Striking the Northeast on Oct. 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy tragically devastated communities causing an estimated $50 billion in damages. By the end of January 2013, a relief bill was passed for Sandy aid, after the bill was delayed because of wasteful spending.
House Republicans opposed a pork-ridden $60 billion Senate bill ($10 billion higher than damage estimates) and chose not to vote on it. Politicians, including some Republicans, and the media criticized them for delaying this legislation. A $51 billion bill was passed by both houses of Congress by the end of January, after a $9.7 billion flood insurance bill passed in early January.
Near the end of the fourth story on Monday's NBC Nightly News, White House correspondent Peter Alexander managed to squeeze in a mention of the network's scoop that the Obama administration knew for years that millions of people would be kicked off of their current health insurance plans because of ObamaCare, despite the President's repeated assurances to the contrary. [Listen to the audio]
Alexander provided a mere twenty-one seconds of air time for the revelation: "That millions will lose or have to change their individual policies is not a surprise to the administration. NBC News senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers found buried in the 2010 ObamaCare regulations, language predicting, 'A reasonable range for the percentage of individual policies that would terminate is forty percent to sixty-seven percent.'"
On Sunday's NBC Today, co-host Lester Holt wondered if Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had "successfully separated herself now from this trouble" with the ObamaCare website failure. He further asked: "Is her job safer than it was maybe a week ago?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A somewhat puzzled David Gregory, moderator of Meet the Press, replied: "Well, I think her job may be okay for the moment. But I don't think she's separated herself from it....all of these problems really do undercut the potential effectiveness of ObamaCare, whether it can be affordable to insure more and more people. If they don't achieve that, there are enormous problems....enormous problems for how it works for years to come."
After consistently blaming Republicans for the government shutdown, on Sunday's NBC Nightly News, fill-in anchor Carl Quintanilla warned that while the budget stalemate ended days earlier, "Many people who were furloughed or otherwise affected are still paying the price, and will do so for some time." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, CNBC correspondent Bertha Coombs touted: "A new survey says about forty percent of consumers cut their spending because of the government shutdown. And store traffic was down seven percent compared to last year." She then proclaimed: "Retailers are hoping the shutdown doesn't become the Grinch that stole Christmas, but they're worried it will."
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd parroted laughable Obama administration talking points regarding who was to blame for the disastrous rollout of the ObamaCare website: "...nobody in the West Wing feels that this is an administrative error, that this is a competency issue....But in a few months, if they find incompetency, I'm told nothing should be ruled out." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The segment began with anchor Brian Williams wondering: "A lot of folks in the business world say if this happened to a private company in the real world, it could be curtains for the company, curtains for the CEO. In this case, though, the CEO people are asking about pointing to would be Health and Human Services – the cabinet secretary Kathleen Sebelius." Todd replied: "Well, everything I hear in talking to the administration, her job is safe."
Continuing to hammer home the Democratic talking point that the Republican Party is to blame for the government shutdown, on Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams gloated: "Politically, it's widely agreed to have been a big loss and self-inflicted wound mostly for the Republican Party." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In a later report, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell asserted: "For many Republicans, they're now at that acceptance phase after a bruising defeat. Many, are admitting mistakes, assessing some responsibility." She then noted how "one of the most visible and divisive figures in this whole episode," Texas Senator Ted Cruz, "started the day trying to create some goodwill" by greeting visitors to the U.S. Capitol.
As the government shutdown was nearing it's end Wednesday evening, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams conducted a live interview with John McCain, urging the Arizona Senator to slam fellow Republicans over the budget showdown: "Senator, let's talk about the damage in order, to the country, to your party, your profession, and how much of this do you lay at the feet of Senator Cruz from Texas?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
McCain began by noting political damage for both parties in the wake of the stalemate but then quickly obliged Williams, launching into an rant against conservatives in Congress: "The problem with their strategy was that it was a fool's errand. We were not going to de-fund ObamaCare. That's why we had an election in 2012. That's part of what that was all about. So it was a terrific mistake. We inflicted pain on the American people that was totally unnecessary....We Republicans have a hole that we've got to come out of."
