Wold News host Diane Sawyer on Thursday grilled John Boehner, pushing the House Speaker to support tax increases in the wake of Barack Obama's victory. In a clip played on Friday's Good Morning America, the anchor lectured, "[Obama] campaigned on it. Sixty percent of the voters have said that they are ready to raise these taxes. They are ready to have the wealthier Americans pitch in here." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Reporter Jon Karl reminded that Obama "talked about it in every single campaign speech." In the full interview that aired on World News, Sawyer demanded to know about more taxes: "He campaigned on specific increases in tax rates from 35 percent to 39 percent, for those making more than $250,000. So, is that on the table?...Is it on the table to talk about?"
ABC, CBS and NBC did their part Friday night to minimize the negative impact to the Obama campaign from the rise in the unemployment rate from 7.8 to 7.9 percent in October.
ABC anchor Diane Sawyer allocated a piddling 18 seconds to the news as she characterized the 171,000 jobs growth as “beating predictions,” NBC’s Brian Williams stressed how the 171,000 additional jobs number “was better than the experts had expected” and the CBS Evening News focused on one “flourishing” company which has grown this year from 80 to 450 workers.
Americans of all political stripes were distressed by the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador. But the reaction of the national broadcast networks has been demonstrably and shamefully partisan from the beginning of this story.
In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attack, all three broadcast networks touted the political angle that the events would bolster President Obama — “reminding voters of his power as commander-in-chief,” as NBC’s Peter Alexander asserted on the September 14 edition of Today — while Mitt Romney would be damaged by his supposedly flubbed initial reaction.
But as the story progressed and reports indicated that the Obama administration knowingly misrepresented the nature of the attack, failed to provide adequate security, and refused to authorize a potential rescue mission to save those under fire, those same journalists have been either slow to report those developments, or altogether silent.
ABC’s World News on Thursday continued its week-plus blackout of any of the new revelations about the Obama administration’s dissembling on what occurred before and after the Benghazi terrorist attacks, yet made time to tout Michael Bloomberg’s endorsement of President Obama and for an excerpt of Diane Sawyer’s gauzy “Portrait of a Candidate” interview with Obama from early October.
“Our brand new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows” Obama “with a one-point edge,” Sawyer announced, leading into touting: “He also got a big helpful endorsement today.”
Earlier today, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell accurately noted that the Big Three TV news networks are "as guilty in ... (the Benghazi) cover-up as is the administration." He did so based on the fact that "For the sixth night in a row, ABC World News, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News refused to give one single second of coverage to a Fox News report that the Obama Administration denied help to those attacked and killed by terrorists at the US consulate in Benghazi on September 11."
Not that it mitigates the legitimacy of Mr. Bozell's outrage, but one can take some comfort in the fact that fewer people are tuning in to the three nightly news broadcasts than were doing so a year ago, and that their ratings in the 25-54 demographic in the past five weeks are down by almost 20 percent from the same five-week period during the 2008 presidential cycle. A table containing individual results from the past two weeks and the average results from the past five is after the jump (a previous NewsBusters post on the first three weeks is here).
ABC News has mostly ignored the blockbuster revelation that the Obama White House knew, within hours, about the terrorist connection to the September 11, 2012 attack in Libya. Instead, shows such as World News and Good Morning America have focused their attention on more pressing subjects, such as yawning dogs, "mystery monkeys" and a woman who only eats three different foods.
On Wednesday Night, World News allowed a scant 20 seconds to e-mails showing that the strike on the Benghazi embassy was, indeed, a pre-planned assault. Yet, on Thursday, Diane Sawyer devoted a minute and 47 seconds to answering this pressing question: "...We know how contagious yawns can be among people, but have you ever wondered if your dog is yawning because you did?" [See a video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
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.
Martha Raddatz boosted President Obama on ABC after the final presidential debate on Monday evening, just as she did during the earlier vice presidential debate that she moderated. Raddatz asserted that Obama "humanized what he was talking about. He talked a lot about the troops; he talked about the survivors from 9/11; he talked about the people in Israel. So if, in fact, he was going towards the female vote, he probably got their attention with that sort of approach." [audio available here; video below the jump]
Minutes after the second presidential debate ended on Tuesday, ABC pundits Matthew Dowd and Donna Brazile brushed off the three-plus minute advantage of speaking time President Obama had over Mitt Romney under CNN's Candy Crowley's moderation. Dowd asserted that this imbalance would lead to "conservatives and Republicans attacking Candy Crowley, and when that happens, that is a sure sign that President Obama won this."
Brazile seconded this taunt: "When Republicans lose debates, they always find something wrong with the moderator or the referee." The two ABC panelists didn't give such an assessment after the first debate on October 3, even though liberals, such as Howard Fineman, attacked moderator Jim Lehrer.
On Friday afternoon, Joe Biden lived up to his reputation for committing gaffes, not even a day after Paul Ryan zinged the Vice President over how "sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way" during Thursday's debate. At a rally in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Biden claimed Planned Parenthood "under law cannot perform any abortions." In reality, the organization is the largest abortion racket in the country.
Hours later, none of the Big Three's Friday evening newscasts had covered Biden's patently false claim. But just two days earlier, these programs devoted a combined five minutes and 1 second on Wednesday to Mitt Romney's statement to The Des Moines Register that "there's no legislation with regard to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda." NBC's Brian Williams mouthed the Obama campaign's spin - that "what Mitt Romney said about abortion that sure sounds like a change."
Former Clinton administration flack and current ABC personality George Stephanopoulos slanted towards Joe Biden after Thursday night's vice presidential debate between the incumbent and challenger Paul Ryan. However, unlike his definitive pro-Democratic track record with debates, he initially wouldn't give a clear answer as to who won the match-up.
Stephanopoulos trumpeted how "Joe Biden came in and gave the game that a lot of Democrats wanted from Barack Obama last week, but did not get", and later claimed, "over the course of the debate, more of issues fell in Biden's corner. He was able to take control of more of the debate." When Diane Sawyer asked whether there was a "clear winner", he replied, "I'm saying exactly what I said, Diane," and acknowledged that "Ryan held his own – did not make any big mistakes; humanized himself, when he had to humanize himself."
On the eve of the vice presidential debate, President Obama sat down for an exclusive interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC's World News.
When she asked what his message would be to Joe Biden as he prepares himself to go up against Paul Ryan in Kentucky, Obama humorously answered the pointless question without hesitation -- smiling as he did. [ video below, MP3 audio available here ]
ABC’s Diane Sawyer spent a solid four minutes of her interview with President Barack Obama, as excerpted at the top of Wednesday’s World News, channeling liberal angst over Obama’s debate performance – and that’s before she allocated more than a minute to cuing up Obama to denounce a Mitt Romney comment on abortion. She prompted Obama with a harsh assessment of Romney: “Is it a lie?”
“Libya” was not even uttered in the Sawyer-Obama segment. Viewers had to wait until the next story, by Jake Tapper, on the House hearing which laid out the administration’s dissembling on what happened in Libya when Ambassador Chris Stevens was murdered. Then viewers got 20 seconds -- more than half of that consumed by Obama’s defense and assurance he’ll “fix” anything that wasn’t done properly.
ABC's George Stephanonopoulos carried a eight-out-of-nine record of declaring the Democratic presidential candidate the winner into Wednesday night's Obama-Romney presidential debate. Surprisingly, the Clinton administration veteran affirmed that Mitt Romney scored points on President Obama: "I think Governor Romney definitely more crisp in his presentation tonight....he was able to be aggressive without being offensive."
Stephanopoulos later claimed that "Governor Romney will get the boost that challengers usually get coming out of these debates," while downplaying President Obama's own performance: "I didn't see any knockout punches....didn't see breakthrough moments or major mistakes by either candidate." [audio available here; video below the jump]
NewsBusters is showcasing the most egregious bias the Media Research Center has uncovered over the years — four quotes for each of the 25 years of the MRC, 100 quotes total — all leading up to our big 25th Anniversary Gala on Thursday evening.
