1. Nets Distort Alito on Abortion, Peg Him a "Hardline" Conservative In covering on Monday night the nomination of appellate court judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, ABC and CBS distorted his role and position on the husband-notification abortion case and pegged him as a "staunch" or "hardline" conservative, but NBC managed to correctly describe his role in the abortion case and depicted him as "dependably conservative, though with an independent streak." The NBC Nightly News, however, jumped from Alito to a nearly full story about how the Bush White House's attempt at "diverting attention from the Scooter Libby... continue reading
1. Alito Labeled as "Very Conservative" and "Quite Conservative" Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito is conservatives and all the television coverage Monday morning made that clear, but several reporters went further by either repeatedly applying the tag or by adding adjectives to suggest he's out of the mainstream. On ABC's Good Morning America, Jessica Yellen issued five labels in under 50 seconds, describing Alito as someone who will please Bush's "conservative base," has "established conservative credentials," is "a law and order conservative," who is "in the mold of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia" and whose "writing is so similar to the... continue reading
1. CBS & ABC Stories Blame Conservatives for Mistreatment of Miers From Dallas, Harriet Miers' hometown, Lee Cowan relayed on Thursday's CBS Evening News that "at a Dallas diner this morning, her withdrawal served up a lot of disappointment" where patrons were upset "that conservatives, even here in her home state, weren't willing to give her a chance." Cowan went outside and leaned into a taxi to ask the driver: "What happened?" The cabbie replied: "I think the far right, they had been itching for a big battle for years." ABC's World News Tonight also framed a report around blaming... continue reading
1. Matthews: Bush Officials "Exposed" Plame "to America's Enemies" MSNBC's Chris Matthews assumed pernicious wrong-doing on the part of Bush officials and cited facts not in evidence as he opened Wednesday's Hardball by presuming Valerie Plame was a victim, though her publicity-seeking husband was incompatible with keeping her employer secret. Matthews declared that the "FBI closes in on the bad guys," described Plame as "undercover CIA agent" and touted how she "was a courageous spy for her country," even though she was working at CIA headquarters and her specific status is in dispute. Bob Novak, for instance, reported that her... continue reading
1. Nets Barely Touch Iraqi Constitution, Recall Bush's "Combat Over" An overwhelming 79 percent of Iraqis, who risked their lives just over a week ago to cast their ballot, voted in favor of the nation's new constitution, but you'd have missed it if you sneezed during Tuesday's CBS Evening News or ABC's World News Tonight. CBS anchor Bob Schieffer delivered only this single sentence -- "Iraq's government announced today that voters did approve the country's new constitution in this month's referendum" -- before moving on to a full story about the 2,000th death of U.S. servicemen in Iraq, a piece... continue reading
1. Lauer Laughs at Franken's Re-Run Rove and Libby "Execution" Quip On this morning's (Tuesday) Today, at 8:52am, Al Franken was on to promote his new book The Truth (with Jokes) and repeated his twisted quip from Friday's Late Show with David Letterman in which he predicted that Karl Rove and Lewis "Scooter" Libby will be "executed" for treason. Franken's "joke," that "George H.W. Bush, the President's father, said...that outing a CIA agent is treason. I agree. So I think that Rove and Libby will be executed," drew laughter from Matt Lauer and those in the Today show studio. 2... continue reading
1. Totenberg Advises Democrats to Hit GOP on Tax Cuts for the Rich When, on this past weekend's Inside Washington, host Gordon Peterson recited a list of issues Democratic congressional candidates could use against Republican incumbents -- "you've got Iraq, you've got Harriet Miers, you've got Katrina, you got Tom DeLay being indicted. You've got a lot of ammunition" -- NPR reporter Nina Totenberg jumped in to shout: "And you've got the tax cuts!" She soon offered her recommendation on how Democrats should campaign: "One of the other things is you say, 'look, we're in this mess fiscally and they... continue reading
1. Olbermann Likens White House to Clinton's "White House in Crisis" MSNBC's Keith Olbermann led Countdown again Thursday with what he's whittled down to the simple heading as "The Leak," and soon forwarded the notion that the Bush White House is in a "crisis" similar to that which enveloped the Clinton White House after the Monica Lewinsky revelation. Interviewing former Clinton Chief-of-Staff Leon Panetta, Olbermann pointed out how "the rundown for tonight's show was given a title by our producer that shook me. The title simply was, 'White House in Crisis.' I already hosted a news show on this network... continue reading
1. Matthews Raises Watergate Specter: "What Did the President Know?" The first words out of Chris Matthews' mouth, at the top of Wednesday's Hardball on MSNBC, raised the specter of Watergate: "What did the President know and when did he know it?" Matthews proceeded to trumpet "the New York Daily News now out in front on this story, reported this morning that President Bush rebuked ramrod Karl Rove over the leak story." Repeating his tease, Matthews previewed his first segment: "So tonight on Hardball, we try to figure it out again if people in the Bush administration crossed the line... continue reading
1. Stahl Predicts Plame Case May "Take Off the Way Watergate Did" Recalling how Watergate "didn't take off until people started talking about higher ups" in the White House, on Tuesday night's The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, CBS's Lesley Stahl predicted that the Valerie Plame case "could possibly take off the way the Watergate one did." Stahl fondly remembered how Watergate "really took off as a big story when it went into the Senate and there were hearings held by the opposition party." That, she dejectedly noted, "isn't likely to happen in this case" given GOP control of both... continue reading