Keeping up the pressure on Hillary Clinton on Thursday, NBC's Today was the only network morning show to provide a full report on the latest developments in the e-mail scandal still swirling around the 2016 Democratic contender. ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning had already moved on, each offering only seconds-long news briefs on the controversy.
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 MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports on Wednesday, Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer lectured the liberal journalist for daring to ask about the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal: "Either you're going to listen to her and believe her that, in fact, she complied with the spirit and the letter of the law or you're not going to trust anything she says....And all of this, I think, is politics. I think it is sad. And most people want to hear what Hillary Clinton has to say about the issues."
To its credit, Wednesday's NBC Today actually brought on Republican Senator Rand Paul to react to Hillary Clinton's Tuesday press conference regarding the email scandal. However, co-host Matt Lauer used the second half of the interview to parrot Clinton's attacks on the GOP: "...she talked about this open letter that you and forty-six other Republican senators wrote and then signed and sent off to the leaders of Iran during very delicate negotiations over this nuclear deal. She said that you and the others were either trying help Iran or undermine...the commander-in-chief."
On his Tuesday MSNBC show, host Thomas Roberts scolded Republicans for sending a letter to Iran objecting to the ongoing nuclear negotiations: "Certainly there's great politics at play here in dealing with the President's foreign policy....So this is another jab at the President's foreign policy, of trying to undercut it. What's the precedent, though, of a letter like this?" In reality, there have been several instances of Democratic members of Congress openly reaching out to foreign governments in defiance of Republican presidents.
After softening her coverage of the Hillary Clinton email scandal on Monday's NBC Nightly News, on Tuesday's Today, correspondent Andrea Mitchell tried to excuse Clinton's initial unwillingness to address the controversy: "She may be reluctant because of what happened in April 1994. Under pressure, she held a White House news conference about an Arkansas land deal, it led to more investigations."
Appearing on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports on Monday, longtime Democratic operative and Clinton adviser James Carville bizarrely claimed press coverage of the Hillary Clinton email scandal was just part of some right-wing plot: "All of this is just the same cockamamie stuff that we go through. The [New York] Times gets something from some right-wing talking points, they print the story....It's all about nothing."
On Friday, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell observed that the Republican-led Benghazi investigation gained credibility in the wake of the Hillary Clinton email scandal that it uncovered: "Well, the Benghazi investigation by the Select Committee was viewed by many as overkill. That it had all been cleared up back two years ago. And the fact is that some people, certainly the partisans for Hillary Clinton, thought it was a witch hunt. Now they [Republicans] can say, with some legitimacy, 'We didn't have all the emails.'"
Discussing the growing email controversy swirling around Hillary Clinton with Bloomberg Politics managing editor Mark Halperin on Thursday’s NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie suggested it could resurrect another scandal for the would-be 2016 contender: “What about Republicans? This certainly hands them a lot of ammunition and breathes new life, perhaps, into the whole investigation into Benghazi.”
In a desperate attempt to deflect from Hillary Clinton's growing email scandal, ABC's White House correspondent Jonathan Karl wrote up a short hit piece for ABCNews.com on Tuesday in which he proclaimed: "Hillary Clinton isn't the only official who uses a non-government email address. A business card obtained by ABC News shows that Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, lists his Gmail address on his official House card."
On Wednesday's NBC Today, news anchor Natalie Morales warned viewers: "The U.S. Supreme Court today takes up a legal challenge that could doom the Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare." In the report that followed, correspondent Pete Williams declared the high court would "determine whether millions of people will lose their health insurance."
In a Tuesday article for National Journal, senior political columnist Ron Fournier blasted Hillary Clinton over the breaking email scandal and even suggested she give up her presidential ambitions: "Perhaps Hillary Rodham Clinton shouldn't run for president....Because she doesn't seem ready for 2016. Like a blast of wintry air in July, the worst of 1990s-style politics is intruding on what needs to be a new millennium campaign: Transparent, inspirational, innovative, and beyond ethical reproach."
In an interview with former Obama White House press secretary and current NBC political analyst Robert Gibbs on Tuesday's Today, co-host Matt Lauer saw big problems for Hillary Clinton in the wake of revelations that she used a private email account during her tenure as secretary of state: "It provides a lay-up, doesn't it Robert, for her critics who say this is all about a lack of transparency as she prepares for a run in 2016, that you can't go back and look at those emails?"
On Monday, only NBC's Today mentioned the "important news" that the Supreme Court was set to hear a case that could potentially dismantle ObamaCare. In a news brief in the 7 a.m. ET hour, anchor Natalie Morales reported: "...the Supreme Court is gonna hear this week a challenge to President Obama's signature health care policy that could deal it a crippling blow."
Introducing a one-sided report on Monday's NBC Today that featured no criticism of President Obama, co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed: "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has arrived ahead of a controversial speech to Congress tomorrow. And that visit at the invitation of Republicans is threatening to further strain the Obama administration's relations with Israel."
On Friday, NBC finally noticed the corruption scandal swirling around Hillary Clinton. However, the coverage on the Today show was relegated to a 49-second mention within a story slamming Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. By contrast, the morning show devoted 3 minutes 56 seconds to a social media debate about the color of a dress.
Desperate to tear down 2016 Republican frontrunner Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, co-host Matt Lauer led off Friday's NBC Today by proclaiming: "Governor's gaffe?...Presidential hopeful Scott Walker under fire for saying his experience with union protesters has prepared him to take on ISIS. Is it the first major blunder of the presidential race?"
On her Wednesday MSNBC show, host Andrea Mitchell gushed over Hillary Clinton's "strong performance" during an interview at a Silicon Valley conference on Tuesday: "...just looking at it as political drama. No notes, no Teleprompter, she's walking around the stage, she does a Q & A with Kara Swisher which is, you know, a challenging, interesting Q & A, edgy at times....A great reporter." In reality, the exchange consisted of series of fawning softballs, starting with: "So, I interviewed President Obama last week and I'm very eager to interview another president."
On Thursday, both NBC's Today and CBS This Morning were eager to promote MSNBC's town hall infomercial that allowed President Obama to push his executive overreach on illegal immigration and slam his opponents. On Today, news anchor Natalie Morales proclaimed: "The President is urging millions of undocumented immigrants to keep planning for eventual relief....he pledged to do everything in his power to overhaul the immigration system." She then touted his attacks on Republicans: "He challenged voters to hold Republicans accountable for killing reform efforts."
Wrapping up an interview with actor Tom Hanks on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer took time to promote a January op-ed Hanks wrote for The New York Times praising "free" community college: "I read this op-ed you wrote recently....I love that. Why was it so important for you to get that message out there?"
Continuing to hype a possible "shutdown" of the Homeland Security Department if Congress did not approve funding by Friday, Tuesday's network morning shows all seized on White House talking points that any delay in funding would threaten national security and placed blame for the budget impasse squarely on Republicans.