Following the death of New Jersey Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg on Monday, Tuesday's NBC Today immediately began speculating on his replacement and the potential fallout for Chris Christie, with co-host Matt Lauer announcing it to be a "dilemma" and "political hot potato" for the Republican governor. The headline on screen read: "Lautenberg Seat Poses Political Problem." [Watch the video after the jump]
Lauer proclaimed: "I think the New York Times summed it up pretty well...Normally a governor would love to have this opportunity...but there's a lot of personal political risk for Chris Christie." Political director Chuck Todd agreed: "There is...any time you introduce a new factor into all of this, is always unsettling. Chris Christie is on the verge of getting a whole bunch of bipartisan support, Democrats crossing the aisle...So this is now actually a lot trickier than it should be."
Talking to CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer on Wednesday's NBC Today about signs of improvement in the economy, co-host Matt Lauer wondered about past media fearmongering: "[What] we talked about over and over again over the last year was the sequester and whether it would pour a lot of cold water over our recovery here. Has that happened?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Cramer replied: "No, it didn't. It didn't even hurt the defense stocks, those are the hottest stocks there is. So the stock market is terrific, housing's good, spending is going to increase. Things are going to get better."
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer seized on Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's decision not to seek re-election in 2014: "Breaking news. A bombshell announcement from Michele Bachmann. The Tea Party favorite says she won't seek another term in Congress....But with a swirl of controversy surrounding her, will that future include politics?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos responded to the news by fretting that Bachmann not being in Congress "takes away a big target for Democrats." Correspondent Jon Karl agreed: "Oh, that's right, George. For some Democrats, Michele Bachmann was, really, target number one. She was the most high-profile and controversial leader of the Tea Party in the Congress."
In an interview with Chris Christie on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer grilled the New Jersey Governor on his skepticism that man-made climate change caused Superstorm Sandy: "You said you don't think there's been any proof thus far that Sandy was caused by climate change. Several experts I've heard from say the destruction, though, from Sandy, was probably more severe because of elements of climate change, including rising sea levels." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer began to ask: "Are you not willing to say that's from-" Christie cut him off: "No, I'm not....this is their business, they study it, and they say, 'probably,' 'maybe.' All I said was, I haven't been shown any definitive proof yet that that's what caused it. And this is just – listen, this is distraction. I've got a place to rebuild here and people want to talk to me about esoteric theories."
In an interview with Congressman Tom Cole on Wednesday's NBC Today about the tornado that devastated his hometown of Moore, Oklahoma, co-host Matt Lauer saw an opportunity to hit congressional Republicans for daring to oppose pork barrel spending shoved into the Hurricane Sandy relief bill: "Back in January, you did something that a lot of your Republican colleagues did not do. You supported that bill for federal assistance, money for the victims of Hurricane Sandy." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In an interview with former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer tried to dismiss the growing Benghazi scandal: "Do you think that the administration has answered enough questions on it? Do you think it's possible that some Republicans are trying to use this to discredit Hillary Clinton in case she decides to run for president in 2016?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Rumsfeld replied: "No. I think that's a side – that's the sideshow, is the Hillary Clinton piece of it. No, the first problem was if you're going to put people at risk, you have to try to protect them....And the Americans were left in and they weren't provided the kind of security that they needed, obviously, because they're dead."
Teasing an upcoming panel discussion on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer proclaimed: "Today's Professionals are going to weigh in on what could be a game changer in the gun debate, a plastic pistol undetectable by most security systems that almost anyone can make at home using some modern technology." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Fretting over details being released on how to construct the weapon using a 3D printer, Lauer posed this questions to the usual group of liberal pundits: "What do we do about it?" Attorney Star Jones admitted that there wasn't much that could be done under existing law, "other than really step up our efforts at gun control....if you make the behavior, the penalty for the behavior, the possession of a gun, no matter how it's manufactured, much more stringent."
Appearing for his regular "Miller Time" segment on FNC's The O'Reilly Factor on Tuesday, comedian Dennis Miller denounced former Vice President Al Gore as a "detestable cat" and "a phony," as he recommended that "everybody should shun Al Gore" after he sold Current TV to Al-Jazeera.
