During a panel discussion on Tuesday's NBC Today, guest panelist Carson Daly, host of The Voice, ranted over the Supreme Court's upcoming ruling on gay marriage: "The more conservative the Court decision is, the more backlash there'll be by the people....I can't believe that we're even discussing this, it still seems so archaic. Because there is a new normal out there. We gotta move on." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Attorney Star Jones compared gay marriage to interracial marriage and voiced her agreement with Daly. NBC chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman argued that even if the Court decided against gay marriage, it would inevitably become the law of the land: "I think we're going to see a generational shift. Younger people almost think this is a no big deal. And because, much like the civil rights, once it's institutionalized, there will be an acceptance and I think 20 to 30 years from now, we'll look back at this as a hiccup."
At the top of Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie seemed to get swept up in the network's own one-sided reporting on the gay marriage cases before the Supreme Court, proclaiming: "Supreme decision. This nation's highest court taking up the divisive issue of same-sex marriage this morning. Will the justices make it legal in every state?"
In the report that followed, justice correspondent Pete Williams touted the anticipation of gay marriage supporters: "The day has finally come for the people who've lined up for days to see the historic argument....The two California couples at the heart of today's case are already here after a brief visit Monday to see the Constitution at the National Archives. Their lawyer says Prop 8 should be struck down because allowing them to get married would have no effect on traditional couples."
In an interview with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his two brothers, Hollywood agent Ari and bioethicist Zeke, on Friday's NBC Rock Center, anchor Brian Williams sounded like an adoring fan as he described the prominent family: "Theirs is, after all, a unique American story....It was an unusual family, intellectually rigorous, boisterous, physical, hyper-successful, they may be America's Jewish Kennedys. Their mother marched on Washington and took them to hear Dr. King speak in Chicago." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Friday's Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie billed the upcoming segment as "an American success story times three." Williams kept that theme going as he proclaimed: "We're pretty sure they are the most prominent three brothers from any one family in public life in America today....In most families, you hear parents talk about the kid who grew up to be the successful one, or the smart one, or the famous one. But in this family, that's all of them."
In an interview with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory invited the anti-gun advocate to issue a political threat to gun rights supporters in Congress: "Will you target people, Republicans and Democrats, who do not support a weapons ban, an assault weapons ban, who do not vote for background checks? Will you spend money, lots of money, to target them in 2014, in the midterm race?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Bloomberg responded by enlisting Gregory in the gun control crusade: "I think I have a responsibility, and I think you and all of your viewers have responsibilities, to try to make this country safer....And if I can do that by spending some money and taking the NRA from being the only voice to being one of the voices...then I think my money would be well spent..."
At the top of Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel forwarded anti-Israel sentiment during a segment about President Obama's trip to the Middle East: "I think the President went there to give Israel a big hug. Some people in the region think that he went too far, that he went too far to embrace Zionism as an ideology, not just the State of Israel." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Engel declared: "Israel feels very threatened, very unsure about its future. That's obvious by the way they are walling themselves in psychologically and physically....the idea was to make Israel feel secure in an increasingly insecure region." He lamented: "The Palestinians generally were disappointed with the trip, nothing concrete coming out of it."
In a report for Friday's NBC Today, correspondent Jim Maceda seized on an account in a 2012 book in which Pope Francis, then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, recalled being attracted to a woman when he was a young seminarian preparing to enter the priesthood: "Well, it turns out that Francis...came to the priesthood rather late, at age 32, and not before he had his own moments of doubt and temptation." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Maceda went so far as to make a sensational comparison to a soap opera about a priest falling in love with a woman. After a clip of the show played, Maceda declared: "Like the conflicted Catholic priest in the 1980 TV mini-series Thorn Birds, the former Jorge Bergoglio admitted in a book published in Spanish last year, to be 'dazzled' by a young woman at the time he was studying to be a priest."
Previewing a fawning Brian Williams interview with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his brothers, Ari and Zeke, set to air on Friday's NBC Rock Center, Today co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed the siblings to be "an American success story times three." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the clip that followed, Williams enthused: "The Emanuel brothers, three super achievers, raised under the same roof. The big city mayor, the Hollywood super agent, and the medical bioethicist. And if you're going to sit down with all three brothers at once, be ready, bring your best game, because it's not for the faint of heart."
