To mark the one year anniversary of Sarah Palin stepping down from her duties as governor of Alaska, NBC's Norah O'Donnell, on Friday's Today show, recounted for viewers what the former vice presidential candidate is doing, namely "cashing in." Accompanied by a "cha-ching" sound effect O'Donnell ran down Palin's various TV and book deals. And while O'Donnell also noted Palin has been very effective stumping for GOP candidates in the primaries she was careful to note that the "polarizing" Palin had "limits to her appeal," as she cited an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll saying 52 percent view her political endorsements negatively.
Along with the poll and TV and book deals, O'Donnell also included "her teenage daughter's tumultuous relationship with Levi Johnston," and "her rage" at author Joe McGinnis "who's moved directly next door to her Wasilla home" as negatives. How exactly Palin's "rage" at a writer/stalker moving next door to her family home could be seen as a limit to her appeal wasn't fully explained.
The following is the full segment as it was aired on the July 2 Today show:
Chris Matthews, on Thursday's Hardball, invited on AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka to comment on Barack Obama's immigration policy speech, but the segment ended in typical fashion as the two blamed the Republicans for thwarting true reforms with Matthews accusing them of playing the race card as he boiled down their efforts as merely "pandering to angry white people." Matthews also went on to say the GOP was "locking themselves in" to alienating the Latin-American voter as he asked Trumka: "How can the Republican Party kiss them off?" For his part the AFL-CIO president claimed the GOP was also on a mission to turn off the unemployed and senior citizens as he charged: "They're blowing the elderly off."
The following exchange was aired on the July 1 edition of Hardball:
[UPDATE: Matthews addresses Daily Kos/Research 2000 polling issue on June 30 Hardball. Text after the jump.]
With the news that Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas is suing the polling group Research 2000 for providing "bunk" results that his Web site published, the question has to be asked: Will those figures in the media who've advanced Daily Kos poll results, like MSNBC's Hardball host Chris Matthews, let their viewers know of the suspect data? Back on the February 2, 2010 edition of Hardball, Matthews as part of his Sideshow segment, alerted viewers to the results of "a wild new poll of Republicans" that showed 58 percent of them didn't believe or weren't sure that Barack Obama was born in the U.S. and 64 percent of GOPers agreed or weren't sure that the President was a "racist who hates white people." Matthews granted the poll so much credence he cited Research 2000's discovery that 68 percent of its Republican respondents wanted Obama impeached as that day's "Big Number."
The following is from the "Sideshow" segment aired during the February 2 edition of Hardball:
CNBC's Jim Cramer appeared on Wednesday's Today show and pretty much admitted the obvious to Meredith Vieira, that all of Barack Obama's policies geared to help hiring are "not working." On to talk about the Dow dropping on Tuesday, Cramer pointed out "there's too much fear" about what the Obama administration will do about taxes, which led to Today co-anchor Vieira to question "Do you believe the President's policies are creating the conditions necessary for businesses to hire?" To which Cramer bluntly stated "they're not working."
The following segment was aired on the June 30 Today show:
NBC's Matt Lauer, on Tuesday's Today show, blamed America's "appetite for oil" as the reason for the spill in the Gulf and asked former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw if the country will finally "take away the proper message" from the mess? For his part Brokaw responded that he hoped "young people who are coming of age" and entering public service and the corporate world will view the spill as a "defining moment" and warned if they didn't make the needed changes "we're gonna have these kinds of ecological disasters in waves coming year after year." [audio available here]
The following exchange was aired on the June 29 Today show:
From the morning to the evening Chris Matthews, during MSNBC's coverage of Elena Kagan's hearing on Monday, berated what he saw as GOP mistreatment of Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, calling their performance at times, a "brutal assault" and even evoking strange imagery of Kagan having pins stuck in her by Republicans. Early in the day the MSNBC host complained that Republican Senator Jeff Sessions engaged in "a brutal assault on this nomination" by calling her "pro-terrorist" and "anti-military." Matthews also claimed today's hearing reminded him of how Anita Hill was treated by Republicans during Clarence Thomas' hearings as he asked Democratic Senator Dick Durbin:
Some Republicans paid a heavy price for being tough with Anita Hill when she came to testify in the Clarence Thomas hearings. Have we gotten past that era of sensitivity about a bunch of guys going after a single woman here just bashing her?...Can these guys like Jeff Sessions just go at her like this without any fear of rebuke?
Then finally, in the evening, on Hardball, Matthews charged the GOP had turned Kagan "into a voodoo doll, and they keep putting pins in her,as a way ofgetting at President Obama."
The following exchanges are from live MSNBC coverage (as transcribed by MRC intern Matthew Hadro) of the Kagan hearings and the June 28 edition of Hardball:
On the syndicated Chris Matthews show over the weekend, Chris Matthews praised Barack Obama for earning another "big feather" in his cap for getting his Wall Street reform bill passed and then went on to ask his panel if all of the other overbearing, big government laws signed in his term would lead to victory for the Democratic Party in the fall. Just before closing his show Matthews posed the following big question to HDNet's Dan Rather, the BBC's Katty Kay, CNN's Gloria Borger and the Politico's John Harris: "Will the President's legislative success with the stimulus, with health care, with Wall Street reform and maybe even an energy bill be a net positive or negative for his party this fall?"
The following are their individual responses as aired on the June 27 Chris Matthews Show:
If Chris Matthews' preview, on Tuesday's Hardball, of his heavily promoted MSNBC documentary Rise of the New Right, is an indicator of what his special will be like expect a lot of rehashing of Matthews' various attacks on the Tea Party over the past year as he links them and Rush Limbaugh with the birther movement and ominously warns of their potential for violence. Matthews told his viewers that his special "will stun you" and that the "voices you'll hear" and "the guns you see" will explain why "you're seeing men at political rallies for the first time ever, wearing guns." [audio available here]
In a segment that featured conservative Pat Buchanan and leftist David Corn of Mother Jones, Matthews named Limbaugh as a member of the "new right" that is "justifying violence."
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Pat these people are saying things about the country that just aren't true. The President is not legitimate. That the, that the federal government is a tyranny. They are justifying violence.
DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: Don't forget secret FEMA camps!
PAT BUCHANAN: Well look that's, I think that's preposterous. Look now, I'm sure you can go out there, you've got a country of 300 million and find people-
MATTHEWS: Okay I'm talking about people like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, I'm not talking about strangers here.
Chris Matthews, on Monday's Hardball, claimed that a Tea Party candidate, in his new ad, had just declared war and warned this was an example of the "lock and load mentality" of "the Tea Party folk." Matthews, during his Sideshow segment, played a clip from a Rick Barber for Congress ad in which the candidate engages in an imagined conversation with Sam Adams and George Washington in which Barber tells the Founding Fathers how far the government has grown in it scope, with the actor playing Washington saying, at the end, it's time to "Gather your armies."
Matthews took this as a sign that Barber was "advocating taking up arms against the government." Matthews also asserted, again, that the tea partiers view the federal government as "a foreign occupying force" and told viewers they can see "more of this sort of thing" on his new documentary "Rise of the Right" to be aired this upcoming Wednesday night on MSNBC. [audio available here]
The following teaser, ad clip and Matthews commentary were aired on the June 14 edition of Hardball:
Newsweek's Howard Fineman, on Monday's Hardball, pushed Barack Obama to "overdo" and "overstep" in his efforts to get BP to plug the leak and stop the oil spill in the Gulf, something Fineman claimed Obama hadn't done yet because "he's usefully and rightfully dangerous about power. I think he thought...George W. Bush overstepped in terms of executive power...he's an observer by nature." This observation from Fineman seems particularly odd, as it comes at the same time the President has pushed for a $50 billion in additional domestic spending.
Fineman made the comment after the Politico's Roger Simon insisted there's only so much Obama can do, as he insisted: "He's not Iron Man. He cannot dive a mile underwater and stop this by himself." However host Chris Matthews asserted Obama could do more and he asked if the President will be "tough" and "really threaten BP" and openly wondered: "Does he know he's a powerful man?" After Fineman responded that Obama needs to "overstep" a concerned Matthews questioned: "Even at the risk of being called a socialist again?"
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, on this weekend's syndicated The McLaughlin Group, slighted conservative pro-life women everywhere when she applied California Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina's "so yesterday" description of Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer's hairstyle to women who hold anti-abortion views in the Republican Party. Clift, in a segment about the primary victories of both Fiorina and GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman began actually crediting Sarah Palin as "Saint Sarah" for the wins as she claimed that the former Alaskan Governor is "emboldening conservative women" and "reshaping the religious right" but then went on to question if pro-life women candidates could win statewide races in California because their views would be seen as "so yesterday." Incidentally, The Washington Times' Monica Crowley had to correct Clift as she pointed out her liberal spin wasn't even entirely accurate as Whitman is, in fact, "pro choice." [audio available here]
The following exchanges were aired on the June 12 edition of The McLaughlin Group:
As of this Friday, NBC's Today show has yet to mention the Joe Sestak scandal, (as noted by the MRC's Tim Graham in this Media Reality Check) however they did find time to poke fun at Republican California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina making fun of Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer's hair in an open mic moment. On Thursday's Today, they ran the clip of Fiorina's gaffe three times, even leading the show with it in the opening teaser with co-anchor Meredith Vieira exclaiming: "Ay Carly! California Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina caught on an open mic making a joke about her opponent's hair."
Interesting to note that the reporters and producers at the Today show care more about a GOP Senate candidate mocking a Democrat's hairstyle than the White House attempting to manipulate a Senate race in Pennsylvania with a job offer.
The following takes on the Fiorina vs. Boxer open mic incident were aired on the June 10 Today show:
NBC's Andrea Mitchell took up the cause of the White House in admonishing Big Labor for wasting their money on trying to defeat Arkansas Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln in the primary there, as she echoed their concern, on Thursday's Andrea Mitchell Reports, that organized labor essentially aided Republican John Boozman's chances to win in the general election. Mitchell invited on AFSCME President Gerry McEntee to, in essence, reprimand Big Labor's decision to support Lincoln's opponent Bill Halter, when their money could have been better spent on electing Democrats elsewhere, as she scolded: "Why invest so heavily and embarrass the White House here?" [audio available here]
The following is a complete transcript of the exchange as it was aired on the June 10 edition of MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports:
On Wednesday's Today show NBC's Matt Lauer, Chuck Todd and Kelly O'Donnell forwarded the Democratic line that Tea Party candidate victories in Republican primaries will be the GOP's downfall in November. First up Kelly O'Donnell, in a set up piece, claimed: "In Nevada, a big Tea Party victory in the GOP Senate primary...But Democrats are actually cheering Sharron Angle's win, believing that a Tea Party candidate would be an easier opponent" for Majority Leader Harry Reid. Then, during a post-election analysis segment with Today co-anchor Matt Lauer and NBC News' political director Chuck Todd, Lauer wondered if the Angle win meant "Democrats have a right to be optimistic" as Todd chimed in that since Angle was "a little too conservative...to appeal to independents potentially" there is now a "path to victory" for Reid.
The following takes on the Nevada Senate race were aired on the June 9 Today show:
In teasing the more emotional portion of Matt Lauer's exclusive Today show interview with Barack Obama, in which he blurted that he needed to "know whose ass to kick" over the oil spill in the Gulf, NBC's Brian Williams, on Monday's NBC Nightly News, left the impression that the President was finally showing "some anger." Something, as the MRC's Brent Baker pointed out, liberals had been pushing the President to do for some time. However what Williams failed to point out was that outburst and even the President's use of colorful language was prompted by Lauer's question, as he asked if it was time to "kick some butt," as seen in the following exchange:
MATT LAUER: Critics are now talking about your style which is the first time I've heard that in a long time. And they're saying here is a guy who likes to be known as cool and calm and collected, and this isn't the time for cool, calm and collected.
BARACK OBAMA: Right.
LAUER: That this is not the time to meet with experts and advisors, this is a time to spend more time in the Gulf and -- I never thought I'd say this to a president -- but kick some butt. And, and I don't mean it to be funny.
On her self-titled MSNBC show on Monday, Andrea Mitchell Reports, NBC's Andrea Mitchell mourned Helen Thomas' resignation as a long time White House correspondent, over recent inflammatory remarks about Israelis, as "a sad way" for her career to end. Talking with NBC's political director Chuck Todd, Mitchell spoke about the loss "in the family" of the White House press corps and bemoaned the end of "a legendary career" of "a friend." For his part Todd noted Thomas' outburst reignited a debate within the White House Correspondents Association about the presence of "very opinionated" columnists and talk radio types in the White House press corps.
The following exchange was aired on the June 7 edition of MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports:
Things must really be going bad for Barack Obama if the likes of longtime liberal journalists Mark Halperin and Jonathan Alter are comparing him to that glorious failure of a president - Jimmy Carter. Appearing on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports on Friday to discuss the President's handling of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Halperin initially defended the President against his colleagues, claiming that he's gotten a "bum rap from the press" because he has gotten"most of the substance right" on the spill but because he has gotten "stagecraft" wrong Obama has "created this story line that he's Jimmy Carter." Alter initially balked at this point, arguing any Carter comparisons were "too easy," but then went on to say the comparisons were "relevant" in how Obama is in danger of letting the Gulf spill cripple his presidency in the same way the Iranian hostage crisis seized "control" of Carter's in 1979. [audio available here]
The following exchange was aired on the June 4 edition of MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports:
In what was a twist of "Blame America First" attitude into one of "Blame Men First" both NBC's Andrea Mitchell and Newsweek's Evan Thomas, on Thursday's Andrea Mitchell Reports, used pop psychology to dissect the causes of past and recent American wars, with both of them citing insecure men as a key reason. Mitchell even pondered: "What is it about testosterone that gets us into war?" On to promote his new book The War Lovers, Thomas, specifically referring to the Spanish-American War, noted it was a time of "masculine insecurity...Everybody had to run around with guns," and added: "This, you know, sort of comes and goes."
Since Mitchell introduced the segment mentioning that "Americans continue to fight two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq" and called the Thomas book "relevant" one has to wonder if both she and Thomas think the past administration, in part, initiated the current actions in the Mideast out of some deep, psychological desire to fight, just for fighting's sake. Mitchell even seemed to be suggesting that point, in her plug of the Thomas book, as she offered: "I'll let the readers...draw their own conclusions aboutmen in our recent history and their role in getting us into wars." [audio available here]
The following is a full transcript of the segment as it was aired on the June 3 edition of MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports.
NBC's Today show has yet to interview or plug any of conservative radio talk show host's Mark Levin's best-selling books but on Tuesday's Today show they helped sell two liberals' books as they invited on MSNBC host Ed Schultz to hype Killer Politics and interviewed Sarah Palin stalker Joe McGinniss who hasn't even written his book about the Alaskan governor. Today co-anchor Meredith Vieira sat down with Schultz to discuss how the oil spill in the Gulf will affect the Obama presidency, which allowed Schultz to push Obama from the left as he told viewers: "I view this as a real defining moment and an opportunity for the President to pivot this country off the addiction of Big Oil."
