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
After a big promotional push by ABC and NBC, Democratic House candidate Clay Aiken leads his primary opponent by 372 votes out of 28,000 cast on Tuesday. According to Good Morning America on Wednesday, the "American Idol congressional candidate" may pull out a razor thin victory. Co-host Lara Spencer enthused, "Clay Aiken in the public eye for almost a decade, making headlines for his songs, his personal life and now a run at the United States Congress." [MP3 audio here.]
Spencer stated the obvious, noting, "He was considered by many the underdog. [Primary opponent Keith] Crisco outspent him by nearly a half million dollars." However, the liberal candidate has had a lot of help from journalists. On February 6, Mara Schiavocampo enthused, "Well, simply put, he is a long shot but that hasn't stopped Aiken from throwing his hat in the ring."
The hosts of CBS This Morning on Tuesday featured Lynne Cheney to talk about her new book on James Madison. However, predictably, the topics drifted towards a grilling on gay marriage and her daughters' public spat over the subject. Additionally, Norah O'Donnell rather obviously quizzed Cheney on whether being a Secretary of State, like Madison, would still be a good path for the president in 2016.
On the subject of Liz Cheney's Senate run, O'Donnell lectured, "I do think this was an interesting story, not because it's two daughters of a prominent vice president, but also because Mary then said that her sister was on the wrong side of history." She added, "Was Liz on the wrong side of history?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Obviously, it was a painful thing for a mother to see her two daughters fighting publicly. If Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016, will the co-host bring up painful, personal topics from her marriage?
In another example of censoring a Barack Obama scandal, NBC has ignored the brewing controversy impacting American veterans and a shocking lack of access to hospital care. Though the news of up to 40 patients dying in Arizona has been going on for months, ABC finally covered the story on Tuesday's Good Morning America, offering a scant 29 seconds. Reporter Amy Robach informed that the President is "standing by his Secretary of Veterans Affairs," despite a call by the American Legion on Monday for his ouster. CBS This Morning gave it 18 seconds.
Robach explained that the nation's largest veterans group has accused "Secretary Eric Shinseki and his top aides of, quote, 'poor oversight and failed leadership,' after reports that as many as 40 patients in Phoenix may have died because of delays in care and allegations that hospitals have tried to cover up other delays." Despite the controversy, this was the first time Shinseki's name has been uttered on ABC since his nomination on December 6, 2008. Fox News and CNN have both covered the scandal, but NBC has avoided it. [See video of CNN's coverage below. MP3 audio here.]
MSNBC anchor Ed Schultz on Monday made inaccurate claims about Donald Trump, insisting that during an April 28 Fox News interview, the real estate CEO did not denounce Donald Sterling in the wake of the NBA owner's racist rant. Trump has complained that journalists spun his comments about Sterling and his "girlfriend from hell," V. Stiviano. Schultz asserted,"Donald Trump shredded Stiviano. Trump criticized Sterling's answers, but he [Trump] never touched his character." This is false.
A look at the April 28 Fox and Friends, the interview in question, finds Trump proclaiming, "What [Sterling] said was terrible and despicable and very strong action is going to be taken. There's no question about it." At another point, Trump denounced, "He is on tape and the tape is horrible and...I don't think he's got an answer for it. There's really no answer." He continued, "What he said was despicable and everybody, I think, agrees with that. I think probably very strong action is going to have to be taken by the commissioner." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In April, CBS and NBC found no time to cover the protests against Michelle Obama's planned graduation speech to high school students in Kansas. But both networks on Monday hyped the bullying of Condoleezza Rice from speaking to Rutgers University. Some of protest signs included an ugly caricature of the first female African American Secretary of State. Instead of discussing this, CBS This Morning journalist Elaine Quijano reported that "some felt" Rice "didn't deserve the honors because she championed war in Iraq and supported harsh questioning of detainees." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Quijano included two clips of liberal students chanting, "Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Condi Rice has got to go!" She then featured a clip of a professor deriding, "A person who has condoned and been involved in torture is not an appropriate person to receive an honorary degree of laws, no less."
[UPDATED with response from the Washington Post. See below.] The liberal comic Doonesbury has been on hiatus for ten weeks with no return date in sight. Instead of removing the strip from its pages, the Washington Post is running 41-year-old reruns. However, when the non-political Get Fuzzy comic took too many breaks, the Post simply axed it. On November 5, 2013, writer Donna Peremes derided, "At this point, 'Fuzzy' seems to be entering a zombie territory all its own. Out of the past 44 weeks up until we dropped it, 27 had been reruns."
Yet, in an interview with the Post on March 2, creator Garry Trudeau allowed, "I can’t assume I’ll be welcomed back a year or two from now." So, Get Fuzzy is removed for taking too many weeks off, but the Post will continue to run stale Doonesbury strips for years?
CBS This Morning journalists on Friday continued the show's obsession with legalized pot, offering an uncritical puffing of a new marijuana lobbyist in Washington D.C. Gayle King touted, "Marijuana is now legal in some form in nearly half the country. The growing cannabis industry wants a voice in Washington." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] A CBS graphic promoted, "Making Friends in High Places: Cannabis Industry Hires First Full-Time Lobbyist."
Nancy Cordes insisted, "And it's just inevitable that as the benefits and drawbacks of marijuana become more widely known, there are going to be more attempts to legislate it at the federal level." But she offered zero examples of what possible "drawbacks" could be. Instead, she repeated the talking points of pot lobbyist Michael Correia: "He spends his days urging members and their staffers to change the law that prohibits banks from lending to marijuana venders."
The hosts of Fox and Friends on Friday skewered liberal journalists for a "wild week" of media bias, skipping outrageous comments by prominent Democrats and downplaying a bombshell e-mail related to the Benghazi scandal. Radio talk show host Adrianna Cohen appeared on the show and attacked, "Clearly there is a left wing media bias in mainstream media. If you need proof, look at the way they haven't covered Benghazi." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
She added, "Now the smoking gun e-mail has surfaced, which ties the White House to the lie of the video. This is huge news. Every media outlet should be covering it." Highlighting MRC research Kilmeade pointed out that only CBS covered the story initially. ABC belatedly got to Benghazi hearings (but not the new e-mails) on Thursday night.
New York Times writer Amy Chozick on Thursday mediated a dispute between liberals like Bill Clinton and very liberal Democrats, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren. The 1250 word article included this uncritical headline: "Bill Clinton Defends a Legacy." Chozick sympathetically explained, "Former President Bill Clinton, who has grown increasingly frustrated that his economic policies are viewed as out-of-step with the current focus on income inequality, on Wednesday delivered his most muscular defense of his economic legacy."
Although the story included a quote from Ralph Nader attacking Hillary Clinton, the piece mostly relied on old allies of the former president to defend the power couple. Chozick helpfully lectured, "Voters generally have a rosy view of the 1990s." The journalist informed, "The speech reflected a strategic effort by Mr. Clinton and his advisers to reclaim the populist ground now occupied by Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and other ascendant left-leaning Democrats..."
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."