During the 2012 presidential campaign, somehow each and every Republican presidential contender had a sink thrown at him (or her) via what reporters call “investigative journalism.” Every time a Republican rose in the polls, the media tried to knock him or her down, like a game of Whack-a-Mole.
The very last man standing was Mitt Romney, who didn’t receive the official “Gotcha!” from The Washington Post until May, with a 5,000-word opus on “Teenage Haircutgate.” That’s why it’s so strange that the national media would decide so early it was time for journalistic carpet bombing of the Great Squishy Northeastern Hope of 2016, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
While Matt Lauer worried that Robert Gates's criticism of President Obama was "dangerous or dishonorable" on Monday's NBC Today, when disgruntled ex-Bush administration officials wrote memoirs bashing the former president in 2004 and 2008, the network morning show happily cheered them on.
On January 13, 2004 – exactly ten years prior to Lauer's Monday interview with Gates – then-Today co-host Katie Couric hyped former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's attacks on President George W. Bush in a new tell-all: "I think if I can sort of try to assess your description, as policy having no process, kind of being put together willy-nilly. You do describe him as 'a blind man in a room full of deaf people.'"
During a live interview with former Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer suggested that criticism of President Obama in Gates's new memoir was endangering American troops overseas: "As this criticism is leveled by you in the book of the commander-in-chief, the acting commander-in-chief, at a time when some 40,000 U.S. troops are in harm's way, do you think that by calling him into question at this stage it is either dangerous or dishonorable?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After Gates rejected the notion, Lauer insisted: "But you don't think it undermines his credibility with the troops he is commander-in-chief of right now?" At the top of the show, Lauer teased the interview: "Robert Gates on his new memoir and his criticism of President Obama. Is it fair with U.S. troops still in harm's way?"
On Thursday's NBC Today, political director Chuck Todd reveled in the wall-to-wall media coverage of the bridge closing controversy surrounding New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: "Welcome to the NFL....he has gotten a lot of benefit by being sort of this Republican rising star in the New York City media markets, so he gets a lot of access to media attention, access to national media. And so he's had a free ride, if you will. Well now, welcome to the vetting process." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd's comments were prompted by co-host Matt Lauer declaring: "[Christie] is a political star for the Republican Party. He's now the head of the Republican Governor's Association, a lot of power there, so Democrats are gonna work this story for a long time." Todd replied: "Absolutely....Now that he's essentially shown interest in being a presidential candidate, this is what life is like. This is what happens when the bright lights start burning."
ABC, CBS, and NBC ballyhooed former Defense Secretary Robert Gates's attacks on President Obama and other high government officials on their Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning newscasts. NBC's Brian Williams and CBS's Norah O'Donnell also trumpeted the former Cabinet official's "devastating critique" of the President in his upcoming memoir. All three networks also played up Gates's self-identification as a Republican.
NBC's Today and CBS This Morning brought on former Obama administration officials on Wednesday morning. Both guests did their best to counter their former colleague. Matt Lauer touted David Axelrod's "important perspective" on the issue, and asked, "Did you get a sense that he was a guy who...was disgruntled in any way?" The CBS morning show turned to former chief of staff Bill Daley, who slammed Gates for going public: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer portrayed former Defense Secretary Robert Gates as an ungrateful and disgruntled ex-employee: "Blindsided. President Obama's former Defense Secretary Robert Gates takes on his old boss – the man who awarded him the Medal of Freedom – in a blistering new memoir. This morning, what may have made him turn?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed later, correspondent Andrea Mitchell fretted: "President Obama's decision to keep George Bush's defense secretary, a Republican, has now blown back on the White House." Like Lauer, she made sure to note how Obama had honored Gates: "Gates gave no hint of his resentment when he left the cabinet two years ago and President Obama awarded him the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor."
While interviewing openly gay U.S. women's hockey team player Caitlin Cahow on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer hoped for controversy during the games over Russia's "anti-gay laws": "[Openly gay former tennis player] Billy Jean King said that perhaps it is time for a 'John Carlos moment'....that moment in 1968 in Mexico City [Olympics] when [U.S. runners] John Carlos and Tommy Smith stood up and they gave the Black Power salute because they wanted to protest racial inequality. Would you be willing to be a part of some kind of a John Carlos moment in Sochi?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Cahow tried to tamp down Lauer's expectations: "Honestly I think that my John Carlos moment right now is going to Russia and being present and representing the United States. Like I said before, this delegation represents so much more than just LGBT diversity. We have a really remarkable diversity in the United States."
When Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a “slut” the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks went ballistic, making the conservative talk show host a centerpiece in their campaign to tarnish Mitt Romney and the GOP as engaging in a “war on women.” However when MSNBC’s Martin Bashir launched his own war on women against Sarah Palin, not a single anchor or reporter from the Big Three said a word about his vile attack.
In the two weeks (February 29, 2012 - March 14, 2012) after Limbaugh made his crude Fluke joke, that he apologized for, the Big Three networks aired a total of 32 stories or interview segments that were full of calls for Limbaugh to apologize to the liberal activist Fluke, to get advertisers to abandon the show and demand that Republicans condemn the talk show host. NBC, who employs Bashir, aired the most Limbaugh stories with 14. ABC and CBS each aired 9 stories a piece. The number of Big Three network stories in the two weeks (November 15, 2013 - November 29, 2013) after Bashir suggested that Palin would be an “outstanding candidate” for excretory punishments? Zero. The hypocrisy from the supposed civility cops in the liberal media is stunning.
An NBC producer is sure going to have some splainin’ to do after the production gaffe that occurred during Thursday’s coverage of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
With Today cooking expert Sandra Lee on screen waving to the crowd aboard the Tom Turkey float, Matt Lauer said, “With its wings flappin', eyes rollin', and head bobbin', this old bird is grateful to be 'The one that got away'” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
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?"
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer declared that President Obama "apologized" for ObamaCare failures, "not only the issues with the website, but broken promises as well." Turning to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Lauer hoped Obama's vague statement of regret was the end of the story: "Did he say what he had to say?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Palin shot down Lauer's assertion that the President had taken responsibility for the disastrous health care rollout: "What apology? What apology? He kind of acknowledged a bit that there is a broken website. The broken website is the least of America's worries. This broken website, I think, is symbolic of a broken administration – takeover of 1/6 of our economy and this socialized medicine that's being crammed down our throat, that's what's broken."
Touting chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd's exclusive interview with President Obama on Thursday, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams proclaimed: "We are all about to hear the President of the United States apologize, and not just for the troubled rollout of this new health care website, but for the fact that his promise to the American people that 'If they like their current health insurance, they can keep it,' has not held true for all." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, Todd sympathetically observed: "...the President's apparent broken promise about folks keeping the plans they like has been weighing heavily on the entire White House. So it was a chastened commander-in-chief that I spoke with earlier today."
ABC on Wednesday and Thursday managed a mere 21 seconds total for the latest revelations about the botched ObamaCare rollout, minimizing the grilling that Kathleen Sebelius took before Congress and the resignation of one of the people behind the website. Instead, Good Morning America focused on deeply irrelevant topics such as promoting "Thor's leading lady," star Natalie Portman. In comparison to ObamaCare, the actress appeared for over three minutes on Thursday.
NBC's Today also yawned at the resignation of Tony Trenkle, the chief information officer at HealthCare.gov. Wednesday's Nightly News featured the testimony of Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius for two minutes and 20 seconds. In contrast to ABC, which featured no clips of Sebelius's appearance, NBC included Republican senators such as John Thune, deriding, "This is a dishonesty. You've been misleading the American people!" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The three morning shows on Wednesday announced that a "crushing victory" for Chris Christie in New Jersey will force the Republican Party to "move to the middle" against Tea Party "firebrands." According to CBS This Morning's Chip Reid, Christie hoped for a big win to "show that Republicans who favor consensus over ideological purity can win – even in blue states like New Jersey." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Co-host Charlie Rose opened the show by lecturing, "A move to the middle – the results from two high-profile elections have national implications." For the election in Virginia, Reid somehow said of the liberal Terry Mcauliffe's victory: "That theme of bipartisanship was echoed in Virginia."
While NBC political director Chuck Todd appeared on Thursday's Today to report on President Obama's approval rating hitting a "record low" in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll following the failed ObamaCare rollout, he made sure to wrap up the segment by touting disaster for the GOP: "Things are so bad for them....Once again in our poll, the Republican Party had a new low in their personal rating, their brand rating. They had another low in their approval rating on Capitol Hill....As bad as things are for the President, they're still worse for the Republicans." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Matt Lauer teed up Todd to tear down them down: "...see how Republicans are faring in this latest poll. They're the ones who shut down the government." Todd agreed with that assertion: "They are."
