NBC's Peter Alexander, on Tuesday's Today show, decided to explore the softer side of WikiLeaks founder and purveyor of U.S. state secrets Julian Assange as he interviewed an investigative journalist from Oxford University who found him to be "funny, intelligent" and "not at all...rigid" and also aired a clip of Assange's mother speaking up for her son as she demanded that the world "stand up for my brave son."
In fact Alexander never aired a clip or interviewed any one who had a negative word to say about Assange but he did reveal some postings Assange allegedly made to an Internet singles site as Alexander reported:
"He writes, 'I am Danger.' And describes himself as 'passionate and often pig headed activist intellectual seeks siren for love affair, children and occasional criminal conspiracy.' That he's looking for a 'spirited, erotic non-conformist,' concluding 'Do not write to me if you are timid. Write to me if you are brave.'"
Appearing on Monday's Today show to reveal the finalists for his magazine's Person of the Year issue, Time's managing editor Richard Stengel hyped that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is "changing the way we look at" diplomacy, the "perception of secrecy" and hailed he had "an enormous year." Stengel didn't bother to attach a value judgment to Assange and the negative effect he's had on national security, but Today co-host Matt Lauer did remind Stengel that Assange was "embroiled in some personal scandal."
As for another finalist, the Tea Party, Stengel explained the rationale for putting them on the list is that they tapped into a generalized "feeling of frustration that people have of distrust for authority, of distrust for centralized leadership. That's almost a theme of the whole year." Neither Stengel nor Lauer pointed out the Tea Party also represented a backlash to Barack Obama's liberal policies.
Michele Bachmann had a formidable task, on Friday's Today show, as she tried her best to explain to NBC's Meredith Vieira that Republicans wanted to keep taxes low on the job producers to create more jobs, but Vieira wasn't having any of it, as she accused her and the GOP of being "mean spirited" to the jobless for not being more generous on unemployment benefits.
Vieira argued that the unemployed think Republicans who are for "these tax cuts, even for multimillionaires but opposed to extending unemployment benefits that are helping the people who are hurting most" were being "mean spirited." Bachmann responded by correcting the cartoon image many have of those who earn over $250,000 a year as those who were "lighting their cigars with $100 bills" as she explained many of them were small business owners who create jobs and added that what the jobless really want most is a regular paycheck from one of those job creators, as seen in this exchange:
The Republican Attorney General of Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli, accomplished what many others have failed to do and that is stay calm and collected in the midst of Chris Matthews' increasingly absurd charges, that even bordered on accusations of racism. Invited on Thursday's Hardball, to discuss a possible repeal amendment to the Constitution, Cuccinelli faced down a series of Matthews distortions as the Hardball host, at varying times, accused him of wanting to start another Whiskey Rebellion, questioned if he wanted to overturn the Civil Rights Act and charged that he was playing to "The old Johnny Rebs" and "Civil War buffs" in his state.
After Cuccinelli simply explained to the MSNBC host that the amendment was just an "attempt to bring back the balance of authority between the federal government and what goes on in the states" Matthews went on a tear as he insinuated the attorney general wanted to take America back to Antebellum days, as seen in the following exchange:
NBC's Meredith Vieira, on Wednesday's Today show, hit David Axelrod repeatedly from the left as she lectured the White House senior adviser that the left is "furious" at Barack Obama for making a deal with the GOP on tax cuts as she pressed: "Why shouldn't Americans look at this as a disaster in the making?"
During a segment headlined: "Tax Cut Compromise: Did President Go Too Far In Agreeing With GOP?" the Today co-host regurgitated talking points from the left to Axelrod as she scolded: "One senator went so far as to call" the tax cut compromise "borderline immoral" and demanded "how does he win back these fellow Democrats that he's referred to as sanctimonious?" After Axelrod responded that it would be "immoral" to have "millions of Americans" lose their unemployment insurance at the holidays, in addition to having their taxes raised, Vieira admonished the administration from the left:
On Tuesday's Andrea Mitchell Reports, Republican Senator Judd Gregg had to remind Andrea Mitchell that hardworking Americans' money belongs to them and not the government, after the NBC reporter pressed him to "justify" a "larger tax cut for those who really don't need it."
On to discuss the tax cut deal in Congress, Gregg explained to Mitchell that the "problem we have as a government today isn't that we're an under-taxed people. It's that we're an overspending government." However an undeterred Mitchell then went on to cite billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett as saying "at a time of deficit crisis that they don't need these tax breaks," to which Gregg zinged back: "If Warren Buffett and Bill Gates want to send us money, we'll take it."
The following exchange was aired on the December 7 edition of Andrea Mitchell Reports:
The Today show cast, on Tuesday, previewed a guest appearance by reality show star Kate Gosselin on Sarah Palin's TLC show, and after showing a clip of the former Alaska Governor frightening the celebrity mother of eight kids by firing off a gun, Vieira revealed she shared Gosselin's fears as she yelped: "You're with a woman with a gun. The whole thing makes me nervous, you know?"
The following is the full segment as it was aired on the December 7 Today show:
Invited on Tuesday's Today show to discuss the tax cut compromise in Congress, CNBC's Erin Burnett initially whined that "We can't afford it" but then went on to tell viewers that if Congress were to forego tax cuts we could afford "universal pre-school for free and provide free college tuition for half of the college students."
When asked by Today co-host Meredith Vieira about the "price tag" of the tax cut agreement and whether America could afford it, Burnett went on to bluntly assert "The answer to that is no" and then went on to cite a New York Times analysis that listed all the goodies America could pay for if Congress scrapped a tax break to those earning over $250,000 a year, as seen in this exchange from the December 7 Today show:
Bill Press appeared on Fox News' Geraldo At Large, on Sunday night, as part of a discussion about whether the Bush era tax cuts would be extended and the former CNN host couldn't get his story straight as he recommended that Congress go back to the Bill Clinton era "tax cuts." In fact Clinton, back in 1993, passed the largest tax increase in history but this bit of truth didn't get in the way of Press claiming, three times, that Clinton had cut taxes.
Oddly enough Press, near the end of his segment, eventually backed into truth, when he bragged: "I have to add Bill Clinton raised taxes, not one Republican voted for it, and 20 million jobs created under Bill Clinton."
The following exchange was aired on the December 5 edition of Geraldo At Large:
During a Norah O'Donnell report, on Friday's Today, about how well books written by the likes of Sarah Palin, George W. Bush and Glenn Beck are selling, the New York Times' Jenny Schuessler rationalized the only reason conservative books are outpacing liberal ones is because "conservatives have some really strong media personalities" like Beck and Bill O'Reilly " that have a platform that they can promote their books from."
There's just one flaw in that piece of logic, something O'Donnell failed to point out, liberals including her fellow NBC colleague Keith Olbermann, who has a nightly "platform" on MSNBC, routinely put out books that flop. At the time of publication of this article Olbermann's Pitchforks and Torches, just released in October, is currently ranked at 3,997 on Amazon.com.
O'Donnell began her piece highlighting how both Bush and Palin's books are competing with each other on the New York Times Bestseller list as she hyped: "Call it Bush versus Palin, and the winner? President Bush is number one" and then later added that it wasn't just right leaning politicians that were burning up the book charts, but that conservative radio and TV talkers were holding their own as well, which led to a soundbite from Schuessler suggesting they were moving book sales simply because they were on the airwaves.
Chris Matthews, on Thursday's Hardball, assailed Republican Congressman John Boehner for, in his view, trashing the planet because the soon-to-be Speaker of the House announced the slashing of the House committee on global warming. Making fun of his smoking habit the MSNBC host derisively theorized that Boehner was going to treat the "whole planet" like he does his "ashtray."
The following Matthews outburst was aired during the "Sideshow" segment on the December 2 edition of Hardball:
On Wednesday's Today show NBC's Ann Curry managed to thread the theme of global warming through three different news stories, during her 9am news update. The co-anchor began by notifying viewers about the "wild weather" of record rainfall and tornadoes in the South to snow in the Midwest and then told her audience that "unusual weather seems to be a growing trend" as she delivered the latest bit of alarmism coming out of a climate conference in Mexico. Curry then wrapped up her update with a quirky eco-friendly news story about a Tokyo aquarium that is using an electric eel to light up its Christmas tree.
The following series of news briefs from Curry were aired on the December 1 Today show:
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs appeared on all three major morning shows, on Wednesday, and was pressed by ABC, CBS and NBC's anchors about whether or not the President would fold and compromise with the Republicans on keeping the Bush era tax cuts in place - but it was the Today show's Meredith Vieira that hit him the strongest question from the left as she asked Gibbs what kind of "message" would Barack Obama "send to his base" if he doesn't raise taxes on the wealthy, adding, "many of whom already wonder what happened to the fighter they elected president?"
