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
A pro-life legal group on Monday released audio footage of an Internal Revenue Service agent telling them, "You cannot force your religion or force your beliefs on someone else." Yet, ABC, NBC and CBS all have ignored the story so far. In the audio, IRS agent Sherry Wan lectured, "...You have to know your boundaries."
Alliance Defending Freedom, a Arizona-based group, is a non-profit legal organization. Wan continued, "But you have to respect other people’s beliefs, other people’s rights and not, you know, use some kind of confrontation." While the networks ignored the story, Sean Hannity featured it on Tuesday, touting, "This is audio proof that conservatives in fact were targeted and it's proof that they were bullied into keeping their belief silent." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Good Morning America hasn't made time to cover a possible prostitution scandal involving Hillary Clinton's State Department, but the show's hosts gushed over the politician's debut on Twitter. News reader Josh Elliott thrilled, "Hillary Clinton has arrived on Twitter. And, boy, does she have people talking because in part of her description of herself."
After reading the description of Clinton's bio, the GMA anchors raved over the former Secretary of State's skill at social media. Robin Roberts lauded, "She's so good at that!" Entertainment reporter Lara Spencer agreed. Sam Champion bragged, "I tweeted her yesterday. I saw it early on! I'm, like, hey is this real?" After co-anchor George Stephanopoulos inquired as to whether he got a response, a dejected Champion admitted, "No." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Acting as though he were Barack Obama's lawyer, George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday's Good Morning America repeatedly pressed John Boehner as to why he doesn't believe the President's explanation about the IRS scandal. After the Speaker of the House marveled, "How can your chief of staff, your general counsel know and you not know," the GMA co-host lectured, "That's a pretty serious charge."
Stephanopoulos continued, "Have you seen any evidence or has Chairman [Darrell] Issa produced any evidence that this was led by the White House in any way, shape or form?" The former Democratic operative turned journalist complained, "What information do you want that they haven't provided?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Liberal anchor Chris Matthews on Monday suggested that sequester cuts impacting shelter and housing funds could result in "some women" "dying this week." Matthews brought on the former National Organization for Women Chairman Kim Gandy to warn of impending death. (The Hardball host didn't identify Gandy's work for the very liberal NOW. Instead, he described her as the President of the National Network to End Domestic Violence.)
Matthews derided, "How do you get the members of Congress to say, 'Look, some women are going to die this week because these shelters are closing their doors to them?'" The anchor introduced the segment by reminding, "We've put a spotlight on the people and the organizations taking the brunt of this arbitrary, across-the-board, spending cuts known as sequester."
The ABC and NBC morning shows on Monday ignored or downplayed the role the President of the United States played in the unfolding spying scandal that broke last week. The journalists at Good Morning America never once uttered the name Barack Obama. The hosts of NBC's Today left it to their guest to question the implications for the President.
It was CBS This Morning that saw possible damage to Obama. Major Garrett warned, "The White House knows that this is an intelligence crisis that could become a political crisis." The reporter added that the administration "had to admit a politically and tactically startling truth: It conducts more surveillance than the Bush White House." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In case you haven't heard, the Media Research Center is moving. Starting June 10, the MRC (which publishes NewsBusters) will be located in Reston, Virginia. As we prepare for the move, we've discovered old, unseen gems. During the 1992 presidential campaign, George H.W. Bush was asked whether he had ever been unfaithful to Mrs. Bush. Tom Sherwood, a local journalist for NBC's Washington affiliate, cornered Dan Rather, Charles Kuralt and Tim Russert at the Republican National Convention in Houston. He turned the tables on his fellow reporters, quizzing them about possible affairs.
An awkward Rather first shot back, "You been asking this to Tom Brokaw, have you?" After Sherwood demanded, "Have you ever committed adultery," Rather retorted, "Have you?" Following another pause, the then-CBS Evening News anchor clumsily concluded, "Mmm. Well, thank you very much. Pleased to see you." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The hosts and analysts on MSNBC sunk to a new low on Friday, trashing the late Charlton Heston as somehow responsible for attempted ricin attacks on Michael Bloomberg and Barack Obama. After Now anchor Alex Wagner read excerpts from letters allegedly written by the man responsible for the poisonous mailings, guest David Corn snarled, "When you were quoting the letters that were sent, I was thinking, it sounds like Charlton Heston wrote these." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Speaking of the National Rifle Association, Corn impugned, "It doesn't surprise me that some unhinged individuals out there start to take [NRA speeches] literally and believe that now is the time to rebel and to strike out with violent means."
An unhinged Chris Matthews on Thursday launched into a bewildering rant, lamenting the scandals swirling around the President and suggesting that Germany may have actually won World War II because the country has high speed rail. The Hardball anchor fumed, "You look at Germany, where I just was, and see state-of-the-art bridges and super modern rail system." Mentioning Germany's subway system, Matthews insisted, "You wonder, who won that war anyway? Looks like they did." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The MSNBC anchor doesn't appear to listen to himself speak. He asserted, "We've got a 7.5 percent unemployment rate right now. And let's be realistic, it's not going to go down a lot more over the next three years." Seconds later, Matthews praised, "The French have trains that go 300 miles an hour-plus and you think you're sitting still. And we've got the buckboard called Amtrak." So, France is the solution? Their unemployment rate in March of 2013 was 11 percent. That's higher than 7.5 percent. France's under age 25 unemployment rate is 26.5 percent. (Also higher than 7.5 percent)
ABC and NBC on Wednesday night continued to hype the "stunning" retirement of "lightning rod" Michele Bachmann. World News reporter Jeff Zeleny noted that although the politician "rode the Tea Party wave," her "words often created trouble." The journalist made sure to use the words "Tea Party" and "Republican" six times in the two and a half minute segment. In contrast, when controversial, scandal-prone Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned from Congress, the networks failed to use a partisan label 73 percent of the time.
Zeleny also highlighted, "But Bachmann downplayed the fact that she's at the center of three investigations, including an FBI probe over allegations of aides misusing campaign money."
MSNBC on Wednesday debuted yet another hard-left Lean Forward ad. This time, liberal anchor Alex Wagner slammed anyone who wants border security, sneering that they want "bigger, meaner, scarier fences" and "electrified, alligator moats to prevent 'them' coming in." Each time Wagner mockingly spoke for those who opposed illegal immigration, she used air quotes to describe "them," implying a racist motive. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
When describing people who broke the law, Wagner delicately explained, "We gotta punish people who came here the wrong way, even if they've been contributing to American society for a decade or more."
Good Morning America's David Wright on Wednesday touted a new phone app to fight the "super rich" and combat "billionaires blocking the beach." The journalist toured some of California beaches, which are public, but are in front of wealthy homes. Wright lectured, "The app is free like the beach is supposed to be." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The ABC graphic warned, "Billionaires Blocking the Beach: Secret Passages of Malibu Revealed." The "billionaire" obstruction apparently amounts to living in the homes and not advertising the beach's availability. Talking to Jenny Price, a professor and creator of the app, Wright gushed, "In a way, this is Robin Hood at the beach." Sensibly, Price talked him down from the class warfare rhetoric, "Well, except that we're not stealing anything."
According to Chris Matthews on Tuesday, having Rand Paul or Ted Cruz as opponents would result in an easy win for Hillary Clinton in 2016. The Hardball host, who famously had a "thrill" going up his leg for Barack Obama, plotted the former Secretary of State's path to victory. Regarding whether she'll run, Matthews gushed, "It's just a question of what kind of campaign and who's going to help her win it?" (Other than MSNBC, one might wonder?)
The cable anchor predicted Clinton would probably be "lucky enough" to have Cruz or Paul as an opponent. Matthews lectured, "And I tell you, that's not going to be a complicated vote for most people." Before offering more campaign advice, the journalist actually insisted, "I can't put myself in the ring for running her campaign." Yet, a few months ago, Matthews did exactly that.
Initially, the networks covered Anthony Weiner's entry into the New York City mayoral race as the "comeback kid" fighting for a "second chance." However, over the last several days, top state Democrats have recoiled at the campaign of the scandal-scarred congressman. Governor Andrew Cuomo mocked, "shame on us," should Weiner win. Senator Chuck Schumer refused to talk about the race.
After these comments surfaced, ABC's World News on Saturday offered a much tougher critique on Weiner. Reporter Marci Gonzalez grilled the politician, wondering, "Why should [the people] trust you? You've lied to them before." Pushing for details on Weiner's sexting history, she quizzed, "And you have said there could be other photos out there. How many more could there be?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Longtime MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell on Thursday lashed out at the Obama administration, complaining that "more than any of its predecessors in recent years [they have], gone after journalists." The usually Obama-friendly journalist complained that the White House "has not" challenged journalists in a restrained way, but "has done it in a very broad, sweeping way as we saw with the Associated Press and also with Fox News." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In another segment, Mitchell skeptically commented on the President's renewed effort to close Guantanamo Bay: "But do we have a solution yet, first of all, for those, for whom there is no place to go and who cannot be brought to trial?" Talking to Jeh Johnson, she pressed, "What about the residual group of prisoners? Where will they go?"
If Barack Obama is losing Chris Matthews, he might be in serious trouble. The MSNBC host on Wednesday declared that the Tea Party is the victim of "profiling" by the Internal Revenue Service that is on the level of targeting innocent Muslims as terrorists. On the subject of former IRS official Lois Lerner pleading the Fifth, Matthews wondered, "Why, if you have nothing to hide and you're a truth teller and you're of sound mind, and she seems to be, why doesn't she sit in that witness stand and answer truthfully?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The bewildered host continued, "Why wouldn't she want to clear her reputation today?" Matthews even went so far as to compare the attack on conservatives to racial profiling: "I go to the airport and I'm running TSA. Instead of deciding based upon people's movements around the world that might be suspicious, going to countries that cause us trouble, I just look for everybody that looks Arab and I put them in one line. The American people would say that's outrageous."
All three networks on Wednesday played a promotional video of Anthony Weiner, hyping the mayoral run of the "comeback kid." On Good Morning America, former Democratic operative George Stephanopoulos showed an extended clip of the campaign video. [See video below. MP3 audio here.] But Stephanopoulos (who in his previous career defended Bill Clinton's against sexual scandals) didn't get into much detail over the Weiner's failings. Reporter Jon Karl simply explained that the ex-Congressman tweeted out "lewd pictures" of himself.
CBS This Morning and NBC's Today both, briefly, featured blurred pictures of the aforementioned photos. But the Today segment included a network graphic that speculated, "Comeback kid?" Journalist Maria Schiavocampo offered more details than ABC. She described Weiner's fall as a "sexting scandal," but parroted, "but now he says he's ready to put the controversy behind him and get back into politics."
Despite the devastating tornado that struck Oklahoma on Monday, ABC's Good Morning America still found time to devote several segments to stunningly superficial topics, including getting Botox injections at age 20 and Matt Damon's gay love scenes with Michael Douglas in a new movie. Additionally, the network morning show offered yet another segment to the tabloid details of the Jodi Arias criminal trial.
In total, this amounted to ten and 34 seconds for stories of minor importance. In contrast, the latest details on the growing Internal Revenue Service scandal warranted a mere 52 seconds. News reader Josh Elliott briefly explained that senior White House officials are now admitting "that the top White House lawyer, Kathy Ruemmler, knew about the investigation into the agency's targeting of conservative groups last month." Administration officials claim they did not inform the President.
On Wednesday night, the journalists at Nightline allowed a mere 31 seconds to the exploding scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservatives. This was after anchor Terry Moran introduced stories on O.J. Simpson's latest trial, one on determining your "Klout score" and the new reality TV show Ice Cold Cold. On Thursday night, the program focused on pop singer Demi Lovato's problems and clowns.
The disinterest Nightline is showing towards Barack Obama's scandals, including the IRS, the AP controversy and Benghazi, contrasts to how the show's journalists viewed scandal when Ronald Reagan was in the White House. On November 17, 1987, then-correspondent Jeff Greenfield lectured the media for not covering Iran-Contra enough. Speaking of a report on the controversy, Greenfield huffed, "It is, after all, not about a sex or drug scandal or dramatic crime. It is instead about how a great nation defends its vital interests while keeping faith with its highest values." Obsessed only with crime? Sounds like a good critique of ABC and Nightline in 2013.
The reporters at Good Morning America on Friday continued White House damage control efforts on the growing scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative groups. Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos insisted that Barack Obama is "trying to turn the corner after a tough week fending off controversy."
Talking to Jon Karl, he wondered, "Are some of [the GOP] leaders worried that some of the Republicans may be overplaying their hand?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Karl lectured, "There's real concern about this." The journalist added that certain Republicans are talking about "impeachment." Instead of focusing on political rhetoric, Karl could have mentioned that the IRS official in charge during the Tea Party targeting is now running Obama's health care office. He skipped this development.
The journalists at Good Morning America on Thursday floated the idea that Barack Obama is poised to move on from the Internal Revenue Service scandal. One day after the President announced the resignation of the acting IRS commissioner, co-host George Stephanopoulos trumpeted, "The White House firing back. The President's team firing on all fronts, promising immediate action as the scandals boil over in Washington." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
An ABC graphic insited, "On the Attack." Talking to reporter Jon Karl, Stephanopoulos noted the "tough" week at the White House, but wondered, "Do they now feel like they have this under control?" Karl touted, "I think they feel a lot better now than they did 24 hours ago, George."