In a pair of back-to-back stories leading off Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, House Republicans were painted as villains for briefly delaying a vote on Hurricane Sandy relief. First, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell declared: "Stunned Democrats and Republicans could not believe that their hometown suffering could be ignored."
In the next report, correspondent Anne Thompson decried the move: "Where the reminders of Sandy are still all too vivid, today frustration turned to fury....the House of Representatives' failure to vote is just one more body blow."
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, hours before the House of Representatives approved a deal to avert the fiscal cliff, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd wrung his hands over Republican opposition to the lopsided legislation that increased taxes and offered no spending cuts: "I think we're in the last throes of sort of the typical theatrics that have become the norm for Washington over the last couple of years. And there is going to be a few more shenanigans before the night is over." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
That was in response to fill-in anchor Kate Snow observing: "There are some voices out there saying, 'Good for the House Republicans, they're standing on their principles.' But there are also a lot of voices saying, 'How much longer is this going to take?'" Todd lamented: "Well, it may be a new year but old habits are dying hard with this congress." He reiterated: "It could be a real mess. But I do think we're in the last throes of sort of the Washington shenanigans."
Opening an hour-long special on the Mormon Church for Thursday's NBC Rock Center, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed to viewers: "Most Americans say they know next to nothing about the Mormon Church. Tonight, a rare look inside the lives of modern Mormon families....A church still dealing with the issue of polygamy....And other issues of inequality."
Teasing a report on the history of the Church, Williams promised to answer the question of "why so many Americans still today are suspicious of the religion." Introducing that portion of the broadcast, Williams touted pop culture mocking the faith, starting with a clip of Fox's Family Guy in which lead character Peter Griffin declares: "I'm going to be a Mormon....Come on, nailing a different wife every night. That's a no-brainer."
Uniquely among the broadcast network evening newscasts, on Friday's NBC Nightly News, substitute host Kate Snow briefly noted that it was former President George W. Bush's 66th birthday, and that the former President was in Africa as part of an effort to fight against cancer on the Third World continent. Snow read the item:
Now that Colorado is enduring one of the worst wildfires in its history, liberals are pointing to man-made global warming as the culprit. On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Anne Thompson hyped the "dire" and lasting impact of the fires on the environment and pointed toward man-made global warming as the probable cause.
The "increasingly bigger" fires, Thompson said, are "Leading some to question if this wildfire season is worse because of climate change." One of her experts, a professor from the University of Arizona, proclaimed that “we won’t see these forests coming back in our lifetime or even our grandchildren’s life times.” [Video coming soon. MP3 audio here.]
When Bill Clinton went to Africa in 2007 to fight AIDS, ABC hyped his important work "to save a continent." Diane Sawyer interviewed the ex-President and Kate Snow followed him to Africa. However, the same network has, thus far, skipped former President George W. Bush's efforts to fight cancer in the same area.
On the July 24, 2007, Good Morning America, Kate Snow excitedly related, "In Africa, they seem to be on a first-name basis with the former president, shouting 'Bill! Bill!'" On the July 20th GMA, Diane Sawyer hyped, "And President Bill Clinton weighs in, speaking out on the war, his work to save a continent..." Instead of praising Bush's work, Tuesday, the morning show devoted two segments to the divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.
Touting the newly-elected mayor of Ithaca, New York, 24-year old Democrat Svante Myrick, on Wednesday's NBC Rock Center, host Brian Williams drew parallels to Barack Obama: "He grew up a bi-racial kid with an unusual name. He went into politics. If that story sounds familiar, then you must meet the young man they must now call 'Mr. Mayor.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing the segment, Williams told viewers to "think about what of this story sounds familiar." During her report, correspondent Kate Snow promoted the comparison: "When he was in high school, Myrick's grandmother gave him a copy of Barack Obama's book, 'Dreams From My Father.' And for another bi-racial kid struggling with his identity, growing up without his father, raised by a white mother, he saw himself in that story."
Updated [13:06 ET]: More analysis and full transcript added.
On Monday's Rock Center on NBC, correspondent Kate Snow savaged Alabama's new immigration law, touting left-wing historian Wayne Flynt comparing it to the racism of the 1960s: "This is just mean-spirited. This is – this is finding the most vulnerable people within a society....it's like the blacks in 1963 who could not vote in Alabama." [Audio available here]
Snow followed by citing the plight of one illegal immigrant family operating a bakery in the state: "The Sanchezs agree. They feel like Alabama blacks of the Jim Crow era." Snow then turned to Republican Governor Robert Bentley and leveled a harsh accusation: "The woman who owns this bakery, she said the men who did this are racists. She was talking about you, sir."
As Snow made the "Jim Crow era" comparison, footage appeared on screen of blacks being sprayed with fire hoses and threatened with attack dogs during civil rights marches in the '60s. [View video after the jump]
Appearing on Monday's NBC Nightly News, CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera blamed decades of overspending by European governments and borrowing to help provide promised benefits for the continent's current economic problems.
Aug. 14 was the 75th anniversary of Social Security, the largest government program and most troubled. Social Security is in the red this year - six years ahead of forecasts. The program faces a $41 billion shortfall this year alone.
The major anniversary of a program often nicknamed the "third-rail" of politics didn't even rate a mention on NBC "Nightly News." Instead, NBC celebrated an "iconic" children's cartoon: Dora the Explorer.
"If you've ever said the phrase: ‘Swiper, no swiping.' then you know the power of the little girl who made that phrase famous." Kate Snow enthusiastically teased. "Dora the Explorer will forever be a seven-year-old cartoon character, but this weekend marks the tenth anniversary of a ground-breaking show that has been almost inescapable for a generation of kids."
Good Morning America’s Kate Snow on Thursday highlighted a clip of Joe Biden for a piece on Sarah Palin and her "out there" comments. The Vice President, who has made several verbal gaffes of his own, derided, "Some of the comments made are just so far, sort of, out there, I just don't know where they come from."
Snow apparently didn’t see much irony in featuring Biden, who once exhorted a paraplegic man to "stand up," for a segment on a new poll showing 71 percent of Amerians don’t think Palin is qualified for the presidency. Instead, she included a clip of White House Press secretary Robert Gibbs mocking the former Alaska governor for writing on her hand at a recent speech. He joked, "I wrote, eggs, milk and bread. Then, I wrote down hope and change, just in case I forgot."
Snow dismissed, "Palin is a polarizing figure, but her detractors feel even more strongly than her fans." Of course, the reporter didn’t show any clips of Palin’s fans. She did play a snippet of comedian Stephen Colbert mocking, "Oh, big deal! Writing notes on her hands shows she's an average Jane. Not like those elites and their memory"
On Thursday’s World News, ABC correspondent Kate Snow filed a report that avoided portraying Tea Party activists as extremists, instead conveying the movement’s growing appeal and the fact that even some former Barack Obama supporters have signed on. Snow: "The majority of supporters are long-time Republicans like Danita, but there are growing numbers of independents, and even some former Obama supporters."
After recounting the movement’s recent successes in bringing down moderate political figures for not being conservative enough, Snow related that "moderates are scrambling to show their support." The piece also included a soundbite of ABC News contributor Matthew Dowd who suggested that Democrats are making a mistake in "trying to marginalize" the movement. Dowd: "I think Republicans definitely dismiss this at their peril. I also think Democrats, by trying to marginalize it, underestimate the anger out there."
Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Thursday, January 7, World News on ABC:
Good Morning America on Monday began a week of coverage on Sarah Palin’s new book by repeatedly fact checking claims from the Republican and highlighting a attack by the liberals’ favorite "conservative," New York Times columnist David Brooks. Reporter Kate Snow asserted that "even conservatives are on the attack" against Palin.
She then played a clip of Brooks, who has previously gone after Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and others: "Yeah, she's a joke. I mean I just can't take her seriously. The idea that this potential talk show host is considered seriously for the Republican nomination, believe me, it'll never happen."
With “Losing Support” as the on-screen heading, ABC's World News on Friday night certainly made clear how President Obama is losing favor with the American people as his approval level and attitudes toward his health care efforts continue steadily downward so now more are opposed (50 percent) than in favor (45 percent) and he's suffered a 29-point drop in agreement with enacting a “public option.” But ABC's Kate Snow still saw a “glass half full” view as she managed to end with a positive spin for Obama:
It's not all bad news for the President. We didn't find an overwhelming majority against health care reform. Instead, if you look at the glass half full point of view, the country is basically split. About half of Americans still favor reform, and about half still favor a public option.
Also skipped by World News: How, despite the loaded wording in the question referring to those “angrily protesting at town meetings,” a majority (51 percent) considered the protests “appropriate” versus 45 percent who called them “inappropriate.” (Question 16 in the PDF.)
During Thursday's World News with Charles Gibson, ABC correspondent Kate Snow held open the possibility that some ObamaCare opponents are correct in their belief that universal health care will include taxpayer funding of abortion, although she characterized the truth as "unclear," during a "Reality Check" during which she brought up the likelihood that taxpayer funding would be used to purchase private health insurance plans that cover abortion. Snow:
Will health care reform lead to taxpayer-funded abortions? Unclear. Current law states federal funds cannot be used for abortions except in the cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother. But under health care reform, lower income Americans would have their health care subsidized by the government, and they will be allowed to pick a health plan that covers abortion.
