2. ABC Talks Up Non-Existent 'Recession' Eight Times in Three Days
3. NBC's Today Touts 'Barack Star: Obama on Cover of Rolling Stone'
4. Klein: People Like Obama Aren't Let Into Republican Country Clubs
5. Couric Rues Loss of Marxist Mugabe's 'Hope and Promise'
6. Join Limbaugh and Bozell Today in 'Web-A-Thon' for the Troops
Going to extraordinary lengths to pull at the heartstrings of viewers, Wednesday's NBC Nightly News focused on, in the words of anchor Brian Williams, "the innocent victims of the foreclosure crisis" -- that would be dogs, pigs, goats and horses. Meanwhile, ABC discovered people are more likely to get murdered at work in these "hard economic times," though they really haven't been. At the end of a story on a workplace shooting in which five were murdered, reporter Eric Horng acknowledged "workplace violence is down in recent years," but he nonetheless ominously warned: "For smaller companies it remains tough to prevent, because security is costly. And in today's economic environment, disgruntled workers can be reluctant to discuss problems."
NBC put "TOUGH TIMES" on screen with a picture of a puppy as Williams introduced the story reported by Chris Jansing who, back in May, centered a piece on an elderly couple forced to live in their van. This time, Jansing again delivered anecdotes, starting with a Seattle woman who "has never experienced anything like this -- not just dogs and cats, but horses, pigs, goats -- so many, she has to turn away three out of four animals." Going south, she asserted that "in May, the number of animals turned into Los Angeles City shelters jumped 30 percent," which hardly seems like a crisis, and a local official fretted: "Pets seem to be the silent victims of this whole economic downturn." Jansing next conveyed the deadly consequences: "The harsh reality is, as more animals come in, more animals have to be put down....[A]t shelters across the country, euthanasia rates are going up."
Earlier in her report, Jansing featured another woman who broke into tears while she recalled: "We got a call from a man who was crying on the phone, and he said my dog is so good, and he knows how to sit, and he knows how to give you his paw. Please don't make me take him to the shelter."
Williams teased at the top if his newscast: "Left behind: Have you thought about the other victims in the tragedy of foreclosures in the U.S.?"
He later plugged the upcoming report: "Innocent victims of the foreclosure crisis in this country, the ones we don't always think about."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The May 5 CyberAlert posting, "NBC: Seniors Forced to Live in Van as Golden Years 'Tarnished,'" recounted, with video, the previous Jansing story portraying a few people as typical victims of a terrible economy:
On the day the government reported a tenth of a point drop in the unemployment rate and two days after news of a second straight quarter of 0.6 percent GDP growth proved the nation is not in a recession, Friday's NBC Nightly News delivered a ridiculously shallow story, based on two anecdotes and a couple of advocates, to prove rising prices are forcing the elderly out of their homes and into vans and soup kitchens. Anchor Brian Williams promised "an interesting look...at the toll that rising prices, of things like gas and food, is taking on Americans living on fixed incomes."
Chris Jansing traveled to Northridge, California, just north of Los Angeles, where she found 82-year-old Betty Weinstein, stunned by a water bill, turning to a second reverse mortgage to stay in her home. But she at least still has a home. Jansing then highlighted an even sadder case: "Rising rents forced Scott and Kate Bishop to move out of this blue house and into their van, sleeping on a mattress in the back."
But it got worse: "And now high food costs have meant, for first time in their lives, the Bishops have gone hungry." Jansing cited no source for her claims as she asserted: "Soup kitchens and food banks are seeing record numbers of seniors asking for help for the first time in their lives," but "now donations here are down as middle class donors struggle to feed their own families."
Topping off the story, Jansing featured this from Weinstein: "It's not the golden years anymore, it's the tarnished years."...
For the rest of the previous CyberAlert article: www.mrc.org
From the ABC World News story on a Henderson, Kentucky workplace shooting in which five were murdered and the shooter committed suicide:
ERIC HORNG: While workplace violence is down in recent years, for smaller companies it remains tough to prevent, because security is costly. And in today's economic environment, disgruntled workers can be reluctant to discuss problems.
