As the chances of Republicans gaining control of the Senate in the upcoming midterm election remained high, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd appeared on Friday's NBC Today to pour cold water on the possibility: "...definitely feels like a hold-your-nose election....talking to voters that I did, they'd like to punish the President's party without rewarding the Republicans. And in many cases, they're sort of sitting on their hands, they're not sure what to do....They're probably leaning against the President, but they're not happy about it."
Kyle Drennen is a Media Research Center news analyst and serves as a contributing writer to NewsBusters. He joined the MRC in 2007 after graduating from Providence College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science.
In the only full report on the upcoming midterm election on Thursday's NBC Today, correspondent Gabe Gutierrez shared his journey aboard the "Pot Bus" in Florida, a campaign effort urging voters to back legalized medical marijuana in the state: "...supporters say that they've made about 200 stops over the past few months to rally support....It's a ride full of high hopes."
On Thursday's NBC Today, while scolding New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for his handling of a heckler, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell declared: "Christie's week has been a lot like a series of battle rounds, from tangling with nurse Kaci Hickox over [Ebola] quarantine conditions....to the verbal towel snap Christie delivered in a live Today interview when Matt referred to the nurse's lawyer as talented....to federal health officials who loudly criticized his rules but recommended their own."
O'Donnell then touted a profane attack from the media's favorite liberal host: "Add the latest pop culture judgment from Jon Stewart." A soundbite played of Stewart ranting: "Why does Christie have to be such a d**k about everything?"
Appearing on Fox News's O'Reilly Factor Tuesday night, media analyst Bernard Goldberg praised reporter Sharyl Attkisson for calling out the liberal bias of her former employer, CBS News, in her upcoming book. He then lamented the difficultly in ending such bias: "But here's why the problem is not going to go away. Even if top management wants to eliminate this liberal bias, there are too many producers and reporters in important positions at all the networks who are liberal, and who let their liberalism affect their journalism."
Today co-host Matt Lauer spent most of a Tuesday interview with Chris Christie attacking the New Jersey governor's response to the Ebola crisis: "I want to read to you what Dr. Anthony Fauci from NIH said yesterday. He called the mandatory quarantine of all health care workers who come in contact with Ebola patients in West Africa and then return, 'draconian'....Is it possible, Governor you're on the wrong side of science here but the right side of public opinion?"
After failing to mention the upcoming midterm election a single time since he took over the anchor desk of ABC's World News Tonight on September 1, on Monday, David Muir finally informed viewers that a political contest with "enormous" stakes was just days away: "The countdown is on, this evening, to the midterm elections tonight. Your voice, your vote. Just eight days to go before this election. The stakes? Enormous. President Obama, already battling with a Republican House, will he soon face a Republican Senate?"
On Monday, all three network morning shows covered George P. Bush – the son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and current candidate for Texas land commissioner – telling ABC's Jonathan Karl that his father would likely make a 2016 presidential run. In addition, all three shows made sure to remind viewers of former First Lady Barbara Bush's objection to another one of her sons running for president.
Since the Media Research Center first published its study on Wednesday showing a glaring double standard in how the network evening newscasts covered the anti-Republican wave in the 2006 midterm election vs the likely anti-Democratic wave in 2014, various liberal pundits and journalists took to the airwaves in an effort to dismiss the findings.
On his Fox News show Thursday night, host Bill O'Reilly cited the Media Research Center study on the network evening newscasts censoring coverage of the 2014 midterms: "Eight years ago, the nightly network newscasts went full out to cover the campaigns, which Democrats were favored to win....But this time around, the graph is far different. At this point in time, ABC News did 36 election reports eight years ago. So far this year, zero, nothing. CBS, 58 in year 2006. 14 this year. NBC, 65 eight years ago. 11 this year. Simply stunning."
On Thursday's Squawk Box on CNBC, host Joe Kernen cited the Media Research Center's latest study showing the Big Three network evening newscasts have barely noticed the anti-Obama midterm election of 2014 but provided wall-to-wall coverage in 2006: "...they breathlessly reported the Democratic takeover of Capitol Hill in the anti-Bush election of 2006....the coverage of this current situation, 6 to 1 disparity. There were 159 stories about the Democrats taking over in 2006. There have been 25 on the Big Three this [year]."
On Wednesday, Today co-host Matt Lauer began an interview with Bill O'Reilly by citing liberal New York Times columnist Frank Bruni actually criticizing the Obama administration's handling of the Ebola crisis: "One dimension of the disease's toll is clear. It's ravaging Americans' already tenuous faith in the competence of our government and its bureaucracies."