Vieira began her interview with Gibbs by noting that, according to her NBC colleague Chuck Todd, White House officials were "privately conceding that the President will bend on this tax issue" and that would include "tax cuts for every one, including the very wealthy" and continued to repeatedly push Gibbs to say if Obama would support tax increases on the rich, something Matt Lauer also did in his interview yesterday morning with Republican Congressman Eric Cantor.
Over on ABC's Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos bolstered the left's soak the rich line as he tried to get Gibbs to reassure Obama's base: "You just said extending the tax cuts for the wealthy is a line in the sand. Does that mean the President would veto any bill that extends the tax cuts for the wealthy?"
Instead of leading with how Army Private First Class Bradley Manning may have jeopardized national security with his document dump to WikiLeaks, NBC's chief Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski, in his profile of Manning on Tuesday's Today show, told viewers he was the "most unlikely suspect, with a youthful smile" and portrayed him as an abused victim of the military. Miklaszewski used the New York Times' Ginger Thompson in his report to tell the tale of young man who apparently decided to avenge the abuse he had taken over the years, dating back to high school, by selling out his country.
Before throwing to soundbites from Thompson, Miklaszewski teased that the New York Times reporter "profiled Manning and found that as a young man he was an outcast who tried desperately to fit in." Thompson then went on to reveal that Manning "was teased all the time in elementary school for being a geek" and was beaten up in high school for "because kids figured out that he was gay." After Miklaszewski added that the abuse continued when he joined the Army, noting "once in the military, he quickly became a target," he aired another clip of Thompson claiming "As a gay man in the military, he was, you know, he was outcast and he was, you know, teased and harassed."
NBC's Matt Lauer, on Tuesday's Today show, invited on soon to be House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to discuss today's meeting of Republican congressional leaders with Barack Obama, and in the process tried to force Cantor to move in the President's direction on raising taxes. The Today co-anchor opened the conversation by wondering if Cantor was going into the meeting in the mood for "compromise or confrontation" and then quickly brought up the issue of extending the Bush era tax cuts as he pressed: "Could you not see possibly raising taxes just a little bit?" on those making over $250,000 a year.
Cantor responded that job growth and tax cuts were intertwined as he educated Lauer: "We want to make sure that we're doing everything to get people back to work right now and that means we've got to ensure that taxes don't go up on anybody, especially on the small businesses that we're expecting to create jobs so we can finally bring the unemployment down."
NBC's Matt Lauer, on Thursday's Today show, invited on Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski to applaud her presumptive write-in ballot win over Republican candidate Joe Miller and asked if she would now "stand up against" Republicans "who may feel that the only way for them to succeed" is for Barack Obama to fail. After Lauer went through the perfunctory congratulations, he asked the candidate who failed to win her party's own primary, if she would, essentially, become a thorn in the side of Republicans as seen in the following question:
MATT LAUER: You, you talk about governance based on anger or fear. You're a moderate Republican. You've said that you do not pass the purity test that the Tea Party has set out. You said something else. You said, said "I will tell you I'm not one of those who wants Obama to fail." Will you stand up against other Republicans who may feel that the only way for them to succeed is for the President not to succeed?
Lauer also made sure to note that since Sarah Palin endorsed Joe Miller, Murkowski's victory could also be seen as a diminishment of the former Alaskan Governor's "prestige" and "power," as queried: "There are a lot of other people who are saying you defeated Sarah Palin. She backed Mr. Miller in her home state, put the prestige of her power behind that, that endorsement. How much does this say about her power and impact going forward, in your opinion?"
NBC's Andrea Mitchell, hosting her self-titled MSNBC show on Wednesday, got into a bit of a tiff with Republican Senator John Barrasso over, of all things, a scheduling conflict. Mitchell opened her broadcast of Andrea Mitchell Reports asking why the Republicans delayed a meeting with the President as she whined: "How about that for setting a new tone of bipartisanship in Washington?" Then the NBC News correspondent brought on Barrasso to explain the great slight to the President as she pestered: "Senator so what happened? You guys are just too busy tomorrow?"
Mitchell even brought up the complaint via her Twitter account where she compared it to when a then House Speaker Newt Gingrich once complained about his seating arrangement on Air Force One during the Clinton administration:
Dissing POTUS -sources say white house wanted to meet, GOP "couldn't" - is this like newt complaining abt his seat on af1? could backfire?
