When we last checked in on Barack Obama discussing Benghazi on the network news, he was reassuring Brian Williams on the October 25 “Rock Center” that “We’re going to do a full investigation.” It’s a year later and it’s still “we are going to.” Last fall, Williams and Obama posed as curious for answers on how this disaster happened. Neither of them has demonstrated any noticeable curiosity since.
A new Media Research Center study of Benghazi coverage in 2013 on ABC, CBS, and NBC shows there are two routine modes of operation: (a) praising Team Obama’s public relations and (b) silence.
Barack Obama appeared on all three networks (as well as CNN and PBS) Monday night to try and salvage support for his planned strike against Syria. But it was World News anchor Diane Sawyer who appeared ready to preemptively credit the President with possibly solving the unraveling issue.
The host began the program by touting, "And moments ago, I sat down with President Obama who seemed to be signaling the tough stand by the U.S. may have caused a dictator to back down." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Sawyer added, "If Bashar al-Assad yields control of his chemical weapons to international authority, are we back from the brink?" Both CBS and NBC offered tougher questions to the President, pressing Obama on lack of support from the American people.
It seems even Barack Obama doesn't want to be seen on MSNBC.
The Washington Post reported moments ago that the President of the United States, ahead of his address to the nation about Syria Tuesday, will give interviews to the evening newscasts of ABC, CBS, CNN, FNC, NBC and PBS Monday.
While covering Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday, ABC's Martha Raddatz described the Syrian dictator as "looking poised and immaculately dressed." This light-hearted description is reminiscent of some of the softball questions asked by Diane Sawyer on February 5, 2007. The then-Good Morning America anchor dished with the man who, in August, allegedly used chemical weapons on his own people: "You like video games?...Do you have an iPod?"
After the dictator announced that he did, Sawyer sounded more like an Access Hollywood host: "And you're a country music fan. Faith Hill? Shania Twain?"She then moved on to the topics of what films Assad enjoyed. The fan of chemical weapons and gassing his own people touted The Pursuit of Happyness. He blurbed, "It tells you a story...Maybe there's many beneficial things to learn from, about real life." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Tuesday, the Associated Press (AP) reported that smokers may not be subject to new tobacco-use penalties built into the Affordable Care Act, due to a “computer system glitch” that could take more than a year to repair. The AP claimed that some see the stumble as part of “an emerging pattern of last-minute switches and delays” for President Obama’s signature health care law, citing the administration’s recent postponement of the so-called “employer mandate” until 2015. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
But you wouldn’t get that sense from the mainstream media, as most major outlets have devoted little or no time to the story since it broke early Tuesday morning. The Tuesday morning shows (Today, Good Morning America, and CBS This Morning) ignored the development, save for a 10-second mention from Today’s Natalie Morales.
CBS, NBC and ABC on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning highlighted the delay of the ObamaCare employer mandate as a "surprising," "significant setback" for the President. [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Nightly News anchor Brian Williams even went so far as to cynically note, "A development this big with the President on an airplane heading into a holiday weekend is going to make a lot of people suspicious." Yet, these same networks ignored giant, glaring clues about what Democratic Senator Max Baucus once called the coming "train wreck."
On Wednesday's Good Morning America, Jon Karl deemed the development a "significant" setback. CBS This Morning co-host Norah O'Donnell saw it as a "major" problem. Reporter Jan Crawford relayed, "House Speaker John Boehner said even the Obama administration knows the train wreck will only get worse." On the July 2 Evening News, Wyatt Andrews described the one year postponement of the rule, which forces employers to pay a $2000 fine if they don't provide insurance, as a culmination of"months of complaints and backlash."
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."
It’s hard to know where yesterday’s Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage met with the most jubilation: West Hollywood, the Castro District, Greenwich Village? Or the newsrooms of ABC, CBS and NBC?
Combined, the three broadcast networks devoted an astounding 25 minutes, 54 seconds of their evening news shows to the Supreme Court’s decisions striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and essentially overturning California’s Proposition 8 referendum on gay marriage. Afraid to spoil the party, they predictably allowed just 3 minutes, 33 seconds to same sex marriage opponents and their viewpoints.
