Following a report on Monday's CBS Early Show that slammed Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell for comments she made on Bill Maher's 'Politically Incorrect' in the 1990s, co-host Maggie Rodriguez suggested O'Donnell's response: "Well, she could do what Sarah Palin has done and which has worked so beautifully for Sarah Palin, and that is to play media victim." [Audio available here]
Rodriguez made the comment to political analyst John Dickerson, who added: "That's right. And the victim card is one that Sarah Palin has played, Rand Paul has done the same thing. It's a bit of a time-honored technique and it works with your supporters, who are apt to believe the things you say..." He then warned: "...but if you're trying to get to voters in the middle or independents....they're not just going to take it at face value that you are a victim and rally to your side." Neither Rodriguez nor Dickerson questioned whether media coverage of Palin and O'Donnell had been fair.
In the prior report, correspondent Nancy Cordes touted how "O'Donnell says she's a devout Catholic, but in the video she describes her experimentation with witchcraft. And the man who released the clip says there's a lot more where that came from." Later, Cordes mentioned how "The 1999 clip was released by comedian Bill Maher," without noting his left-wing ideology.
“There are calls for a criminal investigation of another rising GOP star,” Katie Couric teased at the top of the CBS Evening News, after citing Sarah Palin's speaking appearance in Iowa, as she elevated a publicity gimmick from a left-wing organization staffed by veterans of Democratic congressional offices. Though O'Donnell “took the spotlight today at a conservative summit in Washington,” Couric warned: “There may be trouble ahead for her. A watchdog group intends to call Monday for a criminal investigation of what it says is her chronic abuse of campaign funds.”
Reporter Nancy Cordes painted O'Donnell as a hypocrite, charging that “even as she preached a return to fiscal conservatism, O'Donnell's own unorthodox spending habits were starting to come under heavy scrutiny,” asserting “the unemployed O'Donnell used campaign funds to pay for meals, gas, bowling trips, and personal rent, even long after the campaign had ended.”
Cordes legitimized CREW by misleadingly describing the obviously liberal outfit as “the non-partisan watchdog group” which “is urging the U.S. attorney in Delaware to open a criminal investigation.” Sloan got a second soundbite to declare: “It's not sloppiness, it's out-and-out theft.”
Dubbed as "ultra right wing extremist" and "crazy," Republican candidate Christine O'Donnell and her Tea Party supporters have been smeared by every major broadcast and cable network since she won the Delaware primary against GOP establishment candidate on Tuesday night.
This is mudsliging at its ugliest. Pure character assassination. These networks have never treated a viable Democratic candidate with this level of contempt. How dare they lecture anyone on manners or decency ever again.
The MRC demands the media Tell The Truth! about the Tea Party, its momentum and the revolution of people whose votes are proving America is fed up with Washington.
Here are just some of the latest smears by the liberal media:
The night after a Tea Party candidate in Delaware stunned the GOP establishment, the CBS Evening News blamed voter “anger,” tried to marginalize Christine O'Donnell as an “ultra-conservative,” relayed the contention of establishment Republicans that Tea Party wins will lead to a re-run of the GOP's 1964 debacle, and highlighted how more Americans blame George W. Bush over President Barack Obama for the economy followed by how most side with Obama on not extending the current tax rates for those earning $250,000 or more.
All in a day's work for Katie Couric.
She led by declaring “American voters are in one angry mood” as “nearly three out of four registered voters say they're dissatisfied with or angry about what's going on in Washington,” though the new CBS News/New York Times poll actually found just as many “satisfied” as angry and twice as many “dissatisfied but not angry” over “angry.”
In the lead story, Nancy Cordes described how Christine O'Donnell “beat a veteran moderate Congressman who was considered a general election shoo-in” while “polls show O'Donnell's ultra-conservative social views make her a decided underdog in this blue-leaning state.” Her proof of O'Donnell's “ultra-conservative” views: a vintage video clip in which O'Donnell sounded eerily like Jimmy Carter: “Lust in your heart is committing adultery.” Following a soundbite of a Delaware Republican saying he'll vote for the Democrat, Cordes identified O'Donnell's November opponent sans any ideological tag: “And that's giving new life to the Democrat in the race, Chris Coons.”
Talking to Republican strategist Dan Bartlett on Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith wondered if the electoral success of the tea party could harm the GOP: "Are all of these tea party victories good for the Republican Party?...I wonder if you're making a miscalculation at your own peril at, you know, this perceived enthusiasm gap, these people are literally changing the face of a party."
Bartlett admitted difficultly in electing Christine O'Donnell, the winner of Tuesday's Republican Senate primary in Delaware, but staunchly defended the overall impact of the movement: "...the intensity gap that we're seeing between the two parties this election cycle is mainly being fed by the tea party movement on the Republican side....The prospect of taking over the House of Representatives would not happen without this vibrant activity within the tea party."
Smith turned to his other guest, Democratic strategist Tanya Acker, and continued to stress Republican difficulties: "...as Democrats are watching this all unfold, with the rancor and derision within the Republican Party, with the tea party really catching fire out there, how – how do you view it?" Acker ranted: "...I think that more Democrats are going to be motivated to go to the polls when you hear what some of these tea party candidates are saying. I don't think most of the country wants to repeal the Civil Rights Act."
In a report on the Republican senate primary in Delaware on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes portrayed tea party favorite Christine O'Donnell's conservative social views as being on the fringe: "[She] has crusaded for abstinence and against porn. Writing once that 'when a married person uses pornography, it compromises the spouse's purity.'"
Cordes noted O'Donnell's position on those issues following a sound bite of primary opponent Mike Castle declaring: "I think she's too extreme for Delaware." In another sound bite after Cordes's comment, editor-in-chief of The Hotline, Reid Wilson, explained: "If Christine O'Donnell wins the primary election she's going to have a very difficult time winning in what is still a very blue, very Democratic state."
In concluding the report, Cordes observed: "...until recently this seat in Delaware seemed like it was in the bag." Fill-in co-host Erica Hill replied: "Ah, but no longer."
Following the report, Hill interviewed O'Donnell, focusing on the candidate's position in the polls and financial issues being raised in the campaign. Throughout the interview, the headline on screen read: "Primary Day; Controversial Tea Party Candidate Takes On Establishment."
CBS and the rest of the MSM have decided the Tea Party movement is racist and hostile to non-whites, and it’s a mantra they’re going to illustrate whenever they see an opportunity. Reporter Nancy Cordes saw a “nearly all-white crowd” at Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington, DC, as she (at least an off-camera female voice) demanded of two black women who weren't afraid to attend: “I'm noticing that there aren't a lot of minorities here today. Why do you think that is?” One of the women shot back: “They're probably over there with Al Sharpton.” (MP3 audio)
In her story for Saturday’s CBS Evening News, Cordes had a very specific attendee number: “According to a tally commissioned by CBS News, roughly 87,000 people gathered here at this event today, thronging both sides of the reflecting pool, stretching all the way to the World War II memorial. That's the largest gathering here on the mall since President Obama was inaugurated.”
NBC anchor Lester Holt was more generous with his crowd guesstimate (“tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands”) before he described the Beck rally as “steeped in patriotism, rooted in the nation's cultural divide and greeted by suspicion.”
A night after ABC and NBC championed the supposed “growing national backlash” against Arizona’s new anti-illegal alien law, the CBS Evening News caught up as anchor Katie Couric teased her Wednesday newscast by trumpeting a move by a far-left enclave: “The backlash against Arizona's new immigration law. San Francisco bans official travel to that state as pressure grows for a national immigration reform law.”
After Couric noted “a new travel warning today. This time it's Mexico warning its citizens to be careful if they visit Arizona,” reporter Nancy Cordes saw controversy “spreading to all corners of the country” as evidenced by how “San Francisco's Mayor just banned official travel to Arizona. City councils in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles are considering similar measures.”
