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.]
CBS's Early Show was the only morning show of the Big Three networks on Monday to cover the controversy over a ranch leased by the family of Texas Governor Rick Perry that formerly used the racist "N" word in its name. Political analyst John Dickerson hinted that the Republican's presidential campaign may not "weather" the controversy, adding that "it's a real problem."
Fill-in anchor Jeff Glor led the 7 am Eastern hour of the CBS program with a teaser on the news story: "Texas Governor Rick Perry faces tough questions over a family hunting camp named with a racial slur. Fellow presidential candidate Herman Cain calls Perry 'very insensitive,' as Perry insists the word were removed decades ago." Nine minutes later, Glor labeled the issue a "race-related firestorm," as he introduced correspondent Jan Crawford's campaign 2012 round-up, which began with the story.
The Big Three networks unequivocally celebrated the end of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy as a "historic moment" on their Tuesday morning programs. CBS's "Early Show" turned to a discharged Air Force major who pushed for further recognition of same-sex couples by the military. NBC's "Today" brought on a homosexual playwright to promote his one-man movie on the policy. ABC's "GMA" only had a news brief on the development, but still highlighted how a magazine is "publishing photos of more than 100 active duty gay and lesbian troops who served in silence until now." None of the programs brought on dissenting voices to advocate the continuation of the policy.
"The Early Show" devoted the most amount of air time to the expiration of the policy, and led the 7 am Eastern hour with a slanted report from correspondent David Martin. Martin played sound bites from President Obama and outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, both opponents of the ban on open homosexuals from serving in the military, but none from supporters:
CBS's Jim Axelrod spotlighted a Michigan high school football team mostly made up of Muslim students on Friday's Early Show and trumpeted the "the strength of this diverse community." An array of student athletes and school officials from Fordson High School in Dearborn, Michigan fought against a phantom of "Islamophobia" that was only vaguely described.
In covering Fordson's custom of holding August practice from midnight to 4 am to be Ramadan-friendly, and despite playing video of students praying in Arabic while in their football uniforms, Axelrod didn't raise the usual ACLU-flagged church-state issues one might find a similar story on devout Christian students upsetting "diversity" in a school setting.
[Video clips from the segment available below the jump.]
CBS's Bill Plante inserted the oft-repeated media spin about the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina into his report on Monday's Early Show. Plante ignored the poor handling of Katrina at the state and local levels, spotlighting instead how "the stranded and homeless wandered the streets of New Orleans" as Bush flew overhead. But three days earlier, CBS brought on former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin as an "expert" on hurricane preparation without mentioning his failures.
Fill-in anchor Jeff Glor stated in his introduction for the correspondent's report that "Irene was not as bad as some thought it might be, but politicians were not taking any chances. They know what happens when government is ill-prepared for disaster." Plante began by spotlighting the Obama administration's response to Hurricane Irene:
Should anything happen to the Obamas' Portugese water dog Bo, perhaps the First Family could adopt Jeff Glor as a pet parrot. The weekend Early Show weekend co-host proved the perfect White House mimic this morning. Glor dutifully echoed the Obama admin line, dismissing as "political" Standard & Poor's downgrade of the US government's credit rating.
In support of his point, Glor twice mockingly referred to the fact that the country of Liechtenstein now has a better credit rating than the US. And your point is, Jeff?
ABC, CBS, and NBC all failed to mention former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's affiliation with the Democratic Party on their Monday evening news broadcasts and the Tuesday morning shows. Blagojevich was convicted by a jury on Monday on 17 out of 20 charges, mainly related to the attempt to sell the Senate seat of President Obama. Only CBS's Early Show noted his party with a "D" on-screen.
NBC devoted the least amount of time to the breaking news, a total of 1 minute and 50 seconds between NBC Nightly News and the Today Show. Brian Williams actually didn't mention the party of the new felon or his predecessor during his report on Monday, but noted that "Blagojevich will become the fourth Illinois governor in recent memory to go to jail. His predecessor, George Ryan, is still in federal prison, also for corruption." The following morning, news anchor Natalie Morales gave three news briefs on Blagojevich, all about 15 seconds long each.
In the '80s the liberal media filled the airwaves with tales of woe from the homeless as a way to distract viewers from the runaway success of Reaganomics. In the 2000s, the same media chatted with one frustrated gas station customer after another to slam then-President George W. Bush.
However in 2011, with over 44 million Americans on food stamps, a new high according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (See Table 2), the Big Three broadcast network news programs have been virtually devoid of anecdotal sob stories of moms and dads struggling to pay for their kids' box of Frosted Flakes, as a way to hammer Barack Obama's failed economic policies.
