All three evening newscasts on Friday led with the news that Virginia’s Democratic Governor included a racist photo on his medical school yearbook. However, ABC and NBC warned viewers that the 1984 picture, which feature a man in a KKK outfit and another in blackface, “surfaced on a far-right,” “conservative” website. Additionally, none of the networks noted that, separately, Northam used the racist nickname “coonman.”
President Trump is skipping this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, but that hasn’t stopped the media from nevertheless hyping the event. At that same dinner on April 30, 2011, journalists thought it was hilarious when then-President Obama and comedian Seth Meyers lampooned Trump from the stage, while the billionaire businessman sat in the audience. The media loved it.
On Friday's World News, ABC's David Kerley pressed I.R.S. Commissioner John Koskinen about taxpayers who are unable to "get an answer as to how much they're supposed to pay," due to long wait times on the agency' help line. However, Kerley didn't bother to ask Koskinen about the House Ways and Means Committee's Wednesday vote to refer former IRS official Lois Lerner to the Justice Department for prosecution, over alleged targeting of Tea Party groups for auditing.
In fact, as of Friday, none of the Big Three evening newscasts have covered the House committee's criminal referral, nor the House Oversight Committee voting on Thursday to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress. Instead, the ABC correspondent zeroed in on taxpayers' complaints about the IRS help line, as well as the commissioner's YouTube video warning about how to deal with the poor service there: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Good Morning America on Wednesday conceded that school districts across the country are dropping a new government-imposed lunch program because, as one student put it, "the food is just nasty." However, no one on GMA pointed out that the plan had been heavily promoted by Michelle Obama. In contrast, back in February, the journalists featured the First Lady for an eight and a half minute segment, including time to promote her Let's Move initiative.
Anchor George Stephanopoulos allowed, "Schools across the country are dropping out of a federal program to curb childhood obesity because the kids just won't eat what they're served." Reporter David Kerley asserted that the "national school lunch program rolled just last fall to great fanfare." According to a student in Kentucky, the new lunches "taste like vomit."
Since Wednesday, ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have all played up the social media frenzy over Texas State Senator Wendy Davis' multi-hour filibuster on Tuesday against a pro-life bill. On Friday's Today, NBC's Tamron Hall claimed that the Davis story is "another example of how social media can turn a story into a whole other stratosphere. I think without Twitter and Facebook, this would have been a big story, but not to this magnitude."
By contrast, during the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell earlier in 2013, ABC and NBC completely ignored the widespread outrage on Twitter over the case. It took CBS four days to notice Kirsten Powers' April 11, 2013 USA Today column which "accused the media of ignoring the story because...[of] a bias in favor of abortion rights," as Jan Crawford reported on CBS This Morning. Crawford then pointed out how "those charges went viral on Twitter."
ABC stubbornly stuck to its talking points on Friday, portraying the furloughs of Federal Aviation Administration employees as "airport armageddon." Despite the fact that even liberal outlets such as Politico spun the ending of the furloughs as a loss for the Democrats, Good Morning America's David Kerley failed to do so. A network graphic trumpeted, "Airport Armageddon Ending? Congress Acting to End Delays." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Kerley adopted an everybody-is-to-blame tone, lecturing, "We say Washington is dysfunctional. But when members hear complaints and it's going to affect them, it's amazing how fast they can act." Yet, Politico announced, "Democrats blink first on aviation cuts." Writers Kathryn A. Wolfe and Burgess Everett concluded, "Democrats caved in and agreed to allow the Federal Aviation Administration to keep air traffic control towers running at close to full capacity." This type of analysis didn't make it to ABC.
Surprise! It turns out there is some wasteful spending going on in government. In the weeks leading up to the showdown in Washington, ABC offered story after story lamenting the “massive” government cuts resulting from sequester and warning of criminals running free and a “meat shortage.” Yet on the March 5 World News, David Kerley found that the government has spent $400,000 in the last two years alone on expensive portraits for top officials.
A shocked Kerley explained, “The 29th agriculture secretary? Well, you paid for his painting. The latest for Lisa Jackson, the outgoing EPA administrator, a $38,000 portrait. ..How about $41,000 for the Air Force secretary?” Pointing the figure at Barack Obama, the journalist continued, “We wanted to show you some of those portraits that you paid for. But the White House wouldn't allow our camera to go into any federal buildings to see those paintings.” [See video below.]
"The Obama administration couldn’t have made its cheerleaders at ABC, CBS, and NBC look any more foolish," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell noted earlier today in reaction to a new study by the Media Research Center's (MRC) Geoff Dickens showing that 66 percent of the broadcast network news coverage of the budget sequestration that took effect on Friday advanced Obama White House talking points but failed to include any rebuttals from skeptics.
"Thanks to the bogus sequestration panic pushed by the administration and the liberal media, the American people recognize that the networks are nothing more than an adjunct of the Obama White House press office," the MRC founder added in a March 4 statement. “Like squawking parrots, ABC, CBS, and NBC mindlessly repeated the administration’s phony, over-hyped doomsday talking points during the two weeks leading up to sequestration. That a full two thirds of their stories didn’t include a shred of skepticism is an abomination." Below are just some of the most outlandish claims made on the networks:
ABC on Sunday continued to hype Barack Obama's hyperbolic claims about sequester cuts. World News reporter David Kerley played a clip of the President and then insisted that $85 billion in spending "sounds like a disaster movie." Kerley warned, "Child care canceled for tens of thousands of kids. Long airport security lines. Flight delays with a shortage of controllers. And military cuts that will leave us 'second rate' according to the Defense Secretary."
Reason Magazine's Nick Gillespie on Monday pointed out: "Widely quoted as $85 billion for spending in fiscal year 2013 (which ends on September 30), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) underscores that just $44 billion of spending reduction are slated for 2013, with the rest coming in later years." That amounts to $44 billion in a 2013 budget of $3.6 trillion. Kerley allowed two sentences acknowledging that the cuts "will be phased in over the next seven months."
Good Morning America's Dan Harris on Sunday hyped "allegations of hypocrisy and absurdity" against House Republicans, complaining about the amount of money New Jersey and New York will get for Hurricane Sandy. Harris and reporter David Kerley skipped mentioning pork stuffed into such legislation, money that (for example) could go to a new roof for the Smithsonian in Washignton D.C.
Harris began the segment by touting, "And now to allegations of hypocrisy and absurdity as the recovery from Super storm Sandy becomes a political football." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] He asserted that "politicians from the northeast are outraged that Republicans want to give them much less than they're asking for."
ABC News continued to hype the Democratic position on the fiscal cliff, Sunday. World News Reporter David Kerley touted the White House as "confident with the stronger hand in talks with House Republicans, demanding and believing tax rates for the wealthy are going up."
The reporter did play a clip of Boehner rejecting tax increases, but Kerley made sure to point out the Speaker "hasn't outlined possible cuts." In one of multiple clips of Tim Geithner, the Treasury Secretary lectured, "They have to come to us and tell us what they think they need. What we can't do is to keep guessing. "
After Paul Ryan released his last two years of tax returns late Friday, reporters on ABC and CBS not only made sure to point out that Ryan paid a higher federal tax rate than the wealthier Mitt Romney, but also noted that he had supplied more than two years to the Romney campaign as part of the vetting process, as if to put additional pressure on Romney and Ryan that they should make more than two years public.