Following all three network morning shows on Monday declaring home improvement chain Lowe's was "sparking outrage" by pulling ads from TLC's All-American Muslim, on Tuesday, NBC's Today offered a report on the controversy, with co-host Ann Curry proclaiming: "Lowe's is facing a growing backlash this morning after pulling its advertising from a reality show featuring an all-Muslim cast."
On November 9, Today news anchor Natalie Morales interviewed the cast of the show and wondered: "Did you feel that there were a lot of misconceptions out there in America today still, especially after 9/11, about Muslims in America?...Do you all still feel that way today, that there are stereotypes, that there is an injustice when it comes to how Muslims are perceived and how it feels to be Muslim in America?"
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning shows on Monday all used news briefs to highlight how home improvement giant Lowe's is "facing a backlash" after it pulled its ads from TLC's "All-American Muslim" reality TV series. All three noted that the company reacted to a complaint from a "conservative" or "Christian" group who threatened a boycott. CBS's Early Show played up how Lowe's "critics call that bigotry."
NBC's Natalie Morales stated in her brief that the chain is "sparking outrage after its pulled its ads from a reality show about American Muslims. The retail giant bowed to pressure from an evangelical Christian group, which called for a boycott against the chain of home improvement stores." Morales added that a "California state senator, meanwhile, says he is considering a boycott and legislative action if the company does not reverse its decision."
The Big Three network morning shows on Monday all reported on the possible showdown between Occupy L.A. protesters and the LAPD. NBC's Today and CBS's Early Show highlighted that the left-leaning demonstrators held a "block party" as they defied law enforcement. All three media outlets also played up the supposedly "peaceful" nature of the protest, while ignoring other media reports of violence.
On Saturday's Good Morning America, ABC's Ron Claiborne claimed that "unlike other cities, the ['Occupy'] protests there in L.A. have been peaceful." However, Kate Linthicum of the Los Angeles Times noted in a November 5, 2011 article that "police were called to two violent incidents at Occupy Los Angeles on Friday, adding to questions about the protest and its future."
On Friday, both NBC's Today and CBS's The Early Show offered news briefs on two deadly shooting incidents at two separate Occupy Wall Street protests Thursday night, while ABC's Good Morning America failed to make any mention of the deaths.
On Today, news anchor Natalie Morales reported: "Occupy Wall Street protests turned deadly overnight in two cities. In Oakland, California, Police are investigating a gun fight that left one man dead....And in Burlington, Vermont, a 35-year-old war veteran apparently shot himself..." On The Early Show, news anchor Terrell Brown noted: "In Oakland, California last night, a man was shot and killed just outside the anti-Wall Street demonstrations....A Wall Street protester committed suicide in Burlington, Vermont yesterday."
On Wednesday, all three network morning shows found time to tout the defeat of an Ohio law curbing union power in Tuesday's election, while ignoring passage of another ballot initiative that made the ObamaCare heath insurance mandate illegal in the state.
On NBC's Today, news anchor Natalie Morales declared: "In Ohio, voters rejected a new law that would limit the collective bargaining rights of some 350,000 unionized public workers. Labor unions there are calling the news their biggest victory in decades." On ABC's Good Morning America, Josh Elliott similarly announced the "big victory for labor unions." On CBS's The Early Show, Jeff Glor described how "voters handed union workers a victory."
ABC, CBS and NBC have continued their overly positive coverage of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protestors, devoting a massive number of stories (81 in just the month of October) to the leftist, anti-capitalist movement. This is a far cry from the coverage they initially gave the Tea Party protest, granting them a scant 13 stories all of 2009. More troubling, the radicalism and criminal acts at some of the protests have been virtually ignored by the Big Three networks.
This was bound to happen given the overwhelming disparity in the number of soundbites (19 to 1 ratio) devoted to those who were sympathetic to the OWS cause. A staggering 190 (80%) soundbites were given to those who were in favor of the Occupiers, only 10 (4%) soundbites featured those who were critical of the movement, 38 (16%) were neutral. In addition, nine guests on the morning shows appreciated the OWS crowd, to just one against (Newt Gingrich).
On Tuesday, the morning shows of the Big Three networks omitted the party affiliation of Jon Corzine as they reported on the federal investigation into his brokerage firm, something that even the liberal New York Times gave in their coverage of the story. ABC's Good Morning America also failed to include Corzine's name during their news brief on the investigation.