On Friday, the morning shows of the Big Three networks barely touched on President Obama approving the renewal of key provisions in the Patriot Act, avoiding the kind of criticism they launched during the terms of former President George W. Bush. During that time, the networks often expressed "concern...that civil liberties are threatened as never before" by the law, as CBS Evening News put it in 2003.
ABC's Good Morning America devoted one news brief to the development 17 minutes into 7 am Eastern hour. News anchor Josh Elliott noted how "President Obama signed an extension of the U.S. Patriot Act. He used a device called the auto pen because the bill had to be signed before midnight Washington time." NBC's Today show devoted the most attention to the presidential action with three news briefs from Ann Curry at 15 minutes past the 7 am Eastern hour, and at the top of the 8 and 9 am hours.
On The Early Show, CBS's Jeff Glor's brief on the Patriot Act extension, which aired at the same time as Curry's first brief on NBC, gave the most negative hint against the law of the three networks:
CBS's Jeff Glor failed to mention the Democratic Party affiliation of Rod Blagojevich, as well as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., during a news brief on Wednesday's Early Show. Glor's report was the only mention on the Big Three network morning shows of the former Illinois governor's lawyers calling the former Obama aide and the congressman to testify in his retrial for corruption.
The news anchor noted during his brief that "some big names could be on the stand" and specified that Blagojevich's attorneys would call Emanuel and Jackson, Jr. He then explained that the former governor is "accused of trying to sell the seat of then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama. His first trial ended in a hung jury."
On Friday's Early Show, CBS's Jeff Glor played up West Virginia Democrat Jay Rockefeller's browbeating of an oil company executive during a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee. The Senator interrupted Chevron Corporation CEO John Watson with a sarcastic reply: "Lovely statement, but do you understand how out of touch that is?"
Glor first noted during his news brief 12 minutes into that 7 am Eastern hour that "rising energy costs are likely to be a key issue in next year's election. So on Capitol Hill yesterday, leaders of the five largest private oil companies were grilled by Senate Democrats, who want to repeal the tax breaks that oil companies get." He then played a clip of Watson's testimony right as he was cut off by the liberal politician:
CBS's Early Show on Wednesday played up how opponents of Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan shouted down GOP representatives at recent town hall meetings, but downplayed them as "less than friendly," and marveled at their apparently "poignant" questions. The network also omitted how liberal groups targeted these meetings, and trumpeted the "nasty national shouting match" at health care town hall meetings in 2009.
News anchor Jeff Glor noted how "House Republicans are back home for the first time since passing an aggressive deficit cutting plan, including the architect of that plan, Congressman Paul Ryan." Glor used the "less than friendly" label immediately before playing a clip of an unidentified protester shouting, "Ryan, stop lying!" outside a town hall meeting held by the Republican in Wisconsin, and another of a woman who directly accused him of "screwing our generation and the next generation."
Over two programs totaling two and half hours of air time, ABC allowed only 65 seconds of coverage for Barack Obama's decision to break a campaign promise and try 9/11 terror suspects at Guantanamo and not in a civilian court. In contrast, all the other network evening shows on Monday and morning shows on Tuesday provided full reports.
On Tuesday's Good Morning America on ABC, Juju Chang mildly explained in a news read, "Well, we begin with a legal turnaround for the Obama administration." On Monday's World News, Diane Sawyer delicately described it as a "switch in positions." Reporter Jake Tapper noted the President has "blinked" in the face of criticism and pointed out this was a breaking of a campaign promise. (This brief mention came during a larger story about the 2012 campaign.)
In contrast, CBS's Katie Couric actually provided much stronger language. She began by asserting, "In other news, a lot of people thought it was a terrible idea to put Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other men on trial here in New York City for the 9/11 attacks." Reporter Bob Orr, unlike Chang, labeled it a "stunning reversal" to try suspects at Guantanamo.
On Thursday's CBS Early Show, news reader Jeff Glor declared: "President Obama is ready for March Madness, it appears. He broke out the brackets at the White House yesterday and made his picks in the NCAA basketball tournament." However, he lamented how the commander in chief "Didn't exactly go out on a limb....For his Final Four he chose all number one seeds."
Only moments earlier, Glor received a report from correspondent Mark Phillips in Libya, who described the losing battle rebels were fighting against dictator Moammar Qadhafi. While Glor noted the United Nations was still debating the creation of a no-fly zone to aid the democratic forces, he said nothing of President Obama's unwillingness to "go out on a limb" and lead on the crisis.
During a report on the latest developments in Wisconsin for Wednesday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Cynthia Bowers proclaimed that the 14 Democratic state senators who fled to Illinois to block Governor Walker's budget proposal from passing have "become heroes to protesters." She lamented: "Now comes word, albeit from a Republican, some may be ready to come home and concede."
Bowers used the "hero" label following a sound bite from one of the fugitive state senators, Jon Erpenbach: "For him [Walker] to use dedicated public servants who clear our roads, take care of our sick, teach our kids, as poker chips is ridiculous." At the end of her report, news reader Jeff Glor wondered: "Any timetable right now, as far as you know, of when those Democratic senators might return to Wisconsin?" Bowers replied: "No. But the Senate Majority Leader did indicate to us that some of them want to come home. It's just a matter of how to finesse it, so they don't appear to be the bad guy in this with their constituents, and the protesters."
On Thursday's CBS Early Show, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante seized on a rare instance in which the Obama administration and conservative members of Congress happened to agree on a single budget cut: "It's not very often that the Obama administration finds itself on the same side as Tea Party Republicans when it comes to spending."
The spending in question was funding for the production of jet engines for F-35 fighter aircraft. As Plante described it: "Defense Secretary Gates and the President say it's not necessary. And so do fiscal conservatives." He also noted that cancelling the project was "a defeat for House Speaker John Boehner....Part of it would have been made in his district." The on-screen headline read: "Budget Battle; GOP Fiscal Hawks Torpedo Boehner Pet Project."
During a report on Friday's CBS Early Show, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes emphasized division in the new Republican Congress: "The prospect of a mutiny had sent Republican leaders scrambling to craft an even leaner budget, and make good on their promises to the Tea Party....Just this week, small groups of conservatives defeated two of their own party's measures on the House floor."
Cordes went on to highlight tensions at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington: "Former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld were booed by one faction of attendees. While Donald Trump, who's toying with a presidential run in 2012, took a swipe at his fellow Republican, Congressman Ron Paul." The headline on screen throughout Cordes's report read: "GOP Power Struggle; Agree to Budget Deal After Early In-Fighting." Later in a 7:32AM ET news brief, news reader Jeff Glor similarly declared: "Republicans are closing out a week of infighting."
While both CBS's Early Show and ABC's Good Morning America identified The Huffington Post as a liberal blog when discussing AOL purchasing the web site for $315 million, on NBC's Today, news reader Ann Curry simply described it as an "online news site" co-founded by "pundit" Arianna Huffington.
On Good Morning America, news reader JuJu Chang referred to The Huffington Post as a "top-ten news site" but accurately described it as being "co-founded by liberal commentator Arianna Huffington." The Early Show's Jeff Glor did not label the blog a news site at all and was the most direct in pointing out its ideological slant: "Huffington Post, a left-leaning site, was founded in 2005."
On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, news reader Jeff Glor declared: "Former First Daughter Barbara Bush is taking a very public stand in support of same-sex marriage." After a sound bite was played of Bush doing a video for the left-wing group New Yorkers for Marriage Equality, Glor added: "During his presidency, her father pushed an amendment banning same-sex marriage."
While Glor touted the move on air, on CBSNews.com's Political Hotsheet blog on Tuesday, an article on Bush's advocacy proclaimed: "Barbara has had gay friends dating back at least to her time at Yale University, and her support for same-sex marriage comes as no surprise to her friends. She used to take one gay friend to the White House for dinner with her family when she was in Washington."
On Friday, all three network morning shows expressed sympathy for protestors in London rioting against college tuition increases, despite a Thursday attack on the royal family. While CBS's Early Show, ABC's Good Morning America, and NBC's Today all reported on security concerns over Prince Charles and wife Camilla, each broadcast also lamented Britain's "drastic new budget cuts."
At the top of the Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "There have been these protesters in London for a couple weeks now because tuition hikes for college tuition skyrocketing there." Fill-in co-host Rebecca Jarvis then chimed in by arguing on behalf of the rioters: "Of course they pay very high taxes there so they expect something for those taxes." Later, in an 8:00AM ET hour news brief, anchor Jeff Glor pointed out: "In the last fiscal year, the government spent $60 million on household costs for the royals....But, the government still voted to triple university tuition to $14,000 a year to help control the deficit."
Thursday's network newscasts and Friday's morning shows all ignored the report that an unidentified Democratic House member muttered, "F**k the President" during a closed door meeting on a compromise over taxes. Yet, many journalists professed outrage when Congressman Joe Wilson yelled "You lie" at President Obama in 2009.
ABC's The Note website on Thursday afternoon explained, "An unidentified Democratic lawmaker let slip his frustration at President Obama’s proposed tax compromise, apparently muttering "f**k the president," during a heated debate this morning."
