On Friday's World News, ABC's David Kerley pressed I.R.S. Commissioner John Koskinen about taxpayers who are unable to "get an answer as to how much they're supposed to pay," due to long wait times on the agency' help line. However, Kerley didn't bother to ask Koskinen about the House Ways and Means Committee's Wednesday vote to refer former IRS official Lois Lerner to the Justice Department for prosecution, over alleged targeting of Tea Party groups for auditing.
In fact, as of Friday, none of the Big Three evening newscasts have covered the House committee's criminal referral, nor the House Oversight Committee voting on Thursday to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress. Instead, the ABC correspondent zeroed in on taxpayers' complaints about the IRS help line, as well as the commissioner's YouTube video warning about how to deal with the poor service there: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Good Morning America on Wednesday conceded that school districts across the country are dropping a new government-imposed lunch program because, as one student put it, "the food is just nasty." However, no one on GMA pointed out that the plan had been heavily promoted by Michelle Obama. In contrast, back in February, the journalists featured the First Lady for an eight and a half minute segment, including time to promote her Let's Move initiative.
Anchor George Stephanopoulos allowed, "Schools across the country are dropping out of a federal program to curb childhood obesity because the kids just won't eat what they're served." Reporter David Kerley asserted that the "national school lunch program rolled just last fall to great fanfare." According to a student in Kentucky, the new lunches "taste like vomit."
Since Wednesday, ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have all played up the social media frenzy over Texas State Senator Wendy Davis' multi-hour filibuster on Tuesday against a pro-life bill. On Friday's Today, NBC's Tamron Hall claimed that the Davis story is "another example of how social media can turn a story into a whole other stratosphere. I think without Twitter and Facebook, this would have been a big story, but not to this magnitude."
By contrast, during the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell earlier in 2013, ABC and NBC completely ignored the widespread outrage on Twitter over the case. It took CBS four days to notice Kirsten Powers' April 11, 2013 USA Today column which "accused the media of ignoring the story because...[of] a bias in favor of abortion rights," as Jan Crawford reported on CBS This Morning. Crawford then pointed out how "those charges went viral on Twitter."
ABC stubbornly stuck to its talking points on Friday, portraying the furloughs of Federal Aviation Administration employees as "airport armageddon." Despite the fact that even liberal outlets such as Politico spun the ending of the furloughs as a loss for the Democrats, Good Morning America's David Kerley failed to do so. A network graphic trumpeted, "Airport Armageddon Ending? Congress Acting to End Delays." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Kerley adopted an everybody-is-to-blame tone, lecturing, "We say Washington is dysfunctional. But when members hear complaints and it's going to affect them, it's amazing how fast they can act." Yet, Politico announced, "Democrats blink first on aviation cuts." Writers Kathryn A. Wolfe and Burgess Everett concluded, "Democrats caved in and agreed to allow the Federal Aviation Administration to keep air traffic control towers running at close to full capacity." This type of analysis didn't make it to ABC.
Surprise! It turns out there is some wasteful spending going on in government. In the weeks leading up to the showdown in Washington, ABC offered story after story lamenting the “massive” government cuts resulting from sequester and warning of criminals running free and a “meat shortage.” Yet on the March 5 World News, David Kerley found that the government has spent $400,000 in the last two years alone on expensive portraits for top officials.
A shocked Kerley explained, “The 29th agriculture secretary? Well, you paid for his painting. The latest for Lisa Jackson, the outgoing EPA administrator, a $38,000 portrait. ..How about $41,000 for the Air Force secretary?” Pointing the figure at Barack Obama, the journalist continued, “We wanted to show you some of those portraits that you paid for. But the White House wouldn't allow our camera to go into any federal buildings to see those paintings.” [See video below.]
"The Obama administration couldn’t have made its cheerleaders at ABC, CBS, and NBC look any more foolish," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell noted earlier today in reaction to a new study by the Media Research Center's (MRC) Geoff Dickens showing that 66 percent of the broadcast network news coverage of the budget sequestration that took effect on Friday advanced Obama White House talking points but failed to include any rebuttals from skeptics.
