Media Reality Check

If Democrats are going to stem their losses, CBS's Jeff Greenfield opined on Monday's Evening News , they need to "convince the voters that this election is a choice" and "Republicans are just too extreme." Greenfield's probably right about this strategy being Democrats' best hope - and his fellow reporters are already hard at work fulfilling their role in painting Republicans as "extreme." On Monday's Good Morning America , Jonathan Karl characterized as astonishing how "Alaska's Joe Miller talked about rolling back the power of the federal government further than Republicans have talked about for more than 70 years." Even... continue reading
There's little pretense of media fairness as the 2010 elections approach. Last Thursday, ABC's World News ran as "news" a video produced by the Obama White House . Diane Sawyer excitedly touted how "we got to listen in on a phone call today," as viewers saw a brief clip of President Obama talking to a cancer patient who thanked him for the government takeover of health care. Then on Monday, NBC Universal donated a 30-minute commercial-free interview to Obama , shown not just on NBC's Today , but on the corporation's other networks (including USA, SyFy and Bravo). Matt Lauer... continue reading
Six weeks before what could be a doomsday election for Democrats, the liberal media are taking every opportunity to belittle and discredit the Tea Party movement that's fueling voter energy this year. Media liberals with zero affection for the Republican establishment are suddenly acting like concerned parents. Ex-Clintonista George Stephanopoulos worried on ABC's Good Morning America : "Is it a revolution that will bring the GOP to power, or a civil war that will bring them down? " Over on the CBS Evening News , Katie Couric fretfully wondered if "moderate Republicans are becoming an endangered species ?" On Saturday's... continue reading
By a wide margin - 66 percent to 29 percent, according to the most recent ABC News/ Washington Post poll - the public is opposed to building that proposed $100 million Islamic cultural center near the site of the destroyed World Trade Towers. This is not a lightly-held opinion: more than half (53%) told ABC news they are "strongly opposed" to building it near Ground Zero, vs. only 14 percent who report being "strongly" in favor. (Scroll to Question 30 .) So in the face of such obvious public sentiment, are the big broadcast networks reflecting such public sentiment in... continue reading
The TV networks have aggressively demonstrated their dislike of Arizona's state law "cracking down on illegal immigrants," a law that "pits neighbor against neighbor." An MRC review of morning and evening news programs on ABC, CBS, and NBC from April 23 to July 25 found the networks have aired 120 stories with an almost ten-to-one tilt against the Arizona law (77 negative, 35 neutral, 8 positive). The soundbite count was also tilted over the last three months - 216 to 107, or an almost exact two-to-one disparity. Network anchors and reporters sided against defenders of border control and championed sympathetic... continue reading
When President Obama picked Elena Kagan to replace Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the broadcast networks referred to the upcoming Senate confirmation process as "contentious" a "meat grinder" and a "battle," warning Kagan was "in for a fight." But a Media Research Center analysis of the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts in the six weeks since Kagan was nominated shows the broadcast networks have failed to cover the "fight," and have ignored most of the controversies that could lead to suspenseful hearings next week. MRC analysts found that the broadcast network evening newscasts aired just eleven stories about... continue reading
On February 18, Rep. Joe Sestak, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania, revealed in a Philadelphia TV interview that the Obama White House offered him a job in an effort to talk him out of opposing Sen. Arlen Specter, who'd recently switched parties. Network interviewers asked the White House for comment, but the network news bosses at ABC, CBS, and NBC kept any mention of this possible quid pro quo off the airwaves of their morning and evening news programs for more than three months. Then ten days after Sestak defeated Specter, the White House issued a... continue reading
For more than a month, the American Gulf Coast has been threatened by a gigantic oil spill, caused by the April 21 explosion of a British Petroleum deepwater rig. Yet unlike five years ago - when the media were quick to put the onus on the Bush administration for its handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina - for four weeks, ABC, CBS and NBC failed to scrutinize the administration's ineffectual response to this disaster, now blasted even by such Democratic stalwarts as ex-Clinton operative James Carville. On Wednesday's Good Morning America , Carville accused the President of "political stupidity"... continue reading
When George W. Bush nominated judges John Roberts and Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court, the networks routinely described them as "conservative" and even "very conservative" and "ultraconservative." Last year they applied more "conservative" tags to Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's critics than "liberal" labels to her. But the early stories on President Obama's nomination of Elena Kagan routinely avoided describing her as a liberal. In six evening news stories and eight morning news segments since her official press conference on Monday morning, the broadcast networks have employed only one liberal label, on CBS. ABC and NBC offered none. On... continue reading
When political scientists compare populism and elitism, they could certainly find a test case in the new Arizona law on immigration enforcement. While Rasmussen found 70 percent of Arizonans favored the crackdown on illegal aliens, and new national media polls found majority support as well, ABC, CBS, and NBC denounced the popular will as short-sighted and discriminatory. From April 23 to May 3, the top three television networks offered viewers 50 stories and interview segments on their morning and evening news programs. The tone was strongly hostile to the law and promotional to the "growing storm" of left-wing protesters: 37... continue reading