Charles GibsonThere's no doubt about it. Celebrity is the media's top priority.

Michael Jackson's June 25 death overshadowed all other news for almost two weeks.

Nightly news programs on ABC, CBS and NBC featured at least one story each night about Jackson since his death. More than half of those broadcasts aired since June 25 lead with a story about Jackson. A Pew poll found cable news devoted 93 percent of its coverage to Jackson on June 25 and 26. The broadcast networks joined CNN, MSNBC and Fox News in airing Jackson's July 7 memorial from Los Angeles' Staples Center.

Despite a separate Pew poll that found 64 percent of people believe there was too much coverage of Jackson, the media continue to hit the story hard. CNN's Don Lemon even labeled critics of the coverage "elitist," and said, "Michael Jackson is an accidental civil rights leader, an accidental pioneer. He broke ground and barriers in so many different realms in artistry, in pictures, in movies, in music, you name it. So, no, I don't think it's overkill."

CNN daytime anchor Don Lemon appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday to come strongly to the defense of Michael Jackson, whom he saluted twice as an "accidental civil rights leader." Lemon charged that anyone who thinks the Jackson story is overdone is "elitist," and when Kurtz suggested the "civil rights leader" might have been a child molester, Lemon quickly asserted that it was never proven in court an

Sarah Palin, Alaska Governor | NewsBusters.orgCNN has displayed a double standard in its coverage of the difficulties involving the extended family of Sarah Palin versus that of President Barack Obama. Two programs on the network on Thursday evening used multiple soap opera references to describe recent occurrences in the “Palin family saga.” This contrasts with two incidents involving the aunt and half-brother of the president, which have received minimal coverage from the network.

Anchor Roland Martin began the soap opera imagery in his promo for a segment about Palin on the No Bias, No Bull program: “Folks, talk about ‘The Young and the Restless’ -- these days Governor Sarah Palin must be feeling like she’s living in a soap opera. It’s everything from her daughter’s unplanned pregnancy, to a family member ending up behind bars, and it’s not over yet. We’ll catch you up with all the real-life Palin family drama.” After a commercial break, a CNN graphic referenced another daytime TV title at the beginning of the segment: “Palin: The Days of Her Lives.” The anchor also used a similar line, speaking of the “days of the Palin lives.”

During the 7:00 p.m. hour of Saturday’s CNN Newsroom, anchor Don Lemon pushed the view that Barack Obama should try to emulate European gun laws as a way of reducing gun violence in America as he discussed the subject with four guests. During an interview with former FBI agent Gregg McCrary, who expressed support for an assault weapons ban, Lemon suggested Obama learn from the Europeans: "The one person who can probably weigh on this and may have the most influence is the President. Since he's over there in Europe now, and they're, you know, they're not perfect, but it seems that their gun laws seem to be at least working in a way that ours are not."

While Lemon tried to sound nonpartisan at times – once declaring, "We're just trying to find a solution here. No one is on one side or the other. We just want a solution" – and seemed to try to quell accusations of partisanship and liberal and conservative labels, at one point he seemed to single out conservatives to chide for criticizing liberals for advocating more gun control:

Every time we do something on gun control, it always boils down – when it comes to the e-mail, at least – that I get, we get as a response, it's a conservative issue or it's a liberal issue. "Liberals want to ban guns and take away my rights," conservatives say, "this is my right." But no one has the right to terrorize and kill people. And you heard the FBI agent say, people are being killed. Not conservatives or liberals.

Journalists on TV Sunday heralded the importance and impact of Colin Powell's long-expected endorsement of Barack Obama which he made on Meet the Press. Later in that show, NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell touted Powell's endorsement and critique of the McCain campaign as “a very powerful political statement.” On the same panel with Mitchell, Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham declared that “having Colin Powell endorse the Democratic nominee for President is like having the seal of approval from the most important military figure of the age.”

MSNBC was so excited by the news the channel produced a special Sunday Hardball devoted entirely to Powell's news. Chris Matthews teased: “Colin Powell, right in the kisser. Barack Obama gets the endorsement of the year. Let's play Hardball.” Cuing up a Meet the Press re-play at the end of the 5 pm EDT hour, Matthews celebrated: “This is history in the making, on Meet the Press, right now.”

NFL football bumped the EDT/CDT CBS Evening News, but both ABC and NBC made Powell their lead. With “Major Endorsement” as it's on-screen heading, ABC anchor Dan Harris teased, “Tonight on World News: On a roll. Obama wins a major endorsement from a major Republican.” CNN's 10 PM EDT Newsroom, which dedicated its first 30 minutes to Powell, plastered “Big-Time Endorsement” on screen before anchor Don Lemon wondered: “I know it is important, but just how important is this?”

