While HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius was getting a polite shove out the door, PBS NewsHour analyst Mark Shields offered a note of disclosure: “Well, first of all, let me just admit up front, Kathleen Sebelius has been a personal friend. For 46 years, I have known her.” He even oddly said she “stepped up manfully, to use a bad adverb” in taking the blame for Obamacare.
But Shields and his usual echo-chamber David Brooks disagreed. Brooks said she wasn’t a “dynamo” at HHS, which caused Shields to start touting her. Anchor Judy Woodruff had gently asked, like a good feminist, “What’s her legacy?”
Barack Obama has taken a few soft-soap interviews on the PBS NewsHour, so anchor Judy Woodruff didn't want to say he was sell Obamacare in less than dignified forums -- like prank interviews with the schlub from "The Hangover" movies.
Pseudoconservative analyst David Brooks and liberal Mark Shields typically agreed that Obama has oodles of dignity and cannot be mocked. Brooks said only if Obama's riding "with Miley Cyrus on the wrecking ball" -- where she rode naked in a video -- would it be "going a little too far." That's hardly a visual you'd expect from PBS:
Leave it to PBS to take a local controversy and turn it into a symbol of the class war that is supposedly plaguing this country. On Tuesday’s NewsHour, the taxpayer-subsidized network raised a stink over so-called Google buses that carry San Francisco residents to their jobs at high-tech companies 30 or 40 miles south of the city. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Anchor Judy Woodruff drew the battle lines as she introduced the story:
PBS found a sly new way to promote ObamaCare on Monday’s NewsHour. It came as part of a feature story on nutrition for young mothers and their infants. Anchor Judy Woodruff introduced the story by talking about malnutrition in young children and the importance of proper nutrition for mothers, particularly young ones. This set up her selling point: “Starting in 2010, a program under the health care reform law made that idea more of a possibility in many states.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
The story that followed centered around the Circle of Life program, which essentially helps young, low-income parents in northern Arkansas raise their children. PBS correspondent Hari Sreenivasan, who narrated the package, explained Circle of Life’s connection to ObamaCare:
Following Meet the Press host David Gregory’s softball interview with former Ambassador Susan Rice, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews rushed to defend Ms. Rice from criticism surrounding the terrorist attack in Benghazi.
Appearing as a panelist on the Sunday show, Matthews eagerly asked Gregory if he could defend Ambassador Rice before pushing the White House talking point that “it was a copycat situation Benghazi, came out of what happened in Cairo – which itself probably came out of that crazy movie out of Los Angeles.” [See video below.]
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been facing criticism and scorn from some media members for having the audacity to mildly criticize President Obama and some administration officials while Obama is still in office. On Tuesday, Gates appeared on the PBS NewsHour to face another round of questioning about his newly released memoir.
Midway through the interview, anchor Judy Woodruff suggested that the former defense secretary could lower morale among troops on the ground overseas: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Thursday night’s edition, the PBS NewsHour held a discussion about President Obama’s prospects for making 2014 more successful than 2013. Of course, the panelists defined success as the president enacting more of his left-of-center agenda.
Gerald Seib of The Wall Street Journal posed a “really interesting strategic choice” that he thought the White House had to make: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
In the weeks leading up to the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination, media members across the fruited plain have largely gushed and fawned over the former president's legacy and grandeur.
New York Times columnist David Brooks offered a rather unique take on PBS's News Hour Friday saying that Kennedy's utopian vision of what a president can do, along with his subsequent martyrdom, diminished the office because "politics can't live up to that sort of mirage of sort of religiosity" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Last week, NewsBusters reported that PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff failed to ask about the “Fast & Furious” Mexican gun-running scandal during an interview with B. Todd Jones, the new head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. But on Monday’s NewsHour, Woodruff played a previously unannounced Part Two of her taped interview with Jones, and this time she asked a question about “Fast & Furious.”