The following is the full exchange as it was aired on the November 17 edition of Andrea Mitchell Reports:
Bobby Jindal, on Monday's Today show, slammed the Obama administration for its slow response to the BP oil spill off the coast of Lousiana, charging that: "It seemed like the federal government was disconnected from the facts on the ground." However Today co-anchor offered excuses for the President as he queried the Louisiana Republican Governor: "In fairness though, Governor, in those early days of the spill did any one really have an idea of the scope of this and have immediate solutions, ways to fix it?" On to promote his new book Leadership and Crisis, Jindal was told by the Today co-anchor that his harsh criticism of the President probably got him "dis-invited to the White House Christmas party."
The following is the full interview as it was aired on Monday's Today show:
Norah O'Donnell, on Monday's Today, couldn't resist taking a couple of shots at Sarah Palin, in her review of the former Alaska governor's TLC reality show, as the NBC correspondent trumpeted a recent Gallup poll that "More than half of Americans, 52 percent view her negatively, making her the most divisive of all of the potential candidates in the 2012 Republican field." O'Donnell also aired a clip of a Tribune staff reporter complaining that TLC was "effectively giving a campaign advertising" to a 2012 aspirant, as if the eight-part series could even come close to matching the positive buzz the current Oval Office occupant received from the liberal media in 2008.
The theme of Palin's popularity got a jump start, at the top of the show, as Today co-anchor Matt Lauer teased the upcoming segment this way: "Sarah Palin's new reality show debuted last night at a time when a new survey shows 52 percent of Americans hold a negative view of the former Alaska governor." In her segment O'Donnell featured clips from the reality show throughout her report, including one that featured Palin's description of husband Todd building a fence to hide their house from the prying eyes of investigative journalist/stalker and one time Today show guest Joe McGinniss. After that soundbite O'Donnell then proceeded to feature another Palin critic, Karl Rove. His criticism and her response are seen in the following excerpt:
After 40 years of delivering snarky movie reviews for NBC's Today show, Gene Shalit is calling it quits, with his final broadcast this Thursday and the long-serving movie critic didn't reserve his barbs for bad acting and direction, conservatives and their causes were occasionally targeted as well. From bad mouthing hunters -- saying they exhibited "mankind's stupidity" in his review of the documentary Winged Migration -- to denigrating the effort in the first Gulf War -- he called it "America's first oil war" in his critique of Jarhead – Shalit occasionally jarred his viewers with out of nowhere liberal condescension.
The following are examples of Shalit's lefty preaching, as seen on the Today show, over the years:
In a follow-up interview to his prime time special with George W. Bush, NBC's Matt Lauer invited the former president on Wednesday's Today show and in the process got an education on how tax cuts can create jobs. During the wide ranging interview that covered everything from the Ground Zero mosque to Kanye West, it was Lauer's questions about Bush's tax policy where he revealed his bias. Noting that "there's a heated debate" over whether "we should continue in this country with your tax policies" Lauer pressed Bush "We've been living under that system for seven years now and we've seen incredibly slow growth...why should we continue down that path?" Bush shot back with a basic economics lesson for the Today co-anchor, as seen in the following exchange (video after the break):
For the Today show, Democratic Representative Patrick Kennedy's departure from Congress was something to mourn because it represented, as NBC's Matt Lauer lamented, "The end of an era. There's been a Kennedy in Congress since John F. Kennedy entered the House back in 1947." The nephew of the late President was invited on Monday's Today show to commemorate the occasion with he and co-host Meredith Vieira fondly looking over newly-released photos of JFK from Life.com and reminiscing about his father, the "great" Ted Kennedy.
For the record the Today show got their facts wrong, as the MRC's Rich Noyes pointed out, there was no Kennedy in Congress from January 1961 to November of 1962 as Representative Ben Smith held that seat long enough until Ted Kennedy was old enough to take over.
The following teaser and exchange were aired on the November 8 Today show:
When NBC's Matt Lauer threw out the tired, overused, standard media line, on Friday's Today show, that the public is tired of all the "vitriol" and wants the Republicans to just work with Barack Obama and the Democrats, his guest, Karl Rove, threw Obama's words back in Lauer's face as he pointed out it was the President who called Republicans "enemies." When Lauer asked if the GOP could advance their agenda "without personally attacking Obama" Rove responded that Republicans could work with the President but it was he, who needed to tamp down the rhetoric, as the former George W. Bush senior adviser reminded Lauer: "It was the President out there saying to a Latino radio station, 'We need to punish our enemies and reward our friends.'"
