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."
On Friday’s World News, and again on Saturday morning’s Good Morning America, ABC ran reports highlighting hedge fund manager John Paulson’s "jaw-dropping" 2010 income from capital gains, fretting that he will not pay as high a tax rate as many regular income earners, and referring to Paulson’s lower tax rate as a "loophole" or a "tax break." GMA co-anchor Dan Harris even relayed complaints of "extreme unfairness."
Both reports ignored the historical evidence - recounted below - that raising capital gains tax rates leads to revenue losses for the government, and instead concentrated on the complaints of those who want to see a tax increase. Both reports also misleadingly referred to "so many Americans" or "the typical American" paying income tax rates of "up to 35 percent," without noting that many lower-income Americans pay no income taxes while the 35 percent rate only applies to higher-income earners. And the idea of cutting the income tax rate on many Americans to move it closer to 15 percent certainly was not mentioned.
On Friday’s World News, anchor Diane Sawyer set up that show’s piece:
On Saturday, both ABC and NBC ran stories fretting over the Crossroads of the West Gun Show that was held over the weekend in Tucson, Arizona. On ABC, at one point, correspondent David Wright seemed surprised that the large number of people showing up at the event were customers instead of protesters. After relaying that some members of Congress want more gun control laws and cautioning viewers that they should not "hold your breath for them to pass," he continued: "If you wonder why, just check out the crowd at today's gun show. These aren't protesters, they're customers."
Over on the NBC Nightly News, correspondent Kristen Welker noted that it is legal to carry concealed weapons in Arizona, "just as Loughner did last Saturday," as if a person with homicidal intent would decide to obey a law against carrying concealing weapons:
KRISTEN WELKER: Guns are permissible almost anywhere in the state, including many public buildings, and it is legal for people to conceal those weapons and carry them around, just as Loughner did last Saturday.
PAUL HELMKE, BRADY COMMISSION PRESIDENT: Arizona is only the third state in the country to allow people to carry loaded, hidden guns without any permitting process at all.
OK, so conservatives have to be accused of fostering hatred with our alleged vitriol, the kind of vitriol which fuels the flames of violence, like we witnessed in Tucson except – well, except there wasn’t, and isn’t, a shred of evidence that the killer was influenced by any conservatives since a) he didn’t listen to or watch conservative programming and b) isn’t a conservative.
There is the hypothetical question: What if the perpetrator of violence were liberal? How would the media react then? How many would put Chris Matthews, Paul Krugman, Keith Olbermann and Co. on trial for creating the “atmosphere” of “hatred” so often ascribed to conservatives only?
In fact, it happened. One of Jared Loughner’s shooting victims was a local leftist activist, Eric Fuller, who last week was invited to ABC’s taping of an “American Conversation.” There, in front of all the cameras, he interrupted a local Tea Party activist by uttering what should be considered in this atmosphere to be a blood-curdling threat: “You’re dead!” Police considered these words serious enough to have him removed and involuntarily committed to a mental institution.
As NewsBusters reported over the weekend, ABC News did a deplorable job of informing viewers about a death threat made by a Tucson shooting survivor to a Tea Partier at the taping of a town hall event aired on Sunday's "This Week."
On Monday, Glenn Beck and his radio crew savaged Christiane Amanpour for her involvement in this fiasco while concluding, "That lack of truth is why places like ABC will eventually just go out of business and be looking for a handout from the government" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As NewsBusters previously reported, a survivor of last week's Tucson shootings issued a death threat to a Tea Party member Saturday in the middle of a taping for a town hall meeting to be aired on ABC's "This Week."
For some reason, ABC World News Saturday in its report about the gathering chose to omit the seriousness of the threat and that it was made to a Tea Partier (video follows courtesy Mark Finkelstein with transcript and commentary):
On ABC’s World News Saturday, correspondent John Hendren filed a report marking this year as the first time since 1947 that no members of the Kennedy family will hold public office in Washington, D.C. The piece began:
JOHN HENDREN: The sun has set on the Kennedy era. When Congress reconvenes next week, it will be the first time in 64 years that there has not been a Kennedy in office.