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this transcript of the story on the Wednesday, June 25 NBC Nightly News:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: One thing in this country that's experiencing the opposite of inflation, home prices, which have, of course, led to a record number of foreclosures. And the people who are losing their homes in this country aren't the only ones suffering or losing out in this crisis. That report from NBC's Chris Jansing.
CHRIS JANSING: At Furrytale Farm outside of Seattle, a heartbreaking phenomenon is playing out.
The U.S. is not in a recession, but viewers wouldn't know it from watching Good Morning America. In the span of three days, the ABC program has eight times proposed cures in its "Recession Rescue" segment. On June 24 alone, GMA fretted about the "recession" five times. This is despite the fact that America hasn't had one quarter of negative growth, let alone the two necessary for there to be a recession.
On Tuesday, teasing a story on how bad credit can keep people from getting a job, co-host Robin Roberts previewed "important tips in our Recession Rescue." At the top of 7:30 half hour, she again told audiences to stay tuned for "important tips in this morning's Recession Rescue." Ten minutes later, news anchor Chris Cuomo promised "our Recession Rescue" would give credit advice designed to keep viewers from not missing out on a job. Later in the show, he touted another story on how to save for retirement and labeled it as, that's right, "a good Recession Rescue." Now, certainly, the economy has been struggling and many people are having difficulty, but do words not mean things to the reporters and producers at GMA? Or would they simply shrug their shoulders and say, "Close enough?"
[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Even mundane segments received the inaccurate tag. On Monday, Roberts promoted an upcoming segment by awkwardly announcing, "In this morning's Recession Rescue, used car sales are booming. But how do you find a good one and avoid buying somebody else's problem?"
The non-"Recession Rescue" segments on GMA this week have also been hyperbolic. On Wednesday's show, an ABC graphic fretted, "Paying the Bills: How to Survive Economic Crisis." So, the country is dealing with a non-existent "recession" and a crisis? On Monday, Roberts discussed older Americans working longer. That segment contained a graphic that fearfully asked, "No More Retirement? Economy Holds Couple Back?" No more retirement? Even if more Americans are working longer, isn't that phrase a bit of an exaggeration?
CBS's Early Show on Tuesday provided similar over-the-top coverage. Co-host Julie Chen worried: "Completing this perfect storm of economic woes, the devastating floods in the Midwest and how they will directly impact food prices." See a June 24 NewsBusters blog for more: newsbusters.org
A transcript of the various teases, segment set-ups and graphics from the June 23 to 25 GMA:
# June 25, 7:41am:
CHRIS CUOMO: All right. We have the Recession Rescue for you this morning. We keep on talking to you about gas prices. Everyone's trying to sell their SUV. Want to get into one of these new jobs. You know, the smart car. The hybrid. The high mileage type vehicles.
ROBIN ROBERTS: And could bad credit cost you a good job? Why what you do in your personal life could impact your professional life. Important tips in our Recession Rescue.
CHRIS CUOMO: Also, this morning, bad credit. No question if you have bad credit it's gonna' hurt you with your credit cards, gonna' hurt you with getting a loan. But what about keeping you from getting a job?
CHRIS CUOMO: When we come back, this woman was on the verge of getting a good job until they found out she had bad credit. How to keep this from happening to you in our Recession Rescue.
ABC GRAPHIC: Recession Rescue: Your Job and Your Credit
CHRIS CUOMO: Listen to this really sad statistic, fewer than 20 percent of people in this country believe they'll have enough money to retire. So, they're going to have to keep working, older and older, it's happening, people are going way past 65. So, today we're going to give you some tips to prepare for your retirement and what you can do if you're already at that age. So, it's a good Recession Rescue.
ROBIN ROBERTS: And coming up next, our Recession Rescue. Why buying a used car may not be the secret to saving money. We'll talk about it next.
ROBERTS: In this morning's Recession Rescue, used car sales are booming. But how do you find a good one and avoid buying somebody else's problem?
ABC GRAPHIC: Recession Rescue: Getting the Best Deal on Wheels
Rolling Stone is a left-wing magazine which puts liberal politicians on its cover and this year has already featured a cover story on Barack Obama, yet despite the seeming lack of any newsworthiness in a second Obama cover story, this one written by an "unabashed Obama supporter," on Wednesday morning NBC's Today show devoted a full story to how the just-released issue of the magazine illustrated "fascination" with Obama. Co-host Matt Lauer marveled: "On the cover not a musician but a politician, Barack Obama. It's the second time he's been featured there but this time there will be no cover lines, just that photo. The magazine usually does that for the likes only of people like John Lennon. So what is the fascination with the Illinois Senator?"
In Lee Cowan's story, with "Barack Star: Obama on the Cover of Rolling Stone" as the on-screen tag, Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner, who conducted the interview with Obama, gushed: "The tides of history are running strong and fast these days. Ride them or be crushed. Obama has history on his side and that's pretty irresistible." Cowan then described Wenner as "an unabashed Obama supporter. So not surprisingly today's six-page spread offers no hard questions," as if that's any different than the friendly approach taken by Cowan and his media colleagues. Cowan proceeded to recite Obama's answers to the easy questions, starting with how "he describes his iPod as a mix of everything from Stevie Wonder to Jay-Z," before tossing in his own adulation: "Just this week, Donatella Versace debuted a clothing line she says was inspired by the Senator." Cowan concluded with a portrait of a humble Obama just trying to do good in the face of unwanted publicity:
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted late Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Rolling Stone's home page displays the cover and this plug for the cover story:
A Conversation With Barack Obama
The candidate speaks on being endorsed by Dylan and Springsteen, and when he first realized he could run for president.
The subhead over the linked article, which only includes part of what appears in the hard copy of the magazine: "The Candidate Talks About The Youth Vote, What's On His iPod and His Top Three Priorities As President."
Oddly, the story/interview excerpt is listed as having been posted at a future date: "Posted Jul 10, 2008 3:28 PM."
For the online excerpt: www.rollingstone.com
The MRC's Geoffrey Dickens alerted me to the story, aired during the 8 AM half hour of the Wednesday, June 25 Today show on NBC, and provided this transcript of it:
MATT LAUER: The latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine hits the newsstands today. On the cover not a musician but a politician, Barack Obama. It's the second time he's been featured there but this time there will be no cover lines, just that photo. The magazine usually does that for the likes only of people like John Lennon. So what is the fascination with the Illinois Senator? Here's NBC's Lee Cowan.
[On screen headline: Barack Star, Obama On the Cover of Rolling Stone."]
LEE COWAN: The newsstand standard bearer of rock and roll, the cover that's launched a 1000 music careers is no stranger to Democratic politics either, it's almost a rite of passage. George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Al Gore -- they've all been on the cover, and this week Barack Obama is back, for a second time.
In a comment reminiscent of Howard Dean's controversial statement from 2005 about the RNC and "people of color," on CNN on Monday night Time magazine columnist Joe Klein blasted Karl Rove's recent slam of Barack Obama. Rove characterized Obama as "the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall, and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by." On CNN's Election Center, Klein asserted: "I just think that the image is kind of hilarious when you think about it: Barack Obama at a country club sipping a martini. It's kind of a parody of the Republican view of the world. Everybody belongs to -- since when [did] we start letting people like Barack Obama into Republican country clubs?"
"People like Barack Obama"? That sounds like Dean's "You think the RNC could get this many people of color into a single room?...Maybe if they got the hotel staff in there."
Election Center substitute host Wolf Blitzer read Rove's quote earlier in the segment, which began 22 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program: "Even if you never met him, you know this guy. He's the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall, and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by."
[This item, by Matthew Balan, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Besides Klein, CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley and Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez participated in a panel discussion moderated by Blitzer. After calling Rove's words "a pretty tough statement," Blitzer turned to Crowley to comment. She agreed with Blitzer's take, and replied: "[I]t's aimed directly at the people that vote the most. This is a middle-class, sort of -- remember this guy. He's an arugula eating, Harvard law -- you know, his problem really isn't... it's not so much that he's an African-American. People seems to have, for the most part seemed, to have cleared that hurdle. It's not so much that he's a liberal Democrat. They seem to not care. It is that he is perceived -- what is settling in is, he's perceived as an elitist...."