O'Reilly agreed with Bruni's "very perceptive" analysis and declared that Americans "should be angry at their government, because they blew it! Blew it, blew it, blew it!"
At the end of Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator Chuck Todd led his panel of guests in warning Republicans against any effort to oppose ObamaCare if they win the Senate majority in the upcoming midterm election: "...the biggest, I would argue, false promise of the...midterm campaign has been about [repealing] the Affordable Care Act....[Mitch McConnell's] never gonna have the ability to do it."
Politico's Manu Raju asserted: "That's right. Even if he gets the majority, it's going to be a 51-49 majority." Todd wondered: "Are Republicans over-promising here? Because their base is gonna expect to see that and it ain't gonna happen." Raju agreed: "It isn't gonna happen."
In less than two weeks, voters head to the polls in midterm elections that seem certain to yield strong Republican gains, if not outright control of the U.S. Senate. Such a political sea change is big news, but a new Media Research Center study finds that, in contrast to their enthusiastic coverage of the 2006 midterms when Democrats made big gains, the Big Three broadcast evening newscasts are all but ignoring this year’s political contests.
In a report for Tuesday's CBS This Morning on the political fallout from the Obama administration's mishandling of the Ebola crisis, correspondent Chip Reid touted a Democratic attack line being used against Republicans in the midterm campaign: "Some Democrats are firing back, claiming that Republican spending cuts have made the problem worse....An independent liberal group called The Agenda Project has even released a new ad with the tag line, 'Republican Cuts Kill.'"
Appearing on Friday's CBS This Morning, Republican pollster Frank Luntz reacted to the latest CBS News poll showing Americans having a "crisis of confidence" in government institutions: "The problem is that the institutions that have the greatest impact on us, the CDC, the FDA, the EPA, those that are responsible for our health and safety, are the ones that have had the biggest collapse. In fact, in some cases it's 20-30-point drop in just the last 15-18 months."
After citing numerous Republicans on the campaign trail criticizing the Obama administration's handling of the ebola crisis, on Thursday, MSNBC Daily Rundown host Craig Melvin condemned such criticism as "the politics of fear" and "irresponsible."
In an interview with Ann Romney aired on Tuesday's NBC Today, special anchor Maria Shriver couldn't help getting in a dig at Republicans: "The Republican Party is viewed by so many women as having a gender problem, a women's problem. Do you believe that?"
The question came amid a segment that was largely focused on the Romneys funding the creation of a new medical center to research multiple sclerosis – which Ann Romney suffers from – as well as other neurological diseases.
After their cameraman Ashoka Mukpo contracted ebola while covering the epidemic in Africa, NBC chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman and her team of reporters were supposed to be under a voluntary 21-day quarantine. Instead, Snyderman herself was recently spotted in public in her New Jersey neighborhood, reportedly getting take-out.
In response to the growing controversy over the clear violation, Snyderman released a statement on Monday in which she completely dodged any personal responsibility: "While under voluntary quarantine guidelines, which called for our team to avoid public contact for 21 days, members of our group violated those guidelines and understand that our quarantine is now mandatory until 21 days have passed."
On Monday's NBC Today, 9 a.m. ET hour co-host Willie Geist actually tried to spin top Democratic Party surrogates like Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton mispronouncing the name of Iowa Senate candidate Bruce Braley as a boost to Braley's campaign: "But now he's getting a lot of name recognition. Maybe it was like evil genius move, who knows?"
So his biggest supporters not knowing his name helps with name recognition? In the clip of the First Lady that was featured, she even went so far as to direct people to the wrong website: "You need to elect Bruce Bailey to the U.S. Senate....vote.BruceBailey.com, that's vote.BruceBailey.com."
Glossing over the vulnerability of Democratic candidates in the upcoming midterm election, a story on Friday's NBC Today downplayed President Obama's unpopularity and instead touted him jetting to a star-studded California fundraiser to raise money for his ailing political party. White House correspondent Chris Jansing proclaimed: "While his job approval ratings have mostly kept him away from candidates, he can still raise a lot of money for the November election."
Jansing detailed Obama's latest quest for campaign cash: "President Obama headed to his 53rd fundraiser of the year, at Gwyneth Paltrow's house....Inside, Paltrow gushed over the President while introducing him, saying, 'I am one of your biggest fans, if not the biggest.' And, 'You're so handsome that I can't speak properly.'"