The following is the relevant exchange as it was aired on the November 5 Today show:
Chris Matthews must be really pleased with himself, after accusing Rep. Michele Bachmann of being under hypnosis, in his now famous election night skirmish with the Minnesota Congresswoman, as he attached that description to yet another Republican on Thursday night's Hardball. After noting that Ben Quayle won his congressional race, Matthews went on to play a clip of one of his ads, after which he blurted: "God. Is he under hypnosis?"
Matthews also took a dig at Ben Quayle's father calling him "infamous" as seen in the following item aired during the "Sideshow" segment from the November 4 Hardball:
Michele Bachman took every thing Chris Matthews had tonight and punched back, during her live election night MSNBC interview with the Hardball host. After a frustrated Matthews actually asked the Congresswoman if she was "hypnotized" and in a "trance" for not answering his questions the way he liked, Bachmann fired back: "The American people are the ones...coming out of our trance...I think people are thrilled tonight. I imagine that thrill is probably maybe quite not so tingly on your leg any more."
Bachman's point was hilariously underlined by a sign behind her that referenced Matthews' now famous Barack Obama induced thrills, which caused MSNBC's Rachel Maddowto whine: "Can we talk for a second about what they're trying to do there? With that sign they're trying to say MSNBC is in the tank and NBC is in the tank for Obama. That's what they're trying to say."
The following is the full exchange as it was aired on MSNBC's live election night coverage on November 2nd:
Former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw threw a bit of wet blanket on the Tea Party's big night, after quoting Tea Party activist Matt Kibbe's declaration that "the people want less from their federal government," Brokaw skeptically added: "We've heard that before, when it bumps up against reality of closing a base or shutting down an agricultural substation...it gets pretty tough to do."
This led current Nightly News anchor Brian Williams to cast Tea Partiers as know-nothing hypocrites, as he added: "Reminds me of the signs at more than one rally this past season: 'Get the government out of my Social Security. Get government out of my Medicare." Williams then went on to cite how Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi mocked Tea Party attendees as he had reported "many people he has met at rallies had been recipients of government."
The following exchange was aired during NBC News' live election night coverage on November 2:
Chris Matthews, during MSNBC's live election night coverage, was distressed at what he saw was the "death of the moderate wing of the Republican Party." After his colleague Keith Olbermann ran down the latest results of Republicans leading or winning in specific races Matthews bemoaned how such moderates like Charlie Crist and Arlen Specter were run out of their own party and even bellowed: "Mike Castle getting knocked out by the woman who said she's not a witch...is a joke, it's a joke for the Republican Party to lose people like Mike Castle."
The following November 2, outburst by Matthews was aired during MSNBC's live election night coverage:
On Tuesday's Today show, a couple of correspondents laid down the potential story line of a big defeat for Sarah Palin if the Republican Tea Party candidate she endorsed, Joe Miller, doesn't win his bid for the Senate seat in Alaska as NBC's Chuck Todd proclaimed: "Sarah Palin's political future is a little bit on the line" and added "this would be a big embarrassment," while NBC's Kristen Welker declared: "the race is also a referendum on Sarah Palin." Welker also featured a sound bite from a political analyst noting a Miller defeat would mean a "black eye" for the former Alaska Governor. Of course the question has to be asked, if Miller defeats write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski, will Todd and Welker go the other way and admit it was a huge win for Palin and the Tea Party?
During a preview of the key races on Election Day, Today co-anchor Matt Lauer asked political director Chuck Todd for his take on the Alaska Senate race, as seen in the following exchange:
New York magazine's John Heilemann apparently thinks Barack Obama hasn't been liberal enough, as he told NBC's Matt Lauer, on Thursday's Today show, the "centrist" president was compelled to go on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to fire up his young supporters because they lost faith in their "progressive champion." After Lauer relayed a point Stewart made during his interview with the President, that voters were disappointed by Obama's "timidity", Heilemann agreed as he explained: "I think there's also kind of a fundamental confusion about who the President is. A lot of young voters...thought that he was a progressive champion and they've seen him govern in a more pragmatic, centrist way."
The following exchange was aired on the October 28 Today show:
MATT LAUER: When you see the President on The Daily Show, obviously courting young voters, if that group was, for lack of a better expression, fired up and ready to go two years ago for Democratic candidates and this president, how would you guys describe their level of enthusiasm and involvement, right now?
MARK HALPERIN, TIME: A lot less than two years ago.