Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org site.
Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org. Previously, he was a contributing editor to NewsBusters and the MRC's senior news analyst. Scott's work has been featured or cited in outlets such as the Washington Post, the Washington Times, National Review, Red State, to name a few. He has also been linked to several times on the Drudge Report.
A July 2014 Media Reality Check by Scott documented how the networks shut out critics of Barack Obama's foreign policy, despite a summer of international crises. In April of 2014, Scott's blog on NewsBusters exposed how ABC falsely connected a former tech CEO to the hateful Westboro Baptist Church. This forced an apology by ABC News Vice President Jeffrey Schneider.
In April of 2013, Scott researched and wrote a Media Reality Check on ABC's complete blackout of abortionist Kermit Gosnell's trial. His stories on this subject and others were linked to on the Drudge Report, the Washington Times, Breitbart and Mediaite, to name a few outlets.
Scott is a graduate of George Mason University and is originally from Philadelphia, PA. He lives in Northern Virginia and can be contacted at SWhitlock@MRC.org. You can also follow Scott on Twitter.
Latest from Scott Whitlock
The journalists at CBS This Morning on Thursday skeptically examined a new law in Tennessee that allows criminal charges for pregnant women who abuse drugs. Co-anchor Norah O'Donnell warned, "...The ACLU says this law is dangerous. It could prevent women from getting necessary prenatal care."
Talking to CBS legal analyst Rikki Klieman, co-anchor Gayle King fretted, "But doesn't it raise a question if the state is trying to get involved in what a woman can and cannot do with her body?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Of course, the fact that drug use is already illegal didn't seem to cross King's mind. She continued, "Doesn't that raise a whole other set of issues that no one wants to get involved with?" Among the networks, CBS alone has covered the newly signed law, while ABC and NBC ignored it.
MSNBC's Ed Schultz on Wednesday found a way to connect conservatives to NBA owner Donald Sterling's racist rant. Talking about Republicans in Congress, he sneered, "Not raising the wage, the minimum wage, is every bit as racist as comments made by Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling. It's just displayed in a different way." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Ascribing bigotry to any political differences with liberals, Schultz foamed, "I think not raising the minimum wage is a racist policy. Standing up, making the case that people of color in this country do not deserve a living wage is a racist policy." Summarizing the whole concept, he lectured, "There's a lot of different ways to prove racism in America."
Ten days after touting the best marijuana in Colorado, CBS This Morning journalists woke up to some potential dangers for the state's decision to legalize pot. Gayle King on Wednesday informed viewers, "Colorado is rethinking the rules for pot-infused food this morning after two recent deaths." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Journalist Don Dahler explained, "Last month, a 19-year-old student jumped to his death off a Denver hotel balcony after friends said he ate a single marijuana cookie." Autopsy reports cited "marijuana intoxication" as a significant contributing factor. He added, "In another case just this month, woman called 911 to say her husband had eaten pot candy and was hallucinating." The man later shot his wife. This type of coverage is a far cry from previous CBS This Morning stories.
[UPDATE: As of Thursday the total was 165 minutes.] When network journalists decide a story is important, they make sure it dominates the airwaves. Over the course of three and a half days, ABC, CBS and NBC vigorously investigated a racist rant by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, offering 146 minutes and 39 seconds of coverage since Saturday night. CBS devoted the most, a whopping 52 minutes and 13 seconds.
NBC came in second with 48 minutes and 36 seconds. ABC was a close third with 45 minutes and 40 seconds. In contrast, important stories over the same time period that cast Barack Obama (or Democrats in general) in a bad light were buried by the network evening and morning shows. For instance, new White House e-mails released on Tuesday show that the administration played a direct role in creating misleading talking points on the Benghazi scandal. Only CBS This Morning covered the story -- and for a mere two minutes and 50 seconds. NBC and ABC skipped it.
The news that Barack Obama is "facing the worst poll numbers of his presidency" warranted a mere 18 seconds of attention from Good Morning America on Tuesday. This scant coverage is despite the fact that ABC conducted the poll in question (along with the Washington Post).
Reporter Amy Robach briefly explained, "And President Obama is returning to Washington today, facing the worst poll numbers of his presidency. His approval rating has dropped to 41 percent, mostly because of the economy." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] In contrast, when George W. Bush's approval rating dropped to 42 percent on March 7, 2006, GMA offered two segments. Co-host Robin Roberts trumpeted, "President Bush's job approval rating has sunk to a new career low." In another story, Roberts hyped, "We begin with the President's slumping poll numbers."
In just over 36 hours, the three network morning and evening shows have already devoted 70 minutes of coverage to racist comments apparently made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Yet, ABC, CBS and NBC have ignored Sterling's long history of supporting Democrats, including Senator Patrick Leahy, Bill Bradley and Gray Davis.
