***UPDATE*** [October 2, 11:50 ET]: NBCNews.com has apparently taken down the offenisve cartoon series, but it can still be found here (h/t TVNewser).
In a brazen attack on Fox News, NBCNews.com published a 15-image slideshow compiled by the website's political cartoonist Daryl Cagle ripping the cable channel. One cartoon shows a man sitting in a recliner with a remote as Fox News emanates from an elephant's rear end. In another, Fox was again depicted as an elephant, this time with a pile feces behind it labeled "Secret corporate money."
MediaBistro's TVNewser blog caught the sleazy display on the network news site, with writer Alex Weprin observing: "It is somewhat unusual for a news organization to publish such a sloppy item trashing a competitor."
On Friday's NBC Today, special correspondent Tom Brokaw demonstrated the blatant media effort to ignore Obama administration failures surrounding the consulate attack in Libya: "Romney turned out to give the President air cover. There are serious questions about what happened in Libya and the absence of security and what is our Middle East policy, but Romney's missteps really have given the President more camouflage than he would have expected." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Brokaw lamely attempting to blame Mitt Romney for the failure of the media to ask tough national security questions of Obama echoed a recent revealing statement by CBS News political director John Dickerson, who declared that it was solely Romney's responsibility to hold the President to account over Libya because the media would not.
Leading off Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, fill-in anchor Savannah Guthrie declared the presidential race in one key battleground state all but over: "Tonight, both candidates are in Ohio as a spate of new polls shows the all-important bellwether may be slipping away for the Republican challenger."
In the report that followed, correspondent Ron Allen reiterated that "new polls show Ohio slipping away" from Romney and quickly asserted the cause: "Romney down by ten points in a new poll out this morning, and nearly that in another recent poll, after that video of Romney talking disparagingly about the 47% who pay no income tax."
At the top of Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams framed President Obama's address to the United Nations as him getting tough on Iranian nuclear ambitions: "Drawing the line. The President today with a strong new warning to Iran, plus what he had to say about the recent violence against Americans."
In the report that followed, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd touted that Obama "appeared to draw a real line in the sand on Iran's effort to build nuclear weapons." Todd then sneered that "the President's strong words weren't enough to satisfy Mitt Romney."
At the end of an interview with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer turned to the subject of climate change and fretted: "We've had a crazy week in this – year in this country of extreme weather. Are you seeing around the world the kind of motivation and will that's necessary to, A, admit there's a problem, and then address the problem?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Blair replied in part: "This climate issue is real, and we are very irresponsible for future generations if we don't deal with it and we should recover, I think, a sense of urgency about it." Tossing all objectivity aside, Lauer joined in the advocacy: "I hope we will."
During the Today's Professionals segment on Tuesday's NBC Today, chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman applauded New York City schools handing out morning-after contraception pills to teenage girls without parental consent: "Parents aren't going to like to hear this, but teenagers are having sex....People want to be anti-abortion. If you're anti-abortion you should be anti-pregnancy....the reality is it's smart public health." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Matt Lauer teed up Snyderman: "Let's remember that schools have been offering condoms for years now. Is this the next logical step, Nancy?" Moments after Snyderman praised the "smart" policy, advertising executive Donny Deutsch chimed in: "To me, if this stops unwanted pregnancies, this is a no-brainer, it's a fantastic idea."
In a surprisingly tough interview with President Obama aired on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie cited Mitt Romney's criticism that the President has sided with teachers' unions against education reform, to which Obama shot back: "I think Governor Romney and a number of folks try to politicize the issue and do a lot of teacher-bashing."
Guthrie followed up: "Can you really say that teachers' unions aren't slowing the pace of reform?" Obama repeated the anti-Romney talking point: "I just really get frustrated when I hear teacher-bashing as evidence of reform." While Guthrie made some effort to pin down the President, she ultimately allowed him to build up the "teacher-bashing" straw man as he dodged her questions.
On Wednesday's NBC Today, correspondent Michael Isikoff offered a congratulatory puff piece on the man who helped release a hidden camera video of Mitt Romney: "[It] became public as a result of some dogged sleuthing by a partisan political researcher with a very personal interest in the election....James Carter IV, who helped out it, is basking in the afterglow, receiving fresh job offers from liberal bloggers and a high-five e-mail from his grandfather, former President Jimmy Carter." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The headline on screen throughout the report read: "'Poetic Justice'; Jimmy Carter's Grandson Helped Expose Romney Video." At one point in the segment, Carter gushed: "A lot of my Twitter followers that are supporters have said that this is poetic justice, that a Carter is the one that found this – this video that has given the Romney campaign so much trouble, and I have to say that I definitely agree with that sentiment."