ABC and NBC journalists on Wednesday and Thursday hailed Kathleen Sebelius as "falling on her sword" and "taking responsibility" for the ObamaCare website debacle. On World News, reporter Jim Avila complained about the Sebelius grilling as a "rude grandstand" and a "three hour circus of a congressional hearing." He dismissed it as "official finger pointing day on Capitol Hill."
Yet, on Thursday, Avila sympathized with the Democratic Health and Human Services secretary, praising, "...The woman in charge of the Affordable Care Act fell on her sword with her first full-throated apology." The Obama official "was reluctant to pass the buck, even when pressed." Over on NBC's Today, host Matt Lauer gushed, "Kathleen Sebelius went before Congress yesterday and she did something you don't see happen in Washington very often, she took the blame." [Video of both morning shows below. MP3 audio here.]
During an interview with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie marking the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer seized the opportunity to tout Christie slamming fellow Republicans over federal relief efforts: "You said, quote, 'There's only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims, the House majority and their Speaker, John Boehner.' You said, 'They used the citizens of this country like pawns on a chess board, placed politics above the oaths to our citizens.' Some of the other terms, 'callous indifference,' 'selfishness,' 'duplicity.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer then used Christie's past criticism to scold the House GOP over the government shutdown: "You just made the rounds in Congress during the government shutdown. After a year, do you think that same group has learned lessons or is it the status quo?"
As the government shutdown was nearing it's end Wednesday evening, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams conducted a live interview with John McCain, urging the Arizona Senator to slam fellow Republicans over the budget showdown: "Senator, let's talk about the damage in order, to the country, to your party, your profession, and how much of this do you lay at the feet of Senator Cruz from Texas?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
McCain began by noting political damage for both parties in the wake of the stalemate but then quickly obliged Williams, launching into an rant against conservatives in Congress: "The problem with their strategy was that it was a fool's errand. We were not going to de-fund ObamaCare. That's why we had an election in 2012. That's part of what that was all about. So it was a terrific mistake. We inflicted pain on the American people that was totally unnecessary....We Republicans have a hole that we've got to come out of."
Touting the results of an NBC News/Esquire magazine survey on Tuesday's NBC Today of the supposed political center in America, fill-in co-host Tamron Hall proclaimed: "Interesting note, we asked the middle who they trust, guys, the most. And the answer is President Obama, Oprah Winfrey. The most trusted people according to those who fall in the middle." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In response to the finding, co-host Matt Lauer turned to his fellow co-hosts and remarked: "Sorry about that, guys." Savannah Guthrie replied: "Oh, what, you thought we were in the running?" That prompted laughter from the group of journalists. Weatherman Al Roker added: "Yeah, I didn't think that was coming up." He then joked that Obama could run for a third term with Oprah as his running mate: "There's the ticket for 2016."
On Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer wrung his hands over Congress, particularly Republicans, not yet reaching a budget deal to end the government shutdown: "...the Tea Party seems very much dug in here. Both sides seem dug in." Chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd responded by removing the criticism of "both sides": "You're right, the Tea Party side of this is dug in." [Watch the video after the jump]
Despite them being so "dug in," Todd hoped for "good news" of Republican surrender: "House Republicans, they seem to be dropping the health care thing. The question is whether the Tea Party folks will be okay with that. I don't think they will, but it does feel like the leadership of the Republican Party is trying to get away from it. And if they do, then we'll actually see an end game here."
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams sneered that the government shutdown was "being driven by a committed core of Republican members of Congress who are all but assured of re-election in their districts, and just can't be conservative enough for many of the folks back home." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd joined Williams in blaming the GOP for the budget showdown: "You know, these Tea Party conservatives helped propel Republicans to take control of the House in 2010. And these conservatives, they are the engine behind this current standoff now."
