In an interview with former House speaker Newt Gingrich on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer worried about vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's commitment to conservative principles: "I've heard Paul Ryan described as a true conservative....Do you honestly think he is someone who will work and reach across the aisle to Democrats or will he be an immovable object on key social issues and issues of ideology?"
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.
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer actually used the President's own past statements about Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan to grill deputy Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter: "President Obama said this of Paul Ryan, that he was 'absolutely sincere about wanting to reduce the deficit'...gave him 'credit for at least being willing to put out there some very tough choices.' Does he still feel that way?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Cutter attempted to rely on the usual Democratic fearmongering, accusing Ryan of a plan "that balances the budget on the backs of the middle class." Lauer called her out for that tactic, again citing Obama's own words: "...he said this, quote, 'We're not going to be able to do anything about these entitlements if what we do characterize whatever proposal's are put out there as well, you know, that's the other party being irresponsible...the other party trying to hurt our senior citizens.' Which sounds exactly what – like what you just said."
Hoping to define vice presidential pick Paul Ryan early with liberal talking points, on Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander painted the Wisconsin congressman as "the architect of a politically polarizing budget plan to slash trillions in federal funding, including cuts to Medicare..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Alexander began his report by offering this description of Ryan: "To Republicans, Ryan is viewed as a conservative, a courageous and visionary conservative. To Democrats, his views are seen as extreme." At the top of the show, co-host Matt Lauer only saw problems for Republicans and advantages for Democrats with the Ryan pick: "Will Ryan's budget plan hurt the ticket? And how is President Obama using the choice to his own advantage?"
On Thursday, several media reports used Obama campaign talking points to downplay a new Romney campaign ad that accused the President of a "war on religion" following the ObamaCare contraception mandate that would force religious institutions to cover birth control in employee health insurance plans.
Articles for The Washington Post, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal all touted the Obama White House reaching a supposed "compromise" with religious groups on the issue. The Post's Rachel Weiner explained: "In a compromise designed to quell criticism, church-affiliated employers (such as universities) do not have to directly provide contraception coverage....But that compromise did not satisfy Catholic critics."
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams eagerly touted ongoing trouble for the nation's largest breast cancer charity: "...the controversy involving the Susan G. Komen Foundation has soiled one of the great names and best-known brand names in all of charity....it was the symbol of the fight against breast cancer until controversy came along and Komen cut funds for Planned Parenthood, a decision it later reversed."
Williams noted how "senior leadership has given way" as "founder, Nancy Brinker, whose late sister was Susan G. Komen, is stepping down from her role as CEO." He wondered: "But will it be enough to restore faith and quiet the critics?" Correspondent Lisa Myers declared the move "was welcomed as much-needed change at Komen affiliates."
At no point in the segment was Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, described as controversial.
Still working hard to avoid mentioning an outrageous Obama super-PAC ad that basically accused Mitt Romney of being responsible for the cancer death of a woman, Thursday's NBC Nightly News had the gall to instead promote pro-Obama fluff, as anchor Brian Williams gushed: "Knowing a hot product when he sees one, the President today visited the U.S. Olympic training facility in Colorado."
Williams made sure to inform viewers that Obama "Promptly took his shoes off, got on the mat, and said his grandmother would be proud there were no holes in his socks."
At the top of Tuesday's O'Reilly Factor on Fox News, host Bill O'Reilly rightly observed "the American media overwhelmingly favoring Barack Obama over Mitt Romney" and predicted that the slanted news coverage "will give the President about 3% or 4% of the popular vote" in the general election.
O'Reilly cited numerous studies over several years that demonstrated the media predisposition that "clearly favors the more liberal candidate, and has for decades." In 2004, then-assistant managing editor of Newsweek magazine, Evan Thomas, made a prediction remarkably similar to O'Reilly's when he admitted that media bias in favor Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry was "going to be worth maybe 15 points," a number he revised down to five points months later.
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams gushed over a speech Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made on a trip to South Africa: "...she talked about the strength she received from Nelson Mandela back when she was first lady and the Clintons were under daily political attack."
Williams read a quote from Clinton: "I was beginning to get pretty hard inside. I was beginning to think, who do they think they are? What can I do to get even?" He then added: "She talked about Mandela's lesson of shedding bitterness and working toward reconciliation."
During a report about "why we love the British" on Thursday's NBC Today, special correspondent Tom Brokaw declared: "In one of our election years, the British watch America with a sense of bewilderment." Left-wing BBC anchor Katty Kay sniffed: "When we talk about God, guns, and government, those are the three big things we don't understand." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
She then lamented: "The role of government here [in the United States] is much more complicated, people don't want it in America. In Britain, we expect government to provide things for us."
Appearing on Wednesday's NBC Today, U.S. Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones responded to a New York Times story that trashed her as a "vixen, virgin, victim," telling co-host Savannah Guthrie: "...it was two days before I competed. And then the fact that it was from a U.S. media....they should be supporting our U.S. Olympic athletes, and instead they just ripped me to shreds....they just tore me apart, it was heartbreaking." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In just a matter of days, presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney will announce his choice for his 2012 running mate. No matter who Romney picks, however, the liberal media's line of attack is already clear. The Media Research Center reviewed news coverage of several potential picks, and found many have already been caricatured as too far right or outside the mainstream.
