On Sunday, a Wikileaks document dump revealed files from Guantanamo Bay in which military commanders noted the Finsbury Park mosque in north London was a "haven" for Islamic extremists, "an attack planning and propaganda production base" that recruited jihadists to fight in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
But while the American mainstream media have been ga-ga over tomorrow's royal wedding, there's been little if any attention paid to this development by the very same reporters who were packing their bags for London.
A search of Nexis for ABC, CBS, and NBC news transcripts from April 25 through today reveals nothing on the Finsbury Park mosque, although other information from the latest wikileaks dump was discussed.
Covering a possible 2012 presidential run by Michele Bachmann, Good Morning America's Juju Chang on Thursday spun the Congresswoman as "one of the most controversial freshmen [sic] members of Congress." Aside from the obvious error, Bachmann has been a representative for four years, GMA never identified hard-left former Congressman Alan Grayson that way.
Reporter Jonathan Karl singled out Bachmann as "uncompromising" and "as conservative as they come." This type of labeling isn't uncommon for the journalist. On August 24, 2010, Karl hit Republican senatorial candidate Joe Miller as a "hard-line, Tea Party conservative."
On September 22, 2010, he deemed Christine O'Donnell's comments about witchcraft to be "infamous." On January 4, 2011, Karl derided incoming House Speaker John Boehner as "harshly partisan."
The three evening newscasts on Monday and the morning shows on Tuesday mostly ignored Barack Obama's abandonment of a campaign pledge to close Guantanamo Bay and end trials of detainees there. NBC's Today, CBS's Early Show and ABC's Good Morning America all covered the story only in news briefs. Yet, when President Bush was in the White House, the networks obsessed over the issue.
Today's Ann Curry called the move to resume military trials there a "stunning reversal," but the network allowed just two brief anchor reads during the four hour program. ABC almost completely ignored the development. Monday's World News skipped the topic entirely.
On Tuesday's Good Morning America, Juju Chang offered a single mention, explaining, "And an about-face from President Obama on Guantanamo Bay. He is resuming military trials for terrorism suspects held in Cuba, two years after he pledged to close the prison."
Good Morning America news anchor Juju Chang on Thursday made a goof that could surprise her morning show audience. Discussing instability in the Middle East, the reporter claimed that oil prices have been pushed above "$100 per gallon."
Obviously, Chang meant that oil prices are now over $100 per barrel. The current national average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.22. (See below for video of the hilarious gaffe. MP3 audio here.)
While both CBS's Early Show and ABC's Good Morning America identified The Huffington Post as a liberal blog when discussing AOL purchasing the web site for $315 million, on NBC's Today, news reader Ann Curry simply described it as an "online news site" co-founded by "pundit" Arianna Huffington.
On Good Morning America, news reader JuJu Chang referred to The Huffington Post as a "top-ten news site" but accurately described it as being "co-founded by liberal commentator Arianna Huffington." The Early Show's Jeff Glor did not label the blog a news site at all and was the most direct in pointing out its ideological slant: "Huffington Post, a left-leaning site, was founded in 2005."
California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown was caught on tape in a conversation with an aide, in which that aide called his Republican opponent Meg Whitman a "whore" and CBS's Early Show, on Friday, didn't find that gaffe worthy to report, even though Brown was forced to apologize. ABC's Good Morning America, didn't do much better, as while they did report on the sexist phrased being hurled at Whitman they didn't get around to it, until the second hour of their show. ABC's Juju Chang, in a news brief, noted "Some salty language in the race for California governor. It's difficult to hear, but it's a voice mail recording that captures Democrat Jerry Brown" and an aide, "who used a not-so flattering word to describe" Whitman. Chang went on to play a clip of the aide saying of Whitman "She's a whore."
NBC's Today show, for some reason, bleeped out the offending word, but did offer the most extensive report of the controversy and unlike their morning competitors highlighted the story in the first hour of their program with Vieira teasing at the top of the show: "And caught on tape. A private conversation between California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown and an aide recorded on a voice mail and derogatory word is used to describe rival Meg Whitman. The Brown camp is apologizing but Whitman's camp is calling it unforgivable, today." Vieira's colleague, Natalie Morales, then offered a full story, six minutes into the show.
According to ABC's Juju Chang, "wedge issues" like gay marriage can be linked to the bullying of homosexual teens. On Thursday's Good Morning America, the news anchor connected the subject in a piece on why a "seemingly accepting society" would allow harassment.
The reporter complained, "But despite the progress, gay issues are wedge issues in this country. 29 states effectively ban gay marriage." Effectively banned? Without explaining the connection, she added, "And there's Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
In a follow-up segment, co-host Robin Roberts interviewed Harvard professor William Pollack and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, star of ABC's Modern Family, to talk about gay bullying. (It's interesting that the network chose a gay actor from ABC to talk about this issue and not one from NBC or CBS. Was this a discussion of a serious topic or promotion of a network sitcom?)
Good Morning America's Juju Chang switched into prognostication mode on Wednesday and proclaimed that, along with other Tea Party wins, Christine O'Donnell's upset victory in Delaware "pretty much eliminat[es] the Republicans' chances of taking back the Senate." [MP3 audio here.]
She trumpeted, "We begin with an upset victory for the Tea Party and maybe for Democrats." The news anchor announced, "Christine O'Donnell has defeated a mainstream Republican candidate for the Delaware Senate seat, thanks to help from Sarah Palin."
Mainstream? Mike Castle's lifetime American Conservative Union score is 52. He has an F grade from the NRA, supported cap and trade and is aggressively pro-abortion. These are generally not known as "mainstream" GOP positions.
ABC on Wednesday continued to attack Arizona's tough new immigration law. Good Morning America devoted three segments to the subject, even misstating what the legislation does.
News anchor Juju Chang incorrectly asserted, "The law would allow police to question anyone suspected of being in the country illegally."
In fact, the law would allow police to check immigration status only if an individual has already been stopped for a legitimate police reason. An onscreen graphic derided, "Target: Immigrants: Arizona Law Set to Take Effect." Notice that, according to ABC, Arizona is simply focusing on immigrants, not illegal immigrants.
Despite referring to it as "landmark" and "huge," the network morning shows on Tuesday mostly ignored Monday's Supreme Court ruling, which declared the Second Amendment a fundamental right that cannot be violated by state governments. Good Morning America, The Early Show and Today devoted just two minutes and 34 seconds to discussing the important decision.
ABC's GMA offered 21 seconds with a single Juju Chang news brief during the two hour program. This didn't stop the show's hosts from covering crucial topics, such as spending eight and a half minutes dissecting whether Michael Douglas' ex-wife deserves residuals from his upcoming Wall Street sequel.
CBS's Early Show allowed 25 seconds for Jan Crawford to explain the significance of the decision. Host Chris Wragge rushed, "Now what's the importance, if you can just tell us, quickly, of this 5-4 decision?"
While ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today spent little time on the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan on Tuesday, the CBS Early Show featured a report from legal correspondent Jan Crawford, who cheered Kagan finally being able respond to Republican "attacks" in a "very agile" way.
Good Morning America devoted only a single news brief early in the 7AM ET hour to the hearings as news reader JuJu Chang noted how Kagan "will be questioned by Republicans who say she is too liberal and too political." Chang added: "Kagan promised to take a modest approach to judging."
On Today, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell offered only a brief 7:09AM report on the hearings: "Weeks after her nomination, seated in silence for hours, finally Elena Kagan gets to make her case....[she] describes herself as a daughter of the American dream." O'Donnell described the arguments from both sides of the aisle: "No surprise, Democrats praised her intellect and the chance to broaden the Supreme Court....Saying they would be respectful, Republicans did not hesitate to get tough. From abortion rights to immigration, they found various ways to call her liberal." In an 8:04AM news brief, news reader Natalie Morales declared: "Republicans portrayed Kagan as a liberal activist with no judicial experience. Kagan promised an even-handed approach to the law."
