Previewing an upcoming story for NBC's Rock Center on Friday's Today, correspondent Ann Curry warned that tribes of the Amazon rain forest "are sharpening their spears and preparing their blow guns to fight Ecuador's new plan to auction as much as 8 million acres of the rain forest for oil drilling." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
She then cited Boston University biology professor Kelly Swing arguing that "America, a top importer of oil from Ecuador, shares responsibility for this coming conflict....And the toxic legacy of past oil drilling in other parts of the rain forest." A sound bite played of Swing declaring: "We're definitely guilty in this story."
In an interview with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his two brothers, Hollywood agent Ari and bioethicist Zeke, on Friday's NBC Rock Center, anchor Brian Williams sounded like an adoring fan as he described the prominent family: "Theirs is, after all, a unique American story....It was an unusual family, intellectually rigorous, boisterous, physical, hyper-successful, they may be America's Jewish Kennedys. Their mother marched on Washington and took them to hear Dr. King speak in Chicago." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Friday's Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie billed the upcoming segment as "an American success story times three." Williams kept that theme going as he proclaimed: "We're pretty sure they are the most prominent three brothers from any one family in public life in America today....In most families, you hear parents talk about the kid who grew up to be the successful one, or the smart one, or the famous one. But in this family, that's all of them."
Previewing a fawning Brian Williams interview with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his brothers, Ari and Zeke, set to air on Friday's NBC Rock Center, Today co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed the siblings to be "an American success story times three." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the clip that followed, Williams enthused: "The Emanuel brothers, three super achievers, raised under the same roof. The big city mayor, the Hollywood super agent, and the medical bioethicist. And if you're going to sit down with all three brothers at once, be ready, bring your best game, because it's not for the faint of heart."
On Friday's NBC Today, fill-in co-host Lester Holt hyped unfounded speculation surrounding the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI: "More than a week after his resignation became official, there are still a lot of controversial theories about why Pope Benedict XVI stepped down. NBC's chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel is looking into them at the Vatican." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Previewing a report for Rock Center, Engel proclaimed: "What we still don't know, not definitively anyway, is why Pope Benedict decided to retire....[Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi] exposed some of the Vatican's most guarded secrets. A scoop seen in Italy as big as Watergate. Italians call it 'Vatileaks.'"
As 2012 winds down, we're reliving some of the worst media bias of the year with our Best Notable Quotables of 2012. Yesterday, I recounted some of the nastiest barbs journalists threw at the GOP ticket; today, a look at some of the most egregious favors committed on behalf of Barack Obama's campaign.
While conservatives like Rick Santorum were often cast as radical or weird, journalists lovingly fawned over President Obama as if he was still the rock star of Campaign 2008. Sherri Shepherd, co-host of ABC's The View, won our "Let Us Fluff Your Pillow Award," for obsequious Obama interviews, after a September 25 encounter in which Shepherd seemed intent on casting the President as the Romancer-in-Chief.
In an exclusive interview on Thursday's NBC Rock Center with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice following her withdrawal of her name to be secretary of state, host Brian Williams worked to portray her as a victim of unwarranted political attacks: "She's been under withering attack for weeks....Were you set up? Were you a victim of circumstance? Bad data? Bad information?...Are you blameless in all this?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Referring to her Sunday show statements on the Benghazi attack, Rice responded: "I'm not a victim. I wasn't set up....I don't think anybody is ever wholly blameless, but I didn't do anything wrong. I didn't mislead. I didn't misrepresent. I did the best with the information the United States government had at the time."
In an interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook for Thursday's NBC Rock Center, host Brian Williams wondered why the tech giant couldn't be a "made-in-America company" and outlined a political scenario in which President Obama was all-powerful: "Let's say our Constitution was a little different and Barack Obama called you in tomorrow and said, 'Get everybody out of China and do whatever you have to do, make these, make everything you make in the United States.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Two days after the national election on November 6, Brian Williams -- anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News -- made a peculiar comment during that Thursday's edition of Rock Center, the network's prime time news program.
“With the election now over, it is once again safe to talk abut the economy and jobs, Now that it is not a campaign issue, it's back to reality,” he stated despite the fact that he had regularly discussed the topic during the campaign in a manner that always favored President Obama.
Reporting for Thursday's NBC Rock Center, chief foreign affairs correspondent Richard Engel ranted over the lack of infrastructure spending to protect against Hurricane Sandy and tried to blame it on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: "...the thing we've spent the most money on, a trillion-plus dollars, the most American lives on, and that has been bringing democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan, with very questionable results." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Rather than be in Lybia covering the growing scandal over the Obama administration's botched response to the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Engel sat in the NBC News New York studio and proclaimed: "People I've spoken to, experts in this field, say we would be a lot safer, not just richer, if we had spent a lot of that money on improving infrastructure."
