During it’s preview of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s presidential announcement on Monday, CBS This Morning made sure to cast doubt on whether or not the Republican was “ready” to assume the White House in 2016. The CBS reporter insisted that “awkward exchanges” like one with a British reporter “have raised questions about his readiness for prime time” and “[t]o guard against criticism that he lacks a certain presidential heft, the governor has been undergoing weeks of briefs on global issues, everything from net neutrality to ISIS.”
While it may have been surprising that all three broadcast networks covered on Monday evening the deadly violence in Chicago over the Fourth of July weekend, what wasn’t surprising was that they looked to blame guns for the violence and advanced the cause of more gun control (as opposed to gang violence or the need for better policing).
With the midterm elections one week away from Tuesday, the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley profiled the race in Wisconsin for governor as incumbent Governor and Republican Scott Walker faces off against Democratic candidate Mary Burke.
While it’s certainly worth covering governor’s races across the country, CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds chose to use the occasion to go after Walker and his policies by asking Burke if a victory over Walker would “send a message to the rest of the country about the kind of policies and politics that he practices.”
Monday's CBS Evening News offered the usual biased coverage of religion, and specifically, the Catholic Church, as it reported on Pope Francis' widely misrepresented remarks on homosexuals. Dean Reynolds' only talking head was a former priest who apparently "quit the priesthood...after he felt the Church intended to purge gays", and even wondered if the Pope was throwing out Catholic teaching: "Do you think he's breaking with the Vatican?"
Reynolds also hyped that the Roman pontiff offered a "potentially controversial position" with his recent remarks, when in reality, they are consistent with what the Catechism of the Catholic Church outlines. [audio available here; video below the jump]
Monday’s CBS Evening News took one break from Oklahoma tornado coverage – to run a piece on how an IRS manager who recently retired from the Cincinnati office, where 501 (c)(4) applications were processed, declared “politics and religion were things that people generally didn’t talk about at work.”
Reporter Dean Reynolds focused on the assurances by Bonnie Esrig, who was also featured in a Saturday Washington Post article on how politics had nothing to do with the targeting of conservative groups: “She never heard anyone say the words ‘the President wants this done.’”
When Barack Obama insulted job creators everywhere, last Friday, by charging: "If you've got a business, you didn't build that, somebody else made that happen," the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks didn’t pounce on the politically damaging remark. It took five days and Romney making it the centerpiece of his speech on Tuesday before the first network mention - by Peter Alexander on last evening’s NBC Nightly News. In fact, Obama’s soundbite was ran exactly once, in the aforementioned Alexander report. Neither CBS or ABC ran Obama’s actual quote.
However, when former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, on Tuesday, said he wished Obama "would learn how to be an American" NBC jumped to report the story on the very same day on that evening’s Nightly News. CBS got to the Sununu remark on Wednesday’s This Morning. ABC’s World News and Good Morning America have yet to mention the Sununu statement.
Remarking that Wisconsin voters had "decided to leave their governor in office" on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams contemptuously declared that "money flowed into that state from all over the country, from people who had never been to Wisconsin, had no connection to Wisconsin. Part of the new and unlimited spending that is changing politics in a hurry." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After Williams credited the out-of-state money for "a huge victory for the Republicans," chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd breathlessly proclaimed: "Walker and national Republicans responded aggressively [to the recall], launching an unprecedented fundraising and TV ad campaign, outspending Barrett and his labor allies by a 3 to 1 margin on the air alone. Overall, nearly as much money was spent in this one state for one election than Mitt Romney has spent to secure the Republican presidential nomination."
The Big Three networks certainly have their priorities straight. ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning shows on Wednesday dedicated more time to entertainment news than the results of the Wisconsin recall election. On CBS This Morning, Disney's new ban on junk food ads from its kids programming received a minute and a half more than the political story. The same gap occurred on ABC's Good Morning America, but instead of junk food, the Miss USA pageant got the extra time.
NBC's Today, however, one-upped its competitors, as they devoted over six minutes to former Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus getting engaged, while Republican Governor Scott Walker's victory received under four and a half minutes. Today also spent over five minutes on the Miss USA story.
A tale of two disasters: On ABC’s Good Morning America this morning, weatherman Sam Champion’s piece included reaction from several residents of Florida, Alabama and Louisiana to President Obama’s oil spill speech, and found three outright critics and no defenders of the administration’s handling of the disaster. One woman exclaimed: “What I would have liked to heard from him – that he actually had a plan.”
The kindest review came from a man in Alabama who merely hoped the federal response would improve: “I think we're seeing a change in how he's handling the situation. And I hope it's for the better.”