Click here for posts recounting the worst of 1988 through 2010. Today, the worst bias of 2011: Paul Krugman calls the anniversary of 9/11 “an occasion for shame;” ABC’s Diane Sawyer fawns over the left-wing “Occupy” movement; and Esquire’s Steven Marche pens a thousand-word Obamagasm worthy of Chris Matthews. [Quotes and video below the jump.]
“Game changer,” said NBC’s Brian Williams. “Seismic,” proclaimed ABC’s Diane Sawyer. “Shaken up the race,” announced CBS’s Scott Pelley. Those were the reactions of the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) evening news anchors to the hidden camera tape of Mitt Romney expressing a basic breakdown of voters who weren’t likely to vote for him. What was a simple analysis by Romney of 47 percent of the electorate was turned into a “political earthquake” that threatened to sink the GOP nominee’s chances.
Over three full days of coverage, on the Big Three evening and morning shows, liberal anchors and reporters devoted almost an hour and a half (1 hour, 28 minutes, 23 seconds) to the Romney tape that made up all or a portion of 42 total stories. In contrast, when tape emerged of Barack Obama stating he was in favor of “redistribution” of wealth, reporters barely broached the story, spending only six minutes, 28 seconds over eight stories.
On Tuesday night, the journalists at ABC continued to hype a "secret video" of Mitt Romney in the most hyperbolic terms. World News anchor Diane Sawyer went so far as to call it a "political earthquake" and a "seismic day."
The anchor excitedly began the show by teasing, "...Caught on tape. New moments from the secret video of Governor Romney talking to his rich donors about a lot of American voters." She wondered if Romney would be able to "limit the damage." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Well-know journalist Steven Brill, who founded Brill’s Content, recently turned his critical eye to Beef Products Inc. (BPI) and its lawsuit against ABC. Brill, also a legal writer and entrepreneur who also started American Lawyer magazine, said of BPI’s suit: “as an aficionado of these cases, I can report that this is the most detailed, persuasive complaint of its kind that I have ever read.”
Beef Products Inc. (BPI) filed a lawsuit against ABC News on September 13, claiming that ABC had knowingly and recklessly campaigned against the use of “Lean, Finely Textured Beef,” which ABC dubbed “pink slime.” According to the lawsuit, BPI had to lay off 700 of its 1,300 employees after it lost 60 percent of its business, due to bad publicity from ABC News.
The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) Wednesday evening newscasts devoted more than 9 minutes (9 minutes, 28 seconds) to the flap over Mitt Romney's statement criticizing the administration's handling of the Libyan crisis but spent just 25 seconds on questions regarding Barack Obama's Middle-East policy, a greater than 20-to-1 disparity.
NBC's Brian Williams opened the Nightly News telling viewers: "Romney is taking fire tonight for the way he went on the attack politically...somehow [Romney] wanted today to be about America apologizing for its values, even after it became clear today was about the death of an American ambassador and others." CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley dutifully noted: "Democrats said the governor had injected politics into a tragedy." Over on ABC's World News Diane Sawyer announced: "Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney under fire for comments he made about the upheaval as it was unfolding." (video after the jump)
After hyping that Bill Clinton might deliver "his patented rocket fuel" to the DNC on Wednesday night, ABC swooned over his "perfect tone" and compared him to an "old pro."
"Strikes me, George, like one of those movies where the old pro comes out of retirement, filled with vitality, and does he know how to ride the waves inside this arena," gushed Diane Sawyer. Former Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos called it "the best nomination a man could hope for." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
The hosts and reporters on Monday's Good Morning America downplayed a new ABC News/Washington Postpoll showing Mitt Romney taking the lead over Barack Obama. It wasn't until the 8am hour that news anchor Josh Elliott specifically revealed the numbers: "When it comes to the economy, 50 percent trust Romney to handle it, while just 43 percent favor the President."
