All three network morning shows on Monday promoted President Obama's attempts to deflect tough questions on a several administration scandals during a pre-Super Bowl interview with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly on Sunday. On NBC's Today, news reader Natalie Morales described how during the "sometimes contentious interview" the President "said he tries to focus not on the fumbles, but on the next plan." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
ABC's news reader Josh Elliott touted the same line on Good Morning America: "The President said he tries not to focus on the fumbles in his administration, but rather, on the next plan."
Not accustomed to being asked difficult questions about his failures in office, President Obama attacked Fox News host Bill O'Reilly during a pre-Super Bowl interview on Sunday for daring to demand answers about the Benghazi terrorist attack and the IRS targeting conservative groups. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
O'Reilly pressed: "Your detractors believe that you did not tell the world it was a terror attack because your campaign didn't want that out. That's what they believe." Obama ranted in reply: "And they believe it because folks like you are telling them that." O'Reilly responded: "No, I'm not telling them that, I'm asking you whether you were told it was a terror attack."
At the top of Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed that "the [Republican] governor of Georgia [Nathan Deal] chose to fall on his snow shovel" over how Tuesday's rare southern snowstorm "was handled, or better yet, mishandled" in the state. However, the coverage that followed failed to mention Atlanta's Democratic Mayor Kasim Reed by name even once. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In his report, correspondent Tom Costello declared: "A lot of anger directed toward city and state officials for failing to heed the weather forecasts. And today we learned that both the Governor and the director of the emergency services for the state were sleeping as those forecasts grew even more dire." Those "city officials" were not specified.
On her Thursday 1 p.m. ET MSNBC show, host Andrea Mitchell gushed over NBC News special anchor Maria Shriver's political activism as "the force behind the influential Shriver Report about women and poverty in America": "Maria, my God, what you have started, what you have launched here....Equal pay for women...you went and you talked to the President about before his State of the Union, when he was still writing it. And he delivered in terms of addressing that." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after jump]
Mitchell eagerly touted Obama continuing to push the issue on the road: "...just within the last hour, he's done it again. This is the President in Wisconsin today. Let's watch." A clip was played of Obama declaring: "Today women make up half of our workforce, they're making 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That's wrong.... It's an embarrassment." Following the sound bite, Shriver declared: "Amen." Mitchell excitedly proclaimed: "Maria Shriver, take a bow, let's talk about what you've started here."
NBC's Today on Thursday decided to make Republican Congressman Michael Grimm's verbal attack on a reporter after Tuesday's State of the Union a two-day story, with fill-in co-host Tamron Hall proclaiming: "Well, there's more fallout this morning from an ugly scene following the President's State of the Union address." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The additional "fallout" that Hall mentioned was simply the Congressman offering an apology to New York One reporter Michael Scotto. In the report that followed, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell declared: "Democratic critics say the Congressman is a hot head who should play a political price for his behavior. The Congressman tells me this was emotion that got the better of him after a very long day. Whatever the anger management issues were, he's trying to defend himself now."
On Wednesday's NBC Today, 9 a.m. ET hour co-host Natalie Morales touted one of the "great moments" from President Obama's Tuesday night State of the Union: "I think one of the moments that a lot of people were talking about was when he made reference to the gender inequality issue. He said, 'You know, we are no longer in a Mad Men era'....33,000 tweets, I believe, so something that I think a lot of women are saying, 'It's about time.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
She then parroted a deceptive talking point used by the President: "You know, we earn 77 cents to the dollar, I believe, that a man makes. So let's make it happen."The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler fact-checked that claim: "There is clearly a wage gap, but differences in the life choices of men and women – such as women tending to leave the workforce when they have children – make it difficult to make simple comparisons."
During NBC's live State of the Union coverage Tuesday night, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd sneered at Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson being a Republican guest at the event: "...after the shooting with Gabby Giffords and for a couple of State of the Unions in a row....There was more of a dignified feeling about the guests that you would invite. Boy, you can tell things are a lot different now, when you're inviting Duck Dynasty stars. Everybody's trying to make a partisan political point." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd concluded: "You get the feeling that whatever Kumbaya that there had been, at least in the last couple of years, that's – that's gone with this State of the Union."
