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."
“Game changer,” said NBC’s Brian Williams. “Seismic,” proclaimed ABC’s Diane Sawyer. “Shaken up the race,” announced CBS’s Scott Pelley. Those were the reactions of the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) evening news anchors to the hidden camera tape of Mitt Romney expressing a basic breakdown of voters who weren’t likely to vote for him. What was a simple analysis by Romney of 47 percent of the electorate was turned into a “political earthquake” that threatened to sink the GOP nominee’s chances.
Over three full days of coverage, on the Big Three evening and morning shows, liberal anchors and reporters devoted almost an hour and a half (1 hour, 28 minutes, 23 seconds) to the Romney tape that made up all or a portion of 42 total stories. In contrast, when tape emerged of Barack Obama stating he was in favor of “redistribution” of wealth, reporters barely broached the story, spending only six minutes, 28 seconds over eight stories.
As the broadcast network evening newscasts on Monday recounted protests in Beirut, Lebanon, organized by Hezbollah, only the CBS Evening News noted that the U.S. government considers Hezbollah to be a "terrorist group," while ABC called it a "militant group" and NBC gave the organization no label.
As he listed Muslim countries where protests against the United States had been occurring, CBS anchor Scott Pelley noted:
“Listen for it,” CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley urged viewers Friday night in trumpeting what he hailed as “a remarkable moment of candor” from President Barack Obama “when he told us the sacrifices he makes being President wouldn’t be worth it except for one thing.”
Viewers soon heard from Obama how all the sacrifice he must suffer through as President, such as “the inability to just take a walk,” is all “worth it” when he hears about how an ObamaCare provision has saved someone from dying of cancer. Yes, it takes “remarkable candor” to tout yourself as magnanimous, but you’d think a journalist of Pelley’s stature wouldn’t be so excitedly gullible.
Bob Schieffer trumpeted "some of the best polling news that the President has seen in quite a while" on Friday's CBS Evening News, a day after NBC's Brian Williams played up poll numbers that were supposedly "ahead of the wildest dreams" of Democrats. Schieffer claimed that "the President's message that he is the one who can best help the middle class does seem to be getting through," even though one poll result is unchanged since July.
The veteran journalist gave these statements just moments after anchor Scott Pelley noted that "a new CBS News/New York Times poll shows just how close the presidential race is. Of the people who told us they were likely to vote, 49 percent said they favor President Obama, 46 percent Mitt Romney; and that three-point spread is well within the poll's margin of error."
Now that you've had your guffaw, let's get into the specifics. According to Rhodes, his news team is actually "constantly diligent" to avoid being accused of bias. Those who do so are simply trying to affix "labels" to what is actually objective reporting.
The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) Wednesday evening newscasts devoted more than 9 minutes (9 minutes, 28 seconds) to the flap over Mitt Romney's statement criticizing the administration's handling of the Libyan crisis but spent just 25 seconds on questions regarding Barack Obama's Middle-East policy, a greater than 20-to-1 disparity.
NBC's Brian Williams opened the Nightly News telling viewers: "Romney is taking fire tonight for the way he went on the attack politically...somehow [Romney] wanted today to be about America apologizing for its values, even after it became clear today was about the death of an American ambassador and others." CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley dutifully noted: "Democrats said the governor had injected politics into a tragedy." Over on ABC's World News Diane Sawyer announced: "Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney under fire for comments he made about the upheaval as it was unfolding." (video after the jump)
In their pre-game analysis before President Obama's nomination acceptance speech Thursday night, ABC News painted the costly cancelation -- "a hefty six figures" in fruitless set-up costs for broadcast equipment for the networks, reported Dylan Byers of Politico -- of tonight's planned Bank of America Stadium venue as a "lucky break."
"Absolutely a lucky break," political contributor Matthew Dowd told anchor George Stephanopoulos, insisting that while the Obama campaign "could have filled the stadium... there is no way they could have repeated the energy in this crowd." But meanwhile over on CBS, anchor Scott Pelley showed viewers at home the scene at Bank of America stadium, where "it is dark and there is not a drop of rain falling in the vicinity here in Charlotte. [video follows page break]
Last week in Tampa, CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley and NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, both hit Ann Romney with a pointed political contention from the left, but tonight (Thursday) in Charlotte, neither challenged Michelle Obama with any political argument forwarded by conservatives.
Williams posed a long-winded question about the Obama daughters and cued up the First Lady to assess a New York Times reporter’s take that President Obama is “‘a proud yet humbled President, a confident yet scarred President, a dreamer mugged by reality.’ Does that resemble the man you know?”
Shortly after 5 p.m. Eastern today, it took three attempts for Democrats to reinstate the words "God" and "Jerusalem" into their party platform, drawing some reactions of despondency from the more liberal members of the party. Over on MSNBC, for example, Chris Hayes called it a "craven capitulation."
This shift from the original platform that omitted God and did not explicitly express support of Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital wasn’t mentioned once during ABC World News September 5 broadcast. Below is video from C-SPAN of the actual vote on the matter, which, you can tell was unlikely an actual 2/3rd vote for the rule change.
On Friday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams touted the stimulus spending that went to renovating the reflecting pool between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC: "Tourists in Washington this holiday weekend will find water in the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool for the first time in two years. It was actually stimulus funding that paid for the major renovation project - $34 million worth."
Scott Pelley also gave a brief on the pool's renovation on Friday's CBS Evening News, but chose not to play up the stimulus detail, only noting that "the pool was closed, so that workers could fix leaks and stop it from sinking."
CBS News has talked quite about their latest poll released Tuesday, especially how Mitt Romney is trailing Barack Obama by 10 points among women voters -- bad news for the Republican, of course. But unstated in the network's on-air coverage is the rest of the story: that Barack Obama trails Mitt Romney among men voters by 9 points, by a 49 to 40 margin.
How come no discussion of how poorly Obama is doing with men? Is it because the Democrats have cooked up a "war on women" theme for this campaign, and talking about the male vote doesn't do anything to further that partisan objective?
“A lot of women look at the Republican platform on abortion, contraception, a number of issues,” CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley told Ann Romney, “and ask the question whether Republicans have women’s best interests at heart?”
Pelley’s loaded question came just after he held up his smart phone so Mrs. Romney could see how the Obama campaign “is starting a tour called the ‘Romney-Ryan: Wrong for Women’ tour, and that’s the logo.”
“Some Republicans wonder whether Romney is too moderate for the increasingly conservative party,” CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley refreshingly asked Monday night in veering from the media portrayal of Romney as a far-right ideologue. However, Pelley soon delivered the usual media line that presumed the party is too conservative. “The platform does not allow for exceptions on abortion with regard to the health of the mother or rape or incest,” Pelley told Romney in relaying a Democratic talking point.
Pelley next fretted “this Republican Party that you’re leading is not your father’s Republican Party,” recalling how “he opposed Barry Goldwater in 1964” and was “a passionate advocate for government support for housing for poor people.” Pelley queried: “I wonder how you would explain this Republican Party to your father?”
Last week when President Barack Obama raised the old tale of how Mitt Romney once put his dog in a car top carrier, the NBC Nightly News gave a sentence to how Obama “took a dig at Romney” and the CBS Evening News didn’t mention it, but on Friday night both newscasts pounced on Romney for daring to make a birth certificate joke.
“Was it a joke?” fill-in NBC anchor David Gregory demanded, teasing a full story: “What Mitt Romney said on the campaign trail today that immediately erupted in controversy.” Reporter Peter Alexander recalled Donald Trump’s tie to Romney and highlighted how “the Obama campaign quickly cried foul, insisting ‘Romney’s decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America.’”
Journalists are quite eager to undermine Mitt Romney’s trip. “A new diplomatic dust-up,” CBS anchor Scott Pelley teased Monday night, citing how “Mitt Romney in the Middle East says culture makes Israelis economically superior to Palestinians.” NBC’s Peter Alexander declared upsetting Palestinians meant Romney’s “day began in Israel with another diplomatic misstep” as ABC’s David Muir saw “another overseas controversy in a trip with missteps already.”
Muir also discovered, without citing any evidence, “fallout today from a question we asked Romney during our one-on-one last night on World News,” specifically Muir’s demand to know: “Was there ever any year when you paid lower than the 13.9 percent” income tax rate?