NBC hasn't covered the ongoing Bob Filner sexual harassment scandal an almost a week, despite a fifteenth woman – a 67-year-old great grandmother – coming forward on Thursday, accusing the former congressman of making lurid comments to her. The last time that NBC's morning and evening newscasts covered the Filner story was on August 10, 2013.
On Friday, ABC and CBS's morning newscasts aired news briefs on the latest development in the Filner controversy, but both failed to identify him as a Democrat. Mere seconds before reporting on the San Diego mayor, CBS This Morning pointed out the Democratic party affiliation of Filner's former congressional colleague, Jackie Speier, who blasted the Defense Department on their handling of sexual assaults in the military. [audio available here; video below the jump]
Here's another name to add to the "name that party" file: Michael Thornsbury. The Mingo County, West Virginia circuit court judge was the subject of a federal indictment on Wednesday "after federal authorities allege he targeted his ex-lover's husband and used his position on the bench to manipulate criminal charges against the man," Kate White of the Charleston [W.V.] Gazette reported yesterday.
The Mountain State has partisan judicial elections and Thornsbury is a Democrat. Both ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today covered the bizarre story on their August 16 programs, but both neglected to mention Thornsbury's party affiliation.
In an impressive display of journalistic gymnastics on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie and Meet the Press moderator David Gregory managed to have an entire discussion about U.S. policy in Egypt without mentioning President Obama by name. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Plenty of vague substitutions were used, including "the President" "the White House" "the administration" and most popularly, "the U.S." Anything to avoid actually holding Barack Obama accountable for the internal strife plaguing a key ally in the Middle East. Even the headline on screen during the morning show segment read: "Chaos in Egypt; What Options Does U.S. Have?" They at least briefly showed Obama on screen during the segment.
While NBC marked the one-year anniversary of the Bin Laden killing with a fawning Inside the Situation Room profile of President Obama, on Thursday, the cast of Today chided former White House aide Reggie Love for revealing that he and the President "must have played 15 games of spades" during the 2011 operation. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After playing the sound bite of Love, co-host Matt Lauer quickly added: "We should note, from what we understand, the President was in the Situation Room during all of the actual raid." He then remarked: "We wonder how they feel about Mr. Love writing about this." Fellow co-host Savannah Guthrie joked: "Bring, bring. Reggie it's the White House, line two." Weatherman Al Roker chimed in: "Remember that non-disclosure thing you signed?"
Perhaps in response to the backlash against a planned miniseries on Hillary Clinton, Thursday's NBC Today aired an unusually critical story about the "chaos" at the Clinton Foundation and the possible negative political fallout for the would-be 2016 presidential contender. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
White House correspondent Peter Alexander informed viewers: "As first reported by the New York Times, a 2011 review of the foundation raised concerns about infighting, bad management, and conflicts of interest. Observers say, echoing problems in Bill Clinton's White House and his wife's 2008 campaign."
On Thursday morning, neither ABC nor CBS labeled former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. a Democrat as they reported on his 30 month jail sentence. NBC's Today did not report Jackson's sentence on Thursday, but on Wednesday they covered it without identifying him as a Democrat.
"Jesse Jackson, Jr. will spend two and a half years in prison. The former Illinois congressman was sentenced Wednesday," reported Charlie Rose, co-host of CBS This Morning. ABC's Josh Elliot said on Good Morning America that "former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for misusing campaign funds, spending $750,000 on things such as a gold Rolex and 500 dollar dinners."
While NBC's senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers did a full report on Tuesday's Nightly News about ObamaCare causing cutbacks in worker hours across the country, Wednesday's Today couldn't find time to even mention the damage the law was inflicting. Instead, the morning show updated viewers on a rodeo clown that mocked President Obama at a state fair finally facing justice. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
News reader Natalie Morales announced: "The rodeo clown who wore a President Obama mask during a performance at the Missouri State Fair has been banned for life. Fair officials say they're also reviewing their contract with the company that ran the event. The weekend incident sparked outrage nationwide after video of the event went viral." She somberly added: "Fair officials did not release the identity of that clown."
On Tuesday morning, The New York Times reported the Obama administration had delayed a “significant consumer protection” in the Affordable Care Act, a provision that limits how much individuals and families can pay out-of-pocket for health care, until 2015. Under ObamaCare, the limit on out-of-pocket health care costs was set at $6,350 per year for individuals and $12,700 per year for families.
The Times suggested the delay “underscore[s] the difficulties the Obama administration is facing as it rolls out the health care law” – yet, the development was ignored by both ABC and NBC on their nightly and morning news programs. CBS This Morning also failed to report the delay, while CBS Evening News offered up a short segment on the story.
CBS This Morning and NBC's Today couldn't be bothered to give Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s political affiliation as they devoted just 35 seconds of air time on Wednesday to his upcoming sentencing. Both morning newscasts merely identified the onetime Democratic politician as a former congressman.
