On Thursday's World News, ABC News correspondent Terry Moran acted like it was a big surprise that newly-elected Pope Francis stands by the Catholic Church's teachings on sexuality: "Now, as the world comes to know him, it turns out, on many issues, Pope Francis is a staunch traditionalist. He compared abortion to a death sentence; called gay marriage 'destructive of God's plan.'"
By contrast, CBS surprisingly reported on the continuing persecution of the Catholic Church in China on Friday's CBS This Morning. Though he didn't explicitly label the Chinese government as communist, correspondent Wyatt Andrews noted how "millions of the faithful worship in groups at home, praying in underground churches where religion, if practiced too openly, can lead to arrest." Andrews' report stands out from his network's biased coverage of the papal election.
The three networks on Monday night and Tuesday morning hailed a "historic" potential change by the Boy Scouts that would lift the ban on gays in their organization. ABC compared the move to a famous Norman Rockwell painting. NBC featured voices complaining that the decision doesn't go far enough.
On Monday's World News, Diane Sawyer trumpted that change is "afoot in an iconic American institution." She lamented, " For generations, becoming a Boy Scout was an American tradition. But not for all." Regarding the move to allow gays in, Sawyer prompted her colleague, reporter David Muir, "But we were talking earlier about the Norman Rockwell painting, the classic painting of the Cub Scout dreaming one day of becoming a real Boy Scout. And you were saying, the caption to that painting is?" "Can't wait," he solemnly responded. "Can't wait," Sawyer marveled. [See video below MP3 audio here.]
The annual pro-life march, this year marking the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision, drew tens of thousands to Washington, DC on Friday, but didn’t garner a syllable of coverage on Friday’s World News on ABC nor the CBS Evening News. Yet on Saturday night, both newscasts highlighted a pro-gun control protest in DC which CBS anchor Jim Axelrod pegged at drawing “close to a thousand people.”
The NBC Nightly News noted both protests and on Friday night also reported how a federal appeals court unanimously decided that President Obama violated the Constitution when he made recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, a rebuke neither ABC nor CBS found newsworthy.
World News on Wednesday night continued to try and link Mitt Romney to the comments of a Republican Senate candidate in Indiana. Anchor Diane Sawyer began the program by hyping, "The Romney campaign wrestles today with a landmine on a big issue for women."
On Tuesday, Richard Mourdock said that life is a "gift from God" and that "even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something that God intended to happen." Reporter David Muir insisted the words "have caused a firestorm." On Wednesday's Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos warned that "Romney [is] catching some flak for his ties" to Mourdock.
The reporters and anchors of Good Morning America on Thursday desperately hyped Mitt Romney's assertion that, while governor of Massachusetts, he had "binders full of women" applicants. David Muir played this as a gaffe, labeling it "the binder blunder." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos tried to build the remark into some sort of game changer: "We saw Mitt Romney make huge gains with women after the first debate. Democrats believe this will block that gains he's made." The "huge gains" Stephanopoulos referred to were first reported in a USA Today poll showing Romney and Barack Obama dead even with swing state women, 48-48. However, this is the first time the host actually mentioned the ominous news for the President.
On Friday's World News on ABC, substitute anchor David Muir filed a report which warned that the winner of the first presidential candidate debate may have to take advantage of a "'cares about you' moment," as the report seemed more preoccupied with Mitt Romney as the candidate more likely to fail in such a moment.
Muir set up the report by harkening back to an audience question in 1992 that left then-candidate Bill Clinton giving an answer which suggested he could "connect with average problems" better than then-President George H.W. Bush.
It’s been four years since Barack Obama beat John McCain to become the 44th President of the United States, but that hasn’t stopped some in the media from putting McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, in the crosshairs. In this morning’s broadcast of Good Morning America, ABC News’ David Muir detailed the dynamics related to the home stretch of the presidential campaign. It was here that he snuck in a gratuitous swipe at Gov. Palin:
ABC's Good Morning America hasn't once reported on U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's claim on the September 16, 2012 edition of This Week that the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was "a spontaneous - not a pre-meditated - response to what had transpired in Cairo." Even worse, the morning show hasn't reported on the subsequent developments on the consulate attack over the past 12 days that cast doubt on Ambassador Rice's statement.