Cordes pivoted to Democratic maneuvers on immigration – “Today, a group of House Democrats called on Senate leaders to revive languishing immigration legislation” – but just like ABC and NBC the night before, she played more soundbites hostile to Arizona’s law than in favor of it. In her case, by 4-to1, including a “Nazi” comparison from U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky: “The words ‘show me your papers,’ we've known from movies of World War II coming out of the mouth of a Nazi.”
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith lamented Republican opposition to the Democrats' financial reform legislation: "The Senate is expected to vote for a third time on financial reform.Republicans blocked the previous two attempts. President Obama says he can't understand why, and plans to make his case once again later today."
In the report that followed, White House correspondent Chip Reid described the Democratic strategy against Republicans:
Of course, both parties have accepted millions of dollars in political contributions from Wall Street over the years. But now Democrats are doing everything in their power to portray Republicans as the party of Wall Street. It's an argument the President believes is especially effective here in the heartland. President Obama was back where it all started, Iowa, this time denouncing Senate Republicans for blocking debate on financial reform.
A headline on screen read: "Presidential Push; Obama Takes on GOP on Financial Reform."
Hitting from the left in an interview with Republican Senator John McCain on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith worried about the ability of financial reform legislation to expand government control over Wall Street: "How are you going to dis – how does any of this dismantle these giant financial institutions?"
On April 22, ABC Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos asked Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner a similar question: "Why shouldn't those big banks be broken up?"
At the top of Tuesday's Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez put the GOP on the defensive: "Democrats continue to push for Wall Street reform. But are Republicans on board?" Smith later introduced the segment by portraying Democrats as fighting for reform: "Democrats refuse to give up on reforming Wall Street. Yesterday Republicans put the brakes on, but another vote could happen today."
In a report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes declared: "Senate Republicans voted last night against moving forward with debate on the massive financial reform bill. That drew angry recriminations from Democrats." A clip was played of Democratic Virginia Senator Mark Warner slamming Republican opposition: "I never got the memo that said our job wasn't actually to get stuff done."
At the top of Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith referenced a possible Senate vote on the Democrats' financial reform bill and proclaimed: "Showdown in the Senate. Democrats are scrambling to get enough votes. Will anyone in the GOP break ranks?" It was just the latest example of a week of CBS coverage pressuring Republicans to sign on to the controversial legislation.
In a later report, correspondent Nancy Cordes explained: "both parties say they are for reform and they are deep in negotiations over it....But without a deal, many, if not all, Senate Republicans plan to vote 'no' today, blocking a floor debate on the bill." That was followed by a clip of Democratic Senator Chris Dodd declaring: "Here we are 17 months after someone broke into our house, in effect, robbed us, and we still haven't even changed the locks on the doors." A headline on screen read: "Financial Reform Showdown; Will Anyone in GOP Break Ranks?"
In his introduction to the report, Smith described the Democratic effort as a "test vote." Cordes pointed out: "this vote that Democrats have called for today could very well fail." She later concluded: "Even if the vote fails today, negotiations will go on and Republicans and Democrats seem confident that a financial reform bill will pass sooner rather than later." However, neither her nor Smith questioned holding the vote or suggested it was political theater to force a deal.
On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared that when it comes to financial reform legislation, "Democrats have all the leverage right now." Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer appeared on the show and observed that "They think this is the time to picture Republicans as trying to protect fat cat bankers, as it were."
In her first question to Schieffer, Rodriguez wondered: "Do Democrats have anything to lose by going for a vote on Monday even though the Republicans have said they'd like a little bit more time to work on a compromise?" Schieffer replied: "No, they have absolutely nothing to lose. They want to get this out and get it on the table as quickly as possible."
Following his comment about the image of Republicans supporting "fat cat bankers," Schieffer added: "it's one thing to oppose health care reform, but on this case, I think most people would agree that doctors are more popular than bankers, especially at this particular time when you've had this lawsuit filed against Goldman Sachs." The headline on screen throughout the segment read: "Financial Reform Face-Off; Obama Takes on Wall Street, GOP."