On a big day for news, two of the three major networks downplayed President Obama’s global warming speech on yesterday’s evening newscasts. ABC and CBS reduced the story to a brief anchor-read blurb, while NBC included a sound bite and a full in-studio report from a correspondent.
The speech, delivered at Georgetown University, was notable for Obama’s threat to bypass Congress by directing the Environmental Protection Agency to impose tougher pollution standards on existing as well as new power plants. But on ABC World News Tonight, anchor Diane Sawyer failed to mention this costly power grab, opting instead for an innocent and simplified version of events:
When news broke that IRS agents were abusively targeting conservative groups particularly the Tea Party, it looked at as if this was an Obama administration scandal that would stick. Even reporters like NBC’s Andrea Mitchell counted it as among the “most outrageous excesses I’ve seen.” Obama sycophant Chris Matthews predicted it could be worth “five or 10 points” for Republicans in the next midterm elections. Even theNew York Timeseditorial board proclaimed: “The IRS Audits Are Condemned.”
The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) news networks actually jumped to cover the story, filling their evening and morning shows with a total of 96 stories in the first two weeks (May 10 through May 23) of coverage. But after those two strong weeks, the broadcast networks lost interest in the scandal, and the coverage slowed to a crawl -- just 31 stories in the subsequent weeks (May 24 through June 12). This week, the networks have run only one story (June 11 on ABC’s Good Morning America) on the IRS scandal.
For the week of May 27, the Big Three networks' evening news broadcasts declined, both compared to the previous week and the same week last year, and garnered an average combined daily audience of just under 20 million.
Somehow, Chris Ariens at Media Bistro apparently wasn't looking at the same numbers his readers were when he did his post, and wrote the following while linking back to the related post from last year which contradicted what he wrote (bolds are mine; link is in original):
Both NBC and CBS led their Thursday morning shows with news that the Obama administration has secretly obtained the phone records of millions of Americans, but ABC's Good Morning America started its show reporting on Tropical Storm Andrea in Florida instead.
Overall, Thursday's two hour-long GMA spent less than three minutes total on the phone tracking story, giving over five times more coverage to the attempted suicide of Michael Jackson's daughter Paris. Back in 2006, however, ABC showed far more scrutiny to a similar story of the Bush administration tracking phone calls.
The evening news broadcasts on NBC, ABC, and CBS on Wednesday all offered full reports on the compelling congressional testimony regarding the Benghazi terrorist attack, but only after all three programs led with coverage of the Cleveland abduction case.
NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News both at least informed viewers of the hearing during top-of-the-show teases, but ABC World News failed to make any mention of the hearing until a report nine minutes into the program (though anchor Diane Sawyer did find time to preview a story about tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams).
Did anyone notice anything missing during Diane Sawyer’s interview with President Bush last night? She didn’t mention his surge in the polls, which was conducted by ABC News. Yes, ABC decided to omit their poll in order to have Sawyer bait President Bush with left-leaning questions, like his views on gay marriage. The American people are now giving the forty-third president a second look, and it seems to be driving liberals crazy.
On April 23, the Washington Post’s Fix blog reported that Bush’s approval ratings have hit a seven-year high. They are equal to that of President Obama’s at 47%.
World News anchor Diane Sawyer scored an exclusive interview with George W. Bush for Wednesday's program. Sawyer used the opportunity to pester the former president about gay marriage, prompting, "One of the issues in the party in which there seems to be some shift taking place among senators is gay marriage."
After playing a clip of Laura Bush endorsing same sex marriage, the anchor pressed as to whether Mr. Bush was "ready to weigh in." The ex-President demurred and the reporter pushed, "Not going to say if you've changed your position too?" (How often do journalists push Democrats to move to the right on an issue?) Earlier in the segment, Bush took a shot at journalists. [For that, see video below. MP3 audio here.]
Well that didn’t last long. In fact, it barely happened at all. After a month of ignoring the trial of Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortionist accused of murdering one woman and seven infants, it looked like the media had been shamed into covering the story.