After host Bill O'Reilly joked that Gore was a "personal friend' of Miller's, the comedian made a point of denying any friendship with the former Vice President as he began his response:
Amid the celebration on Tuesday's NBC Today over the "groundbreaking" "game changer" announcement by NBA player Jason Collins that he is gay, co-host Matt Lauer brought on liberal New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica, who ranted: "I hope that the league of old men and women on the Supreme Court are paying attention to this....Because same-sex marriage and the constitutionality is now going to be heard....This is a human rights issue, it's not a civil rights issue." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Moments later, after Lauer wondered about the possibility of other players coming out, Lupica proclaimed: "Women have been doing this in sports for a long time. And women have been more accepting about this. And it just kind of verifies that women are a lot smarter and cooler about this stuff and I'm hoping that that transfers now to guys."
At the beginning of a live interview with former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer wondered about the motivation behind Bush's presidential library: "So many difficult moments, so many controversial decisions you made. Some of them cost you dearly in terms of popularity. Is one of the ideas here...to force your critics to take a second look?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
As the three of them toured the museum, Lauer highlighted an exhibit on the war on terror and noted how "it includes what was perhaps the most controversial decision of your presidency, invading Iraq." Lauer wondered: "Do you want people to look at some of the information you had, and do you think you'll convince the people who thought that was an unjust war, the wrong war at the wrong time, that perhaps you were right?"
ABC managed to take a book full of juicy gossip about the morning show wars and ignore all the interesting information. Good Morning America's Dan Harris on Tuesday talked to Brian Stelter, author of Top of the Morning. Yet, Harris spent more time talking about the rise of Stelter, offering such dull questions of the author as "Do you ever sleep?" and "What made you pick this subject for your book?"
Perhaps Harris didn't want to talk about how Stelter quoted an NBC executive deriding the "the crap on ‘G.M.A.'" In the book, the writer condescendingly described the ABC program: "The cast was more bubbly and the stories more gossip-laden. And short: If you didn't like what they were covering, you could just wait 45 seconds and the cast would be on to a Chihuahua playing pool." Harris made no mention of the upheaval at NBC after Ann Curry's removal from the Today show.
During a segment on Friday's NBC Today that suggested a "turning point for gun laws," co-host Matt Lauer declared: "Big story in Washington this morning, the Senate agreeing to move forward with the first major gun control legislation in decades, this after more Republicans than expected agreed to debate a proposal on new federal background checks for gun purchases."
Meet the Press moderator David Gregory proclaimed: "...the feeling among Republicans was, 'Don't stop the debate. That would be political suicide for Republicans to not let the debate go forward.'"
On Thursday's NBC Today, political director Chuck Todd urged Republicans to back gun restrictions or risk alienation from female voters: "Look at the massive gender gap....65% of women want stricter gun laws, 44% of men. So if you make the argument to Republicans...if you want to continue to have problems with women voters, don't deal with this gun issue. If you want to start trying to win over suburban women, maybe you need to tackle it." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Tuesday's World News and Wednesday's Good Morning Ameica, ABC's George Stephanopoulos and Jim Avila ballyhooed far-left magazine Mother Jones's secretly-recorded audio recording of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's strategy meeting with political advisers about potential opponent Ashley Judd. Stephanopoulos touted the "startling secret tape revealing how the Senate's top Republican was planning to go after...Judd if she ran against him."
Avila played up McConnell's apparent "cutthroat attack on a Hollywood opponent" and the Republican's "private and politically-embarrassing strategy session", all the while omitting left-of-center ideology of the publication that released the audio clip and minimizing the possible illegality of its recording.
Leading a panel discussion on Tuesday's NBC Today about the possibility of a professional athlete coming out as gay, frustrated co-host Matt Lauer implored: "It's interesting that in 2013, with attitudes towards homosexuality changing so dramatically in this country, there isn't a single major athlete in a major professional sport playing right now who has come out and said, 'I'm gay.' Why is that?...What is it going to take to change that and have someone come out and say it?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer made the same plea on Friday, lamenting that the unwillingness of athletes to announce their sexuality to world "says something about the times we're living in."
