NBC and ABC completely skipped a scathing new report that singles out Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for blame after the September 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. CBS, in contrast, offered full reports on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Evening News anchor Scott Pelley announced, "House Republicans fired off a blistering report today criticizing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell trumpeted, "House Republicans issued a scathing report on the Benghazi attack. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed last September." Yet, the ABC programs World News, Nightline and Good Morning America ignored the development. GMA, however, found time to promote important topics, such as "dancing babies" and the "secrets" behind America's favorite game shows. NBC's Nightly News and the Today show also avoided the subject.
While the NBC and CBS morning shows on Friday both covered troubling Thursday testimony from outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that revealed President Obama's lack of engagement during the Benghazi terrorist attack, ABC's Good Morning America completely ignored the story. In addition, none of the networks mentioned the testimony on their Thursday evening newscasts.
Friday's CBS This Morning provided the most coverage, with a full report by correspondent Nancy Cordes, who explained: "Panetta revealed that he briefed the President at the start of the attack, but the two men did not speak again that night....Republicans say it's a sign that the President was disengaged the night of the attack. Panetta said his aides and the President's were in touch, but he said as well that he did not speak to Secretary Clinton the night of the attack either."
On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, Nancy Cordes falsely characterized the weapon used in the 2011 mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona. Cordes noted that former astronaut Mark Kelly, "whose wife...Gabrielle Giffords was badly injured in the Tucson shooting," would call for a ban on "assault weapons like the one that was used to wound his wife and kill six others."
However, Jared Loughner, the perpetrator of the massacre, used a Glock 19 handgun with a 33-round magazine, not the military-style, semi-automatic rifles that are often labeled "assault weapons" by gun control supporters. The journalist even showed a photo of the firearm in question as she misrepresented its type. [audio available here; video below the jump]
On their evening and morning news shows on Thursday and Friday, NBC and CBS were quick to tout Democratic efforts to reimpose an assault weapons ban, with NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams proclaiming the move to be "the latest step in the ongoing response to the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings."
On CBS Evening News, correspondent Nancy Cordes described the scene as the legislation was announced on Thursday: "Flanked by police officers, doctors, and mayors, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California made her case today for banning the types of weapons used to carry out mass shootings." Cordes further highlighted the stagecraft: "Feinstein also asked half a dozen gun victims to share their stories, to give the measure a human face. Lilly Habtu was shot three times at Virginia Tech."
On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, Nancy Cordes trumpeted the passage of Senate Democrats' temporary fiscal cliff fix by the House as a "big bipartisan victory", immediately after pointing out that "the votes were about two-to-one Democratic in favor of the bill." Cordes also hyped how the bill is "a milestone, finally settling a decade-long debate over the Bush-era tax cuts," despite the fact the bill raises tax rates on top earners.
The correspondent also likened Congress to a teenaged student: "Well, if this was high school, you'd say they turned in the assignment a little bit late. It was kind of a rush job, but at least they got it done."
Nancy Cordes couldn't have made outgoing Senator Jim DeMint's conservative credentials clearer on Friday's CBS This Morning, labeling the South Carolina Republican "one of the most conservative members of the Senate." Cordes outlined that DeMint was a "Tea Party hero, who has raised more than $15 million...to help elect Tea Party senators...But he has also backed a series of losing far-right candidates."
However, the correspondent couldn't be bothered to identify Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert as a liberal, as she noted the comedian's efforts to get his fans to lobby South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to name him DeMint's replacement. She merely pointed out Colbert's persona as "one of the most conservative TV personalities out there - fake personalities, anyway." [audio clips available here; video below the jump]
It’s the Republicans who are in a bind. They’re beholden to the will of the evil genius Grover Norquist. They’re scared to death of The Club for Growth. That's the trite liberal media narrative that CBSNews.com's Brian Montopoli furthered earlier this morning in a piece in which he forecast that the Republicans, and only Republicans, are in for a bruising in the coming weeks should a "fiscal cliff" deal not be finalized. But in doing so, Montopoli conveniently forgets that Democrats have their pressure groups that hold their feet to the fire against any significant spending cuts and/or entitlement reform.
Perhaps Montopoli doesn't watch his own network's evening newscasts. On the Tuesday Evening News, correspondent Nancy Cordes noted that Democrats and President Obama are digging in their heels against any proposed deal which addresses entitlement spending. In fact, forty-two Democratic members of the House have signed on to a bill that explicitly prohibits cuts to the welfare state.
Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell badgered former RNC head Haley Barbour on Thursday's CBS This Morning on Indiana Republican Richard Mourdock's strongly pro-life stance, that even children conceived in rape are "God intended." Rose strongly hinted that the media firestorm surrounding Mourdock could affect the presidential race: "Romney may be gaining support among women. And the question arises, could this Mourdock controversy impact that?" [audio available here; video below the jump]
The CBS morning newscast stood out among its Big Three peers in significantly adding to the more than seven and half minutes of coverage from the previous day. The network devoted three minutes, 6 seconds to Mourdock, which is nearly three times the one minutes and 7 seconds that ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today set aside to the story combined.
On Friday's CBS This Morning, Nancy Cordes trumpeted that the Obama campaign is "turning lemons into lemonade" as she reported that the Democratic operation is "arguing that Romney had a great performance at the debate, but only because he was untethered from the truth." Not once did the correspondent or colleagues Norah O'Donnell and Bill Plante critically examine the claims from the incumbent or his operatives.
O'Donnell even spotlighted how "we heard David Axelrod say that they're going to change some things. They're even suggesting that Mitt Romney is a liar for what he said in the debate."
Talk about missing the elephant (or is it donkey?) in the room – on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, Nancy Cordes reported that Senator John Kerry is "playing Mitt Romney in mock debates" with President Obama before Wednesday's debate. But she didn't once mention that Kerry's debate skills didn't help him in 2004, when he lost a presidential race to President George W. Bush.
Cordes did note that "Romney and...Kerry know each other well. They're both longtime politicians from Massachusetts." She also twice emphasized that Obama's campaign was "working hard...to try to lower expectations about his performance" during the upcoming presidential debates.
Shortly after 5 p.m. Eastern today, it took three attempts for Democrats to reinstate the words "God" and "Jerusalem" into their party platform, drawing some reactions of despondency from the more liberal members of the party. Over on MSNBC, for example, Chris Hayes called it a "craven capitulation."
This shift from the original platform that omitted God and did not explicitly express support of Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital wasn’t mentioned once during ABC World News September 5 broadcast. Below is video from C-SPAN of the actual vote on the matter, which, you can tell was unlikely an actual 2/3rd vote for the rule change.
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King applauded colleague Nancy Cordes for her "great question" to President Obama on Monday about a dishonest ad from a supporting super PAC that blamed Mitt Romney for a woman's cancer death. However, they failed to mention Cordes's earlier question on how Obama's campaign has "suggested that Mr. Romney might be a felon for the way that he handed over power of Bain Capital."
The President falsely claimed that "nobody accused Mr. Romney of being a felon" in his answer to Cordes, an additional detail that went unnoticed by the CBS on-air personalities. Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager, made the felony suggestion on July 12, 2012: "Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature, was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony, or he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people."
Although the Obama/Biden campaign has plenty of gaffes and erroneous statements to answer for from the past five-and-a-half months -- the last presidential press conference was March 6 -- Associated Press White House correspondent Jeff Kuhnhenn opted to toss a softball to President Obama today as he was selected by the president to ask the first question at the chief executive's impromptu session with reporters in the White House press briefing room.
"You are no doubt aware of the comments that Missouri Senate candidate, Republican Todd Akin made on rape and abortion. I wondered if you think those views represent the views of the Republican party in general. They have been denounced by your own rival and other Republicans. Are they an outlier or representative?" Kuhnhenn asked, having obviously answered his own question. [MP3 audio here; video follows page break]
Mere hours after Politico reported on Republican Congressman Kevin Yoder's admitted skinny-dipping in the Sea of Galilee in Israel, CBS highlighted the story on its Monday morning newscast. By contrast, the network was slow to report on former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner's lewd photo scandal in 2011. On June 1 of that year, ABC and NBC's morning shows reported on the "underwear uproar," while CBS's Early Show punted on the story.
The following day, CBS played up conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart's early role in spreading word of the New York liberal's indecent Twitter pic: "Supporters of Weiner note that it was right-wing blogger, Andrew Breitbart, who broke the story. But Breitbart tells CBS News he had nothing to do with the supposed hack." Of course, Weiner would go on to admit that he sent the photo.
All three morning shows on Monday highlighted gaffes involving two Republican congressmen, touting the "firestorm" that followed a GOP senatorial candidate who discussed "legitimate rape." Both NBC and CBS attempted to link that incident (and one of a congressman swimming naked in the Sea of Galilee) to the Republican presidential ticket.
On CBS This Morning, Nancy Cordes trumpeted "comments made by Missouri Republican Todd Akin [that] have caused a firestorm" and added, "...National Democrats are already seizing on his comments as they try to push the notion that Republicans are out of touch when it comes to women's health." Talking to Chuck Todd, Today co-anchor Savannah Guthrie giddily hyped, "But let me ask you the larger question, do you think this will have an effect on the Republican race for president, where the female vote is so important?"
Wednesday's CBS Evening News finally mentioned the controversial ad -- produced by an Obama super PAC -- which blames Mitt Romney for former steel worker Joe Soptic's wife dying of cancer, as CBS correspondent Nancy Cordes filed a report recounting negative campaigning from both the GOP and Democratic sides.
But she only vaguely referred to the pro-Obama super PAC, Priorities USA, as an "outside group," even though it was founded by former Obama advisors to support the President's reelection. Covering the same inflammatory ad for CBS This Morning on Friday, Cordes had made the group's partisan affiliation clear, describing them as "a top outside group supporting the President."
All three broadcast network evening newscasts recounted President Obama's charge that Rep. Paul Ryan is holding up a farm aid bill as the President campaign in Iowa, but only CBS's Nancy Cordes took the time to forward to viewers the Romney campaign's rebuttal that "Ryan voted in favor of a drought relief package that's currently languishing in the Senate."
On ABC's World News, correspondent David Muir set up Obama's complaint:
Three days after CNN slammed the dishonest ad from the pro-Obama Priorities USA super PAC that blames Mitt Romney for a woman's cancer death, Friday's CBS This Morning finally got around to covering it. But correspondent Nancy Cordes downplayed the liberal group's spot by also targeting a Romney ad that was "panned" by unnamed fact checkers, and claimed that "other Romney ads have taken Mr. Obama's words out of context."
Cordes also dredged up the famous and entirely accurate anti-Michael Dukakis Willie Horton ad from 1988 as an example of negative ads being "a hallmark of presidential campaigns for decades."
On Tuesday, ABC and NBC's morning shows omitted covering President Obama Monday night attack on Mitt Romney at a fundraiser in Connecticut, that the GOP presidential candidate is "like Robin Hood in reverse. It's Romney Hood." However, Good Morning America and Today both reported on the "security scare" for the President, after two small planes flew into restricted airspace.
The same day, CBS This Morning played the clip of Obama's "Romney Hood" attack not once, but twice. Correspondent Nancy Cordes did note that the Democrat headlined a $500-a-plate fundraising dinner and how "the President headed to an even pricier fundraiser at the Connecticut home of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein."
The Big Three networks largely yawned at Majority Leader Harry Reid's wild charge on the Senate floor on Thursday that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney hasn't paid taxes in 10 years. ABC, CBS, and NBC failed to mention it on the evening newscasts on Thursday. On Friday morning, CBS This Morning was the lone broadcast morning show to report on Reid's "explosive accusation," as correspondent Nancy Cordes put it.
By contrast, all three networks covered Rep. Joe Wilson's 2009 "you lie" shout at President Obama at the State of the Union within 24 hours and were unanimously scandalized at the "stunning moment" in the House chamber, as then-anchor Charles Gibson labeled it on ABC's World News. Both ABC and CBS trumpeted Wilson's outburst as the "shout heard 'round the world."
Showing a renewed concern for the interests of taxpayers, CBS put “Cost to Taxpayers” on screen Wednesday night as CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley worried not about the cost of ObamaCare, but “how much it cost taxpayers for the House to repeal the law again and again?” Pelley relayed how “the Congressional Research Service tells us that the House of Representatives costs us $24 million a week. So with two weeks spent repealing the law, that comes to a little under $50 million.”
What a meaningless point. As if that $50 million wouldn’t have been spent in any event since the cost of operating the House would not have disappeared from federal outlays if the body dealt with other issues.
NBC's Today kept up its complete omission of the Fast and Furious gun-running controversy on Wednesday, even as a House committee prepared to vote later in the day on whether to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. CBS This Morning stood among the Big Three morning newscasts in devoting a full report to the issue. ABC's Good Morning America gave only a 20-second news brief on the controversy.
Overall, NBC has punted on the story since December 2010, when the scandal first emerged. NBC Nightly News had its own blackout on Fast and Furious until June 12, 2012, when correspondent Kelly O'Donnell finally mentioned "Congress's investigation of a failed operation that sent U.S. guns into Mexico" during a 30-second news brief. The issue hasn't been mentioned since on the evening newscast.
On Thursday's CBS This Morning, anchor Charlie Rose spotlighted the apparent "the disappearance of political moderates" in Congress in the context of Republican Senator Olympia Snowe's retirement. Correspondent Nancy Cordes gushingly asked Snowe, "Was it just getting too lonely to be a moderate Republican in the Senate?" CBS also listed several "moderate" senators who are actually liberals.
After Cordes gave her report on the Maine senator's retirement, Rose turned to Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill and introduced her as "one of the few moderates left on Capitol Hill." In reality, McCaskill is a solid liberal, given her low rating by the American Conservative Union and her high rating from the left-leaning Americans For Democratic Action.
ABC, CBS, and NBC spotlighted the Komen foundation's about-face on funding Planned Parenthood on their Friday evening newscasts, and played up the apparent role of social media in getting the charity to reverse its earlier decision. On World News, ABC's Diane Sawyer trumpeted the "dramatic day for people power," while on Nightly News, NBC's Lester Holt concluded, "score one for the power of social media."
The Big Three outlets also covered the 180 by the breast cancer organization on their Saturday morning shows. Altogether, the networks added seven more reports to the 13 from the first 60 hours or so of the controversy, bringing the total to 20 since February 1, versus only three on the face-off between the Catholic Church and the Obama administration since January 20 (the MRC documented and highlighted this imbalance in a report on Friday; ABC and NBC added mentions on their Sunday morning political shows).
The Big Three networks continued their blackout on covering the controversy involving the Obama administration trying to force Catholic institutions to include coverage of abortifacients and contraception in their health plans without a co-pay. Instead, Diane Sawyer on Wednesday's ABC World News highlighted Pfizer's recall of birth control pills that could "raise the risk of accidental pregnancy."
The same evening, both CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News aired reports on Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation discontinuing its funding of abortion perpetrator Planned Parenthood, with NBC's Brian Williams hyping how "thousands of women...[may] pay the biggest price" for the move.
The absurd media double standard in labeling Republicans - even moderate Republicans - as conservative while omitting the liberal label for Democrats was on display again Wednesday as CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes filed a report for the CBS Evening News recounting the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation's decision to cease funding for Planned Parenthood.
CBS's Early Show repeatedly hit GOP candidate Newt Gingrich on Friday over his comments on African-Americans and food stamps. The network played the quote for African-American Congressman Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and engaged Gingrich over the context, even accusing him of trying to start a class war.
"You've accused President Obama of trying to start a class war," co-host Nancy Cordes told Gingrich in an interview at the bottom of the 7 a.m. hour. "Aren't you doing the same thing?" she pressed him. [Video below the break.]
CBS revealed its double standard in its treatment of Republican presidential candidates versus Democratic ones on Wednesday's Early Show, as Jim Axelrod and Nancy Cordes pressed Mitt Romney about the challenges ahead in the race the day after he won in Iowa. By contrast, then-anchor Katie Couric gushed over a "humanized" and "emotional" Hillary Clinton the day after the 2008 New Hampshire primary.
After joking with Romney about his eight vote margin of victory at the beginning of the interview, Axelrod asked the former Massachusetts governor about the apparent slim rise in the number of votes he gained in the 2012 Iowa caucuses versus four years earlier: "I'm wondering just one number...six years you've spent out in Iowa, and I think you end up with 66 more votes this time than in 2008. Can you explain this challenge you had in Iowa about getting more traction this go around?"
During a roundtable discussion on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday, after asserting that in past years divided government had "produced some really remarkable pieces of legislation," correspondent Nancy Cordes blamed the presence of Tea Party Republicans for less congressional success in enacting legislation this year. (Video below)
Anchor Bob Schieffer raised the difficulty Congress has had in 2011 in making accomplishments, prompting Cordes to observe:
Tuesday's Early Show on CBS brought on PolitiFact's Bill Adair to reveal what he labeled as the "biggest lie of the year" inside politics, which was "the claim by many Democrats that the Republicans voted to end Medicare." But CBS let Democratic operatives spout that falsehood several times without scrutiny earlier in 2011.
The network did stand out in bringing on the PolitiFact editor, something ABC and NBC didn't do on Tuesday. Adair stated that Democrats "say that the House voted to end Medicare. That's not what they did. What the House did was vote to protect Medicare on people who are 55 and older, but to privatize it and restructure it...for people who are younger...it's wrong to say 'end Medicare,' and it's a...classic scare tactic that we've seen targeting the elderly for many years."