In case you haven’t noticed, the government shutdown is all the GOP’s fault. Today’s Chicago Tribune wanted to make sure readers knew that with a front-page headline titled “Hard-right bloc sticks to its guns: Shutdown stalemate continues as lawmakers in safe seats hold sway.” The article reports that some House Republicans “have chosen to defy Washington’s traditional norms of conversation and compromise.” You know, those norms that have served America so well as we headed to a $17 trillion debt.
Viewers who watched last evening’s ABC World News with Diane Sawyer were told of a new ABC News/Washington Post poll “showing 70% of Americans disapprove of how Republicans in Congress are handling the negotiations.” What they weren’t told is the same poll found 61% disapprove of how Democrats are handling the breakdown while another majority, 51%, disapproves of Obama’s approach.
On Thursday morning, neither ABC nor CBS labeled former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. a Democrat as they reported on his 30 month jail sentence. NBC's Today did not report Jackson's sentence on Thursday, but on Wednesday they covered it without identifying him as a Democrat.
"Jesse Jackson, Jr. will spend two and a half years in prison. The former Illinois congressman was sentenced Wednesday," reported Charlie Rose, co-host of CBS This Morning. ABC's Josh Elliot said on Good Morning America that "former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for misusing campaign funds, spending $750,000 on things such as a gold Rolex and 500 dollar dinners."
Chief Justice John Roberts may have angered conservatives with his decisive vote in favor of ObamaCare today, but he was, in CBS anchor Scott Pelley’s words, the “man of the hour” on all three network evening newscasts Thursday night.
ABC’s Terry Moran complimented Roberts’ lurch to the left, saying it “did give heart to many Court watchers,” who were worried the Court “was at risk of becoming just another hyper-partisan place... By joining the liberals, Chief Justice Roberts seemed to have stopped that.”
ABC’s Diane Sawyer hit a group of incoming freshmen House and Senate members about presumed Tea Party hypocrisy in accepting farm subsidies and not refusing to accept federal employee health care while CBS’s Katie Couric, with three House members, despaired over the “danger” that budget cuts might “be too deep?” Forwarding liberal talking points, in the pre-recorded segment aired on Wednesday’s World News, Sawyer relayed:
The Democrats have a challenge for the Republicans, saying, if you're going to cut spending, go ahead and start close to home. Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler of Missouri got more than $750,000 in taxpayer subsidies for her farm. Are you ready to vote against all farm subsidies?
Sawyer continued: “And on the promise to repeal health care reform, Democrats ask: Will they be giving up their new taxpayer-subsidized insurance? Only two of them said they would.”
On the CBS Evening News, Couric noted “Republicans say high on their priority list is deficit reduction, starting with major cuts in domestic spending this year. Fiscally conservative freshmen say everything’s fair game.” She then fretted: “But is there danger in your view, Congressman West, that the ax will be too sharp, that the cuts will be too deep?”
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," reporter Chris Cuomo saw dark motives in Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's attacks on Democrat John Edwards and his "Two Americas" rhetoric. The GMA host conducted a combative interview with the 2008 contender and even alleged that Romney's comments could even be construed as an example of "ignorance."
After playing a clip of the former governor dismissing Edwards's contention that there is a rich and poor America, Cuomo argumentatively asserted, "When you say, 'This is one America,' that could be a unity statement or it could be one of, perhaps, ignorance to the fact that in this country you have the rich growing at ten times the rate as the working class. Do you deny that is the situation in this country?" The ABC journalist then helpfully added, "You trying to make a different point?"
Forget the lack of evidence, we have our story of presidential duplicity and we're sticking with it. Picking up on a front page Washington Post story about how back in May of 2003 President Bush had cited trailers found in Iraq as proof of WMD, when a secret field report filed two days earlier had concluded the trailers had nothing to do with bio-weapons, on Wednesday morning ABC's Charles Gibson trumpeted how Bush made a statement he "knew at the time that was not true" and so it's “another embarrassment for the White House.” Reporter Martha Raddatz agreed “it certainly is.” But though as reported by FNC's Carl Cameron, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan pointed out at the Wednesday briefing that the day before Bush's 2003 comments a joint CIA/DIA report had concluded the trailers were bio-weapons labs, ABC's World News Tonight plowed ahead Wednesday night, ignoring the more substantial report which had much-wider distribution -- and CNN's Jack Cafferty (“ABC News has even reported that President Bush knew what he was saying about those trailers was false”), as well as MSNBC's Keith Olbermann (“The President knew they weren't mobile weapons labs from the very start. How Nixonian is this? We will ask John Dean"), piled on.
Cameron relayed on Special Report with Brit Hume: “Defense Intelligence Agency command issued a joint report with the CIA that said they were weapons labs. The six-page document titled 'Iraqi Mobile Biological Warfare Agent Production Plants' concluded that there could be no other purpose for the trailers beyond biological weapons....Waving that report, the White House spokesman said it was the basis of the President's remarks.” Raddatz acknowledged in her Wednesday World News Tonight story that “the White House said today the President, at the time, believed his statement to be true," but skipped the powerful evidence of how the White House had received an official intelligence report backing up the WMD discovery. Anchor Elizabeth Vargas set up the Raddatz piece: “Tonight, questions about claims the President and members of his administration made in 2003. They said two trailers in Iraq were mobile weapons labs, proof Saddam Hussein had been developing weapons of mass destruction. The problem was, a Pentagon team had already determined the trailers had nothing to do with WMD.” (More and transcripts follow)
Nine months ago, CBS anchor Bob Schieffer painted Iraq as spiraling into civil war. It didn't happen then, yet on Wednesday night Schieffer renewed his ominous forecast. But unlike in May, this time his ABC and NBC anchor colleagues expressed the same prospect. Back on May 19 of last year, Schieffer teased the CBS Evening News with this unique warning: "Good evening. I'm Bob Schieffer. It just keeps getting worse in Iraq. The death toll is rising. Tension is growing between Shiites and Sunnis. Is the country sliding toward civil war?" He soon added: “Now there's been a surge of attacks on Shiite and Sunni Muslim clerics, and some fear that Iraq is sliding toward civil war.” From Baghdad, Mark Strassmann backed up Schieffer's thesis: "Tit-for-tat terror seems to be pushing Iraq towards civil war. This man says, 'We are heading toward a catastrophe.'"