When you're an acclaimed liberal movie star like Leonardo diCaprio, there's apparently nothing controversial that you can put on film. On the February 16 "Sunday Morning" on CBS, reporter Lee Cowan created an entire interview feature around diCaprio's latest movie "The Wolf of Wall Street" without ever mentioning scenes of orgies or midget tossing, or the more than 500 uses of the F-bomb in the film.
Instead, Cowan merely repeated the movie star's lines back to him about how this controversial film was merely "vibrant and polarizing," the role of a lifetime, with no critics or moral objections:
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."
On the July 22 CBS Sunday Morning show, correspondent Lee Cowan highlighted criticism of gun rights by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, using a soundbite of the liberal mayor scurrilously remarking that gun rights advocates "think that the right to bear arms allows you to go out and kill people at random," before adding, "And that's not overstating it very much."
The report, which focused primarily on details of the Aurora theater massacre and its victims, digressed for a moment into the gun control issue, but only included the side that supports more gun control:
ABC’s Brian Ross's disgusting attempt to link Friday morning’s tragic shooting to a Tea Party member is just the latest example of the liberal media’s knee jerk reaction to impugn conservatives in the immediate wake of horrific crimes. After the shooting of former Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords liberal reporters were quick to condemn the Tea Party and conservatives like Sarah Palin and Mark Levin.
Just two hours after the attack on Giffords, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman pulled a similar Brian Ross-like assumption without the facts when he wrote in a January 8, 2011 blog that “We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was. She’s been the target of violence before....Her father says that ‘the whole Tea Party’ was her enemy.” During MSNBC’s live coverage of the Giffords shooting Luke Russert blamed Obamacare opponents when he theorized: “Remember, this is the deepest fear that was in the back of everybody's mind going through the health care debate. A lot of members were threatened...It looks sadly like it's come to fruition today." (quote compilation and videos after the jump)
Wednesday's CBS This Morning hyped a "groundbreaking" new report from federal government scientists that claims "the first-ever statistical connection between extreme weather and man-made climate change." Correspondent Wyatt Andrews spotlighted how the study "found that man-made heat made the Texas drought roughly 20 times more likely."
Andrews also hinted a connection between climate change and a recent heat wave, even as he explained that "the biggest reason for the record heat is the transition...from the La Nina weather pattern...to this year's warmer pattern, El Nino."
For the third time in as many weeknights, the NBC Nightly News has devoted airtime to the fuss over Sarah Palin’s recounting of Paul Revere’s ride at the onset of the Revolutionary War. This time, the newscast featured a full report by correspondent Lee Cowan showcasing how both Palin supporters and detractors have been attempting to edit the Wikipedia page about Revere.
That’s the same issue that bothered anchor Brian Williams on Monday night (Williams was off on Tuesday, with Lester Holt substituting). On the June 6 broadcast, Williams noted that “a political web site reported today Palin supporters have attempted to change the story of Revere's ride on Wikipedia to reflect her version of events.”
But with Wiki’s Paul Revere page now locked and presumably scrubbed of the unwanted submissions of the Palinites, the account seems to back pretty much everything Palin said. And, throughout all of their coverage, which began Friday night, NBC has — with minor exceptions — carefully avoided saying exactly what Palin has said that is supposedly incorrect.
On Monday's Today show, NBC's Lee Cowan, inspired by Arizona Sheriff Clarence Dupnik's blaming political rhetoric for the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, highlighted Sarah Palin's Web site map featuring crosshairs on Giffords' district, as he scolded: "Not since Timothy McVeigh attacked the federal building in Oklahoma City has a crime sparked so much attention on anti-government rhetoric. That map Sarah Palin put up on Facebook last year, targeting Congresswoman Gifford's seat, made Gifford nervous, even then."
To underscore Dupnik's charge about political rhetoric, in addition to citing the Palin crosshairs map, Cowan aired clips from various health care and immigration protests, but paid close attention to those opposed to the Democratic agenda including Republican Congressman Joe Wilson, as seen in the following excerpt:
It seems like every few years there's a new mascot for Team Global Warming. First it was the polar bear, then the Arctic fox and now it's the walrus's turn. On Monday's Today show, Lee Cowan traveled to Point Lay, Alaska to report on how shrinking ice sheets are leaving walruses stranded, in between their feedings, adding: "Much like the polar bear, they can't swim forever." In fact it didn't take long for Cowan to bring up the dreaded specter of global warming as he aired a soundbite of a local tribal president worrying: "I always thought the Arctic would be cold, but scientists tell us that there's global warming going on." Cowan even used another local resident to suggest that if something wasn't done soon, that in 10 years "we won't have any" animals.
The following is a full transcript of the segment as it was aired on the September 20 Today show:
“In a matter of minutes, relief replaced dread, hope replaced fear,” ABC's Barbara Pinto trumpeted in framing a Wednesday night look, at reaction to a federal judge's ruling barring implementation of key provisions of Arizona's immigration enforcement laws, around those pleased by it.
NBC's Lee Cowan relayed how the ruling “certainly came as welcome news” for illegals, “but while some were relieved, others fear the crackdown may come anyway.” An unidentified woman despaired: “I'm worried for my family. I'm worried for my friends. I worry for my people.” Cowan then warned of danger posed by the majority: “And there are those who worry about a backlash from those angry the court undid what the people of Arizona largely approved.”
On ABC, a grocer exclaimed “it's a happy emotion” and “there's a hope,” before Pinto explained: “Rosario Peralta, who is here legally, watched customers at her family's grocery store disappear, frightened families moving out of state. This afternoon, some of them came back.”
Pinto moved on to “undocumented immigrant” Erika Andiola who “crossed the border with her mom, sister and brothers illegally when she was 11 years old, running from domestic abuse.” Andiola celebrated: “Yesterday, I went to bed really depressed, but, this morning, like everything just came back. Like, the hope, the faith, knowing that all these prayers are really, you know, working.”
The TV networks have aggressively demonstrated their dislike of Arizona’s state law “cracking down on illegal immigrants,” a law that “pits neighbor against neighbor.” An MRC review of morning and evening news programs on ABC, CBS, and NBC from April 23 to July 25 found the networks have aired 120 stories with an almost ten-to-one tilt against the Arizona law (77 negative, 35 neutral, 8 positive).
The soundbite count was also tilted over the last three months -- 216 to 107, or an almost exact two-to-one disparity. Network anchors and reporters sided against defenders of border control and championed sympathetic illegal aliens and their (usually American-born) children. In 120 stories, they never described “immigrants rights activists” as liberals or on the left.
Between them, the three networks described the Arizona law as “controversial” on 27 occasions, despite its popularity in opinion polls. The Obama administration’s decision to sue file a lawsuit against Arizona to crush the law was never described as “controversial.”
ABC's "World News" on Sunday caught up to CBS and NBC in fretting about the potential problems caused by illegal immigrants who may be leaving Arizona before the state's new law takes effect on Thursday. Correspondent Barbara Pinto devoted her entire piece to lamenting the possible damage to small businesses whose customers are presumably now leaving the state, but offered less than a sentence to the idea that illegal immigrants are already an expensive burden on state social services.
"The loud and bitter battle over Arizona's immigration law has reached fever-pitch," claimed Pinto. "But Rosario Peralta worries about the quiet exodus – immigrant families already leaving the state in droves. In the past few months, she's seen business and customers at her family grocery store disappear."
NBC's Lee Cowan, on Thursday's NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, discovered a stunning result of Arizona's new immigration policies - illegal immigrants are now leaving the state. Cowan opened his piece noting a long line now "stretches around the Mexican Consulate in Phoenix every day" but noticed a twist, as the line was full of "immigrants trying to figure out not how to stay in Arizona, but how to flee it."
Cowan peppered his story with anecdotes of local businesses losing customers "A look around this once-bustling barrio is telling. The local hair salon has more empty chairs now than customers" and schools losing students as he claimed "School numbers are dwindling, too. This one is 75 percent Hispanic. Since the immigration law passed, they've lost more than 100 students." Cowan even punctuated this factoid with the sob story of a boy being taken out of school by his father to go back to Mexico:
NBC's Today crew tried to put a heavy spin on the Gore split on Wednesday morning. The audience was told that the Gores' 40-year marriage wasn't a failure, it was a success, several times over. Matt Lauer even insisted their divorce was "brave" -- as if all the other old married people would do the same if they weren't cowards.
It's fine if the liberals at NBC don't want to think less of the Gores for their divorce. But can they really judge all this as bravery and success without knowing whether there was infidelity or just callous disregard or creeping selfishness? It wasn't journalism. It was just an exercise in happy talk and wishful thinking. Lee Cowan ended a news story with therapist Gail Saltz (most recently remembered on TV as the expert claiming on CNN that Rush Limbaugh has millions of listeners because he's a bully who has everyone afraid of him in their cars and homes):
COWAN: When we're saying our vows, none of us can really predict just what will be down the road. If we're lucky, we grow old together. But sometimes, we don't.
SALTZ: You wake up in your fifties and your sixties and say, "Gosh, this person I married, you know, in my twenties is not the peron I would marry today."
COWAN: The Gores' split may have sparked a conversation about love and marriage, and divorce. But there's one thing to remember.
SALTZ: I would say that a 40-year union is not a failure.
If anyone at NBC News has a sense of irony, they hide it well. Ironic is about the best you can say about a supposedly reputable, unbiased news organization taking up with a magazine called The Advocate. But there was NBC last month, announcing with a straight face (pardon the pun) a new partnership with The Advocate, a gay-oriented magazine.
According to Media Bistro, "The magazine's online home, Advocate.com, will use NBC resources to produce daily news segments that will run online and on air via "The Advocate On-Air. NBC News, in turn, may use content and writers from The Advocate to report on issues relating to the LGBT community."
New fuel standards make both the left and the media happy. It's easy to tell. There wasn't a single voice of opposition criticizing the latest act of Big Government on major prime-time news outlets ABC, CBS or NBC.
"Environmentalists are hailing the move as nothing short of historic," NBC's Lee Cowan said of the federal government's new fuel efficiency standards. The networks did much the same. Broad consensus from NBC's "Nightly News" and CBS's "Evening News" reflected praise for the Obama administration's latest regulatory efforts.
The federal government took a historic step April 1 to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. As part of a joint proposal by EPA and Transportation Department officials, the government implemented new fuel efficiency standards for all vehicles.
"This ends a debate that lasted nearly a decade," Cowan kicked-off the "Nightly News" segment. "But now that these so-called ‘clean-car standards' are going to be mandatory across the board, it makes it the first time ever that the federal government has limited greenhouse gas emissions."
"Nightly News" featured the opinions of three individuals who praised the new regulations. "This is sort of the first time that the United States government has stepped forward, to take the biggest single step forward to solving global warming," Bernadette Del Chiaro of Environment California said.
When it comes to socially-conservative groups media outlets like to cover the scandals instead of the celebrations.
That's exactly what NBC did to the Boy Scouts of America which had its 100th anniversary Jan. 25. NBC "Nightly News" completely ignored the anniversary, but did remember to cover Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day during that broadcast.
But NBC will find time for scandal. On April 1, NBC's "Today" reported that the Boy Scouts are at the center of a $25 million lawsuit tied to an alleged cover-up of thousands of sexual abuse cases.
The same network that found the group so unimportant it couldn't even muster one word about their one-hundred year anniversary, found two minutes and twenty-seven seconds to spend on the abuse scandal.
The lawsuit is based on so-called "perversion files," or thousands of secret files the Boy Scouts kept about "thousands of alleged molesters."
Are you tired of all the focus on what Michelle Obama wears?
Well, the good folks at the "Today" show certainly aren't, for they spent a lot of time this week discussing whether or not the First Lady was dressed appropriately when she got off Air Force One Sunday on her way to the Grand Canyon.
As the nation grapples with such important issues as the ongoing recession and healthcare reform, NBC's morning show actually spent TWO DAYS days talking about Michelle's shorts.
In case you missed it, here are some of the gushing highlights (videos embedded below the fold with full transcripts):
Over a video montage of frivolous novelty weddings (drive-through, undersea, and "Elvis as pastor" nuptials) NBC's Lee Cowan asserted that that the institution of marriage is going down hill in a hurry. In the "Today" show's "Today's Relationships" segment on June 22, Cowan did find one bright spot. The only people standing for a responsible, serious understanding of matrimony it seems, are homosexuals. Proponents of same-sex marriage Cowan said, "are still willing to fight for the very institution; defining marriage as a source of a national debate right now."
Cowan explained how, when it comes to relationships and marriage, "rekindling seems unnatural and plenty get so bored with marriage, it seems more like a sexless routine than a romance." Yet he did mention, with a hint of incredulity and with the tagline "The Case Against Marriage" floating on the screen underneath him, how "despite the bad wrap" marriage divorce rates are on the decline . People are investing more and more on marriage help books, but not for the children, their love. or morality. The reason is that, "divorce is painful."
NBC's Lee Cowan, on Thursday's "Today" show, giddily highlighted new found photos taken of Barack Obama when he was a freshman at Occidental College and even cooed at a shot of him sitting on an old Goodwill couch, "Humble beginnings!" Cowan interviewed Obama's old college classmate Lisa Jack who took the photographs, because she claimed she was told to get pictures of the then freshman because he "definitely had personality," and added, "He was cute. I mean look at him."
The following Obama puff piece was aired on the May 28, "Today" show:
NATALIE MORALES: Well the President, President Barack Obama is one of the most photographed people in the world but it's never before seen pictures of the President, before he was famous, that are turning heads these days. NBC's Lee Cowan has that story.
Ladies and Gentlemen, The Lamestream Media The media coverage of the more than 800 Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party protests that took place in all fifty states on April 15 ranged from disdainful dismissal of their nature, significance and import, to outright hostility towards the events and individual participants, to sexual innuendo-based full-on ridicule.
In this summary, we focused on the three major networks - NBC, ABC and CBS, the two left-of-center cable news networks - CNN and MSNBC and the three major "national" newspapers - the USA Today, the New York Times and the Washington Post.
While not an exhaustively comprehensive oeuvre of TEA Party bias, it contains many, many examples which serve to illustrate the broader antipathetic themes.
The broadcast network evening newscasts on Wednesday provided prominent coverage of the “Tea Party” rallies across the nation with time for the views of participants, but they tried to discredit the protests as a front for “corporate interests” or a “fistful of rightward leaning Web sites” -- a concern for motives and hidden agendas the same programs lacked when championing the 2006 pro-illegal immigrant marches. All three also cited polls to undermine the premise the public shares the concerns on taxes and spending espoused by the “tea party” protesters.
“Cheered on by Fox News and talk radio, the hundreds of tea parties today were designed to protest the bailouts, the stimulus plan, and President Obama's budget,” Dan Harris explained on ABC before asserting: “But critics on the left say this is not a real grassroots phenomenon at all, that it's actually largely orchestrated by people fronting for corporate interests.” Harris proceeded to argue that “while the Boston Tea Party in 1773 was about taxation without representation, critics point out that today's protesters did get to vote -- they just lost. What's more, polls show most Americans don't feel overtaxed.”
CBS's Dean Reynolds noted a tea party organizer “insisted these events were non-partisan,” but, Reynolds maintained as if it were an embarrassment, “a fistful of rightward leaning Web sites and commentators embraced the cause.” Reynolds stressed how “it's important to keep in mind that fresh polling indicates there is not all that much passion about high taxes in the country at large right now. Gallup this week found 61 percent of Americans see their federal income taxes as fair.” (What percent surveyed even pay income taxes?)
The inauguration of the first African-American president is an historic affair, one that should be properly celebrated by all. But when the so-called "objective" network anchors begin comparing a routine political ceremony to a spiritual awakening, have they gone too far?
"Sacred." "Majesty." "Sacrament." "Pilgrimage." These are words loaded with religious and spiritual meaning. And they're words used to describe the inauguration of President Barack Obama by CBS, NBC and ABC anchors on their evening and mornings news shows.
On Monday's inaugural edition of the "NBC Nightly News," well known Obama fan Lee Cowan made no effort to restrain his fawning over the new president, likening the experience of watching the Democrat's speech to being in a "political cathedral." After featuring clips of people viewing the address all over the country, Cowan cooed, "In the end, though, it really didn't matter where you were as long as you weren't alone." (audio excerpt available here)
He added, "Just ordinary street corners like this one here in Chicago fell silent, almost becoming a political cathedral of sorts." Cowan, the man who once announced that covering Barack Obama made his "knees quake," closed the segment by rhapsodizing, "And almost everyone was making that mental scrapbook, noting the time and place where they were on this day and, perhaps, shared a collective tear." It was, he said, "An event meant to be remembered and one meant to be shared."
The Media Research Center today announced its Best Notable Quotables of 2008: The 21st Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting, and MSNBC's Chris Matthews "won" the dubious honor of Quote of the Year for gushing over a Barack Obama speech back in February: "I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often….And that is an objective assessment."
Top runner-up for Quote of the Year went to Reuters for this ridiculous post-election headline: "Media bias largely unseen in U.S. presidential race."
