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.
Chris Matthews, on Wednesday's Hardball, not so cryptically compared the actions of Republican volunteers to that of Nazi-style tactics from the 1930s as he claimed the restraining of a MoveOn.org activist by a Rand Paul supporter reminded him of what "we saw from hoodlums in the thirties in another country I will not mention" and added: "I mean it isn't far from what we saw in the thirties, where all of a sudden, political parties started showing up in uniform." Matthews, who was joined by Salon's Joan Walsh and the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza, even went on to claim physical attacks against political opponents was something that existed exclusively on one ideological side as he asserted that it was "right wing by its very nature."
This was the second night in a row Matthews advanced this theory and he didn't bother to mention the other side of the story, that a Jack Conway volunteer perhaps had acted violently at the Paul rally as well. The Post's Cillizza, to his credit, actually tried to talk Matthews down as he told the MSNBC host: "I don't think it is right wing by its nature. I would say at the end of campaigns, passions get very inflamed...I do not think it is a right wing thing, I do not think it is a left wing thing." However Cillizza failed in his effort to bring reason to the Hardball host as Matthews challenged Cillizza to "Name the last liberal progressive candidate who hired a private army, the last one that was stomping his political, her political opponents in the street?" before getting on his liberal high horse: "Well we see different kinds of passion here, don't we? We see one passion being reporters trying to get stories in Alaska so they could undercover skull-duggery. We have the passion of a woman who shows up to demonstrate with a wig on and a placard and then we see the passion of the other side, which is to hire armies of paramilitaries and stomp people."
Chris Matthews, on Monday's Hardball, invited on his old boss, former President Jimmy Carter, to commiserate about the rise of the Tea Party, as the two condescendingly praised the movement at first, with Matthews admitting "they're not all crazies, they're regular people" but then went on to ridicule them as dupes of the rich.
After Matthews asked if the Tea Partiers realized that "they're being backed by big corporations and all this conservative money at the top," Carter responded that they had no idea that they were "suborned" by those "who don't give a darn about low-class working people" like them, as seen in this exchange:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well what you think of these Tea Party people? Mr. President I look at a lot of them as, they're not all crazies, they're regular people. A lot of them middle, middle-class people and they're very religious. They're church-going people like yourself. And I wonder do they know that they're being backed by big corporations and all this conservative money at the top?
Left-wing MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, on Monday's Today show, disgustingly tried to link pro-life candidates running in this year's midterm elections to the murder of abortion Dr. George Tiller, as she told Today co-host Matt Lauer "the thing that has surprised me the most is how much" Tea Party candidates were "going back to hard line...positions on abortion" and, as she plugged her upcoming documentary on Tiller, warned viewers: " I think it's important that it's airing right now because there are, there are five Senate candidates running right now who have a position on abortion that has never really been seen in mainstream politics before."
Right before Lauer alerted viewers of the hour long documentary that is airing -- not coincidentally only eight days before Election Day -- at 9 pm Eastern time on MSNBC tonight, he asked Maddow if the Tiller murder was "isolated" or "part of a larger campaign" to which the MSNBC host ominously responded: "If the far edge of the pro-life movement is getting mainstreamed" by candidates adopting their position "what do we need to know about the far edge of the anti-abortion movement?"
NBC's Andrea Mitchell, in a piece aired on Thursday's Today about Virginia Thomas' call to Anita Hill, made a point of tying the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to "conservative causes" but offered no ideological label for Hill. Mitchell also offered two sound bites from Hill supporters, but only featured a brief clip of an old audio-book excerpt from Clarence Thomas expressing sympathy for his wife.
After the NBC correspondent noted that Hill and her "allies" claimed Thomas' request for an apology was "inappropriate" Mitchell aired Harvard Law School Professor Charles Ogletree calling Thomas' behavior "bizarre." Mitchell also featured Jill Abramson, the New York Times reporter and author of the Clarence Thomas bashing book, Strange Justice, questioning the timing of the Supreme Court justice spouse.
