Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.
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Add liberal host Bill Press to the list of liberals who want the sequester to hurt Americans in order to prove a political point. On Tuesday morning’s Full Court Press, his radio talk show simulcast on Current TV, Press predicted that the FAA furloughs that went into effect Sunday will be just the tip of the big, bad sequester iceberg:
“[Y]ou know what, it’s gonna get worse and worse and worse and worse and at some point, Americans are gonna be down on their knees saying please get rid of this sequester. It’s gotta happen; you cannot do these across-the-board mindless cuts without having impacts like we started to see yesterday.” But Press didn't stop there, insisting that he "hoped" such delays continued and that they become "un-freaking bearable in every way."
Last week, before the Senate voted on the Manchin-Toomey gun control bill, Tavis Smiley declared that the idea that expanded background checks might not pass made him want to throw up. Well, the Senate has voted down the measure, and Smiley didn’t throw up on-camera. But he did hack up an angry rant on his PBS talk show Monday night.
The host focused on the idea that the overwhelming majority of Americans favor expanded background checks: "If there are polls and studies and surveys that show – and I’ve seen them, so I know this is true. If there are polls and studies and surveys that show that 90 percent of the American people want – or would have wanted, still want – some sort of background check, it raises the question how the president lost on this issue."
After more than a month of silence, PBS finally covered the murder trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell on Monday’s NewsHour. Considering that all other major news outlets have barely given Gosnell a mention, if they mentioned him at all, it was refreshing to see PBS devote a full seven-minute story to the gruesome abortionist (even if that story came at the very end of the broadcast). However, there was still a stench of disingenuousness in the air as the PBS journalists subtly dismissed the notion that the trial has not received sufficient media coverage up until now.
Anchor Jeffrey Brown introduced the story as “the murder trial of an abortion provider that has captured national attention.” But if the trial has captured national attention, why has PBS waited until now to mention it? Why have we seen nothing more than a trickle of coverage from other major national news outlets? The story might have rightfully captured national attention from the pro-life crowd, but the liberal commercial broadcast media, which favors abortion, has been unwilling to give it national attention.
This week, the Senate voted down the proposed Manchin-Toomey gun control bill that would have expanded background checks for potential gun buyers. Somewhere in Los Angeles, Tavis Smiley is cleaning up the mess he made.
On his PBS talk show two days before the Senate vote, Smiley was grilling socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) about the likelihood that gun control legislation would pass. Sanders told Smiley, “I think we stand a reasonable chance to at least pass legislation greatly expanding background checks.”
MSNBC’s Alex Witt told a whopper on Sunday’s Weekends with Alex Witt while chatting with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). The senator was on to discuss the gun control bill that he and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa) have authored. Manchin used the on-air opportunity to beg viewers and fellow senators to support his bill, and he found at least one willing supporter in the host who was interviewing him. At the end of the interview, Witt told him, “I don't often weigh in with my personal opinion, but I'm behind you 100 percent. Good luck.”
There’s really not much to say here. I think most of us recognize that it’s wrong for a news anchor to voice her support for a senator’s initiative on-air, especially on a topic as controversial as gun control. But Witt tried to excuse her bias in this instance by pretending she doesn’t usually give her own opinion. Perhaps she thought viewers would be more likely to forgive her if they believed her bias was rare. Bias is bias, no matter how often it happens. And Witt, like many MSNBC anchors, certainly has a history of weighing in with her own opinion.
Former congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) went on MSNBC this morning to react to yesterday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon. In a shameless moment of advocacy, Frank used the tragedy to make a political statement about revenue and the size of government. Considering that this happened on MSNBC, you might expect the host to condone the congressman’s liberal activism, but anchor Thomas Roberts actually called Frank out for his despicable attempt to politicize this tragedy.
Early in the interview, Frank stressed that none of us know much about who and what were behind this event as of yet. So the former congressman turned to what he does know how to do – attacking his ideological opponents:
When a secret, closed-door conversation about campaign strategy is recorded, illegally, and put out in the public domain, it's a significant story about invasion of privacy that should generate media attention. But of course, the target of the recording in question was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), so naturally the liberal media are turning a critical eye on him rather than the group that made the illegal recording.
On Saturday’s Today, NBC brought on the Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman to spin the controversy into a story about McConnell’s weaknesses and wrongdoings. Co-host Erica Hill started by asking if the conversation was recorded illegally. Fineman danced around the matter with an evasive answer: “Well, that's an open question... In Kentucky law and federal law it's possibly illegal, but that's open to question because the person recording it could also hear it.”
We’re living through an important moment in U.S. political history, and thankfully we have ABC’s chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl to tell us just how momentous it is. Karl appeared as a guest on Charlie Rose’s PBS show Thursday night to chat about gun control and the president’s budget, among other things. The veteran ABC reporter lamented the fact that neither Republicans nor Democrats on Capitol Hill appreciated President Obama’s budget very much:
"I mean, the Republicans didn't give him really any credit at all. And then you have on his liberal flank people like Barry Sanders [sic] saying this is outrageous that the president is, in the words of some progressives, stealing money from seniors, stealing deserved benefits. So it's hard to find somebody up on Capitol Hill that was truly ready to give the president credit. And to praise his budget."
Legendary British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has passed away, and given that she was a conservative, PBS can’t let her go without finding some way to criticize her. On Tuesday evening’s PBS NewsHour, Time Magazine’s Rana Foroohar was brought on to discuss Thatcher’s legacy. Why Foroohar? Well, according to anchor Gwen Ifill, not only does she cover economics and business, she also lived in Britain for nine years.
Foroohar got right to work, describing Thatcher as a “very divisive character” and a “very, very polarizing figure.” Ifill asked her if there are presently any heirs to Thatcher’s world view, and Foroohar responded that Thatcher’s heirs reside in the developing world and emerging markets. These countries are at a stage where Thatcher’s ideas of privatization and free markets can help them, according to Foroohar.
Karen Finney’s days as a Democratic National Committee spokeswoman are over, but you would never know that by listening to her speak in her current role as MSNBC contributor. On Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, Finney essentially reprised her role as DNC press secretary during a discussion with former Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) about President Obama’s proposed budget.
Host Alex Witt asked Finney how tough it would be for the president to get his own party on board with his budget proposal, given that many Democrats are upset about the proposed cuts to Medicare and Social Security. Finney ignored the question, instead using it as a chance to attack House Speaker John Boehner and the GOP. “I think [Boehner’s] reaction basically showed that Republicans are not at all sincere about wanting to work with the president. They won't accept the balanced approach," she groused.
Sometimes the media will engage in selective amnesia, pretending to forget about a past occurrence because the memory of it would hurt the liberal narrative they are trying to advance. That was clearly the case on this Saturday’s CBS This Morning.
The network’s political director, John Dickerson, was on to discuss President Obama’s forthcoming budget proposal, which is expected to include some cuts to the growth rate of Social Security. Unsurprisingly, Dickerson spoke entirely from the president’s point of view, essentially relaying the White House message to congressional Republicans, the crux of which was: “[Obama]’s also trying to create some public pressure on Republicans, saying look, I've offered something on my end, now you have to offer something, which in this case means some agreement to some level of tax increases.”
ABC is pushing hard for a Hillary Clinton presidential run in 2016. Earlier this week, as NewsBusters reported, Good Morning America reporter Claire Shipman launched “Hillary Watch” amid a gushing report that featured a Clinton supporter outside a rally saying that Hillary’s “got to save the country.” On Thursday, George Stephanopoulos fanned the flames of speculation with a post on ABC’s Power Players blog. [Read the full post here.]
The former Clinton White House aide -- although that was NOT mentioned for full disclosure for the benefit of the readers -- began his post in a brash manner: “Whether you like it or not, the speculation about the 2016 presidential campaign has already begun, and there’s been a whole lot of discussion about whether or not Hillary Clinton will run for president again.”
Liberals remain fearful of the rising political star of Dr. Ben Carson, and they are on the lookout for any possible way to undermine him. On last Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, MSNBC fill-in host Thomas Roberts did his part by comparing Carson to the Left’s favorite target of ridicule.
