Couric soon set up CBS’s story by relaying how “opponents say it will lead to racial profiling” as she didn’t pass judgment on their vandalism when she reported “some of those opponents vandalized the state capitol building, smearing refried beans in the shape of swastikas on the windows.” (Talk about fulfilling a stereotype)
John Blackstone presented arguments in favor of the law, but delivered his story through the eyes of sympathetic, if misinformed, people who see themselves as victims. “Kym Rivera brought her children to a demonstration today against Arizona's new immigration law. Her husband, born in El Salvador was sworn in as a citizen last October,” but “she fears he'll become a suspect when police are searching for illegal immigrants under the new law.” She baselessly asserted: “He worries he'll be asked to leave this country because he was not born here. That he'll be separated from his children, from his wife of 15 years.”
Blackstoned moved on to “19-year-old Junior Perez,” the same guy in the opening tease, who “has heard the assurances that the law is aimed only at illegal immigrants. He's not convinced,” and, corroborating his fear, Blackstone insisted that “in a state where more than 30 percent of the population is Hispanic, many feel the sting of racism in the new law.” Perez charged: “They’re just focusing on us because we're brown. So, it's just devastating.”
On Thursday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent John Blackstone gave attention to the danger for small businesses if the final version of health care reform requires employers to provide health insurance for their employees as he highlighted two business owners – one who fears health care reform could close down his night club business while the other is more optimistic about how her business would be affected. Substitute anchor Jeff Glor set up the report: "As we mentioned earlier, the health care bill passed by the Senate today would extend coverage to 30 million Americans. A key element is a mandate forcing many companies to pay for their workers' insurance or pay a fine – a very difficult choice for struggling small business owners."
Blackstone related that "the prescription for change includes some bitter medicine, mandates requiring companies to pay for health insurance or pay a fine." While Blackstone at one point argued that small business owners are likely to benefit "from insurance exchanges in the reform plans which should hold down premiums in many cases by helping small businesses join together for greater buying power," the CBS correspondent also gave substantial attention to nightclub owner Jay Siegan’s fears that " the music will go silent if he's required to provide insurance."
It probably won't come as any surprise, but coverage of the ClimateGate scandal, which involved the Climate Research Unit at University of East Anglia in Britain suffering a breach of data, was nowhere to be found.
Allegedly a hacker broke into the University's computer system and posted thousands of emails and documents showing an effort by scientists, some on the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), whose research has had a profound impact in shaping U.S. policy proposal on efforts to curb so-called anthropogenic climate change. Those emails and documents revealed an effort by some the scientists to manipulate data to exaggerate the threat of global warming and that has even prompted Sen. James Inhofe, Okla., the ranking Republican on the U.S. Senate's Environment and Public Works committee to call for an investigation.
Such a story would seem to be a no-brainer for the ABC, CBS and NBC to pick up on, but their Nov. 24 broadcasts failed to do so. What did they opt for instead? A sea lion glut in San Francisco, an orphaned moose in Vermont and the meal selection on the President's State Dinner.
On Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent John Blackstone presented the view that cutting greenhouse gas emissions is necessary to save birds from global warming, as the report related that migration patterns have changed as a result of rising temperatures. Blackstone vaguely relayed that Audubon scientists somehow "found" that "reducing greenhouse gas emissions" could be beneficial to birds: "Here in California, Audubon scientists went beyond measuring bird movement to look for solutions. They found that reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming could make a dramatic difference for many birds."
Katie Couric introduced the piece: "Meanwhile, global warming has a new warning sign. Instead of heading South, many birds are going North for the winter. A report released today only proves what birders already know: Many species are responding to climate change."
On Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, even after Katie Couric introduced a story about Israel’s election which will determine the next prime minister as being "too close to call," correspondent Richard Roth’s report spent more time focusing on the popularity of center-left Kadima party candidate Tzipi Livni – whom the report linked to Barack Obama – and featured positive soundbites of her supporters, but devoted little time to her conservative Likud party rival and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom Roth briefly presented as a "hitch" to Livni becoming Israel's leader.
In her introduction, Couric labeled Netanyahu as a "hardline" candidate: "In Israel they're counting votes in an election that remains too close to call. Late tonight, hardline candidate Benjamin Netanyahu claimed victory, but exit polls show Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in front. Despite that, Richard Roth tells us the process of choosing a new prime minister is far from over."
On CBS’s Sunday Morning, host Charles Osgood teased a story on politician Harvey Milk, who was the first gay man elected to San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors in 1977: "The story of a rebel with a cause is being retold in the form of a just-released motion picture. And as it happens, the timing could hardly be more appropriate." The movie, starring left-wing actor Sean Penn, is set to come out just after the 30th anniversary of Milk’s murder, as correspondent John Blackstone explained: "He became the first openly gay man elected to office in the United States. A breakthrough that ended with assassination. Harvey Milk served less than a year here on San Francisco's Board of Supervisors but it was a year that changed history."
