Bill Weir, ABC News Anchor; & Jake Tapper, ABC White House Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgThe network morning and evening news shows have all but ignored President Obama's Saturday letter to congressional leaders asking for $50 billion in additional spending to prevent the "massive layoffs of teachers, police, and firefighters." Only Sunday's Good Morning America on ABC has covered the President's request so far.

The chief executive's June 12 letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Minority Leader John Boehner urged "swift action" on the multi-billion dollar proposal to prevent the public sector layoffs and "give our nation's businesses added impetus to hire and grow."

ABC anchor Bill Weir brought up the President's letter with White House correspondent Jake Tapper 13 minutes into the 8 am Eastern hour of Sunday's Good Morning America:


When political scientists compare populism and elitism, they could certainly find a test case in the new Arizona law on immigration enforcement. While Rasmussen found 70 percent of Arizonans favored the crackdown on illegal aliens, and new national media polls found majority support as well, ABC, CBS, and NBC denounced the popular will as short-sighted and discriminatory.


From April 23 to May 3, the top three television networks offered viewers 50 stories and interview segments on their morning and evening news programs. The tone was strongly hostile to the law and promotional to the "growing storm" of left-wing protesters: 37 stories (or 74 percent) were negative, 10 were neutral, and only three were positive toward the Arizona law's passage -- 12 negative stories for every one that leaned positive. Stories were much kinder and sympathetic to illegal aliens than they were to police officers. Cops were potential abusers of power. Entering the country illegally was not an abuse of power. It was portrayed as an honorable step by the powerless.

The soundbite count was also slanted, with 92 quotes against the law and only 52 in favor. The pro-law numbers, however, included many soundbites of Arizona public officials defending themselves against liberal charges that they were racists or in favor of racial profiling.


Liberal political pundits frequently remind Americans that words matter, which makes broadcast network reporters' coverage of Arizona's new crack down on illegal immigrants so appalling.  

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."



ABC's weekend coverage of a tough immigration bill in Arizona focused mostly on the anger and outrage against it, minimizing supporters of the legislation. Talking to Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a fierce critic of illegals, Good Morning America co-host Bill Weir on Sunday berated, "But with this new law, will you ramp it up?...Will you grab people on street corners? I mean, what will you do with this new law?" [Audio available here.]

He also challenged Arpaio about his own fight against illegal immigration and derided, "...How is it possible to enforce these sorts of laws without sweeping up innocent citizens in the process?"



Good Morning America's Bill Weir and Reuters editor Chrystia Freeland on Saturday gushed over Obama administration talking points on the new unemployment numbers. After Weir talked about a White House-created graphic showing job losses slowing, Freeland unselfconsciously rhapsodized, "Well, I was going to say, what I think that first tells you is that [presidential adviser David] Axelrod is a really smart guy, because that is a beautiful graphic."

Continuing to tout how useful the show was being to the Obama administration, she added, "And I'm sure he's really, really happy to see it on TV." Perhaps wanting to spread the credit around, Weir complimented, "Might be [Obama adviser] David Plouffe who came up with that one, too."

Freeland couldn't get over the cleverness of this graphic, which featured the Obama logo, enthusing, "Okay! Okay. Both of you guys, well done." Now, it's one thing to repeat Democratic talking points, but to tout the brilliance of said talking points is quite another.



ABC anchor Diane Sawyer, who in February demanded to know who will “keep insurance companies from jacking up premiums while making huge profits?”, on Friday found her champion in the Superintendent of Maine’s Bureau of Insurance, hailing Mila Kofman as a “super-cop” and a “gladiator” for rejecting a rate hike requested by Anthem Blue Cross.

Kofman proclaimed “we are the super-cops on the street. I take that responsibility as an insurance regulator very seriously,” a self-promotional description Sawyer adopted in her introduction, touting “a woman in Maine who is acting as a super-cop, and telling the insurance companies ‘no.’”

Reporter Bill Weir recounted how Kofman turned down an 18 percent increase in premiums for individual policies, allowing “11 percent. Enough for Anthem to cover their rising costs, but not enough to make a profit. She says they're doing just fine.” Presuming nefarious motives by insurance companies, Weir asserted the new health care law “depends on state regulators to keep them honest every day.”


Good Morning America on Thursday worried about the possible violence Sarah Palin's Twitter page could cause to Democrats who voted for the health care bill. Guest host Bill Weir interviewed Barney Frank and fretted, "Some on the left have also been pointing to Sarah Palin's Twitter message encouraging her followers to 'Do not retreat. Instead, reload.'"

He ominously explained to viewers, "And her Facebook page has a map with cross-hairs on 20 Democrats who voted for the bill." Reporter Pierre Thomas also rehashed Democratic fears that "a toxic political environment is a catalyst for ugliness."

He touted complaints by Democratic Congressman Steve Driehaus that Republican Minority Leader John Boehner said he would be a political "dead man" if he voted for the bill. Thomas intoned, "The fears that all this angry talk could push a deranged person over the edge."



Gallup Poll, ABC On Wednesday, both NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America exclusively cited the latest Gallup/USA Today poll, which shows significantly more public support for ObamaCare than other recent polls. Both programs failed to mention several polls that continued to show public opposition to the massive legislation.

NBC Today co-host Meredith Vieira used the Gallup poll to grill Republican Senator Jim DeMint, suggesting the tide of public opinion had turned in favor of the bill: "by a margin of nine percent, Americans say it was a good thing that Congress passed this bill. Half describe their reaction as enthusiastic or pleased. 48 percent called the bill a good first step. So who is out of touch with the public? The Democrats or the Republicans?" DeMint replied: "we would expect hype with – with all the hype and propaganda – that we would get a bump....I don't think the anger's gonna go away. I think you're gonna see it continue to build."

On Good Morning America, fill-in co-host Bill Weir noted the poll after Democratic strategist James Carville touted it: "The new USA Today Gallup poll say 50 percent, or just under, 49 percent, say passing this bill is a good thing. 40 percent call it a bad thing." Weir then turned to Republican strategist Kevin Madden and wondered: "Those who are opposed to it, though, are very angry. Will that be enough? Will there be enough steam left in that anger come November?"


On Saturday’s Good Morning America, reporter Rachel Martin cast President Obama and Democratic leaders as working hard to nail down the votes needed to pass their massive health care bill, but made no suggestion that liberals were using devious or heavy-handed tactics. But when it came to the Republicans, reporter David Kerley included an indignant Democratic congresswoman, who charged that the mean-spirited GOP was casting her as “soft on cancer” just weeks after both of her parents died of the disease. (Friday's ABC World News highlighted the same complaint, MRC's Brent Baker noticed.)

The two reports, which aired back-to-back at the top of the March 20 program, were a good illustration of the liberal media trope that Republicans sink to using offensive hardball tactics while Democrats are seen as offering lofty arguments.

On the one hand, Martin’s story showed only soundbites from Democrats: President Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and a freshman Congressman who was switching his vote from “no” to “yes.” Martin helped cast Representative John Boccieri as a profile in courage:


Good Morning America's Bill Weir on Sunday trumpeted Barack Obama for "keeping a campaign promise" to broadcast the health care debate on C-SPAN. Counting the upcoming televised summit between Republicans and Democrats on the issue as fulfillment, Weir gushed, "...The revolution will be televised."

He extolled the event, saying, "And for the first time, live in your living room, President Obama keeping a campaign promise set up by a televised summit to try to revive health care reform." Reporter David Kerley sounded a similar note, asserting, "With health care reform on life support, the President hopes to save his efforts with the transparency he promised as a candidate."

Of course, Barack Obama's promise was not that health care would be discussed on TV in vague terms, several months into the process. He pledged that the negotiations for the formation of the legislation would be broadcast on C-SPAN.



The year 2009 might be classified as the year Barack Obama came down to Earth. The latest NBC-Wall Street Journal poll found that 47 percent approve of the job Obama is doing, and 46 percent disapprove. Those are not exactly Messiah numbers.



Here is the latest episode of NewsBusters’ Notable Quotables comedy show. To celebrate the year’s end, this week’s show provides a sampling of the best of the worst media sound bites of 2009.

A full list of the winners, decided by a panel of 48 opinion makers and media observers, have been announced in the Media Research Center’s annual ‘Best of Notable Quotables.’

The show features a dramatic reading of the quote of the year, won by Discover magazine deputy web editor Melissa Lafsky for channeling Mary Jo Kopecne while remembering the late Ted Kennedy. It also mocks Newsweek editor Evan Thomas for winning the prestigious ‘Audacity of Dopes Award for Wackiest Analysis’ for his godly description of President Obama.

Numerous other outrageous media moments from 2009 provided comedic material to the NQ show cast. Just take a look!  Plus, check out the show in a larger format on Eyeblast.