By Rich Noyes | September 15, 2009 | 2:05 PM EDT

Big liberal protests, such as the Million Mom March (for gun control), the 2006 demonstrations in favor of illegal immigrants’ “rights,” and numerous anti-war marches all garnered heavy play and adoring coverage from the broadcast networks, cable news outlets, and big papers like the New York Times. So how did those news outlets react to Saturday’s huge protest with conservative themes? MRC’s analysts scrutinized the coverage; here’s their report card:

■ ABC, CBS and NBC: The broadcast networks did not offer any pre-rally coverage before Saturday’s protests, but offered decent coverage of the event itself. ABC’s World News on Saturday was pre-empted by college football, but Good Morning America offered full reports on both Saturday and Sunday, as did NBC’s Today. Both the NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News led with the rally on Saturday night, although CBS’s morning news shows gave the protest almost no attention.

The tone of coverage, however, was largely antagonistic.

By Mark Finkelstein | September 15, 2009 | 8:21 AM EDT

I've been trying to give Chuck Todd the benefit of the doubt when it comes to classifying him as part of what Rush would call the state-controlled media. But that indulgence was strained to the breaking point on Morning Joe today when Todd flatly rejected the notion that the MSM had under-covered the Van Jones story and suggested that delving into his background would have been a waste of MSM time.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: You say this has been a Republican obsession, ACORN. It certainly hasn't been an obsession in the media. Mike Allen said the mainstream media was slow on the Van Jones story, also slow on this [ACORN] story. Is that a fair charge?
CHUCK TODD: You know, no . . .
By Geoffrey Dickens | September 14, 2009 | 7:42 PM EDT

NBC's Norah O'Donnell, guest hosting for Chris Matthews over the weekend, repeatedly questioned her "Chris Matthews Show" panelists why there was "So much hate," and "venom," directed at Barack Obama at town hall events.

Time's Joe Klein responded it was all Rush Limbaugh's fault as he depicted opponents of Obama as racists that are "being egged on by the demagogues in, in the Republican Party, by Boss Rush Limbaugh. And I call him the boss because there isn't a single Republican elected official who's willing to call him out on his lies." [audio available here]

By Scott Whitlock | September 14, 2009 | 6:04 PM EDT

Over the weekend, ABC provided hyperbolic, worried reporting on the 9/12 protest in Washington D.C. And while the other networks had mixed results, Good Morning America co-host Bill Weir opened the program on Saturday by fretting, "This morning, outrage. Protesters descend on Washington to rally against the President's health care plan. As civility gives way to shouting, what's fueling all this anger?"

On Sunday’s GMA, Weir spun that the protesters were "rail[ing]" against higher taxes, government run health care and spending. Reporter Yunji de Nies highlighted a marcher who labeled Barack Obama a "communist." She then pounced, "Do you really believe the President is a communist?" Right after this exchange, de Nies told viewers that those rallying "insist they're not extremists."

By Jeff Poor | September 14, 2009 | 9:19 AM EDT

About a year ago, then-Senator and Democratic nominee Barack Obama managed to seize control of the issue of taxes from the Republican Party by promising lower taxes for "95 percent of Americans."

But today it's a drastically different situation. Obama's $787-billion stimulus has been passed into law and the administration is taking on higher deficits, which will only increase if a Democrat health care reform bill passes. It looks as though the president's hand will be forced and he will have to raise taxes. That's begs question - where were the media on this a year ago?

CNBC's Erin Burnett asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at a CNBC made-for-television town hall on Sept. 10 if taxes would be raised. Geithner dodged the question, but Burnett interpreted the dodge to mean yes, as she explained on NBC's Sept. 13 "Meet the Press."

By Noel Sheppard | September 13, 2009 | 1:06 PM EDT

While the Obama-loving media jumped all over Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) for shouting "You lie" during the President's healthcare address Wednesday, few so-called journalists bothered to report what made the Congressman and others present so angry.

On Sunday's "Meet the Press," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich did.

After host David Gregory asked Gingrich whether Obama was acting like a president or a partisan Wednesday evening, the Speaker marvelously responded (video embedded below the fold, relevant section at 1:00):

By Jeff Poor | September 10, 2009 | 12:26 AM EDT

While none of the other cable networks experienced any technical delays leading into Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., CNBC - the business arm of NBC Universal's cable empire didn't quite get there on time.

Boustany was cheated out of a little over a minute and a half giving his response on CNBC. However, its sister network - MSNBC, and the major cable networks caught up with the Republican response to President Barack Obama's Sept. 9 speech to a joint session of Congress.

