When reporting on the nationality of a criminal from another country who has already been arrested, it normally would be considered unnecessary or even uncalled for to take the extra step of explicitly identifying the suspect’s ethnicity or religious affiliation as well. But, given that Israelis, the vast majority of whom are Jewish, often face sharp criticism and negative press reaction over conflicts with their Arab neighbors – inflaming anti-Semitic sentiment – if an Israeli citizen who is non-Jewish is implicated in a violent crime, informing viewers that he is non-Jewish would seem to be in order.
But so far in the media coverage of serial stabber Elias Abuelazam’s arrest, some major news shows on both broadcast and news networks have avoided explicitly informing viewers that he is not a Jewish Israeli, while others have been more upfront with viewers on the subject. CNN’s The Situation Room, the NBC Nightly News, FNC’s Fox and Friends, and CBS’s The Early Show all have directly relayed to viewers at least once that Abuelazam is an Israeli Arab. But ABC’s World News, the CBS Evening News, FNC’s Fox Report, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN’s American Morning and NBC’s Today show have all avoided such a direct identification of ethnicity.
The CNN anchor brought on Catherine Davis, the director of minority outreach for Georgia Right to Life, and Dr. Artis Cash of Shreveport, Louisiana's chapter of Al Sharpton's National Action Network just after the bottom of the 6 am Eastern hour. He first asked Davis, "Why did you see the need for this campaign?" Davis answered, "The numbers of abortions that are happening in Georgia and around the country are startling....In 2008, the most recent figures that we have from the state of Georgia, over 18,901 of the 32,000 abortions that were done, were done on black women. So, we want to alert the community and awaken the community to the devastating impact that abortion is having on our community."
Roberts verified the accuracy of the pro-lifers numbers: "Those figures that you cite from 2008 would seem to be in line with the CDC findings- Centers for Disease Control findings- from 2006, which found 57.4 percent of abortions in Georgia were performed on black women, even though African-Americans only make up 30 percent of the population."
On Monday’s World News on ABC, correspondent Steve Osunsami filed a report that gave rare attention to the high abortion rate among the black population, as he focused on billboards in Atlanta put up by black members of the pro-life movement as they try to draw attention to the issue, although he began the report on a negative note by referring to the pro-life billboards as "causing trouble," and called those who created the signs "anti-abortionists," instead of using the term "pro-life." Osunsami: "In the heart of black neighborhoods across Atlanta, these are the billboards causing the trouble. The message is simple – that black children are an endangered species because of too many abortions in the black community. The anti-abortionists behind the billboards are black themselves."
After playing a clip of one of the billboard designers who asserted that "we’re trying to raise awareness" of the dire statistics, Osunsami recounted the high numbers of black women who have abortions: "It is true that, of the 35,000 women in Georgia who received abortions in 2008, nearly 21,000 were black women, more than twice the number of white women. Nationally, while black women are one and a half times more likely than white women to become pregnant, the CDC says black women are three times more likely to get an abortion."
On Monday’s World News with Charles Gibson, ABC’s Steve Osunsami filed an unusually balanced report on the issue of gun control as he recounted a legal dispute in Tennessee over a recently enacted law that allows conceal carry holders to bring concealed guns into bars and restaurants. While Osunsami informed viewers of the concerns of some restaurant owners who believe the law makes their establishments more unsafe, and who are suing to block the law, he also relayed the case of a woman who believes she could have fought back against a man who murdered her husband if only she had been legally allowed to take her own gun into a restaurant:
NIKKI GOESER, WIDOW OF MURDER VICTIM: He pulled out a gun and he murdered my husband right in front of me.
STEVE OSUNSAMI: Today, Nikki Goeser says she would have certainly had a gun at her side and would have shot the gunman dead under current law.
GOESER: Crime exists. It happens in schools, it happens in churches, it happens in establishments that serve alcohol. I would have tried to protect my husband.
ABC gave pro-abortion advocates free advertising last night with its "World News Sunday." During the report, an abortionist unequivocally stated that late-term abortion is "really a miscarriage of a stillborn fetus."
Anchor Dan Harris framed Steve Osunsami's segment as a look at why doctors risk their lives to perform abortions given the "constant threat" of violence they face, as evidenced by last week's murder of abortionist George Tiller and recent comments from Tiller's accused killer that "similar attacks are planned all over the country."
Harris teased the segment "Tonight, we talk to late-term abortion providers who fear they are targets. Why do they do it?" He stated in his introduction, "Why would a doctor take that risk? And why would a woman make that choice?"
ABC is the most objective network. Just ask Barbara Walters. The November 6 edition of "The View" kicked off with a discussion on ABC correspondent Steve Osunsami’s emotional reaction to Obama’s victory. Barbara Walters defended Osunsami and called ABC the most "objective network." Barbara then assured the panel and her audience that it’s not because she is "a part of ABC News." This "objective" ABC network is the same outlet where Terry Moran implied Sarah Palin's rhetoric was endangering Barack Obama's life and David Wright accused McCain of engaging in "fear and loathing."
Later in the segment Barbara Walters offered praise, and the panel agreed (in Joy Behar’s absence), to President Bush’s graciousness in willing to offer a smooth transition for the new president-elect.
Later in the program, the ladies discussed rumors, allegedly leaked by McCain staffers, about Sarah Palin’s unruly behavior and lack of knowledge. Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the only co-host who met Governor Palin, assured that the Alaska governor is not a "diva." Barbara Walters was puzzled as to what was wrong that Palin allegedly hinted at 2012 presidential run. Sherri Shepherd chastised the McCain staffers for airing Palin’s dirty laundry after they vetted her. Whoopi Goldberg and Elisabeth Hasselbeck agreed: Leaking incriminating information without identifying one’s self is cowardly.
We are freer but less equal. To that extent, we spend $3 trillion on the war in Iraq and give tax breaks to the wealthy. You have this body of poverty, growing poverty in our cities. And our response to it is what? First-class jails and second-class schools.The Reverend Bill Kyle, who was with King when he was murdered, rued that “now that we have the right to go to a school, we need the money to pay the tuition,” before Osunsami concluded by agreeing King's dream of equality remains unfulfilled: “Not quite what Dr. King had dreamed. But some dreams take a mighty long time to realize.”
The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Tuesday framed coverage of Barack Obama's speech, in reaction to the furor over the racist, paranoid and America-hating remarks of his long-time pastor, not by focusing on what it says about Obama's true views and judgment but by admiring his success in “confronting” the issue of “race in America” in an “extraordinary” speech. Indeed, both ABC and CBS displayed “Race in America” on screen as the theme to their coverage, thus advancing Obama's quest to paint himself as a candidate dedicated to addressing a serious subject, not explain his ties to racially-tinged hate speech. NBC went simply with “The Speech” as Brian Williams described it as “a speech about race.”
In short, the approach of the networks was as toward a friend in trouble and they wanted to help him put the unpleasantness behind him by focusing on his noble cause. “Barack Obama addresses the controversial comments of his pastor, condemning the words but not the man,” CBS's Katie Couric teased before heralding: “And he calls on all Americans to work for a more perfect union.” On ABC, Charles Gibson announced: “Barack Obama delivers a major speech confronting the race issue head on, and says it's time for America to do the same.” Reporting “Obama challenged Americans to confront the country's racial divide,” Gibson hailed “an extraordinary speech.”
NBC's Lee Cowan admired how “in the City of Brotherly Love, Barack Obama gave the most expansive and most intensely personal speech on race he's ever given,” adding it reflected “honesty that struck his rival Hillary Clinton.” On NBC, Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart asserted “it was a very important speech for the nation. It was very blunt, very honest” and so “a very important gift the Senator has given the country.” [Updated with Nightline]