CBS used its Sunday evening and Monday morning newscasts to keep the spotlight on the question of a "possible cover-up" surrounding the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Jeff Glor led CBS Evening News with the scoop from earlier in the day on Face the Nation – that a "career U.S. diplomat is raising new questions" about the Obama administration's claim that the attack spontaneously erupted in response to an early protest in Egypt.
Monday's CBS This Morning also aired a report on this latest development on the September 11, 2012 attack. Meanwhile, ABC and NBC have yet to pick up on the veteran diplomat's allegations, despite the fact that he is set to testify publicly to Congress on the issue on Wednesday.
The NBC, ABC, and CBS morning shows on Monday all touted President Obama seemingly calling for more gun control during a Sunday night vigil for the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting. NBC's Today provided the most hype as correspondent Lester Holt proclaimed: "While he offered words of comfort, he also laid down a political gauntlet....sketching the outlines of what amounted to a policy statement on gun violence."
Holt acknowledged: "He did not utter the words 'gun control,' but his message could set the stage for such a debate." Speaking to co-host Savannah Guthrie later on the broadcast, Holt observed: "He didn't talk specifics, Savannah. But you got the sense that he was laying down a political gauntlet, saying perhaps it's time now to look at this issue of gun violence from all perspectives, political risks laid to the side." Guthrie replied: "Well, we'll see what happens when lawmakers get started in January with the new term."
All three morning shows on Wednesday touted White House talking points linking Mitt Romney to a Republican Senate candidate in Indiana who, while speaking about "the horrible situation of rape," called life a "gift from God." Only one program, CBS This Morning, seemed to notice how closely this story mirrored Democratic spin.
As though he was referencing a connection to a criminal, former Democratic operative George Stephanopoulos intoned, "Mitt Romney catching some flak for his ties to a GOP Senate candidate making controversial comments about abortion and rape in a Tuesday debate." Trying to make trouble, reporter David Muir asserted that the GOP campaign is "trying to distance itself from a Senate candidate that Romney endorsed, did a TV ad for." Muir needled, "The [Romney] campaign did not say whether it would ask [Richard] Mourdock to take down this ad." CBS's Norah O'Donnell speculated that the remark could cost Republicans a shot at "control of the Senate." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King applauded colleague Nancy Cordes for her "great question" to President Obama on Monday about a dishonest ad from a supporting super PAC that blamed Mitt Romney for a woman's cancer death. However, they failed to mention Cordes's earlier question on how Obama's campaign has "suggested that Mr. Romney might be a felon for the way that he handed over power of Bain Capital."
The President falsely claimed that "nobody accused Mr. Romney of being a felon" in his answer to Cordes, an additional detail that went unnoticed by the CBS on-air personalities. Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager, made the felony suggestion on July 12, 2012: "Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature, was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony, or he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people."
The broadcast networks promoted gay activists’ protest of the fast food company Chick-fil-A, but when that protest fizzled, they did little to cover the failure.
ABC’s Steve Osunsami hyped the protests ahead of time, saying “nearly 100,000 friends and family have been invited online.” After the apparent lack of turnout at the kiss-in, however, the networks stopped reporting on the protest. Only ABC briefly mentioned the results of the kiss-in, after all three networks talked about the protests on the morning of Aug. 3.
CBS couldn’t resist taking one parting bite at Chick-fil-A. On Aug. 6, CBS “This Morning” anchors Gayle King and Jeff Glor highlighted a lesbian chef’s “Chick on Chick Filet,” made with “loving chicken breasts,” a “honey mustard witness,” and “tolerant fries.”
Anchor Jeff Glor reported: “The Houston Press tells us about a restaurant weighing in on the Chick-fil-A same-sex marriage controversy. Beaver’s Restaurant in Houston, which is owned by a lesbian chef, created a special sandwich. The Chick on Chick Filet is described as ‘two loving chicken breasts married on toasty buns with a honey mustard witness and joined in celebration with tolerant fries.’ Their words. Long story short: That’s a sandwich.” Anchor Gayle King responded, laughing: “I’d give it a try.” (Video after the jump.)
Sunday's CBS Evening News and the NBC Nightly News tried to spin negatively a vague statement by Mitt Romney advisor Dan Senor that the GOP presidential candidate would "respect" the Israeli government's decision if it chose to attack militarily Iran's nuclear capability, suggesting that the Romney campaign's words amounted to a criticism of the Obama administration, and thus a breach of protocol that American politicians in a foreign land should not criticize the U.S. government.
But the effort to paint the statement into a gaffe contrasts with the media silence in July 2008 when then-Senator Barack Obama, during a trip to Israel as he campaigned for the White House, claimed to be a member of a Senate committee on which he did not serve, in an effort to portray himself as tough on Iran, as he tried to take credit for the actions of the Senate Banking Committee.
CBS This Morning went after Governor Rick Scott (R-Fla.) on Thursday, throwing an Orlando Sentinel op-ed and a PolitiFact report at him and challenging him to answer just why ObamaCare wasn't the best option for his state to follow.
CBS questioned the governor over his opposition to Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid in Florida, and his refusal to follow the law. "But you have the third highest rate of residents without health insurance," CBS's Jeff Glor told Scott. "So I wonder if the ACA is not the right way to do things, what is?" [Video below the break.]
The weekday edition of CBS Evening News with anchor Scott Pelley bizarrely paid no attention to the campaign finance trial of 2004 Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards until the jury declared a mistrial on all but one count on May 31, 2012. By contrast, the evening news program devoted a full report to the first day of the trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on Monday.
Pelley's omission also stands out on his own network. CBS This Morning aired multiple segments on the Edwards case between April 23, the first day of the trial, and June 1, 2012, when the morning show aired a full report from correspondent Ann Werner, along with a discussion segment with Erin Moriarty of 48 Hours.
On Sunday's CBS Evening News, John Dickerson candidly admitted that a failed recall attempt of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker "would be a big blow" to the unions, and that it "would be a sign to any Republican contemplating similar action to limit unions that you could survive, and Walker will become the poster child and hero of that effort." Poster child?
Dickerson predicted that there "would be a lot of infighting in Democratic circles, with unions saying the national Democratic parties and their president didn't do enough" if Walker won. But he immediately added a more sunny spin, that "it might galvanize union supporters for the presidential election, on the theory that they're under threat and they need a president who's on their side. "
Sunday's CBS Evening News refreshingly spotlighted the continuing persecution of the Coptic Christians in Egypt, an ongoing story that the Big Three networks have largely ignored for months. Correspondent Elizabeth Palmer zeroed in on the uncertain future for the religious minority as the country gears for a rare election: "[Egypt's] Christians are deeply worried....Two of the frontrunners in the race with a realistic chance of winning are deeply devout Islamists."
The last time CBS reported on the anti-Christian violence in Egypt was a news brief on the October 9, 2011 edition of Evening News, according to a Nexis search. Since January 2011, ABC, NBC, and CBS's morning and evening newscasts have only mentioned the issue six times.
In an interview that aired on Friday's CBS This Morning, conservative rocker Ted Nugent let loose at CBS correspondent Jeff Glor when Glor suggested he was extreme. "I'm an extremely loving, passionate man, and people who investigate me honestly, without the baggage of political correctness, ascertain the conclusion that I'm a damn nice guy," he ranted before unleashing a torrent of profanity.
CBS was aghast at conservative rocker Ted Nugent's on-camera outburst during an exclusive interview, but the same network treated profane comedian Bill Maher like the voice of reason when it read from his op-ed back on March 22. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Deaths, guns, whistle-blowers and the highest law officer in the land stonewalling a congressional investigation are the juicy ingredients of a story network news reporters would love to cover – if a Republican were in office. However, when Attorney General Eric Holder testified on Thursday (February 2) before a House oversight committee investigating Operation Fast and Furious, the news was completely ignored by NBC and ABC (there was one full story on Friday’s CBS This Morning). The virtual blackout of Holder’s testimony continues an overall trend of ABC and NBC burying one of the Obama administration’s biggest scandals, despite continual coverage by their competitors at CBS, CNN and Fox News.