"Thanks to the bogus sequestration panic pushed by the administration and the liberal media, the American people recognize that the networks are nothing more than an adjunct of the Obama White House press office," the MRC founder added in a March 4 statement. “Like squawking parrots, ABC, CBS, and NBC mindlessly repeated the administration’s phony, over-hyped doomsday talking points during the two weeks leading up to sequestration. That a full two thirds of their stories didn’t include a shred of skepticism is an abomination." Below are just some of the most outlandish claims made on the networks:
ABC on Sunday continued to hype Barack Obama's hyperbolic claims about sequester cuts. World News reporter David Kerley played a clip of the President and then insisted that $85 billion in spending "sounds like a disaster movie." Kerley warned, "Child care canceled for tens of thousands of kids. Long airport security lines. Flight delays with a shortage of controllers. And military cuts that will leave us 'second rate' according to the Defense Secretary."
Reason Magazine's Nick Gillespie on Monday pointed out: "Widely quoted as $85 billion for spending in fiscal year 2013 (which ends on September 30), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) underscores that just $44 billion of spending reduction are slated for 2013, with the rest coming in later years." That amounts to $44 billion in a 2013 budget of $3.6 trillion. Kerley allowed two sentences acknowledging that the cuts "will be phased in over the next seven months."
Good Morning America's Dan Harris on Sunday hyped "allegations of hypocrisy and absurdity" against House Republicans, complaining about the amount of money New Jersey and New York will get for Hurricane Sandy. Harris and reporter David Kerley skipped mentioning pork stuffed into such legislation, money that (for example) could go to a new roof for the Smithsonian in Washignton D.C.
Harris began the segment by touting, "And now to allegations of hypocrisy and absurdity as the recovery from Super storm Sandy becomes a political football." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] He asserted that "politicians from the northeast are outraged that Republicans want to give them much less than they're asking for."
ABC News continued to hype the Democratic position on the fiscal cliff, Sunday. World News Reporter David Kerley touted the White House as "confident with the stronger hand in talks with House Republicans, demanding and believing tax rates for the wealthy are going up."
The reporter did play a clip of Boehner rejecting tax increases, but Kerley made sure to point out the Speaker "hasn't outlined possible cuts." In one of multiple clips of Tim Geithner, the Treasury Secretary lectured, "They have to come to us and tell us what they think they need. What we can't do is to keep guessing. "
After Paul Ryan released his last two years of tax returns late Friday, reporters on ABC and CBS not only made sure to point out that Ryan paid a higher federal tax rate than the wealthier Mitt Romney, but also noted that he had supplied more than two years to the Romney campaign as part of the vetting process, as if to put additional pressure on Romney and Ryan that they should make more than two years public.
Mitt Romney made a smart executive decision selecting Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate. Ryan’s genial personality, serious policy wonkery, and political courage have dazzled conservatives and won respect even in a few liberal circles. Romney scores points for political courage as well. He knew liberal politicians and journalists would talk in punishing terms about Ryan’s budget ideas.
They did not disappoint. It took only minutes for the onslaught to begin. At the same time liberal media outlets acknowledge the country now faces two opposing visions of government, why is only the Romney-Ryan vision “polarizing” and “extreme”?
On Saturday's Good Morning America on ABC, co-host Bianna Golodryga seemed to admire Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for making an unsubstantiated charge that Mitt Romney had not paid taxes in 10 years, as she ended a short discussion of the smear by gushing: "Harry Reid, always one to speak his mind," inspiring a chuckle from correspondent David Kerley.
ABC on Sunday aggressively pushed liberal talking points, hyping Barack Obama's call for Mitt Romney to release more tax documents. Over a span of just three minutes and 32 seconds, the anchor and reporters of World News played nine clips of people lobbying Mitt Romney to "show the American people" what's going on. Only one person, the candidate, appeared in a snippet to argue for the other side.
David Kerley played a montage of Democratic operatives Stephanie Cutter, Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod. They berated Romney: "Show us. Show the American people....[Romney] can clear this up. Just make it public...We don't know all the loopholes he might have taken advantage of." Analyst Rick Klein gloated, "Mitt Romney's work at Bain was supposed to be his biggest strength. And the Obama campaign has made it into, perhaps, his biggest weakness." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On ABC's World News on Saturday, host David Muir played a clip of an ad from the far left group MoveOn.org attacking Republicans on the issues of abortion and contraception, and asked correspondent David Kerley for his take on the ad.
Without noting that President Obama raised the issue of contraception by requiring some religious institutions to pay for contraceptives for their employees, or that ABC's very own George Stephanopoulos had bizarrely raised the issue even earlier in a Republican presidential debate, persisting to get an answer from Mitt Romney, Kerley blamed Republicans for "talking about contraception" as he asserted that the GOP had handed Democrats a "gift."
Good Morning America's David Kerley on Saturday parroted Democratic talking points, mocking Mitt Romney for "embarrassing missteps." Kerley openly wondered how the campaign could get things "so wrong."
The ABC correspondent played up the location of a Romney speech, Friday, and harped on the Republican for saying he had a "couple" Cadillacs. Kerley complained, "So, what were they thinking?...For what was billed as a big speech, how did they get it so wrong? " He continued, "Romney in a cavernous football stadium, just 30 yards of chairs, some of them empty and the entire stands completely empty."
On Sunday, both morning and evening newscasts on ABC and NBC touted the Des Moines Register's endorsement of Mitt Romney as a boost for his campaign for President, in spite of the paper's left-wing tilt in a state where the Republican Party is predominantly conservative. While they did at least note the paper's liberal slant, both networks still played up the liberal endorsement.
On Sunday's World News on ABC, correspondent David Kerley filed a report highlighting anti-Newt Gingrich comments from a number of Republicans who used to serve in the House of Representatives with the former Speaker, and, although at least half the members cited as criticizing Gingrich have a history of being moderate Republicans, Kerley did not inform his viewers of this aspect of their political history which may affect their negative view of him.
After beginning the piece by asserting that Gingrich is "now frightening some of his own party," Kerley used a clip of centrist New York Representative Peter King:
On Saturday's Good Morning America on ABC, a few hours before Herman Cain's announcement that he would drop out of the presidential race, as anchor Bianna Goldryga and correspondent David Kerley speculated about what Cain would do, Kerley mocked Cain as Kerley referred to the GOP candidate's tendency to call himself the "CEO of self," and wondered if he would "fire himself":
Good Morning America's David Kerley on Sunday ran down the attempts of various Republican candidates to become the "anti-Romney" choice, decrying the "disastrous" debate performance of Rick Perry and mocking Michele Bachmann's "historical flubs."
Speaking of efforts by Iowa conservatives to solidify behind one candidate, Kerley dismissed, "But each of them have their weaknesses. Newt Gingrich, the baggage of his lifestyle and work with government agencies. Michele Bachmann, who has made serious historical flubs. Rick Perry, with his disastrous debate performances." All of these candidates may have flaws, but this is the same program that hyped the Clinton/Obama battle in '08 as one of a "hot factor" vs. "fluid poetry."
While morning and evening newscasts from all three broadcast networks in the last few days have focused on anti-Mormon sentiment within the Republican Party that may hinder Mitt Romney's bid for the presidency, FNC's Special Report with Bret Baier on Monday noted that self-identified Republican voters are substantially more willing to accept a Mormon President compared to Democrats.
FNC correspondent Carl Cameron observed that Democrats are "least tolerant" compared to Republicans and independents as he recounted the findings of a Quinnipiac poll:
The ABC and NBC morning and evening newscasts on Sunday gave attention to President Obama's attack on the Republican presidential candidates for not scolding a couple of audience members who booed a gay solder asking a question at a recent debate. Monday's "Special Report with Bret Baier" on FNC noted that Obama has his own history of standing by without condemning inappropriate comments at public events.
