NBC News demonstrated again Thursday night it has become little more than the more-watched broadcast arm of MSNBC, advancing the same left-wing attacks on conservatives as first trotted out on the cable side. While ABC and CBS managed to refrain from airing entire stories and interviews aimed to discredit Paul Ryan, NBC did not.
In packaging Obama campaign talking points, however, Chuck Todd had to concede the accuracy of what Ryan asserted in his Wednesday night convention address, humorously leading Todd to conclude that “what he said many times was technically factual” but, “by what he left out,” he “actually distorted the actual truth.”
On NBC’s live Wednesday coverage of the GOP convention both Brian Williams and Tom Brokaw used Condoleezza Rice's speech to paint the GOP delegation as close-minded on immigration, education reform and Barack Obama’s background. Right after the former Secretary of State's speech, Williams snarked: "Portions of that speech could have been delivered at next week [DNC] gathering in North Carolina. Some candid talk to tepid applause on immigration." He then added that Rice made the "rare utterance at a GOP convention of the American truism that zip code determines education in our country."
For his part, Brokaw took a shot at the GOP crowd as he chided: "What was so striking to me was one other line that she had: 'It does not matter where you come from it matters where you are going.' Well to a lot of delegates, on this floor, it does matter where President Obama came from. Because they've been very critical of his Kenyan father, who had a different faith than many of them would embrace and they've raised lots of questions about where his ultimate loyalty is." (video after the jump)
NBC anchor Brian Williams reprimanded Ann Romney for saying “I believe in my heart that Mitt is going to save America,” suggesting it would have been incendiary if Michelle Obama had made such a promise.
As the two sat in the NBC News booth at the Republican convention, Williams told Mrs. Romney the phrasing “jumped off the screen to me” and maintained, without identifying the supposed source, that “someone who knows you conceded that if Mrs. Obama used words like that...there’d be all kinds of hubbub.”
Brian Williams wasted no time, on NBC’s live Tuesday GOP convention coverage, in bringing up the Todd Akin controversy, as he pressed Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio if he was worried about the “rape debate” surrounding his party. In fact, all of the NBC Nightly News anchor’s questions were negative as he pestered Rubio about the “closed-in” nature of nominee Mitt Romney and the “language” of the GOP’s platform. (video after the jump)
The following are all of Williams’ questions to Rubio as they were aired on NBC’s live August 28 coverage of the Republican National Convention:
For the second straight night, NBC Nightly News on Monday played the Hurricane Katrina card against Republicans, as Tropical Storm Isaac veered away from Tampa and took aim at New Orleans. Andrea Mitchell hyped that "both Republicans and Democrats...have a challenge - a political challenge here with this approaching storm, especially for the Republicans. No one here can easily forget the iconic picture of President Bush flying on Air Force One...looking down at New Orleans during Katrina." [audio available here; video below the jump]
Anchor Brian Williams also played up how the Romney family has been "forced to talk about their rightfully gained enormous wealth - having been successful in business, the garage for their cars at their home in La Jolla, California."
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."
Eager to keep the Todd Akin controversy alive on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams declared the Missouri Republican's comments were "inflicting unforeseen and great damage on the national party." Correspondent Andrea Mitchell began her report by proclaiming: "...only days before their convention, Republicans remain trapped in a national debate about abortion and rape." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Mitchell quickly attempted to link vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan to Akin: "Ryan co-sponsored one bill with Akin that critics say could outlaw all abortions, even for rape victims." She then tried to connect Mitt Romney: "Romney once supported abortion rights, but reversed course before his first run for the White House. In 2007, he embraced anti-abortion activist Dr. John Wilkie, the man who came up with the discredited rape theory that Akin was citing."
At the top of Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed: "Firestorm. A Congressman's words about rape rocket across the country...women's issues are front and center again." Introducing the lead story moments later, Williams announced how "suddenly" Republican Todd Akin's comments "exploded well beyond the borders of Missouri."
Correspondent Andrea Mitchell began her report by nationalizing the gaffe made by Akin during a local news interview: "Republicans fear their hopes for the White House and control of the Senate could turn on what happened at a St. Louis TV station..." Mitchell later touted: "In a race where the President had a 15-point advantage with women voters in the last NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, Republicans were reeling."
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, sanctimonious anchor Brian Williams lamented the fact that "spending on 2012 presidential radio and TV ads has now surpassed the half-billion-dollar mark" and proceeded to list other things the money could buy, such as feeding "9.2 million malnourished children for 50 days" or "provide clean water for 500 million children for 40 days."
While Williams's philanthropic suggestions are certainly worthy causes, he only briefly noted where that money actually went: "By and large this money goes to TV stations and networks." NBC and others could always give away the air time for free.
According to TV Guide, Williams himself is the third highest-paid television news personality, hauling in $13 million a year. Maybe he could take a pay cut this year.
On Thursday and Friday, NBC launched an all out assault on Mitt Romney, urging him to release more tax returns. Opening Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams scrambled to resurrect the worn-out line of attack: "Talking taxes. Under intense pressure, Mitt Romney talks about what he has paid." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing the lead story moments later, Williams proclaimed: "It is a topic that won't go away. In the hands of the Democrats, it has dogged Mitt Romney from the start and may follow him all the way to the finish of this campaign." He described Romney's "private life of great wealth" and him being "unwilling to go public with his tax returns beyond the past two years."
Remember the days when nightly news anchors were supposed to be serious journalists? Apparently Brian Williams never got that memo. Appearing on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on August 15, the managing editor of NBC Nightly News showed the continuing decline of the gravitas of the broadcast news anchor.
Appearing on The Daily Show, Williams continued his routine of making awkward and inappropriate comments that even Jon Stewart seemed uncomfortable with. The NBC News veteran seems to find bestiality funny as he gleefully recalled anecdotes about his dog Qually to promote a segment on his primetime newsmagazine program Rock Center. [Video follow page break; MP3 audio here.]
Comedy Central's Jon Stewart asked NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams the $64 trillion question on Wednesday's Daily Show.
"What is preventing the media from discussing more substantive issues before the introduction of Paul Ryan, and then since the introduction, and then, let's say, you know, after the election?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
ABC was the only broadcast network that offered a full story on the FRC office shooting on Wednesday night. They led with the story and gave it two and a half minutes. None of the network newscasts reported the breaking detail that shooter Floyd Corkins volunteered for six months at the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community, adding depth to his political motivation.
On NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams gave the story just 17 seconds: “In Washington today, police say a man with a gun walked into the offices of the conservative lobbying group the Family Research Council, and opened fire. He never made it past the lobby. He shot a security guard in the arm before the guard was able to subdue him.”
Leading off Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams struck a patronizing tone as he noted "things get rough for the new guy on the trail" Paul Ryan, with "incoming fire on his own record and a not so warm welcome to the big leagues during his appearance today at the Iowa state fair."
In the report that followed, correspondent Peter Alexander seized on protestors showing up at a Ryan stump speech in the state: "Ryan campaigned on his first solo stop at the Iowa state fair, largely ignoring hecklers, several of whom rushed the stage."
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams eagerly touted ongoing trouble for the nation's largest breast cancer charity: "...the controversy involving the Susan G. Komen Foundation has soiled one of the great names and best-known brand names in all of charity....it was the symbol of the fight against breast cancer until controversy came along and Komen cut funds for Planned Parenthood, a decision it later reversed."
Williams noted how "senior leadership has given way" as "founder, Nancy Brinker, whose late sister was Susan G. Komen, is stepping down from her role as CEO." He wondered: "But will it be enough to restore faith and quiet the critics?" Correspondent Lisa Myers declared the move "was welcomed as much-needed change at Komen affiliates."
At no point in the segment was Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, described as controversial.
Still working hard to avoid mentioning an outrageous Obama super-PAC ad that basically accused Mitt Romney of being responsible for the cancer death of a woman, Thursday's NBC Nightly News had the gall to instead promote pro-Obama fluff, as anchor Brian Williams gushed: "Knowing a hot product when he sees one, the President today visited the U.S. Olympic training facility in Colorado."
Williams made sure to inform viewers that Obama "Promptly took his shoes off, got on the mat, and said his grandmother would be proud there were no holes in his socks."
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams gushed over a speech Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made on a trip to South Africa: "...she talked about the strength she received from Nelson Mandela back when she was first lady and the Clintons were under daily political attack."
Williams read a quote from Clinton: "I was beginning to get pretty hard inside. I was beginning to think, who do they think they are? What can I do to get even?" He then added: "She talked about Mandela's lesson of shedding bitterness and working toward reconciliation."
“On our broadcast tonight,” Brian Williams teased his lead story Wednesday night, “extreme heat, but more than that: the official confirmation that came today that it has never been this hot in America.” Citing a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report which pegged the average July temperature in the lower 48 at 77.6 degrees fahrenheit, Williams proceeded to hyperventilate over the “official word that arrived today that” July was “the hottest of all time since they started keeping records.”
Yet, as fill-in CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer noted in a short item deep in his newscast, the “previous record for a single month [was] 77.4 in July 1936 during the dust bowl.” [jpg]
It took NBC News nearly a week to mention Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's sleazy and unfounded charge that Mitt Romney failed to pay taxes, with chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd declaring on Nightly News Tuesday: "Reid has just as doggedly refused to divulge his source or back up his claim with documentation. And the White House has stood aside, letting the poisoned atmosphere fester."
By waiting five days to get around to the Democratic mud-slinging, NBC was able to diffuse the low-ball tactics as just another part of a contentious campaign season, with anchor Brian Williams announcing: "Also, getting personal in the race for president. Tonight what the candidates are now calling each other....the dialogue has become a bit less than presidential in the past few days."
Introducing a report on the ongoing civil war in Syria on Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams made sure to promote PR from the White House: "...the State Department and the Pentagon are now working together on plans for Syria after Assad, hoping to avoid the chaos they believe broke out because of the lack of planning for a post-Saddam Iraq." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
However, the report that followed by chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel seemed to undermine the notion of a well-planned U.S. strategy in Syria against the Assad regime: "A rebel commander with a hundred fighters in [the city of] Aleppo told us today if the rebels don't receive a massive influx of weapons within the next 72 hours, they'll have to give up the fight."
In a glowing tribute to radical left-wing commentator Gore Vidal on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams could barely contain his adoration for the "prolific writer" who was "unquestionably brilliant." Williams further gushed that Vidal, "got his larger wish in life, to be remembered as both a polemicist and a man of letters. One of the most active and agile minds of his generation."
Compare that fawning eulogy to the shots Williams took at conservative icon William F. Buckley, upon his death in 2008: "Buckley paid dearly for some of his words: His defense of Senator Joe McCarthy, his early views on race and remarks he made about AIDS, saying those with AIDS should be tattooed to prevent its spread."
On Aug. 1, CBS Evening News ignored the massive crowds that turned out that day at Chick-Fil-A restaurants around the nation in support of traditional marriage, free speech, or simply tasty fast food. ABC and NBC, by contrast, covered “Chick-Fil-AAppreciation Day” with full and surprisingly respectful reports on their evening newscasts.
The August 1 episode of CBS Evening News completely failed to mention the massive crowds at Chick-Fil-A restaurants across the country. And it’s not as though the network was unaware of it. CBSNews.com mentioned Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day (without providing video), reporter Stephanie Condon treated the event as an inside-the-beltway political affair, calling it a “rallying point for conservative pols.” The site also featured commentary from writer Erik Sherman, arguing that Chick-fil-A’s “brand perception” took a major hit because of Chick-Fil-A President Dan Cathy’s remarks.
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams smugly dismissed Mitt Romney's overseas trip as having, "ended today almost the way it started here in London, with controversy, some hurt feelings, and some raw tempers. Campaigning back home in the states is hard enough. The stakes weren't supposed to be this high for the campaign overseas." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Correspondent Peter Alexander followed: "...this trip has been supposed to be, according to his advisors, a low-risk one....But it was at times marred by missteps. Romney offending his Olympic hosts and Palestinian leaders."
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams read a short item noting the decision of Ohio Republican Congressman Steve LaTourette to retire from the House of Representatives this year, noting that he is "one of the last GOP moderates in Congress."
The NBC anchor also relayed LaTourette's complaint that "compromise has now become a dirty word."
Journalists are quite eager to undermine Mitt Romney’s trip. “A new diplomatic dust-up,” CBS anchor Scott Pelley teased Monday night, citing how “Mitt Romney in the Middle East says culture makes Israelis economically superior to Palestinians.” NBC’s Peter Alexander declared upsetting Palestinians meant Romney’s “day began in Israel with another diplomatic misstep” as ABC’s David Muir saw “another overseas controversy in a trip with missteps already.”
Muir also discovered, without citing any evidence, “fallout today from a question we asked Romney during our one-on-one last night on World News,” specifically Muir’s demand to know: “Was there ever any year when you paid lower than the 13.9 percent” income tax rate?
Only two minutes into Friday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Chris Jansing gushed over "sounds of unadulterated joy"at the opening of the 2012 Olympics and offered this bit of pro-Obama fluff: "From cheers for the torch making its way along the River Thames, to delighted children playing with First Soccer Mom Michelle Obama and superstar David Beckham."
Moments later, anchor Brian Williams continued the fawning: "It's the first time every nation has women athletes on the team. And for the first time on Team USA, the women outnumber the men, as they do in the work place and on college campuses in the U.S. So it's fitting the ranking ambassador from the U.S. is First Lady Michelle Obama..."
Sunday's CBS Evening News and the NBC Nightly News tried to spin negatively a vague statement by Mitt Romney advisor Dan Senor that the GOP presidential candidate would "respect" the Israeli government's decision if it chose to attack militarily Iran's nuclear capability, suggesting that the Romney campaign's words amounted to a criticism of the Obama administration, and thus a breach of protocol that American politicians in a foreign land should not criticize the U.S. government.
But the effort to paint the statement into a gaffe contrasts with the media silence in July 2008 when then-Senator Barack Obama, during a trip to Israel as he campaigned for the White House, claimed to be a member of a Senate committee on which he did not serve, in an effort to portray himself as tough on Iran, as he tried to take credit for the actions of the Senate Banking Committee.
Wrapping up an interview with Mitt Romney in London on Wednesday, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams asked about a potential vice presidential pick in the most obnoxious way possible: "So here's a Republican official familiar with your campaign selection process, told the folks at Politico you are looking for a, quote, 'incredibly boring white guy' for your vice presidential nominee. Can you confirm or deny?" Romney quipped back: "You told me you were not available." Williams replied: "Touche, Governor." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In an interview with Mitt Romney in London on Wednesday, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams grilled the Republican candidate about releasing more tax returns: "People hear he's not going to release the rest of his returns and they wonder why. They wonder, is there a year there where he paid no taxes? They wonder about expensive horses and houses....what is it that is preventing you from releasing the rest of your returns?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In another question designed to portray Romney as secretive, Williams quoted New York Times columnist David Brooks exclaiming: "[Romney] has an amazing personal story....He can't talk about it because it involves Mormonism. He is personally a decent guy. For some reason he's not willing to talk about it. He's a hidden man." Williams fretted: "Are you a hidden man?"
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."