Media Coverage of the 9/12 Protests: A Report Card

***Media Research Center CyberAlert Special***
2:25pm EDT, Tuesday September 15, 2009

Media Reality Check. “Media Coverage of the 9/12 Protests: A Report
Card; Liberal Nets Acknowledge News Value of Anti-Obama Rally, but
Much of the Coverage Is Antagonistic”wake-up-fascism

Below is the text for a Media Reality Check, researched and
written by the MRC’s Rich Noyes with research assistance from the
MRC’s Scott Whitlock, Kyle Drennen and Matthew Balan, which was
posted earlier today.

To read this report online, with several embedded links, screen
shots and a video:
http://www.mrc.org/realitycheck/realitycheck/2009/20090915110753.aspx

For the one-page PDF which matches what was faxed and which you
can print for reading on one page:
http://www.mrc.org/realitycheck/uploads/fax0915.pdf

Report Card on 9/12 Protest News

Amount  /  Tone

Fox News A A-

NBC News B- B

CNN B+ C+

ABC News B- C-

CBS News C+ C

New York Times C- D

MSNBC D- D

Now, the text of the September 15 Media Reality Check (for links
and a video, check the online version):

Media Coverage of the 9/12 Protests: A Report Card
Liberal Nets Acknowledge News Value of Anti-Obama Rally, but Much of
the Coverage Is Antagonistic

Big liberal protests, such as the Million Mom March (for gun
control), the 2006 demonstrations in favor of illegal immigrants’
“rights,” and numerous anti-war marches all garnered heavy play and
adoring coverage from the broadcast networks, cable news outlets, and
big papers like the New York Times. So how did those news outlets
react to Saturday’s huge protest with conservative themes? MRC’s
analysts scrutinized the coverage; here’s their report card:

# ABC, CBS and NBC: The broadcast networks did not offer any pre-
rally coverage before Saturday’s protests, but offered decent
coverage of the event itself. ABC’s World News on Saturday was pre-
empted by college football, but Good Morning America offered full
reports on both Saturday and Sunday, as did NBC’s Today. Both the NBC
Nightly News and CBS Evening News led with the rally on Saturday
night, although CBS’s morning news shows gave the protest almost no attention.

The tone of coverage, however, was largely antagonistic. Opening
Saturday’s Good Morning America, co-host Bill Weir painted the
protesters as driven by rage: “This morning, outrage. Protesters
descend on Washington to rally against the President’s health care
plan. As civility gives way to shouting, what’s fueling all this
anger?” On the CBS Evening News, reporter Nancy Cordes also
highlighted the supposed radicalism of the crowd: “Homemade signs
accused Mr. Obama of socialism, communism and worse.”

But on Saturday’s Nightly News, anchor Amy Robach was more effusive,
touting “a sea of people as far as the eye could see.” Reporter Tom
Costello suggested official estimates undercounted the crowd (“Our
own people think hundreds of thousands were here”), and he showcased
soundbites from official speakers, including a Chrysler auto dealer
who lost his business to Obama’s intervention in the private sector.

# CNN, MSNBC, and the Fox News Channel: By far, Fox News offered the
most detailed coverage, with a two-hour midday program on Saturday
plus regular updates throughout the day, and FNC stuck to presenting
the protesters’ point of view, not denigrating them. One sour note
came from host Geraldo Rivera Saturday night, as he slammed the
protests: “Whether race is the subtext of the current event, there is
no doubt that the rhetoric could not be more overwrought.”

On CNN, most of the daytime coverage was respectful, if not as
intensive as on FNC. During the 5pm ET hour, the tone began to sour,
as correspondent Jim Spellman argued that participants with
“outlandish conspiracy theories” and who were “comparing President
Obama to Hitler” were “a sizable thread. It’s not just a couple of
people on the edges.”

MSNBC offered light coverage Saturday morning, switching to taped
programming at noon ET. When President Obama spoke in Minnesota, the
network returned to live coverage for an hour, but utterly ignored
the news from Washington. On Sunday, the network mentioned the rally
in the midst of other political news; regular pundit Eleanor Clift
dismissed the protesters as “the fringe of the fringe.”

# New York Times: Our TimesWatch editor Clay Waters reports that the
Times buried the protests on page A37 of Sunday’s paper. Although
tens of thousands marched on Capitol Hill, the 932-word story was
only slightly longer than the 724-word story the paper granted back
in March to an ACORN protest with only 40 participants.

Reporter Jeff Zeleny painted the protesters as “angry” and “profane,”
and asserted that the rally contained “no shortage of vitriol” — as
if there were never raised voices or obscene signs at left-wing rallies.

When liberals were the ones behind the megaphones, the media embraced
big protests as an important gauge of the public mood. Now that the
roles are reversed, the double-standard is glaring.

END of Reprint of the September 15 Media Reality Check

Archive with previous Media Reality Checks:
http://www.mrc.org/realitycheck/archive.aspx

– Brent Baker

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About CKH888

Not much to tell. Um.... I author news and art blogs now & then. :-)
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