Good Morning America's David Kerley on Saturday offered up a one-sided, biased take on a prayer event led by Texas Governor Rick Perry over the weekend. The ABC graphic for the segment chided, "Prayer Controversy: Is Rick Perry Going Too Far?"
The piece featured four clips from those hostile from the event and none in support. Yet, Kerley still attempted to speak for the faithful: "Even some mainstream Christians are concerned about the event, which is being paid for by the American Family Association, which has been called anti-gay, a cultural warrior."
On both Good Morning America and World News, two different ABC correspondents filed separate reports recounting that some Christians oppose Texas Governor Rick Perry’s prayer rally from the weekend, but, in both reports, clips of left-wing figures like the Reverend Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, and Drew Courtney of People for the American Way were shown, instead of showing any more mainstream Christians as examples of dissent.
The ABC and NBC morning and evening newscasts on Sunday gave attention to President Obama's attack on the Republican presidential candidates for not scolding a couple of audience members who booed a gay solder who asked a question about gays in the military at a recent debate. Monday's Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC noted that Obama has his own history of standing by without condemning inappropriate comments at public events.ABC correspondent David Kerley filed full reports devoted to the story on both Good Morning America and World News Sunday, while NBC's Mike Viqueira mentioned Obama's line of attack within reports that dealt with other political issues on Today and the NBC Nightly News.
On Sunday’s World News, ABC correspondent David Kerley mocked the current field of GOP presidential candidates as making comedians "happy" as he recounted that polls show many Republicans are not satisfied with the choices available so far. After informing viewers of the disappointment for Republicans that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels had chosen not to run, Kerley continued: "Recent polls show that nearly half of Republican voters are not happy with their potential candidates. But comedians are."
Then came a clip of late night talk show host David Letterman: "The Republicans are really scrambling out there, really backs to the wall looking for a guy to lose to Obama."
Kerley then moved on to revelations about Republican candidate Newt Gingrich spending $500,000 on jewelry and comedian Stephen Colbert’s response:
Saturday's World News on ABC highlighted complaints from Democrats about the Medicare reform plan proposed by Congressman Paul Ryan as the Wisconsin Republican seeks to restrain the growth of Medicare spending by having private insurers compete for seniors as customers.
Without delving into the Republican argument in favor of using private insurance, correspondent David Kerley recounted the complaints of angry constituents, showing clips of audience members shouting at Republican members of Congress during town hall meetings. Kerley concluded by passing on Democratic hopes of the Medicare plan being a political "gift" that would hurt Republicans. Kerley: "Democrats believe that Republicans have really handed them a gift with their vote to change Medicare. It's a vote that Democrats are already using in TV ads and fundraising calls as well."
Anchor David Muir then previewed an interview with Congressman Ryan for ABC’s This Week show and brought aboard This Week host Christiane Amanpour, who ended up referring to claimst that the Ryan budget proposal contains "drastic" cuts that other Republicans may need to back away from. After noting that Ryan is committed to the plan regardless of political consequences, Amanpour continued: "And many are now saying that perhaps the Republicans will start running away from the Ryan plan because of the drastic cuts he calls for in Medicare and Medicaid and other such programs."
Saturday’s Good Morning America on ABC, the Today show on NBC, and the NBC Nightly News all gave attention to potential Republican presidential nominee Mike Huckabee’s recent words from the Michael Medved Show lamenting the example set by the unwed pregnancy of actress Natalie Portman. But, while Huckabee might have been better served if he had also made a point of praising her for keeping her child and planning to marry the father during his original comments, the reports on ABC and NBC mostly ignored that it was host Medved who decided to bring up Portman, and Huckabee was responding to him rather than making a point of bringing her up on his own.
But only Saturday’s Today show even briefly mentioned that Medved introduced Portman into the conversation as substitute anchor Savannah Guthrie read a statement from Huckabee on the matter.
