On this morning's Today show, NBC's Carl Quintanilla floated the kooky conspiracy theory that the oil companies lowered gas prices to help the GOP. Today co-host Meredith Vieira at the top of the show even postulated: "You know the good news is that gas prices are down but do the elections have anything to do with it? In other words are we being manipulated?"
Co-host Matt Lauer fed the conspiracy, when he introduced the segment: "This morning on Today At the Pump, falling gas prices fueling conspiracy theories. The price of a gallon of gas, the average price, is way down to about $2.21 a gallon just in time for the midterm elections. Is it a coincidence? Some people say no."
The media's swooning over Barack Obama continued on Chris Matthews' syndicated weekend show. Obama drew such rave reviews from the panel as: "terrific!" "hero!" and "ridiculously good looking!" However Obama wasn't the only Democrat drawing praise as Harold Ford Jr's campaign was described as: "nearly flawless," but Republican George "not the brightest bulb on Broadway," Allen didn't fare as well with the critics, as his campaign was labeled: "one of the stupidest campaigns that [was] ever conducted in the history of American politics."
The following are some of the move over-the-top blurbs from the panel on the October 21st, Chris Matthews Show:
Meredith Vieira let her anti-war roots show on this morning's Today show. During her interview with White House counselor Dan Bartlett, the Today co-host repeatedly stated about the Iraq policy: "It's not working." Now while constructive criticism on the war policy is welcome from those who want to win, it's somewhat transparent and dubious coming from a longtime war critic like Vieira. The following are Vieira's questions to Bartlett in the 7am half hour of the October 23rd Today show:
Meredith Vieira: "So will the White House change course in Iraq and put more pressure on the government there? Dan Bartlett serves as counselor to President Bush. Mr. Bartlett, good morning to you."
On last night’s Hardball, Bill Clinton was depicted as a unifying "Moses"-like figure while Karl Rove was portrayed as a divisive "evil genius." In describing Bill Clinton on a campaign stop at Georgetown University, NBC’s Kevin Corke used biblical terms: "It was as if Moses himself had returned. Former President Bill Clinton, the man some believe could figure prominently in helping to lead Democrats back to the political promised land, was back at his alma mater, Georgetown, for a major speech this week."
And then later in the program the Washington Post's John Harris, painted Clinton's politics as a "unifying" but Bush’s, specifically, Karl Rove’s politics as "divisive" as he and Hardball host, Chris Matthews wondered what the "evil genius," had "up his sleeve."
Senator Barack Obama got NBC's Meredith Vieira, Matt Lauer and even Al Roker in a tizzy as he made this morning's Today show his latest tour stop. Vieira called the Democratic senator an "electrifying," "rock star" and never once threw a tough question his way, even getting him to call for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq.
On to promote his book and Democrats in the midterms, Obama received the full TRL treatment on the October 19th Today show, complete with Vieira offering guest musical performer Vince Gill as an incentive for Obama to announce his presidential candidacy.
First up Vieira and Lauer did their best Vanessa Minnillo and Carson Daly imitations as they teased the upcoming interview at the top of the 8:00am hour:
Meredith Vieira, Matt Lauer and Tim Russert were so excited to announce the "perfect storm" of negative poll numbers for the GOP that they couldn't wait to report it. On this morning's Today show viewers were greeted with these first words out of Vieira's mouth:
Vieira: "Good morning, poll plunge. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that huge numbers of Americans are losing faith over the war in Iraq and the news isn't any better for Republicans in Congress."
Then right after Today's theme music played Lauer and Viera jumped right back poll:
Matt Lauer: "This new poll shows a startling drop in public confidence when it comes to the war in Iraq. It's down 24 percentage points since June of this year and these are numbers that Republicans are gonna find very troubling. We're gonna talk to Tim Russert about that and some other poll numbers in just a minute."
On the syndicated Chris Matthews Show NBC's Andrea Mitchell and CBS's Gloria Borger sounded like Blame America Firsters when explaining what the American public wants in a candidate for '08. Mitchell worried that world views the U.S. as "bullies" and "arrogant." Borger punctuated Mitchell's theory saying the American voter is "done with the arrogance of American foreign policy." The following exchange occurred on the October 15th edition of The Chris Matthews Show:
Andrea Mitchell: "That and I think what might most, could be the most profound problem beyond our men and women overseas in harm's way is how much hated the United States is for a variety of reasons. Fairly or not fairly. There is a perception abroad and it's in Europe and it's in the Islamic world and it's in Asia is that we are bullies, is that we're arrogant. It goes back to decisions that were made or perceptions of decisions, the wars. And whether it's fair or not somebody's gotta fix that and that cannot be fixed with Radio Free Europe or its descendants. It is a big, big problem."
In running some amazing microscopy photos of a developing baby, NBC's Today show, probably inadvertently, undercut the arguments of their friends on the pro-abortion side. On this morning's Today co-hosts Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer oohed and ahhed as they ran dramatic photos of a 24 week old fetus with Vieira even calling it a "child," something the abortion-on-demand types are loath to do. Interestingly neither Lauer or Vieira even mentioned the abortion word during the entire segment.
The following is a full transcript of the Ron Mott segment and ensuing discussion that took place in the 7:30am half hour of the October 12th Today show. First, some segment teasers:
Al Roker: "Also ahead some dramatic pictures from a groundbreaking book. This is the hand of an 11-week-old fetus."
NBC's obsession with the Kennedy family is beginning to border on the absurd. A few days ago I noted how the liberal media and in particular NBC worships at the altar of the Kennedy clan, reporting on every little Kennedy item that comes across their news desks. Well now the Kennedy references are showing up in the most random places. On this morning's Today, NBC's Michael Okwu reported on a USA Today study that showed most CEOs were spanked as children. After a back and forth on the appropriateness of spanking, Okwu finished with this endorsement:
Michael Okwu: "Damage or discipline? Whatever the answer CEOs like Joe Moglia are in good company. One mother describes spanking as the most effective 'means of instruction,' her name was Rose. Her son, the future president, John F. Kennedy. For Today, Michael Okwu, NBC News, Los Angeles."
File this story under media hero worship. The liberal media establishment just cannot get enough of the Kennedy clan and the whole Camelot myth that surrounds them, viewing them as America's unofficial royal family. It seems every time a member of that family so much as has a closet cleaning the media makes a huge deal of the ensuing exhibits or auctions. Such was the case on last night's NBC Nightly News report on the Kennedy Presidential Library unveiling Rose Kennedy's old personal items. Okay, sure, JFK's golf clubs were the inspiration for a classic Seinfeld episode but does it really need a story on a major network's nightly newscast? NBC's Brian Williams described Rose Kennedy in positively regal terms opening his October 5th story:
NBC’s Matt Lauer and Tim Russert continued their pile-on of Denny Hastert and the GOP overall, on this morning’s Today show. Still pushing the Mark Foley story, Lauer and Russert noted how Republicans were running away from Hastert and cited Bush’s declining poll ratings in a new NBC poll. In the 7am half-hour Russert ticked off the negatives for Republicans:
Matt Lauer: "Alright we got some new poll ratings. NBC News/Washington or Wall Street Journal ratings. We've got the President's approval ratings down to 39 percent from 42 just about a month or so ago. What's driving these numbers down in your opinion?"
Tim Russert: "Well Matt, we've, we've polled American people Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday. So clearly the breaking of the Foley story, the National Intelligence Estimate came out on Iraq, the Woodward book. We've had 13 deaths now in Iraq over the last couple of days. It, it is a two-prong attack, if you will. The culture of corruption beginning to take hold--"
In the midst of Day 3 the Today show's exhaustive coverage of Mark Foley, NBC's Norah O'Donnell actually shoe-horned in one more reference to Bob Woodward's State of Denial in her Foley story. Right before she concluded the set-up piece to Matt Lauer's interview with Joe Scarborough, O'Donnell referenced the Woodward book as yet another nail in the coffin for Republicans.
