NBC's "Today" show handed "New York Times" columnist Thomas Friedman a platform, on Tuesday's show, to rail against President Bush's "incoherent mess" of an energy policy, and demand a $1/gallon gas tax, as well as a $4.50 price floor on gas.
"Today" co-host Meredith Vieira spurred on Friedman as she recited the most inflammatory passages from his Sunday column:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: Well in this column on Sunday, you don't hold back. You refer to the President as our "addict-in-chief." You say his energy plan is, "Get more addicted to oil." You go on to say, "It is hard for me to find the words to express what a massive, fraudulent, pathetic excuse for an energy policy this is." What is it, Tom that, you find so offensive in his energy plan?
On to promote his new movie "Hancock," Will Smith was pushed by "Today" co-host Matt Lauer to express his support for Barack Obama and the actor/rapper, channeled his inner Michelle Obama, as he declared it's the "first time" in five to 10 years it's been good to be an American overseas [audio available here]:
WILL SMITH: You know I just, I just came back from Moscow, Berlin, London and Paris and it's the first, I've been there quite a few times in the past five to 10 years. And it just hasn't been a good thing to be American. And this is the first time, since Barack has gotten the nomination, that it, it was a good thing.
The following is an excerpt from the interview as it occurred on the June 22, "Today" show:
NBC's "Today" brought on "Newsweek's" Howard Fineman, on Monday's program, to promote a new poll, from his magazine that shows Barack Obama has jumped to a 15 point lead, and even though no other poll shows that big of a gap Fineman boldly bragged: "But we have a tendency, sometimes, to pick up on a trend before others do and...you're probably going to see some movement and I think our poll is the first sign of it."
Fineman also seemed to forget about the Jeremiah Wright fiasco, when he declared of Obama's ability to handle the race issue in his campaign:
In what was, more or less, a puff piece about Michelle Obama on Thursday's "Today" show, Lee Cowan took Obamagasms to new heights when he described Michelle's fashion sense:
"In victory and in defeat Michelle Obama had always been there, dressed as brightly as her husband's smile, determined though, not to steal the spotlight but to put her signature touch on what's become their campaign."
The above Cowan observation came during a set-up piece for an interview segment with Doris Kearns Goodwin, in which "Today" co-anchor Meredith Vieira strategized with the presidential historian about how Michelle can improve her image. While the segment did mention Michelle's "For the first time in my adult lifetime I'm really proud of my country," gaffe at times it sounded like an E! red carpet fashion breakdown (audio available here):
Chris Matthews was not happy and seemed overly sensitive when John McCain compared Barack Obama to his old boss Jimmy Carter. On Tuesday night's "Hardball," after Matthews played a clip of McCain saying Obama was running for "Carter's second" term, he declared "I don't like it," and tried to write the attack off by saying not enough voters "even remembered voting for the guy."
The following exchanges occurred throughout the June 10 edition of "Hardball":
JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC: Look John McCain has a more complicated task because he's got to try to discredit Obama but also say he's not gonna be like George Bush either. And I think the difficulty of this task is highlighted by, you look at the examples, Barack Obama is saying John McCain would be George Bush's third term and McCain comes back with Jimmy Carter. Well you know there are a lot of voters out there saying, "And who was Jimmy Carter exactly?" They don't remember that.
Chris Matthews put the choice before voters in 2008 in the starkest terms possible on Tuesday's "Hardball" as he claimed a vote for McCain was akin to staying on a sinking Titanic and a vote for Obama was a chance at "deliverance."
CHRIS MATTHEWS OPENING SHOW: You're on this big comfortable ocean liner and it's starting to sink. Do you board the little life boat or stay on the big ship with the light still shining, the band still playing? You're the American voter, the year is 2008 and you've got till November to decide. Let's play Hardball!
On Monday's "Today" show, NBC's Amy Robach sat down with a French climber who was arrested for scaling the "New York Times," building to promote his belief that global warming kills more people every day than 9/11.
The "Today"' show graphic bragged it had an exclusive with the global warming alarmist, Alain Robert, and while Robach did note the criminal charges being brought against him, she never challenged Robert's assertion that climate change was deadlier than al Qaeda.
AMY ROBACH: What is it about scaling skyscrapers that makes you so passionate?
ALAIN ROBERT: This is something a bit different, but most of all, you know, now since nearly a year, I have decided to fight on global warming, and that's the reason why I have decided to climb the "New York Times" building.
ROBACH: Yeah this climb was different than others, because the other times, you did it perhaps just for the thrill of it. This time you did it with a message. Tell us about this organization and why it's so important to you.
ROBERT: In fact, you know, actually, global warming is killing more people every week than 9/11, so which is a big amount of people.
The following is the full interview as it occurred on the June 9, "Today" show:
Chris Matthews took to the air on MSNBC's "Hardball," just moments after former Obama fundraiser Tony Rezko was convicted on fraud and money laundering charges, but Matthews wasn't about to let that bit of breaking news ruin the moment, as he never mentioned the conviction once on the hour long program.
However, he did find time, during the 5 PM EDT edition of Wednesday's Hardball, to gush about Obama's "magic moment" with his wife Michelle:
On the day after Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination, NBC's "Today" show invited on Kerry Kennedy to promote her book about her father, Robert F. Kennedy, but during the interview viewers were subjected to an anti-Republican rant.
Asked by NBC's Matt Lauer if there can be "unity in the Democratic Party," Kennedy responded by listing a series of grievances against the Bush administration -- from health care to Iraq to Guantanamo -- that would rally the Dems behind Obama.
MATT LAUER: You, you're obviously politically active. You supported Hillary Clinton, your uncle Ted supported Barack Obama. In many ways your family is representative of what happened in this country. There was a split down the middle. So are you confident, are you hopeful that there can be unity in the Democratic Party?
On an evening where Barack Obama was on the verge of clinching the Democratic nomination and there was news that Hillary Clinton wanted in on the ticket, it was all too much for Chris Matthews to handle. The "Hardball" host couldn't contain his glee as he blurted on the 5pm edition of Tuesday night's show: "I'm getting giggles!"
Matthews made the following admission as he concluded a panel segment, with the "Politico's" Roger Simon and NBC's Andrea Mitchell and Chuck Todd, that discussed such topics as Obama's locking up the nomination and the possibility of Hillary Clinton landing the VP spot, on the June 3 "Hardball":
Invited on to promote his new book, "War Journal," NBC's Middle Eastern correspondent Richard Engel claimed, on Tuesday's "Today" show, that it wasn't "an opinion piece." However, in the book, Engel reveals a definite anti-war bias as he called the Iraq war "a war of opportunity," and charged, "the U.S. invaded the wrong country."
Engel tried to deny the book's slant in the following exchange with "Today" co-host Meredith Vieira:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: You know this is not a political treatise, but you do take a position about the war. You call it "a war of opportunity." And you write, "The problem was that the U.S. invaded the wrong country, destroying an odious government that was not responsible for 9/11. I don't know how you recover from invading the wrong country, no matter how you spin it." As a journalist, did you worry that you were crossing a line when you said that?
In a hard economic times story by NBC's Kevin Tibbles on Monday's "Today" show there was a not-so-subliminal pro-Obama message on display as several times pro-Obama signs found their way into the background. Reporting on the increased traffic to pawn shops by the desperate to make ends meet in the "rocky economy," Tibbles, didn't mention Obama by name but the Illinois senator's name or image popped up in the background several times.
Tibbles, or at least his cameraman and/or producer, seemed to be sending the not-so-subtle message that the presumed Democratic presidential nominee could be the savior from these tough economic times.
The following is the full story as it occurred on the June 2, "Today" show:
NBC's "Today" show gave Scott McClellan two segments, on Thursday morning, to slam the Bush administration and promote his book What Happened and while Meredith Vieira repeated his charge that the administration was "shading the truth," in the run up to the Iraq war, that wasn't enough for the "Today" co-host as she pressed McClellan to go further and accuse the White House of "lying" America into the Iraq war:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: Let's go back in time now.
SCOTT MCCLELLAN: Sure.
VIEIRA: Because in the book you say the Bush administration made a decision to turn away from candor and honesty and you point to the war in Iraq as the prime example. These are your words now, "Bush and his advisers knew that the American people would not support a war launched primarily for the ambitious purpose of transforming the Middle East. Rather than open this Pandora's box, the administration chose a different path, not employing out and out deception, but shading the truth." And you say, "In an effort to convince the world that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, the administration used innuendo and implication and intentional ignoring of intelligence to the contrary." Innuendo, implication, shading the truth. You seem to stop just short of saying that President Bush and his administration flat out lied.
MCCLELLAN: Well actually, I say in the book, I say that this was not a deliberate or conscious effort to do so. What happened was that we got caught up in the excesses of the permanent campaign culture in Washington, D.C.
VIEIRA: What does that mean when you say that?
MCCLELLAN: Well what it means is that, that everything is centered on trying to shape and manipulate the narrative to one's advantage. Each party, or each side is trying to do that. That's what Washington has become today. They're trying to manipulate the narrative to their advantage. And that's the way the game is played. It's, it's a battle over power and influence. And how can we gain, or how can we win those battles, how can we win over public opinion instead of, you know what it should be more on, which is bipartisan, deliberation and compromise. That's become a distant second. And so--
VIEIRA: But however you word it, isn't it lying, Scott? Isn't that what they were doing?
The following is a complete transcript the first interview segment with McClellan as it occurred on the May 29, "Today" show:
All "Big Three" network evening news anchors appeared on Wednesday's "Today" show to promote a simulcast to fight cancer but ended up wringing their hands about Scott McClellan's charges that the press was too soft on the White House in the run up to the Iraq War.
"CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric accused the White House of "strong arm tactics," and complained, "There was such a significant march to war and people who questioned it very early on...were considered patriotic."
When pushed by "Today" host Matt Lauer, "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams charged:
In Katrina the evidence was right next to us. Sadly we saw fellow Americans, in some cases, floating past, face down. We knew what had just happened. We weren't allowed to that kind of proximity with the weapons inspectors. I was in Kuwait for the build up of the war and yes we heard from the Pentagon, on my cell phone, the minute they heard us report something that they didn't like. The tone of that time was quite extraordinary.
For his part "ABC World News" anchor Charlie Gibson said he felt like all the questions were asked but declared:
NBC's "Today" show, on Wednesday morning, led with former White House press secretary Scott McClellan's book as Matt Lauer declared it a "bombshell," and Tim Russert built up McClellan's credibility as he trumpeted, "This is not Moveon.org."
After a breathless accounting of the "scathing" and "searing" revelations in the McClellan book from David Gregory, Lauer and Russert dismissed Karl Rove's criticism of the former press secretary and underlined the impact the book would have on the election:
TIM RUSSERT: Karl Rove was out last night, basically relegating his position as unimportant. That he was not in the loop. He was not a key adviser. But the fact is, it's gonna be very difficult to diminish someone who was in that room, who was in that position for as long as he was.
MATT LAUER: And here we've got a president with historically low approval ratings, he can't run for reelection so this, is this just a parting shot on, on a departing president or will this have some impact on the fall election between Barack Obama, it seems, and John McCain?
RUSSERT: It will fuel the debate about the war in Iraq, whether or not we should have gone into Iraq. John McCain said yes, Obama said no. I believe that this will be expert testimony used by the Democrats against their incumbent president.
On Monday's "Hardball" Chris Matthews scolded the Georgia Republican Party State Chair for comparing John McCain to Jesus but back in 2007 the MSNBC host declared of Bill Clinton: "There are times when he sounds like Jesus..."