Blitzer then asked: "How does the Obama campaign fight that?" Crowley focused on Obama's tours of factories and events with women, as well as his new "bio ad." Sanchez then got in own the discussion, and highlighted the Democrat's apparent authenticity problem. It was after this that Klein made his "Republican country clubs" remark.
LESLIE SANCHEZ: But, you know, it just makes me think of him as a show pony. I'm sorry, it sounds terrible, like you're putting him in all of these really contrived situations, when I think the question is going to come down to authenticity. Which Barack Obama is real? Is it the one that is this elitist image or is it the one who really does not connect with middle-class and working-class voters.
Klein and Blitzer are clearly pitching in to help counter the impression that Obama is an elitist as well, between their bringing up Obama's grandparents and Blitzer bringing up Cindy McCain's fortune.
On Tuesday's CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric reported on Zimbabwe's opposition leader dropping out of an election against the nation's dictator, Robert Mugabe, and lamented: "The fear and danger that now pervades the streets of Zimbabwe under President Robert Mugabe is a tragic departure from the hope and promise that began with his landslide victory nearly 30 years ago." File footage of an unidentified reporter covering Mugabe's 1980 election followed: "A self-described Marxist has won the right to form the first government of the new state of Zimbabwe."
Couric continued to describe Mugabe's promising rise to power: "When Robert Mugabe was first elected in 1980, he was a hero. He was seen as one of Africa's most promising black leaders...The son of a carpenter, the revolutionary and former school teacher said he had, quote, 'inherited the jewel of Africa.' A country rich in resources, Zimbabwe claimed independence from Britain in 1965 when it was known as Rhodesia. During the '80s, Zimbabwe's government received international support...at a time its neighbor, South Africa, practiced apartheid. The country's economic condition and public health improved. But in the '90s, Mugabe became more authoritarian. This one-time revolutionary squashed all opposition and faced charges of cronyism and corruption."
[This item, by the MRC's Kyle Drennen, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Despite seeming to be surprised that Mugabe's Marxist policies didn't work out, Couric did highlight the regime's brutality: "The country has been in economic free fall since 2000. Six years ago Mugabe ordered all white commercial farmers to abandon their farms with no compensation. Once Africa's bread basket, the country now relies on outside food programs, and half the population is undernourished..."
Here is the full transcript of the June 24 story:
KATIE COURIC: We want to take a special look tonight at Zimbabwe, a country in turmoil. The State Department said today that if Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe goes ahead with Friday's runoff election, the world will reject his rule. In the last three months soldiers and armed gangs have killed dozens of Mugabe's opponents. And this week, fearing for his life and others, opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of the election, leaving 12 million people without a choice. Tsvangirai has taken refuge in the Dutch embassy in Harare. Earlier I spoke with him by phone and asked about Mugabe's statement today that he is not in danger.
There are over 180,000 U.S. troops serving bravely in Iraq and Afghanistan and each of them are owed a great deal of gratitude for their service and sacrifice. In a first of its kind Web-A-Thon to raise funds to send the largest shipment of care packages in history to our troops abroad, Move America Forward will Web-cast "From the Front Lines" via streaming video at www.ustream.tv today (Thursday, June 26) from 4 PM to midnight EDT (3 PM to 11 PM CDT, 1 PM to 9 PM PDT).
The Media Research Center is sponsoring the 5 to 6 PM EDT hour. Founder and President L. Brent Bozell will be interviewed at the top of the hour, around 5:05 PM EDT. Direct address for the live Web-cast: www.ustream.tv
Hosted by Melanie Morgan and Michelle Malkin, guests will include Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and Monica Crowley. Move America Forward's page on the eight-hour event: www.moveamericaforward.org
Tune in to help make "From the Front Lines" a stunning success and a huge morale boost to our troops serving overseas. If you cannot join us on the 26th, you can still participate in this landmark event afterward by ordering goodies and gifts for troops overseas: www.thecampaignstore.com
-- Brent Baker