Mitchell did play a clip of Clarence Thomas reading from his book My Grandfather's Son, in which the Justice relayed how the two "shared the pain" during his 1991 Senate confirmation hearings, but then went on to bemoan that this new controversy "interrupted the secluded life Hill now leads at Brandeis University."
With less than two weeks to go before the midterm elections, NBC's Ann Curry on Wednesday's Today show, invited on DNC Chairman Tim Kaine to make his case and seemingly pleaded "What are you going to do, over the next 13 days...to convince voters to keep Democrats in charge?" Curry even questioned Kaine why Barack Obama hadn't energized his base earlier, specifically the youth vote, as she pressed: "If these young voters are so important...was it a mistake not to woo them sooner?" Curry then went on to quote former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove, who pointed out the Tea Party was still maturing as a movement, as she asked the former governor of Virginia "If the Tea party is not sophisticated, then why is it so difficult for your party, to convince voters otherwise?"
The following is the full interview with Tim Kaine as it was aired on the October 20 Today show:
Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Jack Conway's recent ad questioning the faith of his opponent Republican Rand Paul was so beyond the pale that even NBC's Matt Lauer, on Tuesday's Today show, repeatedly hit Conway with questions about its appropriateness as he pressed, "Did it cross a line? Is it fair, even in the increasingly dirty world of politics?" The ad, which brought up allegations of Paul's behavior in his college days, was so over-the-top Lauer could not let Conway's charges go unchallenged as he questioned Conway's veracity, as seen in the following exchange:
MATT LAUER: This latest ad of yours ignited a firestorm. It clearly ignited the passions of Mr. Paul. Did it cross a line? Is it fair, even in the increasingly dirty world of politics? Do you stand by it?
JACK CONWAY: I stand by it. I'm not questioning his faith, I'm questioning his actions, Matt. The president of Baylor University banned a group that Rand Paul joined. And he banned this group, a few years before Rand Paul went to Baylor. He banned them because they were quote, "Making fun of Christianity and Christ." And, and our question is, why did he join a group that was known for mocking people of faith?
NBC's Matt Lauer, at the top of Monday's Today show, touted the arrival of Michelle Obama on the campaign trail, as he trumpeted: "Tag team, the President and First Lady campaign together for the first time since 2008" and added that the President "pulled out his not so secret weapon at a rally in Ohio...the First Lady." Lauer, seemingly looking for any signs of hope for the Democrats, asked his colleague David Gregory if the President and First Lady's attempt to "generate some of that energy and mojo" from 2008 was working, to which Gregory responded "there's some evidence" Democrats are "getting a little bit more interested." Lauer did note that "for the last several months" the President "has become a liability for some Democratic candidates" but then asked the Meet the Press host, "Is he less of a liability with the First Lady at his side?"
As for the Republicans, Lauer continued his obsession with GOP candidates' stances on homosexuality, as he prompted Gregory to discuss Colorado Republican Senate nominee Ken Buck's response to a Gregory question on that topic on Meet the Press: "And finally let's go to this, this other interview you had yesterday, where you were talking to the Senate candidate, the Republican from Colorado, Ken Buck, and, and you asked him if homosexuality was a choice and, and he said yes. Clearly that's going to ruffle some feathers but in this year, where everybody out there says the election about three things: jobs, jobs and more jobs - is it going to have an impact?"
Chris Matthews and Chuck Todd tag-teamed against Alaskan Republican Senate nominee Joe Miller, on Thursday's Hardball, as Todd claimed Miller was "running a terrible campaign" and warned that "it may be popular among conservatives to bash the media" but Miller is "turning off" voters when he does it. For his part Matthews called Miller "unlikable" going as far to compare him to the negative depiction of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in the movie "The Social Network" as Matthews pined: "He seems about as likable as that guy...Joe Miller seems like that guy." Of the Tea Party conservative Matthews also added: "He seems like a misanthrope," and predicted: "I don't think people are gonna like this guy." (video included)
The following exchange was aired on the October 14 edition of Hardball:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Go to Alaska, you brought that up a minute ago.
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: Yeah.
MATTHEWS: Could a Democrat be elected Senator from Alaska against two Republicans?
NBC's Meredith Vieira previewed Thursday's Today show coverage of the Delaware Senate debate by teasing viewers about "the one question that left [Christine] O'Donnell struggling for an answer" but Vieira, nor Kelly O'Donnell in her full report, bothered to note her Democratic opponent, Chris Coons, completely fumbling a basic question about property taxes. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell excerpted a moment from the debate unfavorable to Christine O'Donnell as she relayed: "On the Supreme Court O'Donnell stumbled much like Sarah Palin, when asked to name a recent decision she opposes." However Kelly O'Donnell failed to excerpt an embarrassing moment for Coons when he stumbled on a question about raising property taxes three times in one year, as he awkwardly responded: "Research into what would reveal that, it's difficult, it's complicated."
NBC's O'Donnell also, not surprisingly, highlighted Christine O'Donnell's "controversial witch comments" as she accompanied a sound bite from the debate on the topic with a clip from Bill Maher's old Politically Incorrect show, but when it came to mentioning Coon's past the NBC correspondent matter of factly noted: "Coons comes from a wealthy family and has two graduate degrees from Yale."
The following teaser and full segment were aired on the October 14 Today show:
Leave it to Chris Matthews to shoe-horn in a crass political point against the Tea Party, even in the midst of a heartwarming story like the rescue of the Chilean miners. On Wednesday's Hardball, the MSNBC host, along with his guest Richard Trumka, president of the AFL/CIO, claimed those miners would never have survived if they had followed the "every man for himself" philosophy of the Tea Party crowd.
After Trumka initially recounted his joy at watching the miners being rescued, he quickly veered into his standard rhetoric of the need for more regulation. Matthews then picked up on Trumka's cue to launch into an attack on the Tea Party, as he distorted their limited government view as one of total anarchy that would mean "no more government, no more everything," as seen in the following exchange:
NBC's Meredith Vieira tried her best to get Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann off her game, on Tuesday's Today show, by repeatedly pressing her to admit that the Tea Party has "lost its focus" and was "losing its way" over social issues, adding that since some of their candidates are "so far out of the mainstream" they can't win. However Bachmann never took Vieira's bait, as she pointed out the Tea Party candidates like Ken Buck and Marco Rubio "have caught fire" and are "energizing the Republican Party."
Vieira, following the lead of her Today co-anchor Matt Lauer from yesterday's show, repeatedly tried to hit Bachmann over the head with comments made by Republican New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino about homosexuality, but Bachmann kept the focus on the core issues of spending, taxes and the need for Congress to "act within the bounds of the Constitution," as seen in the following exchange:
NBC's Willie Geist, substitute hosting for Matt Lauer on Friday's Today show, invited on CNBC's Maria Bartiromo to talk about the new jobs report and the two had a startling message for those in its audience who may be unemployed right now - just get "used to it." Geist, citing the liberal economist Joseph Stiglitz, asked the CNBC anchor if "higher unemployment may just be the new normal in this country. Do you agree with that? We just have to get used to this?" Bartiromo, eschewing any sort of American "can do" optimism, actually agreed as she responded: "Well I definitely think we are in a new normal. I think you have to have expectations of much lower growth levels in the United States, relative to the rest of the world." Bartiromo added that business aren't likely to hire in 2011 because they are expecting higher health care expenses, expecting higher taxes" but didn't blame Obama administration policies for those fears.
NBC's Chuck Todd, on Friday's Today, played defense for the Democrats as he relayed their spin on political commercials, noting that "outside independent groups, mostly Republican, are benefitting from the landmark Supreme Court ruling that allows big corporate donors to spend unlimited money, in some cases anonymously, on political advertising." Todd even played several clips of the President going after those ads, but never offered a countering soundbite from a Republican.
