On Friday, only CBS This Morning covered the latest developments on House Speaker John Boehner's lawsuit against President Obama over a 2013 executive order delaying the ObamaCare employer mandate. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump] NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America completely ignored Boehner's office releasing the House resolution to sue the President.
However, those same morning shows did find time to cover a lawsuit against online retailer Amazon on behalf of customers being charged for accidental purchases. On Thursday evening, NBC Nightly News and ABC's World News similarly skipped the congressional move, while CBS Evening News devoted a mere twenty-two seconds to the story.
Yesterday, David Ferriero, the head archivist for the U.S. government, testified before Congress and insisted that the IRS had not followed the law requiring the agency to notify his office three years ago that Lois Lerner’s hard drive had crashed containing official records and emails.
Despite these new details, only CBS has bothered to report on the latest in the IRS scandal with both ABC and NBC’s morning and evening news programs ignoring the story on June 24 and 25. [See video below.]
After ten days of ignoring the June13 revelation that the IRS mysteriously lost two years worth of Lois Lerner's emails related to the scandal plaguing the agency, Tuesday's network morning shows finally took notice of the development only to tout Democrats dismissing the latest congressional hearing on the government abuse as a "farce." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
NBC's Today and CBS This Morning both provided full reports on the "contentious" hearing in which "Republicans unleashed their full fury" on IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. On Today, correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "The hearings showcased another round of bitter partisanship, with little resolution in sight." A soundbite followed of Massachusetts Democratic Congressman John Tierney declaring: "I don't think I've seen a display of this kind of disrespect in all the time I've been here in Congress."
After all three broadcast network evening newscasts on Friday highlighted IRS commissioner John Koskinen's testimony before Congress regarding the numerous missing emails of former official Lois Lerner, Saturday morning's Good Morning America on ABC ignored the story completely while CBS This Morning ran a full report and NBC's Today gave viewers a 42-second news brief.
GMA, however, did find time to devote a two-minute full report to the hype surrounding the attractive mugshot of convict Jeremy Meeks.
NBC's Jenna Wolfe informed viewers that the IRS commissioner would make another congressional appearance on Monday as she introduced the brief:
The Big Three networks' Friday evening newscasts finally noticed the latest development in the IRS scandal (they omitted it on Thursday), after Rep. Paul Ryan grilled Commissioner John Koskinen earlier in the day. ABC's David Muir spotlighted "the outrage...involving the IRS claiming to have lost thousands of crucial documents – lawmakers asking, how can the tax man be let off the hook for losing documents, while ordinary taxpayers would never get away with that?"
NBC's Brian Williams noted how Koskinen claimed that the IRS "lost evidence in the investigation into how they handled conservative political groups...and given how long the IRS holds on to things like our tax returns, some members of Congress just aren't buying it." CBS's Nancy Cordes zeroed in on congressional Democrats' attack on their Republican colleagues over the scandal – something that ABC and NBC didn't do: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
CBS Evening News seems to have shifted from merely reporting the news to becoming an advocate. On Tuesday, June 17, fill-in host Jeff Glor introduced a segment on gun control that sounded more like anti-gun propaganda from Michael Bloomberg than an actual news report.
Glor began by hyping “Today, the man who reenergized the movement for stricter gun laws took his fight to the nation's capital. Last month, Richard Martinez lost his son, one of six student shots or stabbed to death near the University of California Santa Barbara.” [See video below.]
On Monday, only CBS This Morning reported Friday's stunning revelation that the IRS somehow lost two years worth of emails from Lois Lerner, the official at the center of the agency scandal in which conservative groups were unfairly targeted. At the top of the morning show, co-host Norah O'Donnell wondered: "How did the IRS lose emails in the scandal targeting conservatives after the government spent millions to back up data?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing the later report, fellow co-host Charlie Rose noted: "The Washington Times says congressional Republicans are blasting the IRS for losing some of Lois Lerner's emails.... the controversy that started last year is erupting again." Correspondent Nancy Cordes reported: "Republican lawmakers, as you can imagine, are furious. They say the IRS has been promising to get them these emails for a year, and now suddenly says that Lois Lerner's computer crashed way back in 2011."