The same morning, ABC's Good Morning America completely ignored the story about Jackson, who pled guilty in February 2013 to misusing campaign funds to buy big ticket items, such as a $43,000 Rolex watch, and Michael Jackson memorabilia.
While NBC's Today has done 35 stories on the Kardashians in the past six months and frequently promotes the family's reality show, a panel discussion on Tuesday's program posed this question: "Are We Keeping Up Too Much With the Kardashians?" Why the sudden introspection? It might have something to do President Obama being critical of a culture in which kids are "monitoring every day what Kim Kardashian was wearing or where Kanye West was going on vacation, and thinking that somehow that was the mark of success." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Monday morning, only NBC's Today deemed President Obama being mocked during a rodeo at the Missouri State Fair to be national news, going so far as to wonder if it was "Rodeo Racism" and playing a sound bite of one spectator declaring the incident to be "Like an effigy at a Klan rally." Neither ABC's Good Morning America nor CBS This Morning mentioned the local controversy. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The mockery in question involved a rodeo clown wearing a Barack Obama mask and being chased by a bull, with the announcer shouting: "As soon as this bull comes out, Obama, don't you move. He's going to getcha, getcha, getcha, getcha!" While certainly inappropriate, the comparison of the event to a "Klan rally" by Perry Beam – a spectator who took video of the incident – was over the top.
In March 2012, NewsBusters reported NBC’s Today show deceptively edited George Zimmerman’s 911 call to make it appear he was a racist.
On Sunday, HBO actually had one of its primary characters on the series The Newsroom deceptively edit that call exactly the way NBC News did it (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
Barack Obama delivered one gaffe after another in his August 6 interview with Jay Leno, but the networks that usually mock every mistake or slip of the tongue made by Republicans ignored the President's verbal mishaps.
ABC's Good Morning America, CBS's This Morning and NBC's Today show, on Wednesday morning, all bypassed the chance to criticize Obama for: downplaying the threat of terrorism; falsely claiming Vladimir Putin once ran the KGB; placing the Atlantic coast cities of Savannah, Charleston and Jacksonville on the Gulf of Mexico; confusing the Winter Olympics with the Summer Olympics. (video after the jump)
ABC's Good Morning America, which first covered the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal by ignoring that the politician was a Democrat, did grow to embrace the tawdry aspects of the story. Yet, the morning show on Wednesday avoided he mayoral candidate's latest gaffe: Calling his Republican opponent "grandpa" at an AARP candidate forum. NBC's Today and CBS This Morning both managed to highlight the story.
CBS guest anchor Anthony Mason recounted, "Weiner slammed his opponent over age and did so, of all places, at an event sponsored by the AARP." A graphic mocked it as a "senior moment." Mason dismissed Weiner's campaign as a "circus." In the video, Weiner can be seen heatedly talking to George McDonald. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Some comments are so unbelievable, one would think even liberal journalists would be forced to challenge them. However, even though all three morning shows on Wednesday covered Barack Obama's appearance on the August 6 Tonight Show, none of them noticed his claim to be a supporter of small government.
Talking to Jay Leno, Obama discussed the sequester and spending. He seriously insisted, "One of the things I've been trying to get across here is that we don't need a huge government. " He added, "But we need government doing some basic things and we should all agree on a sensible mechanism to go ahead and pay for it. Make sure we don't waste money." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Keep in mind, "in just one term President Obama will have increased the national debt as much as all prior Presidents, from George Washington to George Bush, combined," according to Forbes. He also pushed through Obamacare. Yet, NBC's Today, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning all skipped this cynical assertion.
Setting up an interview on Tuesday's NBC Today with author Christopher Andersen about his new book on President Kennedy's final days, co-host Savannah Guthrie began with a gauzy introduction: "As we approach November's 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy, the facts and folklore surrounding his life and family are still captivating the world....the images of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and his young family continue to inspire nostalgia for a bygone era filled with hope and promise." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After labeling him and Jackie Kennedy "one of the original power couples," Guthrie noted: "But plagued by personal tragedy and allegations of infidelity, the veil over Camelot has long since been lifted." Turning to Andersen, Guthrie observed: "You write about the alleged infidelities of the former president." Andersen had to correct her: "Yes. Well, not alleged. Established."
Good Morning America's Claire Shipman on Tuesday made no effort to hide her bias, mocking Republicans who object to planned Hillary Clinton TV movies. On CBS This Morning, Jan Crawford insisted that actress Diane Lane, who will be playing Clinton in a NBC miniseries, brings "the glitz and glamour of Hollywood" to the portrayal of the former Secretary of State. The Today show described the projects as a "boost" for the Democrat.
