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Scott Whitlock's blog

One Year Ago, Media Jumped to Blame Boston Bombing on 'Anti-Government' 'Extreme Right'

On April 15, 2013, one year ago, two Muslim extremists planted bombs at the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring 264 others. This tragic event was sadly exploited by some in the media who quickly speculated that "extreme right" and "anti-government" individuals could be responsible for the mayhem. [See below for a round-up, including video, of the worst examples of journalistic malpractice.]

The morning after the attack, Good Morning America's Pierre Thomas narrated a segment with an on-screen graphic wondering, "Could this be homegrown terror?" Thomas noted that April 15th was only four days before the anniversaries of the bloody end of the Branch Davidian standoff and the Oklahoma City bombing. Regarding the date the attack occurred, GMA guest Mark Potok linked, "The real Patriots Day is April 19th. That is the date that counts for people on the extreme right in the United States."  [MP3 audio here.] 

Rabid Conspiracy Theorist Jenny McCarthy Desperately Spins: 'I'm Not Anti-Vaccine'

View co-host Jenny McCarthy is now attempting to backtrack on her anti-vaccine conspiracy theories. The former Playboy model has repeatedly promoted the danger of vaccines and asserted, despite a total lack of evidence, that they can cause autism. In an op-ed for the Chicago Sun Times on Sunday, she proclaimed, "I am not 'anti-vaccine.' This is not a change in my stance nor is it a new position that I have recently adopted." 

However, in 2009, she claimed of her own son's condition: "Without a doubt in my mind, I believe that vaccinations triggered Evan's autism." She is also on record as saying, "So, you ask any mother in the autism community if we'll take the flu, the measles over autism any frickin' day of the week -- So, I think they [pro-vaccine doctors] need to wake up and stop hurting our kids." As noted by the National Geographic in 2013, "In April, researchers published a study that looked at nearly 1,000 children and concluded that exposure to vaccines during the first two years of life was not associated with an increased risk of developing autism." 

NBC Hails 'Fantastic' New Liberal Policy From French: 'Vive La France!'

The journalists at NBC's Today on Friday rhapsodized over a liberal economic policy coming out of France. Regarding new rules that would bar some employers from e-mailing workers after hours, co-host Matt Lauer enthused, "[The French] get some things very right over there!" [See video below. MP3 audio here.

Co-host Savannah Guthrie praised, "Vive la France!" Al Roker deemed the concept "fantastic." At no time did any of the hosts ponder whether this kind of problem could best be decided between businesses and their employees. Nor did they note the disastrous election results the country's socialistic government just endured. Instead, the on-screen graphic declared "Freedom in France." 

Kiss Singer Shocks Journalist: Why Don't You Go 'Spend the Night With Your Ex-Wife?'

You don't often hear interview subjects challenging prominent journalists on their ex-wives. But that's what happened on Monday's CBS This Morning. Reporter Anthony Mason interviewed Kiss singer and guitarist Paul Stanley on the band's entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

Mason quizzed, "And when the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame asked the original members to perform together again, Stanley resisted. For old times' sake, one more time, you wouldn't want to do that?" Stanley retorted, "How many times have you been married?" After the reporter responded with "twice," the rock star pounced,"How about for old times' sake you go back and spend the night with your ex-wife?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

ABC Apologizes for Story That Connected Mozilla CEO to Hateful Westboro Baptist

ABC News Vice President Jeffrey Schneider has apologized for a story on his network that connected a CEO who supports traditional marriage to the Westboro Baptist Church and their offensive "God hates fags" signs. Mr. Schneider contacted the Media Research Center on Thursday after our social media department requested members call and complain about the comparison. 

Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich was ousted earlier this month when it was revealed that he donated $1000 in 2008 to Proposition 8. As Good Morning America reporter Linzie Janis explained the story on April 4, footage of the completely unrelated Westboro protesters holding "soldiers died 4 fag marriage" signs appeared onscreen. ABCNews.com offered this apology: 

Networks: Kathleen Sebelius Exits on a 'Relatively High Note,' 'Decision to Leave Was Hers'

All three network morning shows on Friday highlighted the departure of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Good Morning America's Jon Karl insisted that the exit was a "chance for her to leave on a relatively high note." CBS This Morning's Jan Crawford claimed  that "Sebelius made clear the decision to leave was hers." Over on NBC's Today, Chuck Todd dished dirt, explaining, "In addition to the management issues, the White House also lost confidence in her ability to sell the product publicly." 

He gossiped, "Senior aides were not happy with how she struggled in what should have been a friendly interview with Jon Stewart." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] However, if Sebelius struggled, Today viewers didn't know about it for weeks after the October 7th Daily Show appearance. It wasn't until October 31, 2013 that the botched interview was mentioned on Today. Back then, Todd briefly conceded, "When she went in front of Jon Stewart at the Daily Show, that became a big problem. It became another PR problem." Despite this "PR problem," Today viewers didn't see an actual clip until Friday. 

Chris Matthews on Jimmy Carter's Failure to Cheer Hillary in 2016: A 'Sin of Omission'

Chris Matthews did his best on Wednesday to get Jimmy Carter to fulsomely endorse Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, but just couldn't quite get a satisfying answer. In an interview on Hardball, Matthews began by noting how the former president has been "championing the cause" of "equal rights for women." He pressed, "Has a woman president -- has that time arrived? Obviously talking about Secretary Clinton here."

Carter proceeded to avoid the question and instead talk about women's rights in the world. So, Matthews, tried again: "Well, what do you think would be good about having Hillary Clinton president?" Again, Carter dodged. This prompted Matthews to later chide: "I expect that Hillaryland will notice the sin of omission." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] 

CBS Hypes Eric Holder 'Lashing Out' at GOP's 'Ugly' Capitol Hill 'Culture'

CBS This Morning co-anchor Charlie Rose on Thursday uncritically hyped an attack by Eric Holder that implied racism as the motive for Republican opposition to him and Barack Obama. Before playing a clip of the Attorney General speaking at Al Sharpton's National Action Network (NAN) conference, Rose promoted, "Attorney General Eric Holder is lashing out at the culture on Capitol Hill. Holder lost his cool at Tuesday's House judiciary hearing." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

Rose then showed an uninterrupted, 40 second snippet of the Attorney General assailing the "unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly and divisive" insults he and the President endured. Holder complained, "What attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment? What president has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?" Behind Holder, NAN logos and the phrase "no justice, no peace" could be seen. Rose offered no skepticism to this implication of racism by the Attorney General. 

Daily Beast Columnist Rips 'Batsh*t Crazy' Conservatives as Anti-Women

Daily Beast columnist Michael Tomasky on Wednesday offered a disjointed, 24-year-old example as he attacked supposedly "batsh*t crazy," anti-women Republicans.  In an article on how GOP men don't respect the value of equal pay for equal work, he said this of elected GOP females: "Four Senate Republicans did vote aye on Lilly Ledbetter back in 2009. Yep, you guessed it: the 'girls'—Collins, Hutchison, Murkowski, Snowe."  

The girls? Would the liberal Tomasky let conservative Republicans get away with so breezily referring to United States senators as "girls?" The journalist speculated as to why Republicans allegedly oppose financial equality for women. Blaming the "southern men and their southern beliefs" impacting the party, Tomasky spewed: [See below for full vulgarity]

Barbara Walters, Who Had an Affair With a Politician, Lectures Politician Who Had an Affair

View co-host Barbara Walters, who admitted in 2009 that she had an affair with a married politician, weighed in on the scandal engulfing Republican Congressman Vance McAllister, caught on tape kissing a staffer.  Co-host and former Playboy model Jenny McCarthy joked about the surveillance footage: "You're in a government building. That's what a Motel 6 is for." 

This caused Walters to lecture on privacy: "Even when you're on the street, when you think, 'I can do whatever I want,' there are cameras everywhere now...It's a different world." In the 1970s, Walters had an affair with Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts.

ABC Doubles Down on 'Louisiana Republican' Caught in Affair, Yawns at Dem Scandals

For the second day in a row, Good Morning America on Wednesday devoted a full report to investigating Vance McAllister, the married "Louisiana Republican" who was caught on camera kissing a staffer. [See video below. MP3 audio here.] On Tuesday, the show's reporters made sure to remind viewers that the Congressman involved in the alleged affair is a "conservative" and "Republican." Yet, Democratic controversies have largely been ignored or downplayed by the network. 

Despite the news that a House committee plans to ask the Justice Department to charge former top IRS official Lois Lerner, ABC skipped the development and hasn't mentioned the scandal-plagued bureaucrat since March 5, 2014. (That occasion was only to highlight Democrat Elijah Cummings complaining about the unfairness of the hearings. Excluding this incident, Lerner's name was last uttered on May 24, 2013.) 

ABC Reminds: Congressman Caught in an Affair Is 'Conservative' and a 'Republican'

Good Morning America reporters on Tuesday reminded viewers that a Congressman who has been caught in an alleged affair with a staffer is a "conservative Republican." GMA, which is co-hosted by former Bill Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos, also included a network graphic that hyped: "Conservative Asks for Forgiveness." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

ABC routinely downplays the political ID for Democrats involved in scandals, but correspondent Jeff Zeleny informed viewers about Vance McAllister of Louisiana, noting, "Just one month earlier, the conservative Republican was sworn into office, surrounded by his wife and five children." 

NY Post: George Stephanopoulos Frustrated Over Tabloid Obsession at GMA

According to the New York Post, Good Morning America co-anchor George Stephanopoulos is unhappy with his show's tabloid obsession. Stephanie Smith of Page Six on Monday wrote that Stephanopoulos "is concerned about the softer direction of 'GMA' — and the addition of yet more entertainment personalities." 

Smith added, "insiders told us Stephanopoulos has already made clear that he wants to do more serious news programming and take over for Diane Sawyer on 'World News' when she eventually steps down." If the former Democratic operative turned journalist is frustrated with the changes at GMA, he's been more than willing to go along with the increasingly superficial tone of the program. On Monday, he got on stage to dance along with singer Pharrell. 

Twice in 24 Hours, ABC Touts Pro-Gay Cracker Ad; Network Assailed Mozilla Exec

Twice in just 24 hours, Good Morning America on ABC hailed a graham cracker company for supporting gay rights in an ad and standing up against "hate" and "bigots" who called for a boycott. Yet, it was just last week that the same program touted the "game changing" firing of a tech company CEO who supported traditional marriage. The network even used video footage to compare the executive to the hateful Westboro Baptist Church. 

On Monday, Paula Faris showcased a Honey Maid commercial featuring gay families. Reporter Paula Faris explained that "the right-wing conservative group One Million Moms calling the ad, quote, 'an attempt to normalize sin." She praised, "but this morning, the graham cracker company is refusing to crumble." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] According to Faris, the company is "rolling messages of hate into one of love." GMA Sunday anchor Bianna Golodryga lectured that "the graham cracker's clever statement against bigotry going viral." 

New 'Captain America' Hits Obama for 'President's Kill List,' Frets Over 'Snowden-Era Privacy'

According to the directors of the new Captain America sequel, the action film takes on Barack Obama and his terrorist kill list. In an interview with Mother Jones magazine, Joe Russo explained that he (and brother Anthony) wanted to make a "political thriller" and added, "I just looked at the issues that were causing anxiety for us, because we read a lot and are politically inclined. And a lot of that stuff had to do with civil liberties issues, drone strikes, the president's kill list, preemptive technology." 

Mother Jones writer Asawin Suebsaeng explained, "And though the film's topical parts were all crafted prior to the NSA revelations, the directors say it's no accident that data mining is a key element of the plot." Joe Russo added, "It was all leading up to Snowden...It was all in the ether [already], it was all part of the zeitgeist." 

Blackout: 140 Days Since ABC's 'Nightline' Has Covered ObamaCare

As of April 3, 2014, it's been 140 days since the once-vaunted Nightline covered ObamaCare or any of the problems associated with it. Instead, the ABC News program has mostly avoided hard news, focusing on tabloid-heavy topics such as a city in Brazil that has become known as the "model factory." [See below for a video montage of the frivolous topics covered instead. MP3 audio here.]

On Monday, the open enrollment for ObamaCare ended, the website had more problems and the administration announced seven million sign-ups. Rather then discuss this or question how many of those previously had health care and lost it, Nightline skipped these stories. It was way back on November 14, 2013 that journalists on the show covered ObamaCare. Twenty weeks of silence followed. 

ABC Uses Footage of Hateful Westboro Baptist to Slime CEO Who Opposes Gay Marriage

[UPDATE: After the MRC's story on this, ABC News has apologized and pledged not to use the footage again.] According to Good Morning America's Linzie Janis, a CEO who made a donation in opposition to gay marriage is the same as the hateful members of the Westboro Baptist Church. On Friday, Janis reported on Brendan Eich, the former head of the tech company Mozilla. Eich was ousted after liberal groups found out that in 2008 he made a $1000 donation to support Proposition 8 in California.

As  Janis spoke about the six-year-old donation, video footage of Westboro Baptist protesters with "God hates fags" and "soldiers die 4 fag marriage" signs appeared on-screen. [See video below. MP3 audio here.] 

NYT Lauds New Play on the 'Signature Triumph' of Jimmy Carter and His 'Rehabilitation' Efforts

New York Times writer Sheryl Gay Stolberg on Thursday highlighted glowing supporters of Jimmy Carter as she promoted a new Broadway play about the life of the former president. Stolberg parroted that "acolytes of Mr. Carter hope that 'Camp David'...will be a powerful reminder of the signature triumph of the Carter presidency and perhaps revive the decades-long effort to rehabilitate him." 