The following is the full interview segment with Schultz as it was aired on the June 1 Today show:
NBC's Matt Lauer invited on author and new Sarah Palin stalker/neighbor Joe McGinniss to defend his moving in next to the Palin residence in Wasilla, Alaska, on Tuesday's Today show, and the author had the audacity to play the victim as he compared the former Alaskan governor's actions to that of a Nazi. After Lauer noted the author was receiving "death threats" McGinniss screeched "It's a lesson for the American people of the power Palin has to incite hatred and her willingness and readiness to do it." McGinniss went on to say that Palin's use of her Facebook page to condemn McGinniss was the "same kind of tactic that the Nazi troopers used in Germany."
MATT LAUER: But the reaction has gotten a little bit scary. There have been death threats against you. I know the FBI is involved. Wasilla, and Alaska state police. There was a Craigslist posting that asked a question of where in the woods your body would be found over the weekend.
JOE MCGINNISS: Yeah.
LAUER: The local Wasilla newspaper, The Frontiersman, published an editorial that read, quote "Those who are fond of Joe McGinniss might remind him, if he doesn't already know, that Alaska has a law that allows the use of deadly force in protection of life and property." I mean any regrets to all this? Do you wish you just rented a different house?
MCGINNISS: No. You know what actually what I've learned from that, Matt. And what you just recited, it's very informative. And I think it's probably a lesson for the American people of the power Palin has to incite hatred and her willingness and readiness to do it. She has pushed a button and unleashed the Hounds of Hell, and now that they're out there slavering and barking and growling. And that's the same kind of tactic and I'm not calling her a Nazi, but that's the same kind of tactic that the Nazi troopers used in Germany in the '30s. And I don't think there is any place for it in America. [audio available here]
The following teasers, set-up piece and full interview were aired on the June 1 Today show:
Both Chris Matthews and Chuck Todd were taken aback by Barack Obama delivering a "personal connection moment" in today's press conference when he told reporters that his daughter Malia asked him: "Did you plug the hole yet, daddy?" Of the anecdote Matthews, on Thursday's Hardball, exclaimed "Talk about a sound bite guys!" and declared he delivered "personally there, in a way he rarely does." Matthews went on to say it was remarkable that he'd reveal that private story in front of the press because he "hates" them.For his part, NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd claimed the sharing of his "gut moment" may "calm down" some of the President's critics. [audio available here]
The following exchange was aired on the May 27 Hardball:
NBC's Natalie Morales, on Wednesday's Today show, introduced Telemundo's Maria Celeste Arraras to tell the story of a South Florida family that has been separated by immigration laws in a segment that painted plight of the illegal immigrant in the most sympathetic tones. The tale of a Colombian mother deported back to her home country because she overstayed her visa, was part of, as Morales put it: "an NBC wide look at A Nation Divided." Arraras interviewed the children of Claudia Ramirez who were, as the story seemed to intimate, forced to fend for themselves in the U.S. after, as her daughter Kathy described, two "big guys with I.C.E. jackets" took their mom away.
Arraras mainly focused on the perspective of the family as she interviewed Claudia, her three children and an immigration lawyer, and only allowed one dissenting voice, a former INS agent who pointed out if "we find all these exceptions for people to be able to stay here, even though they violated the law, why should anybody ever go through the legal system?" Arraras, herself, did point out to the daughter "Some people may say, 'Well, this is a very sad case but too bad, your mother should not have come here in the first place.' What, what would you say to that?" To which Kathy guilt-tripped Today viewers by responding: "Have a heart." [audio available here]
The following is a transcript of the full story as it was aired on the May 26 Today show:
Today show co-anchor and Dateline correspondent Ann Curry delivered a commencement address to students at Wheaton College in Massachusetts over the weekend and attempted to honor that institution's proud alumni as she called out such luminaries like Rev. Billy Graham and 9/11 hero Todd Beamer, but it turns out she got her Wheaton Colleges mixed up. According to the Boston Globe the NBC newsreader mistakenly identified famous graduates from Wheaton College in Illinois, not the one in Massachusetts.