In an interview with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer urged Republicans to abandon their opposition to ObamaCare in order to avoid a government shutdown: "By the latest count, there have been something like 40 efforts in the House to either get rid of ObamaCare or defund it. And yet, as John McCain said last week...'We lost that fight.' The Supreme Court has upheld ObamaCare as constitutional. Do you think the Republicans should move on?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
O'Reilly flatly rejected the idea: "No. It's a bad deal for the folks. That's absurd, why would they move on?" Lauer interjected: "It's law of the land, though." O'Reilly continued: "They can tweak it and make it better. Right now it's hurting the economy. Doctors say they're going to quit. Nobody knows what they're gonna pay."
On Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie noted an offensive tweet by one Russian lawmaker reacting to Monday's Navy Yard shooting in Washington D.C.: "After those terrible shootings in Washington yesterday...he tweeted that the tragedy was, quote, 'A clear confirmation of American exceptionalism.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Guthrie explained the comment was a "not-so-subtle reference to Vladimir Putin's op-ed in TheNew York Times last week" and concluded: "Now this Russian lawmaker has followed up with a tweet that I really think is in some pretty poor taste." Fellow co-host Matt Lauer agreed: "You want to score political points, that's one thing. 12 people get killed, you shut up. You just shut up."
In an interview on Tuesday's NBC Today with Dr. Janis Orlowski, chief medical officer for Medstar Washington Hospital Center, co-host Matt Lauer seized on her call for an end to gun violence following Monday's Navy Yard shooting as a demand for gun restrictions: "You say you didn't want to wade into the issue of gun control and yet your comments are resonating with people..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Though Orlowski never specifically mentioned gun control, Lauer fretted: "...but we also heard emotional comments after Newtown and Aurora, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Are you worried that your comments will be soon forgotten, as it seems some of those other comments have been forgotten?"
NBC's Today behaved like the White House press office on Thursday as co-host Matt Lauer announced: "By the way, the White House is coming out with a brand new initiative today and the First Lady, Michelle Obama, sent us a special message about it. Take a look." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the White House-produced video that followed, the First Lady declared: "Hello Today show viewers....I'm working to inspire Americans from all across the country to drink more water. That's why I've stolen Matt and Savannah's mugs and exchanged them with water glasses. Water is the best and easiest choice we can make to feel energized, focused, healthy, and refreshed....So drink up."
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer and chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd engaged in a strategy session over how President Obama could minimize any political damage from Congress voting down a strike on Syria. Lauer fretted: "Is there an escape hatch for the President? Is there a way for him to save face politically if this vote goes against him?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer's concern was prompted by Todd observing: "[The White House is] very concerned, Matt, because it's not just that they believe they need Congress on this and they want to punish Assad and all of the Syria policy, but they realize a loss like this could be politically crippling to him [Obama] all over Washington on all the different battles that he's got coming in the next six months."
During a panel discussion on Thursday's NBC Today about comments from Pope Francis on homosexuality, co-host Matt Lauer asked the group of usual liberal pundits if the Pontiff's remarks were a "watershed moment for gays in the Church" or "just a very minor shift." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Advertising executive Donny Deutsch cheered: "I think it was a watershed moment. I think we're seeing a moment in time from the Catholic Church, all across what's happening in this country with laws being passed, that the gay lifestyle is finally becoming like, 'Yeah, so what?'"
ABC and NBC on Thursday continued to fret over the implications the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal will have on Hillary Clinton. Today's Matt Lauer worried, "By association, does this do damage to Hillary Clinton?" Over on Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton campaign operative, pointed out that Weiner refused to leave the race "even as another supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton come forward, urging him to drop out."
Who was the "supporter" that Stephanopoulos mentioned? The host's friend and fellow Clinton aide, James Carville. In a clip, Carville lectured, "If I were working [the Weiner] campaign, would I probably say, 'look, I just can't take this anymore and resign?' Yes." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The fact that Stephanopoulos and Carville defended Clinton through multiple sex scandals went unmentioned.
At the top of Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams seized on Pope Francis expressing compassion toward gay people of faith and framed the comments as a major shift for the Catholic Church: "Making history. We're on the Pope's plane as he makes some stunning comments that sure sounded revolutionary..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Later introducing a report on the topic, Williams proclaimed: "To the journalists sitting in the back of his plane flying him back to the Vatican from Rio, the Pope's words today during a surprise airborne news conference seemed, if not revolutionary, certainly newsworthy and historic in terms of the Catholic Church."