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."
In the guise of a status report on ObamaCare, Katie Couric on Thursday night derided Republican efforts to repeal it just as it’s “starting to kick in.” She pleaded for viewers to give it a chance as she rationalized “the law is vulnerable because of the complex way it tries to fold 30 million uninsured people into the system,” fretting “damage could be inflicted by choking off funding for programs that support the law, but a greater threat is the legal storm that's brewing.”
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric was dismissive of a vote by House Republicans to repeal ObamaCare as she asked congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes: "There is no chance this repeal will succeed, it's a largely symbolic measure. So what's the point?" Cordes described it as "the first step in their long-term effort to wipe this health care law off the books."
Cordes proclaimed that "The party line vote capped a vigorous debate....In which Republicans vilified the health care law, and Democrats exalted it." However, only seconds earlier in the report, an image appeared on screen of the House of Representatives vote tally, showing that three Democratic members of Congress joined Republicans in voting for repeal. No sound bites of those three Democrats were featured.
Almost immediately after the shooting in Tucson that killed six people and left Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords severely wounded, the media establishment linked the attack with a debate about “civility,” suggesting an association between Jared Loughner’s rampage and the words and phrases used in national political debates.
Many of these network news stories offered ambiguous references to, as CBS’s Bob Schieffer put it on the January 9 edition of Sunday Morning, “the mean and hateful tone that now marks our modern politics.” Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter, in a soundbite on NBC’s Today the next morning, pointed his finger at “the left and the right” as contributing to what he termed “the climate of violence.”
There’s certainly no shortage of instances of the Left deploying violent rhetoric, but how evenly did the media divide the blame during the first few days of this national debate about civility? MRC analysts reviewed all 55 broadcast network stories or segments discussing the discourse from just after the shooting (January 8) through the evening of the national memorial service on January 12, reviewing the ABC, CBS and NBC morning, evening and Sunday talk shows.
On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes reported on Sarah Palin's first interview since the Tucson shooting: "She accused the Left and the news media of trying to destroy her message, trying to destroy her, said she was being accused of being an accessory to murder." Cordes forgot to mention her role in furthering those accusations against the former Alaska governor.
After playing a clip of Palin's Monday interview on Fox News' Hannity, Cordes mentioned: "The early response I'm hearing from some on the Left about this interview is, 'Look we never said she was an accessory to murder, we simply said she was an accessory to in-civility in politics.'" On the day of the shooting, reporting for the CBS Evening News, Cordes implied Palin played a role in inciting the violence: "Giffords was one of 20 Democrats whose districts were lit up in cross hairs on a Sarah Palin campaign Web site last spring. Giffords and many others complained that someone unstable might act on that imagery."
- Since Obama took office, only 16 percent of health care stories mentioning the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) included any criticism of their accounting, despite criticism from many conservative and libertarian experts as well as the former head of CBO.
- Networks reporters and guests emphasized the CBO's integrity calling them "non-partisan," "independent" and the "referee" or "arbiter" of legislation costs. CBS's Nancy Cordes even declared them to be "trusted by both parties as the authority on budget matters."
The new majority in the House of Representatives has made it clear that voting on a full repeal of ObamaCare is its top priority, something a majority of Americans support. But their resolution, H.R. 2, has come under fire from the left and the liberal news media over the deficit.
Democrats, including Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J., claimed that House Republicans "are breaking their first promise in their first week" because the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said that repealing the health care bill would add $230 billion to the deficit over 10 years.
CBS's Katie Couric called it "new ammunition" for Democrats on Jan 6, 2011, and on the network news that proved to be the case.
That "ammunition" used to portray the GOP as fiscal hypocrites has also been criticized as "nonsense," not that you'd know it from the network news media.
The liberal media wasted no time in trying to exploit the shooting in Tucson, Arizona by blaming Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, and conservatives in general for creating a "culture of violence" that led to the tragedy. Here is a video compilation of journalists and pundits promoting the meme in the hours and days that followed.
Reporting on the political fallout of the Tucson shooting on Monday's CBS Early Show, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes declared: "Now some are questioning whether the increasingly angry tone in politics could have contributed to a culture of violence."
Cordes noted how "members of Congress took their soul searching public, Sunday," followed by sound bites of two Democrats lamenting heated political rhetoric. Cordes observed: "Look no further than recent campaign ads....Filled with images and rhetoric that would once have been considered off limits." Two clips were played as examples, the first from West Virginia Democratic Governor and then Senate candidate Joe Manchin, going after his own party, using a rifle to shoot a bullet through proposed Cap and Trade legislation. Cordes failed to identify Manchin as a Democrat. The other ad was from Alabama Tea Party candidate Rick Barber, with a depiction of Thomas Jefferson calling on conservatives: "Gather your armies."
On Thursday's CBS Early Show, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes derided Republican efforts to repeal ObamaCare: "On Friday, they begin their assault on health care reform, with a vote to repeal the law scheduled for next week."
Cordes noted how repeal "will hit a wall in the Senate," observing: "That legislative reality will force both sides to work together on some issues, something Speaker Boehner promised to Democrats." However, moments later she touted Democratic accusations of GOP partisanship: "Democrats are already crying foul, saying that that vote to repeal health care is being held without holding hearings first, without allowing amendments, a move that they argue flies in the face of all those promises of openness."
Talking to Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer on Wednesday's Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge saw efforts to repeal ObamaCare as a political liability: "How risky a proposition is this for Republicans incoming now?" Schieffer dismissed it as, "a lot of shouting, hollering, and symbolic votes," adding, "we've got a couple of months before anything really serious is going to happen."
Wragge went on to cite liberal New York Times writer Matt Bai, who claimed Republicans had no real political mandate despite extensive victories in November: "Once you win, the human tendency is to credit the gravitational force of your own ideas, to assume that you made a more compelling and more substantive case than you actually did." Wragge asked Schieffer: "Is that what we may see in the early days from the Republican leadership here, do you think?"
Reporting on Monday's CBS Early Show, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes decried House Republicans attempting to repeal ObamaCare: "...they made it clear they'll try to use their 49-vote advantage to wipe out key Democratic legislation from 2010. Including the President's signature achievement, health care reform."
Following Cordes's report, co-host Erica Hill asked political analyst John Dickerson about the likelihood of repeal. After Dickerson explained that repeal could not pass, a relieved Hill declared: "So, folks who like it may not have to worry about it? Because there are certain provisions that have actually gone over well with a fair number of Americans. Things like keeping your adult children on you're insurance and of course those lifetime coverage limits." Dickerson agreed: "And new things that people will like are coming on line with the new year. Middle income seniors will see – get some relief in the prescription drug prices."
On Sunday's Face the Nation, substitute host Harry Smith dismissed GOP goals of "dismantling health care" as merely a "fool's errand."
At the top of a report on CBS's Sunday Morning, correspondent Whit Johnson proclaimed: "In San Francisco yesterday, they celebrated the end of an era. After nearly two decades, the policy of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' which bans gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, is all but history." The one-sided segment focused almost exclusively on supporters of repeal.
Of the ten sound bites featured throughout the story, only one, that of Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, was critical of the policy being overturned. Johnson described how "Opponents of repeal...pleaded that such a dramatic change during a time of two wars would put troops in harm's way." However, after the clip of McCain was played, Johnson dismissed critics of repeal: "Democrats got a boost from a recent Pentagon study in which two-thirds of U.S. troops said changing the controversial law would have little impact, a feeling shared by most of America."
On Friday's CBS Early Show, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes reported on the passage of legislation to extend current tax rates and described it as: "an early holiday gift for every American taxpayer." She pointed out how "The cost of all that led 112 Democrats and 36 Republicans to vote no."
Moments later, she falsely claimed: "The bill also cuts the estate tax rate from 45% in 2009 to 35%, a White House concession to Republicans." While tax did exist in 2009, the 2010 estate tax rate was zero, therefore, having any tax on inheritance in 2011 would be a tax increase. Also, the fact that the estate tax is being reimplemented at all is a concession by Republicans, who would prefer it to remain at zero.
On Friday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes reported on leaked excerpts of Sarah Palin's new book, 'America By Heart,' claiming, "some of the topics she tackles may be surprising." One such topic was Palin's criticism of the media for promoting Levi Johnston: "It was disgusting to watch as his 15 minutes of fame were exploited by supposed adults taking advantage of a lost kid."
While Cordes found that comment "surprising," CBS, and the Early Show in particular, were chief among those who exploited Levi Johnston and his attacks on the Palin family. As has been detailed on NewsBusters, throughout 2009 and 2010, the CBS Early Show has featured six lengthy stories on Johnston, including three "exclusive" interviews.
At the top of Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith cheered the public trading of General Motors stock as evidence that Obama administration's bailout of the auto industry had worked: "GM's big comeback. In a stunning turnaround, General Motors begins to sell it's stock less than 18 months after the government's massive $50 billion bailout."
Smith even went so far as to ask: "Will American taxpayers make a profit on the investment?" Moments later, fellow co-host Maggie Rodriguez praised the companies "amazing turnaround" and observed: "What a difference a year and a half makes....here we are17 months after a bailout GM is trading publicly again." Later in the show, Rodriguez remarked that she hoped the cost to British taxpayers for the upcoming royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton "ends the way GM's is ending, with the taxpayers getting paid back."
On Thursday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes reported on Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski declaring victory in her write-in bid for reelection and portrayed her as a victim of the GOP: "[She's] in a very unique position, not beholden to the Republican leaders who turned their backs on her when she decided to run and not beholden to the tea party, which did everything it could to defeat her."
In reality, it was Murkowski who turned her back on the Republican Party after losing the primary and continuing to run against GOP nominee Joe Miller. Cordes sympathetically declared: "This was a huge uphill battle for Lisa Murkowski, who was urged by Republican leaders not to wage this campaign after she lost her primary bid....It was a risky bid and the risk paid off."
Contrasting a “contrite” President Obama with a “less conciliatory” Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, CBS reporter Nancy Cordes on Thursday night conveyed Democratic concern about likely House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's pledge to hold oversight hearings as she recalled “a barrage of damaging probes, one of which ended in impeachment hearings.”
Cantor, Cordes asserted, has called “for more investigations into the administration, with quote 'one major oversight hearing each week.' That worries Democrats, who remember what happened the last time Republicans controlled the House during a Democratic presidency.” She then challenged Darrell Issa, now the ranking minority member on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: “Democrats have said that you're going to start a witch-hunt against the President if Republicans take control.”
On Friday morning, after airing a full report on the Democratic strategy of painting Republican candidates as "dangerous" and "extreme," CBS’s The Early Show co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez seemed surprised when Republican guest Eric Cantor disagreed with her view that "there is no question these Tea Party Republicans are outside the Republican mainstream," and her suggestion that next year Republican congressional leaders may be in the "tricky position" of "feeling indebted to these candidates while trying to keep them in line."
And, picking up on Republican accusations of Democrats being extreme, the CBS anchor also wondered, "If these Tea Party-backed candidates win the election, wouldn't we just be going from one extreme to another?"
Meanwhile, over on the Today show, NBC’s David Gregory repeated the theory of some Democrats that Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell and other Tea Party-backed candidates are hurting Republicans in neighboring Pennsylvania. And, while he at least conceded that the Tea Party is a "legitimate movement," he described Nevada Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle – in addition to O’Donnell – as "outliers." He did not acknowledge the role the mainstream media may be playing in turning swing voters against Tea Party candidates.
With less than two weeks before Election Day, the media elite continue to disparage the GOP’s Tea Party candidates while saluting the greatness of the über-unpopular Democratic Congress and its leader, Nancy Pelosi.
On This Week, ABC’s Christiane Amanpour — apparently oblivious to the decades of liberal mockery hurled at Ronald Reagan and William Buckley — cited those leaders as exemplifying “a long and venerable tradition” of “intellectual conservatism.” Her goal was to insult today’s conservatives: “People are looking at the Tea Party and saying this is not conservatism as we knew it, but it’s extreme.” Conservative George F. Will educated Amanpour: “Which is exactly what they said about Bill Buckley...”
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith noted how President Obama was on the campaign trail "in hopes of avoiding a Democratic washout," but added, "he may be getting some help from Republicans....unintentional help." Congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes exclaimed: "...we've been seeing a spate of strange claims from tea party candidates in recent weeks."
As supposed evidence of those "strange claims," Cordes pointed to Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell accurately noting that the phrase "separation of church and state" appears nowhere in the Constitution. Cordes remarked that O'Donnell's comment "actually drew gasps from her audience yesterday," and later concluded: "O'Donnell – who calls herself a strict constitutionalist – appeared unaware of one of the Constitution's most basic tenets."