Leading off Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, fill-in anchor Savannah Guthrie declared the presidential race in one key battleground state all but over: "Tonight, both candidates are in Ohio as a spate of new polls shows the all-important bellwether may be slipping away for the Republican challenger."
In the report that followed, correspondent Ron Allen reiterated that "new polls show Ohio slipping away" from Romney and quickly asserted the cause: "Romney down by ten points in a new poll out this morning, and nearly that in another recent poll, after that video of Romney talking disparagingly about the 47% who pay no income tax."
Despite Wisconsin's unemployment rate being well below the national rate and steadily falling, on Saturday's NBC Nightly News correspondent Ron Allen selectively hyped job losses: "With the protesters serenading Wisconsin's Governor Scott Walker and urging voters to recall him from office June 5th, the state's job losses add to the list of grievances.The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics says Wisconsin lost 23,900 jobs between March 2011 and March 2012."
That same Bureau of Labor Statistics report showed that Wisconsin's unemployment rate fell from 7.6% to 6.8% in that same time period. Ignoring that reality, Allen featured a sound bite from an unidentified woman who ranted: "No other state has lost jobs like this. Wisconsin alone moved sort of off the rails of the national recovery."
Reacting angrily to selective editing by NBC that suggested racial animus by George Zimmerman, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell complained to Fox News's Sean Hannity last night that NBC News was engaged in an "all-out falsehood." The story in question was a March 27 Ron Allen report on NBC's 'Today' in which 911 audio was edited to make it sound like George Zimmerman said "he looks black" immediately after saying "this guy looks like he's up to no good."
In the actual 911 audio, Zimmerman only described Martin's race after the dispatcher asked, "And this guy: is he white, black, or Hispanic?" "To edit that out is so distorting," Hannity complained. "Sean, it's not distorting, it's advancing a falsehood, it's worse," Bozell corrected the Fox News anchor. [see video below page break]
On Monday's NBC Today, Tom Brokaw reported on veteran Mike Wright returning from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan to continue work at New York's Indian Point nuclear power plant: "Entergy, Wright's employer, supported his deployments. Veteran hiring is a priority for the company, not out of sympathy, but as an investment in the bottom line....Mike Wright and Entergy, that's how it's supposed to work."
Now compare that praise for the plant's hiring practices, with NBC News fear-mongering almost exactly one year ago, shortly after the earthquake and nuclear crisis in Japan. On the March 20, 2011 Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt ominously warned: "A government report has found the plant with the highest risk of core damage from an earthquake here is just about 35 miles from our studios here in New York City at the Indian Point plant."
ABC, NBC, and CBS all reported on former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich receiving a 14-year prison sentence for corruption on their evening news programs on Wednesday and their morning shows on Thursday, but only CBS's Early Show gave his Democratic affiliation. ABC devoted only 3 news briefs total to the conviction, while NBC Nightly News and The Early Show aired full reports.
News anchor Jeff Glor introduced correspondent Michelle Miller's report on the CBS morning program at the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour by stating that "Rod Blagojevich is paying a very high price for corruption. Is it too high? In Chicago Wednesday, a judge sentenced the former Illinois governor to 14 years in prison"
The broadcast network evening newscasts on Friday night noted the very anemic second quarter GDP growth rate at 1.3 percent, but instead of stressing how it showed the weak economic state well before the debt ceiling showdown, they submerged it into warnings of how the delay in getting a deal is hurting the economy.
On ABC’s World News, Bianna Golodryga, aka Mrs. Peter Orszag, the wife of Obama’s former OMB Director, helped her husband’s ex-employer by failing to even mention the worst news of the day: the revision of the first quarter GDP down to a flat line 0.4 percent from the original 1.9 percent estimate. At least CBS and NBC considered that newsworthy.
On Sunday’s NBC Nightly News, during a roundup of several reporters covering a number of high-profile Senate races, correspondent Ron Allen was upfront in labeling Pennsylvania Republican Senate nominee Pat Toomey as a "conservative," but an ideological label for liberal Democratic nominee Joe Sestak was absent: "Conservative Pat Toomey, a former Congressman and businessman, has been consistently leading in the polls ahead of Joe Sestak, a Democratic Congressman."
