ABC and CBS on Thursday hit Barack Obama from the left, fretting about a lack of diversity for his second term cabinet picks. The two network morning shows ignored substantiative criticism about Treasury Secretary choice Jack Lew, but highlighted the cutesy story of his messy handwriting.
Correspondent Jon Karl chided, "Well, some critics are looking at that emerging second-term cabinet and wondering, where are the women?" He touted a New York Times article fretting about the "all-male look" of the new picks. Karl noted that "the President will have to replace Jack Lew as chief of staff. The top candidates are, you guessed it, men." Rather than worry about meeting a liberal quota, Karl could have noted Lew's total lack of experience in business.
All three evening newscasts on Tuesday hyped a report that 2012 was the hottest on record for the United States. NBC actually mislead viewers into thinking the data relates to the entire planet and not just one country. On ABC, Dan Harris blamed the study's results on Congress for failing to take "action" over global warming.
World News reporter Dan Harris lamented, "Many cities had record warmth, including Washington, D.C., where a lack of action on man made climate change is likely to mean 2012 is just a glimpse into an unpleasant future, according to many scientists." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Yet, the New York Timesconceded, "Even so, the last year’s record for the United States is not expected to translate into a global temperature record when figures are released in the coming weeks."
NBC's Al Roker revealed Sunday that back in 2002, he had an embarrassing accident in the White House as a result of getting his stomach stapled.
On CBS's Late Show Tuesday, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams said, "That kind of thing that happened to Al hasn't happened in the West Wing since Nixon discovered the tapes” (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
All three network evening newscasts on Monday found time to tout Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's return to work after hospitalization for a blood clot, "clearly enjoying a prank gift" from her staff and being greeted by a "standing ovation."
NBC's Nightly News devoted a full report to the development, with anchor Brian Williams declaring: "...we got our first official look at Secretary of State Hillary Clinton since she emerged from the hospital. It came in the form of some still photos of her first day back at work, a view of her carefully managed by her team after a tough couple of weeks."
Despite John Boehner receiving overwhelming support from the Republican caucus to be reelected as Speaker of the House, NBC Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell hyped dissension in the ranks on Friday's NBC Today: "After a turbulent few weeks of setbacks that had cast doubt on his power and influence, a dozen rebellious conservatives turned against him, but Boehner had enough votes."
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, O'Donnell proclaimed: "John Boehner's path to a second term as Speaker of the House has been rocky. But there was no challenge, only a handful of conservatives voted against him." That morning, Today co-host Matt Lauer proclaimed a "civil war" among Republicans over a Hurricane Sandy relief bill.
The way the news media fawned over the Democratic 111th Congress -- which passed the wildly unpopular ObamaCare -- while smearing the Republican House in the 112th is like a bad Saturday Night Live skit, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told Sean Hannity on the January 3 edition of his eponymous Fox News Channel program.
"Look, what they're saying is, when the Democrats were in charge with the 111th Congress they did all these things moving the agenda to the left, and, oh happy days, look at all the wonderful left-wing things they did," Bozell noted, but then, "The112th Congress comes around and Republicans try to put a stop to the madness and it's called tyrannical." [Watch the full "Media Mash" segment in the embed below the page break]
In a pair of back-to-back stories leading off Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, House Republicans were painted as villains for briefly delaying a vote on Hurricane Sandy relief. First, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell declared: "Stunned Democrats and Republicans could not believe that their hometown suffering could be ignored."
In the next report, correspondent Anne Thompson decried the move: "Where the reminders of Sandy are still all too vivid, today frustration turned to fury....the House of Representatives' failure to vote is just one more body blow."
Over 13 months ago, the NBC, CBS and ABC newscasts touted Barack Obama as a tough talker who wouldn't back down on threatened spending cuts. Now, that he's backed down, the same networks have ignored the President's retreat. On November 21, 2011, Obama thundered, "My message to [Congress] is simple: No. I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending. There will be no easy off-ramps on this one." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
This allowed the then-presidential candidate to portray himself as a budget hawk taking a hard line on sequestration. Nightly News anchor Brian Williams introduced Obama's comments by describing the country as a "nation of addicts, spending addicts kicking the can down the road." According to Williams, the President "pushed back hard." Williams and other journalist didn't question the seriousness of Obama's pledge. On Wednesday, the President signed a deal to avert the fiscal cliff and kept those cuts from going into place.