Roberts was talking to Republican strategist Joe Watkins about recent controversial statements made by Dr. Carson and Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska). Watkins thoroughly denounced both of the insensitive statements in no uncertain terms. But then Roberts followed up by essentially dismissing Dr. Carson:
On Tuesday’s PBS NewsHour, anchor Judy Woodruff brought on former Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) to discuss the problem of gridlock in Washington. The conversation started off well, but Woodruff soon made it clear who she believes is more responsible for a lack of legislative progress in the nation’s capital.
Snowe presented the problem as being caused by members of both parties. She cited the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street as examples of ideologically rigid groups on the right and left respectively. But Woodruff couldn’t let this even-handed approach fly on her program. She jumped in with a slanted question:
The mainstream media are in love with Pope Francis, but it's not because of his conservative theology. It's because they see him as a potentially liberal pioneer for the Catholic Church. On Saturday’s CBS This Morning, the network ran a story that cheered on the pope in his supposed struggle against more traditional voices within the church.
Vatican correspondent Allen Pizzey drew the battle lines at the top of his report and let his viewers know who is winning the fight: “Well, the Easter celebrations are highlighting a struggle between the new, simple ways of Pope Francis and the conservative old guard of the Catholic Church. So far, Francis is keeping one step ahead of his critics.”
On Wednesday, ABC News posted a story on its website that is sure to send chills of horror down the spines of women all across the northern Great Plains. The state of North Dakota only has one abortion clinic – and it may soon be forced to shut down if the state’s restrictive new abortion law goes into effect. (Read the full story here.)
The story, written by political reporter Chris Good, was a ridiculously one-sided plea for sympathy for North Dakota women who have to travel great distances to kill their unborn children. Good set the tone in the third paragraph:
Legendary South African leader Nelson Mandela is in the hospital today with a lung infection, and MSNBC could not resist using the occasion to compare President Obama to Mr. Mandela. During a discussion with Time managing editor Richard Stengel on her daily program, Andrea Mitchell showed a picture of then-Senator Obama visiting South Africa’s first black president in 2005. Mitchell cooed, “You can imagine the role that Mandela played just in the imagination of a young Barack Obama and all of his generation.”
Stengel picked up on that thread. “And I think, you know, there are similarities between President Obama and Nelson Mandela, I think, in terms of their temperament, in terms of their approach to problems as pragmatists.”
Compared to other MSNBC personalities, Luke Russert is usually rather restrained when it comes to his biases. But on Wednesday’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, the son of the late Tim Russert could not hold back the condescension in his interview with Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council.
Perkins gave an eloquent defense of traditional marriage, but Russert wasn’t having any of it. In his mind, as in many liberal minds, opposition to same-sex marriage must surely stem from fear. So Russert prodded Perkins:
Let’s all be thankful for CNBC. On this morning’s Squawk Box, co-host Joe Kernen raised a question that the Big Three broadcast networks have been afraid or unwilling to touch thus far.
While Kernen was chatting with CNBC Chief Washington Correspondent John Harwood about the sequester, Harwood brought up the FAA’s announcement that it will close 149 air traffic control towers next month. It was a story that ABC, CBS, and NBC each covered on their Saturday morning shows this week. Of course, what the broadcast networks failed to mention, but which Kernen raised, was Kansas Republican Senator Jerry Moran's amendment that proposed cutting $50 million in unspent FAA research money rather than closing the towers, $50 million being the approximate amount that would be saved by closing the 149 towers. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) refused to bring the amendment up for a vote.
With the Supreme Court set to hear a couple of monumental same-sex marriage cases this week, Saturday's CBS This Morning brought on two law professors to analyze the cases and the likely outcomes. They were not, however, impartial scholars; they were a pair of gay rights activists, Kenji Yoshino and Suzanne Goldberg.
Yoshino is a New York University legal scholar who specializes in constitutional law, anti-discrimination law, and law and literature. He is also an openly gay man who has written numerous commentaries, for various outlets, advocating LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage. But CBS introduced him only as a “specialist in constitutional law now working on a book on the Proposition 8 litigation in California.”