Right on cue following Hurricane Sandy devastating the east coast, correspondent Harry Smith appeared on Thursday's NBC Today to sound the global warming alarm: "First it was Hurricane Irene, then last October's freak snowstorm, and now Sandy. Mother nature has put an unprecedented strain on the power grid and some experts are wondering if climate change is to blame." The headline on-screen wondered: "Is Global Warming to Blame for Storm Damage?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Previewing an upcoming report for Thursday's Rock Center, Smith warned viewers: "There is a growing consensus that this is all part of a new normal....Many a climate scientist say there is a reason this is happening." A sound bite followed of Ben Strauss from Climate Central: "We're seeing more and more extreme weather events. Leading to greater and greater economic damages. And I'm very suspicious that climate change is an important player for many of these."
During a 20-minute interview with President Obama aired on Thursday's NBC Rock Center, host Brian Williams devoted a total of 1 minute 36 seconds to the subject of the terrorist attack in Libya. At the same time, four segments of soft coverage of the President's re-election campaign received a combined total of 2 minutes 19 seconds.
The promotional fluff included the President stopping by a pizza shop in Iowa (1 min 3 sec), appearing on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno (30 sec), having singer Katy Perry perform at a rally in Las Vegas (31 sec), and him picking up some donuts at a Krispy Kreme in Tampa (15 sec).
Even after all the e-mails and information has come out over the past few weeks proving dissembling by President Obama himself and other administration officials on what they knew about the Benghazi attack and how their public pronouncements did not match reality, NBC’s Brian Williams, on Thursday’s Rock Center, treated President Obama as a victim of bad intelligence who is struggling to find the truth.
Incredible. The perfect definition of “in the tank.”
Williams spent a couple of days with Obama for campaign travelogue pieces which consumed the first 25 minutes of the prime time hour. In Colorado with Obama on Wednesday afternoon, Williams posed this obsequious question:
A night after NBC’s Brian Williams used a series of interview sessions with President Barack Obama to express bewilderment Obama is not running away with the presidential race, the anchor touted Colin Powell’s endorsement, pressed Obama from the left to go further in denouncing Republicans on abortion and cued up the President to decry the high level of campaign spending.
It was Williams’ “third interview with him in the past 24 hours” leading up to multiple segment on tonight’s (Thursday) Rock Center at 10 PM EDT/PDT, 9 PM CDT.
At the end of Thursday's NBC Rock Center, host Brian Williams touted an "unexpected moment" with the widow of Robert F. Kennedy when he asked "what she remembered about Fidel Castro, who, it turns out, she's met several times." Kennedy fondly remembered: "He was very warm, very emotional. He clearly would have liked to have been friends with President Kennedy and with Bobby."
Williams lamented the friendship that never was: "It certainly didn't work out that way. And of the three men, only Castro survives."
Opening an hour-long special on the Mormon Church for Thursday's NBC Rock Center, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed to viewers: "Most Americans say they know next to nothing about the Mormon Church. Tonight, a rare look inside the lives of modern Mormon families....A church still dealing with the issue of polygamy....And other issues of inequality."
Teasing a report on the history of the Church, Williams promised to answer the question of "why so many Americans still today are suspicious of the religion." Introducing that portion of the broadcast, Williams touted pop culture mocking the faith, starting with a clip of Fox's Family Guy in which lead character Peter Griffin declares: "I'm going to be a Mormon....Come on, nailing a different wife every night. That's a no-brainer."
In what was billed as a profile of Ann Romney set to air on Thursday's NBC Rock Center, a portion of the interview played on Thursday's Today featured news anchor Natalie Morales grilling the Republican candidate's spouse on taxes: "...she fiercely defended the Romneys' decision not to release tax returns from before 2010. A lot of people still are asking why not be transparent and release more than the 2010 and the estimates for 2011." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Romney responded forcefully: "Have you seen how we're attacked? Have you seen what's happened?" Morales continued to press the issue: "It's been in the press quite a bit. Now are you angry that it's been in the press? I mean, should you not be questioned about your finances?" Romney pushed back: "We have been very transparent to what's legally required of us. But, the more we release, the more we get attacked. The more we get questioned, the more we get pushed."
Contaminated water, health problems, and now … earthquakes? Fracking, a way to get natural gas out of layers deep within the earth, has been blamed for it all and the liberal news media have been consistently against the method, rarely showing supporters or mentioning any upside of the process.
Hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as fracking, is a technique used to get natural gas out of the ground. It’s not new technology — the first use of hydraulic fracturing was actually in 1947 (according to a textbook on Rock Mechanics), but this process has come under fire from the left and the media in the past two years especially.
