A majority of federal rulings on the substance of President Obama's health care reform law have found it to be constitutional, including the law's mandate that individuals purchase health insurance. But a Media Matters review of the five largest newspapers and the flagship CNN, Fox News, ABC, CBS, and NBC evening news programs finds that the media overwhelmingly focused on rulings that struck down the law in whole or in part -- 84 percent of segments on the broadcast and cable programs reviewed and 59 percent of newspaper articles that reported on such rulings -- while largely ignoring rulings that found it constitutional or dismissed the case.
Many in the media have long since repudiated their failures in the lead-up to the Iraq War, acknowledging that they were too quick to accept the false notion that Iraq possessed a sizable and dangerous cache of weapons of mass destruction. The question today is whether they have learned from those mistakes.
The media's self-reflection began as early as May of 2004, little more than a year after the conflict began, when The New York Times editorial board reflected on the paper's coverage of the war and stated that they "found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been." Top editors at the Times and The Washington Post subsequently acknowledged they had failed to push for front-page articles on "the flimsiness of the intelligence on W.M.D." The media's poor coverage has been noted by the Post's Walter Pincus, CNN's Howard Kurtz, CBS' Katie Couric, and many more.
But fast forward to today, and the media's coverage of Iran's nuclear program suggests that some outlets have not learned from Iraq reporting failures and risk repeating history. Media Matters reviewed transcripts of ABC's World News, CBS' Evening News, and NBC's Nightly News between November 8, 2011 and March 31, 2012. The examination reveals that once again the media is frequently misrepresenting the expert opinion of the intelligence community.
Two egregious misrepresentations in particular repeatedly came up in news reports on the Iranian nuclear program: suggesting that Iran will imminently obtain the bomb and suggesting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has major influence over the country's nuclear program.
A Media Matters analysis finds that news coverage of climate change on ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX has dropped significantly since 2009. In 2011, these networks spent more than twice as much time discussing Donald Trump as climate change.
On December 14, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that the Affordable Care Act contributed to 2.5 million young adults getting health insurance. This news was widely ignored by television news outlets, receiving 3 minutes, 22 seconds, of total coverage by CBS, ABC, and MSNBC on December 14, while CNN, Fox News, and NBC did not mention the ACA news.
In the rush to cover the bankruptcy of Solyndra, a solar panel manufacturer that received a loan guarantee from the federal government, many news media outlets have misrepresented or omitted key facts.
After relentlessly pushing the false claim that the so-called "Climategate" controversy showed climate scientists deceitfully manipulating data, conservative media are celebrating a Rasmussen Reports poll finding that a majority of Americans believe "some scientists" have likely "falsified research data" to support "their own theories and beliefs about global warming."
Yesterday, CBS Evening News lent its credibility to the thoroughly discredited hoax that Live Action exposed Planned Parenthood helping to cover up sex trafficking.
CBS reported that "in the past week" Live Action "released undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood staffers all too eager to help reported teenage sex workers get abortions and contraception" that are "troubling."
But as CBS's Jan Craword herself reported, Planned Parenthood "reported the incidents to Attorney General Eric Holder." Crawford did not make clear, however, that Planned Parenthood actually contacted law enforcement and asked them to investigate potential sex trafficking before Lila Rose released any of her video accusing them of covering up sexual abuse of minors.
This fact completely undermines Live Action's accusation that Planned Parenthood is helping to cover up sex trafficking.
What's actually troubling is that CBS is all too willing to promote Live Action's discredited videos.
CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric blamed Democrats for the expiration date of the Bush tax cuts. In fact, Democratic leaders in Congress voiced opposition to the sunset provisions, which allowed Congress to hide the true cost of the tax cut and avoid a filibuster in the Senate.
From the August 27 edition of CBS' Evening News:
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Echoing a falsehood-laden report by CBS Evening News, The Washington Times falsely suggested that as a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Elena Kagan advocated for a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
On the CBS Evening News, Jan Crawford distorted memos Elena Kagan wrote as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, falsely painting Kagan as outside the mainstream.
Media outlets have referenced the emails apparently stolen from University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in their recent reports on "record snowfall" and criticisms of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), suggesting that the emails "undermined" global warming research or reporting claims about what they "appeared to show." Those media did not report, however, that scientists and fact-checkers have found that the emails, in the words of FactCheck.org, "have been misrepresented by global-warming skeptics" and "don't change [the] scientific consensus on global warming."
CBS correspondent Nancy Cordes forwarded the Republican suggestion that the House and Senate health care reform bills are a "trillion-dollar scam" because the bills "impos[e] new taxes years before the tax credits would kick in to help Americans buy insurance," and thus would only reduce the deficit in the first decade after enactment. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that both bills would also reduce the deficit beyond the first 10 years.
From the November 13 edition of the CBS Evening News:
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From the October 23 edition of CBS Evening News:
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