All three broadcast networks Tuesday morning seized on a pharmaceutical company hiking the price of a prescription drug in order to promote Hillary Clinton’s call for new government regulation of the industry. At the top of NBC’s Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed: “5,000% hike?! The young drug company CEO under fire for raising the cost of a life-saving pill overnight....The controversial decision making it all the way to the campaign trail.”
The dramatic collapse of gas prices is one story the news media didn’t see coming. In fact, as recently as June 2014, network news anchors and reporters were still talking about the prospect of $5 gasoline.
It turns out the media aren’t very good fortune tellers, and when it comes to gas prices they were wrong this time, just as many new outlets had gotten it wrong years earlier.
At the top of Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed that "the [Republican] governor of Georgia [Nathan Deal] chose to fall on his snow shovel" over how Tuesday's rare southern snowstorm "was handled, or better yet, mishandled" in the state. However, the coverage that followed failed to mention Atlanta's Democratic Mayor Kasim Reed by name even once. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In his report, correspondent Tom Costello declared: "A lot of anger directed toward city and state officials for failing to heed the weather forecasts. And today we learned that both the Governor and the director of the emergency services for the state were sleeping as those forecasts grew even more dire." Those "city officials" were not specified.
CBS stood out as the only Big Three network to devote full coverage to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's Tuesday night stay of the federal government's birth control/abortifacient mandate under ObamaCare. As of Thursday morning, CBS This Morning and CBS Evening News devoted three full reports and a news brief to the ruling against the controversial regulation.
By contrast, NBC's morning and evening newscasts have only aired one news brief on Sotomayor's decision, and mentioned it in passing in two other reports on the Affordable Care Act. ABC has yet to report on the development on either Good Morning America or World News.
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams introduced a full report on cancer research at the National Institutes of Health being stopped under the government shutdown: "And there are the millions who are feeling the impact of this shutdown very close to home and across this country, including some for whom this standoff feels very much like a matter of life and death for them."
In the story that followed, correspondent Tom Costello declared: "The NIH funds research nationwide. At its headquarters, a lack of funding means 200 patients, including 30 children, each week will be turned away from clinical studies." What he failed to mention was that congressional Republicans proposed a bill to provide the needed funding, but were rebuffed by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
The Washington Post is a legend in the minds of the Washington elite, so its financial decline has caused quiet panic. As NPR media reporter David Folkenflik put it, “You think of stories like the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, these are all stories where The Washington Post led the nation's understanding, the world's understanding of some major issues.”
Outside the liberal media, you wonder how long Post fans can wallow in their Nixon-crumbling polyester “glory days” in the early 1970s. But nostalgia ruled as the Graham family sold the Post to Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon.com. “Now he is being credited as a white knight with deep pockets helping to save one of this country's great newspapers,” oozed NBC reporter Tom Costello.
Amid the debate over immigration reform and media predictions that the Republican Party will never again win a national election due to demographic shifts in the country, correspondent Tom Costello appeared on Friday's NBC Today to eagerly promote a new study: "You know, by 2043, just three decades from now, the Census Bureau says whites will be a minority....a changing complexion that will have huge, social, political and economic implications for the entire country."
Costello remarked: "Far from the 50s, a new kaleidoscope of color....For the year ending July 2012, the Asian population expanded by 530,000 people, African Americans added 560,000, and the Hispanic population grew by the most, 1.1 million people. Non-Hispanic whites, long the dominant demographic group in the country, added only 175,000 people to their ranks, and for the first time, deaths, by a slim margin, out-paced births for whites..."
On Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Tom Costello fretted over the impact of modest reductions in government spending: "401 parks, battlefields, monuments, seashores, volcanos, and deserts make up the National Park System....But the parks and their future are under stress....The Park Service budget hasn't changed since 2006....Now the sequester is forcing another $153 million in cuts just as tourist season begins."
During a similar report on Nightly News that evening, Costello warned viewers: "Park advocates say for years the parks have been underfunded. Now some are in trouble....Despite rising costs, the Park Service budget has been flat for seven years and now has lost another $153 million in the sequester."
At next week’s State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama is likely to continue his ongoing push for more gun control. It’s a push first spurred on by Obama’s gun control allies in the liberal media. In the wake of the horrific school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks quickly moved to exploit the tragedy to push for more gun control legislation while mostly ignoring solutions that respect gun owners’ Second Amendment rights.
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams was eager to seize on any perceived momentum for greater gun control in the wake of Friday's school shooting: "The President said he would use the power of his office to prevent more gun tragedies, and tonight he is being joined by a growing number of prominent voices."
In the report that followed, correspondent Tom Costello listed some of those voices. While pro-gun Democratic senators like Joe Manchin and Mark Warner were noteworthy, Costello attempted to pad the list with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a longtime anti-gun activist. To create the appearance of bipartisanship, Costello even threw in MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, who he pointed out was a "former Republican Congressman." On Thursday's Today, he went so far as to label Scarborough an "influential Republican."
Following a report on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News about the dropping value of Facebook's initial public stock offering and possible investigations into what went wrong, anchor Brian Williams saw an opportunity to adopt the talking points of the left-wing Occupy Wall Street movement: "Is this a case of the rich get richer, another advantage to the 1%...?"
Williams posed that question to New York Times reporter and CNBC host Andrew Ross Sorkin, who enthusiastically added to the class warfare rhetoric: "Boy does it feel that way, Brian. This is that and probably a lot more. And it couldn't come at a worse time given the enormous distrust that the public has of Wall Street. And it goes to this sense of fairness. This is the ultimate 1% versus 99% all over again."
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, one week after NBC TV star Alec Baldwin got booted off an American Airlines flight for refusing to turn off his iPad, anchor Brian Williams declared: "Now we turn to the latest skirmish in the battle over electronic devices on airplanes and what some passengers are seeing as a kind of a double standard here, now that we've learned pilots will be allowed to use iPads in the cockpit."