On Monday night, ABC and NBC offered segments on Monica Lewinsky’s first public comments in years that came during a conference in Philadelphia for millennials by Forbes and explained how she was the first victim of cyberbullying during her affair with then-President Bill Clinton in the 1990s. During the segment that aired on NBC Nightly News, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell declared that the “timing” of Lewinsky speaking out now (in hopes of becoming an advocate against cyberbullying) “couldn’t be worse for Bill and Hillary Clinton.”
With the midterm elections two weeks away from Tuesday, the major broadcast networks on Monday night ignored gaffes from Democratic Senator Mark Udall of Colorado and Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis as both seek to make up deficits against their Republican opponents Cory Gardner and Greg Abbott, respectively. On Friday, Udall conducted an interview with Denver’s ABC affiliate and he told the reporter that he was “brain-dead” after being asked to name his favorite books and types of music. Udall also inquired during the middle of the segment if “[w]e could play this over, right, I mean re-tape this” when he clearly became stumped and couldn’t answer a few basic questions about himself.
Andrea Mitchell, NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, appeared on Sunday’sMeet the Press and did her best to make excuses for potential Democratic losses in the November midterm elections. Speaking to moderator Chuck Todd, Mitchell complained that the “Texas Supreme Court decision on Saturday morning is going to be really telling, if there are more voter restrictions placed in some of those states, it’s going to be really hard for Democrats.”
After citing numerous Republicans on the campaign trail criticizing the Obama administration’s handling of the ebola crisis, on Thursday, MSNBC Daily Rundown host Craig Melvin condemned such criticism as “the politics of fear” and “irresponsible.” NBC’s senior political editor Mark Murray agreed with Melvin’s accusation: “You know, Craig, we’ve seen the politics of fear work in the past. In 2002, right after the 9/11 attacks, that was a dominant story. Republicans were able to capitalize right after 9/11. The 2004 presidential election was largely fought on the politics of fear. And this honestly is terrain where the Republican Party’s a lot more comfortable in having debates with the Democratic Party.”
CBS and NBC continued on Thursday night to harp on the so-called refusal of Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott to initially debate his opponent, Democrat and former Florida Governor Charlie Crist, on Wednesday because of Crist’s usage of a fan that broke the rules of the debate. After each of the “big three” (ABC, CBS, and NBC) mentioned it on their morning newscasts, the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News aired new segments and included NBC’s Brian Williams stating that what transpired on Wednesdaynight “may say more about the broken state of our politics these days than we’d like to admit.”
On Thursday morning, all three network morning shows hyped Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott’s refusal to appear on stage for a scheduled debate with his Democratic opponent, former Governor Charlie Crist, due to the appearance of an unapproved fan. Despite the “big three” enthusiastically covering the Republican governor’s “Fangate” episode, the networks have repeatedly refused to cover political controversies from Democrats running for office this year. The Florida Republican eventually came on stage and the debate began as scheduled, but that didn’t stop the “big three” (ABC, CBS, and NBC) from jumping on the incident with NBC’s Matt Lauer playing it up as “an awkward moment that’s blowing up online today.”
As of Thursday morning, NBC’s morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the New York Times’s front-page article on Wednesday about Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons stockpiles in Iraq, which were discovered by U.S. forces after the Iraq War. NBC was quick to cast doubt on the existence of these WMD’s during the immediate aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion. Ann Curry asked a wounded soldier in April 2003, “Are you angry that what you were on a mission to protect America against weapons of mass destruction [which] may never have existed?” The network’s Big Three competitors did cover the liberal newspaper’s scoop on their Wednesday morning show. ABC’s Good Morning America gave the story a minimal amount of air time – 25 seconds.
On Sunday, NBC Nightly News took the unusual step of running a story that not only discussed the upcoming midterm elections but also President Obama’s unpopularity on the campaign trail as Democrats struggle to keep control of the Senate. The problem with the story, however, was that it aired on Sunday night, when millions of Americans are watching football, spending time with family or at church and thus not watching the news. Weekend anchor Lester Holt started the segment off by stating that while President Obama will be on the campaign trail this week, he “has been largely out of sight on the campaign trail this season.”
Marc Lamont Hill, liberal CNN contributor and host of HuffPost Live, appeared on Sunday’sState of the Union with Candy Crowley and did his best to smear former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta for daring to criticize President Obama on foreign policy. Appearing alongside Neera Tanden, Newt Gingrich and S.E. Cupp, Hill proclaimed that Panetta’s criticism of Obama was “the most disgusting example of Monday morning quarterbacking I have ever seen.”
