On last night's CBS Evening News, correspondent Nancy Cordes listed one and only one sticking point in the failure of the so-called "supercommittee" to reach a deal, and that was, she said, how "Republicans on the supercommittee were pushing to make the Bush-era tax cuts permanent for everyone."
And only one politician, Democratic Senator and supercommitee member John Kerry, was permitted to frame the story for CBS viewers. "This is not a tax cutting committee. This is a deficit reduction committee," Kerry asserted. "And we do not believe that the wealthiest people in America should get another tax cut."
ABC, CBS and NBC have continued their overly positive coverage of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protestors, devoting a massive number of stories (81 in just the month of October) to the leftist, anti-capitalist movement. This is a far cry from the coverage they initially gave the Tea Party protest, granting them a scant 13 stories all of 2009. More troubling, the radicalism and criminal acts at some of the protests have been virtually ignored by the Big Three networks.
This was bound to happen given the overwhelming disparity in the number of soundbites (19 to 1 ratio) devoted to those who were sympathetic to the OWS cause. A staggering 190 (80%) soundbites were given to those who were in favor of the Occupiers, only 10 (4%) soundbites featured those who were critical of the movement, 38 (16%) were neutral. In addition, nine guests on the morning shows appreciated the OWS crowd, to just one against (Newt Gingrich).
Thursday's Early Show on CBS provided free air time to Rep. Steve Israel of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and three of his top candidates for the 2012 election. Correspondent Nancy Cordes trumpeted how the Democratic Party is "determined to bounce back from their big losses" to Republicans during the 2010 cycle and highlighted that the three were "running against Tea Party members."
Anchor Chris Wragge teased Cordes's report by touting how Democrats were "finding their own outsiders to run against the Washington status quo. We're going to talk to some of those new recruits, including a former astronaut and a former police chief, who they say with Congress more unpopular than ever, they've got a good chance to make the kind of change in Washington that they feel Washington needs."
The Today show, which is a four hour program, on Wednesday devoted a scant 43 seconds of air time to a surprising loss by Democrats in a New York special congressional election. Both CBS and ABC offered more expansive coverage.
ABC's Good Morning America saw the election of Republican Bob Turner as a "stunning upset." Referencing another GOP win in Nevada, host George Stephanopoulos surprisingly speculated, "Landslide victories for Republicans in two key races. Could these early wins spell big trouble for President Obama?"
CBS's Early Show on Monday devoted two segments and a news brief to the Obama "jobs bill," but in none of the three stories did they allow a single Republican to speak. Correspondent Bill Plante filed a report that was almost all Obama soundbites -- and to make the sound of a sales job complete, it even included a clip of a TV ad from the Democratic National Committee to help push the $447 billion "stimulus" package.
Plante led the 7 am Eastern hour with his report on the President's legislation, and mentioned the Republicans only in passing: "He's [Obama] been saying that both Republicans and Democrats support the kinds of ideas that he's got in this job bill. But he knows that Republicans are reluctant to embrace the kind of spending he wants. So, he's taking his case directly to the voters, as he did Friday in Richmond, Virginia."
CBS's Norah O'Donnell played the role of a clairvoyant on Tuesday's Early Show as she hinted that President Obama's reelection is assured in 2012. Anchor Erica Hill asked O'Donnell how the White House viewed the debt ceiling bill. She replied, "I think they feel like this was... not necessarily a victory for the President. He did get an extension of this debt ceiling through 2012 and through his reelection" [video clips available here; audio can be downloaded here].
Hill brought on the new CBS News White House correspondent, as well as Nancy Cordes, their congressional correspondent, to discuss the return of Rep. Gabby Giffords to the floor of the House of Representatives on Monday and their passage of the compromise debt ceiling legislation. Towards the end of the segment, after she and O'Donnell laughed it up about Vice President Biden's crack about Giffords being part of the "cracked heads club," the anchor asked her question about the White House's take on the bill. Her colleague replied with her off-the-cuff prediction:
On Saturday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Nancy Cordes seemed to put the burden on Republicans of causing U.S. troops to wonder if they will be paid on time during the budget battle, as a clip of her was shown asked House Speaker John Boehner, "How can you even allow these soldiers to wonder whether they're going to get paid?"
On Friday, all three network morning shows played up the theme of stubborn House GOP conservatives opposing Speaker John Boehner's debt ceiling plan. On CBS's Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge proclaimed: "House Republicans will meet again this morning after hardline conservatives handed House Speaker John Boehner a major setback."
On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos announced: "The House Speaker's debt plan melts down after hours of arm twisting failed to subdue a Tea Party rebellion." On NBC's Today, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell declared: "A parade of those rebellious holdout Republicans were summoned to the Speaker's office."