In a report for Thursday's NBC Today, investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff reported on plans for a $150 million renovation of the Guantanamo Bay prison still housing 166 terror detainees and sympathetically described how "despite improvements in recent years" of the facility, "the detainees' hopes of getting released were crushed when President Obama stopped talking about closing it." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Isikoff noted that some of the detainees were "engaged in a hunger strike...as an attempt to regain attention." A sound bite played of new the commanding general of the prison expressing his frustration with President Obama: "Nothing in the inauguration speech about closing it. Nothing in the State of the Union. You know, he's not re-staffing the office that was, you know, focused on closing or transferring."
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel described Israel's precarious position in the Middle East: "Israel sees the world just beyond its borders collapsing. The war in Syria....Hamas in charge in Gaza....The Muslim Brotherhood running Egypt." He proclaimed that the Jewish state "hasn't ever been popular in this neighborhood, but now its enemies are at the gate and angry." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Despite explaining the dangerous situation, Engel portrayed Israel as an almost paranoid nation cutting itself off from the outside world: "Israel is becoming a fortress. Fences along the borders with Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria. More fences around the Gaza Strip, and a massive wall along the West Bank. A country the size of New Jersey with more than 500 miles of barricades. Israel is shutting out the Arab world and shutting itself in."
After President Obama scolded NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd as "incorrigible" for asking too many tough questions during a Wednesday press conference, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams mocked Todd's grilling and agreed with the President: "He is incorrigible, come to think of it. Our own Chuck Todd called out today in Jerusalem, and guilty as charged, truth be told." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing a clip of Obama lecturing Todd, which completely edited out any of the challenging questions, Williams explained: "Both leaders had opening statements, the actual press conference part was limited to two questions from Israeli journalists and two questions from the visiting Americans. So when our own friend Chuck Todd asked a multi-part question, he got called out for it."
During a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, President Obama lectured NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd for asking too many questions: "Chuck, how many do you got? Do you guys do this in the Israeli press? You say you get one question and then you add like five?...You see how the young lady from Channel One, she had one question, she was very well behaved, Chuck?...I mean, you're just incorrigible." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Perhaps it was the content of Todd's questions, rather than the number, that the President objected to: "I want to follow up a little bit on the peace process....you said you weren't going to let this slip to your second term. We're in your second term with the Mideast peace process. What went wrong? Why are we further away from a two-state solution?... what do you believe went wrong? Did you push Israel too hard? What do you wish you would have done differently?"
Appearing on Tuesday's NBC Today as part of its Vatican coverage of Pope Francis's installation mass, former correspondent Maria Shriver offered a report that urged the Catholic Church to allow female priests: "Catholic women, and nuns in particular....cannot be ordained, they cannot say Mass and they cannot vote for the pope. Now millions of women think it's time for the hierarchy of this Church to open its eyes to the reality of what women can and should be allowed to do." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Speaking to Sister Judith Zoebelein, a high-ranking Vatican official, later in the report, Shriver wondered: "You know in the United States, we often talk about the glass ceiling for women professionally. Is there a stained glass ceiling?" The headline on screen throughout the segment read: "The Stained Glass Ceiling; Maria Shriver On Women's Roles in the Catholic Church."
In a report on the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War for Tuesday's NBC Today, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel was unable to conceal his contempt for the conflict: "Iraq's oil money was supposed to pay for the war. It didn't work out that way. From now on, the war set its own agenda, an insurgency erupted that became a religious civil war....Iraqis accuse the United States of invading to find weapons of mass destruction that were never there, and destroying a delicate religious balance." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Engel continued: "The [Bush] White House stopped claiming all was well in Iraq, and thousands more troops surged. The violence dropped, and Americans left. Nine years, almost 4,500 troops killed, 32,000 wounded, 130,000 Iraqi civilians killed. The cost, according to a new study, nearly $2 trillion."
On Tuesday's NBC Today, news reader Natalie Morales warned viewers: "With a potential government shutdown looming later on this month, the White House may have to cancel its annual Easter Egg Roll." In the report that followed, White House correspondent Kristen Welker added that the "event might be in jeopardy....due to the ongoing budget battles here in Washington." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While Welker simply repeated administration talking points without skepticism, she completely ignored the fact that just days ago, during a Fox News interview on March 15, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney testily told anchor Jenna Lee that while tours of the executive mansion had been cancelled, the Easter Egg Roll was safe: "Well actually, Jenna, again, if you did a little reporting...it's paid for by the sale of those eggs that come out, as well as from donations on the outside, so it's a totally different budget. These are apples and oranges."
