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 Monday night, ABC and NBC continued its blackout of Vice President Joe Biden’s latest gaffes regarding U.S. allies in the Middle East that led to the White House forcing Biden to call and apologize to Turkey and the United Arab Emirates over the weekend. Additionally, NBC continued to not cover Biden’s other gaffe made in the same speech at Harvard University, in which he uttered an expletive when remarking to Harvard’s student body vice president about being the second person in command. On Monday night’s Special Report with Bret Baier on the Fox News Channel (FNC), the program’s panel discussed Biden’s latest gaffes as well.Weekly Standard senior writer Steve Hayes remarked that, while some enjoy laughing about Biden whenever he says something regrettable, “they can have serious, geopolitical repercussions and I think that’s what we’re seeing now.”
Joe Biden committed a string of gaffes over the last several days, but they have gone largely unchallenged by disinterested networks. Over the weekend, the Vice President was forced to apologize to the United Arab Emirates and Turkey. This came in the wake of cringe-worty comment using an expletive. On Monday, only CBS This Morning’s Charlie Rose reported, “Vice President Biden is apologizing to two American allies this morning for suggesting they helped ISIS.”
Appearing on Monday’s NBC Today, ex-CNN host Piers Morgan kept up the anti-gun crusade that caused his ratings to plummet, denouncing his colleagues in the press: “I wish more American media people, American news anchors stood up. Because so many of them privately to me would say, ‘I love what you’re doing. Keep going, it’s really important.’ But I never heard that on air. And I think there’s a certain moral cowardice in the media in America that needs to be addressed about guns.”
On Friday night, Ben Affleck appeared on HBO’s Real Time w/ Bill Maher and participated in a heated debate with fellow liberal Bill Maher over radical Islam’s influence on the Muslim world. Following the highly contentious fight, Monday’s CBS This Morning did its best to defend Affleck, portraying him as a well-respected liberal who “is known not only as an actor and Oscar-winning producer but also as the founder of the Eastern Congo Initiative, promoting the area’s economic and social development.” Norah O’Donnell turned to reporter John Blackstone who played up the “liberal dose of highly charged political fireworks” over whether or not criticism of radical Islam constitutes criticism of the entire Muslim faith.
While interrogating Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on NBC’s Meet the Presson Sunday, host Chuck Todd spat out a nasty attack line against the GOP regarding a new Texas law requiring abortion clinics to have hospital-level medical standards: “One of the things about the Republican Party is you don’t like a lot of regulation on businesses, except if the business is a abortion clinic.” Todd continued his rant: “80% of these abortion clinics in Texas are going to be basically out of business because of this new law. Too much regulation? Is that fair? Why regulate on the abortion issue now?…Why restrict a business now in the state of Texas?”
Prompted by Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski to confirm “you watch Morning Joe, I take it?”, actor/author Ron Perlman affirmed: “I get all my news from MSNBC.” He then quickly quipped: “Which is probably not wise.” To which, a guffawing Joe Scarborough agreed: “Trust me, it’s not.”
On Tuesday, NBC’s Today seized on accusations of anti-Muslim bias in the NFL after Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah was hit with a 15-yard penalty after appearing to pray in the end zone after scoring a touchdown. This was the same network that censored any mention of the Islamic extremism of an Oklahoma man who beheaded a co-worker on Thursday. In the Tuesday segment, co-host Carson Daly touted people rushing to denounce the NFL: “And people on social media were all over this, saying that it was because he’s a practicing Muslim. So here we go, Arsalan writes in, ‘Brandon Marshall gets on knees & raises hands to Jesus after TD..No penalty..Husain Abdullah bows to Mecca..15 yards!’ The memes started to come in, ‘Tim Tebow gets a trademark, Husain gets a 15-yard penalty.'”
According to View co-host and 9/11 truther Rosie O’Donnell, a Muslim NFL player being penalized for praying after a touchdown is the kind of thing that “propels us to war.” Talking to the other women of the show about Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah, Whoopi Goldberg wondered if Americans are “feeding into Muslim fear.” Somehow extrapolating from a single penalty in one football game, O’Donnell responded, “Yes. I think as a nation we are. I think that, you know, it propels us to war. You have to rally the country in order to bomb a country that did nothing to you and you need to rally them and so that’s what I think that was.”
