Viewers of ABC's morning and evening newscasts on Friday would have been left unaware of President Obama's gaffe of elementary proportions during a White House concert on Thursday evening. Both Good Morning America and World News omitted how the Democrat left out the first "E" in the title of Aretha Franklin's most famous song: "When Aretha first told us what R-S-P-E-C-T meant to her."
By contrast, the network's competitors at CBS and NBC covered the President's trip-up on their morning shows and evening news broadcasts. NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams even mentioned a infamous spelling flub by a former Republican vice president: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Acting like the White House press office, Tuesday's CBS This Morning devoted a 3-minute report to President Obama's habit of binge watching his favorite TV shows, with correspondent Bill Plante gushing: "He may be the leader of the free world, but when it comes to unwinding, President Obama – well, he's a lot like us....The President tunes in to tune out. And when he needs his television, step aside." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Plante described how Obama asked HBO CEO Richard Plepler for early copies of certain shows during the recent state dinner for the president of France. Plante added: "Then later in the week, this appeared on the President's Twitter account. 'Tomorrow: @HouseOfCards. No spoilers, please.' A reference to one of his favorite shows."
On Tuesday, ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning newscasts all hyped the White House's announcement that President Obama's would meet with Pope Francis in March, and emphasized their apparent agreement on economic issues. On CBS This Morning, Bill Plante touted the "chance for him [Obama] to align himself with the agenda of the very popular new pope, at a time when the President's own popularity here at home is at a low point."
ABC's Robin Roberts even asserted on Good Morning America that the two world leaders are "very similar." However, none of these morning shows reported that just a week earlier, the Pope's secretary of state "expressed [his] concern...for the healthcare reforms in relation to the guarantee of religious freedom and conscientious objection" during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. [MP3 audio available here; video clips below the jump]
ABC, CBS, and NBC all devoted air time to the Obama administration's latest "fix for the botched health care rollout"on their Friday morning newscasts, but failed to include any conservative or Republican reaction to this development. Good Morning America minimized their coverage, airing just two news briefs on "the White House offering relief now for people who lost their health insurance because it didn't meet standards required by the...health care law."
Today and CBS This Morning both spotlighted the insurance industry's worries over this change, but didn't get around to the possible political fallout over the White House announcement. Guthrie only vaguely asserted how the "fix" might be "more ammunition for the critics of the law."
Now that the Nobel Peace Prize winner has been announced, it’s a good time to notice which Nobelist doesn’t tend to get mentioned any more. With all the talk of war in Syria, after leading from behind in Libya, and approving the takedown of Osama bin Laden, Barack Obama’s Peace Prize is almost never mentioned on TV.
Is that embarrassment for Obama? It can’t be disaste for Obama. It might be embarrassment for the Nobel bureaucrats for the attempt at pre-emptive accolades. But a survey of ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS newscasts since the 2012 election shows only one news report – from Chuck Todd in June – acknowledged Obama won the Peace Prize, and one wisecrack from PBS NewsHour analyst David Brooks on September 13:
During a Tuesday press conference at the White House, CBS's Bill Plante channeled his colleague Bob Schieffer's 2009 "open sore" pronouncement about Guantanamo Bay as he asked President Obama about an ongoing hunger strike among many of the detainees there. Plante hinted at sympathy for the prisoners as he wondered, "Is it any surprise, really, that they would prefer death rather than – have no end in sight to their confinement?"
The correspondent's leading question allowed the President to revisit the issue and call for the closure of the facility, just over three months after his administration closed the office tasked with shuttering the prison camp [audio available here; video below the jump]:
Does journalistic insistence on catapulting President Barack Obama into historic greatness and relevance know no bounds? CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley on Tuesday night insisted upon trumpeting Obama’s proposal, to spend $100 million to map the human brain, through the hagiographic maneuver of putting Obama into a trilogy with the triumphs of Thomas Jefferson and John Kennedy:
"Finally tonight, for Thomas Jefferson it was the Louisiana Territory; for John F. Kennedy, the moon. Well today, as Bill Plante reports, President Obama announced a mission to explore and map another frontier filled with mystery and possibility."
Thursday's CBS This Morning stood out as the only Big Three network morning newscast to zero in on Education Secretary Arne Duncan's false assertion about the sequester – that "there are, literally, teachers now who are getting pink slips; who are getting notices they can't come back this fall". Correspondent Bill Plante noted that "Duncan conceded he knew of only one county nationwide where there had been notices", and underlined that "those notices weren't sequester-related."
CBS News political director John Dickerson also highlighted that "the Washington Post caught...Duncan in an exaggeration about those effects." Actually, "exaggeration" is an understatement on the part of Dickerson, as the Post's Glenn Kessler ripped the Cabinet official over several statements he's made on the sequester issue:
Bill Plante, CBS News Senior White House Correspondent, made a rather shocking statement Sunday about the Obama administration's media strategy.
Appearing on CNN's Reliable Sources, Plante said that to the extent the White House is able to "put out their own material" without the Washington press corps, "they're undercutting the First Amendment...it's state-run media" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Wednesday's CBS This Morning played up the supposedly gargantuan cuts in government spending that would go into the effect if the sequester goes into effect on March 1. Charlie Rose trumpeted the "massive spending cuts" set to take effect, while Gayle King underlined that the "deep automatic spending cuts" were quickly approaching. But neither anchor pointed out that $85 billion in cuts come out of a $3.5 trillion federal budget.
Correspondent Bill Plante hyped the effect of the possible "massive layoffs" on the Washington, DC region. But he only included one soundbite from a Republican/conservative, while playing three clips from President Obama and second Democrat.
The irony must have been lost on Bill Plante when he reported on Monday's CBS This Morning that President Obama "did golf with Tiger [Woods], but we didn't see a picture of it. They [the Obama administration] don't like to show a picture of the President at leisure doing anything. They see this as propaganda for the Republicans."
However, exactly two weeks earlier, on February 4, 2013, Plante acted as an Obama administration stenographer as he pointed out a photo released by the White House of the President "at leisure" – specifically, firing a shotgun. He also spotlighted menu choices for the chief executive's Super Bowl festivities:
On Friday's CBS This Morning, Bill Plante refreshingly spotlighted how firearms are used to protect the lives of ordinary Americans. Plante noted how the National Rifle Association "Tweeted a story...about Melinda Herman, a Georgia woman who shot an intruder in self-defense as she waited with her two children in a closet....She fired at the man multiple times with a .38 caliber handgun."
The two other Big Three morning shows failed to mention this story during their coverage of the current gun control debate. ABC's GMA actually minimized the air time they devoted to the issue. News anchor Dan Harris gave just one news brief to the next meeting of Vice President Joe Biden's gun violence task force: