In a Tuesday article, Baltimore Sun media critic David Zurawik examined the reason behind Fox News beating every other TV news outlet in the ratings – including NBC, ABC and CBS – during November 4 midterm election coverage: "...it's time to think seriously about what that says about Fox, CNN, MSNBC, the state of network news today and the role TV plays or doesn't play in providing us with reliable, trustworthy information."
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.
Appearing on Fox News's Special Report Monday, columnist Charles Krauthammer suggested that the reason President Obama waited a week to comment on the Jonathan Gruber ObamaCare scandal was because the White House knew it could count on the liberal media to ignore the story: "...they've had six years experience of the press essentially conspiring with them....the administration issues statements, it uses Gruber reports, it's echoed by their minions in the press, then repeated by Democrats as if this is objective evidence..."
Appearing on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports on Monday, Molly Ball of The Atlantic argued that the reason ObamaCare critics were seizing on the comments from Jonathan Gruber was because things were going so well for the law: "...part of the reason this controversy has become such a focal point is that there isn't a lot of other bad news about ObamaCare. The website is operating....The people who have care are pretty happy with it. Most Republicans, even the leadership, admit that they're not going to do a wholesale repeal."
After 2013 comments from ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber crediting passage of the law on "the stupidity of the American voter" went viral over a week ago, NBC's Today finally covered the major controversy on Monday. Co-host Savannah Guthrie made it sound like a breaking news headline: "...big story out of Washington this morning." News anchor Natalie Morales followed: "A new controversy now is brewing over comments made by MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, the self-described architect of ObamaCare."
In a scathing article for the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, reporter Robyn Dixon slammed Australia as “The adolescent country. The bit player. The shrimp of the schoolyard.” She contemptuously added: “For Australians it's not so bad – most of the time – to be so far away, so overlooked, so seemingly insignificant as to almost never factor in major international news. The lifestyle makes up for it.”
Appearing on TBS's Conan Thursday night, NBC's Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd downplayed the big Republican wave in the midterm election: "...they didn't win because people said, 'We want to hire the Republicans.' Essentially this was an election of 'Well, alright, we're firing the Democrats'....I think the leadership knows that they have to prove that they can govern, that they're just not the anti-Obama party."
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame Thursday night and received an introduction from rock star Bruce Springsteen, who proclaimed: "To paraphrase a friend of mine, if Walter Cronkite and Jon Stewart had had a baby, and if due to the ongoing controversy over same-sex marriage they had to abandon that baby on the New Jersey Turnpike, and it grew up to be a news anchor, its name would be Brian Douglas Williams."
In a softball interview with Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy on Thursday, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell teed up the Obama administration official to dismiss legitimate Republican criticism of the President's climate deal with China: "I wanted to ask you of course about this major breakthrough with China. And the criticism already from many Republicans....What are you facing as you approach climate deniers...now that you have, you know, the Republicans in charge?"
At the top of her 12 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Wednesday, host Andrea Mitchell cheered President Obama "achieving a landmark climate agreement" with China to restrict carbon emissions: "I know this is going to take place over a long time, but – there are a lot of obstacles ahead, but this still marks a very big change from the stalemate between the U.S. and China..."
After a video of ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber declaring that the health care law only passed due to the "stupidity of the American voter" went viral over the weekend, the Big Three broadcasts networks were initially silent. However, on Thursday, CBS This Morning finally noticed the scandal as co-host Charlie Rose informed viewers: "A new controversy stirring this morning over the Affordable Care Act. An architect of President Obama's health care law says it was written to take advantage of what he calls 'voter stupidity.'"
On Tuesday, the White House announced that President Obama would award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former NBC Nightly News anchor and current special correspondent Tom Brokaw – among other 2014 recipients. Today news anchor Natalie Morales touted the announcement on Monday, noting: "Obama said in a statement, these citizens have made extraordinary contributions to our country and the world."
On Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer and Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd began writing Barack Obama's political obituary, but did so in the most sympathetic way possible. Lauer cited a line from Todd's new book on the President: "And you write that in the foreseeable future, quote, 'He [Obama] will be a president whose potential wasn't realized.' He came to Washington promising to bridge the political divide, change the discourse. Has that been his biggest failure?"
Introducing what amounted to a White House press release on Saturday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt opened the broadcast by parroting President Obama's praise for attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch: "Historic choice. The woman who's taken down mobsters and terrorists now tapped to be the country's next attorney general."
Worrying about President Obama's lame duck status following major Democratic Party losses in the midterm election, on Sunday's NBC Nightly News, White House correspondent Kristen Welker proclaimed: "...Republicans prepare to take over both houses of Congress, vowing to undo Mr. Obama's most treasured accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act."
In a report for Friday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Kristen Welker continued the network's effort to preemptively blame Republicans for any gridlock that may occur in Washington following the GOP's landslide win in Tuesday's midterm election: "Republicans have drawn their own battle lines, doubling down on their pledge to repeal the President's signature piece of legislation, ObamaCare, and vowing to approve the Keystone Pipeline, which the President has resisted."
Of the three network morning shows on Thursday, only NBC's Today highlighted Kentucky Senator Rand Paul's viral social media meme, #HillarysLosers, which pointed out that every Democratic candidate that would-be 2016 presidential contender Hillary Clinton campaigned for in 2014 lost in Tuesday's midterm election.
On Thursday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Chris Jansing blamed Republicans for upsetting the supposed conciliatory mood in Washington following Tuesday's GOP midterm wave: "Well, what looked to be at least a temporary truce between President Obama and Congress lasted less than 24 hours. Republican leaders now say the focus of the new Congress will be to repeal the President's signature accomplishment, ObamaCare. That after the President struck an optimistic tone in his post-election press conference."
On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O'Donnell fretted that the newly elected Republican Congress would dare to pass legislation: "If you look at a number of these new senators, they're quite conservative. Why wouldn't they go along with what Rand Paul has said? They're gonna send bills up to the President, as he told Charlie Rose last night, 'We're going to keep sending bills up to the President and we'll see whether the President wants to work with us or not.' Is the President going to be forced to veto a bunch of bills?"
Following the big Republican wave in Tuesday's midterm election, on Wednesday, Today co-host Matt Lauer immediately demanded that the new GOP-controlled Congress capitulate to President Obama: "Republicans have control of the House and Senate for the first time in eight years....In January, voters are gonna say,'What are you going to do with the power?' Opposing the President's policy is not a policy. Specifically, what can Republicans do with this power?"
Appearing on MSNBC's Morning Joe Tuesday morning, Politico's Jim VandeHei absurdly claimed that Republicans would be in big trouble if they took control of the Senate in the midterm election: "...even if Republicans win, I think they're going to be in a hell of a jam. In that they're not going to be able to get anything done."