The journalists on CBS This Morning devoted nine minutes to excitedly reviewing Hillary Clinton's new book. Despite the fact that the publisher, Simon & Schuster, is a division of CBS, co-host Charlie Rose insisted that they scored an advance edition the old-fashioned way: "But we were able to buy a copy at a bookstore." Sounding more like an excited fan, Rose blurbed: "It is a portrait of doggedness." CBS political director John Dickerson praised Hard Choices as a portrayal of "a hard working person who flew all around the world grinding it out." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Asked whether opponents will seize on the content of the book, Dickerson enthused, "...The volume of this book is meant in a political context to suggest that the voters can put the world in her hands. She sees the complexity and understands it." CBS offered two segments to the new book totaling nine minutes and seven seconds. Of that, only 13 seconds were devoted to discussing Clinton's role in the terrorist attack at Benghazi that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
On Friday, both NBC's Today and CBS This Morning dutifully promoted quotes from Hillary Clinton's new memoir leaked to Politico of the former Secretary of State blasting critics of her mishandling of the Benghazi terrorist attack. Today co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed: "If there was any doubt Hillary Clinton's clearly ready to go on offense on this." Political director Chuck Todd agreed: "There's no doubt at all. In fact, there's a concerted campaign effort." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On CBS This Morning, correspondent Nancy Cordes declared: "...the former Secretary of State strikes a defiant tone about the attack and all the investigations into it..." Moments later, Cordes observed: "Democrats are going to see this as a kind of template for how to talk about the Benghazi attacks. In fact, the Clinton team is reportedly meeting with Democratic groups to explain her tone in the book so that everyone is on the same page."
On Friday, CBS Evening News caught up with its Big Three competitors and reported on the latest developments on the controversy surrounding the September 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya. CBS also finally mentioned its own president's family connection to a White House official involved in the Obama administration's handling of the immediate aftermath of the attack.
Nancy Cordes gave a full report on how the "the White House released previously unseen e-mails" about the federal government's response to the terrorist strike, which led to House Speaker John Boehner forming a new select committee to investigate the attack. Scott Pelley also disclosed that "Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security advisor mentioned in Nancy's story, is the brother of CBS News President David Rhodes." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
CBS This Morning journalists on Friday continued the show's obsession with legalized pot, offering an uncritical puffing of a new marijuana lobbyist in Washington D.C. Gayle King touted, "Marijuana is now legal in some form in nearly half the country. The growing cannabis industry wants a voice in Washington." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] A CBS graphic promoted, "Making Friends in High Places: Cannabis Industry Hires First Full-Time Lobbyist."
Nancy Cordes insisted, "And it's just inevitable that as the benefits and drawbacks of marijuana become more widely known, there are going to be more attempts to legislate it at the federal level." But she offered zero examples of what possible "drawbacks" could be. Instead, she repeated the talking points of pot lobbyist Michael Correia: "He spends his days urging members and their staffers to change the law that prohibits banks from lending to marijuana venders."
Wednesday's CBS This Morning featured a full report on an outrageous attempt by Illinois Democrats to shove through $100 million in taxpayer funds for Barack Obama's future presidential library despite the state being $7 billion in debt. Meanwhile, NBC and ABC ignored the brewing controversy.
This Morning co-host Norah O'Donnell noted the proposed massive spending was "a controversial move for a state that's pretty deep in debt." Correspondent Nancy Cordes explained: "That's right, $7 billion in debt. But Democrats in Illinois say allocating this money will help to convince the Obama Foundation to locate the Obama Library in Chicago, while many Republicans argue the President's hometown is the front-runner anyway and that this is an expense their state can't afford." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Friday's CBS Evening News was the lone Big Three evening newscast to spotlight how the State of Oregon decision to scrap its multimillion dollar health exchange website, and join the federal government's HealthCare.gov. ABC's World News was too busy covering violence over spots at mall parking lots to notice, while NBC Nightly News zeroed in on baby Prince George's first trip to Australia.
Scott Pelley underlined how "the State of Oregon said that after months of trying, it cannot get its state health insurance website to work. It hasn't signed a single customer, and it is pulling the plug. It is the first state to do that." Nancy Cordes pointed out the "$248 million failure," but didn't mention President Obama by name or ObamaCare as a term during her report. She merely made a vague references to the "federal" role in providing relief to the debacle: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Tuesday's World News on ABC stood out as the only Big Three network evening newscast to cover a new "watchdog report" that found that the IRS "handed out more than $1 million in bonuses to employees who were delinquent on their federal taxes." Jeff Zeleny also pointed out how "more than 1,000 IRS workers, who didn't pay their taxes, received not only cash bonuses, but extra time off." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
By contrast, NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News on Tuesday both devoted air time to the 50th anniversary of the 1964 World's Fair in New York City. NBC's Brian Williams also gave a 28-second news brief on Prince William and Princess Kate's visit to Ayers Rock in Australia, where they posed at the same spot as the prince's parents during the 1980s:
Teasing an upcoming story Tuesday on a left-wing smear campaign against conservative donors Charles and David Koch, CBS This Morning co-host Norah O'Donnell proclaimed: "Battling the Koch brothers, Democrats are fighting back against the family that spent more than $150 million trying to shake up Congress." Introducing the segment, fellow co-host Charlie Rose announced that "one of the best-known families in big-money politics is once again in the spotlight." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes told viewers: "They are the Koch brothers, both in their 70s and two of the wealthiest men in America. They've been giving to conservative and libertarian causes for a long time. But now, Democrats are trying to make them public enemy number one." The headline on screen read: "Big Money Brothers; Democrats Target Billionaires David & Charles Koch."
