CBS stood out as the only Big Three network to devote full coverage to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's Tuesday night stay of the federal government's birth control/abortifacient mandate under ObamaCare. As of Thursday morning, CBS This Morning and CBS Evening News devoted three full reports and a news brief to the ruling against the controversial regulation.
By contrast, NBC's morning and evening newscasts have only aired one news brief on Sotomayor's decision, and mentioned it in passing in two other reports on the Affordable Care Act. ABC has yet to report on the development on either Good Morning America or World News.
On Thursday, the morning shows on NBC, CBS, and ABC all touted a New York Times Magazine profile of disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, an article designed to rehabilitate the Democrat's image in preparation for a mayoral run in New York City. On NBC's Today, correspondent Stephanie Gosk explained: "Most people wanted to know whether or not he had learned from his mistakes before they could vote for him. His wife says she forgives him."
Gosk detailed Weiner's expression of regret for the 2011 sexting scandal that ended his congressional career: "Both Weiner and his wife revealing in their own words how it happened, why it happened, and the damage it caused....Weiner describes the shame and the guilt." A sound bite was featured of NYT magazine interviewer Jonathan Van Meter sympathetically recalling: "[Weiner's] still wracked with a sort of shame and pain and guilt about it, and – and he cried, I think every time I interviewed him, at some point."
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning shows on Monday all used news briefs to highlight how home improvement giant Lowe's is "facing a backlash" after it pulled its ads from TLC's "All-American Muslim" reality TV series. All three noted that the company reacted to a complaint from a "conservative" or "Christian" group who threatened a boycott. CBS's Early Show played up how Lowe's "critics call that bigotry."
NBC's Natalie Morales stated in her brief that the chain is "sparking outrage after its pulled its ads from a reality show about American Muslims. The retail giant bowed to pressure from an evangelical Christian group, which called for a boycott against the chain of home improvement stores." Morales added that a "California state senator, meanwhile, says he is considering a boycott and legislative action if the company does not reverse its decision."
The Big Three network morning shows on Monday all reported on the possible showdown between Occupy L.A. protesters and the LAPD. NBC's Today and CBS's Early Show highlighted that the left-leaning demonstrators held a "block party" as they defied law enforcement. All three media outlets also played up the supposedly "peaceful" nature of the protest, while ignoring other media reports of violence.
On Saturday's Good Morning America, ABC's Ron Claiborne claimed that "unlike other cities, the ['Occupy'] protests there in L.A. have been peaceful." However, Kate Linthicum of the Los Angeles Times noted in a November 5, 2011 article that "police were called to two violent incidents at Occupy Los Angeles on Friday, adding to questions about the protest and its future."
Through the month of October, as this MRC study found, the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks completely ignored the numerous charges of sexual assaults at OWS protests on their evening and morning news shows. In fact, it wasn’t until this weekend that one and only one network, ABC reported on the rape of a woman in Philadelphia, and that was only after that city’s Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter expressed concern about safety.
On the November 13 edition of ABC’s World News reporter Cecilia Vega mentioned: “In Occupy Philadelphia, an arrest after a woman was dragged into a tent and sexually assaulted.” Vega then threw it to a soundbite from Nutter charging: “Occupy Philly has changed. We’re seeing serious health and safety issues playing out on an almost daily basis. The people of Occupy Philly have also changed and their intentions have changed.”
On Friday, both NBC's Today and CBS's The Early Show offered news briefs on two deadly shooting incidents at two separate Occupy Wall Street protests Thursday night, while ABC's Good Morning America failed to make any mention of the deaths.
On Today, news anchor Natalie Morales reported: "Occupy Wall Street protests turned deadly overnight in two cities. In Oakland, California, Police are investigating a gun fight that left one man dead....And in Burlington, Vermont, a 35-year-old war veteran apparently shot himself..." On The Early Show, news anchor Terrell Brown noted: "In Oakland, California last night, a man was shot and killed just outside the anti-Wall Street demonstrations....A Wall Street protester committed suicide in Burlington, Vermont yesterday."
On Monday's Early Show, CBS's Terrell Brown spotlighted Tinseltown discontent with President Obama, citing an unnamed Hollywood executive who lamented the Democrat is 'not the idealistic guy we thought he would be." However, the three actors Brown turned to who are regulars on CBS programming all heartily endorsed Mr. Obama: "I'm going to do everything I can to help him. He's a really good guy."
Anchor Chris Wragge noted in his introduction for the correspondent's report that the President is "going to Hollywood for a fundraiser next week. But what kind of reception he will receive, now that some of Hollywood's most liberal voices are questioning him more than ever before?" Brown picked up where Wragge left off: "For a town used to measuring success and box office numbers, Hollywood is down on President Obama and his sagging poll numbers."
After touting the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program as a "runaway success" and "great for the environment," Friday’s CBS Early Show finally reported on problems with the plan as co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "And find out why the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program could actually end up costing you long term."
While previous Early Show segments on the plan gave only passing attention to its critics, Rodriguez began Friday’s story by explaining: "Congress has passed a $2 billion extension for the popular ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program, but some critics are being vocal this morning, saying it may not be such a good idea after all." Correspondent Terrell Brown reported: "‘Cash for Clunkers’ is said to be environmentally friendly, but some are trashing the new government program....Recyclers say some salvaged car engines are still valuable. Instead, they’re being needlessly destroyed." One wonders why CBS did not highlight this criticism before the government spent another $2 billion on the program.
Brown went on to describe the car-destroying process: "Dealers are told to destroy the engine by replacing oil with sodium silicate and then running it....With the engine destroyed, many cars bypass the part recyclers and go straight to the salvage yards." The report featured the vice president of the Automotive Recylers Association, Michael Wilson: "We think a much more efficient program would have been to encourage recycled parts usage....All those parts that could have been reused will go right to a scrap processor."
On Saturday’s broadcast network evening newscasts, the CBS Evening News uniquely gave attention to the tea parties that were inspired by the Tax Day Tea Parties from April. Anchor Jeff Glor set up the report: "In scores of communities tonight, people spent their Fourth of July not celebrating but protesting. Taking a cue from the 1773 Boston Tea Party, they rallied against federal tax and spending policies. "
Correspondent Terrell Brown ran clips of several protesters who attended one of the rallies complaining about excessive taxation and spending by government. But, while the previous tea parties from April 15 were known to attract not only Republicans upset about federal taxes and spending but also Democrats, Brown did not speak of there being any Democrats at the rally he attended. But he did relay the complaints of a disaffected Republican toward the Republican party. Brown also managed to tie in Fox News as he showed a brief clip of FNC hosts Glenn Beck and Neil Cavuto talking on air: