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 Friday appeared excited over the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, hyping the "cannabis capitalism" in the state and a new "pot tour" business that has sprouted up. Showing little skepticism, reporter Barry Petersen offered a light-hearted take: "Appropriately enough, the pot tour ends at a sub shop where Acapulco gold is a sandwich and they're ready to help with those marijuana munchies." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Petersen narrated, "Call it cannabis capitalism, the latest leaf to sprout from legalized marijuana. Michael Eymer's pot tours costs $240 bucks a person." The journalist offered a promotional look at the new industry: "Eymer has bookings and belief that he's in on one of Colorado's new growth industries. If I want to take the tour, how long am I going to have to wait to get aboard?"
Excited about the possibility of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie no longer being a viable presidential contender, Hardball host Chris Matthews on Wednesday swooned about the Democratic potential for 2016: "This could be like the 1964 election with Lyndon Johnson being portrayed this time by Hillary Clinton, grabbing 60 percent of the vote because she grabs the middle." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Matthews continued his hypothetical sequence, speculating, "[Clinton] could grab the middle. The Republicans run a wacko bird, as John McCain calls them. We have a sweeping election." It should be pointed out that, as of January 23, 2014, November 8, 2016 is two years and 288 days away. So, a lot "could" happen.
ABC reporter Jon Karl on Wednesday broke from the official journalistic fawning over Michelle Obama's birthday, asking White House Press Secretary Jay Carney about the cost and whether the American taxpayer would pay the bill. Yet, his own network totally ignored the exchange and kept it off Wednesday's World News, Nightline and Thursday's Good Morning America.
In the briefing, Karl pushed, "The First Lady had her 50th birthday party and I believe you said that the President picks up the cost for that party." Carney dodged, "I think we put out information. I don't have it here. I would refer you to the east wing." The ABC journalist followed-up, "I was just wondering if you had an estimate on what the cost was?" Again, the White House spokesman spun, "I don't. But I would refer you to the east wing." The "east wing" is a reference to Michelle Obama's office. [For C-SPAN video of the exchange, see below.]
CBS This Morning journalists on Wednesday pushed a new San Francisco tax on buses as a symbol of "income inequality" and failed to identify a liberal organization supporting the move. The progressive city approved a $1 per stop tax on tech company buses that transport employees to the Silicon Valley. CBS journalist John Blackstone lectured, "The private buses have become symbols of income inequality and the belief that well paid tech workers are to blame for steeply rising rents." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Talking to Cynthia Crews, identified in the segment as a "San Francisco resident," Blackstone sympathized, "So, a dollar a stop doesn't seem like much." Blackstone featured Crews insisting, "The shuttles, the tech companies are not paying their fair share." According to the Canadian Globe and Mail, Crews is "a representative of the San Francisco League of Pissed-Off Voters." That group's website features endorsements, like this one for city attorney: "A progressive City Attorney would have more guts to stand up to the fat cat companies...who get way too many breaks in this town."
Unlike the journalists at NBC, who last week offered a fawning profile of "overnight sensation" Wendy Davis, CNN's Anderson Cooper on Tuesday night actually investigated the "misleading" claims and "stretching the truth" of the liberal gubernatorial candidate's bio. In a "keeping them honest segment, AC360 anchor Cooper informed viewers that an "aspiring governor is under fire tonight for allegedly blurring the facts of her life story, stretching the truth to the point where, well, some say they feel misled or worse." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
While NBC's Maria Shriver on January 15 credulously repeated how the Texan's "personal story resonated across the country," Cooper explained that "as compelling as it is, doesn't stand up to the facts." In commercials and campaign events, Davis has been insisting that at age 19, she was a single parent who lived in a mobile home. AC360 reporter Ed Lavandera clarified, "It turns out Davis separated from her husband at age 19 but didn't divorce until she was 21. And the trailer court, which has gotten top billing in her bio, the reality is she may have only lived there for a few months."
Chris Matthews really doesn’t listen when he speaks. On every program since Chris Christie’s bridge scandal broke on January 8, the MSNBC anchor has smeared the Republican governor as just like Richard Nixon in Watergate. Matthews has done this for nine straight shows, including the January 20 edition.
However, on the same program, with no sense of self awareness, a thought occurred to the anchor. He announced that if “it is discovered that Governor Christie did not encourage political revenge, did not signal that this is the way he wanted political business conducted, then he will be exonerated before the eyes of the country. The facts will decide it. And that`s the way it should be.” [See video below.]
All three networks on Tuesday morning continued to pile on Chris Christie, offering gloating coverage about how his “glory days” have gone terribly wrong. After recounting everything that has gone awry for the Republican, Good Morning America's Jim Avila imagined, “You can almost see at the inauguration today, Governor Christie raising his right hand and shaking his head at the same time. “ [See video below.] Co-host Robin Roberts added, “It’s not what they thought today was going to be.”
After reiterating that the new year is “not at all going to plan” for Christie, Avila continued, “Instead, [the governor has been] forced to play scandal whack-a-mole, with new poll numbers falling.” CBS This Morning offered a network graphic that trumpeted, “Christie Crisis.” Journalist Elaine Quijano featured Alex Burns from the liberal Politico to lecture that in order to run for President, Christie needed to “run up the legislative score board in New Jersey. I think we can safely say that all those plans are on hold.”
In January of 2013, Nightline was demoted to the TV wasteland of 12:35 in the morning. Since then, the ABC program has become increasingly superficial, shedding hard news in favor of crime and celebrity stories. On Thursday, the program got even weirder, spending 30 minutes on white and black racists and mediating a discussion between the two on a supposed coming race war. It all played out like some racist reality TV show.
Byron Pitts profiled Matt Heimbach, a 22-year-old white supremacist who hates Jews, African Americans and gays. ABC took Heimbach to meet a "black national, now an ordained minister who's running for a seat in the U.S. Congress and warns that a race war is coming." Pitts marveled, "The two find common cause in a common enemy, corporate America." Heimbach enthused, "Why don't we hang a couple of bankers instead of random white people?" Mmoja Ajabu agreed, "Well, I think we're finding common ground." [See video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
For seven straight days, Chris Matthews and his Hardball guests have hyperbolically compared Chris Christie's bridge scandal in New Jersey to the constitutional crisis that ended Richard Nixon's presidency. On every single program since January 8, Matthews and guests have linked last fall's traffic jam to Watergate. On Thursday, GOP strategist John Feehery reminded, "They're completely different...There were high crimes and misdemeanor with President Nixon." The MSNBC journalist responded, "Wait, a break-in was worse than this?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On January 8, the day the scandal erupted, Matthews immediately jumped to the comparison, muttering, "Nixonian. It's so Nixonian." On January 9, while talking about Christie's innocence or guilt, the host connected, "...When people say they feel sorry for the Watergate people....Their lives were ruined. I always say I got a worse one for you -- they got away with it."
Pro-Second Amendment author Emily Miller appeared on CNN and dismantled a gun control guest. CNN Newsroom anchor Brooke Baldwin talked to Arkadi Gerney of the liberal Center for American Progress and Miller about the announcement that powerful studio mogul Harvey Weinstein plans an attack film on the NRA.
Gerney lectured, "Emily is wrong when she said there isn't evidence that gun laws lead to reducing gun violence." Miller shot back, "Name one then...Name one." Gerney replied, "If you compare that to the ten states with the weakest gun laws in the country, you see gun deaths that are half, half the gun deaths in those states." When asked to prove it, Gerney offered himself as a source: "That's a report that I wrote and published last year on the website for the Center for American Progress."Miller zinged, "Oh, it's yourself. Oh, okay, so you're a leftist organization and your own information." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Chris Matthews, always eager for hyperbolic predictions of Republican doom, on Wednesday insisted that Chris Christie's bridge scandal in New Jersey is pretty much like Richard Nixon's Watergate. Comparing a severe traffic jam to a scandal that paralyzed the United States government and brought down a President, Matthews suggested, "Well, this is not yet a Watergate, but the more we learn about Chris Christie, the more he does look like Richard Nixon." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
To make the comparison simple, Matthews played a clip of the New Jersey Republican claiming he wasn't "a bully" and then showed a clip of Nixon famously defending, "I am not a crook." Matthews offered, "Not a crook, not a bully." The host allowed that there is "no direct evidence that ties Christie directly," but added that "the entire scandal has an eerily familiar ring, doesn't it?" The graphic for the story wondered, "Tricky Christie?"
Spinning liberal-friendly stories as the end of the world is a popular thing at ABC. Good Morning America's Jim Avila on Wednesday hyped the scandal involving Chris Christie as "traffic armageddon," a hyperbolic term the network loves. On Saturday, Avila mentioned the "four-day traffic armageddon." [See video of both below. MP3 audio here.]
As the sequester set in on April 22, 2013, co-anchor George Stephanopoulos freaked out: "Breaking this morning: Airport armageddon. Almost seven thousand flights could be delayed." On March 1, 2013, a GMA graphic warned of "budget armageddon." On April 23 reporter Matt Gutman predicted an "airline apocalypse."
On the same day that the latest report on the terrorist attack in Benghazi was released, the journalists at Good Morning America chose to obsess over an "exclusive first look" at People magazine's "revealing" interview with Michelle Obama. Focusing on the scoop, lifestyle anchor Lara Spencer on Wednesday gushed, "So honest on a range of topics, including her take on plastic surgery and Botox. We have an exclusive first look right here." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Regarding the First Lady's 50th birthday, Spencer could hardly contain herself. She announced, "The big day is fast approaching." The host insisted that the President has "already given an early gift" by "taking the girls home to Washington, leaving the First Lady behind for an extra few days of vacay [sic] with some of her close friends, including Oprah." As with GMA's last report on the vacation, there was no mention of what the extended trip will cost taxpayers.
A gloating Chris Matthews on Tuesday appeared on The View and labeled the wounded Chris Christie as the "only" candidate who could have beaten Hillary Clinton in 2016. The Hardball anchor sneered, "That's why you're left with Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. They're not going to be elected president of the United States." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Speaking of Christie, Matthews pronounced, "When you make a list, one guy can really go on national TV against Hillary Clinton as a sort of the middle of the road Republican. The rest are far to the right. The. Republican Party, no matter what you think of it, rarely runs a right-winger." The journalist also implored a fired Christie aide to take the New Jersey governor down.
The journalists at CBS This Morning on Tuesday hyperventilated over the latest "fashion milestone" for Michelle Obama, donating four minutes to the First Lady's second inaugural dress appearing at the Smithsonian. In contrast, the latest setback for ObamaCare warranted only a minute and 19 seconds.
Co-host Charlie Rose enthused, "First Lady Michelle Obama is marking another fashion milestone. The Smithsonian Institution decided two dresses are better than one." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Jan Crawford appeared at the American History Museum to update the breaking news that Mrs. Obama's red dress will be on display. Crawford promoted, "Mrs. Obama's shoes also will be on display. But they're a little different than the shoes she wore four years ago."
In less than 48 hours, ABC, CBS and NBC deluged viewers with coverage of Chris Christie's traffic jam scandal, devoting a staggering 88 minutes to the story. In comparison, these same news outlets over the last six months have allowed a scant two minutes for the latest on Barack Obama's Internal Revenue Service scandal. The disparity in less than two days is 44-to-one. [See a chart below.]
From Wednesday through Friday morning, the latest on Christie's Traffic-Gate led 11 out of 13 news programs. NBC produced the heaviest coverage, over 34 minutes. CBS followed close behind with more than 30 minutes. ABC came in third with just under 23 minutes.
In less than 24 hours, the big three networks have devoted 17 times more coverage to a traffic scandal involving Chris Christie than they've allowed in the last six months to Barack Obama's Internal Revenue Service controversy. Since the story broke on Wednesday that aides to the New Jersey governor punished a local mayor's lack of endorsement with a massive traffic jam, ABC, CBS and NBC have responded with 34 minutes and 28 seconds of coverage. Since July 1, these same networks managed a scant two minutes and eight seconds for the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups.
In contrast, journalists such as Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos pounced on the developing Christie story. The GMA host opened the program on Thursday by announcing, "Chris Christie in crisis. Calls at this hour for the feds to step in, investigate the explosive e-mails." [See a video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
A Utah-based gun manufacturer turned down a $15 million contract with Pakistan in the name of keeping weapons from falling into the hands of America's enemies. ABC, CBS and NBC, networks that routinely demonize the firearms industry and promote gun control, ignored this positive story. Only Fox News highlighted Desert Tech's decision to put the troops before profit.
Fox and Friends co-anchor Brian Kilmeade on Tuesday explained, "Fifteen million is a lot of money. But for this Utah gun manufacturing company, it represents more than a year of solid business." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] He added, "So, you think they would jump at the chance to make 15 million bucks in one day. But the guys at Desert Tech said no because the weapons were headed to Pakistan."
MSNBC's Ed Schultz on Tuesday compared thanking postal employees for working in the cold to praising military veterans for serving their country in war. The Ed Show anchor was talking to postal union President Frederic Rolando and railing against Republican Congressman Darrell Issa's criticisms of the money-losing agency. This led Schultz to compare, "Oftentimes, we see citizens in this country go up to veterans and say, you know, 'I want to thank you for what you do.' I've seen people on airplanes give up their seats in first class to that guy or woman that has the uniform."
He added, "It might be good right now if you were to say to your postal worker, very good chance that that is a veteran, 'Thanks for everything you do. I know it's kind of chilly out.'" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Schultz has a history of making extreme comparisons in relation to the American military. Back in October, the host took a call on his radio show from a veteran who insisted that he would lose coverage because of ObamaCare. Schultz snarled, "I'm a veteran. I'm a veteran taxpayer of over 40 years, okay?"
Both ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning on Tuesday covered a big win for the Second Amendment in the courts. But NBC's Today couldn't make time for the ruling by a federal judge that struck down Chicago's ban on retail gun sales. Instead, the morning show devoted almost five minutes to a new reality show about the mythological Bigfoot monster.
Good Morning America's Josh Elliott explained, "A federal judge has struck down Chicago's ban on gun sales, calling it unconstitutional...Chicago's murder rate was the highest in the nation last year." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Over on This Morning, Charlie Rose informed viewers that "[U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang] says banning the sale of firearms in Chicago is unconstitutional. He's not convinced it helps with gun violence."