In an interview with Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren for NBC's online Meet the Press: Press Pass, which is also aired by some NBC-owned stations following Meet the Press on Sundays, moderator David Gregory wondered about President Obama's upcoming trip to Israel: "...the last Democratic president who had significant ties to Israel, President Clinton, was really a rock star in Israel. What are the chances that Barack Obama becomes similarly a rock star in Israel?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Appearing on Monday's NBC Today as part of the Today's Professionals panel discussion, the network's chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman urged the Catholic Church to abandon its opposition to contraception: "Here's one thing I really would implore the Catholic Church to do on a global issue.... poverty without birth control begets more poverty....So this is a chance to take the humility and the poverty and say now we're really going to talk about this in a civilized way and move it forward." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Advertising executive Donny Deutsch chimed in: "Well that's my point, we're not talking about the real issues....And we can talk about tolerance with gays and attitudes towards women." Snyderman agreed: "And women in the Church."
Wrapping up a panel discussion on Monday's NBC Today about Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman coming out in support of gay marriage, co-host Matt Lauer voiced suspicion about the timing of the announcement: "He has known his son is gay for the last two years, and yet, when he was there on the campaign trail supporting the Republican nominee, he never mentioned anything about this evolving stance on same-sex marriage." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Advertising executive Donny Deutsch replied: "The irony of that is, if the Republicans were smart, they would understand if they move on some of these social issues, it would actually help the party."
On Monday's NBC Today, news reader Natalie Morales hyped how "Republican infighting broke out this weekend at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference." In the report that followed, political director Chuck Todd bolstered the meme: "...the party is trying to rehabilitate its image, solve an identity crisis, and it means that feuds are breaking out all over..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd particularly focused on one such "feud" between Sarah Palin and Karl Rove, with the headline on screen throughout the segment reading: "Family Feud; Sarah Palin & Karl Rove Trade Barbs at CPAC." Todd derisively remarked that while Palin "stole the show" at CPAC, she was "playing more the role of entertainer and stand-up comedian than of serious politician."
On Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer touted "breaking news" that Ohio Senator Rob Portman, "a leading figure in the Republican Party," was now in favor of gay marriage after learning that his son was gay. Leading off the report that followed, White House correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed that Portman "...is now joining a growing list of Republicans to come out in support of gay marriage..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Turning to coverage of the Conservative Political Action Conference, Alexander asserted: "The Republican Party now faces an identity crisis, with no clear leader and no clear path to widening its appeal." Wrapping up the report, Alexander continued to push the meme of a GOP in disarray: "But if you need any more evidence of the divide that now exists in the Republican Party, consider this. One of the most popular figures in the party, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the guy who praised President Obama's response to Hurricane Sandy last fall, was not invited."
In an interview with New York's Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer worried about the age of the newly elected Pope Francis: "...there was some stunned silence for a second. I think some had expected a younger man, he's 76....When you looked at that image of the new pope standing with some members of the Church hierarchy, visually, Cardinal Dolan, it didn't exactly scream a modern Church." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the same time Lauer was worried about the Church not projecting a more "modern" image, NBCNews.com offered a "to-do list" for the new Pontiff that included typical liberal demands:
On Thursday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander promoted the first public comments from Scott Prouty, the bartender who secretly recorded Mitt Romney's 47% comments during the 2012 presidential race: "Even today some political observers insist without that 47% tape, we might actually be talking about President Mitt Romney these days. Instead, the infamous comments marked what was really a campaign game-changer. And now months later, the man behind that tape has finally come forward." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, Alexander highlighted portions of a Prouty's interview with MSNBC host Ed Schultz on Wednesday's The Ed Show and whitewashed the bartender's obvious left-wing ideology made apparent in the exchange: "Speaking publicly for the first time Wednesday, Prouty, who says he's a registered independent...[said] he arrived at the dinner that night with an open mind."
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, on the eve of the Wednesday election of Pope Francis, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed to viewers: "...this is a decidedly bad time for the Catholic Church. There are hopes among many that the new pope will signify a new direction." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Lester Holt hyped the divide between the Vatican and some liberal American Catholics: "It's roughly 4,000 miles between Vatican City and the nearest shores of the U.S., but for American Catholics who often find themselves out of step with the Church here, it can seem a lot farther....Abortion, the role of women, and attitudes about homosexuality have been at the heart of much of the disconnect between American Catholics and the Church."
While NBC and CBS both highlighted a quote from an anonymous senior White House official labeling President Obama's recent budget meetings with members of Congress "a joke," ABC managed to leave the controversial remark out of its coverage of the budget negotiations, with Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos even failing to ask the President about it in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
In a National Journal article posted Tuesday morning, Ron Fournier recounted: "'This is a joke. We're wasting the president's time and ours,' complained a senior White House official who was promised anonymity so he could speak frankly. 'I hope you all (in the media) are happy because we're doing it for you.'"
Introducing a report on Monday's NBC Nightly News about a New York City ban on large sugary drinks being overturned by a New York State Supreme Court judge, anchor Brian Williams touted how Mayor Michael Bloomberg "is saying this isn't over yet."
In the report that followed, correspondent Rehema Ellis proclaimed: "In a city of more than 8 million, where health officials say the obesity epidemic is responsible for more than 5,000 deaths a year, the Mayor says his fight to make New Yorkers healthier will continue."
In a report on Monday's NBC Today about declining penguin populations in Antarctica, correspondent Kerry Sanders didn't take long to lay the blame on man-made climate change: "Penguins are most certainly the ambassadors to the bottom of the world....But the ambassadors are also sounding an alarm....ten of the world's 18 penguin species are in trouble....The ice that dominates this landscape is melting faster than ever before." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Sanders fretted to biologist Fabrice Genevois: "Is that a canary in the coal mine for us as humans?" Genevois agreed: "Yeah, I mean that could be the canary in the coal mine, exactly." After hyping data that "2012 was the hottest year ever on record," Sanders posed this question: "So if the ice is melting in some parts because of our use of fossil fuels, because of global warming, what are we supposed to do?" He then informed viewers that he consulted scientists who found the solution: "...we can do something like just start carpooling."
During an interview with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush for NBC's online Meet the Press Press Pass, which is also aired by some NBC-owned stations following Meet the Press on Sundays, moderator David Gregory referenced Bush being at the Reagan Presidential Library and employed the tired liberal talking point that Ronald Reagan would be too moderate for the modern GOP: "...the president you speak of and so many conservatives do, raised taxes, was for immigration reform, that a lot of modern-day conservatives would – would find quite distasteful. Could he exist? Could he get elected in today's Republican Party? Or would he be seen as a liberal?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Bush rejected Gregory's speculation: "He also stopped the – the advancement of the federal government's overreach, he cut taxes in a dramatic way..."
Introducing a brief report on Friday's NBC Today about the funeral proceedings for socialist Venezuelan strong man Hugo Chavez, news reader Natalie Morales announced: "In Venezuela, a hero's send-off today for Hugo Chavez, a harsh critic of the U.S. who ruled for 14 years." The headline on screen during the segment read: "Saluting Chavez; World Leaders in Venezuela for President's Funeral."
Correspondent Mark Potter, reporting from Caracas, noted that Chavez would "lie in state for another seven days so more Venezuelans can pay their respects" after "thousands and thousands of people stood in a mile-long line for the chance to quickly file past the casket." Potter added: "Chavez's body eventually will be preserved, much like those of historic communist figures Lenin and Mao, for future public display in a special tomb."
On Friday's NBC Today, fill-in co-host Lester Holt hyped unfounded speculation surrounding the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI: "More than a week after his resignation became official, there are still a lot of controversial theories about why Pope Benedict XVI stepped down. NBC's chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel is looking into them at the Vatican." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Previewing a report for Rock Center, Engel proclaimed: "What we still don't know, not definitively anyway, is why Pope Benedict decided to retire....[Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi] exposed some of the Vatican's most guarded secrets. A scoop seen in Italy as big as Watergate. Italians call it 'Vatileaks.'"
On her Thursday 1 p.m. ET hour show on MSNBC, host Andrea Mitchell denounced a newly passed law in Arkansas preventing abortions after 12 weeks: "We're talking about the most restrictive abortion legislation in decades. Most people do not think it will pass court test muster..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
She lamented to Time magazine's Nancy Gibbs: "We're still debating whether or not in the first trimester there should be the right to abortion, all these years after Roe v. Wade." Gibbs joined in the hand-wringing: "There are a growing number of states where there are simply no abortion providers available or there's only one in the entire state, or the restrictions have become so great that effectively there is no availability of abortion....This is just the latest of what has been a pretty steady stream of state level efforts to roll back that access."
In a report from the Vatican on Thursday's NBC Today, correspondent Keir Simmons fretted over Church officials limiting press access to cardinals as they prepare to elect the next Pope in Conclave: "The U.S. cardinals have been told to stop talking, to close ranks. Since Monday, they've been holding news conferences....The last, abruptly cancelled before it began, the Vatican imposing immediate clamp down in spite of hopes that the Church will modernize."
Introducing the segment, co-host Matt Lauer declared: "...secrecy has become a top priority for Vatican officials." A sound bite was featured in the report of Reuters Vatican senior correspondent Phil Pullella ranting: "I think it will backfire because it shows fear, it shows fear of the truth, it shows fear of dealing with the outside world."