Liberal media bias has existed for years, but in 2017, it appeared to reach unprecedented levels given the media’s hostility to President Donald Trump.
The media distorted many stories in 2017, in many different ways. They ranged from lies such as Al Gore’s claim that “Superstorm Sandy” proved a global warming prediction from An Inconvenient Truth was true, to using Big Bird to mislead about public broadcasting budget cuts.
There was also plenty of distortion by censorship. Signs of a strengthening economy were often unreported by the network news, billions spent by powerful lefties like George Soros and Tom Steyer were ignored rather than exposed, and the networks even protected their own as ABC settled a $5.7 billion defamation lawsuit with a beef company.
Here are just 10 of the worst examples of distorted coverage of business and economic news this year.
1. Gore Twists Climate Prediction to Look Prophetic, Sell Sequel
One of the biggest complaints of former Vice President Al Gore’s first film, An Inconvenient Truth, was that major cities including lower Manhattan would be underwater due to severe Arctic and Antarctic ice melting (because of global warming).
In January 2017, Gore tried to rewrite that history and pretend he had been right in order to sell his sequel, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.
In promotional footage for the new film Gore claimed, “Ten years ago when the movie An Inconvenient Truth came out, the single most criticized scene was an animated scene showing that the combination of sea level rise and storm surge would put the ocean water into the 9/11 memorial site, which was then under construction. And people said, ‘That’s ridiculous. What a terrible exaggeration.”
He then showed “Superstorm” Sandy footage as supposed evidence he’d been right.
But that wasn’t true.
In 2006, Gore didn’t mention storm surges at all. He was talking about “If Greenland broke up and melted or if half of Greenland and half of West Antarctica broke up and melted” then many places around the world would drown – including parts of New York City.
The distortion didn’t help him sell the film though, which turned out to be a box office bomb.
2. Yellow Journalism: Media Use Big Bird to Mislead on PBS Cuts
It is no secret that the liberal media hate the thought of government funding cuts, and when it appeared left-wing public broadcasting might get axed by the Trump administration the media were outraged.
CNN and other media quickly seized upon Big Bird and other Sesame Street characters to persuade people against President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts. USA Today asked if the budget would “kill” Big Bird, while the UK’s Daily Mail cried “Save Sesame Street!” Left-wing magazine The Atlantic used an image of Elmo, Bert, Ernie and other characters to top its defense of public broadcasting.
But that was all a great, big, yellow lie. HBO has been producing and airing Sesame Street since 2015, and PBS doesn’t get to air new episodes until nine months later. The media knew that HBO owned the show (often admitting it) — but it didn’t stop them from using it to mislead their audience about the consequences of possible funding cuts.
3. Networks Spend 52 Seconds on 2017 GDP Estimates
President Donald Trump campaigned on pro-growth economic policies of deregulation and tax reform, especially corporate tax cuts. In September 2016, he said he thought that under such policies the U.S. economy (measured by gross domestic product or GDP) could grow at a rate of 4 percent or higher.
Only time will tell if his policies are adopted or his predictions come true, but one thing is undeniable: 2017 marked strong GDP gains in the two most recent quarters. Second quarter GDP rate was 3.1 percent and the third quarter at 3.3 percent according to the latest data.
The government released its most recent estimate of 3.3 percent growth (Q3) Nov. 29, but all three network evening shows ignored the great news of the strongest quarter in three years. That wasn’t the first time Evening News, World News with David Muir and Nightly News ignored the GDP data.
Those shows barely covered the rate announcements, often ignoring them entirely. CBS Evening News and World News with David Muir said very little about the growth on days that the government released new data — spending just 52 seconds combined — on 2017 economic growth those nights. NBC Nightly News said nothing at all.
This year’s GDPs estimates from the Bureau of Economic Analysis came out once a month since April. That gave the evening shows eight specific nights it made sense for all three networks to cover how the strength of the economy or what sectors were growing. Yet, those shows aired just three briefs combined. That included two reports of the “disappointing” initial estimate of first quarter GDP (0.7 percent). The networks ignored later upward revisions to 1.2 percent.
All four quarters of 2017 GDP will have to be averaged by the government in early 2018, to come up with the official annual rate of the 2017 U.S. economy.
4. Where’s the Beef? Nets Ignore ABC Defamation Settlement over ‘Pink Slime’
Even before ABC’s Brian Ross was suspended without pay for “incorrect reporting” about Trump’s contact with Russian officials, ABC was in court fighting a huge defamation lawsuit against the news network. Their parent company Disney wound up paying out more than $177 million to settle.
But the broadcasts networks refused to cover the case. Beef Products Inc (BPI) sued ABC News for disparaging its lean finely textured beef (LFTB) as “pink slime,” in multiple 2012 broadcasts. ABC could have been liable for up to $5.7 billion if they lost in court under South Dakota’s Agricultural Food Products Disparagement Act.
BPI accused ABC News of making more than 200 “false and misleading and defamatory” statements about their product. Consumer fears drove down demand for the product, forcing BPI to let go of hundreds of employees and close three of four plants.
Between June 27 and July 5, ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows ignored the progress of the case and the conclusion in a confidential settlement, just as they ignored the start of the trial.
BPI spokesman Tom Becker told the Media Research Center the settlement was “a great point for the company. They’ve been vindicated.”
“This is a lesson about the power news organizations have if they run with inaccurate information,” he added. “The media have tremendous power and they can do real damage.”
5. Media Turn Blind Eye as Soros, Steyer Expand Influence
Liberal billionaires George Soros and Tom Steyer both extended their reach in 2017, mostly with silent cover from ABC, CBS and NBC news.
In October, Soros shifted an astonishing $18 billion from his hedge fund to his network of liberal foundations — Open Society Foundations. That was more than Soros had previously given away in his whole life. Yet, the only network story about it was from CBS This Morning. Even that did not accurately report Soros’ liberal bias.
The three broadcast networks also ignored Soros’ links to groups involved with the anti-Trump Women’s March early this year. The billionaire had given more than $246 million to 100 March partners. ABC, CBS and NBC said nothing about the connections.
Network silence also greeted Steyer’s increased political advocacy even as he sought to impeach President Donald Trump. After the environmental advocate spent more than $165 million through his NextGen climate PAC trying to push that issue in 2014 and 2016 elections, he changed his approach. In mid-2017, Steyer rebranded NextGen Climate as NextGen America to focus on a “broader plan of resistance” to Trump including immigration and healthcare. Broadcast networks and many other media outlets failed to report it.
Steyer closed out 2017 with a $20-million advertising campaign promoting his call for Trump impeachment. Although the ads aired on CNN, MSNBC and Fox, the network news shows have still ignored Steyer’s impeachment crusade.
6. 1.9 Million New Jobs Not a High Priority for the Liberal Press
The economy added more than 1.9 million jobs so far in 2017, yet ABC World News Tonight with David Muir often skipped reporting of the monthly jobs reports entirely. The unemployment rate sits at 4.1 percent, a 17-year low.
ABC shortchanged its 8.3 million viewers with less than half the employment focused coverage on jobs Fridays (the day of the month the Bureau of Labor Statistics announces the latest data on employment and unemployment) as NBC and CBS rival news programs.
Combined, World News Tonight with David Muir spent just 3 minutes 55 seconds on those nights (jobs Fridays between Feb. 3, and Dec. 8, 2017). In contrast, CBS Evening News spent 8 minutes 43 seconds, while NBC Nightly News spent 8 minutes and 6 seconds on the important economic issue.
But that doesn’t mean CBS and NBC always had their priorities right. On Dec. 8, Evening News spent more time on the graduation of CIA dogs than the national employment situation.
Unemployment rate forecasts were also underreported. In November, Goldman Sachs’ economists issued a forecast that the national unemployment rate could fall to 3.5 percent or lower by late 2019. That would be a dramatically low unemployment rate, and the prediction was reported by CNN, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Markets – but not by ABC, CBS, NBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times or USA Today.
