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 same networks that have been minimizing and ignoring the growing scandal at the Internal Revenue Service all found time to fawn over 50-year-old footage of President Kennedy vacationing with family. A World News graphic on Sunday night thrilled, "Return to Camelot."
Anchor David Muir breathlessly narrated the video to cloying, emotional music provided by ABC: "President Kennedy teeing off. The 46-year-old President putting and, well, missing the shot. The camera trained on him though for the entire round of golf and with the next putt there is more success." Muir gushed over footage of a young Caroline Kennedy on "the lap of her father as they finished their sun-splashed weekend fifty years ago tonight." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
It's now been a week since Detroit filed for bankruptcy and yet ABC, CBS and NBC have resisted considering what caused the financial failure, details such as the city's massively high tax rate, failed educational system and the total Democratic dominance for over 50 years. On Sunday's Meet the Press, anchor David Gregory bluntly asked Chuck Todd, a former Democratic operative, who was responsible for Detroit's collapse: "...Who let Detroit down? Which politicians let them down?"
Rather than point out that Democrats have controlled the city for 51 years, that Republicans haven't held the mayor's office since 1962, Todd evasively responded, "I think there was poor governance in Detroit for a very long time. This turned into a machine political town." Who was responsible for the poor governance? Which machine in particular? Todd didn't say. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
[UPDATED with video below.] In case you weren't sure, Chris Matthews wants viewers to know: Conservative opposition to Barack Obama is made up mostly by racist "haters." In a two minute rant on Thursday's Hardball, Matthews used the "hate" label eight times. The anchor sneered, "There are too many people on the American right who hate the very notion of Barack Obama in the White House. It grates on them."
Matthews smeared, "Have his haters ever stopped hating him? When we got bin Laden...?" The idea that conservatives didn't celebrate the death of the 9/11 mastermind is absurd. The host prefaced, "You can say it's not about race or whatever. You can say it." He then launched into examples that supposedly prove conservative racism. (Not giving credit for the President's nice children, his marriage.)
Now that former Democratic Congressman and current mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner has been caught, again, sending sexually explicit texts to women, the hosts of ABC's Good Morning America decided to ask the important question: What is cheating?
Regarding the extremely graphic messages Weiner sent, reporter Linsey Davis wondered, "Is texting really cheating?...Do explicit E-mails, texts and tweets, like the ones Weiner sent even count as cheating?" GMA weatherman Sam Champion saw this question as a type of public service, lecturing, "It's a good conversation. I think a lot of people have had that talk lately." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In a mere three days, the Big Three network morning shows have devoted more coverage to the birth of the British royal baby then they gave to news of the IRS scandal since that story broke 74 days ago.
Since Monday morning, ABC's Good Morning America, NBC's Today show and CBS This Morning deluged American viewers with 187 minutes worth of hype about another country's monarchy. In contrast, the same programs provided only 157 minutes, over ten and a half weeks, for a serious political scandal.
NBC, ABC and CBS began reporting on the IRS harassment of Tea Party groups back on May 11 and have averaged two minutes and six seconds of coverage per day (two hours and 36 minutes total). Since the Duchess went into labor Monday morning, those same shows cranked out about three hours, eight minutes of coverage, or an average of 62 minutes, 35 seconds per day (for all three networks).. That translates to a rate of coverage 34 times more intensive for the royal baby than for the royal mess in Obama's IRS. [See graph below.]
Despite devoting three segments to Anthony Weiner's latest sexually explicit photos and texts, Good Morning America on Wednesday failed to identify the New York politician as a Democrat. Instead, an ABC graphic simply called him a "mayoral candidate" for office. The previous evening's World News deemed Weiner a "former congressman" and a "mayoral candidate."
Reporter Jeff Zeleny delicately described Tuesday's bizarre press conference: "It was a real human drama when his wife stepped forward to deliver a very public testimonial." Zeleny told viewers that Huma Abedin, Weiner's wife, "is defending her man and his candidacy." In a follow-up segment, Linsey Davis focused on Abedin. A graphic declared, "Standing By Her Man: Wife Stands By Weiner in Sexting Scandal."
The three network morning shows on Tuesday predictably lost all perspective over the birth of the royal baby, devoting a staggering 85 minutes of coverage to Britain's new prince. Yet, ABC, NBC and CBS still declined to offer any update on a political story important to America, the widening Internal Revenue Service scandal.
Over four hours, the Today show obsessed over the royal birth for 41 minutes and 19 seconds (or 16 segments). Good Morning America, half the length of its NBC counterpart, almost equaled Today with 33 minutes and 16 seconds (13 segments). Just as on Monday, CBS This Morning showed the most restraint. The journalists there allowed a mere five segments over ten minutes and 43 seconds. Over two days, the three networks deluged America with 64 segments or 158 minutes.
Not even the birth of the royal baby could keep Chris Matthews from making a snide liberal attack. In a closing commentary, Monday night, the Hardball anchor touted the special relationship between Britain and America. But after nicely noting that "when it counts, we are with the Brits and they with us -- from the Falklands to Iraq and back to two world wars," he gratuitously played a clip from the left-leaning British film Love Actually.
After showing footage of the fictional prime minister, played by Hugh Grant, slamming a George W. Bush-esque actor, Matthews marveled, "wow." He added, "Yes, we're that close, to root for the other side, even, especially when it's our guy being the bad guy." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The deluge of royal baby coverage went into overdrive on Monday with all three morning shows devoting a staggering 73 minutes total to the impending birth and the child's gender. At the same time, Good Morning America, Today and CBS This Morning ignored any developments in the growing Internal Revenue Service scandal.
The Today show obsessed over the royal baby the most, pushing the story for 43 minutes and five seconds over 18 segments. (This amounts to a quarter of the four hour program's running time, minus commercials.) Good Morning America speculated on all subjects royal for 21 minutes and 22 seconds (or eight segments). Looking positively restrained, CBS This Morning allowed a mere eight minutes and 41 seconds over four segments.
According to George Stephanopoulos, the late Helen Thomas, who passed away on Saturday, was a "passionate," "tenacious journalist who only got a "bit" "biased" at the end of her career. The former Democratic operative turned journalist reminisced over his interactions with her when he was White House Press secretary for Bill Clinton.
Appearing on Sunday's Good Morning America, Stephanopoulos remembered, "She was so tenacious, so passionate. She was such a trail blazer and mentor to a lot of women reporters in that White House briefing room as well and everybody could count on her to ask the tough questions." Regarding Thomas's venomous, anti-Israel rant in 2010, the host conceded, "...At the end of her career, she did, in some ways, let her biases loose a little bit, had to apologize for that later." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
All three networks on Thursday night and Friday morning avoided key factors in the bankruptcy of Detroit, skipping the city's astronomically high tax rate and ignoring Democratic dominance for the previous half century. (Detroit's last Republican mayor left office in 1962.) Instead, ABC, NBC and CBS acted as though the bankruptcy, what Brian Williams called "the slow-moving tragedy of decline," was something that just happened.
On Good Morning America, Betty Liu gently summarized, "What happened here? Well, people have been leaving the city for years. Back in the 1950s, you had almost two million people, at the peak, living in Detroit. Now, just 700,000. So they've lost half their population." She added, "When you have fewer people living in the city, you're collecting less income and property taxes." Why are people fleeing the city? Lacking curiosity, Liu didn't bring that point up. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Tomorrow marks the end of the latest season of What Would You Do?, a hidden-camera production of ABC News hosted by longtime correspondent John Quinones that uses actors to stage uncomfortable scenarios designed to find intolerance and bigotry among average Americans. Not too many years ago, ABC News felt it had to apologize when an on-air reporter wore a coat indoors in front of an image of the Capitol building, to make it appear she was on location, when in fact she was at ABC's Washington, D.C. studios.
Now, the network's news division routinely uses deception to lure unsuspecting citizens into situations aimed at catching them spewing hate against Muslims, gays, Hispanics, etc. In reality, of course, all the Friday night program really demonstrates is the low opinion ABC News has for average Americans' character, and the network's obvious need to prod their audience to behave better. Here are five of the worst examples our analysts have found over the past six years:
During an angry rant over the announcement that Liz Cheney will be running for the United States senate in 2014, Chris Matthews offered up one of his typically bizarre movie reference to explain the development: "[Liz and Dick Cheney] remind me of Superman in a movie as played by Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint. Packing their little kid into a little missile to send him off to America or somewhere." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Matthews spewed, "They packed her into this little missile and they're sending her off to Wyoming to continue the life form." The Hardball anchor was so enraged that he compared the Cheneys unfavorably to the scandal-scarred Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer, fuming, "But they didn't have a war, with all the casualties of that war on their conscience."
The tax records of political candidates and certain donors were improperly accessed by government officials, but the Justice Department has refused to prosecute, according to the Washington Times. This revelation, published on Tuesday, has been ignored by the morning and evening newscasts of CBS, NBC and ABC.
Times writers Dave Boyer and Ben Wolfgang explained, "In a written response to a request by [Senator Chuck] Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, [Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell] George said a review turned up four cases since 2006 in which unidentified government officials took part in 'unauthorized access or disclosure of tax records of political donors or candidates," including one case he described as 'willful.'"
Former Newsweek editor Howard Fineman on Monday huffed that the reaction from liberals to the acquittal of George Zimmerman has been "measured" and "grieving." However, conservatives have been "accusatory." Apparently, Fineman doesn't watch MSNBC, the network he frequently appears on. His colleague, Toure, condemned America today as the same country that 1955 murder victim Emmett Till lived in.
Fineman appeared on Hardball with host Chris Matthews and derided Ann Coulter's reaction: "She's on it for the show." Regarding Newt Gingrich's insistence that some protesters are nothing more than a "lynch mob," Fineman mocked, "Newt can sometimes be a human sneer." Speaking of Coulter, Gingrich and Republican Congressman Steve King, Matthews lectured that the reaction "was loudest among the people who frequently try to stoke the fire and polarize any issue that comes to the fore." [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
According to MSNBC co-host Toure, the acquittal of George Zimmerman on Saturday is proof that America in 2013 is just like the one of 1955 where an African American boy was murdered in Mississippi for talking to a white woman: "We still live in the same America that Emmett Till lived in, an America where blacks are often judged to be a threat to order and citizens are able to destroy their bodies." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The Cycle anchor sneered that the case "is an old dog-eared narrative about the challenge of getting justice in the an American courtroom, especially in the south, or I should say especially in a stand-your-ground state." Toure, who is an avowed 9/11 Truther conspiracy theorist, asserted that such laws "may not have been racist in the original intention, but it functions in practice to justify too many killings of blacks."
Liberal Current host Bill Press on Monday demanded that Attorney General Eric Holder ignore George Zimmerman's acquittal on Saturday and pursue the Florida man. On his radio show, (which is simulcast on Current TV), Press fumed, "The whole thing, it can’t stop here. It just can’t stop here."
Press lobbied, "We’ve gotta join the NAACP...and put some pressure on. God, Eric Holder, man, he’s disappointed us so many times. He’d better come through here." The outraged liberal insisted, "File the case against George Zimmerman for violating Trayvon Martin's civil rights." [MP3 audio here.]
ABC has officially announced that one of the vacant spots on The View will be filled by Catholic-bashing, anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist Jenny McCarthy. In a statement, creator/co-host Barbara Walters gushed, "She can be serious and outrageous. She has connected with our audience and offers a fresh point of view. Jenny will be a great addition to the show as we usher in an exciting new chapter for The View." Last week, token conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck departed the show for Fox News.
The former Playboy model wrote a book in 2012 deriding Catholicism, complaining that it "has pervaded my life since birth and confused the f--k out of me for about the same time" and whined that "I had to give up giving s--t up for Lent." She has derided Jesus Christ as nothing more than a "Justin Bieber" phase in her life.
In 2013, Barack Obama has nominated 11 ambassadors who were also huge donors to his presidential campaigns. Yet, NBC, CBS and ABC have skipped the failure of a president who vowed to "change the way Washington works" when it comes to money. As the Washington Times's Dave Boyer reported on Thursday, "Washington bundler John Phillips, who raised more than $300,000 for the president's two elections, was nominated as U.S. ambassador to Italy."
On Tuesday, Matthew Barzun was nominated to be Britain's ambassador. He raised over $500,000 for Obama in 2008. Back on February 28, 2013, CNN reporter Jessica Yellin pointed out the obvious, that people who "raised a lot of money for the campaign will be getting some top jobs." She critiqued, "For the President who said he really wants to get money out of politics, this is definitely sullying some of that brand." But where have the networks been?
For the second day in a row, the journalists at Good Morning America failed to identify prostitution patron Eliot Spitzer as a Democrat. Yet, in a story on the politician's comeback, reporter Claire Shipman made sure to highlight former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford as a Republican. Regarding Spitzer's bid to be the New York City comptroller, Shipman enthused, "A new political lesson for Eliot Spitzer: Infamy might work to his advantage."
She continued, "It certainly brought the former New York governor crowds he could not have imagined before his prostitution scandal cost him his job in 2008." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] What the reporter conveniently ignored is that Spitzer was mercilessly heckled on Thursday. A Manhattan man screamed at the Democrat, "Why were you late? Were you with a hooker?"