ABC Recycles Story Blaming Global Warming for Hurricane Intensity --9/4/2007
2. CNN, MSNBC and FNC All Highlight MRC's Campaign Media Bias Study
3. Robbins Condemned for Claiming 'We've Killed Over 400,000' Iraqis
4. Couric's First Year: Her Most-Biased Moments from CyberAlerts
5. ABC and CBS Catch Up with Fugitive Clinton Donor Norman Hsu
History seemed to repeat itself on Monday's World News, as substitute ABC anchor Dan Harris introduced a story from John Berman that featured the same soundbites from a 2005 ABC story, both of which highlighted the view that global warming is responsible for an increase in the number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes. Not only did the same Harris/Berman team file a similar story over two years ago on the July 9, 2005 World News Saturday, but Monday's report also recycled soundbites of two scientists from the earlier story. Berman, from Monday, September 3: "Across the globe, the number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled over the past 30 years. Some scientists say the cause is global warming." Notably, two years ago on the Friday, July 15, 2005 World News Tonight, ABC's Jeffrey Kofman filed a story dismissing the influence of global warming, contradicting Berman's July 9 story from the previous week.
[This item, by Brad Wilmouth, was posted late Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
On Monday's show, after relaying that Hurricane Felix is headed for Central America, Harris introduced the report: "Storms this powerful are supposed to be extremely rare, but this is the second such storm in two weeks. And some climatologists are warning there will be more. Here's ABC's John Berman."
Berman related that the frequency of category 4 and 5 storms is increasing, as he highlighted the theory that global warming is the underlying cause: "Studies show mammoth storms could be on the rise. Across the globe, the number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled over the past 30 years. Some scientists say the cause is global warming."
On the July 9, 2005 World News Saturday, Harris introduced Berman's story: "Scientists have been surprised by the intensity of recent storm systems, and they're wondering whether global warming may be playing a role. At its peak yesterday, Dennis was the strongest July hurricane ever reported off the U.S. coast. As ABC's John Berman reports, that record may not stand for long."
Berman similarly pointed to studies showing an increase in high-intensity hurricanes: "It could get even worse. According to a comprehensive study, hurricanes will become even more intense because of global warming -- the idea that greenhouse gases are heating the earth's atmosphere and oceans."
Monday's story recycled clips of NOAA's Tom Knutson and Old Dominion University's Robert Tuleya first used in the July 9, 2005 story:
- Tom Knutson, NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab: "Those storms that do occur are going to have the potential to be significantly stronger in a warmer climate."
- Prof. Robert Tuleya, Old Dominion University: "It could be the difference between, say, a roof staying on the house and the roof being ripped off."
- Knutson: "In our simulations, you end up with some of these really monster storms."
On the July 15, 2005, World News Tonight, Elizabeth Vargas introduced a story filed by Jeffrey Kofman that contradicted Berman's July 9 story as he cited scientists who blamed that year's intense hurricane season on other factors, dismissing the role of global warming. Kofman: "Scientists say this is not because of global warming, it is simply a lot of cyclical climate patterns conspiring to create the perfect conditions for a long season of perfect storms."
So if Monday's World News with Charles Gibson has you worried, take comfort in the possibility that Vargas and Kofman will show up on Sunday and say it was all just a bad dream.
Also of note, just two weeks ago, on the August 21 The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, AccuWeather senior meteorologist Joe Bastardi argued that the trend toward stronger storms is not caused by global warming, but is instead part of a normal cycle that has been observed multiple times in the past century: "We're back in the '30's, '40's and 50's. This back and forth cycle that occurs, we saw it in the 1890s to 1910....And people are just getting carried away and fascinated when, if they go back and look at what happened before, you can see the similarities." See the August 28 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
Below are complete transcripts of Berman's stories from the Monday September 3, 2007 World News with Charles Gibson, and the July 9, 2005 World News Saturday, followed by Kofman's story from the July 15, 2005 World News Tonight:
# From the September 3, 2007 World News with Charles Gibson:
DAN HARRIS: There is another massive hurricane charging across the Caribbean tonight. Hurricane Felix is expected to slam into Central America tomorrow morning with a potential storm surge of 18 feet. Storms this powerful are supposed to be extremely rare, but this is the second such storm in two weeks. And some climatologists are warning there will be more. Here's ABC's John Berman.
JOHN BERMAN: Two weeks ago, it was Hurricane Dean with winds of 160 miles per hour. Now, it's Felix, with winds of 145 miles per hour. A powerful one-two punch.
DAN HARRIS: "Scientists have been surprised by the intensity of recent storm systems, and they're wondering whether global warming may be playing a role. At its peak yesterday, Dennis was the strongest July hurricane ever reported off the U.S. coast. As ABC's John Berman reports, that record may not stand for long."