Todd also found time to highlight a Democratic complaint about an ad that dared to use actors instead of real people, as he pointed out a commercial against Democratic Senate candidate and current governor of West Virginia Joe Manchin drew the ire of Dems because it featured actors "hired by a Philadelphia talent agency looking for a quote, 'hicky blue collar look'."
First up Todd set the table for the President to slam independent groups as "a threat to democracy" but failed to mention that he himself -- as reported in a Washington Post story headlined Obama Accepted Untraceable Donations -- benefitted from anonymous contributions back in 2008.
California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown was caught on tape in a conversation with an aide, in which that aide called his Republican opponent Meg Whitman a "whore" and CBS's Early Show, on Friday, didn't find that gaffe worthy to report, even though Brown was forced to apologize. ABC's Good Morning America, didn't do much better, as while they did report on the sexist phrased being hurled at Whitman they didn't get around to it, until the second hour of their show. ABC's Juju Chang, in a news brief, noted "Some salty language in the race for California governor. It's difficult to hear, but it's a voice mail recording that captures Democrat Jerry Brown" and an aide, "who used a not-so flattering word to describe" Whitman. Chang went on to play a clip of the aide saying of Whitman "She's a whore."
NBC's Today show, for some reason, bleeped out the offending word, but did offer the most extensive report of the controversy and unlike their morning competitors highlighted the story in the first hour of their program with Vieira teasing at the top of the show: "And caught on tape. A private conversation between California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown and an aide recorded on a voice mail and derogatory word is used to describe rival Meg Whitman. The Brown camp is apologizing but Whitman's camp is calling it unforgivable, today." Vieira's colleague, Natalie Morales, then offered a full story, six minutes into the show.
Just a day after NBC's Matt Lauer engaged in a rough interview with Republican New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, Lauer engaged in a much more friendly chat, with DNC chairman Tim Kaine as he helpfully asked the former Virginia Governor, on Wednesday's Today show, what Democrats could do to best "chip away"at the GOP's lead in the polls and "counter" their messages. Lauer also jumped at the chance to ask Kaine about a rumor that Hillary Clinton may join Barack Obama on the 2012 ticket as he prodded Kaine: "Any reason why that would kind of get your juices flowing?"
The following is the full interview with Kaine as it was aired on the October 6 Today show:
With Election Day just a month away NBC's Matt Lauer, on Tuesday's Today show, attacked New York GOP gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino repeatedly with such pejoratives as "angry""nasty" and "dark" and accused him of practicing "gutter politics." Lauer even told the Tea Party backed candidate that if elected he wouldn't be able to get anything done because political leaders "need not to crack heads, they need to build bridges" and added when "I look at you, I'm not sure you're a bridge builder." This is a far cry from when Lauer interviewed President Barack Obama back on the September 27 Today show and hit him with criticism from the left that he had not been "rigorous enough in pushing back against" GOP attacks.
Lauer's colleague, Meredith Vieira, teased the Paladino interview by alerting viewers "He is at the heart of one of the nastiest races in New York's history and he promises it's gonna get nastier" and Lauer didn't waste any time trying to prove that point, as he opened up with the following first question: "You have seemed to embrace the mantle of the angry candidate. Is that what you think voters want right now?" Paladino punched back, something he had to do throughout all of Lauer's interview as he countered: "I don't think it's anger...it's people that are very frustrated and I'm just a reflection of that frustration." [audio available here]
Former Vice President Walter Mondale appeared on Monday's Today show to plug his new book, The Good Fight, and NBC's Amy Robach asked the failed 1984 presidential candidate if he had any advice for Barack Obama, as the midterms approach, as she asked: "A lot has been compared to President Jimmy Carter's presidency to President Obama's" and recalling Mondale's run against Ronald Reagan: "Do you think that President Obama and Democrats are facing a similar situation come November?" For his part Mondale advised that Obama should get rid of his teleprompters or "idiot boards" as he called them because as "smart as he can be, he needs to talk right into that camera and talk to people because people are hurting."
The following is the full interview as it was aired on the October 4 Today show: