Both Wednesday's CBS Evening News and Thursday's NBC Today offered full reports on President Obama being criticized for attending Democratic Party fundraisers at a time of international crises. ABC continued to remain silent on the growing controversy.
On Evening News, White House correspondent Major Garrett reported: "President Obama arrived late today in Los Angeles for his fifth meeting with big donors in two days." A clip played of Garrett challenging Press Secretary Josh Ernest: "Could you address what many Americans believe is either the trivial or unnecessarily-distracting obligation of presidents – including this one – to raise money in the course of conducting important matters of state?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While all three network morning shows on Wednesday covered the American flags on top of the Brooklyn Bridge being bleached white by unknown vandals, only NBC's Today mentioned that the incident occurred while left-wing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was on vacation: "This embarrassment for the city comes while its mayor, Bill de Blasio, vacations in Europe, which itself has brought criticism." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Correspondent Ron Mott continued: "And adds to other recent high-profile security slip-ups, both at One World Trade Center. Last fall, three men climbed to the top of the tower and base jumped. In March, a 16-year-old escaped detection and made it to the rooftop as well, snapping photos for hours."
On Wednesday, NBC's Today offered a surprising full report on "filmmaker and liberal activist" Michael Moore tarnishing his "blue-collar, anti-capitalist image" after it was revealed during divorce proceedings that Moore and his now ex-wife lived in a Michigan mansion, "the 10,000-square-foot house, reportedly in the same neighborhood as Madonna and Bruce Willis." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Back in 2009, the morning show invited Moore on the broadcast to bash big bonuses for Wall Street executives. In part, Moore ranted against the wealthy business leaders living in "gated communities" and "castles with moats around them." Perhaps Moore should have remembered that people living in giant mansions shouldn't throw stones.
In an interview with Benjamin Netanyahu aired on Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams hyped how the Israeli Prime Minister was "under increasing fire for the civilian deaths we've seen in Gaza" and proceeded to hammer Netanyahu on the topic: "Last night our network aired scenes of the largest hospital in Gaza having to turn away dead bodies at the hospital morgue. There was no more room....How does it strike you as a father, as a human being?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Following the tough questions to Netanyahu, Williams didn't bother to bring on a Palestinian official to equally grill, instead, he simply read a statement from Hamas terrorists: "Hamas tells NBC News in a statement tonight, quote, 'It is Netanyahu and his army of war criminals that have targeted and continue to target innocent and defenseless civilians. As for Hamas, every single Israeli killed by its fighters or its rockets except one have been soldiers in uniform, on duty, fully armed and on the battlefield.'"
Appearing as a guest on ABC's The View on Monday, CNN Crossfire co-host S.E. Cupp – who is reportedly in talks to join the daytime talk show – told the hosts it was justified for CNN correspondent Diana Magnay and NBC correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin to be removed from reporting in the Gaza Strip after both expressed Anti-Israel bias. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After Cupp noted the social media comments made by Magnay and Mohyeldin, she observed: "Look, you're a reporter and your job, no matter how passionate you are about this issue, everyone has strong feelings, your job is to be objective." Co-host Jenny McCarthy asked: "So do you think it's okay for them to lose their job?" Cupp replied: "You know, discipline was necessary. Yeah, it was."
While discussing potential 2016 presidential contenders on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, correspondent Andrea Mitchell argued that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren could be "real issue" for Hillary Clinton, touting Warren being "greeted as such a celebrity" at the left-wing Netroots Nation conference. Moderator David Gregory confirmed Warren "getting a huge, huge response" at the event. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Mitchell declared that Warren "was all but a candidate" and could make a move for 2016 "if there were a slip, or if there were any reason where Hillary Clinton has to take a step back, and if the foreign policy becomes an issue, which she has to own part of."
Despite the continuing fallout from the shoot down of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 and Israel's incursion into Gaza, Monday's NBC Today devoted over four minutes of air time to weatherman Al Roker conducting a fawning interview with First Lady Michelle Obama. In what Roker teased as a "revealing conversation," he asked Obama: "Who's the best cook in the family?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Roker had the friendly chat with the First Lady while attending the Kids State Dinner at the White House on Friday, something he promoted during the segment: "The tiniest top chefs from all fifty states with a seat at the White House table, serving recipes they submitted....if you give a kid a meal, they'll eat for one meal. It's the old saying. You teach somebody how to fish or how to make the healthy meal, they eat that way for a lifetime."
