All three major broadcast networks devoted stories to the opening of the World Cup today in Rio de Janeiro, but ABC's business interests arguably got in the way of objective reporting. ABC and her sister ESPN networks are, after all the exclusive "media rights licensees" to carry World Cup matches in the United States.
Reporting from Rio, ABC's Paula Faris devoted just one fleeting reference to the unrest in the streets (emphasis mine):
CBS Evening News was the only Big Three evening newscast on Wednesday to report that the FBI has opened a criminal investigation into the V.A. scandal. Neither ABC's World News nor NBC Nightly News covered this latest development in the ongoing controversy. Instead, both programs devoted air time to the 20th anniversary of O.J. Simpson's slow-speed run from the police, after the murder of his wife and her friend.
Anchor Scott Pelley gave an 18-second news brief on the federal agency's new probe into the cover-up of long patient wait times at the Department of Veterans Affairs: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Monday, May 13, all three network evening newscasts hyped the dire consequences of a new NASA study which show that “large parts of the western Antarctica ice sheet appears to have collapsed.”
ABC, CBS, and NBC hyperventilated over the report, and warned of rising sea levels in the immediate future. CBS News’ Elaine Quijano warned “A 10-foot rise in sea level would submerge tunnels and subways here in Manhattan and parts of Queens and Brooklyn. But, Scott, it would also put the entire city of Miami Beach and much of South Florida underwater.” [See video below.]
The Big Three networks' evening newscasts on Friday jumped on the latest development in the traffic scandal surrounding Chris Christie. NBC and CBS both led with the accusation from the former Christie appointee, who claims that the New Jersey governor knew more about the lane closures than he previously asserted. CBS's Scott Pelley trumpeted how "Chris Christie just got thrown under the bus in that traffic jam scandal that has jeopardized his presidential ambitions."
Brian Williams hyped the "explosive new allegations," and that "this scandal has again engulfed Chris Christie – embarrassingly on the eve of the Super Bowl, the first ever held in New Jersey." On World News, ABC's Diane Sawyer played up the "bombshell of a new accusation," and correspondent Jim Avila spotlighted that New Jersey's "largest newspaper has published this: 'Christie is now damaged goods. If... [the] disclosures are as powerful as he claims, the Governor must go.'" [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The new, ultra-violent Grand Theft Auto V video game debuted last week and raked in over $1 billion in just the first three days of sales. It was so impressive that the three major broadcast networks all took note and reported on the game on their weekend morning shows. But all three networks focused on the stellar sales numbers for the game while failing to explore a possible connection between violent video games and desensitization to violence that helps lead to mass shooting incidents.
CBS This Morning: Saturday was the worst of the three networks. CBS essentially fawned over the game while devoting only two sentences to criticism of it. Co-anchor Anthony Mason began the hype right at the top: “It was a blockbuster debut that would make any Hollywood executive jealous, except you couldn't see it on the silver screen but rather on the small screen.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC and CBS both failed to point out San Diego Mayor Bob Filner's Democratic party affiliation on their Wednesday morning newscasts. Good Morning America devoted just one 17-second news brief to the ongoing Filner scandal. CBS This Morning didn't do much better, with two news briefs on the former congressman. NBC's Today didn't set aside any air time to the controversy.
The NBC morning show did one-up its Big Three competitors in identifying Anthony Weiner as a Democrat. Stephanie Gosk underlined the "Democratic drums are beating loudly for Anthony Weiner to step out of race for New York mayor", and noted the scandal-plagued politician's fourth-place standing among "likely Democratic primary voters". CBS This Morning and GMA merely labeled Weiner a "former congressman".
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, which began on Monday. Gosnell is charged with murdering seven babies who were born after viability in his rundown abortion facility. The Big Three also gave the story minimal coverage back in January 2011, after the Philadelphia physician was arrested. ABC completely ignored it, CBS Evening News aired one full story, and NBC gave just 50 words on Today.
Even the New York Times covered the trial in a Tuesday article, though it appeared on page A-17. Writer Jon Hurdle documented how Gosnell is charged with killing the babies by "plunging scissors into their necks and 'snipping' their spinal cords."
Tuesday's CBS This Morning played up the union-led protests against a proposed right-to-work law in Michigan. Elaine Quijano claimed "the protests here in Michigan...[will] likely only get bigger." Quijano added that "they're planning to return today in record numbers - protesters determined to defend one of the biggest union strongholds in the country."
The correspondent loaded her report with six soundbites from the anti-right-to-work protesters and their supporters, including President Obama. Quijano only played two from proponents of the Michigan bill, including "reluctant supporter" Governor Rick Snyder.
CBS ran a puff piece Friday morning on President Obama's visit to hurricane-ravaged Staten Island, which stood in stark contrast to its hostile treatment of President Bush's visit to the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.
CBS played into the Obama PR strategy, simply noting that he "pledged the government's support" to Staten Island residents and "met with families who've lost everything." In addition, they aired his plea for the insurance companies to support the victims, afterward quoting residents who were upset with the insurance companies.
According to exit polling of the 2012 election, just 5 percent of voters who turned out were gay. Yet voters said their states should legalize same-sex marriage by 49 percent to 46 percent. Indeed, social issues like gay marriage and the media-concocted “war on women” probably gave President Obama his margin of victory.
Consider another figure: According to a May 2011 Gallup poll, most U.S. adults “estimate that 25 percent of Americans are” gay or lesbian. In reality, the number of people who identify themselves that way is just 3.4 percent, according to a Gallup survey released in October 2012. But it’s understandable that so many people might overestimate the number.
On Thursday's CBS Evening News, Elaine Quijano touted a charge from Pennsylvania Democrats that the new voter I.D. law there "targets poor and elderly voters." Quijano also spotlighted that, according to unnamed "Pennsylvania court officials," there were no cases of "voters convicted of fraud in the last five years." However, in late 2010, the AP reported on a credible allegation of voter fraud in the state.
Anchor Scott Pelley introduced the correspondent's report by trumpeting how "Pennsylvania has just enacted one of the toughest voter I.D. laws in the country. It will require voters to provide a photo I.D. at the polls this November. Republicans say it's about preventing voter fraud. Democrats say the real target is the poor."
Saturday's CBS Evening News ran a piece highlighting the complaints of a Catholic Democrat - Michael Sean Winters of the National Catholic Reporter, recounting his opposition to President Obama's attempt to force Catholic employers to provide contraception coverage to their employees. Winters asserted that he is "very angry about this," and substitute anchor Elaine Quijano noted that, although he voted for President Obama in 2008, he plans not to vote this year. (Video below)
Quijano used a soundbite of Winters giving a warning to Obama during the show's opening teaser:
Scott Pelley simply got it wrong on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, when he claimed that the Republican presidential candidates "have finally arrived in a state that was very hard hit by the great recession and has been suffering for a very long time. The unemployment rate here is about 10%." In reality, South Carolina, the state that held the last GOP primary, has about the same unemployment rate, at 9.9% [audio available here; video below the jump].
Two weeks earlier, on the January 17 edition of his CBS Evening News program, Pelley introduced a segment with John Dickerson, who was in the Palmetto State, which referenced the national unemployment rate. But neither on-air personality mentioned the specific unemployment rate inside the state:
Elaine Quijano continued CBS's consistently glowing coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement on Wednesday's Early Show by spotlighting how two-thirds of Crosby, Stills, and Nash gave a concert for the protesters in New York City. Quijano played 12 clips from the concert and from the demonstrators, without once mentioning the growing examples of violence involving the left-leaning movement [audio clips available here; video below the jump].
Anchor Chris Wragge introduced the correspondent's report by noting only in passing how "anti-Wall Street protesters around the country are under growing pressure to go home...critics in several cities are saying they're just becoming a public nuisance." Co-anchor Erica Hill added that "here in New York City, demonstrators say they are in it, though, for the long haul- yes, even with winter coming. Correspondent Elaine Quijano takes a look at what the future holds for the protests."
The broadcast networks continued their enthusiastic coverage Friday night on behalf of the far-left Wall Street protesters, with NBC’s Brian Williams, again, the most excited while CBS anchor Scott Pelley, who has until now refrained from the hype delivered by ABC and NBC, jumped in by promising “a series of reports on the growing protests around the country.”
Williams led by touting how the protesters “are claiming victory tonight” by not getting removed from the Manhattan park. He then hailed their impact which he has helped fuel: “This protest movement is showing strength. It’s still growing, changing and spreading...”
ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday ignored the $14 million failure of labor and liberal groups to win back the state senate in Wisconsin through a recall vote. Both CBS's Early Show and NBC's Today covered the effort to retaliate against that state's legislation stripping collective bargaining rights for public workers.
Early Show's Elaine Quijano covered the story in a full report (though not until the 8am hour). The Today show, a four hour program, mentioned it only once. Quijano explained that four of the six GOP senators held on and added, "For Wisconsin Democrats, Tuesday's vote was supposed to be a chance at revenge." However, these same networks, back in February, found time to feature signs comparing Scott Walker to Hitler and other dictators.
CBS's Elaine Quijano filed a slanted report on Wednesday's Evening News about the new report on the Catholic priest child sex abuse scandal. All but one of the sound bites which Quijano played during the segment either leaned negative against the Catholic Church or completely slammed the religious body.
Anchor Katie Couric heralded the negative reaction about the report from some quarters in her teaser for Quijano's report at the very beginning of the half-hour program: "Tonight, a report commissioned by the Catholic Church claims to know why the child sex abuse scandal happened, but victims' groups aren't buying it." A minute later, the correspondent picked up where Couric left off in her introduction: "For survivors of clergy sexual abuse, today marks another deep disappointment."
Catching up on an item from last Thursday’s CBS Evening News, after recounting for the second time the case of Philadelphia abortion Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s horrific practice, anchor Katie Couric introduced a piece devoted to upcoming political fights over abortion. During the report, opponents of abortion were twice labeled as "conservatives," while the word "liberals" was never used to refer to advocates of abortion rights. The report also finally mentioned - briefly - the March for Life pro-life rally from earlier in the week in the nation’s capital.
As the report reiterated the case of Dr. Gosnell, the argument on both sides of the debate was presented as to which side is bolstered by his callous activities. Couric: "Criminal abuse like this is extremely rare, but it's not stopping both sides in the abortion debate from using the case to re-energize supporters."
After correspondent Elaine Quijano made the case on both sides, ideological labels soon came. Correspondent Nancy Cordes: "Republicans are now back in power in the House at least, after a walk in the desert, and they have certain constituencies that they need to satisfy. One of those constituencies is the conservative right wing of the party for whom abortion is a very important issue all the time."
On Wednesday the CBS Evening News gave attention to the story of an abortion doctor in Philadelphia whose practices were so horrific that he is being charged with murder. Anchor Katie Couric set up the piece:
Now, this next story comes with a strong word of caution. The details are gruesome. You won't want young children to watch. A Philadelphia doctor who made millions performing late-term abortions was charged today with murder. The D.A. says the doctor killed seven babies after they were delivered alive.
Below is a complete transcript of the report, filed by correspondent Elaine Quijano, from the Wednesday, January 19, CBS Evening News :
Late last week, CNN announced its plan to team up with the Tea Party Express to co-sponsor a Republican presidential debate in September. While this creates the possibility that Republican candidates will actually face questions of interest to Republican primary voters (as opposed to the typical liberal media agenda), it’s also probably the first time a media organization will partner with a group that its on-air correspondents and commentators have trashed over the past two years.
CNN’s liberal commentators have been savage to the Tea Party. Back in 2009, longtime CNN house liberal Paul Begala slammed the Tea Party as “a bunch of wimpy, whiny, weasels who don’t love their country.” A couple of weeks before this year’s election, CNN’s 8pm ET co-host Eliot Spitzer said the Tea Party was “vapid” and leading America “down a dangerous road....They’re going to destroy our country.”
But CNN’s supposedly objective correspondents and anchors have showcased a similar hostility to the Tea Party, attacking them as racist, extremist, pawns of Fox News, or using the vulgar “tea-bagging” nickname favored by left-wing activists to disparage the group. A few of the choicer examples from the MRC’s archive (including video):
On Tuesday evening, ABC and CBS furthered the mainstream media's largely inaccurate reporting on Pope Benedict XVI's recent remarks on the morality of condom use. While the pontiff stated that condoms are "not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection," World News anchor Diane Sawyer stated that "the Pope shifts his rules on condom use." Evening News anchor Katie Couric labeled Benedict XVI's comment a "historic statement," and trumpeted how supposedly, "Pope Benedict says, for the first time, that condoms are okay to protect against HIV and other diseases."
Sawyer included her misleading "Pope shifts his rules on condom use" phrase as she teased the lead stories at the beginning of World News. Sixteen minutes into the half hour program, the ABC anchor introduced correspondent Dan Harris's report, who began by giving a false impression of Benedict's remarks during an interview published in book form given by German journalist Peter Seewald. An on-screen graphic proclaimed, "A Change in Policy:"
Friday's CBS Early Show devoted a six-minute segment in its 7:30AM ET half hour to the Saturday wedding of Chelsea Clinton. Correspondent Elaine Quijano reported on the event having "Eva Longoria's florist" and "presidential party planners." Entertainment Tonight correspondent Diane Dimond added: "...they have porcelain port-a-potties for all of the guests....with music piped in."
