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."
On her MSNBC 1pm ET hour show on Wednesday, host Andrea Mitchell lamented the "astounding lack of accomplishment" in Congress throughout 2013, especially on "any kind of new gun laws, despite what happened in Newtown." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Talking to Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Mitchell promoted a new ad crudely exploiting the one-year anniversary of the school shooting to push gun restrictions: "There's a new public service announcement I want to share with you and our audience. This comes from the Moms Demanding Action for Gun Sense in America and the Mayors Against Illegal Guns....Let's watch."
After Martin Bashir announced his resignation from MSNBC on Wednesday following his vile attack on Sarah Palin, NBC, ABC, and CBS refused to make any mention of his disgraceful exit. The networks had already skipped any mention of his wildy offensive November 15 rant calling for Palin to be urinated and defecated on.
As Media Research Center deputy research director Geoff Dickens reported early Wednesday – just hours before Bashir's resignation – such a media blackout stood in stark contrast to the two-week period after Rush Limbaugh called left-wing activist Sandra Fluke a "slut" in early 2012, prompting 32 network segments lambasting Limbaugh for the comments and even demanding that advertisers pull their sponsorship of his nationally syndicated radio show.
On Tuesday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, host Chuck Todd was eager to declare the ObamaCare disaster to be over and claim Republicans were now of the defensive: "With 750,000 visitors to the site yesterday without a crash and the Obama administration now confident that the website is functioning...the Republican repeal movement may actually now fizzle out completely." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd attempted to bolster his assertion by citing leftist Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, who on Monday declared that supposed fixes to HealthCare.gov meant that "opponents of the Affordable Care Act have lost what may have been their last chance to do away with the law."
Leading off a report on Monday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander skeptically observed: "The Obama administration says it met it's own goal of significantly improving the HealthCare.gov website, but that's the easy part. That's like kind of giving yourself a passing grade." At the end of segment, he noted insurance companies warning of the "logistical nightmare" caused by inaccurate information being entered into the ObamaCare database. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Despite such critical analysis of the health care law in the nearly 2-minute report, by Nightly News that evening, anchor Brian Williams reduced the news to a mere 28 seconds, emphasizing only the positive: "We have an update now on the HealthCare.gov website. It is now working better and faster, as the White House promised it would by now. But they say they know it is still far from perfect. By 5:30 this evening Eastern Time, the website had logged 750,000 visitors so far today. That's getting closer to that 800,000 daily user goal the rebooted site is supposed to be able to handle."
In a segment on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press that host David Gregory laughably billed as an ObamaCare "reality check," he invited two of the law's biggest supporters to deliver White House spin, former administration health policy advisor and brother of the President's former chief of staff Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel and liberal Washington Post blog editor Ezra Klein. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Referring to the supposed fix to HealthCare.gov, Gregory teed up Emanuel: "Is it good enough progress?" Emanuel predictably replied: "I think it's good enough progress. Clearly, just like Google and Facebook and all the internet sites are constantly tweaking their sites, constantly improving them, this one still has a ways to go. But it is certainly working reasonably well....So I think actually we are going in the right direction."
On Sunday's Meet the Press, as Republican Congressman Mike Rogers denounced ObamaCare's "unprecedented confiscation of people's health care," moderator David Gregory interrupted to parrot White House talking points defending the disastrous policy: "...you talk about confiscation, the reality is there's also a lot of people who are going to have the potential to get insurance who never had insurance. And you have a small piece of the market where people may lose plans. Many of those will get better plans in the individual market." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Rogers attempted to push back against Gregory's assertions: "But David, that's not true. David – a hundred million people [may lose their insurance]." Gregory just kept talking over the Congressman, citing a poll that 54% of Americans think the ObamaCare problems will be solved and concluding: "That's a level of credibility and belief in the system that presumably is very important."
In an article for MediaBistro's TVNewser blog on Monday, Gail Shister ripped into NBC News for the lack of punishment of MSNBC host Martin Bashir after his vicious and disgusting attack on Sarah Palin: "It's no surprise that NBC tries to distance itself publicly from its corporate sibling. In this case, however, its silence has been deafening. How low does the bar have to go before Tom Brokaw speaks up, as he has in the past? More to the point, why haven't any NBC women taken a stand?"
Earlier in the piece, Shister looked at "MSNBC's long history of Foot in Mouth disease" involving its hosts making offensive remarks about public figures and observed: "In every case, the commentator was either suspended or fired. In every case, the perps have been men, and in every case but one, the broadcast slurs have been aimed at women."
After NBC refused to even mention ObamaCare since November 18, Saturday's Today allowed left-wing MSNBC host Chris Matthews to actually blame Republicans for the program's ongoing failures: "I think the acid test here is participation, not efficiency. It comes down to whether young people who are healthy are willing to join up....There's a big scary thing, though, that if you look at all the criticism from the other side, from the Republican side, that's discouraging people from joining up." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Matthews proclaimed that if the young and healthy "join up in big numbers," then "the President wins." He framed signing up for ObamaCare as a matter of civic duty: "Will people join up and take their responsibility as citizens really to be part of a national health care program? That's a question that's still not answered."
After going 72 hours without even mentioning ObamaCare on its air waves, NBC's continued refusal to cover the disastrous policy on Thursday's Nightly News or Friday's Today brought that total up to 96 hours. Amazingly, Friday's Today had the audacity to include two segments about Vice President Joe Biden buying lunch at a Washington D.C. sandwich shop rather provide any ObamaCare updates.
Even ABC's Good Morning America, a morning show generally devoid of all substance, managed to find time for at least a few seconds on the topic: "Speaking of President Obama, more trouble this morning for ObamaCare. The Wall Street Journal says it has obtained documents that show some insurance companies are drastically cutting payments to doctors. Forcing those doctors to reconsider whether they want to participate in the new exchanges, which could hurt choice for consumers."
NBC News has completely censored any mention of the unfolding ObamaCare disaster for the last 72 hours. Not one word about the millions of Americans losing their health insurance nor the severe political damage that has been done to President Obama and the Democratic Party.
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams noted President Obama and the four former living presidents reciting the Gettysburg Address to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's historic speech, but ignored the fact that Obama omitted the phrase "under God" from his reading and refused to attend the event marking the anniversary. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Williams made a point of declaring that project orchestrated by documentary filmmaker Ken Burns was "urging Americans to memorize and celebrate the Gettysburg Address," and emphasized: "Considering it's one of the most important speeches in American history, think about this, it was only about two minutes long, 272 words in all." Making Obama's gaffe of skipping two of those words all the more noticeable and embarrassing.
After censoring any coverage of the continuing ObamaCare disaster since Monday morning, NBC did manage to find time to cover Michelle Obama's fashion choices and the First Couple's first date on Wednesday's Today, with co-host Matt Lauer excitedly telling viewers to stay tuned: "First Lady Michelle Obama opens up about her very first date with the future president as well as her biggest fashion regret." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the segment that followed, news reader Natalie Morales gushed: "We're used to seeing First Lady Michelle Obama looking very stylish and picture perfect, but in a new interview with BET, the First Lady admitted there is one particular look that she now regrets....the First Lady was also asked about her first date with the President and she revealed more about their day-long adventure than she's ever really revealed before."
Appearing on Tuesday's Tonight Show, former President George W. Bush got a laugh from the audience with this one-liner: "We've always had such great relations with NBC." Host Jay Leno added to the joke by taking his own shot at the network: "I'm glad one of us has." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The brief exchange was prompted by Leno asking the former commander-in-chief and former First Lady Laura Bush about their daughter, Jenna Bush-Hager, being a correspondent for the Today show: "And Jenna is on the Today show...Is that fun?" Laura Bush replied: "It's fun. It's fun for us. We love to watch her."
After playing a clip of Saturday Night Live mocking President Obama's "embattled second term" on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie sympathetically observed: "I guess if you're at the White House you laugh so you don't cry." She then turned to Obama's former press secretary Robert Gibbs and wondered: "What do you think the President's state of mind is right now? I mean, have you ever seen him like this, saying – acknowledging, 'I have a credibility problem'?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Gibbs responded by trying to insulate the President from any responsibility for the disastrous ObamaCare rollout: "I think he is obviously tremendously frustrated that no one told him the extent of this problem. I think that you, as the commander-in-chief and as the President of the United States, have to trust all of those around you to implement and I think there's no doubt a deficit of trust that's lead to that deficit of credibility."
On Monday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander lifted talking points directly from an Organizing for Action email while reporting on the political fallout from ObamaCare: "With his signature law under fire, the President faces a daunting to-do list to resuscitate ObamaCare. Number one, fix the website....Number two, clear up confusion....Number three, keep Democratic allies on board....And finally, regain Americans' trust." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the OFA email, President Obama told his supporters: "I have just over three years left as president – and there's a lot left on my to-do list. That's why I want to talk with you....I want to cut through the noise and talk with you directly about where we're headed in the fight for change."
On Friday, NBC's Today tried to cast President Obama's Thursday press conference about the ObamaCare disaster in the most sympathetic light possible, with co-host Savannah leading off the show by proclaiming: "The humble president....President Obama does damage control on the botched health care rollout with his legacy hanging in the balance." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing the segment moments later, Guthrie claimed the President was "falling on the sword over this health care rollout disaster." In the report that followed, White House correspondent Peter Alexander emphasized Obama's supposedly humility: "The President the first to admit that he has a lot of work ahead of him to regain the confidence of the American people....[he] was strikingly contrite."
Teasing an upcoming story on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams warned of "the habitat of the polar bears melting earlier and faster than ever" and promised "a jaw-dropping look at a way of life quickly disappearing." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed minutes later, chief environmental correspondent Anne Thompson kept up the global warming alarmism: "This 10-month-old polar bear cub practices his ice-breaking skills on the tundra....But Dr. Steve Amstrup, chief scientist of Polar Bears International, says the greenhouse gases we are putting into the atmosphere threaten the cub's future."
Appearing on Thursday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd matter-of-factly declared that ObamaCare was always going to be a bad deal for some Americans: "There are always winners and losers in any piece of legislation. There is a small number of losers in here, if you want to count losing as in having to pay more for your health insurance....That was always the intention, that was the only way you could make the law work..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd acknowledged that was not the way President Obama sold the law, but avoided calling it a lie: "...this goes to the problem that the President brought upon himself, when they didn't make this clear." On the March 3, 2010 Nightly News, just weeks before the passage of ObamaCare, Todd touted the President's deception: "If this reform works the way the White House hopes it does, the bottom line is simple, it should be easier for you to get health insurance and harder for you to lose it."
In the midst of the unmitigated disaster that has been the roll out of ObamaCare, on Saturday's NBC Today, co-host Lester Holt had the audacity to suggest to Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus that Republicans should be the ones on defense: "...you took it on the chin when you fought it in the last budget battle. When we go back around to the budget in January, are Republicans gonna be a little more timid taking on health care, given the experience and given the lower approval ratings?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Priebus replied: "I think that the American people are seeing now how serious it was of a fight against ObamaCare....People are hurting and they're losing their coverage and they're paying more money that they can't afford. It's just not fair."
Early in the 9 a.m. ET hour on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-hosts Willie Geist, Natalie Morales, and Al Roker mocked a series of new ads designed to promote ObamaCare, even with Geist reading one of them while doing his best impression of Anchorman's Ron Burgundy: "Let's get physical. OMG, he's hot. Let's hope he's as easy to get as this birth control. My health insurance covers the pill, which means all I have to worry about is getting it between the covers." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Monday's NBC Today, weatherman Al Roker continued his campaign to get Vice President Joe Biden to co-host the morning show: "I mean, we love the VP, just because he's fun and he would fit in perfectly here." Roker was happy to gain support from The Huffington Post, touting an article published on the liberal blog entitled "Dear Joe Biden: Please Co-Host Today!!!" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Yet again, Roker made an impassioned plea for Biden to join the show for a day: "Again, Mr. Vice President, this is where you belong. We want you here. Spend the hour with us, hang out."
Appearing on Tuesday's NBC Today to hawk his new book, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough – whose own radio show was cancelled after a brief run in 2010 – proceeded to slam conservative talk radio hosts: "They make millions and millions of dollars....they start pushing their world view on Republicans across the country and start saying, 'You either have to run up to the barricades and fight to the death every single time or you're not sufficiently conservative' and you actually have politicians listening to that and not understanding that's a profit motive." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
He added: "...we've got to stop feeding every single little resentment if we want to get back into the White House."
Speaking to Meet the Press moderator David Gregory for NBC's web-based program Press Pass on Sunday, usually liberal actor Rob Lowe expressed a more conservative political perspective: "Just my own world view is that the individual needs to be more responsible for their own lives and that's not the conversation we're having right now, for whatever reason." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lowe was discussing his role as President Kennedy in the new documentary Killing Kennedy and used JFK to make his point: "Kennedy's 'Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country'...today I think that's – our discussion is the inverse. People are asking, 'What can our government do for us?'"
Trying to deflect from the political damage ObamaCare has done to Democrats, on Monday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander hyped GOP divisions: "...the Republican Party is facing a war within....Republicans have an issue over defining their brand, an ideological civil war of sorts." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In an interview with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin following Alexander's report, co-host Matt Lauer sought to stoke that supposed "civil war": "[Governor Chris Christie] called the shutdown of the government and that strategy hatched by Ted Cruz and members of the Tea Party a 'monumental failure.' If you look at the results of the [New Jersey] election, isn't the message to the Tea Party that the middle ground, not the far right, is the most fertile ground for upcoming elections?"