During the 8:30 a.m. half-hour of NBC’s Todayon Monday, Matt Lauer interviewed far-left actor Russell Brand and gave him ample opportunity to promote his new book and what Lauer described as his “big thoughts on big issues,” ranging “from drug laws and voting to the redistribution of the wealth around the world.” Substitute co-host Tamron Hall gushed that Brand’s book is “funny and, as always, thought-provoking” just prior to the four-and-a-half minute interview in which Lauer and Brand would discussed his calls to legalize a whole host of drugs from marijuana to heroin and how he has promised never to vote because he feels electoral systems are all rigged.
On Monday’s NBC Today, 9 a.m. ET hour co-host Willie Geist actually tried to spin top Democratic Party surrogates like Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton mispronouncing the name of Iowa Senate candidate Bruce Braley as a boost to Braley’s campaign: “But now he’s getting a lot of name recognition. Maybe it was like evil genius move, who knows?” So his biggest supporters not knowing his name helps with name recognition? In the clip of the First Lady that was featured, she even went so far as to direct people to the wrong website: “You need to elect Bruce Bailey to the U.S. Senate….vote.BruceBailey.com, that’s vote.BruceBailey.
Comedian Louis CK’s twitter rant against ISIS started well, even if it was full of vulgarities, but it quickly descended into weirdness when he connected the terrorists to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
Throughout the day on Monday, several sources in the intelligence community disputed President Obama’s comments in an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes that aired on Sundaynight that the intelligence community and Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper are to blame for not recognizing the threat posed by ISIS. On the Monday evening newscasts of the major broadcast networks, ABC World News Tonight with David Muir chose to ignore the story all together while the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley simply re-aired Obama’s comments from 60 Minutes the night prior without acknowledging the criticisms since the interview aired. In contrast, NBC Nightly News offered a two-and-a-half-minute segment that included multiple news clips and congressional testimony going back to January that contradicted the President’s claim.
The viewers of ABC News might not know it, but one of the network’s senior reporters, Jon Karl, grilled White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Friday about claims that al Qaeda had been “decimated.” From Friday to Monday, ABC ignored the contentious exchange and Earnest’s doubling down. Yet, over that same period, the network’s news programs devoted over 20 minutes to the deeply superficial topic of George Clooney’s wedding in Venice.
Even as President Obama clearly attempted during a Sunday60 Minutes interview to blame others for his failure to recognize ISIS as a growing threat in the Middle East, Monday’s NBCToday spun the buck-passing as a “very candid” admission by the commander-in-chief. Co-host Matt Lauer opened the morning show by proclaiming: “Underestimated. The President admits his administration and U.S. intelligence officials misjudged the threat of ISIS.” While that headline suggested to viewers that Obama was taking responsibility for the failure, a soundbite ran of the President distancing himself from blame: “I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.”
Open Obama supporter Gayle King made sure she got her liberal viewpoint across on Monday’sCBS This Morning as she interviewed Rep. Paul Ryan. King spotlighted an excerpt from the Congressman’s new book: “You said, ‘In order for the Republican Party to save the country’ – some people don’t think it needs saving, by the way – but you said the GOP has to change from within. What do you mean by that?”
While ABC and NBC have moved on from their over-the-top gushing over Chelsea Clinton’s baby, CBS felt the need to continue to obsess over the announcement on Monday’s CBS This Morning. Reporter Bill Plante offered up a healthy dose of Clinton cheerleading when he proclaimed the baby to be the “newest member of a family of political royalty.”
Mark Levin, Congressman Jim Jordan, Alan Robertson, Stacey Dash, Larry Kudlow and Cleta Mitchell highlighted the MRC’s “2014 Gala featuring the DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporting,” presented on Thursday night, September 25, before an audience of 900 at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. In addition to the presentation of the DisHonors Awards videos in four categories and a look at some “funny clips,” the audience decided Eleanor Clift had earned the Quote of the Year dishonor. Mark Levin received the MRC’s eighth annual “William F. Buckley Jr. Award for Media Excellence.”
On Friday night, Chelsea Clinton gave birth to her first child, Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky, and ABC and NBC predictably swooned over the event and hyped the impact this could have on Hillary Clinton’s political future. During Sunday’s Good Morning America’s ABC’s Mara Schiavocampo gushed: “While America waits for Hillary’s decision if she’ll run for President, a more important duty calls for now, diaper duty.” On Saturday’s NBC Nightly News, reporter Kristen Welker turned to liberal historian Michael Beschloss who eagerly declared: “Chelsea Clinton has been famous, world famous since she was about 12 years old. So it’s almost like the British royal family.”
