For the third time in as many weeknights, the NBC Nightly News has devoted airtime to the fuss over Sarah Palin’s recounting of Paul Revere’s ride at the onset of the Revolutionary War. This time, the newscast featured a full report by correspondent Lee Cowan showcasing how both Palin supporters and detractors have been attempting to edit the Wikipedia page about Revere.
That’s the same issue that bothered anchor Brian Williams on Monday night (Williams was off on Tuesday, with Lester Holt substituting). On the June 6 broadcast, Williams noted that “a political web site reported today Palin supporters have attempted to change the story of Revere's ride on Wikipedia to reflect her version of events.”
But with Wiki’s Paul Revere page now locked and presumably scrubbed of the unwanted submissions of the Palinites, the account seems to back pretty much everything Palin said. And, throughout all of their coverage, which began Friday night, NBC has — with minor exceptions — carefully avoided saying exactly what Palin has said that is supposedly incorrect.
On Monday's Today show, NBC's Lee Cowan, inspired by Arizona Sheriff Clarence Dupnik's blaming political rhetoric for the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, highlighted Sarah Palin's Web site map featuring crosshairs on Giffords' district, as he scolded: "Not since Timothy McVeigh attacked the federal building in Oklahoma City has a crime sparked so much attention on anti-government rhetoric. That map Sarah Palin put up on Facebook last year, targeting Congresswoman Gifford's seat, made Gifford nervous, even then."
To underscore Dupnik's charge about political rhetoric, in addition to citing the Palin crosshairs map, Cowan aired clips from various health care and immigration protests, but paid close attention to those opposed to the Democratic agenda including Republican Congressman Joe Wilson, as seen in the following excerpt:
(video after the jump)
It seems like every few years there's a new mascot for Team Global Warming. First it was the polar bear, then the Arctic fox and now it's the walrus's turn. On Monday's Today show, Lee Cowan traveled to Point Lay, Alaska to report on how shrinking ice sheets are leaving walruses stranded, in between their feedings, adding: "Much like the polar bear, they can't swim forever." In fact it didn't take long for Cowan to bring up the dreaded specter of global warming as he aired a soundbite of a local tribal president worrying: "I always thought the Arctic would be cold, but scientists tell us that there's global warming going on." Cowan even used another local resident to suggest that if something wasn't done soon, that in 10 years "we won't have any" animals.
The following is a full transcript of the segment as it was aired on the September 20 Today show:
NBC's Lee Cowan relayed how the ruling “certainly came as welcome news” for illegals, “but while some were relieved, others fear the crackdown may come anyway.” An unidentified woman despaired: “I'm worried for my family. I'm worried for my friends. I worry for my people.” Cowan then warned of danger posed by the majority: “And there are those who worry about a backlash from those angry the court undid what the people of Arizona largely approved.”
On ABC, a grocer exclaimed “it's a happy emotion” and “there's a hope,” before Pinto explained: “Rosario Peralta, who is here legally, watched customers at her family's grocery store disappear, frightened families moving out of state. This afternoon, some of them came back.”
Pinto moved on to “undocumented immigrant” Erika Andiola who “crossed the border with her mom, sister and brothers illegally when she was 11 years old, running from domestic abuse.” Andiola celebrated: “Yesterday, I went to bed really depressed, but, this morning, like everything just came back. Like, the hope, the faith, knowing that all these prayers are really, you know, working.”
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.”
"The loud and bitter battle over Arizona's immigration law has reached fever-pitch," claimed Pinto. "But Rosario Peralta worries about the quiet exodus – immigrant families already leaving the state in droves. In the past few months, she's seen business and customers at her family grocery store disappear."
NBC's Lee Cowan, on Thursday's NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, discovered a stunning result of Arizona's new immigration policies - illegal immigrants are now leaving the state. Cowan opened his piece noting a long line now "stretches around the Mexican Consulate in Phoenix every day" but noticed a twist, as the line was full of "immigrants trying to figure out not how to stay in Arizona, but how to flee it."
Cowan peppered his story with anecdotes of local businesses losing customers "A look around this once-bustling barrio is telling. The local hair salon has more empty chairs now than customers" and schools losing students as he claimed "School numbers are dwindling, too. This one is 75 percent Hispanic. Since the immigration law passed, they've lost more than 100 students." Cowan even punctuated this factoid with the sob story of a boy being taken out of school by his father to go back to Mexico:
NBC's Today crew tried to put a heavy spin on the Gore split on Wednesday morning. The audience was told that the Gores' 40-year marriage wasn't a failure, it was a success, several times over. Matt Lauer even insisted their divorce was "brave" -- as if all the other old married people would do the same if they weren't cowards.
It's fine if the liberals at NBC don't want to think less of the Gores for their divorce. But can they really judge all this as bravery and success without knowing whether there was infidelity or just callous disregard or creeping selfishness? It wasn't journalism. It was just an exercise in happy talk and wishful thinking. Lee Cowan ended a news story with therapist Gail Saltz (most recently remembered on TV as the expert claiming on CNN that Rush Limbaugh has millions of listeners because he's a bully who has everyone afraid of him in their cars and homes):
COWAN: When we're saying our vows, none of us can really predict just what will be down the road. If we're lucky, we grow old together. But sometimes, we don't.
SALTZ: You wake up in your fifties and your sixties and say, "Gosh, this person I married, you know, in my twenties is not the peron I would marry today."
COWAN: The Gores' split may have sparked a conversation about love and marriage, and divorce. But there's one thing to remember.
SALTZ: I would say that a 40-year union is not a failure.
According to Media Bistro, "The magazine's online home, Advocate.com, will use NBC resources to produce daily news segments that will run online and on air via "The Advocate On-Air. NBC News, in turn, may use content and writers from The Advocate to report on issues relating to the LGBT community."
"Environmentalists are hailing the move as nothing short of historic," NBC's Lee Cowan said of the federal government's new fuel efficiency standards. The networks did much the same. Broad consensus from NBC's "Nightly News" and CBS's "Evening News" reflected praise for the Obama administration's latest regulatory efforts.
The federal government took a historic step April 1 to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. As part of a joint proposal by EPA and Transportation Department officials, the government implemented new fuel efficiency standards for all vehicles.
"This ends a debate that lasted nearly a decade," Cowan kicked-off the "Nightly News" segment. "But now that these so-called ‘clean-car standards' are going to be mandatory across the board, it makes it the first time ever that the federal government has limited greenhouse gas emissions."
"Nightly News" featured the opinions of three individuals who praised the new regulations. "This is sort of the first time that the United States government has stepped forward, to take the biggest single step forward to solving global warming," Bernadette Del Chiaro of Environment California said.
That's exactly what NBC did to the Boy Scouts of America which had its 100th anniversary Jan. 25. NBC "Nightly News" completely ignored the anniversary, but did remember to cover Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day during that broadcast.
But NBC will find time for scandal. On April 1, NBC's "Today" reported that the Boy Scouts are at the center of a $25 million lawsuit tied to an alleged cover-up of thousands of sexual abuse cases.
The same network that found the group so unimportant it couldn't even muster one word about their one-hundred year anniversary, found two minutes and twenty-seven seconds to spend on the abuse scandal.
The lawsuit is based on so-called "perversion files," or thousands of secret files the Boy Scouts kept about "thousands of alleged molesters."
Are you tired of all the focus on what Michelle Obama wears?
Well, the good folks at the "Today" show certainly aren't, for they spent a lot of time this week discussing whether or not the First Lady was dressed appropriately when she got off Air Force One Sunday on her way to the Grand Canyon.
As the nation grapples with such important issues as the ongoing recession and healthcare reform, NBC's morning show actually spent TWO DAYS days talking about Michelle's shorts.
In case you missed it, here are some of the gushing highlights (videos embedded below the fold with full transcripts):