Chris Matthews devoted a segment during his MSNBC show Hardball on Wednesday evening to the tragic shooting death of a firearms instructor at a Arizona gun range after a nine-year-old girl accidently shot him with an Uzi submachine gun. Instead of discussing how tragic this incident was or possible safety measures to take in the future, Matthews and his guests chose to rail against the National Rifle Association (NRA) for somehow being connected to this terrible incident.
At the conclusion of the six-and-a-half-minute segment, Matthews shamefully declared: “This is the slippery slope, what we're watching. This is where you get when you go all the way with gun rights. All the way is what it looks like – take a look at that girl. That's a slippery slope to hell.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
CBS This Morning journalists on Wednesday pushed a new San Francisco tax on buses as a symbol of "income inequality" and failed to identify a liberal organization supporting the move. The progressive city approved a $1 per stop tax on tech company buses that transport employees to the Silicon Valley. CBS journalist John Blackstone lectured, "The private buses have become symbols of income inequality and the belief that well paid tech workers are to blame for steeply rising rents." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Talking to Cynthia Crews, identified in the segment as a "San Francisco resident," Blackstone sympathized, "So, a dollar a stop doesn't seem like much." Blackstone featured Crews insisting, "The shuttles, the tech companies are not paying their fair share." According to the Canadian Globe and Mail, Crews is "a representative of the San Francisco League of Pissed-Off Voters." That group's website features endorsements, like this one for city attorney: "A progressive City Attorney would have more guts to stand up to the fat cat companies...who get way too many breaks in this town."
Friday's CBS This Morning hyped the California Supreme Court's decision to allow the Golden State to issue law license to illegal immigrants. Substitute anchor Anthony Mason touted the "historic ruling that could give millions of undocumented workers new freedom." Norah O'Donnell trumpeted how "supporters of undocumented immigrants are praising an unprecedented ruling."
O'Donnell later underlined "the decision that could...open new doors for millions." John Blackstone featured two soundbites from the new lawyer – Sergio Garcia – whose parents "brought him here illegally from Mexico when he was 17 months old," but none from opponents of the ruling [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump].
Scott Pelley hyped the latest United Nations global warming report on Wednesday's CBS Evening News, proclaiming that "climate scientists have never seen greenhouse gas readings like what they announced today....scientists with the United Nations said that greenhouse gases, which influence climate change, have hit their highest level in 800,000 years – mostly because industry is ramping up in the developing world".
John Blackstone underlined the supposed apocalyptic nature of this finding. He asked a University of California, Berkeley researcher Daniel Kammen if it was "too late" to do anything about climate change. However, Blackstone failed to mention that this sole talking head has advised President Barack Obama on energy policy. He just noted Kammen's academic affiliation: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
John Blackstone promoted Hillary Clinton's potential 2016 presidential run on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, and minimized the ongoing questions about her leadership before, during, and after the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. For opposition, Blackstone merely noted that "a new ad, just released by the GOP, criticizes Clinton's handling of the terrorist attack in Benghazi", without further explaining the issue.
The correspondent also buried the staunchly pro-abortion and partisan stance of Emily's List. He vaguely labeled the pro-Democratic PAC a "group that promotes women candidates."
On Sunday's CBS Evening News, John Blackstone spotlighted the sob story of fourth graders who are lobbying President Obama to allow the return of their former classmate, Rodrigo Guzman, who was deported with his family back to Mexico. Blackstone sympathized with the schoolchildren who "hope to visit Washington, to personally lobby for Rodrigo's return."
The correspondent trumpeted the children's cause: "The students' activism shouldn't be surprising, perhaps, in a class where they've been studying civil rights leaders." The only soundbites that Blackstone played during the report came from the fourth grade teacher and students at Guzman's former school in the leftist enclave of Berkeley, California [audio available here; video below the jump]
NBC has yet to cover a major shift by the Obama administration that would halt deportation of illegal immigrants who have not committed a crime. According to the Washington Times, up to 300,000 cases could be impacted by this decision.
Despite ignoring the development, NBC did find time to cover the story of Boris, the 550 pound pig. Natalie Morales explained, "His owners have him on a diet and he's dropped an impressive 75 pounds."
CBS's John Blackstone apparently couldn't find many opponents of imposing sales taxes on online retailers for his report on Thursday's Early Show, as all but one of his sound bites came from proponents. Blackstone also warned that "states that are already suffering under huge budget deficits will lose more than $11 billion in uncollected sales taxes next year."
The correspondent first outlined that "for many online shoppers, the checkout screen noting zero sales tax seems a good reason to buy on the Internet. But now, a new law in California requires online retailers to collect sales tax. And Amazon, the world's biggest Internet retailer, with 34 billion [dollars] in sales last year, isn't happy." He then played two clips from a member of California's "board of equalization," which oversees the state's sales, alcohol, and tobacco taxes, who vouched for the new levy: "You have the obligation to collect the tax on behalf of the consumer, and remit it to the State of California."
Pedro Ramirez knows his “future depends on” President Barack Obama’s success in passing “immigration reform,” specifically the “Dream Act,” CBS’s John Blackstone asserted in a Tuesday night story which corroborated the need for Obama’s quest by holding up Ramirez as an innocent victim.
“He is student body president at California State University at Fresno where he'll graduate this month following years of accomplishment,” Blackstone heralded, “until his parents admitted to him they've been living here illegally since he was three years old. Last year he joined other young undocumented immigrants pushing for passage of the Dream Act. It would award legal residency to children brought to America before they were 16 as long as they graduate from high school and go on to college or the military.”
Linking Ramirez’s plight to Obama’s policy solution, Blackstone asserted: “On the Texas border today, the President called for those who want immigration reform to help push an entrenched Congress.”
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, correspondent John Blackstone reported on the growing influence of Latino voters, making sure to focus on Republican setbacks: "They favor Democrats over Republicans, 62 to 25 percent....in Nevada, Latinos were urged not to vote in a controversial ad....created by a conservative Latino group, seemed designed to help Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle."
Blackstone went on to deride Angle's campaign: "In ads promising to get tough on illegal immigration, Angle has been accused of stereotyping Latinos and in a much-viewed video she told Hispanic students some of them looked Asian." He then turned to problems in Meg Whitman's California gubernatorial campaign: "...immigration became an issue when Meg Whitman's undocumented housekeeper went public about being fired after working nine years for Whitman."
Blackstone touted the fact that "Among none-Latino voters she's in a dead heat with Jerry Brown at 48 percent each. But add in Latinos, and Brown has a five-point edge, 49 percent to 44 percent."
In a report on Friday's CBS Early Show, correspondent John Blackstone described the fallout of a decision by California Judge Vaughn Walker to lift his stay on gay marriages after overturning Proposition 8: "Inside San Francisco City Hall dozens of same-sex couples lined up for marriage licenses, anticipating their wedding day." A headline on screen declared: "Save the Date."
Blackstone explained how gay couples were still upset that the stay would not be lifted until August 18: "Despite a celebration here, these advocates know this may be just a temporary opening. And it turned out it wasn't opened yet....Among the disappointed couples was one of those who filed the lawsuit challenging California's ban on same-sex marriage."
Finally taking note of critics of the initial Proposition 8 ruling and the lifting of the stay, Blackstone remarked: "The delay gives opponents time to appeal and a political issue." The only sound bite of a critic was that of Maggie Gallagher from the National Organization for Marriage: "The extreme nature of this decision is, in fact, going to impact the elections in 2010."
Blackstone then concluded his report this way: "Polls show a majority of Americans oppose same-sex marriage, but in California, where there were 18,000 such marriages two years ago, plenty of wedding plans are now being made for next week." He made no mention of the majority of Californians also being opposed.
In a report on Arizona's immigration law for CBS's Sunday Morning, correspondent John Blackstone declared: "In the heat of the Arizona summer, America's long-simmering immigration debate is boiling over." He portrayed it as the latest wave of anti-immigrant sentiment: "The often-angry debate....whether yet another influx of outsiders can be accepted into a nation of immigrants."
At the top of the program, the Early Show's Harry Smith, filling in for host Charles Osgood, teased Blackstone's report this way: "'The New Colossus' is the name of the Emma Lazarus poem about the Statue of Liberty, the poem that speaks of a 'golden door' for immigrants to America. S.B.1070 is the name of the Arizona law that critics say betrays that promise, but which supporters say is necessitated by a tide of illegal immigration."
As Blackstone introduced his report later, a series of newspaper headlines flashed on screen: "Ariz. immigration law creates rift; Obama Blasts Arizona Law; Arizona Enacts Stringent Law on Immigration." He then profiled one illegal immigrant: "...the immigration debate...means everything to 23-year-old Hermann. He's an undocumented immigrant we met at a church gathering....The current atmosphere leaves Hermann nervous but eager to tell his story." A clip was played of Hermann fretting: "For eight years, I've been in the shadows, you know. It's been to a point where you're almost paranoid, walking around."
On Thursday's Early Show, correspondent John Blackstone reported on a federal judge blocking several provisions in Arizona's new immigration law: "The judge's ruling seemed to answer the prayers of many in Arizona's immigrant communities." Footage of two women crying and praying at a protest against the law followed his declaration.
Blackstone began his report by noting that protestors "are already beginning to gather for more protests today against Arizona's new law. They know that even with the court ruling yesterday...there will be an appeal, that their battle is not over." During the segment, the headline on screen read: "Border Battle; Judge Blocks Part of Controversial Immigration Law."
Continuing to highlight opposition to the law, Blackstone focused one woman: "Waitress Yessica Perez is a U.S. citizen, but she feared the law would make her a target for police." He then inaccurately claimed that the law "would have required police to check the immigration status of virtually anyone they suspected of being here illegally." Blackstone never explained that police could only question someone's status after stopping them for a legal violation. Meanwhile, a clip was played of Perez fretting: "I heard of people that they didn't want to go out, just grocery shopping. They were worried they were going to be pulled over just because – because of this law."
For the second consecutive weeknight, the CBS Evening News on Monday framed Arizona’s new anti-illegal immigrant bill around the fears and charges of its supposed victims. With “ANGER & ANXIETY” on screen below video of signs hostile to the new law (“LAND OF THE FREE! REALLY?” and a Swastika sign with “Achtung! Papers Please”), Katie Couric teased: “Anger in Arizona against a new law allowing police to make you prove you’re in the country legally” – followed by a man who impugned supporters: “They’re just focusing on us because we’re brown.”
Couric soon set up CBS’s story by relaying how “opponents say it will lead to racial profiling” as she didn’t pass judgment on their vandalism when she reported “some of those opponents vandalized the state capitol building, smearing refried beans in the shape of swastikas on the windows.” (Talk about fulfilling a stereotype)
John Blackstone presented arguments in favor of the law, but delivered his story through the eyes of sympathetic, if misinformed, people who see themselves as victims. “Kym Rivera brought her children to a demonstration today against Arizona's new immigration law. Her husband, born in El Salvador was sworn in as a citizen last October,” but “she fears he'll become a suspect when police are searching for illegal immigrants under the new law.” She baselessly asserted: “He worries he'll be asked to leave this country because he was not born here. That he'll be separated from his children, from his wife of 15 years.”
Blackstoned moved on to “19-year-old Junior Perez,” the same guy in the opening tease, who “has heard the assurances that the law is aimed only at illegal immigrants. He's not convinced,” and, corroborating his fear, Blackstone insisted that “in a state where more than 30 percent of the population is Hispanic, many feel the sting of racism in the new law.” Perez charged: “They’re just focusing on us because we're brown. So, it's just devastating.”
On Thursday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent John Blackstone gave attention to the danger for small businesses if the final version of health care reform requires employers to provide health insurance for their employees as he highlighted two business owners – one who fears health care reform could close down his night club business while the other is more optimistic about how her business would be affected. Substitute anchor Jeff Glor set up the report: "As we mentioned earlier, the health care bill passed by the Senate today would extend coverage to 30 million Americans. A key element is a mandate forcing many companies to pay for their workers' insurance or pay a fine – a very difficult choice for struggling small business owners."
Blackstone related that "the prescription for change includes some bitter medicine, mandates requiring companies to pay for health insurance or pay a fine." While Blackstone at one point argued that small business owners are likely to benefit "from insurance exchanges in the reform plans which should hold down premiums in many cases by helping small businesses join together for greater buying power," the CBS correspondent also gave substantial attention to nightclub owner Jay Siegan’s fears that " the music will go silent if he's required to provide insurance."
Allegedly a hacker broke into the University's computer system and posted thousands of emails and documents showing an effort by scientists, some on the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), whose research has had a profound impact in shaping U.S. policy proposal on efforts to curb so-called anthropogenic climate change. Those emails and documents revealed an effort by some the scientists to manipulate data to exaggerate the threat of global warming and that has even prompted Sen. James Inhofe, Okla., the ranking Republican on the U.S. Senate's Environment and Public Works committee to call for an investigation.
Such a story would seem to be a no-brainer for the ABC, CBS and NBC to pick up on, but their Nov. 24 broadcasts failed to do so. What did they opt for instead? A sea lion glut in San Francisco, an orphaned moose in Vermont and the meal selection on the President's State Dinner.
On Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent John Blackstone presented the view that cutting greenhouse gas emissions is necessary to save birds from global warming, as the report related that migration patterns have changed as a result of rising temperatures. Blackstone vaguely relayed that Audubon scientists somehow "found" that "reducing greenhouse gas emissions" could be beneficial to birds: "Here in California, Audubon scientists went beyond measuring bird movement to look for solutions. They found that reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming could make a dramatic difference for many birds."
Katie Couric introduced the piece: "Meanwhile, global warming has a new warning sign. Instead of heading South, many birds are going North for the winter. A report released today only proves what birders already know: Many species are responding to climate change."
On Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, even after Katie Couric introduced a story about Israel’s election which will determine the next prime minister as being "too close to call," correspondent Richard Roth’s report spent more time focusing on the popularity of center-left Kadima party candidate Tzipi Livni – whom the report linked to Barack Obama – and featured positive soundbites of her supporters, but devoted little time to her conservative Likud party rival and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom Roth briefly presented as a "hitch" to Livni becoming Israel's leader.
In her introduction, Couric labeled Netanyahu as a "hardline" candidate: "In Israel they're counting votes in an election that remains too close to call. Late tonight, hardline candidate Benjamin Netanyahu claimed victory, but exit polls show Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in front. Despite that, Richard Roth tells us the process of choosing a new prime minister is far from over."
On CBS’s Sunday Morning, host Charles Osgood teased a story on politician Harvey Milk, who was the first gay man elected to San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors in 1977: "The story of a rebel with a cause is being retold in the form of a just-released motion picture. And as it happens, the timing could hardly be more appropriate." The movie, starring left-wing actor Sean Penn, is set to come out just after the 30th anniversary of Milk’s murder, as correspondent John Blackstone explained: "He became the first openly gay man elected to office in the United States. A breakthrough that ended with assassination. Harvey Milk served less than a year here on San Francisco's Board of Supervisors but it was a year that changed history."
Blackstone, who has done numerous stories on Californians efforts to legalize gay marriage, made a comparison between Milk’s election and the current battle over Proposition 8: "In California, the renewed battle over same sex marriage has echoes in a new movie about triumph and tragedy in San Francisco 30 years ago...It is an accident of timing. Just as gay right activists have taken to the streets, angry over the ban on same sex marriage in California, the struggle for gay rights has also moved to the big screen."
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen praised Barack Obama’s election as the first African-American president but lamented the passage of California’s Proposition 8, preventing gay marriage: "One barrier falls, another returns. Married gays in legal limbo protest through the night as California voters ban same-sex unions." At the top of the 8AM hour, correspondent John Blackstone reported: "In disappointment, supporters of same-sex marriage gathered in Los Angeles last night, after the hard-fought campaign over California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage, they were on the losing side, but not ready to give up."
Blackstone went on to describe the fight that lay ahead: "This may, however, be just one more battle in California's long war over same-sex marriage. Gay rights advocates have already filed a lawsuit claiming Proposition 8 improperly writes discrimination into the state constitution." A clip was then played of the left-wing mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom: "Never before has our constitution been used to strip rights away." Blackstone did not offer the voice of a single person who supported the proposition.
On CBS’s "Sunday Morning," correspondent John Blackstone reported on the beginning of legal gay marriages in California starting Monday: "Even for people used to earthquakes, the California Supreme Court's decision last month to legalize same-sex marriage was a jolt. But even as gay couples make plans to wed this week...Opponents say tradition should and will be restored."
Blackstone went on to talk to one such opponent: "Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage is confident Californians will vote to again ban same sex marriage. On the ballot, in November...Brown says the state supreme court improperly overturned the will of the people. In 2000, California voters approved a measure declaring that only marriage between a man and woman is valid or recognized in California."
