Both ABC and CBS carved out a few seconds on their Thursday evening and Friday morning newscasts to boost President Obama’s claims of success for his ObamaCare program. Filling in for Diane Sawyer, ABC World News anchor David Muir cheered the “major milestone” of an alleged eight million enrollees, while CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley said the enrollment figures were a “recent success” for the health care law.
Gone was the skepticism that some reporters, like ABC’s Jon Karl, showed at the end of March when ObamaCare was nearing seven million sign-ups, as he threw cold water on the official White House stat: “How many of those have signed up were previously uninsured....We don’t know how many people signed up here were simply – had their previous plans cancelled. Also, we don’t know how many have actually paid their premiums.”
On Thursday evening, both ABC and CBS relayed news that a manuscript claiming Jesus had a wife was found to be an "ancient" document and "not a modern forgery." They ignored skeptics of the document, however.
"We have the results of scientific testing on a controversial scrap of papyrus that some call the 'gospel of Jesus' wife'," touted CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley. He added that "scholars say that doesn't prove that Jesus had a wife but that early Christians debated whether he did."
Hours before ObamaCare's enrollment deadline, the networks provided an overall positive take on the law and allowed the White House to defend its signature legislation, leaving no room for a Republican response.
CBS highlighted the last-minute rush to sign up on the exchanges but when it reported that the final enrollment numbers would fall short of the White House's original prediction, it turned to President Obama who downplayed the shortfall. At least NBC and ABC noted that questions still need answering, like how many enrollees actually paid their first premium.
Friday's CBS Evening News featured a previously unaired portion of Scott Pelley's softball interview of President Obama on his recent meeting with Pope Francis. The Vatican noted on Thursday that "there was a discussion on questions of particular relevance for the Church...such as the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection" – a reference to the Catholic Church's objection to ObamaCare's abortifacient/contraception mandate.
But instead of asking about this discussion, Pelley gave the President the kid glove treatment, and wondered how the encounter affected the liberal politician: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Friday's CBS Evening News picked up where the Big Three morning shows left off earlier in the day and trumpeted how "visitors have been surging to [HealthCare.gov] – about one-and-half million a day." Scott Pelley did give a bit of slightly bad news during his 16-second news brief, noting that "today, the ObamaCare website was taken down for about 20 minutes, to fix a problem that affected log-ins." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
However, the CBS evening newscast, along with Friday's NBC Nightly News and ABC's World News, glossed over the latest Associated Press poll, which found record-high disapproval of the controversial law: "[S]upport for President Barack Obama's health care law is languishing at its lowest level since passage of the landmark legislation four years ago...26 percent of Americans support the Affordable Care Act." This omission continues a nearly three-month-long trend by the Big Three networks to paper over bad news about ObamaCare.
CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley scored an exclusive interview with Barack Obama on Friday. Much of the conversation centered around the President's meeting with Pope Francis. But rather than highlight the Pope's strong disagreements on issues like abortion, gay marriage and the contraception mandate in the health care law, Pelley appeared on CBS This Morning to wonder if the President, like Francis, wishes he could escape the "trappings" of power. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Pelley explained, "It's well known here in Rome that sometimes the Pope slips those trappings, even gets in car, drives himself to another part of the city to help minister to the poor." The anchor added, "I asked the President about that and the fact that the President of the United States can't do the same thing. The President said that he was sure that the Pope had a lot more freedom but that he, the President, had only two and a half to go and he was sure that the Pope would be at this much, much longer."
Unquestionably, ObamaCare is the central political issue of 2014. As the midterm election campaign moves forward, liberal politicians will have to justify their support for a program that has cost millions of individuals their insurance; will raise premiums for most small businesses; imposes hundreds of billions of dollars in new taxes; and will cost, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the equivalent of two million jobs over the next three years.