That’s not to say Woodruff suddenly turned into a hard-hitting journalist. In fact, she didn’t get to “Fast & Furious” until her very last question. Even then, she brought up the topic very gently: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
How could a network TV anchor interview the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and not ask about Obama’s “Fast & Furious” Mexican gun-running scandal? Ask PBS anchor Judy Woodruff.
On Thursday night, Woodruff interviewed newly confirmed ATF director B. Todd Jones and utterly failed to ask a scandal question. She began by lamenting the ATF is called a "neglected stepchild" of law enforcement, and “It's been pointed out your number of agents smaller than many city municipal police departments, sheriff's departments. How are you managing?” And then “But how strapped do you feel for resources?” This set up Woodruff’s NRA bashing:
Apparently PBS has decided to make like MSNBC and spend more time dissecting the Republican Party’s problems real, imagined, and/or overblown. On Monday’s PBSNewsHour, anchor Judy Woodruff announced that the program would begin “a series of conversations about where the Republican Party goes from here.” The first installment, a discussion with former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), amounted to a lot of hand-wringing over the Tea Party.
Throughout the interview, Lott tried to keep the focus on positive steps Republicans can take, but Woodruff kept calling his attention back to the alleged problem of the Tea Party. The anchor reminded Lott that “you have factions in your party, I mean, all the way from the Tea Party to folks who sympathize with the Tea Party all the way to some moderates.” Interesting how she split the Tea Party into two groups while putting “some moderates” in one group. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
In remarks that are sure to dismay the race-baiting crew at MSNBC, President Obama admitted in an interview yesterday that he does not think that his conservative critics are racially motivated.
Obama made those remarks in a very flattering discussion with PBS NewsHour hosts Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff after he gave an address commemorating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus is doing the right thing. He’s making the national media’s blatant partisan bias a prominent issue right out of the gate to Campaign 2016. Priebus sent a letter to CNN president Jeff Zucker and NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt demanding they cease efforts to air promotional Hillary Clinton films on their airwaves, or he’ll seek to stop any effort to allow presidential debates on their networks.
“It’s appalling to know executives at major networks like NBC and CNN who have donated to Democrats and Hillary Clinton have taken it upon themselves to be Hillary Clinton’s campaign operatives,” the RNC chair declared. “Their actions to promote Secretary Clinton are disturbing and disappointing. I hope Americans will question the credibility of these networks and that NBC and CNN will reconsider their partisan actions and cancel these political ads masked as unbiased entertainment.”
Judy Woodruff sat down for a cordial conversation with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Wednesday’s PBS NewsHour, and the veteran anchor was not afraid to play up partisan and racial politics. For her final question, Woodruff asked Reid for his reaction to President Obama’s remarks last week on the Trayvon Martin saga and the plight of black men in America, but she added a second part to the question.
“[W]hat does it say that there’s not a single African-American Democratic member of the U.S. Senate?” Woodruff wondered. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
The PBS NewsHour led off its Thursday evening telecast with a story about the three scandals that currently envelop the Obama administration: the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups, the Justice Department’s subpoena of AP phone records, and the Benghazi attack. Rather than following the package with analysis from a journalist, as PBS often does with stories like this, the taxpayer-subsidized network brought on White House Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri to provide the White House's spin on these scandals.
Even worse, anchor Judy Woodruff did not rise to the occasion with any tough questioning, allowing Palmieri to spin her way right out of trouble. All of Woodruff’s questions dealt with President Obama’s reaction to the scandals; she never grilled Palmieri on whether the White House was involved in any of this. The assumption seemed to be that the president was an innocent bystander in all of these scandals. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Both NPR and PBS skipped over the Obama-IRS scandal on Friday night’s “week in review” segments. Both led instead by wondering about whether conservatives would ruin immigration “reform” and then briefly touched on Benghazi.
On the PBS Newshour, all the outrage was saved for the end, as Mark Shields railed against Congressman-elect Mark Sanford as an unforgivable “jerk” for having his mistress with him at his special-election victory party next to his sons, and then trashed the GOP voters who elected him:
After more than a month of silence, PBS finally covered the murder trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell on Monday’s NewsHour. Considering that all other major news outlets have barely given Gosnell a mention, if they mentioned him at all, it was refreshing to see PBS devote a full seven-minute story to the gruesome abortionist (even if that story came at the very end of the broadcast). However, there was still a stench of disingenuousness in the air as the PBS journalists subtly dismissed the notion that the trial has not received sufficient media coverage up until now.
Anchor Jeffrey Brown introduced the story as “the murder trial of an abortion provider that has captured national attention.” But if the trial has captured national attention, why has PBS waited until now to mention it? Why have we seen nothing more than a trickle of coverage from other major national news outlets? The story might have rightfully captured national attention from the pro-life crowd, but the liberal commercial broadcast media, which favors abortion, has been unwilling to give it national attention. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Tuesday’s PBS NewsHour, anchor Judy Woodruff brought on former Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) to discuss the problem of gridlock in Washington. The conversation started off well, but Woodruff soon made it clear who she believes is more responsible for a lack of legislative progress in the nation’s capital.
Snowe presented the problem as being caused by members of both parties. She cited the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street as examples of ideologically rigid groups on the right and left respectively. But Woodruff couldn’t let this even-handed approach fly on her program. She jumped in with a slanted question: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
The PBS NewsHour went into everyone’s favorite subjects last Friday, gays and guns, and discussed the overwhelming cultural shift concerning gay marriage. New York Times columnist David Brooks and syndicated columnist Mark Shields both commented on how this shift could be irreversible, but noted that the Supreme Court could “Roe v. Wade” the decision. That is, the faux conservative and the liberal pundit both agreed that a court decision could just breath new life and fresh controversy into the same-sex marriage fight.
Yes, this is NOT an April Fools' joke. Brooks and Shields were actually saying that sweeping decisions, if not taken responsibly, could create more problems in the long run. It's a refreshing moment hearing shields, unlike others among his liberal colleagues, acknowledging how social change is best achieved through the political process rather than the courts. It is, however, a shame that Brooks failed to give a conservative constitutional case for why DOMA and Prop 8 should stand, aside from the deleterious effects of a court ruling:
The PBS NewsHour invited Nancy Pelosi on for an interview Thursday night, and the sparks were flying. Sparks of love, that is, between anchor Judy Woodruff and the House minority leader. Woodruff conducted a 10-minute interview of mostly softballs about the salient topics of the day. But one of today’s hottest topics, the sequester, only merited one question from Woodruff - and it wasn’t a query a serious journalist would ask. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Woodruff began, “Quick question about the sequester. The White House spent a lot of time, the president did, talking about the dire consequences once the sequester kicked in.” Okay. So far, so good. Now, surely Woodruff is going to ask why the president did an about-face and is now downplaying the sequester’s effects. Or maybe she’ll ask if Mr. Obama’s fearmongering was overblown. Or maybe she’ll even ask Pelosi if the president did everything he could to reach a compromise with Republicans to avert the sequester.
On January 25, the PBS NewsHour gave the annual “March for Life” a perfunctory 56-word news brief. But on Monday night, the leftist protests against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Canada drew a full story about nine times that long.
Anchor Judy Woodruff somehow ignored the large crowds of Earth Day 1970, Earth Day 1990 (stood there myself), and Earth Day 2000 to echo the Left: “Thousands of people marched on the National Mall in Washington yesterday, braving a cold winter wind to take part in what organizers called the biggest climate rally in U.S. history.” If that wasn’t weird enough, protest organizer Bill McKibben announced the Arctic melted last year:
PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff had a rough night on Friday, putting her outrage at Republicans ahead of the facts. In her "Shields and Brooks" segment with liberal Mark Shields and former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson (subbing for David Brooks), she guessed "The Republicans, I gather, we're told, it is unprecedented, blocking the nomination -- or the confirmation so far of the man President Obama wants to be his defense secretary."
Did Woodruff completely forget Sen. John Tower's nomination for defense secretary, voted down by Democrats in 1989? The name never came up. Hagel's confirmation is only delayed, not defeated. But Woodruff expressed the need for GOP suffering: "Does somebody pay the price, though, for all this?" Naturally, the liberal expert agreed:
Finally, Grover Norquist was the featured guest on the PBS NewsHour’s segment on the fiscal cliff. After previous editions of the program featured softball interviews with Paul Krugman and Max Richtman -- two members of the far left who oppose entitlement reform -- as well as moderate conservative Republican Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the NewsHour saw it fit to give time to the anti-tax activist who heads Americans for Tax Reform.
Of course the December 12 interview proved to be an occasion for liberal anchor Judy Woodruff to push back hard against Norquist on taxes, firing every possible liberal talking point at him she could. Norquist was adamant that the problem in Washington is spending, not taxation -- giving the president all the tax hikes he wants would generate about only two weeks worth of revenue, after all. But it didn’t take long for Woodruff to argue that the Clinton era tax cuts were the basis for strong economic growth. Norquist stood his ground and noted the role a conservative Republican Congress played in policies that helped fuel economic growth in the 1990s:
As Colonel Kurtz said at the end of Apocalypse Now: “the horror, the horror.” That sentiment encapsulated New York Times Republican David Brooks and syndicated columnist Mark Shields’ reactions to the rejection of the UN treaty on the rights of the disabled in the Senate last week. Brooks called it “embarrassment for the country” – while Shields called it “a profile in cowardice.” Regardless, it seems that both men forget that we have a similar bill called The Americans with Disabilities Act, which was passed under George H.W. Bush.
During the segment, which aired on December 7, NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff decided to end her interview with Brooks and Shields on this point:
The PBS NewsHour has yet to invite a strong conservative on the program to talk about the fiscal cliff. Tuesday night they had New York Times columnist, left-wing economist, and Obama cheerleader Paul Krugman to detail his view. Wednesday night they had moderately-conservative Sen. Bob Corker ( R-Tenn), but last night was the most interesting. PBS invited the Norquist of the left, Max Richtman, of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, who insisted we shouldn’t be in a rush to reform our entitlement spending.
After all, when the unfunded liability of both programs is around $100 trillion dollars, what’s the big hurry? Where’s the fire? Suffice it to say, none of Richtman's claims were met with skepticism by anchor Judy Woodruff. She continued with her interview, as if what Richtman said was fact.
Last Friday, in his first post-election remarks on PBS and NPR, New York Times columnist David Brooks downplayed his usual bash- conservatives narrative, and actually castigated liberals for wanting to go over the looming fiscal cliff. He said that liberals are more organized, they’ve won the election, and will get most of what they yearn for if we do go over the waterfall: increased revenue, tax hikes, and cuts to defense spending.
Strangely, his liberal colleagues, Mark Shields on PBS and E.J. Dionne on NPR, seemed to agree with this claim – undercutting the notion that this "cliff" is dangerous to both parties.
During the September 25 broadcast of the PBS Newshour, anchor Gwen Ifill invited Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass and former U.S. Ambassador Nicholas Burns to discuss President Barack Obama’s foreign policy and his recent address to the UN. Reporter Judy Woodruff also had a segment on the president speech. Yet none of the segments dealing with the address mentioned the fact that the Obama administration has expressed support for anti-blasphemy measures that are completely incongruous with the freedom of speech as protected by the U.S. Constitution.
Bob Woodward continued his lecture circuit on how he’s the source of “the best obtainable version of the truth” in politics by demanding Republican nominee Mitt Romney to apologize for his “off the cuff” remarks captured in a leaked video at a private fundraiser in Florida. During his typically soporific interview with Judy Woodruff on the PBS Newshour, which will air later this week – Woodruff claimed such antics “doesn’t work in journalism, life, or politics.”