7. Media’s Climate Alarmists Want to Criminalize Skepticism
This year more liberal climate alarmists in the media joined the small left-wing chorus wanting to criminalize and punish climate skepticism.
“Climate change denial should be a crime,” Motherboard editor Brian Merchant wrote on Sept. 1, 2017. Motherboard is a science and technology outlet for Vice Media.
Merchant used the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey, which devastated Houston, Texas, to insist “it’s time to treat science denial as gross negligence – and hold those who do the denying accountable.”
Naomi Klein, a favorite liberal activist of left-wing media like Democracy Now! Called for prosecution of oil and coal companies following the destruction of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
She claimed on the program Sept. 18, “these are not just natural disasters. These are disasters that have become unnatural, that have become unnaturally catastrophic, because of the impact of climate change, but also because of the impacts of deregulation, because of inequality, of racial injustice.”
After lengthy anti-fossil fuel ranting she said the companies should all be “in the dock” (prosecuted in a court of law).
8. Dow Jones Sets 67 Highs in 2017, But Networks Often Silent
The Dow Jones Industrial Average positively soared in 2017, setting 67 record highs. Initially, analysts and even some liberal admitted a “Trump” effect based on optimism for potential tax reform was one cause. Strong corporate earnings also boosted the Wall Street index.
In spite of gaining more than 4,700 points in a single year, the three broadcast networks ignored many of the records. Of the first 31 records following Trump’s inauguration as president, broadcast evening news programs censored a whopping 80 percent of the records on nights they occurred.
The censorship didn’t end there. ABC World News Tonight with David Muir and NBC Nightly News both ignored the record Dow high set on Sept. 19, while CBS Evening News mentioned the rising stock market without acknowledging the new record.
Two more records, including the 23,000 milestone for the DJIA, were set Oct. 17 and 18. The three network evening shows minimized that great economic news, with only Nightly News reporting the “record-setting day.” Evening News and World News both ignored it.
Correspondent Tom Costello said, “That milestone coming just over two months since the Dow crossed over 22,000. This has been the year of records day after day, since Jan. 1, the Dow Jones index of 30 leading stocks is up a whopping 16 percent.”
9. Newspapers Blast Tax Plan as ‘Lie,’ ‘Boondoggle,’ Turn to Liberal Experts
Even before the Trump administration had a tax bill to promote, when it was a mere outline of tax reform goals the liberal media pounced with columnists and editorials spewing opposition.
Washington Post’s editorial board wrote “Trump’s tax ‘miracle:’ Cowardice and dishonesty” while its business section provided a similar “perspective” with the headline: “Why the Trump tax plan stinks.”
The New York Times also editorialized against it calling it a “boondoggle” and complaining about the effect on the deficit. It wasn’t that the Times opposed deficit spending as a rule, but that they only support increasing the deficit when it’s meant for “repairing the country’s dilapidated infrastructure” or “hurricane recovery.”
The liberal media’s opposition was rooted in their opposition to tax cuts, in spite of economists and Wall Street records suggestion tax cuts and other reforms could lead to significant economic growth. The media also frequently turned to the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of two left-wing groups, to criticize Trump’s goals. Media labeled the group “nonpartisan” again and again, rather than using more accurate terms like “left-leaning.”
10. Media Mogul Bloomberg Spends Another $114 Million on Anti-Coal Efforts
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a billionaire with a media empire who opposes coal power.
He already spent more than $100 million funding the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign before 2017. The Beyond Coal campaign works to shut down U.S. coal plants and counts every closure as a victory. This year, Bloomberg committed another $114 million to stop the use of coal power -- $64 million to the Sierra Club and $50 million to international anti-coal projects.
He also released a climate alarmist book this year, co-written by former Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope, and an anti-coal documentary From the Ashes.
In spite of that obvious and long-standing bias against coal, CNN’s Anderson Cooper brought Bloomberg on his show June 20, to promote the film. Cooper failed to challenge Bloomberg about the millions he’s spent to shut down the coal industry in America. Instead of pointing out the former politician’s biases, Cooper treated him as an expert on coal and let him look good by saying his philanthropy was spending money to help retrain coal workers.