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, hours before the House of Representatives approved a deal to avert the fiscal cliff, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd wrung his hands over Republican opposition to the lopsided legislation that increased taxes and offered no spending cuts: "I think we're in the last throes of sort of the typical theatrics that have become the norm for Washington over the last couple of years. And there is going to be a few more shenanigans before the night is over." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
That was in response to fill-in anchor Kate Snow observing: "There are some voices out there saying, 'Good for the House Republicans, they're standing on their principles.' But there are also a lot of voices saying, 'How much longer is this going to take?'" Todd lamented: "Well, it may be a new year but old habits are dying hard with this congress." He reiterated: "It could be a real mess. But I do think we're in the last throes of sort of the Washington shenanigans."
During a segment on Monday's NBC Nightly News supposedly devoted to tackling the issue of mental health in the wake of the Newtown school shooting, NBC chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman instead used the opportunity to tout more anti-gun rhetoric: "One person who we spoke with....and I'm going to quote him, he says, 'It's easier to get an assault rifle today in the United States than it is to get adequate mental health care, and that's wrong.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Snyderman followed the provocative statement by declaring: "And I think, speaking on behalf of parents like you and me and American citizens, you cannot disagree with that statement, Brian." Anchor Brian Williams replied: "That's a heck of a powerful quote."
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams was eager to seize on any perceived momentum for greater gun control in the wake of Friday's school shooting: "The President said he would use the power of his office to prevent more gun tragedies, and tonight he is being joined by a growing number of prominent voices."
In the report that followed, correspondent Tom Costello listed some of those voices. While pro-gun Democratic senators like Joe Manchin and Mark Warner were noteworthy, Costello attempted to pad the list with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a longtime anti-gun activist. To create the appearance of bipartisanship, Costello even threw in MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, who he pointed out was a "former Republican Congressman." On Thursday's Today, he went so far as to label Scarborough an "influential Republican."
All three networks on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning ignored the violent assaults by union protesters in Michigan, instead vaguely insisting that activists were simply "voicing their anger" at the "showdown raging in the heartland." The morning shows on Wednesday allowed little coverage of Michigan at all, a mere 72 seconds out of eight hours of programming. (On Tuesday, the nightly newscasts offered eight minutes out of a possible 90 total.)
On Tuesday, World News reporter Alex Perez put the focus not on out of control violence, but on the fact that Michigan's right-to-work bill actually passed. He began, "The anger boiling over. Officers turning to pepper spray to control the crowd at least 10,000 deep. But it wasn't enough." One might think the journalist was speaking of the attack on Fox News contributor Steven Crowder. No. Perez kept the attention on the new law: "Michigan Republican lawmakers approving landmark legislation, lifting the requirement that workers in unionized workplaces pay union dues." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In a report for Tuesday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd touted President Obama supposedly being nicer to the GOP while in pursuit of a fiscal cliff deal: "Mr. Obama was noticeably less confrontational toward Republicans....The President's softer tone came just a day after he sat down with House Speaker John Boehner..."
While Todd focused on Obama's "softer" side, Monday's New York Times reported on the President's team playing hardball: "The White House is also cranking up the machinery of the Obama campaign to help in the battle. On Monday, the campaign sent an e-mail to its entire mailing list from its deputy manager, Stephanie Cutter....'Who will decide if your taxes increase in just 22 days?' Ms. Cutter said. 'A few dozen members of the House of Representatives, that's who.'"