On the February 12 World News Saturday, ABC correspondent David Kerley highlighted claims by Bob Greenstein of the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy that the Democratic-controlled Senate and President Obama would block Tea Party-backed cuts from this year’s federal budget, thus protecting Republicans from their "less than responsible actions."
After Kerley began his piece by recounting that Tea Party Republicans in the House had pressured House Speaker John Boehner to support a plan cutting $100 billion in planned spending from the current fiscal year's budget, calling the cuts "broad and very deep," the ABC correspondent included a clip of Greenstein asserting that "they’re bigger than people think" without informing viewers of the liberal lean of his organization.
After a second clip of Greenstein in which the former Carter administration member contended that Republicans are "protected from the consequences of their own, I think, less than responsible actions here," Kerley continued: "Protected from the consequences, he says, because the Democratic Senate and the President will not go along."
On World News Saturday and on Sunday’s Good Morning America, ABC continued to quote liberal commentator Ron Reagan’s recent criticisms of Sarah Palin without reminding viewers of his liberal political views and history of attacking conservatives as both shows recounted Palin’s speech in commemoration of former President Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday.
On World News Saturday, after playing a clip of Palin’s speech, anchor Sharyn Alfonsi continued: "Reagan's outspoken youngest son Ron told the Associated Press that Palin, quote, 'is a soap opera who has nothing in common' with his father."
And on Sunday’s GMA, a piece by correspondent David Kerley used a clip of Ron Reagan from one of his recent appearances on GMA promoting his book, My Father at 100, when he had negative words to say about Palin. After relating that Palin had charged that America is "on a road to ruin because it has strayed from Reagan’s values," and after a clip of the former Alaska governor comparing her own political views to those of President Reagan, Kerley continued:
On the January 23 World News Sunday, ABC News Senior Washington Editor Rick Klein used President Obama’s euphemism for spending as "investments" as he and anchor Dan Harris discussed how Republicans will likely respond to Tuesday’s State of the Union Address. Although the setup piece by correspondent David Kerley did allude to Obama’s word choice to call his plan "cut and invest" as having significance, noting that it "worries Republicans," after the piece had ended, Klein twice used the term "investments" as if it were straight, nonpartisan terminology. Klein:
But when you get down to the policy, the President talking about the targeted new investments, that is going to be such a tough sell in the current environment. Republicans are busy preparing long lists of budget cuts. That's going to be their focus. So, regardless of what the applause looks like on Tuesday night, it's going to be very difficult for the President to get any Republican support for any even very targeted new investments.
Kerley’s report had played a soundbite of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s skeptical response to the term "invest":
As all the broadcast network evening newscasts on Saturday used words like "historic" and "landmark" to describe the Senate vote in favor of repealing the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy on homosexuals serving in the military, the networks also provided substantially more soundbites to supporters of the measure than to those who opposed changing the policy.
On ABC, the lead report filed by correspondent David Kerley used soundbites from five supporters of lifting the ban, while only two soundbites featured opponents. Kerley began his report by quoting an unnamed "civil rights leader" calling Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell a "stain on our nation," and, after quoting President Obama’s statement supporting the measure, immediately highlighted a former military service member who is gay. Kerley:
"A stain on our nation has been lifted," is how one civil rights leader put it tonight, and President Obama says, quote, "No longer will our nation be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans just because they are gay." This Senate vote was very personal for thousands of service members. Major Mike Almy served in Iraq but was discharged when the Air Force learned he was gay. He's been battling Don't Ask, Don't Tell ever since.
CBS’s John Dickerson also brought up civil rights as he called the vote a "civil rights victory for the President," although he also uniquely used the term "liberals" to refer to some of the President’s supporters who advocated the policy change. Dickerson: " Well, it's definitely a civil rights win for him, and it’s a win politically with liberals in his party, and they’ve been angry with him. They were angry with him on this issue in particular because they felt like he wasn’t pushing hard enough.