On their Monday evening newscasts, the major broadcast networks kept up their attacks on the State of Indiana for having enacted a religious freedom law that aims to protect individuals from government infringement based on their religious beliefs. While ABC, CBS, and NBC mentioned that there are those supporting the law, their coverage continued to veer off in a slanted direction against the law by painting Republicans as being “in damage control mode” while the “avalanche of criticism” continues to grow.
Early on Monday's NBC Today, fill-in co-host Willie Geist hyped "the growing debate over a controversial law that critics call anti-gay....[who] say it permits businesses, among other things, to refuse service to same-sex couples on religious grounds." Correspondent Gabe Gutierrez followed: "This morning a huge backlash against Indiana's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act and Governor Mike Pence is on the defensive."
When the now-retracted article by the Rolling Stone magazine was published on November 19 about a brutal gang rape of a first-year student at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house at the University of Virginia, the major broadcast networks rushed to the story and devoted multiple segments to both the article and reaction on the school’s campus. In doing so, they failed (unlike other outlets) to point out its flaws that brought an apology from the liberal magazine on Friday afternoon after it came to realize that many of the key facts in the story were in serious doubt.
In the only full report on the upcoming midterm election on Thursday's NBC Today, correspondent Gabe Gutierrez shared his journey aboard the "Pot Bus" in Florida, a campaign effort urging voters to back legalized medical marijuana in the state: "...supporters say that they've made about 200 stops over the past few months to rally support....It's a ride full of high hopes."
As the New York Times launched a high profile editorial to federally legalize marijuana, NBC and CBS on Monday surprisingly showcased the downside of the pro-pot movement in states such as Colorado and Washington. CBS This Morning host Gayle King alerted, "After voters in Colorado and Washington State gave the green light for recreational use, the Times editorial board now wants the rest of the country to have the same opportunity."
Touting the status of the New York Times, reporter Jan Crawford related, "It may seem like edgy stuff from the so-called paper of record, but it reflects a sharp shift in public opinion." Yet, the journalist also explained, "Legalization has been linked to at least two deaths as well as incidents of children accidentally ingesting marijuana-laced food." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Wednesday, NBC's Today offered a surprising full report on "filmmaker and liberal activist" Michael Moore tarnishing his "blue-collar, anti-capitalist image" after it was revealed during divorce proceedings that Moore and his now ex-wife lived in a Michigan mansion, "the 10,000-square-foot house, reportedly in the same neighborhood as Madonna and Bruce Willis." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Back in 2009, the morning show invited Moore on the broadcast to bash big bonuses for Wall Street executives. In part, Moore ranted against the wealthy business leaders living in "gated communities" and "castles with moats around them." Perhaps Moore should have remembered that people living in giant mansions shouldn't throw stones.
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."
Teasing an upcoming report on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie announced: "...the big-box store of weed? One Colorado company's plan to bring their controversial product to states coast to coast." In the report that followed minutes later, correspondent Gabe Gutierrez was shown standing in a room filled with marijuana plants at the Denver-based pot store and proclaimed: "If you thought pot retailers in Colorado were all tiny shops run by stoners, you'd be wrong. We're here at Medicine Man, and they call this vegetation room the green mile. It's part of a long road to making this a national pot franchise." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Gutierrez touted the ambitious plans of the legalized drug dealers: "Medicine Man calls itself the largest marijuana dispensary in Colorado. Here under the watchful eye of armed guards and security cameras, the owners are building what they're calling the Costco of weed."
All three networks on Thursday night and Friday morning avoided key factors in the bankruptcy of Detroit, skipping the city's astronomically high tax rate and ignoring Democratic dominance for the previous half century. (Detroit's last Republican mayor left office in 1962.) Instead, ABC, NBC and CBS acted as though the bankruptcy, what Brian Williams called "the slow-moving tragedy of decline," was something that just happened.
On Good Morning America, Betty Liu gently summarized, "What happened here? Well, people have been leaving the city for years. Back in the 1950s, you had almost two million people, at the peak, living in Detroit. Now, just 700,000. So they've lost half their population." She added, "When you have fewer people living in the city, you're collecting less income and property taxes." Why are people fleeing the city? Lacking curiosity, Liu didn't bring that point up. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Two weeks after Texas state senator Wendy Davis and a mob of abortion activists prevented popularly supported pro-life legislation from being passed in the Lone Star State, on Tuesday's NBC Today, news reader Natalie Morales warned of another upcoming vote on the bill: "The battle over abortion rights is focused on Texas, where a controversial bill that failed last month will be back up for a vote." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Gabe Gutierrez declared Texas to be at "the epicenter of the national debate over abortion" and hyped "another showdown" at the state capitol. He detailed the bill's "controversial" measures: "...banning abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy and mandating that abortion clinics meet the same standards as hospital-style surgical centers. It would also require that a doctor who performs abortions be able to admit patients at a nearby hospital."
Celebrating Wednesday's Supreme Court rulings in favor of gay marriage, on Thursday's NBC Today, correspondent Gabe Gutierrez reported live from San Francisco city hall and announced: "In one of the country's oldest and largest gay neighborhoods, vindication. It was the day San Francisco's Castro District had been waiting for." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A series of sound bites followed of gay rights activists expressing their jubilation over the ruling. The plaintiff in the Defense of Marriage Act case, Edith Windsor, declared "The beginning of the end of stigma." Rabbi Camile Shira Angel proclaimed: "I feel blessed with every fiber of my being to be an American and a Californian today." Ellen Cerf, identified as an "equality supporter," tearfully uttered: "I love America every day, but I love it so much today."
On Friday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah noted start of the National Rifle Association's convention in Houston, Texas by declaring that it "gets under way as the country engages in a heated gun control debate." In the report that followed, correspondent Gabe Gutierrez described the event as "a nine-acre gun show in the middle of a national gun fight."
Gutierrez acknowledged the recent "major congressional victory" of the gun rights group and lamented failure to pass gun restrictions: "After mass shootings in Aurora and Newtown, the NRA's opponents seemed to have momentum....But two weeks ago, a bipartisan compromise on expanded background checks for commercial gun sales was shot down in the Senate."