Tuesday marked the deadline for hundreds of thousands Americans with insurance through ObamaCare to provide proper verification of their income levels or risk losing their government subsidies used to purchase health care plans. When it came to marking this critical deadline for ObamaCare, the major broadcast networks dodged coverage of the story in both their morning and evening newscasts. According to an article in Tuesday’sWall Street Journal, the Obama administration “told more than 300,000 individuals who obtained coverage through the federal HealthCare.gov site that they may lose some or all of the subsidies if they don’t provide additional income information” that matches what the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has on file.
Polls and prognosticators suggest a Republican takeover of the Senate in the 2014 midterm elections. Yet, the networks continue to offer scant coverage of the various races. The CBS Evening News on Sunday managed to briefly look at the Senate elections in Kansas and Colorado. Regarding incumbent Pat Roberts, Nancy Cordes warned, “He’s being dragged down by a very conservative governor who even some Republicans feel has pulled the state too far to the right.”
Saturday Night Live returned from its summer hiatus this week but if Democrats had succeeded in their September 11 vote to amend the Constitution there wouldn’t be any more political skits on the 40 year-old comedy institution. According to Senator Ted Cruz the Constitutional amendment, that would’ve been an end-around the First Amendment, would’ve given Congress the power to restrict political speech – even of the humorous kind found onSNL. So how much Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) coverage was devoted to the Democrats’ bid to bypass the First Amendment? Just one discussion, sparked by Cruz’s SNL comment, on the September 14 edition of ABC’s This Week.
After ignoring criticism on Monday of President Obama’s claim to 60 Minutes that the intelligence community was to blame for having “underestimated” ISIS, Tuesday’sCBS This Morning finally caught up with the story as co-host Norah O’Donnell declared: “…intelligence officials sort of brustled [sic] at hearing the President say that the intelligence community may have underestimated this threat. I mean, publicly, there’s a paper trail of intelligence officials before Congress saying ISIS is a problem.” Fellow co-host Charlie Rose added: “We’re also now hearing from high-level intelligence officials off the record, you know, that they think that it was wrong in a sense, as to some are suggesting, to throw intelligence community under the bus. I’m not sure the President meant to do that. But clearly, there is a push-back on the part of the intelligence community saying, ‘We tried to tell you.'”
On Tuesday night, NBC Nightly News concluded its program by pushing an over four-minute-long fawning segment on Hollywood actor and activist Ben Affleck that included banter between anchor Brian Williams and Affleck on New York and Boston sports teams, gushing over Affleck’s life and “restless mind,” and his disappointment about the United States “nation-building elsewhere” when it should be doing that in places like Detroit. Williams’s coverage of Affleck came as the show refused to cover the growing protests for greater democratic rule in Hong Kong and any news regarding the midterm elections, which are five weeks away fromTuesday.
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.”
If it’s Sunday, it’s time to advance liberal hopes. NBC’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd and ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos both opened by plugging segments which forwarded the hope liberal Democratic dreams are becoming reality. “Some Americans suddenly saying tax cutting has gone too far,” NBC host Chuck Todd announced, leading into a soundbite from a man in Kansas: “It’s been a train wreck.” Todd picked up: “Could Republicans now become the victims of a new anti anti-tax fever?” Over on This Week, ABC’s announcer trumpeted: “And midterm shake-up. Surprising new twists in key Senate races. Is Republican momentum stalling? Why the Senate is still up for grabs.”
Beginning Friday night, CBS began previewing an exclusive 60 Minutes interview with Leon Panetta, which aired Sunday night, where the former Secretary of Defense said he had advised President Obama to arm the Syrian rebels as early as 2012. Despite Panetta’s criticism of President Obama’s strategy to combat ISIS, ABC and NBC have ignored the story altogether since the preview for the interview first aired on Friday’sCBS Evening News w/ Scott Pelley.
On Sunday’sReliable Sources, CNN’s Brian Stelter touted a disgraced former representative as a non-partisan pundit and as an expert on media bias: “Now, I could bring in two partisan commentators now to argue about the media, but I’d rather from someone who’s been in the glare of the news media – someone who’s all too familiar with what happens when you go from darling to bad boy – then, maybe, back and forth. That’s former Congressman Anthony Weiner.”
