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.”
“The number that really excited Democrats is three: Think Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan,” NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell excitedly announced Thursday night while leading into a clip of Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, who exclaimed as he bounced on his heels on the Senate floor: “Three women will serve together on the United States Supreme Court for the first time in our nation's history!”
The news equally excited the TV network journalists. “History was made in this country today when the Senate confirmed Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court,” declared fill-in NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt as viewers were treated to a “Making History” on-screen graphic.
“Tonight on World News, a day of high court history. Elena Kagan confirmed. For the first time ever, three women will be part of deciding the law of the land,” spouted a giddy Diane Sawyer in matching NBC by making Kagan her lead story. Sawyer could hardly contain her excitement:
We are here in Washington on the day a new voice joins the Supreme Court. Elena Kagan, the third woman currently on the court, a woman with a reputation for holding her own in any room. And our Jonathan Karl is right here to tell us about the big vote right over there on Capitol Hill. And I want to know what happens when a new justice dons the robe for the first time, Jon?
"It's so hot outside, you could fry an egg ..." or something like that.
Perhaps ABC News should have rehearsed their attempted dramatic presentation to promote global warming alarmism before going forward. But instead, they have egg on their face - after failing to fry an egg in the heat, that is.
“For the first time, Americans got to see the woman President Obama called a ‘trailblazer’ in action,” ABC anchor Diane Sawyer trumpeted Tuesday night before Jonathan Karl framed his story on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s hearing around how “a confirmation hearing isn't usually a laughing matter, but if we learned one thing about Elena Kagan today, it's that she has a sense of humor.” Like NBC, Karl featured Kagan joking about how she was probably at a Chinese restaurant on Christmas day.
The three broadcast network evening newscasts, as well as CNN and FNC, highlighted Senator Jeff Sessions pressing Kagan on her treatment of military recruiters. Karl used the exchange to praise Kagan: “We also learned that Elena Kagan can take a punch. As when Republican Jeff Sessions slammed her decision as Harvard Law dean to ban military recruiters from the school's career office....She made no apologies for taking a strong stand against the military's ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ policy.”
CBS’s Jan Crawford declared Kagan “held her own, she was confident, showed flashes of wit, but she didn't break a lot of new ground,” while NBC’s Pete Williams touted how “she displayed flashes of humor.” (CNN expressed concern Kagan wasn’t liberal enough: “Some of her answers on hot-button issues may not please all of her fellow Democrats.” More below.)
All three network evening newscasts on Monday downplayed the start of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings, with NBC Nightly News squeezing in just 24 seconds for Kagan at the tail end of a story about the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor the 2nd Amendment. For their part, CBS and ABC offered full stories outlining Kagan’s first day before the Judiciary committee after packages devoted to the gun rights’ ruling.
Only CBS’s Jan Crawford suggested the hearings were more than a ritual leading to Kagan’s inevitable confirmation: “When President Obama nominated her in May, her confirmation was considered a sure bet. But Republicans are emboldened by what they see as a weakened president and sense that support for Kagan in the country has dropped.”
Both Crawford and ABC correspondent Jonathan Karl included Republican criticisms of Kagan’s lack of experience and the hostility to the military she displayed at the Harvard Law School. As for NBC, they mentioned none of those issues, and only included a brief soundbite of Kagan promising to be “impartial.”
Here’s the entirety of NBC’s brief discussion of Monday’s hearing:
None of the three broadcast evening newscasts had even a few seconds last night for video of Democratic Congressman Bob Etheridge physically grabbing and yelling at an unidentified student attempting to ask him whether he supports President Obama’s agenda. But last Thursday, after Republican senate candidate Carly Fiorina was caught making a flip remark about Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer’s hair, ABC’s World News ran a full report on that “caught on tape political moment.”
Worth noting: Back on June 10, George Stephanopoulos was sitting in for Diane Sawyer. But last night, Sawyer was back in the anchor chair.
In introducing last week's report from correspondent Jonathan Karl, Stephanopoulos touted the Fiorina flap as “the latest caught off guard, caught on tape, all too candid political moment.” The Etheridge scuffle would surely fit that same standard, but ABC’s World News had no time on Monday to mention that embarrassment for the Democrats.
Three months after the networks, led by ABC’s Jonathan Karl, derided Senator Jim Bunning for daring to hold up an “emergency” spending bill which circumvented the “pay as you go” rules, as Karl made a fool of himself chasing the elderly Senator into elevators to cajole him to give in, on Monday’s World News Karl had the chutzpah to scold Congress for approving “emergency” spending which doesn’t have to follow those very same “pay-go” rules.
“Congress is on its holiday break this week,” fill-in anchor George Stephanopoulos announced, “but there is no break in the steady increase in the national debt, now up to an astounding $13 trillion.” Stephanopoulos promised that in “watching out for your money, Jonathan Karl found some of the culprits” – though neither cited the news media’s role in incessantly pushing for more spending.
Without displaying any self-awareness of his own hypocrisy, Karl listed some of “the ‘emergency’ bills Congress has taken up over the past few months,” including “$20 billion for highway construction.” Yet back in early March, Karl fretted: “Bunning is also blocking money for highway construction. So across the country today, 41 construction projects ground to a halt, thousands of workers furloughed without pay.”
After ABC's Jonathan Karl painted Senator Arlen Specter's (D-R-D-PA) troubles as emblematic of how “the national anti-incumbent wave has hit Pennsylvania” (complete with a matching full screen graphic), George Stephanopoulos fretted on World News about how voters say “they want the parties to work together, yet they seem to be most against now the Senators, the incumbents, who did work across party lines.”
He cited the single incumbent who has lost – “Bob Bennett in Utah worked with a Democrat on health care” – then raised Specter, touting how “he's been in both parties,” as if that's something noble, before naming “Blanche Lincoln, down in Arkansas, a centrist Democrat. She's in a lot of trouble tonight.” Here's a possibility: Those upset by pro-big government politicians and insider coziness bailing out their donors are out voting and are not the same people who incessantly yap about “bi-partisanship.”
ABC stumbled into that as anchor Diane Sawyer marveled: “And the driving center of this, is the bailout?” Stephanopoulos confirmed: “The biggest issue by far is the bailouts. That's what's fueling so much voter anger out there.”
“There aren't a lot of African-American men at these events,” NBC News reporter Kelly O'Donnell, a white woman, told Darryl Postell, a black man at a Tea Party rally held Thursday in Washington, DC, pressing him, in an exchange she chose to include in her NBC Nightly News story, to address her prejudiced assumptions: “Have you ever felt uncomfortable?” Postell rejected her loaded premise that race must divide Americans: “No, no, these are my people, Americans.”
O'Donnell's story noted “skepticism over how the Tea Party is judged and labeled,” letting an attendee assert: “We're not racists, we're not any of the above that people claim us to be. We're ordinary citizens that love our country, and we're fighting for it.” O'Donnell soon wondered if it all may peter out, asking a man in the crowd: “Do you think this has enough energy to really last to November and to make a difference?”
Over on ABC, Jonathan Karl highlighted how “many of them blamed us, the news media.” A woman demanded: “We want honesty from you. We want fair time from you. We want you, the media, to represent all the people, not just a certain portion of the people.”
Sounding more like MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann than impartial newscasts, ABC, CBS and NBC all led Wednesday night by legitimizing Democratic talking points meant to discredit critics of the just-passed health care bill. “Opposition to health care turns menacing,” ABC’s Diane Sawyer warned. CBS teased with audio clips -- “Baby-murdering scumbag,”“You are a dirtbag” and “I hope you die” -- as fill-in anchor Maggie Rodriguez cited “threats of violence against Democrats who voted for health care reform, even as public support for the plan is growing.”
On NBC, Brian Williams teased: “It's getting ugly as anger over health care reform erupts into some over-the-top rhetoric, including threats now against members of Congress.” He opened by declaring: “It can now be said that the debate over health care reform has gone too far. It's now veered into threats of violence.” Reporter Kelly O’Donnell relayed how “Democrats accuse Republicans of stirring a hostile mood” before Savannah Guthrie rued “Washington's epic 14-month battle over health care has exposed an angry side of America.” She recounted:
Wrapped around the brick that smashed the door of Democratic party headquarters in Rochester, New York, a note with the Barry Goldwater quote: ‘Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice.’ On Twitter, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin told followers, ‘Don't retreat, reload.’ While an Alabama man advocated armed uprising....At a conservative Tea Party protest at the Capitol this weekend, some demonstrators hurled racially and sexually-charged insults at members of the Congress.
CBS’s Nancy Cordes dutifully reported “Democrats accuse their GOP colleagues of inciting such acts with inflammatory rhetoric” as “Democrats complain Sarah Palin is also using violent words and imagery. On Twitter, she urges conservatives: ‘Don't retreat. Instead, reload.’ And the Web site of her political action committee posts bull's-eyes on districts of vulnerable Democrats.”
Complete with a photo of her late parents, ABC's Jonathan Karl concluded his Friday night story on undecided Democratic House members by conveying the complaint of Pennsylvania's Kathy Dahlkemper, who contended a TV ad about how further government control of health care will lead to delays in cancer treatment as has occurred in Britain, is inappropriate because her parents recently died from cancer.
“Perhaps the most powerful personal story belongs to Pennsylvania's Kathy Dahlkemper,” Karl intoned, pointing out “her father died of leukemia in February, and her mother died just two weeks ago, and now she finds herself among the undecided Democrats targeted by this ad.” Viewers then saw a very brief clip of an ad from Americans for Prosperity in which a woman maintained: “If you find a lump, you could wait months for treatment and life-saving drugs can be restricted.”
Karl relayed Dahlkemper's indignation: “She says the group that made the ad is wrong, and takes it personally.” In a soundbite, the freshman representing the Northwestern area of the Keystone State squeezed between Ohio and New York, decried: “So, for these ads to come out and somehow say that I'm soft on cancer, after having just lost two parents within the last six weeks from cancer, and with having the record I have really for supporting wellness, to me, is wrong.”
ABC and CBS on Tuesday night picked up on the cause of a small anti-health insurance industry protest in DC organized by left-wing labor groups, but instead of denigrating them as the networks did with much larger Tea Party and anti-ObamaCare rallies, the two newscasts empathized with their cause, each relaying an anecdote about a victim of the current system. Both ABC’s Jonathan Karl and CBS’s Nancy Cordes did, however, proceed to point out the small profit margin for health insurance companies.
“Taking their cue from President Obama, protesters took their complaints about insurance company premiums and excess profits to the insurance industry and the streets,” ABC anchor Diane Sawyer announced. Karl noted the ideology of the “coalition of liberal groups” and recognized “the attacks are pretty harsh. They're accusing the insurance company CEOs of bribery, money laundering and manslaughter.” But he then showcased “Leslie Boyd, whose son Michael died of colon cancer after he couldn't get insurance or afford a colonoscopy.”
On CBS, Katie Couric set up the story on how “angry protesters targeted the insurance industry.” Cordes found “eleven-year-old Marcelas Owens” who “flew here from Seattle” because “his mother Tiffany lost her job and the health insurance that went with it after a prolonged illness caused her to miss work. She stopped going to the doctor and died at 27 of pulmonary hypertension.” The kid [in the screen capture] delivered a perfect soundbite: “She ended up passing away because she didn't have the equal rights to health care as some people with more money.”
“During the presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama often used the phrase ‘fired up’ to do just that to the crowd. Democrats have been openly wondering when he was going to bring that campaign energy and fire to an issue like health care reform,” Brian Williams announced at the top of Monday’s NBC Nightly News,” and “today the President chose an event at a quiet Philadelphia suburb to get loud. He made his case and he rallied the troops and now readies to head into battle yet again on this topic.”
ABC’s Diane Sawyer noted “the President made a direct attack on the health insurance industry, accusing companies of putting profits before patient care” -- which means he was just catching up with Sawyer’s agenda. A couple of weeks ago, Sawyer demanded to know who will “keep insurance companies from jacking up premiums while making huge profits?” and touted “the growing outrage at insurance companies, the ones that raise premiums on ordinary Americans while racking up big profits.”
Jon Karl asserted Obama “hopes to tie into some of that Tea Party anger by focusing on a group that the White House believes is even more unpopular than Congress” as Karl championed a far-left group’s upcoming protest with “wanted” posters “that will highlight the CEOs of the health care companies making the argument that they are the ones to blame.”
ABC's World News on Friday night finally caught up with burgeoning Democratic scandals, though hardly showing the same zeal as when the networks incessantly focused on Republican Congressman Mark Foley back in 2006. On Thursday, the MRC's Scott Whitlock documented how this week the ABC evening newscast had “devoted almost six times as much coverage to Senator Jim Bunning and his temporary hold-up of an unemployment bill as the program did for the ongoing revelations that Democratic Charlie Rangel violated House ethics with his trips to the Caribbean [38 seconds].” Anchor Diane Sawyer set up the Friday night story:
And in political Washington tonight, Democrats on Capitol Hill capping a bad week have to be saying thank heaven this is Friday. The latest: Democratic Congressman Eric Massa, from upstate New York, announced he's quitting his seat under a cloud of harassment allegations. What does this mean for the Democratic Party and the future? Here's Jon Karl.
Karl showed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's promise of the “most ethical Congress in history” and that she would “drain the swamp” as he highlighted Rangel and the announcement Massa, accused of “sexually harassing two male aides,” will resign. Karl recalled:
Democrats rode into power by targeting Republican corruption, and there was lots of it: The Mark Foley sex scandal involving under-age pages and lobbying scandals that landed two Republican Congressmen in jail.
Over the last three days, ABC's World News devoted almost six times as much coverage to Senator Jim Bunning and his temporary hold-up of an unemployment bill as the program did for the ongoing revelations that Democratic Charlie Rangel violated House ethics with his trips to the Caribbean.
World News investigated and followed the Republican for four minutes and 38 seconds over two days. In comparison, the program could only manage a scant 48 seconds of coverage for Rangel. (Anchor Diane Sawyer on Wednesday finally asked George Stephanopoulos about the news that Rangel was stepping down from his powerful Ways and Means committee.)
The difference here is that Rangel's story was an actual scandal and ABC only treated Bunning's actions, which amounted to not giving unanimous consent to a $10 billion spending bill, as a scandal.
ABC on Wednesday continued to berate Senator Jim Bunning for daring to hold up a $10 billion spending bill, despite the fact that the Kentucky Republican has since allowed the unemployment legislation to pass. Reporter Jonathan Karl piled on, "Even after the deal was struck, Democrats lashed out at Bunning for causing such a mess."
Karl replayed video of him harassing Bunning on Capitol Hill and forcing his way into a Senators-only elevator. Yet, Karl spun, "...Unemployment benefits can now be extended, but only after Senator Jim Bunning tied the Senate up in knots for a week, snapping at reporters." As the video shows, Karl seemed be doing much of the "snapping."
For the second straight night, ABC's World News scolded Senator Jim Bunning for daring to block a $10 billion spending bill until it is offset by cuts elsewhere, parading out victims as Diane Sawyer and Jonathan Karl painted him as a nuisance “even fellow Republicans” – that would be a liberal one – oppose. (After the EST broadcast, news broke that Bunning has agreed to some sort of deal.)
Sawyer thundered in teasing her top story: “Tonight on World News, the 'Politics of No.' For the second straight day, one Senator stymies Congress, unemployed Americans struggle and we track that Senator down again.” Sawyer led:
Good evening. Even his fellow Republicans have asked him to stop, but Republican Senator Jim Bunning still has Congress under blockade. For another day, he's kept thousands of unemployed workers from getting their benefits and forced some highway construction projects to stop.
Karl treated the Senator as a child (“Jim Bunning was at it again today”) before he showcased an “unemployed microbiologist in Texas” who, Karl ludicrously relayed -- just two weekdays after unemployment benefits were stopped -- “says no unemployment check will mean she will have to move out of her house” while “Bret Ingersoll of Denver is an unemployed forklift operator, who has already lost his apartment.” So, “today even fellow Republicans were asking Senator Bunning to relent.” That would be Maine's Susan Collins.
A retiring Senator not facing re-election stood up last week for principle, insisting new federal spending be covered by a matching reduction elsewhere, but instead of hailing Senator Jim Bunning as a “maverick” making sure the ruling party adheres to its promise new spending will be “paid for,” television network journalists on Monday night painted him as an ogre, focusing on the presumed victims of delayed spending.
Teasing World News, ABC anchor Diane Sawyer stressed how he’s “denying” people unemployment benefits so ABC decided to “confront” him: “One man's stand. A single Senator stops the whole Congress, denying thousands of people unemployment benefits. We confront him to ask why.” Sawyer framed the story around how Bunning is blocking “life support for the unemployed.”
Reporter Jon Karl concentrated on victims as he played video of himself confronting Bunning by an elevator: “We wanted to ask the Senator why he is blocking a vote that would extend unemployment benefits to more than 340,000 Americas, including Brenda Wood, a teacher in Austin, Texas who has been out of work for two years.” That’s not all: “Bunning is also blocking money for highway construction. So across the country today, 41 construction projects ground to a halt, thousands of workers furloughed without pay.”
A night after ABC anchor Diane Sawyer demanded to know who will “keep insurance companies from jacking up premiums while making huge profits?”, on Wednesday night she again put ABC into service for the liberal spin machine the night before President Obama’s health summit, teasing: “Big insurance executives forced to answer why they're raising your premiums while raking in big profits.” World News devoted a full story to a hearing held by House Democrats to demonize WellPoint:
We turn to the growing outrage at insurance companies, the ones that raise premiums on ordinary Americans while racking up big profits. Today, executives of the company that insures the most Americans had to answer for big bonuses and lavish retreats while socking clients with a double-digit increase in fees.
ABC viewers were treated to demagogic Democrats railing against the salaries and profits of WellPoint. Then, as if it were a coincidence, Sawyer acknowledged “this anger erupts on the eve of President Obama's health care reform summit tomorrow.” (NBC also ran a story pegged to the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, but sans the histrionics.)
Over on CBS, Katie Couric insisted Thursday would bring “that much-anticipated summit at the White House” to “try to save health care reform.” She began with “shades of the Paris peace talks,” ruing “Republicans have been arguing about the shape of the table and the seating arrangement.” Getting to the substance, Couric pleaded: “Does the President have any chance of reaching some kind of compromise with Republicans on health care reform?”