Blackstone, who has done numerous stories on Californians efforts to legalize gay marriage, made a comparison between Milk’s election and the current battle over Proposition 8: "In California, the renewed battle over same sex marriage has echoes in a new movie about triumph and tragedy in San Francisco 30 years ago...It is an accident of timing. Just as gay right activists have taken to the streets, angry over the ban on same sex marriage in California, the struggle for gay rights has also moved to the big screen."
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen praised Barack Obama’s election as the first African-American president but lamented the passage of California’s Proposition 8, preventing gay marriage: "One barrier falls, another returns. Married gays in legal limbo protest through the night as California voters ban same-sex unions." At the top of the 8AM hour, correspondent John Blackstone reported: "In disappointment, supporters of same-sex marriage gathered in Los Angeles last night, after the hard-fought campaign over California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage, they were on the losing side, but not ready to give up."
Blackstone went on to describe the fight that lay ahead: "This may, however, be just one more battle in California's long war over same-sex marriage. Gay rights advocates have already filed a lawsuit claiming Proposition 8 improperly writes discrimination into the state constitution." A clip was then played of the left-wing mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom: "Never before has our constitution been used to strip rights away." Blackstone did not offer the voice of a single person who supported the proposition.
On CBS’s "Sunday Morning," correspondent John Blackstone reported on the beginning of legal gay marriages in California starting Monday: "Even for people used to earthquakes, the California Supreme Court's decision last month to legalize same-sex marriage was a jolt. But even as gay couples make plans to wed this week...Opponents say tradition should and will be restored."
Blackstone went on to talk to one such opponent: "Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage is confident Californians will vote to again ban same sex marriage. On the ballot, in November...Brown says the state supreme court improperly overturned the will of the people. In 2000, California voters approved a measure declaring that only marriage between a man and woman is valid or recognized in California."
Out of a total of 8 minutes and 50 seconds of coverage during the show, 2 minutes and 14 seconds was given to highlight opponents of gay marriage. By Sunday’s "Evening News" the total coverage had shrunk to 2 minutes and 35 seconds with 27 seconds given to opponents. Total coverage on Monday’s "Early Show" was 5 minutes and 12 seconds, however, time given to opponents of gay marriage was only 41 seconds, with no mention of Brown or his organization.
On Friday’s CBS "Early Show" an entirely one-sided story about the California Supreme Court ruling to allow gay marriage by correspondent John Blackstone, was followed by an entirely one-sided interview of a gay couple by co-host Julie Chen. Chen introduced the segment by declaring: "The landmark decision by the California Supreme Court yesterday to allow gay couples to marry..." while also fretting that the decision "... may be short-lived. Conservative groups hope to undo the ruling by putting a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on the ballot in November." However, the perspective of those "conservative groups" is never presented in the segment. [audio available here]
Blackstone then offered his report on the ruling, which talked to no lawyers or legal experts and discussed no details of the ruling. Instead, Blackstone began by exclaiming: "In the Castro District, San Francisco's predominantly gay neighborhood...The court's decision was seen as a huge victory for equal rights." In the middle of Blackstone’s statement an overjoyed gay woman proclaimed: "Thank you, goddesses."
Blackstone went on to portray liberal San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom as the hero of the day:
Then, however, Blackstone considered another cause: “A whole lot more fuel to burn, a result of a hundred years of fighting fires” since “putting out almost every fire is not what nature intended, says Richard Minnich, who studies fire history.” Minnich, a professor of earth sciences at the University of California Riverside, explained: “The fire suppression management over the hundred years, in fact, generates more severe fires than what would otherwise occur.” Plus, Blackstone noted, the destructive impact of the fires has increased because “the realization it's often good to let fires burn has met a big obstacle: more houses in forest and wild lands.” Concluding his piece, Blackstone returned to warming, but didn't blame it alone: “Firefighters are trying to keep up with the megafire threat, a threat that won't go away in a warming world, and a growing West.”
CBS's Katie Couric wondered: “Will the former Vice President now go after the prize he lost, the biggest prize in American politics?” She touted him as “the first American Vice President to win this most prestigious award since Charles Dawes back in 1926.” Reporter John Blackstone hailed “a remarkable comeback for a man who seven years ago seemed all but finished with public life,” a comeback attributable to how Gore “traveled the world with a slide show talking about the reality of global warming.”
NBC anchor Brian Williams empathized with how “he never was awarded what he tried so hard to get and wanted so badly -- the American presidency -- but today former Vice President Al Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.” Anne Thompson stressed the “prize has done nothing to stop the speculation about Gore's political future.” She enthused that a presidential bid by Gore is “a tantalizing prospect,” though “few expect” it to happen. Thompson concluded by seeing complete vindication: “Gore's co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, left no doubt that man is responsible for global warming. The debate now is over how much the climate will change if nothing is done.”