The poll has the presumptive Republican nominee at 47 points, Obama at 46 percent. As Hot Air pointed out, "This is the first time that Obama has lost the lead since a brief polling burst for Romney in January." Yet, Diane Sawyer simply told co-anchor George Stephanopoulos that the race was "virtually tied." She vaguely referred to the economic numbers, but spun, "More people trust Romney on the economy, but they think he favors the wealthy over the middle class."
On the day after gunman Floyd Corkins attacked the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., ABC's World News on Thursday was the only broadcast network evening newscast to run a followup report which elaborated on Corkins's political opposition to the group's conservative views.
ABC was the only broadcast network that offered a full story on the FRC office shooting on Wednesday night. They led with the story and gave it two and a half minutes. None of the network newscasts reported the breaking detail that shooter Floyd Corkins volunteered for six months at the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community, adding depth to his political motivation.
On NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams gave the story just 17 seconds: “In Washington today, police say a man with a gun walked into the offices of the conservative lobbying group the Family Research Council, and opened fire. He never made it past the lobby. He shot a security guard in the arm before the guard was able to subdue him.”
On its Wednesday evening and Thursday morning newscasts, CBS didn't file one report or news brief on the controversial federal abortifacient/contraception mandate going into effect. Even worse, the only mention of religious liberty scandal over the regulation was CBS This Morning playing a clip of liberal comedian Stephen Colbert making fun of it.
ABC's Diane Sawyer heralded the mandate taking effect as "an important day for women's health" on Wednesday's World News, and forwarded the White House's talking points on the regulation: "Religious employers, like Catholic charities and hospitals, do not have to directly include free birth control under their health plans." On NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams lamented that "simply by taking effect, it started up the health care fight all over again."
All three morning shows on Thursday ignored the House vote to repeal Obamacare. Despite finding time for such important topics as women who are addicted to tanning, Good Morning America, as well as Today and CBS This Morning, skipped the latest on the President's unpopular legislation.
In contrast, all three evening newscasts on Wednesday did cover the story. Both CBS and ABC whined about Republicans holding yet another vote on Obamacare. World News anchor Diane Sawyer complained, "As ever, the vote now goes to the Senate, where it will almost certainly, once again, be voted down if it is even voted on at all." On the CBS Evening News, Scott Pelley lamented "how much it cost taxpayers for the House to repeal the law again and again."
As I noted yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) yesterday refused to call a vote on extending the Bush tax cuts, even though President Barack Obama days earlier urged passage of such tax cuts as soon as possible. Predictably, however, the July 11 editions of the network evening newscasts -- ABC's World News, the CBS Evening News, and NBC's Nightly News -- all ignored the development. Ditto with the network morning shows today.
Each evening newscast did, however, note the House vote to repeal ObamaCare, the first such vote after the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate as a tax.
On Tuesday night, all three network evening newscasts ran with stories on a newly released government report blaming man-made climate change for recent extreme weather. ABC's World News led the charge, as anchor Diane Sawyer sounded the alarm: "Hot planet. The world is heating up. And for the first time, a U.S. Government-backed report ties that searing heat, those epic storms, to man-made global warming."
Sawyer cited a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as a "major alert about the speed of climate change on this planet" and wondered if the study represented "a tipping point" on the issue. Turning to weather editor Sam Champion, Sawyer hoped there was "still time to do something." Champion proclaimed: "I would say is, now is the time we start limiting man-made greenhouse gases if we're starting to see that that is exactly what other studies are showing."
NBC, which shamefully ignored the "Fast and Furious" controversy for months, failed to cover on their newscasts Monday evening and Tuesday morning the FBI offering a combined $1 million reward for the capture of four suspects in the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
ABC devoted a full report to the FBI reward on Monday's World News, but omitted mentioning Attorney General Eric Holder's part in the controversy. On Tuesday, ABC's GMA and CBS This Morning both devoted news briefs to the new development in the Terry case, but like World News, the two programs didn't mention Holder's name in their stories. Anchor Diane Sawyer introduced correspondent Pierre Thomas's report on the reward, and got a detail wrong out of the gate: