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
Oops. Good Morning America on Friday preemptively announced "expected" job creation for the month of March totaling 190,000. In reality, 88,000 jobs were created. The ABC morning show was only off by 102,000 jobs. At 7:10am, about 75 minutes before the release of the actual numbers, reporter Linzie Janis insited, "The government's jobs report is out this morning. It's expected to show that 190,000 jobs were created last month." The accompanying graphic included the number and a tiny asterisk, presumably representing the tentative nature of the numbers. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
This is a monthly practice on the ABC morning show. The anchors will announce the hypothetical, possible results and then cover the real result later in the day on the network. Janis allowed that the new report might not be great. She added, "Why the slowdown? Well, those $85 billion in government spending cuts." Just a month ago, however, GMA's Bianna Golodryga lamented the fact that investors were shrugging off the sequester.
All three networks on Wednesday and Thursday parroted the exact same talking points from the White House, touting Barack Obama for expressing "solidarity" with struggling workers by taking a five percent pay cut. The President made the move, which amounts to a minuscule $1700 a month, in the wake of sequestration. On Good Morning America, Josh Elliott trumpeted, "[Obama] says he wants to show solidarity with government workers who face a furlough because of budget cuts." [See a video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
Over on NBC's Today, Natalie Morales touted, "In an attempt at solidarity with federal workers feeling the sequester spending cuts, President Obama is giving himself a five percent pay cut on his $400,000-a-year salary." Offering a remarkably similar thought, World News anchor Diane Sawyer rounded up the amount to a year's total: " That's $20,000, to show solidarity with government employees who will be furloughed." In an impressed tone, the host praised, "The White House says Obama will personally write a check to the Treasury."
An unhinged Chris Matthews exploited another tragedy on Wednesday, connecting the pro-Second Amendment views of Ted Cruz and other Republicans to the shootings of two prosecutors in Texas. The Hardball anchor began by dredging up failed Senate candidate Sharron Angle's three-year-old reference to "Second Amendment remedies." Matthews connected, "If that was frightening enough for you, how about what's happening in Colorado and Texas?...In Texas, two prosecutors were killed, a third has now pulled out of a case against the Aryan brotherhood of Texas for, quote, 'security reasons.'"
Matthews made his linkage totally clear: "We've got a Texas senator, Ted Cruz, who won't let the Senate hold a democratic vote on gun safety. So, no democracy. We've got people out there using guns to get even with public officials, intimidating those they don't kill." Skipping from Angle, to the murder of prosecutors, to Ted Cruz, he snarled, "This is where we are with guns in this country. Second Amendment remedies being executed on public officials. Refusal by some elected officials to let us have a democratic vote on what to do about it." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Longtime Hillary Clinton fan Claire Shipman isn't waiting for the 2016 push. The Good Morning America reporter on Wednesday launched "Hillary Watch" and regurgitated talking points about a potential presidential bid. She breathlessly related, "But with the launch of an independent super PAC, the question is everywhere. Is Hillary ready to run?"
Shipman also featured a Clinton supporter outside a rally. The man oddly enthused, " I think she'll run and she's got to save the country, right?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] She's got to save the country? From who? Fellow Democrat Barack Obama? The journalist added that it's "unrealistic" for the former Secretary of State to have a normal life. Shipman gushed, "Hillary Watch is officially under way. Just a few months into retirement, Hillary Clinton is back on stage." Despite the reporter's enthusiasm for the ex-First Lady, Shipman could not get her the nomination in 2008.
It's not often that media outlets ignore their own scoops, but that's what ABC is doing. The network has (thus far) relegated to its website the latest details on the decision by the Obama Defense Department to deny Purple Hearts to the victims of the Fort Hood massacre. The rest of the networks have also skipped this story. ABC "obtained" a Pentagon position paper on the subject, but still failed to give it network coverage.
It was ABC alone that highlighted the story back in February. On February 12, Brian Ross explained the impact of the decision to deny Purple Hearts: "...Former Staff Sgt. Shawn Manning, who still has bullets lodged in his body, says he has lost almost $70,000 in benefits otherwise available to those with combat-related injuries." So far, World News, Nightline and Good Morning America (as well as NBC and CBS) have failed to cover the newest details of the story. In fact, ABC has done nothing since February.
George Stephanopoulos was so enthusiastic towards Robert Redford and his sympathetic new film about an ex-1960s radical that the actor enthused, "You ought to get on the marketing team!" The aging actor/director appeared on Tuesday's Good Morning America and endorsed the violent actions of protest groups. Reminiscing on his own past, the liberal Hollywood star recounted, "When I was younger, I was very much aware of the movement. I was more than sympathetic, I was probably empathetic because I believed it was time for a change."
After Stephanopoulos wondered, "Even when you read about bombings," Redford responded, "All of it. I knew that it was extreme and I guess movements have to be extreme to some degree." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Remarkably, after this well known actor endorsed violence and terrorism as a political tool, Stephanopoulos did not question the remark. Instead, he tossed a softball: "Do you come out of the experience with the same kinds of empathy that you had going in?"
Does Chris Matthews have a new Democrat to give him a "thrill" up his leg? On Monday, the Hardball anchor praised Hillary Clinton's stature leading up to a hypothetical 2016 run as the most impressive since General Eisenhower in 1952. Dwight Eisenhower was the Supreme Allied Commander in World War II, oversaw D-Day and defeated the world-wide threat of the Nazis. Clinton, on the other hand, has been a politician and the Secretary of State during the disaster in Benghazi.
The 67-year-old Matthews reminisced about seeing a newsreel of Eisenhower at a movie theater. His dad informed him that Ike would be president at some point. The MSNBC host compared, "Well, nobody outside of incumbent presidents, and not even some of them, has in all the years since enjoyed such a commanding position going into a presidential cycle as Hillary Clinton." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC political analyst Matt Dowd on Sunday continued his evolution to the left, complaining about how disconnected the Supreme Court is from public opinion on gay marriage. Dowd, who worked for the Bush administration, appeared on This Week and chided, "To me, it's actually surprising that the Supreme Court is that actually far out of tune where the country is."
He pushed, "So, the country is way ahead on this. So, that's what I don't understand why the Supreme Court seems reluctant to weigh in an issue where the country is already moved on." Dowd, who is often billed as a down-the-line analyst for ABC, mocked the concept of traditional marriage in the past: "...If you want to go to traditional marriage, it wasn't monogamous, races couldn't marry. Women were property and they couldn't give consent."
The reporters and hosts of Good Morning America really want you to know something: Don Young is a Republican. The ABC morning show on Saturday featured 11 mentions of the Congressman's party affiliation in a span of just two minutes. Young referred to "wetbacks" in an interview last week. An ABC graphic blared, "Congressman uses racist term."
Co-host Bianna Golodryga insisted that "this comment has created quite the headache for Republicans." Reporter Jeff Zeleny lectured, "The Republican Party's effort to rebuild and rebrand its image is colliding this morning with the party's old guard." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] To make sure everyone was clear on what party Young belonged to, the journalist added, "Republican advisers tell ABC News that they worry that the racial slur from Congressman Young comes at precisely the wrong time, just as the Republicans are trying to expand their appeal to Latino voters." In contrast, when Joe Biden smeared Indian Americans as mostly working at 7-11, ABC ignored the story.
In 2006, Joe Biden, then a powerful U.S. senator and future vice president, smeared Indian Americans as mostly working at the convenience store 7-11. At the time, NBC (and the other networks) completely ignored the story. This week, when obscure Republican Congressman Don Young referred to Hispanic migrant workers as "wetbacks," NBC's Today show devoted a full segment to the story.
Reporter Kelly O'Donnell on Friday explained how the Alaska Representative gave an interview to a local radio station and "used an offensive slur to describe" some Latinos. She then took this as an excuse to highlight the GOP as out of touch: "Young's comments come at a time when the Republican Party is struggling to connect with minorities after failing to do that in the 2012 presidential election where 71 percent of Latinos voted for President Obama." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
[UPDATED: See below.] Chris Matthews on Thursday took a break from comparing conservatives to Nazis and instead compared them to movie Nazis. The Hardball anchor opened the program by referencing the classic movie Casablanca. In this example, Barack Obama is the good guy and the Second Amendment supporters are the Nazis.
Matthews spewed, "You know that scene in Casablanca when the French police captain shoots the Nazi, Major Strasser, and Humphrey Bogart does the right thing by Ingrid Bergman, and the anti-Nazi hero Victor Laszlo says 'Welcome back to the fight, Rick'?" In case anyone was unclear on the comparison, the liberal journalist added, "Well, I felt that way today watching President Obama get back to the front in the historic battle for gun safety." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Wednesday and Thursday, the journalists at ABC continued to treat the gay marriage issue as though there was only one acceptable side. Diane Sawyer and Terry Moran framed the case before the Supreme Court as simply "one American seeking justice" and gave almost no time to the opposition. On the March 27 World News, Sawyer used loaded language as she hyped, "Edith Windsor received a hero's welcome when she emerged from the Supreme Court, saying it's time to take a stand for marriage equality."
Windsor is an 83-year-old lesbian who is petitioning the high court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Journalist Moran seemed to dismiss principled opposition to gay marriage as he insisted, "Sometimes, the big cases come to the Supreme Court out of conflicts between the states or battles between the branches of government and sometimes one American walks up these steps seeking justice." He added, "That's what's happening today." Sawyer could barely contain herself as she enthused, "Tonight, the fighter...Her case challenges the justices and rallies the crowd on marriage in America." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Nazis are fast becoming the favorite slur of the hosts on MSNBC. Chris Matthews last Friday compared the "aggressive" push for war in Iraq to what lead to the prosecution of war criminals at the Nuremberg trials. Matthews appeared with Chris Hayes, Alex Wagner and other MSNBC regulars to discuss a new cable documentary on the tenth anniversary of the Iraq war.
After reading a congratulatory reading of a column he wrote prior to the war, Matthews lashed out: "I was really embarrassed by my country, how a President of such limited ability, limited rhetorical ability, mental ability, historic ability, could talk us into a war." Making one of his favorite comparisons, the Hardball anchor sneered, "You know, the Nuremberg trials were primarily, before the Holocaust and all those other issues, was against people who launched an aggressive war. And this was an aggressive war." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] So, in this example, George W. Bush is one of the Nazis?
ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday again offered the most biased coverage on the gay marriage case before the Supreme Court. All three network morning shows skipped specific mention of the multiple thousands who marched for traditional marriage on Tuesday. ABC, however, used loaded terms such as "marriage equality" rather than gay marriage. Reporter Terry Moran gushed over the liberal position: "This is a social movement, a 21st century social movement that arrived with astonishing speed at this court, driven by activists, by Hollywood in part and by young people, especially on social media." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In contrast, he portrayed a skeptical Supreme Court as old and out of touch: "The wave of increasing support for gay marriage in America, especially among the young, is crashing on the Supreme Court and the justices, average age 67, seem downright perplexed." Moran highlighted the case of Edie Windsor, an 83-year-old lesbian whose case is before the Supreme Court. He sympathetically related, "when Thea died in 2009, Edie got hit with almost $400,000 in federal estate taxes, a penalty she would not have had to pay if she were married to a man."
Good Morning America's historical coverage is mostly non-existent. Yet, there's one thing the ABC program finds time for every year: Kennedy worship. On Tuesday's GMA, the same program that ignored Harry Reid linking Marine deaths to sequester cuts featured the latest on Kennedy family poetry.
Reporter David Muir gushed, "The indelible images of Caroline Kennedy's childhood: The little girl in the White House hiding under her father's desk, sitting beside her mother in bed. And if you look closely, there is often something else, books." The purpose of the segment was to promote Poems to Learn By Heart, a compilation collected by JFK's daughter. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The reporters of ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday offered a one-sided take on the Supreme Court's "historic hearing on marriage equality." The morning show featured four voices in support of the high court affirming gay marriage and just one against. Correspondent Terry Moran framed the issue in emotional terms: "Outside the Supreme Court overnight a candlelight vigil for proponents of same-sex marriage. It's a debate that touches countless American families." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Moran included a snippet of plaintiff Paul Katami: "Anyone who has ever fallen in love out there knows you don't choose who you fall in love with. You just fall in love." He highlighted a crowd chanting, "No more hate! No more hate!" Same sex marriage supporter Kris Perry insisted, "We're expected to contribute and pay taxes, parent, live up to all the other expectations of everybody else but we're missing this one key fundamental right which is just to be married."
Good Morning America on Monday hyped Michael Bloomberg using his "personal fortune" to promote gun control with new ads. Reporter Jim Avila used three clips of either Bloomberg or the commercials he's now running in 13 states. Just one pro-Second Amendment voice was featured in the segment. In contrast, when the Koch brothers supported the Tea Party with commercials, GMA's journalists warned of the "billionaire boosters."
On Monday, Avila approvingly explained, "Mayor Michael Bloomberg has something many other big city mayors don't, a personal fortune he is willing to spend." Avila then played a clip of Bloomberg's new commercial featuring a man sitting on a pickup truck, holding a shotgun. He insisted, "I believe in the Second Amendment and I'll fight to protect it. But with rights come responsibilities. That's why I support comprehensive background checks."
Over the winter, the three networks eagerly compared Barack Obama's push for more gun control to "defeating the Nazis," hyping his "dramatic," "emotional" effort. Yet, when the President suffered a serious setback, Tuesday, ABC, CBS and NBC failed to portray it as a defeat for the Commander in Chief. Harry Reid announced on March 19 that Senate Democrats were dropping an effort to ban so-called assault weapons.
Tuesday's World News and Nightline and Wednesday's Good Morning America totally skipped the development. Yet, in the minutes following the State of the Union, George Stephanopoulos praised the President's "dramatic and emotional" plea for an assault weapons ban. On January 16, CBS's Bob Schieffer compared, "Surely, finding Osama bin Laden; surely, passing civil rights legislation...defeating the Nazis, was a much more formidable task than taking on the gun lobby." However, on Tuesday's Evening News, in the wake of the defeat in the Senate, the long-time journalist offered no similar hyperbolic lament.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday linked the accidental deaths of seven U.S. Marines to sequester spending cuts. All three networks have, thus far, skipped the story. After highlighting the details of the botched training event in Hawthorne, Nevada, the Democrat manipulated the tragedy: "But one of the things in sequester is we cut back in training and maintenance."
He added, "This sequester should go away...These men and women, our Marines were training there in Hawthorne. And with this sequester, it's going to cut back this stuff." These comments came on the floor of the U.S. Senate, yet ABC's World News and Good Morning America, NBC's Nightly News and Today, the CBS Evening News and the CBS This Morning all ignored Reid's remarks (though they discussed the accident itself). ABCNews.com covered the story, but acquitted Reid of bad motives: "Harry Reid Commemorates Dead Marines, Calls for End to Sequester."
Just how superficial is ABC? On Monday and Tuesday, the network allowed a mere 20 seconds to "outrage" over a plan by the European Union that would have seized ten percent of the money Cyprus residents had in their bank accounts. ABC's World News skipped the story entirely, as did Monday's Nightline. Good Morning America on Tuesday offered 20 seconds. In contrast, the program devoted over five minutes to important topics, such as the newest season of Dancing With the Stars.
NBC and CBS both showcased more coverage. On Monday, Nightly News's Brian Williams featured the story in a full report. Describing the potential default of Cyprus as a "banking crisis," he explained, "European leaders decided to take a chunk of that bailout money directly out of the bank accounts of everyone in the country." Displaying interest not seen on ABC, Williams added, "It was a shocking move heard around the globe today and the fear on the Mediterranean island rippled through world financial markets today."