While NBC's chief White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd pressed President Obama during a Tuesday news conference on the possibility of ObamaCare being a "train wreck," the network coverage of the presser completely avoided any mention of the question, instead seizing on Obama being pressured from the left to close the Guantanamo Bay prison.
Anchor Brian Williams lead off Tuesday's Nightly News by declaring: "The hunger strike at Guantanamo that's now gotten so bad prisoners are being force fed, as the President faces tough questions." Introducing a report on the topic, Williams lectured: "We don't get to see them or know their names, and most Americans actually prefer not to spend a whole lot of time thinking about the men who've been rounded up as enemy combatants and imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba."
While Tuesday's NBC Today began by heralding gay NBA player Jason Collins as "a towering figure on the court" and in "sports history," later in the 7 a.m. ET hour, correspondent Craig Melvin regarded NFL quarterback Tim Tebow as an athlete who's "play never really matched the hype" and someone who became "spoof-worthy" due to his "well-publicized faith."
A clip played of Late Night host Jimmy Fallon mocking Tebow with a parody song set to David Bowie's "Ground Control to Major Tom": "Tim Tebow to Jesus Christ." Melvin followed: "On the field, Tebow struggled. His only season as a Jet, lackluster....His football future is uncertain. But Tebow could still cash-in on his carefully cultivated persona."
Amid the celebration on Tuesday's NBC Today over the "groundbreaking" "game changer" announcement by NBA player Jason Collins that he is gay, co-host Matt Lauer brought on liberal New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica, who ranted: "I hope that the league of old men and women on the Supreme Court are paying attention to this....Because same-sex marriage and the constitutionality is now going to be heard....This is a human rights issue, it's not a civil rights issue." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Moments later, after Lauer wondered about the possibility of other players coming out, Lupica proclaimed: "Women have been doing this in sports for a long time. And women have been more accepting about this. And it just kind of verifies that women are a lot smarter and cooler about this stuff and I'm hoping that that transfers now to guys."
At the top of Sunday's NBC Today, co-host Erica Hill cheered President Obama's performance at Saturday's White House Correspondents' Dinner as she announced: "Comedian-in-chief....President Obama gets lots of laughs at the White House Correspondents' Dinner." Moments later, fellow co-host Lester Holt gushed that Obama was "very, very funny...very loose." Hill agreed, suggesting the President "take that show on the road." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Following a report on how Obama "embraced his role as comedian-in-chief," Hill asked Meet the Press moderator David Gregory for his thoughts on the presidential stand-up. Gregory happily joined in the Obama praise: "I think the President did well. I mean, the President always does well. Any president does who, you know, is in a position to be sort of rooted on in many ways. And I think that's what happened last night. But I think the President was particularly on last night..." One wonders who Gregory thought had "rooted on" the President at the event heavily attended by media figures.
As news of a deal in Congress to end FAA furloughs of air traffic controllers broke Friday morning, a panel of NBC hosts on Today immediately fretted over other government programs affected by the sequester, with Willie Geist touting Obama administration fearmongering: "...some of the other things that are hurt by the sequester, namely Head Start, preschool for low-income families....By the White House's account, 70,000 preschoolers will not have Head Start because of what's happening due to sequestration." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Geist worried about the "imbalance" of the congressional deal only benefitting airline passengers. Fill-in co-host Tamron Hall agreed: "Now we're seeing this piecemeal, where, like you said, the air travelers, many of them business folks, are able to complain....Squeaky wheel gets the most attention and gets results. And do we really want our country to run that way? It's crazy....And there's the silent victims."
On the eve of the dedication of George W. Bush's presidential library, NBC's Meet the Press moderator David Gregory appeared on Wednesday's Nightly News to tear down the former president's legacy, beginning the report by remarking that it was "difficult to remember" Bush's popularity after the September 11th attacks. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Gregory described how Iraq War intelligence failures "formed the backdrop to criticism that the President underestimated the challenges he faced....And grew stubborn in the face of mounting setbacks." Gregory further proclaimed: "What grew into a reputation for incompetence stained the administration and the GOP brand after Hurricane Katrina."
At the beginning of a live interview with former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer wondered about the motivation behind Bush's presidential library: "So many difficult moments, so many controversial decisions you made. Some of them cost you dearly in terms of popularity. Is one of the ideas here...to force your critics to take a second look?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
As the three of them toured the museum, Lauer highlighted an exhibit on the war on terror and noted how "it includes what was perhaps the most controversial decision of your presidency, invading Iraq." Lauer wondered: "Do you want people to look at some of the information you had, and do you think you'll convince the people who thought that was an unjust war, the wrong war at the wrong time, that perhaps you were right?"
On Wednesday's NBC Today, news anchor Natalie Morales complained about having a flight delayed due to the FAA furloughing air traffic controllers in the wake of the sequester: "I was traveling to Boston yesterday, which is a 50-minute flight, shuttle. And it took me about two and a half hours to get there....the pilots got on and they said, 'It's not the airline's fault....you can go online and sign the petition to end the furloughs.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The account echoed a similar report from CNBC's Jim Cramer, who on Tuesday's Squawk Box explained: "We were about to take off and the pilot comes back and doesn't see me initially, CNBC. And says, 'look, we just got word the FAA says that we don't have enough air traffic controllers to take off. It's part of the sequester.'"
After initially airing more substantive portions of her April 15 interview with President Obama, on Wednesday, NBC Today co-host Savannah Guthrie made time to show a third part of the exchange: "...because of breaking news, we weren't able to show you yet our brief chat after that interview..." The "chat" that followed covered such hard-hitting topics as the First Lady's "mom dancing" on Jimmy Fallon, the President's own dance skills, and what viral videos he watches. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Guthrie wondered: "What did you think of her [Michelle Obama's] mom dancing?" A clip followed of the First Lady recently dancing with Late Night host Jimmy Fallon. Guthrie followed up: "Do you have dad dancing that can give it a run for its money?" The President explained: "You know, she consistently maintains, and I don't argue with her, that she's a better dancer than me....And in private, you know, I can bust a move and I think I'm pretty good."
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, during a round-up of news stories that were eclipsed by coverage of the Boston bombing, anchor Brian Williams highlighted the failure of gun control legislation, noting that it "broke through last week but otherwise would have dominated our coverage..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the brief item, Williams recalled how President Obama labeled the political defeat "a shameful day in Washington" and lamented: "Upwards of 90% of the American people support it, but not enough members of the U.S. Senate." Williams then declared: "The President showed a rare flash of anger. The Newtown families went home still grieving."
At the top of Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams eagerly parroted Obama administration talking points when it came to blaming the sequester for sporadic flight delays: "The traffic jam starting to build up at our airports. Flight delays just beginning to emerge today as those budget cuts in Washington begin to hit home." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Later on the broadcast, Williams again declared the delays to be a sign of "the impact of Washington all across this country" and predicted: "Now the American people as a whole just might take further notice because now the sequester is responsible for delaying airline flights across this country."
Sunday's NBC Meet the Press panel decried gun background check legislation being voted down in the Senate, with liberal historian Doris Kearns Goodwin lamenting: "Maybe the problem is also the structure of the Senate....given the 60 votes that are needed, given who they listen to, given the power of special interests, public sentiment cannot penetrate." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan pleaded: "Something's not working there....we got a thing like Newtown, 90 percent, move it. Small, discrete parts of a bill, push it through, call it a victory, keep going." Special correspondent Tom Brokaw replied: "Well, kill the filibuster bill. I mean – or change it." Goodwin eagerly agreed: "Kill it. Definitely. Definitely. They've got to do that."
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie and legal analyst Lisa Bloom worried about Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev not yet being read his Miranda rights after being taken into custody on Friday, with Guthrie arguing: "...officials are citing what's known as the public safety exception....As time passes, does the justification for that exception grow weaker? Are they on, I guess, less strong ground?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Bloom proclaimed: "Well, it sure does, because as you know, Miranda rights are a bedrock constitutional principle....The public safety exception is a very narrow exception, there has to be an imminent threat to the public. As the clock keeps ticking, hours and days pass, it certainly seems less imminent."
On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, special correspondent Tom Brokaw used a discussion on the Boston Marathon bombings to argue more broadly that the "roots" of anti-American terrorism across the Islamic world are U.S. drone attacks: "I think we also have to examine the use of drones that the United States is involved in and – and there are a lot of civilians who are innocently killed in a drone attack in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, and in Iraq." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Brokaw began by wondering: "We have to work a lot harder at a motivation here. What prompts a young man to come to this country and still feel alienated from it, to go back to Russia and do whatever he did? And I don't think we've examined that enough." Speaking of people in the Middle East, Brokaw warned: "There is this enormous rage against what they see in that part of the world as a presumptuousness of the United States."
