All three networks on Tuesday hyped an "interesting" exchange between Barack Obama and a liberal heckler. ABC, CBS and ABC declined, however, to specifically note that the man's concern was that the President simply wasn't liberal enough on the issue of immigration reform. On NBC's Today, Natalie Morales praised, "You know, I think that the President handled it well by engaging." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Co-host Willie Geist defended the President's insistence that he needs Congress to pass legislation. Geist sympathetically noted, "The President's argument was 'I can't wave the magic wand and make this go away.' But he did do that for some of the younger dreamers." The younger dreamers? Quite the loaded term.
The mainstream media has finally gotten around to covering the "knockout game" which has already been reported on Fox News. However, even though they are now beginning to report on it, they still cling to some biases. In the case of the Today Show it was a bias against defending yourself with legal weapons. In their story about the knockout game which included a segment about one of the perpetrators, Marvell Weaver, being caught and sent to prison, they completely skipped the reason why he was apprehended. Of course, to have reported on that reason for his capture would have damaged their bias against citizens arming themselves since Weaver was shot twice by his intended victim who was a concealed carry permit holder.
Here is the Today Show report by Jeff Rossen who very conveniently skipped the "little" detail of the perp being caught because he was shot in self-defense:
After NBC refused to even mention ObamaCare since November 18, Saturday's Today allowed left-wing MSNBC host Chris Matthews to actually blame Republicans for the program's ongoing failures: "I think the acid test here is participation, not efficiency. It comes down to whether young people who are healthy are willing to join up....There's a big scary thing, though, that if you look at all the criticism from the other side, from the Republican side, that's discouraging people from joining up." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Matthews proclaimed that if the young and healthy "join up in big numbers," then "the President wins." He framed signing up for ObamaCare as a matter of civic duty: "Will people join up and take their responsibility as citizens really to be part of a national health care program? That's a question that's still not answered."
ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today on Friday did their best to downplay Senate Democrats' Thursday move to curtail the Republican Party's filibuster power. The two newscasts devoted a combined 39 seconds to the controversial vote, which ABC's Dan Harris labeled a "bold move". GMA apparently thought the potential marriage of serial killer Charles Manson was more important, as it devoted over two minutes of air time to that eyebrow-raising story. [audio of the ABC and NBC coverage available here; video below the jump]
By contrast, Friday's CBS This Morning spent nearly three minutes on the "historic change in the Senate", as Norah O'Donnell put it. O'Donnell also wondered, "Will Democrats regret invoking the nuclear option?"
After censoring any coverage of the continuing ObamaCare disaster since Monday morning, NBC did manage to find time to cover Michelle Obama's fashion choices and the First Couple's first date on Wednesday's Today, with co-host Matt Lauer excitedly telling viewers to stay tuned: "First Lady Michelle Obama opens up about her very first date with the future president as well as her biggest fashion regret." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the segment that followed, news reader Natalie Morales gushed: "We're used to seeing First Lady Michelle Obama looking very stylish and picture perfect, but in a new interview with BET, the First Lady admitted there is one particular look that she now regrets....the First Lady was also asked about her first date with the President and she revealed more about their day-long adventure than she's ever really revealed before."
Wednesday's CBS This Morning stood out as the only Big Three morning show to spotlight Henry Chao's stunning revelation to Congress – that a significant portion of the I.T. infrastructure needed to support HealthCare.gov has yet to be built. NBC's Today completely ignored Chao's testimony, while GMA aired a 19-second brief that vaguely summarized the hearing. Meanwhile, the ABC show devoted a 1 minute and 45 second report to a puppy that sleeps with a baby.
Major Garrett reported that Chao "told Congress Tuesday the team making emergency repairs still has another major task to accomplish: building 30 percent to 40 percent of the web systems needed to make payments to insurance companies." Garrett also featured two soundbites from the testimony of a panel of cyber-security experts, who warned that the ObamaCare website remains vulnerable to hackers: [audio available here; video below the jump]
It was all over the news last week. “One in three” Americans should be taking statins, cholesterol-lowering drugs, according to American Heart Association’s newly developed risk factors calculator. The calculator was designed to estimate one’s risk for cardiovascular disease, based on multiple factors, instead of just using cholesterol levels.
ABC, NBC, and CBS all gobbled up the news, warning that “many more Americans [would be] taking these drugs.” The New York Times also featured on its front page the new health alert.
Appearing on Tuesday's Tonight Show, former President George W. Bush got a laugh from the audience with this one-liner: "We've always had such great relations with NBC." Host Jay Leno added to the joke by taking his own shot at the network: "I'm glad one of us has." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The brief exchange was prompted by Leno asking the former commander-in-chief and former First Lady Laura Bush about their daughter, Jenna Bush-Hager, being a correspondent for the Today show: "And Jenna is on the Today show...Is that fun?" Laura Bush replied: "It's fun. It's fun for us. We love to watch her."
Despite a running time of four hours, NBC's Today show on Tuesday skipped a blistering poll for Barack Obama and the latest news about the disastrous rollout of the President's health care law. Yet, the morning show managed five minutes for discussing the new TV special from singer John Rich and three minutes on table etiquette for Thanksgiving. Not exactly pressing topics. In contrast, both ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning covered the current wave of bad news.
An ABC News/Washington Post survey found Obama's approval rating at just 42 percent, what Jon Karl referred to as "the lowest job approval we have ever seen" for his presidency. GMA's George Stephanopoulos conceded that these are "brutal numbers." Karl even relayed this result: "We asked voters if they can have a mulligan on the 2012 presidential election, who they would vote for? A plurality now say they would vote for Romney over Obama." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The journalists also focused on what the administration knew in advance of the impending ObamaCare collapse.
Monday's CBS This Morning is the sole Big Three newscast so far to cover the firing of William P. White, a day after the now former D.C. official criticized President Obama's plan to let insurers temporarily restore canceled health insurance policies for a year. Nancy Cordes revealed how "D.C.'s insurance commissioner was abruptly fired by the city's Democratic mayor...after he warned that reinstating canceled plans 'undercuts the purpose' of the new health care exchanges." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Cordes's mention of Mayor Vincent Gray sacking the commissioner came a day after the Washington Post buried their story on the firing on page C7 of its Metro section on Sunday.
After playing a clip of Saturday Night Live mocking President Obama's "embattled second term" on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie sympathetically observed: "I guess if you're at the White House you laugh so you don't cry." She then turned to Obama's former press secretary Robert Gibbs and wondered: "What do you think the President's state of mind is right now? I mean, have you ever seen him like this, saying – acknowledging, 'I have a credibility problem'?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Gibbs responded by trying to insulate the President from any responsibility for the disastrous ObamaCare rollout: "I think he is obviously tremendously frustrated that no one told him the extent of this problem. I think that you, as the commander-in-chief and as the President of the United States, have to trust all of those around you to implement and I think there's no doubt a deficit of trust that's lead to that deficit of credibility."
On Monday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander lifted talking points directly from an Organizing for Action email while reporting on the political fallout from ObamaCare: "With his signature law under fire, the President faces a daunting to-do list to resuscitate ObamaCare. Number one, fix the website....Number two, clear up confusion....Number three, keep Democratic allies on board....And finally, regain Americans' trust." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the OFA email, President Obama told his supporters: "I have just over three years left as president – and there's a lot left on my to-do list. That's why I want to talk with you....I want to cut through the noise and talk with you directly about where we're headed in the fight for change."
On Friday, NBC's Today tried to cast President Obama's Thursday press conference about the ObamaCare disaster in the most sympathetic light possible, with co-host Savannah leading off the show by proclaiming: "The humble president....President Obama does damage control on the botched health care rollout with his legacy hanging in the balance." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing the segment moments later, Guthrie claimed the President was "falling on the sword over this health care rollout disaster." In the report that followed, White House correspondent Peter Alexander emphasized Obama's supposedly humility: "The President the first to admit that he has a lot of work ahead of him to regain the confidence of the American people....[he] was strikingly contrite."
Appearing on Thursday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd matter-of-factly declared that ObamaCare was always going to be a bad deal for some Americans: "There are always winners and losers in any piece of legislation. There is a small number of losers in here, if you want to count losing as in having to pay more for your health insurance....That was always the intention, that was the only way you could make the law work..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd acknowledged that was not the way President Obama sold the law, but avoided calling it a lie: "...this goes to the problem that the President brought upon himself, when they didn't make this clear." On the March 3, 2010 Nightly News, just weeks before the passage of ObamaCare, Todd touted the President's deception: "If this reform works the way the White House hopes it does, the bottom line is simple, it should be easier for you to get health insurance and harder for you to lose it."
At least for Thursday, the network morning shows admitted that ObamaCare is an "embarrassing," "botched" failure that has landed with a "resounding thud." ABC, NBC and CBS offered blunt, stark descriptions of the health care law's low enrollment rates and the disastrous implementation. Good Morning America reporter Jim Avila explained, "The President's signature achievement, health care for everyone, officially got off to a resounding thud." He added that Republicans are "seizing on the botched rollout."
Over on NBC's Today, Savannah Guthrie unloaded on the President: "A new poll that has the President's approval rating hitting an all-time low as the administration is forced to acknowledge health care enrollment numbers that are embarrassingly low." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Correspondent Peter Alexander marveled, "For a better sense of just how few Americans signed up for ObamaCare in the first month – 106,000 total – consider that's barely enough to fill a large football stadium and only one-fifth of what government officials had projected."
In the midst of the unmitigated disaster that has been the roll out of ObamaCare, on Saturday's NBC Today, co-host Lester Holt had the audacity to suggest to Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus that Republicans should be the ones on defense: "...you took it on the chin when you fought it in the last budget battle. When we go back around to the budget in January, are Republicans gonna be a little more timid taking on health care, given the experience and given the lower approval ratings?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Priebus replied: "I think that the American people are seeing now how serious it was of a fight against ObamaCare....People are hurting and they're losing their coverage and they're paying more money that they can't afford. It's just not fair."
Early in the 9 a.m. ET hour on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-hosts Willie Geist, Natalie Morales, and Al Roker mocked a series of new ads designed to promote ObamaCare, even with Geist reading one of them while doing his best impression of Anchorman's Ron Burgundy: "Let's get physical. OMG, he's hot. Let's hope he's as easy to get as this birth control. My health insurance covers the pill, which means all I have to worry about is getting it between the covers." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning on Tuesday both picked up the Wall Street Journal's Monday revelation about the HealthCare.gov website – that "fewer than 50,000 people had successfully navigated the troubled federal health-care website and enrolled in private insurance plans as of last week".
CBS anchor Norah O'Donnell zeroed in on the "newest blow to ObamaCare – how the White House enrollment expectations could be off by 80 percent." On GMA, Jonathan Karl underlined that this figure is "far short" of the Obama administration's target of 500,000 enrollees. However, NBC's Today ignored this development. Instead, the morning show devoted an entire segment to trying to get Vice President Joe Biden to be a co-host. [MP3 audio of the CBS report is available here; video below the jump]
On Monday's NBC Today, weatherman Al Roker continued his campaign to get Vice President Joe Biden to co-host the morning show: "I mean, we love the VP, just because he's fun and he would fit in perfectly here." Roker was happy to gain support from The Huffington Post, touting an article published on the liberal blog entitled "Dear Joe Biden: Please Co-Host Today!!!" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Yet again, Roker made an impassioned plea for Biden to join the show for a day: "Again, Mr. Vice President, this is where you belong. We want you here. Spend the hour with us, hang out."
Appearing on Tuesday's NBC Today to hawk his new book, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough – whose own radio show was cancelled after a brief run in 2010 – proceeded to slam conservative talk radio hosts: "They make millions and millions of dollars....they start pushing their world view on Republicans across the country and start saying, 'You either have to run up to the barricades and fight to the death every single time or you're not sufficiently conservative' and you actually have politicians listening to that and not understanding that's a profit motive." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
He added: "...we've got to stop feeding every single little resentment if we want to get back into the White House."
Trying to deflect from the political damage ObamaCare has done to Democrats, on Monday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander hyped GOP divisions: "...the Republican Party is facing a war within....Republicans have an issue over defining their brand, an ideological civil war of sorts." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In an interview with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin following Alexander's report, co-host Matt Lauer sought to stoke that supposed "civil war": "[Governor Chris Christie] called the shutdown of the government and that strategy hatched by Ted Cruz and members of the Tea Party a 'monumental failure.' If you look at the results of the [New Jersey] election, isn't the message to the Tea Party that the middle ground, not the far right, is the most fertile ground for upcoming elections?"
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer declared that President Obama "apologized" for ObamaCare failures, "not only the issues with the website, but broken promises as well." Turning to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Lauer hoped Obama's vague statement of regret was the end of the story: "Did he say what he had to say?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Palin shot down Lauer's assertion that the President had taken responsibility for the disastrous health care rollout: "What apology? What apology? He kind of acknowledged a bit that there is a broken website. The broken website is the least of America's worries. This broken website, I think, is symbolic of a broken administration – takeover of 1/6 of our economy and this socialized medicine that's being crammed down our throat, that's what's broken."
On Wednesday’s NBC Nightly News and Thursday’s Today, NBC hyped the notion that Palestinian guerrilla leader Yasser Arafat “may have” been assassinated by poisoning. They let Palestinians accuse Israel, and bizarrely suggested only Israel “considered” Arafat a terrorist (forgetting decades where the U.S. officially agreed).
