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.

Latest from Kyle Drennen
February 23, 2012, 3:04 PM EST

Citing Rick Santorum questioning President Obama's "theology" and recent comments form evangelist Franklin Graham, on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie wondered: "Does religion belong in our political discourse?" Show panelists – attorney Star Jones, advertising executive Donny Deutsch, and NBC medical editor Nancy Snyderman – gave a resounding no:

>JONES: Not if people are going to actually be talking about the relationship that they have with God or Christ or Buddha or whomever. I think it's inappropriate for people to bring in their own personal religion in politics.

February 23, 2012, 10:32 AM EST

Reviewing Wednesday's Republican debate on Thursday's Today, NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd spun hard for Democrats: "You know, there was something about last night's debate that I know the folks in Chicago, meaning the Obama re-election team, felt pretty happy about....it felt like the shift was a little bit too much to the right and away from the middle." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Todd detailed the reasons why the Obama camp would be so pleased by the debate: "They felt that the conversation the Republicans were having, 20 minutes on earmarks, you know. Another 10 or 15 minutes on contraception....as much criticism was being leveled at the Bush administration as it was on the Obama administration. The tacks to the right on immigration." Todd concluded: "I'm not sure right now the Republican brand is – is helping itself with these debates."

February 22, 2012, 4:16 PM EST

On Wednesday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander noted how the Republican primary "has increasingly become laced with references to religion" and predicted that in the upcoming GOP debate on CNN, "[Rick] Santorum is likely to be peppered with questions about his remarks on what he called the President's 'phony theology.'"

Later in the report, Alexander touted Mitt Romney being drawn into the issue: "Romney has tried to narrow his focus to the economy. But at a town hall meeting on Tuesday he was asked how he would protect religious freedom and answered by attacking the President." After a sound bite of Romney describing how President Obama "hangs around" with people who have a "secular agenda," Alexander dutifully forwarded the White House defense: "The Obama campaign quickly fired back, calling Romney's comments 'disgraceful.'"

February 21, 2012, 4:36 PM EST

At the top of Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Ann Curry admonished Rick Santorum for accurately describing President Obama's religious history: "Fanning the flames. Rick Santorum takes a new shot at President Obama's faith by mentioning his controversial former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright."

In a later report, correspondent Peter Alexander announced: "Rick Santorum isn't backing down from what some viewed as a shot this weekend at the President's faith....On Fox News, Santorum may have fanned the flames, when he again insisted he was not questioning the President's Christianity."

February 21, 2012, 12:49 PM EST

Putting a question to MSNBC's Chris Matthews at the end of a President's Day panel discussion at Ford's Theater on Monday, I challenged him about the American people growing cynical of media coverage, the left-wing Harball host responded by proclaiming that his own program was "a great positive thing for American civilization." The largely liberal audience applauded the notion. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Matthews suggested his comment was somewhat tongue-in-cheek: "What do you expect me to say? That's what I do every day." However, moments earlier he asserted: "I think what I do every night and the people that watch me appreciate it....I try to bring an entertainment factor into it....I think at the end of my hours every night they know a lot more about American politics than when they begin, and they enjoy it more."

February 20, 2012, 4:33 PM EST

Appearing on Sunday's NBC Today, Meet the Press host David Gregory recited Obama campaign talking points perfectly as he predicted: "...Well, he's going to raise plenty of money.... even if people are disappointed with the President, they're going to focus on the alternative. They're going to say, 'Do you really want to hand it over to Republicans?' I think Democrats will be plenty energized..."

That response was prompted by co-host Jenna Wolfe helpfully touting Obama's fundraising numbers, emphasizing small-dollar donors: "...they raised over $29 million in January for their re-election. Ninety-eight percent of those donations were $250 or less. What does that say about Obama supporters?" The headline on screen added: "Obama's Fundraising Driven By Small Donors."

February 20, 2012, 1:12 PM EST

On Sunday, NBC's David Gregory spent much of Meet the Press blasting Rick Santorum for criticizing President Obama's "phony theology" of liberalism. Earlier that morning, he appeared on the Today show to wonder if the GOP was "comfortable" with that line of criticism and warned: "Does it want to reignite culture wars in America over these kinds of issues?"

On Monday's Today, fill-in co-host Savannah Guthrie followed Gregory's lead as she lead the top of the show with this proclamation: "Culture wars. Rick Santorum is trying to explain his comment that appeared to question President Obama's faith." NBC did not dare accuse the Obama administration of trying to "reignite" a "culture war" over the ObamaCare contraception mandate controversy.

February 17, 2012, 12:54 PM EST

On Friday's NBC Today, substitute co-host Savannah Guthrie eagerly touted liberal talking points attacking a hearing held by House Republicans over the controversial ObamaCare contraception mandate on Thursday: "[They] held a hearing on the matter and Democrats got a lot of mileage out the fact that, that first panel of witnesses was all men."

On to discuss the political fallout, Meet the Press host David Gregory concluded: "You look at a scene like yesterday and it just underscores the fact that not only government, but our religious institutions, are dominated by men. It was an unfortunate image to put out there." Guthrie added: "...maybe Republicans stepped into it a little bit on that."

February 16, 2012, 5:18 PM EST

Leading off Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams spun hard for the Obama administration as he distorted Mitt Romney's opposition to the government bailout of the auto industry: "The fight for Michigan as Mitt Romney scrambles to explain to the voters in his home state why he thought the auto industry should be allowed to fail."

Having ignored the fact that Romney called for a "managed bankruptcy" of General Motors and Chrysler in order for them to reorganize and become healthier companies, Williams announced to viewers: "Mitt Romney's in a tough spot....he's working hard to explain why he was against the government's auto industry bailouts. That doesn't go over well in the state we associate with Detroit and American cars."

February 16, 2012, 12:09 PM EST

Seeing little hope for Republican chances against Obama in November on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer put this question to Donald Trump: "Isn't any Republican nominee going to have a problem, and that is, by all indications, the economy is getting stronger. So if you're the Republican nominee, how do you run against a recovering economy? How do you say, 'I'm not up with that'?"

February 16, 2012, 11:17 AM EST

On Thursday's NBC Today, chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman scolded Rick Santorum for a recent humorous campaign ad that depicted Mitt Romney firing a mud-filled paint ball gun at a cardboard cut-out of the former Pennsylvania Senator: "I'm sick of guns. I'm sick of the violence. I'm sick of all of it. And I know it's tongue-in-cheek....I don't like it." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Snyderman made the declaration during the Today's Professionals panel discussion on the show, which prompted attorney Star Jones to chime in that the ad made all the GOP candidates look like the Three Stooges: "...it does go to the whole Larry, Curly and Moe mentality of the Republican primary over the last few months. It's been almost like joking."

February 15, 2012, 5:22 PM EST

At the top of Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams pleaded: "Why now? In a tight economy with so many Americans living on the financial edge, why are they being asked to pay so much more for gas?" Moments later, he warned: "...there's still one thing that could crush it all and ruin any hope for a real recovery right now, and that's the price of gas."

Compare that sentiment to this question Tom Brokaw put to President-elect Obama in December of 2008 on Meet the Press: "Why not take this opportunity to put a tax on gasoline, bump it back up to $4 a gallon where people were prepared to pay for that, and use that revenue for alternative energy and as a signal to the consumers: 'Those days are gone. We're not going to have gasoline that you could just fill up your tank for 20 bucks anymore.'"

February 14, 2012, 12:34 PM EST

In an attempt to frame Republican opposition to the President's 2013 budget proposal as merely political posturing, NBC Today co-host Ann Curry announced to viewers on Tuesday: "President Obama unveiled his new budget plan on Monday and with this being an election year, his Republican rivals were quick to lash out in opposition."

In the report that followed, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd described the latest budget fight as being a question of, "who's going to bear the greatest burden on reducing the large national debt? The wealthiest Americans or government itself?" He further proclaimed it to be "presidential populism versus a Republican focus on shrinking government." The headline on screen throughout the segment read: "Budget Battle; GOP Candidates Blast President's Spending Plan."

