Scott Pelley deserves grudging credit for recognizing something obvious at a Friday luncheon in New York. Readers tempted to go beyond that point would be advised to visit the archive of Pelley-related posts at NewsBusters on his brand of so-called journalism, a few of which will be identified later in this post.
At said luncheon, Pelley received the 20th annual Fred Friendly First Amendment Award from the School of Communications at Quinnipiac University. In his acceptance speech (full YouTube; excerpt here; HT Weekly Standard), Pelley spoke of journalistic failures during the past few months. He wants to believe that the past few months have been extraordinarily bad to a supposedly unprecedented extent.
The evening news broadcasts on NBC, ABC, and CBS on Wednesday all offered full reports on the compelling congressional testimony regarding the Benghazi terrorist attack, but only after all three programs led with coverage of the Cleveland abduction case.
NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News both at least informed viewers of the hearing during top-of-the-show teases, but ABC World News failed to make any mention of the hearing until a report nine minutes into the program (though anchor Diane Sawyer did find time to preview a story about tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams).
The extent of the media's influence to shape public opinion was on full display in a new Pew Research Center poll that shows, even though gun crime has dropped by half since its peak in the mid '90s, most Americans (56 percent) wrongly think gun violence has increased.
In anL.A. Timesarticle that highlighted the poll, Emily Alpert posited "It's unclear whether media coverage is driving the misconception that such violence is up. The mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., were among the news stories most closely watched by Americans last year, Pew found."
CBS lined up gun control supporters on Wednesday's CBS Evening News and Thursday's CBS This Morning. Chip Reid and Major Garrett played 11 soundbites from President Obama and other Democrats, as well as family members of the Newtown massacre victims. The only gun rights supporter that the two correspondents could find was Chuck Grassley. Reid played two clips from the Republican senator during his reports.
Reid led his second report by hyping how "forces opposed to gun control proved that they are still in control here in Washington". Garrett sounded like a stenographer for the White House as he reported on the "somber and frustrated" President's press conference after the Senate votes.
CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley comes across as a very serious, stoic person.
This seemed hardly the case in his Wednesday interview with the Hollywood Reporter when he uttered this howler concerning his program's coverage of last year's presidential campaign: "I think the viewer saw us as an island of calm in a sea of absurdity."
All three network newscasts on Monday and the morning shows on Tuesday promoted Barack Obama's "urgent plea" for gun control. These programs pushed the emotional angles, focusing on the Newtown families. Opposition to new restrictions on the Second Amendment was mostly ignored. On World News, guest host George Stephanopoulos hyped, "Tonight, urgent plea. The President goes all out in the fight over guns in America. Calling in the families of the children slain in Newtown." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Reporter Jon Karl parroted administration talking points: "The President portrayed his gun plan as a moral imperative." The ABC reporter then played two clips of Obama, including one where he lectured, "This is not about me. This is not about politics." (How can journalists allow a politician promoting legislation to get away with saying something "isn't about politics"?) Karl also highlighted Gabby Giffords's husband arguing for more restrictions, but no pro-Second Amendment voices. On the CBS Evening News, anchor Scott Pelley introduced three segments on gun control.
All three networks on Wednesday and Thursday parroted the exact same talking points from the White House, touting Barack Obama for expressing "solidarity" with struggling workers by taking a five percent pay cut. The President made the move, which amounts to a minuscule $1700 a month, in the wake of sequestration. On Good Morning America, Josh Elliott trumpeted, "[Obama] says he wants to show solidarity with government workers who face a furlough because of budget cuts." [See a video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
Over on NBC's Today, Natalie Morales touted, "In an attempt at solidarity with federal workers feeling the sequester spending cuts, President Obama is giving himself a five percent pay cut on his $400,000-a-year salary." Offering a remarkably similar thought, World News anchor Diane Sawyer rounded up the amount to a year's total: " That's $20,000, to show solidarity with government employees who will be furloughed." In an impressed tone, the host praised, "The White House says Obama will personally write a check to the Treasury."
Does journalistic insistence on catapulting President Barack Obama into historic greatness and relevance know no bounds? CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley on Tuesday night insisted upon trumpeting Obama’s proposal, to spend $100 million to map the human brain, through the hagiographic maneuver of putting Obama into a trilogy with the triumphs of Thomas Jefferson and John Kennedy:
"Finally tonight, for Thomas Jefferson it was the Louisiana Territory; for John F. Kennedy, the moon. Well today, as Bill Plante reports, President Obama announced a mission to explore and map another frontier filled with mystery and possibility."
During CBS's special coverage of the papal election on Wednesday, correspondent Mark Phillips singled out two dissenters from Catholic tradition in the middle of a crowd of hundreds of thousands in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, mere minutes after the white smoke went out of the Sistine Chapel's chimney, and before Pope Francis emerged onto the balcony over the piazza.
The two activists, who wore pink "ordain women" pins, not only sought to change the Catholic Church's teachings on the all-male priesthood, but spotlighted "LGBT issues [and] reproductive health care" – a thinly-veiled reference to abortion and contraception – as issues that need to be drastically changed inside the Church. [audio available here; video below the jump]
Scott Pelley's liberal bias got the better of him on Monday's CBS Evening News as he interviewed three American seminarians studying in Rome. When one seminarian expressed his hope that next pope continues the "beautiful legacy of John Paul II and Benedict XVI," Pelley replied incredulously, "But you mentioned two popes who have a reputation for being doctrinally conservative. And this is something you'd like to see carried on?" [audio available here; video below the jump]
Hours later, on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, the Big Three network again gave a platform to agitators who aim to radically alter the Catholic Church's traditions from the inside. Fill-in anchor Anthony Mason wondered if "the winds of change [are] wafting through the Catholic Church" as he hyped a CBS News/New York Times poll that found apparent support for the ordination of women among American Catholics.
On Wednesday and Thursday, two of the Big Three networks ballyhooed how the Arkansas state legislature overrode Governor Mike Beebe's veto of a pro-life bill that outlaws abortion once the unborn baby's heartbeat is detected. Scott Pelley hyped "the most restrictive abortion law in the country" on Wednesday's CBS Evening News, echoing the New York Times' label of the new law – "the country's most restrictive ban on abortion".
Natalie Morales used nearly identical language to Pelley on Thursday's Today on NBC. ABC punted on covering the move by Arkansas state legislators on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning newscasts. By contrast, Norah O'Donnell didn't use such language during her news brief on the story on Thursday's CBS This Morning:
Barack Obama’s strategy going into the scheduled sequestration was to hit the panic button, over and over again, putting the very Obama-friendly media into a heavy rotation of disaster metaphors.
“Hours, now, until massive government cuts go into effect that could impact every American. Jobs vaporizing, flights delayed, even criminals walking free,” warned ABC morning anchor Josh Elliott. On screen were the words “BUDGET ARMAGEDDON.”
Scott Pelley chided House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday's CBS Evening News, indicating the Republican leader was largely to blame for the imminent sequester: "You said that the President didn't have the guts to do what needed to be done on the budget. Today, you said the Senate has to get off its ass. Those don't sound like the words of a man seeking to bring people together to compromise."
Pelley had already pointed the finger at Boehner for the impasse over the federal budget back on the February 12, 2013 edition of the evening newscast, mere hours before the State of the Union:
Previewing the State of the Union address, CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley repeatedly scolded Republican House Speaker John Boehner for daring to criticize President Barack Obama’s commitment to reducing the deficit. “There will be a great deal said about compromise and bi-partisanship, but in reality there seems to be very little mood for it,” Pelley despaired, before citing the Speaker as the culprit. He relayed a Boehner quote: “When it comes to the heavy lifting that has to be done, he doesn’t have the guts to do it.”
Pelley expressed disbelief, recounting: “Those of us in the room asked the Speaker if he really meant what he said and he repeated it.” Turning to Bob Schieffer, Pelley mimicked the Obama campaign line, fretting: “He didn’t seem open to change.”
At next week’s State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama is likely to continue his ongoing push for more gun control. It’s a push first spurred on by Obama’s gun control allies in the liberal media. In the wake of the horrific school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks quickly moved to exploit the tragedy to push for more gun control legislation while mostly ignoring solutions that respect gun owners’ Second Amendment rights.
It wasn’t the embarrassing kiss-up debacle CBS’s Steve Kroft delivered a week ago from the White House, but CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley, in his late afternoon pre-Super Bowl sit down with Barack Obama, hardly tackled the President.
He cued him up to elaborate on allowing women in combat and gays to take part in the Boy Scouts, in between prompting Obama to explain why tax revenue must be raised further and, instead of pressing Obama about the danger of ever-growing massive deficits, Pelley -- echoing Paul Krugman -- warned cuts could send the economy into a recession.
Today is the 40th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., a day that is likely to pass with limited, if any, notice from a national news media which is hostile to the pro-life cause. While the abortion issue has divided Americans for the past four decades, journalists have consistently come down on the pro-abortion side of this debate.
It’s a bias some reporters freely admit. “I think that when abortion opponents complain about a bias in newsrooms against their cause, they’re absolutely right,” Boston Globe legal reporter Ethan Bronner told the Los Angeles Times back in 1990. “Opposing abortion, in the eyes of most journalists...is not a legitimate, civilized position in our society.”
CBS’s John Dickerson has once again used violent imagery to describe President Obama’s relationship with congressional Republicans in his second term. Speaking prior to President Obama’s second inauguration ceremony on live network coverage shortly after 10:30 a.m. Eastern Monday, Dickerson insisted that, “only aggression will get deals made.” So much for "changing the tone" in Washington or appealing to the "better angels of our nature" to borrow from President Lincoln.
Dickerson’s violent rhetoric comes just two days after he commented that, “Obama can only cement his legacy if he destroys the GOP.” Dickerson seems to place blame solely at the feet of House Republicans while the victimized President Obama needs to strike a “more aggressive tone” during his second term. “He [Obama] just thinks that a deal made with Republicans in Congress in the House specifically will not get through the House.” [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
All three broadcast network evening newscasts on Friday night ran short items on the federal corruption indictments against the bumbling former Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, but skipped his party affiliation, a fact Reuters considered newsworthy – if not until their sixth paragraph: “Nagin, 56, and a Democrat...”
ABC anchor Diane Sawyer generously described Nagin as “the face of Hurricane Katrina...then the Mayor of New Orleans fighting for his city.”
It has become clear where CBS News comes down on the debate over guns in America: on the side of the Obama White House. On Thursday night’s CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley highlighted a new CBS News/New York Times poll showing “an overwhelming number of American approve of the president’s call for universal background checks for gun buyers” but ignored findings in the very same poll that show 74 percent of Americans support having armed guards in public places such as schools, movie theaters and malls. You may recall it was the National Rifle Association (NRA) that proposed armed guards in schools -- much to the derision and even outrage of the liberal media -- last month.
The entire segment was meant to highlight supposed support for President Obama’s gun control measures and comes just one day after CBS’ Bob Schieffer compared President Obama’s gun control effort to the hunt for the Nazi’s during World War II. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
ABC’s Diane Sawyer described Robert Bork, who passed away Wednesday at age 85, as “an icon to conservatives” and NBC anchor Brian Williams called him a “conservative icon,” but CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley decided he was an “arch conservative.” He then played, without censure, a portion of Senator Ted Kennedy’s disgraceful attack and offered up an innocuous definition of “to Bork,” which Pelley asserted simply “means to attack a nominee for political reasons.”
On FNC’s Special Report, however, James Rosen more accurately conveyed: “So epic and nasty was the battle over Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court in the summer of 1987 that the process gave rise to the verb ‘to Bork,’ which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as ‘systematic vilification in the media to block a person’s appointment to public office.’”
One of the recurring myths sometimes repeated about the Gaza Strip's relationship with Hamas is that the terrorist group gained control through the electoral process. On both the Monday and Tuesday editions of the CBS Evening News, anchor Scott Pelley devoted a brief segment to providing background information on the Gaza Strip. And, on both nights, he erroneously suggested that Hamas came to power through election. (Video below)
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, anchor Scott Pelley read a brief item highlighting the view by "weather forcasters from the U.S. government" that climate change "may have intensified" Hurricane Sandy.
Bob Schieffer poured cold water on President Obama's victory during CBS's post-election coverage on early Wednesday morning: "He's not going to have a mandate here. The President has been re-elected, but nobody's put the stamp of approval on his program. I mean, when the vote is this close...he's going to have a very, very difficult time."
Schieffer repeated these same points on Wednesday's CBS This Morning, and pointed out that the incumbent liberal "almost lost the popular vote...so people are going to step back, and they're going to say, why should I cooperate with him?"
ABC, CBS and NBC did their part Friday night to minimize the negative impact to the Obama campaign from the rise in the unemployment rate from 7.8 to 7.9 percent in October.
ABC anchor Diane Sawyer allocated a piddling 18 seconds to the news as she characterized the 171,000 jobs growth as “beating predictions,” NBC’s Brian Williams stressed how the 171,000 additional jobs number “was better than the experts had expected” and the CBS Evening News focused on one “flourishing” company which has grown this year from 80 to 450 workers.
Earlier today, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell accurately noted that the Big Three TV news networks are "as guilty in ... (the Benghazi) cover-up as is the administration." He did so based on the fact that "For the sixth night in a row, ABC World News, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News refused to give one single second of coverage to a Fox News report that the Obama Administration denied help to those attacked and killed by terrorists at the US consulate in Benghazi on September 11."
Not that it mitigates the legitimacy of Mr. Bozell's outrage, but one can take some comfort in the fact that fewer people are tuning in to the three nightly news broadcasts than were doing so a year ago, and that their ratings in the 25-54 demographic in the past five weeks are down by almost 20 percent from the same five-week period during the 2008 presidential cycle. A table containing individual results from the past two weeks and the average results from the past five is after the jump (a previous NewsBusters post on the first three weeks is here).
On Friday afternoon, Joe Biden lived up to his reputation for committing gaffes, not even a day after Paul Ryan zinged the Vice President over how "sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way" during Thursday's debate. At a rally in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Biden claimed Planned Parenthood "under law cannot perform any abortions." In reality, the organization is the largest abortion racket in the country.
Hours later, none of the Big Three's Friday evening newscasts had covered Biden's patently false claim. But just two days earlier, these programs devoted a combined five minutes and 1 second on Wednesday to Mitt Romney's statement to The Des Moines Register that "there's no legislation with regard to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda." NBC's Brian Williams mouthed the Obama campaign's spin - that "what Mitt Romney said about abortion that sure sounds like a change."
Time's assistant managing editor Rana Foroohar could have been mistaken as an Obama campaign flack during CBS's post-presidential debate coverage on Wednesday night, with her claim that "the key issue is, really, taxes, and I think that you have to wonder whether Romney's math adds up." She asserted, "There's a bigger math issue here, and that's whether or not lowering tax rates actually creates jobs and growth, and I would argue that, factually, it doesn't."
Foroohar also boosted the incumbent's massive stimulus spending, and held up communist China as a model: "I think what the President tried to convince voters, is that investment is going to create growth...and I think that there's a case to be made for that. If you look at where jobs are going - to places like China - infrastructure spending is much higher. There's a lot more investment in those, sort of, basic competitiveness issues. Unfortunately, I don't think the President made that point sharply enough." [audio available here; video below the jump]
Economic growth grew at an incredibly sluggish 1.3 percent in the second quarter, revised down from 1.7 percent. According to business writer Jim Pethokoukis, this is "dangerously slow." However, NBC skipped the bad news for Barack Obama entirely. ABC allowed it a mere 21 seconds. CBS was the only network to allow the story a full report.
Although Nightly News correspondent Chuck Todd couldn't find time to mention the scant amount of growth, he did hype the fact that the President is trying "a new line." Todd then played a clip of the President calling "for a new economic patriotism." The journalist helpfully parroted that the President's "idea of economic patriotism includes tax hikes on the wealthy and more government spending on infrastructure."