First up, during the "Sideshow" segment of the May 19 show, Matthews delivered the following critique of Georgia Republican Party Chair Sue Everhart:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Now to the most absurd analogy of the day. In praising John McCain for his stoicism while he was tortured in Vietnam, Georgia Republican Party Chair Sue Everhart had this to say about her candidate, quote, "John McCain is kind of like Jesus Christ on the cross." Well I think John Lennon made that mistake when he said the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. Let's cool it with those comparisons.
However, last year Matthews compared Bill Clinton to Jesus and actually won "Quote of the Year," for it at the MRC's 2008 DisHonors Awards. The following quote is from the February 28, 2007 edition of "Hardball:"
During an exclusive interview with George W. Bush, on Monday's "Today" show, NBC's Richard Engel seemed to blame all of the Middle East's problems on the President's policies as he charged that, "Iran's position in the world is rising because of your actions in Iraq," and that the war on terrorism "has not made the world safer."
This exchange was typical of the tone of the entire interview where virtually all of Engels' questions to the President were from the left.
RICHARD ENGEL: If you look back over the last several years, the Middle East that you'll be handing over to the next president has, is deeply problematic. You have Hamas in power, Hezbollah empowered, taking to the streets, Iran empowered, Iraq still at war. What region are you handing over?
GEORGE W. BUSH: Richard, Richard those folks were always around. They were here. What we're handing over is a, is a Middle East that one recognizes the problems and the world recognizes them. There's, there's clarity as to what the problems are.
ENGEL: The war on terrorism has been the centerpiece of your presidency. Many people say that it has not made the world safer, that it has created more radicals, that, that there are more people in this part of the world who want to attack the United States.
On Thursday's "Hardball" Chris Matthews accused George W. Bush of delivering "a sucker punch" to Barack Obama in his speech to the Knesset. In the speech Bush warned against appeasing enemies, which Matthews took to be a cheap shot at the Illinois senator's willingness to talk to the leaders of hostile nations like Iran. [audio available here]
Matthews made the "sucker punch" remark on the May 15, "Hardball" in the following question to the "Dallas Morning News'" Wayne Slater:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me ask you while you're up now Wayne, this question of the President. You've written about "Bush's Brain." What was he up to in the Knesset today with that, well you'd have to call it a sucker punch over there. In the Knesset, in Israel, which was, you know, so much to do with the Holocaust, let's be honest. In terms of the world and the way it looks, the necessity of a state of Israel, a Jewish state. And to go in there and basically accuse the Democrats of selling out the Jews of Europe. I mean an amazing charge right there in, in the homeland! Incredible!
Toeing the "Green is Universal,"corporate line, MSNBC's Chris Matthews seemed shocked that anyone would dare question whether climate change was real. During a discussion about John McCain's eco-friendly rhetoric the "Hardball" host was dismayed when conservative radio talk show host Heidi Harris called it a move "to the left," as Matthews decried: "You think climate change is an ideological issue?!"
The following exchange occurred on the May 13 edition of "Hardball:"
In this week's cover piece for "Time" magazine entitled, "Obama: The Game Changer," Joe Klein praised John McCain for having won the nomination by being "a pariah to blowhards like Limbaugh." However the Time magazine columnist advised the Arizona senator to keep it clean as he warned: "If McCain wants to maintain his reputation as a politician more honorable than most, he's going to have to stop the sleaze."
The following is the full excerpt as it appears in the May 19 edition of "Time" magazine:
In his victory speech after the smashing North Carolina results came in, Obama went directly after both McCain and the media. "[McCain's] plan to win in November appears to come from the very same playbook that his side has used time after time in election after election," Obama said. "Yes, we know what's coming. I'm not naive. We've already seen it, the same names and labels they always pin on everyone who doesn't agree with all their ideas, the same efforts to distract us from the issues that affect our lives, by pouncing on every gaffe and association and fake controversy, in the hopes that the media will play along."
