Are congressmen four times as important as the President? CNN spent over four times more airtime questioning claims made by Rep. Michele Bachmann against President Obama than it did on President Obama's falsehood on the sequester.
Three weeks ago, CNN reporter Dana Bash corrected President Obama's statement that Capitol Hill janitors and police would receive a pay cut because of the sequester. Her report aired four times on CNN that weekend, for a total of three minutes of coverage. In contrast, Bash's confrontation with Bachmann got over four times more coverage this week.
CNN's Dana Bash fact-checked President Obama's falsehood about the sequester on Friday, but the major networks didn't exactly follow CNN's lead in reporting the distortion that Capitol Hill janitors and police would receive a pay cut because of the sequester.
In his Friday press conference, Obama claimed, "They're going to have less pay, the [Capitol Hill] janitors, the security guards. They just got a pay cut." Shortly after that, CNN's Bash obtained from the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms that the workers would not receive a pay cut, just a limit on overtime pay. NBC ignored the distortion on its weekend newscasts, while CBS and ABC reported it one time each.
CNN's Candy Crowley said something Sunday guaranteed to raise eyebrows on both sides of the political aisle.
Near the end of her program State of the Union, and well after a somewhat contentious interview with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) that dealt with amongst other things the recent national security leaks controversy, Crowley stated, "Usually you kind of give the President a pass on leaking confidential stuff” (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
CNN's Dana Bash reported Friday on the irony of President Obama hitting Mitt Romney's connections to Bain Capital when he himself has received donations from Bain employees. CNN has highlighted Obama's hypocrisy on this matter before, but this specific story has certainly not received much air-time – if any at all – in the last two weeks.
"But isn't it hypocritical for the Obama campaign to keep money from employees of a company it goes after as job-killers?" correspondent Dana Bash asked during the segment. Yet this story of Obama's clear hypocrisy has certainly not received the attention it merits on CNN. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
CNN's Dana Bash is a new member of the board of trustees for an organization that, as part of its official mission, advocates for "reproductive rights" on Capitol Hill and at the United Nations. The organization, Jewish Women International (JWI), clarifies that its purpose is "empowering women and girls -- through economic literacy; community training; healthy relationship education; and the proliferation of women's leadership."
CNN seemed to fear the worst before Thursday's hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims, pressing committee chair Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) on his stance toward radical Islam with the shadow of Joseph McCarthy looming in the background.
CNN correspondent Dana Bash asked King, the chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, if he was "obsessed" with radical Islam, and what he thought about being compared to Joseph McCarthy. Her exclusive video interview with the congressman was aired multiple times Wednesday on the network.
In a voice-over, Bash reported that the hearing appears "to some, akin to Joseph McCarthy's 1950's communist witch hunt." She then asked a question of the congressman in real-time, this much of which was included in the segment: "Peter King is the modern day Joseph McCarthy?" Bash was probably alluding to the thoughts of King's critics, and was asking him for his reaction.
CNN indicated its sympathy for gun control on Tuesday with two segments on The Situation Room where sound bites from gun control supporters outnumbered gun rights supporters by a three-to-one margin. During the first report, correspondent Dana Bash stated that Senator Patrick Leahy "supports gun rights," even though the Democrat actually has the opposite record on the issue.
The previous evening, during the 9 pm Eastern hour of Monday's Anderson Cooper 360, the network's senior political analyst, David Gergen, indicated that he supported stricter gun control, in the wake of the attempted assassination on Representative Gabrielle Giffords, during a segment with Tea Party activist Dana Loesch.
GERGEN: ...How is it possible that someone who is this unhinged, when so many people understood that he was in mental deterioration, that he could still walk into a gun store and buy- you know, 9 mm semiautomatic Glock handgun, and also, then carry it concealed? I mean that's- if there's some cultural insanity here, it is the fact that we haven't put a stop to the capacity of these deranged young people to buy guns and then spray at people. It's just unbelievable.
CNN's Dana Bash asked a great question on Tuesday: were Tina Fey's disgusting remarks about conservative women at the Mark Twain Awards "the first time that PBS has been accused of editing to favor Republicans?"
Almost as telling, CNN's Gloria Borger appearing with Bash on "John King USA" answered, "They edited out something Paul McCartney said that was offensive at one point to Republicans, so probably not" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Are you getting tired of hearing liberal media members claim the voter anger around the country is all because Barack Obama is black?
RedState Editor and CNN contributor Erick Erickson is, for on Wednesday's "John King USA," he let Dana Bash have it for reiterating this insulting accusation.
"Talking to Democrats, I know you have, privately, will say some of the anger they hear in their districts, they say there's no doubt some of it is latent racism," uttered Bash.
Erickson was having none of if responding, "Oh, good lord...It's the last best trick of a losing Democrat, is to accuse the Republicans of racism."
When Erickson concluded his reply by stating Obama's "world view is fundamentally anti-American," a heated discussion between him and CNN's Roland Martin ensued (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On her Bravo show last Tuesday night, Kathy Griffin trashed Sen. Scott Brown's two daughters as "prostitutes." CNN reporter Dana Bash, who was present with her husband John King, erupted into laughter.
Yesterday on ABC's "The View," co-host Joy Behar tried to throw a wet blanket on the ensuing outrage over the "joke," which included condemnations of Griffin's comments by Scott Brown himself and by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.).
"It's just a joke," Behar repeatedly affirmed during a heated exchange with co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who vehemently disagreed.
"No, no, no, no, no!" Hasselbeck exclaimed. "We've always said politicians' kids are off limits! If someone went around calling Barack Obama's two girls prostitutes, people would be up in arms. Laybacks! Kathy Griffin's got to back up on that one right now!"
On Monday’s Joy Behar Show on HLN, Bravo’s Andy Cohen defended Kathy Griffin’s joke about Republican Senator Scott Brown’s daughters being "prostitutes," which the left-wing comedian made last week on her "My Life on the D List" show on Bravo. Incorrectly claiming that the joke had inspired laughter from both CNN correspondents John King and Dana Bash -- when, in fact, King winced disapprovingly as Bash laughed -- Cohen rationalized:
Because his daughters – look, it's a sensitive topic. Clearly, he has reacted sensitively. He's upset. It was a joke. And we wanted to reiterate that it is a joke and this was not a real accusation. She had John King and Dana Bash laughing at her joke. And then we just reiterated it. Kathy went along with it obviously. That was her voice. And it was very clear this was a joke that was being made. It's a funny show.
Behar argued that it was acceptable to go after the adult children of politicians, contending that "if you trot them out a la Bristol Palin, we're going to make jokes about it," and wondered: "Does the GOP now have no sense of humor whatsoever left?"
After comedian Craig Shoemaker claimed that conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh had called Chelsea Clinton a "dog," Behar went on to charge that both Limbaugh and John McCain had called the presidential daughter a "dog."
Scott Brown on Thursday slammed left-wing comedienne Kathy Griffin for mocking his daughters as "prostitutes," a joke that prompted laughter from CNN's Dana Bash.
On Wednesday, Newsbusters explained that the correspondent, along with anchor and husband John King, appeared on Griffin's Bravo television show. The following day, Ben Smith of Politico, among others, reported that the senator's office responded with a scathing statement condemning Griffin's words.
"People can call me any name they want, but families are off limits," Sen. Brown stated. "I love my daughters Ayla and Arianna very much, and any parent would be proud to have them as children. Kathy Griffin and Bravo ought to be ashamed of themselves."
On her Bravo TV show Tuesday night, left-wing comedian Kathy Griffin referred to Sen. Scott Brown's two daughters as "prostitutes," and a CNN reporter apparently thought it hysterical. [Audio available here.]
Griffin, who was readying herself for a trip to Washington, DC to rally and drum up support for a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," brought CNN reporters (husband and wife) Dana Bash and John King onto the show to "coach" her for handling Washington. Bash is a congressional correspondent for CNN, while King anchors the news hour "John King, USA."
When the couple showed Griffin a picture of Sen. Scott Brown and asked her to identify the figure, she responded "Scott Brown – who is a senator from Massachusetts, and has two daughters that are prostitutes."
In covering Elena Kagan's confirmation hearings, CNN and MSNBC have repeatedly lauded the Supreme Court nominee for her "flashes of humor" and "disarming ease."
In tune with the reverberations of the network morning shows' echo chamber, correspondents like CNN's Dana Bash and anchors like MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Tuesday praised Kagan for her ability to inject humor into otherwise "hollow and vapid" hearings and charm hostile Republican senators into docility.
"But just on a color note, what struck me, Candy, has been the way Elena Kagan has tried to use a sense of humor to really disarm the senators, particularly Republicans," noted Bash.
Maddow's guest, Dahlia Lithwick of the liberal Slate magazine, gushed over Kagan's "gut-wrenching" sense of humor, her masterful ability to balance "seriousness and levity and humor," and her "disarming and charming and kind of likeable" personality.
"A likeable liberal. Dear me, I know," quipped Maddow.
“For the first time, Americans got to see the woman President Obama called a ‘trailblazer’ in action,” ABC anchor Diane Sawyer trumpeted Tuesday night before Jonathan Karl framed his story on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s hearing around how “a confirmation hearing isn't usually a laughing matter, but if we learned one thing about Elena Kagan today, it's that she has a sense of humor.” Like NBC, Karl featured Kagan joking about how she was probably at a Chinese restaurant on Christmas day.
The three broadcast network evening newscasts, as well as CNN and FNC, highlighted Senator Jeff Sessions pressing Kagan on her treatment of military recruiters. Karl used the exchange to praise Kagan: “We also learned that Elena Kagan can take a punch. As when Republican Jeff Sessions slammed her decision as Harvard Law dean to ban military recruiters from the school's career office....She made no apologies for taking a strong stand against the military's ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ policy.”
CBS’s Jan Crawford declared Kagan “held her own, she was confident, showed flashes of wit, but she didn't break a lot of new ground,” while NBC’s Pete Williams touted how “she displayed flashes of humor.” (CNN expressed concern Kagan wasn’t liberal enough: “Some of her answers on hot-button issues may not please all of her fellow Democrats.” More below.)
Mark Finkelstein noticed how CNN found Chicago single mother Madonna Alvarez to suggest Sen. Jim Bunning was going to have her living in a cardboard box. CNN surely found this from an even more dramatic story by Duaa Eldeib in Monday's Chicago Tribune that started like this:
Madonna Alvarez, a single mother of three, fears her unemployment benefits and the little that's left of her savings are all that stand between her family and a cardboard box.
She and thousands of others had been hoping for an extension of those benefits. But they are at risk of being cut off because of a spending dispute in Washington after a lone lawmaker, Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., used a filibuster to block legislation to extend the payments for 30 days.
"Campbell Brown . . . the only non-partisan cable news anchor at 8 pm." -- CNN description of Campbell Brown
"Non-partisan": right. The hit that Brown, with help from reporter Dana Bash, put on Jim Bunning this evening was worthy of that hyper-partisan guy over at MSNBC in the 8 PM ET slot.
Bash first narrated a classic of the liberal media genre: an anecdotal story of someone allegedly hurt by hard-hearted Republican policies. Bash claimed that "in the real world," Bunning's position is having a "devastating effect" on people like single mother Madonna Alvarez.
CNN continued its spin on the retirement of Senator Byron Dorgan on Wednesday. Anchor Campbell Brown one-upped Wolf Blitzer’s “moderate Democrat” tag of the senator, going so far to label the liberal a “conservative Democrat.” Correspondent Dana Bash also noted how the outgoing senator is apparently “popular” in his state, contrary to recent polls. Not once was Dorgan labeled “liberal” or “left.”
Brown’s interview of Dorgan aired at the bottom of the 8 pm Eastern hour. During the second half of the segment, the anchor expressed some of the left’s concerns over his decision to not run for reelection: “You know, this is that rare moment where Democrats have a supermajority and are able to get through what they wanted to accomplish. And so there are people- fairly or unfairly- who are saying, why are you doing this to us now?”
CNN attacked the practice of earmarking and criticized a few senators for doing it on Oct. 9, but the segment from Dana Bash didn't mention President Obama's campaign promises on the issue or his failure (thus far) to fulfill them.
"Earmarks," John Roberts teased as he introduced congressional correspondent Bash's segment. "We heard that word a lot during the presidential campaign last year. While they're perfectly legal, critics see them as conflicts for members of Congress and a troubling way to get deals done."
After an introduction like that it would have been natural to include what Obama said on the campaign trail about earmarks.
On Friday’s Newsroom, CNN correspondent Dana Bash reported on Senator Ted Kennedy’s alleged “deep Catholic faith,” and zeroed-in on how he “used scripture in his push to end poverty and discrimination,” but chose a clip of his bungling a biblical citation. “My favorite parts of the Bible are always Matthew 25 through 35 [sic]- I was hungry and you gave me to eat, and thirsty, you gave me to drink” [audio clip available here].
Anchor Heidi Collins introduced Bash’s report, which shared a similar theme to AP’s report from Friday morning: “Senator Kennedy had spoken of his complicated relationship with the Catholic Church.” The CNN correspondent then highlighted how “Ted Kennedy’s family chose this church for his funeral Mass because he prayed here every day when daughter Kara was diagnosed with cancer, an example of his quiet, but deep Catholic faith.”
On Thursday morning, CNN downplayed the partisan nature of “legendary” Senator Ted Kennedy’s request to backtrack on a 2004 change in Massachusetts state law which allowed Democrats to hold on to John Kerry’s Senate seat had he won the election. While anchor John Roberts and correspondent Dana Bash explained the circumstances of the 2004 change, Bash merely labeled it a “political irony.”
Roberts gave two news briefs about Kennedy’s letter to Massachusetts officials during American Morning, summarizing that the commonwealth “changed [the law] in 2004 requiring a special election because then-Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican, could have appointed someone had Senator John Kerry won the presidential election....Senator Kennedy wants there to be an interim appointment before a special election just to make sure that the state’s covered.” The anchor didn’t include any mention of the health care issue in either of his briefs, which is a clear factor in play with the liberal senator’s request.
In a recent news package liberal journalists at CNN --in this case Dana Bash and Lesa Jansen-- attempted to discredit a Canadian brain tumor patient who received treatment in the U.S. after being told by Canada's health care system to shut up and take her place in line.
They were unable to actually discredit Shona Holmes of Waterdown, Ontario, but did manage to find another patient who claims to have received speedy treatment following a cancer diagnosis.
On July 6, CNN’s American Morning may have positioned themselves as a fly in the White House’s public health-care ointment. In a story on Senator Mitch McConnell’s recent comments regarding Canadian national health care, CNN traveled to Canada to investigate whether this vision of long queues in health care was warranted. In investigating, however, CNN neglected to ask an important question of their own story, regarding the possible rationing of the healthcare of cancer patients.
The hospital singled out for Senator McConnell’s rhetorical wrath is Kingston General in Ontario, Canada. CNN’s Dana Bash traveled there under guise of inquiring whether McConnell’s view of Kingston was accurate.
Senator MITCH MCCONNELL: Knee replacements. Well, at Kingston General, the average wait is about 340 days.
BASH: Zelt's response, McConnell is exaggerating.
DR. DAVID ZELT, Chief-of-staff, KINGSTON GEN. HOSPITAL: Average time to get a knee replacement here is 91 days.
This may prove to be an accurate assessment. Oddly, however, this seems to be almost an afterthought in Bash’s report – choosing instead to highlight two anecdotes within Canadian health care.
On Thursday’s edition of The Situation Room, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer suggested it was unfair for the Obama transition team or Congress to press Bill Clinton to release the names of donors to his foundation and presidential library. The media never succeeded in pressing the Clintons to release the information when Hillary was running for president, in part because there wasn’t much public evidence of pressing.
Blitzer told reporter Dana Bash: "But the other living former presidents, as far as I know, Jimmy Carter and George Herbert Walker Bush, they haven't released the names of their -- their contributors to their libraries and their other foundations or whatever...I wonder if they're going to be under -- feeling any pressure to release the names of all of their donors. They don't have to, but we'll see if they will." Bash mildly suggested their relatives haven’t been nominated for high office.
In some of the strongest criticism of the media yet during this campaign, John McCain's senior adviser Steve Schmidt on Monday blasted the New York Times for being an advocate for Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama.
In a scathing attack, Schmidt said the Times had "cast aside its journalistic integrity and tradition to advocate for the defeat of one candidate, in this case John McCain, and advocate for the election of the other candidate, Barack Obama."
During a press conference call, after CNN's Dana Bash asked campaign manager Rick Davis about a Times article accusing him of getting paid for doing advocacy work that benefitted Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Schmidt jumped in to absolutely lambaste the Gray Lady for its clearly biased reporting during this election cycle (audio available here, picture courtesy New York Times/AP):
It seems that CNN reporter, Dana Bash, felt safe in reporting on Lou Dobbs Tonight a gratuitous slam against Sarah Palin that she is "carefully scripted." What she apparently didn't count on was Dobbs questioning her about Barack Obama carefully following his own teleprompter script. The result was that Bash was rendered nearly incomprehensible as she spouted gibberish defending her biased reporting while attempting to change the subject. Here are the comedy highlights from the September 15 CNN transcript (emphasis mine):
CNN’s John Roberts, after briefly alluding to the issue of Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s experience he called into question earlier on Friday’s "Newsroom" program, asked correspondent Dana Bash about how the Alaska governor’s newborn son with Down’s syndrome might be affected if she were elected: "There's also this issue that on April 18th, she gave birth to a baby with Down's Syndrome.... Children with Down's syndrome require an awful lot of attention. The role of Vice President, it seems to me, would take up an awful lot of her time, and it raises the issue of how much time will she have to dedicate to her newborn child?"
Bash deftly answered this question, which has the implication that Palin could neglect her infant son, and made a possible counter-argument the McCain camp would use, that a question like Roberts’ would be sexist: "That's a very good question, and I guess -- my guess is that, perhaps, the line inside the McCain campaign would be, if it were a man being picked who also had a baby, but -- you know, four months ago with Down's Syndrome, would you ask the same question?"
The CNN correspondent continued by briefly describing the Palin’s family situation and the thinking that may have gone into the situation for both McCain and Palin herself. She concluded by reporting on the Alaska governor’s appeal to social conservatives because she is "very staunchly anti-abortion," in Bash’s words.
The full transcript of the exchange between John Roberts and Dana Bash, which began 7 minutes into the 11 am Eastern hour of CNN’s "Newsroom" [audio available here]:
During Monday’s convention coverage, CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin fretted that the Democrats weren’t doing enough Bush-bashing. Tuesday afternoon, CNN aired two segments during the 1:00 hour of CNN’s Newsroom in which they promoted Democrat fears that Virginia Senate candidate Mark Warner “won’t go for the jugular” in his speech tonight.
White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux highlighted the split between Hillary Clinton supporters and Barack Obama supporters in the first segment. She stated, “A lot of the Clinton camp want that kind of attack dog, want that red meat to be thrown to the delegates. They're ready -- they're ready for that fight. The Obama folks, a little bit more laid back about it, saying, look, you know, we're reaching across the aisle. We want to reach out to the independents and some of the Republicans. A little less, though, of that red meat style.”
In the second segment congressional correspondent Dana Bash labeled the Democratic former Virginia governor a “moderate” and “more socially conservative” and drew parallels between his keynote address and that of Obama’s in 2004 before she noted “there's a little bit of concern about the fact that he's not going to be -- sort of go for the jugular the way that many Democrats are hoping that they really step up here at this convention here in Denver.”
Last night the Reverend Rick Warren questioned Barack Obama and John McCain at California's Saddleback Church. Post forum coverage at CNN was hosted by network chief national correspondent John King.
He began by asking CNN senior political analyst Candy Crowley and network congressional correspondent Dana Bash for their impressions. Crowley found McCain to have been "very direct" while Bash observed the GOP candidate addressed the audience rather than Warren. Both stated that Obama was "nuanced" in his answers.
When King asked Bill Schneider, another CNN senior political analyst, for his take on the event, the word of the day shifted from nuanced to thoughtful:
With “WORST. WEEK. EVER?” on screen above the promise of “NO BIAS, NO BULL,” Friday's CNN Election Center show devoted a story to John McCain's bad week, but afterward, Mark Halperin, the former ABC News political director now with Time magazine, declared that McCain's challenge are less his supposed gaffes than “his problem is stopping the press and the Democrats from making this what the election is about.” Specifically, “I think the problem is that the press right now and the Democrats are trying to seize on every mistake, the Democrats are being very adept at creating the story of the day when John McCain misspeaks.”
Before Halperin, the 8 PM EDT CNN show anchored by Campbell Bran ran a set up piece by Dana Bash who ran through a series of events in McCain's campaign, such as Phil Gramm's America is in a “mental recession,” but also McCain's “politically perilous” decision to express in Michigan his pro-free trade position. Halperin scolded her:
I have great respect for Dana Bash, but I'd say that some of the examples in her piece, I don't think were particularly bad. John McCain is a free trader. We've had free traders as Presidents who've been elected almost every election in modern times. So I don't think everything that the press is picking on is necessarily a gaffe or a problem.