After Friday's World News on ABC ignored the White House report on the infamous problems with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Saturday's Good Morning America on ABC also ignored the scandal, while CBS This Morning Saturday and NBC's Today show -- both of which are two-hour programs - only ran short briefs, the one on CBS totaling 25 seconds and the one on NBC 19 seconds.
By contrast, the CBS Evening News on Friday led with the V.A. story and gave it a full report of more than two minutes. The NBC Nightly News, after initially giving the story 24 seconds on Friday, followed up Saturday evening and presented viewers a full report of almost two and a half minutes, making it the second story both evenings.
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams seized on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office revoking the trademark of the Washington Redskins as part of the liberal crusade to force the team to change it's name: "Taking a hit. The feds go after the Redskins where it hurts the most, money from team merchandise, as the controversy over the team's name takes a surprise turn." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing the later report, Williams proclaimed: "The pressure just increased on the Washington Redskins to change their team name. Starting with the fact that they may no longer have the exclusive use of their own name in the lucrative business of NFL merchandise." Correspondent Kristen Welker touted the government abuse of power as "A victory for Native Americans who say the name should go, calling it just as racist as the 'N' word."
The United States negotiated the release of five Afghan prisoners at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for the Taliban freeing an American sergeant from captivity yet President Obama may have violated U.S. law by failing to notify Congress of his actions.
Despite the potential legal problems with releasing prisoners without notifying Congress, NBC Nightly News was the only evening news program on Saturday, May 31 to mention the controversy or the GOP's criticism. [See video below.]
In an apparent effort to help bolster Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign and her advocacy for revamping the menu of the nation's public school cafeterias, NBC's Today show plugged the first lady's May 29 New York Times op-ed on the subject.
The peacock network hailed Mrs. Obama as one who typically avoids playing politics, but who has courageously decided to step in and make her voice heard on this issue, taking on Republicans who oppose her fight to make America's kids thinner and healthier.
Eight months before the 2006 midterm election, President Bush made a “surprise” visit to Afghanistan. On the March 1, 2006 edition of the Today show, hosts Katie Couric and Matt Lauer made sure to paint Bush’s visit as a publicity stunt due to his approval rating being at an “all-time low” and the controversy surrounding a bid by a United Arab Emirates-based company to run operations at various U.S. seaports. Couric touted it as an “important symbol.” Kelly O’Donnell cited the visit with all its baggage as a “difficult stretch for the president.”
At the time, the network insisted their viewers be absolutely clear about the president’s approval rating and scandals bedeviling his administration back at home. Not only that, Today's coverage included a guest who argued that it was simply impossible to “divorce how the war is going with the perception of how President Bush is doing as president.”
At the top of Saturday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt proclaimed: "Abortion battleground. The newest state to impose tougher requirements on doctors who perform the procedure. Protecting women or denying them access?" In another tease of the upcoming story minutes later, Holt warned: "...the battle over abortion and a controversial new law about to take effect." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Kristen Welker revealed the supposed threat to the abortion agenda: "The legislation requires doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges to a hospital within thirty miles of where the procedure takes place. That change could force three of the state's five abortion clinics to close."
First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to students at Peking University in China over the weekend and spoke of the need for China to limit its censorship of information and controlling access to the Internet.
Despite both ABC and NBC hyping Mrs. Obama’s “strong message” about the need for an open Internet in China, both networks skipped the irony of the White House not allowing American press to travel with the First Lady to China. Instead, ABC promoted how Obama decided to tackle “hot-button issues” as “she’s making headlines over what she said about the Internet.”
Journalists and networks hyped the so-called Republican "war on women" during the 2012 election. But ABC and CBS on Wednesday skipped the claim that liberal Congressman Alan Grayson committed domestic abuse against his estranged wife. Only Today show journalist Kristen Welker on Wednesday revealed, "Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson is denying allegations that he shoved his wife, Lolita Grayson." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
She continued, "According to court documents filed Monday and obtained by the Orlando Sentinel, Ms. Grayson accused her husband of showing up at her Florida home unannounced over the weekend and then deliberately and with force pushed her very hard against the door, causing her to fall to the ground." CBS This Morning and ABC's Good Morning America ignored the accusations. Tuesday night's evening newscasts did as well.