NBC's "Today" show added its voice to the chorus of "Get Out Hillary!" chants as its co-host Meredith Vieira asked Clinton's campaign chairman if the New York senator worried that "she could become a spoiler, the longer she stays in the race?"
Vieira attempted different variations of the "When will Hillary get out?" line with Terry McAuliffe on Thursday's "Today" show as she pressed:
VIEIRA: "Is there any light at the end of the tunnel or is it a train headed your way?...But Obama right now has the math, he has the momentum. What does she have left?...There is no way she will carry this to the convention then? Absolutely none?
After an Andrea Mitchell set-up piece that was headlined: "Should Hillary Clinton Drop Out?" Vieira conducted the following interview with McAuliffe on the May 8, "Today" show:
The "Today" show's Ann Curry interviewed Cindy McCain on Thursday morning and got her to promise that the McCain campaign won't go negative. However Curry, herself, repeatedly pressed a point that is sure to be part of a, not-so-quiet, whisper campaign against the Arizona Senator this fall--that he's too old to be President. [audio available here]
ANN CURRY: And she laughed when asked if she has any concerns about his age. You're laughing. Why are you smiling about that?
CINDY MCCAIN: Come spend the day with us.
CURRY: I mean there's never been an older president, at 71. So you've got, this, this is a fair question.
MCCAIN: It is a fair question.
CURRY: And you've seen, as a wife of a senator, what that job does to the men elected to it.
MCCAIN: I would challenge anybody who has a question about his age to come travel with us for a day, on the campaign, because I have to pull off sometimes. He's too much for me. This is about experience. This is a man, who not only has experience, but has the, the, the compass that his life's skills and his life experiences have given him.
CURRY: Can't take away the numbers. 71?
The following is the full interview as it occurred on the May 8, "Today" show:
On the syndicated, "The Chris Matthews Show," Kim Genardo, a political reporter for NBC Raleigh, North Carolina affilate WNCN, predicted that "smart, educated" North Carolina primary voters wouldn't be swayed by Jeremiah Wright but was unsure how "conservative, white, rural voters" would vote as she admitted she's not, "in touch with them."
The following exchange occurred on the May 4, edition of "The Chris Matthews Show":
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let's talk about North Carolina, Kim. It's where you work. He's had a big lead down there, Barack Obama. Has for weeks now.
KIM GENARDO, WNCN RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA: Absolutely.
MATTHEWS: It's narrowing, I hear. Tell me what you hear about that race as it's shaping up. Will it be an up or down on Jeremiah Wright, not Barack?
NBC's "Today" show invited on "Newsweek International" editor Fareed Zakaria to promote his book "The Post-American World," on Monday's show and during his segment the author depicted the United States as a nation in decline as he declared the "era" of "'American exceptionalism' is over."
As examples of America's declining standing in the world the "Newsweek" editor cited such facts as China now having the "Largest ferris wheel in the world," Minneapolis' "Mall of America" no longer being the largest in the world and Macau having surpassed Las Vegas in the size of their casinos.
The following is the full interview as conducted by co-host Meredith Vieira, as it occurred on the May 5, "Today" show:
Chris Matthews invited on former President Jimmy Carter on Tuesday’s "Hardball," and not surprisingly tossed softballs at his former boss and prompted him to weigh-in on Jeremiah Wright as he asked: "Do you think his pastor will be used by people on the right to play the racial card?"
The following exchange occurred on the April 29 edition of MSNBC’s "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Do you think his pastor will be used by people on the right to play the racial card?
JIMMY CARTER: I don't have any doubt. They'll use everything they can by the racial card. That's what the Republicans have done, at least in the South, ever since 1964 when Lyndon Johnson ran against, against Barry Goldwater. And my mother was Lyndon Johnson's campaign, campaign leader in Sumter county. So yeah I think they will use everything they can against Obama if he gets the nomination.
On Tuesday's installment of the "Today" show's "Where in the World is Matt Lauer?" viewers were treated to Lauer strolling by an Amsterdam canal as he talked Dutch politics with a Netherlands' TV host who looked down on America's health care system and the views of "hardcore Republicans" about Holland's legalized prostitution and drugs.
The following exchange occurred on the April 29, "Today" show:
TWAN HUYS, NETHERLANDS TV HOST: But overall if you look at this country it's, it's very rich. Social climate is very good and there's not like, in your country, 40, 50 million people who have no insurance. That's not happening here. It's still, I would say it's, it's a paradise compared to many countries in the world.
MATT LAUER: One of the things that people in the United States immediately think of when they think of Amsterdam, of course is the red light district. How do people here feel about that image abroad?
NBC's Matt Lauer appeared live from Buenos Aires, Argentina as part of the latest installment of the "Today" show's "Where In The World Is Matt Lauer?" ratings gimmick and he went out of his way to assuage viewers that NBC News was doing their part to stay "green" in his travels.
Prompted by an e-mailer's question, read by co-host Meredith Vieira, Lauer assured the "Today" audience that they were going to purchase "carbon off-sets," as he dutifully noted: "We are taking great note of a green side of this trip, as much as humanly possible."
The following exchange occurred on the April 28, "Today" show:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: Listen I've got some e-mail questions that have been coming. And first off is Shaun from Jersey City, New Jersey, and he, who asks, "I have not heard any mention on how Matt Lauer plans to offset his carbon footprint from his upcoming trip around the world. I'm surprised that you have not incorporated a 'green' perspective into this year's trip?" What do you have to say, Matt?
On Wednesday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews thought he saw racism in two ads targeted against Barack Obama, but when his media panel full of liberal journalists disagreed he back-pedaled a bit.
First up Matthews ran a clip of what he called a "nasty," ad by the North Carolina Republican Party. The Politico's Roger Simon agreed with Matthews that it was "nasty" but said, he wasn’t sure it was "unfair."
Then Matthews ran an ad hitting Obama for opposing the death penalty in Chicago for gang members and claimed:
"It's a giant permission slip to somebody who doesn't want to vote for him to begin with. And it’s also a permission slip for the Republican Party to use him as a target throughout the general election."
However Simon disagreed with Matthews’ implication that it had a racial tinge as he pointed out:
As part of its celebration of Earth Day, NBC's "Today" show invited on actor/environmentalist Ed Norton to promote his National Geographic special on PBS and the "Fight Club" star actually decried America's environmental progress compared to China as he charged the U.S. had to "catch up," to them in the area of banning plastic bags.
ED NORTON: Yeah and when, and when China is ahead of us in banning these things [plastic bags], when other countries around the world are banning these things that we, we need to get in line with that and catch up.
The following is the full segment as it occurred on the April 22, "Today"
MATT LAUER: Two-time Oscar nominee Edward Norton packed a punch with his performance in the film "Fight Club," now he's fighting for a cause, planet Earth. He's narrating National Geographic's series "Strange Days On Planet Earth," which is back for its second installment premiering this week. Edward Norton, good morning, nice to see you.
Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos," has ticked off Chris Matthews. On Wednesday's "Hardball" Matthews insulted Limbaugh's listeners, who are voting in the Democratic primary, as he questioned: "What kind of klutz do you have to be to take orders on how to vote from Rush Limbaugh and to change your party identity so that you can vote against, for somebody to screw the other party?"
The following discussion occurred at the top of the show on the April 16, edition of "Hardball."
JOHN BAER, PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS: And we have seen evidence in Pennsylvania of the kind of thing that was rumored earlier in the campaign which is Republicans changing their registration in order to vote. As you know in Pennsylvania you have to be a Democrat to vote in the primary. There has been evidence that, that's happened in Pennsylvania.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: To do what?
BAER: The Republicans have gone over, have gone over--
MATTHEWS: You mean strategic voting?
BAER: Strategic voting and vote for Hillary to get her on the ballot because--