Norah O'Donnell: "Republicans are increasingly nervous that the Foley scandal raises questions about their credibility on moral values. Add to that the new book by Bob Woodward, State of Denial, that raises questions about another GOP strength, national security."
Former attorney general John Ashcroft was invited on this morning's Today show to promote his book Never Again but he found himself talking about somebody else's book instead. In the 8:30 half hour NBC's Meredith Vieira assaulted Ashcroft with excerpts from Bob Woodward's latest book and even went on to question Ashcroft about the "moral basis of the war on terrorism," and asserted, "Many people feel that our civil liberties have been chipped away bit by bit since, since 9/11."
Teasing the segment Matt Lauer called Ashcroft, "a very controversial figure," and in her opening Vieira noted he was "a lightning rod for criticism." Hmm, I wonder how many times Today referred to Janet Reno in those terms?
On Monday night's syndicated Geraldo At Large, Geraldo Rivera compared George Allen to Mark Fuhrman. Rivera, in his final commentary, aired the allegations of racism by Allen critics but never quoted Allen supporters. Teasing the segment Rivera made the Fuhrman comparison:
"Stand by everybody. What does the senator from Virginia have in common with the cop in the O.J. Simpson case? We'll be back in a flash with what may be the beginning of the end of a promising political career."
The following is the entire transcript of Rivera's segment from the September 26th edition of Geraldo At Large:
Rivera: "Do you remember the moment, the very moment that O.J. Simpson beat that murder rap, despite the mountain of evidence against him? I'll give you a hint it had nothing to do with the murders but everything to do with a lie. Watch."
While the Today show noted there was some good news for the Bush side in the declassified NIE report they spent most of their time emphasizing the negative. Today host Matt Lauer, in an interview with William Bennett, stressed the portion of the NIE report most likely to hurt Bush, highlighted a poll of Iraqis to push the Democratic line of early withdrawal and then quoted Hillary Clinton's most recent attack on the administration.
At the top of the show Lauer opened: "On Tuesday the President declassified parts of an intelligence report that's both good and bad news for the administration. While it claims that a victory in Iraq would demoralize the terrorists it also says the war there has strengthened the jihadist movement."
Viewers of this morning's Today expecting a balanced panel discussing Bill Clinton's outburst at Fox News were greeted with James Carville debating...Paul Begala? Meredith Vieira, for the most part, sat back as Carville and Begala pumped up Clinton, rallied the Democratic base and attacked everything from the administration's war on terror to Condoleezza Rice, to Fox News. There was no Michael Smerconish or any other vaguely right-of-center counterpart to make points against Clinton's outburst.
The following is a transcript of the entire segment:
Meredith Vieira: "Norah O'Donnell, thanks. Democratic strategists James Carville and Paul Begala worked closely with former President Clinton, their book, Take It Back: A Battle Plan for Democratic Victory is now out in paperback and updated with new material. Good morning to both of you gentlemen. I want to start with you James."
In this morning’s interview with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, Today host Matt Lauer mostly asked serious questions about Pakistan’s role in the war on terror and what more that country could do but right before the end of the interview Lauer asked Musharaff to elaborate on a charge he made about the Iraq war:
Lauer: "In your book you wrote, quote, 'I never favored the invasion of Iraq because I feared it would exacerbate extremism as it most certainly has. The world is not a safer place because of the war in Iraq, the world has become far more dangerous.' A recent classified National Intelligence Estimate, in this country, draws that exact same conclusion. So let me ask you, do you think then President Bush should be blamed for making the world a less safe place?"
Last night viewers of MSNBC's Hardball were greeted with this jarring intro from Chris Matthews: "The country thought Bush was a pleasant, down to earth guy who would not rock the boat. Instead, swayed by some inner impulse, or the influence of Dick Cheney, he has proved to be lawless and reckless.He started a war he cannot finish, drove the government into debt, and repeatedly defied the Constitution,' the words today of David Broder, the country's premier political reporter. Let's play Hardball." Matthews celebrated Broder's Washington Post column as Hardball highlighted it not once but three times.
In this morning's interview with Bill Clinton, as first observed here, NBC Today co-host Meredith Vieira treated the former president as a wise sage that could solve everything that's wrong with George W. Bush and his policies.
