Viewers of ABC's morning and evening newscasts on Friday would have been left unaware of President Obama's gaffe of elementary proportions during a White House concert on Thursday evening. Both Good Morning America and World News omitted how the Democrat left out the first "E" in the title of Aretha Franklin's most famous song: "When Aretha first told us what R-S-P-E-C-T meant to her."
By contrast, the network's competitors at CBS and NBC covered the President's trip-up on their morning shows and evening news broadcasts. NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams even mentioned a infamous spelling flub by a former Republican vice president: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Both NBC's Today and CBS This Morning on Thursday saw the beginning of the end of an investigation into the Obama administration's IRS scandal following tirade by Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings at the conclusion of a Wednesday hearing on the topic. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Today, news reader Natalie Morales proclaimed: "Well, after a shouting match on Capitol Hill, California Republican Darrell Issa says his probe of alleged IRS abuses may have hit a dead end." The headline on screen read: "IRS Hearing Showdown; Probe In Danger After Chaotic Hearing." CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose similarly declared: "A congressional investigation into the IRS may be stalled this morning because of partisan bickering."
All three network morning shows on Tuesday continued the push against an Arizona bill [SB 1062] that aims to protect the religious freedom of business owners who oppose gay marriage. According to CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose, "Hundreds protested at the state capitol last night. They say the bill legalizes discrimination."
Today's Savannah Guthrie hyped, "Mounting pressure. From John McCain to Apple, even concern from Super Bowl organizers, a growing chorus calling on Arizona's governor to veto a bill that would let businesses turn away gay customers." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Journalist Natalie Morales muttered, "Really big decision, very controversial." None of the networks featured voices in support of the legislation.
In the last couple of weeks ObamaCare has been dealt two serious setbacks: yet another delay in the employer mandate, and a devastating CBO report that claimed it will cost the equivalent of two million jobs. However, the reaction of Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) network reporters to these latest ObamaCare failures has been to blow them off as just a little “hiccup.”
When the White House announced another delay in the enforcement of the employer mandate to buy health insurance, the networks couldn’t even cover the story for a full day. The first reports arrived on the February 10 evening news, with the final stories filed on the February 11 morning shows. In total the Big Three networks spent just 4 minutes and 26 seconds on the delay. ABC spent the least amount of time on the mandate extension (41 seconds) followed by NBC (53 seconds) with CBS (2 minutes, 53 seconds) devoting the most time to the topic. (videos after the jump)
All three network morning shows on Wednesday cheered House Republicans giving up on trying to attach conditions to raising the nation's borrowing limit. On NBC's Today, news reader Natalie Morales proclaimed: "America is one step closer to being able to pay its bills next month." None of the coverage acknowledged that the move actually meant adding to the nation's massive $17 trillion debt without making any effort to reduce government spending. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos touted "some good news coming out of Washington" as the "debt limit finally passed without real controversy." White House correspondent Jon Karl gushed: "Yeah, this was a really big deal. Republicans completely backed down on this. No strings attached, did exactly what President Obama asked them to do..." Stephanopoulos added: "First time in three years."
On Wednesday's NBC Today, 9 a.m. ET hour co-host Natalie Morales touted one of the "great moments" from President Obama's Tuesday night State of the Union: "I think one of the moments that a lot of people were talking about was when he made reference to the gender inequality issue. He said, 'You know, we are no longer in a Mad Men era'....33,000 tweets, I believe, so something that I think a lot of women are saying, 'It's about time.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
She then parroted a deceptive talking point used by the President: "You know, we earn 77 cents to the dollar, I believe, that a man makes. So let's make it happen."The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler fact-checked that claim: "There is clearly a wage gap, but differences in the life choices of men and women – such as women tending to leave the workforce when they have children – make it difficult to make simple comparisons."
Between Monday's Nightly News and Tuesday's Today, NBC devoted ten minutes and forty-four seconds to coverage of the now six-day-old controversy surrounding New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Meanwhile, poor ObamaCare enrollment numbers just released Monday afternoon garnered only forty-one seconds of air time on Today and were completely ignored on Nightly News.
On Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams touted investigations into Christie's "bridge traffic scandal" and hyped "an investigation into how some of the emergency relief money was spent after Hurricane Sandy." Williams announced: "It is quite clear that for Christie's political rivals it has now become something of an open season."
