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
ABC and NBC on Thursday night and Friday morning ignored an announcement by the Internal Revenue Service inspector general that liberal organizations were not forced to endure the same invasive investigations as conservative, Tea Party groups. Only CBS This Morning covered the development. This contradicted earlier claims.
This Morning co-anchor Norah O'Donnell explained, "The IRS said this week that conservative and progressive groups were both given extra scrutiny." Reporter Anthony Mason added, "But a Treasury Department official said yesterday he found fewer liberal groups were targeted." According to O'Donnell, this was an example of conservatives "lashing out" at the IRS.
The journalists at Good Morning America on Friday worried that "inhospitable" Republicans in the House would leave the Senate immigration bill as "half-made history." Reporters Dan Harris and Jim Avila offered little in the way of explanation as to why a GOP Congress member might possibly oppose such a bill.
Avila lectured, "...History has been half-made. Now, the big question, will the euphoric momentum in the Senate halls push the GOP-controlled House into passing a similar immigration reform bill?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Dan Harris lamented, "The issue is about to move to the inhospitable Republican-controlled House." Avila read through a litany of supposedly tough measures in the legislation, but didn't explain, for instance, that the Senate bill is riddled with pork.
ABC's Claire Shipman isn't just another pro-Obama journalist. She's also married to Jay Carney, the President's press secretary. If that wasn't enough of a conflict, Jeffrey Lord of the American Spectator recently revealed that Shipman has served on a White House panel in her official capacity as a journalist.
A series of 2010 videotapes shows Shipman's role in the "Council on Women and Girls" and its "Conversation on Workplace Flexibility." Lord explained, "On the stage where Ms. Jarrett was speaking was ABC senior correspondent Claire Shipman, who was about to serve that day as the moderator of the event’s initial panel." The event was closed to White House reporters.
The journalists at Good Morning America seem to have decided that the gay marriage debate no longer has two sides. On Thursday, co-anchor Robin Roberts opened the program by spinning Wednesday's Supreme Court decision only as a good thing. She extolled, "And some wonderful pictures to show you of jubilation. People dancing in the streets in cities all around the country." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
After using the loaded term "marriage equality," Roberts gushed, "Celebrating well into the night. Look at San Francisco city hall, lighting up right there in tribute." Over the span of two segments totaling three minutes, GMA's reporters allowed a scant six seconds to opposition. Instead, the co-host simply highlighted the winners: "So many of those celebrations we showed you, erupting from coast-to-coast. Some of the biggest in San Francisco."
Though Chris Matthews was happy with Wednesday's Supreme Court rulings in support of gay marriage, the liberal host still used hyperbolic rhetoric to describe the state of the country and the Democratic Lieutenant Governor of California. Talking to Gavin Newsom, Matthews praised the politician, comparing him to an executed Civil War abolitionist: "In effect, you were sort of like John Brown or something back in the Civil War days- pre- Civil War days." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Brown lead an armed insurrection against the institution of slavery. He was tried and hanged. It's hard to compare Newsom's political actions in support of gay rights to that. Later, Matthews wondered about states that still ban same-sex marriage. He sneered, "What are we going to do if we have a country that ends up being divided this way, like almost like half slave and half free?"
The personalities hosting Good Morning America made little effort to hide their joy over the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling, Wednesday. During live coverage of the case on the west coast version of the program, news anchor George Stephanopoulos tossed the story to the openly gay Sam Champion, hyping his same-sex nuptials: "You and Rubem [Robierb] married in December. I can only imagine what this day feels like to you."
Champion marveled at the result: "My heart is pounding, like really thumping in my chest." He then lectured, "It's very easy to discount this into a legal brief or to say that they are theories. But this is about people's lives." The weatherman told viewers that "people all over this country" want "to know that they're equal and that their feelings for someone that they love can be legitimized and is just as right as their neighbors."
NBC and ABC journalists on Tuesday lamented a Supreme Court decision to strike down a key section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act as unconstitutional. But it was Nightly News anchor Brian Williams who offered the most hyperbolic summery. He opened the show by fretting, "As one reporter put it today, the U.S. Supreme Court has driven a stake through the heart of the most important civil rights law ever enacted, the Voting Rights Act." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Williams didn't explain who this "one reporter" was. (Perhaps he meant journalists at USA Today.) In a preview for the show, Williams sounded a similar theme, "The Supreme Court goes after the very heart of the most important civil rights law in U.S. history." The anchor focused on opposition to the ruling, noting, "...It fired up opponents from the president to the attorney general to civil rights groups."
A smiling Terry Moran made little effort to contain his excitement on Wednesday, hyping the Supreme Court's pro-gay marriage decisions as "poetic" and a "declaration" for "equal dignity." During live coverage, Moran and other journalists kept cutting to California, touting the cheering and celebrations there.
Minutes after the Court struck down key provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act, Moran thrilled, "And there is ringing language in here affirming the equal dignity and the equal rights of gay Americans under federal law." The grinning journalist said of Justice Anthony Kennedy's opinion, "He wrote one case in language that is almost poetic in its embrace and affirmation of equal status." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The always hyperbolic Chris Matthews on Tuesday touted Barack Obama's call for action on global warming with a rambling warning. The Hardball anchor hyperventilated, "And why did President Obama try to move the ball on global warming and climate change today? Well, because cities like Miami are about to turn into Atlantis if we don't do something about this." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
He added, "They're only five feet in the air, Atlantis– I mean Miami. " If one assumes that Matthews knows Atlantis isn't real, he presumably meant that Miami is only a few feet above sea level. Matthews lauded Obama, praising, "At least he knows that the future of the planet is at stake. He's got the right values."
According to Danny Werfel, the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, the IRS's aggressive investigation of conservative groups was wider than originally thought. Yet, NBC totally ignored the story on Monday night and Tuesday morning. ABC allowed a mere 19 seconds to the continuing controversy.
According to the Associated Press, "The Internal Revenue Service's screening of groups seeking tax-exempt status was broader and lasted longer than has been previously disclosed, the new head of the agency acknowledged Monday." In addition to only mentioning the subject for a few seconds on Good Morning America, news reader Josh Elliott misleadingly emphasized, "The acting commissioner says documents showing liberal groups seeking tax exempt status were also targeted for special scrutiny, along with conservative organizations." Left-wing keywords and phrases may have been put on lists, but there's no evidence that liberal organizations suffered the same harassment as conservative groups.
During live coverage, minutes after the Supreme Court struck down a key portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act on Tuesday, a hyperbolic Terry Moran on ABC inaccurately spun the whole law as being invalidated. It was left to former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos to correct his colleague.
Moran insisted, "Right now there is no voting rights act operative in the United States." Actually, the Court struck down section four of act, saying that the formula for which state and federal localities decide pre-clearance for their voting laws must be rewritten. Trying to clarify Moran's remarks, Stephanopoulos summarized, "They did not strike down the heart of the act, section five of the Voting Rights Act. And they didn't find the entire law unconstitutional." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In the last month, ABC's morning and evening news shows allowed a scant four minutes and 51 seconds of coverage for the immigration bill working its way through Congress, this despite describing the legislation as "landmark" and a "blockbuster." In contrast, the same network devoted 16 minutes and 51 seconds, over three times as much, to examining every tabloid detail of actress Amanda Bynes's arrest and subsequent feuds with other celebrities.
Since May 24, Good Morning America, World News and Nightline have largely ignored important questions about the proposed immigration bill. Will it actually secure the border? Should Americans trust the promises in the bill? Most of the stories on the network were brief and hyped the legislation as historic. On June 21, Bianna Golodryga quickly mentioned the "last minute negotiations on a blockbuster immigration reform deal." She told viewers that the number of border agents would be doubled, but only spent 16 seconds on the entire story.
In a continuing attempt to humanize George Stephanopoulos, ABC is now running lighthearted new promos for the host of This Week. In the spots, the former Democratic campaign operative barges into the kitchen of a couple to ask, "You guys got any milk?"
The admiring woman coos, "It's George Stephanopoulos. He's also on Sunday mornings." In another commercial, a second woman praises, "George on Sunday mornings. Now, that's good." One odd moment in the ad has Stephanopoulos, who is five foot, six inches tall, towering over a refrigerator by a good five inches. (Just how short is that fridge? See picture below.)
According to pop culture-obsessed Chris Matthews, a good comparison to TV "icon" Tony Soprano is Bill Clinton. While discussing the untimely passing of actor James Gandolfini, the Hardball anchor insisted that if "more politicians could invoke" the personality that the fictional mobster did, "we'd have a lot more popular politicians."
Matthews gushed, "I think Clinton had a piece of this. I think we always knew Clinton's problems. He was the most transparent guy ever to be president." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The liberal journalist proclaimed, "All his problems were human problems," just like Tony. He added, "People today really look back on [Clinton] with tremendous affection." Inside the Actors Studio host James Lipton explained the popularity of the two men: "Hey, we like a little evil in people...It's one of the most attractive qualities that a person can have." Remember, Matthews and Lipton were trying to be positive.
