NBC and CBS Promote Michelle Obama's Year-Old Book With Softball Interviews

On Wednesday's NBC Today, news reader Natalie Morales touted a "Today exclusive" with Michelle Obama, playing a clip of a "wide-ranging conversation" between the First Lady and Kelly Wallace of the NBC-owned iVillage website that amounted to little more than a friendly chat about current events and Obama's 2012 book, American Grown.

On CBS's Sunday Morning, correspondent Lee Cowan conducted an identical fawning exchange with Michelle Obama, putting special emphasis on her White House garden: "This is the garden's second term as well....Ever since ground was broken four years ago, kids from all over the country have come to play and plant in the dirt, everything from peas and carrots, to a new crop this year: wheat."

On Today, Wallace wondered: "What kind of response have you gotten from the book?...A lot of the book, of course, is promoting healthy eating, one of your major passions. Is there any misconception that was out there, in a way, about your work and your motivations that you might think has been kind of eliminated or put to rest by this book?"

That teed up Obama to declare: "Well, we do talk about Let's Move and once people really hear what our goals are, they understand that this is about giving parents choices and the information to make the right choices....It's not government telling people what to do."

On CBS, Cowan helped make the same argument: "Her concern for the nation's youth has been her top priority since becoming first lady. She started with a battle that's hardly controversial – childhood obesity, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control, has more than doubled in the last thirty years."

Obama followed: "Let's Move is not about telling people what to do, but it's about giving people the information so that they know what to do."

Wrapping up the Today segment, Morales informed viewers: "And we should mention, the proceeds from American Grown go to the National Park Foundation and will be used to promote gardening and healthy eating programs across the country."


Here is a full transcript of the May 8 segment on Today:

7:30AM ET TEASE:

MICHELLE OBAMA: My heart just, you know, it swells up with relief because just to imagine first losing a child, and not knowing whether they're alive or dead or in harm's way, and to be holding out hope for a decade, and to finally have those prayers answered is just-
 
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: First Lady Michelle Obama sharing her reaction to the rescue of those three women who survived a decade-long kidnapping ordeal. Good morning again everyone. I'm Savannah Guthrie live in Cleveland. Matt is back in New York. And we're going to have more of that exclusive interview with the First Lady coming up.

7:43AM ET SEGMENT:

NATALIE MORALES: Back now at 7:43 with a Today exclusive. First Lady Michelle Obama was out promoting her book American Grown on Tuesday at a book store in Washington and following the event she sat down with iVillage's Kelly Wallace for a wide-ranging conversation.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: One-On-One With Michelle Obama; The First Lady on Cleveland, Christie & Healthy Eating]

KELLY WALLACE: An unbelievable story out of Cleveland. Three women found after being held in captivity, it seems, for ten years. As a mother, what goes through your mind when you hear that story?

MICHELLE OBAMA: My heart just, you know, it swells up with relief because just imagine first losing a child and not knowing whether they're alive or dead or in harm's way, and to be holding out hope for a decade, and to finally have those prayers answered is just probably the best Mother's Day gift or gift that these families will receive.

WALLACE: Much of the nation, as for you as well, has been focused on Boston. I'm curious, how did you talk to Malia and Sasha about this?

OBAMA: I assured them that there's no reason for them to live in fear. You know, that they should be proud Americans and they should embrace this country, and you know, what we should look at is the beauty of what comes out of people in times of tragedy, how people become heroes and they turn into givers and they sacrifice. And I want my daughters and all our children to be reminded of that, even in times of tragedy.

WALLACE: You might have heard news about Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey who has revealed that he had lap band surgery. He said he did this really at the urging of his wife and his kids who are concerned about his long-term health. What's your reaction to that?

OBAMA: Well, you know, I think that that's a very personal matter, it's something between the Governor and his family, and I try not to comment on people's personal choices. I think Governor Christie is terrific, and you know, his family is wonderful, and I, you know, wish them the best.

The one thing that I will say is that there are millions of people like the Governor who struggle with adulthood obesity and that's one of the reasons why I think Let's Move is so important, because, you know, we want to start working with kids when they're young, so that they don't have these challenges when they get older.

WALLACE: What kind of response have you gotten from the book?

OBAMA: The response has been really good, because there's a little bit of something in there for everyone. It's a beautiful picture book. There are also wonderful recipes and really great tips about how to start your own garden.

WALLACE: A lot of the book, of course, is promoting healthy eating, one of your major passions. Is there any misconception that was out there, in a way, about your work and your motivations that you might think has been kind of eliminated or put to rest by this book?

OBAMA: Well, we do talk about Let's Move and once people really hear what our goals are, they understand that this is about giving parents choices and the information to make the right choices. We talk about simple ways that parents can get kids up and moving. It's really about information. It's not government telling people what to do.

MORALES: That was the First Lady with iVillage's Kelly Wallace. And we should mention, the proceeds from American Grown go to the National Park Foundation and will be used to promote gardening and healthy eating programs across the country.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC