NBC's Friesen Hero Worships Michelle Obama on 'Today'

As the song "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You," played over slow-motion video of Michelle Obama, NBC's Dawna Friesen, on Tuesday's "Today" show, eagerly awaited the arrival of the Obamas in London, for the G20 summit, as she gushed: "Yes, her husband is, of course, the big star of the show, but this is Michelle Obama's first foray on to the global stage as First Lady. And you can bet that her every move, her every fashion decision will be dissected and analyzed, especially when the couple go to meet the Queen. But she's got a lot of good will on her side." (audio available here)

Friesen then played soundbites from random British fans cheering Michelle:

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Oh I think she's really cool. She's got a lot of really good styles. It makes a change from politicians' wives to look good.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: She looks supportive and that's what a man needs in life.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN#2: I have been totally stunned at the awesome nature of Michelle Obama.

Friesen did feature The Evening Standard's Helen Kirwan-Taylor, claiming: "She is absolutely terrifying for the British, because the British like their women to be subdued and doey-eyed and sort of modest and soft-spoken." Apparently Taylor believed former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was the shy and retiring type.

Friesen then concluded the piece by attempting to start a fashion feud between Michelle and France's Carla Bruni: "Now her rival in the glamour stakes, Carla Bruni, she's the wife of the French president of course, has decided not to come to this G20 meeting here in London, which I guess leaves more of the limelight to Mrs. Obama."

The following is the a complete transcript of the segment as it was aired on the March 31, "Today" show:

MATT LAUER: A lot of attention, of course, will be focused on President Obama during his European trip, but you can bet the spotlight will be just as hot on his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama. NBC's Dawna Friesen is in London with that part of the story. Hi, Dawna, good morning.

[On screen headline: "First Lady's First Trip, Michelle Takes The World Stage."]

DAWNA FRIESEN: Good morning, Matt. Yes, her husband is, of course, the big star of the show, but this is Michelle Obama's first foray on to the global stage as First Lady. And you can bet that her every move, her every fashion decision will be dissected and analyzed, especially when the couple go to meet the Queen. But she's got a lot of good will on her side.

[Song playing in background over slow-motion video of Michelle at convention, dancing with Barack, and hugging Barack at rally: "You're just to good to be true, can't take my eyes off you."]

FRIESEN: Ask the British about Michelle Obama and you'll hear a lot of what you hear in the states.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Oh I think she's really cool. She's got a lot of really good styles. It makes a change from politicians' wives to look good.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: She looks supportive and that's what a man needs in life.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN#2: I have been totally stunned at the awesome nature of Michelle Obama.

FRIESEN: But from the sidelines of the British press there's been a bit of sniping too, about whether the First Lady is the power behind the throne.

JAMES DELINGPOLE, WELCOME TO OBAMALAND AUTHOR: The idea that, that, that Michelle Obama is sitting in the White House, looking fantastic in her frocks, and not whispering in, in her husband's ear occasionally I think defies belief. Her whisperings have a lot of influence on what her husband does.

HELEN KIRWAN-TAYLOR, THE EVENING STANDARD: She is absolutely terrifying for the British, because the British like their women to be subdued and doey-eyed and sort of modest and soft-spoken. I mean, Princess Di. Here comes this woman who is in your face. You know everything about her says, "I'm confident, I know what I want, I can do anything."

FRIESEN: Her every move will be watched and analyzed, and inevitably, compared to the day Jackie O met the Queen when JFK was President. Though Harvard-educated Michelle Obama has substance, not just style, and that's what sets her apart.

TAYLOR: What she is, is encouraging is, is the idea of accomplishment, which is what I'm hoping is, is the direction we're going, and where, where girls will want to be accomplished and beautiful.

FRIESEN: Still navigating all the protocol can be a mine field, and then there's those arms, the envy of a lot of British women.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN#2 AT GYM: I think she has such a nice shape and tone to her arms it makes anyone with a bit of excess want to have something really similar.

FRIESEN: And now it's not just the First Lady's arms many covet, but her green thumb. Gardening is a great British pastime and going organic puts her at the top of the heap.

LORNA MCKEAND, GARDENER: If the First Lady can do it, well so can I. You know she's prepared to get her hands dirty. And it's a good leveling, sort of democratic thing to do, isn't it?

FRIESEN: Now her rival in the glamour stakes, Carla Bruni, she's the wife of the French president of course, has decided not to come to this G20 meeting here in London, which I guess leaves more of the limelight to Mrs. Obama. Matt?

LAUER: Alright Dawna Friesen in London for us this morning. Dawna thank you very much.

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