KATHLEEN KENNEDY TOWNSEND, DAUGHTER OF ROBERT F. KENNEDY: I think it's sad. I think that we need a Kennedy.
Hendren went on to recount the death of former Senator Ted Kennedy, "the Lion of the Senate," and the decision of Rhode Island Representative Patrick Kennedy to retire, as well as the shuffling of office space with the arrival of newly-elected Republicans. The ABC correspondent also noted that Tea Party-backed Rep. Ron Paul and Senator-elect Rand Paul are the only family members serving who will be serving concurrently in Congress.
Hendren concluded by offering a ray of hope for those would like to see the Kennedy family in government again:
On Thursday’s CBS Evening News, as correspondent Jan Crawford filed a report on the allegations that former Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell misused campaign money, the CBS correspondent seemed dismissive of O’Donnell’s reaction to the accusations as Crawford harkened back to the 2010 campaign and described some of O’Donnell’s recent words as the Delaware Republican's response "whenever she faced embarrassing revelations." Crawford: "O'Donnell says the charges are dirty tricks by the political establishment. Now, if that sounds familiar, it should. That was often her response during the campaign whenever she faced embarrassing revelations."
After a clip of O’Donnell from the campaign accusing her opponents of "making up stories," then came a soundbite of David Catanese of Politico.com: "It's something she used during her entire campaign, she used in the primary and the general election. And here she is on morning TV again pitting herself against the world, basically."
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.
World News anchors and reporters on Sunday chided Barack Obama from the left, complaining that he was "caving" and "breaking one of his biggest campaign promises" by preventing tax rates from increasing in January. ABC's Washington editor Rick Klein worried, "President Obama has been clear this was a critical position and he is caving on it, in, in allowing all the tax cuts to be extended."
Reporter David Kerley fretted, "The President is preparing to break one of his biggest campaign promises. He is poised to extend tax cuts to the richest Americans in exchange for helping millions who are jobless."
He went on to highlight Democratic angst over this apparent outrage, reminding, "For Democrats, making this deal, giving in on taxes to get unemployment benefits extended, is a tough pill to swallow."
During a discussion of the agreement to prevent tax rates from increasing in January, on ABC’s World News Sunday, anchor David Muir and ABC’s senior Washington correspondent Rick Klein fretted that the federal budget deficit would increase - against the wishes of the voters - as a result of both the blocking of a tax increase and the extension of unemployment benefits. But neither acknowledged that raising taxes could depress the economy and cause tax revenue losses. After a full report had run that recounted the agreement to extend the Bush tax cuts, Muir conveyed his belief that the plan contradicts voter concerns about the deficit during his discussion with Klein. Muir:
And, Rick, quickly, this comes after voters in the midterms seemed so concerned about government spending and the deficit, and yet, we’re hearing now about tax cuts and more spending for the benefits.
Klein warned that "everything that Congress is set to do is going to make" the budget deficit and national debt problems "even worse," and complained about less revenue being collected when "you’re cutting taxes." Klein:
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos and David Muir on Monday repeatedly connected comments by Carl Paladino to a brutal crime against homosexuals. After playing a clip of New York's Republican gubernatorial candidate asserting he didn't want children to be "brainwashed" into thinking homosexuality was okay, Muir alerted, "His remarks were delivered on the same day eight people were arraigned in New York City after a brutal attack on a gay man and two gay teens."
In case the link wasn't clear, Muir emphasized, "And these remarks do come right after that brutal hate crime right here in New York City, a crime that police believe could be among the worst in this city's history." (Wasn't 9/11 the worst hate crime in the city's history?)
The Labor Department announced the unemployment rate rose a tenth of a point, to 9.6 percent in August so, as the AP noted, it “has exceeded 9 percent for 16 straight months,” while the economy lost 54,000 jobs. Yet, without avoiding the dire numbers, ABC, CBS and NBC managed to find a “mixed picture,” “mixed bag” or even a “silver lining” for President Obama and Democrats two months before election day.
“It's a mixed picture here, but it's giving some encouragement to those who are out there looking, some who are hanging onto their jobs and their businesses by a thread,” Brian Williams insisted on Friday's NBC Nightly News. On the CBS Evening News, fill-on anchor Erica Hill saw “a bit of a mixed bag” before Anthony Mason asserted that “weak as the job numbers were, they were better than Wall Street expected” and he touted: “With American businesses creating 67,000 jobs in August, the private sector has now added jobs for eight straight months.”
Over on ABC, fill-in anchor David Muir elevated Obama's spin, teasing World News: “More jobs lost and the President, just today, taking the Republicans on. Are they standing in the way?” He introduced the subsequent story: “This country lost another 54,000 jobs in August, and the President today took on the Republicans, saying they're the ones blocking help for small business.”
Good Morning America's David Muir on Thursday used the announcement that Republican operative Ken Mehlman is gay to push the GOP towards rethinking its stance on marriage.
Talking to former George Bush staffer Ed Gillespie, the ABC host speculated, "...Had Ken come to terms with this...when he was influential in the White House with the President, do you think that he could have influenced the President differently, in looking back?"
(An odd suggestion, considering that Bush's own Vice President disagreed with him.) After reading from the Republican Party's platform on the issue of gay marriage, the GMA guest anchor pressed, "Do you think the Republican Party should take a second look at this?"
ABC News set out Monday night to rehabilitate the reputation of the iman behind the proposed mosque near Ground Zero, Feisal Abdul Rauf, trying to discredit criticism of him from the right as Sharyn Alfonsi portrayed him as a model of religious tolerance who condemns suicide bombers, terrorism and Hamas and who deserves admiration because he “eulogized Daniel Pearl.”
The night before, in a Sunday World News story on protests over the mosque, ABC expressed sudden respect for former President Bush as reporter Linsey Davis used him to undermine opponents: “In an attempt to make a clear distinction between Islam and terrorism, within days of 9/11 President Bush went to a mosque.”
Alfonsi generously began with how “he candidly discussed his beliefs with Barbara Walters for her 2006 special on Heaven” where he promised her “the Jews, the Christians, whoever believes in God and does good will be saved.” As for whether “one man's suicide bomber is another man's martyr?”, Alfonsi assured viewers:
In his book, the imam wrote: “The truth is that killing innocent people is always wrong and no argument or excuse, no matter how deeply believed, can ever make it right.”
The TV networks have aggressively demonstrated their dislike of Arizona’s state law “cracking down on illegal immigrants,” a law that “pits neighbor against neighbor.” An MRC review of morning and evening news programs on ABC, CBS, and NBC from April 23 to July 25 found the networks have aired 120 stories with an almost ten-to-one tilt against the Arizona law (77 negative, 35 neutral, 8 positive).
The soundbite count was also tilted over the last three months -- 216 to 107, or an almost exact two-to-one disparity. Network anchors and reporters sided against defenders of border control and championed sympathetic illegal aliens and their (usually American-born) children. In 120 stories, they never described “immigrants rights activists” as liberals or on the left.
Between them, the three networks described the Arizona law as “controversial” on 27 occasions, despite its popularity in opinion polls. The Obama administration’s decision to sue file a lawsuit against Arizona to crush the law was never described as “controversial.”
“An earthquake hits Washington,” fill-in ABC anchor David Muir announced Friday night as he gushed that “it comes as the President wraps up a seismic week.” He soon noted how the First Family began a brief vacation in Maine which, he proposed, “comes after the President marked quite a week in Washington. The oil, for now, is finally stopped, and on the political front, his financial reform package finally passed.” He pleaded: “So why such low poll numbers?” [MP3 audio here; WMV for download here]
Over “Getting His Due?” on screen, Jake Tapper related how “some Democrats have been grumbling that the public is not giving the President enough credit for all he's accomplished in such a short time.”
The day before, NBC's Chuck Todd empathized with the frustration Obama must be experiencing given legislative victories “comparable to any President in history.” Friday's Hardball on MSNBC carried the full question to Obama that Todd had posed 24 hours earlier in Michigan, but was cut short on Thursday's NBC Nightly News and not run on Friday's Today:
That must be frustrating. You've had an enormous amount of legislative victories – it's comparable to any President in history. It has not translated into political capital with the public. Honestly, are you frustrated by that?