Following an one-sided report on Monday's NBC Today about the push for more gun restrictions, which touted Democratic Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy dismissing the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre as a "clown at the circus," co-host Matt Lauer lamented: "There does seem to be a disconnect...90% of the Americans, when asked about expanding background checks say, 'Yes, we're in favor of that.' And yet, if you look at the prospects for doing it in Congress, they don't seem all that positive." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
White House correspondent Peter Alexander responded by informing Lauer: "Yeah, Matt, that's very much the White House's argument, a point that the White House, President Obama will make again this afternoon in Connecticut."
On Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer accused American society of being intolerant of gay athletes: "There are no openly gay players, but there are lots of gay athletes in major sports, and the fact that they still feel as if they'll be ostracized if they come out is – says something about the times we're living in." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer made the comment in reaction to a story about the son of former basketball star Magic Johnson coming out as gay. In that report, Willie Geist proclaimed: "Magic has been a champion of causes within the gay and lesbian community for decades....with the support of such a beloved icon, there is renewed hope that this will help break the taboo of open sexuality in the sports world....There remain no openly gay players in any of the major professional team sports. But Magic said in that interview yesterday he expects that to change and soon."
There sure are a lot of rumors flying around about Anderson Cooper.
After Deadline's Nellie Andreeva reported Tuesday that CNN was considering giving him a new show with - perish the thought! - vulgar comedienne Kathy Griffin, Andreeva also reported that NBC is thinking of replacing Today show anchor Matt Lauer with Cooper.
During a panel discussion on Tuesday's NBC Today, guest panelist Carson Daly, host of The Voice, ranted over the Supreme Court's upcoming ruling on gay marriage: "The more conservative the Court decision is, the more backlash there'll be by the people....I can't believe that we're even discussing this, it still seems so archaic. Because there is a new normal out there. We gotta move on." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Attorney Star Jones compared gay marriage to interracial marriage and voiced her agreement with Daly. NBC chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman argued that even if the Court decided against gay marriage, it would inevitably become the law of the land: "I think we're going to see a generational shift. Younger people almost think this is a no big deal. And because, much like the civil rights, once it's institutionalized, there will be an acceptance and I think 20 to 30 years from now, we'll look back at this as a hiccup."
NBC Today show host Matt Lauer isn't pleased with the press he got after the network's catastrophic removal of co-host Ann Curry last year.
In an interview with New York magazine published online Sunday evening, Lauer laughably whined, "When the media covers something, it’s important to do basic homework. You can’t just repeat something over and over again until it sounds true. It’s not fair."
Wrapping up a panel discussion on Monday's NBC Today about Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman coming out in support of gay marriage, co-host Matt Lauer voiced suspicion about the timing of the announcement: "He has known his son is gay for the last two years, and yet, when he was there on the campaign trail supporting the Republican nominee, he never mentioned anything about this evolving stance on same-sex marriage." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Advertising executive Donny Deutsch replied: "The irony of that is, if the Republicans were smart, they would understand if they move on some of these social issues, it would actually help the party."
On Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer touted "breaking news" that Ohio Senator Rob Portman, "a leading figure in the Republican Party," was now in favor of gay marriage after learning that his son was gay. Leading off the report that followed, White House correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed that Portman "...is now joining a growing list of Republicans to come out in support of gay marriage..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Turning to coverage of the Conservative Political Action Conference, Alexander asserted: "The Republican Party now faces an identity crisis, with no clear leader and no clear path to widening its appeal." Wrapping up the report, Alexander continued to push the meme of a GOP in disarray: "But if you need any more evidence of the divide that now exists in the Republican Party, consider this. One of the most popular figures in the party, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the guy who praised President Obama's response to Hurricane Sandy last fall, was not invited."
In an interview with New York's Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer worried about the age of the newly elected Pope Francis: "...there was some stunned silence for a second. I think some had expected a younger man, he's 76....When you looked at that image of the new pope standing with some members of the Church hierarchy, visually, Cardinal Dolan, it didn't exactly scream a modern Church." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the same time Lauer was worried about the Church not projecting a more "modern" image, NBCNews.com offered a "to-do list" for the new Pontiff that included typical liberal demands:
In the fortnight leading up to the sequester, the broadcast networks ABC, CBS, and NBC wrung their hands about "all the catastrophes that would happen if these cuts went through," NewsBusters senior editor Rich Noyes noted on the March 7 edition of Fox Business Network's Varney & Co. Since, then, however, "they've spent no time asking how is the White House going to decide where these cuts are, how is the administration going to parcel out these cuts?"