ABC and NBC on Wednesday night managed to contain to a brief item their enthusiasm for First Lady Michelle Obama planting her garden for the season, but not CBS which dedicated a full story to how the hula-hooping First Lady “is enjoying the kind of popularity her husband would jump through hoops for.”
Employing some creative puns playing off the gardening theme, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric plugged the upcoming topic: “The First Lady planting a garden and harvesting a bumper crop of good will.” And on CBSNews.com: “Michelle Obama Blooms in the White House; Back in the White House Garden, the First Lady's Popularity is Already Growing by the Bushel.” On air, Couric set up the story:
It is spring and Michelle Obama was back in her White House garden today. Nancy Cordes tells us one thing that is already growing is the First Lady's popularity.
Cordes recounted how “her approval ratings stand at 78 percent, higher than her recent predecessors at similar points in their husband's presidencies. She has settled on a signature issue: childhood obesity,” used “her clout to chide grocery manufacturers” and even partook in “hula-hooping to show children how easy it is to get exercise.”
Introducing a report on passage of the ObamaCare reconciliation bill on Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez referred to a couple upcoming rescue stories on the show and cheerfully remarked: "And speaking of rescues, the Democrats have rescued health care reform, once on death's door, after putting the final touches, finally, on the sweeping legislation yesterday."
At the top of the show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "Health care reform is a done deal after Democrats in Congress make final changes to the historic legislation." In the later report by correspondent Nancy Cordes, an on-screen headline read: "Done Deal; Obama Health Care Plan Gets Final Approval From Congress."
Cordes played a clip of Democratic Congressman Robert Andrews giving a glowing description of the bill: "Tonight the underdogs won. The people who have been abused by their insurance companies, turned down because they had asthma, or had their policies canceled because they got cancer, they won." She framed the GOP as against helping such people: "Republican opposition in the House and Senate was unanimous."
An evening after all three broadcast network newscasts led by advancing the Democratic narrative of violent ObamaCare critics, a storyline intended to discredit conservatives as all gratuitously named Sarah Palin as a culprit, on Thursday night the same programs weren't so interested and only stumbled into the suddenly “bipartisan” victims – despite fresh revelations of threats and violence aimed at Republicans who voted no.
“It's getting ugly as anger over health care reform erupts into some over-the-top rhetoric,” Brian Williams announced at the top of Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, arguing “the debate over health care reform has gone too far. It's now veered into threats of violence,” citing “ten Democrats who have been threatened.” Incredibly, on Thursday night, Williams still portrayed opponents as the only ones with miscreants amongst their ranks:
While the White House continues to celebrate its largest-ever legislative victory, opponents of health care reform have reacted to the final vote with anger, a few of them with threats of violence.
Two stories later, only after reporter Kelly O'Donnell had noted that “just before the Senators cast their votes, they paused to honor the late Ted Kennedy,” did Williams arrive at the threats “reported by Democrats and Republicans.” Williams:
At the top of Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez proclaimed: "The health care debate gets ugly as Democrats who voted for reform report violence and death threats." In a report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes promoted left-wing talking points blaming the GOP: "Democrats accuse Republicans of stoking the anger with violent rhetoric and imagery."
As one example of the threats against Democrats, Cordes played phone messages left for Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak: "You and your family are scum....We think you're a devil....I hope you die." However, the Early Show failed to mention any of the threatening phone calls made to Stupak last week, by liberals upset over the pro-life Democrat still being on the fence over the abortion language in ObamaCare. As NewsBusters' Tim Graham pointed out, CBS's own Political Hotsheet blog reported: "Stupak...says his life has become a 'living hell' because of the debate....'All the phones are unplugged at our house – tired of the obscene calls and threats,' Stupak said in an interview with The Hill."
Citing more examples, Cordes noted that Democrats "point to Sarah Palin's Facebook page, which uses cross hairs to denote districts where vulnerable Democrats voted for health care reform. 'Don't retreat, instead, reload,' Palin told fellow conservatives on Twitter." In addition, a picture of the Republican National Committee website appeared on screen, which featured an image of Nancy Pelosi surrounded by flames and the words 'Fire Pelosi'. On Tuesday, Rodriguez asked RNC Chair Michael Steele if such imagery was "a little bit extreme."
Sounding more like MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann than impartial newscasts, ABC, CBS and NBC all led Wednesday night by legitimizing Democratic talking points meant to discredit critics of the just-passed health care bill. “Opposition to health care turns menacing,” ABC’s Diane Sawyer warned. CBS teased with audio clips -- “Baby-murdering scumbag,”“You are a dirtbag” and “I hope you die” -- as fill-in anchor Maggie Rodriguez cited “threats of violence against Democrats who voted for health care reform, even as public support for the plan is growing.”
On NBC, Brian Williams teased: “It's getting ugly as anger over health care reform erupts into some over-the-top rhetoric, including threats now against members of Congress.” He opened by declaring: “It can now be said that the debate over health care reform has gone too far. It's now veered into threats of violence.” Reporter Kelly O’Donnell relayed how “Democrats accuse Republicans of stirring a hostile mood” before Savannah Guthrie rued “Washington's epic 14-month battle over health care has exposed an angry side of America.” She recounted:
Wrapped around the brick that smashed the door of Democratic party headquarters in Rochester, New York, a note with the Barry Goldwater quote: ‘Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice.’ On Twitter, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin told followers, ‘Don't retreat, reload.’ While an Alabama man advocated armed uprising....At a conservative Tea Party protest at the Capitol this weekend, some demonstrators hurled racially and sexually-charged insults at members of the Congress.
CBS’s Nancy Cordes dutifully reported “Democrats accuse their GOP colleagues of inciting such acts with inflammatory rhetoric” as “Democrats complain Sarah Palin is also using violent words and imagery. On Twitter, she urges conservatives: ‘Don't retreat. Instead, reload.’ And the Web site of her political action committee posts bull's-eyes on districts of vulnerable Democrats.”
At the top of Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed the passage of ObamaCare: "A major victory for President Obama as House Democrats work late into the night to pass health care reform." A headline on screen read: "Historic Victory."
Co-host Maggie Rodriguez later introduced a report on the legislation by remarking that Smith, who was pleased with his NCAA March Madness bracket picks, was "not the only one who's happy this morning. So is President Obama." She went on to declare: "We begin with Congress's historic passage of health care reform late last night." Rodriguez recited ObamaCare talking points: "Now under this law...insurance companies will not be allowed to drop your coverage if you get sick. There will be no cap on lifetime insurance benefits and you can keep your children on your health insurance through the age of 26. Also, coverage will be available for uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions."
In the report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes began by describing the "sense of relief for Democrats," in the wake of the bill's passage. The on-screen headline read: "Historic Vote; Health Care Reform Passes; Heads to Obama's Desk."
On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez proclaimed: "After more than a year of debate, Democrats say they're on the verge of passing historic health care legislation." And touted the massive legislation as fiscally responsible: "The government says the final version of the bill will cost $940 billion over ten years, but will reduce the projected budget deficit by $138 billion."
In a report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes gave a fully positive description of the legislation: "The final bill would extend coverage to 32 million Americans who are currently uninsured. It would close the gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage for seniors by the year 2020 and it would penalize businesses with more than 50 workers if they don't offer insurance."
After Cordes's report, Rodriguez spoke with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who praised CBS's adherence to the Democratic Party line: "Maggie, what I think is that we have seen yesterday very important information from the Congressional Budget Office, which as you indicate and Nancy indicated, shows that we are doing exactly what we said we would do."
“Democrats used the word 'giddy' to describe their reaction when they got the cost estimates from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO),” NBC's Kelly O'Donnell relayed Thursday night, but she could have been talking about CBS's Katie Couric and Nancy Cordes who shared the giddiness in touting the CBO numbers, favorable to Democratic spin on the health bill, without any caveats or reservations -- yet with a dose of exaggeration.
