On this morning's "Today" show it was a tale of two candidates who have fallen behind in the polls. One was eulogized and left for dead, the other one was glowingly profiled. Can you guess which one was a Democrat and which one was the Republican?
First, Sen. John McCain sat down on the "Today" set and had to endure NBC's David Gregory burying his campaign in a set-up piece that was so tough "Today" co-host Matt Lauer awkwardly apologized: "It's always strange for me to be sitting here with a guy and we're running a tape that's a little bit like a political obituary there."
Whenever NBC News needs someone to put the current presidential campaign into historic context they usually go to liberal historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and in recent days, on two different NBC News outlets, Goodwin has delivered with her unique historic and liberal perspective on Hillary Clinton.
On this morning's "Today" show, NBC's Andrea Mitchell went to Goodwin for a critical take on Hillary, but even when asked to find a negative about the Senator from New York, Goodwin couldn't help but fill her critique with superlatives as she determined Hillary may need to soften her "articulate" and overly "prepared," image by intentionally making a mistake. The following analysis was aired on the August 7, "Today" show:
On tonight's Hardball, Mike Barnicle, substitute-hosting for Chris Matthews, used the tragedy of the bridge collapse in Minneapolis to call for bigger government and wondered, "Does this help the Democrats?" All throughout tonight's show, Barnicle repeatedly pressed his guests to call for an increase in the size of government and at one point even demanded: "Government's gotta get bigger!"
First up Barnicle asked the liberal Barney Frank where he would find the money to pay for bridge repair. After Frank responded that he would "end the war in Iraq" and raise taxes to improve America's infrastructure, Barnicle took the Congressman's cue to advance the tax hike/big government theme for the entirety of the show.
The following are just some of the exchanges as they occured on the August 2, edition of MSNBC's Hardball:
On this morning's Today show, NBC's Meredith Vieira and Dr. Nancy Snyderman became born-again libertarians in their opposition to New York City's ban on bottle feeding babies. Vieira called the measure "drastic" and Snyderman urged, "not so fast." The ban even inspired "Today" to coin a new series segment called "Nanny State." However, back in 2006, when New York City infringed on another right - the right to eat fatty foods, Snyderman struck a different tone, as she gravely warned about the dangers of trans fats.
First up Vieira opened the bottle feeding ban segment on the August 2, "Today" this way:
Video (0:55):Real (1.51 MB) or Windows (1.74 MB), plus MP3 audio (305 kB)
As part of a new segment on the "Today" show called "Candidate Cribs," NBC's Jonathan Alter went on a cab ride, with Democratic candidate Mike Gravel behind the wheel. However, Alter received more than a calm cruise through the city from the former Alaskan senator. In a gimmicky stunt, meant to showcase the candidate's past life as a New York City cabbie, Alter slid into the back seat for a ride but just after Gravel started griping about Iraq he crashed the taxi.
Alter: "Gravel is best remembered for helping end the Vietnam era draft with a filibuster and for reading the Pentagon Papers in the Senate. Now, after a quarter-century out of politics, he's an angry Rip Van Winkle."
Gravel: "I know how to get out of Iraq. I know how to affect the solution, it's a diplomatic solution."
Judging by the media's reaction one could assume the Hillary campaign isn't displeased by the release and subsequent publication by the New York Times of her college letters. During the roundtable portion of tonight's Hardball the media panel dissected how her letters during her college days affected her campaign and they mostly agreed they only serve to help humanize the notoriously cold candidate.
Joan Walsh of Salon.com declared: "I think they're intensely humanizing...So I thought there were a net gain, positive, for her." Walsh even encouraged her own daughter to read them for inspiration: "I have a teenager, so I want her to read them and remember, you know, it's, that we all have days like that."
Appearing live on the "Hardball Plaza," leftist film-maker Michael Moore pitched his movie "Sicko" and called for Bush and Cheney's impeachment, all in front of live audience and sympathetic "Hardball" host Chris Matthews. On tonight's edition of "Hardball," Matthews devoted the entire hour to Moore and praised "Sicko" as "amazing film-making," wondered why Americans were afraid of "socialized" medicine and stood by as Moore charged Bush and Cheney should be led out of the White House on a "perp walk" and be imprisoned for their war crimes.
The following are some of the more over-the-top moments from the July 23rd edition of "Hardball:"
The ever present boogeyman that, in the media's eyes, is global warming, reared its ugly head again today. Reporting from England on the rising flood waters there, NBC's Keith Miller, on this morning's 'Today' show, offered the following observation:
Keith Miller: "The damage from the flood waters is already estimated to be more than $100 million. Roads are out, the electricity supply has failed and the water supply is now contaminated. The people of Britain are all asking the same question today, could this be global warming?"
As NBC's Matt Lauer advertised Harry Reid’s "all-nighter" to debate Iraq's funding, his colleague, Jim Miklaszewski, buttressed Reid's theatrics by showcasing military families, whose "anger over the war is growing," and even highlighted a group calling for the war's defunding. On this morning's 'Today' show, Miklaszewki, aired soundbites from three war opponents but he didn’t gave any air-time to supporters of the war effort.
The following is the full, unbalanced, segment as it occurred the July 17th Today show:
The donations to the global warming cause keep coming in from NBC. On this morning's "Today" show, the band Maroon 5 came on to tease their upcoming performance on the show but couldn't leave without the "Today" show cast urging them to plug their partnership with a liberal environmentalist organization, that gets $1 from every Maroon 5 ticket sold.
When the band's lead singer, Adam Levine, urged viewers to buy tickets for their tour, "Today" co-host Ann Curry mentioned viewers could see the band for free at their August 17th performance on the Rockefeller Center Plaza. However Today's weatherman, Al Roker, quickly rectified Curry's inadvertent undercutting of the cause, as he reminded viewers: "But buy a ticket because a dollar goes to Global Cool."
Picking up where last night's Nightly News left off, NBC's Today show continued the "tipping point" line of attack on pushing for troop withdrawal from Iraq. Opening this morning's Today show, NBC's Matt Lauer greeted viewers with the following question: "Good morning, if not now, when? The White House says it's not considering pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq right now but with sinking approval ratings and defections from his own party is it just a matter of time before the President changes course?" Then, teasing an interview with White House press secretary Tony Snow, Lauer all but declared defeat:
Sting and his wife, environmental activist, Trudie Styler, were welcomed like old friends by Today co-host Ann Curry, on NBC's prime-time coverage of Live Earth. Curry, who has gushingly interviewed Styler before, implored the rock star and his wife to send a message to all those participating in the "rising fervor" for the environment. However, Curry worried that "fervor" would cool as she asked the 80s pop icon: "Well the iron is hot. People are listening. Irons cool, Sting. So what is the strongest thing you can say tonight to people listening?"
The following is the full interview as it occurred around 8:24pm on NBC's live July 7th coverage of the Live Earth concert:
Appearing with Today co-host Ann Curry during NBC’s exhaustive coverage of his Live Earth concert, Gore gave a shout out to the network for its donation to his global warming cause, as Gore told Curry: "Thanks for what NBC has been doing." Curry, as expected, didn’t exactly deliver a hard-hitting interview and even pressed Gore about running for president.
Curry to Gore: "A lot of people want me to ask you tonight if you're running for President. And I know what you're answer is gonna be, believe me. I gotta ask you though. After fueling this grass roots movement if you become convinced that without you there will not be the political will in the White House to fight global warming to the level that is required, because the clock is ticking.Would you answer the call? Would you answer the call, yes or no?"
Meredith Vieira invited on singer/songwriter Paolo Nutini to perform on this morning’s Today show but didn’t let the artist get away without using his spot on the upcoming Live Earth concert, as an excuse to plug NBC Universal’s sweeping coverage of the Al Gore musical marathon for the planet. Before Nutini sang he and Vieira discussed the importance of saving the Earth in the following segment of the July 3rd Today show:
Meredith Vieira: "They are calling it a worldwide event to save the planet and this Saturday more than 100 musical acts will perform in eight cities across seven continents. The Live Earth concert series will bring attention to the issue of global warming. And among the performers, Scottish singer/songwriter Paolo Nutini."
Chris Matthews, presumably away on vacation, handed the reigns of MSNBC's Hardball to Democratic activist Reverend Al Sharpton. The first two guests, in the first half-hour, of the Sharpton hosted July 2 episode, were Democrats - Howard Dean and Terry McAuliffe. The hot topic of the discussion with Dean was about how the John McCain campaign and the GOP, overall, were suffering in their fundraising efforts. The following "hardball" segment, with McAuliffe, featured the Hillary Clinton campaign chairman crowing about her fundraising success.
After the McAuliffe segment, Sharpton, actually interviewed a Republican. Predictably, Sharpton's questions to presidential candidate, Representative Duncan Hunter, were tougher than the ones to his Democratic colleagues. Following the Hunter segment, Sharpton quickly returned to his Democratic friends, as he invited on Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Chris Dodd.