The 2014 midterms may be building towards a Republican wave, but the elections in 39 days have drawn little interest from the networks. NBC and CBS on Thursday made exceptions, but only to highlight GOP struggles and embarrassments. Awkward, uncomfortable examples involving Democrats have been either ignored or severely minimized. On Today, Peter Alexander played grainy video of a married GOP representative in an embrace with a staffer. Alexander reminded viewers that “this is likely the last time” they saw “the co-called kissing Congressman, Louisiana Republican Vance McAllister.” The reporter needled, “Instead, McAllister promised to not run for reelection. He broke that vow.”
Thanks to his stonewalling of the House of Representatives investigation into the Fast and Furious scandal, in 2012 Eric Holder became the first Attorney General held in contempt by Congress. Maybe his resignation on Thursday will revive the story for the three broadcast network evening newscasts, but don’t count on it. With Sharyl Attkisson no longer working at CBS News, there is no broadcast journalist who has shown any interest in pursuing this disgraceful story. In fact, as the MRC documented after the 2012 re-election of President Obama, Holder’s Fast and Furious scandal was just one of the many stories the broadcast evening newscasts censored that year.
Appearing on MSNBC’s NewsNationon Thursday to react to Attorney General Eric Holder announcing his resignation, NBC’s Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd had the audacity to proclaim that Holder “wasn’t political at all” during his tenure at the Justice Department. This is the same Eric Holder who declared America to be a “nation of cowards” on race, was held in contempt of Congress for not handing over documents related to the Fast and Furious gun running scandal, and who just in April implied to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network that Republican criticism of him and President Obama was racially motivated.
Of the three broadcast evening newscasts Thursday night, only the CBS Evening Newsoffered a full report on the resignation of controversial Attorney General Eric Holder. NBC Nightly News only offered a news brief on the topic, while ABC’s World News amazingly skipped the news completely – though it did find the time to provide a full segment on Yankees captain Derek Jeter retiring. On Friday’s morning shows, the pattern was similar.CBS This Morning featured another full story on Holder’s contentious tenure at the Justice Department while NBC’s Today and ABC’s Good Morning America each included mere seconds of coverage. However, both NBC and ABC devoted full reports to Jeter.
The three major networks have obsessed over every detail of the football scandal involving Ray Rice and what the NFL knew. Yet, ABC, NBC and CBS have ignored the compelling story of Shaneen Allen, a single mother who faced prison for taking her legally-owned firearm into the state of New Jersey. The football connection? The prosecutor who declined to go after Rice for punching his then-fiancee is the same man who wanted to send Allen to jail for 11 years.
Rosie O’Donnell, a 9/11 truther and general conspiracy theorist, on Wednesday delved into the reasons behind Barack Obama’s air strikes against Syria. The View co-host insisted that there is a “financial agenda” in the United States’s actions, lecturing her co-hosts: “I can’t get out of my head the fact that Syria has a lot of oil. A lot of oil. Not a lot of oil in Rwanda or the Congo. Atrocities there all the time.”
An enormous development in the Bridgegate scandal broke late Thursday afternoon when federal officials reported that they have cleared New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) of any wrong-doing relating to the closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge in September 2013. When it came to the major broadcast networks covering this huge development, ABC and CBS punted on the story and refused to cover it in their Thursday night newscasts. NBC Nightly News did cover the story, however, but only in the form of a news brief that lasted for 38 seconds. This stands in stark contrast to the nearly five minutes (4 minutes and 55 seconds to be exact) that NBC’s evening newscast devoted to Bridgegate when it broke mid-morning on January 8.
The pollsters at Gallup reported Wednesday that Americans’ confidence in the media’s ability to report “the news fully, accurately, and fairly” has dropped to its previous all-time low of 40 percent. That number was at 55 percent in 1999, but hasn’t been above 50 percent since 2005. The media are really struggling among Democrats, who have “traditionally expressed much higher levels of confidence in the media than Republicans have,” but their confidence (“great deal or fair amount of trust”) dropped to a 14-year low of 54 percent. Republican confidence dropped to 27 percent.
On Thursday morning, CBS continued to ignore key results of the latest CBS News/New York Times poll, which show President Obama’s approval rating at 40 percent and his foreign policy approval rating at only 34 percent. In contrast, the front-page New York Times article by Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Dalia Sussman included dire statistics about the President’s low domestic approval rating: “The results suggest a profoundly unsettled public mood, with two-thirds of Americans surveyed saying the country is on the wrong track and half disapproving of how Mr. Obama is doing his job, a negative assessment that threatens to be a substantial drag on Democrats in November.”
What do the networks consider vital information for their viewers? ABC, NBC and CBS againon Thursday offered the latest about the “firestorm” engulfing the National Football League. Yet, these same outlets have ignored a shocking act of domestic terrorism within the United States. Ali Muhammad Brown allegedly murdered 19-year-old Brendan Tevlin on June 25th. According to CNN, he told police: “My mission is vengeance for the lives, millions of lives are lost every day. Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, all these places where innocent lives with being taken every single day.”