JOHN BERMAN: In Florida, they know just how powerful hurricanes can be. Over the last year, they have been reminded more times than they care to count.
ELIZABETH VARGAS: Another major storm is causing misery in the Caribbean. Tonight, Hurricane Emily has winds of 115 miles per hour and could threaten Texas by Tuesday. It is the fifth named Atlantic storm since June 1st. the first time since they began keeping records in 1851 that so many major storms have formed so early. So for our 'Closer Look' this evening, what's behind all this? And are more deadly hurricanes on the way? Here's ABC's Jeffrey Kofman.
JEFFREY KOFMAN: Last week, Hurricane Dennis, now Hurricane Emily. July is supposed to be low season for hurricanes. But it seems just like peak season, late August, early September. And there are good reasons.
For the Executive Summary of the study released August 29: www.mediaresearch.org
In Monday's holiday night "Grapevine" segment on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, fill-in anchor Jim Angle summarized the MRC's new study as he relayed how "according to the watchdog group Media Research Center, not only are the morning shows on ABC, CBS and NBC overwhelmingly focused on Democrats, they're actively promoting the agenda of Democratic candidates." Specifically, "the report found that Democrats get twice as much coverage as Republicans with New York Senator Hillary Clinton receiving the most" and "69 percent of the questions to Democrats reflected a liberal premise" while "82 percent of the questions to Republicans came from the same perspective."
This item is based on two NewsBusters items. The Friday posting included video of the "Cafferty File" segment. That video and audio will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert, but in the meantime, to watch the Real or Windows Media video, or to listen to the MP3 audio, go to: newsbusters.org
JACK CAFFERTY: The network morning news shows have given a lot more air time to the Democratic presidential candidates than to the Republican ones. That's according to a conservative media watchdog outfit called the Media Research Center. They claim that through last month the ABC, CBS and NBC morning news programs devoted 284 segments to Democrats compared to just 152 for Republicans. The network news executives say there's no bias and that they've had a harder time getting the Republican White House hopefuls to appear on their programs. They say they strive to present [a] fair picture of the campaign, but that the news drives their decisions and that's why, for example, the Clinton/Obama campaign, which you'll recall began way back in January, that rivalry started heating up, that meant more coverage for the Democrats -- especially that month.
Near the end of the 7pm EDT hour, Cafferty returned with some replies sent by e-mail:
JACK CAFFERTY: The question this hour is, are the media being fair to both sides in the 2008 presidential race?
As the 2008 candidates pick up the pace, everyone is jockying for media attention, but is network television playing fair? According to the watchdog group Media Research Center, not only are the morning shows on ABC, CBS and NBC overwhelmingly focused on Democrats, they're actively promoting the agenda of Democratic nominees as well, candidates rather. The report found that Democrats get twice as much coverage as Republicans with New York Senator Hillary Clinton receiving the most. And more than half of all campaign segments focused on Democrats. The study found that 69 percent of the questions to Democrats reflected a liberal premise and that more than 82 percent of the questions to Republicans came from the same perspective. Undeclared liberal candidates, like former Vice President Al Gore and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, received more coverage than many of the declared Republicans.
The study, released Wednesday, was coordinated and written by MRC Research Director Rich Noyes, with research assistance from MRC news analysts/NewsBusters bloggers Geoffrey Dickens, Scott Whitlock and Justin McCarthy. A Wednesday CyberAlert Special distributed the text of the Executive Summary: www.mediaresearch.org
Rise and Shine on Democrats
As the 2008 presidential campaign season gets underway, wide-open primary races in both the Republican and Democratic parties are competing for the media's attention. So are the broadcast networks covering both sides equally, or are they tilting the campaign playing field in favor of liberal Democratic candidates?
To find out, Media Research Center analysts reviewed all 517 campaign segments on ABC's Good Morning America, CBS's The Early Show and NBC's Today from January 1 through July 31. Those three broadcast morning shows draw nine times the audience of their cable news competitors, and are geared toward everyday voters, not political junkies. These programs are therefore a prime battleground in each campaign's quest for positive media attention.
The results are astonishing: Not only are the network morning shows overwhelmingly focused on Democrats, they are actively promoting the Democrats' liberal agenda.
Among the major findings:
# The networks offered nearly twice as much coverage of the Democrats. More than half of all campaign segments (284, or 55%) focused on the Democratic contest, compared with just 152 (29%) devoted to the Republicans. The remaining stories either offered roughly equal discussion of both parties or did not focus on the major parties.