MRC President Brent Bozell offered this comment: "Year after year, the liberal media outdo themselves in providing conservatives the sheer joy of laughing at their own words. The year of the Obama Paparazzi was no different, as they salivated over their savior and did everything in their power to crush conservatives. And we wonder why Americans don't trust the media."
Certainly delivering a unique take on the Blagojevich case, in a Thursday night story on why Illinois politics are so corrupt, NBC reporter Lee Cowan characterized the Governor of Illinois as a politician who “fell victim” to Chicago's political machine. Apparently, corruption was just irresistible. Cowan contended:
The Windy City is a political stew of characters, a cast of players that even Hollywood would envy. Governor Rod Blagojevich is just the latest squeaky wheel in Chicago's political machine. Although he promised to be different, he fell victim, prosecutors allege, to history.
Presumably, Cowan didn't intend to assign his own characterization – “victim” -- to prosecutors, and just meant that prosecutors allege Blagojevich has taken the same path as too many of his predecessors. Cowan followed with a soundbite from a local reporter, who explained: “If there isn't a deal behind the scenes, it almost makes life not worthwhile.”
The three broadcast networks started their evening newscasts on Tuesday with stories on Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's arrest and corruption charges. All of the newscasts mentioned Blagojevich's Democratic affiliation, but only in passing. And, only ABC's World News questioned the details about the Illinois Governor's relationship with President-elect Barack Obama, while NBC and CBS brushed over the President-elect's connections with Blagojevich and seemed content to end their investigation of this relationship by reporting on Obama's statement that he was not aware of what was going on.
ABC and NBC both identified Blagojevich as a Democrat early in their reports. NBC "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams's introduction to the report by Lee Cowan described the charge as "that the two-term Democratic governor tried to sell a seat in the US Senate to the highest bidder." Brian Ross, reporting for ABC's "World News," identified the Illinois governor as "the boyish looking Democrat branded a greedy, foul mouth politician who tried to sell a US Senate seat to the highest bidder."
The CBS "Evening News," however, did not identify Blagojevich as a Democrat until the very end of Dean Reynolds's report when an on-screen graphic identified the governor as "(D) Illinois" and Reynolds claimed that "fellow Democrats worry that whoever he might pick could wind up tainted politically and could ultimately cost the party a valuable seat in Congress."
If Rod Blagojevich were a Republican, what's the over-under on the number of times the network morning shows would have mentioned that fact in their coverage today?
But Blago is a Democrat. So how often did Today, Good Morning America and the Early Show explicitly identify him as such during their opening half-hours today? Not once. The closest any came were references at Today and Early Show today to "Democratic politics" and one at GMA to "the Democratic Chicago machine." Speaking of GMA, George Stephanopoulos, appearing there, put in the most embarrassingly sycophantish performance of the morning.
This is the debut video in an occasional series called "Softball Spotlight," which will showcase the softball questions that Barack Obama-loving reporters ask the future president. E-mail your tips to me: dglover-at-mediaresearch-dot-org. Or upload your own videos to Eyeblast.tv.
NBC reporter Lee Cowan was quite infatuated with Democrat Barack Obama on the campaign trail.
Cowan went so far as to confess on camera with NBC anchor Brian Williams that "it's almost hard to remain objective" because Obama is so "infectious." Weeks later in an NBC print promotional, Cowan acknowledged that "my knees quaked a bit" when he learned that he was being tasked with covering Obama.
Friday night stories on ABC's World News and the NBC Nightly News ran a clip of President-elect Barack Obama's gaffe at his press conference in which he related he had talked to all of the “living” former Presidents, as “I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any seances.” But both newscasts failed to note it was Hillary Clinton, not Nancy Reagan, who reportedly had seances in the White House. ABC's Jake Tapper called Obama's comment “a lighter moment” while NBC's Lee Cowan described it as “the only awkward moment of his first meeting with the press.”
FNC's Jim Angle, however, managed to point out in his 6 PM EST story: “It was actually Hillary Clinton who was reported to have engaged in seance-like sessions in which she communed with the spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt.”
In his book, The Choice, Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward described how Clinton consulted with a spiritual adviser who led her through imaginary conversations with her personal hero, Eleanor Roosevelt. Newsweek magazine, which was promoting the book, characterized the visits as “seances,” a term that White House officials quickly tried to squelch.