First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated her 50th birthday on Saturday night, and NBC and ABC couldn’t hold back their excitement during their Sunday morning broadcasts. The two networks both offered full reports as they cheered on the First Lady at the “country’s most exclusive dance party.”
ABC’s Susan Saulny began her report and called The White House “party central” and beamed at the long-list of liberal celebrities who attended the birthday bash. Co-host Bianna Golodryga lamented, “We weren’t invited to this but I’m not offended.”
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..."
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."
As Kyle Drennen noted today, NBC political analysts and reporters like Chuck Todd deny that the Republican Party looks any better right now than they did after the government shutdown ended in mid-October.
No one at NBC is noticing that the latest CNN/ORC poll showed Republicans leading Democrats in the generic congressional ballot by five, 49 to 44 percent. Even the First Read political blog at NBCNews.com doesn't have a whisper of it. Other non-CNN networks covered it. On Weekend Edition Saturday on the morning of December 28, NPR political analyst Ron Elving wasn't avoiding that poll:
How much do you need to know about a subject before expressing a strong opinion during a panel on MSNBC? Apparently very little, as Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart took part in a Monday afternoon discussion on the future of the Washington Redskins National Football League team since coach Mike Shanahan had just been fired.
Kristen Welker -- fill-in host for that weekday's edition of Andrea Mitchell Reports -- asked: “Are the Redskins stronger moving forward without Shanahan?” Capehart replied: “You’re asking the wrong guy here. I don’t know anything about football.” Instead, he turned to a liberal talking point: “But this much I do know: The name of the football team, personally speaking, is an abomination and that they should change it.”
Something absolutely marvelous happened on MSNBC Thursday that could have only been a better Christmas gift to those fighting liberal media bias if the host at the time had been a more prominent person on that so-called “news network.”
When MSNBC Live substitute host Kristen Welker scolded the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald for appearing to always be defending NSA leaker Edward Snowden, Greenwald marvelously shot back, “I do defend him just like people on MSNBC defend President Obama and his officials and Democratic Party leaders 24 hours a day” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
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."
Teasing an upcoming story on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer fretted over "the emotional debate ignited by a Fox News anchor over Santa's true race," referring to FNC host Megyn Kelly saying that Santa Claus is white. Minutes later, news reader Natalie Morales promoted the same segment by proclaiming: "Why St. Nick has suddenly become the most controversial figure of the season." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Kristen Welker declared: "This debate is focused on Santa Claus, but really it's about a much larger issue in this country – the issue of race. And it all started when a popular cable news anchor declared Santa is white....Words that got her on the naughty list of some news organizations, pundits, and late-night comedians."
In an interview with Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn on Wednesday's MSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports, fill-in host and NBC White House correspondent Kristen Welker desperately attempted to blame Republicans for the disastrous ObamaCare website rollout: "Congress repeatedly refused to authorize requests by the Obama administration for additional funding for the rollout of the health care law. Administration officials say that funding potentially could have made a difference. So does Congress, do your colleagues bear any responsibility for this rocky rollout for refusing that funding?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Blackburn easily dismissed the absurd notion with a fact check: "I would remind you that most website developers say an aggregator website, such as what healthcare.gov is, could be built easily for a half a million dollars. They have spent a half a billion dollars."
A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll produced a finding that must have delighted the entire NBC staff. The poll found that 53 percent of Americans blame congressional Republicans for the current government shutdown, while 31 percent blame President Obama. For the record, 13 percent said both were equally to blame. The pollsters did not allow respondents to blame Democrats in Congress.
This may have been one finding from a survey of only 800 adults in a nation of more than 300 million people, but MSNBC weekend anchor Alex Witt and her correspondents were so thrilled with the result that they repeated it nine times over three hours of Weekends with Alex Witt on Saturday. [See video below the break.]