For the second straight morning, ABC's Jonathan Karl was merely a White House stenographer when reporting on ObamaCare's year-end deadline, touting enrollment numbers and parroting White House talking points.
Tuesday's Good Morning America framed the latest ObamaCare delay as a result of the law's popularity, as opposed to NBC reporting that it was, at least in part, due to website issues. "A crush of visitors to the website yesterday caused the White House to expand this year's deadline for signing up through the end of today," co-host George Stephanopoulos reported.
Al Roker’s man crush on Vice President Biden took a new and unusual turn on Friday’s Today.
Speaking with co-hosts Natalie Morales and Willie Geist, the NBC weatherman (jokingly?) expressed his desire to, “make the pitch [for Biden to co-host Today] wrapped in a box. I'm going to deliver myself on the front steps. Big bow in a box. He's going to open it. Mr. Vice president.” [See video after jump.]
All three networks on Tuesday hyped an "interesting" exchange between Barack Obama and a liberal heckler. ABC, CBS and ABC declined, however, to specifically note that the man's concern was that the President simply wasn't liberal enough on the issue of immigration reform. On NBC's Today, Natalie Morales praised, "You know, I think that the President handled it well by engaging." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Co-host Willie Geist defended the President's insistence that he needs Congress to pass legislation. Geist sympathetically noted, "The President's argument was 'I can't wave the magic wand and make this go away.' But he did do that for some of the younger dreamers." The younger dreamers? Quite the loaded term.
ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today on Friday did their best to downplay Senate Democrats' Thursday move to curtail the Republican Party's filibuster power. The two newscasts devoted a combined 39 seconds to the controversial vote, which ABC's Dan Harris labeled a "bold move". GMA apparently thought the potential marriage of serial killer Charles Manson was more important, as it devoted over two minutes of air time to that eyebrow-raising story. [audio of the ABC and NBC coverage available here; video below the jump]
By contrast, Friday's CBS This Morning spent nearly three minutes on the "historic change in the Senate", as Norah O'Donnell put it. O'Donnell also wondered, "Will Democrats regret invoking the nuclear option?"
Early in the 9 a.m. ET hour on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-hosts Willie Geist, Natalie Morales, and Al Roker mocked a series of new ads designed to promote ObamaCare, even with Geist reading one of them while doing his best impression of Anchorman's Ron Burgundy: "Let's get physical. OMG, he's hot. Let's hope he's as easy to get as this birth control. My health insurance covers the pill, which means all I have to worry about is getting it between the covers." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While NBC has failed to report the latest Gallup poll showing President Obama's approval rating falling to 39%, Wednesday's Today did find time to applaud the commander-in-chief for greeting tourists at the White House, with news reader Natalie Morales gushing: "On Tuesday, one of the first groups to visit got a big surprise – take a look – when President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greeted and hugged some of the visitors as they toured the Blue Room." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A Friday article in Politico described a "GOP on the Rise" while citing the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, noting that "Republicans are now leading Democrats on handling several key issues..." By contrast, on Friday's NBC Today, political director Chuck Todd minimized that development, claiming that Republicans "only fare a little bit better" in the poll than Democrats. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The Today segment began with news reader Natalie Morales declaring: "...many remain disappointed with high unemployment, a sluggish recovery, and limited job growth. 45% now approve of the President's handling of the economy in our new poll. 52% disapprove." She then turned to Todd and wondered: "...we've got a gridlocked Congress, so does the President have much of a shot of turning this around? Do Republicans fair much better?"
In news briefs on Tuesday and Wednesday, NBC Today anchor Natalie Morales touted: "Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be given the National Constitution Center's Liberty Medal for her years in public service and her work on human rights." The two segments totaled 36 seconds of air time. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the network morning show only managed to offer a couple mentions, totaling 10 seconds, to the anniversary of the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans – a major security failure that occurred during Clinton's tenure at the State Department.
The Big Three network morning shows on Wednesday briefly noted the one-year anniversary of the Islamist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, but not one pointed out the latest development in the ongoing controversy over what happened. On Tuesday, CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reported on Twitter that Secretary of State John Kerry "tells [C]ongress he will not honor the request to make Benghazi survivors available for questioning."
Norah O'Donnell highlighted on Wednesday's CBS This Morning that "Republican Congressman Darrell Issa wants to interview survivors" and that "he's giving the State Department until Monday to meet his demand", but didn't mention Kerry's refusal. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
While NBC's senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers did a full report on Tuesday's Nightly News about ObamaCare causing cutbacks in worker hours across the country, Wednesday's Today couldn't find time to even mention the damage the law was inflicting. Instead, the morning show updated viewers on a rodeo clown that mocked President Obama at a state fair finally facing justice. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
News reader Natalie Morales announced: "The rodeo clown who wore a President Obama mask during a performance at the Missouri State Fair has been banned for life. Fair officials say they're also reviewing their contract with the company that ran the event. The weekend incident sparked outrage nationwide after video of the event went viral." She somberly added: "Fair officials did not release the identity of that clown."
CBS This Morning and NBC's Today couldn't be bothered to give Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s political affiliation as they devoted just 35 seconds of air time on Wednesday to his upcoming sentencing. Both morning newscasts merely identified the onetime Democratic politician as a former congressman.
The same morning, ABC's Good Morning America completely ignored the story about Jackson, who pled guilty in February 2013 to misusing campaign funds to buy big ticket items, such as a $43,000 Rolex watch, and Michael Jackson memorabilia.
Rather than update viewers on the latest details of the scandals plaguing the Obama administration, or the President's foreign policy failures in the Middle East, the hosts of NBC's Today devoted over a minute of air time Wednesday to discussing whether broccoli was really Obama's favorite food. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
News reader Natalie Morales sparked the exchange by proclaiming: "You know it's July in Washington when there's a broccoli brewhaha." She explained how President Obama told a kid reporter at a White House children's event that the vegetable was his favorite food, "with many greeting the President's claim with skepticism."
On Tuesday, the Associated Press (AP) reported that smokers may not be subject to new tobacco-use penalties built into the Affordable Care Act, due to a “computer system glitch” that could take more than a year to repair. The AP claimed that some see the stumble as part of “an emerging pattern of last-minute switches and delays” for President Obama’s signature health care law, citing the administration’s recent postponement of the so-called “employer mandate” until 2015. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
But you wouldn’t get that sense from the mainstream media, as most major outlets have devoted little or no time to the story since it broke early Tuesday morning. The Tuesday morning shows (Today, Good Morning America, and CBS This Morning) ignored the development, save for a 10-second mention from Today’s Natalie Morales.
During a news brief on Wednesday's NBC Today, anchor Natalie Morales noted that following "tough new abortion laws" being approved by the Texas house of delegates, "Demonstrators on both sides of the issue descended on the state capitol building and erupted in screams and cheers immediately following last night's vote." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
However, the footage that rolled on screen as Morales talked was only that of abortion activists chanting "Shame on you!" throughout the Texas state house. Such footage belies the fact that sixty-two percent of Texans agree with the ban on abortions after twenty weeks, not to mention a plurality of Americans.
Two weeks after Texas state senator Wendy Davis and a mob of abortion activists prevented popularly supported pro-life legislation from being passed in the Lone Star State, on Tuesday's NBC Today, news reader Natalie Morales warned of another upcoming vote on the bill: "The battle over abortion rights is focused on Texas, where a controversial bill that failed last month will be back up for a vote." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Gabe Gutierrez declared Texas to be at "the epicenter of the national debate over abortion" and hyped "another showdown" at the state capitol. He detailed the bill's "controversial" measures: "...banning abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy and mandating that abortion clinics meet the same standards as hospital-style surgical centers. It would also require that a doctor who performs abortions be able to admit patients at a nearby hospital."
Leading off a panel discussion on Thursday's NBC Today applauding the Supreme Court's gay marriage decisions, co-host Natalie Morales proclaimed: "Wednesday's historic ruling on same-sex marriage is being celebrated across the country, but it was sixteen years ago when Ellen Degeneres marked a milestone, breaking a huge barrier in front of millions of people on primetime TV." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After a clip played of Degeneres coming out on her sitcom in 1997, fill-in co-host Carson Daly posed the question: "So how much influence has pop culture had on America's changing attitude and the Supreme Court decision?" Later in the segment, Morales observed: "I mean, pop culture always seems to be ahead of the courts in these instances, right?"
