In an interview on Tuesday's NBC Today with Dr. Janis Orlowski, chief medical officer for Medstar Washington Hospital Center, co-host Matt Lauer seized on her call for an end to gun violence following Monday's Navy Yard shooting as a demand for gun restrictions: "You say you didn't want to wade into the issue of gun control and yet your comments are resonating with people..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Though Orlowski never specifically mentioned gun control, Lauer fretted: "...but we also heard emotional comments after Newtown and Aurora, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Are you worried that your comments will be soon forgotten, as it seems some of those other comments have been forgotten?"
Talking to NBC's chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd on Sunday's Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory noted "Benghazi back as a political focus this week" following the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attack, prompting Todd to observe: "It is. The House Republicans have not dropped this as an issue." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd continued: "They didn't talk about it last week during the one-year anniversary of the Benghazi attack. But this week, on Thursday alone, three different hearings are going to be taking place on the same day on Capitol Hill. House Republicans, they don't want to drop this."
A Friday article in Politico described a "GOP on the Rise" while citing the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, noting that "Republicans are now leading Democrats on handling several key issues..." By contrast, on Friday's NBC Today, political director Chuck Todd minimized that development, claiming that Republicans "only fare a little bit better" in the poll than Democrats. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The Today segment began with news reader Natalie Morales declaring: "...many remain disappointed with high unemployment, a sluggish recovery, and limited job growth. 45% now approve of the President's handling of the economy in our new poll. 52% disapprove." She then turned to Todd and wondered: "...we've got a gridlocked Congress, so does the President have much of a shot of turning this around? Do Republicans fair much better?"
At the start of an interview with Senator Bob Corker on Thursday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, host Chuck Todd demanded the Tennessee Republican justify criticism of President Obama's poor handling of Syria: "You've been very tough on the President, you said he's a diminished figure on Capitol Hill. And you even questioned whether he knew how to speak as a commander-in-chief. Explain yourself on that." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Corker replied: "I am really disappointed in the way the President addresses our country and does not really make a case for what is our national interest." Todd quickly pushed back: "He had no political support. It was pretty clear. I mean, this was...going down in flames in Congress. It wasn't going to be a close vote. What was he supposed to do? He didn't have – he did not have the political will of the country, nor the political will of your colleagues on Capitol Hill."
NBC's Today behaved like the White House press office on Thursday as co-host Matt Lauer announced: "By the way, the White House is coming out with a brand new initiative today and the First Lady, Michelle Obama, sent us a special message about it. Take a look." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the White House-produced video that followed, the First Lady declared: "Hello Today show viewers....I'm working to inspire Americans from all across the country to drink more water. That's why I've stolen Matt and Savannah's mugs and exchanged them with water glasses. Water is the best and easiest choice we can make to feel energized, focused, healthy, and refreshed....So drink up."
In news briefs on Tuesday and Wednesday, NBC Today anchor Natalie Morales touted: "Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be given the National Constitution Center's Liberty Medal for her years in public service and her work on human rights." The two segments totaled 36 seconds of air time. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the network morning show only managed to offer a couple mentions, totaling 10 seconds, to the anniversary of the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans – a major security failure that occurred during Clinton's tenure at the State Department.
At the end of Monday's Andrea Mitchell Reports, fill-in host Kristen Welker teed up a taped congratulatory message of Mitchell marking the fifth anniversary of Rachel Maddow's left-wing MSNBC show: "It is a very special day here at MSNBC. Five years ago, The Rachel Maddow Show made its debut. Rachel, congratulations from all of us. And Andrea, even though she's on the road, wanted to be sure to send along her good wishes to her dear friend." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Mitchell gushed to Maddow: "Rachel, my friend, happy fifth anniversary. This is a big deal, so we put together a small tribute here. Some of our favorite Rachel Maddow moments. Enjoy and congratulations to you and your team for the next five, and five more after that." As the clips began to run, the song "Simply the Best" provided a soundtrack.
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer and chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd engaged in a strategy session over how President Obama could minimize any political damage from Congress voting down a strike on Syria. Lauer fretted: "Is there an escape hatch for the President? Is there a way for him to save face politically if this vote goes against him?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer's concern was prompted by Todd observing: "[The White House is] very concerned, Matt, because it's not just that they believe they need Congress on this and they want to punish Assad and all of the Syria policy, but they realize a loss like this could be politically crippling to him [Obama] all over Washington on all the different battles that he's got coming in the next six months."
In back-to-back interviews with members on Congress on Friday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, fill-in host Luke Russert desperately tried to sell Democrats and Republicans on the importance of supporting President Obama taking military action against Syria. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Talking to Democratic Virginia Congressman Gerry Connolly, Russert worried: "How much of this do you think, within your caucus, falls on this idea of, 'Okay, we're not necessarily comfortable with the idea of launching any missiles into Syria, but God help us, if we cut the President off here at the knees he becomes a lame duck quite early in his term and looks entirely weak. So we're going to kind of go along with him here in order to preserve his ability to govern on other major issues.' Is there an element of that here?"
In an interview with former Bush national security advisor Stephen Hadley on her Thursday MSNBC show, host Andrea Mitchell pinned all of President Obama's problems selling military action in Syria to the Iraq War: "There is such a credibility gap between the White House and Congress, the leftover, the hangover from the Iraq War. So can you be at least a little sympathetic to what the administration is encountering now with Congress, in explaining the intelligence and getting people to believe it?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Mitchell led up to that slanted question by declaring: "I don't want to re-litigate Iraq, but the blunt fact is that some of the questions that were asked – Congressman [Juan] Vargas [D-CA] asked both [Secretary of State John] Kerry and [Defense Secretary Chuck] Hagel yesterday, 'Are you lying? Because we were lied to about weapons of mass destruction.'"
On Wednesday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, minutes after President Obama denied setting a "red line" on Syria's use of chemical weapons, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd excused the obvious falsehood: "I think it was clear that the President was trying to depersonalize the Syria issue a little bit....to say, you know, 'Stop making this about the President personally, depersonalize this.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Following those instructions from Obama, Todd proceeded to blame Republicans for the President trying to distance himself from his own red line: "...there are some House Republicans who are looking at this only view – through the prism of their disagreements and dislike for President Obama rather than the policy itself. And so [the White House is] trying to make the policy argument, 'Forget who's in the seat as commander-in-chief, would the United States believe this was a red line no matter who was president?'"
On Tuesday, just days before the one-year anniversary of the September 11, 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams conducted an exclusive interview with White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice and completely ignored the topic. [View video after the jump]
Meanwhile, September 16 will mark the one-year anniversary of Rice, then ambassador to the United Nations, taking to the Sunday shows to falsely claim the planned attack was the result of a spontaneous protest.
In an exclusive interview with former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie attempted to blame the Bush administration for President Obama's difficulty in garnering support for military action against Syria: "Looming over this debate time and time again has been the specter of Iraq. Most recently, the U.K. Parliament, many members cited the failure of intelligence leading up to Iraq as the reason that they won't take action now in Syria..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Turning to Rumsfeld, Guthrie wondered: "Do you personally take any responsibility for that? Or feel any responsibility for that?" Rumsfeld reminded Guthrie of the lengthy process that led up to the Iraq War: "President Bush went to the congress, got the support of the congress. Went to the U.N., got the support of the U.N. And fashioned a very large coalition. So it seems to me that all the appropriate steps were taken and the congress, a Democratic congress, voted for regime change in Iraq."
On Tuesday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, NBC senior political editor Mark Murray dismissed the notion that if Democrat Terry McAuliffe lost the closely contested Virginia governor's race, it would not be a defeat for his strongest backers, the Clintons: "I'm not sure this race is going to impact Hillary Clinton or Bill Clinton if McAuliffe wins or if he loses. Simply because if Hillary Clinton were running against Ken Cuccinelli in this contest, she would be the clear favorite, she'd be leading in the polls by 10, 15 points." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Murray didn't bother to cite any evidence to back up his assertion. In fact, recent electoral history would seem to contradict his claim. In Virginia's 2008 Democratic primary, Clinton only garnered 35% of vote compared to then-Senator Barack Obama's 63%.
On her Friday MSNBC program, host Andrea Mitchell tried to ease the concerns of Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee and other members of Congress calling for a congressional vote on military action in Syria: "Barack Obama, as you know better than I do, was one of the leading Democratic politicians against the Iraq War. So if he says that this is different, that the evidence is there....does that persuade you since he has always come at this from a very cautious anti-war perspective?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Accepting the odd juxtaposition of the President launching missile strikes from an "anti-war perspective," Lee responded: "And I'm very pleased that the President has come at this in a very cautious manner....But also that has nothing to do with our constitutional responsibility as members of Congress, Andrea."
On Thursday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, host Chuck Todd laid blame for Republicans not speaking at Wednesday's anniversary of the 1963 march on Washington on the GOP, rather than event organizers: "...the Bushes couldn't go, there were health reasons why neither President Bush could go and speak. Other Republicans leaders were invited to speak and they politely declined. In hindsight, do you wish there had been Republicans that had agreed to speak?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Republican strategist John Feehery pointed out that the only African American in the United States Senate was not invited to speak: "I find it completely shocking that Tim Scott [R-SC] was not invited." Todd still faulted Republicans: "But why didn't Boehner and Cantor say, you know....they could have, by going, they probably could have said, 'By the way, we want you to invite Tim Scott,' and I don't thing the King family says no."