Reporting on the Supreme Court taking up the issue of gay marriage for the first time, on Friday's NBC Nightly News, justice correspondent Pete Williams proclaimed: "The fact that the Court has agreed to take up both cases could mean that the Justices are prepared to get to the heart of the same-sex marriage issue, and that could result in what would essentially be the Roe v. Wade of gay rights." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the top of the broadcast, anchor Brian Williams billed the upcoming report as "big news...that could change everything." Introducing a repeat of the story on Saturday's Today, co-host Lester Holt announced: "Game changer? The U.S. Supreme Court plans to tackle two cases involving same-sex marriage. So will this become the law of the land?"
Employing sanctimonious rhetoric to paint Senate Republicans as cruel and heartless for opposing a U.N. treaty on disabled rights completely redundant to the Americans With Disabilities Act, on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams lectured: "If you want to know how broken, how partisan our Congress and our government has become, all you need to look at is this one day in Washington....Senator John Kerry called this one of the saddest days he's seen in close to three decades in the U.S. Senate." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell pointed to the GOP as the source of the sorrow: "For those looking for cooperation tonight, only disappointment, even real sadness over what happened with this treaty intended to help the disabled....Five Republican votes short of the 66 needed....it's unusual to see tears shed in the Senate chamber, I witnessed that today....I saw a woman in a wheelchair, leaving with tears rolling down her face."
Demonstrating once more how the NBC Nightly News has become the big audience outlet for MSNBC’s left-wing angst, Brian Williams couldn’t even keep such silliness out of what should have been a light-hearted story on Mitt Romney’s lunch with President Obama. ABC and CBS managed to do that.
On NBC, however, reporter Kristen Welker charged “there was an awkward backdrop to this snap shot” of Romney and Obama shaking hands in the Oval Office. She cited “Romney saying President Obama won because he gave gifts to key constituencies” as well as Romney adviser Stuart Stevens daring to suggest Obama “was a charismatic African-American President with a billion dollars, no primary and media that often felt morally conflicted about being critical.”
Striking a sympathetic tone toward the U.N. ambassador on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams lamented: "It was another one of those days for Susan Rice....who again found herself today in the middle of a power struggle between some Republicans on the Hill on one side, and the President..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell eagerly described a moment in a recent Obama cabinet meeting: "With Hillary Clinton nodding her approval, the President sent a strong message to Senate Republicans, 'Don't mess with my U.N. Ambassador.'" Mitchell observed: "For Rice, a welcome signal that her nomination is still alive, despite another brutal day on Capitol Hill."
Following the lead of NBC political director Chuck Todd lamenting House Republican committee chairs being "all white men," on Wednesday's Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams similarly declared: "...the GOP is dealing with the issue of optics and diversity in politics. Getting a lot of coverage, of the congressional committee chairs selected thus far for the next Congress, they are all white males." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Williams briefly noted the reason: "The leadership points out they were all selected for a reason, including seniority." He then proceeded to shill for the Democrats: "...on their side of the aisle, white men are now the minority among House Democratic members."
In yet another example of climate change fearmongering following Hurricane Sandy, on Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams hyped a fantasy illustration from the New York Times: "...an artist's depiction of the Statue of Liberty submerged in New York Harbor, a kind of what-if warning about climate change and our new coastlines up and down the east coast." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, environmental affairs correspondent Anne Thompson used Sandy to bolster the case: "...train stations in New Jersey inundated by torrents of water from Superstorm Sandy....scientists say this kind of destruction could become far more frequent because of the heat-trapping greenhouse gases warming the planet."
Talking to chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie enthusiastically touted: "...we've seen a few Republicans peeling off from a pledge they signed to Grover Norquist, who, of course, is a lobbyist, an anti-tax lobbyist, who's been very powerful among conservatives. Is that a significant move?"
Todd replied by urging the rest of the GOP to similarly abandon core conservative principles: "I'll be impressed when you start seeing House Republicans do it....where it looks like Republicans are softening, it's Senate Republicans. If this deal could be cut between the Senate Republicans and the White House, we wouldn't even be talking about this...the fiscal cliff wouldn't be an issue."
During the recent war in Gaza, NBC News used two images of which definitely one and possibly both qualify as deceptive propaganda against Israel's war effort.