Weeks after White House hype over the budget sequester fizzled as the policy went into effect, on Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams signaled a new media push to scare viewers about the modest reductions in government spending: "On the subject of air travel, sooner or later the so-called sequester in Washington is going to affect all Americans." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Following gun background check legislation being voted down in the Senate on Wednesday, anchor Brian Williams led off NBC Nightly News that evening by proclaiming: "There are cries of 'shame' from victims of gun violence watching from the Senate gallery and the President reacts with anger." Williams later touted how Obama "called it 'a pretty shameful day for Washington'" when ranting about the loss from the Rose Garden that afternoon. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell portrayed opponents of gun restrictions as unsympathetic to shooting victims: "...many of those Newtown families watched senators they had personally met with vote down expanded background checks....Patricia Maisch, [a] Tucson shooting survivor who shouted at senators, 'Shame on you!'" A sound bite was included of Maisch condemning senators who voted against the bill: "They have no souls. They have no compassion."
In part two of her interview with President Obama aired on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie lobbed several softballs, wrapping up the exchange by wondering: "I know you're not endorsing, but do you personally hope that Hillary Clinton runs in 2016?...Do you miss her around here?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Obama used Guthrie's prompting to praise Clinton: "I think she was an extraordinary secretary of state and she became not only a great partner for me in foreign policy, but a good friend....I do [miss her]. She's earned her rest and I know that she's going to be able, whatever she does, to continue to be a leader and an incredibly positive force for the causes I care about and that she cares about, all around the world."
While for five weeks NBC News completely censored any mention of the Gosnell abortion trial from its airwaves, in an interview with President Obama conducted on Monday and aired on Wednesday's Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie wondered: "Have you been watching the Gosnell trial? It's a Philadelphia abortion doctor accused of gruesome crimes. Are you following it and do you think it animates a larger debate about abortion in this country?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The President certainly wasn't "watching" the case on NBC, it was the first time viewers of the network heard anything about the ongoing trial.
Appearing on Tuesday's NBC Today, special correspondent Tom Brokaw warned his media colleagues about premature speculation regarding the motivation of the Boston bombing: "I think everybody has to take a deep breath...report what we know, and do the best we can with the information that we're able to get reliably." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
That statement was prompted by co-host Savannah Guthrie observing: "It always bears reminding at this time, Tom, as a long-time practitioner of our craft, that early reports are often in error. I think we've become used to getting more information, even this soon after an attack, we often do know something of the nature of the attacker. In this case, there really are more questions than answers."
In an exclusive interview with President Obama aired on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie began the exchange by fretting over gun legislation in Congress "hanging by a thread" and scolding the President for not pushing for gun restrictions sooner: "You are asking Democrats in conservative states to take a tough vote politically, something you, yourself, did not do. You didn't run on this in 2008 or 2012, not after Tucson, not after Aurora."
Later in the discussion, Guthrie helped to portray Obama's budget plan as a centrist compromise that riled both Republicans and Democrats: "[Republicans] say it's not enough and they say it's not enough to make a deal....you've got Democrats a little mad at you, too, saying you've cut Social Security and Medicare and now this is going to come back and haunt them in their races." The President touted: "It does not give Republicans everything they want, frankly it doesn't reflect everything that I would like to see."
At the end of an interview with actor Harrison Ford for the NBC Meet the Press web-based feature Press Pass, about his role in a new film about Jackie Robinson, host David Gregory turned to politics: "I know you're politically conscious, politically active. What is your view of the state of things, and the state of the President's performance?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Ford replied: "I think the President is doing, you know, all things considered, a wonderful job." He then blamed the media for political division in country: "I wish that the country were not so fractious as it is at the moment. I blame a lot of that on the press and the news business. And I wish it wasn't so. And I think it makes things very difficult..."
In an interview with Florida Senator Marco Rubio on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory hyped: "The political problem the party faces, Republicans face, among minority communities, is so large if you look at the results from the 2012 election." Gregory then introduced a clip of Colin Powell ranting over a supposed "dark vein of intolerance" in the GOP during a January appearance on the program. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Following the sound bite from Powell, Gregory pressed Rubio: "Do you agree with that? And do you think that these [Republican] efforts on immigration [reform] are enough to overcome it?" Rubio rejected Powell's attack: "Well first of all, I don't agree that the Republican Party is characterized by intolerance or looking down on anybody."
Update: On its First Read blog Monday morning, NBCNews.com claims "Gosnell case gets more and more attention."
While NBC News continued to ignore the trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell on its airwaves, an NBCNews.com article posted Saturday made brief mention of the media blackout: "Conservative bloggers, including at RedState and National Review, have lashed out this week at national media organizations for not paying enough attention to the gruesome trial of a Philadelphia abortion provider accused of killing seven late-term fetuses after they were born alive."