NBC's Today show also hasn't covered Rice's talking points on the attack, after she appeared on Meet the Press on the same day as her This Week appearance. News reader Natalie Morales merely reported on September 19 that "the White House says there is currently no evidence that last week's deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya was planned and pre-meditated. Officials say it appears that the violence was sparked by that anti-Islam film made in the U.S." Two days later, Morales gave an update on how "the White House is now classifying the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya as a terrorist attack....But intelligence officials now believe it was a planned attack in the guise of a protest."
Both of those programs provided voluminous coverage of Romney's "47%" tape, but have no time to scrutinize the Obama administration's public statements about an incident that claimed the life of an American ambassador?
ABC's David Muir on Thursday hyped the presidential election as "slipping away" from Mitt Romney and pushed the idea that next week's presidential debate is "do-or-die" for the Republican.
Talking to the candidate, Muir pressed, "I'm curious what you would say to some of your supporters tonight, your donors who might be concerned this could be slipping away?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Trying ro raise expectations for the former governor, Muir insisted, "In fact, some are already calling [the October 3 presidential] debate a do-or-die moment."
Good Morning America on Wednesday touted "stunning" new polls out of Ohio that show Mitt Romney trailing. ABC reporter David Muir pushed a minor comment by the Republican as a "sudden shift." Muir hyped, "After repeatedly saying President Obama raised taxes during his first term...suddenly Romney appeared to be saying the President hasn't raised taxes." [See MP3 audio here. Video below.]
Romney's remark that Obama "did not" raise taxes was in reference to income taxes. Yet, this slight change in phraseology led Muir to position himself as a surrogate for the President, defending, "Romney's comments made immediate headlines. In fact, the President has not raised income tax rates in his first term." But, of course, Obama has increased taxes. As Forbes.com pointed out, Obamacare is now a tax that applies to the middle class. Additionally, the President has promised more taxes in his second term.
“You don’t want to put delegates in a position where they’re booing God and Jerusalem, especially on videotape,” the Weekly Standard’s Steve Hayes observed on FNC’s Special Report in citing a “basic rule” for conventions, calling it “a bad moment for Democrats” since “it has to be included in all the coverage of the convention.” Hayes, it turns out, was far too generous in his presumption about media professionalism – at least at ABC News.
World News on Wednesday evening devoted 12 minutes – more than half the newscast – to the Democratic conclave, yet spiked the embarrassing decision by Democrats, which drew boos from the floor (earlier NB item with video of booing), to revise their platform to add a reference to God and identify Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Just before Ann Romney's speech at the GOP convention, ABC repeatedly branded Mitt Romney with unfavorable ratings from its latest poll, and emphasized his "likability problem." ABC brought up Romney's unfavorable image four times in five minutes.
"Mitt Romney has a real likability problem," announced reporter Cokie Roberts. George Stephanopoulos introduced the ABC News poll saying "It shows Mitt Romney's unfavorable rating is 51 percent. That is the highest of any nominee in modern times." [Video below the break.]
An American hero left the Earth last weekend, and was fondly memorialized in video eulogies by network news media.
Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon, and the iconic remarks he made on that first Apollo mission will never be forgotten. While it was appropriate to recall that historic day, Armstrong was always a committed defender of the U.S. space program. He was critical of cutbacks to manned spaceflight instituted by the Obama administration, something the network evening news programs deliberately chose to ignore.
On Saturday's World News, ABC correspondent Jake Tapper explained President Barack Obama's deceptive strategy of trying to get voters to believe that Mitt Romney supports lowering his own tax rate to less than one percent by attacking a tax plan which his running rate, Paul Ryan, once proposed in Congress which is not part of Romney's own plan.
As he introduced a deceptive soundbite from President Obama, host David Muir raised the issue:
Good Morning America's Josh Elliott on Friday yet again hyped the issue of Mitt Romney's taxes. Guest anchor Elliott touted, "And Mitt Romney finally ready to address that question about his taxes." Amy Robach thrilled, "Mitt Romney, for the first time revealing new information about his tax returns...But why now?"
The candidate on Thursday asserted that he had "never" paid lower than a 13 percent tax rate. Reporter David Muir played up ABC's own role in this supposed new revelation: "Romney went back and checked after our sit down with him two weeks ago. At the time, we asked him about the tax rate he paid and the one completed tax return he has released." Muir then played a clip of him asking the Republican whether or not he had "ever" paid less than 13.9 percent.
As the broadcast network evening newscasts on Tuesday gave attention to Vice-President Joseph Biden asserting that Mitt Romney, by "unchaining" Wall Street would effectively "put y'all back in chains," only CBS's Bob Schieffer informed viewers that about half the audience in Danville, Virginia, was African-American, thus suggesting the Vice-President was making an embarrassing pander to black audience members who likely have ancestors who used to be "in chains."
On the CBS Evening News, as he set up a soundbite of Biden, substitute host Schieffer related:
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”?
All three broadcast network evening newscasts recounted President Obama's charge that Rep. Paul Ryan is holding up a farm aid bill as the President campaign in Iowa, but only CBS's Nancy Cordes took the time to forward to viewers the Romney campaign's rebuttal that "Ryan voted in favor of a drought relief package that's currently languishing in the Senate."
On ABC's World News, correspondent David Muir set up Obama's complaint:
Breaking the news this morning that Mitt Romney has chosen Paul Ryan as his running mate, ABC’s Good Morning America in a single hour employed no fewer than seven “conservative” labels to label Ryan and his supporters. But four years ago as Barack Obama tapped Joe Biden, there wasn’t a single “liberal” label to be found on GMA’s coverage that Saturday morning.
Ryan, ABC’s team accurately pointed out, is as fill-in co-host David Muir put it, “a favorite among conservatives;” a candidate who “rallies the conservative base,” as George Stephanopoulos later opined. According to the American Conservative Union, Ryan has a solid 91.69 conservative rating (100% being a perfect conservative score).
On Sunday's World News, ABC's senior Washington editor, Rick Klein, found it to be a "wildly unsubstantiated" and "irresponsible" claim for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to accuse Mitt Romney of not paying taxes for 10 years. He also asserted that Republicans are "taking the bait" by responding, suggesting that there is a "big risk" for the GOP in doing so.
Good Morning America's hosts and reporters on Tuesday eagerly pushed Democratic talking points about Mitt Romney's overseas trip, deriding it five times as either a "misstep" or a "gaffe." Guest host Josh Elliott blamed the Republican's campaign for an altercation between a journalist and a staffer: "And new this morning, Mitt Romney's aide gets nasty with the press, swearing at reporters asking questions about the candidate's recent missteps."
As Romney walked back to his motorcade in Poland, just after visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, reporters screamed questions. Elliott reminded, "Reporters were asking about the recent missteps made by Mitt Romney on his overseas trip." Journalist David Muir continued the media narrative, asserting that "the press pool began asking about his latest perceived misstep." [See a video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
Journalists are quite eager to undermine Mitt Romney’s trip. “A new diplomatic dust-up,” CBS anchor Scott Pelley teased Monday night, citing how “Mitt Romney in the Middle East says culture makes Israelis economically superior to Palestinians.” NBC’s Peter Alexander declared upsetting Palestinians meant Romney’s “day began in Israel with another diplomatic misstep” as ABC’s David Muir saw “another overseas controversy in a trip with missteps already.”
Muir also discovered, without citing any evidence, “fallout today from a question we asked Romney during our one-on-one last night on World News,” specifically Muir’s demand to know: “Was there ever any year when you paid lower than the 13.9 percent” income tax rate?
ABC kicked off Mitt Romney's visit to London, Thursday, by hyping "controversial" comments from the candidate's advisers. A Good Morning America graphic adopted the worst possible interpretation for remarks by anonymous Romney aides that the President doesn't respect the "Anglo-Saxon heritage." The network graphic blasted, "Romney Takes London: Advisor Quote Questions Obama Heritage."
