In a report at the top of the 8AM ET hour of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante ridiculed Sarah Palin for daring to criticize First Lady Michelle Obama's weight loss campaign: "Palin has never been at a loss for an opinion on anything, including taking a pot shot at the First Lady's campaign to eat healthy."
Fill-in news reader Betty Nguyen introduced Plante's report by declaring: "And there's a war over dessert. Yes, a food fight has broken out between the First Lady and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin." Throughout the segment, the headline on screen read: "Palin Food Fight; Dessert War."
To her credit, correspondent Betty Nguyen challenged Johnston’s openly frivolous approach to running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska (a stunt concocted for a reality show) and whether his temporary apology was “honest” (he said it was “something I did to make my fiancee happy”).
But CBS has shown a particular fetish for publicizing Johnston’s antics, especially his slams of Sarah Palin. Back in July, NewsBusters’ Kyle Drennen documented five lengthy Early Show features of Johnston, including two “exclusive” interviews, one of which aired over two days. Always, CBS touted the anti-Sarah Palin angle, as they did again today with the on-screen headline: “Levi’s Regrets; Johnston Sorry He Made Palin Apology.”
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a law on April 23 that would make it a misdemeanor for immigrants to not carry documentation proving they are in the country legally. The bill gave state law enforcement the power to determine the immigration status of any person during "any lawful contact." Amid allegations that this law would lead to "racial profiling," Brewer later amended it to allow law enforcement to only check the immigration status of those involved in a "lawful stop, detention or arrest."
Reporters on ABC, NBC and CBS misled the American people about the law by calling it "anti-immigration" twice as often as correctly identifying the law as "anti-illegal immigration" and reporting, as ABC's Bill Weir did on the April 24 "Good Morning America, "Police [in Arizona] now have the power to stop anyone and make them prove they are legal."
McCain noted the number of illegal immigrants entering Arizona and the level of drug trafficking taking place: "Across the Tucson sector of Arizona last year, there was 241,000 apprehensions of illegal immigrants....1.3 million pounds of marijuana intercepted on the Tucson border just last year." Smith followed up by wondering: "And for the millions of Hispanic Americans who live in Arizona, what do you say to them who feel like this bill is purely discriminatory?"
In a news brief on the topic at the top of the 8AM ET hour, fill-in news reader Betty Nguyen described how: "The Obama administration and activists are considering legal challenges to Arizona's new immigration enforcement law, which has reignited a national debate." A series of signs from an immigration protest in San Francisco appeared on screen: "Latinos Today, Who's Next? Shame on Arizona;" "Boycott Arizona;" "Brown Is Not A Crime."As footage of the protest rolled, Nguyen explained: "The law makes it a crime to be an illegal immigrant." On Monday, an MSNBC headline made the same odd statement.
On Monday's CBS Evening News, correspondent John Blackstone argued: "many feel the sting of racism in the new law."
Nguyen noted: "President Obama unveils a revamped plan for America's manned space program....reviving part of a plan he canceled earlier this year. NASA will begin development of a crew capsule called Orion....[it] won't go to the moon, but will be used as an emergency vehicle on the space station."
In contrast, on ABC's Good Morning America, anchor Juju Chang began a news brief on the same topic this way: "President Obama under fire, accused by the first man to set foot on the moon of leading the U.S. space program down a path of, quote, 'mediocrity.'" Correspondent Jake Tapper followed: "Armstrong and two other former astronauts wrote that it was a terrible decision. They called it 'a misguided proposal that forces NASA out of the human space operations for the foreseeable future.'"
NBC's Today also covered the criticism, as anchor Natalie Morales explained how: "three Apollo astronauts call the changes devastating. In a letter, Neil Armstrong, James Lovell and Eugene Cernan write, 'The President's plan destines our nation to become one of second, or even third-rate stature.'"
The network morning shows on Thursday trumpeted Barack Obama's nuclear weapons treaty with Russia as "historic" and "landmark," with only Good Morning America allowing that the reduction plan could be "controversial." However, ABC's George Stephanopoulos also enthused, "But, [Obama and Russia's President] are here first and foremost to make history..."
Reporting live from Prague, Stephanopoulos was mostly light on details. He did explain that the treaty's goal is to cut "nuclear arsenals by about 30 percent over the next seven years." And while the ex-Democratic aide allowed that "critics call [the treaty] utopian and dangerous," he didn't explain why.