Out of a total of 8 minutes and 50 seconds of coverage during the show, 2 minutes and 14 seconds was given to highlight opponents of gay marriage. By Sunday’s "Evening News" the total coverage had shrunk to 2 minutes and 35 seconds with 27 seconds given to opponents. Total coverage on Monday’s "Early Show" was 5 minutes and 12 seconds, however, time given to opponents of gay marriage was only 41 seconds, with no mention of Brown or his organization.
On Friday’s CBS "Early Show" an entirely one-sided story about the California Supreme Court ruling to allow gay marriage by correspondent John Blackstone, was followed by an entirely one-sided interview of a gay couple by co-host Julie Chen. Chen introduced the segment by declaring: "The landmark decision by the California Supreme Court yesterday to allow gay couples to marry..." while also fretting that the decision "... may be short-lived. Conservative groups hope to undo the ruling by putting a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on the ballot in November." However, the perspective of those "conservative groups" is never presented in the segment. [audio available here]
Blackstone then offered his report on the ruling, which talked to no lawyers or legal experts and discussed no details of the ruling. Instead, Blackstone began by exclaiming: "In the Castro District, San Francisco's predominantly gay neighborhood...The court's decision was seen as a huge victory for equal rights." In the middle of Blackstone’s statement an overjoyed gay woman proclaimed: "Thank you, goddesses."
Blackstone went on to portray liberal San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom as the hero of the day:
A day after NBC blamed the California wild fires on global warming, CBS on Wednesday night cited global warming, but also gave equal emphasis to how years of putting out fires has provided more fuel for them in the form of thick trees and brush. From Escondido, California, anchor Katie Couric asserted the wild fires are “more intense today than ever, and John Blackstone reports, man may be at least partly to blame for that.” Blackstone first went to global warming: “Fire ecologist Tom Swetnam has a collection of tree rings that reveals thousands of years of climate history. He told Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes that global warming means a longer fire season.”
Then, however, Blackstone considered another cause: “A whole lot more fuel to burn, a result of a hundred years of fighting fires” since “putting out almost every fire is not what nature intended, says Richard Minnich, who studies fire history.” Minnich, a professor of earth sciences at the University of California Riverside, explained: “The fire suppression management over the hundred years, in fact, generates more severe fires than what would otherwise occur.” Plus, Blackstone noted, the destructive impact of the fires has increased because “the realization it's often good to let fires burn has met a big obstacle: more houses in forest and wild lands.” Concluding his piece, Blackstone returned to warming, but didn't blame it alone: “Firefighters are trying to keep up with the megafire threat, a threat that won't go away in a warming world, and a growing West.”
All three broadcast network evening newscasts led Friday night by celebrating Al Gore's receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize, portraying it as “sweet vindication” for him while presuming his global warming views are beyond dispute and speculating about the “tantalizing prospect” of a presidential run. ABC anchor Charles Gibson teased: “Tonight, the man who almost won the White House did win the most-coveted award on the planet. So might Al Gore go back to politics?” Reporter David Wright trumpeted Gore's efforts “to call the world's attention to a problem that many would have preferred to ignore,” but Wright fretted that not all are aboard the Gore adulation bandwagon: “Even the Nobel Prize is not going to be enough to silence the naysayers, some of whom still believe that man is not responsible for global warming...”
CBS's Katie Couric wondered: “Will the former Vice President now go after the prize he lost, the biggest prize in American politics?” She touted him as “the first American Vice President to win this most prestigious award since Charles Dawes back in 1926.” Reporter John Blackstone hailed “a remarkable comeback for a man who seven years ago seemed all but finished with public life,” a comeback attributable to how Gore “traveled the world with a slide show talking about the reality of global warming.”
NBC anchor Brian Williams empathized with how “he never was awarded what he tried so hard to get and wanted so badly -- the American presidency -- but today former Vice President Al Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.” Anne Thompson stressed the “prize has done nothing to stop the speculation about Gore's political future.” She enthused that a presidential bid by Gore is “a tantalizing prospect,” though “few expect” it to happen. Thompson concluded by seeing complete vindication: “Gore's co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, left no doubt that man is responsible for global warming. The debate now is over how much the climate will change if nothing is done.”