The first example is the infamous image of a child who was killed by shrapnel from a rocket fired out of Gaza by the terrorist group Hamas, but which some news outlets, including CNN, attributed to an Israeli airstrike early on.
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, as Richard Engel informed viewers that the Israeli military drops leaflets in Gaza to warn civilians when airstrikes are about to happen so they can evacuate to safety, the NBC correspondent still managed to put a negative spin on the warnings that are meant to diminish civilian casualties. After recounting that frightened civilians frantically left from their homes, Engel observed:
A picture of Mitt Romney pumping his own gas in La Jolla was a big hit on the internet Tuesday after getting posted at Reddit.
For some reason NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams decided to do a story on it Tuesday evening specifically designed to mock the former presidential candidate (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Leading off Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams wrung his hands over Israel suffering fewer casualties than Gaza in the ongoing Mideast conflict: "It is a lop-sided fight right now, the estimated death toll is more than a hundred in Gaza, with three Israelis reported dead. The fusillade of rockets from Gaza into Israel is being answered by air strikes, many from drones, many aimed at individuals inside buildings, inside densely packed neighborhoods."
Williams's desire for a fairer fight was reminiscent of former NBC commentator John Chancellor's reaction to the Persian Gulf War in 1992, telling then-Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw: "Greenpeace, the public interest organization, believes that the Iraqi death toll, civilian and military, before and after the war, may be as high as 198,000. Allied military dead are counted in the low hundreds. The disparity is huge and somewhat embarrassing."
On Friday's World News on ABC, correspondent Alex Marquardt relayed without question a claim by "one of the militant groups behind" the rocket attacks on Israel that they "wouldn't fire rockets if Israel wasn't killing us," even though almost 700 rockets had already been fired out of Gaza into the Jewish state between January 1 and November 5, well before Israel's recent sustained military campaign began.
Israel was attacked by more than 200 rockets on Nov. 15 by a known terror organization – known by everyone but ABC, CBS and NBC.
Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, was declared a “foreign terrorist organization” more than 15 years ago by the United States. But not one rocket attack story on the network morning or evening news shows called the terrorists anything other than “militants.”
In 61 percent of the stories (8 out of 13) in 2012, the three networks wemt to great pains to avoid calling Hamas terrorists. Instead, they were “militants” with “militant Islamic leaders”
In a series of reports following President Obama's Wednesday afternoon press conference, NBC News repeatedly portrayed Obama as a magnanimous victor "reaching out" to his opponents, while Republicans were tarred as uncooperative and on the attack.
On Wednesday's Nightly News, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd nearly ran out of positive adjectives to describe the President's demeanor at the presser: "It was a loose, confident, and at times aggressive President Obama....He even extended an olive branch and encouraged growing common ground between the two parties....he was genial and even reflective."
According to Todd's account, the only thing that spoiled Obama's sunny disposition was having to respond to "negative comments from Republican senators on the possibility that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice could become secretary of state." Comments that made the commander-in-chief "visibly angry."
In a transparent effort to yet again applaud the left-wing Occupy Wall Street movement on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams introduced the broadcast's Making a Difference segment by proclaiming: "We all remember the Occupy Wall Street movement. We covered them here a lot....Whatever you think of their agenda and them, they've re-formed now, into Occupy Sandy. They're redirecting their energy into helping hurricane victims..."
In the report that followed, correspondent Katy Tur announced: "Remember the Occupy Wall Street movement famous for taking over New York's Zuccotti Park and coining the term 1%? Well, now they have Occupy Sandy. Within days after Sandy hit, Occupy went to work."
In attempt to deflect the growing scandal surrounding former CIA director David Petreaus away from President Obama, on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd parroted administration spin on the controversy: "...they do believe they're a little insulated here, because Petraeus isn't considered an Obama guy. If anything, he's more of a Republican guy at the end of the day." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Anchor Brian Williams wondered about the timing of the scandal: "What if this had come out during the election campaign?" Todd described how relieved the Obama campaign team was that it didn't: "Well, look, it's something that the political team here at the White House is glad that they didn't have to test that hypothetical."