In an interview with Mitt Romney's five sons aired on Thursday's NBC Rock Center, campaign correspondent Peter Alexander took a jab at the family's wealth: "Their life of privilege, plus a reported $100 million trust fund, continues to draw harsh scrutiny....The criticism is that a family like yours, the Romneys, can't really understand what the average American family is dealing with right now....are you out of touch?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Earlier in the segment, Alexander explained the role of the sons: "For a candidate who at times has struggled to connect, the campaign hopes the sons can also help explain some of their father's more idiosyncratic moments." In a preview of the interview on Thursday's Today, Alexander proclaimed: "For a candidate who's been called aloof, even awkward, the Romney boys help highlight their father's human side."
In a nasty rant at the end of Thursday's Rock Center on NBC, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams slammed the hosts of FNC's morning show for daring to criticize the uniforms for the U.S. Olympic team: "Trouble on Fox & Friends. It started when the morning show crew mocked the new Ralph Lauren outfits...." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After playing a clip of Gretchen Carlson being critical of berets being part of the uniform, Williams sneered: "The jingoism continued. Another host wondered why they couldn't wear something more American, like baseball caps or cowboy hats. Until the viewer e-mails started pouring in, reminding them some real Americans, U.S. soldiers, are issued berets."
On Thursday's NBC Rock Center, just days after calling for more liberal media bias against conservatives, left-wing screen writer Aaron Sorkin dismissed the idea that he has a reputation as an outspoken liberal: "I don't know so much about my being known for my liberal politics.... I don't have very much political sophistication at all." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Correspondent Savannah Guthrie skeptically replied: "Really, you're not known for your liberal politics?" Sorkin argued: "I don't feel that way about myself. Maybe I am. I've met activists, I'm not one of them. You know, they'll march. They'll do things that are hard. I, I don't."
In an interview with actress Candice Bergen for Thursday's NBC Rock Center, correspondent Harry Smith brought up Bergen's long-running 90's sitcom, proclaiming: "Well you can't talk about Murphy Brown and not also say Dan Quayle....What Vice President Quayle said in a 1992 speech was an attack on the character Murphy Brown for glorifying single motherhood."
A portion of the speech played, with Quayle warning against, "Mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another lifestyle choice." A sound bite followed of Bergen reacting in character on the CBS show: "What really defines a family is commitment, caring and love." Following the clips, Bergen happily told Smith: "Certainly Dan Quayle made the show number one for a few months. And when I won the Emmy that year, I thanked him for that."
TVNewser reported moments ago that Brian Williams' prime time NBC show Rock Center, which just last week featured an exclusive with President Obama et al concerning Osama bin Laden's assassination, is being pulled for May sweeps and might not be renewed this fall:
Interviewing President Obama about the killing of Osama Bin Laden on Wednesday's NBC Rock Center, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams couldn't resist gushing over the level-headed commander-in-chief: "How do you keep an even keel?Even when we look back on the videotape of that night, there's no real depiction that there's something afoot."
Williams was referring to the President attending the White House Correspondents' Dinner as the mission to kill Bin Laden was underway, having to "laugh it up" and "live a little bit of a lie for the public good." Obama explained: "You know, that was a little bit of acting going on there, because my mind was elsewhere."
NBC's special presentation of Rock Center on the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden's assassination wasn't just a victory lap for Barack Obama.
It was also a chance for host Brian Williams to praise Bill Clinton for going after the former al Qaeda leader without mentioning all the times his administration passed on chances to get him (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
Three years ago, then-CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric fawned over Barack Obama: “You’re so confident, Mr. President, and so focused. Is your confidence ever shaken?” On ABC’s World News, Diane Sawyer often softens her interviews with the President by tossing in questions about college basketball, asking, at the start of the U.S. military operation against Libya last year, “How much do you think Kentucky will win by?”
But of the three evening news anchors, by far the most admiring of Obama is NBC’s Brian Williams who has — no big surprise — been rewarded with exclusive access to the White House Situation Room for what promises to be a prime time Obama campaign infomercial (on Wednesday’s Rock Center) on how the brave President monitored the mission as Navy SEALs raided Osama bin Laden’s compound and killed the terrorist mastermind exactly one year ago. (Round-up of Williams' most fawning Obama moments, with video, below the jump).
Hillary Clinton says the expression on her face in that now iconic picture of the White House Situation Room taken the day Osama bin Laden was killed is "the way I usually look when my husband drags me to an action movie."
Such was told to NBC's Brian Williams for a Rock Center special to be aired Wednesday which was previewed on Sunday's Meet the Press (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
During a report for the April 18 edition of NBC's Rock Center, correspondent Ted Koppel was right at home with French socialist campaign workers: "...it is the Socialist campaign directed by these three young men, Vincent, Arthur and Guillaume, that has the distinctly American flavor." Guillaume declared: "We've been pushing this, you know, let's do what Obama did for two years."
At the same time, only seconds earlier, Koppel touted attacks against current French President Nicolas Sarkozy for being too American: "This US-style rally is one reason that President Sarkozy's rivals call him La American, 'the American.' It is not meant as a compliment."