In the last couple of weeks ObamaCare has been dealt two serious setbacks: yet another delay in the employer mandate, and a devastating CBO report that claimed it will cost the equivalent of two million jobs. However, the reaction of Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) network reporters to these latest ObamaCare failures has been to blow them off as just a little “hiccup.”
When the White House announced another delay in the enforcement of the employer mandate to buy health insurance, the networks couldn’t even cover the story for a full day. The first reports arrived on the February 10 evening news, with the final stories filed on the February 11 morning shows. In total the Big Three networks spent just 4 minutes and 26 seconds on the delay. ABC spent the least amount of time on the mandate extension (41 seconds) followed by NBC (53 seconds) with CBS (2 minutes, 53 seconds) devoting the most time to the topic. (videos after the jump)
All three network morning shows on Wednesday cheered House Republicans giving up on trying to attach conditions to raising the nation's borrowing limit. On NBC's Today, news reader Natalie Morales proclaimed: "America is one step closer to being able to pay its bills next month." None of the coverage acknowledged that the move actually meant adding to the nation's massive $17 trillion debt without making any effort to reduce government spending. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos touted "some good news coming out of Washington" as the "debt limit finally passed without real controversy." White House correspondent Jon Karl gushed: "Yeah, this was a really big deal. Republicans completely backed down on this. No strings attached, did exactly what President Obama asked them to do..." Stephanopoulos added: "First time in three years."
In spite of the massive half-trillion dollar price tag, the farm bill didn’t get much attention from the broadcast network news shows, although a compromise version may get congressional approval very soon.
Since Jan. 1, 2013, when they reported that the nation was facing a “milk cliff” in which dairy prices would skyrocket if a farm bill wasn’t passed, ABC, CBS and NBC network news programs only mentioned “farm bill” in 20 reports. The vast majority (16 stories) of those reports aired on CBS.
The networks played right into President Obama's hand Wednesday evening as they touted his push for a minimum wage increase while giving barely any voice to his Republican opposition.
"[T]he President was out there hitting that 'give America a raise' theme hard today in campaign-style events both in Pennsylvania and in Maryland," noted ABC News White House correspondent Jonathan Karl. "Does that idea have a snowball's chance?" asked CBS News anchor Scott Pelley about the minimum wage increase.
Liberals are angry that President Obama won a second term, and yet they didn’t get the liberal agenda items they wanted passed in 2013, including gun control and amnesty for illegal aliens. The complaint at the end of the year is that this was the “least productive Congress” in 66 years, production always measured by the amount of legislation passed.
But the media complaint here isn’t about just any legislation. It’s about a liberal wish list. Washington Post reporter Paul Kane lamented the “shrunken ambitions” of congressional Democrats in a front-page story. “Back in 2009, during the heady days of hope and change, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) introduced 90 pieces of legislation. In 2013, amid gridlock and dysfunction, he sponsored just 35 bills. None of them became law.”
The journalists at the CBS Evening News on Wednesday portrayed the possible scuttling of a budget compromise as the fault of conservatives opposing a "too-good-to-be-true" deal. Over on NBC's Nightly News, the reporters derided the plan as not spending enough, worrying about extending unemployment benefits. ABC's World News on Wednesday and Good Morning America on Thursday totally skipped the story.
Evening News anchor Scott Pelley opened the show by lamenting, "It sounded almost too good to be true when we told you last night that Democrats and Republicans agreed on a federal budget without driving the nation to edge of fiscal disaster." Reporter Nancy Cordes alerted, "Scott, what made Republican leaders so angry was the fact that these powerful outside groups were once again urging Republicans to vote against a fragile compromise that had been worked out by a party standard bearer," referring to Paul Ryan. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Nancy Cordes heralded the proposed budget deal from Rep. Paul Ryan and Senator Patty Murray as a "true compromise" on Wednesday's CBS This Morning, and asserted that "the reason it's so important is that it could bring an end to this terrible cycle, where Congress can't agree on a yearly budget." Cordes also revisited her network's slanted language about sequestration, stating that the proposal "partially rolls back those deep, across-the-board spending cuts."
The correspondent also played up how "the agreement won't win support from some conservatives", and that "there are bound to be some conservatives who don't like it". She didn't use such ideological labeling in reference to opposition from liberals. Instead, Cordes merely noted that "many Senate Democrats...don't think the deal's perfect, but they can live with it." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
CBS This Morning stood out on Wednesday as the only Big Three newscast so far to devote any air time to a new gun control proposal by Democrats in Congress. Nancy Cordes reported on the "fierce opposition" to a proposed amendment to an extension of an existing ban on so-called "plastic guns", which would "require that all guns contain a piece of metal that cannot be removed".