February 13, 2012, 5:12 PM EST

In a hostile interview with Rick Santorum on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory attempted to paint the Republican presidential candidate as some kind of paranoid conspiracy theorist simply by voicing opposition to President Obama's reelection.

Gregory hyped recent comments by Santorum: "You've talked about this in terms of why you believe the President is dangerous, that re-electing the President would unmask some sort of hidden plan that he has for a second term....What is that secret plan that your so worried about? And is that not just hyperbole and demagoguery?"

February 13, 2012, 1:45 PM EST

Despite the fact that the national debt has topped $15 trillion, the three network morning shows on Monday managed to only provide a total of 47 seconds to the Obama administration's newly released budget plan.

NBC's Today gave the most time to the news – a whole 26 seconds – but also completely glossed over criticism of the plan, with news anchor Natalie Morales declaring: "President Obama is sending a new budget to Congress today in a bid to reduce the deficit by some $4 trillion over the next decade. The spending blueprint outlines his plans to cut government spending and raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans."

February 10, 2012, 5:13 PM EST

With an on-screen headline describing the annual Conservative Political Action Conference as a "Battle for the Base," correspondent Kelly O'Donnell remarked: "...the Republican Party stars are, in essence, competing to outdo each other taking apart President Obama. From Florida, Senator Marco Rubio....to those former candidates who gave the primary season a fleeting spark."

Earlier in the report, O'Donnell proclaimed that Rick Santorum had "...pounded away again at the White House for its battle over contraception coverage with the Church" in a campaign speech on the campaign trail.

February 10, 2012, 1:07 PM EST

In the only network morning show interview with Rick Santorum in the wake of his three-state victory on Tuesday, NBC Today co-host Ann Curry on Friday pestered the former Pennsylvania senator on whether he would "commit" not to do any negative campaigning and attempted to portray his recent comments on women serving in military combat roles as a gaffe.

Curry put this question to Santorum early in the interview: "...it is clear that negative campaigning generates votes....aren't you going to now have to go negative? Will you commit that your – you and your PACs will not? Or are you going to have to now?"

February 9, 2012, 4:38 PM EST

In a live interview with John F. Kennedy mistress Mimi Alford on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Ann Curry fretted over her sharing unflattering details about the late president: "What about Caroline [Kennedy], who is still alive?...Did you think about, as you talk about unburdening yourself, the idea that you've burdened other people now with this?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Alford stood by her decision to go public with the affair: "Well, I don't intentionally burden someone else. I'm telling my story. And that is what – that is what I needed to do." Curry followed up: "Any push-back from the Kennedy family? Yes or no?" Alford replied: "No, nothing."

February 9, 2012, 12:25 PM EST

Following a revealing interview with former JFK mistress Mimi Alford on Wednesday's NBC Rock Center, left-wing MSNBC host Chris Matthews, along with liberal historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Richard Reeves, were invited on the broadcast to give a sycophantic defense of the womanizing president. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Touting his new book, "Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero," Matthews proclaimed: "The greatest heroes are often the most flawed." The Hardball host went on to gush over how Kennedy "colorized American politics....made it a technicolor movie, he made it exciting." In his characteristic fashion, Matthews concluded: "And so with it all, the total picture still arouses the country."

February 8, 2012, 5:05 PM EST

In a panel discussion on Wednesday's NBC Today, committed liberal and advertising executive Donny Deutsch denounced critics of Chrysler's Super Bowl ad: "Republicans should be quiet because by saying this is a Barack ad, you're saying this is America the beautiful, America is on its way back....They're looking like fools."

Moments later, Deutsch admitted the ad touted an Obama accomplishment: "And by the way, Barack did make the move to save the auto industry. Like him or not, that's a fact." Earlier in the discussion, attorney Star Jones expressed the same sentiment: "The truth hurts. I mean, if, in fact, the country is coming back and it benefits this administration, then they reap that benefit."