Careful to use the term "fetuses," rather than "infants" or "children," staff writer Erin McClam did not address the validity of the criticism or acknowledge the fact that her network has refused to give any air time to the trial.
During a segment on Friday's NBC Today that suggested a "turning point for gun laws," co-host Matt Lauer declared: "Big story in Washington this morning, the Senate agreeing to move forward with the first major gun control legislation in decades, this after more Republicans than expected agreed to debate a proposal on new federal background checks for gun purchases."
Meet the Press moderator David Gregory proclaimed: "...the feeling among Republicans was, 'Don't stop the debate. That would be political suicide for Republicans to not let the debate go forward.'"
On Thursday's NBC Today, political director Chuck Todd urged Republicans to back gun restrictions or risk alienation from female voters: "Look at the massive gender gap....65% of women want stricter gun laws, 44% of men. So if you make the argument to Republicans...if you want to continue to have problems with women voters, don't deal with this gun issue. If you want to start trying to win over suburban women, maybe you need to tackle it." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Thursday, the morning shows on NBC, CBS, and ABC all touted a New York Times Magazine profile of disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, an article designed to rehabilitate the Democrat's image in preparation for a mayoral run in New York City. On NBC's Today, correspondent Stephanie Gosk explained: "Most people wanted to know whether or not he had learned from his mistakes before they could vote for him. His wife says she forgives him."
Gosk detailed Weiner's expression of regret for the 2011 sexting scandal that ended his congressional career: "Both Weiner and his wife revealing in their own words how it happened, why it happened, and the damage it caused....Weiner describes the shame and the guilt." A sound bite was featured of NYT magazine interviewer Jonathan Van Meter sympathetically recalling: "[Weiner's] still wracked with a sort of shame and pain and guilt about it, and – and he cried, I think every time I interviewed him, at some point."
On the eve of a proposed deal on a limited expansion of background checks for guy buyers, Tuesday's NBC Nightly News went after Republicans for opposing gun restrictions, with Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell proclaiming: "In a provocative move, more than a dozen Republicans are threatening to use Senate rules to block a vote on new gun restrictions....Sensing public disdain, a rift emerged among Republicans. A dozen now saying publicly they would not support a filibuster..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In her report, O'Donnell cast GOP senators as the villains opposite family members of Newtown shooting victims: "The families here today were looking lawmakers in the eye with a direct appeal. A movement and a deeply personal cause, one Senate office at a time." O'Donnell declared that the possible Republican filibuster of new laws was "adding an extra urgency to the Newtown families' visit."
Leading a panel discussion on Tuesday's NBC Today about the possibility of a professional athlete coming out as gay, frustrated co-host Matt Lauer implored: "It's interesting that in 2013, with attitudes towards homosexuality changing so dramatically in this country, there isn't a single major athlete in a major professional sport playing right now who has come out and said, 'I'm gay.' Why is that?...What is it going to take to change that and have someone come out and say it?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer made the same plea on Friday, lamenting that the unwillingness of athletes to announce their sexuality to world "says something about the times we're living in."
During a panel discussion on Tuesday's NBC Today about a new survey on how Americans view the 1980s, co-host Willie Geist noted an interesting political finding: "If a presidential election were held today, according to this survey, 58% would vote for Ronald Reagan over President Barack Obama." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Weatherman Al Roker couldn't let that data be reported without putting his own spin on it: "But the interesting thing is a lot of people probably – I mean Ronald Reagan probably would be seen almost liberally today as opposed to being a conservative. I mean, he did a lot of great things. But, I mean, things have shifted." Geist agreed: "Relative to what you see now, absolutely."
During a report on Tuesday's NBC Today, correspondent Michelle Kosinski took gratuitous shots at Margaret Thatcher while detailing funeral plans for the former British prime minister who died Monday: "...many feel this is appropriate that it will not be a state funeral because she remains so controversial....How controversial is Thatcher still today?...in Glasgow, jubilant dancing in the streets." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Kosinski did explain that a friend of Thatcher's "was quoted as saying that [Thatcher] herself did not want [a state funeral], thinking it would be a waste of money." However, during a news brief in the 9 a.m. ET hour, anchor Natalie Morales stated Kosinski's initial remark about the funeral plans as fact: "Although Thatcher will receive a large ceremonial funeral with full military honors, it will not be state funeral. Thatcher, known as the Iron Lady, was apparently too controversial for that honor."