There was no NBC update Friday when NPR’s All Things Considered reported the Palestinian Authority released a separate Russian study that did not confirm the notion of poisoning with Polonium-210. NBC didn’t offer any journalist or government official who disagreed with the pro-Arafat line:
Touting chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd's exclusive interview with President Obama on Thursday, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams proclaimed: "We are all about to hear the President of the United States apologize, and not just for the troubled rollout of this new health care website, but for the fact that his promise to the American people that 'If they like their current health insurance, they can keep it,' has not held true for all." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, Todd sympathetically observed: "...the President's apparent broken promise about folks keeping the plans they like has been weighing heavily on the entire White House. So it was a chastened commander-in-chief that I spoke with earlier today."
CBS and ABC on Thursday and Friday offered respectful tributes honoring "America's pastor," Billy Graham. The networks, which are often hostile or dismissive of religion, all featured segments on the minister's 95th birthday and played clips of what has been announced as his final sermon. (However, NBC's Today allowed a mere 24 seconds to the topic.) World News correspondent Dan Harris observed, "Throughout his life, it's been the Gospel that has sustained him."
The journalist oddly related, "...In private, he's a surprisingly humble man, married to the same woman, Ruth, for more than 60 years." But Harris also included ample footage of Graham's final sermon, featuring the pastor leading his worldwide audience in a prayer: "I invite you to come into my heart and my life. I want to trust and follow you as my Lord and savior, in Jesus's name, amen." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Thursday's NBC Today, Al Roker's self-described "bromance" with Vice President Joe Biden continued as the morning show weatherman pleaded: "Mr. Vice President, once again, we beseech you, please come to the third hour, Today's Take, and co-host our show....right here, Vice President Biden, we want you here." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The invitation was prompted by Biden's latest gaffe, which Roker giddily explained to viewers: "Our favorite....My man. In an effort to congratulate the new Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Vice President Joe Biden placed a phone call to Marty Walsh....Except he called the wrong Marty Walsh. He said, reportedly, 'Oh, you son of a gun, Marty, you did it!'"
ABC on Wednesday and Thursday managed a mere 21 seconds total for the latest revelations about the botched ObamaCare rollout, minimizing the grilling that Kathleen Sebelius took before Congress and the resignation of one of the people behind the website. Instead, Good Morning America focused on deeply irrelevant topics such as promoting "Thor's leading lady," star Natalie Portman. In comparison to ObamaCare, the actress appeared for over three minutes on Thursday.
NBC's Today also yawned at the resignation of Tony Trenkle, the chief information officer at HealthCare.gov. Wednesday's Nightly News featured the testimony of Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius for two minutes and 20 seconds. In contrast to ABC, which featured no clips of Sebelius's appearance, NBC included Republican senators such as John Thune, deriding, "This is a dishonesty. You've been misleading the American people!" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In a move as rare as finding a four-leaf clover, Norah O'Donnell actually disclosed on Wednesday's CBS This Morning that New York City Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio ran a "very liberal campaign". Jeff Pegues also noted how the "52-year-old liberal" is a "proponent of...taxing the wealthy". The program was also the sole Big Three morning newscast to underline de Blasio's political ideology, and devote a full report to his electoral win.
However, the show ended up gushing over the hard-left politician. O'Donnell asserted that de Blasio is "suddenly a national political figure", while Pegues trumpeted that "Bill de Blasio will soon be a household name". Charlie Rose and Gayle King later ballyhooed the election results: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
While NBC has failed to report the latest Gallup poll showing President Obama's approval rating falling to 39%, Wednesday's Today did find time to applaud the commander-in-chief for greeting tourists at the White House, with news reader Natalie Morales gushing: "On Tuesday, one of the first groups to visit got a big surprise – take a look – when President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greeted and hugged some of the visitors as they toured the Blue Room." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The three morning shows on Wednesday announced that a "crushing victory" for Chris Christie in New Jersey will force the Republican Party to "move to the middle" against Tea Party "firebrands." According to CBS This Morning's Chip Reid, Christie hoped for a big win to "show that Republicans who favor consensus over ideological purity can win – even in blue states like New Jersey." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Co-host Charlie Rose opened the show by lecturing, "A move to the middle – the results from two high-profile elections have national implications." For the election in Virginia, Reid somehow said of the liberal Terry Mcauliffe's victory: "That theme of bipartisanship was echoed in Virginia."