You would think an anchor for a network morning news show would relish the opportunity to tag Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton with hard-hitting questions but that wasn't the case for NBC's Meredith Vieira. On CNBC's Conversations with Michael Eisner, Vieira revealed that before her interview with the former First Lady she was "nervous." The Today co-host said "everybody" warned her she was a "tough" interview, so when Vieira first met Clinton backstage she felt the need to disarm the presidential contender with the following "tough" question: "My son probably will go to Georgetown are you prepared to take care of him when he's down there?"
A look back at the December 18th interview shows Vieira asked mostly softball questions like: "Why wouldn't you run for President? I mean, the polls indicate that if you did run, you're the front runner." However Vieira did manage to overcome her nervousness when it came to challenging Hillary from the left on her Iraq war vote: "You refuse to say it was a mistake. Why?"
It's one thing to call the war in Iraq tough and a struggle but it's quite another to say our brave fighting men and women in the region are facing "humiliation," and "annihilation," yet those were the words MSNBC's Chris Matthews used on last night's Hardball as he opposed the surge policy. During a discussion with the National Review's Kate O'Beirne and Democratic strategist Steve McMahon, Matthews once again threw his hands up in defeat as he depressingly declared the following on the February 15th edition of his show:
Chris Matthews: "I will repeat what I've said 100 times and will say 100, a 100 times more. The worst thing this president did in terms of U.S. policy was put our country, which we are in now, a situation where there are no good alternatives. That is not good leadership, to lead you into a blind canyon when all you can do is face complete humiliation over there, or continued annihilation over there and horror over there or this weird sort of redeployment stuff. I don't know what the great alternative is now. That's the failure of this policy, we done have any alternatives now."
On last night's Hardball Chris Matthews, interviewing Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, was peeved that Democrats weren't pushing hard enough to have a vote on the surge. Citing polls in opposition to the surge a flustered Matthews worried Democrats were going to roll over for the President and demanded Hoyer not let the President ignore Democrats like he ignored Katrina. In the first segment of the February 14th, Hardball Matthews declared to Hoyer: "He is gonna treat you, the first branch of the Constitution, as if you're Katrina, not to be paid attention to."
The following is the full question from Matthews:
Chris Matthews: "Well, we have a new poll that shows that seven, seven out of 10 Americans are watching Congress to see how they vote on this and they say that they vote and they say that if they vote the wrong way, they're going to remember that come election time. You know, Mr. Leader, you and I were grew up in a country where presidents were very attune to Congress and respectful of it, especially those who came out of Congress like Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy and even Richard Nixon. They watched the Congress, they paid attention to it and they cared about its legislative duties. This President, and I know you respect him as we do, as President, but he came out and said the other day that he's not even gonna bother watching the floor debate. He doesn't even want to hear about it. He's got other things to do. He is gonna treat you, the first branch of the Constitution, as if you're Katrina, not to be paid attention to. Does that bother you constitutionally that the President doesn't think that this major debate on war is something he's not even gonna bother to watch on television?"
NBC's Matt Lauer opened this morning's Today show with news of the Dixie Chicks' big win at last night's Grammy Awards and used the moment to take a dig at the President's expense. After Lauer teased segments on snow in the Midwest and a skydiver who survived a fall, Lauer took his shot via the big news that an outspoken liberal musical group was awarded a prize from their liberal peers in the music industry:
Lauer: "And Chicks rule! They were shunned after criticizing the President but after a big night at the Grammys the Dixie Chicks are getting the last laugh today, Monday, February 12th, 2007."
Later in the show, in the 9am hour, Natalie Morales declared it was "a big evening for some ladies who've endured some tough times," and West Coast contributor Maria Menenous scored a backstage interview with the Chicks along with Rolling Stone's Joe Levy who asked if the win was a "vindication."
On this morning's Today show, viewers were coyly teased of an Ann Coulter versus Michael Eric Dyson debate on race in the 9:30am half-hour. NBC's Natalie Morales tantalized viewers of the upcoming fight with sure to be expected fireworks: "Michael Eric Dyson and conservative commentator Ann Coulter are gonna square off right here. Should be a very good debate." However viewers and perhaps even Today's producers, had to be disappointed as Dyson and Coulter were surprisingly chummy. Morales even remarked: "You're being very civil this morning."
Not surprisingly, Morales did engage in the old habit of one-sided labeling, as she called Coulter a "conservative commentator," but refused to note Dyson's liberal leanings, as he was referred to as merely a "civil rights activist." Morales also called the liberal Dyson's book, Debating Race, "fascinating" and "great," but didn't apply the same superlative adjectives to the conservative Coulter's book, Godless.
Tom Friedman is at it again. Whenever a reporter asks him how to fix the Middle East, Friedman's response is increasingly the same - increase taxes! On this morning's Today show NBC's Meredith Vieira brought on the New York Times columnist to discuss the Iraq debate on Capitol Hill. Setting up Friedman with his own premise, Viera asked: "Well you've said, 'We need to reshape the game board.' What do you mean by that?" Friedman then gave a long-winded response that eventually revealed his solution: "Oil tax." Below is the conversation as it occurred in the 7am half hour of the February 6 Today show:
Meredith Vieira: "Well you've said, 'We need to reshape the game board. What do you mean by that?'"
On Tuesday night's Hardball, Howard Fineman saw Hillary's joke about "bad and evil men" as a "brilliant" way to "gently" push Bill Clinton aside. MSNBC's Chris Matthews brought on Newsweek's Fineman and The Hotline's Chuck Todd to analyze whether or not Hillary Clinton was, indeed, referring to the former President and if so, if that was some sort of strategy on her part. Fineman postulated it was Hillary's way of telling the nation if she's moved on than so should the country. To which Matthews exclaimed: "You should be her flack, because that is the message she should have come out with."
The following discussion occurred on the January 30th edition of Hardball.
Chris Matthews: "Let me ask you this. Hillary's joke, who was the butt of the joke? She tells this big joke, 'I'm used to dealing with bad and evil men. I can take on Osama bin Laden.' And she's doing it kind of a girl talk kind of, I wish it wasn't all guys here. What was she doing? What was that about?"
NBC's Meredith Vieira played the role of disappointed Democrat on this morning's Today as she repeatedly asked Ralph Nader if he's worried he'll be remembered in history as Al Gore's "spoiler." On to promote his book The Seventeen Traditions, Nader deflected Vieira with his usual spiel about the need for more "progressive" voices in the process, even going as far to push for a Bill Moyers campaign. The following are all of Vieira's questions to the former Green Party candidate on the January 30th, Today.
Meredith Vieira: "Consumer rights activist, humanitarian, election spoiler. Ralph Nader has been called a lot of things during his remarkable career but now he's out with a new book called The Seventeen Traditions, about lessons that he learned during his childhood. He's also the subject of a new documentary called An Unreasonable Man, a profile which examines the charge that his presidential campaign cost Al Gore the election in 2000."
Yesterday NBC's Today show pondered if Hillary Clinton was referring to Bill as one of the 'evil men' she had much experience with but never got around to fully answering the question. Well NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, on this morning's Today, attempted to answer the question and found, via a Clinton surrogate, the 'evil men' Hillary was talking about were Ken Starr, Newt Gingrich and George W. Bush. During the piece Mitchell ran a soundbite from Lisa Caputo claiming: "CertainlyKen Starr and Newt Gingrich would be at the top of that list as would be this White House." Having addressed that question Mitchell moved on to analyzing the Clinton's "complicated marriage" and how the former President "overshadowed his senator wife," but concluded that Bill’s presence was mostly positive as she regurgitated this old Clinton-line: "So as they used to say back in 1992, 'Buy one, get one free.'"
It's been the topic du jour on radio talk shows and blogs: Who was Hillary referring to when she asked: "And what in my background equips me to deal with evil and bad men?" Some have speculated Ken Starr, others, including this morning’s Today show hint the target was a little closer to home. Matt Lauer greeted Today’s viewers with the following opening: "Campaign swing, her first trip to Iowa since announcing she's running for President, Hillary Clinton raises eyebrows when asked about dealing with men like Osama Bin Laden."
Hillary Clinton: "And what in my background equips me to deal with evil and bad men?"
It's probably one of the most awkward things to do for any broadcaster, making that transition from a hard news story about war or a tragic plane crash into a lighter feature story about, say, the latest Hollywood gossip about Bradgelina. It's commonplace on the morning shows for a Meredith Vieira or Diane Sawyer to make that hard turn from a story on Iraq to a piece on the hottest fashion trends, the commonly heard phrase is: "On a lighter note." Well it seems David Gregory, substitute hosting for Matt Lauer on this morning's Today show, hasn't quite mastered that segue. After a Robert Bazell piece about military combat hospitals in Iraq that featured images of wounded soldiers in surgery it was up to Gregory to make that transition, except the story he was throwing to wasn't exactly an upbeat one.