News anchor Josh Elliott noted in a 13-second brief that "a Wall Street brokerage firm run by New Jersey's former governoris filing for bankruptcy. Regulators say some $700 million belonging to MF Global's customers is apparently missing." Apparently, the name of the Democrat's firm is newsworthy at ABC, but his name and his party ID isn't.
During a panel discussion on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer asked of the Occupy Wall Street protests: "What's the civics lesson in this for our kids as they're watching this on TV?" News anchor Natalie Morales argued: "...there's a huge civics lesson....the idea of having that civil discourse is important to teach our kids and it's something in history we've seen."
In contrast, moments later while discussing the latest Republican presidential debate, Lauer lectured Mitt Romney and Rick Perry on a heated exchange between them: "My parents, in teaching me manners, taught me, one, don't interrupt, bad on Rick Perry's point, keep your hands to yourself, bad on Mitt Romney's point." Weatherman Al Roker chimed in: "...we're seeing our kids are getting, again, this anti-teachable moment. Give somebody a chance to talk. They're just talking all over each other."
The Big Three networks unequivocally celebrated the end of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy as a "historic moment" on their Tuesday morning programs. CBS's "Early Show" turned to a discharged Air Force major who pushed for further recognition of same-sex couples by the military. NBC's "Today" brought on a homosexual playwright to promote his one-man movie on the policy. ABC's "GMA" only had a news brief on the development, but still highlighted how a magazine is "publishing photos of more than 100 active duty gay and lesbian troops who served in silence until now." None of the programs brought on dissenting voices to advocate the continuation of the policy.
"The Early Show" devoted the most amount of air time to the expiration of the policy, and led the 7 am Eastern hour with a slanted report from correspondent David Martin. Martin played sound bites from President Obama and outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, both opponents of the ban on open homosexuals from serving in the military, but none from supporters:
In a report on Friday's NBC Today, news anchor Natalie Morales profiled children who were born after the September 11th attacks and noted how celebrations following the death of Osama Bin Laden in May were "thrilling and confusing" for those children.
One girl worried: "I just don't think it's right to celebrate that somebody died, because they were all like, 'Oh, yay, he died, hooray!' But it's just not very nice to celebrate that somebody died." A boy observed: "I would celebrate a little, but at the same time I wouldn't."
On Wednesday evening, the NBC Nightly News devoted a segment to a recent study involving the World Health Organization asserting that infant mortality in the United States has fallen behind 40 other countries, including Cuba. NBC's Today show and ABC's Good Morning America also mentioned the study briefly earlier the same day.
NBC's Snyderman on Nightly News even seemed to hint that universal health care in Vermont may play a role in that state's ranking that is relatively higher than other states, even though several other states she named as relatively higher do not have universal health care.
While both ABC's Good Morning America and CBS's Early Show on Tuesday gave due credit to Senator Marco Rubio for catching former First Lady Nancy Reagan as she tripped at Reagan Library event, NBC's Today strangely avoided making any mention of the Florida Republican being present, even as video footage clearly showed him holding Reagan's arm. [Audio available here; Video follows page break]
ABC, CBS, and NBC all failed to mention former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's affiliation with the Democratic Party on their Monday evening news broadcasts and the Tuesday morning shows. Blagojevich was convicted by a jury on Monday on 17 out of 20 charges, mainly related to the attempt to sell the Senate seat of President Obama. Only CBS's Early Show noted his party with a "D" on-screen.
NBC devoted the least amount of time to the breaking news, a total of 1 minute and 50 seconds between NBC Nightly News and the Today Show. Brian Williams actually didn't mention the party of the new felon or his predecessor during his report on Monday, but noted that "Blagojevich will become the fourth Illinois governor in recent memory to go to jail. His predecessor, George Ryan, is still in federal prison, also for corruption." The following morning, news anchor Natalie Morales gave three news briefs on Blagojevich, all about 15 seconds long each.
The network morning shows on Monday hyped the "extra spectacular" gay pride parades in the wake of New York's newly passed same sex marriage legislation. Both ABC and NBC highlighted the "hero's welcome" Governor Andrew Cuomo received after signing the bill. At the same time, they ignored dissenters.
On Monday's Today, news anchor Natalie Morales touted, "Gay pride parades around the country turned into victory laps..." and added, "Gay and lesbian couples spoke about finally realizing their decades-long dream of walking down the aisle."
