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.]
UPDATED: [May 21; 5:15 p.m. EDT | see portion in brackets below the page break] || The liberal media continue their effort to spin the Obama administration right out of trouble. On Saturday’s Today, NBC brought on John Harwood, CNBC’s chief Washington correspondent, to provide some analysis of the three scandals that rocked the administration last week. Harwood, with help from co-anchor Erica Hill, attempted to make the discussion about the Republicans and their shortcomings rather than the White House’s failings.
Hill brought up the fact that some senior Republicans, such as Newt Gingrich, have cautioned the party about not going after Obama too aggressively over the scandals. Harwood agreed, adding that the party does not have a wide enough base. He then chastised Republicans: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
The air was thick with disingenuousness on Saturday’s Today show as NBC conducted a long-distance interview with the daughter of the slain Sandy Hook Elementary School principal. Co-anchor Erica Hill brought up the charge that Erica Lafferty has been used as a prop by the gun control crowd. Of course, in the process, NBC was using Lafferty as a prop during that very interview.
Lafferty was in Houston, ostensibly hoping to meet with leaders and members of the NRA at their convention. Ever since the Sandy Hook shooting, Lafferty has been active in the push for stricter gun laws, and Hill mentioned this. But then the anchor added, “You have also been accused of being used as a prop. Is there anything that you think you could have done differently to change the outcome in Washington?” Lafferty scoffed at the notion: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
At the top of Sunday's NBC Today, co-host Erica Hill cheered President Obama's performance at Saturday's White House Correspondents' Dinner as she announced: "Comedian-in-chief....President Obama gets lots of laughs at the White House Correspondents' Dinner." Moments later, fellow co-host Lester Holt gushed that Obama was "very, very funny...very loose." Hill agreed, suggesting the President "take that show on the road." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Following a report on how Obama "embraced his role as comedian-in-chief," Hill asked Meet the Press moderator David Gregory for his thoughts on the presidential stand-up. Gregory happily joined in the Obama praise: "I think the President did well. I mean, the President always does well. Any president does who, you know, is in a position to be sort of rooted on in many ways. And I think that's what happened last night. But I think the President was particularly on last night..." One wonders who Gregory thought had "rooted on" the President at the event heavily attended by media figures.
On Wednesday, the New York Daily News reported that Rob Morrison, an anchor for CBS's New York City affiliate WCBS, had quit his job after being arrested the previous weekend for an alleged assault on his wife, CBS MoneyWatch anchor Ashley Morrison. While this news story has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, and UPI, CBS's own morning and evening newscasts have yet to report on it.
By contrast, CBS This Morning devoted several news items to the arrest and trial of Fox News correspondent Douglas Kennedy in 2012. During a April 4, 2012 report, then-anchor Erica Hill pointed out his affiliation with the news outlet before interviewing the journalist's attorney:
During fawning reports on Thursday's NBC Nightly News and Friday's Today, the network's news personalities expressed thrill over the discovery of a collection of JFK memorabilia once owned by Kennedy aide Dave Powers, with anchor Brian Williams raving: "It's an intimate collection of time spent with the President of the United states and his family. It's the kind of memorabilia only a close friend would have. And it shows a man, our president, up close." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
What the coverage failed to mention was the recent shocking revelation by former White House intern and Kennedy mistress Mimi Alford that the late President once pressured her to perform oral sex on Powers during one their trysts. The omission was particularly surprising since Alford recalled the incident in an exclusive interview with Meredith Vieira aired on NBC's Rock Center in February of 2012.
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 This Morning, Charlie Rose and John Dickerson shamelessly defended President Obama's "you didn't build that" comments on business. Rose asserted, "If you look at the full context of that He was talking about building roads to these businesses, and they didn't build the roads."
Dickerson invoked a liberal slogan from the 1990s: "What the President was saying, is it takes a village essentially, to use a cliche from a previous campaign; that no matter what you've done, you've been helped in your life, whether it's by teachers or roads or the policeman on the corner."
During an interview of Obama senior campaign adviser David Axelrod on Wednesday's CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose and Erica Hill bewailed the negative tone of the presidential campaign, hinting that it might turn off voters. However, the anchors let Axelrod rip Mitt Romney's recent foreign policy speech to the VFW without challenge, and failed to ask the adviser about the President's own speech to the organization.
Rose set up Axelrod's tirade against Romney with a beyond softball question - on the GOP candidate's slam of Obama: "'Contemptible conduct'; 'a betrayal' -- where are we?"
Wednesday's CBS This Morning hyped a "groundbreaking" new report from federal government scientists that claims "the first-ever statistical connection between extreme weather and man-made climate change." Correspondent Wyatt Andrews spotlighted how the study "found that man-made heat made the Texas drought roughly 20 times more likely."
Andrews also hinted a connection between climate change and a recent heat wave, even as he explained that "the biggest reason for the record heat is the transition...from the La Nina weather pattern...to this year's warmer pattern, El Nino."
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:
CBS's Jeff Glor confronted David Axelrod on Friday's CBS This Morning over his most recent attack on presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney: "You said that Mitt Romney was the most secretive candidate since Richard Nixon....I think that would strike a lot of people as extreme. Do you stand by those comments?"
Glor also pressed Axelrod on the Obama campaign's "outsourcer-in-chief" attack ads on Romney: "Fact Check, as you know, looked at this, found no evidence that Mitt Romney, while he was still running Bain Capital shipped American jobs overseas. Is it fair to keep those ads on the air?"
NBC's Today kept up its complete omission of the Fast and Furious gun-running controversy on Wednesday, even as a House committee prepared to vote later in the day on whether to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. CBS This Morning stood among the Big Three morning newscasts in devoting a full report to the issue. ABC's Good Morning America gave only a 20-second news brief on the controversy.
Overall, NBC has punted on the story since December 2010, when the scandal first emerged. NBC Nightly News had its own blackout on Fast and Furious until June 12, 2012, when correspondent Kelly O'Donnell finally mentioned "Congress's investigation of a failed operation that sent U.S. guns into Mexico" during a 30-second news brief. The issue hasn't been mentioned since on the evening newscast.
As Newsbusters reported yesterday, the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) network news shows have been stunningly slow to report on the Eric Holder hearings on the Fast and Furious scandal. NBC news hasn’t even reported once on the gunwalking controversy, until last night. On Tuesday’s NBC Nightly News, at the very end of her report, Kelly O’Donnell finally told viewers about “a failed operation that sent US guns into Mexico.” O’Donnell awkwardly attempted to explain the controversy, in 30 seconds, since no one on Nightly News or Today had previously done it.
The only other mention of the Holder hearings came on Wednesday’s edition of CBS's This Morning. ABC skipped the story entirely.
Bob Schieffer didn't think much of the accusation that President Obama is the "campaigner-in-chief" on Friday's CBS This Morning. When anchor Erica Hill wondered if that charge could be "harmful" to the President, Schieffer laughed aloud and replied, "If he raises enough money, it won't hurt him at all."
Just a day earlier on the morning show, correspondent Bill Plante actually pointed out that as of early June, Obama "will have done 153 fundraisers since formally declaring his candidacy for reelection a little over a year ago. That's nearly double the number President Bush had done at the same point in 2004."
"Face The Nation" host Bob Schieffer spotlighted the left's talking points on two issues in the presidential race on Tuesday's CBS This Morning. Schieffer tried to play it down the middle when he stated, "I think most people understand that Mitt Romney is not the robber baron that the Democrats would have you believe." But he immediately added, "Nor is Barack Obama the European socialist that the Republicans would have you believe."
The CBS journalist also contrasted the Obama campaign's line of attack on Romney regarding his leadership with Bain Capital, which was ripped by Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker; with how many Republicans condemned "a plan that some Republicans had to launch this race-baiting campaign, trying to tie the President, once again, to Jeremiah Wright."
Anchor Erica Hill gave actress Jane Lynch a platform on Tuesday's CBS This Morning to laud President Obama's flip-flop on same-sex "marriage." Hill set it up by citing a recent Tweet from the open homosexual: "You weighed in...on Twitter actually and you thanked him [Obama] for the dignity that those words brought you." Lynch gushed, "I really felt it.....It really moved me. It touched me." [audio available here; video below the jump]
Obama supporter and co-anchor Gayle King herself waxed ecstatic over the presidential announcement in her follow-up question to Lynch: "Did you think, he's talking to us?" King also complimented the television personality over her new book, and singled out a detail in it about the "wife" of the actress: "I love, in the book, that you actually have the picture of when you two first met."
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose and Erica Hill touted Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren's past time as "the government's chief watchdog during the 2008 bank bailout" as she was brought on to discuss JP Morgan Chase's $2 billion loss. Rose and Hill asked all of their questions from the left, and completely ommited any mention of the recent controversy over Warren's claim of Native American ancestry.
The anchor set up the Senate candidate to push for more regulations on banks without rebuttal: "It's appropriate to have some government oversight, and notwithstanding the fact that we're just coming out of this huge crisis." Hill even wondered if the banks themselves"should be broken up into smaller entities."
Monday's CBS This Morning brought on former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich to brush off the effect of French socialist Francois Hollande's election on the world economy, despite the immediate decline in global stock markets: "I don't think there's really much danger." Anchor Erica Hill had asked the pundit if there was "a danger in throwing off the French economy and the ripple effect that could have."
Charlie Rose identified Reich as merely a "former labor secretary" and omitted mentioning his former Clinton administration role, along with his left-of-center ideology. The morning show also let the economist appear solo, without bringing on a conservative to appear opposite him during the segment.
On Wednesday, two out of the Big Three broadcast networks yawned at Mitt Romney's wins in five primaries the previous evening and minimized covering this story on the morning newscasts. ABC's Good Morning America didn't air one report on Romney's victories, and NBC's Today offered just two news briefs. By contrast, NBC devoted a full report and a news brief to a woman spilling frozen yogurt on President Obama.
ABC also covered the "embarrassing" yogurt encounter on GMA, but with only one brief. CBS This Morning, on the other hand, devoted one full report and a discussion segment to the Romney win and ignored the dessert story.
Charlie Rose boosted two of the left's talking points about Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Wednesday's CBS This Morning. Rose asked Republican Senator John McCain, "Does Mitt Romney have to redefine himself...against the charges that he's out of touch, and that by endorsing the Ryan budget, it is a prescription for American decline?"
Rose also highlighted how McCain and President Obama both slammed the Court's Citizens United decision. But the Arizona Republican clarified that "I agreed that it was a bad decision, but certainly...I never questioned that they didn't have the right to do that. Apparently, the President doesn't read the Constitution the way some of us do."
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose rolled over and deferred to chief Obama flack David Axelrod and his talking points defending the President's Monday rant against the Supreme Court and its deliberation on his health care law, along with its attacks on Mitt Romney. Rose tossed softball questions at Axelrod, such as, "Tell me what he [Obama] is saying when he talks about judicial activism."
The anchor even boosted Hillary Clinton as a possible 2016 presidential candidate for Democrats during his interview with the Obama aide: "[Nancy Pelosi] said her candidate is Hillary Clinton. She hopes Hillary Clinton will run....Do you expect that she'll be a nominee in- will be a candidate for president in 2016?" [audio available here; video clips below the jump]
CBS This Morning on Thursday gave New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg a platform to boost his pro-gun control agenda. Anchors Erica Hill and Charlie Rose tossed softball questions at the billionaire politician, enabling him spout his liberal talking points in favor of stricter gun regulations. Rose and Hill even let Bloomberg lecture the press about their supposed responsibility to push for gun control.
The mayor forwarded a beyond irrational argument against armed self defense: "Somebody's banging on your door and says, I'm going to come in and kill you...And this guy's got the gun out...You're better off not having a gun." Bloomberg also bizarrely claimed that "America is the only place where there is a murder rate with guns. Other places have criminal problems; other places have murders. But here, it's a unique thing." [audio available here; video below the jump]
On Thursday's CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose shamelessly boosted the Obama campaign's talking point about the economy: "The President will...say, things are in much better shape...so my policies are, at long last, working." When Haley Barbour replied that "the liberal media leads you to think that the economy's getting great," Rose sneered, "I didn't realize you think the Federal Reserve chairman is a liberal media elite" [audio available here; video below the jump].
The CBS anchor also raised Mitt Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom's recent "Etch-A-Sketch" comment with the former Mississippi governor: "You have a candidate who conservatives don't seem to be sure about. And now, you have this Etch-a-Sketch thing. Does that simply make their doubts deeper?"
On Saturday, ABC's Devin Dwyer reported how President Obama gave "a rousing speech to 600 donors in Chicago and closed it with an intimate appeal before 40 'friends' that included...Oprah Winfrey....Oprah was flanked at her table by...longtime friend and companion Gayle King [and] Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett." However, Dwyer failed to mention that King is co-anchor of CBS This Morning.
Though it isn't currently known whether the CBS on-air personality donated to the Obama reelection campaign at this event, she donated $35,800 to the Obama Victory Fund during the third quarter of 2011 - before she started working at CBS - and $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee during the same time period.
CBS This Morning on Tuesday highlighted a recent Pew Research poll that "says politics is now making the Internet very unfriendly....nine percent of social networking users say they've un-friend...or blocked someone whose politics they disagree with." But the morning show failed to mention that the poll explained that "liberals are the most likely...to block, unfriend, or hide."
During her news brief, anchor Erica Hill noted how the left-leaning Daily Beast website reported on the blocking phenomenon. After citing the nine percent figure, Hill added, "Can't we just have a discussion anymore?" It is the left, however, that seems less likely to have that discussion, as the Monday poll found. Researchers Lee Rainie and Aaron Smith noted that "28% of liberals have blocked, unfriended, or hidden someone on SNS [social networking sites]...compared with 16% of conservatives and 14% of moderates."
Charlie Rose and Bob Schieffer were President Obama's Amen corner on the issue of gas prices on Tuesday's CBS This Morning. Rose shamelessly claimed, "The President has a point...There's little that he can do...in the short term to affect gas prices, and gas prices hurts his political chances." Schieffer replied, "That's right on all counts...the problem is...people think there are things he can do about it."
[Update, 4:10 pm Tuesday: Father Grandon wrote NewsBusters to clarify his statement during the segment: "I was very clear during the interview that we convert priests have no interest in agitating for married clergy generally and that, in fact, the Catholic Church has always had married priests in her Eastern Churches, but alas, those comments were edited out. My comment...in no way proposed that change....Yes, much was left unsaid and unexplained, but do please note that I am not on the side of the liberals! In the end, we were happy that the editing was not as malicious as it could have been."]
On Monday's CBS This Morning, correspondent Michelle Miller highlighted one of the 77 married Catholic priests in the U.S. who converted from the Episcopal Church in recent years and boosted a favorite pet cause of left-leaning dissenting Catholics: ordaining married men. Miller trumpeted that Father Doug Grandon's example "begs the question: should all Catholic priests have the option to marry?"
Father Grandon stated that "the most we could say is that having a married priest...allows them to look and see how it would work if they wanted to change it." The morning show's religious and faith contributor, Father Edward Beck, also acknowledged that the several dozen former Episcopalian clerics are "bringing a whole liberal notion with them," but also noted one of the main reasons for Catholic clerical celibacy - that parish priests can devote all 24 hours of each day to their ministry.
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose hinted that Republicans needed to go further in decrying Rush Limbaugh's slam of radical feminist and law student Sandra Fluke. Rose asked Senator John McCain, "Are you satisfied that those Republican officials have gone far enough in condemning these statements?" McCain replied, "Oh, I'll leave that up to pundits like you, Charlie" [audio available here; video below the jump].
The morning newscast also highlighted how "seven companies have pulled commercials from Limbaugh's nationally syndicated show. Online data company Carbonite said the on-air attack crossed the line....Limbaugh had some defenders, but they were drowned out by those protests on the left, and critics on the right."
CBS This Morning on Friday boosted left-wing comedian John Oliver's smear on Rick Santorum, and conservatism in general, where he equated the GOP presidential candidate with a hardcore drug like crack cocaine: "America likes its conservatism cut with plenty of baking powder because one hit of the pure stuff, and you'll wake up with Eric Stoltz...having just plunged an adrenaline needle into your heart."
Anchor Charlie Rose praised the offensive crack, which aired on Thursday's Daily Show: "Don't you love John Oliver?" Erica Hill agreed with her co-anchor, and added, "Always gives us a good laugh. We like that." Later that morning, a post on the far-left website Daily Kos praised Oliver's entire rant as "brilliant," as it supposedly "tells the truth about what the GOP really wants to do" [audio available here; video below the jump].