ABC offered the most coverage. Since Sterling was allegedly caught on tape ranting about "blacks," the network has promoted the story for 24 minutes and 48 seconds. CBS followed up with 23 minutes and five seconds. NBC came in a close third with 22 minutes and 18 seconds. The only host to highlight Sterling's history of supporting Democrats was Fox and Friends' Steve Doocy on Monday. He marveled, "I haven't seen this [the Democratic contributions mentioned] anywhere else." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
With only weeks left before she retires, View co-host Barbara Walters on Wednesday found time to fawn over another liberal Democrat. The veteran journalist repeatedly hyped Senator Elizabeth Warren as a possible president. As though she were the politician's publicist, Walters enthused, "A small town, Oklahoma girl grows up, handles the challenges of being a young, single mother, practically a teenager. She becomes a Harvard Law professor, a congressional advisor, and then the first female senator in the history of Massachusetts."
The host blurbed, "...Could her next move be the White House?" This was a topic Walter kept coming back to. Regarding a 2016 bid, she wondered, "What about the future? In the back of your mind, do you think maybe?" The journalist insisted that "some" are calling her "the future president" and "Hillary Clinton's nightmare." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The journalists at CBS This Morning, Wednesday, highlighted the "impassioned dissent" of liberal Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor on affirmative action. All three networks covered the 6-2 ruling upholding a state's right to ban race as a factor in public universities. But it was CBS's Jan Crawford who focused on the liberal anger, noting that Sotomayor "took the unusual step of reading [her dissent] aloud." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Crawford dramatically recounted, "She spent about 12 minutes really saying that the six justices in the majority just don't get it, that race still matters. It felt almost personal at times." The journalist added, "[Sotomayor] talked about the experiences young people face, racial indignities and discrimination and how race still matters and what the court did yesterday was put unique burdens on minorities."
Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday authored an op-ed on April 12 declaring herself a Christian. However, the journalist made sure to stress that she would keep her religion out of Post reviews. She also reiterated her dislike for movies such as The Passion, Son of God and Noah.
According to Hornaday, the reason for removing open expressions of faith from her work is "the journalistic habit of not allowing my personal biases to surface, thereby inappropriately using my work as a religious platform and alienating those readers who don’t share my faith or have no faith at all." She lectured, "Those individuals have every right to read a movie review or essay without feeling sermonized, excluded or disrespected." Yet Hornaday has repeatedly let her political biases slip through.
Forty four people were shot over the last three days in a bloody epidemic sweeping Rahm Emanuel's Chicago. Yet, CBS has, thus far, ignored the crime wave. In contrast, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning on Tuesday both briefly covered the violence in the city run by Barack Obama's former chief of staff.
GMA news reader Dan Abrams explained, "Special authorities are creating a special crime-fighting unit in Chicago after a shocking spike in street violence." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] He noted that among the victims were "six children and two more teenagers overnight." On Today, Willie Geist explained that five children were shot in a park on Easter Sunday. Even though CBS allowed no time for tragic news out of Chicago, the network's morning show devoted four minutes to a possible maple syrup shortage.
ABC, NBC and CBS routinely offer fawning coverage over Michelle Obama and her role as First Lady. However, a growing protest related to a planned gradation speech in Kansas has been ignored by the networks.
Fox and Friends covered the story on Sunday. Co-anchor Ainsley Earhardt explained, "The five high schools in the district would have a single ceremony, limiting the number of guests that each student can invite." She added, "Students and parents spoke out at a recent school board meeting saying that she might...upstage their big day." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] A Change.org petition has almost 2500 signatures requesting a return to "regular graduation."
CBS This Morning journalist Barry Petersen on Monday offered a puff piece on legalized pot in Colorado, displaying no skepticism about health effects. Instead, he happily explained that "more than 60,000 gathered to party for 4/20. In marijuana lore, the day in April to celebrate all things pot." Petersen noted that the convention includes "an actual trophy for the best pot." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
He informed viewers that the award went to "a Denver-grown variety called Ghost Train Haze." The entire story contained zero mention of any downside to increased pot use, despite the just-released study concluding that even casual marijuana use may damage your brain.
Since word broke on Thursday night that Chelsea Clinton will be having a baby, ABC has fixated over the news, devoting 12 minutes and 47 seconds of coverage to the arrival of America's new "royal" child. Yet, the same network totally ignored the latest delay of the Kyestone XL pipeline by the Obama administration (and the political ramifications that go with it).
On Friday morning, ABC reporter Bianna Golodryga hyped, "Move over, Prince George, though. This morning, Americans have their own royal, or, rather, presidential baby, to look forward to." On Sunday, This Week avoided Keystone, yet the ABC program opened with an announcer hyping, "Chelsea Clinton's surprise announcement. Has a Clinton dynasty begun?" Host Martha Raddatz brought the baby up to her panel and fawned, "Very important question, what do you think Hillary Clinton should be called as a grandma?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
CNN has been roundly mocked this week for extreme abuse of the "breaking news alert." On Monday night, Bill Weir combined yet another of the network's stories on the missing Malaysian flight with the anniversary of the Titanic's sinking. A graphic appeared on-screen that blared, "BREAKING NEWS: Titanic sunk 102 years ago tonight."
The segment was so ridiculous that even the liberal Washington Post derided CNN. Humor writer Alexandra Petri scolded her cable colleagues, sarcastically noting, "Thank heavens they’re here to tell us these things!" She wondered, "What happened to the Hinderberg? Is the Lusitania okay? I haven’t heard from that Donner Party in a while." [See video of the CNN segment below.]
According to the liberal network journalists, being part of a Democratic family makes you "royalty." Reporters on ABC, CBS and NBC gushed over the announcement that Chelsea Clinton is pregnant. Good Morning America's Bianna Golodryga enthused, "Move over, Prince George, though. This morning, Americans have their own royal, or, rather, presidential baby, to look forward to. "
On CBS This Morning, Jan Crawford was almost as excited, hyping, "...This is not as quite as big of a deal as when Prince William and Kate Middleton said they were expecting. But in the U.S., I guess you could say political dynasties might be the thing we've got closest to royalty."
After devoting 15 minutes to a Barack Obama interview in the last 24 hours, CBS piled on with another seven minutes devoted to a "scary powerful" top aide. Charlie Rose offered a puff piece on Alyssa Mastromonaco, Obama's deputy chief of staff. The CBS This Morning co-anchor on Thursday offered no tough questions and instead repeatedly underlined just how important she is. Rose marveled, "You know what somebody called you? Scary powerful."
The co-host narrated, "We recently spoke to her about her low profile, high power role. Every time I read a piece about you, it talks about power." Rose highlighted Obama's alleged feeling about her departure, quoting the President: "I'm not going to let you go...unless you promise me you will be there for me not only during the presidency but in the post-presidency." He followed up with Mastromonaco, saying of her post-White House days: "Is the most exciting time of your life behind you?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
CBS News devoted 15 and a half minutes on Wednesday night and Thursday morning to an interview with Barack Obama. Despite April 15th having just passed, correspondent Major Garrett offered no questions on taxes or the IRS scandal. He also avoided any queries on ObamaCare or the Benghazi terrorist attack.
Instead, more than four minutes on This Morning were given over to a horse race discussion on 2016. (Joe Biden joined the interview for that section.) Garrett did press the President on Russia and Ukraine, quizzing, "In your mind, is there a line, never mind the color, is there a line in eastern Europe or Ukraine, that Vladimir Putin must not cross?" After Obama paused as he formulated an answer, the journalist prodded, "Can you articulate that for the world and for the Russian government?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Two Democratic politicians in Texas apparently warranted a front page, 1200 word story in Wednesday's New York Times. Writer Jason Horowitz profiled San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and his brother, Congressman Joaquin Castro.
According to Horowitz, "The two brothers share not only looks, ambition and personal mannerisms — they both lower their heads, with almost monklike modesty, when greeting people — but also a childhood steeped in Latino activism, bunk beds and English." Horowitz also repeatedly hinted that one of the brothers could end up on a presidential ticket in 2016.
The liberal journalists at MSNBC have been quite enamored with Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, constantly promoting her Democratic campaign. Yet, a new poll showing her trailing by 14 points has gone unmentioned on the network. Even more interesting, Republican candidate Greg Abbott is beating Davis even among women, 49-41. The Public Policy Polling survey was released on Tuesday. Also, it should be pointed out, PPP is a Democratic polling firm.
In the past, MSNBC hosts have attempted to spin bad news for Davis. In January, Andrea Mitchell gently explained, "[She's] being forced to answer media reports down there that she had slightly altered her resume." In July of 2013, the journalist became one of her early cheerleaders, prompting, "Are you thinking about statewide office? Are you thinking about running for Governor?"
Former Newsweek editor Jonathan Alter appeared on The Ed Show, Tuesday, to lobby for more boycotts of the "racist" Rush Limbaugh. The radio host's crime, according to the writer, is making a few joking comments about the shoe-throwing incident involving Hillary Clinton. On his show, Limbaugh mused, "I can totally relate to people who think that everything the Clintons do is staged...I just don't attach much genuineness to them."
Limbaugh allowed, "Maybe it's because in my subconscious, I think it was staged." Alter railed against Limbaugh, assailing, "When do more boycotts of Rush Limbaugh's sponsors come? You know, there's been some racist garbage over the years. He's been racist on any number of occasions. " Alter lamented that there has only been " a little bit of a boycott" over past incidents. [UPDATED with video. MP3 audio here.]