However, both of Cordes' talking heads during the segment were from Democratic supporters of the proposal, and she failed to include any soundbites from gun rights supporters. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today on Friday did their best to downplay Senate Democrats' Thursday move to curtail the Republican Party's filibuster power. The two newscasts devoted a combined 39 seconds to the controversial vote, which ABC's Dan Harris labeled a "bold move". GMA apparently thought the potential marriage of serial killer Charles Manson was more important, as it devoted over two minutes of air time to that eyebrow-raising story. [audio of the ABC and NBC coverage available here; video below the jump]
By contrast, Friday's CBS This Morning spent nearly three minutes on the "historic change in the Senate", as Norah O'Donnell put it. O'Donnell also wondered, "Will Democrats regret invoking the nuclear option?"
Monday's CBS This Morning is the sole Big Three newscast so far to cover the firing of William P. White, a day after the now former D.C. official criticized President Obama's plan to let insurers temporarily restore canceled health insurance policies for a year. Nancy Cordes revealed how "D.C.'s insurance commissioner was abruptly fired by the city's Democratic mayor...after he warned that reinstating canceled plans 'undercuts the purpose' of the new health care exchanges." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Cordes's mention of Mayor Vincent Gray sacking the commissioner came a day after the Washington Post buried their story on the firing on page C7 of its Metro section on Sunday.
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Nancy Cordes zeroed in on the three Republican congressmen who grilled top administration officials during a hearing on ObamaCare, ballyhooing that "none of them were really able to explain why this product they worked on for years was so flawed". Cordes played extended clips from the hearing totaling 51 seconds – nearly twice the combined number of ABC's World News and NBC Nightly News, which each played 13 seconds from it.
The correspondent played up one clip in particular from White House chief technology officer Todd Park, who gave indications that HealthCare.gov might not be fixed by the target date of November 30 [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]:
Nancy Cordes stood out on Wednesday's CBS Evening News for pointing out Senator Harry Reid's eyebrow-raising "why would I want to do that" answer to a question about approving funding for cancer research for children. Meanwhile, on NBC Nightly News, John Yang hyped how "200 patients a week...including about 30 children" had been turned away from "last-resort medical treatment" due to the government shutdown, without mentioning Reid's gaffe.
Jim Avila also ballyhooed the detrimental effects of the shutdown on World News, and used man-on-the-street interviews to hint that Tea Party Republicans were mainly to blame for the issue. But the ABC evening newscast also ignored the Senate majority leader's remark. Hours later, none of the Big Three's morning shows mentioned Senator Reid's misstep during their reporting about the shutdown. [MP3 audio from Cordes' Wednesday report available here; video below the jump]
For two straight days, Nancy Cordes strongly hinted on CBS This Morning that House Republicans were to blame for the ongoing government shutdown. On Tuesday, Cordes hounded GOP Congressman Robert Pittenger: "All the polls show that a majority of Americans don't want to see the government shut down over ObamaCare. How can you say the American people is on your side?"
The correspondent tossed a similar question the following morning at Pittenger's colleague, Rep. Phil Gingrey: "How long are you willing to keep the government partially closed over ObamaCare?" During both reports, she didn't bother to ask such questions of Democratic representatives or senators.
On Monday morning, Time/MSNBC political analyst Mark Halperin explained an obvious political reality to his fellow Morning Joe panelists: “The White House does not have much incentive” to negotiate on the government shutdown, because Democrats expect the liberal news media to hand them a public relations victory. As Halperin put it: “The press is largely sympathetic to their arguments that it’s the House Republicans’ fault.”
In fact, as a new Media Research Center analysis of broadcast network evening news coverage shows, ABC, CBS and NBC spent the two weeks prior to the shutdown almost universally pinning the blame on congressional Republicans, especially conservative/Tea Party House Republicans. By the time the shutdown actually took place on October 1, news audiences had been repeatedly instructed to think about it as a GOP-generated crisis.
The network morning shows on Friday derided the move by House Republicans to defund ObamaCare as simply "bowing to demands" from the Tea Party. But it was CBS's Bob Schieffer who made no attempt to restrain his contempt, declaring the ObamaCare fight "over" and linking GOP members to elderly Japanese veterans of World War II who refused to accept that the fight was futile.
After noting that the Wall Street Journal derided the plan as a kamikaze move, the Face the Nation anchor built on the analogy, sneering, "But even more apt...way on into the 1950s when they go into the jungles of the Philippines and they find these Japanese soldiers that thought World War II was still going on?" This prompted This Morning hosts Charlie Rose, Gayle King and Norah O'Donnell to break up in laughter at the mockery of Republicans. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]