While reporting on candidate Newt Gingrich "taking a pummeling" from "brutal" attack ads, ABC's Jonathan Karl noted Gingrich's positive response – a "bizarre" Gingrich campaign Christmas video that Karl laughed off as "disturbing." Karl's report aired during the 7 a.m. hour of Good Morning America.
"Uh, it's a little disturbing, let me tell you," Karl scoffed at the festive video. A clip showed campaign workers decked in Santa hats singing a campaign-themed Christmas carol. [Video below the break.]
On Tuesday's World News on ABC, correspondent Jonathan Karl used the phrase "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" to label the tendency of Republicans presidential candidates to restrain negative attacks from their own campaigns, while independent groups that support the candidates are running more negative ads. While showing negative ads by supporters of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, Karl declared:
ABC's Jonathan Karl Tuesday published a piece now prominently featured at the Drudge Report with a headline guaranteed to be the Obama-loving media's lead story concerning something Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich wrote over five years ago: "Gingrich ’06 Memo: 'Agree Entirely With Gov. Romney' on Health Care."
Inside the actual document uncovered by BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, the former Speaker didn't "agree entirely with Gov. Romney" at all (emphasis added):
As the broadcast network morning newscasts on Friday all reported on House Republicans backing down on a temporary extension of the payroll tax cut without extracting additional concessions from Democrats, the CBS team on The Early Show saw humor in the House Republican move as substitute co-anchor Jim Axelrod quipped that "the word of the day in Washington will be 'cave,'" evoking laughter. (Video below)
There was a rather telling moment on ABC's This Week Sunday.
When during the Roundtable segment the Washington Post's Michael Gerson criticized Barack Obama for his lack of leadership involving the now failed Super Committee, Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts quickly came to the President's defense (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Remember all that talk about returning civility to political discussions following Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' (D-Ariz.) shooting in January?
Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus clearly doesn't, for on ABC's This Week Sunday, she said of Texas governor Rick Perry's presidential candidacy, "He's like Monty Python's parrot - he's not dead yet" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
While morning and evening newscasts from all three broadcast networks in the last few days have focused on anti-Mormon sentiment within the Republican Party that may hinder Mitt Romney's bid for the presidency, FNC's Special Report with Bret Baier on Monday noted that self-identified Republican voters are substantially more willing to accept a Mormon President compared to Democrats.
FNC correspondent Carl Cameron observed that Democrats are "least tolerant" compared to Republicans and independents as he recounted the findings of a Quinnipiac poll:
This year’s crop of GOP presidential candidates includes strong conservatives, just like the top Democratic candidates four years ago — Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards — were all staunch liberals. But a major, glaring difference between today’s campaign coverage and the early coverage of the 2007 Democratic nomination race is the impulse of journalists to repeatedly brand the 2012 GOP candidates as “conservative” despite offering extremely few “liberal” labels four years ago.
Media Research Center analysts reviewed the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news programs from January 1 through July 31 and found 62 “conservative” labels for Republican candidates or those talked about as potential candidates. A check of the same broadcasts for the same time period in 2007 found a paltry three “liberal” labels for the Democrats running that year, a greater than 20-to-1 disparity.
ABC, CBS, and NBC ignored the existence of the Cut, Cap and Balance (CCB) bill until last week, a Nexis search revealed, despite multiple polls demonstrating overwhelming public support.
In addition to the blackout, none of the broadcast networks ever mentioned the positive polls in their coverage of the bill, even though 65 percent of the public backed a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget in a Mason-Dixon poll from May and 72 percent approved of such a measure in a Fox News poll from June.
Cokie Roberts got quite a lesson Sunday on why compromise can be a dirty word in politics.
When she asked Congressman Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) why compromise isn't a "message that you hear," the Tea Partier responded, "Why is it that compromise always means increasing taxes today and doing cuts in ten years from now?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Friday’s World News on ABC, correspondent Jonathan Karl took a moment to go beyond the budget debate between House Republicans and President Obama with the GOP unwilling to support a tax increase, and noted that House Democrats have also been just as resistant to voting for cutting the growth of Medicare spending. But the same night's CBS Evening News focused on Republican reluctance to support some of the budget proposals and even gave the impression at one point that congressional Democrats were willing to curtail Medicare growth.
On ABC, after recounting some of the Republicans who have resisted voting for budget plans that have been brought up, Karl continued:
On Sunday’s World News on ABC, correspondent Jonathan Karl suggested that Democrats in the House, rather than take a political position based on principle, refuse to vote for a budget plan that would reform Medicare because they wish to use Medicare to run against Republicans and take back the House.
As Karl recounted that he had recently spoken with House Democratic leaders, it is unclear whether he meant that one of the leaders had actually made this admission to him, or whether his assertion was his own perception. Karl:
All three broadcast network evening newscasts awarded full stories Monday night to Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign announcement, with ABC and NBC unable to resist pouncing on Chris Wallace’s “are you a flake?” question to frame their stories. ABC’s Jonathan Karl highlighted how she’s “been accused of being loose with the facts, saying, for example, that the President's last trip to India was costing taxpayers $200 million a day. That's why Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace says he asked her” the “flake” question.
On NBC, Kelly O’Donnell also played the Wallace clip before focusing on how Bachmann “has been embarrassed by a string of factual errors, like placing the battles of Lexington and Concord in the wrong state. She missed the mark again in our interview, bringing up an unrelated and incorrect claim about her hometown.” (That would be about John Wayne’s birthplace.)
ABC's GMA and NBC's Today on Wednesday both did due diligence on the Rep. Anthony Weiner brouhaha surrounding a lewd photo posted on his Twitter site. ABC's Jonathan Karl noted how Weiner didn't give "the most convincing press conference" in response to the controversy. NBC's Meredith Vieira highlighted how "people are wondering why he is being so defensive." But CBS's Early Show didn't even cover the story.
GMA anchor George Stephanopoulos led the 7 am Eastern hour with a teaser on the burgeoning scandal: "Underwear uproar: a powerful congressman at the center of controversy over a photo flap online. Did someone break into his Twitter account and send a lewd picture, or did he do it? Congressman Weiner's response this morning."
ABC's Jonathan Karl last week asked Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) if his 2012 budget proposal is a "political kamikaze mission" that will "ultimately cost Republicans" their majority in the House.
After Christiane Amanpour played this clip and asked if Ryan is a "visionary or a villain" on Sunday's "This Week," George Will marvelously responded - likely to the dismay of all present! - "Paul Ryan is eight years younger than the President but vastly more experienced and conversant with these issues" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As a potential government shutdown looms the liberal media are filling their programs with stories about dire consequences of deep cuts that will lead to troops not getting paid, closed national parks, and late tax refunds. However, a review of MRC's coverage of the 1995 budget fight reveals the media are simply rerunning their tired old arguments from the last shutdown.
On this Wednesday's edition of ABC's Good Morning America, Jonathan Karl tallied the services that could be at risk this time around, as he warned: "If they don't reach a deal and get it passed by then, American troops, including those on the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq, may not get their paychecks. And smack in the middle of tax season, that refund you've been counting on, well, you may have to wait." Karl went on to alert travelers that: "Treasures like Old Faithful and Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, Yosemite's half dome, will be closed to visitors. And if you don't already have a passport, don't even think about leaving the country. Last time the government shut down, 200,000 passport applications were stopped in their tracks."
However Karl and others, as quotes from 1995 show, are simply dusting off the old media playbook to blame Republicans, not Democrats, for a shutdown, as they focus on high profile federal projects like national parks in an attempt to frighten the American people into opposing prudent fiscal decision-making.
Don't look now, that tidal wave might be a drop in the bucket instead.
On her MSNBC show Monday, Rachel Maddow cited a trio of reports warning of massive job losses if $61 billion in Republican-pushed spending cuts take effect.
The Economic Policy Institute, which Maddow described as a "liberal group," predicts the GOP budget plan "would likely result in job losses of just over 800,000. A confidential new report" from Goldman Sachs says spending cuts passed in the House "would be a drag on the economy, cutting growth by about two percent of GDP, according to Jonathan Karl at ABC News, the source cited by Maddow. The third warning along these lines came from McCain '08 campaign adviser Mark Zandi, writing at Moody's Analytics, that the Republicans' proposal "would mean some 400,000 fewer jobs created by the end of 2011 ... and 700,000 fewer jobs by the end of 2012."
Catching up on an item from last weekend, Friday’s World News on ABC, Saturday’s Good Morning America on ABC, Saturday’s CBS Evening News, and Saturday’s NBC Nightly News all highlighted California Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s defense of partial birth abortion as a procedure she had herself gone through as she berated New Jersey Republican Congressman Chris Smith for describing the horrific nature of the procedure during a debate over federal funding of Planned Parenthood. The sympathetic treatment of Speier's outrage over having to hear the technique's description contrasts with media eagerness to describe rough interrogation techniques used on detainees in the War on Terrorism during the Bush administration.
These same shows devoted little to no time to showing Smith’s description of the controversial abortion technique or his reading from the book, Unplanned, by Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director who famously turned against abortion after observing the ultrasound of an abortion as it was carried out. Rep. Smith had given a speech on the House floor that was over eight minutes long.
“The health care law may not be popular, but many of the provisions now in effect are,” ABC’s Jonathan Karl asserted in his Thursday night look at the House vote to repeal ObamaCare as he highlighted one beneficiary of it without a balancing opponent or list of detrimental provisions: “To Kris Cambra, whose four-year-old son has a heart condition, the law is a life changer, and repeal would be a disaster.”
Karl touted: “Already, seniors are getting more money to pay for their prescription drugs. Children can stay on their parents' insurance until age 26. And children with pre-existing conditions can't be denied coverage.”
On the NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams proposed the vote matched the public perception of Republicans as more inflexible than President Obama: “And just today, kind of as we speak, the Republicans in the House pretty much straight up and down party line vote to repeal ObamaCare, knowing it's dead on arrival in the Senate where the Democrats run things.”
On Monday's Good Morning America, ABC's George Stephanopoulos took a skeptical tone during an interview of liberal Senator Chuck Schumer concerning a new report from Senator Tom Coburn, which pointed out the 100 most wasteful federal government projects of 2010: "He [Coburn] says there are hundreds of billions of dollars of waste. Do you buy that?"
Stephanopoulos turned to Senator Schumer after ABC correspondent Jonathan Karl highlighted the findings of Senator Coburn's "wastebook" report, and led the interview with his "do you buy that" question. After the Democrat from New York gave his initial answer, the former Clinton administration official trumpeted the accomplishments of the outgoing liberal Congress in its lame duck session:
STEPHANOPOULOS: And you are- looking like you're going be [there] until Christmas, doing an awful lot of work during this lame duck session of Congress. I know you were critical of the President's negotiating in this tax compromise, but decided to vote for it. You've also now passed the 'don't ask, don't tell' [repeal], the food safety bill, and you seem to have a breakthrough on something you've been fighting for for years, this several-billion dollar bill to get health benefits to emergency workers for 9/11. Are you confident now that you have the votes to get this through the Senate, and will the House stay in session to make sure it gets passed?
Framing the debate through a liberal prism hostile to continuing the current income tax rates, ABC and CBS worried Thursday night about the “cost” of not raising taxes, as if all money belongs to the government, as both expounded on how not ending the Bush rates will fuel massive deficits. “If all the Bush tax cuts end for the top two percent of earners, $700 billion will be added to government coffers,” CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric warned, and “if all the cuts stay in place, the deficit will soar by $3.7 trillion over ten years.”
ABC anchor Diane Sawyer promised answers to “how much the tax break for the wealthy increases the deficit and what is the impact on small businesses.” Reporter Jonathan Karl relayed how “Democrats say extending the top Bush tax cuts means a big windfall for the rich.” He ruled: “So will it help the super-rich? The answer, yes, of course it will.”
Karl continued: “Will extending tax cuts on the top brackets add to the deficit? Yes. Extending tax cuts for those making over $200,000 a year would mean about $700 billion more in debt over 10 years. But extending them for those with incomes under $200,000 costs even more -- $3.1 trillion in debt.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid finally appeared in a debate on October 14 in Las Vegas with his Republican opponent, Sharron Angle. The appearance might come as a surprise to consumers of the national media. While Angle has been pounded relentlessly by national media outlets as being both dangerously radical and ridiculous, Reid has been left alone, and untouched.
But what about Harry? He’s the Majority Leader after all. Is he, like so many of his colleagues, simply afraid to talk about his legislative “accomplishments”? Nobody’s wondered why he hasn’t been making the rounds of interviews on national television. While reporters rush to report the latest “wacky” quote from Angle, the networks haven’t lifted a finger to cover Reid’s cascade of rhetorical stumbles and outrages, especially since Angle won the GOP primary.
We won’t count Reid’s remarks last year comparing opponents of health reform to supporters of slavery, or his describing those opponents as “evilmongers,” which he delighted in repeating and telling reporters he’d coined a new word.
There’s a list of fresh gaffes, and it just keeps growing.
Airing rare stories on a U.S. Senate debate, ABC, CBS and NBC all ran full reports Thursday night on the only race they repeatedly find newsworthy, one in which the Republican is behind by double-digits, as ABC and CBS exploited the Delaware debate to regurgitate ridicule for Sarah Palin.
“[Christine] O'Donnell's toughest moment came when she was asked to name a recent Supreme Court decision with which she disagreed,” asserted CBS's Nancy Cordes, “a question that also tripped up her mentor, Sarah Palin,” back in 2008. On ABC, Jonathan Karl echoed how “O'Donnell got tripped up when asked to name a Supreme Court decision she disagrees with,” which Karl called “a flashback to 2008 when another candidate got asked the same question.”
If Democrats are going to stem their losses, CBS’s Jeff Greenfield opined on Monday’s Evening News, they need to “convince the voters that this election is a choice” and “Republicans are just too extreme.” Greenfield’s probably right about this strategy being Democrats’ best hope — and his fellow reporters are already hard at work fulfilling their role in painting Republicans as “extreme.”
On Monday’s Good Morning America, Jonathan Karl characterized as astonishing how “Alaska’s Joe Miller talked about rolling back the power of the federal government further than Republicans have talked about for more than 70 years.” Even more jaw-dropping to ABC: “Miller and other Tea Party candidates also favor eliminating the Department of Education.” How is that more radical than Democrats’ takeover of private-sector health care?
It’s a topsy-turvy, upside-down political world out there for people who thought Barack Obama would be cruising at a 70 percent approval rating while crushing the Republicans like bugs. In fact, the opposite has happened. The Senate Majority Leader is in grave danger of involuntary retirement. Everyone in Washington concedes Nancy Pelosi is unlikely to bang the gavel in January.
So why in the world does the tone of news coverage suggest all kinds of political problems...for conservatives, as if they were the collapsing majority in this campaign?
The media elites sound like they’re resigned to the idea that a lot of Democrats are going to be unemployed in November. Their coverage seems designed now to stanch the bleeding, to devote their coverage to close races where they can bash conservative challengers in the hope of turning the tide there.
All three broadcast evening newscasts on Thursday covered the formal unveiling of the Republican ‘Pledge to America,’ a campaign document calling for the repeal of ObamaCare, no tax hikes and balanced budgets. CBS’s Nancy Cordes cast it as pro-Tea Party, “littered with references to the Constitution and promises to reduce the federal debt,” and Tea Party members as “grateful” for its policy prescriptions.
But ABC’s Jonathan Karl said the Pledge was “hardly a Tea Party manifesto. The 45-page document includes more photographs than specifics on spending cuts. No mention of controlling Social Security or Medicare. No mention of eliminating any federal departments. Not even a promise to eliminate earmarks or pork barrel spending.”
Karl even hit GOP Representative Mike Pence from the right: “There aren’t enough cuts in this thing that I see to get anywhere near a balanced budget.”
“Star power: Three megawatt political giants hit the campaign trail,” Diane Sawyer touted at the top of Tuesday’s World News, focusing on “First Lady Michelle Obama now joining former President Bill Clinton and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as the power hitters on the campaign trail.” Yet, ABC advanced the hope Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton offer Democratic election prospects, while treating Sarah Palin as an after-thought and painting her as just a self-promoter, all before a giddy Sawyer turned to George Stephanopoulos to expound on Bill Clinton’s brilliance: “Let's talk about former President Clinton's advice to President Obama – is he going to take it?”
Jonathan Karl relayed “we learn on a day that the White House also announced that the First Lady is about to hit the campaign trail. The White House calls her the ‘Closer.’ And with time running out for congressional Democrats, they're sending her in.” Plus, “former President Bill Clinton is out on the campaign trail, too, and now he's offering the President some free advice” to ask voters to give Democrats two more years and only vote them out in 2012 if they fail to deliver.
ABC, CBS and NBC all ran full stories Monday night on how an old video clip showed Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell talking about how, as a high-schooler, she had “dabbled into witchcraft.” CBS, however, used O’Donnell to pivot to marveling at how other Tea Party-affiliated Senate candidates remain viable despite what CBS considers exotic views.
“Christine O'Donnell's witchcraft comments may have spooked some Republican leaders,” Nancy Cordes related on the CBS Evening News, “but her fellow Tea Party Senate candidates are living prove that unusual assertions are not necessarily campaign killers.” Cordes elaborated with some contestable summaries of positions expressed:
Take Kentucky's Rand Paul who questioned the historic civil rights act, but is still tied with the Democrat in a recent poll. Nevada's Sharron Angle is neck and neck with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, even after she advocated an armed insurrection against the government. And Utah attorney Mike Lee is crushing his Democratic rival even though Lee favors dismantling Social Security and eliminating unemployment benefits. Priorities he shares with Alaska's Joe Miller.
ABC’s World News whored itself out Thursday night to a hapless effort by the White House to prove its “stimulus” spending created a lot of jobs. “Still ahead on World News,” an easily impressed Diane Sawyer hyped, “We have the list! That White House stimulus, the top success stories. An exclusive report.” Jon Karl proceeded to highlight “the greatest hits of the stimulus program,” including a payout to the owner of MSNBC, but the White House examples he touted totaled a piddling 418 jobs.
Sawyer announced the “President's stimulus program” of $818 billion was “designated to create or save millions of jobs” and though “Republicans say it's been largely unsuccessful,” the “White House is firing back, and our Jon Karl has a look at the top of the list, the ones that have worked the best.” Previewing a report to be released Friday by the Vice President’s office, “100 Recovery Act Projects that Are Changing America” (AP dispatch), Karl trumpeted how “the White House will detail the top 100 stimulus programs in the country. We have an exclusive list at what they considered the greatest hits of the stimulus program.”
Karl began with a project in New Jersey “where a toxic area contaminated by an old electronics plant is being transformed into a new industrial park, thanks to $30 million stimulus dollars” and, he raved, “the project has already created 68 jobs.”