For millions of Americans, big political contests such as presidential elections and pivotal congressional hearings are still largely witnessed through the lens of ABC’s, CBS’s and NBC’s evening newscasts. According to Nielsen Research, more than 20 million viewers tuned in over the past twoweeks for the Big Three’s take on the shutdown drama.
What those viewers heard, according to a just-completed Media Research Center study, was a version of the shutdown story that could easily have emanated from Barack Obama’s own White House. The broadcast networks invariably blamed Republicans for the impasse; spotlighted dozens of examples of how Americans were being victimized; and ran scores of soundbites from furloughed federal workers and others harmed by the shutdown — even as they ignored examples of how the Obama administration and Senate Democrats were working to make the shutdown as painful as possible.
Between the government shut down and the debt ceiling limit about to be crossed Oct. 17, the news media is screaming like the house is on fire. The Obama administration has also warned of dangers. Of course, that’s nothing new.
In many cases following the Obama administration’s reports and threats, the networks were hysterical in their coverage of the “fiscal cliff” and the sequester in late 2012 and early 2013. They repeated predictions and made claims that in many cases, simply failed to happen.
If you watch ABC, NBC and CBS, you might think that the debt default is inevitable. Market experts aren’t so sure. While the debt ceiling will be reached on Oct. 16 without Congress intervening, the jury is out on what would actually happen. Many experts, including Forbes, Bloomberg Business Week and Moody’s Corp., have argued that the default would actually hit weeks later, if at all.
Since the shutdown was first mentioned – from September 20 until October 12 – the term “default” has been used in 67 morning and evening news stories. Of these, 58.2 percent (39 out of 67) talked about the default as if it were inevitable. ABC was the worst, with 74 percent (17 of 23 stories) insisting that the default was inevitable. Fifty-six percent of CBS stories (14 out of 25 stories) said the default would definitely occur on the 17th, and NBC had 42 percent (8 out of 19 stories).
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams continued to blame Republicans for the government shutdown, asserting that the budget impasse "traces its history back to a determined core of GOP House members who are vehemently against ObamaCare and were willing to shut down the government because of it." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
However, he took it a step further by hinting at a way to get rid of such troublesome members of Congress holding up President Obama's agenda: "These members happen to be from very conservative districts where they won by big margins, and their jobs are secure more or less. And in both parties there are congressional districts that are set up by the states to keep the parties in power. But some believe if the system stays this way, our politics will kind of stay this way."
After NBC spent weeks painting congressional Republicans as the villains who caused the government shutdown, on Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams opened the broadcast by smugly announcing: "Who do the American people blame for the shutdown of their government? Tonight our new NBC News poll is out and the answer is clear." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Friday's Today, political director Chuck Todd melodramatically touted the polling data: "Look, the shutdown has been, there's no sugarcoating this, an unmitigated political disaster for the GOP. Here is who's to blame. Nearly 53% blame congressional Republicans for this. Just 31% blame President Obama....This is something unprecedented, even for shutdown politics."
President Obama nominated Janet Yellen, Fed vice chair, to head the Federal Reserve on Oct. 9. If confirmed, she will take on Ben Bernanke’s role as chairman and be the first woman in that role. Networks lauded her nomination that evening, after having paid little attention to her liberal policies in recent months.
Broadcast network evening and morning shows were giddy at the nomination of Yellen. Her economic experience, intelligence and “working class roots” were all praised the night of her nomination and the following morning.
On October 9The Blaze reported the following: “Sarah Hall Ingram, the Internal Revenue Service official who used to head the office directly involved in the targeting of conservative groups, may have shared confidential taxpayer information with White House officials, according to 2012 emails uncovered by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Ingram, who now heads the IRS’s Obamacare enforcement division, counseled senior White House officials on how to deal with a lawsuit from religious groups opposed to the Obamacare contraception mandate.”
So far ABC, CBS and NBC have yet to report on the latest IRS scandal disclosure. In fact they’ve stopped reporting on the IRS scandal altogether. It’s been 106 days since ABC last mentioned the IRS targeting scandal, way back on June 26. NBC hasn’t touched the story in 105 days and CBS last did an IRS story 77 days ago on July 24.
[UPDATED BELOW] CNN aired an exclusive interview with a Fast and Furious whistleblower on Monday morning, but NBC, CBS, and ABC all ignored the story and failed to interview the whistleblower, ATF agent John Dodson. The government is blocking publication of Dodson's new book, his insider account of the failed gun sting Operation Fast and Furious.
