After NBC and ABC rushed to label Donald Trump “moderate” during Thursday’s evening newscasts following his move to left on transgender bathrooms and abortion, on Friday morning, all three network morning shows touted the Republican frontrunner “sounding strikingly more moderate on social issues” as he worked to “tone it down” on the campaign trail.
Kyle Drennen is the Media Research Center's Senior News Analyst and a Contributing Editor to NewsBusters. He is the co-author of the 2014 Media Reality Check study, TV News Blacks Out This Year’s Bad Election News for Democrats.
In 2009, he captured the infamous comment from then-Newsweek editor Evan Thomas comparing President Obama to God. Later that same year, he exposed for MSNBC deceptively editing video footage of a Tea Party rally to conceal the racial identity of an African American participant, forcing the liberal network to respond to criticism and explain its actions.
His media analysis has been cited by nationally syndicated radio hosts Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin, as well as media outlets including Fox News, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ.com, The Washington Times, Washington Examiner, Politico, National Review, among others.
Kyle joined the MRC in 2007 after graduating from Providence College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science. He lives in Northern Virginia and can be contacted via email at email@example.com.
On Thursday, both NBC’s Today and ABC’s Good Morning America reveled in ESPN firing baseball analyst Curt Schilling after the former all-star pitcher objected on social media to liberal demands that transgender people be allowed to use whichever bathroom they choose. At the top of Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie announced: “He's out. Former all-star pitcher Curt Schilling fired by ESPN after another controversial post to social media. What he said this time that could cost him his job.”
After asking on Wednesday whether Bernie Sanders “knows when the game is over,” on Thursday’s NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer lamented that the Democratic presidential candidate was “digging in his heels despite speculation over whether it is time for him to bow out of the race.”
During a town hall event on Thursday’s NBC Today, the hosts urged Donald Trump to move left on a series of issues and the Republican frontrunner happily obliged, adopting liberal positions on transgender bathrooms, abortion, and taxes. Willie Geist read a viewer's question: “Mr. Trump, please be specific, tell us your views on LGBT, how you plan to be inclusive as President. Speak about North Carolina bathroom law in particular.”
On Wednesday, NBC’s Today used the outcome of the New York primary to declare the nomination contests on both the Democratic and Republican sides to be over. At the top of the show, co-host Matt Lauer proclaimed: “Decisive victories. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton walk away with big wins in New York. Both now talking like the general election is set....So have New York values ended the race for Cruz? What about Kasich and Sanders?”
On Monday, all three network evening newscasts touted liberal protesters flooding into the streets around the Supreme Court to demand that the justices uphold President Obama’s unilateral executive action granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. Leading off NBC Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt proclaimed: “Immigration furor: The fate of millions now hanging in the balance. What happens if there is a tie?”
During a taped softball interview with Hillary Clinton aired on CBS’s Late Show Monday night, liberal host Stephen Colbert fretted that Republicans would run the Democratic frontrunner through a “meat slicer” if she became president.
In an interview with Bernie Sanders on Monday’s NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie worried that the Democratic presidential candidate’s criticism of frontrunner Hillary Clinton was similar to Donald Trump’s latest line of attack: “Donald Trump is test driving a new nickname for Hillary Clinton, ‘crooked Hillary.’ Maybe he uses fewer words, but have you been making the same argument against her?”
In a report for Monday’s NBC Today, news anchor Natalie Morales highlighted a new interview with Monica Lewinsky in the The Guardian and used the words of the former White House intern to scold Republican frontrunner Donald Trump for bringing up Bill Clinton’s past sex scandals during the 2016 campaign.
During an MSNBC town hall event with Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz on Thursday, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd dismissed the Texas Senator’s condemnation of Planned Parenthood by insisting that scandal surrounding the abortion provider was “made up.”
Opening her 12 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Friday, host Andrea Mitchell triumphantly proclaimed: “Tough crowd. It's crickets for Ted Cruz in Manhattan but Donald Trump is speaking their language at the big party dinner.” In a report minutes later, she announced: “Cruz had a terrible night at the Republican black-tie gala here for the state party..."
On ABC’s Good Morning America on Friday, co-host George Stephanopoulos told Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus that the GOP was “breaking apart” and quoted Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz to bolster his claim.
On her Wednesday night show, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly described a recent meeting with Donald Trump to “clear the air” in wake the Republican frontrunner’s months of public attacks against her. However, appearing at the annual Women in the World forum on April 6, Kelly ripped into her media colleagues for their excessive and skewed coverage of the billionaire’s campaign.
Keeping up the drumbeat against North Carolina’s religious freedom law on Wednesday, the three network morning shows seized on Republican Governor Pat McCrory amending the legislation and used the development to further hammer the state.
At the top of Wednesday’s NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie hyped: “Grand Old Problems. New disarray for the Republican Party. Trump now calling the delegate rules a ‘disgrace.’ The head of the party telling Trump to, quote, ‘Give us all a break.’”
In the sixth segment in less than two weeks promoting HBO’s movie rehash of the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill hearings, on Tuesday’s NBC Today, weatherman Al Roker spoke to the stars of the film and proclaimed: “Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill are back in the headlines thanks to Confirmation. It’s a dramatized version of the controversial Senate hearings, premiering this week on HBO.”
On Tuesday, all three network morning shows surprisingly hit Hillary Clinton and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for making a “racially charged joke” during a failed comedy skit at a press dinner.
On Sunday and Monday, all three network shows hailed rocker Bruce Springsteen’s decision to cancel a concert in North Carolina as further evidence of the “firestorm” and “growing backlash” against religious freedom laws recently passed there and in other states.
In a softball exchange with Anita Hill on Monday to promote the new HBO film commemorating her sexual harassment claims against Clarence Thomas, co-host Savannah Guthrie touted the law professor as a “reluctant witness” during the 1991 hearings that attempted to sink the nomination of the future Supreme Court justice.
In a stunning moment on Friday’s NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer actually pressed liberal actress Kerry Washington – starring in HBO’s new film on the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill hearings – on whether the biopic was really just a piece of “political propaganda.”