Co-host Robin Roberts announced, "George Stephanopoulos is there in Prague for the historic moment." She later teased, "George is traveling, of course, with the President, who just signed a landmark treaty."
CBS's Early Show and NBC's Today on Tuesday ignored the arrest of a man who was plotting to kill Republican Congressman Eric Cantor. ABC's Good Morning America mentioned the story only in a news brief in the 8am hour. Last week, however, GMA highlighted threats against Democrats and worried about "angry talk" from Sarah Palin.
The Early Show may have ignored the story of Norman Leboon and the violent, profanity-laced rants he posted online about the "evil" Cantor, but the same show on Tuesday did note the guilty plea of a man who threatened Barack Obama.
Substitute news anchor Betty Nguyen explained, "In Tennessee, a white supremacist has pleaded guilty to plotting a 2008 killing spree against blacks, including then presidential candidate Barack Obama."
In the report that followed, correspondent Allen Pizzey treated the Holy Father like a corrupt politician: "The abuse scandal, highlighted with pictures of the Pope, glared from the front pages of every major newspaper in Italy today. And in a clear sign of just how much trouble Benedict is in, only two of them defended him." Later in the report, a headline appeared on screen that read: "Catholic Abuse Cover-up? New Allegations About Pope's Role."
Pizzey noted how the Pope recently "told a Vatican youth rally...that the word of God would show them how to prevent falling into what he called 'the abyss of drugs, of alcohol, of addiction to sex and to money.'" He then added: "But victims of abuse...say the Pope failed to heed his own advice."
Co-host Maggie Rodriguez later introduced a report on the legislation by remarking that Smith, who was pleased with his NCAA March Madness bracket picks, was "not the only one who's happy this morning. So is President Obama." She went on to declare: "We begin with Congress's historic passage of health care reform late last night." Rodriguez recited ObamaCare talking points: "Now under this law...insurance companies will not be allowed to drop your coverage if you get sick. There will be no cap on lifetime insurance benefits and you can keep your children on your health insurance through the age of 26. Also, coverage will be available for uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions."
In the report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes began by describing the "sense of relief for Democrats," in the wake of the bill's passage. The on-screen headline read: "Historic Vote; Health Care Reform Passes; Heads to Obama's Desk."
If President Obama or any Democrat had actually won the dubious honor of committing PolitiFact's "Lie of the Year," do you think CNN would have reported it?
Fat chance, right?
Before you answer, consider the glee exhibited by CNN's Josh Levs Sunday when he announced Sarah Palin had "won" for her Facebook comment concerning a "death panel" in healthcare reform legislation (video embedded below the fold with transcript, h/t Story Balloon):
While it has been documented that CNN's Howard Kurtz chided his own news network for ignoring the recently-revealed scandal involving Montana Democratic Senator Max Baucus nominating his girlfriend for a U.S. attorney position -- after the CNN anchor had monitored CNN on Saturday -- it turns out that on Sunday morning, even before Kurtz's Reliable Sources show had begun, CNN had already started to pay more attention to the scandal than the news network had on Saturday, but -- while one may argue the story deserves even more attention -- CNN Sunday Morning actually devoted somewhat more time to the story than the other morning newscasts on ABC, CBS, NBC, and even FNC.
Baucus was also directly labeled as a Democrat by CNN Sunday Morning co-anchors T.J. Holmes and Betty Nguyen, which the two had done in the previous day's story on CNN Saturday Morning. The Baucus scandal was mentioned several other times during the day on CNN NewsRoom, each time with Baucus clearly identified as a Democrat.
HOLMES: Well, it is something -a player, a name that a lot of people normally might not know a whole lot about, from a state that most people don't know a whole lot about. He's been important in the health care debate.
NGUYEN: That is true.
HOLMES: Senator Max Baucus, out of Montana, he is a key player on a Senate committee that has been putting together some health care legislation. News coming out that he actually nominated his current girlfriend for a U.S. attorney position, while the two were involved. They are both divorced here. So that is not an issue and not accused of breaking up each other marriages.
NGUYEN: Yes, there was no affair or anything like that at all.
HOLMES: Nothing like that.