On Hugo Chavez's remarks calling the President, the "Devil" Vieira, gave some credence to the Venezuelan president's claims, as she asked the former President: "Do we need to change the way that we act?," and "is the developing world frustrated with the way that we treat them?"
Vieira then turned to Clinton for advice on Iran: "Let me ask you, then, about President Bush refusing to meet with the Iranian president Ahmadinejad, the other day. He said he would not do that, they wouldn't be in the same room together. If you were president today would you have met with the president of Iran?"
Meredith Vieira used the occasion of Laura Bush's in-studio appearance on this morning's Today to pepper the First Lady with criticisms from Hillary Clinton and even Republicans. The First Lady was on to promote her global literacy initiative but, not surprisingly, she ended up having to defend against Today's attack line of the day. After a set-up piece from NBC's Kelly O'Donnell that noted: 'some of the biggest names within [the President's] own party....continue to resist some of his plans for how terror suspects are treated,' Vieira asked if the First Lady's global literacy initiative would help restore the nation's reputation, presumably, destroyed by the President's anti-terror policies:
On her first day of work NBC's new Today co-host Meredith Vieira mistakenly called House Majority Leader John Boehner the "House Speaker." The blooper came as Vieira, in a segment with Tim Russert, referred to an earlier report by David Gregory, as he, once again, over-hyped a remark from Boehner. Vieira mistakenly asked Tim Russert:
Vieira: "Meanwhile you have, as David Gregory pointed out, the House Speaker saying, criticizing the Democratic, the Democrats for criticizing the President by saying that they're really soft on terrorism, that their commitment to fighting the war is not really there. That's worked effectively for the Republicans in the past, that argument. Do you think that it still will work?"
Jane Fonda, Rosie O'Donnell and Gloria Steinem team up for a new radio network and NBC's Today, not surprisingly, is ready to promote it. The Today show invited on the "legendary Jane Fonda," as Ann Curry called her, to plug the new Women's Radio Network this morning. In fact the Today cast couldn't contain their excitement for the "sometimes controversial" activist.
Curry: "By the way Jane Fonda, you look great. You look marvelous."
Lauer: "Yikes! She looks fantastic doesn't she? I don't think she can hear us otherwise she'd be saying thank you."
Yesterday Matt Lauer treated Hillary Clinton with kid gloves but on this morning's Today, Bush, once again, got the hostile treatment from Lauer. However in this morning's portion of Lauer's long interview with the President, Bush stepped up, even calling Matt out for trying to "justify" the Democratic position.
Lauer: "Do you know of any Democrats, that in your opinion, are trying to or would like to appease terrorists?"
George W. Bush: "I know Democrats who want to leave Iraq before the job is done and that would be a terrible mistake."
Lauer: "But those Democrats don't see the war in Iraq as inseparable from the overall war on terror."
On this morning's Today show NBC's Matt Lauer and Kelly O'Donnell advanced the Democratic Party's whine, er, line that Bush was politicizing 9/11. Lauer opened this morning's Today: "The politics of 9/11. President Bush makes a prime time speech calling for vigilance in the war on terror but some Democrats cry foul....Democrats are furious saying that he used the anniversary of 9/11 for political purposes."
In the 7 am half hour Ann Curry introduced O'Donnell's report:"Today's attack in Syria came just hours after President Bush warned in a prime time speech that terrorists are still bent on striking America but his defense of the war in Iraq on the 9/11 anniversary has some Democrats very angry. NBC's White House correspondent Kelly O'Donnell has more this morning."
While NBC's Matt Lauer baited Sen. Hillary Clinton to admonish the administration to say we're not safer, he attacked the President for, in fact, trying to make the nation safer. Lauer prompted Clinton: "Are you comfortable that the United States did not break the law in conducting that kind of interrogations in those secret sites?" Then later in the program, as first noted by MRC's Brent Baker, Lauer repeatedly attacked Bush over interrogation methods worrying: "Are you at all concerned that at some point, even if you get results, there is a blurring the lines of, between ourselves and the people we're trying to protect us against?"
Video clip of Lauer's combative exchange with Bush over treatment of terrorists (3:20): Real (5.6 MB) or Windows Media (6.5 MB), plus MP3 audio (1.1 MB)
Watching Tom Brokaw on this morning's Today show viewers couldn't help feel depressed as Brokaw painted a divided America that is disrepected abroad and losing the war on terrorism. On this morning's special 9/11 anniversary edition of Today, Brokaw opined: "Five years later there are more questions, more uncertainty. After all five years later the Taliban are back in Afghanistan, Iraq is on the verge of anarchy, Iran is more dangerous than ever. Five years later there have been no more attacks on the U.S. but the terrorists are still out there."
Brokaw worried about government overstepping its bounds and wrung his hands about the origins of Islamic anger:
"Just who else is listening in on our conversations? The Islamic rage, where does that come from?"
With our very own Matthew Sheffield, literally confronting him last night, it seems like Newsbusters has gotten into Chris Matthews’s head or at least his bookmarks. On last night’s Hardball Matthews confessed to regularly checking out what the blogosphere is saying about him and seemed close to mentioning Newsbusters as one of the sites he visits. The mention came during a discussion with Tom Curry of MSNBC.com and Tom Matzzie of Moveon.org, as Matthews attempted to portray himself as middle-of-the road, using the old excuse that he gets attacked from the left and right.
Chris Matthews: "Let me ask you about the whole world, you're not partisan. You know every morning I get up when I'm in a ridiculously open mood and I check and see how I'm doing on something like google, and I get a pasting from the left, from Moveon or not Moveon, generally, Mediamatters, almost every day. I get a pasting from Newsmakers or what's it called News..."
Egged on by NBC’s Ann Curry, 9/11 widow and media fave Kristen Breitweiser attacked Ann Coulter and the President on this morning’s Today. On to promote her new book, Wake-Up Call, Breitweiser was portrayed as merely a non-partisan 'stay-at-home-mother,' as Curry never mentioned her 2004 support for John Kerry.
Before playing a clip of Coulter with Lauer, Curry asked Breitweiser: "You know conservatives, as you know, well know, have attacked, criticized heavily 9/11 widows for, including you, for, for some of what you've said over these years, over these five years. In fact on this program, Ann Coulter, the writer, said something to, to Matt Lauer. Let's take a quick listen to what she said."
MSNBC's Chris Matthews invited on New York gubernatorial Green Party candidate Malachy McCourt, to state his case but when the brother of Angela's Ashes author, Frank McCourt, suggested George W. Bush be tried for war crimes and executed, the Hardball host didn't even flinch. The following exchange occurred on last night's Hardball:
Matthews: "Look, let me ask you this. Where are you on capital punishment?"
Malachy McCourt: "Capital punishment? I think that if, if I've got to find that guy in Spain who indicted Pinochet and get him for war crimes, and I get him to do the same thing for Bush. And in that case, I would be for capital punishment. Otherwise, I am against it. Spitzer, who is the other guy running here, he is for capital punishment for those who kill policemen. Well, my son is a cop in New York, and if somebody killed my son, and it wouldn't do me any good or give me any satisfaction to sit there in some death house in Sing Sing and watch them put some other person to death because they killed my son. That would not cheer me up one bit, Chris."
Leave it to the Today show to find the negative side of good economic news. Reporting on the discovery of the largest oil discovery in the Gulf of Mexico, NBC's Martin Savidge admitted that "environmentalists might have a point," in worrying, "the discovery will hardly make a dent in America's reliance on foreign oil" and "it might cause Americans to stop conserving."
The following is the full segment introduced by Ann Curry:
Ann Curry: "Now to Today At the Pump and a major oil discovery in the Gulf of Mexico. The average price of unleaded gas, nationwide, is now $2.72 a gallon according to the AAA. A steady drop over the last few weeks but drivers everywhere are wondering if the price of gas will drop even further with what could be the largest domestic oil find in 38 years. NBC's Martin Savidge has more on the potential of this new find. Hey Martin, good morning."