In an interview with Ken Burns on Sunday’s web-based Meet the Press feature Press Pass, moderator Chuck Todd asked the historian and film-maker about his PBS documentary on the Roosevelts: “It’s amazing what the press didn’t cover….I mean, and if they had, obviously it could have changed history.” Burns responded: “It could. But I think we focus too much – we presume that because there was a gentleman’s agreement to turn off the cameras as he [FDR] started to stand up or when he started to sit down, that we know less….’Wasn’t that quaint an arrangement? They sort of looked the other way when JFK did that or they, you know, didn’t really notice Franklin Roosevelt’s illness.’ They actually did and they actually knew more and had better and more intimate access to power, and that’s an important thing.”
On Monday night’s NBC Nightly News, the program took a look at how Utah is now allowing teachers to obtain concealed carry permits to have firearms in their schools after training and continually passing background checks. As the media have done countless times, they found a way to turn it into coming across as a bad thing. NBC News senior legal and investigative correspondent Cynthia McFadden interviewed special education teacher Casey Hanson and seemed intrigued by her decision to purchase a pistol “to defend my students” after being shaken by the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary in December 2012.
On Friday’s NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer brought on political director and Meet the Pressmoderator Chuck Todd to discuss the latest NBC News/Marist poll on a major American institution being rocked by scandal. It wasn’t the Obama administration getting the bad press, it was the National Football League. That’s right, NBC News conducted an entire poll just on the controversies surrounding the NFL and then put its chief political expert on air to analyze the findings. Not a single mention of President Obama’s sinking poll numbers was mentioned during the Today segment, not even any reference to politics.
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice told NBC News that Governor Chris Christie (R-N.J.) was innocent of any wrong-doing relating to the closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge. Despite Governor Christie’s reported innocence, ABC and CBS have yet to cover the NBC story, but when the story originally broke in January, all three networks eagerly jumped on it. So far NBC has devoted only two news briefs on its Thursday night andFriday morning broadcasts totaling 59 seconds.
Talk about tone deaf at National Public Radio. On Thursday’s All Things Considered, NPR reporter Don Gonyea ran a segment on Governor Chris Christie (R-N.J.) traveling to New Hampshire to campaign with Scott Brown as he seeks to become the next senator from New Hampshire. Unsurprisingly, the NPR reporter did his best to play up the “Bridgegate” controversy despite the Department of Justice clearing Christie of any wrongdoing in the 2013 George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal. The accompanying story on the NPR website blared “Will bridge scandal jam Gov. Christie’s road show?”
When the Bridgegate scandal engulfed Chris Christie in January, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews went wild, repeatedly comparing the controversy to Watergate. On Thursday afternoon, federal officials revealed that the New Jersey governor had no prior knowledge of the planned traffic backup. Somehow, the Hardball anchor ignored the development. On January 8, 2014, the day the story broke, Matthews muttered, “Nixonian. It’s so Nixonian.” On January 10, Matthews theorized, “I grew up during Watergate. I got to tell you, it follows a certain pattern.” On January 15, the cable journalist fixated, “Well, this is not yet a Watergate, but the more we learn about Chris Christie, the more he does look like Richard Nixon.
On Friday morning, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski joined the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein in calling for equal news coverage if Christie is officially exonerated in numerous investigations into his involvement of the scandal known as Bridgegate to the non-stop coverage when it broke in January. During a discussion with their panel on Friday’sMorning Joe, they discussed news that a source informed NBC News on Thursday that a federal investigation has found no evidence that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie ( R) knew of or ordered lane closures on the George Washington Bridge in September 2013.
On Thursday’sTonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, comedian Billy Crystal reminisced about Robin Williams and recounted a hilarious moment, way back in 1988, when his longtime friend and fellow Democrat realized they had a stinker on their hands with presidential candidate Michael Dukakis. “So he continued the speech and Robin stands next to me. And as Dukakis is droning on, Robin says ‘No way this mother [bleep] wins.’”
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?”
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”~Thoreau