And correspondent Natalie Morales played up the possibility that "a lot of people are going to be blaming the Tea Party" if Republicans land one vote short of a Senate majority and Delaware Republican nominee Christine O’Donnell also loses: "If they're somehow able to get to nine and then Christine O'Donnell loses, a lot of people are going to be blaming the Tea Party."
Monday’s NBC Nightly News took up the story of liberal Congressman Patrick Kennedy’s public feud with the Catholic Church, and NBC’s Ron Allen implied something improper in how "the Catholic Church is flexing its religious and political muscle."
When Catholic officials endorse liberal initiatives like immigration reform or oppose an execution, the networks don’t worry about the separation of church and state. But with traditional stands against abortion and gay marriage in the crossfire, NBC’s screen graphic asked if the church was "Crossing the Line?" A secular-left lobbyist accused the church of being "not above spiritual and political blackmail."
NBC even used footage from Nicholas Ballasy’s video interview with Kennedy for Cybercast News Service, a news outlet affiliated with the MRC. But the brief snippet took out some of Kennedy’s hostility against the church for "fanning the flames of dissent and discord" over the "absolute red herring" of abortion. Here’s how NBC portrayed it:
NBC's Ron Allen, on Monday's "Today" show, highlighted how the residents on Martha's Vineyard are in a tizzy about the First Family vacationing there as he gushed: "On the small island off the coast of Massachusetts, there is Obama everything!" Allen then went on to feature locals celebrating the arrival of the Obamas including a woman excited about eateries naming dishes after the President like the "Barack-O-Taco," the "Obamarita" and as Allen enthused: "Even an ice cream called Barack My World."
While Allen did note the politics of Martha's Vineyard, "lean to the political left," he did it right before leading into video of a kid actually gasping "Gosh!" and breaking out into a song and dance when she realized she had just seen Obama:
Marking the 100th anniversary of the NAACP on CBS’s Sunday Morning, correspondent Bill Whitaker wondered: "A black president who addresses black issues unflinchingly...Attorney General Eric Holder dedicated to equal justice...some say begs the question, is the NAACP needed anymore? Is it even relevant? Is it time for the venerable organization to say ‘mission accomplished’?"
Later in the segment, Whitaker answered that question: "[Current NAACP President Benjamin Todd] Jealous and [former NAACP President Julian] Bond say with one of fifteen black males behind bars, with black students in inferior schools, with almost half of black homeowners in subprime mortgages...there’s plenty of work to do."
On NBC’s Nightly News on Wednesday, correspondent Ron Allen similarly questioned the NAACP’s relevance: "With an African-American in the White House and many discrimination battles won, the question is whether the NAACP is still necessary." Allen, like Whitaker, cited the organization’s leadership: "Jealous says the battle now is to close the social and economic achievement gap between people of color and mainstream America...A fight for justice and equality he insists must be carried on."
Neither Whitaker nor Allen applied a liberal political to the NAACP or featured any critics of the organization’s left-wing causes.
Since its announcement in March, the University of Notre Dame's decision to invite President Barack Obama to give this year's commencement address and receive an honorary doctorate in law has been a big story for American Catholics. Pro-life Catholics were outraged and more than 366,000 people signed a petition urging Notre Dame to rescind the invitation. Somehow, though, the controversy didn't merit notice by the broadcast networks. They refused to cover it.
Yet after the fact, Obama's commencement address led ABC and NBC's evening news programs on May 17. (CBS' "Evening News" was preempted by golf, but anchor Russ Mitchell did offer a newsbreak that included a brief mention of Obama's address.) The broadcast networks' morning news programs, including CBS, also discussed Obama's speech. In each case they praised his words and ignored what had stirred so much controversy: the president's history of supporting even the most extreme abortion rights measures. And they turned to mostly liberal Catholics to provide context and perspective on the debate.
For both the Binghamton, New York, shooting spree, and the Pittsburgh case, Saturday's NBC Nightly News made a point of relaying word that the gunman either had a love of guns or was "passionate" about supporting gun rights. During a report on Jiverly Voong, who attacked the immigration center in Binghamton, correspondent Ron Allen referred to "some reports" that Voong "loved guns and hated America." Allen: "Some reports described him as an angry loner who loved guns and hated America. He had no criminal record, and police say they had no clue he was so dangerous."
In a report on Richard Poplawski, who murdered three police officers in Pittsburgh, correspondent Jeff Rossen related: "While the motive is unclear, friends say the gunman was upset after getting laid off from a local factory and became passionate about gun rights."
Then came a soundbite of Edward Perkovic, a friend of Poplawski: "He always said that if anybody ever tried to take his firearms, he was going to stand by what his forefathers told him to do and defend themselves."
ABC's Steve Osunsami wasn't the only black reporter to get emotional and swoon over an Obama victory on Election Night. Ron Allen of NBC and Byron Pitts of CBS also let their pro-Obama feelings loose on election night.
In the 11 pm hour on MSNBC, as anchor David Gregory proclaimed, "We want to keep soaking up the moment from Grant Park," he turned to Allen for his emotional reaction to the win. He said America opened its eyes and its heart and accepted Obama's skills and talents:
I've heard so many people in the African-American community say that they wish that there was a father, a mother, a relative who had lived to see this day. It's something so many people have said.
Interviewing Hillary Clinton on Monday's "Today" show, NBC's Ron Allen repeatedly asked the New York Senator about Barack Obama's ability to defend himself against GOP attacks, as he questioned: "Do you think they've crossed the line?" and claimed, "there's concerns about actually inciting violence."
For her part Clinton said she thought McCain/Palin had gone negative but had calmed down, however that didn't satisfy Allen as he proceeded to worry "If this gets more personal and, and more aggressive can he withstand," the "Republican assault?"
Also, Allen, mindful of the fact that, Clinton supporters "can make a big difference in a close race," pressed the former First Lady if her husband was "fully on board?"
The following interview occurred on the October 13, edition of the "Today" show:
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich did what conservatives have been waiting for someone to do since Sarah Palin was announced as John McCain's running mate: take on someone in the media claiming that she lacks the qualifications to be vice president.
Such marvelously occurred Tuesday evening on the convention floor in St. Paul when MSNBC's Ron Allen said to the former Speaker, "But to be fair, her resume is not something we're familiar seeing with presidential candidates."
This didn't sit well with Gingrich who strongly replied (video embedded right, h/t NB readers Matt Noll and Patrick):
The Big Three networks continued to ignore the party affiliation of the now-incarcerated Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on Friday morning, just as they had done in their evening news programs the previous night. The Early Show on CBS chose to ignore the story of Kilpatrick’s arrest on a bail violation entirely, while ABC’s Good Morning America devoted one 16-second news brief to the story near the beginning of its 7 am Eastern hour.
Ironically, NBC’s Today show, which is devoting most of its programming to the Summer Olympics in Beijing, spent the most time on the subject. It first aired a 12-second news brief just after the top of 7 am Eastern hour, and devoted an entire segment to the story at the beginning of the 8 am Eastern hour. The report by correspondent Ron Allen was just shy of 2 minutes long, but still ignored Kilpatrick’s Democratic affiliation.
“The people guiding” Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani “in his foreign policy message...are drawing some attention,” NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams announced Thursday evening in advancing the news agenda of a front page New York Times story which ominously warned Giuliani “is consulting with, among others, a particularly hawkish group of advisers and neoconservative thinkers” and that has “raised concerns among some Democrats.” Reporter Ron Allen explained how “New York's former Mayor takes a hard line when it comes to facing America's adversaries like Iran” and treated it as newsworthy that “among the Republican hopefuls, it is Rudy Giuliani who has most closely surrounded himself with so-called neoconservative foreign policy thinkers, many from the Bush-Cheney administration.” Giving credit to the source of NBC's story idea, Allen relayed the paper's rogues' gallery of those who have advised Giuliani: “This morning's New York Times lists advisors who have called for profiling Muslims at airports, another who favors ending the U.S. ban on carrying out assassinations, and the author of 'The Case for Bombing Iran.'”
Allen soon found great wisdom in a commentator not usually considered so wise by journalists: “It was the neoconservative voices in the Bush administration that most forcefully made the case for invading Iraq, a decision even some conservative Republicans say was a disaster.” Viewers then heard from Pat Buchanan, long outside of the GOP mainstream on Iraq, denouncing neoconservatives: “If these people, the neoconservatives, are Rudy Giuliani's foreign policy team, a vote for Rudy is tantamount to a vote for permanent war.”