Wednesday's NBC Nightly News slanted steeply toward critics of Georgia's new gun bill, allowing them four quotes as opposed to just one for supporters of the bill. The state's legislation expands the places where citizens can carry guns to include bars, schools, churches and government buildings, with certain limits. NBC's Gabe Gutierrez opened his report quoting the law's critics: "It's official name is the 'Safe Carry Protection Act' but critics call it the 'guns everywhere bill'." At least NBC gave the real name of the bill; the ABC World News only called it what critics have named it, as anchor Diane Sawyer reported: "The governor signed a bill nicknamed the 'guns everywhere bill,' churches, bars, schools."
So much for the recovery. Even liberals admit employment is “weak,” that household wealth hasn’t recovered and consumer experts say middle-class retailers are “struggling.” But two of the three broadcast news networks have been much more focused on “proof that the economy is getting stronger,” than on economic worries since the May jobs report was released June 6.
It's now been a week since Detroit filed for bankruptcy and yet ABC, CBS and NBC have resisted considering what caused the financial failure, details such as the city's massively high tax rate, failed educational system and the total Democratic dominance for over 50 years. On Sunday's Meet the Press, anchor David Gregory bluntly asked Chuck Todd, a former Democratic operative, who was responsible for Detroit's collapse: "...Who let Detroit down? Which politicians let them down?"
Rather than point out that Democrats have controlled the city for 51 years, that Republicans haven't held the mayor's office since 1962, Todd evasively responded, "I think there was poor governance in Detroit for a very long time. This turned into a machine political town." Who was responsible for the poor governance? Which machine in particular? Todd didn't say. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Wednesday's CBS Evening News featured a report by correspondent Mark Strassmann playing up the reservations that some are having about the new law to strictly enforce immigration laws in Alabama.
After noting that a poll supposedly shows that Latino voters are dissatisfied because the Obama administration has deported record numbers of illegal immigrants, substitute anchor Jeff Glor introduced Strassmann's piece by playing up the "second thoughts" that some supporters of the law are having: "Mark Strassmann went to Alabama, where some are having second thoughts now about a tough new law."
Media spin high prices and largely ignore warnings of $4.50 a gallon in 2012.
ABC and NBC completely ignored a decision by the Obama administration that could kill up to 20,000 jobs. Only CBS's Evening News reported that a proposed oil pipeline from Canada to Texas has been delayed until after the presidential election due to environmental concerns. Evening News reporter Mark Strassmann explained, "Supporters said the pipeline from Canada's tar sand fields would create more than 20,000 jobs and reduce U.S. dependence on oil from the Middle East."
Matching the pattern set in coverage of Arizona’s immigration enforcement law, the broadcast network evening newscasts on Thursday night all framed their stories on Alabama’s “severe” new law around its victims, with ABC anchor Diane Sawyer and NBC anchor Brian Williams both describing it as “Arizona on steroids.” They didn’t mean it as a compliment. Sawyer mischaracterized it as an “anti-immigration law.”
ABC was the most one-sided, with reporter Steve Osunsami not mentioning a reason for the new law until his very last sentence. Instead, Osunsami intoned, “Across Alabama today, demonstrators were furious, calling this the Arizona law with an Alabama twist,” before showing a man who charged that “it says that our government promotes racism.”
As the broadcast network evening newscasts filed reports this week on the teacher cheating scandal in Atlanta, Georgia, ABC’s World News on its Wednesday show went furthest in seeming to sympathize with the teachers who cheated as correspondent Steve Osunami highlighted complaints about No Child Left Behind’s emphasis on standardized tests to judge teacher performance.
After recounting details of the cheating scandal, in which as many as 178 teachers and principals in Atlanta erased and changed some of the answers on student tests to improve test score statistics for their schools, Osunsami asserted that "everyone here is pointing the finger at No Child Left Behind," and undermined the complaints of parents angry about the scandal:
Teasing an upcoming story on new federal dietary guidelines on Monday's CBS Evening News, fill-in anchor Harry Smith announced: "The assault on salt. Chances are you are eating too much of it." Smith later introduced the segment by fretting: "Two out of three Americans are overweight or obese, an epidemic that is expected to send health care costs skyrocketing."
In the report that followed, correspondent Michelle Miller explained: "USDA is now urging Americans...to wean themselves off excess sodium and improve their overall eating habits." She spoke with nutritionist Lisa Young, who insisted, "We need to get the food industry on board." Miller declared: "...the problem is the salt that's already in processed foods....That's why the government is now pressuring food companies to cut the salt in their products or face regulation."
A president with close ties to an oil company helping hide the magnitude and damage of an oil spill would be big news, if he were a conservative. But it seems even when the environmentalists and the left are upset over President Obama's handling of the Gulf oil spill, the national news media barely notice.
On Aug. 4, Obama administration energy adviser Carol Browner said, "The vast majority of the oil has been contained, it's been burned, it's been cleaned." Officials said that 75 percent of the oil had been "captured, burned off, evaporated or broken down in the Gulf of Mexico," according to CBSNews.com.
That night two of the three network evening shows reported the widely disputed claim without question. Only NBC "Nightly News" included any people skeptical of the White House claim. The networks have only aired a few reports about scientists disputing the claim, and have ignored liberal outrage.
"[T]onight on these beaches some good news and relief," Matt Gutman told "World News" viewers. "A new government report says that 75 percent of that oil has been cleaned up either by man or Mother Nature. And it now seems this war against this oil is coming to an end."
Gutman's report on the success of the oil cleanup included President Obama and Browner, but not a single person who disagreed with the White House claim. The Boston Globe reported Aug. 20, that Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution mapped a 22-mile-long underwater oil plume back in June. Other scientists at University of Georgia estimate that 70 to 79 percent of the oil from the leak remains, contrary to the White House assertion.
At the top of Wednesday's CBS Evening News, during a report on the Gulf oil spill, correspondent Mark Strassmann found a silver lining: "The good news: since President Obama's visit to Grand Isle [Louisiana] last Friday, local officials report better coordination with BP and federal agencies."
Strassmann went on to add: "Since the President's visit, the local fire chief says there are three times as many response workers on this island. He also says while local response leaders and national response leaders may have disagreements, at least now once a decision is made everybody's marching in the same direction."
Meanwhile, in a story minutes later, correspondent Ben Tracy discussed the public backlash against oil company BP: "On YouTube, anger at BP is just a mouse click away....The Facebook page calling for a boycott of BP now has nearly 300,000 followers." Tracy pointed out: "BP is about to launch a multimillion dollar television PR campaign. But the company has not been getting much help from its CEO who at times seems tone deaf to the loss of life and livelihood in the Gulf." The broadcast featured no mention of any backlash against the Obama administration.
On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interrogated BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles on the Gulf oil spill: "Can you can understand why a Congressman told us that BP has lost all credibility?" However, on Thursday, fellow co-host Harry Smith went easy on Energy Secretary Ken Salazar, allowing the Obama administration official to shift blame to the oil company.
Rodriguez pressed Suttles repeatedly: "But it seems like every day we hear new allegations that BP had been cutting corners beforehand....So many of these keep mounting. How can you keep responding to this?...are you confident that BP will survive this?"
In contrast, Smith never asked Salazar if the Obama administration could "survive" its failures in responding to the crisis. Instead, he gave the cabinet secretary every opportunity to go after BP: "...The CEO of BP says the environmental impact in the Gulf is going to be minimal. Is this guy in touch with reality?" As NewsBusters' Scott Whitlock noted on Thursday, hosts on both the ABC and NBC morning shows actually had some tough questions for Salazar.