NBC's announcement that Today news anchor and Dateline host Ann Curry (file photo from 2006 at right) will co-anchor NBC's prime-time simulcast of Al Gore's "Live Earth" concerts on Saturday is an obvious indicator that it won't just be a rock concert. It will include gooey interviews where celebrities and rock stars will be praised for their global conscience.
Curry's big prime-time gig could be a reward for the one-sided environmental activism she's long displayed at NBC's morning show. In her time at Today, Curry has brought her trademark sappy personality along with the expected liberal bias to numerous environmental interview segments. In the last five years, Curry often revealed her soft spot for all things green.
Still stoking the flames of the fire it started on its cable outlet, MSNBC, NBC kept pushing the Ann Coulter vs Elizabeth Edwards fight, this time on this morning’s Today show. Substitute host David Gregory invited on Elizabeth Edwards to continue to bash Coulter on her "hate language." And while the on screen headline asked, "Out of Control? The Politics of Ann Coulter," 'Today', once again, never bothered to mention the Edwards campaign's own "out of control" bloggers.
To his credit Gregory did ask about Edwards using Coulter as a fundraising tool and noted the hypocrisy of John Edward's $400 haircut and his large speaking fees for a poverty group. However Today refused to identify either Edwards as a liberal but repeatedly labeled Coulter as "conservative," and even tagged her as a "flamethrower."
Chris Matthews followed-up his, now infamous, staging of the Ann Coulter vs. Elizabeth Edwards throwdown by inviting on John Edwards to join his wife in the pile-on of the conservative columnist. On tonight's Hardball, Edwards condemned Coulter's "hate-mongering" but Matthews never brought up the fact that Edwards' own staffers spewed some pretty hatefulthings, or that Matthews on the very same show compared conservative students to violent inbred hicks. While Matthews did mention Edwards campaign has used Coulter to raise money, most of the interview was full of softballs.
Update with transcript of Matthews on MSNBC appended below.
After yesterday's ambush of Ann Coulter by Elizabeth Edwards on Hardball, MSNBC's Chris Matthews was rewarded a victory lap by Meredith Vieira on this morning's Today show. Matthews crowed that Edwards came out the winner, long after he stacked the deck against the conservative columnist with the surprise call-in, from John Edwards' wife, on a live show. Like a bribed referee in a fixed match Matthews, proverbially, raised Edwards' hand in victory as he blared: "Elizabeth Edwards has won this round."
The following is the full transcript of the segment, first noted here, as it occurred on the June 27th Today show.
On tonight's Hardball, MSNBC's Chris Matthews blind-sided his guest, conservative columnist Ann Coulter, with a live call from Elizabeth Edwards. The wife of presidential candidate John Edwards proceeded to demand Coulter stop her "personal attacks" on her husband, but Coulter shot back that at least she wasn't "bankrupting doctors by giving a shyster, Las Vegas routine."
The following is the full transcript of the exchange as it occurred on the June 26th edition of Hardball:
Chris Matthews: "You know who's on the line? Somebody to respond to what you said about Edwards, yesterday morning, Elizabeth Edwards. She wanted to call in today, we said she could. Elizabeth Edwards go on the line, you're on the line with Ann Coulter."
TV Newser has a speculative piece that Rosie O'Donnell may be headed to NBC/MSNBC as part of a daytime/night-time deal that will allow the former co-host of The View to play nice during the day with a celebrity-focused show and then spew her liberal rants, ala Keith Olbermann, in the evenings. The following is the article inspired by FoxNews.com's Roger Friedman.
Rosie: Proud As A Peacock?
FoxNews.com's Roger Friedman "guesses" Rosie O'Donnell is going to NBC/MSNBC.
Carrying the left's water, on this morning's 'Today' show, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell furthered the liberal spin of Dick Cheney as a dark and sinister force inside the White House. While refusing to label Melanie Sloan and Michael Blanton as the known liberals that they are, O'Donnell cited them, along with the Washington Post's Barton Gellman, in a segment that portrayed Cheney as a "master of stealth." In the story about Cheney withholding documents from the National Archives, O'Donnell aired three soundbites opposed to Cheney but only aired one from a Cheney advocate, White House Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino.
Chris Matthews actually came out for a pardon for Lewis "Scooter" Libby, but he had a catch, "Send him to Iraq." On tonight’s Hardball the MSNBC host, during a discussion about whether Bush should pardon Libby, threw out the following wacky proposal on the June 21 edition of his show:
Chris Matthews proposed to former Cheney aide Ron Christie and former Assistant Attorney General Robert Raben: "I got an idea, I got a solution. Pardon him but send him to Iraq in uniform and put him on the front. Send him to the front. He supported the war, send him to fight it! Hey look a lot of guys have to go fight that war, didn't do anything wrong....In the old days the judges would take a working class kid who got into a scrape with the law and say, 'Junior want to go jail or do you want to go join the Army?' They should say the same thing to Scooter Libby. 'Want to join the Army?'"
NBC Today co-host Meredith Vieira opened her Today at the Pump segment cheering the recent decrease in gas prices as "sweet relief" but then wondered: "Would we be better off...if gas prices were even higher?" On this morning's Today show, Vieira invited on Chevron’s CEO, David O’Reilly, to harass him about getting America off its "dependence" on oil and cited critics of Chevron’s allocation of profits to find alternative sources of energy as merely, "symbolic."
The following exchange occurred on the June 21st edition of Today:
Vieira: "Would, would we be better off, sir, if gas prices were even higher, if it were four, five, six dollars a gallon? Wouldn't that provide the incentive we need to come up with alternative forms of gas and to stop this dependence that we have on foreign oil?"
Chris Matthews couldn’t contain his giddiness, first noted here, when he praised Michael Moore’s Sicko movie on tonight’s Hardball. After he sent his correspondent, MSNBC’s David Shuster, to chase down Moore on Capitol Hill and get an exclusive rant from Moore against the "rackets" that are American health care companies Matthews yelped: "You know I gotta agree with him on this stuff. I gotta agree with him. He's got a case and health care in this country is not working."
The following is the full segment including Shuster’s interview with Moore as it occurred on the June 20th edition of Hardball.
When Hillary faked a Southern accent in Selma, Alabama the major network morning news shows, *for the most part, ignored her blatant and awkward pandering but when Hillary and Bill played like Tony and Carmela Soprano in a campaign ad, meant to humanize Hillary, it drew widespread praise on those very same shows.
On this morning's Today show, co-anchor Matt Lauer declared it, "a hit" and "clever" while fellow anchor Meredith Vieira exclaimed she "loved" it. On ABC's Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos called it "effective" in "showing that she's also a human being who can laugh at herself." Over on CBS's The Early Show, Bob Schieffer called the ad, "hilarious," and cheered: "I think it's one of the cleverest things I've seen in a long, long time."
This morning's 'Today' pumped Hillary Clinton as the next nominee of the Democratic Party and even used two former Clinton flacks, Lisa Caputo and Dick Morris to posit she may be unbeatable in the general election. In fact Today co-host Meredith Vieira acted as a third flack as she called Hillary the "Teflon Candidate" and noted two recent anti-Clinton books haven't "made any dent in her popularity."
First up, at the top of this morning's Today, Vieira greeted viewers with Hillary's inevitablity: "And Senator Hillary Clinton definitely on a roll. A new poll out today shows her lead widening. So why is she doing so well and can she go the distance?"
File this one under the "no duh" department. On tonight's Hardball, Chris Matthews attempted to outline his stance on illegal immigration but prefaced it by declaring: "I don’t want to be the conservative here. I’m not comfortable playing that role."
Matthews uttered what has to be the Understatement of the Week, during an exchange with Ron Reagan Jr. and former John McCain spokesman Todd Harris, on the June 12th edition of MSNBC's Hardball.
Chris Matthews: "But let me ask you guys, I don’t want to be the conservative here. I’m not comfortable playing that role. I’m just not comfortable playing it. But I would like to see a liberal policy of immigration, a liberal policy of letting people come into work but dammit, enforce the law and stop the B.S.! Stop the undocumented workers and the clever language used. All the time, anything but enforcing the law."
Tim Russert invited on longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas on his CNBC show over the weekend to promote her new book but Thomas used the hour to praise the Clintons and smear Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. The former UPI correspondent slammed Reagan declaring, "I think that the poor did not prosper under him at all," and charged the press was too soft on George W. Bush demanding that they should've asked the hard question: "How can you justify killing thousands of people to get one man? Who are we to depose anyone?'" But when it came to the Clinton administration, Thomas thought the press was too hard on the Clintons saying Whitewater amounted to "nothing," and pouted: "the Clintons suffered a lot."
Bush is officially a lame duck, well at least that's what the Big Three network morning shows would have you believe. This morning White House spokesman Tony Snow appeared on NBC's Today, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS' The Early Show and was hit with one common question: is Bush a "lame duck?"
First up on NBC's Today show, co-host Matt Lauer threw the following questions at Snow:
Lauer: "Tony if he, if he can't convince the skeptics, if he can't accomplish this, if he can't get immigration reform passed, you know what they're saying, is it time for him to concentrate full-time on his presidential library?"