Economic News Leads Nets, Not So Excited About Job Gains --11/8/2007
2. ABC Gushed Over Edwards 30th Wedding Anniversary; Ignores Bush's
3. Actress Shirley MacLaine Fears 'Mad Men' Like Bush?
4. ABC Gives Redford Forum to Accuse Media of Enabling Iraq War
5. Sawyer Swoons Over Liberal Agenda of Robert Redford's Film
6. Order Now: Bozell's Book on Media Coverage of Hillary Out Tuesday
7. MRC's 'NewsBusted' Not on Strike! Fresh Comedy Videos This Week
When the Labor Department on Friday announced a strong gain of 166,000 jobs during October, double expectations, ABC and CBS gave it a few seconds while NBC ignored the good news, but on Wednesday night NBC, as well as ABC and CBS, led with a bad day on Wall Street they painted as a harbinger of impending economic doom. NBC anchor Brian Williams piled on the bad news as he insisted he took "no pleasure" in highlighting it. With "DANGER SIGNS" on screen, Williams announced: "Good evening. The following sounds pretty awful -- and we take no pleasure in reporting it -- but today Wall Street fell, the U.S. dollar fell, GM is in bad shape and the housing market continues to be in big trouble."
CBS displayed "MARKET TURMOIL" on screen as Katie Couric opened with how "investors were carrying a world of worries on their shoulders today" because of "the falling dollar, record high oil prices, the mortgage mess, the housing slump, and a possible economic slowdown. And they responded by dumping stocks. That sent the Dow plummeting more than 300 points for the second time in a week." Over on ABC, Charles Gibson teased his top story: "Tonight, oil gushes and Wall Street plunges." Gibson cutely led: "Wall Street today took a nose dive sharp enough to make investors' ears pop."
On Friday, November 2, however, the CBS Evening News gave the good news on unemployment less than ten seconds as Couric reported: "The markets got a boost today from the unemployment report. It held steady in October at 4.7 percent and job creation was strong with 166,00 jobs." The positive news earned only a few more seconds from ABC's Gibson on World News: "Wall Street ended a volatile week with stocks recovering a little, after yesterday's big losses, thanks to a strong jobs report that cooled fears of a recession. 166,000 new jobs were added last month, twice what was expected and unemployment held steady."
NBC Nightly News didn't consider the jobs gain newsworthy at all.
[This item was posted late Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Downplaying good news and hyping the bad is nothing new in recent months.
The CBS Evening News last week ignored, and NBC barely noted, the 3.9 percent GDP growth in the third quarter. For details, check this posting by the MRC's Business & Media Institute: "GDP Growth Missed by CBS, Downplayed by NBC." See: www.businessandmedia.org
When the Labor Department reported a net loss of 4,000 jobs for August, the September 7 ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts highlighted the bad news as evidence of an impending recession, but on Friday, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics revised the August number to a gain of 89,000 jobs and reported 110,000 new jobs for September, only ABC bothered to mention the revision while CBS didn't utter a syllable about either jobs gain. The CBS Evening News anchored by Harry Smith, however, found time to note the Postal Service's decision to honor two CBS journalists -- Eric Sevareid and George Polk -- with stamps.
A month ago, Katie Couric plugged an upcoming look at "new worries about the U.S. economy following a disappointing jobs report." Harry Smith then cited "new concern about the economy tonight following a report which showed the number of jobs in the U.S. dropped by 4,000 in August, the first monthly decline in four years." Anthony Mason asserted "it had a lot of economists uttering the 'r' word today, recession," and fretted: "These job numbers are the most worrisome sign yet, Harry, that the housing slump and the mortgage crisis could take the entire economy down with them." ABC anchor Charles Gibson teased: "The economy loses jobs for the first time in years as the housing crisis raises the risk of recession." Betsy Stark declared: "The risks of a serious slowdown, even a recession, are rising. Today's jobs report was shockingly bleak."
For the full rundown of coverage on September 7 and October 5: www.mrc.org
ABC's Good Morning America, which aired two gushing profiles this summer on the 30th anniversary of John and Elizabeth Edwards, has found no time to air a similar story on the 30th anniversary of George and Laura Bush. The presidential couple celebrated three decades together on Monday, but GMA made no mention of it on Monday or Tuesday.
In contrast, on July 31 the ABC program fawned over the well known story of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and his wife celebrating their 30th anniversary at the restaurant Wendy's. As pictures of the couple at the fast food outlet appeared onscreen, Good Morning America anchor Diane Sawyer lauded: "And they are going to renew their vows. Happy anniversary." For more, check the August 1 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
Less then two weeks later, GMA reported on the story again. Sawyer crowed over the fact ABC would be showing photos of the wedding vows, what she called, "the very first pictures of a very personal backyard ceremony." Reporter David Muir described the pictures, which also appeared in People magazine, as "incredibly personal." See the August 10 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
[This item, by Scott Whitlock, was posted Tuesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Now, it is true that President Bush did not play up the 30th wedding anniversary angle like the Edwards campaign. (A Google search reveals no articles and there isn't any mention on WhiteHouse.gov.) But don't members of the media like to tout their ability to speak "truth to power?" Is taking Edwards campaign talking points an example of that?