A sneering group of MSNBC hosts and analysts on Thursday berated Sean Hannity for his "mindless" anti-government attitude, mocking him as "pathetic." The Fox News host gave an interview to Playboy magazine in which he dismissed much of the federal government as "dysfunctional." Ex-Newsweek editor Howard Fineman, who has bragged about "steering clear of partisanship," slammed Hannity for having a "deliberate lack of self-awareness [that] is just stunning."
Speaking of the federal government, Fineman continued, "One of the reasons why the system is so dysfunctional is because of the mindlessly accusatory nature of what he...what they [conservatives] do." The journalist, who has prided himself on "keeping an even keel ideologically," accused Hannity of being "an enthusiastically, vigorous user of that style of rhetoric and politics and it's one of the main reasons why things aren't working." Fineman exhorted viewers, "Wake up! Wake up!" [MP3 audio here. See video below.]
ABC's Good Morning America on Thursday deemed the admission by the FBI that they have used drones inside America to be a "stunning revelation." Yet, news reader Josh Elliott somehow managed to ignore the fact that his own program already talked about this fact back in February. Elliott breathlessly related, "And another stunning revelation as lawmakers look at the National Security Agency's controversial surveillance programs."
He added, "For the first time, the FBI has acknowledged using drones to spy on Americans here on U.S. soil." However, on February 4, 2013, ABC reporter Gio Benitez covered the story of a young boy behind held hostage in Alabama. He explained, "This morning, drones like this are flying over the homemade underground bunker." If this wasn't clear enough, a graphic underlined, "Drones Now Flying Over Bunker." The FBI was heavily involved in this case. The news is hardly "stunning."
MSNBC's Chris Matthews and his liberal guest on Wednesday thrilled over the relationship between Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Washington Post writer Eugene Robinson even compared them to Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: "I think in a way, you know, Barack and Angela are the new Ronnie and Maggie...They can be kind of a dynamic duo." (Of course, Reagan and Thatcher oversaw huge economic recoveries and the end of the Cold War. Hardly an apt comparison.) [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Highlighting Obama's speech in Germany, Matthews saw a secret plan to promote Hillary Clinton. After mentioning Thatcher, plus other famous female leaders, he wondered "whether this partnership between our president...isn't that a leading indicator?" Matthews theorized, "I think it says to Americans watching television, yes, this makes sense. It makes sense to him for Hillary to be the next person standing in that role he's in."
Terry Moran, co-host of the liberal Nightline, will be leaving the show this summer, according to TV Newser. The program, which lost half its audience since being demoted to 12:35 at night, has downplayed and minimized Barack Obama recent scandals in favor of superficial, light-weight segments.
Moran has relegated much of his serious journalism to Twitter. On May 10, the reporter used the social media site to question the Obama administration's "Nixonian abuse of power" in the wake of the IRS scandal. On May 11, his program ignored the breaking story. By May 15, the show had allowed a scant 28 seconds to the topic. While Moran tweeted away on the IRS controversy and Benghazi, his show covered the latest on plastic surgery and other topics. On Monday night, Nightline featured a story on ten-year-old rapper Lil' Poopy.
MSNBC's Martin Bashir on Tuesday snarled at a fellow liberal, Congressman Alan Grayson, for daring to compare the National Security Agency's spying program to Nazi Germany. This is the same Bashir who, on January 14, 2013, compared conservatives to Hitler.
Linking Grayson to the dreaded National Rifle Association, Bashir attacked, "The NRA says a bill which prohibits a gun registry is actually an echo of Hitler. And, of course, you've mentioned the Nazis in connection with the NSA." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] In January, however, Bashir lectured, "If anyone deserves to be equated with Hitler on the issue of firearms, then it's not the President. It's the NRA." Mr. Bashir, are Nazi comparisons wrong or not?
The journalists at Good Morning America on Tuesday offered a light-hearted, whimsical look at the Obama family's multi-country vacation. Reporter Linsey Davis played U2's "Beautiful Day" and compared the Ireland part of the trip to National Lampoon's European Vacation. Davis gushed, "You know it's a beautiful day when U2's Bono reportedly invites you to a private lunch at his favorite Irish pub, the famous Finigan's of Dalkey."
She added that "dining with a rock star is one of the perks of being a first family." Nowhere on the morning program was any mention of the cost of the trip. Ireland's Independent reported, "It is understood a total of 30 rooms in the five-star, 265-bedroom hotel, have been booked for the visit of Mrs Obama and her entourage."