Reporter Mara Schiavocampo openly opined, "This year's parade isn't just a celebration of pride, but for the first time, equality."
During coverage of Arnold Schwarzengger's admitted affair on Tuesday, members of NBC's Today promoted his wife and their former colleague, Maria Shriver. Correspondent Natalie Morales declared that despite "much public scrutiny" of their marriage, "Many say it was Maria's enduring support through it all that allowed them to become one of America's most powerful couples."
Morales described Shriver as, "a member of the Kennedy political dynasty who became a network news correspondent....[then] left her long-time job at NBC News to support her husband's political career." Morales touted how Shriver's "support then, led to his landslide victory," and remarked: "Since then, the Republican foreign-born action movie star and the liberal polished member of one of America's most prestigious families, became a formidable team."
On Wednesday afternoon, CNN aired a misleading graphic about Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour's statements about a proposed license plate honoring a controversial Confederate general from the Civil War. The chyron, which ran during CNN Newsroom and The Situation Room, stated that the "Miss. Gov. won't denounce creation of KKK license plate."
At first glance, one would imagine that the proposed vanity plate has an image of a burning cross or a hooded figure. In reality, the organization behind it, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, aim to honor Nathan Bedford Forrest, who is a controversial figure, even disregarding his early membership in the Klan, because of his involvement in the massacre of black Union troops at Fort Pillow in Tennessee in 1864. Most people probably know the name because of the Oscar-winning movie Forrest Gump, as the title character was named after the Confederate figure (the movie also has a brief clip of actor Tom Hanks, playing Gen. Forrest, donning his Klan robes).
Say what you will about NBC's Today show but they recognize a ratings winner when they see one and they demonstrated that, when they invited Fox News host Glenn Beck back for a second appearance on Wednesday's show. However with that second guest spot came another opportunity to accuse him of fomenting hate.
In the 7am half hour Today co-anchor Meredith Vieira accused Beck of contributing to "a dialogue of hate" that led to the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and in the 9am hour it was her colleague Natalie Morales' turn to make that ugly inference as she pressed Beck: "How do you respond to the accusations...that people make" since the Tucson shooting "that you may be somewhat to blame?"
This time around, Beck took a back seat to his co-author psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow who offered this professional diagnosis for those critics that blame Beck and other conservatives like Sarah Palin for the tragedy in Arizona: "Refer them to me, they're crazy."
The Today show cast, on Tuesday, previewed a guest appearance by reality show star Kate Gosselin on Sarah Palin's TLC show, and after showing a clip of the former Alaska Governor frightening the celebrity mother of eight kids by firing off a gun, Vieira revealed she shared Gosselin's fears as she yelped: "You're with a woman with a gun. The whole thing makes me nervous, you know?"
The following is the full segment as it was aired on the December 7 Today show:
On Friday morning, after airing a full report on the Democratic strategy of painting Republican candidates as "dangerous" and "extreme," CBS’s The Early Show co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez seemed surprised when Republican guest Eric Cantor disagreed with her view that "there is no question these Tea Party Republicans are outside the Republican mainstream," and her suggestion that next year Republican congressional leaders may be in the "tricky position" of "feeling indebted to these candidates while trying to keep them in line."
And, picking up on Republican accusations of Democrats being extreme, the CBS anchor also wondered, "If these Tea Party-backed candidates win the election, wouldn't we just be going from one extreme to another?"
Meanwhile, over on the Today show, NBC’s David Gregory repeated the theory of some Democrats that Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell and other Tea Party-backed candidates are hurting Republicans in neighboring Pennsylvania. And, while he at least conceded that the Tea Party is a "legitimate movement," he described Nevada Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle – in addition to O’Donnell – as "outliers." He did not acknowledge the role the mainstream media may be playing in turning swing voters against Tea Party candidates.
California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown was caught on tape in a conversation with an aide, in which that aide called his Republican opponent Meg Whitman a "whore" and CBS's Early Show, on Friday, didn't find that gaffe worthy to report, even though Brown was forced to apologize. ABC's Good Morning America, didn't do much better, as while they did report on the sexist phrased being hurled at Whitman they didn't get around to it, until the second hour of their show. ABC's Juju Chang, in a news brief, noted "Some salty language in the race for California governor. It's difficult to hear, but it's a voice mail recording that captures Democrat Jerry Brown" and an aide, "who used a not-so flattering word to describe" Whitman. Chang went on to play a clip of the aide saying of Whitman "She's a whore."
NBC's Today show, for some reason, bleeped out the offending word, but did offer the most extensive report of the controversy and unlike their morning competitors highlighted the story in the first hour of their program with Vieira teasing at the top of the show: "And caught on tape. A private conversation between California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown and an aide recorded on a voice mail and derogatory word is used to describe rival Meg Whitman. The Brown camp is apologizing but Whitman's camp is calling it unforgivable, today." Vieira's colleague, Natalie Morales, then offered a full story, six minutes into the show.
NBC's Natalie Morales, on Wednesday's Today show, introduced Telemundo's Maria Celeste Arraras to tell the story of a South Florida family that has been separated by immigration laws in a segment that painted plight of the illegal immigrant in the most sympathetic tones. The tale of a Colombian mother deported back to her home country because she overstayed her visa, was part of, as Morales put it: "an NBC wide look at A Nation Divided." Arraras interviewed the children of Claudia Ramirez who were, as the story seemed to intimate, forced to fend for themselves in the U.S. after, as her daughter Kathy described, two "big guys with I.C.E. jackets" took their mom away.
Arraras mainly focused on the perspective of the family as she interviewed Claudia, her three children and an immigration lawyer, and only allowed one dissenting voice, a former INS agent who pointed out if "we find all these exceptions for people to be able to stay here, even though they violated the law, why should anybody ever go through the legal system?" Arraras, herself, did point out to the daughter "Some people may say, 'Well, this is a very sad case but too bad, your mother should not have come here in the first place.' What, what would you say to that?" To which Kathy guilt-tripped Today viewers by responding: "Have a heart." [audio available here]
The following is a transcript of the full story as it was aired on the May 26 Today show:
Liberals are circulating the idea the God is pro-gay. Near the end of Monday night's Hardball, after a segment on gays, Chris Matthews tossed in his not-so-Catholic two cents: "I don't think your orientation is a choice, by the way. God has a lot to do with this. Anyway, Michelle Goldberg, thank you. Charles Moran, sir, I love your organization." That group would be the Log Cabin Republicans. When Matthews loves you, you must be Republicans in name only.
The same theme came up in a Rosie O'Donnell satellite-radio interview on Friday with newly declared lesbian country singer Chely Wright, who declared: "I think God wanted me to [have a singing career], and I also think that God has been whispering in my ear for a very long time to come out as a lesbian...and I continued to override God and say, 'God...you [don't] quite understand Nashville. Let me handle this.'"
On her coming-out interview on the May 5 Today, NBC interviewer Natalie Morales offered her an enthusiastic endorsement of her decision and drew out of her how God apparently just wanted her to "tell the truth" about her choices:
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, fill-in news reader Betty Nguyen reported on President Obama's new plan to cut back America's space program, but failed to mention sharp criticism by astronauts Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, and Eugene Cernan in a signed letter sent to the White House.
Nguyen noted: "President Obama unveils a revamped plan for America's manned space program....reviving part of a plan he canceled earlier this year. NASA will begin development of a crew capsule called Orion....[it] won't go to the moon, but will be used as an emergency vehicle on the space station."
In contrast, on ABC's Good Morning America, anchor Juju Chang began a news brief on the same topic this way: "President Obama under fire, accused by the first man to set foot on the moon of leading the U.S. space program down a path of, quote, 'mediocrity.'" Correspondent Jake Tapper followed: "Armstrong and two other former astronauts wrote that it was a terrible decision. They called it 'a misguided proposal that forces NASA out of the human space operations for the foreseeable future.'"
NBC's Today also covered the criticism, as anchor Natalie Morales explained how: "three Apollo astronauts call the changes devastating. In a letter, Neil Armstrong, James Lovell and Eugene Cernan write, 'The President's plan destines our nation to become one of second, or even third-rate stature.'"
Left-wing protests for "immigration reform" (amnesty) used to be a huge TV-news story. MRC's 2006 special report Election in the Streets counted 309 stories in little more than two months. So it's a little surprising that Sunday's "pro-immigrant" protest received just a few seconds of attention.
It's better measured with a word count than a story count. ABC, CBS, and NBC combined gave it 239 words (or less than 80 words per network). NBC had 34 words, ABC 84, and CBS 141 (half a story).
This is 239 words more than the 2010 March for Life. Obviously, the timing was terrible, with the final vote on health "reform" scheduled. But you would think it would draw more than this. Perhaps the plugged-in Democrats like Stephanopoulos got a signal that focus on this issue wasn't helpful when voters are already angry with Democrats about health care.
Last night ABC News, as the MRC’s Brent Baker noted, showcased the "Why People Hate You Obama?" kid and on Friday’s "Today" show it was NBC's turn to be charmed by the Obama-adoring child. NBC's Savannah Guthrie, reporting from College Station, Texas about Obama's latest health care pitch and his upcoming joint appearance with George H.W. Bush to promote volunteerism, squeezed in a clip of Tyren Scott asking Obama why people hated him, when they're supposed to love him? After which Natalie Morales cooed: "Alright cute kid there."
The following is the full report as it was aired on the October 16 "Today" show:
NBC's Natalie Morales, on Wednesday's "Today," was bowled over by the First Couple's "tag-teaming" effort to lure the Olympics to their home city of Chicago. Reporting live from Copenhagen, Morales cheered that "it doesn't get any better in terms of PR blitzes than this," and effused the First Lady was "turning on the charm, as only she can."
"Today" co-anchor Matt Lauer introduced the segment touting the "star-studded campaign" led by the Obamas and Oprah Winfrey, as Morales called that combo a "one, two, three punch" that would require "a secret weapon," for the likes of other competing countries, like Brazil and Japan, to counter. Morales ended her report noting "the glitz will be on once again in full," as the First Lady is expected appear at a gala, that Morales giddily wished to attend: "I'm hoping I get a red carpet ticket today, at least, for that event."
The following segment was aired on the October 1, "Today" show:
Move over Al Gore, NBC's Meredith Vieira and Natalie Morales have discovered the new face of global warming and it's a glacier. In the latest bit of goofy global warming nonsense Morales reported, on Thursday's "Today", that a photographer in Norway caught a picture of "what appears to be a face crying a river of tears as a glacier melts into the sea." To which "Today" co-host Vieira exclaimed, "That's gonna be the new image of global warming, right there." [audio available here]
The following exchange was aired on the September 3, "Today" show:
NBC's Matt Lauer, on Wednesday's "Today" show greeted viewers with the following teaser: "Good morning, Supreme showdown. Republicans gear up for a fight over President Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the nation's highest court," and then asked the racially loaded question: "But will taking on the first Hispanic nominee cost them down the road?" Lauer and other "Today" correspondents repeatedly questioned if Republican opposition to Sotomayor would cost them Hispanic votes in upcoming elections. However no one on "Today" mentioned it was Democrats, back in 2003, as the MRC's Tim Graham pointed out, who opposed the nomination, by Republican President George W. Bush of Miguel Estrada at the circuit court level.
That's what NBC's "Today" show did August 26 in a segment attacking online dealmakers. Co-host Meredith Vieira warned shoppers could find "mysterious and unwanted charges on their credit cards."
"Kathy Danzer wanted to reconnect with old classmates, so she bought a subscription on a popular high school reunion Web site," correspondent Natalie Morales reported. "But when she got her credit card bill there was another unexpected charge: an additional $12.99 for something called ‘GREATFN.'"
With all the complaining - not to mention the foreboding soundtrack the segment featured - a viewer might think Danzer and others like her had trouble getting refunds for the money they mistakenly spent. But that wasn't the case, as the company refunds money to unsatisfied customers, Morales admitted at the end of the segment.
The Big Three networks continued to ignore the party affiliation of the now-incarcerated Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on Friday morning, just as they had done in their evening news programs the previous night. The Early Show on CBS chose to ignore the story of Kilpatrick’s arrest on a bail violation entirely, while ABC’s Good Morning America devoted one 16-second news brief to the story near the beginning of its 7 am Eastern hour.
Ironically, NBC’s Today show, which is devoting most of its programming to the Summer Olympics in Beijing, spent the most time on the subject. It first aired a 12-second news brief just after the top of 7 am Eastern hour, and devoted an entire segment to the story at the beginning of the 8 am Eastern hour. The report by correspondent Ron Allen was just shy of 2 minutes long, but still ignored Kilpatrick’s Democratic affiliation.