But so far this year, the three network evening newscasts have minimized, spun or ignored every negative development about ObamaCare, while at the same time touting staged pro-ObamaCare publicity stunts, such as the President’s appearance on a Web-based comedy show in March.
Friday's CBS Evening News and ABC's World News both glowingly harkened back to a prominent past example of bilateral exchange between the U.S. and China, as they reported on Michelle Obama's trip to the East Asian country. But they continued their blackout on covering the White House's ban of journalists accompanying the First Lady. During a news brief, CBS's Scott Pelley trumpeted how "education is the focus of her [Mrs. Obama's] week-long trip, but there was also time for a little bit of ping-pong diplomacy."
The ABC evening newscast surpassed their competitor, however, with David Muir touting "the images making headlines out of China... the Chinese president unexpectedly coming out to meet her – the whole thing reminiscent of those iconic shots of President Nixon in his groundbreaking trip to China." Jonathan Karl also raised the air of "ping-pong diplomacy," but noted the current First Lady's departure from her predecessors in her approach to the communist regime: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Tuesday, all three broadcast network evening newscasts devoted full reports to President Obama honoring 24 members of the military – only three still living – with the Medal of Honor. CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley trumpeted how the President "righted a historic wrong. He presented the nation's highest military award to 24 Americans, after a review determined that they had been passed over because they were Hispanic or African-American or Jewish." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
However, during the fifth year of former President George W. Bush's presidency, the Big Three channels furiously covered the allegations against several U.S. Marines, who were accused of killing civilians in Iraq in November 2005. Between May 17 and June 7, 2006 – a three week period – ABC, CBS, and NBC devoted three and a half hours of air time to the accusations of misconduct. These same networks aired only 52 minutes of reporting on 20 military heroes from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq during a five-year period between September 2001 and June 2006.
As of Monday evening, ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover North Korea's firing of 25 short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan on Sunday. NBCNews.com did post an unsigned article from Reuters on Sunday about how the "missiles flew for 45 miles before splashing into the sea," and ABC News' website went with AP's write-up on the development, but neither outlet devoted any air time to the story.
By contrast, CNN's New Day on Monday devoted a 20-second news brief to the Obama administration's reaction to this latest instance of North Korean sabre-rattling: [video below the jump]
This week, anchors and reporters practically fell over themselves laughing at Barack Obama’s Funny or Die collaboration with comedian Zach Galifianikis as they hailed the ObamaCare promotional video was “great” and urged viewers “you gotta check it out!”
The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks devoted a total of 16 and a half minutes to the fake interview, but the reason Obama had to do the video? The horrible ObamaCare enrollment numbers, particularly among millenials? How much time did that get? [Video after the jump]
CBS was the only network on Wednesday evening to report President Obama's plan to bypass Congress and force businesses to pay employees extra for overtime work. NBC and ABC both ignored the news.
Yet CBS reported the news in a positive manner, noting how "an estimated 10 million workers stand to benefit from the President's plan." White House correspondent Major Garrett said it was "part of President Obama's push to reduce income inequality."
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]
In a huge victory for the second-largest U.S. oil company, a U.S. district judge ruled March 4, that a $9.5 billion award against Chevron by an Ecuadorean court was “obtained by corrupt means.” The massive figure had been lowered by Ecuador’s highest court in 2013 after an earlier decision against Chevron of $19 billion.
The broadcast networks took no notice of the decision and failed to mention it on their evening news programming March 4. They found time to mention that Niagara Falls had once again frozen, report a trash problem on Mount Everest, say that rain didn’t stop the Mardi Gras party in New Orleans, and to show how people can make money with their home recipes.
CBS was the only network on Tuesday evening to highlight a CBO report that President Obama's proposal to hike the minimum wage would cost 500,000 jobs.
The CBO report was released Tuesday afternoon and estimated that the wage increase would boost 900,000 Americans above the poverty line but would also result in the loss of half a million jobs. CBS was the only network to report the news; neither NBC nor ABC touched on the CBO report.
Reporting on Tuesday's White House state dinner featuring French president Francois Hollande, the CBS Evening News ignored the plummeting approval rating for his socialist policies.
CBS touched on the controversy of Hollande's affair and subsequent break-up with his partner, but ignored a poll showing over 70 percent of the French believing his taxes to be "excessive" and 80 percent calling his economic policy "misguided" and "inefficient." In addition, Hollande's approval rating has fallen below 20 percent for the first time.
On Monday evening’s news casts, none of the networks recognized the controversy of President Obama possibly acting outside the Constitution to delay ObamaCare’s employer mandate.
The President granted a one-year delay for businesses with 50 to 99 employees to provide them with health insurance. It was the second time he had delayed the mandate and thus changed a law passed by Congress, but the networks had only highlighted the controversy the first time.
On Tuesday evening, the networks played to the White House spin that ObamaCare won't cut jobs since those expected to move from full-time to part-time work would do so voluntarily.
"We got a report today about ObamaCare that was both surprising and widely misunderstood," CBS anchor Scott Pelley introduced the CBO report that estimates ObamaCare will trim about 2 million full-time jobs by 2017. Pelley cautioned that "Those aren't necessarily jobs being lost. They're also workers choosing to work less." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
The Big Three networks' evening newscasts on Friday jumped on the latest development in the traffic scandal surrounding Chris Christie. NBC and CBS both led with the accusation from the former Christie appointee, who claims that the New Jersey governor knew more about the lane closures than he previously asserted. CBS's Scott Pelley trumpeted how "Chris Christie just got thrown under the bus in that traffic jam scandal that has jeopardized his presidential ambitions."
Brian Williams hyped the "explosive new allegations," and that "this scandal has again engulfed Chris Christie – embarrassingly on the eve of the Super Bowl, the first ever held in New Jersey." On World News, ABC's Diane Sawyer played up the "bombshell of a new accusation," and correspondent Jim Avila spotlighted that New Jersey's "largest newspaper has published this: 'Christie is now damaged goods. If... [the] disclosures are as powerful as he claims, the Governor must go.'" [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Thursday evening's news casts, both CBS and NBC announced the retirement of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) but only CBS labeled him a liberal. ABC ignored the news.
"Democrat Henry Waxman in California, now in his 20th term, was elected with the post-Watergate class of 1974. He became one of the leading liberals in the House," reported CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley. In contrast, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams simply called Waxman a Democrat.
The networks played right into President Obama's hand Wednesday evening as they touted his push for a minimum wage increase while giving barely any voice to his Republican opposition.
"[T]he President was out there hitting that 'give America a raise' theme hard today in campaign-style events both in Pennsylvania and in Maryland," noted ABC News White House correspondent Jonathan Karl. "Does that idea have a snowball's chance?" asked CBS News anchor Scott Pelley about the minimum wage increase.
NBC continued hitting the Christie scandal on Thursday evening while the CBS and ABC evening news casts have not reported it since Tuesday.
The NBC Nightly News has already given the story a good chunk more coverage than the other network evening news shows, and while it devoted a short segment to the bridge scandal it didn't even have time to report the Senate passing a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill that would avert a government shutdown – something both CBS and ABC reported on Thursday night.
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams ignored bad ObamaCare enrollment numbers for young people, but made time to announce the retirement of a long-standing liberal congressman, a development that neither ABC's World News nor the CBS Evening News deemed worth mentioning.