The "Today" show anchor gave a shout-out to a few distinguished Wheaton alums, but there was one problem: They were alums of the other Wheaton College. Curry, a graduate of the University of Oregon, cited evangelist Billy Graham, horror director Wes Craven, and 9/11 hero Todd Beamer, who was a passenger on United Airlines flight 93. While it's true all three attended Wheaton, it was the Christian liberal arts college in Illinois, not the school in Norton where Curry was speaking.
This isn't the first time Curry made a gaffe involving the state of Illinois, back in 2008 she needed Chuck Todd's help in finding it on a map.
Apparently Curry isn't just geographically challenged, she even gets lost on the Today show set as on Tuesday's show she accidentally walked in on Al Roker during a live segment about eco-friendly tips for the kitchen. As the Today show weatherman was listening to advice on conserving water from diet and nutrition editor Madelyn Fernstrom, Curry barged in stage left, then sheepishly ducked back behind the door, as a still laughing Roker quipped: "Hi Ann!"
The following is the full Boston Globe article from its May 24 online edition:
NBC's Meredith Vieira, on Monday's Today show, gave Caroline Kennedy her annual spot on the air to honor the latest liberal heroes to win the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, this year given to California legislators who demonstrated the "courage" to raise taxes as a solution to that state's budget crisis. Kennedy spoke to Vieira, along with award winners California State Senators Darrell Steinberg and Dave Codgill, but it was the Republican, Codgill, who was singled out by the Today co-anchor for his willingness to cross party lines as Vieira asked: "You're a Republican. You reached across to the Democrats. As a result, the voters rejected the compromise and your own party voted you out of your leadership position. So in retrospect, was it worth it, Dave?"
As for Steinberg, Vieira didn't press the California Democratic leader that perhaps his party needed to cut spending more, instead of raising taxes, and in fact worried about his ability to stay in the fight: "But the budget deficit is at $20 billion. How do you stay motivated?"
At the end of the segment Vieira honored the tax raisers as she hailed: "Well congratulations to both of you on your courage."
The following is a transcript of the full segment as it was aired on the May 24 Today show:
Chris Matthews seemed a tad bit concerned about his man Barack Obama, on Thursday's Hardball, as the MSNBC host feared that the President was "too cool for his nasty, heated" enemies like Rush Limbaugh. Matthews -- who announced he is on Day 9 of his so far fruitless search for a Republican to appear on his show to slam the talk radio host -- worried that Obama wasn't getting angry enough at his critics.
Matthews, who admitted he has a "heart for this guy" even went as far to ask his guest, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, "is it still possible that he could find greatness as president?" Alter tried to assuage Matthews' fears by assuring him that Obama can "absolutely" achieve that greatness and claimed he had "a reasonably good chance of getting into that first rank of American presidents." [audio available here]
The following is a full transcript of the interview segment as it was aired on the May 20 edition of Hardball:
NBC's Meredith Vieira, on Tuesday's Today show, in a segment breaking down today's primary races with Newt Gingrich, cited a possible Rand Paul win over Trey Grayson in the GOP Kentucky Senate primary fight as an example of the Tea Party's strength and actually wondered if that was a cause of concern for the GOP. Vieira pressed the former Speaker of the House: "If Rand Paul wins, that's good news for the Tea Party movement but is it good news for the Republicans come November?" For his part Gingrich responded it was good news for the GOP in that the Tea Party adds "drive" and a "toughness that the Republican Party needs."