ABC and NBC led their morning shows on Tuesday with nearly 10 minutes of "breaking news" coverage of Angelina Jolie's double mastectomy. This celebrity-driven story was apparently deemed more important than abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell being found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder, as Good Morning America and Today devoted just 38 seconds to the Gosnell trial. (audio clips of Jolie coverage available here; video below the jump)
Altogether, the ABC and NBC morning newscasts aired 19 minutes and 3 seconds of coverage on Jolie. Tuesday's CBS This Morning waited 12 minutes to cover the Hollywood news item, but ultimately ended up setting aside 7 minutes and 49 seconds of air time to the surgeries, versus a 18 second news brief on Gosnell. The total Big Three coverage of Jolie on Tuesday morning, including CBS's reporting, added up to 26 minutes and 52 seconds, as opposed to 56 seconds on the Gosnell case.
While the Big Three (ABC, CBS and NBC) networks have all done stories on the Obama administration's seizure of Associated Press (AP) reporters phone records, what is striking is their reluctance to attach Barack Obama's name to the controversy. In seven total stories aired on their evening and morning shows, since the story broke on Monday afternoon, Obama's name was used only six times. Reporters were much more likely to use the generic term "government." For example, CBS's Bob Orr on Wednesday's This Morning described the controversy this way: "The government just simply came in, got the subpoenas, took the phone logs and then notified the AP after the fact."
The reluctance to put Obama's name in these stories is important because it allows the low-information voter to write off the scandal as one caused by faceless government bureaucrats.
On Wednesday's NBC Today, news anchor Natalie Morales complained about having a flight delayed due to the FAA furloughing air traffic controllers in the wake of the sequester: "I was traveling to Boston yesterday, which is a 50-minute flight, shuttle. And it took me about two and a half hours to get there....the pilots got on and they said, 'It's not the airline's fault....you can go online and sign the petition to end the furloughs.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The account echoed a similar report from CNBC's Jim Cramer, who on Tuesday's Squawk Box explained: "We were about to take off and the pilot comes back and doesn't see me initially, CNBC. And says, 'look, we just got word the FAA says that we don't have enough air traffic controllers to take off. It's part of the sequester.'"
ABC, CBS, and NBC's Friday morning shows all devoted air time to President Obama labeling California Attorney General Kamala Harris "the best-looking attorney general in the country" at a fundraiser on Thursday. Unsurprisingly, a panel on NBC's Today tried to explain away the remark. Willie Geist asserted, "I think he [Obama] was making a joke." CBS This Morning's Norah O'Donnell was tougher on the President: "Maybe, [it] was not the right thing to say."
However, the Big Three newscasts didn't report that Mrs. Obama also got caught in a verbal misstep on Thursday. ABCNews.com's Arlette Saenz devoted a Friday morning item to how Michelle Obama mistakenly referred to herself as a "single mother" during an interview with WCAX, a CBS affiliate in Vermont.
NBC's Al Roker was appalled by a poll of conspiracy theories that showed 37 percent of those surveyed believed global warming was a hoax. During a discussion, on Wednesday's Today show, of a Public Policy Polling survey that included respondents' views on everything from the John F. Kennedy assassination to the existence of Bigfoot, co-host Willie Geist reported: "Global warming is a hoax. Thirty-seven percent believe that."
To which Roker responded with an audible, "Wow!" and then later scolded global warming skeptics: "Okay, two words: Superstorm Sandy!" (video after the jump)
Social conservative Peter LaBarbera crashed a big liberal-media party in New York – the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association “Headlines and Headliners” fundraiser, hosted by NBC Universal. The long list of media elite guests raised $75,000 for the gay activist group.
Former daytime MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer (now consigned to hosting the Sunday night show "Caught on Camera") bluntly told LaBarbera that anyone wanting equal time for conservatives on a gay issue is like advocating “fair coverage for racists”:
ABC continued ignoring Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's move on Tuesday to drop a proposed federal ban on so-called assault weapons. Neither Wednesday's World News nor Thursday's Good Morning America covered the congressional development. This lack of coverage stands out in light of the network's hype of President Obama's supposedly "dramatic and emotional" lobbying effort for the ban during his State of the Union address.
NBC and CBS's Wednesday evening newscasts also ignored Senator Reid's deep-sixing of the gun control legislation. Their morning shows on Thursday devoted news briefs to Vice President Joe Biden and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's "renewed call" for the assault weapons ban, but failed to explicitly mention the Nevada Democrat's role in dropping the bill.