Barely. Even after the most gruesome detail in a trial full of them came out – a baby who survived an abortion “swimming” in a toilet and “trying to get out” – the silence resumed. In fact, the only major news outlet that bothered to report on that testimony was The Chicago Tribune. CNN.com mentioned it, it got no air time. Video after the break
All three networks on Wednesday and Thursday parroted the exact same talking points from the White House, touting Barack Obama for expressing "solidarity" with struggling workers by taking a five percent pay cut. The President made the move, which amounts to a minuscule $1700 a month, in the wake of sequestration. On Good Morning America, Josh Elliott trumpeted, "[Obama] says he wants to show solidarity with government workers who face a furlough because of budget cuts." [See a video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
Over on NBC's Today, Natalie Morales touted, "In an attempt at solidarity with federal workers feeling the sequester spending cuts, President Obama is giving himself a five percent pay cut on his $400,000-a-year salary." Offering a remarkably similar thought, World News anchor Diane Sawyer rounded up the amount to a year's total: " That's $20,000, to show solidarity with government employees who will be furloughed." In an impressed tone, the host praised, "The White House says Obama will personally write a check to the Treasury."
New EPA regulations could increase the price of gas by nine cents or more when they take effect in the next four years, American Petroleum Institute (API) scientists say. However, ABC, CBS and NBC news programs gave little credence to those concerns, and hyped EPA’s claims of “significant health benefits” instead.
ABC was the worst of the three. Diane Sawyer and Jim Avila on the March 29 “World News” spoke of alleged benefits of the new environmental regulations which would further reduce sulfur emissions. Meanwhile, “World News” not only failed to give equal time to opponents of the regulations, they portrayed them as greedy.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the journalists at ABC continued to treat the gay marriage issue as though there was only one acceptable side. Diane Sawyer and Terry Moran framed the case before the Supreme Court as simply "one American seeking justice" and gave almost no time to the opposition. On the March 27 World News, Sawyer used loaded language as she hyped, "Edith Windsor received a hero's welcome when she emerged from the Supreme Court, saying it's time to take a stand for marriage equality."
Windsor is an 83-year-old lesbian who is petitioning the high court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Journalist Moran seemed to dismiss principled opposition to gay marriage as he insisted, "Sometimes, the big cases come to the Supreme Court out of conflicts between the states or battles between the branches of government and sometimes one American walks up these steps seeking justice." He added, "That's what's happening today." Sawyer could barely contain herself as she enthused, "Tonight, the fighter...Her case challenges the justices and rallies the crowd on marriage in America." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Radio hosts like Mark Levin and Web sites like Canada Free Press are mocking President Obama’s statement in a press conference yesterday with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, where he compared the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to U.S.-Canada relations. What? Levin called him a "moron" for the comparison.
But ABC, CBS, and NBC failed to notice. They acted like a press release service for Obama on their newscasts Thursday night and Friday morning, offering Obama 18 soundbites adding up to 215 seconds, often ending in applause. Only Chuck Todd on NBC Nightly News aired a soundbite from anyone other than Obama.
According to an analysis by the Media Research Center, the three broadcast networks are using the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI to advance their left-wing social agenda and attack the Catholic Church’s centuries-old doctrine on the priesthood, abortion, and gay marriage. While NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News predictably dwelled on scandals and the Pope’s "conservatism," their anti-Catholic coverage paled in comparison to the disgraceful onslaught on ABC World News.
"Instead of reporting the historic news of Pope Benedict’s resignation, Diane Sawyer... used the opportunity to bludgeon the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict with every left-wing grievance imaginable. It was a disgusting and deeply offensive assault on the Church," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell complained in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.
As if more proof were needed that the broadcast networks don’t get religion, and really don’t get Catholicism, analysis of the evening news programs from Feb. 11 showed a how inadequate the assumptions of liberal secular journalists were in explaining the Church, its mission and its role in the lives of the faithful.
On the day of the surprise resignation of 85-yr-old Pope Benedict XVI, ABC, CBS and NBC all danced the “The Papal Reporting Two-Step”: dwell on the negatives of the recent past before wondering hopefully if the Church will now finally step out of the dark ages of orthodoxy. Of the three, however, ABC was far and away the worst. Video after the Break.
