Study: Coverage More Positive for Obama than for Bush or Clinton --4/28/2009
2. Alter: 'Not Patriotic' for 'Sick' Cheney to Call Obama 'Weak'
3. Kudos: NBC Notes Prof's Turn Down, Over Obama, of Notre Dame Award
4. US News's Erbe Bashes 'Dishonest' Pro-Lifer, Demands: 'Go Away'
"President Obama is getting more coverage, and more positive coverage, from the media than his two predecessors," FNC's Bret Baier related during Monday's "Grapevine" segment in summarizing the hardly-surprising findings from "a new study of his first 50 days in office" completed by the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA). The analysis of the network evening newscasts, Baier recounted, "was judged 58 percent positive for President Obama. That compares to 33 percent for Mr. Bush and 44 percent for Mr. Clinton. NBC was most positive at 61 percent. CBS was 58 percent, ABC 57 percent."
By comparison, CMPA's press release, "Study Finds President Fares Best in New York Times, Worst on Fox News," reported that in relation to ABC, CBS and NBC, "he fared far better" in front page New York Times stories, "where nearly three out of four evaluative comments (73%) by sources and reporters were favorable. And he fared far worse on Fox News, where only one out of eight such comments (13%) were favorable."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted late Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The study, released on Monday, "examined all evaluations made by reporters and non-partisan sources, i.e., those not affiliated with either political party." CMPA's press release: www.cmpa.com
The MRC is working on a 100 day study for release soon. Preliminary findings from an examination of all 852 stories on the Obama administration from January 20 through April 15 on ABC's World News, the CBS Evening News and the NBC Nightly News:
# Sanitizing Obama's Socialist Agenda. None of the three broadcast network aired a single story focused on whether President Obama's economic policies were driving the U.S. towards European-style socialism. Not a single network news reporter used the term "socialist" to describe how Obama's policies are shifting economic authority to the federal government, away from the free market. On only four occasions was the word "socialist" used on-camera at all -- all by outside sources, once by a random man-on-the-street.
# Obama is not a "Liberal," Either. Amazingly, network reporters never called Obama or his agenda even "liberal." NBC and CBS never used the word, and ABC only aired the term twice, citing Republicans using the word "liberal" to describe Obama's policies.
# No Conservatives Allowed. On three of Obama's major economic policies and plans -- his banking bailout, his auto bailout and his plans for universal health care -- the networks never had a single soundbite from a conservative or a free market expert.
# One out of four bank bailout stories (17 of 74) discussed the concept of outright government bank nationalization. In only two was a free market person allowed to rebut.
END of MRC Study findings rundown
The lead item in the April 27 "Grapevine" segment on FNC's Special Report with Bret Baier:
President Obama is getting more coverage, and more positive coverage, from the media than his two predecessors. A new study of his first 50 days in office reveals the network evening newscasts devoted 27 hours, 44 minutes of coverage to his presidency. George W. Bush received just under eight hours in his first 50 days. Bill Clinton: 15 hours. CBS had almost eleven hours. NBC was next with nine and a half. ABC had seven and a third. The study looked at the first half-hour of Special Report on Fox and we had 10 hours, 24 minutes.
The coverage on the broadcast nets was judged 58 percent positive for President Obama. That compares to 33 percent for Mr. Bush and 44 percent for Mr. Clinton. NBC was most positive at 61 percent. CBS was 58 percent, ABC 57 percent, and Special Report was at 13 percent.
The study authors described this show -- as Fox News Special Report -- which "most closely resembles the broadcast network newscasts." The study did not look at CNN or MSNBC.
On Friday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann and Newsweek's Jonathan Alter seemed to take turns reining in each other's conspiracy theories as the two discussed the latest on former Vice President Cheney's request for the release of classified information regarding the results of waterboarding al-Qaeda detainees. Alter charged that former Vice President Cheney is attacking President Obama's national security policies so that his own popularity will be "resurrected" if there is another 9/11-style attack, as the Newsweek editor called Cheney's behavior "sick."
Alter: "It's the former Vice President who is becoming a forlorn and, I think, soon to be even further disgraced figure. But this is his bid for resurrection. Because what he is betting on -- and this is the sick thing to me, Keith -- is that if there's another attack that he will then be back as a huge and important figure who predicted that this would happen if we stopped torturing. And this is his bid for historical resurrection."
[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Sunday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Olbermann assumed Alter was charging that Cheney desires another 9/11 attack for his own benefit, and actually seemed to halfway defend Cheney, prompting Alter to clarify that he did not actually think the former Vice President was hoping for another attack, but he also contended that it was "not a very patriotic thing to do" for Cheney to call President Obama "weak":
KEITH OLBERMANN: Well, I, I'm, I hope that's not the case. Even with my attitude towards these people, I hope that can't possibly be the case, that he would want to see that happen for justification-
Olbermann had earlier brought up his theory that the Bush administration waterboarded al-Qaeda detainees because they deliberately wanted to induce confessions they knew would be false that could be used to justify an invasion of Iraq, prompting disagreement from Alter. Olbermann later brought up the same theory with the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson, who seemed to hold open that possibility as he expressed uncertainty. First, the exchange with Alter:
OLBERMANN: If told that this information was going to be unreliable and not factual, presumably, they wouldn't have turned to it unless it was just some idea that they wanted to enjoy torturing people, which may or may not be true, but doesn't seem to help anybody's cause in any direct way. Doesn't this cinch the idea that the purpose of torturing detainees was not to get useful information to protect America in some way, but it was to get people to confess to things that did not happen?
During his interview with Robinson, after noting that "this is the same question I asked Jon Alter, and I don't think he wanted to go in the direction I was going in," and after recounting the memo opining that waterboarding would likely produce false confessions, Olbermann posed the question: "Does that not suggest that the goal of this torture was that that thing and the worst-case scenario that we`ve been discussing all along, that idea that torture was used not to get information to protect this country, but was designed to backfill this crap about the war in Iraq having something to do with 9/11?"
Robinson responded: "I think we don't know that yet. I think, I think that is a possibility. It is a possibility, and certainly, in some cases, that they were trying to get somebody to say there was this al-Qaeda/Saddam link that never existed in order to justify the war. But it, I think it is also possible that in their fevered imaginations and in their intransigence, they simply refused to listen to that evidence, and they had decided that they thought that it would work, and they were going to go ahead with it. And there could be a certain amount of anger, as well, and revenge, and we're going to do something to these guys."
The two concluded their discussion:
OLBERMANN: So the best-case scenario is, the Bush administration's logic collapsed under pressure?
Monday's NBC Nightly News, unlike the ABC and CBS newscasts, made time for a short item about how a Harvard law professor, scheduled to receive an award from Notre Dame the same day President Obama is to receive an honorary degree and deliver the commencement address, announced she will not attend because she disagrees with the Catholic university honoring someone who goes against the church's position on unborn life. The full item from anchor Brian Williams:
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Glendon was to receive the Laetare Medal. First Things has posted her letter to Notre Dame explaining her decision: www.firstthings.com
Harvard's page for Glendon, the Learned Hand Professor of Law: www.law.harvard.edu
A bio on her personal site: glendonbooks.com
CNSNews.com story: "Pro-Life Harvard Prof Refuses Award from Notre Dame Because it is Honoring Obama." See: www.cnsnews.com
US News's on-staff radical feminist Bonnie Erbe returned to attacking pro-lifers, her favorite subject of ire, in a blog entry on Monday. This time, she singled out "20-something abortion foe" Lila Rose, a junior at UCLA, for her "dishonest" and "pointless" undercover videos which she has taped at several Planned Parenthood locations. She seemed most upset by how Rose has "created a public relations nightmare" for the abortion-providing group, and called for the young woman's prosecution for "trespassing, fraud, and whatever other law she violated" for impersonating a 13-year-old statutory rape victim. The blogger later told pro-lifers to just "go away," since they will "will never succeed in banning abortion."
[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Monday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
For Erbe's full article, see her April 27 item on USNews.com, "Abortion Foe's Planned Parenthood YouTube Trap Is Dishonest and Pointless," at: www.usnews.com
For Lila Rose's website, see Live Action Films: www.liveactionfilms.org
Erbe began by excerpting Robin Abcarian's fair profile of Rose in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, introducing her as a "20-something abortion foe who videotapes counseling sessions at Planned Parenthood clinics in which she poses as a 13-year-old impregnated by an older man." The blogger saw two large "crimes" in this activity -- it has gained Rose quick notoriety in the "netherworld" of the pro-life movement, and it has given Planned Parenthood a few headaches:
After posting these videos on YouTube and campaigning with them throughout the netherworld of the antiabortion movement, Lila Rose has succeeded in getting state and local governments to cut of hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding to Planned Parenthood clinics. She has also created a public relations nightmare for the group. NB: The aides who violated rules by telling the 'girl' to lie about the father have been fired as they were violating Planned Parenthood rules. She's made herself a heroine in the antiabortion movement.
For the Los Angeles Times's profile of Lila Rose, see Robin Abcarian's April 26, 2009 article, "Antiabortion movement gets a new-media twist," at: www.latimes.com
Actually, the part about the aides isn't completely true. One caught on camera in Indiana was fired, and another resigned. But in Arizona, another state where Rose has taped, Planned Parenthood has not taken any kind of action.
The US News blogger then posed "three questions for prosecutors who are now considering investigations into the Planned Parenthood operations in some of the six states where Rose posed as something she was not." Actually, only the first two were directed towards the prosecutors:
1. Why don't they investigate Rose for trespassing, fraud, and whatever other law she violated by posing as something she was not to make the videos?
2. Why don't state authorities prosecute her for violating state privacy laws by videotaping private counseling sessions? According to the L.A. Times:
In May 2007, Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles accused Rose of breaking state privacy laws when she secretly taped her interactions. It demanded she remove the videos from her website, which she did, though they are still easily found on YouTube. (Arizona, Indiana, and Tennessee, where she went next, have less restrictive privacy laws.)
So Erbe wants Rose to be prosecuted for something that her colleagues in the mainstream media do all the time with investigative journalism. In fact, the Big Three networks, like Rose, used hidden camera footage from pro-life crisis pregnancy centers in "exposes" in 1991.
It's something that even left-wing politicians have dabbled in to target crisis pregnancy centers. For example, a 2007 front-page article by the aforementioned L.A. Times detailed how Representative Henry Waxman "asked undercover investigators to contact 23 crisis pregnancy centers." According to a press release, Waxman's investigators "posed as pregnant 17-year-olds," and were supposedly "misled...about the medical risks of abortion...that abortion leads to breast cancer, infertility, and mental illness." One would guess that Erbe had no problem with these hidden camera videos, since pro-lifers were the subject.
Erbe's third question was a rhetorical question directed towards pro-lifers: "3. Since antiabortion foes will never succeed in banning abortion (they got as close as they will ever get with eight years of George Bush in the White House, and he left office as the worst president in American history) why don't they just go away?"
Sad for Erbe, but pro-lifers have actually benefitted from the election of President Obama. The Politico reported on April 13 that the president's first days in office "have been like an extended recruiting drive for the anti-abortion movement, reinvigorating a constituency he sought to neutralize during the campaign," and listed significant initiatives made by pro-life organizations. We should still expect, however, the blogger to continue her jihad against those darned "abortion foes."
-- Brent Baker