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.
NBC's Matt Lauer pronounced the previous week a "bad week" for the Romney campaign and cited squishy Republicans to help make his point on Thursday's Today show. Lauer wouldn't even let Romney adviser Ed Gillespie say President Obama had a bad week.
Lauer posed to Gillespie, "by just about every estimate this was a bad week for his [Romney's] campaign. Would you agree?" When Gillespie cited polls showing President Obama's numbers slipping, Lauer tried to flip the negative spotlight back on Romney. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
On Wednesday's NBC Today, correspondent Michael Isikoff offered a congratulatory puff piece on the man who helped release a hidden camera video of Mitt Romney: "[It] became public as a result of some dogged sleuthing by a partisan political researcher with a very personal interest in the election....James Carter IV, who helped out it, is basking in the afterglow, receiving fresh job offers from liberal bloggers and a high-five e-mail from his grandfather, former President Jimmy Carter." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The headline on screen throughout the report read: "'Poetic Justice'; Jimmy Carter's Grandson Helped Expose Romney Video." At one point in the segment, Carter gushed: "A lot of my Twitter followers that are supporters have said that this is poetic justice, that a Carter is the one that found this – this video that has given the Romney campaign so much trouble, and I have to say that I definitely agree with that sentiment."
In an interview with Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie teed up the liberal congresswoman to rip into Mitt Romney over a hidden camera video of him at a fundraiser: "Republicans and Democrats have criticized him for it. I'm sure Democrats view it as a gift from above, but do you think with the big issues facing our country, this is something that should be a substantive part of our campaign?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Predictably, Pelosi was eager for the topic to be an issue in the presidential race: "Absolutely. This is fundamental." She slammed Romney for having "demonstrated the demeaning attitude that...[he] has toward a large segment of the American people." In an odd slip of the tongue, she referred to "Governor Obama," but Guthrie never corrected her.
Wrapping up a report for Tuesday's NBC Today about the hidden camera video of Mitt Romney speaking at a fundraiser, national investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff laughably proclaimed: "The source who made the secret video insisted to NBC News that the original motivation was not political but simple curiosity, to see what Romney would say in this unscripted setting." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After promoting that assertion, Isikoff added: "But after watching the tape, the source decided the public should hear what Romney said and was encouraged to release it after talks with an Atlanta political researcher names James Carter IV, the grandson of Jimmy Carter..." Isikoff didn't question the fact that Romney made the comments in May but that the video was just released 50 days before the election.
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, Jan Crawford stood out as the only Big Three network journalist to play a clip of Barack Obama's infamous "cling to guns and religion" barb at conservatives, as she covered the recently-released secret recordings of Mitt Romney remarking about the "47 percent of the country who are dependent on government."
Crawford remarked that Obama "spurred similar controversy" with the 2008 comment, but neither ABC's Good Morning America nor NBC's Today mentioned it in their coverage of the Romney video recordings, which were released by the left-wing magazine Mother Jones. [audio of Crawford available here; video below the jump]
Appearing on Tuesday's NBC Today, MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough made one hyperbolic doomsday declaration after another about Mitt Romney's campaign: "This is one of the worst weeks for any presidential candidate in a general election that any of us can remember....Unemployment is still 8% plus, the economy is still in tatters, and Mitt Romney is blowing this race." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Scarborough frantically asserted: "[Republicans] are so depressed this morning, they just can't believe that Mitt Romney is blowing a race against a president who they believe has mismanaged the economy terribly over the past four years.....It is too much for many Republicans to handle." As the segment concluded, the former GOP Congressman went so far as to tell co-host Savannah Guthrie: "I'm going to go put a bag over my head now, so I will talk to you soon."
Pushing the narrative of Mitt Romney losing the presidential election on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie seized on an article in Politico that "details squabbling among Romney advisers, a lot of blind quotes, anonymous quotes." She turned to political director Chuck Todd and wondered: "Is this a fairly ominous sign for the campaign, that they're already blaming each other anonymously in print?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd proclaimed: "Well, this certainly doesn't happen in winning campaigns, right, Savannah? This is the type of thing you read about losing campaigns. It reads like a pre-bituary, if you will, as if people are looking to see who's going to get the blame for blowing the Republican Party's best chance at knocking off an incumbent president in nearly 30 years."
Barely able to contain his glee over the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll on Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams enthused to political director Chuck Todd: "...some of these numbers are ahead of the wildest dreams of the Democratic campaigners." Todd agreed: "They are." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd touted leads for President Obama in the battleground states of Virginia, Ohio, and Florida, and eagerly noted: "...the right track, wrong track numbers, for the first time since we've been testing in these state polls, the right track is over 40%." Todd then cited partisan talking points to explain the modest improvement: "Some Democrats have been telling me, that's the Clinton bump, referring to Bill Clinton's speech [at the Democratic National Convention]."
In a report for Friday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander touted how Mitt Romney "was briefly interrupted by a heckler" at campaign stop in Virginia and played a clip of the angry malcontent ranting: "Why are you politicizing Libya?!" Alexander then played a clip of President Obama being greeted by cheers and applause in Colorado, proclaiming: "Obama took a firm stand, reminding voters of his power as commander in chief."
Alexander began the report by declaring: "Less than eight weeks til' election day, Romney, who by the way authored a book titled No Apology, is making no apologies for his sharp criticism of the President's foreign policy." At the same time, Alexander suggested Romney was backing down: "Mitt Romney toned down his foreign policy attack on President Obama Thursday, seeking to project strength in more subtle terms, arguing the President's a weak leader."
The NBC and CBS morning shows on Thursday both pushed the theme that Mitt Romney made a gaffe with his handling of Libya. At the same time, they shielded Barack Obama. Good Morning America's Jake Tapper stood out in highlighting problems for the President. In the wake of the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Tapper asserted that "many questions remain about insufficient security at those diplomatic posts on the anniversary of 9/11 and U.S. leadership in the region in the wake of the Arab Spring."
In contrast, CBS This Morning devoted a large chunk of its coverage to allowing Barack Obama to defend himself. The three minute and 41 second story featured the President talking for a massive two and a half minutes. How long did Romney get in the Norah O'Donnell segment? A mere ten seconds.
Continuing to attack Mitt Romney's reaction to the embassy attacks in Egypt and Libya, on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie urged Senator John McCain to admit Romney made a mistake: "Was it correct for Mitt Romney to seize on that political opportunity at a moment when the U.S. Ambassador had been killed?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
McCain stood behind Romney's criticism of the Obama administration's initial response to the attacks and added some of his own: "Look, what this is all about is American weakness and the President's inability to lead....Iraq is dissolving, our relations with Israel are at a tension point. He – I'd like to see the President of the United States speak up once for the 20,000 people that are being massacred in Syria. There is an absence of American leadership in the region..."
Each morning, 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 September 27. (Click here for details and ticket information.)
If you’ve missed a previous blog, recounting the worst of 1988 through 1998, you can find them here. Today, the worst bias of 1999, including Eleanor Clift likening the House Republican impeachment managers to the KKK (“all they were missing was the white sheets!”), and Katie Couric misquoting author Edmund Morris to call Ronald Reagan “an airhead.” [Quotes and video below the jump.]
At the top of Wednesday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, host Chuck Todd denounced Mitt Romney for daring to criticize the Obama administration's handling of the attack on U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya: "[The Romney campaign] wish they had that press release back, because as the hours unfolded....this statement looks crass and tone deaf in the light of this day." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd was referring to the Romney campaign condemning a statement by the U.S. embassy in Cairo that essentially apologized to the Islamist protesters attacking the diplomatic grounds. Todd proclaimed: "Now here's what we don't get. Why the Romney campaign didn't wait until it had all the facts....Now they're actually in a political box, because what can they do? They know that they've made a mistake."
Early in the 8 a.m. et hour on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer led a panel discussion on whether the September 11th attacks were staring to be forgotten: "...some people are saying that the attention for this event, these anniversaries, is waning, and that people have moved on. 20 years from now, are our children going to grow up – be in a world where the significance of this event, those attacks, is lost?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A little over thirty minutes later, NBC fulfilled that fear by skipping the moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. et commemorating the first plane hitting the first tower of the World Trade Center, instead airing an interview with Keeping Up With the Kardashians star Kris Jenner. ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning both observed the moment of silence.
Over the years, comedian Wanda Sykes -- a staunch liberal Democrat and outspoken advocate of gay marriage -- has been no friend to Republicans. So it should come as no surprise that Ms. Sykes would appear on NBC’s Today on September 6 to promote her special on the LOGO television network entitled, ‘NewNowNext Vote.’ LOGO promotes itself as a cable channel devoted to gays and lesbians.
Appearing on Today, Sykes, who is lesbian, expressed her support for gay rights, but during the promotion of her special, decided to attack Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, calling them the Eddie Haskell and Forrest Gump of politics. Eddie Haskell, a character from the 1950's sitcom Leave It to Beaver, is often considered to be the archetype for those who are insincere. [See video below break.]
Promoting his fawning profile of President Obama for the October issue of Vanity Fair on Tuesday's NBC Today, contributing editor Michael Lewis described a game of basketball he played with the commander in chief: "...it was actually very revealing...he doesn't let anybody treat him like the president. If you're watching the game, you'd have no idea who – which one is the president...he likes a really challenging environment...it's a relationship among equals." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The gushing from Lewis was prompted by co-host Matt Lauer wondering: "What did you see about the way he [Obama] handles himself on the court that sheds some light on his personality and how he might handle himself in the job?" Lewis observed: "...he's effective on the court, he's a good basketball player – but he plays a game that seems very risk averse....But then all of a sudden, when there's a risk to take, it's boom. He's got the personality of a sniper."
Eager to get a jump-start on biased coverage of the next presidential race, on Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Andrea Mitchell salivated over a possible Hillary Clinton run: "Well, the conventions were barely over before politicians in both parties started talking about likely contenders for 2016, and overshadowing all others is the woman who wasn't even there."
Mitchell sympathetically observed: "Hillary has been waiting a long time for her chance to be president, after losing a bitter primary fight to then-Senator Barack Obama four years ago." Mitchell then proclaimed: "She says she has no plans to run, but if she did, some say she would clear the field."
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."
All three morning shows on Monday covered the massive teachers strike in Rahm Emanuel's Chicago that left 350,000 students in the lurch. However, only CBS This Morning explained that the teachers, through their public sector unions, are already well compensated, making an average salary of $71,000 a year (plus benefits).
Reporter Dean Reynolds informed viewers, "That a dispute involving public sector employees would erupt in Chicago was somewhat surprising, given the generous packages unions here have won in the past." He noted that "Chicago's public school teachers make an average of $71,000 a year." Good Morning America and the Today show ignored these facts.
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."
For the past week, 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 September 27. (Click here for details, including ticket information.)
If you’ve missed our recounting of the worst quotes from 1988 through 1995, you can find those here). Today, the worst bias of 1996: Implicating Republicans in the burning of black churches; seeking prayers for children in the wake of welfare reform; and admiration for the environmental terrorist dubbed “the Unabomber.” [Quotes and video below the jump.]
Guess John Harwood was feeling lucky today. CNBC's chief Washington correspondent went on the Today show and boldly proclaimed that not only did Clint Eastwood not accomplish his mission with his RNC speech, but that the speech is almost universally viewed by political professionals as "a big blunder, a big set-back for Mitt Romney."
Harwood did not adduce a scintilla of evidence in support of his contention that the speech hurt Romney. And his universe of pundits apparently does not include people like Jonah Goldberg or Mark Steyn. View the video after the jump.
On Friday's NBC Today, less than two hours before another poor jobs report, co-host Matt Lauer touted a bold economic prediction: "Some of the analysts I've been reading have said that no matter who is president over the next four years, the economy will add about 12 million jobs just because of the cycle it's in." CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer agreed with the rosy scenario: "...a lot of pent-up demand in autos and pent-up demand in exports. It's not such a bad moment."
Earlier in the discussion, Cramer predicted that the upcoming jobs numbers would be "a little better than expected" from the projection of 135,000 jobs created in August, with "Maybe 10,000 jobs more than that." At the top of the 9 a.m. hour, fill-in news anchor Tamron Hall delivered the much more disappointing reality: "[The unemployment rate] now stands at 8.1% for the month of August, down .2% from July, but only because more people gave up looking for work. The economy added 96,000 jobs last month."
Comparing the RNC and DNC conventions on Friday's NBC Today, MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough declared a knockout for Democrats: "...if we're going pound for pound, round for round, this wasn't Ali versus Frasier, this was Muhammed Ali versus Chuck Wepner...It was ugly..." The liberal crowd assembled around Scarborough at a bar in Charlotte all cheered and applauded the statement. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Scarborough's boxing reference was to a 1975 fight when Wepner went 15 rounds with the heavyweight champion Ali before losing. On the conventions, he argued that Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton and Joe Biden "all hit home runs...all hit it out of the park," while in Tampa, "you had a Republican convention that was trying to figure out how to love Mitt Romney."
Even the journalists on the liberal NBC, CBS and ABC morning shows had a hard time spinning Barack Obama's acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention. On Friday's Today show, Chuck Todd glumly conceded, "Look, aides acknowledge this wasn't his most poetic speech, not on par with his previous convention speeches and maybe not even the best convention speech of the week." [MP3 audio here. See video below. ]
Todd offered that "because of the hard economic realities, the President decided that had to trump soaring rhetoric." Over on Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos actually refrained from his normally effusive praise of the President. The host acknowledged, "A different kind of convention speech from President Obama last night. More sober, a little more humble." How anxious were the hosts of GMA to get off the subject of the President's speech? The two hour program gave Obama a mere five minutes and 45 seconds.