For the second day in a row, the CBS Evening News on Wednesday avoided any coverage of a new memo revealing that the Obama administration asserts the power to legally strike terrorists, even if they're American citizens. Of the combined three nightly newscasts on Wednesday and three morning shows on Thursday, four of them found time to cover the story.
In contrast to the Evening News, Diane Sawyer opened World News by highlighting the "secret war." Sawyer fretted, "Those escalating drone attacks in the air and the consequences on the ground. And the question-- is it making the United States safer?" ReporterMarthaRaddatz explained that Obama's drone policy "has grown 700 percent under the Obama administration." Considering how hyperbolically journalists obsessed over George W. Bush's acts of "torture," one would think the Evening News would be interested in covering Obama's drone policy.
ABC on Thursday and Friday either downplayed or outright ignored the "bruising day" Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel endured in Washington. Friday's Good Morning America skipped the topic entirely, thus avoiding the tough questions by Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain. Nightline, which now airs after midnight, didn't get to the story until 1:05am.
Thursday's World News did cover the contentious hearings, but Diane Sawyer minimized Hagel's poor performance, which even liberal writer Peter Beinart mocked as "making Biden look rhetorically sure-footed." Sawyer solemnly opened the show: "...One man entered the arena. Chuck Hagel, the purple heart recipient from the Vietnam War, the former senator nominated to be Secretary of Defense. His former colleagues met him with a fuselage of critical questions..." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC's Diane Sawyer on Wednesday pushed the pro-gun control angle as she highlighted the debate in Congress over a "nation awash in guns." After World News reporter Jon Karl recapped the testimony by the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre and Gabby Giffords, Sawyer lectured, "...There are two facts driving those hearings today. Thirty Americans die from gun violence in this country every single day. And nearly 23,000 have died in the past two years alone."
The anchor then mentioned "Hadiya Pendleton, an honor student and majorette" who was recently gunned down in Chicago by a gang member. This was Sawyer's only example of "gun violence." Of course, she didn't mention the case of a Texas mother who fended off three armed intruders, shooting one. Erin (her last name was withheld) explained, "Protecting ourselves goes into, you know, our Second Amendment right to bear arms and thousands of people died to give me the very right that saved my life."[See local news video of her story below.]
Last month, when the Republican Governor of South Carolina named GOP U.S. Representative Tim Scott to the U.S. Senate, the “first African American U.S. Senator from the South since Blanche Bruce of Mississippi in 1881” according to The State newspaper, thus becoming the only black -- Democrat or Republican -- in the Senate, ABC’s World News didn’t mention it.
Fast-forward to Wednesday night, and ABC anchor Diane Sawyer suddenly found it newsworthy that the Democratic Governor of Massachusetts appointed an African-American to replace new Secretary of State John Kerry, trumpeting: “Look closely at this picture. That is William ‘Mo’ Cowan of Massachusetts. He will be heading to Washington, DC soon and straight into the history books.”
Consumer confidence plummeted in January to a 14-month low of 58.6. The Conference Board announced the drop on Jan. 29 and cited a tax hike as the reason for the 8.1 point drop, but the bad news got no mention on the evening network news programs that night. Instead ABC joyfully reported good news on the economy.
“World News with Diane Sawyer” led its broadcast with an upbeat story about the housing market. David Muir actually mentioned consumer confidence in his story on the housing “comeback” of rising home values, but not the drop. As he discussed the housing story with Diane Sawyer he actually said that good home news boosts consumer confidence. Neither he, nor Sawyer seized that opportunity to mention the latest confidence data that had been released that very day.
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.
Mark January 23rd as the launch date for the news media’s fresh campaign to have Hillary Clinton replace Barack Obama in the Oval Office in 2017. ABC and NBC, and CBS to a lesser extent, on Wednesday night treated Secretary of State Clinton’s appearances before Senate and House committees not as an chance to explore Obama administration dissembling on Benghazi, but as an opportunity to boost Clinton’s supposed brilliant performance.
“The indignation. And then, the tears in her eyes,” ABC anchor Diane Sawyer announced before trumpeting: “It was a valedictory that showed her indignation and emotion as she ends this tenure on the public stage. ABC’s chief global affairs correspondent, Martha Raddatz, brings us the riveting encounter today.”