In addition, CNN dropped its own interview after it aired during the 8 a.m. ET hour of New Day. The network aired no clips of the interview for the rest of Monday into Tuesday morning after it brought Dodson on to "set the record straight" on Fast and Furious. [Video below the break.]
The next Federal Reserve Chairman will be Janet Yellen. President Barack Obama plans to nominate her on Oct. 9. Ahead of the announcement, Yellen, the liberal Fed vice chairman, was considered the most likely candidate to replace Ben Bernanke ever since Larry Summers, her chief rival for the nomination, bowed out of the race on Sept. 16.
She was a frontrunner even before Summers’ withdrawal. But between July 12 and Oct. 8, the networks paid very little attention to Yellen and the Fed candidacy. In fact, they spent more time covering Miss America in one day, than in three months of coverage of the future Fed chairman.
On Friday night's NBC Nightly News, reporter Kelly O’Donnell and producer Shawna Thomas brought out more tweets addressed to its “Dear Congress” hashtag. It’s a little fun now to see what other tweets these Twitter correspondents are posting.
A “MrKristoff” was quoted for tweeting “@johnboehner Enough already. Stop claiming to speak for American people & start Listening. #DearCongress”. But right next to that was a vulgar attack on that "monster with no soul" Ted Cruz:
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams introduced a full report on cancer research at the National Institutes of Health being stopped under the government shutdown: "And there are the millions who are feeling the impact of this shutdown very close to home and across this country, including some for whom this standoff feels very much like a matter of life and death for them."
In the story that followed, correspondent Tom Costello declared: "The NIH funds research nationwide. At its headquarters, a lack of funding means 200 patients, including 30 children, each week will be turned away from clinical studies." What he failed to mention was that congressional Republicans proposed a bill to provide the needed funding, but were rebuffed by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Appearing on CBS's Late Show on Thursday, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams ranted to liberal host David Letterman about Republicans in Congress being to blame for the government shutdown: "It's about a small – they've been called the suicide caucus in the U.S. House, about 80 members.....right now they have a hold on the House of Representatives....because of this caucus, this cabal, nothing moves." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Letterman was eager to join in bashing the GOP: "If we wanted to blame someone....Would it be crazy Ted Cruz? Would it be – can we blame him for this?" Williams replied: "Ted Cruz is the leader of a lot of this."
Nancy Cordes stood out on Wednesday's CBS Evening News for pointing out Senator Harry Reid's eyebrow-raising "why would I want to do that" answer to a question about approving funding for cancer research for children. Meanwhile, on NBC Nightly News, John Yang hyped how "200 patients a week...including about 30 children" had been turned away from "last-resort medical treatment" due to the government shutdown, without mentioning Reid's gaffe.
Jim Avila also ballyhooed the detrimental effects of the shutdown on World News, and used man-on-the-street interviews to hint that Tea Party Republicans were mainly to blame for the issue. But the ABC evening newscast also ignored the Senate majority leader's remark. Hours later, none of the Big Three's morning shows mentioned Senator Reid's misstep during their reporting about the shutdown. [MP3 audio from Cordes' Wednesday report available here; video below the jump]
On October 1 theWashington Times reported that Dr. Ben Carson revealed he had his first ever encounter with the IRS after he delivered a speech critical of public policy in front of Barack Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast back in February. So far ABC, CBS and NBC have yet to report on this stunning revelation. In fact they’ve stopped reporting on the IRS scandal altogether.
It’s been 99 days since ABC last mentioned the IRS targeting scandal, way back on June 26. NBC hasn’t touched the story in 98 days and CBS last did an IRS story 70 days ago on July 24.
As Barack Obama wrapped up a speech from the White House on Tuesday, reporter Jon Karl of ABC actually shouted a tough question at the President, wondering, "...If you won't negotiate, how can you get a solution? How can you bring an end to this if you won't talk to the congressional leaders?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Anchor George Stephanopoulos noted that "Obama ignor[ed] a question from our own Jon Karl." Karl's network, on World News and Good Morning America, ignored it as well. NBC and CBS blamed the Republicans.
Instead of repeating his question on World News, Karl parroted Democratic talking points: "Today the President accused Republicans of waging an ideological crusade against Obamacare while he rejected their latest offer to re-open just part of the government." Anchor Diane Sawyer assigned responsibility to the GOP House: "And everywhere tonight, Americans are saying they are fed up with the congressmen who dig in and force the U.S. government to screech to a halt." "A lot of people outraged," she added. Did Obama play a part in the drama? Sawyer didn't say.
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams sneered that the government shutdown was "being driven by a committed core of Republican members of Congress who are all but assured of re-election in their districts, and just can't be conservative enough for many of the folks back home." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd joined Williams in blaming the GOP for the budget showdown: "You know, these Tea Party conservatives helped propel Republicans to take control of the House in 2010. And these conservatives, they are the engine behind this current standoff now."
The UN’s climate panel (IPCC) released its latest warning about "catastrophic" climate change on Sept. 27, garnering the frantic attention of all three broadcast networks that night. CBS even aired a claim about temperatures rising “more than 200 degrees."
Predictably, the evening news shows on ABC, CBS and NBC Sept. 27 repeated the IPCC’s dire warnings without including any skeptics and without mentioning past failures such as their inability to accurately predict warming or sea level rise.
On Monday morning, Time/MSNBC political analyst Mark Halperin explained an obvious political reality to his fellow Morning Joe panelists: “The White House does not have much incentive” to negotiate on the government shutdown, because Democrats expect the liberal news media to hand them a public relations victory. As Halperin put it: “The press is largely sympathetic to their arguments that it’s the House Republicans’ fault.”
In fact, as a new Media Research Center analysis of broadcast network evening news coverage shows, ABC, CBS and NBC spent the two weeks prior to the shutdown almost universally pinning the blame on congressional Republicans, especially conservative/Tea Party House Republicans. By the time the shutdown actually took place on October 1, news audiences had been repeatedly instructed to think about it as a GOP-generated crisis.
Last evening NBC Nightly News featured the story about WWII veterans who were denied access to the WWII memorial in Washington, D.C. supposedly due to the government shutdown. After being denied entry for about 15 minutes, a group of congressional officials opened the barricades and tape to allow entry of the veterans. To watch this NBC News report you would barely have any idea who lowered the barricades except for a quick innacurate mention of a "bipartisan" group.
The NBC News report with transcript is below the fold. Since this report is inaccurate in what it leaves out, there is also a video interview with Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann which fills in the holes that NBC News very conveniently left out of its report.
With the ObamaCare exchanges set to take effect today, and polls showing the President’s health care law as unpopular as ever (a September 25 poll from CBS News/New York Times found 51% “somewhat” or “strongly” disapproved of the law), the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) news networks have been reluctant to report the multiple fiascos surrounding its implementation:
■ On July 2 and 3, all three broadcast networks covered the one-year postponement of the ObamaCare employer mandate as a “surprising,” “significant setback” for the President. But that was it for major coverage of that delay — apart from a few passing mentions in other stories, after July 3 the networks only discussed the employer mandate delay on the Sunday talk shows.
At the top of Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams issued a dire warning to viewers about the possibility of a government shutdown: "Time running out until a big deadline, now days away, and it's getting ugly in Washington. Tonight, can anything be done to save our government from itself?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing the later report, Williams again hyped how "the tone is getting uglier than normal in Washington, as lawmakers argue over funding the health care law." Chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd made it clear which party was being "ugly": "Another day of dysfunction and squabbling here in Washington as the clock ticks down for the potential government shutdown. Republicans trying to defund the President's health care law to do this shutdown."
While ObamaCare remains widely unpopular with the American people, on Tuesday's ABC World News, anchor Diane Sawyer touted how "the President is bringing out the big gun to argue it will lead to a healthier and cheaper medical cost for Americans." In the report that followed, correspondent Bob Woodruff gushed: "Call it Bill Clinton to the rescue....the President turns to the man he calls his secretary of explaining stuff." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On NBC Nightly News, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd declared: "...the White House thought, hey, this is a great opportunity to tap Bill Clinton to help them do what Bill Clinton did in 2012, demystify a little bit of some of the issues around the economy. This time on health care there was a lot of theatrics as well."