Also during her interview with Gingrich, who was on to plug his new book To Save America, Vieira plucked out an admittedly over-the-top quote made by Gingrich as she questioned: "Can you honestly compare what's going on with the Democrats to Nazi Germany?" However this line of questioning revealed a double standard at NBC News, as Vieira's colleague Andrea Mitchell, back on the May 3 NBC Nightly News, wasn't bothered by Saturday Night Live's Seth Myers calling Arizonans Nazis, even going as far to highlight his exchange with Jon Stewart:
Last week an agitated Chris Matthews tried to hold Dick Cheney accountable for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and this week Matthews is demanding action from President Obama, as the Hardball host pushed the President to nationalize the oil industry to solve the problem. On Monday's Hardball a visibly angry Matthews demanded Obama go after BP: "Why doesn't the President go in there, nationalize an industry and get the job done for the people?" and pointed out that in China they would have a much harsher response to BP: "They execute people for this. Major industrial leaders that commit crimes like this."
Matthews even took aim at the entire capitalist system, as over video of the oil slick, he sarcastically mocked: "Everybody says 'Capitalism is great. Unbridled free enterprise is great.' Look at it! This is great, isn't it?!" [audio available here]
The following Matthews outbursts were aired on the May 17 edition of Hardball:
During a segment where the Today cast celebrated the fifth anniversary of YouTube, in which they highlighted such clips as the Numa Numa Kid and other faves, Meredith Vieira, on Monday's show, threw an unexpected cheap shot at former Senator George Allen's way. Noting how YouTube has launched careers of those like Justin Beiber, Vieira -- right before a clip of Allen making his "macaca" quip -- went on to dig that it has also "sunk them." Vieira failed to point out what really drove the hits to the Allen video were the Democratic Party of Virginia and all of its enablers in the liberal media like NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, MSNBC and of course the Washington Post. [audio available here]
The following excerpt was aired on the May 17 Today show:
If Jonathan Alter's interview segment, on Friday's Today show with NBC's Meredith Vieira, is any indication of what to expect from his new book on the Obama presidency, readers should not look forward to an insightful, hard-hitting treatment of the President as the Newsweek columnist praised Obama as not "a phony" who has a "psychological health to him." On to plug his book, The Promise, Alter -- after being cued up by Vieira to explain why Obama's approval ratings remain "strong" in a new NBC News poll -- boiled it down to his bringing an "authenticity" and "thoughtfulness" to his presidency.
ALTER: He just doesn't seem like a phony and the people who deal with him every day feel this way. He's got a kind of psychological health to him and even if you don't like what he's doing, and I try to assess where he's succeeded and where he's failed, you have to respect the man. He, he brings a thoughtfulness to the process. And he does try to drill down into these decisions.
Alter also cited Obama's pick of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court as an example of him being a "conciliator" that harkens back to his days at Harvard University when he brought "liberals and conservatives together."
The following is the full interview as it was aired on the May 14 Today show:
Chris Matthews simply can't get Dick Cheney out of his mind. On Tuesday's Hardball, the MSNBC host once again attempted to pin the blame of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on the former vice president, a theory he first broached last week, as he sinisterly questioned "What role did Dick Cheney play in all of this?" Matthews, going after one of his favorite punching bags, brought on Democratic Congressman John Garamendi and an attorney suing BP, Mike Papantonio, to prosecute his case as he accused Cheney and Halliburton of weakening regulations, which in turn led to the oil spill. Matthews even went as far to liken government in the Bush/Cheney years as reminiscent of "a third world banana republic." [audio available here]
MATTHEWS: And I look at this situation, the President of the United States is allowed to have a vice president who in many ways looks more powerful than he does. And Dick Cheney, of his own volition, says, "I'm bringing all the oil industry tycoons into the office with me. Absolute secrecy. We're gonna set energy policy for a democratic country." We're supposed to be a democracy. Yet the policies made in the secrecy of the White House, no press allowed, no records kept. Absolute secrecy. And then we find out that these guys at Halliburton, one of these companies, in fact the company that paid him $34 million into the vice presidency, has gotten their pick of the regulators to regulate Halliburton. How do we stop this?! It seems like a third-world banana republic would do it this way.
The following teaser and exchanges were aired on the May 11 Hardball: