On ABC’s World News Saturday, correspondent John Hendren filed a report marking this year as the first time since 1947 that no members of the Kennedy family will hold public office in Washington, D.C. The piece began:
JOHN HENDREN: The sun has set on the Kennedy era. When Congress reconvenes next week, it will be the first time in 64 years that there has not been a Kennedy in office.
KATHLEEN KENNEDY TOWNSEND, DAUGHTER OF ROBERT F. KENNEDY: I think it's sad. I think that we need a Kennedy.
Hendren went on to recount the death of former Senator Ted Kennedy, "the Lion of the Senate," and the decision of Rhode Island Representative Patrick Kennedy to retire, as well as the shuffling of office space with the arrival of newly-elected Republicans. The ABC correspondent also noted that Tea Party-backed Rep. Ron Paul and Senator-elect Rand Paul are the only family members serving who will be serving concurrently in Congress.
Hendren concluded by offering a ray of hope for those would like to see the Kennedy family in government again:
On Thursday’s CBS Evening News, as correspondent Jan Crawford filed a report on the allegations that former Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell misused campaign money, the CBS correspondent seemed dismissive of O’Donnell’s reaction to the accusations as Crawford harkened back to the 2010 campaign and described some of O’Donnell’s recent words as the Delaware Republican's response "whenever she faced embarrassing revelations." Crawford: "O'Donnell says the charges are dirty tricks by the political establishment. Now, if that sounds familiar, it should. That was often her response during the campaign whenever she faced embarrassing revelations."
After a clip of O’Donnell from the campaign accusing her opponents of "making up stories," then came a soundbite of David Catanese of Politico.com: "It's something she used during her entire campaign, she used in the primary and the general election. And here she is on morning TV again pitting herself against the world, basically."
As all the broadcast network evening newscasts on Saturday used words like "historic" and "landmark" to describe the Senate vote in favor of repealing the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy on homosexuals serving in the military, the networks also provided substantially more soundbites to supporters of the measure than to those who opposed changing the policy.
On ABC, the lead report filed by correspondent David Kerley used soundbites from five supporters of lifting the ban, while only two soundbites featured opponents. Kerley began his report by quoting an unnamed "civil rights leader" calling Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell a "stain on our nation," and, after quoting President Obama’s statement supporting the measure, immediately highlighted a former military service member who is gay. Kerley:
"A stain on our nation has been lifted," is how one civil rights leader put it tonight, and President Obama says, quote, "No longer will our nation be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans just because they are gay." This Senate vote was very personal for thousands of service members. Major Mike Almy served in Iraq but was discharged when the Air Force learned he was gay. He's been battling Don't Ask, Don't Tell ever since.
CBS’s John Dickerson also brought up civil rights as he called the vote a "civil rights victory for the President," although he also uniquely used the term "liberals" to refer to some of the President’s supporters who advocated the policy change. Dickerson: " Well, it's definitely a civil rights win for him, and it’s a win politically with liberals in his party, and they’ve been angry with him. They were angry with him on this issue in particular because they felt like he wasn’t pushing hard enough.
World News anchors and reporters on Sunday chided Barack Obama from the left, complaining that he was "caving" and "breaking one of his biggest campaign promises" by preventing tax rates from increasing in January. ABC's Washington editor Rick Klein worried, "President Obama has been clear this was a critical position and he is caving on it, in, in allowing all the tax cuts to be extended."
Reporter David Kerley fretted, "The President is preparing to break one of his biggest campaign promises. He is poised to extend tax cuts to the richest Americans in exchange for helping millions who are jobless."
He went on to highlight Democratic angst over this apparent outrage, reminding, "For Democrats, making this deal, giving in on taxes to get unemployment benefits extended, is a tough pill to swallow."
During a discussion of the agreement to prevent tax rates from increasing in January, on ABC’s World News Sunday, anchor David Muir and ABC’s senior Washington correspondent Rick Klein fretted that the federal budget deficit would increase - against the wishes of the voters - as a result of both the blocking of a tax increase and the extension of unemployment benefits. But neither acknowledged that raising taxes could depress the economy and cause tax revenue losses. After a full report had run that recounted the agreement to extend the Bush tax cuts, Muir conveyed his belief that the plan contradicts voter concerns about the deficit during his discussion with Klein. Muir:
And, Rick, quickly, this comes after voters in the midterms seemed so concerned about government spending and the deficit, and yet, we’re hearing now about tax cuts and more spending for the benefits.
Klein warned that "everything that Congress is set to do is going to make" the budget deficit and national debt problems "even worse," and complained about less revenue being collected when "you’re cutting taxes." Klein:
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos and David Muir on Monday repeatedly connected comments by Carl Paladino to a brutal crime against homosexuals. After playing a clip of New York's Republican gubernatorial candidate asserting he didn't want children to be "brainwashed" into thinking homosexuality was okay, Muir alerted, "His remarks were delivered on the same day eight people were arraigned in New York City after a brutal attack on a gay man and two gay teens."
In case the link wasn't clear, Muir emphasized, "And these remarks do come right after that brutal hate crime right here in New York City, a crime that police believe could be among the worst in this city's history." (Wasn't 9/11 the worst hate crime in the city's history?)
“It's a mixed picture here, but it's giving some encouragement to those who are out there looking, some who are hanging onto their jobs and their businesses by a thread,” Brian Williams insisted on Friday's NBC Nightly News. On the CBS Evening News, fill-on anchor Erica Hill saw “a bit of a mixed bag” before Anthony Mason asserted that “weak as the job numbers were, they were better than Wall Street expected” and he touted: “With American businesses creating 67,000 jobs in August, the private sector has now added jobs for eight straight months.”
Over on ABC, fill-in anchor David Muir elevated Obama's spin, teasing World News: “More jobs lost and the President, just today, taking the Republicans on. Are they standing in the way?” He introduced the subsequent story: “This country lost another 54,000 jobs in August, and the President today took on the Republicans, saying they're the ones blocking help for small business.”
Good Morning America's David Muir on Thursday used the announcement that Republican operative Ken Mehlman is gay to push the GOP towards rethinking its stance on marriage.
Talking to former George Bush staffer Ed Gillespie, the ABC host speculated, "...Had Ken come to terms with this...when he was influential in the White House with the President, do you think that he could have influenced the President differently, in looking back?"
(An odd suggestion, considering that Bush's own Vice President disagreed with him.) After reading from the Republican Party's platform on the issue of gay marriage, the GMA guest anchor pressed, "Do you think the Republican Party should take a second look at this?"
The night before, in a Sunday World News story on protests over the mosque, ABC expressed sudden respect for former President Bush as reporter Linsey Davis used him to undermine opponents: “In an attempt to make a clear distinction between Islam and terrorism, within days of 9/11 President Bush went to a mosque.”
Alfonsi generously began with how “he candidly discussed his beliefs with Barbara Walters for her 2006 special on Heaven” where he promised her “the Jews, the Christians, whoever believes in God and does good will be saved.” As for whether “one man's suicide bomber is another man's martyr?”, Alfonsi assured viewers:
In his book, the imam wrote: “The truth is that killing innocent people is always wrong and no argument or excuse, no matter how deeply believed, can ever make it right.”
The TV networks have aggressively demonstrated their dislike of Arizona’s state law “cracking down on illegal immigrants,” a law that “pits neighbor against neighbor.” An MRC review of morning and evening news programs on ABC, CBS, and NBC from April 23 to July 25 found the networks have aired 120 stories with an almost ten-to-one tilt against the Arizona law (77 negative, 35 neutral, 8 positive).
The soundbite count was also tilted over the last three months -- 216 to 107, or an almost exact two-to-one disparity. Network anchors and reporters sided against defenders of border control and championed sympathetic illegal aliens and their (usually American-born) children. In 120 stories, they never described “immigrants rights activists” as liberals or on the left.
Between them, the three networks described the Arizona law as “controversial” on 27 occasions, despite its popularity in opinion polls. The Obama administration’s decision to sue file a lawsuit against Arizona to crush the law was never described as “controversial.”
Over “Getting His Due?” on screen, Jake Tapper related how “some Democrats have been grumbling that the public is not giving the President enough credit for all he's accomplished in such a short time.”
The day before, NBC's Chuck Todd empathized with the frustration Obama must be experiencing given legislative victories “comparable to any President in history.” Friday's Hardball on MSNBC carried the full question to Obama that Todd had posed 24 hours earlier in Michigan, but was cut short on Thursday's NBC Nightly News and not run on Friday's Today:
That must be frustrating. You've had an enormous amount of legislative victories – it's comparable to any President in history. It has not translated into political capital with the public. Honestly, are you frustrated by that?
“Day of outrage, anger on the streets of Phoenix and across this country tonight,” ABC anchor David Muir declared, pleading: “Will an army of protesters be heard?” Reporter Jeremy Hubbard began his story for World News: “In their most massive numbers yet, a deluge of adversaries rally and rail against what could soon be the law of the land in Arizona.”
On NBC, Telemundo’s Janet Rodriguez also presented the subject through the prism of those against the popular law: “Critics say the law unfairly targets Hispanics who make up about a third of the state's population. Recent college grad Martin Moreno worries about racial profiling” while another protester claimed “this law violates our fundamental principles of human dignity,” before Rodriguez featured a woman holding a sign from ANSWER LA, the far-left/communist-affiliated group. Rodriguez, however, described her simply as “from Long Beach.” The woman smeared as “racists” the majority of Americans who support the law.