Tom Brokaw popped up on this morning's Today show to analyze the President's State of the Union address and join Meredith Vieira in casting doubt on Bush's ability to sell his Iraq policy. After Vieira asked how Bush's low approval ratings affected his ability to promote the new surge in troops to Iraq, Brokaw responded: "The question is, now, seven years into his presidency and more than three-and-a-half years into this war does he have any credibility left when he says, 'This is how it will work,' because so much of what he has said about Iraq has not worked the way that he described it."
Then a little later Vieira set up Brokaw on how people outside of the U.S. viewed the policy: "What about with the rest of the world? Where do you think they stand in terms of this troop surge?" To which Brokaw opined: "I think the rest of the world is standing back and saying, 'You got yourself into it, you find a way out of it.'And that's a dilemma. I know that members of the Iraq Study Group are not happy that the President has not embraced any of their diplomatic suggestions that he made, that they made about talking to Iran and talking to Syria again about rebuilding the alliances. This is a White House that it's, in its own bunker at the moment."
You'd think NBC News would want its viewers to tune into their coverage of tonight's State of the Union address but after listening to this morning's Today show a viewer would be hard pressed to want to tune in as Meredith Vieira and David Gregory asked repeatedly if anyone still cared what Bush had to say. Today's anchors asked that question on three separate occasions within just the first half-hour.
First Vieira, at the top of the show pondered: "The question tonight will anybody be listening to the President anymore when he speaks?" A few minutes later David Gregory, substitute hosting for Matt Lauer, asked Tony Snow: "Tony has the country stopped listening to the President?" Then in her interview with Hillary Clinton Vieira's first question continued Today's theme: "You just heard Tony Snow that he does not believe that the public has stopped listening to the President, do you agree with that?"
All throughout last night's Hardball, MSNBC's Chris Matthews kept pressing the line the administration was headed for war with Iran, so much so, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow felt the need to calm down Matthews. When an agitated Matthews demanded: "Tony, will the President ask Congress' approval before any attack on Iran?,' Snow countered, "You're getting way ahead of yourself, Chris. Nobody here is talking about attacks on Iran." Snow even attempted to tone down the admitted film buff's active imagination as he warned the excitable Hardball host: "Well, you've been watching too many old movies featuring your old friend Slim Pickens is what you're doing now, come on."
This morning's Today show opened with Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer amazed at the warm temperatures in New York City and of course it didn't take long before the specter of global warming was raised. Lauer ominously opened the show: "Meanwhile a record warm weekend in the East has people wondering what's going on?" Vieira went even further as she bluntly blurted: "So I'm running in the park on Saturday, in shorts thinking this is great but are we all gonna die? You know? I can't, I can't figure this out."
But when it came to an actual scientific-based opinion WNBC weatherman Chris Cimino, filling in for Al Roker, didn't exactly jump to blame global warming...at first. Initially Cimino was non-committal about blaming global warming, instead focusing on El Nino but lest he risk the wrath of his Today show anchors he did cover his liberal bases as he asserted: "Of course the bottom line is you don't throw a lot of greenhouse gases into the air no matter what whether it affects the weather or not."
NBC's Matt Lauer celebrated 10 years at Today this morning and to be sure his run as co-anchor is chock full of biased interviews and liberal slants on a range of issues from the environment to the war on terror but a review of Lauer's record indicates one issue stands out as a particular obsession of Lauer's - guns. Whenever the issue of gun control was hot in the news Lauer could be counted on to push his guests for the harshest restrictions on the Constitutional right to bear arms. On September 5, 2002 Lauer asked then NRA President Charlton Heston: "Have you ever gotten up one morning, read the newspaper or seen the news about a particularly horrific crime or event that involved a shooting and thought even for a second, I may be on the wrong side of this issue?" And when asked by an interviewer in 2000 if he could ask Bill Clinton just two questions, Lauer eschewed impeachment, declaring: "It wouldn't be about [Monica Lewinsky]. I'd ask, 'What are you going to do about guns? Why not make this issue one of your legacies?''
Geraldo Rivera had it in for both businesses big and small as he attacked them and conservatives over minimum wage and compensation packages on last night's Geraldo At Large. During his final commentary, on the Fox News syndicated program, Rivera found conservatives' resistance to a minimum wage increase, "deeply troubling," and claimed it exposed "a cancer at the very heart of capitalism," compared to the "obscene fortunes" made by "mediocre business executives." Rivera then proclaimed his "belief in free enterprise," but invited on Rep. Barney Frank to spew this socialistic propaganda: "We are talking about a very real inequity in our society where a very small number of people are monopolizing almost all the increased wealth and most people are getting none of it." To expose inflated compensation packages Rivera singled out former Home Depot exec Robert L. Nardelli, calling him a "loser," but perhaps Rivera shouldn't be so quick to attack the overpaid given that his own employer, Fox News, just axed his show.
