At the top of Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer eagerly promoted the possibility of Chelsea Clinton, currently an NBC News special correspondent, one day running for office: "Following in the footsteps? Chelsea Clinton opens up in a rare interview about her mom's presidential ambitions, while leaving the door open for her own run for office."
In the later report, designed to increase buzz about Hillary Clinton's possible 2016 run, correspondent John Yang heralded: "Chelsea Clinton is stepping out....For the first time taking a leading role with her father at CGIU, the Clinton Global Initiative's meeting for college students, and appearing on the cover of Parade magazine. In a rare TV interview...[she] gives her unique perspective on the clamor for her mother to get into the 2016 White House race....And she's leaving the door open to a candidacy of her own."
Appearing on Monday's Today, Abby Huntsman, daughter of former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, offered kind words eulogizing Margaret Thatcher: "What we know about Margaret Thatcher is she's a woman with so much courage...She really sticks to her convictions, and that's rare today. I think she really paved the way for women in politics....her legacy will be remembered forever." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
News reader Natalie Morales seized on Huntsman's comments as the "perfect segue" to a panel discussion about the political aspirations of Hillary Clinton. Co-host Willie Geist declared: "Absolutely, our Take Three, talking about the woman who could be the leader of this country, about 35 years or more than after the fact in Great Britain, Chelsea Clinton speaking out this morning on speculation that her mother will once again run for president."
As news broke of the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Monday morning, Today co-host Matt Lauer turned to correspondent Michelle Kosinski in London, who proclaimed Thatcher was "Known as the Iron Lady and for her conservative politics, she was also quite controversial during that time for reducing the power of the trade unions." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In a full report that followed, correspondent Martin Fletcher used similar language to describe the tenure of the British leader: "She was known as an iron lady, both loved and loathed....Consensus and compromise, they said, were not in her vocabulary. She'd won a bloody war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands, took on Britain's powerful labor unions. She ignored IRA hunger strikes....Determined, dynamic, and deeply controversial, Thatcher leaves an indelible mark on the world's political landscape."
The Big Three networks' Friday morning newscasts all highlighted the "backlash" over President Obama's "best-looking attorney general in the country" compliment of California's Kamala Harris. But in addition to ignoring First Lady Michelle Obama's recent "single mother" gaffe, as of Saturday morning, ABC, CBS, and NBC have yet to report on the President's erroneous claim about the use of an automatic firearm at the Sandy Hook massacre.
The Democrat made the false statement at a Wednesday fundraiser in California. Mr. Obama asserted, "It is possible for us to create common-sense gun safety measures that respect the traditions of gun ownership in this country...but also make sure that we don't have another 20 children...gunned down by a semiautomatic weapon – by a fully automatic weapon in that case, sadly."
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."
ABC, CBS, and NBC's Friday morning shows all devoted air time to President Obama labeling California Attorney General Kamala Harris "the best-looking attorney general in the country" at a fundraiser on Thursday. Unsurprisingly, a panel on NBC's Today tried to explain away the remark. Willie Geist asserted, "I think he [Obama] was making a joke." CBS This Morning's Norah O'Donnell was tougher on the President: "Maybe, [it] was not the right thing to say."
However, the Big Three newscasts didn't report that Mrs. Obama also got caught in a verbal misstep on Thursday. ABCNews.com's Arlette Saenz devoted a Friday morning item to how Michelle Obama mistakenly referred to herself as a "single mother" during an interview with WCAX, a CBS affiliate in Vermont.
All three networks on Wednesday and Thursday parroted the exact same talking points from the White House, touting Barack Obama for expressing "solidarity" with struggling workers by taking a five percent pay cut. The President made the move, which amounts to a minuscule $1700 a month, in the wake of sequestration. On Good Morning America, Josh Elliott trumpeted, "[Obama] says he wants to show solidarity with government workers who face a furlough because of budget cuts." [See a video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
Over on NBC's Today, Natalie Morales touted, "In an attempt at solidarity with federal workers feeling the sequester spending cuts, President Obama is giving himself a five percent pay cut on his $400,000-a-year salary." Offering a remarkably similar thought, World News anchor Diane Sawyer rounded up the amount to a year's total: " That's $20,000, to show solidarity with government employees who will be furloughed." In an impressed tone, the host praised, "The White House says Obama will personally write a check to the Treasury."
On Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie heralded that Connecticut had "approved some of the tightest gun control legislation in the country as President Obama is pushing for tougher laws nationwide." The headline on screen proclaimed: "Tough New State Gun Laws; Connecticut Governor to Sign Sweeping Gun Control Bill."
In the report that followed, White House correspondent Kristen Welker touted President Obama's cross-country trip "aimed at campaigning for stiffer gun laws," but lamented that such legislation was "virtually stalled in Congress." She then optimistically declared: "It's a different story in the states in the wake of the Newtown tragedy. This morning, the Connecticut state legislature passed some of the toughest gun laws in the nation, expanding background checks and adding 100 guns to the list of banned assault weapons."
The Iowa Democratic caucus is a full thirty-three months away but that didn't stop NBC's Today show from promoting a possible Hillary Clinton candidacy. NBC's Andrea Mitchell, on Wednesday's show, once again hyped a potential Hillary Clinton run for president as she proclaimed the former Secretary of State was a "rock star."
Her colleague Savannah Guthrie declared the former Secretary of State: "Would be a field clearing candidate for Democrats. That is nobody gets in if she's in."
NBC's Andrea Mitchell, on Tuesday's Today show, got a very early start on hyping a Hillary Clinton 2016 run for President as she touted Clinton as a "star attraction."
Acting more like a talent agent promoting her client, Mitchell plugged Clinton's first major public appearances and noted that "one-thousand days from Iowa" the former Secretary of State would be "formidable" if she runs again for President.
The Big Three networks' morning and evening newscasts still haven't covered the murder trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell as of Monday morning. ABC, CBS, and NBC have maintained their coverage blackout despite the graphic witness testimony and the in-your-face courtroom antics of Dr. Gosnell's defense attorney during the first two weeks of the proceedings. The Philadelphia physician is charged with murdering seven newborn children at his decrepit abortion facility.
This glaring omission by the broadcast networks would have continued, if Peggy Noonan hadn't provided the first mention of the murder trial on Sunday's Meet the Press on NBC. The Wall Street Journal columnist spotlighted the "haunting and disturbing story of this doctor", and pointed out how coverage has been "hard to find."
In 2006, Joe Biden, then a powerful U.S. senator and future vice president, smeared Indian Americans as mostly working at the convenience store 7-11. At the time, NBC (and the other networks) completely ignored the story. This week, when obscure Republican Congressman Don Young referred to Hispanic migrant workers as "wetbacks," NBC's Today show devoted a full segment to the story.
Reporter Kelly O'Donnell on Friday explained how the Alaska Representative gave an interview to a local radio station and "used an offensive slur to describe" some Latinos. She then took this as an excuse to highlight the GOP as out of touch: "Young's comments come at a time when the Republican Party is struggling to connect with minorities after failing to do that in the 2012 presidential election where 71 percent of Latinos voted for President Obama." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The media are in love – with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. From his soda ban, to his global warming views, to his opinions on gay marriage, journalists and pundits have repeatedly given him a platform to promote whatever he wants … and praised him repeatedly.
ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday again offered the most biased coverage on the gay marriage case before the Supreme Court. All three network morning shows skipped specific mention of the multiple thousands who marched for traditional marriage on Tuesday. ABC, however, used loaded terms such as "marriage equality" rather than gay marriage. Reporter Terry Moran gushed over the liberal position: "This is a social movement, a 21st century social movement that arrived with astonishing speed at this court, driven by activists, by Hollywood in part and by young people, especially on social media." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In contrast, he portrayed a skeptical Supreme Court as old and out of touch: "The wave of increasing support for gay marriage in America, especially among the young, is crashing on the Supreme Court and the justices, average age 67, seem downright perplexed." Moran highlighted the case of Edie Windsor, an 83-year-old lesbian whose case is before the Supreme Court. He sympathetically related, "when Thea died in 2009, Edie got hit with almost $400,000 in federal estate taxes, a penalty she would not have had to pay if she were married to a man."
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."