Dimond went on to mention how the guest list would feature Hollywood liberals like Barbara Streisand and Steven Spielberg. Concluding her report, Quijano declared: "Now tonight the rehearsal dinner is reportedly set to take place nearby, at the 500-plus acre Grasmere estate. We are told, Harry, that guests will dine in an old stone barn overlooking a bucolic pastoral setting....they're being asked to wear country chic." The segment did not raise any questions about the over-the-top extravagance of the affair, which is estimated to cost a few million dollars.
On Saturday's CBS Evening News, anchor Jeff Glor reported on an immigration protest in Boston: "...hundreds opposed to Arizona's controversial immigration law protested the presence of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer at a meeting there." One protestor held a sign that read: "Jan Brewer is a Bigot." Glor then turned to a report on a similar immigration law proposed in Pennsylvania.
Correspondent Elaine Quijano explained how a CBS News poll showed 52% of Americans support the Arizona's immigration law and that "other states are preparing to follow Arizona's lead": "In Pennsylvania, bipartisan measures to compel construction companies to check worker's status are moving swiftly through the legislature." She then warned: "Republican state representative Daryl Metcalfe wants to go further, introducing a tough measure modeled after Arizona's law." She went on to declare: "Metcalfe's proposal is already facing fierce opposition."
Quijano described one source of that "fierce opposition," the Democratic mayor of Philadelphia: "Michael Nutter says the solution lies with the federal government, not the states." Nutter repeated Obama administration talking points on the issue: "We should not have a patchwork of immigration policies for every state in the United States of America. That's insane." Quijano added: "Nutter believes the law could create problems for law enforcement, making illegal immigrants afraid to report crimes to police."
Saturday’s CBS Evening News gave attention to weather forecasters who disbelieve the theory that human creation of carbon dioxide is causing global warming. Citing a poll finding that most meteorologists believe global warming is occurring, correspondent Elaine Quijano also found that only about one-third believe human activity is causing such warming. After beginning her report by recounting the story of one meteorologist who "was skeptical that human activity was accelerating climate change until he studied the data," and who took a trip to view melting glaciers, she relayed the findings of a poll that found, unlike him, most TV weather forecasters have doubts:
He returned convinced of his position, but a recent survey shows that among his fellow weathercasters, his view is in the minority. The survey by George Mason University and the University of Texas found that while more than half of TV weathercasters believe global warming is happening, less than a third say it is caused mostly by manmade carbon emissions.
On Monday evening and Tuesday, ABC, CBS, and CNN all highlighted a Catholic priest's call for Pope Benedict XVI's resignation due to his alleged mishandling of the Church sex abuse scandal, labeling him "outspoken," and even going so far to compliment him as "brave" and "gutsy." All three networks, however, ignored the priest's affiliation with a liberal group and his dissension from Church teaching.
During a report on the wider abuse scandal on Monday's World News With Diane Sawyer, ABC's Dan Harris mentioned Father James Scahill's public call for the Pope to step down during a recent sermon at his parish in Massachusetts. Before playing a clip from Father Scahill, Harris stated that "anger is clearly rising within the [Catholic] Church. In his Sunday sermon this week, Father James Scahill of Massachusetts called for the Pope to resign." The ABC correspondent did not give any details on the priest's background.
Father Scahill is the pastor of St. Michael's Catholic Church in East Longmeadow. In 2004, he accepted the "Priest of Integrity Award" from Voice of the Faithful. The organization, which purports to be Catholic, achieved some visibility in the media after the 2002 revelation of the sex abuse in the Boston archdiocese. It has taken heterodox positions on Church issues, such as calling for an end to priestly celibacy, and endorsed liberal dissenting theologians such as Rev. Charles Curran. CNN featured Dan Bartley, the president of VOTF, during a March 26, 2010 segment which also featured two other liberal Christians who advocated radical changes inside the Catholic Church.
The broadcast networks couldn't ignore Holy Week, the pinnacle of the Christian calendar, so instead they used it this year to smear the Catholic Church as a harbor for abusive priests.
ABC, CBS and NBC featured 26 stories during Holy Week about Pope Benedict's perceived role in the sex abuse scandal the Catholic Church is now facing. Only one story focused on the measures the church has adopted in recent years to prevent abuse. In 69 percent of the stories (18 out of 26) reporters used language that presumed the pope's guilt. Only one made specific mention of the recent drop in the incidence of abuse allegations against the Catholic Church.
CNN’s Rick Sanchez joined two of his colleagues in omitting the left-wing affiliation of Wendell Potter, a senior fellow at the Center for Media and Democracy. In fact, Sanchez went so far as to deny Potter’s alignment with liberals: “Is he [Potter] some crazy lefty? Is he Ralph Nader? Is he Dennis Kucinich? No. In fact, he’s a former player in the health insurance world.”
Before the CNN anchor made this denial about Potter, he read the senior fellow’s assessment of Senator Max Baucus’s health care “reform” proposal: “Here’s what my next guest thinks of this Baucus bill- quote, ‘It’s hard to imagine how insurance companies could have written legislation,’ he says- ‘that would benefit them more.’ In other words, if the guys who run the insurance companies would have sat down and written legislation- he says- they couldn’t have written it any better.”
Sanchez then made his introduction of his guest: “Who’s my guest? Is he some crazy lefty? Is he Ralph Nader? Is he Dennis Kucinich? No. In fact, he’s a former player in the health insurance world. He used to be a part of it. You ever heard of Cigna? Of course, you’ve heard of Cigna. They’re one of the biggest insurers in the whole world. Wendell Potter is who I’m talking about, and for 15 years he was the company’s chief corporate spokesperson, and he was also an executive with Humana as well.” He didn’t mention Potter’s current position with the Center for Media and Democracy during the interview, though an on-screen graphic did mention it (see above).
CNN's efforts to smear Obama critics as racist gained visibility on Monday's Situation Room when the usually more sensible Wolf Blitzer, with “RACIAL TINGE TO TEA MOVEMENT” as the on-screen heading, set up a story on how, “most disturbing,” within the tea party crowds there's “a very small but vocal minority, they're targeting President Obama's race.” Though reporter Elaine Quijano said “we have to emphasize by far most tea party protesters are not casting their arguments in what could be seen as a racial light,” she nonetheless proceeded to treat as newsworthy how “a small but passionate minority is also voicing what some see as racist rhetoric.”
In decrying the racism, CNN gave national cable air time to what she described as a “controversial image that's been circulating on the Web since July,” a “doctored image circulating on the Internet and even some protesters signs like this one in Brighton, Michigan, portraying President Obama as a witch doctor.” Brighton, Michigan? So, not at the more newsworthy big national event Saturday in DC I presume.
Quijano soon went to Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page who saw race as the common denominator: “People are not just mad at Obama. They're mad at Jesse Jackson, they're mad at Reverend Wright, they're made at Al Sharpton, they're mad at people who have nothing to do with Obama except they all happen to be black.” Without questioning the supposition, Quijano warned: “Page says the vehement racial resistance that's emerged is another sign any notion of a post-racial society after Barack Obama's election was wishful thinking.”
CNN’s Elaine Quijano failed to mention the left-wing political affiliation of Wendell Potter, whom she touted to be a health care “insurance company insider” on Wednesday’s Situation Room. When her network featured a glowing segment on the former Cigna spokesman over a month earlier, her colleague Jim Acosta also omitted Potter’s work as a senior fellow for the liberal Center for Media and Democracy.
Anchor Wolf Blitzer introduced Quijano’s report, which aired just after the beginning of the 5 pm Eastern hour, and described Potter as a “one-time insurance insider...turned whistleblower on industry tactics to try to sway the health care debate.” The CNN correspondent further described the former Cigna spokesman as being part of the pro-ObamaCare forces’ arsenal: “In the heat of the summer battle over health care reform, Democrats are deploying another weapon- he’s a former insurance company insider who’s speaking out once again.”
It must be hard to keep a straight face when you report that the President of United States going to cut $100 million from a $3.5 trillion budget and then say he is serious about cutting government spending.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs couldn't pull it off. In the White House's April 20 press briefing, Gibbs was asked by Associated Press reporter Jennifer Loven why the $100-million target was so small and she even accused him of making a joke about it.
"I'm being completely sincere that only in Washington, D.C. is $100 million not a lot of money," Gibbs said. "It is where I'm from. It is where I grew up. And I think it is for hundreds of millions of Americans."
But somehow, CNN correspondent Elaine Quijano pulled it off. Originally on CNN's April 20 "American Morning," and again on CNN throughout April 20, Quijano reported the Obama administration was making an effort to cut spending.