Below is a transcript of the August 9, 2007 GMA coverage on the Edwards wedding anniversary:
7:01am tease, DIANE SAWYER: And also in the news this morning, we have the very first pictures of a very personal backyard ceremony for John Edwards and his wife. Elizabeth Edwards is talking in a new chapter for her memoirs 'Saving Graces' about her life right now and the renewal of their vows. And we'll show you those pictures, walking down the aisle again.
7:19am, DIANE SAWYER: Let's turn now to our picture of the morning. And they are new pictures and David Muir is bringing them to us. You've been covering the Edwards campaign.
Shirley MacLaine appeared on the Wednesday Today show to promote her new book, Sage-ing While Age-ing, and after host Matt Lauer finished talking to the actress about her belief in UFOs and reincarnation, he asked if there was anything she feared in life, the author responded: "Mad men who say they're at the head of democracies scare me."
Now while MacLaine didn't mention George W. Bush by name it's not a stretch to assume the sister of liberal actor Warren Beatty was referring to the current President. In fact Lauer, earlier in the interview, noted MacLaine was the godmother of the daughter of fellow UFO witness Dennis Kucinich.
[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The following exchange occurred on the November 7 Today show:
MATT LAUER: You, you, every time I've been around you and it's been now 20-something years that we've had, that I've had the pleasure of, of interviewing you. I always walk away from the interview thinking she's one of the most outwardly confident people I know.
Al Gore. Michael Moore. Robert Redford. On Wednesday, the actor/director became the third prominent left-winger to appear on Good Morning America this year and berate journalists for not being liberal enough. Redford, in his second GMA interview this week, stopped by, along with Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep, to promote Lions for Lambs, their new anti-war drama. During the interview, co-host Diane Sawyer played a minute-long clip of the movie in which Cruise's character berates a journalist for being a "windsock" to the Bush administration during the Iraq War. The clip featured Cruise haughtily complaining: "Your network led every report about the invasion of Iraq with the digital screen-sized flag to the square-jawed saluting Marine and the bald eagle soaring to Aaron Copland."
Sawyer then sycophantically begged: "Speaking as your resident windsock, what would you have us do? What would this film have us do?" Being a tough journalist, Sawyer then allowed Redford to get away with responding that when "we found out the cause behind the war was a lie, that's when I think everybody should have stood up, wakened up, and moved forward." At no point did the GMA host point out that, in regard to Iraq, Bill Clinton said the same thing about WMDs as President Bush.
As far as Sawyer's claim to be a "windsock," one might ask the question, for who? The GMA co-host was certainly no shill for the Bush administration prior to the war. As noted in the March 17, 2003 edition of the MRC's Notable Quotables, the journalist, at times, gushed over Saddam Hussein:
Diane Sawyer: "I read this morning that he's also said the love that the Iraqis have for him is so much greater than anything Americans feel for their President because he's been loved for 35 years, he says, the whole 35 years."
See the March 17, 2007 NQ: www.mediaresearch.org
And this is how Sawyer phrased a question to (then) Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean on September 8 of the same year: "Last night, do you feel the President began to level with the American people?" See: www.mediaresearch.org
Cheerfully embracing criticism from prominent liberals has become a trend for Good Morning America. In May, Al Gore appeared to promote his new book and assert that the media are hypnotizing Americans, much in the way that "you could hypnotize chickens." See the May 23 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
In June, co-host Chris Cuomo interviewed Michael Moore about Iraq, among other issues. The filmmaker asserted that, because the networks didn't challenge Bush in the run-up to the war, they were "complicit" in the deaths of U.S. soldiers. See the June 14 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
[This item, by Scott Whitlock, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
In addition to accepting journalistic criticism from the left, Sawyer generally fawned over Lions for Lambs. She lovingly called it a movie that "really challenges you to examine some of your basic assumptions about life and politics." Sawyer also recited a lament that "someone" said (a cute reference to Streep's Time magazine interview), "We are afraid to speak. We are afraid to speak up. This film is the difficulty of standing up." It sure seems like liberals aren't having a problem in "standing up" and challenging journalists to be even more liberal.
Finally, as if GMA hasn't promoted this left-leaning film enough, Sawyer closed the segment by promising yet another interview, this one exclusively with Meryl Streep, on Thursday. And it should be noted that Redford appeared by himself on Tuesday (see item #5 below).
A transcript of the segment, which aired at 8:32am on November 7:
DIANE SAWYER: And coming up right now, Robert Redford, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep, together. They're in a new movie called Lions for Lambs, which really challenges you to examine some of your basic assumptions about life and politics and it opens on Friday. But we had a chance to sit down, because, of course, not only are they co-workers, they are pals. And the two guys made it clear they thought it was pretty funny when the flawless Meryl Streep, drinking very quickly, seems to have -- well, was that a burp? Are you laughing already at my questions?
According to Robert Redford and ABC co-host Diane Sawyer, you're either a liberal activist or you are apathetic. Those are the two options. The famous left-wing actor/director appeared on Tuesday's Good Morning America to promote his new anti-war film, Lions for Lambs. After playing a clip of the movie that showed Redford's character, a college professor, deriding a student for not opposing his government, Sawyer breathlessly asked the star: "You've been touring colleges. Is it true? Are they not awake out there? Are they waking up? What's the difference? What's it going to take?"
Redford, who also directed the film, asserted that "the pendulum is beginning to swing back" and repeated the cliched liberal claim that young people aren't aggressively opposing the war because "the fact that there wasn't a draft...let a lot of people off the hook and they didn't get involved." So, essentially, young people either support a liberal agenda or they simply don't care?
[This item, by Scott Whitlock, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The conversation between Redford and Sawyer oddly seemed to skirt around what the film is actually about. (The plot is rather involved, but it includes a liberal professor who tries to "inspire" his students. Other storylines see two of those students ending up fighting in Afghanistan and a presidential candidate who is giving information to a journalist, played by Meryl Streep.) However, both Redford and Sawyer tried to portray the movie as simply posing questions. In a tease for the segment, Sawyer proclaimed: "And it is a powerful new work about questions, not necessarily answers, but very potent questions." A few minutes later, she described Lions for Lambs as a search for "questions and the consequences." Redford claimed he wanted to "knock something aside right off the bat. It's not about the war. It's not about Iraq." Despite these denials, the movie is clearly a liberal argument against the current efforts in the Middle East. Sawyer skirted this issue when she paraphrased the film's title. She wondered, "And are the real lions fighting for lambs in air-conditioned offices, making decisions?" It should also be noted, as already pointed out by Newsmax, that the screenwriter on the project, Matthew Michael Carnahan, is a former intern for the Clinton White House. See: www.newsmax.com
At the end of the piece, Sawyer alerted GMA viewers that Redford, plus fellow co-stars Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep would return later in the week to promote the film again. It appears as though this upcoming segment will see Sawyer, on behalf of the mainstream media, accepting attacks for not being liberal enough. She teased: "We're going to tackle [the issues raised in the movie], as I say, including the journalist as wind socks who blow with the wind." See item #4 above for how that unfolded Wednesday morning.
A transcript of the segment, which aired at 8:44am on November 6:
8:30am tease, DIANE SAWYER: Oh, how many lives we've lived with him on screen. Robert Redford. We remember 'The Way We Were,' don't we? As we say good morning, America, again to you. I'm Diane Sawyer. He is back. And of course, he is back now. He is directing his first film in seven years. And it is a powerful new work about questions, not necessarily answers, but very potent questions. And he's going to get a chance to tell us what 'Lions for Lambs' means coming up.
8:44am, SAWYER: This morning, a rare occasion, a great one for us. Robert Redford, here with us, live in our studio. On Friday, Lions for Lambs opens in theaters. He is both in front of and behind the camera. With him there in front of the camera, Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise. A provocative film about questions and the consequences. And it's good to have you here. You like getting up in the morning do you?
[clip from Lions for Lambs]
SAWYER: You've been touring colleges. Is it true? Are they not awake out there? Are they waking up? What's the difference? What's it going to take?
REDFORD: You know -- No, I don't think that's entirely true. I think it was for a while because apathy and cynicism have played such a role in young people's minds. They haven't voted. As you see in the film, there's an attitude that they think is justified because they're actually insulted by the behavior of leaders so why should they get involved? The counterpoint is if you don't, we're going to have a continuation of those leaders and it will just get worse. So, the film really does put questions to the students. I mean, it's really about the future and young people and the role they're going to play or not play. And the question goes to the audience. The film really doesn't try to deliver answers. That's agit-propaganda. It's really about asking questions that we should have been asking, in those three, all of us in the last -- but when I was on campus tours, I was really surprised. You can't say black and white. You can't say, well, all students are apathetic and all congressmen are bad -- although there's no question-
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Order your copy today!
To order from the MRC for $25.95 (shipping included), with the amount over our cost of the book going to support the MRC: www.mrc.org
To order for $17.13 from Amazon, but you'll have to pay an additional shipping charge: www.amazon.com
Shipping is free from Amazon and Barnes & Noble if your order totals $25 or more.
The book will be released on Tuesday, November 13 and should ship shortly afterward and be available in major chain bookstores next Tuesday or soon thereafter.
NewsBusted Not on Strike! While Leno, Stewart, Letterman, O'Brien, Ferguson, Kimmel and Colbert are all in re-runs because of the strike called Monday by the Writers Guild of America, the MRC's NewsBusted comedy video show -- with jokes about politics, Hollywood and media bias -- is fresh this week. Check out the latest two-and-a-half-minute comedy show now at the top of the MRC's NewsBusters blog: newsbusters.org
And enjoy the archive of past shows: www.youtube.com
Actually, one late-night comedy show is new this week and not in re-runs: Chelsea Lately on E!. But NewsBusted is funnier.
-- Brent Baker