On Election Day 2010, then-CBS Early Show anchor Harry Smith posed a hypothetical question about newly-elected Republicans to Ann Coulter: “There’ll be a routine vote, for instance, to increase the debt ceiling and the Tea Party guys are going to say, ‘Over my dead body,’ and the government comes to a screeching halt. Then what happens?” The conservative author confidently predicted: “Well, the media will blame the Republicans.”
And that’s precisely what has occurred. A Media Research Center study of the Big Three network evening and morning programs finds that, when it came to assigning blame for lack of a debt ceiling resolution, ABC, CBS and NBC’s coverage has placed the overwhelming majority of the blame on Republicans’ doorstep.
ABC, CBS, and NBC ignored the existence of the Cut, Cap and Balance (CCB) bill until last week, a Nexis search revealed, despite multiple polls demonstrating overwhelming public support.
In addition to the blackout, none of the broadcast networks ever mentioned the positive polls in their coverage of the bill, even though 65 percent of the public backed a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget in a Mason-Dixon poll from May and 72 percent approved of such a measure in a Fox News poll from June.
House Republicans have a budget-cutting proposal that stands no chance of getting by President Obama while some Senators have a big tax-hiking plan which stands no chance of passage in the House, but CBS, in illustrating the larger media take, framed the conservative plan as a distracting waste of time while cheerleading the Senate’s “Gang of 33” plan in the name of “bi-partisanship.”
On Thursday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Nancy Cordes filed a report on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as a "lightning rod" for sharp criticism from Democrats because of his role in budget negotiations with President Obama. After beginning the report with a clip of Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer asserting that Cantor "has yet to make a constructive contribution," and after recounting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had called the Republican leader "childish," Cordes seemed to legitimize the insults as she asserted that Cantor had provided "plenty of ammunition":
NBC's Today and CBS's Early Show on Thursday turned to Obama advisor David Plouffe on Thursday to offer his spin on the President's 67-minute presser on Wednesday, instead of interviewing Republicans. Both shows failed to press their guest about Obama's part in raising the nation's debt. NBC's Matt Lauer did toss some hardball questions at Plouffe on the President's "ownership" of the economy.
During her interview of the White House political advisor, which aired eight minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour, Jarvis raised how, in the midst of his anti-Republican press conference, the President compared his congressional opponents negatively to his own kids in her second question. Plouffe replied by foisting all of the blame for the debt on the GOP in his answer:
In the '80s the liberal media filled the airwaves with tales of woe from the homeless as a way to distract viewers from the runaway success of Reaganomics. In the 2000s, the same media chatted with one frustrated gas station customer after another to slam then-President George W. Bush.
However in 2011, with over 44 million Americans on food stamps, a new high according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (See Table 2), the Big Three broadcast network news programs have been virtually devoid of anecdotal sob stories of moms and dads struggling to pay for their kids' box of Frosted Flakes, as a way to hammer Barack Obama's failed economic policies.
On Tuesday's Early Show, CBS's Erica Hill pressed Andrew Breitbart over the Shirley Sherrod issue, highlighting how he "never apologized to her." Hill and reporter Joel Brown noted the "multi-million dollar defamation suit" Sherrod filed against Breitbart and turned to a journalist who touted how the blogger is "very defensive about his credibility and...realizes that he has these strikes against him."
Brown's report preceded the anchor's interview of the conservative at the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour. The correspondent trumpeted how "right-wing commentator Andrew Breitbart has six political websites, whose goal is to quote, 'hold the mainstream media's feet to the fire.' He certainly got their attention when he posted this now-infamous picture of Congressman Weiner on BigGovernment.com seven days ago."
As NewsBusters' Lachlan Markay pointed out, the Weinergate scandal showcased a variety of liberal media conspiracy theories. One of the most prevalent theories focused on besmirching conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart, who broke the story wide open Monday with a series of posts on BigGovernment.com featuring lewd photos of Rep. Anthony Weiner.
"Look, Breitbart is a proven liar, okay?" bellowed MSNBC anchor Cenk Uygur on June 1. "He doctored the Shirley Sherrod tapes. He's done this over and over again. Why would anybody take this fool seriously?"
Asked by new CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley why Congressman Anthony Weiner “matters,” CBS Capitol Hill reporter Nancy Cordes on Monday night maintained he’s vital as a critic pushing Obama from the left.
“The President has a lot of critics on the right,” Cordes noted, “but Weiner is one of his most outspoken critics on the left wherever liberals feel that the President is straying too far from their principles,” so “it's unclear how well he's really going to be able to perform that role now, a role that even the President has said is very important.”
Old and new media clashed on CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday.
After CBS News Congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes blamed Andrew Breitbart for her network's slow response to the ongoing Weinergate scandal, Gawker staff writer Maureen O'Connor said, "I think even if that's the case, it was very quickly that you could have looked into this story and verified it for yourself" (video follows with trancript and commentary):
Both CNN's Anderson Cooper on Wednesday's AC360 and CBS's Nancy Cordes on Thursday's Early Show highlighted conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart's early part in spreading news of the lewd photo Tweeted from Rep. Andrew Weiner's Twitter account. Cooper played up Breitbart's supposedly "questionable credibility," while Cordes reported how "supporters of Weiner note that it was [the] right-wing blogger...who broke the story."
The CNN anchor raised Breitbart's involvement 15 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour as he introduced the second part of an interview of the New York Democrat conducted by his colleague Wolf Blitzer:
All three network morning shows on Wednesday cheered Democrat Kathy Hochul winning the special election in New York's 26th congressional district and framed the outcome as a rejection of Republican plans to reform Medicare. On NBC's Today, news reporter Ann Curry proclaimed: "The race hinged on Hochul's opposition to a Republican-led plan to make deep cuts in Medicare." [Audio available here]
On ABC's Good Morning America, news reporter Josh Elliot declared Hochul's win to be "a seismic event in the political world" and a "shocking upset." Like Curry, he declared: "The GOP candidate lost after backing that Republican plan to cut billions from Medicare." In reality, the Republican budget plan increases Medicare spending from $563 billion to $953 billion ten years from now. That’s an increase of nearly 70%.
Plugging an upcoming story on Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Russ Mitchell highlighted that “Congress gives Israel's Prime Minister dozens of standing ovations but,” Mitchell warned as if it were just as relevant or surprising, “the Palestinians are not buying his peace plan.” The Palestinians haven’t yet bought into the right for Israel to even exist.
Setting up the subsequent report, Mitchell repeated his formulation: “Nancy Cordes reports he got a standing ovation, but the Palestinians were not impressed.” Cordes emphasized how Benjamin Netanyahu “refused to compromise on the biggest prize: Jerusalem” and “an aide to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas called that a ‘declaration of war against the Palestinian people.’”
CBS's Early Show on Wednesday played up how opponents of Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan shouted down GOP representatives at recent town hall meetings, but downplayed them as "less than friendly," and marveled at their apparently "poignant" questions. The network also omitted how liberal groups targeted these meetings, and trumpeted the "nasty national shouting match" at health care town hall meetings in 2009.
News anchor Jeff Glor noted how "House Republicans are back home for the first time since passing an aggressive deficit cutting plan, including the architect of that plan, Congressman Paul Ryan." Glor used the "less than friendly" label immediately before playing a clip of an unidentified protester shouting, "Ryan, stop lying!" outside a town hall meeting held by the Republican in Wisconsin, and another of a woman who directly accused him of "screwing our generation and the next generation."
Picking up from flustered colleague Bob Schieffer, who on the April 17 Face the Nation demanded of Congressman Paul Ryan, “Why do these rich people need another tax cut? I mean, they're already rich,” CBS reporter Nancy Cordes on Tuesday night asked him: “Do you think that you would be getting more support out there if you didn't include this big tax cut for the wealthy?”
Cordes insisted “35 percent to 25 percent is a big cut,” though Ryan’s plan is meant to be revenue neutral, or even give a boost, as he explained the rate reduction is “in exchange for losing their tax shelters.”
Cordes pressed Ryan from the left on tax rates after her story featured soundbites of liberal hostility to Ryan and other Republicans at town hall meetings, some clips taken from video posted by a left-wing site, clips which included a woman screaming “your plan screws the next two generations!” and “You're a liar!” before video of a crowd yelling “Hands off Medicare!” and a close-up of this sign: “PAUL RYAN’S DEATH PANEL KILL MEDICARE, SOCIAL SECURITY.”
Both NBC and CBS on Monday highlighted footage of Barack Obama at the Lincoln memorial on Saturday as they portrayed a President ready to cut the deficit. In the wake of an averted government shutdown, NBC's Chuck Todd on Today enthused, "Barely pausing to consider the $38.5 billion in budget cuts he and congressional leaders had just agreed to...Mr. Obama is already looking forward" with plans to lower the debt.
Today then featured footage of the President at the Lincoln Memorial from the weekend. On CBS's Early Show, Nancy Cordes narrated, "The President bounded up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial this weekend, trying to put the best face possible on a spending deal he had admitted was not to his liking."
As a potential government shutdown looms the liberal media are filling their programs with stories about dire consequences of deep cuts that will lead to troops not getting paid, closed national parks, and late tax refunds. However, a review of MRC's coverage of the 1995 budget fight reveals the media are simply rerunning their tired old arguments from the last shutdown.
On this Wednesday's edition of ABC's Good Morning America, Jonathan Karl tallied the services that could be at risk this time around, as he warned: "If they don't reach a deal and get it passed by then, American troops, including those on the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq, may not get their paychecks. And smack in the middle of tax season, that refund you've been counting on, well, you may have to wait." Karl went on to alert travelers that: "Treasures like Old Faithful and Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, Yosemite's half dome, will be closed to visitors. And if you don't already have a passport, don't even think about leaving the country. Last time the government shut down, 200,000 passport applications were stopped in their tracks."
However Karl and others, as quotes from 1995 show, are simply dusting off the old media playbook to blame Republicans, not Democrats, for a shutdown, as they focus on high profile federal projects like national parks in an attempt to frighten the American people into opposing prudent fiscal decision-making.
On Thursday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes portrayed the Tea Party movement as the cause of the budget stalemate in Congress: "With a government shutdown looming, sources say negotiators are homing in on a package of cuts worth $33 billion. That's roughly what Republican leaders proposed last month, before the Tea Party wing demanded that they double their proposal to 61 billion."
Cordes went on to note how "sniping between party leaders is escalating," which was followed by a clip of House Speaker John Boehner calling on Democrats to "have real negotiations" instead of "rooting for a government shutdown." She then remarked: "Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid snapped back that it was Speaker Boehner who had been holding up negotiations, not him." In a sound bite, Reid said of Boehner: "I'm glad he's returned to the conversation. It's obvious that he has a difficult situation on his hands." Cordes added: "The situation he's talking about is the group of Tea Party freshmen Republicans who are insisting that Boehner hold firm on large cuts."
On Thursday's CBS Evening News, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes implied that the House Homeland Security Committee hearing on the radicalization of American Muslims was simply a political show put on by committee chairman Peter King: "Ignoring calls from Democrats to cancel his hearing...King embarked on the inquiry in a room newly decorated with fiery images from 9/11."
Cordes later declared that "King's own past assertion that most U.S. mosques are run by radicals" resulted in "poisoning the atmosphere" of the hearing. She remarked on how King's "relations with Muslim leaders there [in his Long Island, NY district] deteriorated after 9/11." A sound bite was then featured of Dr. Faroque Kahn of the Islamic Center of Long Island, who labeled King a "Muslim-basher."
During a report on Friday's CBS Early Show, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes emphasized division in the new Republican Congress: "The prospect of a mutiny had sent Republican leaders scrambling to craft an even leaner budget, and make good on their promises to the Tea Party....Just this week, small groups of conservatives defeated two of their own party's measures on the House floor."
Cordes went on to highlight tensions at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington: "Former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld were booed by one faction of attendees. While Donald Trump, who's toying with a presidential run in 2012, took a swipe at his fellow Republican, Congressman Ron Paul." The headline on screen throughout Cordes's report read: "GOP Power Struggle; Agree to Budget Deal After Early In-Fighting." Later in a 7:32AM ET news brief, news reader Jeff Glor similarly declared: "Republicans are closing out a week of infighting."
Catching up on an item from last Thursday’s CBS Evening News, after recounting for the second time the case of Philadelphia abortion Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s horrific practice, anchor Katie Couric introduced a piece devoted to upcoming political fights over abortion. During the report, opponents of abortion were twice labeled as "conservatives," while the word "liberals" was never used to refer to advocates of abortion rights. The report also finally mentioned - briefly - the March for Life pro-life rally from earlier in the week in the nation’s capital.
As the report reiterated the case of Dr. Gosnell, the argument on both sides of the debate was presented as to which side is bolstered by his callous activities. Couric: "Criminal abuse like this is extremely rare, but it's not stopping both sides in the abortion debate from using the case to re-energize supporters."
After correspondent Elaine Quijano made the case on both sides, ideological labels soon came. Correspondent Nancy Cordes: "Republicans are now back in power in the House at least, after a walk in the desert, and they have certain constituencies that they need to satisfy. One of those constituencies is the conservative right wing of the party for whom abortion is a very important issue all the time."
Reporting on the creation of a Senate Tea Party Caucus on Thursday's CBS Evening News, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes declared that while "Conservative crusader Jim Demint, and the freshmen Senators he worked to elect, planted their Tea Party flag,"the movement's "assertiveness has caused some heartburn for GOP leaders."
As evidence of the supposed indigestion, Cordes cited favorite media targets, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin: "Bachmann insisted on delivering a separate Tea Party response to the State of the Union....Tea Party enthusiast Sarah Palin invoked a vulgar acronym to describe the President's speech." Cordes was referring to Palin's comment that "There were a lot of WTF moments throughout that speech."