Pardon my harping, but it's perpetually amazing to me that tens of thousands of people can assemble every January in the nation's capital for the March for Life, and draw not a second of network TV attention. But 14 illegal-alien advocates blocked traffic in Los Angeles, and both ABC and NBC acknowledged them on the morning of May 7:
JUJU CHANG, ABC: Well, police in Los Angeles have arrested more than a dozen protesters, who chained themselves together on a downtown street, to protest the new immigration law in Arizona. 14 activists locked themselves in a circle in front of an immigration detention center, blocking traffic for about four hours.
ANN CURRY, NBC: And at least 14 people are under arrest in Los Angeles after blocking traffic for about four hours on Thursday. They chained themselves together to protest Arizona's new immigration law.
Do the networks understand that they're instructing protesters to get arrested before they get noticed, no matter how many thousands of them peacefully assemble? At the very least, ABC and NBC could have offered a few choice words from the drivers who were blocked by these protesters.
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, fill-in news reader Betty Nguyen reported on President Obama's new plan to cut back America's space program, but failed to mention sharp criticism by astronauts Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, and Eugene Cernan in a signed letter sent to the White House.
Nguyen noted: "President Obama unveils a revamped plan for America's manned space program....reviving part of a plan he canceled earlier this year. NASA will begin development of a crew capsule called Orion....[it] won't go to the moon, but will be used as an emergency vehicle on the space station."
In contrast, on ABC's Good Morning America, anchor Juju Chang began a news brief on the same topic this way: "President Obama under fire, accused by the first man to set foot on the moon of leading the U.S. space program down a path of, quote, 'mediocrity.'" Correspondent Jake Tapper followed: "Armstrong and two other former astronauts wrote that it was a terrible decision. They called it 'a misguided proposal that forces NASA out of the human space operations for the foreseeable future.'"
NBC's Today also covered the criticism, as anchor Natalie Morales explained how: "three Apollo astronauts call the changes devastating. In a letter, Neil Armstrong, James Lovell and Eugene Cernan write, 'The President's plan destines our nation to become one of second, or even third-rate stature.'"
Left-wing protests for "immigration reform" (amnesty) used to be a huge TV-news story. MRC's 2006 special report Election in the Streets counted 309 stories in little more than two months. So it's a little surprising that Sunday's "pro-immigrant" protest received just a few seconds of attention.
It's better measured with a word count than a story count. ABC, CBS, and NBC combined gave it 239 words (or less than 80 words per network). NBC had 34 words, ABC 84, and CBS 141 (half a story).
This is 239 words more than the 2010 March for Life. Obviously, the timing was terrible, with the final vote on health "reform" scheduled. But you would think it would draw more than this. Perhaps the plugged-in Democrats like Stephanopoulos got a signal that focus on this issue wasn't helpful when voters are already angry with Democrats about health care.
Only Good Morning America on Thursday played the cringe-inducing clip of Joe Biden incorrectly asserting that the mother of Ireland's Prime Minister is dead. Speaking at a St. Patrick's Day event, Wednesday, the Vice President ad-libbed, "His mom lived in Long Island for ten years or so. God rest her soul. And- although, she's- wait- your mom's still- your mom's still alive. Your dad passed. God bless her soul." [Audio available here.]
However, the ABC hosts then attempted to cover for Biden. News anchor Juju Chang lauded the Vice President's "quick recovery." Co-anchor George Stephanopoulos excused, "And that smile takes him a long way as well."Chang agreed, "Exactly. I think it gets a lot of forgiveness."
After the Democrats regained control of the House in 2006, Nancy Pelosi promised NBC's Brian Williams that she would "drain the swamp" and "turn this Congress into the most honest and open Congress in history." So when news broke that a House Ethics committee found that long time New York Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel accepted corporate money for trips to the Carribean one would think Williams would be all over the story – he wasn't.
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News Williams completely ignored the charges, as did ABC's World News Tonight. Of the three broadcast network evening news shows, only Williams' competitors at CBS Evening News covered the Rangel scandal as Katie Couric reported Rangel "broke House rules," and Nancy Cordes told viewers he could be "censured," but didn't tell them that he was a Democrat.
[UPDATE, 7:30 PM EST Friday, February 26: ABC's World News caught up with Rangel on Friday night as anchor Diane Sawyer identified him as a Democrat and the Friday NBC Nightly News rolled Rangel into a “Democrats' Disarray” story with Desiree Rogers and David Paterson.]
Williams' NBC News colleague Amy Robach did mention the investigation into Rangel's wrongdoing, the next morning on the Today show, but omitted Rangel's party affiliation in the one and only story aired on the morning show:
Two years after fawning over the romance of John and Elizabeth Edwards, Good Morning America found another Democratic couple to tout. As the song Everlasting Love played in the background, news anchor Juju Chang profiled Joe and Jill Biden and their "famous Washington love story." [Audio available here.]
An ABC graphic touted the Vice President and his wife as "true Valentines" in honor of the holiday and Chang declared, "But, the Bidens have a genuine love and respect for each other that's easy to see." In case viewers didn't get the point of the interview, Chang reiterated, "Yours is not only a strong marriage but a true love affair." Co-host Robin Roberts wondered how the two "keep the romance alive."
Good Morning America’s George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday became emotional over the passing of John Murtha, named by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington as one of Congress’ most corrupt politicians. He lauded the Democrat as "one of those guys who make the [House of Representatives] work." [Audio available here.]
Neither Stephanopoulos, nor Juju Chang, who filed a news brief on Murtha, mentioned his 2006 smear that U.S. Marines killed Iraqi civilians "in cold blood." Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic operative, reminisced as he tried to maintain control: "I’m going to get a little choked up. I miss him already. You know, I went to Capitol Hill as an aide almost 30 years ago."
He cooed, "And he did it with such a sense of joy and fun and he taught me an awful lot." Stephanopoulos skipped the following quote from Murtha in May of 2006 about a supposed massacre in Haditha, Iraq: "Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."
If you haven't heard much about Heidi Montag before, that's probably going to change. MTV's pseudo reality star has become a cautionary tale, and is facing a firestorm of critics after going under the knife for a staggering 10 different cosmetic procedures in a single sitting. The list ranged from a mini brow lift to a chin reduction to pinning her ears back to the predictable breast augmentation (her second).
"For the past three years, I've thought about what to have done," Montag told People magazine last week. "I'm beyond obsessed."
And she finally revealed her new look yesterday, appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America." But she wasn't exactly met by a cheering crowd. Kudos to GMA for being properly revolted by Montag's butchery.
Reporter Deborah Roberts, for example, called Montag's surgeries "frightening" and co-anchor George Stephanopoulos felt sorry for her.
New Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos and the rest of the morning show crew couldn’t help laughing at Sarah Palin on Thursday. News anchor Juju Chang highlighted a story broken by the tabloid TMZ that the former vice presidential candidate was seen at a Hawaii beach wearing a blacked out McCain visor. [Audio available here.]
After Chang noted that Palin said she was simply trying to be "incognito," Stephanopoulos, the former Democratic operative, started giggling and scoffed, "Trying to be incognito? Okay. That’ll do it."Joining in, Chang, who is also new to the show, joked, "Apparently there were no other hats to be found."
Global warming alarmist Sam Champion piled on as he began the weather report: "Every shop on the beach in Hawaii sells visors for about $5.99...Just in case no one knew." Co-host Robin Roberts marveled, "Now, that’s truly going rogue. That’s truly going rogue."
Anyone who has given birth to a child knows that post-partum hormones can really cloud your thinking. But your political views?
Apparently, when you are a conservative, or thought to be a conservative, reporters think you might move left after you give birth. That was the assumption ABC's JuJu Chang brought into her interview with The View's Elisabeth Hasselbeck on today's broadcast of Good Morning America.
Chang, who said she gave birth within nine days of Hasselbeck, was back on GMA with an interview of The View's co-host, labeled a conservative two times in the piece, who returned to her job this week as well. The interview was set up to be a chat between two new moms, but quickly became political.
Chang: Has motherhood changed your views at all - either your politics or just your worldview or your life view ?
Hasselbeck: I think motherhood stirs up questions about life. You look at it differently. I'm not voting just as a single woman anymore or just for myself. I'm actually looking at how this world will be shaped so that my kids can live in a place that's safe for them. And that is my main goal. I think it does change.