Introducing a segment on Thursday's NBC Today about parents saving for college, co-host Matt Lauer and the show's financial editor Jean Chatzky spent a scant twenty-four seconds on President Obama's recently announced proposal to hike taxes on college savings accounts. Lauer noted: "Talk to me a little bit about what President Obama was referring to when he gave the State of the Union address and he talked about proposing changes to 529 accounts."
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 PBS's Charlie Rose Tuesday night following President Obama's State of the Union address, Bloomberg View columnist Al Hunt praised it as "one of the best speeches of his presidency" and "remarkably effective," before admitting: "I don't think he's going to get much done....This is not a cycle where you get much done. He may get a little stuff on trade and infrastructure."
In a softball interview with Joe Biden on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer fretted over there being "more tension than normal" during Tuesday's State of the Union address with Republicans in control of Congress and slammed GOP reaction to a line in the speech: "...the President was talking about having arguments that are worthy of the body and the country, and then he said, 'I've run my last campaign,' and there was a smattering of applause, maybe even laughter from some Republicans and the President shot back. Did you see that as a moment of disrespect? Was it a symptom of the very pettiness that the President was referring to?"
On Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer actually grilled White House chief of staff Denis McDonough on President Obama's tax hike proposal: "During the President's last press conference of 2014, he was asked how he might be able to work with the new incoming Republican-controlled Congress and he said, quote, 'The tax area is one area where we can get things done.' And now he's proposing a middle class tax cut paid for with a tax hike on the wealthiest Americans that just about everyone says cannot pass this congress. So why is he going this route?"
At the top of NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, moderator Chuck Todd wondered if a Republican rising star could overcome a major obstacle that has occurred "year after year" for the GOP: "Can Iowa's Joni Ernst avoid becoming the latest victim of the curse of the State of the Union response?"
On Sunday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt touted how President Obama's plan to "propose tax hikes for wealthiest Americans" during Tuesday's State of the Union address would be "potentially putting Congress in the position of appearing to defend the highest income earners over the middle class."
On Friday, while all three network morning shows covered Secretary of State John Kerry arriving in Paris to offer U.S. condolences following the recent terrorist attacks, none of the broadcasts mentioned one of the most embarrassing moments in American diplomatic history that occurred during the visit – Kerry bringing musician James Taylor to a press conference to sing "You've Got A Friend" to the French people.
In an interview with newly elected Colorado Senator Cory Gardner for PBS's Charlie Rose, Bloomberg View columnist Al Hunt grilled the Republican on conservatives in Congress being obstructionist: "Some of your Republican colleagues, Ted Cruz in the Senate, those twenty-four House members who voted against Speaker Boehner, they're not interested in getting things done as much as they are in putting down markers. Isn't it more likely there'll be a series of confrontations rather than any kind of collaboration?"
During an interview with Senator Marco Rubio on Tuesday, PBS host Charlie Rose urged the Florida Republican to say something positive about ObamaCare: "What's the best thing you can say about the Affordable Care Act?" Rubio replied: "That it's forced us to have a debate about health insurance in America." Rose fretted: "That's it?"
Reporting on the release of Charlie Hebdo's first issue since the January 7 terrorist attack, NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday refused to show the cover of the satirical magazine that depicted a cartoon image of Mohamed. Despite such censorship, both networks touted the publication as "a triumph for free speech" and "a kind of declaration of defiance against terror."
On Monday's Today, while discussing celebrities at Sunday's Golden Globes expressing solidarity with the French following a series of terrorist attacks, Variety magazine senior editor Ramin Setoodeh made an odd assertion: "It was a very political night and Hollywood usually likes to avoid politics, but last night they went all in and they were very political."
On Monday's CBS This Morning, as Florida Senator Marco Rubio denounced President Obama's decision to reopen diplomatic relations with Cuba, co-host Charlie Rose attempted to push liberal spin on the topic: "But what about the argument that in fact – if in fact Cuba is opened up, it will change? Vietnam changed." Rubio quickly shot him down: "It did not change politically. Nor has China, for that matter."
On Monday, all three network morning shows surprisingly devoted full reports to President Obama being strongly criticized for not attending – or not at least sending a top official to attend – an anti-terror march in Paris on Sunday. At the top of NBC's Today, co-host Matt Lauer announced: "While world leaders join millions for a massive anti-terror rally in Paris, the President is under fire for not taking part."
During her Friday show on MSNBC, amid live coverage of French authorities killing multiple terror suspects following dual hostage standoffs, host Andrea Mitchell lamented the fact that President Obama's political agenda may be setback by the attacks in Paris. Talking to Maine Senator Angus King, she fretted: "Do you think that this terror incident will in any way slow down the President's intention to continue drawing down from Guantanamo and to eventually close that facility, if possible?"
One day after a brutal terrorist attack in Paris by Islamic radicals, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell spent much of her Thursday show wringing her hands over Muslims in France and Europe being "under fire." Talking to Muslim Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, Mitchell worried: "This is a challenge for France, which has had a lot of negative legal actions and restrictive laws and a large Muslim community....What is the challenge as they approach this manhunt to not begin racial or religious profiling?"
Appearing on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Thursday, David Rothkopf, CEO and editor of The FP Group, which publishes Foreign Policy magazine, warned against European authorities being too aggressive in fighting Islamic terrorism following the brutal attack in Paris: "I think we have to be just as worried about the reaction to the attack from nationalists, from right-wingers, from people who have sought to drive this wedge...between the Islamic communities and the mainstream communities in Europe....it's very important that we recognize the value of restraint in response to these things."
Appearing on Wednesday's NBC Today to promote his new film Birdman, actor Michael Keaton oddly started the interview by taking a jab at the new Republican Senate Majority Leader: "...let me just read something. This is just too good. Mitch McConnell – this is from our boy, Mitch...Here's what he says, 'We all know that one of the things the Senate is best at doing is not doing much,' he said. 'Why don't we get started?' Why don't we get started at not doing much? Thanks, Mitch."
In a fawning interview with actress Lena Dunham on Wednesday's NBC Today to promote the latest season of HBO's Girls, co-host Savannah Guthrie sympathized with the feminist activist over people doubting an allegation in her memoir of being sexually assaulted by a "campus Republican" in college – a claim which has been disproved on several of the key details.
While Republicans officially took control of both the House and the Senate on Tuesday, NBC, ABC, and CBS all touted GOP setbacks. NBC's Today led the way, with correspondent Peter Alexander seizing on comments from the top Senate Republican: "Among incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's main goals for his party: don't be scary."
In a live interview with Sarah Palin on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie accused the former Alaska governor of taking a "cheap shot" at President Obama while defending herself against nasty attacks from animal rights group PETA: "You also talk about President Obama, saying that he tried dog meat when he was under ten years old in Indonesia. I have to ask you about that one, though, is that kind of trading cheap shot for cheap shot?"