Talking to MSNBC's Jose Diaz-Balart on Friday, Los Angeles Times reporter Sonia Nazario demanded that tens of thousands of unaccompanied illegal immigrant children from Central America be allowed to stay in the U.S. and condemned anyone opposed to the idea: "Because if you put this decision of sending these children back in the hands of the Border Patrol, many of these children who really should be protected by our government will instead be hurtled back to these countries where they will die. And we will have blood on our hands." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While NBC, ABC, and CBS have provided wall-to-wall coverage since midday Thursday on Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 being shot down over Ukraine and Israel sending ground forces into Gaza, none of the broadcast networks have made a single mention of President Obama being criticized for attending political fundraisers that night.
Of the three network morning shows on Friday, only CBS This Morning even noted that Obama had just "returned to Washington late last night after a political trip to New York." Though it was never explained the trip was to raise campaign funds for the Democratic Party. NBC's Today didn't bother to mention the fundraisers, but did find time to promote Al Roker's upcoming interview with First Lady Michelle Obama. ABC's Good Morning America didn't even mention Obama's name in its coverage of the crises.
In an interview with Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's attorney on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer worried that the former Taliban captive and possible deserter was being unfairly investigated by the military [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]:
There was so much fanfare after his release. The President met in the Rose Garden with Sergeant Bergdahl's parents. Top military officials were quoted as saying they didn't think he would face any major punishment. And then the criticism started and then the controversy started. Now there's a full-fledged investigation. Do you think the military is succumbing to public pressure on this?
The only coverage of the ongoing border crisis featured on Thursday's NBC Today was report focused on ridiculing a Republican state lawmaker in Arizona for mistaking a bus filled with YMCA campers for one carrying illegal immigrant children. Co-host Matt Lauer teased: "...why one lawmaker is saying he's sorry this morning." Fill-in news reader Tamron Hall hyped the gaffe: "Yeah, this is a big one." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Tom Llamas declared: "Oracle, Arizona, is the latest town torn in two as protesters await the possible arrival of buses carrying migrant children....At the scene Tuesday, state lawmaker Adam Kwasman, a Republican running for Congress....It turns out that bus was actually filled with YMCA kids heading to day camp..."
After days of censoring any mention of the latest congressional hearings on the ongoing Veteran's Affairs scandal, Wednesday's NBC Today finally found time to report on the topic, providing two news briefs amounting to a paltry 27 seconds of airtime. 27 seconds out of a 4-hour broadcast. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
By contrast, the network morning show devoted a full 3-minute story to Yankee captain Derek Jeter playing his final MLB Allstar Game Tuesday night. That's over six times the amount of coverage given to the VA developments.
On Wednesday, all three network morning shows eagerly promoted Hillary Clinton's friendly chat with Jon Stewart on Tuesday's Daily Show. On NBC's Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie praised Stewart for finding a "creative way" of pleading for Clinton to announce her 2016 presidential bid. Following a clip of the softball exchange, Guthrie declared: "Well played, Jon Stewart, well played." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On CBS This Morning, fill-in co-host Margaret Brennan teased the story by portraying Stewart's show as a hostile environment for Clinton: "Hillary Clinton enters the lion's den with Jon Stewart. Can a fake news anchor get real answers about 2016, finally?" Fellow co-host Gayle King later introduced the segment by proclaiming that Clinton had "sat down last night with another important political player" in Stewart.
During a simulcast of NBC's Today and Howard Stern's SiriusXM radio show on Tuesday, the outspoken America's Got Talent host suggested a way for the network morning show to boost its ratings: "You know, Savannah, it would be great for the ratings if you had the baby and then you had postpartum depression....a lot of women will relate to that. Matt could do a three-piece set on that." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
With co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer sitting in Stern's studio, he took the joke even further: "Wouldn't it be great? Let me spell out my scenario. Savannah has the baby. Gorgeous baby, healthy baby, we know that....Savannah then has postpartum depression, comes back to the Today show, kills Matt on camera....Wouldn't that be amazing?"
