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."
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, chief environmental affairs correspondent Anne Thompson dismissed global warming skeptics pointing to record-low temperatures across the country: "As America the frozen thaws out, some want to reignite the debate over global warming....the Mercury feels like it's been on a bungee jump. Take New York, fifty-five degrees on Monday, down to a daily record low of four degrees Tuesday, back to fifty-five this Saturday. What does that tell us about global warming? Scientists say nothing." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A sound bite followed of Jeff Masters from the global warming activist group Weather Underground declaring: "You can't look at a single event to prove or disprove global warming. You have to look at a period of 30 years to see what the climate is doing." Thompson added: "Global warming or climate change is measured in decades, not days, and the average temperature trend is up."
On Thursday's NBC Today, political director Chuck Todd reveled in the wall-to-wall media coverage of the bridge closing controversy surrounding New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: "Welcome to the NFL....he has gotten a lot of benefit by being sort of this Republican rising star in the New York City media markets, so he gets a lot of access to media attention, access to national media. And so he's had a free ride, if you will. Well now, welcome to the vetting process." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd's comments were prompted by co-host Matt Lauer declaring: "[Christie] is a political star for the Republican Party. He's now the head of the Republican Governor's Association, a lot of power there, so Democrats are gonna work this story for a long time." Todd replied: "Absolutely....Now that he's essentially shown interest in being a presidential candidate, this is what life is like. This is what happens when the bright lights start burning."
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer portrayed former Defense Secretary Robert Gates as an ungrateful and disgruntled ex-employee: "Blindsided. President Obama's former Defense Secretary Robert Gates takes on his old boss – the man who awarded him the Medal of Freedom – in a blistering new memoir. This morning, what may have made him turn?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed later, correspondent Andrea Mitchell fretted: "President Obama's decision to keep George Bush's defense secretary, a Republican, has now blown back on the White House." Like Lauer, she made sure to note how Obama had honored Gates: "Gates gave no hint of his resentment when he left the cabinet two years ago and President Obama awarded him the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor."
In a fawning report on Tuesday's NBC Today, national investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff touted the exploits of two left-wing activists who stole a thousand FBI documents in 1971 and just confessed to the crime: "In an exclusive NBC News interview, the burglars, anti-Vietnam War activists, admit they committed the crime to expose what they believed were illegal activities by the FBI." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Isikoff dramatically described the heist: "Bonnie Raines cased the office posing as a college student, leaving no fingerprints....Her husband, John Raines, a retired religion professor, drove the getaway car." He then proclaimed: "The documents exposed FBI efforts to spread paranoia among left-wing groups and COINTELPRO, a surveillance program started years earlier by then-director J. Edgar Hoover."
In an outrageous ad aired on the local Washington D.C. NBC affiliate WRC-4, Virginia Democratic state senate candidate Jennifer Wexton – running to replace newly elected Virginia attorney general Mark Herring – made a shocking comparison between violent rapists that she once tried as a prosecutor to "Tea Party Republicans" in the Virginia legislature. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After describing women being assaulted and "traumatized again by facing the criminal in court," Wexton made this declaration: "...as a prosecutor I put violent offenders in prison. In the Virginia Senate, I'll fight just as hard against Tea Party Republicans who would take away a woman's health care and her right to choose, even in cases of rape and incest."
Introducing a report on Monday's NBC Nightly News about Al-Qaeda forces seizing control of the Iraqi city of Fallujah, anchor Brian Williams went out of his way to blame the President George W. Bush for the deteriorating security situation: "U.S. fighting forces are gone from Iraq. But as so many predicted when President Bush chose to go to war there after 9/11, the fighting has started up again." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
However, in the report that followed, correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin featured a sound bite of President Obama – not President Bush – celebrating the "historic moment" of an abrupt U.S. troop withdrawal from the country after failing to negotiate a status of forces agreement with the Iraqi government. Mohyeldin noted: "Some warned the U.S. withdrawal left a security vacuum."
In a report for Sunday's NBC Nightly News, White House correspondent Kristen Welker eagerly promoted efforts by President Obama to use class warfare against Republicans leading up to the 2014 midterm elections: "President Obama will aim to reboot his presidency this year after a rocky 2013. The first item on the agenda will be extending unemployment insurance benefits....In his weekly media message, Mr. Obama blamed Republicans for leaving those benefits out of last month's budget deal." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A clip played of Obama ranting: "And denying families that security is just plain cruel. We're a better country than that." Moments later, Welker proclaimed: "The President will also renew his call for an increase in the minimum wage in his State of the Union address. Another piece of a Democratic strategy designed to paint Republicans as the party of the rich ahead of the fall elections."
In a taped interview with former Maryland Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich aired on Friday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, host Chuck Todd scolded the GOP for supposedly not making "any progress" in reaching out to minorities and women since the 2012 election, citing the party's defeat in the 2013 Virginia governor's race: "You lost because the Democrats were able to essentially win social issues – used social issues as a wedge." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Ehrlich hit back: "But that's a euphemism, let's just call it what it is. It was scaring young women." Todd dismissed the accusation: "What campaigns aren't about scaring some voters?" He then went after Republicans: "Attacking health care is scaring voters, too." Ehlrich replied: "Attacking a dysfunctional health care is not scaring anybody. ObamaCare is scaring enough people."
Appearing on Wednesday's NBC Today to provide his New Year political predictions for 2014, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd assured co-host Savannah Guthrie that despite the ObamaCare disaster, Republicans would be "in just as bad of a place, if not worse than they were." He explained: "It just doesn't look like it right now because of health care." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd's wishful thinking was prompted by Guthrie observing: "[Republicans] were widely blamed for the government shutdown. I think they were, in some ways, rescued by the debacle with the ObamaCare rollout because the heat was off them." Todd pushed back: "...they haven't fixed their structural problems....it's a false sense of security....they threw out this whole, 'Okay, we've got to get better with minorities and get better with technology and get better with various issues, not look like we're so anti-woman.' They've made no – they've made no accomplishments on that front. None of it."
While interviewing openly gay U.S. women's hockey team player Caitlin Cahow on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer hoped for controversy during the games over Russia's "anti-gay laws": "[Openly gay former tennis player] Billy Jean King said that perhaps it is time for a 'John Carlos moment'....that moment in 1968 in Mexico City [Olympics] when [U.S. runners] John Carlos and Tommy Smith stood up and they gave the Black Power salute because they wanted to protest racial inequality. Would you be willing to be a part of some kind of a John Carlos moment in Sochi?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Cahow tried to tamp down Lauer's expectations: "Honestly I think that my John Carlos moment right now is going to Russia and being present and representing the United States. Like I said before, this delegation represents so much more than just LGBT diversity. We have a really remarkable diversity in the United States."
Talking to NBC's David Gregory for the Meet the Press web-based feature Press Pass on Sunday, Israeli journalist Ari Shavit launched into a rant against the strong bond between conservatives in Israel and the United States: "In recent years, we've seen too much of an alliance between Tea Party Israel and Tea Party America. I want to bring back that alliance between progressive America and progressive Israel." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Shavit's hand-wringing was prompted by Gregory observing: "...my sense of many American Jews is that they are not as firmly rooted – their Jewishness is not as rooted in Israel as it was a generation ago....They feel more disaffected or separate from Israel....the foreign policy and national security concerns of Israel are all-encompassing and are no longer as resonant with younger Jews in America."
Interviewing West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin during her 1 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Wednesday, host Andrea Mitchell praised his efforts to create a "bipartisan coalition for background checks" on guns, but fretted: "Nothing has taken place. It's a year since Newtown. Not even changes in the mental health law. None of the things that the NRA has supported in the past. What's the next step? What can you do?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In part, Manchin explained: "[Gun owners] just don't trust government. They just don't think the government will stop there [with background checks]. And they say, 'Joe, I like your bill and I'm sure that's fine and that doesn't bother me, but I'm not sure I want to do anything because I'm afraid they'll try to take more.'" Mitchell sneered: "They should talk to the parents and friends and family of that high school student, the young woman who is in a coma in a hospital in Colorado after what happened last week there."
On Wednesday, only NBC's Today devoted a full segment to the upcoming sentencing of top Environmental Protection Agency official John Beale for "bilking the government out of nearly $1 million by claiming he that he worked undercover for the CIA." ABC's Good Morning America only offered a 25-second news brief on the story while CBS This Morning ignored it completely. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While NBC and ABC finally got around to the story on Wednesday, Fox News reported the scandal on the October 1 edition of Special Report, with correspondent Shannon Bream noting congressional involvement: "Massachusetts Democrat Steven Lynch was just one of many House members demanding to know how the Environmental Protection Agency could be duped for years by a top-level employee....Angry lawmakers say former EPA chief Gina McCarthy, who openly praised Beale during his time at the agency, should have known better."
Getting a glimpse of the kind of real reporting that can occur on NBC Nightly News when Brian Williams isn't in the anchor chair, on Sunday's edition of the program, weekend anchor Lester Holt informed viewers that "official photo releases" from the Obama administration were "at the center of an escalating battle between the White House and the news media over access and image control." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, White House correspondent Kristen Welker cited National Journal's Ron Fournier calling "images like these pure propaganda, arguing the Obama White House consistently blocks journalists from events they routinely covered in previous administrations." A sound bite followed of Fournier warning: "The White House is getting most of the control. That's not healthy for democracy."
Teasing an upcoming story on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer fretted over "the emotional debate ignited by a Fox News anchor over Santa's true race," referring to FNC host Megyn Kelly saying that Santa Claus is white. Minutes later, news reader Natalie Morales promoted the same segment by proclaiming: "Why St. Nick has suddenly become the most controversial figure of the season." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Kristen Welker declared: "This debate is focused on Santa Claus, but really it's about a much larger issue in this country – the issue of race. And it all started when a popular cable news anchor declared Santa is white....Words that got her on the naughty list of some news organizations, pundits, and late-night comedians."
In an attempt to stir tensions within the Republican Party over the recent budget deal, on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, host David Gregory falsely claimed that Florida Senator Marco Rubio had denounced the agreement as "un-American." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Gregory cited the fictional quote twice to Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, one of the architects of the deal: "On the Right, my colleague Kelly O'Donnell spoke to your colleague Marco Rubio. He calls this an un-American deal....when Senator Rubio says it's un-American, is that just because he's running for president, do you think?"
Leading off Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams declared: "It's war. A private battle blows wide open in public as the most powerful Republican in Washington says he's had enough, coming out swinging against members of his own party." Moments later, he hailed House Speaker John Boehner's "rare outburst of candor mixed with anger and frustration" at conservatives critical of the new budget deal in Congress. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Williams contemptuously observed: "His problem has been the rise of the Tea Party faction, the newly arrived and highly motivated members who do not go along or get along with the wishes of the leadership....Now they've gone after a budget deal that represents real compromise and keeps the country running. The Speaker today decided he's had enough and he said so."
On Tuesday's Nightly News, after news broke of a budget deal in Congress, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell announced: "...the usual Washington dysfunction is on hold tonight." She touted the agreement to anchor Brian Willams by noting: "It would also roll back some of the harshest automatic spending cuts, the sequester for the Pentagon and domestic programs." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
O'Donnell cautioned that the deal "does not extend jobless benefits for those out of work the longest..." On Wednesday's broadcast, fill-in anchor Ann Curry picked up on that point and fretted: "While the agreement avoids another government shutdown next month, it also sidestepped dealing with the crisis facing 1.3 million Americans who've been out of work for a long time. And that means their unemployment benefits will stop at the end of the month unless Congress takes action."
All three networks on Wednesday engaged in damage control for the White House following criticism of President Obama's selfie during Tuesday's Mandela memorial service. On CBS This Morning, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante even made this absurd assertion: "The President might have caused a diplomatic incident if he had declined the invitation to be in a photo with two long-time allies." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The cast of NBC's Today also justified the incident, with co-host Savannah Guthrie arguing: "I think some people thought it's not appropriate because it's a funeral. On the other hand, it wasn't a funeral, it was a memorial service." Weatherman Al Roker added: "It was a memorial, it was a celebration." Matt Lauer chimed in: "There were people singing and dancing all around them."
After Brian Williams touted President Obama's handshake with Cuban dictator Raul Castro as "one of the better moments" at Tuesday's memorial service for Nelson Mandela, correspondent Lester Holt went further on Wednesday's NBC Today, hailing the encounter as "a true Mandela moment." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A sound bite followed of Democratic Congressman John Lewis gushing: "It's the power of Nelson Mandela to bring President Barack Obama together and Raul Castro together here in South Africa." Prior to Williams on Tuesday, Holt had similarly declared that "the measure of Mandela [was] so great" that "America's presidents shared a stage" with Castro.
Reporting from South Africa on Tuesday's NBC Today about the memorial ceremony for Nelson Mandela, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams noted how the "dignitary section has some criminals, some thieves, some kings, some presidents" and that "Several have been life-long sworn enemies." He then proclaimed that President Obama's "handshake with [Cuban leader] Raul Castro was one of the better moments." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Williams gushed that oppressive dictators sitting side by side with democratically elected leaders of the free world was somehow part of Mandela's legacy: "What would Nelson Mandela say to all of them and say to all of this? Most of the speakers have urged the crowd, 'Go on, behave like him, live like him, be infused with his spirit going forward and maybe we could get some place.'"
On her Monday 1 p.m. ET hour show on MSNBC, host Andrea Mitchell was shocked by Senator Rand Paul's supposedly "breathtaking" observation that continually extending government unemployment benefits can cause people "to become part of this perpetual unemployed group." She incredulously asked: "It's the unemployment insurance that creates the, quote, 'dependency'?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Teeing up liberal Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus to denounce Paul's comments, Mitchell urged her to "have at it." Marcus ranted: "Can you say Scrooge? Yes, thank you for letting me have at it. My mouth dropped open when I heard that....he just wins my Scrooge award of the year."
On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, host David Gregory used the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela to lecture American politicians: "Mandela refused to be consumed by hatred and insisted on working toward a common purpose with his political foes. That, seems to me, is what is missing from this era of argument in Washington." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
However, Gregory portrayed President Obama as the victim of such polarization, rather than one of its instigators: "The election of our 44th president was similarly an example of how countries can overcome their past....Yet, President Obama has struggled since he made history. He still aspires to achieve political consensus on some of the country's most pressing challenges."
Filling in for host Chuck Todd on Thursday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, Luke Russert suggested liberal calls for a hike in the minimum wage had created a "tough issue for Republicans" and that by opposing the idea, the GOP would "risk looking like Grinches over the holiday season." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Republican pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson pushed back: "In a way, but remember, who was president last time a minimum wage increase was signed into law? It was President Bush. And the way they got their was by saying, 'You need to have some tax cuts for small businesses embedded in this law in order to get it through because there are going to be some businesses that if these cuts aren't included are gonna switch to not hiring these folks.'"
Amid the tributes looking back at the life of former South African President Nelson Mandela following his death on Thursday, Friday's NBC Today and ABC's Good Morning America both managed to take shots at Ronald Reagan for not being supportive of Mandela during Apartheid. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Today, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell proclaimed: "The U.S. wasn't always on Mandela's side. In the 1980s, President Reagan supported the Apartheid regime, a cold war ally, even as protests broke out on college campuses across America demanding that the U.S. punish the regime....Finally, Congress, including key Republicans, overrode Reagan's veto, imposing the economic sanctions that helped break the Apartheid regime."