But it was ABC's Shipman who thrilled that "even as the uncandidate, Hillary Clinton dominates the air waves with her every move." Describing the GOP response, Shipman derided, "Enough, say rattled Republicans, who call the projects political ads." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Ann Curry reported from Tehran on the installation of new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, touting how the cleric "promises to change virtually everything Mahmoud Ahmandinejad has done." Moments later, she announced: "...today Iran has a moderate president promising sweeping change." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In a similar report for Sunday's Nightly News, Curry declared that the transfer of power "appears full of goodwill" while teeing up Rouhani addressing the Iranian parliament. Wrapping up the segment, she proclaimed: "After his remarks, President Rouhani immediately named his entire cabinet, most fellow moderates. He was clearly signaling the direction he wants Iran to go and how fast."
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.
During a panel discussion on Thursday's NBC Today about some school districts arming teachers to defend against mass shootings, fill-in co-host Carson Daly teed up New Jersey American Federation of Teachers president Donna Chiera to slam the idea: "Donna, you're a teacher. What's the impact – what do you think the impact would be on a child if they knew their teacher was carrying a gun?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Chiera launched into a bizarre rant: "I would hate for students to say, 'Oh, my goodness, if I answer the wrong question, is my teacher going to shoot me? If I make my teacher angry, is my teacher going to shoot me?'" Rather than reject such an absurd notion, Daly soberly wondered: "Do you think they would they make that connection?" News reader Natalie Morales and weatherman Al Roker also maintained straight faces following the outrageous commentary.
ABC and CBS both failed to point out San Diego Mayor Bob Filner's Democratic party affiliation on their Wednesday morning newscasts. Good Morning America devoted just one 17-second news brief to the ongoing Filner scandal. CBS This Morning didn't do much better, with two news briefs on the former congressman. NBC's Today didn't set aside any air time to the controversy.
The NBC morning show did one-up its Big Three competitors in identifying Anthony Weiner as a Democrat. Stephanie Gosk underlined the "Democratic drums are beating loudly for Anthony Weiner to step out of race for New York mayor", and noted the scandal-plagued politician's fourth-place standing among "likely Democratic primary voters". CBS This Morning and GMA merely labeled Weiner a "former congressman".
After a tease of upcoming coverage of the Anthony Weiner sex scandal, on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer tried to make the news of political controversy bipartisan: "Republicans are facing a few issues of their own, highlighted by a war of words between Chris Christie and Rand Paul." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing the report, fellow co-host Savannah Guthrie announced a "heated feud" between the two Republicans, followed by correspondent Peter Alexander proclaiming: "A Republican family feud growing nastier by the sound bite." As the headline on screen declared a "war of words," Alexander asserted: "The fight has exposed deep divisions within the party on national security and federal spending."
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams declared that Hillary Clinton's lunch with President Obama put the possible 2016 Democratic contender "a safe distance from the scandal in New York that now includes a longtime aide." Introducing a report on the meeting, Williams noted how "Bill and Hillary Clinton are trying to keep their distance from any associations with Anthony Weiner, whose wife is a longtime Hillary Clinton aide and confidante..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Continuing to fret over the impact the scandal may have on the Clintons, correspondent Andrea Mitchell decried Weiner's continued candidacy for New York City mayor: "Weiner has become a tabloid nightmare for his wife, Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton's aide. And for the Clintons, resurrecting embarrassing flashbacks they'd hoped were long forgotten. Weiner said again today, he isn't going away..."
All three major networks ran full-length stories on their Saturday morning shows on the sex scandals involving San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. However, none of the networks directly identified either politician as a Democrat.
ABC’s Saturday edition of Good Morning America ran separate stories on each of the two men. Their two-and-a-half minute package on Filner made no mention of the mayor’s party affiliation, while the two-and-a-half minute story on Weiner merely hinted that the former congressman was a Democrat. There was a sound bite halfway through the story in which an angry female New Yorker exclaimed, “I’m suggesting wholeheartedly he ought to withdraw, and I am a Democrat.” Yet nobody from ABC ever referred to Weiner as a Democrat.
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."
The same networks that have been minimizing and ignoring the growing scandal at the Internal Revenue Service all found time to fawn over 50-year-old footage of President Kennedy vacationing with family. A World News graphic on Sunday night thrilled, "Return to Camelot."
Anchor David Muir breathlessly narrated the video to cloying, emotional music provided by ABC: "President Kennedy teeing off. The 46-year-old President putting and, well, missing the shot. The camera trained on him though for the entire round of golf and with the next putt there is more success." Muir gushed over footage of a young Caroline Kennedy on "the lap of her father as they finished their sun-splashed weekend fifty years ago tonight." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie seized on Hillary Clinton having lunch with President Obama to promote NBC's upcoming four-part miniseries on the former secretary of state and first lady: "[She] has been traveling around the country giving speeches as you know, as she considers whether to get into the 2016 presidential campaign. Well, whether she runs or whether she doesn't, NBC says it will move forward with a new miniseries about her life." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
As the headline on screen blared, "Hillary Goes Hollywood," Guthrie touted the casting for Clinton: "This is slated to be a four-part movie starring Oscar nominee Diane Lane, and it will recount Clinton's final years as first lady up to the present. No word yet on who would play other characters, such as Bill Clinton, perhaps Monica Lewinsky."