After shouting like an excited groupie at President Obama and Vice President Biden during NBC live coverage of Monday's inaugural parade, weatherman Al Roker reflected on the incident during Tuesday's Today: "To be acknowledged by the President, a handshake from the Vice President on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I think, was pretty special....I was thinking about my folks and they were looking down, and I think pretty pleased." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Like one of President Obama's adoring fans camped out along the inaugural parade route on Monday, during live MSNBC coverage of the event, NBC Today weatherman Al Roker excitedly yelled at Obama and later Vice President Biden to get their attention as they walked by. His hard-hitting question to the President of the United States: "Is the weather good?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In an exchange with former Secretary of State and prominent Obama supporter Colin Powell during NBC's live inauguration coverage on Monday, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams urged Powell to go after Republicans: "General, there's just flat-out hatred out there, too. There's nastiness out there in the land. There's nastiness between these two parties....Let's especially go to the Republican Party....What do they do to widen, if it is in their interest, widen their doorway to membership, to entry?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A panel discussion on Monday's NBC Today on President Obama's second term quickly devolved into anti-Republican ranting, with correspondent Andrea Mitchell proclaiming: "It's been so toxic that I think the President is betting that the American people...are really fed up with this. And that it will be in the Republican Party's advantage to play somewhat toward getting something done." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Special correspondent Tom Brokaw followed up by touting how the GOP "lost big time" in the 2012 election and declared: "Now the Republicans are in disarray, trying to organize their party so they have a future. And they're going to have to deal with the reality of that as well. It is a party that is so broken into a lot of parts on the GOP side and there's going to have to be a lot of mending done and then more outreach as well."
When Barack Obama was inaugurated 44th President of the United States in January of 2009, his adoring fans in the media could not contain their elation as they reported on the event. As President Obama prepares to be sworn in for a second term, here is a look back at just how thrilled they were last time around. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Thursday, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams took time out of the broadcast to provide this supposed "news" update: "First Lady Michelle Obama turned 49 today. But the big news came as the First Lady's office inaugurated a Twitter account and sent out this picture showing the First Lady's new bangs. Which Vanity Fair's website instantly praised, calling them 'featherly,' and tracing their lineage in hair terms to Brigitte Bardot." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Coverage of the grooming development continued on Friday's Today as White House correspondent Kristen Welker proclaimed: "The buzz over her bangs was immediate. People magazine tweeted: 'Guess who's turning 49 with bangs? Yep. bday girl @michelleobama debuted a fab new cut.' Vanity Fair also weighed in, remarking, 'There's just no other way to put this – got bangs.'"
In a report for Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Andrea Mitchell smeared the National Rifle Association as a group benefitting from tragedy: "Even as America was shaken by the horror of Newtown, the NRA escalated its rhetoric, claiming to add more than 100,000 new members, and taking a no-compromise stand....the NRA is raising money, e-mailing supporters to upgrade their membership for what it calls, 'the fight of the century.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the middle of the segment, a brief exchange was shown between Mitchell and NRA president David Keene. Mitchell quoted a fundraising email from the gun rights organization warning of President Obama's pursuit of gun restrictions and wondered: "Are they trying to scare gun owners?" Keene replied: "We're not scaring them. We're not saying that your rights are at risk. The President of the United States is saying that."
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams enthusiastically touted President Obama playing offense on gun regulations: "Fighting back. President Obama is out with his plan on gun control, the most sweeping in generations. As the NRA uses the President's own daughters in an attack ad."
Moments later, Williams framed the debate this way: "President Obama came out with his proposals for the most sweeping gun control measures in many years. The National Rifle Association launched a preemptive strike against it. It involved the President's family, in part. But this time they may have some formidable opposition to their position."
In a contentious exchange with Eric Pratt of Gun Owners of America on her Wednesday MSNBC show, host Andrea Mitchell declared that Constitutional rights, like the right to bear arms, were more like suggestions: "Well, they can be infringed, because the First Amendment is infringed, I have to obey all sorts of regulations from the FCC, there are things we can't say in a crowded theater, so every right also carries with it responsibilities and obligations." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
That was in response to Pratt explaining: "...a very important concept of inalienable rights, because whether it's the right to vote, right to sit behind a microphone, or the right to choose how I'm going to protect myself, all those rights cannot be infringed, as the Second Amendment says."
As MediaBistro's TVNewser blog noticed on Wednesday, an image of NBC Meet the Press moderator David Gregory was featured in the newly released ad by the National Rifle Association, labeling him to be one of several "elitist hypocrites" on the gun control issue. [Watch video of the ad after the jump]
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer hyperventilated over a newly released ad from the National Rifle Association pointing out the hypocrisy of President Obama on gun control: "Getting personal. The National Rifle Association out with a powerful new ad this morning, bringing the President's family into the gun debate." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The ad in question simply noted that Obama's daughters were protected in school by armed guards while the President was pushing for gun restrictions. Introducing a report on the ad, co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed that it "gets very personal." Chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd followed: "...the NRA is signaling it intends to fight the President, and it's using this new web video that hits close to home, targeting his daughters."
In part two of an interview with liberal Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie wondered: "Your mom fell in love again late in life....Do you ever wonder if that might happen for you?...Where do you take a Supreme Court justice on a date?"
In the first part of the exchange aired on Monday, Guthrie asked about the role of the Court, on Tuesday, it was all about promoting Sotomayor's memoir, My Beloved World. Guthrie asked about the Justice's childhood and narrated: "Here, from the church she once attended with her aunt, to the library where she voraciously gobbled up books, the future Supreme Court justice was cultivating a love of the law from two unlikely legal influences: Nancy Drew and Perry Mason."
On Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer eagerly touted special correspondent Chelsea Clinton being a part of the festivities leading up to President Obama's inauguration: "She's going to talk about an important role that she is playing in President Obama's second inaugural, something I know she would like you to get involved in." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Before talking to Clinton about the upcoming event, Lauer explained: "President Obama will kick off his inauguration weekend on Saturday with a National Day of Service....the Obamas and Bidens will attend a service fair on the National Mall....NBC's special correspondent Chelsea Clinton is the honorary chair of that event."
Serving as President Obama's stenographer on Monday's NBC Nightly News, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd eagerly touted the President hammering Republicans on the debt ceiling during a midday press conference: "And with Washington once again careening toward a fiscal crisis...the President made it clear he intends to stand firm....[He] acknowledged Republicans could end up shutting down the government if he doesn't yield on spending cuts. But he warned against it." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
During the final press conference of Obama's first term, Todd urged the President to follow the recommendations of fellow Democrats and unilaterally raise the nation's debt limit without congressional approval: "Harry Reid sent you a letter, begging you, essentially, to take – consider some sort of executive action on this debt ceiling issue....Jim Clyburn asked you to use the 14th Amendment....He brought up the Emancipation Proclamation...he compared the debt ceiling to that. So are you considering a plan 'B'? And if not, why not?"
Shortly after former Secretary of State Colin Powell attacked the Republican Party for having a supposed "dark vein of intolerance," on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory seized on the smear as he encouraged the show's panel to comment. The discussion that followed was devoid of any criticism of Powell's remarks. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Gregory began by grilling former Republican Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour: "I thought that was striking, some of General Powell's comments, particularly about the Republican Party....He talks about a deep vein of intolerance within the Party. How did that sit with you?" Barbour called Powell a "friend" but added that "we don't see everything the same way." He then noted the demographic disadvantage for the GOP in the 2012 election.
Interviewing Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor about her new memoir on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie worried that political division was undermining the high court: "Do you think that it's bad for the credibility of the Court as an institution if people have the perception that it is splitting along partisan or ideological lines?"
Sotomayor countered: "Yes. If I believed that that was the reason for the split, which I don't. The fact that there's a circuit split makes it clear that there are different ways of looking at the situation and that the answer is not a slam dunk." In response, Guthrie argued that "so-called liberals" take one side of a case, while the "conservative ideological bloc" takes the other.
For three consecutive nights on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams proclaimed the country to now be in the "post-Newtown era," as he and reporters promoted how "the White House prepares its battle plan" to push for more gun control following the school shooting. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Tuesday, Williams kicked off the coverage by describing how "in our post-Newtown era," the Obama administration was "gearing up for a fight on this issue." In the report that followed, correspondent Ron Mott touted "a growing chorus of calls around the country for gun restrictions, in the wake of a spike in gun-related murders in cities like Chicago and Detroit and last month's tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut."
In an interview with National Rifle Association president David Keene on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer wondered: "Do you have the support in Congress to block any federal ban on assault weapons in the coming year?...How close do you think Congress can get on that?" He then speculated: "People talk about the power of the NRA. They look at it almost, you know, in monumental terms. Do you think in the wake of these shootings that power has been eroded at all, Mr. Keene?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Keene rejected the framing of Lauer's question and explained: "Americans who believe strongly in the Second Amendment, and their right to own privately and use firearms for legitimate purposes, is a huge number of people who really care about these issues....it's not the power of the NRA, Matt. What it is, is the strength of belief among millions of Americans in their right under the Constitution to privately own firearms."
During a panel discussion on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Willie Geist touted an online White House petition to get Vice President Joe Biden his own reality show. Panelist and left-wing MSNBC host Alex Wagner raved: "Incredible idea, can I be the cameraman?...he's the most entertaining man in politics." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Wagner continued to gush over the gaffe-prone VP: "He says stuff off-the-cuff, he pushes the envelope....Joe Biden is an incredible figure in American politics. He has pushed the President to embrace gay marriage, inadvertently. He has these moments of color and humor. He's also killer, I mean he was the one that went in and cleaned up the entire fiscal cliff deal at the very last minute."
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appeared on all three network morning shows on Wednesday and was greeted in each interview by the host seizing on his harsh words for congressional Republicans over a delayed vote on Hurricane Sandy relief. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On NBC's Today, co-host Matt Lauer proclaimed: "You're not happy, it seems, with the course of the Republican Party right now. You blasted some Republicans in Congress last week after their inaction over Hurricane Sandy. You said they showed 'callous indifference, selfishness, duplicity,' they were, 'practicing toxic politics.' Strong letter to follow. Those aren't the words of a guy who's happy with his party."
During a panel discussion on Tuesday's NBC Today, chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman voiced her support for a New York newspaper, The Journal News, publishing a list of addresses of local gun owners: "You have these sort of blind assumptions that when your child goes over to play with another kid, he or she is going to be safe. And I think that has been now negated. So I have no problem....we're not outing child molesters, this is a legal transaction, it's a public transaction." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Snyderman's declaration was prompted by fellow panelist, advertising executive Donny Deutsch, also standing by the paper's controversial action: "I think it's a great idea, I'll tell you why. I've got two little girls at home and I would like to know if they're going on a play date in a house where there's a gun....when you have a gun, you are setting yourself up as somebody different. It's your choice..."
All three network evening newscasts on Monday found time to tout Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's return to work after hospitalization for a blood clot, "clearly enjoying a prank gift" from her staff and being greeted by a "standing ovation."
NBC's Nightly News devoted a full report to the development, with anchor Brian Williams declaring: "...we got our first official look at Secretary of State Hillary Clinton since she emerged from the hospital. It came in the form of some still photos of her first day back at work, a view of her carefully managed by her team after a tough couple of weeks."
In an interview with retired General Stanley McChrystal on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer grilled the former Afghanistan commander on his resignation following criticism of President Obama in a 2010 Rolling Stone article: "There were several demeaning quotes attributed to your staff members, even to you, about the President and about key members of his staff....Was he [Obama] furious about what had come out in that Rolling Stone magazine? Did he express displeasure with you?"
While McChrystal was supposedly on to promote his memoir, My Share of the Task, Lauer spent nearly the entire exchange harping on the two-year-old personal drama between the General and Obama: "Did you distrust the people at the White House? Did you distrust key members of the Obama administration when it came to their policy in dealing with Afghanistan?...Did you distrust the President and key members of the administration in terms of their handling of the war in Afghanistan?"
Exactly three years ago, on January 7, 2010, during a press conference regarding the 2009 attempted bombing of an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day, White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan declared to reporters: "I told the President today I let him down." That admission of responsibility for a major intelligence failure was completely absent from Monday's network morning show coverage of President Obama nominating Brennan to be CIA director.
While NBC, CBS, and ABC focused much of their attention on the President's nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense and the likely confirmation fight that would result, Brennan's nomination was only a brief side note.
Following Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's hospitalization this week for a blood clot, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell took to Friday's NBC Today to praise Clinton and her daughter Chelsea (who happens to be a special correspondent for NBC): "They may be the most recognizable mother/daughter duo in America....The indefatigable Hillary Clinton in a picture shown round the world, leaving the hospital Wednesday, hand in hand with Chelsea."
Mitchell, who has already provided fawning coverage of a potential Hillary presidential run in 2016, gushed over mother and daughter: "The special bond between Hillary Clinton and her only child has always been obvious. As a White House teenager, Chelsea often accompanied her mom on official trips....Chelsea became a valuable surrogate for her mother in the 2008 campaign."
At the top of Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer gushed over Vice President Biden doing a series of photo-ops while swearing in newly elected senators on Thursday: "Joe Biden welcomes lawmakers and their families to Washington like only he can." In a later report, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell glossed over several awkward moments caused by Biden: "There was certainly a lot of charm being poured on by the Vice President." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A few minutes later, fill-in news reader Willie Geist played a brief montage of some of the especially odd comments by Biden, including the Vice President telling the husband of one senator, "Spread your legs; you're going to be frisked," and declaring after looking a woman up and down, "holy mackerel."
Despite John Boehner receiving overwhelming support from the Republican caucus to be reelected as Speaker of the House, NBC Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell hyped dissension in the ranks on Friday's NBC Today: "After a turbulent few weeks of setbacks that had cast doubt on his power and influence, a dozen rebellious conservatives turned against him, but Boehner had enough votes."
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, O'Donnell proclaimed: "John Boehner's path to a second term as Speaker of the House has been rocky. But there was no challenge, only a handful of conservatives voted against him." That morning, Today co-host Matt Lauer proclaimed a "civil war" among Republicans over a Hurricane Sandy relief bill.
In a pair of back-to-back stories leading off Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, House Republicans were painted as villains for briefly delaying a vote on Hurricane Sandy relief. First, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell declared: "Stunned Democrats and Republicans could not believe that their hometown suffering could be ignored."
In the next report, correspondent Anne Thompson decried the move: "Where the reminders of Sandy are still all too vivid, today frustration turned to fury....the House of Representatives' failure to vote is just one more body blow."
At the top of Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer teased an upcoming interview with New York Congressman Peter King by seizing on House GOP disagreement over when to schedule a vote on a Hurricane Sandy relief bill: "...fresh off the fiscal cliff fight, the Republican Party appears in the throes of a civil war. This morning, we'll talk to an outspoken GOP congressman who urged voters in his district not contribute to Republican campaigns." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the exchange that followed, Lauer eagerly quoted King: "You said that Speaker Boehner had a, quote, 'Dismissive and cavalier attitude toward New York and New Jersey.' And you went further, you said, 'Republicans have no trouble finding New York when it comes to raising money. And I would just say to anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to Congressional Republicans after this should have their head examined.'"
After worrying on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News about possible House GOP "shenanigans" preventing a fiscal cliff deal, on Monday's Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd breathed a sign of relief: "...this 112th Congress does leave us today, and some people say finally leaves us today....it began with a threat of a government shutdown just two months into this congress. And then, of course, we had the debt ceiling showdown. Then it culminated with this fiscal cliff..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Picking up on Todd's rant against Congress, co-host Matt Lauer eagerly quoted New York Times columnist David Brooks: "If Congress couldn't make a single tough decision under these circumstances, why should we think it'll make any further down the road? More likely, there will just be more squabbling and brinkmanship, more posturing and punting, which could not only poison future budget talks, but also prospects for immigration reform, tax reform, gun control and many other projects."
Neither Todd nor Lauer laid any blame on President Obama for the contentious atmosphere in Washington.