Reporting from the Gaza Strip during MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports on July 14, NBC foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin, formerly of Al Jazerra and CNN, parroted Hamas denials that it deliberately placed missile batteries in civilian buildings in Gaza [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]:
They definitely reject the labeling of using civilians as human shields....Hamas military wing people that we've been speaking to and others – not just on these past few days, but in the past several years, because this is an issue that always comes up against Hamas – they will say that this is the nature of the battlefield that they have to fight in. That this is not an issue by design, but as a reality of what Gaza is like because it's so densely populated.
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams made a sexually suggestive remark accusing politicians in Washington of essentially screwing over the American public, citing last year's government shutdown as the chief offense. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Williams offered the blue commentary while reporting on a baby boom in Washington D.C.: "It appears last year's government shutdown in Washington had at least one positive development nine months after the fact....How long until someone on television points out that during the shutdown the folks in Washington are apparently doing at home what Washington has been accused of doing to the American people?"
On Friday, only CBS This Morning covered the latest developments on House Speaker John Boehner's lawsuit against President Obama over a 2013 executive order delaying the ObamaCare employer mandate. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump] NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America completely ignored Boehner's office releasing the House resolution to sue the President.
However, those same morning shows did find time to cover a lawsuit against online retailer Amazon on behalf of customers being charged for accidental purchases. On Thursday evening, NBC Nightly News and ABC's World News similarly skipped the congressional move, while CBS Evening News devoted a mere twenty-two seconds to the story.
Following the stunning revelation last month that NBC News had paid special correspondent Chelsea Clinton a starting annual salary of $600,000, on Wednesday, the New York Times reported that the former first daughter was also getting paid $75,000 per appearance...given to the Clinton Foundation. Conflict of interest anyone?
Clinton spokesman Kamyl Bazbaz assured the Times that "100 percent of the fees are remitted directly to the foundation." So the money goes back into the foundation run by her and her family.
Talking to political director John Dickerson on Thursday's CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O'Donnell tried to dismiss Texas Governor Rick Perry calling the current border crisis President Obama's "Katrina moment": "Is there some truth to that or is there, as we say in Texas, is that a bunch of bull?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Dickerson flippantly replied: "Well, you know, the Katrina moment since that disaster has gotten kind of thrown around, it's become something of a political cliche. I think this might be the President's maybe twentieth Katrina moment."
In an interview with White House adviser Cecilia Munoz on her Wednesday 12 p.m. ET hour show, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell actually tore into the President's poor handling of the immigration crisis and his refusal to visit the border: "...the reality is that the White House has been slow to react. And that there is something to be said for presidential optics, if you will, for presidential appearances, that's part of leadership, is it not?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Moments earlier, Munoz tried to argue that there were "a whole host of activities" being undertaken by the administration to "make sure that we stay ahead of the situation." Mitchell interrupted her: "But you're not ahead of the situation. With all due respect, the reality on the ground is that the administration did not stay ahead of this."
On Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie attempted to link House Republican opposition to Democrat-backed immigration reform legislation to the current border crisis: "There's also this immigration reform bill that's been passed in the Senate, it's dead on arrival in the House....is it a situation where you think members of Congress would rather have the political issue than a potential resolution?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Guthrie posed that question to chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd, who replied: "I think members of Congress don't want this issue at all during the fall campaign....The regular immigration reform, totally dead. That's not going to happen at all."
Appearing on Meet the Press's web-based feature Press Pass, New York Times opinion editor Clay Risen told NBC host David Gregory that just as Republicans "had to be convinced" that civil rights legislation in the 1960s "was a moral issue," so too would the GOP have to convinced on the issue of "gay rights": "...a lot of people who, when it comes down to it, don't really have an opinion one way or another but maybe just had a default position against it, starting to come around and say, 'Okay, I get why this is important.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The commentary was prompted by Gregory comparing the two movements: "...we even see parallels with what a lot of people think is a parallel to gay rights, to marriage rights now, a debate about what the federal government should do, the courts should do, and what states should be allowed to do themselves."
All three network morning shows on Tuesday noted how President Obama agreed to meet with Governor Rick Perry to discuss the illegal immigration crisis, all labeling the Texas Republican to be the "harshest" and "strongest" "big critic" of the commander-in-chief's mishandling of the chaos on the border. The only problem was that none of the broadcasts featured a single second of Perry actually voicing that criticism. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, White House correspondent Jon Karl summarized Perry's recent condemnation of Obama's lack of action on the issue: "Perry has been one of the harshest critics here. On This Week he said he doesn't believe the President really cares whether or not the border is secure." Co-host George Stephanopoulos chimed in: "Yeah, he suggested there might even be a conspiracy to have more kids come over."
In a report on Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Miguel Almaguer portrayed illegal immigrants surging across the U.S. border as bystanders caught up in politics: "As most Americans celebrated Independence Day, thousands of undocumented immigrants from Central America – mostly women and children – find themselves in the middle of a raging debate with an uncertain future..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Almaguer touted "A show of support for Central American immigrants in San Diego" while also noting "five protesters arrested during a demonstration against those same immigrants" in Murrieta, California.
Despite Thursday's unanimous Supreme Court ruling that so-called "buffer zones" banning pro-life protests near abortion clinics was a violation of the First Amendment, all three network evening newscasts hyped assertions by abortion advocates that such unconstitutional measures "prevent violence at clinic entrances." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On NBC Nightly News, correspondent Pete Williams began his report on the high court's decision by proclaiming: "Massachusetts was trying to avoid scenes like this – patients at abortion clinics confronted and hassled, sometimes even violence." Footage ran of pro-life protesters being held back by police barricades and one unidentified man shouting: "They're lying to you and they're gonna kill your baby!"
At the top of his Wednesday show, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly denounced the liberal media for "subverting American democracy." He cited a particularly glaring double standard: "You may remember New Jersey Governor Chris Christie being pounded by the national media for a controversy on the George Washington Bridge....devoting 112 minutes to the situation in the first week....But when the VA scandal story broke, there was no coverage on the nightly network news broadcast for almost two weeks." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Those numbers were calculated by Media Research Center senior news analyst Scott Whitlock in a May 22 Media Reality Check entitled: "In a Month, TV News Gives Less Airtime to VA Scandal than Christie Controversy Received in Four Days."
Shortly after news broke on Wednesday that Diane Sawyer would step down as anchor of ABC's World News and be replaced by David Muir, Temple University journalism professor Karen Turner ranted to MediaBistro's TVNewser blog: "In this growing multicultural nation, it's unconscionable that as of September three white men will lead their respective networks."
At the top of the 9 a.m. ET hour on Wednesday's NBC Today, weatherman Al Roker suggested in jest that his colleague David Gregory deserved to be punched in the face by former President Bill Clinton after the Meet the Press moderator asked Clinton in a recent interview about wife Hillary being "out of touch." Roker joked: "You know, I'd give anything if after David finished the question, Bill just kind of hauled off and popped him. Just see what happens." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Moments later, co-host Hoda Kotb rushed to the defense of the Clintons: "There are certain people who when you look at them you think that money is their issue and that's – they're entitled or whatever. You don't really think that when you think of the Clintons. It's not the first thing, I don't think, that pops into people's heads." Roker lamented: "I think we were all probably raised that you don't talk about money and how much people make. And it's unfortunate."
Acting as a cheerleader for the White House "Summit on Working Families" on Tuesday's NBC Today, 9 a.m. ET hour co-host Natalie Morales hailed: "A lot of good talk at the White House yesterday. You know, the whole conversation about managing work-life balance." She teed up a clip of President Obama speaking at the event: "He spoke about the importance...of having that balance in his own life and how much Michelle has had to pinch hit for him. And vice versa." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In part, Obama observed: "You look at something like workplace flexibility. This is so important to our family....that flexibility made all the difference to our family. But a lot of working moms and dads can't do that." As the soundbite ended, Morales and weatherman Al Roker agreed that it was "so true."
After ten days of ignoring the June13 revelation that the IRS mysteriously lost two years worth of Lois Lerner's emails related to the scandal plaguing the agency, Tuesday's network morning shows finally took notice of the development only to tout Democrats dismissing the latest congressional hearing on the government abuse as a "farce." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
NBC's Today and CBS This Morning both provided full reports on the "contentious" hearing in which "Republicans unleashed their full fury" on IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. On Today, correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "The hearings showcased another round of bitter partisanship, with little resolution in sight." A soundbite followed of Massachusetts Democratic Congressman John Tierney declaring: "I don't think I've seen a display of this kind of disrespect in all the time I've been here in Congress."