Not So Subliminal Pro-Obama Message in Tough Economy Story on 'Today'

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:

MATT LAUER: On "Today's Money," quick cash. If you're having trouble making ends meet in this rocky economy what can you do? NBC's Kevin Tibbles found one place where business is moving.

KEVIN TIBBLES: You don't need to go to Wall Street to see we're living in tough times. Tell-tale signs of an economic slump are all on display at the Royal Pawn Shop in Chicago, where this brokers' business is booming in a bust economy.

PAWN SHOP BROKER: With the gold going up I have never been as busy.

TIBBLES: More people looking to pawn their expensive watches or jewelry for a quick buck. Something's kinda catching my eye and it's the gleam coming off of that. What is?

BROKER: That's your six-karat diamond.

TIBBLES: Six-karat diamond?

BROKER: With one-karat diamonds next to it.

TIBBLES: But it's not only family heirlooms. There are cameras, stereo equipment, guitars, even motorcycles. From soup to nuts.

BROKER: Unbelievable isn't it? I got it all.

TIBBLES: Remnants of better times exchanged for much needed cold, hard cash, in many cases, just to make ends meet. A fur is a sort of luxury item that goes first?

BROKER: That's probably one of, that and jewelry.

MAN WITH OBAMA SIGN IN BACKGROUND: Gas is high, food is high, everything going up but your salary.

TIBBLES: Why do you think your seeing so many people come in here?

BROKER: Tough times and tougher times to come.

TIBBLES OVER VIDEO OF SHOP COUNTER WITH OBAMA POSTER IN BACKGROUND: Most customers bring items as collateral for temporary loans with the hope of reclaiming them later. Pawnbroker Randy Cohen charges about 10 percent monthly interest. Customers have from three months to a year to pay off their loans and get their goods back. Pawn shops eventually re-sell unclaimed items, often, at bargain basement prices.

UNIDENTIFIED CUSTOMER: I've bought Rolex watches, I've bought cell phones, I've bought DVDs.

TIBBLES: Just another economic indicator, this one from the street level up. For "Today," Kevin Tibbles, NBC News, Washington.

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.