On Thursday, September 18, a strange thing happened: ABC actually covered President Obama’s plummeting poll numbers. No, not ABC News, but the daytime ABC program The View which spent nearly four minutes discussing his falling approval ratings following his speech laying out America’s strategy to defeat ISIS. Moderator Whoopi Goldberg proclaimed that President Obama “might be afraid…the latest approval ratings seemed to have sunk lower than George Bush’s levels. Partly because more than half of Americans are disapproving of the way he seems to be handling terrorism.” -
On Wednesday’s The Lead, CNN’s Jake Tapper tried to pull former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney out of acting like an apologist for President Obama. Tapper turned to his guest, who had just spent an entire segment defending his former boss’s ISIS policy, and asked, “What is the difficulty in getting Arab allies to kick in with military assistance? Jay, you don’t work for the White House anymore. You can be frank. What is the problem?” Earlier, as Carney sparred with Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard over the President’s handling of the issue, the former Time journalist did his best impression of Chris Matthews and pointed the finger at former President George W. Bush for the ongoing situation in Iraq and Syria.
Starting off a gentle interview with United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power on Thursday’sCBS This Morning, co-host Norah O’Donnell began to pitch what could have been a hardball question on the Obama administration’s slow response to violence in Syria giving rise to the ISIS terrorist threat, but instead tossed out this: “When you first became ambassador, you pushed for air strikes in Syria. Now we have lawmakers on record supporting engagement in Syria. How do you see this playing out?” No question about whether the President was wrong to not take Power’s recommendation on Syria, just simply, “How do you see this playing out?”
CBS has a new drama called “Madam Secretary” where the main character, played by Tea Leoni, is a newly appointed Secretary of State and on Thursday, CBS This Morning did their best to swoon over the new show. The character is said to be a cross between Hillary Clinton and Kirsten Gillibrand and as a result co-host Gayle King eagerly hyped the inspiration for the show. The CBS host enthusiastically wondered “so did you call Hillary Clinton and say pajama party at your house, tell me everything?”
In 2012, gaffes and scandals by Republican candidates, such as Todd Akin, prompted a wave of coverage by the three networks. Yet, ill-conceived comments by Democrats in the 2014 midterms have created no such attention. Incumbent Colorado Senator Mark Udall made this cringe-inducing comment during last week’s debate in Colorado. Speaking of two beheaded Americans, he insisted, “Steve Sotloff and James Foley would tell us, don’t be impulsive. Horrible and barbarous as those executions were, don’t be impulsive.”
On Thursday’sNBC Nightly News, senior White House correspondent Chris Jansing provided not only spin favorable to President Obama a day after his prime time speech on ISIS, but also suggested that this could help the President in the midterm elections. At the conclusion of her report, Jansing told viewers: “It’s a war the President inherited with decisions made now shaping his legacy and his successor’s as well. Something else to watch, while it’s too soon to tell how voters will react to the President’s plan from last night, if they rally around the Commander-in-Chief it could impact the midterm elections with control of the Senate at stake.”
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer interviewed President Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice during Thursday’s edition of The Situation Room and neglected to bring up the second anniversary of the tragic attack in Benghazi, Libya that left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, foreign service officer Sean Smith and CIA contractors Tyrone Woods and Glenn Doherty dead. Instead, the nearly eight-and-a-half-minute interview discussed President Obama’s speech to the nation from Wednesday night on ISIS and reaction to Diane Foley speaking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper about how she believed that the United States did not do enough to save her son Jim before he was brutally murdered by ISIS.
On Thursday’sNew Day, CNN’s Kate Bolduan hounded Senator John McCain to back President Obama’s new strategy to combat the Islamist terrorist group ISIS and help him gain congressional support: “We talk about how you are a critic of the administration. But now that there is a strategy, Senator – now that there is going to be action…how are you going to help the administration succeed now in implementing this?”
All three network morning shows on Thursday highlighted Barack Obama’s primetime speech from the night before, promoting his talk of a “broad coalition.” Yet, Germany and Britain have announced that they won’t take part in the President’s planned air strikes. In 2003, ABC, NBC and CBS hit George W. Bush for “going it alone” with a coalition of 18 countries.
CBS’s Bob Schieffer on Thursday night used the 9/11 anniversary as a chance to chastise Presidents Bush and Obama for making declarations that the war on terrorism had been won, but two and a half years ago Schieffer himself championed the Obama administration’s campaign boast. “The Obama administration declared Osama bin Laden dead and GM alive, as if the war on terror had been all but won, but, of course, it hasn’t.” During the 2012 campaign, however, Schieffer forwarded that very same talking point.
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”~Thoreau