She also informed viewers that at least one alternative plan would try to separate tax dollars from abortion funding -- she contended that "it might not be the easiest thing to regulate, keeping public and private money separate," but she also cited "experts" who say that such a plan "could work." Snow:
ABC’s Kate Snow, who early on Monday couldn’t find time to show any Republican opposition to a controversial provision in the health care plan relating to end-of-life care, reversed course on World News and briefly highlighted a GOP voice. Congressman Thaddeus McCotter appeared and asserted, "And there should never be any doubt as to whether your end-of-life decisions are influenced by its effect on the United States Treasury."
Snow was filing a piece for Monday’s World News about a section in the House health care bill that reimburse doctors for discussing end-of-life care with their patients every five years. And although the segment was billed as a "fact check" to debunk incorrect claims, this report at least looked into something that her earlier piece on Good Morning America didn’t, Republican opposition.
On Monday, I asked Snow about this on her Twitter page. She justified the absence: "We often cut down pieces to fit time allotted. But always aim to include all pov's. On end of life v impt [sic] to fact check too."
ABC’s Good Morning America on Monday presented an extremely one-sided take on the controversial end-of-life provisions in the health care bill, decrying all the "screaming" and "shouting" at town hall meetings. Reporter Kate Snow featured no Republican voices (other than of people yelling) in the segment and instead focused on combating the "incorrect claims" about the legislation.
The network correspondent began by proclaiming, "We wanted to better understand all the shouting." She then went on to describe a provision in the House health care bill that would reimburse doctors for speaking to patients every five years about end-of-life decisions. Despite mentioning at the end of the segment that "there are clearly very strongly held views on the other side," Snow failed to highlight GOP or conservative voices who could have explained why some oppose the provision.
An online version of the article on ABCNews.com featured Republican Congressman Thaddeus McCotter protesting, "You see when discussion about whether or not the continuation of one's life has a nexus with the U.S. treasury saving money, that's a very dangerous recipe for those who can often time be the most vulnerable amongst us." McCotter did not appear in Snow’s GMA piece. Instead, she briefly summarized the conservative argument.
Youngsters' curiosity about sex used to be sated by late night, soft-core flicks on premium cable channels. Now, they simply have to tune into ABC.
ABC news programs have featured 76 segments about sexual activity in the last six months. The majority of these reports were related to political sex scandals or crime cases that contained a sexual element, but 11 promoted alternative sexual arrangements such as men who become women, Web sites dedicated to helping married people cheat on their spouses and even people who carry on romantic relationships with objects like F-15 fighter jets and the Eiffel Tower.
How brave of Kate Snow. Not only making the trek to Flyover Country North, but even getting close to some yucky fish. That seemed to be Diane Sawyer's attitude in congratulating Snow for snagging an interview with Sarah Palin.
The soon-to-be-former Governor of Alaska invited Snow out for some salmon fishing. At one point the intrepid ABC reporter observes to Palin: "you have some fish guts on you."
On Tuesday's Good Morning America, Diane Sawyer complained about America's maternity leave policies for women, and for the fourth time in slightly more than two years, the show connected them to such struggling countries as Swaziland and Papua New Guinea. The host solemnly observed that only three countries "have policies equal to the United States. Swaziland, Liberia and Papua New Guinea."
Sawyer, who was introducing a segment on how women are afraid to take much maternity leave during the recession, derided, "Even in Iraq, women get one year of leave, six months at full pay, and six months of half pay." Linking the U.S. to such poor countries was, perhaps, intended to horrify viewers. However, the ABC anchor left out some key stats, such as the fact that nations mandating paid maternity leave, such as Germany, often also have high unemployment rates.
As for the countries Sawyer mentioned, Swaziland also has an unemployment rate of 40 percent, an infant mortality rate of 70 percent and a life expectancy of 32. Papua New Guinea's unemployment rate is up to 80 percent in some urban areas. So, there seems to be some differences between America and these countries.
"Good Morning America" weekend anchor Kate Snow on Friday filed a report on Elizabeth Edwards' new book about her husband's infidelity. The ABC journalist ignored the media's role in creating a "myth" about the marriage between Elizabeth and John Edwards, the former senator. Snow noted that Mrs. Edwards knew of her husband's affair prior to his 2008 Democratic presidential campaign and discouraged him from running. She explained, "Last fall in a rare interview, Elizabeth Edwards told the Detroit Free Press the idea the Edwards were a perfect couple was a myth."
However, in 2007, as the Democratic primary race began to heat up, GMA hosts were only two happy to tout the happy marriage of the Edwards. On August 9, reporter David Muir cooed, "...We have the very first photos of a very personal backyard ceremony for John Edwards and his wife." He then proceeded to show pictures of the couple renewing their wedding vows. Muir was wowed by "an incredibly personal photograph" that somehow ended up in People magazine. On July 31, 2007, only nine days earlier, co-hosts Robin Roberts and Diane Sawyer featured pictures of the two as they celebrated their wedding anniversary at Wendy's. (The above photo is from the visit to the fast food restaurant.)
"Objectum sexuals," as defined by ABC's Kate Snow, are people whose "intimate life revolves around objects, not people." Erika Eiffel, an "objectum sexual" who changed her last name to Eiffel as a reflection of the commitment ceremony she had with the famous Parisian landmark, further explained "we feel an innate connection with objects. It comes perfectly normal to us, to connect on various levels, emotional, spiritual, and also physical for some."
Eiffel, who believes "she was born this way," told Snow, "when other teenagers were dating each other, I was dating a bridge."
On Sunday's Good Morning America, ABC co-anchor Kate Snow interviewed New York University Professor Jim Jacobs, author of Can Gun Control Work?, as the show gave attention to the view that gun control has little effect in stopping criminals from obtaining guns. While it is to the show's credit that they allowed him to make his case as Snow presented a contrarian point-of-view, Snow did seem sincerely skeptical toward his presentation. As she plugged the segment, she referred to his views as a "controversial take," and seemed surprised by his views: "We're going to have a guest on this morning, a criminologist who has a, interesting take, you could say controversial take."
As one of her contrarian questions, Snow brought up the argument that a new law should be passed even if it would only save one life: "But the counterargument would be if it's possible to, a chance to save one life, to pass one new law, one new regulation to save one life, why shouldn't we at least try?" She also cited the Brady Campaign: "They have a very different view than your own. They say 1.7 million convicted felons have been stopped from obtaining guns with the laws that we already have on the books. Do you disagree with that?"
On a day when GMA ran two warm-'n-fuzzy items about Barack Obama, the ABC show found yet another way to hit President Bush—literally and figuratively stooping to bash Barney, the presidential pooch. Relying on some ambiguous remarks by an aide to Pres. Bush, weekend co-anchor Bill Weir declared that "Barney's a jerk" and "everyone hates him."
On Monday’s World News, ABC showed a letter written to Barack Obama that made a snide crack charging that President Bush and Vice President Cheney had left Obama a "hell of a mess to clean up," and sarcastically expressing hope that Bush and Cheney would not steal furniture from the White House, as correspondent Kate Snow filed a report about a former school teacher, B.J. Hill, who has spent a year walking across the country collecting letters from Americans for the next President. Of the five letters Hill was shown reading during the report, all came across as either pro-Obama or at least phrased from a liberal point-of-view, one even expressing a desire that the next President would "save science, including stem cell research," presumably referring to federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. But while no letters expressed any concerns about what Obama would do from a conservative point of view, one of the letters did take a shot at President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Hill, reading: "You have one hell of a mess to clean up after Bush and Cheney. I hope they leave some of the furniture."
The baby Jesus is missing from many nativity scenes, and ABC’s “Good Morning America” makes fun of a church’s decision to install a GPS on their tiny savior. On Dec. 14, “Good Morning America” featured a story about churches fighting back against thieves who steal the baby Jesus from outdoor nativity scenes. Instead of seriously underscoring a pattern of crime, the network sent out a reporter to pilfer a wise man, and test the satellite tracking system, all while playing “spy” themed music.
When GMA anchors, Kate Snow and Bill Weir teased the upcoming story, they couldn’t contain their giggles. “We can't even say it without laughing,” said Snow. “But they're using GPS to track them down.” she quipped. “Baby Jesus LoJack,” snickered Weir.
On Saturday's "Good Morning America," various hosts and reporters gushed over the "exciting," "tantalizing" prospect that Caroline Kennedy could replace Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate, should the former first lady be confirmed as Barack Obama's secretary of state. ABC News political director David Chalian enthused that "on top of the new Obama administration that she was a huge proponent and supporter of, it [the appointment] would just rise to this moment of, sort of, a return to that age of Camelot."
Weekend GMA co-host Bill Weir began the segment by wondering, "And who could upstage a Clinton but a Kennedy?" Later, fellow co-host Kate Snow cooed, "So, tantalizing. Kennedys and Obamas and Clintons, all the talk." Clearly agreeing, Weir enthused, "Exciting to talk about."
Paul Krugman has been making the rounds of the network morning shows, urging the government to "go big" in spending to revive the economy. His only concern is that Obama might not be planning to spend enough. Heck, even FDR wasn't a big enough spender in his book. View Krugman's weekend GMA appearance in which he says that here, the episode in which, as discussed here, Krugman of all people had to talk Kate Snow down from her fantasy of Obama "forcing" the Bush administration to adopt his policies.
None of the network shows had anyone on to debate Krugman. But the Early Show did invite Jim Rogers in today to give very much the other side. The legendary investor's take: let the banks fail. The massive bailout underway will put our country in hock for decades. Almost 20 years later, Japan has still been unable to get out of the hole it dug when it, like the US now, decided certain institutions were too big to fail.