The play focuses around Carter's 1978 efforts to negociate a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. Stolberg allowed the type of self-aggrandizing comments that – if spoken by a Republican – would prompt the Times to make accusations of mental instability or a messianic complex. She related, "Mr. Carter told the playwright [Lawrence Wright] and the producer that he felt 'God wanted him to play a role' in Middle East peace." 

All Three Networks Tout Bill Clinton on Kimmel, Ignore Question About Running for VP

Despite a tragic shooting at Fort Hood, a major Supreme Court ruling and developments on Benghazi, all three morning shows on Thursday devoted time to Bill Clinton's discussion of aliens on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Yet, NBC's Today, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning ignored a profoundly dumb question from the comic regarding Clinton running for vice president. [See video of the question below. MP3 audio here.]

Instead, GMA's Amy Robach enthused, "And finally, former President Bill Clinton isn't ruling out a possible alien invasion here on Earth. He visited Jimmy Kimmel last night and revealed that he did, in fact, look into the possibility when he was president." Talking to co-host and former Democratic operative George Stephanopoulos, she wondered, "George, was it the common topic of conversation in the Clinton administration?" 

Brent Bozell on the Need for MRC Latino: 'The Conservative Perspective Must Be' Presented

Media Research Center President Brent Bozell appeared at the Newseum on Tuesday to launch MRC Latino, a project that will fight for unbiased coverage from Hispanic media outlets. Explaining an analysis of Univision and Telemundo, Bozell announced, "What we're finding with this study, unfortunately, is that the Latino media are not even close to achieving balance." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] 

In his closing remarks, Bozell informed, "It is not a very smart thing for the owner...of that company to say that electing Hillary Clinton is a big dream of his." (This was a reference to Univision's Haim Saban.) 

MRC Latino Panel Showcases the Need to Fight Liberal Bias in Hispanic Media

A panel of experts on Spanish-language media outlets came together at the Newseum in Washington D.C. on Tuesday to help launch MRC Latino and discuss the state of networks such as Telemundo and Univision. According to Daniel Garza, the executive director of The Libre Initiative, ObamaCare challenges America as to "whether we're going to tend as a country to lean towards the free market system that has made us the most prosperous, most powerful nation on Earth or are we going to lean towards more statism." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] 

As for what his group is doing about it, Garza explained, "Over a million dollars doing ad buys, digital buys. We've been on Spanish language and on English language to drive that message." Izzy Santa, the Hispanic Communications Director at the Republican National Committee asserted, "I think one of the biggest struggles that we have is that our bench of Spanish communicators who are bilingual needs to grow a lot more." 

CBS News Hits Firefox CEO's Support of Traditional Marriage: 'A Firestorm of Bad PR'

CBS This Morning reporter Ben Tracy offered a one-sided take on liberal outrage against an internet browser's CEO and his support for traditional marriage. Brendan Eich is the new head of Mozilla, the company behind Firefox. Eich's crime? Tracy informed, "Six years ago, he personally donated a thousand dollars to support Proposition 8, the California initiative banning same-sex marriage." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

The journalist brought on Peter LaMotte, a business executive to lecture that "any public statement by a corporation needs to factor in how it represents the firm as a whole and how it's going to affect the brand for years to come." This prompted Tracy to chide, "Which is why Firefox is now in a firestorm of bad PR." The reporter featured no clips of anyone supporting Eich or questioning whether the suppression of dissenting ideas is a good thing. 

Brent Bozell and Rand Paul Tout Launch of MRC Latino, Discuss State of Hispanic Media

Media Research Center President Brent Bozell and Senator Rand Paul on Tuesday participated in a question and answer session to promote the launch of MRC Latino. Appearing at the Newseum in Washington D.C., Bozell and Paul discussed the state of Hispanic journalism and took questions on bias, the future of the Republican Party and other topics. 

On the subject of the immigration issue, Paul opined, "Part of where I think there is a bias on reporting on the immigration issue is that the whole thing is that the Democrats have proposed comprehensive and it's either that you take that or you're against immigration reform." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

Sen. Rand Paul at MRC Latino Launch: Overcome Biased Media With a Strong Message

Senator Rand Paul appeared at the launch of MRC Latino in Washington D.C., Tuesday, to discuss the state of Hispanic media and what conservatives can do in response. Appearing at the Newseum with MRC Latino Director Ken Oliver-Mendez, Rand Paul asserted, "There is bias in the media. It is good that we monitor and check the media...Part of overcoming that is showing up, but part of that is also having something to say." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

Discussing Latinos and his own Republican Party, Paul insisted, "I think that what's happened is that there is not the perception of empathy coming from the Republican Party, that we care about where they are coming from and we care about what their problems are." The Kentucky Senator insisted, "Are there many in the Latino community who go to church and believe in traditional values and are conservative? Yes. Maybe half. Maybe 60 percent." 