Instead, viewers were treated to "The Kudlow Report" host Larry Kudlow and CNBC Washington correspondent John Harwood, reflecting on the president's speech. It is worth noting that Harwood earlier this week called parents that were opponents of the president's Sept. 8 school address weren't "smart enough" to raise their kids.

By Brent Baker | September 9, 2009 | 11:16 PM EDT
Some very friendly assessments of President Barack Obama's health care address Wednesday night to a joint session of Congress, most gathered from the quick analysis in the short time between Obama and the Republican response: 
♦ MSNBC's Keith Olbermann hailed it as “a broad and forward thinking speech” with “a touch of greatness.” (MP3 audio)

♦ On ABC, George Stephanopoulos saw “a pretty remarkable speech” and suggested “this might have been the most emotional speech I've seen President Obama give” as “there was even a catch in his voice” because “this is very close to President Obama's heart.” (MP3 audio)

♦ Chuck Todd, on NBC, recited how Obama endorsed an insurance mandate for all citizens, “came down pretty strongly for the so-called public option” and proposed paying for it all by “taxing benefits for the wealthiest.” Yet after that liberal litany, Todd insisted the address was “about re-branding the President himself as a centrist and a pragmatist.”

♦ CNN's Gloria Borger trumpeted how “there was something in there for everybody” before David Gergen lamented Obama's lost opportunity: “Had he given this speech three months ago, when there was a glow about his presidency, I think he could have swept the country...”
♦ [UPDATE] Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, during a 11:15 PM EDT edition of MSNBC's The Ed Show, celebrated: “The great news tonight is this bill is on track for passage. Historic change is coming to the United States.” (MP3 audio)
By Rich Noyes | September 9, 2009 | 12:27 PM EDT
As President Obama prepares to deliver his 29th speech on health care, this time before a joint session of Congress, it recalls Bill Clinton’s September 22, 1993 speech to Congress on the same topic. Back then, media liberals hit some of the exact same points journalists are making today: “reform” would end the “shame” of America being the only industrialized nation without universal coverage; that a bigger role for government would cost nothing or even save money in the long run, and that government bureaucrats were preferable to insurance companies.

After a year of media cheerleading, however, Congress finally scrapped Clinton’s health care ideas. But the unpopularity of Clinton’s government-based solutions contributed to the election of the first Republican-led House of Representatives in more than four decades. That’s not to say history will play out the same way this time, but the media spin on behalf of ObamaCare certainly echoes the language of the 1990s. A review:
By Matt Philbin | September 8, 2009 | 3:03 PM EDT

<p>What follows is the executive summary of a <a href=" Culture &amp; Media Institute Special Report</a> (co-written by myself and Zoe Ortiz). </p><p>Since the 1940s, an appearance on The New York Times Best Sellers List has been the mark of commercial success for any book. Authors with titles on the list can count on media attention to help sell even more copies. Unless they are conservatives.</p><p>Conservative books and authors have been very successful recently, as evidenced by their showing on the best sellers list. Since January 2009, conservatives enjoyed 95 total weeks on the list, compared to just 80 weeks for liberal books and authors. At this writing Michelle Malkin’s “Culture of Corruption” is at No.1, and several other conservative titles have prominent berths on the list. <br /><br />But as the Culture &amp; Media Institute discovered, viewers of ABC, CBS and NBC might never know of the popularity and commercial success of conservative books.<br />

By Noel Sheppard | September 6, 2009 | 12:08 PM EDT

Howard Kurtz opened Sunday's "Reliable Sources" with a lovefest for the promotion of ABC's Diane Sawyer to replace Charles Gibson on "World News Tonight."

Mysteriously, there was absolutely no discussion about how Sawyer's "Good Morning America" is constantly second in the ratings to NBC's "Today" show, nor was there mention of how Katie Couric regularly bested Sawyer in the morning but has been a ratings disaster since taking over the "CBS Evening News."

That didn't stop Kurtz and his guests from talking about Sawyer's promotion as if it was sheer genius (video embedded below the fold, relevant section at 11:30):

By Mark Finkelstein | September 5, 2009 | 8:00 AM EDT

A new high-tech Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. Racism.  And parents too dumb to raise their children.  

That was how NBC sought to explain away opposition to Pres. Obama's planned speech to schoolchildren.

Andrea Mitchell narrated a segment on this morning's Today on the subject.

ANDREA MITCHELL: Other presidents have faced opposition.  But experts say it's now more organized, from cable television to blogs, to Twitter. It's gone viral.

RON BROWNSTEIN: There are mechanisms for conservatives to reach other conservatives and to keep them in a state of agitation.  And that is much more developed than it was even when Bill Clinton was president.