Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume upbraided the press for its lack of interest in pursuing the Obama administration’s misstatements and dissembling on what they knew before and after the Benghazi terrorist attacks, lamenting on Fox News Sunday that “one of the problems we’re having here is, that it has fallen to this news organization, Fox News and a couple others, to do all the heavy lifting on this story.”
A “couple of others” may be generous. CBS’s Sharyl Attkisson is about the only other major news outlet journalist showing any interest. “The mainstream organs of the media that would be after this like a pack of hounds, if this were a Republican President,” Hume observed, “have been remarkably reticent.”
Meet the Press viewers got to see a classic Left-Right debate Sunday.
In a discussion about which presidential candidate is the most trustworthy, New York Times columnist David Brooks surprisingly teamed up with former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina to school the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow (video follows with NBCNews.com transcript and commentary):
Appearing as a panelist on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, Republican strategist Mike Murphy called out journalists for refusing to provide balanced coverage of abortion: "It's always amazed me how the media assumes there's no such thing in the world as a pro-life woman, it's the most under-represented, you know, group in the world, we never talk about them." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Murphy's observation was prompted by former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers proclaiming that Romney has "been all over the map on every issue that's important to women in this election," meaning contraception and abortion. Her comments followed moderator David Gregory declaring: "...understanding women's choices today, pressures they face, about access to contraception, about abortion...the President wants to – to drive up that wedge and get women to vote for him."
On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory grilled Florida Senator Marco Rubio on Mitt Romney's "binders full of women" comment: "Can you understand why some women have that reaction, that he seems sort of out of touch with what modern women are going through?"
Gregory also seized on Romney's support of flexible work schedules for women as more evidence of a supposed disconnect: "He talked about the – the importance of flexibility so that, you know, women could get home early to be with their kids and make dinner. And he's gotten some criticism for that because it seems that there's a narrow view of what women's view – roles are, both at home and in the workplace."
New York Times foreign affairs columnist Tom Friedman, who three weeks ago derided Mitt Romney for how he “acts...as if he learned his foreign policy at the International House of Pancakes,” on Sunday’s Meet the Press dismissed concerns over how the Obama administration handled Benghazi before and after the attacks. “To me,” he declared, “this is an utterly contrived story in the sense that ‘this is the end of,’ you know, ‘Obama’s foreign policy.’”
Over on ABC’s This Week, host George Stephanopoulos ludicrously argued: “Hasn’t the White House been relatively transparent?”
President Obama got himself in trouble last week for saying that the death of four Americans in Libya "is not optimal."
On Sunday, New York Times White House correspondent Helene Cooper said on NBC's Meet the Press, "The death of four Americans, which is why while incredibly tragic, is something that I think is peripheral to what's going on right now" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In a rare moment of genuine criticism of President Obama's response to the Libya terrorist attack, on Friday's NBC Today, Meet the Press moderator David Gregory slammed government "confusion" after the event: "...the administration response on this was both sluggish, sloppy and incoherent at some times..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Gregory's criticism was prompted by co-host Savannah Guthrie asking about Monday's upcoming foreign policy debate. While Gregory briefly noted "missteps" on the issue by Mitt Romney in the second debate, he quickly pointed to Obama's controversial comments about the attack during a Thursday Daily Show appearance: "The President's being criticized for his – his talking points on this, on Jon Stewart saying when four Americans are killed it's 'not optimal'..."
In a fawning interview with liberal comedian Stephen Colbert on Sunday's Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory praised the Colbert Report host and Daily Show host Jon Stewart: "Why do you think so many people think you and Jon Stewart are more effective at exposing hypocrisy, getting to real truths, than the – than the news media is?"
Colbert replied: "I don't know if that's the case." Gregory insisted: "Well, I think there are certain people who believe that." Colbert observed: "I don't know, I mean jokes make things palatable. I would say that. Comedy just helps an idea go down, that's all."
For some peculiar reason, NBC's Meet the Press spent precious air time Sunday just weeks before a presidential election on an interview with Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert.
By far his best line was, "I don't really watch the news so much. I come in around 6:30 and I just say the opposite of whatever Rachel Maddow says the night before, and I'm usually good" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Criticism of Barack Obama came from a surprising source Sunday.
Appearing on Meet the Press, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw said the President “is going to have to answer for” the explosion in the federal budget deficit that “happened on his watch” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The 2007 video of then-Senator Barack Obama hinting at racism in the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina isn't the only news story that NBC's Todayshow stuck up its nose at during the first days of October. The morning newscast has conspicuously ignored covering the latest developments in the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. It hasn't devoted a full segment or even a news brief to the issue since September 29.
As Today devoted air time to how Mitt Romney's debate performance was supposedly "completely overshadowed" by "hunting" Big Bird, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning devoted full reports on Monday to a former security official's charge that the State Department ignored repeated requests for extra security at the diplomatic facility in Libya.
In a report on Tuesday's NBC Today, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell described "awkward stumbles" for Senator Scott Brown and challenger Elizabeth Warren in a Massachusetts senatorial debate on Monday. Brown's supposed stumble was that he "first named an ultra-conservative" Antonin Scalia as an example of "a very good judge" and model Supreme Court justice.
O'Donnell described Warren's stumble being that she named "retiring" Indiana Senator Dick Lugar as a Republican she could work with if elected. In reality, Lugar was defeated by Richard Mourdock in the Republican primary.
On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, BBC America Washington correspondent Katty Kay dismissed the electoral impact of the Obama administration's mishandling of the crisis in the Middle East: "I'm not sure that who said what, when, and when the intelligence came out...I'm not sure that that's going to be a huge issue for voters in the course of this election." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
However, she did bemoan the fact that ongoing chaos in the region may blunt Obama campaign attacks against Mitt Romney: "It does mean that it's harder for the White House to keep focusing on what was a pretty disastrous response from the Romney campaign initially. So it kind of draws a line under that." And what of the "pretty disastrous response" by the President of the United States?
At the top of Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory announced Mitt Romney was backed "against the wall" in the presidential race and proceeded to ask both New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Obama advisor David Plouffe: "Is the race over?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After Christie rejected the notion and suggested Romney's performance in the upcoming first debate on Wednesday would reset the campaign, Gregory incredulously replied: "Why isn't it too late to believe that the presidential debates, after you announce your running mate, after you have your own convention including keynoter Chris Christie, that you can restart with the presidential debates?"
ABC's Good Morning America hasn't once reported on U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's claim on the September 16, 2012 edition of This Week that the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was "a spontaneous - not a pre-meditated - response to what had transpired in Cairo." Even worse, the morning show hasn't reported on the subsequent developments on the consulate attack over the past 12 days that cast doubt on Ambassador Rice's statement.
NBC's Today show also hasn't covered Rice's talking points on the attack, after she appeared on Meet the Press on the same day as her This Week appearance. News reader Natalie Morales merely reported on September 19 that "the White House says there is currently no evidence that last week's deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya was planned and pre-meditated. Officials say it appears that the violence was sparked by that anti-Islam film made in the U.S." Two days later, Morales gave an update on how "the White House is now classifying the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya as a terrorist attack....But intelligence officials now believe it was a planned attack in the guise of a protest."
Both of those programs provided voluminous coverage of Romney's "47%" tape, but have no time to scrutinize the Obama administration's public statements about an incident that claimed the life of an American ambassador?
Bay Buchanan, one of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's senior advisers, got into quite a heated exchange with MSNBC's Joe Scarborough on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday.
After Scarborough took issue with Buchanan implying that she was the only conservative present on a panel filled with liberals, Buchanan replied, "You know, Joe, on this set, you appear to be one of the four" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Appearing on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, The Atlantic's national correspondent Jeff Goldberg acknowledged poor U.S.-Israel relations and proceeded to blame Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for causing the rift: "I've never seen an Israeli prime minister mismanage the relationship with the United States or with the administration the way this prime minister has." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Goldberg admitted: "Obama's not blameless. The first year, the peace process was a disaster." However, he then continued to lambast Netanyahu: "...one person here is the senior partner, one is the – the junior partner, and Netanyahu has turned this into a story about himself and Obama, rather than the important thing."
In a stunning display of group-think on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, a panel of journalists all concluded that no American president could have possibly prevented the ongoing crisis in Middle East or responded to it any better than Barack Obama. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The hand-wringing began with The Atlantic's Jeff Goldberg absolving the President of any responsibility for chaos in the region: "There are some very, very deep and troubling things going on in – in the Middle East that have very little to do with what a president does or doesn't do.... so to blame the President for – for an attack on – on these embassies, I think, is a bit much."
NBC's David Gregory on Sunday actually referred to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as "the leader of the Jewish people."
This happened during a Meet the Press interview that included the host vociferously grilling Netanyahu about whether Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was correct when he said, “President Obama has thrown allies like Israel under the bus” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Responding to co-host Savannah Guthrie observing that Mitt Romney looked like he "was moving toward the center" on Monday's NBC Today, Meet the Press host David Gregory asserted: "...he knows he's going to have to make tough choices if he becomes president. That he would indeed have to infuriate conservatives on some of these budget deals..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
During an interview with Romney aired on Sunday's Meet the Press, Gregory grilled the Republican candidate on whether he would "cut a deal with Democrats that would cause conservatives to revolt." Speaking to Guthrie on Monday, Gregory touted Romney's "pragmatism" and "flashes of some bipartisanship."
At the top of Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer eagerly touted an Obama campaign photo-op: "One pizza shop owner in Florida got a little excited when he met President Obama, gave him a bear hug and then lifted him up....By the way, he's a Republican." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd announced that Obama had "clearly found a bounce in his campaign step, on display as he visited a Florida sports bar, even making a birther joke....Later the President got a whole new lesson in retail politics, when he got a very enthusiastic welcome from a Florida pizza shop owner."
David Gregory teased Sunday's Meet the Press by highlighting a clip of himself pushing Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to upset conservatives in getting a budget deal, presumably by agreeing to raise taxes. “We go behind the scenes and on the record with Governor Romney less than two months before the election to press him on how he will turn around the economy and solve the nation’s debt crisis.”
NBC then showed Gregory pressing Romney: “Are you prepared to cut a deal with Democrats that would cause conservatives to revolt? Is it that important to get a deal to get us away from this fiscal cliff?”
The media's gushing and fawning over Bill Clinton knows no bounds.
In an interview to be aired on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday, David Gregory asked Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney if he thought Clinton could get elected president today (video follows with transcript and commentary):
When the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks preview Vice President Joe Biden’s 2012 Democratic National Convention speech, will they fill their programs with a montage of the mental mistakes that have plagued him over the years? If recent coverage is any indication, they will choose to bypass Biden’s bumbling.
While the Big Three networks were quick to make fun of GOP vice presidential selections in the past from Dan Quayle to Sarah Palin for their campaign trail stumbles, they’ve either downplayed or completely ignored Biden’s most embarrassing and offensive moments. From insensitively telling a wheelchair-bound state senator to “Stand up!” to not recognizing how many letters there are in the word “jobs,” the media have let Biden get away with gaffes that would have gotten GOP VP picks pilloried. (Video compilation after the jump)
“I’m frankly, fed up, with the one-sided bias,” a frustrated Newt Gingrich asserted on Sunday’s Meet the Press, citing two blatant examples. First: “Where is the outrage over overt, deliberate racism” in Vice President Joe Biden telling a black audience “if the Republicans win you will be ‘in chains’”?
Second, President Obama “voted three times to protect the right of doctors to kill babies who came out of abortion still alive. That plank says tax-paid abortion at any moment, meaning partial birth abortion -- that’s a 20 percent issue,” a position which Democrats “couldn’t defend...for a day if it was made clear and as vivid as all the effort is made to paint Republicans.”
In a Tuesday 10 a.m. et NBC News special report on President Obama declaring a state of emergency for Gulf Coast states in the path of Hurricane Isaac, Today co-host Matt Lauer gushed: "Politics 101, you've got your opponents in Tampa and Mitt Romney's about to tell Americans why he should be elected president, if you're the president, you go out and act like the president." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Meet the Press host David Gregory agreed: "Yeah, you do your job." As they both anchored the coverage from the Republican National Convention, Gregory observed that Obama's statement "...happens as there's so much anxiety here among the campaign and the party organizers about how to approach this and the optics of a split-screen, storm coming and a big political party." After the President spoke about the impending storm, Gregory added: "Again, it only underscores how difficult it is for a Republican Party to move forward with this convention, with that potential threat."
In a report for Monday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd was eager to paint a picture of Republicans in disarray prior to the GOP convention: "The specter of New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina, which proved so politically damaging to George W. Bush, looms large here in Tampa. It's the latest in a series of distractions that has jolted the Romney campaign off its core economic message..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Sunday's Today, co-host Jenna Wolfe proclaimed: "It's been a tough week for Republicans." As the headline on screen announced "GOP's Hurdles Heading Into Convention," Wolfe proceeded to rattle off supposed evidence of her assertion:
Comedy Central's Jon Stewart has made it crystal clear he wants Barack Obama to win in November.
On NBC's Meet the Press Sunday, former Florida governor Jeb Bush said, "I look forward to working on [Mitt Romney's] reelection in 2016 and making Jon Stewart awfully upset" (video follows with transcript and commentary):