“The price tag certified,” Couric trumpeted in teasing the CBS Evening News before leading with how the CBO “put out a report that may help win over some Democrats,” reciting: “It says the plan, which would cost $940 billion over 10 years, would reduce the deficit over that same period by $138 billion.” She then cited a claim CBO didn't make: “It would cut the deficit over 20 years by more than $1 trillion.”
Cordes pegged $1.3 trillion as “the amount by which the final health care bill would reduce the deficit over the next 20 years,” bucking up the CBO's credibility: “That's according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, which is trusted by both parties as the authority on budget matters.”
ABC and CBS on Tuesday night picked up on the cause of a small anti-health insurance industry protest in DC organized by left-wing labor groups, but instead of denigrating them as the networks did with much larger Tea Party and anti-ObamaCare rallies, the two newscasts empathized with their cause, each relaying an anecdote about a victim of the current system. Both ABC’s Jonathan Karl and CBS’s Nancy Cordes did, however, proceed to point out the small profit margin for health insurance companies.
“Taking their cue from President Obama, protesters took their complaints about insurance company premiums and excess profits to the insurance industry and the streets,” ABC anchor Diane Sawyer announced. Karl noted the ideology of the “coalition of liberal groups” and recognized “the attacks are pretty harsh. They're accusing the insurance company CEOs of bribery, money laundering and manslaughter.” But he then showcased “Leslie Boyd, whose son Michael died of colon cancer after he couldn't get insurance or afford a colonoscopy.”
On CBS, Katie Couric set up the story on how “angry protesters targeted the insurance industry.” Cordes found “eleven-year-old Marcelas Owens” who “flew here from Seattle” because “his mother Tiffany lost her job and the health insurance that went with it after a prolonged illness caused her to miss work. She stopped going to the doctor and died at 27 of pulmonary hypertension.” The kid [in the screen capture] delivered a perfect soundbite: “She ended up passing away because she didn't have the equal rights to health care as some people with more money.”
What is Katie Couric drinking these days? Who has taken over her body? The CBS Evening News anchor on Wednesday night cited hypocritical positions or actions taken by President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
On the day when Obama pressed forward with using “reconciliation” to pass his health bill in the Senate -- and while MSNBC hosts obsess over Republican hypocrisy in now opposing it when they used it to pass bills when the GOP had the Senate majority -- Couric recalled that “in 2007 when President Obama was a Senator, he criticized the use of the reconciliation process in health care reform.”
Following a story on the ethics violations swirling around Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel which forced him to step down Wednesday as Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, and how additional issues are still being probed, including his failure to report income and pay taxes on a villa in the Dominican Republic, his use of four rent controlled apartments in Harlem and his failure to report $500,000 in assets, Couric remarked:
And yet House Speaker Nancy Pelosi...stood by him for a year. How does that square with her famous promise 'to drain the swamp' and clamp down on ethics breaches?
A retiring Senator not facing re-election stood up last week for principle, insisting new federal spending be covered by a matching reduction elsewhere, but instead of hailing Senator Jim Bunning as a “maverick” making sure the ruling party adheres to its promise new spending will be “paid for,” television network journalists on Monday night painted him as an ogre, focusing on the presumed victims of delayed spending.
Teasing World News, ABC anchor Diane Sawyer stressed how he’s “denying” people unemployment benefits so ABC decided to “confront” him: “One man's stand. A single Senator stops the whole Congress, denying thousands of people unemployment benefits. We confront him to ask why.” Sawyer framed the story around how Bunning is blocking “life support for the unemployed.”
Reporter Jon Karl concentrated on victims as he played video of himself confronting Bunning by an elevator: “We wanted to ask the Senator why he is blocking a vote that would extend unemployment benefits to more than 340,000 Americas, including Brenda Wood, a teacher in Austin, Texas who has been out of work for two years.” That’s not all: “Bunning is also blocking money for highway construction. So across the country today, 41 construction projects ground to a halt, thousands of workers furloughed without pay.”
After the Democrats regained control of the House in 2006, Nancy Pelosi promised NBC's Brian Williams that she would "drain the swamp" and "turn this Congress into the most honest and open Congress in history." So when news broke that a House Ethics committee found that long time New York Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel accepted corporate money for trips to the Carribean one would think Williams would be all over the story – he wasn't.
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News Williams completely ignored the charges, as did ABC's World News Tonight. Of the three broadcast network evening news shows, only Williams' competitors at CBS Evening News covered the Rangel scandal as Katie Couric reported Rangel "broke House rules," and Nancy Cordes told viewers he could be "censured," but didn't tell them that he was a Democrat.
[UPDATE, 7:30 PM EST Friday, February 26: ABC's World News caught up with Rangel on Friday night as anchor Diane Sawyer identified him as a Democrat and the Friday NBC Nightly News rolled Rangel into a “Democrats' Disarray” story with Desiree Rogers and David Paterson.]
Williams' NBC News colleague Amy Robach did mention the investigation into Rangel's wrongdoing, the next morning on the Today show, but omitted Rangel's party affiliation in the one and only story aired on the morning show:
A night after ABC anchor Diane Sawyer demanded to know who will “keep insurance companies from jacking up premiums while making huge profits?”, on Wednesday night she again put ABC into service for the liberal spin machine the night before President Obama’s health summit, teasing: “Big insurance executives forced to answer why they're raising your premiums while raking in big profits.” World News devoted a full story to a hearing held by House Democrats to demonize WellPoint:
We turn to the growing outrage at insurance companies, the ones that raise premiums on ordinary Americans while racking up big profits. Today, executives of the company that insures the most Americans had to answer for big bonuses and lavish retreats while socking clients with a double-digit increase in fees.
ABC viewers were treated to demagogic Democrats railing against the salaries and profits of WellPoint. Then, as if it were a coincidence, Sawyer acknowledged “this anger erupts on the eve of President Obama's health care reform summit tomorrow.” (NBC also ran a story pegged to the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, but sans the histrionics.)
Over on CBS, Katie Couric insisted Thursday would bring “that much-anticipated summit at the White House” to “try to save health care reform.” She began with “shades of the Paris peace talks,” ruing “Republicans have been arguing about the shape of the table and the seating arrangement.” Getting to the substance, Couric pleaded: “Does the President have any chance of reaching some kind of compromise with Republicans on health care reform?”
In a new CBS News/New York Times poll, President Barack Obama’s disapproval level jumped five points, to 45 percent since the last survey in mid-January, with approval now at just 46 percent, but Thursday’s CBS Evening News skipped that bad news for Obama and instead highlighted some better news for the President.
Though 80 percent said “members of Congress [are] more interested in serving special interest groups” than the American people, “the President gets better marks on that score,” Katie Couric touted, as “most think his priority is serving the people.” Reporter Nancy Cordes relayed how “only 29 percent think the GOP is trying to work with the President, while 62 percent think Mr. Obama is reaching across the aisle.”
Cordes proceeded to report how 18 percent, of whom she pointed out are 95 percent white, consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement, “but for more than half the country, the Tea Party movement remains a relative mystery.” Nonetheless, “the Tea Party mentality is spreading” since “56 percent of everyone polled said they'd prefer a smaller government, providing fewer services. That's the highest percentage in more than a decade.” (In 1996, it stood at 61 percent.) At the very end, Cordes squeezed in how “concern about government spending is so great, that a majority of Americans -- 53 percent -- now believe the U.S. cannot afford to fix health care at this time.”
From Monday's broadcast network evening newscasts: CBS and NBC found hypocrisy in Sarah Palin scolding President Obama's incessant use of a Teleprompter while she had “crib notes” written on her hand during her Saturday Tea Party convention appearance, CBS followed by giving Obama two-straight minutes to explain why the public will come around to “connect” with him again and, meanwhile, ABC devoted a full story to “whether Republicans want action or are just the 'Party of No'?”
