ABC journalist Jon Karl dared to push Barack Obama on his use of executive power, demanding to know if the commander-in-chief is an "imperial president." But Karl's own network ignored the question, declining to air it on Wednesday's World News and Nightline or on Thursday's Good Morning America.
It wasn't until the little-watched America This Morning, a program airing at 4am on ABC, that the question came up. At the August 6 news conference, Karl pointed out: "When you were running for president you said, quote, 'The biggest problems we're facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and that's what I intend to reverse.'" [See video below of the question. MP3 audio here.]
All three network morning shows on Tuesday noted how President Obama agreed to meet with Governor Rick Perry to discuss the illegal immigration crisis, all labeling the Texas Republican to be the "harshest" and "strongest" "big critic" of the commander-in-chief's mishandling of the chaos on the border. The only problem was that none of the broadcasts featured a single second of Perry actually voicing that criticism. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, White House correspondent Jon Karl summarized Perry's recent condemnation of Obama's lack of action on the issue: "Perry has been one of the harshest critics here. On This Week he said he doesn't believe the President really cares whether or not the border is secure." Co-host George Stephanopoulos chimed in: "Yeah, he suggested there might even be a conspiracy to have more kids come over."
During Monday afternoon’s White House press briefing, recently-installed Press Secretary Josh Earnest was forced by ABC’s Jon Karl to defend the White House claims of deportation of minors at the border.
Citing an article in the Los Angeles Times which explained that under the Obama administration, contrary to White House reports, deportations of minors has actually decreased. Karl told Earnest that according the article deportation of minors is “1/5 of what it had been” and asked, “Doesn’t that show that what you are saying is disinformation?” Earnest answered by shifting blame onto, where else, the “previous president.”
Thursday's World News on ABC led with the rapid advance of an Islamist group into the heart of Iraq, but glossed over how correspondent Jonathan Karl grilled outgoing White House Press Secretary Jay Carney over how this development casts doubt on two of President Obama's supposed "top foreign policy accomplishments: ending the war in Iraq and decimating and destroying core al-Qaeda."
Terry Moran noted during how "President Obama today, resisting pleas from the Iraqi government for immediate U.S. air strikes to turn the tide, tread cautiously." Martha Raddatz later underlined that "Obama said himself today that these fighters could end up being a significant threat to our homeland." But neither journalist mentioned how their colleague sparred with Carney about the President's past boasts about Iraq and al Qaeda: [YouTube.com video of the exchange below the jump]
It's the latest viral video burning up the Internet, the talk of watercooler conversation all over the country today: President Obama looking positively goofy strenuously working out with a set of dumbbells. [I'll pause to let you write your own punchline]
It was video too good to ignore for both ABC's World News and CBS's Evening News, while NBC Nightly News decided to take a pass. Of course, both networks worked in a relatively positive spin for the president, with ABC worrying about and subsequently dismissing the notion of the video being a "security breach" while CBS's Maurice DuBois hailed the president as an disciplined athlete who sleepily hit the gym while on a grueling overseas trip. [See the relevant transcripts below the page break; Listen to MP3 audio here; Video follows page break]
On Thursday, the day before a double resignation at the White House, ABC's Jon Karl grilled Jay Carney over Barack Obama's confidence in Eric Shinseki. Less than 24 hours later, the press secretary and Veterans Administration head had both quit. During the back-and-forth, Karl pressed, "But does the President right now have confidence in Sec. Shinseki, yes or no? It's a very simple yes or no question. You told us last week he did have confidence, does he have confidence now?" [See video below.]
Carney dodged and responded, "Jon, the President addressed this question from the podium." The journalist pointed out, " But he wasn't asked directly if he had confidence in him." The now-ex-press secretary dismissed this as "word play." Karl continued to push, insisting, "It's a basic question. It's not wordplay. Its a central question: Does he have confidence in a member of his cabinet?"
Although the journalists at Good Morning America on Tuesday found no time to discuss what NBC called a "potentially dangerous mistake" by the White House, reporter Jon Karl devoted a report to promoting Michelle Obama's latest efforts on healthy lunches. Co-anchor George Stephanopoulos touted it as a "a rare political move now from First Lady Michelle Obama." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Stephanopoulos hyped the First Lady's "full-scale campaign against the food industry and members of Congress who are trying to roll back the healthy school lunch standard she fought so hard to pass." Karl insisted, "Well, the First Lady believes passionately that school lunches simply have to be healthier and she is prepared to wage a big political fight over this issue." He added, "She is going to be speaking out against this effort for Republicans to roll back standards that were put in place in 2010."
Yesterday morning, President Obama made an overdue statement regarding the widening VA scandal. That afternoon, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney held his regularly scheduled Press Briefing. Understandably so, the briefing dealt primarily with the president’s statement and handling of the aforementioned scandal.
The real fireworks took place about halfway through the briefing when Jay Carney took questions from ABC Chief White House correspondent, Jon Karl. Karl spent roughly five minutes grilling the press secretary on the President’s handling or lack thereof of the recent events. For this the reporter was rewarded by his network with no air time on the Wednesday edition of World News.
Friday's World News on ABC mentioned the ongoing scandal surrounding the Veterans Administration only in passing, despite the fact their own chief White House correspondent, Jonathan Karl, hounded Press Secretary Jay Carney at the regular White House press briefing on the issue. Meanwhile, they set aside two full segments totaling seven minutes and 54 seconds of air time to Barbara Walters' departure from The View.
Diane Sawyer gave a 30-second news brief to a new development in the scandal – about one-sixteenth the amount of time that she and her newscast spent on Walters: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams continued his network's defense of Hillary Clinton by setting aside 63 seconds of air time to a soundbite of Bill Clinton "firing back at Karl Rove, after comments Rove made about Hillary Clinton's health." Williams trumpeted how "shades of the old political warrior Bill Clinton were on display today," as he introduced the extended clip of the former president.
By contrast, on ABC's World News, Jonathan Karl detailed how the former New York senator was "not seen in public for nearly a month as secretary of state" in late 2012, and how State Department officials "downplayed her [Mrs. Clinton's] condition:" [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
All three morning shows on Tuesday hyped an "eye-popping" surge on the final day of ObamaCare sign-ups, but NBC's Today minimized the latest problems for those attempting to meet the deadline. Despite two segments on the topics, the four-hour program covered this angle for a scant 22 seconds.
In contrast, Jon Karl on ABC's Good Morning America threw cold water on the celebration. Ignoring co-host George Stephanopoulos's claim that "all signs point to an eye-popping surge in sign-ups for health insurance," Karl warned of "big, unanswered questions." He explained, "One of the biggest is how many of those have signed up were previously uninsured? Remember, this was about expanding insurance coverage." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] He added that "we don't know how many people signed up here...simply had their previous plans cancelled."
While Monday's NBC Today began its 7 a.m. ET hour coverage of the ObamaCare enrollment deadline by noting the healthcare.gov website had crashed yet again, it took an hour for ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning to notice the malfunction and mention it in their reporting. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Good Morning America's initial coverage was particularly stunning in that it touted how well the website was supposedly working. Co-host George Stephanopoulos proclaimed: "After all those early problems with the website, the White House now saying things are now back on track." White House correspondent Jon Karl declared: "That's right, George. They say they saw a huge increase of traffic to the website over the weekend....And so far, the website seems to be handling it without any major problems."
While CBS and ABC have awoken to the "embarrassing" performance of Barack Obama's wealthy donors turned ambassadorial nominees, NBC is still skipping the details of the men and women who have flubbed confirmation hearings. Even Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic operative, admitted on Wednesday: "Critics say that too many of the plumb jobs are going to political cronies who have more cash than competence..." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Just prior to playing clips of multiple Obama nominees, all of whom donated at least $500,000 to the President, reporter Jon Karl marveled, "Sometimes it can be downright embarrassing. President Obama's pick to be ambassador to Argentina has never set foot in the place." Footage included the nominee to Hungary, former soap opera producer Colleen Bell, appearing baffled after being asked about America's strategic interest in the country.
All three network morning shows on Wednesday cheered House Republicans giving up on trying to attach conditions to raising the nation's borrowing limit. On NBC's Today, news reader Natalie Morales proclaimed: "America is one step closer to being able to pay its bills next month." None of the coverage acknowledged that the move actually meant adding to the nation's massive $17 trillion debt without making any effort to reduce government spending. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos touted "some good news coming out of Washington" as the "debt limit finally passed without real controversy." White House correspondent Jon Karl gushed: "Yeah, this was a really big deal. Republicans completely backed down on this. No strings attached, did exactly what President Obama asked them to do..." Stephanopoulos added: "First time in three years."
The journalists at Good Morning America on Wednesday discussed Barack Obama's State of the Union address for seven minutes and 19 seconds, but only allowed a scant 16 seconds for the GOP response (a 27-to-1 disparity). Unlike the reporters at CBS This Morning who interviewed Rand Paul, GMA's hostsinstead featured Joe Biden and could only be bothered with a brief clip of Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers and a snippet of John Boehner. NBC's Today, despite a four-hour running time, managed a mere six seconds of McMorris Rodgers.
Co-host George Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic operative, opened the program by parroting, "Call to action. The President vows to use his executive powers to attack the country's biggest problems." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Jon Karl offered little in the way of skepticism about the President's plan to use executive orders. Instead, he hyped, "But the President promised to work around Republican opposition, saying he would raise the minimum wage for workers on new federal contracts." He added that Obama "tried to shame Republicans into raising it for everybody as well."
Previewing Barack Obama's State of the Union on Tuesday, Good Morning America's Jon Karl hyped the President's move to unilaterally act "where he can without Congress." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Eight years ago, however, ABC hit George W. Bush for being unwilling to compromise.
After noting that Congress has failed to raise the minimum wage, Karl touted, "...The President will announce that he is increasing by nearly $3 an hour the minimum wage on all new federal contracts, acting where he can without Congress." According to Karl, this is an example of Obama "promising to work with Congress where he can but showing there are things he can do on his own, as well." In his report, the journalist failed to wonder if it was the President who should move. In contrast, previewing the January 31, 2006 State of the Union, Charles Gibson asked the liberal Ted Kennedy, "Do you get a sense that this White House is truly willing to compromise on anything?"
ABC reporter Jon Karl on Wednesday broke from the official journalistic fawning over Michelle Obama's birthday, asking White House Press Secretary Jay Carney about the cost and whether the American taxpayer would pay the bill. Yet, his own network totally ignored the exchange and kept it off Wednesday's World News, Nightline and Thursday's Good Morning America.
In the briefing, Karl pushed, "The First Lady had her 50th birthday party and I believe you said that the President picks up the cost for that party." Carney dodged, "I think we put out information. I don't have it here. I would refer you to the east wing." The ABC journalist followed-up, "I was just wondering if you had an estimate on what the cost was?" Again, the White House spokesman spun, "I don't. But I would refer you to the east wing." The "east wing" is a reference to Michelle Obama's office. [For C-SPAN video of the exchange, see below.]
The new ABC News-Washington Post poll shows Obama’s approval rating stuck at 43 percent approve, 55 percent disapprove, very close to their last result. The Post headline was “Obama’s approval ratings plummet” – over the year. A year ago, it was 52 percent approve, 44 percent disapprove. Online, it was merely a "year of turmoil." But ABC put a happy spin on it.
The headline on ABCNews.com was “OPPOSITION TO OBAMACARE DECLINES.” Click on it, and the headline on pollster Gary Langer’s report? “A Drop in Opposition to Obamacare Helps Stabilize a Struggling Presidency.” So if you're just grazing on the Web, you might think Obama's poll ratings are on the mend. But that's not in the fine print.
Despite a running time of four hours, NBC's Today show on Tuesday skipped a blistering poll for Barack Obama and the latest news about the disastrous rollout of the President's health care law. Yet, the morning show managed five minutes for discussing the new TV special from singer John Rich and three minutes on table etiquette for Thanksgiving. Not exactly pressing topics. In contrast, both ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning covered the current wave of bad news.
An ABC News/Washington Post survey found Obama's approval rating at just 42 percent, what Jon Karl referred to as "the lowest job approval we have ever seen" for his presidency. GMA's George Stephanopoulos conceded that these are "brutal numbers." Karl even relayed this result: "We asked voters if they can have a mulligan on the 2012 presidential election, who they would vote for? A plurality now say they would vote for Romney over Obama." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The journalists also focused on what the administration knew in advance of the impending ObamaCare collapse.
ABC and CBS on Thursday and Friday reacted to Barack Obama's health care apology by acknowledging his "broken promise." At the same time, both networks attempted to spin the NBC interview with qualifiers on the millions of Americans who will be losing their health insurance. After explaining what the President originally insisted and then showing his apology, CBS Evening News Anchor Scott Pelley justified, "The plans are being canceled because they don't meet the minimum standards of the President's health insurance law. That's something that was always in the legislation." [See a video montage of ABC and CBS below. MP3 audio here.]
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos opened the program on Friday by announcing, "Broken promise. The President says he's sorry." Jon Karl noted that the apology is "for the millions of Americans who have received cancellation notices from their insurance companies, despite [Obama's] repeated promise over and over again that nobody would lose their insurance." However, he then shifted into spin mode.
A frustrated Jay Carney on Monday excoriated ABC's Jon Karl for exposing the fact that signing up for health care via phone or mail is just as difficult as signing up by the website. Karl began by quoting the President suggesting in late October that "you can bypass the website and apply by phone or in person." The journalist highlighted newly acquired memos admitting that "at the end of the day, we're all stuck in the same queue because all those applications have to go through the same website."
In a sneering tone that mocked Karl's cadence, Carney retorted, "Jon, I get it! But the person who calls isn't the one who continues to wait after the paper application is filled? Right?" Karl calmly responded, "Your mocking is entertaining, but the President said you could apply within 25 minutes. That was not true." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Seemingly looking for help from the other journalists, Carney derided, "I think everyone else is looking quizzical because there's a reason to be quizzical here. You call up. You give your information. You get the questions answered and then they take over from there."
After offering sympathetic coverage to the disastrous roll-out of the ObamaCare website, ABC on Monday actually uncovered "new troubles" and alerted viewers to misleading comments by the White House. Near the top of Good Morning America on Monday, co-host George Stephanopoulos trumpeted, "ABC News has obtained copies of internal administration memos revealing for the first time that extensive hurdles to signing up for insurance are not limited to the website."
Reporter Jon Karl quoted from internal memos destroying the idea that signing up for ObamaCare by mail or phone is any easier. Karl quoted from one of the people working on fixing the website: "The paper applications allow people to feel like they're moving forward...At the end of the day, we're all stuck in the same queue." According to the journalist, attempts to sign up with these alternate methods are simply "an effort to buy time." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The journalists at Good Morning America on Tuesday hyped bad news for the GOP, citing a poll showing disapproval of the party's handling of the recent government shutdown. But the show's reporters downplayed and ignored ominous results for the President and his health care law. George Stephanopoulos trumpeted that Republicans are "taking the biggest hit."
Journalist Jon Karl allowed that the survey finds Americans disapprove of how "everyone handled the shutdown crisis, including the President." Stealing Stephanopoulos's line, he asserted that the GOP is "taking the biggest hit." Karl added, "Seventy seven percent disapproving of how [Republicans] handled the budget talks that led to this crisis." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] What was left out of Karl's story? Any mention that Barack Obama's approval rating has dropped to just 46 percent. In the wake of the shutdown, 51 percent of registered voters now disapprove.
Good Morning America's Jon Karl on Friday continued his efforts to assign blame for what he called the "Ted Cruz shutdown." This prompted the Texas senator to shoot back: "A lot of the media did" that. [See video below. MP3 audio here.] GMA co-host George Stephanopoulos touted the Republican's appearance as a "contentious and defiant interview."
Karl lectured, "People hated this shutdown. They hated this impasse. And this was seen as the Ted Cruz shutdown." He attacked, "You more than any single individual were seen as the one that triggered this crisis to begin with."
As the government shutdown neared its end, ABC's Jon Karl put the blame totally on House Republicans and allowed Barack Obama to escape responsibility. According to Karl on Tuesday night's World News, "...After bringing the economy to the brink, the Republicans, the conservatives who drove this, will have nothing to show for it." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Wednesday's Good Morning America, Karl upped the hyperbole, warning of the "dangerous brinkmanship" that could lead to "economic collapse." Shifting into opinion mode, Karl lectured, "As this showdown moves towards end game, House Republicans are the clear losers. They push to the brink and have nothing to show for it."
ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday rightly highlighted the "outrage" over the delay of death benefits to the families of fallen U.S. soldiers. A day later, the program's hosts barely had time for the story, allowing a mere 28 seconds (within a larger report). Reporter Jon Karl briefly referred to the "disaster on military benefits," but he didn't explain that a private charity had stepped in to solve the problem.
On Wednesday, a graphic for a Jim Avila full report insisted that "outrage grows for America's heroes." The journalist featured a clip of Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy trashing, "And now, because of a small group of Tea Party Republicans, we say we can't even take care of your family when you die in the service of the country." On Thursday, Karl lectured that "the only thing both parties seem to agree on" is that "it's inexcusable to deny help to family members of those who have given their lives serving the country." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] It's true that the House acted 425-0 to pay the death benefits, but Harry Reid's Democratic Senate has not acted. [UPDATE: 12:48pm ET The Senate has now moved on approving benefits. SECOND UPDATE: But the White House has rejected it.]
The three network morning shows on Friday worried about President Obama and the fact that he had "no choice" but to cancel an Asian summit as the government shutdown drags on. On ABC's Good Morning America, Jon Karl lamented, "These were two significant summits in Brunei and Indonesia. The White House says he could legally have gone, but he needs to be here to push for reopening the government and dealing with the pending possible default of the government." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Reiterating, Karl again noted that these are "significant summits" and the "White House did not want to cancel this trip." Karl read a lengthy statement from the White House (with accompanying onscreen graphic) blaming the "House Republicans for forcing a shutdown." GMA co-anchor George Stephanopoulos agreed that the "President really had no choice." At no time did anyone on the program put the responsibility on Obama for not engaging the GOP. One good question might have been: Why stay home from a summit if you aren't going to negotiate over the financial stalemate?
As Barack Obama wrapped up a speech from the White House on Tuesday, reporter Jon Karl of ABC actually shouted a tough question at the President, wondering, "...If you won't negotiate, how can you get a solution? How can you bring an end to this if you won't talk to the congressional leaders?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Anchor George Stephanopoulos noted that "Obama ignor[ed] a question from our own Jon Karl." Karl's network, on World News and Good Morning America, ignored it as well. NBC and CBS blamed the Republicans.
Instead of repeating his question on World News, Karl parroted Democratic talking points: "Today the President accused Republicans of waging an ideological crusade against Obamacare while he rejected their latest offer to re-open just part of the government." Anchor Diane Sawyer assigned responsibility to the GOP House: "And everywhere tonight, Americans are saying they are fed up with the congressmen who dig in and force the U.S. government to screech to a halt." "A lot of people outraged," she added. Did Obama play a part in the drama? Sawyer didn't say.
On Monday morning, Time/MSNBC political analyst Mark Halperin explained an obvious political reality to his fellow Morning Joe panelists: “The White House does not have much incentive” to negotiate on the government shutdown, because Democrats expect the liberal news media to hand them a public relations victory. As Halperin put it: “The press is largely sympathetic to their arguments that it’s the House Republicans’ fault.”
In fact, as a new Media Research Center analysis of broadcast network evening news coverage shows, ABC, CBS and NBC spent the two weeks prior to the shutdown almost universally pinning the blame on congressional Republicans, especially conservative/Tea Party House Republicans. By the time the shutdown actually took place on October 1, news audiences had been repeatedly instructed to think about it as a GOP-generated crisis.
During his Monday briefing with reporters in the White House, press secretary Jay Carney was asked several times how president Barack Obama would respond to a partial government shutdown. The most interesting query came from Cable News Network's senior White House correspondent Jim Costa, who asked if the Democrats have been using heightened rhetoric to attack Republicans and “trying to taunt” the GOP into doing a shutdown.
“In the last couple of weeks, Democrats including the president have -- and he has not used all these words but I’ll throw out some of them -- have referred to Republicans as arsonists, anarchists, extortionists, blackmailers, hostage takers,” Acosta noted. Even Dan Pfeiffer, assistant to the president and senior advisor to the president for strategy and communications, “talked about bombs being strapped to chests.”