Still harping on accusations of plagiarism against Melania Trump during an interview with Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort on Thursday’s NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer demanded an apology from the GOP operative for suggesting Hillary Clinton’s campaign was fueling the story: “You even went as far as to blame Hillary Clinton....you said, ‘When Hillary Clinton is threatened by a female, the first thing she does is try to destroy that person,’ would you offer Secretary Clinton an apology for blaming her?”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Appearing on Wednesday’s NBC Today, Saturday Night Live Weekend Update hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost both agreed that Republicans had a better sense of humor than Democrats. After a clip ran of the comedians doing man-on-the-street skits at the Republican National Convention, co-host Matt Lauer asked: “You're gonna also be at the Democratic National Convention. In your opinion, who do you think is funnier? Would Republicans be funnier or Democrats?”
Ahead of Mike Pence accepting the vice presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention Wednesday night, NBC’s Today made sure to warn viewers about the “conservative” and “controversial” Indiana governor. Correspondent Andrea Mitchell proclaimed: “And as governor, he has proven to be a staunch social conservative, signing controversial legislation, including a religious freedom bill that came under fire from gay rights groups.”
Following night two of the Republican National Convention, Wednesday’s NBC Today kept up its portrayal of the event being filled with “inflammatory rhetoric” and “raw red meat” as correspondent Peter Alexander declared: “Still, the night was heavy on harsh rhetoric, much of it directed at Hillary Clinton....Delegates repeatedly calling for Clinton to be thrown in jail.”
On Tuesday, all three network morning shows worried over the Republican convention being too conservative and throwing “raw red meat” to the party base. On NBC’s Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie fretted: “Okay, let’s talk about the tone of last night. There was a lot of red meat for the base. Is that good strategy? Is this going to be a base election?”
As presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump arrived in Cleveland Monday afternoon, he was greeted by NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer hectoring him about the “tone” of the GOP convention, which had barely started: “There’s been so much violence in the country in the last couple of weeks. People are on edge, they’re tense. You add to that the passion that comes with political debate and there are people who are truly afraid that things could boil over here in Cleveland.”
On NBC’s Today on Monday, co-host Savannah Guthrie teed up former Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw to compare the Republican National Convention in Cleveland to Chicago’s violent Democratic convention in 1968: “It would not be a convention without NBC special correspondent Tom Brokaw. He has covered every election, every convention since 1968....I mentioned 1968. There's something about this time and how unsettled we are as a nation that reminds us.”
On Monday, the three network morning shows hyped “security concerns” over Ohio’s open carry gun law and the prospect of protesters being armed around the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. On NBC’s Today, correspondent Stephanie Gosk feared: “The other concern that police have, that people are going to come here carrying their guns. There is a long list of banned items, but because of Ohio law, they are allowed to bring guns.”
With NBC’s Today live in Cleveland Monday morning to cover the Republican National Convention, co-host Matt Lauer used the killing of three police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana over the weekend to denounce “inflammatory rhetoric” from Donald Trump: “...the President spoke out and basically said, ‘Look, we’ve got to turn down the inflammatory rhetoric’....you have Donald Trump calling the President ‘clueless’ and saying the nation is a ‘divided crime scene.’ Are we going to hear more of that in the convention hall behind us?”
On Friday’s Today, NBC terror analyst Michael Leiter partly blamed France for Thursday’s terrorist attack in the resort town of Nice: “The French really do have a disenfranchised Muslim population...which has become extremely isolated. And even France’s efforts to allow for the free expression of religion has, I think arguably in some cases, produced more isolation and more radicalization.”
Appearing on MSNBC in the 11 a.m. ET hour on Friday, Daily Beast editor and NBC News contributor Christopher Dickey was confounded by the idea that the terrorist who launched Thursday’s attack on France was heavily armed: “...where the hell did he get those arms? I mean, this is not Alabama or South Carolina or Texas. You just can't go buy automatic pistols in any old store in town by showing your driver's license.”
On Thursday, both ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS This Morning hailed a video released by left-wing website Mic.com featuring celebrities describing “23 Ways You Could be Killed if You are Black in America.” On GMA, Pop News anchor Sara Haines touted how singer Alicia Keys had “called on Hollywood's biggest names for a powerful rallying cry in response to police brutality.”
Appearing on Thursday’s CBS This Morning, liberal PBS filmmaker Ken Burns absurdly argued: “I’ve spent my entire professional life being straight down the middle, non-partisan. Just trying to tell American facts. I try, in public television, to reach all audiences.” He made that declaration despite being on the show to promote his anti-Donald Trump crusade in the 2016 campaign.
In a surprisingly tough series of interviews on all three network morning shows on Wednesday, Bernie Sanders was grilled over his endorsement of Hillary Clinton. The hosts suggested he was simply supporting the “lesser of two evils” in the campaign and fretted that the socialist senator was “capitulating” his left-wing “values.”
On Tuesday’s CBS This Morning, co-host Gayle King kept up her staunch defense of the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the Dallas shooting. After interviewing a family that attended the protest which preceded the sniper attack on police, King proclaimed: “The thing they wanted to stress most is that Black Lives Matter didn't have anything to do with the shooting....the shooter was someone who had nothing to do with the cause and has sort of tainted the movement...”
Despite highlighting the latest NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll on Tuesday’s Today, showing Hillary Clinton’s lead over Donald Trump shrinking, the network morning show skipped the most damaging findings for the Democratic candidate. According the survey, 82% of voters thought it was inappropriate for Clinton to use a private e-mail server and 56% said they disagreed with the FBI’s decision not to indict the former Secretary of State.
On Monday, the hosts of CBS This Morning, along with Face the Nation moderator John Dickerson, proceeded to defend the Black Lives Matter movement in wake of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani slamming the left-wing group as “inherently racist.” Dickerson claimed not to know what the Republican was talking about: “So it’s not clear what he means. But what he seems to mean is that the Black Lives Matter phrase is about black lives mattering more. The Black Lives Matter phrase is about the argument that black lives should matter as much as...”
On Monday, all three network morning shows were eager to second guess the Dallas Police Department’s decision to use a bomb delivered by robot to kill ambush sniper Micah Johnson and fretted over the militarization of police across the country. At the top of CBS This Morning, with the headline “Questionable Tactics” emblazoned across the screen, co-host Gayle King worried: “And questions about how the Dallas Police Department ended the standoff with the gunman. Did they go too far delivering a bomb by robot?”
Appearing on NBC’s Today on Friday, Bloomberg Politics editor Mark Halperin offered a laughably naive explanation for Bill Clinton’s controversial meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch: “The most obvious explanation and probably the right one, is Bill Clinton is a really social guy...” He cast Clinton and Lynch as celebrities who just ran into each other: “And we’ve all seen situations where famous people on the tarmac, the two planes, it's kind of fun, ‘Hey, let's go over and visit.’”
During her 12 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Thursday, host Andrea Mitchell dismissed the controversy over Bill Clinton’s private meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch as nothing more than a “conspiracy theory” as she rushed to defend Hillary Clinton. Mitchell lamented even having to discuss story: “Now on top of all of this, as though there weren't enough conspiracy theories out there already...."