It took NBC News nearly a week to mention Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's sleazy and unfounded charge that Mitt Romney failed to pay taxes, with chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd declaring on Nightly News Tuesday: "Reid has just as doggedly refused to divulge his source or back up his claim with documentation. And the White House has stood aside, letting the poisoned atmosphere fester."
By waiting five days to get around to the Democratic mud-slinging, NBC was able to diffuse the low-ball tactics as just another part of a contentious campaign season, with anchor Brian Williams announcing: "Also, getting personal in the race for president. Tonight what the candidates are now calling each other....the dialogue has become a bit less than presidential in the past few days."
Introducing a report on the ongoing civil war in Syria on Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams made sure to promote PR from the White House: "...the State Department and the Pentagon are now working together on plans for Syria after Assad, hoping to avoid the chaos they believe broke out because of the lack of planning for a post-Saddam Iraq." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
However, the report that followed by chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel seemed to undermine the notion of a well-planned U.S. strategy in Syria against the Assad regime: "A rebel commander with a hundred fighters in [the city of] Aleppo told us today if the rebels don't receive a massive influx of weapons within the next 72 hours, they'll have to give up the fight."
In an unaired portion of an interview with British Prime Minister David Cameron meant to be featured on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer pressed Cameron to compare the London Olympics with the winter games run by Mitt Romney: "Do you think that Mitt Romney, the challenges he faced in 2002 in Salt Lake City, compared at all to what you faced here in London?" [View video after the jump]
After pushing Cameron to criticize Romney, moments later, Lauer went after Britain's head of Parliament for daring to modestly cut back on the nation's massive government spending: "You put in place some very difficult austerity measures that were controversial, hard for a lot of people to swallow. And yet, in the last quarter, your economy shrunk. So, was austerity the right path to take at that particular time, facing this very stubborn recession?"
In a glowing tribute to radical left-wing commentator Gore Vidal on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams could barely contain his adoration for the "prolific writer" who was "unquestionably brilliant." Williams further gushed that Vidal, "got his larger wish in life, to be remembered as both a polemicist and a man of letters. One of the most active and agile minds of his generation."
Compare that fawning eulogy to the shots Williams took at conservative icon William F. Buckley, upon his death in 2008: "Buckley paid dearly for some of his words: His defense of Senator Joe McCarthy, his early views on race and remarks he made about AIDS, saying those with AIDS should be tattooed to prevent its spread."
In an interview with actor Kevin Spacey on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer quoted the liberal star's description of his new role in a political drama, playing "a wily murderous politician worming his way to the White House." Spacey quipped in response: "Kind of like this year, isn't it?" Immediately picking up on the reference to Mitt Romney, Lauer chuckled and replied: "No, no, no. Get yourself in trouble, not me." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams smugly dismissed Mitt Romney's overseas trip as having, "ended today almost the way it started here in London, with controversy, some hurt feelings, and some raw tempers. Campaigning back home in the states is hard enough. The stakes weren't supposed to be this high for the campaign overseas." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Correspondent Peter Alexander followed: "...this trip has been supposed to be, according to his advisors, a low-risk one....But it was at times marred by missteps. Romney offending his Olympic hosts and Palestinian leaders."
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Stephanie Gosk promoted the Occupy-Wall-Street-stye rhetoric of left-wing British Member of Parliament Oona King: "King believes economic inequality was a driving force behind London's riots last year....The physical recovery from the riots has been slow....But the effort to improve lives is even more difficult."
Gosk interviewed King as they walked through London's East End, near the Olympic Village: "This is not the London that tourists typically get to see. Here the double-dip recession has hit hard. Unemployment is over 14%." King lamented: "Huge, vast repositories of wealth. And yet, that wealth doesn't trickle down anywhere, you know?" Gosk helpfully added: "So, they can see it....but they can't get there."
On Tuesday's NBC Today, campaign correspondent Peter Alexander attempted to spin bad behavior by reporters covering Mitt Romney's trip to Poland as a new controversy for the presidential campaign: "This morning, after reporters tried to shout questions to Romney while he left a plaza near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier....A campaign spokesman angrily intervened....The spokesman later called reporters to apologize." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The report featured a clip of one female reporter screaming at Romney: "Governor Romney, do you feel that your gaffes have overshadowed your foreign trip?!" A campaign aide chastised: "This is a holy site for the Polish people. Show some respect." He could be heard saying: "Shove it. Shove it." That same aide reportedly also said "Kiss my ass," but NBC did not include that in its coverage.
Only two minutes into Friday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Chris Jansing gushed over "sounds of unadulterated joy"at the opening of the 2012 Olympics and offered this bit of pro-Obama fluff: "From cheers for the torch making its way along the River Thames, to delighted children playing with First Soccer Mom Michelle Obama and superstar David Beckham."
Moments later, anchor Brian Williams continued the fawning: "It's the first time every nation has women athletes on the team. And for the first time on Team USA, the women outnumber the men, as they do in the work place and on college campuses in the U.S. So it's fitting the ranking ambassador from the U.S. is First Lady Michelle Obama..."