Mary Snow, CNN Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgCNN correspondent Mary Snow’s report on Monday’s The Situation Room about Barack Obama’s charge that pro-life "folks are lying" about his abortion record actually just presented both sides of the controversy without getting to the reality of the matter. The report, which was promoted as "checking the facts" by host Wolf Blitzer, also omitted how Obama’s campaign conceded on Sunday that the pro-lifers were actually accurately representing his record.

Before Snow’s report aired just before the top of the 6 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, Blitzer read two promos for it. In the first, he announced how "Barack Obama [is] in the middle of an abortion battle. Now, he's pushing back after an extraordinary claim against him. We're going to examine the record." In the second promo, Blitzer played Obama’s "lying" sound bite, and stated, "Senator Obama blasts opponents for distorting his record on abortion-related legislation. We're checking the facts."

Don Lemon, CNN Anchor | NewsBusters.orgCNN co-anchor Don Lemon, during a brief report on Tuesday’s Newsroom program about a pro-life measure on the ballot in South Dakota that would greatly restrict abortion, gave only the pro-choice side of the debate over the proposed law. He also oversimplified Barack Obama’s stance on the abortion issue.

Lemon stated how the Great Plains state "is becoming a new focal point in the abortion debate" due to the measure, which is called Initiated Measure 11. He then introduced the sole sound bite from a Planned Parenthood official: "Opponents say it would be one of the most rigid and inflexible bans in the country. They worry about the impact it could have on Roe vs. Wade."

During the sound bite, Sarah Stoesz, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota argued, "Nowhere in America is abortion harder to access than in the state of South Dakota, and while South Dakota accounts for only 0.1 percent of abortions nationwide, it has a potentially disproportionate, powerful effect on public policy in our country, because of the attempts in South Dakota to create a vehicle to overturn Roe vs. Wade."

Quite a feat: CNN has pulled off the MSM equivalent of describing a spiral staircase without using one's hands.  It has managed to produce a segment on "honor killings" and related violence in the UK . . . without using the word "Muslim" or "Islam." CNN Newsroom anchor Don Lemon introduced the segment this afternoon at 1:37 PM EDT.
DON LEMON: Women forced into marriages, or killed for having the wrong boyfriend.  So-called "honor crimes" are often committed by fathers or brothers when daughters do something that supposedly brings shame on the family.  It's on the rise in  Britain, and authorities, they are very worried about it.  Our Paula Newton reports.

View video here.

Don Lemon, CNN Anchor | NewsBusters.orgThursday’s "Newsroom" program on CNN, in a report promoted to be about how "controversial comments are nothing new to Jesse Jackson," was actually a retrospective from two years ago that largely glowed about Jackson’s affiliation with Martin Luther King, Jr., and giving the man a platform to answer his critics. "Newsroom" co-anchor Don Lemon, who interviewed Jackson in the report, remarked of his career, "‘How far soon we forget’ could be theme of Jesse Jackson's last decade or so. After all, it was him, marching or sitting with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in all those civil rights photographs." Lemon did mention the leader’s extramarital affair in which he sired a child, but omitted the former Democratic presidential candidate’s bigoted "Hymietown" comments from 1984.

On this afternoon's CNN Newsroom, anchor Don Lemon interviewed Carolyn Lochhead, the San Francisco Chronicle's Washington correspondent. The topic was "Obamacans," conservative Republicans who support Barack Obama for president.

Lochhead wrote a recent article on the phenomenon and was brought on to discuss the mythical beast:

On Independence Day, CNN anchor Don Lemon reported the death of former Senator Jesse Helms.
LEMON: Conservatives are mourning the death of an icon. Former Senator Jesse Helms has died at the age of 86. The North Carolina Republican was known for his unyielding stands on some controversial issues.


LEMON (voice-over): Ever since he came to the Senate in 1972, Jesse Helms had been the champion of the extreme right. His positions frequently infuriated virtually everyone else.

CNN’s Kyra Phillips, currently in Iraq on assignment, apparently couldn’t any Iraqi troops who support the Republicans for the November election in the U.S. All of those featured in her report on Friday’s "Newsroom" program said glowing things about Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or the Democrats in general. Ahmed Mansour, one of the soldiers from Iraq’s Sixth Division that Philips interviewed, expressed his preference for Hillary Clinton. "The truth is I pay attention to Democratic Party -- even more, Hillary Clinton." When asked why he liked Hillary, he said, "Because I like her personality, because she's new. In America, you need something new, a new female president. We saw and lived under the Republican Party, under Bush. We would like to see what the Democrats have to offer."