In an interview with Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie teed up the liberal congresswoman to rip into Mitt Romney over a hidden camera video of him at a fundraiser: "Republicans and Democrats have criticized him for it. I'm sure Democrats view it as a gift from above, but do you think with the big issues facing our country, this is something that should be a substantive part of our campaign?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Predictably, Pelosi was eager for the topic to be an issue in the presidential race: "Absolutely. This is fundamental." She slammed Romney for having "demonstrated the demeaning attitude that...[he] has toward a large segment of the American people." In an odd slip of the tongue, she referred to "Governor Obama," but Guthrie never corrected her.
Wrapping up a report for Tuesday's NBC Today about the hidden camera video of Mitt Romney speaking at a fundraiser, national investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff laughably proclaimed: "The source who made the secret video insisted to NBC News that the original motivation was not political but simple curiosity, to see what Romney would say in this unscripted setting." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After promoting that assertion, Isikoff added: "But after watching the tape, the source decided the public should hear what Romney said and was encouraged to release it after talks with an Atlanta political researcher names James Carter IV, the grandson of Jimmy Carter..." Isikoff didn't question the fact that Romney made the comments in May but that the video was just released 50 days before the election.
Appearing on Tuesday's NBC Today, MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough made one hyperbolic doomsday declaration after another about Mitt Romney's campaign: "This is one of the worst weeks for any presidential candidate in a general election that any of us can remember....Unemployment is still 8% plus, the economy is still in tatters, and Mitt Romney is blowing this race." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Scarborough frantically asserted: "[Republicans] are so depressed this morning, they just can't believe that Mitt Romney is blowing a race against a president who they believe has mismanaged the economy terribly over the past four years.....It is too much for many Republicans to handle." As the segment concluded, the former GOP Congressman went so far as to tell co-host Savannah Guthrie: "I'm going to go put a bag over my head now, so I will talk to you soon."
Appearing on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, The Atlantic's national correspondent Jeff Goldberg acknowledged poor U.S.-Israel relations and proceeded to blame Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for causing the rift: "I've never seen an Israeli prime minister mismanage the relationship with the United States or with the administration the way this prime minister has." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Goldberg admitted: "Obama's not blameless. The first year, the peace process was a disaster." However, he then continued to lambast Netanyahu: "...one person here is the senior partner, one is the – the junior partner, and Netanyahu has turned this into a story about himself and Obama, rather than the important thing."
In a stunning display of group-think on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, a panel of journalists all concluded that no American president could have possibly prevented the ongoing crisis in Middle East or responded to it any better than Barack Obama. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The hand-wringing began with The Atlantic's Jeff Goldberg absolving the President of any responsibility for chaos in the region: "There are some very, very deep and troubling things going on in – in the Middle East that have very little to do with what a president does or doesn't do.... so to blame the President for – for an attack on – on these embassies, I think, is a bit much."
Pushing the narrative of Mitt Romney losing the presidential election on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie seized on an article in Politico that "details squabbling among Romney advisers, a lot of blind quotes, anonymous quotes." She turned to political director Chuck Todd and wondered: "Is this a fairly ominous sign for the campaign, that they're already blaming each other anonymously in print?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd proclaimed: "Well, this certainly doesn't happen in winning campaigns, right, Savannah? This is the type of thing you read about losing campaigns. It reads like a pre-bituary, if you will, as if people are looking to see who's going to get the blame for blowing the Republican Party's best chance at knocking off an incumbent president in nearly 30 years."
Barely able to contain his glee over the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll on Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams enthused to political director Chuck Todd: "...some of these numbers are ahead of the wildest dreams of the Democratic campaigners." Todd agreed: "They are." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd touted leads for President Obama in the battleground states of Virginia, Ohio, and Florida, and eagerly noted: "...the right track, wrong track numbers, for the first time since we've been testing in these state polls, the right track is over 40%." Todd then cited partisan talking points to explain the modest improvement: "Some Democrats have been telling me, that's the Clinton bump, referring to Bill Clinton's speech [at the Democratic National Convention]."
In a report for Friday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander touted how Mitt Romney "was briefly interrupted by a heckler" at campaign stop in Virginia and played a clip of the angry malcontent ranting: "Why are you politicizing Libya?!" Alexander then played a clip of President Obama being greeted by cheers and applause in Colorado, proclaiming: "Obama took a firm stand, reminding voters of his power as commander in chief."