NBC Hypes 'Late Surge' to Make ObamaCare Deadline, Allows a Mere 22 Seconds for New Problems

All three morning shows on Tuesday hyped an "eye-popping" surge on the final day of ObamaCare sign-ups, but NBC's Today minimized the latest problems for those attempting to meet the deadline. Despite two segments on the topics, the four-hour program covered this angle for a scant 22 seconds. 

In contrast, Jon Karl on ABC's Good Morning America threw cold water on the celebration. Ignoring co-host George Stephanopoulos's claim that "all signs point to an eye-popping surge in sign-ups for health insurance," Karl warned of "big, unanswered questions." He explained, "One of the biggest is how many of those have signed up were previously uninsured? Remember, this was about expanding insurance coverage." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] He added that "we don't know how many people signed up here...simply had their previous plans cancelled." 

Hillary Fan Cynthia McFadden Is Leaving ABC for NBC: See Her Top 5 Clinton-Loving Quotes

After 20 years of activist journalism at ABC, it was announced on Thursday that Cynthia McFadden is leaving the network for NBC. The Nightline co-anchor has fawned over many Democratic politicians, but shows a particular affinity for Hillary Clinton. 

Over the decades, McFadden has compared Clinton to Thomas Jefferson and praised her as a "rock star." On another occasion, she worried about the toll the 2008 campaign took on the Democrat: "There's never a night, when you go back to whatever hotel room, whatever city you're in that night, and crawl in a ball and say...this just hurts too much?'" With a 2016 candidacy looming, it's time to count down the top five worst examples of McFadden gushing over Clinton. [See below for videos.] 

CBS's Norah O'Donnell Smears Global Warming Skeptics as 'Deniers'

CBS This Morning co-anchor Norah O'Donnell on Monday adopted alarmist language for global warming. She referred to climate skeptics as "deniers." CBS offered two stories on a new United Nations report predicting catastrophic weather in the future. 

Physicist Michio Kaku appeared as a guest and worried, "But collectively, 100-year storms, 100-year floods, 100-year droughts, 100-year forest fires. I mean,  something very dangerously is happening with the weather."  O'Donnell sneered, "And to those climate change deniers?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

CBS Frets Over 'Tough' Abortion Law Being Upheld, Skips What Ruling Actually Means

While the CBS Evening News on Thursday and Good Morning America on Friday allowed mere seconds to explain a court ruling upholding "tough" "new abortion restrictions" in Texas, only Fox News fully detailed what the decision and law actually do. [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Evening News guest anchor Sharyn Alfonsi briefly informed, "A federal appeals court today upheld Texas' new abortion restrictions, among the toughest in the nation. Many abortion clinics have closed since the law was passed." 

On Friday's GMA, Amy Robach did a little better, noting, "The law requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and then restricts the availability of abortion-inducing drugs." But GMA offered a mere 18 seconds and CBS a scant 15 seconds. In contrast, Fox and Friends covered the story three times. Plus, Fox and Friends First co-host Heather Childers described it as "a win for pro-lifers in Texas." 

Scott Pelley Tosses Softballs to Obama: You Wish You Could Live Low Key Life Like the Pope?

CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley scored an exclusive interview with Barack Obama on Friday. Much of the conversation centered around the President's meeting with Pope Francis. But rather than highlight the Pope's strong disagreements on issues like abortion, gay marriage and the contraception mandate in the health care law, Pelley appeared on CBS This Morning to wonder if the President, like Francis, wishes he could escape the "trappings" of power. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

Pelley explained, "It's well known here in Rome that sometimes the Pope slips those trappings, even gets in car, drives himself to another part of the city to help minister to the poor." The anchor added, "I asked the President about that and the fact that the President of the United States can't do the same thing. The President said that he was sure that the Pope had a lot more freedom but that he, the President, had only two and a half to go and he was sure that the Pope would be at this much, much longer." 

NYT Compares Obama to the Pope: Each 'Burst' Forth 'as a History-Making Change Agent'

New York Times journalists Jim Yardley and Michael Shear on Thursday compared Barack Obama to Pope Francis. According to the writers, the pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage Barack Obama and the pro-life, anti-gay marriage religious leader have a lot in common. 

Yardley and Shear connected "an Argentine pope and an American president who each burst onto the global scene as a history-making change agent." They insisted that each arrived "promising to promote a new post-partisan ethos, each having made the cover of Rolling Stone."