Yet, when GMA reporter Jon Karl covered the story on Friday, he reported more sanitized details of conflict: "...Yesterday, you had the House Democrats actually chanting, 'no, we can't' at a private meeting."
Good Morning America's Jon Karl on Thursday offered misleading, sloppy reporting on a congressional tax deal, bizarrely suggesting that the proposal "slashes" the estate tax. In a follow-up piece, news anchor Juju Chang asserted that many Democrats "are still opposed, especially to the estate tax cut."
In reality, the so-called death tax is currently at zero. Under the deal, it will increase to 35 percent. Karl mangled, "Even Democratic leaders are fuming, especially unhappy with the provision that slashes the tax on inheritances."
On the CBS Early Show, news anchor Jeff Glor spun, "One of [the Democrats'] major objections, that proposal to lower estate taxes." Again, an increase from zero to 35 percent is not "lowering." (If no action had been taken the rate would have returned to 55 percent for individuals worth more than $1 million.) This may be slowing the rate of increase and increasing the exemption rate, but it's hardly "slashing."
Matching the distortion documented in a MRC study posted Tuesday, though under the Obama-congressional GOP compromise income tax rates will remain unchanged for all, fill-in CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor introduced a story by characterizing a “battle over tax cuts” and how at a White House news conference President Obama “said agreeing to cuts for high-income earners was the only way to get middle-class cuts.” Except neither group is getting any income tax “cut” and the agreement simply forestalls a hefty tax hike.
Over on ABC, World News anchor Diane Sawyer’s tease presumed “tax cuts” were under consideration when the alternative to the deal to extend them was not a cut but a tax rate increase: “Talking tough. President Obama tackles his Democratic critics and says Republicans held the middle class tax cuts hostage.”
“A CBS News poll out tonight finds that seven of ten [71%] Americans oppose building a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero,” fill-in CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor announced Wednesday night, but instead of exploring why most think it’s inappropriate to build there, Glor pivoted to how that and “controversies over new mosques in Wisconsin and Kentucky have led some to question is America becoming Islamophobic, a prejudice against Muslims?”
Those “some” started with the wife of the iman behind the Ground Zero mosque, Daisy Khan, who charged on ABC’s This Week, in what is becoming TV’s favorite soundbite of the week: “It's not even Islamophobia, it's beyond Islamophobia, it's hate of Muslims. And we are deeply concerned.”
Glor first went to how “police say anti-Islamic sentiment turned violent,” proven by a single New York City incident, as a “21-year-old man is in police custody tonight charged with attempted murder. Police say he attacked a cab driver after asking if he was a Muslim.” Glor warned “that alleged hate crime took place in the shadow of a heated and divisive debate over whether a mosque should be built near Ground Zero.”
When reporting on the nationality of a criminal from another country who has already been arrested, it normally would be considered unnecessary or even uncalled for to take the extra step of explicitly identifying the suspect’s ethnicity or religious affiliation as well. But, given that Israelis, the vast majority of whom are Jewish, often face sharp criticism and negative press reaction over conflicts with their Arab neighbors – inflaming anti-Semitic sentiment – if an Israeli citizen who is non-Jewish is implicated in a violent crime, informing viewers that he is non-Jewish would seem to be in order.
But so far in the media coverage of serial stabber Elias Abuelazam’s arrest, some major news shows on both broadcast and news networks have avoided explicitly informing viewers that he is not a Jewish Israeli, while others have been more upfront with viewers on the subject. CNN’s The Situation Room, the NBC Nightly News, FNC’s Fox and Friends, and CBS’s The Early Show all have directly relayed to viewers at least once that Abuelazam is an Israeli Arab. But ABC’s World News, the CBS Evening News, FNC’s Fox Report, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN’s American Morning and NBC’s Today show have all avoided such a direct identification of ethnicity.
On Tuesday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Jeff Glor managed to squeeze criticism of a gaffe made by Sarah Palin into a story on a controversial plan to build a mosque just blocks from Ground Zero in New York City: "...on Twitter she called on peaceful Muslims to 'refudiate' the plan....Liberal bloggers pounced on the made-up word and Palin retracted her tweet."
While describing the opposing sides in the debate, Glor noted how Palin "upped an already raucous debate" with her comments on Twitter. After showing her tweet on screen, Glor played a clip of her using the word "refudiate" during a television appearance. He noted her response to criticism: "'Shakespeare liked to coin new words, too.'" Glor then clumsily shifted back to the topic at hand: "Grammatical debates aside, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has come out firmly in support of the plan."
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."