This weekend’s editions of NBC’s Today show did their best to drive home the message that Republicans would be to blame for the government shutdown that went into effect last night. On Saturday’s Today, CNBC’s John Harwood showed up to analyze the situation. The chief Washington correspondent did not mince words as he told anchor Erica Hill who would be responsible for the oncoming shutdown:
“There is no doubt that if we have a shutdown, Republicans are going to get blamed for it for the simple fact that the whole country will see that this is a shutdown brought on by the Republican Party. Democrats are not making any demands, Erica. The only people making demands here are Republicans.” So I guess requiring every American to purchase health insurance or pay a fine doesn’t count as a demand? [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
At the end of Monday's Andrea Mitchell Reports, fill-in host Kristen Welker teed up a taped congratulatory message of Mitchell marking the fifth anniversary of Rachel Maddow's left-wing MSNBC show: "It is a very special day here at MSNBC. Five years ago, The Rachel Maddow Show made its debut. Rachel, congratulations from all of us. And Andrea, even though she's on the road, wanted to be sure to send along her good wishes to her dear friend." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Mitchell gushed to Maddow: "Rachel, my friend, happy fifth anniversary. This is a big deal, so we put together a small tribute here. Some of our favorite Rachel Maddow moments. Enjoy and congratulations to you and your team for the next five, and five more after that." As the clips began to run, the song "Simply the Best" provided a soundtrack.
In a puff piece on Wednesday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Kristen Welker heralded President Obama's upcoming speech marking the anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech: "President Obama has delivered a number of big speeches before, but this one is different. He'll be speaking in the shadows of Dr. King, a man who gave his life fighting for civil rights. So, today, the stakes couldn't be higher." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Only Obama's fellow liberals were given sound bites throughout the report that sounded more like a press release. First, White House aide Valerie Jarrett declared: "Are comparisons inevitable? Sure. But I think he's looking forward to the opportunity....I think, as the original speech was about not just civil rights but it was about jobs, and so I think he'll talk about that, and I think it'll also be a message to the next generation."
The journalists at Good Morning America on Wednesday could barely contain themselves, hailing the compromise over gun control legislation as a "major," "big, significant breakthrough." Guest host Elizabeth Vargas marveled, "Boy, is that big news."
Yet, the reporters on NBC offered less effusive coverage. Today's Kristen Welker conceded, "Democrats had been hoping for background checks to be universal. They didn't get that. This is going to be a pared down, watered down version of background checks." She asserted, "The deal is far less than the President was hoping for." In contrast, ABC's Jon Karl promoted, "And it is a big, significant breakthrough. It doesn't get you all the way there, but it gets you a long way there." Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos trumpeted, "Looks like a major breakthrough."
On Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie heralded that Connecticut had "approved some of the tightest gun control legislation in the country as President Obama is pushing for tougher laws nationwide." The headline on screen proclaimed: "Tough New State Gun Laws; Connecticut Governor to Sign Sweeping Gun Control Bill."
In the report that followed, White House correspondent Kristen Welker touted President Obama's cross-country trip "aimed at campaigning for stiffer gun laws," but lamented that such legislation was "virtually stalled in Congress." She then optimistically declared: "It's a different story in the states in the wake of the Newtown tragedy. This morning, the Connecticut state legislature passed some of the toughest gun laws in the nation, expanding background checks and adding 100 guns to the list of banned assault weapons."
On Tuesday's NBC Today, news reader Natalie Morales warned viewers: "With a potential government shutdown looming later on this month, the White House may have to cancel its annual Easter Egg Roll." In the report that followed, White House correspondent Kristen Welker added that the "event might be in jeopardy....due to the ongoing budget battles here in Washington." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While Welker simply repeated administration talking points without skepticism, she completely ignored the fact that just days ago, during a Fox News interview on March 15, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney testily told anchor Jenna Lee that while tours of the executive mansion had been cancelled, the Easter Egg Roll was safe: "Well actually, Jenna, again, if you did a little reporting...it's paid for by the sale of those eggs that come out, as well as from donations on the outside, so it's a totally different budget. These are apples and oranges."
The Today show on Thursday allowed a scant 16 seconds, out of a possible four hours, to the claim by veteran journalist Bob Woodward that the Obama White House is trying to intimidate him and attack his coverage of the sequester cuts. The NBC program also avoided using the word "threat."
ABC's Good Morning America gave the most coverage to the battle, offering a full report and a news brief. [See video below. MP3 audio here.] CBS This Morning covered the story as part of a bigger report on the looming cuts. On Today, reporter Kristen Welker blandly explained, "As a backdrop to all of this, veteran reporter Bob Woodward is telling reporters that the White House is lashing out at him for writing an article which claimed that the sequester was all President Obama's idea." She then helpfully presented the President's case: "The White House has made the point that Republicans overwhelmingly supported the plan as well." This was the extent of Today's coverage.
In a report on Tuesday's NBC Today that only briefly mentioned criticism of First Lady Michelle Obama's appearance during Sunday's Academy Awards, White House correspondent Kristen Welker gushed that people were "still buzzing" over the "Oscar finale that no one saw coming."
Welker described Obama's recent "media blitz": "The First Lady has been popping up all over the place lately, on Jimmy Fallon, sharing a moment with Big Bird...And talking hairdos with Rachel Ray." Welker then cited New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor seeing it as "all a part of a carefully crafted PR plan." A sound bite of Kantor followed: "It's almost as if her real strategy is a kind of charm offensive that is then intended to build support for her husband's initiatives."
NBC continued to sound the alarm over the impending sequester on Saturday’s Today show. On a day when the CBS and ABC morning shows questioned how bad the cuts would really be, NBC ran a highly unbalanced story that mostly propagated President Obama’s doomsday scenario. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Co-anchor Lester Holt set the scene with a dire metaphor: “There's a storm of another kind brewing in Washington today. We're less than a week now away from mandatory government spending cuts going into effect.” The story, presented by White House correspondent Kristen Welker, went on to focus almost entirely on Obama’s warnings from his most recent weekly address. Welker played a clip from that address in which the president attacked Congress for failing to compromise. She also featured a sound bite of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood warning of delayed commercial flights.
As the nation moves closer to the sequester, set to take effect on March 1, NBC is digging in its heels in opposition. On Saturday’s Today, the network ran a story that leaned heavily against the looming automatic spending cuts (surprise, surprise). NBC aimed right for the heart strings by featuring a Colorado high school counselor who had the following “message for Congress”: “At the time when we are looking at ways to keep our schools safer, these across-the-board cuts would impact those positions and those people who keep our schools safe.”
Very clever. It appears NBC is using the gun issue to try and persuade conservatives to give up on the sequester, which would cut spending by $85 billion and greatly help reduce the federal deficit. But NBC, like the president, is uninterested in deficit reduction through spending cuts. [Video after the jump. MP3 audio here.]
Marking Hillary Clinton's final day as Secretary of State on Friday's NBC Nightly News, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell gushed: "Clinton's State Department farewell was bittersweet. She took time to tour the building, saying goodbye to cafeteria workers....[her] departure had the energy of a campaign rally. As she left, some women were shouting, '2016.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Saturday's Today, White House correspondent Kristen Welker continued the lovefest, proclaiming that Clinton was "starting a new chapter in her storied life," and noting: "Her journey to secretary of state was somewhat improbable. From the White House's first lady, to the Senate, to a tough campaign against her now-former boss."
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, White House correspondent Kristen Welker touted President Obama gearing up for his second term: "An invigorated President Obama joined in a prayer service this morning....On Monday, resolve, defending entitlements and calling for action on climate change and gay rights, a broad liberal agenda."
Welker then heralded Obama appeasing the Democratic base in his inaugural address: "The President, once criticized by his own party's left for caving into Republicans, seemed emboldened by his reelection and ready for a fight." A sound bite followed of Time's Michael Duffy happily declaring: "Yesterday's speech at the Capitol was not about bipartisanship. It was about the agenda that Barack Obama, a Democrat, the direction he wants to take the country. Republicans can come along if they'd like."