CBS's Nancy Cordes reported, over a helpful graphic showing the words written on Palin's hand, that while Palin “dismissed the President Saturday night as a 'charismatic guy with a Teleprompter,' she may have been relying on some crib notes of her own.” Cordes concluded: “Her supporters called it an endearing sign that Palin's a real person, while detractors argue it's proof she doesn't know her facts.” On NBC, Brian Williams led the Palin story with how “it happened after a speech where she criticized the President for relying too much on a Teleprompter.”
Next on CBS, Katie Couric highlighted how, in her pre-SuperBowl sit-down with Obama, she had raised with him that “people are not sure who he is or what he stands for.” Viewers were then treated to a two-minute long answer from Obama, ending with his insistance that when the economy improves “we'll do just fine and everybody will be saying what a connection President Obama has with the American people. Which is what they were saying a year ago.” (“They” being journalists?)
While concluding a story on the Massachusetts Senate race on Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez acknowledged the possibility that Republican Scott Brown could win the long held Democratic seat but wondered: “It’ll be interesting to see if Brown, the Republican, wins, if the Democrats can defer his swearing in and get health care passed. We will watch that.”
At the top of the show, Rodriguez teased the story: “In Massachusetts it’s more than just a Senate race, it’s a battle that could end President Obama’s fight for health care reform.” Correspondent Nancy Cordes followed up with a report that also focused on the impact the race would have on health care: “The President was here campaigning yesterday for the Democrat. And no wonder, if she loses, it will be a major blow to his ability to get his agenda passed.”
Cordes observed how affective Brown’s opposition to ObamaCare has been: “Coakley’s Republican challenger...has made stopping the health care reform bill a signature issue. A message that seems to be resonating with voters.” She then fretted: “If Coakley loses this race, Democrats will lose their supermajority in the Senate. Meaning they won’t be able to pass Democratic priorities like health care reform unless they can convince a few Republicans to vote with them.”
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith followed President Obama’s lead by wondering if it was time to move on from the Harry Reid racial controversy, as he asked Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez and Democrat Dee Dee Myers: “Is the Reid story over and should it be?”
Sanchez rejected the notion that the story, which just broke over weekend, was over: “I think it’s just the beginning. It’s actually compounding....you look at his declining poll numbers in his state, declining support for health care reform, and overall his ineffectiveness in leadership.” Predictably, Myers took the opposite view: “Yeah, it’s pretty much over and it should be. Senator Reid has apologized....African-American leaders across the country have been largely supportive, including the President....he has been an effective leader. He’s gotten health care further than any Senate Majority Leader in 50 years.”
In a prior report, correspondent Nancy Cordes declared: “...the President needs Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid working at full steam if he wants to pass a health care bill quickly....that’s one of the reasons that he’s giving the leader some very high profile defense.” A clip was played of Obama arguing: “This is a good man who has always been on the right side of history....for people to try to make hay out of that makes absolutely no sense.”
Centering a Friday night story on how, as anchor Katie Couric explained, “Republicans are doing everything they can to block” the “health reform” bill, “including delaying tactics in this race against the clock,” CBS put front and center Senator Robert Byrd's “shame, shame” admonition of Republicans.
Reporter Nancy Cordes began her story by showcasing the aging Democrat: “As he was wheeled into the Senate chamber shortly after 1:00 AM, 92-year-old Robert Byrd made it clear how he felt about being pulled out of bed to vote.” CBS showed a wide-shot of the Senate chamber with the area around the wheelchair-bound Byrd lightened with his words on screen as viewers heard the matching audio picked up by a nearby microphone: “Shame, shame.”
Cordes elaborated: “His ire was directed at Republicans who intentionally dragged out debate on a defense spending bill, hoping that in turn would hold up the health care bill Democrats desperately want to pass before Christmas.” She soon demanded of Republican Senator Orrin Hatch: “What's the point of forcing these votes to be held at the dead of night on Christmas eve? Why not just move along?”