Another pro-illegal alien protest and, once again, the networks champion the cause. Four weeks after the broadcast network evening shows trumpeted May Day marches against Arizona’s effort to enforce federal law, another round of marches prompted ABC and NBC on Saturday night to push the left-wing cause.
“Day of outrage, anger on the streets of Phoenix and across this country tonight,” ABC anchor David Muir declared, pleading: “Will an army of protesters be heard?” Reporter Jeremy Hubbard began his story for World News: “In their most massive numbers yet, a deluge of adversaries rally and rail against what could soon be the law of the land in Arizona.”
On NBC, Telemundo’s Janet Rodriguez also presented the subject through the prism of those against the popular law: “Critics say the law unfairly targets Hispanics who make up about a third of the state's population. Recent college grad Martin Moreno worries about racial profiling” while another protester claimed “this law violates our fundamental principles of human dignity,” before Rodriguez featured a woman holding a sign from ANSWER LA, the far-left/communist-affiliated group. Rodriguez, however, described her simply as “from Long Beach.” The woman smeared as “racists” the majority of Americans who support the law.
“Angry backlash from coast to coast,” ABC’s David Muir teased Saturday’s World News, “huge rallies across this country tonight against that new controversial immigration law.” On CBS, Jeff Glor teased: “May Day Message. Immigrant right groups rally from coast to coast against Arizona's controversial new law.”
ABC reporter Eric Horng touted how “this is the fifth year in a row that nationwide immigration rallies have been held on May 1st, but this year emotions are particularly raw. They came by the thousands. A sea of demonstrators armed with a message.” He soon claimed “the state has been lampooned by comedians” and as evidence played the very same clip from the left wing Jon Stewart as had NBC’s Andrea Mitchell earlier in the week when she asserted Arizona had become “a laughing stock.”
From Phoenix, CBS’s Bill Whitaker began with how “the many citizens here say that if the politicians don't hear their voices today they might hear them at the ballot box a little louder in November,” but moments later in his story Whitaker showcased an admitted illegal:
Gerardo, who asked us to conceal his identity, crossed illegally from Mexico to Arizona four years ago. With the new law he knows there's a greater chance he’ll be arrested and deported...He has a daughter, a state job, a home which his an American born partner Jessica is packing up, fearing they might have to flee...So they joined the protest in Phoenix, fighting to overturn the law. [video below, MP3 audio]
Arizona officially joined the South this month. In other words, it became for our Northeastern media elitists a state dominated by backward, slack-jawed racists. The Associated Press marked the passage of a tough new anti-immigration law with the leftist version of a Welcome Wagon: “The furor over Arizona's new law cracking down on illegal immigrants grew Monday as opponents used refried beans to smear swastikas on the state Capitol.”
Disagreeing with the left – and more importantly, handing them a political defeat – brings a lot of ugliness these days from the forces of “tolerance.” Character assassination is required. A citizen of Arizona cannot be concerned about higher rates of crime and strained government budgets without being Mexican-food-smeared as an adorer of Adolf Hitler.
But what’s truly outrageous if not surprising is that the same media that visibly quivered with anger that anyone would draw a Hitler moustache on their hero Barack Obama now present these Nazi smears as not an embarrassment to the left, but as a way of augmenting the left. The “furor was growing” over the tough new law, they dutifully report.
On Saturday's Good Morning America, reporter Mike Von Fremd downplayed the violence of protesters against Arizona's new immigration law. He spun, "Riot police were called in to try and control demonstrators protesting outside the capital. Most were peaceful. A handful threw bottles at police and were arrested." Yet, ABC derided March's Tea Party rallies as "very ugly," despite the fact that there were no arrests.
In contrast, on March 20, World News host David Muir scolded, "Protesters against the [health care] plan gathered on the streets of the capital where late today we learned words shouted turned very ugly, reports of racial and homophobic slurs, one protester actually spitting on a Congressman." Continuing to fret over those opposed the bill, he complained, "Late word from Washington tonight about just how ugly the crowds gathered outside the Longworth office building have become."