MRC analysts reviewed the Big Three network evening and morning news shows and found that while CBS aired 29 stories and 1 brief on Fast and Furious, ABC aired only one brief on the June 15, 2011 edition of Good Morning America. That was still better than what NBC did on their morning and evening news programs, as the gunwalking story has never been mentioned on either NBC Nightly News or the Today show. NBC’s Miguel Almaguer, in a report primarily about a Mexican mother accusing border patrol agents of killing her 17-year old son as he tried to scale a wall, did note that “In December, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in a shootout with bandits.” However, Almaguer never tied the Terry killing back to the gunwalking scandal.
On Thursday's The Early Show, CBS hosted a guest who implicated climate change as one of the factors contributing to many weather disasters in 2011, and he ended up warning of more droughts in the future. After asserting that 2011 was an unusually active year for natural disasters, Dr. M. Sanjayan of the Nature Conservancy including climate change in the list of influences:
Reporting on the campaigns in Iowa on Friday's Early Show, Times political correspondent Jeff Zeleny belittled candidate Michele Bachmann as "a little bit combustible and volatile."
Zeleny added that "Anyone knows what she could do," in response to CBS anchor Jeff Glor's question about the potential for a candidate to do something before the Iowa Caucus to change the GOP race. [Video below the break.]
Wednesday's CBS Evening News featured a report by correspondent Mark Strassmann playing up the reservations that some are having about the new law to strictly enforce immigration laws in Alabama.
After noting that a poll supposedly shows that Latino voters are dissatisfied because the Obama administration has deported record numbers of illegal immigrants, substitute anchor Jeff Glor introduced Strassmann's piece by playing up the "second thoughts" that some supporters of the law are having: "Mark Strassmann went to Alabama, where some are having second thoughts now about a tough new law."
On Wednesday's Early Show, CBS somehow thought a Democratic super PAC's cynical ad aimed at discouraging Republican primary voters from voting for Mitt Romney was newsworthy. Correspondent Chip Reid outlined that Romney's French-speaking ability might be "political poison," and cited how French fries were renamed "freedom fries" in 2003 and how John Kerry was accused of looking French in 2004 [audio clips available here; video below the jump].
Fill-in anchor Rebecca Jarvis stated in the introduction to Reid's report that "something from Mitt Romney's past is coming back to haunt him...Apparently, he speaks French." Co-anchor Jeff Glor added that "apparently, speaking French is not a plus when you're running for president."
ABC, NBC, and CBS all reported on former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich receiving a 14-year prison sentence for corruption on their evening news programs on Wednesday and their morning shows on Thursday, but only CBS's Early Show gave his Democratic affiliation. ABC devoted only 3 news briefs total to the conviction, while NBC Nightly News and The Early Show aired full reports.
News anchor Jeff Glor introduced correspondent Michelle Miller's report on the CBS morning program at the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour by stating that "Rod Blagojevich is paying a very high price for corruption. Is it too high? In Chicago Wednesday, a judge sentenced the former Illinois governor to 14 years in prison"
The Big Three network morning shows on Wednesday highlighted the upcoming sentencing of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, but only CBS's Early Show identified the disgraced politician as a Democrat and devoted a full segment to him. ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today omitted his party ID, and just gave news briefs on the convict's possible sentence.
CBS correspondent Cynthia Bowers wasted little time before noting that "the former Democratic governor was convicted on 18 counts of corruption, after being caught on a profanity-laced federal wiretap offering political favors in return for financial gain." Bowers played two sound bites from the wiretap recording, including the infamous "bleeping golden" clip from Blagojevich.
On Monday's Early Show, CBS's John Dickerson and Time's Joe Klein harped on Newt Gingrich's overwhelming "liabilities." Klein hinted that the former House Speaker's ego would get the better of him: "This is a guy who cannot stand prosperity....[He] cannot control his ego when he is riding high." Dickerson played up how Gingrich's "negatives were very, very high when he left Washington in the mid-'90s."
Fill-in anchor Jeff Glor asked the CBS political director, "What are the chances Newt Gingrich is the nominee?" Dickerson punted on making a prediction, but borrowed a line from colleague Jan Crawford, stating that "he has a great deal of baggage." When co-anchor Rebecca Jarvis followed up by asking about how the Obama reelection campaign saw the former Speaker, he raised the "likeability" issues with Newt:
The Big Three network morning shows on Monday all reported on the possible showdown between Occupy L.A. protesters and the LAPD. NBC's Today and CBS's Early Show highlighted that the left-leaning demonstrators held a "block party" as they defied law enforcement. All three media outlets also played up the supposedly "peaceful" nature of the protest, while ignoring other media reports of violence.
On Saturday's Good Morning America, ABC's Ron Claiborne claimed that "unlike other cities, the ['Occupy'] protests there in L.A. have been peaceful." However, Kate Linthicum of the Los Angeles Times noted in a November 5, 2011 article that "police were called to two violent incidents at Occupy Los Angeles on Friday, adding to questions about the protest and its future."
CBS's Early Show on Wednesday boosted a claim by Democrats that a recent Mitt Romney ad takes a line from a 2008 speech by then-candidate Barack Obama out of context. However, CBS noted at that time that Obama was using that line to counter a McCain campaign ad which played up the Democrat's association with left-wing terrorist Bill Ayers.
Anchor Erica Hill raised the controversy over the Romney ad towards the end of a segment with political correspondent Jan Crawford about the most recent Republican presidential debate. After playing the relevant part of the commercial, which includes a clip of Obama stating that "if we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose," Hill asked, "A lot of controversy over that ad, Jan. Why?"
The network morning shows on Thursday took a mostly light-hearted look at clothing company Benetton's ad campaign featuring the Pope kissing a Muslim cleric. The ads, which have now been pulled under legal pressure, were summarized by Good Morning America's Josh Elliott. He parroted, "It was part of Benetton 's Unhate campaign, challenging people to have the courage not to hate."
Elliott described the company's removal of the ad as "bowing to pressure from the Vatican." None of the networks, however, mentioned any possible negativity from Muslims. Only NBC's Today referred to them as "very, very controversial," with fourth hour co-host Hoda Kotb blanching, "Put your breakfast down. Because you're going to want to."
On Wednesday, all three network morning shows found time to tout the defeat of an Ohio law curbing union power in Tuesday's election, while ignoring passage of another ballot initiative that made the ObamaCare heath insurance mandate illegal in the state.
On NBC's Today, news anchor Natalie Morales declared: "In Ohio, voters rejected a new law that would limit the collective bargaining rights of some 350,000 unionized public workers. Labor unions there are calling the news their biggest victory in decades." On ABC's Good Morning America, Josh Elliott similarly announced the "big victory for labor unions." On CBS's The Early Show, Jeff Glor described how "voters handed union workers a victory."
The same networks that ignored sexual allegations against Democrats for months all leaped on Tuesday to interview Sharon Bialek and her liberal advocate Gloria Allred on the morning after she came forward. Between them, ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC devoted over 21 minutes to Bialek, who accused GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain of groping her over a decade ago. CNN had Bialek on for eight and a half minutes, and played up how Rush Limbaugh apparently said "not so nice things" about her [audio clips available here; video below the jump].