# All three Democratic frontrunners received more attention than any of the top Republican candidates, with New York Senator Hillary Clinton receiving the most coverage of all.
# Undeclared liberal candidates such as former Vice President Al Gore and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg received more network TV attention than many of the declared Republican candidates.
# The network morning shows doled out nearly three times as much airtime (4 hours, 35 minutes) to interviews with the various Democratic campaigns. In contrast, the Republicans received just 1 hour and 44 minutes of interview airtime.
# In their interviews with the candidates, the network hosts emphasized a liberal agenda. Of the substantive questions that could be categorized as reflecting a political agenda, more than two-thirds (69%) of the questions to Democrats reflected a liberal premise, and more than four-fifths (82%) of the questions to Republicans came from the same perspective.
# The top Democratic candidates received much more favorable coverage than their GOP counterparts, with Senator Clinton cast as "unbeatable" and Illinois Senator Barack Obama tagged as a "rock star." The most prominent Republican, Arizona Senator John McCain, was portrayed as a loser because of his support for staying the course in Iraq.
# Not once did network reporters describe Senator Clinton and former North Carolina Senator John Edwards as "liberal," while ABC only once labeled Obama as "liberal." Yet the networks showed no hesitation in attaching the "liberal" label to Republican frontrunner Rudy Giuliani, who was so branded 12 times.
These early returns suggest that ABC, CBS and NBC are skewing their news in ways that will benefit the Democratic candidates in 2008. The broadcast networks have a responsibility to cover both parties in a fair and even-handed manner -- not for the sake of the candidates, but for the voters. That means giving viewers a chance to hear from all of the major candidates in interviews, asking them similar questions, and balancing the day-to-day news coverage to keep both Democratic and Republican primary voters equally well-informed.
END Reprint of Executive Summary for the MRC's study
The "Scrapbook" section in this week's (September 10 cover date) Weekly Standard magazine excoriates actor Tim Robbins for charging, on the week before last's (August 24) Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, that, referring to Iraq, "we've killed over 400,000 of their citizens." The un-bylined article commented: "He's wrong, of course. American soldiers have not been slaughtering 300 Iraqis a day for the last four years. Even for one of Hollywood's most feculent personalities, this is an appalling slander of U.S. troops." Citing the Iraq Body Count Web site, the magazine pointed out that "the antiwar group's 'maximum count'" of "civilian deaths caused by coalition military action and by military or paramilitary responses to the coalition presence (e.g. insurgent and terrorist attacks)" as well as "excess civilian deaths caused by criminal action resulting from the breakdown in law and order which followed the coalition invasion," stands at 77,555, "one-fifth the number concocted by Robbins's overactive imagination."
[This item was posted Saturday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The DrudgeReport on Friday night highlighted the Weekly Standard item headlined, "Hollywood Hates the Troops," which also noted how movie director Brian DePalma's new film, Redacted, "is based on the story of a brutal rape and murder of a young Iraqi girl and the killing of her family at the hands of four American soldiers. Sgt. Paul Cortez, who has admitted his role in the attack, was sentenced earlier this year to 100 years in prison. Most Americans who read about this brutal crime probably understood that most soldiers don't behave this way. DePalma does not. 'The movie is an attempt to bring the reality of what is happening in Iraq to the American people,' he said last week."
IraqBodyCount's home page: www.iraqbodycount.org
This week marks the one-year anniversary of Katie Couric's assumption of the anchor chair for the CBS Evening News on Tuesday, September 5, 2006. As an MRC Media Reality Check released last Thursday concluded, "In her first year at the helm of the CBS Evening News, Katie Couric has perpetuated the bias problem that eroded CBS's credibility under Dan Rather." That Media Reality Check condensed Couric's bias down to 600 words, but below is a more extensive rundown of about 30 of her most left-wing moments from the past year as recounted in CyberAlerts, particularly her dire warnings about global warming and hero-worshiping of Al Gore, as well as advocacy of higher taxes and using children to push for a greater government role in heath care.
For the August 30 Media Reality Check by Rich Noyes, "New Network, Same Old Biased Katie: In Her First Year at CBS, Couric Pushes Higher Taxes, the Welfare State and Fears of Global Warming," go to: www.mrc.org
Now, from oldest to newest, summaries of CyberAlerts focusing on Couric's bias.
# Nets, Especially CBS, Trumpet Branson's Efforts on Global Warming
ABC, CBS and NBC all ran stories Thursday night [Sept. 21, 2006] tied to Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson's pledge at the Clinton Global Initiative, held in Manhattan, to invest $3 billion to fight global warming by developing cleaner fuels....CBS's Katie Couric, however, spent the most time championing Branson's cause. She announced: "British mogul Richard Branson is vowing to fight global warming and he's putting his money where his mouth is. He has joined a growing list of billionaires who are donating to philanthropic causes, making a huge pledge today to former President Bill Clinton's Global Initiative. He is promising $3 billion over the next ten years." Viewers then saw an interview with Branson, who proclaimed: "I don't want to be the generation that destroys this world for our children and our grandchildren." Couric noted how Branson made his "fortune through the airline industry," presuming it "does contribute, quite frankly, to global warming. Do you find it at all ironic that, that this is your main cause?" She cued him up: "When did you have an awakening about this issue? Do you remember a point in time where you had some kind of epiphany and said, 'I really need to get involved in this cause'?" Go to: www.mrc.org
Although a Monday [Oct. 16] CBS Evening News story included a soundbite from an expert dismissing the idea as "preposterous," the newscast treated a far-left conspiracy theory -- about how the Bush administration is somehow manipulating the pump price for gas to help in the election -- as credible and worthy enough to deserve a broadcast network story. Citing how the price of a gallon of gas has fallen to the lowest all year, anchor Katie Couric wondered: "Is this an election year present from President Bush to fellow Republicans?" Over a shot of a "GOP: Grand Oil Party" bumper sticker laying on a dashboard, reporter Anthony Mason asserted: "Gas started going down just as the fall campaign started heating up. Coincidence? Some drivers don't think so." The man in the car insisted "I think it's basically a ploy to sort of get the American people to think, well, the economy is going good, let's vote Republican."
Ignoring the inaccuracies in Michael J. Fox's TV ads against some Republican Senate candidates, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric gave him a lengthy forum -- more than eight minutes -- to react to Rush Limbaugh's suggestion his swaying in the ads was exaggerated beyond the real impact of Parkinson's disease and to advocate for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. With video of Fox behind her, Couric portrayed Limbaugh as the aggressor: "The battle over embryonic stem cell research turns ugly, and he is a target." Though Fox's ads denounce Republicans and insidiously suggest they are against curing his disease, Couric never challenged Fox on the false charges he made in the ads which injected Fox into partisan politics. She never even played those portions, instead only showed this positive line from one of the ads: "In Missouri, you can elect Claire McCaskill, who shares my hope for cures." In that ad against Missouri Republican Senator Jim Talent, Fox distorted Talent's opposition to cloning into how "Talent even wanted to criminalize the science that gives us the chance for hope." For more: www.mrc.org
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sat for interviews Wednesday [Nov. 8] with reporters for all the networks. NBC's Brian Williams and CBS's Katie Couric put the most emphasis on her presumed "history-making" ascension to House Speaker and allowed her to offer the most-benign descriptions of the policies she will pursue. A smiling and spellbound Couric wondered: "A lot has been made of the fact that you, if elected, and it appears that you will be, that you will be the first woman Speaker of the House and the highest ranking woman in the United States government. What does that mean to you?" Pelosi replied: "It's pretty exciting, I have to say. I'm just so excited that a Democrat will be Speaker of the House." To which Couric oozed: "So you're a Democrat first, a woman second?" Couric, without citing any "nasty things" Bush has said about Pelosi, asserted that "Pelosi has a long list of priorities for her new job. One potential obstacle, she and the President have said some pretty nasty things about each other." Couric cued up Pelosi to sound bipartisan: "What are you anxious to get going on in a bipartisan way? I know your partisan agenda, but in a bipartisan way." But viewers may not know of Pelosi's "partisan agenda" since Couric did not, and CBS has not, outlined it. Couric next hinted at that agenda, as she asked: "The Republicans used two 'T' words -- 'terror' and 'taxes' -- to tell people the kind of alternative they would get if they voted the Democrats into power. Are you going to raise taxes?" Pelosi insisted that "raising taxes would be a last resort" and Couric did not challenge her. See: www.mrc.org