In short, "[t]hey're not doing their watchdog function at all," the Media Research Center's research director told FBN's Stuart Varney. What's more, for the most part, the same networks lack any skepticism about how the administration might be targeting their cuts in such as way as to deliberately inflict pain, when it's completely in the power of the Obama White House to structure cutbacks in a way that minimizes its impact on the taxpaying American (watch the full segment below the page break):
In an interview on Monday's Today with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his co-author Clint Bolick about their new book, Immigration Wars, co-host Matt Lauer seized Bush's critical words for fellow Republicans: "...this is an alarm to your party. You called Republicans 'tone deaf and hostile to immigrants and Hispanics,' you fault the party for being unwilling to expand the base, and you warn that Republicans face, your word, 'extinction' if they continue to alienate Hispanics. Is this damage that was caused and has been inflicted, whether self or not, something that can be repaired in time for 2016?"
Lauer began the segment by wondering: "Your brother [George W. Bush] won 44% of the Hispanic vote. By contrast, Governor Romney won 27%. 71% went to President Obama. Was it Governor Romney's fault or the party's fault?" Bush replied: "I think both. Governor Romney put himself in a box, I think, in the primary, by trying to out-conservative some very good conservative candidates, and never really recovered from it."
In an interview with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer couldn't understand why the American people didn't buy into the White House and media hype about how devastating the budget sequester would be: "The cuts went into effect Friday night, although they roll out over a long period of time. And yet, I'm surprised there hasn't been more outrage on the part of the general public." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer offered possible explanations: "Do you think that's because people are simply numb to this by now, the dysfunction of Washington, or do you think there's a little case of crying wolf here and they don't believe how severe the impact's going to be?" Bush replied: "Well, there was a lot of crying wolf." Lauer quickly tried to spread the blame to Republicans: "On both sides?" Bush promptly dismissed that notion: "No. I think the President kind of led the charge to say that widows and orphans were going to be out on the street."
In an exclusive interview with The Washington Post's Bob Woodward on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer belittled the veteran journalist for daring to reveal a contentious exchange with White House adviser Gene Sperling: "I'm a little surprised you've gone public with this. I mean, these kinds of high-energy, high-octane, high-emotion conversations and debates happen all the time between government officials and the people who cover them. You've felt the heat before. Why did you go public with this one?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Reacting to Chris Christie not being invited to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer melodramatically announced: "...another battle for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today. But this time, he's at odds with the right wing of his own party." The headline on screen throughout the segment read: "Cold Shoulder for Christie; NJ Governor Snubbed By Conservative Conference." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that follow, correspondent Andrea Mitchell eagerly touted Christie's willingness to buck the GOP: "The latest sign that Chris Christie won't kowtow to Republican hardliners, his annual budget speech Tuesday, signing on to ObamaCare..." After describing the "very public snub" from CPAC, Mitchell declared: "...some Republicans see a bigger problem, the party's refusal to broaden its base." A sound bite followed of former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson hyperventilating: "If the Republican future does not include a place for people like Chris Christie, the Republican Party doesn't have a future."
During a panel discussion on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer urged the liberal Today's Professionals pundits to assign blame for the upcoming budget sequester: "I want you to complete the following sentence, 'And the blame goes to...' Almost by every analysis people agree this will hurt the economy, hurt the recovery, might even damage national security. And the blame goes to?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman ranted: "The American public for not being invested enough in the terms of what it means and firing every one of these SOBs the next time it comes around." Advertising executive Donny Deutsch agreed, arguing: "We are a country now of complete non-self sacrifice. You can't blame the politicians. Blame us, because nobody wants to give on anything."
In the first part of an interview aired on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer interrogated House Speaker John Boehner over saying President Obama lacked the courage to stand up to his Democratic base: "And by calling the President of the United States out in such harsh terms today, on the day of the State of the Union address....I think a lot of people are going to say, 'Here we go. Same old division. Same old animosity.' Don't they have a right to say that?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Boehner began to reply: "No. Listen, the President and I get along fine...We have a very good relationship." Lauer interrupted: "So this all politics, these questions you raise today?" Boehner continued: "...the American people on election day gave us a mandate, a Republican congress and a Democratic president, and the mandate was to find a way to work together, find common ground."