Saying that Romney aides "questioned Obama's heritage" hints at birtherism or other charges that the operatives clearly did not make. Reporter David Muir included the quote from one adviser who suggested that the White House "doesn't fully appreciate the shared history" Britain and America have. Other remarks, not mentioned by Muir, include attacking Obama as a "left-winger" and promising to return the bust of Winston Churchill. How, exactly, do these comments question Obama's heritage?
ABC's World News on Sunday hyped Barack Obama's attack ads against Mitt Romney's past work for Bain Capital. Anchor David Muir even played a clip of one of the President's ads. Washington editor Rick Klein trumpeted, "Democrats are definitely breaking through by calling into question what Romney wants to be his biggest strength."
Muir hyped, "If you live in those battlegrounds, you can't escape this." Muir highlighted "the concerted effort by Team Obama to talk about Mitt Romney's tenure at Bain Capital in each of those battlegrounds."
ABC offered rising Republican Marco Rubio an extended interview for Monday's Nightline, but pressed the Senator on briefly attending a Mormon church as a child and on a misstatement over when his parents left Cuba. In contrast, the same network and show gushed over Barack Obama in 2008, thrilling that his rallies were like "Springsteen concerts."
Reporter David Muir on Monday highlighted that in Rubio's newly released autobiography, the Republican references his "journey to Las Vegas, where for a time, the family switched to the Mormon church." Muir probed, "You were baptized in the Mormon church?"
ABC on Thursday and Friday breathlessly hyped the "troubling" details of Mitt Romney's "teenage bullying," events that ocurred 47 years ago. On Friday's Good Morning America, co-anchor George Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic operative, introduced, "It's your voice, your vote and new questions today about whether Mitt Romney's teenage pranks went too far." On Thursday, World News was the only evening newscast to actually lead with the story.
Reporter David Muir, who covered the story on GMA and World News, managed to use the world troubling twice in one sentence, insisting that the bully victim's family is "reacting to that troubling account from those five grown men, all former classmates of Mitt Romney, among them a lawyer, a dentist, a school principal all who described a troubling scene." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC News has, thus far, ignored its own revelation that, contrary to insinuations made by Barack Obama, the then-private citizen and his wife "were making enough to be considered 'wealthy' by the president’s own definition in the years before his loans were paid off." ABC relegated this story to a posting on its website, not mentioning it on Wednesday's World News or Nightline.
The story was similarly skipped on Thursday's Good Morning America. World News did touch on student loans, but only to accuse Mitt Romney of flip-flipping on the issue. David Muir dug up a clip of the Republican telling a college student to shop around and not expect the government to bail him out.
On Sunday’s This Week, George Stephanopoulos stumbled into the truth when he told Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner that Mitt Romney’s statistic, about how 92.3 percent of all job losses since President Obama took office have occurred to women, “is accurate.”
That, however, contradicted the liberal party line espoused by ABC reporter David Muir on Wednesday’s World News when he stated:”The non-partisan group PolitiFact saying that number right there is ‘mostly false,’ arguing the President can’t be held responsible for the job picture the day he took office.”
Pathetic. That best describes David Muir’s shoddy reporting on Wednesday’s ABC World News in which he gleefully relayed an obviously ridiculous income tax rate for an office manager for a wealthy hedge fund manager, both of whom served as props for President Obama at a White House event, before disputing as “mostly false” a quite accurate statistic forwarded by the Romney campaign.
“The President appeared in a picture surrounded by secretaries who pay a higher tax rate than their millionaire bosses who were there too by their sides, a direct challenge to Romney, his wealth and his tax rate,” anchor Diane Sawyer conveyed in highlighting the Obama campaign stunt of the day.
ABC’s Sunday night tribute to Mike Wallace, who passed away Saturday night, highlighted several swipes at Ronald Reagan, thus, inadvertently or not, painting the “legendary” 60 Minutes correspondent as something less than an impartial journalist. Or maybe ABC News just enjoyed re-playing those hits on the late conservative President.
World News anchor David Muir began with a clip of Wallace, from either 1976 or during the 1980 campaign, demanding of Reagan: “How many blacks are there on your top campaign staff, Governor?” Reagan replied: “I couldn’t honestly answer you now.” To which Wallace snapped: “That speaks for itself.” Unsaid: At the time, 60 Minutes didn’t have any non-white reporters.