New York Times Phoenix bureau chief Fernanda Santos gave out surprising praise to Republican Gov. Doug Ducey in Wednesday’s edition -- though it’s less surprising when you realize why. Like her newspaper, Santos has a history of trying to discredit Republicans on illegal immigration. In August 2014, Santos suggested Arizona citizens who showed up to a forum to express concerns about border security were misguided because, after all, Mexico was "at least 200 miles away” (now illegal immigration is a national concern of enormous electoral import).
On the Wednesday, April 23, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC, guest host Ari Melber ignored concerns expressed for some time by conservatives that ObamaCare regulations would cause Americans to lose private health insurance plans they already had as the MSNBC host suggested that Tea Party Republicans do not care about people being uninsured and claimed that the goal of repealing ObamaCare is to "make sure more people are uninsured."
After MSNBC's Krystal Ball complained about Republican governors who have refused to expand Medicaid, Melber turned to recent claims by Kansas Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp that fewer people in Kansas are insured now than before ObamaCare. [See video below.]
Governor Jan Brewer (R-Ariz.) just vetoed SB 1062, and ABC’s This Week hyped the “spirited nationwide debate” that surrounded the governor’s decision. The bill would have allowed private businesses to deny service to certain individuals, such as baking a wedding cake for a gay wedding, on religious grounds.
Despite the cases across the nation where private businesses have been sued over the issue, the media was overwhelmingly biased in their coverage of the bill, portraying SB 1062 as an anti-gay bill without ever giving the religious freedom argument consideration.
There those damn conservatives go again, trying to pass a bill to regulate abortion clinics and maybe save unborn lives in the process. Don't they know that sensible, moderate Republicans like Arizona governor Jan Brewer have had it with their shenanigans and want to get on to business that is less, well, controversial?
That, essentially, is the gripe of Fernanda Santos's page A16 story in Friday's New York Times headlined "Day After Veto, Arizona Takes Up Abortion Clinics" (emphasis mine):
Soon after Arizona governor Jan Brewer vetoed S.B. 1062 -- a Religious Freedom Restoration Act that would have given business people the right to cite religious beliefs when refusing service to homosexuals -- gays and liberals began cheering and celebrating the decision, which received extensive coverage in the three network morning shows.
However, many people who disagreed with the veto vented their frustration online by calling the network news coverage of the issue “a truly awe-inspiring tsunami of poorly informed indignation” since the word “gay” was not mentioned in the legislation, among other reasons.
Of the nation's three most respected papers of record -- the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal -- only the latter portrayed accurately the religious freedom legislation -- click here for a .pdf of the bill, SB 1062 -- which Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) vetoed Wednesday evening.
Both reporter Tamara Audi and her editors treated Journal readers to a fairly balanced and objective treatment of the veto and the purpose of the underlying legislation. "Veto Kills Arizona Religious Measure," noted the headline on page A2 of the February 27 paper. By contrast, the headers for the print stories at the Washington Post and New York Times were loaded.
Talking to Democratic Senator Patty Murray during her noontime MSNBC show on Thursday, host Andrea Mitchell gloated over Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoing a proposed religious freedom law in the state: "Clearly she was responding to some heavy pressure, economic interests, national economic interests, major corporations, the Super Bowl, Major League Baseball. States cannot take these kinds of actions and expect to do it with impunity." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Before making that declaration, Mitchell asserted that the GOP had already been damaged by the nonexistent law: "The vetoing of the anti-gay bill by the Arizona governor. I'm not sure why she waited as long as she did because it's now become an issue for the Republican Party, having dragged it out so many days."
After spending days denouncing a religious freedom bill in Arizona as "anti-gay," all three network morning shows on Thursday hailed protester celebrations following Governor Jan Brewer vetoing the proposed legislation. Fill-in co-host Lara Spencer led off ABC's Good Morning America by excitedly announcing: "Vetoed! Protesters cheering the Arizona governor's decision to strike the controversial bill that would have given businesses the right to deny service to gay people for religious reasons." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Cecilia Vega described the joyous atmosphere: "Boy, a lot of celebrating here overnight....And that very moment outside Arizona's capitol, from cheers to tears." Vega talked to one protester who compared the vetoed bill to segregation: "Nobody rides at the back of the bus and everybody sits at the lunch counter. We fought that battle once and that's what this battle is. We shouldn't have to do this again and I hope this is the last time."
NBC’s Andrea Mitchell obtained an exclusive interview with Secretary of State John Kerry that aired live during her MSNBC program Andrea Mitchell Reports on Wednesday February 26 and used the opportunity to ask Kerry about Arizona’s religious freedom vs. gay rights debate surround SB 1062.
Mitchell decided to inject MSNBC’s liberal talking points on the proposed law law and whether or not such a bill would “undercut our moral posture telling Uganda and other countries, Putin for instance, on human rights abuses against people for reasons of their sexuality when one of our states is about to do this unless it’s vetoed by the governor?” [See video below.]
On Tuesday, all three network morning shows touted "pressure mounting from all sides" for Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to veto an "anti-gay" bill designed to protect religious freedom. On NBC's Today, correspondent Mike Taibbi declared: "Governor Brewer actually has until the end of the week to make her decision. But the pressure has been mounting to finally kill the bill that at the very least has reignited the culture wars." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host Robin Roberts announced: "Governor Jan Brewer, under a lot of pressure to veto the measure that would give businesses the right to refuse service, citing religious beliefs. Protests overnight right outside the Governor's office..." In the report that followed, correspondent Cecilia Vega stood amongst those protestors and proclaimed: "...they promise to be out here every night until this bill is vetoed."
Chuck Todd, NBC News' Chief White House Correspondent, decided to take off his journalist hat to play partisan politics during his appearance on Morning Joe on Wednesday February 26 to comment on in the words of co-host Mika Brzezinski Arizona’s “controversial religious bill.”
During the segment, the entire panel disregarded the religious freedom argument associated with SB 1062 and instead focused on shaming the entire state of Arizona. Rather than look objectively at the law, like an actual journalist should, Todd proclaimed that “Arizona has this horrendous reputation as sort of the state that is just the last to accept social change.” [See video below.]
In a piece filed today, Associated Press reporter Bob Christie and his editors provided a textbook example of how to use loaded language to tilt coverage while still being entirely accurate with the facts.
Covering a controversy in Arizona over the federal government’s closure of the Grand Canyon National Park and the state government’s attempts to keep it open, Christie painted the conflict as yet another example of angry Republicans run amok.