CBS's The Early Show gave the softest interview, failing to mention the accuser's past bankruptcies or Allred's liberal political leanings, something the other three at least mentioned. Anchor Jeff Glor asked Bialek if she would still vote for Cain if he became the GOP presidential nominee, only after her attorney, Gloria Allred, mentioned that her client was a registered Republican. None of the interviewers raised why Bialek had been fired by the National Restaurant Association before her meeting with Cain (correspondent Jan Crawford noted the firing in a setup piece on CBS).
On Monday's Early Show, CBS's Jan Crawford spotlighted conservative criticism of the broad media coverage of the Herman Cain sexual harassment charges. Crawford stated that Cain's "testy exchange" with reporters "could help...because a lot of conservatives...think there's this huge liberal bias against conservatives. You know, the media didn't cover Bill Clinton...like they're doing Herman Cain."
The correspondent noted the right-leaning argument in response to a statement from anchor Erica Hill about a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll that had Cain just barely behind Mitt Romney at the front of the GOP presidential pack: "It would seem these allegations didn't have much of an impact in the latest polling." Just prior to this, the morning show played a sound bite of Cain refusing to answer a reporter's question on the controversy at a weekend press conference.
The morning shows of ABC, CBS, and NBC on Tuesday devoted just 19 seconds to the arrests of 75 people in northern California, after police evicted Occupy Oakland from their encampment in front of city hall there. The Early Show devoted a news brief to the story during its last half hour, noting the violent reaction from some of the protesters. Good Morning America and the Today show both punted.
News anchor Jeff Glor gave the news brief 35 minutes into the 8 am Eastern hour, and reported that "police are confronting 'Occupy Oakland' protesters this morning in northern California...Officers were sent before dawn to kick out about 300 demonstrators who have been camped out in downtown Oakland. Some protesters threw rocks and bottles. Police responded in some cases by making arrests, tearing down tents, and firing tear gas."
CBS's Early Show on Thursday stood out as the only Big Three network program that covered what anchor Jeff Glor labeled as Vice President Biden's "controversial comments linking rape and the jobs bill," where he attacked the GOP for opposing the legislation. ABC and NBC's morning shows on Thursday didn't air anything on the story, and none of the networks' evening news shows on Wednesday reported on it.
Despite correspondent Bill Plante's full report on Biden's attack on the GOP, which included a sound bite of the Democrat standing by his comments after a question from Human Events editor Jason Mattera, Face The Nation host Bob Schieffer all but defended the Vice President's remarks: "I think the Vice President is just drawing things in the starkest possible terms...it is a little bit difficult to argue with the logic. If you have fewer police on the streets, you're probably going to have more crime."
CBS's Early Show on Wednesday somehow couldn't find time for any Republicans to comment on the most recent GOP presidential debate, and instead, brought on David Axelrod, the chief strategist for President Obama's reelection campaign, to bash the GOP. Anchors Erica Hill and Jeff Glor gave Axelrod the kid glove treatment, instead of pressing him about the issues that may negatively affect the President.
Glor began with the simplest question possible to the presidential advisor: "What did you think of the debate last night? Let's start with that." As one might expect, Axelrod bashed the Republican field in general and Herman Cain, Rick Perry, and Mitt Romney specifically. When the Democrat then singled out the former Massachusetts governor for further criticism, the anchor followed up by asking, "You've had some of your strongest words for Romney. Is he still your primary focus right now?"
On Monday's Early Show, CBS took advantage of Americans' love of coffee to hype climate change, bizarrely claiming that "your morning cup might be heading toward extinction." Contributor Taryn Winter Brill turned to a left-leaning organization to reinforce the claim that climate change "could have a devastating effect on future coffee production."
Fill-in anchor Jeff Glor teased Winter Brill's report by stating that "the top scientist at Starbucks says climate change threatens to severely limit coffee production around the world for decades." As he introduced the segment, he went even further by using the "extinction" line. The contributor explained that it was actually "the director of sustainability for Starbucks [who] said that climate change is threatening the world's coffee supply" [video clips from the segment available below the jump; audio available here.]