All Three Networks Push Obama’s ‘Lengthy Indictment’ of ‘Ugly’ Primaries

All three network morning shows on Tuesday hyped Barack Obama’s “lengthy indictment” of  2016's “ugly” primaries. The President, who has lashed out at Ted Cruz in the past, gave a speech on Monday where he lectured, “The number one question I am getting as I travel around the world is what is happening in America?” CBS This Morning’s Major Garrett trumpeted, “President Obama delivered a lengthy indictment of the campaign’s political climate and coverage.” 

Later, guest co-host Dana Jacobson repeated, “President Obama says the rhetoric on the campaign trail is divisive and vulgar....The President told a packed room full of journalists he's disappointed in the tone of the campaigns.” 

Jacobson even parroted Obama’s declaration that “media must challenge politicians for facts and not, quote, dumb down the news.” However, according to a study by the Media Research Center, the networks in February gave three times as much airtime to Donald Trump than Cruz, focusing on the former reality TV star’s often shocking statements. (The same was true in January.) 

Over on ABC’s Good Morning America, Jon Karl hyped, “Overnight, President Obama said the ugly campaign is an embarrassment on the world stage.” Like CBS, he then played this clip: 

BARACK OBAMA: The number one question I'm getting as I travel around the world or talk to world leaders right now is what is happening in America? And it's not because around the world people have not seen crazy politics. It is that they understand America's the place where you can't afford completely crazy politics. 

On NBC’s Today, Hallie Jackson touted “President Obama now taking on the tone of 2016.” She then included this quote:  

OBAMA: I know I'm not the only one who may be more than a little dismayed about what's happening on the campaign trail right now. The divisive, often vulgar, rhetoric that's aimed at everybody, but often is focused on the vulnerable or women or minorities. 

Transcript of the CBS This Morning segments are below: 

3/29/16
7:16am ET

MAJOR GARRETT: A Washington awards dinner that honors the legacy of New York Times political reporter Robin Toner, President Obama delivered a lengthy indictment of the campaign’s political climate and coverage.  

BARACK OBAMA: I was going call it a carnival atmosphere and that implies fun. It would be better served if billions of dollars of free media comes with serious accountability, especially when politicians issue unworkable plans or make promises they can't keep. 

8:07am ET

DANA JACOBSON: President Obama says the rhetoric on the campaign trail is divisive and vulgar. He spoke at a Syracuse University dinner in Washington last night honoring the legacy of political journalist Robin Toner. The President told a packed room full of journalists he's disappointed in the tone of the campaigns. 

BARACK OBAMA: The number one question I am getting as I travel around the world or talk to world leaders is what is happening in America? It's not because around the world people have not seen crazy politics. It is that they understand America's the place where you can't afford completely crazy politics. 

JACOBSON: The President said media must challenge politicians for facts and not, quote, dumb down the news. 

Tell the Truth 2016

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org site.