NBC's Today show cast celebrated the return of the Democrats to power to the House as "historic" but when the Newt Gingrich-led Republicans took over the House in 1995 Today wasn't so laudatory. At the top of this morning's Today show Meredith Vieira, as first noted here, declared: "Look it's a very historic day on Capitol Hill. Nancy Pelosi the first woman to become Speaker of the House. I'm excited as a woman to see that happen." Then Vieira's colleague, Natalie Morales, repeated the "historic" refrain during the 8am news update: "It's a history making day on Capitol Hill. Democrats take control of both chambers of Congress for the first time in 12 years and they're set to elect a woman, Nancy Pelosi, as Speaker for the first time ever."
However a flashback to January 4th, 1995 shows Today didn't exactly greet the GOP so graciously.
On Wednesday's Hardball, MSNBC's Chris Matthews depicted Bush as a proverbial Nero, fiddling as Iraq burned and claimed Bush was led into war by "jugheaded neo-conservatives." Matthews also absurdly questioned Dennis Kucinich if Democrats weren't pushing harder for troop withdrawals because: "They're afraid the media will jump on them if they say, 'let's get out of that country now?'" Which begs the question does Matthews even watch his own network?
First up Matthews greeted viewers with this opening salvo:
Matthews: "Tonight, the President fiddles while Iraq burns. He said he will not be rushed into changing policy. Meanwhile, a new poll shows most Americans now think we're actually losing in Iraq. And we can't do more to stop the civil war. Let's talk a Republican senator who says its criminal to keep on this way. Let's play Hardball."
The longer President Bush refuses to completely accept the Iraq Study Group's recommendations the more irked NBC's Tim Russert and Meredith Vieira seem to get. On this morning's Today show Vieira and Russert seemed dumbfounded that the President has yet to wave the white flag in Iraq as they ran down the results of the latest NBC News poll. Vieira declared to Russert: "As polls go it is as bad as it gets for the President." and after running a clip of Bush cynically pondered: "It sounds like the same old President Bush to me. How much do you think he has taken from this listening tour?" Russert, pivoting off the negative poll results quipped: "Real pessimism. When the Iraq Study Group came out and said the situation was 'grave and deteriorating,' that resonated with the American people. I think the President's political condition as we sit here this morning is 'grave and deteriorating."
After a prolonged absence for health reasons Chris Matthews returned to the airwaves last night and as if making up for lost time quickly returned to bashing Bush over Iraq. As part of Hardball's College Tour, Matthews brought former Senator and Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill to join in the bashing and within the first few minutes of the show asked Edwards if Bush going to Iraq "was a daddy thing," and if he thought it was "scary" that "a President of the United States of limited ability," was able to create a "firestorm of almost messianic nuttiness."
Aside from sharing the same last name NBC's O'Donnells, Kelly and Norah, share the same penchant for liberal bias. On this morning's Today show Kelly O'Donnell highlighted Republican division on Iraq while Norah O'Donnell pointed out Democratic "excitement," over Barak Obama.
First up Kelly O'Donnell, in a report about Bush seeking answers in Iraq, noted, 'while he is seeking advice his party is splitting over the war." Then later in the 7am half hour the other O'Donnell, Norah, fawned over Obama: "Barack Obama's first ever visit to New Hampshire ignited excitement!"
The following are the complete reports filed by both O'Donnells on the December 11 Today show with relevant portions highlighted in bold:
When it comes to the defamation of gays and lesbians The View's Rosie O'Donnell is the first one to play sensitivity cop, most notably her patrolling of Kelly Ripa's bout with Clay Aiken, but apparently her hypersensitivity doesn't apply to those of Asian descent. On the December 5 edition of The View, O'Donnell universally mocked the Asian community when she attempted to feign a Chinese accent. Former Republican Senator Alfonse D'Amato was tried and executed by the liberal media for similarly making fun of O.J. Simpson Judge Lance Ito. So the question has to be asked where is that same liberal media now when one of their own is accused of making fun of a minority group? Video Clip: Real (416KB) or Windows (465 KB) Plus MP3 (73 KB)
MSNBC's David Shuster routinely spews the typical liberal spin his boss, Chris Matthews, likes to hear but sometimes Shuster goes a step beyond to uttering statements that make the viewer ask, "What was that?!" Such was the case on last night's Hardball when Shuster really reached in his analysis of a quote from James Baker. The following occured at the top of December 7th edition of Hardball.
James Baker: "I hope we don't treat this like a fruit salad and say, ‘I like this but I don't like that, I like this but I don't like that.' This is a comprehensive strategy designed to, to deal with this problem we are facing in Iraq but also designed to deal with utter problems we face in the region."
David Shuster: "The words fruit salad could be construed as a reference to cherry-picking and to questions about the Bush administration's cherry-picking of pre-war intelligence. Now, however, everybody, including President Bush, seems to agree the U.S. needs a new approach to Iraq. The question is, what will the President do and when. I'm David Shuster for Hardball in Washington.
It seems Matt Lauer and Tom Brokaw can't get their story straight. On this morning's Today show Brokaw falsely stated the U.S. went to war in Iraq without allies but apparently this was news to Matt Lauer as he opened the show identifying British Prime Minister Tony Blair as a "war ally." Appearing live from Pearl Harbor, Brokaw comparing World War II to the current action in Iraq declared: "The irony of course is that we're trying to get out of one war in which we had no allies..." But in the same hour Today host Lauer opened the program this way:
"Good morning the study is finished, now comes the test. President Bush meets this morning with his war ally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, a day after that scathing report from the Iraq Study Group."
Matt Lauer is getting greener by the minute. Fresh off his promotion of Al Gore the Today co-host turned to noted environmental activist/actor Leonardo DiCaprio to plug his latest enviro-flick. Initially on to promote his movie on the African diamond trade, Blood Diamond, Lauer couldn’t resist asking DiCaprio about his first liberal love, global warming. DiCaprio went on to push his upcoming movie, Eleventh Hour, that featured the "greatest minds in the world," on the subject of global warming. DiCaprio claimed his scientists represented "over 90 percent of the collective thought," on the issue but absurdly lamented they don’t get the appropriate amount of time in the media claiming: "But then when it's on the media you have that 10 or five percent and there sitting opposite on a chair and it becomes an argument when they are actually the minority."
Not only did Matt Lauer push Al Gore to run for President, as pointed out here, on this morning's Today show, he also repeatedly plugged Gore's An Inconvenient Truth DVD and pushed the former Vice President to call the President's decision to invade Iraq, "The worst strategic mistake in the entire history of the United States." First Lauer pressed Gore on the Iraq Study Group's findings: "So it's being described by some as 'cut and stay,' as opposed to 'cut and run.' Does it do enough to acknowledge the results of the midterm election and, and the message that voters were sending this administration, if these are listened to, these recommendations?" Then Gore moved on to Gore's pet cause, the environment, and pressed him to run for President with the following questions:
In a special edition of MSNBC's Hardball College Tour former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw went on diatribes against the President's war policy, comparing it to Vietnam, praised "rock star" Barack Obama, castigated "blatantly racist" Republican ads, charged Ronald Reagan neglected, "Mother Earth," and declared of the notoriously liberal Daily Show: "There are more facts and more truths told in the first eight minutes of The Daily Show than most political news conferences in Washington."
NBC's Campbell Brown filled in for host Chris Matthews as she teed up questions to Brokaw at Fordham University. The following are some of the more relevant rants from Brokaw:
Substitute hosting for Chris Matthews, NBC's Andrea Mitchell asked the panel of this weekend's syndicated Chris Matthews Show to rate Hillary Clinton's chances for the Democratic nomination. In doing so Mitchell claimed that Hillary "hopes to capitalize on the nostalgia that many Americans have for the Clinton years, the good old days." Mitchell also snidely put down the entire South when she wondered if they would accept a female president: "What about down South?...Does she not fit the traditional model of what a woman should be?" When the panel turned to whether Bill Clinton would be a negative or positive for Hillary Mitchell agreed with New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller, exclaiming, either way, that it would be "Great for journalism!"
On this morning's Today show, as first noted here, NBC News officially declared Iraq to be in a state of civil war as Today co-host Matt Lauer greeted viewers with the following announcement: "As you know for months now the White House has rejected claims that the situation in Iraq has deteriorated into civil war and for the most part news organizations like NBC have hesitated to characterize it as such but after careful consideration NBC News has decided a change in terminology is warranted. That the situation in Iraq with armed militarized factions fighting for their own political agendas can now be characterized as civil war. We're gonna have more on the situation on the ground in Iraq and on our decision coming up."