During the five minutes of coverage that Thursday's NBC Today provided on President Obama reopening diplomatic relations with Cuba, only twenty-three seconds was devoted to critics of the controversial move. In addition, the only opponent featured was Republican Senator Marco Rubio, despite Democratic Senator Robert Menendez equally condemning the presidential action.
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.
During an NBC News Special Report on Wednesday, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams could barely contain his excitement over President Obama announcing the reopening of diplomatic relations with Cuba: "A momentous day, especially for those Americans old enough to remember the Cold War. The curtain came down between Cuba and the United States in January of 1961 and in just a moment diplomatic relations, at least the first steps to which, will be reestablished....It is a day of momentous change, fast-moving change..."
Appearing on Wednesday's NBC Today, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd spun former Florida Governor Jeb Bush announcing that he was "exploring" the possibility of running for president in 2016 as a boost for the candidacy of Hillary Clinton: "By the way, the big Jeb Bush announcement helps Hillary because it'll scare Democrats and rally them around Hillary even more."
On her 12 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Tuesday, host Andrea Mitchell could barely conceal her disgust while reporting on a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showing a majority of Americans supported the enhanced interrogation tactics used by the CIA after September 11th: "51% said that the procedures used, the interrogation enhanced tactics, which have been defined as torture, 51% said that they were acceptable under the circumstances. Only 28% said that they went too far."
Before the hostage standoff with an Islamic gunman in Sydney had even ended on Monday, the media had already seized on a social media campaign that offered protection to Australian Muslims against imagined bigotry that had not occurred. On Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos touted: "The #IllRideWithYou trending worldwide on Twitter. It's a message of tolerance from Sydney residents offering solidarity with Muslims in the cities. Locals concerned people in religious attire could be harassed."
On Monday's CBS This Morning, co-host Gayle King claimed that Americans were "divided" over the CIA's use of enhanced interrogation techniques after September 11th. However, the latest CBS News poll she cited "shows that 49% of Americans feel aggressive interrogation techniques like waterboarding are sometimes justified. 36% say they are never justified." The remaining 14% said that it "depends" or "didn't know."
On Friday, NBC's Today and CBS This Morning sympathized with left-wing Democrats upset by portions of a budget deal passed in the House Thursday night. On Today, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell declared: "Democrats had objected to a rollback of financial provisions that would help big Wall Street banks that take some high-risk investments with taxpayer ensured deposits. In the end, compromise, even ugly compromise, carried the night."
Wrapping up a report on Friday's NBC Today about CIA Director John Brennan reacting to the Senate Democrats' "torture report" during a Thursday press conference, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell highlighted: "The unveiling of the brutal tactics gave American adversaries a chance to accuse the U.S. of hypocrisy – on International Human Rights Day, no less."
During a Thursday press conference, NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell seized the opportunity to lecture CIA Director John Brennan as she rattled over the "torture" techniques detailed in the recently released report by Senate Democrats: "...waterboarding, near drowning, slamming people against the wall, hanging them in stress positions, confining them in small boxes or coffins, threatening them with drills, waving guns around their head as they are blindfolded..."
In a Tuesday interview with Texas governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate Rick Perry aired on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Thursday, political reporter Kasie Hunt questioned the Republican's intelligence: "Are you smart enough to be President of the United States?"
Despite ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber being grilled by both Republicans and Democrats in a Tuesday congressional hearing over his infamous remarks that the health care law was passed due to "the stupidity of the American voter," none of the Big Three network morning shows on Wednesday made any mention of the latest development in the controversy.
Appearing on Wednesday's NBC Today, former CIA Director Michael Hayden went after the network for hyping the so-called "torture report" released by Senate Democrats on Tuesday. After Hayden denounced the partisan report as something that "reads like a prosecutorial screed rather than an historical document," co-host Savannah Guthrie pressed him on what he disagreed with. Hayden replied: "Well, I disagree with the fact that you're claiming it to be news. These topics and subjects were all out there."
Appearing on MSNBC's NewsNation on Tuesday, NBC's chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel took the Democrat-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee to task for its so-called "torture report" slamming CIA interrogation tactics used against terrorist detainees: "I think this is really about changing the narrative of American history....everyone in the world knew what was going on, including by the way, the Senate, which is now pretending to be a bit of a babe in the woods."
On NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, moderator Chuck Todd fretted that after the show he would be inundated with complaints about his news coverage, but not from conservatives: "I'm going to get a ton of emails today, 'Gosh darn you, Meet the Press, great news on the economy, and you haven't done anything giving President Obama praise.'"
Appearing on Monday's NBC Today, ex-CNN host Piers Morgan called on Time magazine to name the Ferguson protesters as the publication's "Person of the Year" for 2014: "If you ask me what has been the single biggest issue facing Americans right now in this country, it is the whole issue surrounding what happened there....Everyone's got to come together and say we are simply better than this."
During a panel discussion on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report argued that the reason comprehensive immigration reform wasn’t getting passed was because of the racial makeup of House Republican districts: “Here’s the problem with the House, at the end of the day, the House does not look like the country.”
During an NBC News special report on President Obama nominating Pentagon official Ashton Carter be the next secretary of defense, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd advanced White House talking points that the President really wanted someone who would challenge the administration on foreign policy: "...they claim they want him to be more confrontational with the White House national security team....I have aides tell me they want Ashton Carter to be a bull in a china shop if necessary and be that person."
In an article for The Washington Post on Thursday, congressional reporter Ed O'Keefe highlighted Democratic efforts to assemble an "Immigration Strike Team" to provide "a rapid response force to counter whatever Republicans do or say about immigration reform in the coming months."
While both ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning on Thursday offered brief reports on seventeen states suing the Obama administration over the President's executive order granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants without congressional approval, NBC's Today completely skipped the legal challenge to the controversial action.
After a two-month leave of absence following her violation of an Ebola quarantine, NBC's chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman returned to the network with an appearance on Wednesday's Today and finally took personal responsibility for her actions: "I'm very sorry for not only scaring my community and the country, but adding to the confusion....I stepped outside the boundaries of what I promised to do and what the public expected of me. And for that, I'm sorry."