Rich Noyes

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Senior Editor

Rich Noyes is currently Research Director at the Media Research Center where he manages the MRC's longterm studies showing liberal media bias. An expert with more than 30 years of experience studying the news media’s impact on U.S. politics, Noyes has appeared on the Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC and many radio talk shows, and has authored articles which have appeared in the Journal of Political Science, New York Post, Investor’s Business Daily, Roll Call and Human Events.

Latest from Rich Noyes

Given the ridiculously overwrought coverage of the last month, if special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s report confirms media suspicions that Karl Rove and/or vice presidential aide Lewis Libby talked to reporters about Valerie Plame and weren’t completely forthcoming to investigators, you can expect the networks to go absolutely nuts, whether anyone is indicted or not. That’s why it’s worth recalling how the networks just yawned five years ago when Hillary Clinton — who, one might recall, was a pretty high level individual in the last administration — was found to have lied to investigators looking into one of the Clintons’ very first abuses of power, the firing of White House Travel office employees.

Maybe somebody at NBC wasn’t too happy that this morning’s Today hosted FNC star Bill O’Reilly. Right at the start of O’Reilly’s interview with Katie Couric, the on-screen graphic included the words: “No Spine Zone,” maybe a mere misspelling of O’Reilly’s trademark “No Spin Zone,” or perhaps a derogatory shot at their cable news competitor. We'll report, you decide.

As Brent Baker noted last night, the networks were far more excited about the supposed scandal of the administration having “a staged event” where the President talked by satellite with soldiers serving in Iraq. (Speaking of “staged,” how often do you think Brian Williams or Bob Schieffer sit down in the anchor chair and just wing it?)

Andrea Mitchell pretty much gave it away on Thursday’s Nightly News, allowing that “Many administrations, Democrat and Republican, stage-manage events. And often the news media ignore the choreography.” But the networks didn’t want to “ignore the choreography” yesterday, because it didn’t fit their spin. Mitchell preferred to expose what she called “a rare look behind the curtain of a White House trying to sell an increasingly unpopular war.”

If the Iraq war is “increasingly unpopular” — and polls suggest it is — one reason may be because the broadcast networks have heavily skewed their news agenda toward the bad news coming out of Iraq: car bombings, U.S. casualties, terrorist attacks, squabbling among Iraqi politicians, etc., etc.

I just finished a study of every Iraq story aired on the three broadcast network evening newscasts this year, from January 1 through September 30, nearly 1,400 stories. (More)

Too slow on Katrina, too quick on Rita? During Saturday’s special hour-long NBC Nightly News, reporter Kevin Corke suggested President Bush ran “the risk of looking like a political opportunist” with Hurricane Rita by taking exactly the active hands-on approach demanded by media critics in the days after Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast last month.

The liberal media are never satisfied.

MRC news analyst Mike Rule caught Corke’s reasoning:

The misery and loss of life following Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans make it the worst calamity to hit the United States since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. But after 9/11, many journalists insisted that their correct stance was rigid neutrality, refusing to call terrorists "terrorists" and insisting objectivity would be compromised by wearing lapel pins with the American flag.

The big three broadcast networks have been mostly silent during the run-up to the Senate's hearings on Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, with just a handful of evening news stories over the last five weeks. But big papers such as the Washington Post have been busily poring over Roberts' writings, hunting for the legal brief or memo that might put his seemingly-assured confirmation in doubt.

Tuesday's morning shows, especially NBC's Today, trumpeted as scandalous Monday's comment by Pat Robertson that "the time has come" for the United States to think about assassinating the communist and virulently anti-American Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, saying the option was better than "another $200 billion war."

NBC seems to be lending even more support to the far-left Air America radio network.

I have been struck by the way the same network reporters who tripped all over themselves to suggest "Bush knew" about 9/11 in advance and could possibly have prevented the whole thing are practically mute on Congressman Curt Weldon's charge -- seconded by a U.S. military intelligence official -- that civilian law enforcement agencies felt they could not act when the military figured out that Mohommed Atta and three other men were al Qaeda operatives in the U.S.

Could the networks' unenthusiastic approach be because the lapses Weldon is talking about happened during the Clinton era?

This afternoon I put together a Media Reality Check fax report laying out the ways the TV networks approached both stories. The network piece that really struck me as most over the top was one by CBS's Michelle Miller for the April 12, 2004 Early Show, who showed off a widow who insisted her husband (in Miller's paraphrase) “might have escaped the 76th floor of the South Tower, she says, if key facts in the August 6th memo were released to the public.”

As Mark Finkelstein accurately noted earlier this morning, NBC’s Today gave big play to the supposed havoc that rising fuel prices are having on American society. But the hype reached ridiculous levels when Katie Couric insisted during Monday’s show opening that “I had to take out a loan to fill up my minivan. It’s crazy.”

Couric makes at least $15 million a year co-hosting Today.

Here’s how Couric and co-host Matt Lauer teased their upcoming segment on the “pain” of “sky high” gas prices:

One of the more maddening aspects of the Cindy Sheehan story is the implicit argument that her virulent anti-Bush, anti-war attitudes represent a lot of military families, and perhaps even the secret views of soldiers themselves.

Just 16 days ago, CBS reporter Trish Regan did a story for the Evening News premised on the idea that the “reality” of the U.S. economy is far gloomier than the positive comments from experts such as Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. As MRC’s Brent Baker noted in the July 21 CyberAlert, Regan preferred to trust the offhand comments from people she met on the streets of New York City to all of the statistical evidence that the economy is growing at solid pace and creating jobs.

CBS showed Regan prompting a woman on a Manhattan sidewalk: “Alan Greenspan says the economy is doing fine, we’re seeing a lot of growth. What do you think of that statement?”

The woman replied, “I disagree with that.”

This morning's (Thursday's) New York Times has a front-page "news analysis" of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' world view, with the headline branding Roberts: "An Advocate for the Right."

In an interview taped a couple of days ago but aired on this morning's (Thursday's) show, Katie Couric asked Bill Clinton whether he thought Executive Branch employees should be fired for any ethical lapse, whether or not it was criminal:

"President Clinton as you well know President Bush has been under fire recently because Karl Rove allegedly released the identity of a CIA agent to reporters. President Bush has said it's a fireable offense now if a crime was committed but in your view is the ethical violation enough to warrant dismissal?"

As the MRC's CyberAlert noted on Thursday, an assistant editorial page editor with the St. Paul, Minnesota Pioneer Press, Mark Yost, has written a column, headlined "Why They Hate Us," castigating his reporters for omitting positive developments and emphasizing violence and negativity in their coverage of the Iraq War.

Monday's Washington Post and Washington Times each write about the latest Center for Media and Public Affairs content analysis of presidential news. The headline is that ABC, CBS and NBC awarded the current President Bush with mostly bad press during the first 100 days of both his first and second terms, what used to be a normal honeymoon period for freshly-elected presidents.