NBC Airs Obama Campaign Press Release and Pretends It's News
At the top of Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams did his part for President Obama's re-election as he announced: "Game on. The President and Vice President hitting it hard tonight on the campaign trail." Introducing the supposed news report, Williams touted how Republicans were "eating up time and money and effort" in the primary race, while "Democrats were in full fall campaign mode."
White House correspondent Kristen Welker sounded more like the White House press secretary as she set up a string of sound bites from Obama and Joe Biden: "President Obama defended his energy policy in suburban Maryland today, and attacked his GOP rivals....Assuming the traditional vice presidential role of campaign attack dog, Biden bared his teeth before a receptive audience of auto workers in politically-important Ohio....he slammed the Republican candidates who opposed the auto bailout." Not a single Republican sound bite was included.
Welker wrapped up the blatant Obama campaign cheerleading by promoting a new propaganda video: "Now also today, the campaign released a 17-minute documentary. It was put together by Oscar-winning director Davis Gugenheim and narrated by Tom Hanks. It's the Obama team's way of saying, 'Game on.'"
On Friday's NBC Today, fill-in news anchor Tamron Hall followed the Nightly News lead as she proclaimed: "The Democrats are ramping up their re-election campaign with President Obama traveling to Chicago and Atlanta today for fundraisers. And in Ohio Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden attacked the Republican candidates by name, saying they would bankrupt the middle class."
Unlike Welker's report, Hall did take some time to provide updates on the GOP race, focusing on gaffes and difficulties for the Republican candidates: "Meantime, Rick Santorum, who's trying to win Sunday's Puerto Rico primary, said he was misquoted when a local newspaper reported him saying that if Puerto Rico wants to become a state, everyone should speak English. Mitt Romney is scheduled to campaign on the island today amid reports of campaign money troubles."
Here is a full transcript of Welker's March 15 Nightly News report:
7:00PM ET TEASE:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Game on. The President and Vice President hitting it hard tonight on the campaign trail.
7:06PM ET SEGMENT:
WILLIAMS: And now we turn to presidential politics. While the GOP primary season continues to grind on, eating up time and money and effort they would rather devote to the general election campaign, today the Democrats were in full fall campaign mode, seemingly, with Vice President Biden taking on the GOP on the economy. Our report tonight from NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker.
KRISTEN WELKER: With Republican candidates hammering him for high gas prices and calling for more drilling, President Obama defended his energy policy in suburban Maryland today, and attacked his GOP rivals.
BARACK OBAMA: Lately we've heard a lot of professional politicians, a lot of the folks who are, you know, running for certain office, who shall go unnamed. They've been talking down new sources of energy.
WELKER: The President didn't name names, but Joe Biden sure did.
JOE BIDEN: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, these guys have a fundamentally different economic philosophy than we do.
WELKER: Assuming the traditional vice presidential role of campaign attack dog, Biden bared his teeth before a receptive audience of auto workers in politically-important Ohio.
BIDEN: The guy I work with every day, the President, he didn't flinch. This is a man with steel in his spine.
WELKER: And he slammed the Republican candidates who opposed the auto bailout.
BIDEN: A million jobs saved, 200,000 new jobs created, and the verdict is in, President Obama was right and they were dead wrong.
WELKER: The speeches were held at the exact same time, a ploy for a campaign split screen? The White House deflected that question.
JAY CARNEY: I would refer you to the campaign.
WELKER: But strategists say the imagery is clear.
STEVE MCMAHON [DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST]: Joe Biden is doing what vice presidential candidates often do, which is calling the other side out on issue differences.
WELKER: Now also today, the campaign released a 17-minute documentary. It was put together by Oscar-winning director Davis Gugenheim and narrated by Tom Hanks. It's the Obama team's way of saying, "Game on." Brian.
WILLIAMS: Kristen Welker across town from us here in Washington at the White House. Kristen, thanks.