"Big loss for the Democrats in Congress," stated Williams, who said outgoing Rep. George Miller was "often called the Ted Kennedy of the House." NBC ignored the latest ObamaCare enrollment numbers which the CBS Evening News picked up on, highlighting the low enrollment among young people which is detrimental to the law's success. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Carter Evans spotlighted Leslie Foster, an apparent ObamaCare "success story," who gushed about the "amazing things" in his subsidized health plan. But Evans failed to mention that Foster "campaigned for President Barack Obama's election", as the Wall Street Journal reported in an October 7, 2013 article. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The correspondent zeroed in on Foster, an "independent filmmaker" in California, in the midst of a segment that underlined the findings of the latest CBS News/New York Times poll, which found "a lot of skepticism...about the President's health care law. Only 16 percent of the Americans we talked to told us the law would help them. Eighty percent said it would hurt them or have no effect."
The journalists at the CBS Evening News on Wednesday portrayed the possible scuttling of a budget compromise as the fault of conservatives opposing a "too-good-to-be-true" deal. Over on NBC's Nightly News, the reporters derided the plan as not spending enough, worrying about extending unemployment benefits. ABC's World News on Wednesday and Good Morning America on Thursday totally skipped the story.
Evening News anchor Scott Pelley opened the show by lamenting, "It sounded almost too good to be true when we told you last night that Democrats and Republicans agreed on a federal budget without driving the nation to edge of fiscal disaster." Reporter Nancy Cordes alerted, "Scott, what made Republican leaders so angry was the fact that these powerful outside groups were once again urging Republicans to vote against a fragile compromise that had been worked out by a party standard bearer," referring to Paul Ryan. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Monday's CBS Evening News and Tuesday's CBS This Morning both underlined the continuing problems with HealthCare.gov, even after the Obama administration claimed "it met its deadline to make HealthCare.gov work smoothly for the vast majority of shoppers". Meanwhile, the network's competitors at NBC hyped the supposed positive news about the ObamaCare website.
Wyatt Andrews noted how the White House "says that 375,000 people tried to shop on HealthCare.gov," but soon touted how "that high a number created some problems". The following morning, Major Garrett reported that "the challenges are not over" for the online health insurance clearinghouse [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Tuesday, ABC's World News and CBS Evening News both reported the latest poll numbers from the "respected" Quinnipiac University, as CBS's Scott Pelley labeled the institution, regarding President Obama's "lowest ever" approval rating, along with Americans' dim view of the politician's honesty. ABC's Diane Sawyer noted that "for the first time in his presidency, a majority of American voters – 52 percent...say President Obama is not honest and trustworthy."
Both evening newscasts reported these numbers as they led into their coverage of former President Clinton's recent word of advice to Obama on his health care law – that "the President should honor the commitment...[he] made to those people, and let them keep what they've got." NBC Nightly News also devoted air time to Clinton's remarks, but failed to mention the current President's drooping approval number. [MP3 audio from the ABC and CBS reports available here; video below the jump]
Sharyl Attkisson revealed on Monday's CBS Evening News that the Obama administration had prior knowledge of HealthCare.gov's numerous security flaws, but went ahead anyway with its October 1, 2013 launch. Attkisson spotlighted a government memo that outlined "important security risks discovered in the insurance system....The memo said, 'The threat and risk potential to the system is limitless'."
The correspondent also obtained a partial transcript of a closed-door congressional hearing, where HealthCare.gov's project manager claimed that he was unaware of this memo, and that he "testified he'd been told the opposite" about the website's security risks. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
ABC and CBS on Thursday and Friday reacted to Barack Obama's health care apology by acknowledging his "broken promise." At the same time, both networks attempted to spin the NBC interview with qualifiers on the millions of Americans who will be losing their health insurance. After explaining what the President originally insisted and then showing his apology, CBS Evening News Anchor Scott Pelley justified, "The plans are being canceled because they don't meet the minimum standards of the President's health insurance law. That's something that was always in the legislation." [See a video montage of ABC and CBS below. MP3 audio here.]
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos opened the program on Friday by announcing, "Broken promise. The President says he's sorry." Jon Karl noted that the apology is "for the millions of Americans who have received cancellation notices from their insurance companies, despite [Obama's] repeated promise over and over again that nobody would lose their insurance." However, he then shifted into spin mode.