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
April 14, 2011, 3:37 PM EDT

On his 3PM ET hour show on MSNBC on Wednesday, host Martin Bashir enthusiastically reacted to President Obama's budget speech: "'We will invest in the future of America,' that's what President Obama just said in a much-anticipated speech on the budget....He offered a series of broad proposals and said it's time for the wealthiest Americans to pay their way and share in taxes."

Moments later, White House correspondent Mike Viqueira joined Bashir and proclaimed: "..the President's speech was part soaring, speaking to the aspirations and character of a nation, if you will." Bashir observed: "Mike, I don't want to sound as if I'm misrepresenting the President, but it appeared to me that he was suggesting that we can't be self-centered as far as fiscal policy is concerned. We can't simply slash programs everywhere without somehow expecting the wealthiest in society to contribute. Is that your impression?"

April 13, 2011, 12:43 PM EDT

Interviewing Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer pushed for tax increases in the 2012 budget: "...the President's expected to call for raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans – some estimates say that could raise some $700 billion, why couldn't that money be used to pay down the debt?"

Moments later, Lauer added: " Congressman Ryan is suggesting, Medicare needs to be revamped....that affects the elderly and the poor...why shouldn't the burden be equally shared? Why shouldn't we put some of that burden on the wealthy and corporations?"

April 12, 2011, 5:30 PM EDT

In an interview with President Obama's half-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng on Tuesday's NBC Today, weatherman Al Roker wondered: "When you look back on the President's campaign of hope do you see that – is it still that same message or has it had to change, do you think?" Soetoro-Ng replied: "I think that the message is absolutely the same. The President is still hopeful."

Soetoro-Ng was on the show to promote her children's book, 'Ladder to the Moon,' a story about the influence her and Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, had on their lives. When Roker asked about that influence, Soetoro-Ng declared: "She [Dunham] emphasized the themes that are present in the book – namely that we are interconnected, that we therefore need to take care of one another, empathize with one another, find ways to serve and help one another. And I think that those themes are very much evidenced in this presidency and in all of my brother's efforts as well."

April 12, 2011, 3:31 PM EDT

In a discussion with Tom Brokaw on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Meredith Vieira turned to the ongoing budget fight, asking in part: "Republicans are calling for the privatization of Medicare. Could they overstepping here?" The headline on screen throughout the segment read: "Debt Diet; Do White House & GOP Spending Cuts Go Too Far?"

In response to Vieira, Brokaw actually acknowledged the importance of reform: "You know, it's hard to say. I think what we're going to do – and It's long overdue, by the way – but we're going to have a real debate about Medicare, about how it has to be reformed. You can't get to where we need to get to in all these areas just by cutting alone. There have to be profound changes in Social Security, and Medicare, and health care delivery systems."

April 12, 2011, 11:55 AM EDT

During the panel discussion on Sunday's Meet the Press on NBC, host David Gregory gushed over President Obama's Friday night address to the nation on the budget deal: "The message was clear. Here he was to save the day, that it was President Obama – and he went to the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday – that he was able to rise above the fray. That's the image they want Americans to see."

The rest of the political panel agreed with Gregory's assessment. Special Olympics CEO Tim Shriver argued: "I think the President appears to be a mediator, and I think he, he rightfully gets some credit for averting the show – shutdown." CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer declared: "I think the President came out very much above this week, above the fray." New York Times White House correspondent Helene Cooper proclaimed: "[Obama]  was trying very much to appear above the – above the fray....definitely did the political calculus that he has to appear above it all, presidential."

April 11, 2011, 12:50 PM EDT

Appearing on Monday's "Today" to discuss the debate over reducing the nation's debt, CNBC host Erin Burnett declared to co-host Matt Lauer: "The problem is our revenue, what the government takes in, in taxes. What you pay every month out of your paycheck is way smaller, in fact, it's only somewhere around $2 trillion a year."

After Lauer asked about the relationship between government spending and the debt, Burnett acknowledged: "They are related, but really, to tackle this issue, we do have to tackle entitlements. When you look at Medicare and Social Security, it's 40% of our budget." However, she quickly denounced Republican attempts to use a raise in the debt ceiling to cut such spending: "Those are the questions we have to answer, but not through playing chicken on the debt ceiling."

April 8, 2011, 4:52 PM EDT

On Friday's NBC Today, as co-host Meredith Vieira spoke with correspondent Ben Fogle about Britain's Prince Harry being temporarily stuck at the North Pole, the headline on screen read: "Cooling His Heels; Prince Harry Stuck in the Artic." Halfway through the segment, the show's graphics department apparently noticed the spelling error, changing it to "Arctic."

The morning news program has done several stories on Prince Harry's travels in recent days, making the mistake all the more odd.

April 8, 2011, 12:54 PM EDT

In an interview with Democratic Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer on NBC's Today, Meet the Press host David Gregory, filling in for Matt Lauer, asked: "I wonder, as a Democratic leader, whether part of the strategy here is to cast Republicans as extremists and ultimately get a lot more of a winning political hand for the Democrats through this process."

With that setup, Hoyer proclaimed: "David, I think the Republicans are doing that to themselves very frankly. I don't think we have to cast them in that light. They're casting themselves in that light with the Tea Party coming to town and demanding that they either get 100% or shut down the government."

April 7, 2011, 5:41 PM EDT

During his Talking Points Memo at the top of Wednesday's O'Reilly Factor on Fox News, host Bill O'Reilly called out NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer for denouncing Republican efforts to cut spending on things like "climate control": "Are you kidding me, Lauer? Funding for climate control? Nobody can control the climate but God. So give a little extra at mass or services."

As NewsBusters reported, on Wednesday's Today, Lauer lamented: "...some of the things the Tea Party and others on the far right are asking for – no funding for Planned Parenthood, no funding for climate control, public broadcasting." In response, O'Reilly remarked: "Funding for Planned Parenthood and public broadcasting when the debt stands at 14 trillion? Have a telethon on the Today show for those concerns. Raise the money privately. This is nuts. The country's nearly bankrupt. China holds more than a trillion dollars of our debt and you guys want climate control funding? I feel a cold front coming on."

April 7, 2011, 4:12 PM EDT

After NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer joined Senator Chuck Schumer on Wednesday in labeling the Tea Party as the cause of the budget stalemate in Congress, on Thursday, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell again provided a platform for Democratic talking points in an interview with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

O'Donnell, who spoke with Reid Wednesday night, began with a challenge: "If there were a shutdown, are you responsible? At least in part?" Reid replied: "How can we be blamed when we have given them everything they want and they won't take yes for an answer?" She then summarized the Democratic argument: "Reid said Republicans refuse to compromise....[his] answer is blame the Tea Party."

April 6, 2011, 6:06 PM EDT

On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, a report on the Republican 2012 budget proposal included a sound bite from Democratic Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who decried the plan and ranted: "Medicare would become little more than a discount card. This plan would literally be a death trap for some seniors."

Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell setup the outrageous quote by simply noting: "Democrats call the Republican plan too severe, saying it would hurt the most vulnerable." After the clip of Schultz, O'Donnell went on to conclude her report without offering any rebuttal to the claim.

April 6, 2011, 11:30 AM EDT

In a softball interview with New York Senator Chuck Schumer on NBC's Today on Wednesday, co-host Matt Lauer recited Democratic talking points on the budget fight perfectly: "[For] the Tea Party and others on the far right....does it seem to you, Senator, that this is less about a fiscal debate or an economic policy debate and they are making an ideological stand here?" [Audio available here]

A visibly pleased Schumer excitedly agreed: "That's exactly right, Matt. You've hit the nail on the head.... they have an ideology just to get rid of all government....the Tea Party doesn't represent all of America. In fact, their popularity is rapidly declining and that ought to be a message to Speaker Boehner."

In his question to Schumer, Lauer was dismayed by conservative calls for "no funding for Planned Parenthood, no funding for climate control, public broadcasting."

April 5, 2011, 1:03 PM EDT

On Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Meredith Vieira grilled Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on GOP criticism of the massive spending of the Obama administration: "...sixth consecutive month of job growth, unemployment numbers lowest in two years, it certainly appears that there is a recovery. So doesn't that throw a real monkey wrench into your argument?"

Priebus pointed out: "Under this president – he's promised millions and millions of jobs –  we've lost 26 million jobs, Meredith, since he's been president. He promised under an $850 billion stimulus program that we'd be on the path to recovery. Well, none of that has come true." Undeterred, Vieira followed by declaring: "And yet, even some Republican economists have said that in criticizing these numbers, the Republicans run the risk of looking like they're cheering for an economic reversal."

April 4, 2011, 12:18 PM EDT

At the top of Monday's Today on NBC, co-host Matt Lauer touted "breaking news" of President Obama announcing his re-election bid: "...the expected announcement comes with a prediction, he could become the first candidate ever to raise a billion dollars." Lauer then added: "Will Republican hopefuls sitting on the sidelines be compelled to dive in as well?"

While fill-in co-host Ann Curry noted the announcement was "not a surprise" the broadcast still lead with a full report on the topic. Like Lauer, White House correspondent Savannah Guthrie highlighted Obama's fundraising efforts while noting the lack of formal announcements from Republican candidates: "The President is already planning fundraising trips this month to Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, while the Republican race is still off to a slower start."

April 1, 2011, 4:30 PM EDT

In an interview with Congressman Mike Pence on Friday, MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer slammed a Republican proposal to cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood and the Environmental Protection Agency: "...what it does not respect are women's rights, what it does not respect is the environment. Is it going to undermine potential success here if you force social issues on to the budget table?"  

Brewer opened the 12PM ET hour segment with the Indiana Republican by blaming the Tea Party for the budget stalemate on Capitol Hill: "At issue, freshman Republicans, many with Tea Party support, who insist on slashing at least $61 billion. They also want to cut funding for Planned Parenthood, National Public Radio, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Social goals. Democrats are not on board."

April 1, 2011, 12:32 PM EDT

Since Japan's earthquake and following nuclear crisis, the CBS Evening News has done two reports on the Obama administration blocking use of the Yucca Mountain storage facility in Nevada to safely dispose of U.S. nuclear waste. Meanwhile, NBC and ABC have ignored the controversy.

The first CBS report on the issue came on March 22, when Evening News anchor Katie Couric declared: "The crisis in Japan has renewed the debate over nuclear power in this country. Today a federal appeals court heard arguments in a lawsuit over what to do with spent fuel rods." Correspondent Jim Axelrod explained: "An estimated 66,000 metric tons of spent fuel are stored at 77 sites around the country. That's more than 145 million pounds....Plans to make Yucca Mountain in Nevada a long-term storage site were scuttled by the Obama administration a year ago, after 20 years of planning costing $14 billion."

March 31, 2011, 3:51 PM EDT

As Syrian President Bashar al-Assad defiantly refused to implement democratic reforms and his security forces fired on protesters on Wednesday, the networks continued to ignore Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Sunday comments labeling the dictator as a "reformer."

On Wednesday's CBS Evening News fill-in anchor Erica Hill read a news brief on the latest crackdown by the Syrian government: "There's more turmoil in Syria today after a hard-line speech by President Bashar al-Assad. Instead of announcing reforms, as expected, Assad blamed recent protests on a foreign conspiracy....In the port city of Latakia, witnesses say Syrian troops opened fire during an anti-government protest." Despite Clinton having made her gaffe on CBS's Face the Nation, Hill did not mention it.

March 31, 2011, 12:39 PM EDT

On Thursday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes portrayed the Tea Party movement as the cause of the budget stalemate in Congress: "With a government shutdown looming, sources say negotiators are homing in on a package of cuts worth $33 billion. That's roughly what Republican leaders proposed last month, before the Tea Party wing demanded that they double their proposal to 61 billion."

Cordes went on to note how "sniping between party leaders is escalating," which was followed by a clip of House Speaker John Boehner calling on Democrats to "have real negotiations" instead of "rooting for a government shutdown." She then remarked: "Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid snapped back that it was Speaker Boehner who had been holding up negotiations, not him." In a sound bite, Reid said of Boehner: "I'm glad he's returned to the conversation. It's obvious that he has a difficult situation on his hands." Cordes added: "The situation he's talking about is the group of Tea Party freshmen Republicans who are insisting that Boehner hold firm on large cuts."    

March 30, 2011, 4:21 PM EDT

Appearing on Sunday's Face the Nation on CBS, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dismissed the idea of U.S. military action in Syria, claiming that unlike Libya's Qadhafi, Syria's Bashir Assad was considered to be a "reformer" by "many of the members of Congress." Schieffer failed to challenge the assertion. In the days since, CBS, ABC, and NBC have ignored the comment.

In contrast to Clinton's remark, a 2009 State Department review of human rights in Syria, released in a March 2010 report, found: "During the year the government and members of the security forces committed numerous serious human rights abuses, and the human rights situation worsened. The government systematically repressed citizens' abilities to change their government. In a climate of impunity, there were instances of arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life. Members of the security forces tortured and physically abused prisoners and detainees."

March 30, 2011, 12:46 PM EDT

On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge interviewed former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and questioned President Obama's Libya policy: "...on Monday, the President said it would be a mistake to send U.S. troops to push out Qadhafi, saying quote, 'We went down that road in Iraq'...taking a shot at you and President Bush....Isn't the President being a bit hypocritical?"

Even Rumsfeld was unwilling to seize on Wragge's characterization: "Oh, I'm not sure I'd use that word." However, he went on to call for greater clarity from the administration on removing Qadhafi: "...the continued ambiguity by the President and the administration about whether or not Qadhafi will ultimately be gone is long as the people on the ground are ambiguous as to whether or not Qadhafi's going to stay or leave, more people will be killed."