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 Caracas reporting on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez winning an "unprecedented third term" for Monday's NBC Today, reporter Kerry Sanders seemed to be swept up in the excitement: "For Chavez's supporters, his reelection is an emotional moment in history. Fireworks filled the skies as a street party continued well into the early morning hours. A Chavez victory, say supporters, means his brand of socialism is here to stay." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Sanders promoted Chavez as "a star among the poor in South America" and propagandized for his dictatorial regime: "Chavez's socialist revolution has captured the imagination of the poor here, in large part because he's taken this nation's oil wealth and used its profits to give away free homes and subsidize grocery bills."
During the Week in Buzz segment on Sunday's NBC Today, Ericka Souter, editor of the celebrity gossip blog The Stir, trashed Mitt Romney for announcing plans to cut federal funding of PBS, including Sesame Street, ranting: "Everything else Romney said was completely overshadowed by the fact that Big Bird felt attacked or people felt Big Bird was attacked, and he's like an icon to millions of moms and kids." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
As Souter denounced Romney for supposedly attacking Big Bird, the headline on screen read: "Romney Goes 'Bird' Hunting." A picture appeared that showed a protestor dressed in a Big Bird costume holding a sign that read: "Unemployed in a Romney economy."
At the top of the 9 a.m. et hour on Friday's NBC Today, news anchor Natalie Morales eagerly touted a study released by Washington University in St. Louis on contraception: "A new study suggests that free birth control can dramatically lower rates of abortion and teen births."
Morales then quickly used the findings to promoted ObamaCare: "The report comes as millions of women are about to gain access to free contraception under most workplace insurance plans as part of President Obama's health care law."
In a display of just how badly President Obama performed in Wednesday's presidential debate, Friday's NBC Today played a clip of Daily Show host Jon Stewart ripping into Obama: "There is no red America. There is no blue America. There is only the America that can't believe how bad this guy did in the debate. Romney won with the sound up....Romney won with the sound off." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Stewart mockingly implored the President: "...think of your supporters. Look what your performance did last night to one of them." A sound bite followed of the meltdown of MSNBC's Chris Matthews: "What was he doing tonight? He went in there disarmed? Where was Obama tonight?!" Stewart declared: "Mr. President, you broke Chris Matthews!" The Today show hosts all laughed as weatherman Al Roker quipped: "And he's still broken."
Given the recent death of Ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya, one would expect the three news networks to investigate the grotesque failures by the federal government to protect our embassies overseas.
Unlike NBC’s Today, ABC and CBS’s Friday morning shows both covered recent State Department emails showing they denied a request by officials in Libya for increased security in May leading up to the terrorist attack on our Libyan Embassy last month.
Appearing on Friday's NBC Today, left-wing MSNBC host Ed Schultz desperately tried to explain away President Obama's bad debate performance: "I think that there were so many lies coming across that stage, and so many inaccuracies, it was hard for the President to comprehend it and decide which one he wanted to attack first." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Savannah Guthrie called him out on the liberal talking point: "That sounds a little bit like you're making excuses for the President." Schultz doubled down on his lame attempt to defend the President: "[Romney] was the guy in the board room, he was the corporate shark, he knew how to get this audience done and he was going to run over everybody. And I think that might play to his disadvantage in the long run."
On Thursday's NBC Today, in an attempt to deflect from Mitt Romney's strong debate performance, fill-in co-host David Gregory grilled Romney advisor Ed Gillespie on the Governor's tax plan: "...he wants to extend the Bush tax cuts, he wants to have further tax cuts beyond that, he wants to increase military spending and he rejected a 10 to 1 ratio when it came to cutting spending and raising revenue. So the math simply doesn't add up, does it?"
There have been six studies now that have analyzed what Governor Romney has proposed in terms of lowering tax rates and expanding the base. We've done that in the past in our country's history, it's resulted in economic growth. It would result in economic growth again. And six of those studies says – say that this could be done, very credible studies, without increasing the deficit.
Picking up where he left off Wednesday night, on Thursday's NBC Today, MSNBC's Chris Matthews continued to whine over President Obama's poor debate performance and ranted that Mitt Romney has "been accused of etch-a-sketch, last night was his greatest achievement. Everything he said within days ago, he's ignored." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Prior to Matthews' appearance, co-host Savannah Guthrie noted that he had been "very vocal" during MSNBC's post-debate coverage and played a sound bite of the Hardball host blasting Obama: "I don't know what he was doing out there. He had his head down, he was enduring the debate rather than fighting it. I don't know how he let Romney get away with the crap he threw out tonight about Social Security. Where was Obama tonight?!"
In a stunning omission on Wednesday's NBC Today, brief coverage of a 2007 video of Barack Obamacompletely ignored the then-Senator praising his controversial pastor Jeremiah Wright as a "great leader, not just in Chicago, but all across the country." The NBC morning show adopted a dismissive attitude toward the video, with co-host Savannah Guthrie leading off the broadcast: "Conservatives circulate a five-year-old video, in a move the Obama campaign calls desperate." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd further quoted Obama talking points: "In a transparent attempt to change the subject from his comments attacking half of the American people, Mitt Romney's allies re-circulated video of a 2007 event that was open to and extensively covered by the press at the time."
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 Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie promoted "a congressional battle in Massachusetts featuring a very familiar name" and wondered, "Could another Kennedy be headed to Congress?" In the report that followed, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell lamented the end of 65 years of Kennedys in Congress, then proclaimed: "But now a new generation has stepped forward."
In reference to Joseph Kennedy III running for Congress in the Bay State, O'Donnell announced: "In Massachusetts politics, he's no ordinary Joe....Going door to door in the rain Sunday, he bears both a family resemblance and a weighty family legacy." She noted him being "the first of his generation to enter the family trade" and touted his resume as "a Harvard law grad, former assistant D.A., and Peace Corps volunteer."
UPDATE: Still no ABC, CBS, NBC coverage of Univision's Fast and Furious report on Monday's evening newscasts or Tuesday's morning shows.
Over the weekend the Univision network broke major news in the Fast and Furious gunwalking scandal. They found 57 previously unreported guns used in crimes by Mexican cartels, but ABC, CBS and NBC have yet to report the Spanish-language network’s findings.
There were zero mentions on Sunday night’s ABC's World News and CBS's Evening News (NBC's Nightly News was pre-empted by Ryder Cup coverage) or on any of Monday’s morning shows. The blackout on ABC’s broadcasts is particularly confounding since they have an excerpt from Univision's September 30 report on ABC's official Web site. (video after the jump)
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 Jake Tapper's Thursday report on World News stands alone as the only Big Three coverage so far of what The Daily Beast's Eli Lake reported on Wednesday - that U.S. intelligence officials had "strong indications" within a day that Islamist terrorists were behind the September 11, 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi - not a mob enraged at a controversial Internet video.
By contrast, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw tried to point the finger at Mitt Romney on Friday's Today show for the media's apparent lack of curiosity at the inconsistencies in the Obama administration's narrative about the terrorist attack. Otherwise, NBC only aired two reports on the story since Wednesday - twice running the same Ann Curry interview of Libyan President Mohammed Magarief.
On Friday's NBC Today, special correspondent Tom Brokaw demonstrated the blatant media effort to ignore Obama administration failures surrounding the consulate attack in Libya: "Romney turned out to give the President air cover. There are serious questions about what happened in Libya and the absence of security and what is our Middle East policy, but Romney's missteps really have given the President more camouflage than he would have expected." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Brokaw lamely attempting to blame Mitt Romney for the failure of the media to ask tough national security questions of Obama echoed a recent revealing statement by CBS News political director John Dickerson, who declared that it was solely Romney's responsibility to hold the President to account over Libya because the media would not.
Economic growth grew at an incredibly sluggish 1.3 percent in the second quarter, revised down from 1.7 percent. According to business writer Jim Pethokoukis, this is "dangerously slow." However, NBC skipped the bad news for Barack Obama entirely. ABC allowed it a mere 21 seconds. CBS was the only network to allow the story a full report.
Although Nightly News correspondent Chuck Todd couldn't find time to mention the scant amount of growth, he did hype the fact that the President is trying "a new line." Todd then played a clip of the President calling "for a new economic patriotism." The journalist helpfully parroted that the President's "idea of economic patriotism includes tax hikes on the wealthy and more government spending on infrastructure."
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?
Leading off Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, fill-in anchor Savannah Guthrie declared the presidential race in one key battleground state all but over: "Tonight, both candidates are in Ohio as a spate of new polls shows the all-important bellwether may be slipping away for the Republican challenger."
In the report that followed, correspondent Ron Allen reiterated that "new polls show Ohio slipping away" from Romney and quickly asserted the cause: "Romney down by ten points in a new poll out this morning, and nearly that in another recent poll, after that video of Romney talking disparagingly about the 47% who pay no income tax."
At the top of Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams framed President Obama's address to the United Nations as him getting tough on Iranian nuclear ambitions: "Drawing the line. The President today with a strong new warning to Iran, plus what he had to say about the recent violence against Americans."
In the report that followed, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd touted that Obama "appeared to draw a real line in the sand on Iran's effort to build nuclear weapons." Todd then sneered that "the President's strong words weren't enough to satisfy Mitt Romney."
In an article published shortly before 5 a.m. EDT on the morning of Sept. 26, The Daily Beast's Eli Lake revealed that three separate U.S. intelligence officials confirmed to him that within 24 hours of the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, the Obama administration had strong reason to suspect al Qaeda ties to the deadly violence.
Lake noted that the identities of at least four of the participants in the attack on the consulate were found within 24 hours, one of which has been tracked by his use of social media. This of course conflicts with the administration's early story. You may recall that four days after the attack, on Sept 16, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations insisted to CBS' Bob Schieffer that the attack was spontaneous and tied to an obscure video on YouTube.
At the end of an interview with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer turned to the subject of climate change and fretted: "We've had a crazy week in this – year in this country of extreme weather. Are you seeing around the world the kind of motivation and will that's necessary to, A, admit there's a problem, and then address the problem?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Blair replied in part: "This climate issue is real, and we are very irresponsible for future generations if we don't deal with it and we should recover, I think, a sense of urgency about it." Tossing all objectivity aside, Lauer joined in the advocacy: "I hope we will."
NewsBusters has been showcasing the most egregious bias the Media Research Center has uncovered over the years — four quotes for each of the 25 years of the MRC, 100 quotes total — all leading up to our big 25th Anniversary Gala tomorrow evening. (Click here for posts recounting the worst of 1988 through 2011.)
Today, the worst bias of 2012 (so far): Newsweek sees Barack Obama as “grotesquely underappreciated,” afflicted by critics who are simply “dumb;” Chief Justice John Roberts becomes a media hero by voting to save ObamaCare; and an ex-CNN correspondent charges Republicans are trying to take the country back “to the good old days of Jim Crow.” [Quotes and video below the jump.]
President Obama headed up to New York City to record yesterday an interview with the ladies of ABC's The View. Today he gave a speech to the United Nations General Assembly but has steadfastly refused to meet with any foreign leaders while in the Big Apple, especially Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Given this, you'd think -- that the Today show might ask NBC News political director Chuck Todd about the controversy. Well, you’d be wrong. [See video below break. MP3 audio here.]
During the Today's Professionals segment on Tuesday's NBC Today, chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman applauded New York City schools handing out morning-after contraception pills to teenage girls without parental consent: "Parents aren't going to like to hear this, but teenagers are having sex....People want to be anti-abortion. If you're anti-abortion you should be anti-pregnancy....the reality is it's smart public health." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Matt Lauer teed up Snyderman: "Let's remember that schools have been offering condoms for years now. Is this the next logical step, Nancy?" Moments after Snyderman praised the "smart" policy, advertising executive Donny Deutsch chimed in: "To me, if this stops unwanted pregnancies, this is a no-brainer, it's a fantastic idea."
In a surprisingly tough interview with President Obama aired on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie cited Mitt Romney's criticism that the President has sided with teachers' unions against education reform, to which Obama shot back: "I think Governor Romney and a number of folks try to politicize the issue and do a lot of teacher-bashing."
Guthrie followed up: "Can you really say that teachers' unions aren't slowing the pace of reform?" Obama repeated the anti-Romney talking point: "I just really get frustrated when I hear teacher-bashing as evidence of reform." While Guthrie made some effort to pin down the President, she ultimately allowed him to build up the "teacher-bashing" straw man as he dodged her questions.
On Monday, ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today failed to air any full reports on the continuing inquiry into the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and mentioned the issue only in passing. CBS This Morning did devote a full segment to the dispute between the State Department and CNN over their use of a Ambassador Chris Stevens' personal journal, but didn't mention President Obama or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by name.
Matt Lauer vaguely referenced the "new wave of anti-Americanism" in the Islamic world during an interview of Tony Blair, but it took the former British prime minister to specifically point out the "tragic death of your ambassador" in Libya. During a report on the presidential race, ABC's Jake Tapper did briefly note how the President "described some of the events as bumps in the road. The Romney campaign saying that the death of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador in Libya, is far worse than a bump in the road."
The three networks devoted less than seven minutes to a "blistering" new report from the Justice Department on the Fast and Furious scandal. In comparison, the same programs deluged the public with coverage of Mitt Romney's "secret" tax tape, hyping it for 88 minutes.
From Wednesday night through Friday morning, World News, the NBC Nightly News, CBS This Morning,Good Morning America, Today and CBS This Morning allowed just six minutes and 40 seconds. In a brief report on Wednesday, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams called the gun running story a "rallying point" for Republicans and explained, "Tonight, a blistering report lays out the blame for what happened there." Yet, NBC has, thus far, only given the latest details one minute and 40 seconds.
NBC failed to press Obama adviser David Axelrod over the President's remarks about redistribution on Friday, chucking the story out of its news cycle after two full days. In contrast, the networks hammered Mitt Romney for three days over his comments on 47 percent of Americans who don't pay income taxes.
The Today show did find time, however, to cover the "Honey Boo Boo" nickname generator. The reporters laughed on set over each other's "Honey Boo Boo" nicknames.