In an interview with California attorney general Kamala Harris during live MSNBC coverage of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech, host Andrea Mitchell fretted: "I talked to Jesse Jackson earlier about all the voter suppression efforts, and what's happened since the Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act. What can be done, from your perspective – obviously California has a majority of liberal officials, Governor Brown – but you see what's happening in Texas and North Carolina?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Harris seized the opportunity to proclaim: "The Voting Rights Act was created and designed to ensure equal access to the polls. And we know with the case of Texas and other places, that access is questionable. And that was the power of the Voting Rights Act, which was actually gutted by the Supreme Court decision, and I applaud Eric Holder and the Justice Department doing the work they're doing to fight, to make sure that all Americans have equal access to the polls."
In a puff piece on Wednesday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Kristen Welker heralded President Obama's upcoming speech marking the anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech: "President Obama has delivered a number of big speeches before, but this one is different. He'll be speaking in the shadows of Dr. King, a man who gave his life fighting for civil rights. So, today, the stakes couldn't be higher." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Only Obama's fellow liberals were given sound bites throughout the report that sounded more like a press release. First, White House aide Valerie Jarrett declared: "Are comparisons inevitable? Sure. But I think he's looking forward to the opportunity....I think, as the original speech was about not just civil rights but it was about jobs, and so I think he'll talk about that, and I think it'll also be a message to the next generation."
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie conducted a cooking segment with White House chef Sam Kass to promote First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign and wondered: "So do you feel like the program is having the intended effect? Do you think people are thinking differently about food, now?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Kass, boyfriend of MSNBC host Alex Wagner, declared: "Oh, absolutely. I think we're seeing the country unite around our kid's health....last year the new school lunch standards were put in place. School chefs are cooking much healthier food, and that's going to happen gain this year." However, on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported: "After just one year, some schools around the country are dropping out of the healthier new federal lunch program..."
On Tuesday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, host Chuck Todd invited liberal historian Taylor Branch to blast modern-day conservatism as nothing more than racism in disguise: "You talked about how George Wallace decided to change his language right after – when the word segregation no longer had a – so he changed his language and it all became about big government." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In response, Branch ranted: "He attacked big government, he called 'pointy-headed bureaucrats' and 'tyrannical judges' and 'tax and spend legislators.' He basically invented a lot of the modern vocabulary of politics, taking racial animosity and unease and making – and transmuting it into a distrust of government. And that's – you know, that's what we're doing now."
On her 1 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Monday, host Andrea Mitchell touted Attorney General Eric Holder "speaking about the national battle for voting rights" in the wake of new state voter I.D. laws and lead off a panel discussion on the topic by wondering: "How will the President take on those voter suppression laws?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Mitchell eagerly seized on former Secretary of State Colin Powell "speaking on the political effects of these voter suppression attempts by the Republican Party." Following the Face the Nation sound bite in which Powell slammed the GOP for passing measures to curb voter fraud, Mitchell posed this question: "Does the White House think that the Republicans are actually doing the Democratic Party a favor by taking on, you know, these issues and passing the laws that they've now passed in Texas and in North Carolina?"
At the top of Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory interviewed Democratic Congressman John Lewis about the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech and seized the opportunity to bash President Obama's political opponents: "...in your view, a lot of people can't get comfortable with the idea of an African American president...Do you see some of the same trappings of resentment and fear in our modern-day politics?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Gregory further teed up Lewis to bash conservatives: "And you even said during your speech yesterday [at the MLK speech anniversary], 'There are forces, there are people who want to take us back.' What specifically are you talking about?" Lewis ranted: "Well, I hear people over and over again saying, 'We want to take our country back.' Take it back where? Where are we going?...when I was growing up, I saw those signs that said, "White Men," "Colored Men"...Those signs are gone."
In an exclusive interview with Bradley Manning's attorney David Coombs on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie read a "bombshell announcement" from the convicted military leaker: "I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female." After referring to Manning as "he" throughout the segment, Guthrie immediately switched pronouns: "Why did she choose this moment to announce this?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Guthrie then fretted: "She wants hormone therapy. Fort Leavenworth does not provide that. Are you going to sue to try to force the government to give her hormone therapy, and perhaps a sex-reassignment surgery?" Coombs replied: "...as far as the hormone therapy, yes. I'm hoping Fort Leavenworth would do the right thing and provide that. If Fort Leavenworth does not, then I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that they are forced to do so."
While NBC, ABC, and CBS have censored coverage of the ongoing IRS scandal for weeks – even as new revelations have moved it higher up the rungs of the Obama administration – on Wednesday and Thursday, the networks all eagerly hyped 40-year-old tapes of President Richard Nixon discussing the Watergate scandal. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Perhaps the most infuriating was NBC, which hasn't touched the IRS story in 56 days, sending correspondent Peter Alexander to the lawn of the Obama White House to report on the decades-old Nixon recordings for Thursday's Today: "39 years have now passed since President Nixon abruptly resigned. Still, his life fuels our fascination. And these tapes, more than 340 hours worth, give us an unparalleled window into an unprecedented time of presidential turmoil." If only there was some current "presidential turmoil" Alexander could cover.
On Wednesday's MSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports, fill-in co-host Kathleen Matthews, wife of Hardball host Chris Matthews, lamented Republicans distracting President Obama from pushing his liberal agenda: "...the President's got the gnats of August swarming around him, with Ted Cruz out there fighting against ObamaCare. So, hard to kind of keep that message and that kind of – that solid message moving forward while he's having to swat what he probably perceives as some of the gnats..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza laid blame for Obama's failures on just about everything except the President himself: "I actually think that problem is even more exacerbated now because of the rapidity of the news cycle, because of Twitter, because of sort of YouTube, because of all of the ways in which you can get distracted and off message and being forced to respond to things."
Hyping a story on global warming for Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, fill-in anchor Lester Holt proclaimed: "Sounding the alarm. A leaked report about the danger happening all around us tonight." Introducing the segment, Holt declared that the study "from one of the world's most prestigious groups of scientists...has a lot of people taking notice because of the alarming conclusions about climate change." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Curry lead off the one-sided fearmongering by warning viewers: "The key finding in this leaked draft report is that it's, quote, 'extremely likely,' as in greater than 95%, that human activity is the main cause of the planet's temperature rise in the last 60 years." She cited a recent trip to the Arctic to bolster the case: "At the top of the world in Arctic, Greenland, scientists like Dr. Jason Box study the icy landscape. He says all this might be lost to climate change, mostly caused by humans burning fossil fuels."
Rather than focus on the myriad of problems plaguing the implementation of ObamaCare, on Tuesday, all three network morning shows instead provided coverage of the First Family getting a second dog. On NBC's Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander happily announced: "Move over Bo, there's a new dog in town, Sunny. And for her inaugural play date, the White House released it's own music video. A pair of presidential pets frolicking on the South Lawn, that'll get tails wagging." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, news reader Elizabeth Vargas reported: "The one-year-old female Portuguese water dog is described as full of energy and very affectionate. First Lady Michelle Obama took to Instagram to make the announcement, tweeting, 'So excited to introduce the newest member of the Obama family – our puppy, Sunny!'" On CBS This Morning, co-host Charlie Rose declared: "That is the same breed as Obama's other dog, Bo....The two dogs appear to be getting along just fine."
Filling in for Andrea Mitchell on her 1 p.m. et MSNBC show on Monday, Hardball host Chris Matthews wrapped up an interview with Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz by adorning her with praise: "Congresswoman, I want to congratulate you on one thing that nobody ever gives you credit for, which is uniting the Democratic Party as it's never been united." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Matthews, co-hosting with his wife Kathleen, continued to gush: "And I'm telling you, it's not – I grew up with a Democratic Party that was never united, and you are united. And that's something the Republicans are going to envy you for." A beaming Wasserman Schultz replied: "Thank you. We're very proud of that."
At the end of Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory excitedly announced to his panel of guests: "We're coming up on an anniversary that is going to give the President an opportunity to highlight some – a presidential leadership moment." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Gregory was referring to the upcoming 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech and teed up Democratic Congresswoman Donna Edwards: "President Obama going to recreate that moment, in effect, on the – on the Washington Mall. How significant is it?" Edwards replied in part: "I think he's going to speak to economic inequality....give him an opportunity to follow up on the Dr. King dream, saying it's social equality."
In an impressive display of journalistic gymnastics on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie and Meet the Press moderator David Gregory managed to have an entire discussion about U.S. policy in Egypt without mentioning President Obama by name. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Plenty of vague substitutions were used, including "the President" "the White House" "the administration" and most popularly, "the U.S." Anything to avoid actually holding Barack Obama accountable for the internal strife plaguing a key ally in the Middle East. Even the headline on screen during the morning show segment read: "Chaos in Egypt; What Options Does U.S. Have?" They at least briefly showed Obama on screen during the segment.