In the midst of an otherwise positive story Monday night [Dec. 4] about the "revival" of religiously-inspired movies, such as The Nativity Story and Facing the Giants, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric saw a dark side. She pressed Catherine Hardwicke, director of The Nativity Story and Mike Rich, the film's screenwriter: "Do you worry at all that non-believers may feel excluded and diminished at a time when we're so divided about so much?" As if there's a dearth of non-spiritual films for people to see. Has anyone at CBS News ever worried about how the faithful feel "excluded" and "diminished" by multiplexes playing only violent and sexually-explicit films, to say nothing of the many which include scenes ridiculing the faithful or portraying religious figures as criminals? See: www.mrc.org
ABC anchor Charles Gibson and NBC anchor Brian Williams let the Iraq Study Group's conclusion, that "the situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating," speak for itself as they refrained from additional editorializing in opening their Wednesday night [Dec. 6] newscasts. But CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric inserted her personal views into the top of her newscast as she framed the day's news: "With each death, with every passing day, so many of us ask, 'Is there any way out of this nightmare?'" She proceeded to explain how "today we got an answer from a bipartisan commission headed by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton." See: www.mrc.org
CBS News and Katie Couric put repenting before the looking to the future and solutions as producers chose this question, from Couric to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, to tease at the top of Thursday's [Dec 7] CBS Evening News: "Do you regret what many perceive as your unwavering support of this President and this war?" In the subsequent interview, Couric, who the night before called Iraq a "nightmare," pressed Blair about himself and President George W. Bush "acknowledging failures." Referring to their joint press conference, Couric queried: "The President seemed determined as ever to stay on track. Do you think he, or for that matter you, are capable of acknowledging failures in this policy and changing gears when and if necessary?" Couric's follow-up displayed her frustration with Bush: "But he's been very insistent for months now that the U.S. policy is correct and while he's accepted there may have to be a slight change, he's really dug his heels in." See: www.mrc.org
Katie Couric concluded Thursday's [January 4, 2007] CBS Evening News on a triumphant note of 'women, hear us roar' as she insisted that "we can't let this historic day pass without mentioning Susan B. Anthony who fought so hard for the right of women to vote, but didn't live to see us get it." That right "didn't happen until 1920, 14 years after she died," Couric lamented before marveling: "Can you imagine there are still more than three million American women alive today who were born before women were allowed to vote?" Couric then touted how "now there are a record 90 women in this new Congress, including for the first time ever, the Speaker of the House." The CBS anchor proposed: "Wouldn't Susan B. Anthony be proud? Or maybe she'd ask, 'what took so long?'" See: www.mrc.org
In her Monday [January 15, 2007] "Couric & Co." blog posting, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric complained on behalf of the "feminist movement" that while she was thrilled to attend the pre-Bush Iraq speech briefing last week at the White House with other top network anchors, she wanted more females at the table. Once again, America is so far behind nations like Rwanda: "Fifty-one percent of America is female, but women make up only about sixteen percent of Congress -- which, as the Washington Monthly recently pointed out, is better than it's ever been...but still not as good as parliaments in Rwanda (forty-nine percent women) or Sweden (forty-seven percent women)." The weirdest sentence: "Everyone was gracious, though the jocular atmosphere was palpable." What is it about jocularity that makes it disturbingly masculine? See: www.mrc.org
A new CBS News poll, released Monday night [Feb. 12], determined that Americans are almost exactly evenly split on whether Congress should "pass a non-binding resolution against sending additional troops to Iraq" with 44 percent in favor and 45 percent opposed. But in highlighting how the Senate on Tuesday "will begin a three-day debate on a non-binding, symbolic resolution stating its disapproval of President Bush's Iraq troop build-up," CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric ignored that finding of an evenly-divided nation. Instead, she focused on how "a total of 53 percent say Congress ought to block funding for additional troops or for the war entirely." In offering up that number, which combined two answers, she obscured the poll question's real news: A piddling 8 percent wish to "block all funding" for the war in Iraq. As an on-screen graphic showed, to get to 53 percent Couric and CBS producers combined the 8 percent with the 45 percent who want to "block funding for more troops" -- a percent only slightly higher than, and within the three-point margin of error, the 42 percent who want to "allow all funding." CBS's graphic did not include the 42 percent result.
Couric read this short item on the February 12 CBS Evening News: "Tomorrow the House will begin a three-day debate on a non-binding, symbolic resolution stating its disapproval of President Bush's Iraq troop build up. But our new CBS News poll shows a majority of Americans wants Congress to go even further. A total of 53 percent say Congress ought to block funding for additional troops or for the war entirely." See: www.mrc.org
On Wednesday's [February 28] CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric highlighted how "according to a new government report out today" the problem of homelessness "is worse than we knew. On any given day, as many as 754,000 people in this country are homeless. As Cynthia Bowers tells us, one-third of the homeless are families with children." As viewers saw a mother with two kids, and with "Faces of Despair" on screen, Bowers framed the story in the most empathetic way, "This may be the most heartbreaking face of today's findings: the homeless children in America. Like six-month-old Mariah, or one-year-old Erin, innocent victims caught up in their parents' problems." See: www.mrc.org
After leading with the terrible toll of deadly "super-cell" storms with tornadoes which struck Missouri and Alabama on Thursday [March 1], CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric's mind turned to global warming as the potential cause. She asked "CBS News weather analyst" Bryan Norcross, working out of the network's Washington bureau: "Bryan, I understand people have been asking you this all day" -- probably CBS News staffers in the DC bureau -- "Does this have anything to do with global warming?" Norcross, a "hurricane specialist" for the CBS-owned Miami station WFOR-TV channel 4, rejected the premise: "No, I don't think so. This is just part of this extreme situation we've had this winter -- very warm, very cold -- and so the extreme weather continues and it turns out the United States is just about the only spot in the world that has a lot of these kinds of super-cells, just not normally this time of year." See: www.mrc.org
CBS anchor Katie Couric contended Monday night that the "self-evident" truths in the Declaration of Independence -- "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" -- are denied by the lack of health insurance for many Americans. Introducing a piece on a doctor at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City who treats the poor of Harlem, Couric adopted a very liberal definition of basic rights as she added "good health" and asserted on the CBS Evening News: "More than 46 million Americans have no health insurance. So when it comes to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and good health, all men are not created equal. A doctor here in New York City learned that lesson early in his career. He's spent the last 40 years trying to level the playing field for the poorest of patients." See: www.mrc.org
While the ABC and NBC evening newscasts led Tuesday night [May 1] with President George W. Bush's veto of the Iraq funding bill with pull-out deadlines, CBS began with back-to-back stories trumpeting the cause of illegal immigrants and portraying them as the victims. "Tonight," Katie Couric teased the CBS Evening News, "tens of thousands of protesters take to the streets of America to rally in support of illegal immigrants" and then, over video of a teen girl and her little sister, Couric fretted, "she was born here, but her parents were deported and there are many more like her." Of course, it was the choice of the parents to not take the kids with them back to Mexico. Citing how "it's estimated there are as many as 12 million in this country illegally," Couric framed CBS's coverage around their agenda: "What are they and their supporters demanding?" Bill Whitaker highlighted the protests and the views of their advocates before acknowledging "the chance for real immigration reform seems slim again this year, so these marchers plan to keep up the pressure to change the laws and stop the deportations, which they say are breaking up families."
Katie Couric's tease: "Tonight, tens of thousands of protesters take to the streets of America to rally in support of illegal immigrants. She was born here, but her parents were deported-" Teenage girl: "It's just too much." Couric: "-and there are many more like her." Couric opened her newscast: "Hello, everyone. It is May Day, the workers' holiday, and for the second straight year, there were rallies all over America on behalf of millions of people who work in this country illegally -- illegal immigrants. It's estimated there are as many as 12 million in this country illegally. Nearly four million households are headed by an undocumented immigrant. And what are they and their supporters demanding? We have two reports tonight, beginning with Bill Whitaker." See: www.mrc.org
CBS on Wednesday [May 2] night turned over a full story to promoting the cause of one interest group which wants a 12-fold hike in federal spending on health care for children. As if it were some kind of scoop to hype a report from a group yearning for media attention, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric trumpeted it as an "exclusive look tonight at a stunning report by a respected children's health care group. It says nearly 24 million children in this country do not have regular access to medical care and that's twice as many as experts believed." Couric's tease: "Also tonight, a health care crisis: an exclusive look at a new report that finds more than 25 percent of our children have no regular access to medical care." See: www.mrc.org
Lewis 'Scooter' Libby's sentencing occurred on Tuesday [June 5] and Katie Couric led the CBS Evening News the same way she did when Libby was convicted three months ago: With a comparison to the Iran-Contra scandal and how he's the highest-ranking official convicted of a felony in 20 years. But his conviction was news three months ago, not now. Back on March 6, Couric teased: "Guilty: Scooter Libby is convicted in the CIA leak case, the highest ranking White House official found guilty of a felony since the Iran-Contra scandal." She opened by pointing out how "Libby is the highest ranking White House official convicted of a felony in two decades."
Fast forward to June 5 and Couric teased: "Tonight, the hammer comes down on Scooter Libby. He was once Vice President Cheney's right-hand man, now he's going to prison. The highest-ranking White House official in nearly twenty years convicted of a felony." She began the newscast: "Hello everyone. Not since the Iran-Contra scandal nearly two decades ago has such a high-ranking White House official been convicted of a felony. And today, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison in connection with that very convoluted CIA leak case. Libby was not convicted of leaking the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame, but rather of lying about what he knew." See: www.mrc.org
Katie Couric led Wednesday's CBS Evening News [June 13] by trumpeting a victory for gun control and featuring a one-on-one interview with a gun control advocate. "An historic alliance between Democrats and the NRA produces the first major new gun control bill in years," Couric teased. "Tonight, they're closing the loophole that allowed the Virginia Tech killer to buy his guns." After that plug for House passage of a bill that still must go through the Senate and be signed by the President, she teased another story, one seemingly more crucial but didn't get to until 14 minutes into her newscast, "A CBS News exclusive: For the first time, the Director of the FBI details the nuclear threat that America faces today" from al Qaeda. Couric led by touting how the closing of "the loophole that allowed Seung-Hui Cho to buy the guns he used in the April massacre despite his history of mental illness" is "the first major new gun control legislation in more than a decade and it has the backing of the NRA." See: www.mrc.org
On her "Couric & Co." blog, CBS anchor Katie Couric on Tuesday [June 19] once again offered her love and kisses to Jimmy Carter. In the "Katie Couric's Notebook" video featured in her blog (video which airs on some CBS affiliates as an Evening News promo), Couric used the occasion of Carter being awarded an honorary doctorate of civil law from Oxford to demand of viewers that "you have to respect him for sticking to his principles." Tell that to President Bush. She began by citing another Carter cheerleader:
Wednesday's CBS Evening News trumpeted two liberal efforts to expand government power, leading by heralding "landmark legislation" to have the FDA regulate cigarettes followed by a story slanted in favor of, as reporter Thalia Assuras described it, an "historic expansion of health care coverage for children" of the "working poor." Assuras, however, ignored such inconvenient facts as how a family of four with an income as high as $82,600 could get on the taxpayers' dole. Katie Couric had teased her top story: "Tonight, landmark legislation that supporters say could save millions of lives. Congress takes a step toward regulating everything about cigarettes for the first time ever." Next, Couric introduced a look at "getting medical coverage for the millions of American children who don't have it." See: www.mrc.org
When Nancy Pelosi rose to be the House Democrats' leader in 2002, Katie Couric gushed to NBC colleague Ann Curry: "Is it okay to say, 'You go girl!'?" That cheerleading spirit continued in her Monday [August 6] "Katie Couric's Notebook" video commentary (featured at her Couric & Co. blog) lauding the new Democratic Congress: "This new crop worked much harder than the last. A big accomplishment was in challenging executive power with oversight hearings on Iraq, Medicare, the Department of Justice, and global warming." She concluded: "Promises, promises. Sometimes they are kept -- even in Washington." That was certainly not the tone of CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather took toward Speaker Gingrich and the new Republican Congress in 1995: "The new Republican majority in Congress took a big step today on its legislative agenda to demolish or damage government aid programs, many of them designed to help children and the poor." See: www.mrc.org
Tremendously exaggerating the number of Americans who lack access to health insurance, CBS on Wednesday [August 8] night trumpeted the cause of an AFL-CIO member who denounced the United States for not providing health insurance coverage for his wife and endorsed the John Edwards plan for universal health care. Anchor Katie Couric previewed the upcoming story: "Presidential candidates hear a dramatic plea for help from one of the millions of Americans with no health insurance and no way to pay for it." Setting up the tribute to the retiree, Couric asserted that "45 million Americans have no coverage. That includes more than 13 million between the ages of 19 and 29. Many of them don't get coverage from their jobs, and cannot afford to buy it on their own." Of course, many can afford it and in that age range feel comfortable without insurance. In fact, 17 million of the uninsured earn more than $50,000. Removing those, plus people who are not U.S. citizens, leaves fewer than ten million chronically uninsured. See: www.mrc.org
When a CBS News poll in July found 73 percent believed the surge of troops in Iraq was making the situation "worse" or having "no impact," the CBS Evening News led with that number. But on Monday, when a new CBS poll discovered that percent had fallen 12 points to 61 percent, as the percent who think the surge is making the situation "better" jumped ten points from 19 to 29 percent, CBS gave it 12 seconds 20 minutes into the newscast. "Major attacks decline in Iraq: Military credits troop increase, civilian tipsters," declared the headline at the top of Monday's USA Today front page. Katie Couric, however, ignored that report and, after briefly relaying the new poll number, couldn't resist highlighting "one thing that hasn't changed, two-thirds say that, overall, things are still going badly in Iraq."
Couric had led the July 18 CBS Evening News: "In a CBS News/New York Times poll out tonight, nearly three out of four Americans say the troop surge is not working, that it's having no impact, or actually making matters worse." On Monday, she acknowledged: "Americans are starting to come around on that troop surge in Iraq. In our CBS News poll out tonight, 29 percent say the surge is making things better. That's a ten point increase since July." It's doubtful the ten percent who have come around are consumers of CBS or other mainstream media outlets which concentrate on the negative. See: www.mrc.org
Couric led the July 18 CBS Evening News: "Hello, everyone. Senate Democrats failed today in their latest attempt to bring American troops home from Iraq. After a rare, all-night debate, they couldn't come up with the votes today to bring the latest troop withdrawal measure to the floor. And that is in spite of pressure from the voters themselves. In a CBS News/New York Times poll out tonight, nearly three out of four Americans say the troop surge is not working, that it's having no impact, or actually making matters worse. And nearly two out of three want the President to bring some or all U.S. forces home." See: www.mrc.org
Katie Couric found it newsworthy Wednesday [Aug 15] night that former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's resignation letter from nine months ago did not include the words "war" or "Iraq." Picking up on a story from the Associated Press on how "the deadly and much-criticized conflict that eventually drummed him out of office comes up only in vague references" in the November 6, 2006 letter the AP obtained by filing Freedom of Information Act requests, Couric failed to credit the AP as she relayed this brief item on the CBS Evening News: "There's news tonight involving the former Pentagon chief. Donald Rumsfeld's resignation letter has surfaced and it's notable for what it doesn't contain. Rumsfeld refers to 'a critical time in our history' and a 'challenging time for our country,' but the two words he doesn't use? 'War' or 'Iraq.'" See: www.mrc.org
The Census Bureau announced a drop in the poverty rate, but NBC and, especially CBS, on Tuesday night [August 28] managed to turn the good news into bad by emphasizing an increase in the number of Americans without health insurance while ABC, in contrast, portrayed the decrease in poverty as good news. See: www.mrc.org
Norman Hsu's appearance in a San Mateo County, California courtroom Friday to answer for a 1991 grand larceny charge, prompted full stories Friday night on the ABC and CBS evening newscasts catching up with the case of the fugitive donor to many Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton. On Thursday night, the NBC Nightly News became the first broadcast network program to report on Hsu, in a story from Lisa Myers, and on Friday night anchor Brian Williams offered a brief update about Hsu's court appearance.
On Friday's CBS Evening News, Sandra Hughes pointed out how "a large group of Hsu's bundling checks came from this little green house in Daly City, California that Hsu once listed as a home address. The Paw family, which lives here, has given $45,000 to Hillary Clinton since 2005." Hughes also noted how Clinton has returned $23,000 in direct donations from Hsu, but on ABC's World News, Brian Ross reported that "in the last year Hsu has helped to raise more than a million dollars for Senator Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign" and he highlighted how Hsu "was scheduled to be one of the hosts of a major Clinton fundraiser in California next month." Ross also saw a pattern, as he recalled a fact which has received little broadcast network air time -- that Clinton's "kickoff Senate fundraiser in 2000 was organized by a convicted felon."
A Los Angeles Times story posted Friday afternoon, "Fugitive fundraiser Hsu turns himself in," recounted Hsu's appearance in the Redwood City court where he posted $2 million in bail to avoid being held in jail: www.latimes.com
Transcripts of the August 31 CBS and ABC stories which I created by correcting the closed-captioning against the video:
# CBS Evening News:
FILL-IN HARRY SMITH: There's another political scandal unfolding. A top Democratic fundraiser named Norman Hsu surrendered to authorities in California today, 15 years after he skipped out on felony charges. All that time he was raising money for candidates and hiding, apparently, in plain sight. Here's Sandra Hughes.
SANDRA HUGHES: He's known as a big money man in the Democratic Party, donating a quarter of a million dollars to various candidates over the last three years. But Norman Hsu is also known in California as a wanted man. Today he turned himself in on charges he defrauded investors in a pyramid scheme back in the early '90s.
FILL-IN ANCHOR KATE SNOW: One of the Democratic Party's biggest fundraisers is out of jail on $2 million bail tonight as campaigns scramble to deal with the revelation, first reported by the Los Angeles Times, that he's been on the run for more than 15 years. While he was a fugitive, Hsu turned into a remarkably effective political money man. Our chief investigative correspondent, Brian Ross, reports.
BRIAN ROSS: Hsu turned himself in this morning in Redwood City, California, after 15 years as a fugitive from justice. He had pleaded no contest in 1991 to a count of grand theft in a fraud scheme, but never showed up for a 1992 sentencing where he faced three years in prison. But far from going into hiding, Hsu took an active role in Democratic Party politics. In the last year Hsu has helped to raise more than a million dollars for Senator Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and he was scheduled to be one of the hosts of a major Clinton fundraiser in California next month [zoom in on invitation]. The Senator's staff now says that fundraiser has been cancelled and the $23,000 Hsu personally gave to the campaign has been given to charity. Today at the New York state fair, Senator Clinton said she had no idea Hsu was a fugitive.
-- Brent Baker