On Wednesday's NBC Today, news reader Natalie Morales touted a "Today exclusive" with Michelle Obama, playing a clip of a "wide-ranging conversation" between the First Lady and Kelly Wallace of the NBC-owned iVillage website that amounted to little more than a friendly chat about current events and Obama's 2012 book, American Grown.
On CBS's Sunday Morning, correspondent Lee Cowan conducted an identical fawning exchange with Michelle Obama, putting special emphasis on her White House garden: "This is the garden's second term as well....Ever since ground was broken four years ago, kids from all over the country have come to play and plant in the dirt, everything from peas and carrots, to a new crop this year: wheat."
Teasing an upcoming segment on Thursday’s CBS Early Show about new attacks on Sarah Palin by the father of her grandson, Levi Johnston, co-host Maggie Rodriguez exclaimed: "And shocking allegations that could shatter former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s conservative family image. If she chooses to believe what Levi Johnston is saying."
In the later report on Johnston’s Vanity Fair rant against Palin, correspondent Kelly Wallace claimed he "took off the gloves" and "debunks the popular image of Palin as hockey mom and moose hunter, telling...that ‘she doesn’t hunt, doesn’t read, doesn’t work hard, doesn’t spend time with her family, but instead spends all night alone in her bedroom.’" Wallace continued: "As for Sarah and Todd’s marriage, Johnston says they constantly threatened each other with divorce. ‘Once the cameras would leave, they didn’t talk to each other. I’ve never seen them sleep in the same bedroom.’"
After Wallace’s report, Rodriguez briefly mentioned: "And when we talked last April, he made similar claims to me and Sarah Palin said he’s lying, he just wants publicity, he just wants his little moment in the spotlight...my guess would be she would probably say something along those lines." Co-host Harry Smith then turned to Rodriguez and asked: "Because you’ve met him, you’ve interviewed him. Does he seem like – seem credible to you?" Rodriguez simply replied: "I don’t know. How could I possibly answer that?"
At the top of Friday’s CBS Early Show co-host Julie Chen declared: "New details about that foiled terrorist plot in New York. Are American jails becoming breeding grounds for home-grown terrorists?" In the report that followed, correspondent Kelly Wallace explained: "Three of the suspects are U.S. citizens, all are Muslim. Three of the four are said to be jailhouse converts...One study estimates that as many as 175,000 inmates of American prisons converted to Islam since September 11th."
Despite such a shocking statistic, from a 2007 Indiana State University study, Wallace made no mention of President Obama’s plan to release Islamic fundamentalists from Guantanamo into American prisons. Wallace did feature terrorism expert and former Bush aide Juan Zarate, who observed: "I think what you have here is a volatile admixture of radical religious thought, combined with violent extremism. And within the prison walls it becomes a really dangerous mix." A "mix" that would be made even more dangerous if Guantanamo terrorist suspects were added.
Immediately following Wallace’s report, co-host Harry Smith and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer discussed the dueling national security speeches by President Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney, including the topic of closing Guantanamo. However, neither Smith nor Schieffer referenced the startling report that had just preceded them.
You know the era of big government is alive and well when you see a mainstream news outlet praise the growth of the public sector as a "bright spot."
Leading up to and throughout the 2008 national election cycle, CBS News was generally downbeat on the economy, even when times were much better than they are currently. However, now that government has taken a much larger role in the private economy, the "CBS Evening News" has now been running a so-called "Economic Bright Spot" segment. And on the May 18 broadcast, "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric explained how government was going to save us all.
"Back here on earth, government agencies like NASA seem to be the only places hiring during this recession," Couric said. "Last month, there were 72,000 new government jobs - 66,000 federal. That's up more than 2 percent from the month before. As Kelly Wallace reports, for thousands of graduates who need jobs this hiring boom is one of the economic bright spots."
In a news report that sounded like an Obama campaign commercial, CBS Early Show correspondent Kelly Wallace declared: "Facing the most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression, the Obama Administration is asking for the biggest stimulus plan in history. An estimated $775 billion to prop up a very sick economy." In the report, Wallace cited Nariman Behravesh, chief economist for Global Insight, who exclaimed: "We really need something big, bold, and swift to kick start the U.S. economy. And I think the Obama plan looks like it meets almost all those criteria."
Wallace ran through some of the key talking points of the plan: "Roughly $300 billion of that relief money will go directly to tax cuts for 95% of American workers...For businesses, a proposed $100 billion in tax incentives and refunds to jump start job creation...Of the 3.2 million jobs that the Obama Administration says will be saved or created, a million will come from a $25 billion investment in infrastructure...while making a long-term investment in renewable energy and other green initiatives." Wallace concluded her report: "Obama is confident he can get his stimulus plan passed within two weeks of taking office. Some economists believe the sooner, the better."
On Wednesday's CBS "Early Show," co-host Russ Mitchell declared: "The high cost of gas is hurting everyone these days. Families, businesses, and even charities. Many organizations that deliver food to the sick and elderly are being hit extra hard." In the report that followed, correspondent Kelly Wallace went even further: "In one rural California case, according to the president of Meals on Wheels nationwide, cutting back from daily deliveries to one every 14 days proved fatal. Two seniors were found dead."
The Meals on Wheels president, Enid Borden, explained that: "We have people who are literally dying in their homes waiting for a meal. That's a crisis." Wallace also played a clip of Maryland Meals on Wheels executive director, Tom Grazio, who worried: "Some day in the not too distant future, unless things get better, we'll be telling people they can't eat today and that's disheartening."
Wallace then described " a dire situation in New York City," where Meals on Wheels director Marcia Stein continued the melodramatic theme: "For the first time in our 25-year history, we are having to ration food. We're having to make tough choices about who gets a meal, who does not get a meal, what days somebody might be without food." From this report, one is under the impression that people are literally starving to death across the country due to high gas prices. In May, the "Early Show" described how one woman "...pumps out her own blood, making $40 a pop so she has enough money to pump gas."
Friday's NBC Nightly News and Saturday's CBS Evening News relayed comments by IAEA Director General Mohamed El Baradei as the UN official warned against an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, in response to a recent military exercise by the Israeli military. CBS anchor Kelly Wallace quoted El Baradei as contending that an attack on Iran "could turn the Mideast into a, quote, 'ball of fire.'" NBC substitute anchor Ann Curry spoke of "dire warnings of the consequences" as she introduced a report by Jim Miklaszewski which focused on possible retaliations by Iran, and which also mentioned El Baradei's "ball of fire" comments and the UN official's threat to resign if Iran is attacked.
In Miklaszewski's report, after relaying Iran's threat to give Israelis "a serious blow to the face," he cited U.S. military's officials who argue that "airstrikes on Iran could have devastating consequences in the Middle East and here at home. Iran could step up attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq, unleash a wave of terrorism through the radical group Hezbollah, and wreak havoc on the world economy by disrupting the flow of oil out of the Persian Gulf."
After anecdotal reports that people who used the allergy drug Singulair may develop suicidal tendencies, the Food and Drug Administration announced March 27 that it would investigate. How big the problem might be depends on what network you watch.
Even though CBS's "The Early Show" and NBC's "Today" included statements from Merck (NYSE:MRK), the manufacturer of Singulair, analysis of the investigation was mixed.
Inflation? Forget about it. Let the economists and policy wonks worry about it.
The Federal Reserve’s decision not to drop interest rates drew the ire of “CBS Evening News” correspondent Kelly Wallace on August 7. Wallace’s story about the “credit crunch” centered on Amanda Michalko, a 26-year old Michigan resident, who would not benefit from lower monthly payments on her pending mortgage because of the Fed.
Though many journalists impose their views regularly in biased political coverage, and last year the New York Times publisher made clear his left-wing world view, on Tuesday night the broadcast networks framed Rupert Murdoch's acquisition of the Wall Street Journal around what agenda the “controversial” Murdoch will “impose.” That matches the “fear” expressed in online journalism forums and media magazines about Murdoch's “conservative” agenda. Leading into pro and con soundbites, CBS's Kelly Wallace described Murdoch as “a conservative who put his imprint on the New York Post and brought topless women to the Sun in London. His critics say he may not impose tabloid on the Journal, but will impose his point of view.”
NBC's Andrea Mitchell called Murdoch “a controversial press lord” and declared Murdoch “deeply conservative,” but noted he's also a “pragmatic” man who has been “a supporter of liberal politicians.” Mitchell relayed how Murdoch insists he “does not mix politics and business,” but, she cautioned, “still, some are skeptical.” The liberal Ken Auletta of The New Yorker contended Murdoch “often” uses “his publications and his media to advance either his business or his political interests.” Over on ABC, David Muir warned that Murdoch “already wields great power over much of what we watch and read” and asserted that “critics caution being a brilliant businessman does not guarantee brilliant journalism.” After a soundbite from Auletta about how Murdoch's politics influence his publications, Muir worried: “For that reason, this has turned into a painful decision for members of the Bancroft family, who controlled the Wall Street Journal for more than 100 years. Sell for $5 billion? Or is that selling out? There were tears within the Bancroft family and fears in the newsroom.” On screen, a WSJ headline: “Fear, Mixed with Some Loathing; Many Reporters at Wall Street Journal Fret Over Murdoch's Arrival.”
The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Friday all devoted full stories to the fall in the stock market, touted as “the worst two-day point drop for the Dow in five years,” but barely had time for a sentence about the 3.4 percent second quarter jump in the GDP, the biggest in over a year. In fact, neither ABC nor NBC cited the specific 3.4 percent rise in the Gross Domestic Product, the measure which the AP on Friday described as the “best barometer of the country's economic fitness.” Not one of the three evening newscasts mentioned how the Dow is still well above the 13,000 level it broke through in April and none noted fresh good news on inflation.
ABC was the most negative. “Stock slide,” World News anchor Charles Gibson teased, “Wall Street finishes the worst week of the year down nearly 600 points.” Gibson soon highlighted that news, as he only alluded to the good GDP number, when he reported “the worst week for the Dow in five years. Even positive news on economic growth wasn't enough to keep investors from selling. Among other things, they had to contend with a battered housing market.” Reporter Betsy Stark agreed as she too only made a passing reference to the GDP: “It sure is, Charlie. In fact, buried inside that positive report on Gross Domestic Product today was more evidence of what economists now describe as an outright recession in the housing sector.” ABC didn't even put the GDP number on screen as Stark devoted her entire story to the impact of the declining housing market before concluding that “it increases the odds of a downturn in the overall economy since housing now accounts for roughly one in ten American jobs.”