Alexander began the report by declaring: "Less than eight weeks til' election day, Romney, who by the way authored a book titled No Apology, is making no apologies for his sharp criticism of the President's foreign policy." At the same time, Alexander suggested Romney was backing down: "Mitt Romney toned down his foreign policy attack on President Obama Thursday, seeking to project strength in more subtle terms, arguing the President's a weak leader."
Appearing on Fox News's America Live on Thursday, Daily Beast columnist and Democratic pundit Kirsten Powers ripped the liberal media for expressing more outrage over Mitt Romney's reaction to Tuesday's embassy attacks, than toward the attackers themselves: "I mean, it is just absolutely utterly insane the way that they have elevated this." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Powers worried that the blatant bias had "overshadowed any kind of outrage that you would see over the fact that you have Islamic flags being hoisted over American embassies, the fact that an American ambassador is dead."
Continuing to attack Mitt Romney's reaction to the embassy attacks in Egypt and Libya, on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie urged Senator John McCain to admit Romney made a mistake: "Was it correct for Mitt Romney to seize on that political opportunity at a moment when the U.S. Ambassador had been killed?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
McCain stood behind Romney's criticism of the Obama administration's initial response to the attacks and added some of his own: "Look, what this is all about is American weakness and the President's inability to lead....Iraq is dissolving, our relations with Israel are at a tension point. He – I'd like to see the President of the United States speak up once for the 20,000 people that are being massacred in Syria. There is an absence of American leadership in the region..."
On her 1 p.m. et MSNBC program on Wednesday, host Andrea Mitchell interrogated former United Nations Ambassador and Romney advisor Richard Williamson on the Republican presidential candidate's criticism of President Obama's response to attacks in Egypt and Libya: "Does it seem to be injecting politics into a national tragedy?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Williamson dismissed Mitchell's question: "Andrea, you're an experienced reporter. You've had the same questions asked about your own reporting from time to time....You're engaging in a process question. The importance is the substance of what's going on in the Middle East, where the U.S. is being compromised and in retreat."
At the top of Wednesday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, host Chuck Todd denounced Mitt Romney for daring to criticize the Obama administration's handling of the attack on U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya: "[The Romney campaign] wish they had that press release back, because as the hours unfolded....this statement looks crass and tone deaf in the light of this day." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd was referring to the Romney campaign condemning a statement by the U.S. embassy in Cairo that essentially apologized to the Islamist protesters attacking the diplomatic grounds. Todd proclaimed: "Now here's what we don't get. Why the Romney campaign didn't wait until it had all the facts....Now they're actually in a political box, because what can they do? They know that they've made a mistake."
Early in the 8 a.m. et hour on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer led a panel discussion on whether the September 11th attacks were staring to be forgotten: "...some people are saying that the attention for this event, these anniversaries, is waning, and that people have moved on. 20 years from now, are our children going to grow up – be in a world where the significance of this event, those attacks, is lost?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A little over thirty minutes later, NBC fulfilled that fear by skipping the moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. et commemorating the first plane hitting the first tower of the World Trade Center, instead airing an interview with Keeping Up With the Kardashians star Kris Jenner. ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning both observed the moment of silence.
Promoting his fawning profile of President Obama for the October issue of Vanity Fair on Tuesday's NBC Today, contributing editor Michael Lewis described a game of basketball he played with the commander in chief: "...it was actually very revealing...he doesn't let anybody treat him like the president. If you're watching the game, you'd have no idea who – which one is the president...he likes a really challenging environment...it's a relationship among equals." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The gushing from Lewis was prompted by co-host Matt Lauer wondering: "What did you see about the way he [Obama] handles himself on the court that sheds some light on his personality and how he might handle himself in the job?" Lewis observed: "...he's effective on the court, he's a good basketball player – but he plays a game that seems very risk averse....But then all of a sudden, when there's a risk to take, it's boom. He's got the personality of a sniper."
Eager to get a jump-start on biased coverage of the next presidential race, on Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Andrea Mitchell salivated over a possible Hillary Clinton run: "Well, the conventions were barely over before politicians in both parties started talking about likely contenders for 2016, and overshadowing all others is the woman who wasn't even there."
Mitchell sympathetically observed: "Hillary has been waiting a long time for her chance to be president, after losing a bitter primary fight to then-Senator Barack Obama four years ago." Mitchell then proclaimed: "She says she has no plans to run, but if she did, some say she would clear the field."
Responding to co-host Savannah Guthrie observing that Mitt Romney looked like he "was moving toward the center" on Monday's NBC Today, Meet the Press host David Gregory asserted: "...he knows he's going to have to make tough choices if he becomes president. That he would indeed have to infuriate conservatives on some of these budget deals..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
During an interview with Romney aired on Sunday's Meet the Press, Gregory grilled the Republican candidate on whether he would "cut a deal with Democrats that would cause conservatives to revolt." Speaking to Guthrie on Monday, Gregory touted Romney's "pragmatism" and "flashes of some bipartisanship."
At the top of Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer eagerly touted an Obama campaign photo-op: "One pizza shop owner in Florida got a little excited when he met President Obama, gave him a bear hug and then lifted him up....By the way, he's a Republican." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd announced that Obama had "clearly found a bounce in his campaign step, on display as he visited a Florida sports bar, even making a birther joke....Later the President got a whole new lesson in retail politics, when he got a very enthusiastic welcome from a Florida pizza shop owner."
On Friday's NBC Today, less than two hours before another poor jobs report, co-host Matt Lauer touted a bold economic prediction: "Some of the analysts I've been reading have said that no matter who is president over the next four years, the economy will add about 12 million jobs just because of the cycle it's in." CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer agreed with the rosy scenario: "...a lot of pent-up demand in autos and pent-up demand in exports. It's not such a bad moment."
Earlier in the discussion, Cramer predicted that the upcoming jobs numbers would be "a little better than expected" from the projection of 135,000 jobs created in August, with "Maybe 10,000 jobs more than that." At the top of the 9 a.m. hour, fill-in news anchor Tamron Hall delivered the much more disappointing reality: "[The unemployment rate] now stands at 8.1% for the month of August, down .2% from July, but only because more people gave up looking for work. The economy added 96,000 jobs last month."
Comparing the RNC and DNC conventions on Friday's NBC Today, MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough declared a knockout for Democrats: "...if we're going pound for pound, round for round, this wasn't Ali versus Frasier, this was Muhammed Ali versus Chuck Wepner...It was ugly..." The liberal crowd assembled around Scarborough at a bar in Charlotte all cheered and applauded the statement. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Scarborough's boxing reference was to a 1975 fight when Wepner went 15 rounds with the heavyweight champion Ali before losing. On the conventions, he argued that Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton and Joe Biden "all hit home runs...all hit it out of the park," while in Tampa, "you had a Republican convention that was trying to figure out how to love Mitt Romney."
On Thursday, the hosts of NBC's Today could barely contain their glee over former President Bill Clinton addressing the Democratic National Convention, with Savannah Guthrie proclaiming: "Life of the party. Former President Bill Clinton delivers a powerful and partisan speech....blasting Republicans, and in the throes of a bad economy, making the case for four more years." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Moments later, Matt Lauer gushed that President Obama had "a really tough act to follow after what was an enthusiastic and powerful endorsement" from Clinton. In a later report, Meet the Press host David Gregory joined in the Clinton lovefest with his own rave review: "Bill Clinton simply owned the room here, stayed longer than he was supposed to, but nobody seemed to mind....it was an appearance that was the height of political stagecraft."
Gregory excitedly added: "Here was one of the party's biggest heros leveraging his enormous popularity to vouch for President Obama..." And observed that Clinton "was happier than ever in the spotlight."
During the Today's Professionals panel segment on Wednesday's NBC Today, fill-in co-host Tamron Hall promoted an online petition to get 90-year-old actress Betty White to appear at the Democratic National Convention, noting that the creator of the petition, "is concerned that Clint Eastwood gave elderly people a bad name with what he did" at the Republican convention.
Advertising executive Donny Deutsch declared that "Republicans still have egg on their face from the Clint Eastwood thing" and urged the Democrats not to do it. NBC medical editor Nancy Snyderman added: "I would not counter something that didn't go well." Attorney Star Jones rounded out the discussion by calling on Democrats to "Let the stench stay over there," meaning on the Republican side.
On Wednesday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd cheered Michelle Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention while running down the GOP: "[She] had a hold on the delegates in this hall in a way that no speaker was able to do in Tampa. A stark contrast to the Republicans in the way they structured their convention and with the enthusiasm."
During NBC's live convention coverage Tuesday night, Todd could barely contain his excitement. At one point, he proclaimed that the First Lady "owned this convention...in a way that no speaker owned the floor of the convention in Tampa." Prior to Mrs. Obama's address, Todd applauded "the passion that you see throughout the evening" at the Democratic gathering, and claimed that Republicans "waited for the television cameras to come on" to show similar enthusiasm at their convention.