Minutes before the President began his State of the Union address Tuesday night, hosts on ABC, NBC, and CBS all worried that Obama was not getting the "credit" he deserved for how well the economy was supposedly doing. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Talking to former Obama advisor David Plouffe during ABC's live coverage of the speech, Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos argued: "...one of the real puzzles the President has to solve tonight, the economy, doing about as well as it's ever done in his presidency, as he comes into the chamber tonight, but most people don't believe it and don't give him credit for it."
In a shocking declaration on her 1 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show Tuesday, host Andrea Mitchell asserted that one of America's fiercest enemies was actually a friend to the U.S. before George W. Bush came along: "Up until that moment, Iran was cooperating with the United States on the border of Afghanistan, it was post-9/11, Iran was more or less an American ally. By being included in the Axis of Evil, it turned the Iranian government in a completely different direction." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The topic came up when The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza told Mitchell that the last "memorable and impactful" State of the Union address was President Bush's 2002 speech labeling Iraq, Iran, and North Korea to be an "Axis of Evil." Mitchell interrupted: "No, let me challenge you on that....Colin Powell and the State Department did not focus enough on those words and get them taken out of the State of the Union."
On Tuesday, both NBC's Today and CBS This Morning interviewed White House chief of staff Denis McDonough about President Obama's upcoming State of the Union address and fretted over the commander-in-chief failing to push his liberal agenda in 2013. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Today co-host Savannah Guthrie pressed: "I looked at last year's State of the Union. He called for a hike in the minimum wage, for immigration reform, for gun laws to be revamped. By the way, he also said the government shouldn't shut down. None of that happened. So when he calls for those things tonight, how can the American people believe that they really will come to pass?"
Teasing an upcoming report on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie announced: "...the big-box store of weed? One Colorado company's plan to bring their controversial product to states coast to coast." In the report that followed minutes later, correspondent Gabe Gutierrez was shown standing in a room filled with marijuana plants at the Denver-based pot store and proclaimed: "If you thought pot retailers in Colorado were all tiny shops run by stoners, you'd be wrong. We're here at Medicine Man, and they call this vegetation room the green mile. It's part of a long road to making this a national pot franchise." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Gutierrez touted the ambitious plans of the legalized drug dealers: "Medicine Man calls itself the largest marijuana dispensary in Colorado. Here under the watchful eye of armed guards and security cameras, the owners are building what they're calling the Costco of weed."
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul appeared on Sunday's Meet the Press and pointed out the hypocrisy of Democrats accusing Republicans of a "war on women" despite their support of former President Bill Clinton, who "took advantage of a girl that was 20 years old and an intern in his office." Despite Paul making on the comments on NBC, only CBS This Morning on Monday reported the remarks. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
This Morning co-host Norah O'Donnell told viewers: "Senator Rand Paul says any Democrat who believes there's a GOP war against women should think about former President Bill Clinton....Paul said Sunday that if Hillary Clinton runs for president, Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky is a legitimate campaign issue."
While NBC and the rest of the media slammed Mitt Romney in 2012 for daring to voice security concerns about the London Olympics, Friday's Today show welcomed the former Republican nominee with open arms as a suddenly respected Olympic expert and urged him to scrutinize the safety of the upcoming winter games in Sochi, Russia. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
NBC's stunning turnaround just happened to coincide with Romney no longer being a political threat to President Obama.
In a live interview with former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie grilled him on his interactions with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: "...you see the bridge scandal and other allegations have come forward. And they all seem to have a theme, which is that he uses, allegedly, hardball, sometimes bullying tactics against people who cross him. Have you never experienced that side of him?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Romney dismissed the notion: "No, Chris and I get along very well. We're close friends."
On her Tuesday MSNBC show, host Andrea Mitchell tried to downplay the controversy swirling over the misleading biography put forward by Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis: "[She's] being forced to answer media reports down there that she had slightly altered her resume or focused on the single mom aspects of it and didn't really give the timeline correctly." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Mitchell continued by actually warning Republicans to tread lightly on the issue: "You never want to be on the defensive about giving your biography when you're running for office, but this is a careful balancing act also, given her appeal to many women and the fact that she's potentially running against a man."
During a report on Wednesday's NBC Today about an upcoming Netflix documentary of Mitt Romney's two presidential runs, New York Times reporter Ashley Parker scratched her head over the footage taken by filmmaker Greg Whiteley: "One of the big questions is, why could this 90-minute documentary by a filmmaker convey a personal, human, warm side of Mitt Romney that his team of very high-paid strategists could not?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Perhaps the reason lies in the way Parker and her media colleagues constantly portrayed Romney as being out-of-touch with voters. In one article after another during the 2012 campaign, Parker described Romney as being stuck in a "defensive" posture on every political issue he discussed.
Williams melodramatically recited the findings: "Some new figures came out today....And they are so shocking, it takes a while for them to sink in. A study commissioned by Oxfam says the world's richest 85 individuals have the same wealth as 3.5 billion people around the world. Once again, 85 people on this planet have the same amount of wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion people on this planet."
In a fawning puff piece on Texas gubernatorial candidate Wemdy Davis on NBC's January 15 Today, correspondent Maria Shriver celebrated the liberal abortion heroine as an "overnight sensation" whose "personal story" has "resonated across this country." The only problem with the gushing profile that followed was that key facts and details of Davis's life were either left out or just untrue.
Calling in to Monday's NBC Today, weatherman Al Roker was giddy as he told his fellow co-hosts about attending Michelle Obama's White House birthday party: "...it was literally a house party. It was a house party that happened to be in the White House. My wife Deborah and I went. And it was – yeah, there were all these stars, which was kind of terrific." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Referencing Roker's long-running bromance with the Vice President, co-host Savannah Guthrie joked: "Did you and Joe Biden do like a conga line or anything like that?" Roker mentioned seeing Biden but was really thrilled by the First Lady: "I actually got to boogie a little with the First Lady....Deborah and I were dancing and all of a sudden I turned around and there was Mrs. Obama....And I'm thinking, 'Oh, my gosh, I'm dancing with the First Lady.'"
Appearing on Monday's NBC Today, MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough acknowledged how eager his colleagues at the left-wing network were to take down Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: "I mean, listen, you can attack the network if you want to, there are a lot of people that go after him gleefully, that's not shocking." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Scarborough was responding to criticism from Christie's administration over MSNBC hyping claims from Democratic Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer that the Governor withheld Sandy relief funds for political reasons. Co-host Savannah Guthrie cited a Christie spokesperson "pushing back not just on the facts of the story, but on the network that broke the story....'MSNBC is a partisan network that has been openly hostile to Governor Christie and almost gleeful in their efforts attacking him.'"
On Thursday and Friday, NBC's Today provided viewers with gushing over-the-top coverage of First Lady Michelle Obama turning fifty, with White House correspondent Kristen Welker excitedly declaring in a Thursday report: "For days they've been gearing up for a big bash here at the White House. Guests were told to wear comfortable shoes and to be prepared to move around a lot, an indication there will be no shortage of dancing here. You can also bet there will be a long list of celebrities to pull off a party fit for a first lady." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Welker fawned over President Obama acting as "planner-in-chief" for the extravagant celebration and touted: "Just back from an extended stay at Oprah's house in Hawaii, a gift from the President [with her separate flight back to Washington paid for by taxpayers], the First Lady seems to be taking up the big five-zero in stride..."
While NBC, ABC, and CBS all covered the new Senate Intelligence Committee report blaming the Obama administration for security failures leading up to the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack, none of the coverage on Wednesday's evening newscasts or Thursday's morning shows mentioned President Obama by name.
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams announced: "...a scathing report just issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee. It says the deaths could have been prevented by better security, better communication....And the State Department, they say, gets most of the blame." CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley declared: "A critical report tonight blames American diplomats and intelligence officers for failing to prevent the attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, Libya."
Appearing on Wednesday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, NBC special correspondent Tom Brokaw warned his media colleagues about their excessive coverage of the Chris Christie bridge controversy: "I do think, across the country, however, when they're looking at long-term unemployment, and they're looking at the uncertainty of the ObamaCare, they're saying, 'You've got to move on, guys.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Brokaw continued: "You can only close those lanes for so long if you're in the national media. I do wonder if this had happened in Nevada, whether it would have gotten much attention."
In a glowing profile of Texas state senator and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis that amounted to a campaign commercial on Wednesday's NBC Today, correspondent Maria Shriver proclaimed: "Wendy Davis became a familiar name last year when she stood in her pink tennis shoes for eleven hours to defeat a Texas abortion bill. Even though the bill eventually passed, Davis became a star. And her story, her personal story, resonated across this country." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Following footage of cheering Davis supports, Shriver lobbed this ridiculous softball to the Texas abortion heroine: "Everybody says Wendy Davis is an overnight sensation. Does it irritate you that people call you an overnight sensation?" Davis replied: "I'm not an overnight sensation. I'm a Texan. And I'm a Texas success story. I am the epitome of hard work and optimism."
In an interview with former Defense Secretary Robert Gates for Yahoo News on Monday, newly-named global anchor Katie Couric urged him to express regret for criticism of President Obama in his new memoir: "Do you think in any way, shape or form that this was the wrong thing to do? It was just bad form?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Gates replied: "No, I don't. The reality is there are a lot of contemporary issues that are at the heart of this book....And to write about them in 2017, it would be completely irrelevant." Couric followed up: "You have been known in Washington as the consummate team player, a real stand-up guy, a true patriot. Are worried this might tarnish your reputation?"
Between Monday's Nightly News and Tuesday's Today, NBC devoted ten minutes and forty-four seconds to coverage of the now six-day-old controversy surrounding New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Meanwhile, poor ObamaCare enrollment numbers just released Monday afternoon garnered only forty-one seconds of air time on Today and were completely ignored on Nightly News.
On Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams touted investigations into Christie's "bridge traffic scandal" and hyped "an investigation into how some of the emergency relief money was spent after Hurricane Sandy." Williams announced: "It is quite clear that for Christie's political rivals it has now become something of an open season."
In a panel packed with Obama sycophants on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, lone conservative Rick Santorum was shouted down the moment he observed that Robert Gates's new memoir showed "that the President puts domestic politics before international concerns." Amid the wailing and gnashing of teeth, MSNBC host Chris Matthews declared: "But that's not what the book says. Rick, it didn't say that." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Santorum was only allowed to speak for a total of forty-six seconds during the nearly ten-minute panel discussion of Gates's book. During Santorum's first twenty-second spot on camera, Gregory pressed him to respond to left-wing activist Michael Moore: "Here's something that he tweeted this week, 'Bob Gates in his new book says Obama appointees in the White House were, quote, suspicious of and didn't trust the military honchos. Thank God.'"
While Matt Lauer worried that Robert Gates's criticism of President Obama was "dangerous or dishonorable" on Monday's NBC Today, when disgruntled ex-Bush administration officials wrote memoirs bashing the former president in 2004 and 2008, the network morning show happily cheered them on.
On January 13, 2004 – exactly ten years prior to Lauer's Monday interview with Gates – then-Today co-host Katie Couric hyped former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's attacks on President George W. Bush in a new tell-all: "I think if I can sort of try to assess your description, as policy having no process, kind of being put together willy-nilly. You do describe him as 'a blind man in a room full of deaf people.'"
During a live interview with former Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer suggested that criticism of President Obama in Gates's new memoir was endangering American troops overseas: "As this criticism is leveled by you in the book of the commander-in-chief, the acting commander-in-chief, at a time when some 40,000 U.S. troops are in harm's way, do you think that by calling him into question at this stage it is either dangerous or dishonorable?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After Gates rejected the notion, Lauer insisted: "But you don't think it undermines his credibility with the troops he is commander-in-chief of right now?" At the top of the show, Lauer teased the interview: "Robert Gates on his new memoir and his criticism of President Obama. Is it fair with U.S. troops still in harm's way?"
Introducing her interrogation of former CIA attorney John Rizzo about his new memoir, aired on Friday's NBC Today, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell proclaimed: "...this is an insider's account of the CIA – Company Man – and the key decisions that led to waterboarding and other controversial techniques that were later outlawed. All from this veteran CIA lawyer who offers no apologies and few regrets." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After Rizzo explained that "extraordinary measures had to be taken" to prevent another terrorist attack after 9/11, Mitchell was aghast: "Extraordinary measures? You mean what was later decided to be torture?" Rizzo pushed back: "What if there had been a second attack? Frankly, how could I live with myself if that were the case?" Mitchell ranted: "How can you live with yourself knowing that what you did and what you got approved by the Justice Department was to many people, not only morally repugnant, but illegal?" Rizzo replied: "...my conscience is clear."