At the top of Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie seemed to get swept up in the network's own one-sided reporting on the gay marriage cases before the Supreme Court, proclaiming: "Supreme decision. This nation's highest court taking up the divisive issue of same-sex marriage this morning. Will the justices make it legal in every state?"
In the report that followed, justice correspondent Pete Williams touted the anticipation of gay marriage supporters: "The day has finally come for the people who've lined up for days to see the historic argument....The two California couples at the heart of today's case are already here after a brief visit Monday to see the Constitution at the National Archives. Their lawyer says Prop 8 should be struck down because allowing them to get married would have no effect on traditional couples."
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."
In a report for Friday's NBC Today, correspondent Jim Maceda seized on an account in a 2012 book in which Pope Francis, then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, recalled being attracted to a woman when he was a young seminarian preparing to enter the priesthood: "Well, it turns out that Francis...came to the priesthood rather late, at age 32, and not before he had his own moments of doubt and temptation." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Maceda went so far as to make a sensational comparison to a soap opera about a priest falling in love with a woman. After a clip of the show played, Maceda declared: "Like the conflicted Catholic priest in the 1980 TV mini-series Thorn Birds, the former Jorge Bergoglio admitted in a book published in Spanish last year, to be 'dazzled' by a young woman at the time he was studying to be a priest."
Radio hosts like Mark Levin and Web sites like Canada Free Press are mocking President Obama’s statement in a press conference yesterday with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, where he compared the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to U.S.-Canada relations. What? Levin called him a "moron" for the comparison.
But ABC, CBS, and NBC failed to notice. They acted like a press release service for Obama on their newscasts Thursday night and Friday morning, offering Obama 18 soundbites adding up to 215 seconds, often ending in applause. Only Chuck Todd on NBC Nightly News aired a soundbite from anyone other than Obama.
Previewing a fawning Brian Williams interview with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his brothers, Ari and Zeke, set to air on Friday's NBC Rock Center, Today co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed the siblings to be "an American success story times three." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the clip that followed, Williams enthused: "The Emanuel brothers, three super achievers, raised under the same roof. The big city mayor, the Hollywood super agent, and the medical bioethicist. And if you're going to sit down with all three brothers at once, be ready, bring your best game, because it's not for the faint of heart."
In a report for Thursday's NBC Today, investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff reported on plans for a $150 million renovation of the Guantanamo Bay prison still housing 166 terror detainees and sympathetically described how "despite improvements in recent years" of the facility, "the detainees' hopes of getting released were crushed when President Obama stopped talking about closing it." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Isikoff noted that some of the detainees were "engaged in a hunger strike...as an attempt to regain attention." A sound bite played of new the commanding general of the prison expressing his frustration with President Obama: "Nothing in the inauguration speech about closing it. Nothing in the State of the Union. You know, he's not re-staffing the office that was, you know, focused on closing or transferring."
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel described Israel's precarious position in the Middle East: "Israel sees the world just beyond its borders collapsing. The war in Syria....Hamas in charge in Gaza....The Muslim Brotherhood running Egypt." He proclaimed that the Jewish state "hasn't ever been popular in this neighborhood, but now its enemies are at the gate and angry." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Despite explaining the dangerous situation, Engel portrayed Israel as an almost paranoid nation cutting itself off from the outside world: "Israel is becoming a fortress. Fences along the borders with Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria. More fences around the Gaza Strip, and a massive wall along the West Bank. A country the size of New Jersey with more than 500 miles of barricades. Israel is shutting out the Arab world and shutting itself in."
ABC continued ignoring Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's move on Tuesday to drop a proposed federal ban on so-called assault weapons. Neither Wednesday's World News nor Thursday's Good Morning America covered the congressional development. This lack of coverage stands out in light of the network's hype of President Obama's supposedly "dramatic and emotional" lobbying effort for the ban during his State of the Union address.
NBC and CBS's Wednesday evening newscasts also ignored Senator Reid's deep-sixing of the gun control legislation. Their morning shows on Thursday devoted news briefs to Vice President Joe Biden and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's "renewed call" for the assault weapons ban, but failed to explicitly mention the Nevada Democrat's role in dropping the bill.
After President Obama scolded NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd as "incorrigible" for asking too many tough questions during a Wednesday press conference, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams mocked Todd's grilling and agreed with the President: "He is incorrigible, come to think of it. Our own Chuck Todd called out today in Jerusalem, and guilty as charged, truth be told." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing a clip of Obama lecturing Todd, which completely edited out any of the challenging questions, Williams explained: "Both leaders had opening statements, the actual press conference part was limited to two questions from Israeli journalists and two questions from the visiting Americans. So when our own friend Chuck Todd asked a multi-part question, he got called out for it."
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, which began on Monday. Gosnell is charged with murdering seven babies who were born after viability in his rundown abortion facility. The Big Three also gave the story minimal coverage back in January 2011, after the Philadelphia physician was arrested. ABC completely ignored it, CBS Evening News aired one full story, and NBC gave just 50 words on Today.
Even the New York Times covered the trial in a Tuesday article, though it appeared on page A-17. Writer Jon Hurdle documented how Gosnell is charged with killing the babies by "plunging scissors into their necks and 'snipping' their spinal cords."
Over the winter, the three networks eagerly compared Barack Obama's push for more gun control to "defeating the Nazis," hyping his "dramatic," "emotional" effort. Yet, when the President suffered a serious setback, Tuesday, ABC, CBS and NBC failed to portray it as a defeat for the Commander in Chief. Harry Reid announced on March 19 that Senate Democrats were dropping an effort to ban so-called assault weapons.
Tuesday's World News and Nightline and Wednesday's Good Morning America totally skipped the development. Yet, in the minutes following the State of the Union, George Stephanopoulos praised the President's "dramatic and emotional" plea for an assault weapons ban. On January 16, CBS's Bob Schieffer compared, "Surely, finding Osama bin Laden; surely, passing civil rights legislation...defeating the Nazis, was a much more formidable task than taking on the gun lobby." However, on Tuesday's Evening News, in the wake of the defeat in the Senate, the long-time journalist offered no similar hyperbolic lament.
Appearing on Tuesday's NBC Today as part of its Vatican coverage of Pope Francis's installation mass, former correspondent Maria Shriver offered a report that urged the Catholic Church to allow female priests: "Catholic women, and nuns in particular....cannot be ordained, they cannot say Mass and they cannot vote for the pope. Now millions of women think it's time for the hierarchy of this Church to open its eyes to the reality of what women can and should be allowed to do." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Speaking to Sister Judith Zoebelein, a high-ranking Vatican official, later in the report, Shriver wondered: "You know in the United States, we often talk about the glass ceiling for women professionally. Is there a stained glass ceiling?" The headline on screen throughout the segment read: "The Stained Glass Ceiling; Maria Shriver On Women's Roles in the Catholic Church."
Just how superficial is ABC? On Monday and Tuesday, the network allowed a mere 20 seconds to "outrage" over a plan by the European Union that would have seized ten percent of the money Cyprus residents had in their bank accounts. ABC's World News skipped the story entirely, as did Monday's Nightline. Good Morning America on Tuesday offered 20 seconds. In contrast, the program devoted over five minutes to important topics, such as the newest season of Dancing With the Stars.
NBC and CBS both showcased more coverage. On Monday, Nightly News's Brian Williams featured the story in a full report. Describing the potential default of Cyprus as a "banking crisis," he explained, "European leaders decided to take a chunk of that bailout money directly out of the bank accounts of everyone in the country." Displaying interest not seen on ABC, Williams added, "It was a shocking move heard around the globe today and the fear on the Mediterranean island rippled through world financial markets today."
In a report on the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War for Tuesday's NBC Today, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel was unable to conceal his contempt for the conflict: "Iraq's oil money was supposed to pay for the war. It didn't work out that way. From now on, the war set its own agenda, an insurgency erupted that became a religious civil war....Iraqis accuse the United States of invading to find weapons of mass destruction that were never there, and destroying a delicate religious balance." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Engel continued: "The [Bush] White House stopped claiming all was well in Iraq, and thousands more troops surged. The violence dropped, and Americans left. Nine years, almost 4,500 troops killed, 32,000 wounded, 130,000 Iraqi civilians killed. The cost, according to a new study, nearly $2 trillion."