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?
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Scott Pelley cherry-picked the most favorable result for President Obama in the most recent CBS News/New York Times poll. Pelley stated how "this campaign, of course, is, in large part, a battle for the middle class," and touted that "when we asked voters in our poll which candidate would do more to help the middle class, 52 percent said President Obama, 38 percent Mitt Romney."
The anchor failed to mention several negative findings for the President from the poll, including how 64 percent of registered voters thought the Democrat's policies were at least partially to blame for the bad economy, and that 60 percent say that Romney's leadership of Bain Capital won't effect the way they vote in November.
The folks at CBS News sure are worried about government spending all of a sudden.
After Evening News anchor Scott Pelley grieved Wednesday for how much it's cost to have all these House votes concerning ObamaCare, Face the Nation's Bob Schieffer pointed a similarly dismayed finger at House Republicans Sunday (video follows with transcript and commentary):
All three morning shows on Thursday ignored the House vote to repeal Obamacare. Despite finding time for such important topics as women who are addicted to tanning, Good Morning America, as well as Today and CBS This Morning, skipped the latest on the President's unpopular legislation.
In contrast, all three evening newscasts on Wednesday did cover the story. Both CBS and ABC whined about Republicans holding yet another vote on Obamacare. World News anchor Diane Sawyer complained, "As ever, the vote now goes to the Senate, where it will almost certainly, once again, be voted down if it is even voted on at all." On the CBS Evening News, Scott Pelley lamented "how much it cost taxpayers for the House to repeal the law again and again."
As I noted yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) yesterday refused to call a vote on extending the Bush tax cuts, even though President Barack Obama days earlier urged passage of such tax cuts as soon as possible. Predictably, however, the July 11 editions of the network evening newscasts -- ABC's World News, the CBS Evening News, and NBC's Nightly News -- all ignored the development. Ditto with the network morning shows today.
Each evening newscast did, however, note the House vote to repeal ObamaCare, the first such vote after the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate as a tax.
Showing a renewed concern for the interests of taxpayers, CBS put “Cost to Taxpayers” on screen Wednesday night as CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley worried not about the cost of ObamaCare, but “how much it cost taxpayers for the House to repeal the law again and again?” Pelley relayed how “the Congressional Research Service tells us that the House of Representatives costs us $24 million a week. So with two weeks spent repealing the law, that comes to a little under $50 million.”
What a meaningless point. As if that $50 million wouldn’t have been spent in any event since the cost of operating the House would not have disappeared from federal outlays if the body dealt with other issues.
Uniquely among the broadcast network evening newscasts, the NBC Nightly News, not only ran a full report on the House of Representatives vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, but the network also noted that some Democrats joined Republicans on the vote.
By contrast, ABC's World News and the CBS Evening News only mentioned the dozens of Democrats who walked out of the Capitol in protest as they devoted only about half a minute each to the story.
Chief Justice John Roberts may have angered conservatives with his decisive vote in favor of ObamaCare today, but he was, in CBS anchor Scott Pelley’s words, the “man of the hour” on all three network evening newscasts Thursday night.
ABC’s Terry Moran complimented Roberts’ lurch to the left, saying it “did give heart to many Court watchers,” who were worried the Court “was at risk of becoming just another hyper-partisan place... By joining the liberals, Chief Justice Roberts seemed to have stopped that.”
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, after a report in which it was noted that the Obama administration has invoked executive privilege over the investigation into the Fast and Furious scandal, anchor Scott Pelley related the history of other Presidents taking similar measures.
After tying in George Washington, Pelley ended up informing viewers that Bill Clinton had used similar tactics 14 times - more than twice the number of Richard Nixon and George W. Bush. Pelley:
The weekday edition of CBS Evening News with anchor Scott Pelley bizarrely paid no attention to the campaign finance trial of 2004 Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards until the jury declared a mistrial on all but one count on May 31, 2012. By contrast, the evening news program devoted a full report to the first day of the trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on Monday.
Pelley's omission also stands out on his own network. CBS This Morning aired multiple segments on the Edwards case between April 23, the first day of the trial, and June 1, 2012, when the morning show aired a full report from correspondent Ann Werner, along with a discussion segment with Erin Moriarty of 48 Hours.
CBS made little effort to hide that it was siding with liberal dissenters inside the Catholic Church on Wednesday's CBS Evening News and Thursday's CBS This Morning. Scott Pelley hyped that there was a Vatican "crackdown on America's 57,000 nuns." Gayle King touted how "some Catholics compare it to the dark days of the Inquisition, a crackdown on a prominent organization of nuns accused of being radical feminists."
King and co-anchor Charlie Rose sympathized with the group of dissenting sisters during an interview of left-wing public radio host Sister Maureen Fiedler, and hinted that the Catholic hierarchy was "out of touch." Correspondent Wyatt Andrews also overwhelmingly slanted towards the disobedient religious and their supporters during his reports on the two programs, and played only one brief soundbite from a spokeswoman for the bishops.
At Media Bistro earlier today, the news about the combined average total audience for the Big Three TV networks' evening news was grim enough, coming in at a combined 20.15 million (NBC, 7.52 million; ABC, 7.14 million; CBS, 5.49 million).
But the news about the audience in the key 25-54 demographic was, from what I can tell, either an all-time low or darned close to it. I couldn't find an example of one that was lower in searches through previous overall audience low points covered in prior posts at NewsBusters and or my home blog. Last week and other weeks which were almost as low in the 25-54 deme follow the jump:
Over the past few weeks, the John Edwards corruption trial has been all over the news, and for good reason: Edwards was one of the most visible and charismatic figures in the national Democratic Party for several years. The former trial attorney served as a senator from North Carolina from 1999 to 2005, and in 2004 and 2008 ran for president of the United States. In 2004, Edwards was his party's vice presidential nominee.
In the past month, the trial has brought forth sordid details of John Edwards using campaign funds to cover up an affair and provide for the love child who resulted from it. Between April 12 and May 16, ABC World News and NBC Nightly News ran a combined total of 34 stories about the John Edwards trial. Yet the CBS Evening News found time to run only one story on case during that same time period, and that on the opening day of the trial, April 22.
Appearing on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman on Tuesday, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams heaped his idea of high praise onto CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley: "Scott grew up firmly in the Dan Rather school of journalism, which is a great tradition." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Despite that laughable reference to the disgraced former CBS News anchor, who was fired for using forged National Guard memos to smear President George W. Bush in 2004, Williams was quite sincere in his supposed compliment to Pelley. Letterman wondered: "Is he [Pelley] the tradition of the great Dan Rather?" Williams replied: "Oh, a student and acolyte. And I say that as a big, big fan of Dan and a friend of Dan's for many years."