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."
After NBC warned viewers that the partial government shutdown that ended weeks ago may be "the Grinch that stole Christmas," on Tuesday's Today, correspondent Stephanie Gosk fretted that Thanksgiving would be ruined as well: "Macy's, the company that sponsors the Thanksgiving Day Parade, will open its doors on the holiday for the first time in 155 years....But there is a risk, the identity of one of the country's most cherished holidays may be in jeopardy." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Despite co-host Matt Lauer noting moments earlier that the trend of Black Friday creeping into Thanksgiving had been happening "for years," Gosk laid blame on October's temporary shutdown: "Retailers are facing a tough reality. The government shutdown slowed down the economy and took a serious toll on consumer confidence. A recent poll showed that just over half of shoppers say they will spend less than last year this Christmas season."
On Tuesday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd eagerly forecasted Republican defeat in the Virginia governor's race and that all the blame for the loss would be ascribed to conservatives: "There are a lot of anti-Tea Party Republicans who think the Tea Party has done damage to the Republican Party who are going....'You've got a Tea Party that took over the Virginia Republican Party and look at how that's going.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Touting the possibility that the Virginia GOP "could be swept this year" in all statewide offices, Todd concluded: "I think there's going to be a lot of 'I told you sos' on where the internal split of the Republican Party is. Virginia could be Tea Party losses. New Jersey, moderate Republicans winning."
Appearing on Saturday's NBC Today, MSNBC host Chris Matthews launched into a rant denouncing Republicans for daring to be critical of the disastrous ObamaCare rollout: "...one party has a health care plan, the other party does not have one. And the one that does not have a health care plan is least able to be critical....It doesn't have the moral credibility to mock the one party and the one president who has succeeded." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Matthews implored President Obama: "He has to return it to the issue of morality and the fact that we owe our brothers and sisters health care...He can't get involved in letting this be judged on whether it's successfully rolled out or not, he has to make it back to the question, should we try to bring health care to people who don't have it or not? And put his enemies on the defensive."
On October 31 theWashington Examiner’s Paul Bedard reported the following: “The Internal Revenue Service shared highly confidential tax information of several Tea Party groups in the IRS scandal with the Federal Election Commission, a clear violation of federal law, according to newly obtained emails. The public watchdog group Judicial Watch told Secrets Thursday that it was former scandal boss Lois Lerner who shared the information on groups including the American Future Fund and the American Issues Project.’”
So far none of the Big Three (ABC, NBC, CBS) networks have reported the latest IRS scandal finding. In fact, they’ve stopped reporting on the IRS scandal altogether.
Promoting his new book about the 2012 election, Double Down, with co-author Mark Halperin on Monday's NBC Today, New York Magazine national affairs editor John Heilemann offered Obama campaign spin to excuse the President's disastrous performance in the first debate against Mitt Romney: "...[Obama's] disdain for Romney, his contempt for Romney, he couldn't figure out how to deal with that. He would say, 'What am I supposed to do when he starts spewing his BS?'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Heilemann laughably added that Obama also had "contempt for the theatricality of politics," which, "all got mixed up together and he gave this horrible practice session performance that left them totally stymied about how they were going to fix it" before the second debate with Romney.
While NBC political director Chuck Todd appeared on Thursday's Today to report on President Obama's approval rating hitting a "record low" in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll following the failed ObamaCare rollout, he made sure to wrap up the segment by touting disaster for the GOP: "Things are so bad for them....Once again in our poll, the Republican Party had a new low in their personal rating, their brand rating. They had another low in their approval rating on Capitol Hill....As bad as things are for the President, they're still worse for the Republicans." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Matt Lauer teed up Todd to tear down them down: "...see how Republicans are faring in this latest poll. They're the ones who shut down the government." Todd agreed with that assertion: "They are."
ABC and NBC journalists on Wednesday and Thursday hailed Kathleen Sebelius as "falling on her sword" and "taking responsibility" for the ObamaCare website debacle. On World News, reporter Jim Avila complained about the Sebelius grilling as a "rude grandstand" and a "three hour circus of a congressional hearing." He dismissed it as "official finger pointing day on Capitol Hill."
Yet, on Thursday, Avila sympathized with the Democratic Health and Human Services secretary, praising, "...The woman in charge of the Affordable Care Act fell on her sword with her first full-throated apology." The Obama official "was reluctant to pass the buck, even when pressed." Over on NBC's Today, host Matt Lauer gushed, "Kathleen Sebelius went before Congress yesterday and she did something you don't see happen in Washington very often, she took the blame." [Video of both morning shows below. MP3 audio here.]
While discussing the numerous ObamaCare failures on Wednesday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd felt it necessary to gratuitously bash Republicans: "And suddenly you have the picture of two parties, a Democratic Party led by the President that apparently doesn't know how to govern, has a competency issue when it comes to this health care website, juxtaposed next to a Republican Party who apparently has no interest in governing." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd didn't bother to explain or justify his slam on the GOP, he simply stated it as if it were a fact.
ObamaCare is falling apart. The National Security Agency has been accused of spying on our closest allies. So what does NBC Today show host Savannah Guthrie think is the biggest story in politics right now?
As told to NBC Tonight Show host Jay Leno Tuesday, whether or not Hillary Clinton is going to run for president in 2016 (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
During an interview with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie marking the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer seized the opportunity to tout Christie slamming fellow Republicans over federal relief efforts: "You said, quote, 'There's only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims, the House majority and their Speaker, John Boehner.' You said, 'They used the citizens of this country like pawns on a chess board, placed politics above the oaths to our citizens.' Some of the other terms, 'callous indifference,' 'selfishness,' 'duplicity.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer then used Christie's past criticism to scold the House GOP over the government shutdown: "You just made the rounds in Congress during the government shutdown. After a year, do you think that same group has learned lessons or is it the status quo?"
During the 2008 banking crisis, then-Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel famously said, “Never allow a crisis to go to waste.” The broadcast networks certainly followed his advice when reporting on Hurricane Sandy since the storm became a hurricane one year ago, hitting the New Jersey coast on Oct. 29.
Network reporters and experts have repeatedly claimed that the storm was either caused or worsened because of climate change. In fact, 100 percent of the 32 news stories and briefs in the past year that mentioned climate change and Hurricane Sandy claimed global warming directly impacted the storm – even though “no single weather event can be linked directly to a long-term driver, such as global warming,” according to climate change activists.
Striking the Northeast on Oct. 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy tragically devastated communities causing an estimated $50 billion in damages. By the end of January 2013, a relief bill was passed for Sandy aid, after the bill was delayed because of wasteful spending.
House Republicans opposed a pork-ridden $60 billion Senate bill ($10 billion higher than damage estimates) and chose not to vote on it. Politicians, including some Republicans, and the media criticized them for delaying this legislation. A $51 billion bill was passed by both houses of Congress by the end of January, after a $9.7 billion flood insurance bill passed in early January.
Near the end of the fourth story on Monday's NBC Nightly News, White House correspondent Peter Alexander managed to squeeze in a mention of the network's scoop that the Obama administration knew for years that millions of people would be kicked off of their current health insurance plans because of ObamaCare, despite the President's repeated assurances to the contrary. [Listen to the audio]
Alexander provided a mere twenty-one seconds of air time for the revelation: "That millions will lose or have to change their individual policies is not a surprise to the administration. NBC News senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers found buried in the 2010 ObamaCare regulations, language predicting, 'A reasonable range for the percentage of individual policies that would terminate is forty percent to sixty-seven percent.'"
On Sunday's NBC Today, co-host Lester Holt wondered if Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had "successfully separated herself now from this trouble" with the ObamaCare website failure. He further asked: "Is her job safer than it was maybe a week ago?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A somewhat puzzled David Gregory, moderator of Meet the Press, replied: "Well, I think her job may be okay for the moment. But I don't think she's separated herself from it....all of these problems really do undercut the potential effectiveness of ObamaCare, whether it can be affordable to insure more and more people. If they don't achieve that, there are enormous problems....enormous problems for how it works for years to come."
Showing more concern for President Obama's popularity than the national security implications of the latest leaks in the NSA spying scandal, on Monday's NBC Today, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell lamented: "When he was a candidate, Barack Obama was a rock star in Europe. That was then, this is now. As Europe reacts angrily to news that the U.S. spied on 35 leaders..." [Listen to the audioor watch the video after the jump]
Moments later, Mitchell continued to worry: "How did the man who won the Nobel Peace Prize just months into his presidency become the subject of Europe's scorn?" She denounced the leaks, but not the spying itself: "The White House can thank NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who's latest revelations have forced President Obama to apologize to France's President Hollande, Germany's Chancellor Merkel, as well as current and former leaders in Mexico, and Brazil's President Rousseff, who even cancelled a state visit to Washington she was so angry."
In part two of an interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday's NBC Today, focused on his new book about his struggle with heart disease, co-host Savannah Guthrie couldn't resist the chance use Cheney's health problems to promote big government: "...some of this technology that ultimately lead to the pump that kept you alive before you could have the [heart] transplant started in 1964 with government funding. So you can look at it as you're a living, breathing example of government investment." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In an interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed a "civil war" in the Republican Party and persistently urged him to blame it on the Tea Party. Instead, Cheney began the exchange by explaining: "I think the most radical operator in Washington today is the President. I think he's trying to take the country in a direction that is fundamentally different than anything we've seen before." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Guthrie was undeterred and continued to stoke GOP division: "And you would think that might be a unifying moment for the party but instead you have Senator Lindsey Graham this weekend calling the shutdown 'a political gift to Democrats'....Mitch McConnell said, 'I think we fully acquainted our new members with what a losing strategy is.' That suggests there is a real rift."
As the government shutdown was nearing it's end Wednesday evening, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams conducted a live interview with John McCain, urging the Arizona Senator to slam fellow Republicans over the budget showdown: "Senator, let's talk about the damage in order, to the country, to your party, your profession, and how much of this do you lay at the feet of Senator Cruz from Texas?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
McCain began by noting political damage for both parties in the wake of the stalemate but then quickly obliged Williams, launching into an rant against conservatives in Congress: "The problem with their strategy was that it was a fool's errand. We were not going to de-fund ObamaCare. That's why we had an election in 2012. That's part of what that was all about. So it was a terrific mistake. We inflicted pain on the American people that was totally unnecessary....We Republicans have a hole that we've got to come out of."
Believe it or not, the media is celebrating births, as they recently noted that 5 million “assisted reproductive” births since have occurred 1978.
But while they’re cheering the productivity of the chemically enhanced and scientifically tweaked stork, it would be nice to mention how busy the vulture has been during the same period – over 36 million U.S. children were aborted during those years.
Eager to declare Republican defeat in the budget showdown on Wednesday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "As John McCain said, Republicans have to understand, 'We lost this battle.' Let's put this very simply, after a shutdown that lasted 16 days, a shutdown led by House Republicans who wanted to undermine the President's new health care law, by the end of today, those Republicans may leave with little to nothing...to show for it." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Savannah Guthrie used the same talking points in an interview with Republican senators Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Kelly Ayotte minutes later: "Some of your Republican colleagues over there [in the House] said you guys are the 'Senate surrender caucus.' Are you angry, embarrassed, frustrated?...Do they still need a reality check today? Do you agree with what Senator McCain said, which was essentially, 'This fight is lost, it's time to move on'?"
If you watch ABC, NBC and CBS, you might think that the debt default is inevitable. Market experts aren’t so sure. While the debt ceiling will be reached on Oct. 16 without Congress intervening, the jury is out on what would actually happen. Many experts, including Forbes, Bloomberg Business Week and Moody’s Corp., have argued that the default would actually hit weeks later, if at all.
Since the shutdown was first mentioned – from September 20 until October 12 – the term “default” has been used in 67 morning and evening news stories. Of these, 58.2 percent (39 out of 67) talked about the default as if it were inevitable. ABC was the worst, with 74 percent (17 of 23 stories) insisting that the default was inevitable. Fifty-six percent of CBS stories (14 out of 25 stories) said the default would definitely occur on the 17th, and NBC had 42 percent (8 out of 19 stories).
Touting the results of an NBC News/Esquire magazine survey on Tuesday's NBC Today of the supposed political center in America, fill-in co-host Tamron Hall proclaimed: "Interesting note, we asked the middle who they trust, guys, the most. And the answer is President Obama, Oprah Winfrey. The most trusted people according to those who fall in the middle." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In response to the finding, co-host Matt Lauer turned to his fellow co-hosts and remarked: "Sorry about that, guys." Savannah Guthrie replied: "Oh, what, you thought we were in the running?" That prompted laughter from the group of journalists. Weatherman Al Roker added: "Yeah, I didn't think that was coming up." He then joked that Obama could run for a third term with Oprah as his running mate: "There's the ticket for 2016."
CBS This Morning on Tuesday allowed a scant 21 seconds to the newest revelations about the National Security Agency. The government organization has been secretly collecting millions of internet address books and instant message accounts from around the world, including Americans. In contrast, ABC and NBC highlighted the story in full reports and news briefs. [See video below of ABC's Good Morning America coverage. MP3 audio here.] None of the three network morning shows made any reference to Barack Obama or speculated on what the President's responsibility might be.
In the briefest of summaries, This Morning anchor Charlie Rose explained, "The agency is pulling the information from address books and buddy lists accounts on instant message accounts worldwide." He reassuringly added, "But a government spokesman says NSA is not interested in personal information about so-called ordinary Americans." However, the same morning show devoted three minutes to the not-so important story of President William Taft's attempts to lose weight.
In an interview with Republican Senator Bob Corker on Monday's NBC Today – after Democrats sabotaged a bipartisan Senate deal to raise the nation's debt limit over the weekend – co-host Savannah Guthrie was still determined to place all blame for the budget impasse on the GOP: "As you well know, the polls have been absolutely devastating to Republicans. Do you think that Republican Party deserves credit or blame, however you want to put it, for this shutdown and now this looming crisis with the debt ceiling?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In part, Corker responded: "...in fairness, the other side of the aisle seeing what they thought was weakness, also moved to a place that was an overreach....I don't really focus on who gets blame, I was elected to try to solve problems and I think we're on the verge of possibly doing that today."