The news media think that because gas prices have fallen to an average of $3.43-a-gallon there is room to rejoice, even as the record streak of gas prices above $3-a-gallon continues. By Labor Day that record will stand at 1,349 days.
ABC’s “Good Morning America” praised the “nice surprise” of lower gas prices on Aug. 26, just in time for Labor Day weekend.
On Thursday’s Today, NBC host Matt Lauer walked into trouble with the feminists by asking GM CEO Mary Barra if she could be a mother and a CEO and do both jobs well – causing every liberal to pull out the card “You don’t ask the males that.”
Charlotte Alter at Timeasked: “How’s this for a question: Can Matt Lauer be a good dad and host the Today Show? Let’s discuss.” (Video below)
CBS Evening News was the only Big Three evening newscast on Wednesday to report that the FBI has opened a criminal investigation into the V.A. scandal. Neither ABC's World News nor NBC Nightly News covered this latest development in the ongoing controversy. Instead, both programs devoted air time to the 20th anniversary of O.J. Simpson's slow-speed run from the police, after the murder of his wife and her friend.
Anchor Scott Pelley gave an 18-second news brief on the federal agency's new probe into the cover-up of long patient wait times at the Department of Veterans Affairs: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Thursday, ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning newscasts all spotlighted how "fast food workers across the country are holding strikes to demand higher wages", but failed to point out the involvement of left-leaning groups in organizing the protests. ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning featured spokesmen from the "Fast Food Forward" movement, but didn't include their respective involvement in the SEIU and a successor organization to ACORN.
The ABC and CBS morning shows also slanted towards the protesters by a two-to-one margin in the number of soundbites from the protesters and liberal supporters, versus opponents of raising the minimum wage. While NBC's Today didn't feature any of the protest organizers, the show played three clips from a fast food employee and a protest supporter, versus two from opponents. [MP3 audio available here; video clips below the jump]
While the media are now calling the ObamaCare rollout a "mess" and the website a "bust," some journalists and pundits were a lot more optimistic right before the exchanges opened.
Despite warnings that the website and exchanges would not be ready to open on time, journalists marveled over how easy the website, Healthcare.gov, would be to navigate. That optimism crumbled as, in one notable case, it took CNN's Elizabeth Cohen two weeks to sign up for ObamaCare. Below are the five most embarrassing endorsements of Healthcare.gov: [Video below the break. Audio here.]
The journalists at Good Morning America on Monday woke up to the "massive technical glitches" "plaguing millions" of Americans trying to use the ObamaCare website. The morning show, which has largely minimized the troubled debut of HealthCare.gov, featured reporter Rebecca Jarvis to lament, "It was supposed to be an easy way for Americans to sign up for health care online. But this morning, the Department of Health and Human Services, which spent $500 million to build the site, is admitting it's a bust."
Jarvis attempted to navigate the web page, but offered this perplexed assessment: "But even when we tried to access the site, we encountered this error, a registration page filled with question marks and incoherent data." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Although the GMA journalists highlighted the problems, they also buried their impact. It wasn't until the very end of the segment that co-host George Stephanopoulos noted that the administration is "racing the clock." Jarvis agreed, pointing out, "They have to get people signed up for health insurance by January 1st, before the fines start kicking in."
ABC on Thursday night again offered a one-sided take on the fast food "strikes," promoting the "living wage." Economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis featured multiple clips of angry protesters, but none of those on the other side. (She did the same thing earlier in the day on Good Morning America.) In comparison, NBC's Nightly News at least highlighted those worrying about the economic impact of doubling the minimum wage.
World News anchor Diane Sawyer introduced, "A lot of people at the drive through window at your favorite fast food are asking the question, what is a fair living wage?" Jarvis included a clip of a woman asserting, "My whole household of seven people is surviving on my one $8 an hour [salary]. So, we're barely holding our head over water." At no time did she wonder if the protests were organically grown or something heavily promoted by wealthy unions.
After Paul Ryan released his last two years of tax returns late Friday, reporters on ABC and CBS not only made sure to point out that Ryan paid a higher federal tax rate than the wealthier Mitt Romney, but also noted that he had supplied more than two years to the Romney campaign as part of the vetting process, as if to put additional pressure on Romney and Ryan that they should make more than two years public.
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Bob Schieffer again forwarded the liberal talking point that GOP vice presidential apparent Paul Ryan's budget plan would drastically cut federal spending. Schieffer claimed, "There's some really tough stuff in there. I mean, he really slashes into social programs...it's across the board – in order to try to get this budget back into balance." Ryan's proposal actually increases spending, but at a lower rate than President Obama's plan.
The Face the Nation host also touted what former Democratic Rep. David Obey said about Rep. Ryan: "I just can't imagine why a guy that nice could have the views that he has."
On Wednesday's Early Show, CBS somehow thought a Democratic super PAC's cynical ad aimed at discouraging Republican primary voters from voting for Mitt Romney was newsworthy. Correspondent Chip Reid outlined that Romney's French-speaking ability might be "political poison," and cited how French fries were renamed "freedom fries" in 2003 and how John Kerry was accused of looking French in 2004 [audio clips available here; video below the jump].
Fill-in anchor Rebecca Jarvis stated in the introduction to Reid's report that "something from Mitt Romney's past is coming back to haunt him...Apparently, he speaks French." Co-anchor Jeff Glor added that "apparently, speaking French is not a plus when you're running for president."
On Tuesday's Early Show, CBS's Cynthia Bowers let abortion advocates decry new pro-life legislation at the state level, barely letting supporters speak in her report. Bowers slanted by a three to one margin in the number of sound bites that she played from "abortion rights" supporters versus those from pro-lifers. She labeled Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback a "staunch abortion opponent," while giving no equivalent label to a pro-choicer.
The correspondent led the segment with a clip from an unidentified woman who aborted her unborn child who had been diagnosed with anencephaly, a disorder where most of the baby's brain fails to develop. She continued that the woman's obstetrician "suggested...one of only three clinics in the entire state [of Kansas] that still performs abortions- access that could soon be cut even further."
On Monday's Early Show, CBS's John Dickerson and Time's Joe Klein harped on Newt Gingrich's overwhelming "liabilities." Klein hinted that the former House Speaker's ego would get the better of him: "This is a guy who cannot stand prosperity....[He] cannot control his ego when he is riding high." Dickerson played up how Gingrich's "negatives were very, very high when he left Washington in the mid-'90s."
Fill-in anchor Jeff Glor asked the CBS political director, "What are the chances Newt Gingrich is the nominee?" Dickerson punted on making a prediction, but borrowed a line from colleague Jan Crawford, stating that "he has a great deal of baggage." When co-anchor Rebecca Jarvis followed up by asking about how the Obama reelection campaign saw the former Speaker, he raised the "likeability" issues with Newt:
On Monday's Early Show, CBS's Rebecca Jarvis wondered if Newt Gingrich would "have to play a little more dirty...to take on the other GOP contenders to win the bid." Bob Schieffer replied cynically that Gingrich would "save his criticism for attacking the media, which is always the safe thing to do." Chris Wragge prompted the former Speaker to criticize Herman Cain and Rick Perry on Friday, but he didn't bite.
Jarvis brought on the Face The Nation host for his take on Republican presidential debate hosted by CBS and National Journal on Saturday. Near the end of the interview, the fill-in anchor raised how Gingrich was "gaining momentum" and that he "held true to this no real confrontation with the other candidates" during the debate. She then directed her "dirty" question to Schieffer.
The Occupy Wall Street protestors have received overwhelmingly positive coverage from the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) news networks, as they used their airtime to publicize and promote the aggressively leftist movement. In just the first eleven days of October, ABC, CBS and NBC flooded their morning and evening newscasts with a whopping 33 full stories or interview segments on the protesters. This was a far cry from the greeting the Tea Party received from the Big Three as that conservative protest movement was initially ignored (only 13 total stories in all of 2009) and then reviled.
Where the Tea Party was met with skeptical claims of their motivations -- with some reporters claiming they were merely corporate backed puppets and others implying they were spurred on by their racist opposition to the first black president – the Occupy Wall Street crowd was depicted as an almost genial “grassroots” movement.
The Big Three networks unequivocally celebrated the end of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy as a "historic moment" on their Tuesday morning programs. CBS's "Early Show" turned to a discharged Air Force major who pushed for further recognition of same-sex couples by the military. NBC's "Today" brought on a homosexual playwright to promote his one-man movie on the policy. ABC's "GMA" only had a news brief on the development, but still highlighted how a magazine is "publishing photos of more than 100 active duty gay and lesbian troops who served in silence until now." None of the programs brought on dissenting voices to advocate the continuation of the policy.
"The Early Show" devoted the most amount of air time to the expiration of the policy, and led the 7 am Eastern hour with a slanted report from correspondent David Martin. Martin played sound bites from President Obama and outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, both opponents of the ban on open homosexuals from serving in the military, but none from supporters:
As Saturday's The Early Show on CBS hosted John Avlon of the Daily Beast and conservative commentator Margaret Hoover for a discussion of Texas Governor Rick Perry and other GOP presidential candidates, both guests had skeptical views of the current field, with Avlon finding some of Perry's recent statements "sort of irresponsible," and quipping that "George Bush looks like Abraham Lincoln compared to the whole crowd right now."
On Thursday's Early Show, CBS brought on Dr. Logan Levkoff, a radical sexologist, who not only advocated distributing birth control to 11-year-olds during an October 2007 appearance on ABC's Good Morning America, but also wouldn't rule out giving contraceptives out to elementary school students. When anchor Chris Wragge asked if "eleven is too young" for sex education, Levkoff replied, "There's no such thing as being too young."
Wragge and fill-in anchor Rebecca Jarvis turned to the sex educator for her take on a recently-passed New York City law which mandates sex education in schools. Instead of having guests on from both sides of the issue, Levkoff appeared by herself during the segment. Jarvis first asked, "Parents will tell you- or some critics will tell you, parents should be teaching this, right? But why do you think it should be taught in the schools?" The sexologist made her extreme view on teaching sex ed pretty clear in her initial answer: "There's no question that parents should be talking to their kids about sex and sexuality, from the time they're born on....We're talking about anatomy. We're talking about sexual development, healthy choices, responsibility, consent, respect. And these are all, you know, topics that it's never too young to learn about."
Saturday’s The Early Show on CBS gave New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg an unchallenged forum to promote his views favoring same-sex marriage as the show celebrated New York’s recent legalization of gay marriage by interviewing a gay couple who are planning to get married. As Mayor Bloomberg will be performing the ceremony because the two are members of his staff, the mayor also took part in the interview. Early Show co-anchor Rebecca Jarvis set up the segment:
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:
CBS hounded four Republicans from the left during a town hall on the economy which aired on Tuesday's Early Show. Bob Schieffer, Erica Hill, and Rebecca Jarvis pressed Reps. Paul Ryan and Allen West, Senator Tom Coburn, and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to consider tax hikes to deal with the deficit. Schieffer also specifically accused the three members of Congress of "doing nothing" to fix the economy.
The two online questions which Jarvis took from viewers touted Democratic talking points about deficits under former President George W. Bush and how cutting the federal budget would lead to an increase in the unemployment rate, due to the laying off of federal employees. She also vigorously pursued both Rep. Ryan and Rep. West. about the issue of jobs. In the first instance, the CBS business correspondent used an earlier answer from Haley, which emphasized the issue, to actually accuse the greater Republican Party of not paying enough attention to this issue, as well with the overall issue of the economy:
CBS gave President Obama over 26 and a half minutes to answer 12 questions related to the economy during a town hall aired on Thursday's Early Show. Obama got six uninterrupted minutes to answer one question about Medicare during the hour-long event. Host Erica Hill wondered how the Democrat could "change the mind-set from things are tough to things are turning around" with the economy.
Hill led the town hall with her concerned economic "mind-set" question, noting beforehand that "it seems that we have been hearing, whether it's on TV, at the office, around the kitchen table, things are tough," but continuing that "there's positive economic data coming through. Yet, sometimes it can feel like for every two steps forward, it's one step back. There's definitely a psychological component to this recovery."
CBS announced on Friday its plans for a "special town hall meeting on the economy" featuring President Obama. Network personalities Bob Schieffer and Erica Hill will host the event. This announcement comes just over a month after the Democrat officially started his reelection campaign, and on the same week that the President's approval ratings on the economy reached a new low according to a CBS News poll.
The network's release also noted that "CBS News is making preparations for a Town Hall next month with leading Republicans about the economy," but didn't reveal whether these were going to be some of the GOP presidential contenders or any of the various members of Congress or governors in the party.
On Friday's Early Show, CBS's Betty Nguyen used the Statue of Liberty as a live backdrop to play up how "visitors would miss out on the Smithsonian and its 19 museums...even the National Zoo" if the federal budget impasse leads to a government shutdown. Nguyen also highlighted that the "Cherry Blossom Festival...[is] set to wrap up this weekend, but the parade may not march on if the government shuts down."
Fill-in anchor Rebecca Jarvis introduced the correspondent's report, which ran 10 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour, by outlining that the cost of a shutdown might be $8 billion a week "because there are so many government employees who won't be working, agencies that will shut down, and there are costs to restarting them, including our country's national parks, which is where we find...Betty Nguyen at Liberty State Park, in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, with more on the expected impact at those locations."
At the top of Saturday's CBS Early Show, co-host Russ Mitchell cheered unions protests across the country: "Workers uniting. 50 rallies are planned in 50 states today, as organizers show solidarity with Wisconsin state workers, fighting to preserve their right to collectively bargain for benefits and work conditions."
Introducing the segment later, fellow co-host Rebecca Jarvis noted how the protests were organized by MoveOn.org. Rather than accurately label the organization as left-wing, she simply referred to it as "an advocacy group." In the report that followed, correspondent Cynthia Bowers announced that "workers who are coming to these rallies around the country to support Wisconsin workers are being told to wear those red t-shirts we've become so familiar with." The headline on screen throughout the segment referenced Karl Marx: "Workers of the Nation Unite; 50 State Rallies to Support Union Rights."
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric proclaimed: "The federal commission that investigated the financial meltdown has reportedly concluded it could have been avoided. The New York Times says a report due out tomorrow finds plenty of fault to go around, including mismanagement by corporations and lax regulation by the government."
Couric made sure to point out: "The report also says that contrary to popular belief, the government's push to increase home ownership in this country was not a major contributor to the meltdown." What she failed to mention was that New York Times article also explained: "The partisan nature of the findings, however, could undermine its impact. Of the 10 commission members, only the six appointed by Democrats...attended the news conference [publicizing the report]." It went on to add: "The four Republican commissioners have prepared two separate dissents; three of them planned to hold a conference call Thursday afternoon."
On Friday, all three network morning shows expressed sympathy for protestors in London rioting against college tuition increases, despite a Thursday attack on the royal family. While CBS's Early Show, ABC's Good Morning America, and NBC's Today all reported on security concerns over Prince Charles and wife Camilla, each broadcast also lamented Britain's "drastic new budget cuts."
At the top of the Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "There have been these protesters in London for a couple weeks now because tuition hikes for college tuition skyrocketing there." Fill-in co-host Rebecca Jarvis then chimed in by arguing on behalf of the rioters: "Of course they pay very high taxes there so they expect something for those taxes." Later, in an 8:00AM ET hour news brief, anchor Jeff Glor pointed out: "In the last fiscal year, the government spent $60 million on household costs for the royals....But, the government still voted to triple university tuition to $14,000 a year to help control the deficit."
Appearing on Wednesday's CBS Early Show, business correspondent Rebecca Jarvis expressed disappointment in the lack of a new stimulus package, but hoped for other government action: "...while the government doesn't necessarily have the political will or the motivation to put a new stimulus into effect here in the United States, the Federal Reserve is prepared to step in and do that."
Co-host Maggie Rodriguez had asked Jarvis about possible reasons for why the stock market "sky-rocketed" on Tuesday. Jarvis touted possible intervention by the Fed as a reason for the stock "surge": "...many are anticipating that the Federal Reserve will take its own tools and do stimulative action."
Rodriguez then wondered: "Yeah, the Fed has been indicating that's it's going to step in and prop up the economy. But there's a lot of speculation about what exactly Ben Bernanke will do. What are the options?" Jarvis replied: "...one particular thing, and that is to start printing more money, put more money into circulation." While she acknowledged that such an action "decreases the value of the money in your pocket," Jarvis rosily predicted: "...it also can increase the value of things around you, like your home."
Opening Saturday's CBS Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge proclaimed: "Image Problem: The President is on vacation and under fire. From the jobless numbers to the Mosque mess – why is the man with the soaring rhetoric having such a hard time getting his message across?" The headline on screen during the later segment read: "Image Issues; Can Obama's Team Bring Campaign Magic Back?"
Introducing the segment, co-host Rebecca Jarvis referred to "conservative critics" taking issue with President Obama's vacation time on Martha's Vineyard. In a report that followed, White House correspondent Chip Reid made sure to parrot administration talking points on the matter: "White House advisers stress that this is a working vacation with numerous daily briefings....White House officials say they're confident the American people understand that with such a high-pressure job, a President needs and deserves some time to unwind and recharge."
Reid also compared Obama's time-off with that of his predecessor: "By the end of this trip, President Obama will have taken 9 vacations and visited Camp David 14 times for a total of 80 vacation days since he took office. But at the same point in his first term, President Bush had taken far more time away – 14 trips to his Ranch in Texas and 40 to Camp David. The total, 225 days." During Obama's earlier trip to Maine, Reid made the same comparison.
Cheering some Republican support for Democratic financial reform legislation on Wednesday, CBS Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "encouraging news out of Washington, that after a week or so of attacking this financial bill that the Democrats are proposing to regulate Wall Street, Republicans are changing their tone and they seem to be wanting to come on board."
Rodriguez turned to business correspondent Rebecca Jarvis and wondered: "Does it look, this morning, as though a bipartisan bill will emerge?" Jarvis replied: "Well, Maggie, it looks this morning like Republicans are warming up to the idea of a bipartisan bill on financial reform." She added: "With Obama, the President, coming here to Wall Street tomorrow to push the agenda forward, it looks like there will be a political expediency to getting the deal done." An on-screen headline read: "Financial Reform Push; Obama & Senate Take on Wall Street."
On Tuesday, the Early Show had on disgraced ex-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer to discuss financial reform. Co-host Harry Smith introduced him as "the sheriff of Wall Street."