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."
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."