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.
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."
On Saturday's World News, as he ended a report on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's dustup with a Rutgers University student who heckled him at a town hall forum, ABC correspondent Mark Greenblatt forwarded Rutgers Law student and former Navy SEAL Wiliam Brown's criticisms of Christie without noting Brown's history of activism in the Democratic party, specifically that he ran unsuccessfully for a state assembly seat.
The ABC correspondent instead forwarded Brown's complaints about Christie's temperament as if the Democratic activist were concerned about the health of the Republican party. Greenblatt:
The journalists at Good Morning America on Thursday gave an assist to the Obama administration, helpfully creating an anti-Romney highlight reel. The David Muir segment repeated Romney's "poor" comment three times in less than three minutes.
Romney on Wednesday told CNN, "I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there." After showing that, Muir then played a video montage of "Mitt's moments." The clips included, "Corporations are people, my friends. I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. I'll tell you what, $10,000 bucks? $10,000 bet? I'm not concerned about the very poor." [MP3 audio here.]
“The secretary speaks,” ABC fill-in anchor David Muir excitedly teased at the top of Wednesday’s World News, “billionaire investor Warren Buffett and his secretary, who pays a much-higher tax rate than him. He says not fair. She’s now at the center of a huge debate. What does she think? An ABC News exclusive.” Muir promised that “tonight we hear from the secretary for the first time,” but she merely got to utter one sentence as ABC used her as a poster girl to hike taxes.
Reporter Bianna Golodryga recounted “a hero’s welcome” back in Omaha for “for a secretary thrust into the spotlight” by sitting as a stage prop behind the First Lady at Tuesday night’s State of the Union address. President Obama, Golodryga helpfully explained in advancing Obama’s agenda, called for a minimum 30 percent tax rate on millionaires “after Republican candidate Mitt Romney revealed he made almost $43 million over two years, paying a tax rate of 13.9 percent in 2010, not Debbie’s 35.8 percent.”
Hours before President Barack Obama’s third State of the Union address in which he will push higher tax rates on the wealthiest under the guise of “fairness,” pivoting off the poster woman for higher rates, Warren Buffett’s secretary who supposedly pays a higher income tax rate than her boss, ABC and NBC advanced the narrative which confuses tax brackets with effective tax rates.
In fact, Romney pays at a much higher rate than most Americans and most people at Romney’s wealth level pay a significantly higher rate. “Mitt’s millions,” ABC anchor Diane Sawyer teased, “What Mitt Romney’s taxes really show about, wealth, taxes and fairness.” On the NBC Nightly News, Andrea Mitchell referred to “critics of the tax code that favors the rich.”
ABC on Tuesday night decided to showcase one guy yelling at Mitt Romney, as if it proved how media-liberal distortions of Mitt Romney’s “I like to fire people” remark will surely hurt him and follow him to South Carolina. Reporter David Muir showed video of Romney, in the middle of a crowd, holding a baby.
“But if you rewind the tape and play up the sound,” Muir explained from Manchester in setting up a re-play. Viewers then heard the voice of one man shouting: “Are you going to fire the baby? Are you going to fire the baby?” ABC helpfully put those words on screen.
On Thursday's World News on ABC, substitute anchor David Muir brought up the Gallup Daily Tracking Poll numbers from Monday which at that time showed President Obama with a 47 percent approval rating and a 45 percent disapproval rating, the first time in recent memory that his approval number was higher than his disapproval. (Video below)
But, since Monday, the Gallup tracking poll numbers have turned further against Obama each day, with today's poll showing that the President's approval rating is back down to 41 percent with his disapproval up to 50 percent. As Muir referred to the Gallup survey as "one poll," he did not inform viewers that this same poll had trended away from Obama since Monday.
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:
After ABC's Republican presidential debate on Saturday night, several members of the ABC team spoke of Mitt Romney's attempt to make a bet with Rick Perry about whether Perry was correct in asserting that Romney had advocated Massachusetts-style Romneycare as a model for the nation, with predictions that the $10,000 bet comment would hurt Romney with voters.
After arguing that Perry appeared to be the one who was factually incorrect in the dispute with Romney, ABC's Jake Tapper went on to predict Romney would still be harmed by the exchange. Tapper:
As the three broadcast network evening newscasts on Thursday reported former New Jersey Democratic Senator Jon Corzine's testimony before Congress on the billion dollars in investor money that went missing from the financial firm he once headed, only the NBC Nightly News took the time to label him as a Democrat.
“In the presidential campaign,” CBS anchor Scott Pelley announced Thursday night, “President Obama fired back today at Republican opponents who criticized his foreign policy using words like ‘timid,’ ‘weak’ and ‘appeasement.’”
Over on ABC, fill-in anchor David Muir trumpeted “a very pointed response from President Obama” to the charge he’s had a weak foreign policy as an admiring Muir maintained “you can almost see him choosing his words as the question is asked.” Both then played Obama’s response from a late morning news conference:
ABC, NBC, and CBS all reported on former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich receiving a 14-year prison sentence for corruption on their evening news programs on Wednesday and their morning shows on Thursday, but only CBS's Early Show gave his Democratic affiliation. ABC devoted only 3 news briefs total to the conviction, while NBC Nightly News and The Early Show aired full reports.
News anchor Jeff Glor introduced correspondent Michelle Miller's report on the CBS morning program at the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour by stating that "Rod Blagojevich is paying a very high price for corruption. Is it too high? In Chicago Wednesday, a judge sentenced the former Illinois governor to 14 years in prison"
Substitute ABC anchor David Muir opened Thursday’s World News by hyping “masses of people taking to the streets here in New York City,” before reporter Dan Harris referenced “this massive protest march tonight” and “this big protest.”
Yet over on the CBS Evening News, Jim Axelrod noted how though “organizers promised tens of thousands demonstrators disrupting business as usual here in New York,” they didn’t show up: “Frankly, we’ve seen a fraction of that number -- closer to a thousand.”
On Sunday's World News on ABC, correspondent Nick Schifrin filed a report recounting complaints by Pakistanis that CIA drone attacks that have successfully killed high-profile terrorist figures residing in Pakistan have also resulted in civilian deaths and injuries.
With the words "A Young Man's Plea" displayed on screen next to him, anchor David Muir introduced the piece:
The Occupy Wall Street protestors have received overwhelmingly positive coverage from the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) news networks, as they used their airtime to publicize and promote the aggressively leftist movement. In just the first eleven days of October, ABC, CBS and NBC flooded their morning and evening newscasts with a whopping 33 full stories or interview segments on the protesters. This was a far cry from the greeting the Tea Party received from the Big Three as that conservative protest movement was initially ignored (only 13 total stories in all of 2009) and then reviled.
Where the Tea Party was met with skeptical claims of their motivations -- with some reporters claiming they were merely corporate backed puppets and others implying they were spurred on by their racist opposition to the first black president – the Occupy Wall Street crowd was depicted as an almost genial “grassroots” movement.
ABC stepped up its promotion Sunday night on behalf of the far-left protesters, which they failed to label, making a special effort to explain and frame their grievances – a service they never provided to the Tea Party. “Tonight, the anger spreads,” anchor David Muir hailed in teasing World News on Sunday night. “Those Wall Street protests now going global. This evening here, we learn about the lives behind the protesters here in this country, showing up in cities coast to coast.”
Muir pointed viewers to a sign he liked: “Look at the images coming in tonight, spelling out the anger. This sign in New York, ‘The rich get bailed out, the poor get sold out.’” He relayed ABC’s goal, “We ask a simple question: What’s happened in the lives of the Americans who’ve joined these protests. What was it that set them off?”
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.
On Sunday’s World News, ABC correspondent T.J. Winick filed a report in which he presented same-sex marriage as a way to stimulate the ailing economy - potentially of the entire nation - by getting lots of new married couples to spend money on weddings. Winick also featured a soundbite of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg criticizing Republicans for opposing same-sex marriage.
And, as Christiane Amanpour appeared on the same day’s Good Morning America to plug her interview with Bloomberg on This Week, she showed a similar soundbite after GMA co-host Bianna Golodryga brought up Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s views on homosexuality.
On World News, after anchor David Muir introduced the report by referring to the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York state as a "money maker," correspondent Winick soon elaborated:
On Friday's World News on ABC, correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi detailed findings of a Harvard study which claims a correlation between attending July 4 parades and voting for Republicans.
Substitute host David Muir introduced the story: "And tonight, a provocative new study suggests the simple act of taking your child to see the parade shapes not only their patriotism but their politics. Who will they vote for?"
Alfonsi got right to the answer as she began her report with a play on the words "independence" and "independents":
On ABC’s World News on Sunday, a report by correspondent Jim Avila highlighted the complaints of left-wing mayors who expressed wishes that more defense spending would be redirected at projects in their cities.
The NBC correspondent speculated about what other items could be paid for using the money used by the Pentagon in Afghanistan and Iraq, and concluded the report seeming to suggest that spending on the wars had played a role in causing "damage" to the economy of the U.S. Avila: "It's a growing part of this country's war fatigue - a decade of human cost and damage to a struggling economy."
As the First Lady and her daughters toured Africa last week, Americans were treated to puff piece after piece from their adoring fans in the press.
One such aired on ABC's "This Week" Sunday with David Muir actually saying, "Will some of that deeply felt criticism in Africa melt under the glow cast by Mrs. Obama and her girls?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
When ABC and NBC interview First Ladies, both the tone and substance of the discussion tend to hinge on whether the husband is an Obama or a Bush.
On Wednesday's ABC "World News" and NBC "Nightly News," network correspondents sat down with Michelle Obama in South Africa for exclusive interviews in which they lobbed softball questions and avoided her husband's policies. But in interviews with Laura Bush in 2007 and 2010, ABC questioned the then-First Lady's Mideast trip and NBC re-litigated President Bush's response in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Barack Obama's confusing one living American war hero with a fallen one he honored in 2009, has been completely ignored by the Big Three Networks shows, including the same NBC Nightly News that threw a fit over Sarah Palin's recent recounting of an event over 200 years ago, Paul Revere's ride.
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."
Reporters are eagerly anticipating President Obama’s budget speech this afternoon, with NBC’s Chuck Todd assuring viewers of Wednesday’s Today show that now, finally, “the President’s going to add his voice to this, debate, essentially, over what to do about the ever-growing deficit and debt.”
But over and over again over the past two years, the media have painted Obama as a leader committed to “slashing” the deficit, only to have the absurdity of such spin later revealed by the administration’s actual policies.
Let’s start the trip down memory lane with coverage of President Obama’s first budget speech in February 2009, which reporters claimed would include steps to aggressively reduce the deficit. ABC’s David Muir began the February 21, 2009 World News by pitching how the President was “slashing the deficit by at least 50 percent by raising taxes on the wealthy, people making $250,000 and above, and cutting war spending by bringing troops home from Iraq.”
A round-up from over the weekend of journalists denouncing Republican Congressman Paul Ryan for not including a big tax hike in his deficit-reduction plan and discrediting the Tea Party’s pressure on House Speaker John Boehner as a “far right” impediment to good government.
“He doesn't deal with the revenue side at all,” despaired Newsweek veteran Evan Thomas on Inside Washington, arguing: “We cannot survive on 18, his goal is to do 18 percent of GDP as revenue. That's not enough. We're going to have to raise some taxes...”
On HBO’sReal Time with Bill Maher on Friday night, Katty Kay, anchor of BBC’s World News America, echoed, “He does nothing on the revenue side,” fretting: “There is this allergy, amongst Republicans, about saying ‘you know what, we actually do have to deal with taxes too.’”
Juan Williams charged “the rich get off like scoundrels,” complaining onFox News Sunday that Ryan is “not doing anything in terms of raising taxes.” Williams also worried: “John Boehner now has the Tea Party wrapped around his neck like an albatross.”
Catching up on an item from last weekend, Friday’s World News on ABC, Saturday’s Good Morning America on ABC, Saturday’s CBS Evening News, and Saturday’s NBC Nightly News all highlighted California Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s defense of partial birth abortion as a procedure she had herself gone through as she berated New Jersey Republican Congressman Chris Smith for describing the horrific nature of the procedure during a debate over federal funding of Planned Parenthood. The sympathetic treatment of Speier's outrage over having to hear the technique's description contrasts with media eagerness to describe rough interrogation techniques used on detainees in the War on Terrorism during the Bush administration.
These same shows devoted little to no time to showing Smith’s description of the controversial abortion technique or his reading from the book, Unplanned, by Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director who famously turned against abortion after observing the ultrasound of an abortion as it was carried out. Rep. Smith had given a speech on the House floor that was over eight minutes long.
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."