one here in the United States.”
Though Governor Scott Walker is merely asking the coddled workers for a slight increase, from six to twelve percent, in the portion of the generous health coverage they must pay, ABC reporter Chris Bury painted it as a dire burden, citing how Walker is “demanding that public employees pay more for their pensions and health care, the equivalent of a seven percent pay cut,” adding that “what really upsets state workers is a budget that strips away nearly all of their union bargaining rights over health care, pensions, and work rules.”
Nightline's Chris Bury on Monday investigated the so-called 9/11 Truth movement, but made no effort to look at the ideological make up of those who believe that the government was behind the 2001 terror attacks. Reporting from the group's convention, he asserted, "Over the weekend hundreds of Americans calling themselves 9/11 Truthers gathered at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. They come from all over the political spectrum."
However, according to a 2007 poll by Rasmussen, 35 percent of Democrats believed that President Bush knew about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in advance. Yet, Bury blandly explained, "They are an eclectic group with widely different agenda, including war protestors, first responders who feel neglected and families of some 9/11 victims."
Good Morning America on Monday touted an adulterous affair John F. Kennedy had in the early 1950s as a "love story" and a "torrid and fleeting romance." Co-host George Stephanopoulos lauded the Kennedys as "American royalty" and the show offered no hint of criticism over the infidelity. [Audio available here.]
"Love letters" revealing the relationship between an engaged and then just-married Kennedy and a Swedish woman are being put on auction this week. The correspondence between the two show that JFK was cheating on his wife from the very start. Yet, Stephanopoulos delicately spun, "They've been called a window into the complicated and conflicted existence that was Kennedy's life."
Reporter Chris Bury narrated one of the letters from Kennedy to his Swedish mistress, Gunilla Von Post, asserting that the then-Senator "senses that their destinies are drifting apart." He quoted, "I just got word that my wife and sister are coming here. It will be all be complicated, the way I feel now, my Swedish flicka. All I have done is sit in the sun and look at the ocean and think of Gunilla. All love, Jack."
On Saturday’s Newsroom, CNN’s Don Lemon deferentially took President Obama’s advice and interviewed a stimulus “skeptic” turned “believer,” whom the Democrat cited as an example of the success of the stimulus during his recent State of the Union address. Lemon talked up the stimulus and the Obama administration’s energy efficiency tax credit with his guest Alan Levin, whose company produces windows.
Before playing his taped interview with guest Alan Levin, CEO of Northeast Building Products, the CNN anchor played the relevant clip from the President Obama’s address: “Talk to the window manufacturer in Philadelphia, who said he used to be skeptical about the Recovery Act, until he had to add two more work shifts just because of the business it created.” After asking Mr. Levin if he was excited by this mention by the President, Lemon inquired about this previous skepticism: “You know what, here’s the interesting thing. You were skeptical about this process- about the stimulus. You weren’t exactly sure that it was going to get you the right people and help at all. And now?”
The broadcast evening networks all led Friday night not with the jump in the unemployment rate to 9.8%, but with the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) rejection of Chicago's bid, stories which reflected the premise Chicago lost “despite” or “in spite” of the “star-studded U.S. appeal from Oprah to the Obamas,” while ABC's Charles Gibson absolved President Barack Obama by pressing for confirmation of “some anti-American sentiment here?” and whether “this is seen as a poke in the eye to the President himself or...to the U.S.?” George Stephanopoulos assured viewers:
If the President gets a health care bill this fall, if the economy starts to turn around, if he can build an international coalition to take on Iran's nuclear program, none of this will matter.
A lot of ifs.
On Wednesday night, CBS anchor Katie Couric had declared “the 'Dream Team' pushing Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympic summer games is nearly complete” and was just awaiting “team captain” President Barack Obama who “arrives Friday ahead of the final vote.” After the vote, Couric remained impressed by the effort, teasing Friday's CBS Evening News: “Tonight, Chicago hope dashed. Despite a high-powered, star-studded U.S. appeal from Oprah to the Obamas, the Olympics are awarded to Rio.”
Katie Couric’s CBS Evening News on Friday omitted any mention of the murder of pro-life activist Jim Pouillon in Michigan, despite having discussed the murder of abortionist George Tiller on the June 1, June 2 and June 9 newscasts (and then referencing the killing as a recent “hate crime” in a June 10 report on the shooting at Washington, D.C.’s Holocaust Museum).
Both ABC’s World News and the NBC Nightly News, in contrast, offered full reports on the killing of Pouillon and a local businessman, but offered different explanations. According to NBC’s John Yang, prosecutors said the killer, Harlan Drake, had grudges against his victims and another intended target but “none of them were specifically related to anti- or pro-abortion beliefs.”
Over on ABC, however, reporter Chris Bury showed a soundbite from the Owosso police chief that sure sounded like a grudge against Pouillon’s protests: “Mr. Drake did not believe the children should view the graphic material that was on the signs that Mr. Pouillon carried.”
And ABC’s Bury claimed Friday’s killing of the peaceful protester represented “the flip side of the troubling violence surrounding the abortion debate,” and equated the pro-life activist with the doctor who performed late-term abortions: “George Tiller and Jim Pouillon, on opposite sides of the abortion divide, but both victims of the hate that too often surrounds it.”