All three network morning shows on Friday highlighted the departure of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Good Morning America's Jon Karl insisted that the exit was a "chance for her to leave on a relatively high note." CBS This Morning's Jan Crawford claimed that "Sebelius made clear the decision to leave was hers." Over on NBC's Today, Chuck Todd dished dirt, explaining, "In addition to the management issues, the White House also lost confidence in her ability to sell the product publicly."
He gossiped, "Senior aides were not happy with how she struggled in what should have been a friendly interview with Jon Stewart." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] However, if Sebelius struggled, Today viewers didn't know about it for weeks after the October 7th Daily Showappearance. It wasn't until October 31, 2013 that the botched interview was mentioned on Today. Back then, Todd briefly conceded, "When she went in front of Jon Stewart at the Daily Show, that became a big problem. It became another PR problem." Despite this "PR problem," Today viewers didn't see an actual clip until Friday.
Promoting the civil rights summit being held at the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library on Thursday, NBC Today co-host Savannah Guthrie turned to "NBC special anchor" and full-time liberal activist Maria Shriver for a report on the event: "This is pretty rarefied air you're in. We've got these former presidents all speaking at the summit. What are the themes you've been hearing so far?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Shriver proceeded to fawn over the speeches given by Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton: "President Carter...spoke about the growing disparity between rich and poor....gender pay gap....President Clinton...talked about the lack of civil discourse going on in Washington. He longs for a time when he was president when people actually worked together....He also criticized Republicans for their lack of support of the voting – Voting Reform Act."
In an interview with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer fretted over the Killing Jesus author wanting the historical life of Christ to be taught in schools: "[In] public schools these days, you go sit in one of those classes and you're surrounded by kids of four or five, six different faiths. Why should they sit there and listen to the story of Jesus Christ?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
O'Reilly replied: "If they are American children, because that's what forged the Constitution. And if they don't like it, that's too bad." Lauer worried: "How do you protect, though? How do you draw the line and the balance between someone who would go into a classroom, a teacher, and teach the historical story, as opposed to imposing religious beliefs?...Who enforces that?"
The big issue for Obamacare has long been how many people would enroll. When the deadline finally hit, broadcast news networks parroted the administration’s claims and raised few concerns about heavily spun results.
Breaking from a long silence over Obamacare, ABC, CBS and NBC declared “victory” for the now “unrepealable” Affordable Care Act but ignored problems with enrollment numbers 90 percent of the time. In fact, a Rand Corporation survey found that 1.4 million previously uninsured people gained insurance and that didn’t even factor in who had actually paid for their plans.
On Wednesday April 9, the House Oversight Committee voted to send a criminal referral to the Department of Justice for former IRS official Lois Lerner. Despite the severity of this most recent revelations into the IRS’ targeting of Tea Party organizations, ABC and NBC continue to ignore the story.
After all three networks failed to cover the story on their nightly news broadcasts on Wednesday, only CBS This Morning bothered to mention the revelations on Thursday April 10. Co-host Norah O’Donnell described the events as such: “The House Oversight Committee today is expected to hold a retired IRS official in contempt of Congress. Republicans say Lois Lerner led an effort to investigate Tea Party organizations. She's refused to testify at two committee hearings claiming her Fifth Amendment rights.” [See video below.]
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, White House correspondent Major Garrett completely dismantled President Obama's left-wing talking points on the supposed gender pay gap of women making 77 cents on the dollar compared to men, reporting: "The White House is getting...roughed up by hits own pay equity rhetoric." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Garrett used the administration's hypocrisy on the issue to fact check the false claims: "An analysis of White House salaries, which nobody here disputes, shows that the median income of female staffers is 88% of that of male staffers....Now, the White House said it's gender pay gap is tied to job experience, education, and hours worked, among other factors. This matters because those explanations, according to the Labor Department, explain a good deal of the gender pay gap nationally."
We know that NBC loves to lob softball questions at First Lady Michelle Obama when interviewing her, and apparently they also enjoy it when others do the same. On Saturday’s Today show, co-anchor Lester Holt brought on Nene Sy, a high school girl who recently interviewed the First Lady.
Holt hyped the story, calling Sy, “the young woman who was recently handed a very big assignment – a chance to interview First Lady Michelle Obama.” That’s right, Sy did not seek out this opportunity. She was chosen to do it because Mrs. Obama wanted to be interviewed by someone who, like her, was the first in her family to go to college. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Monday morning, NBC, ABC, and CBS all found an excuse to cover Obama's selfie with Red Sox player David Ortiz one more time, expressing their collective fear that the White House may ban selfies with the commander-in-chief. On NBC's Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie fretted: "Has David Ortiz ruined the presidential selfie for the rest of us?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After the networks initially promoted the photo-op as a "good day in Washington" last week, they were chagrined when word came that Ortiz may have staged the supposedly spontaneous moment in order to promote cell phone maker Samsung, with whom he had an endorsement deal.
Teasing an upcoming special on global warming hosted by Ann Curry, on Friday's NBC Today, news anchor Natalie Morales hyped the danger: "The head of the World Bank is warning that climate change will lead to violent conflict over shortages of food and water. And this Sunday night, NBC's Ann Curry shows us how ordinary people are already witnessing the impact of rising global temperatures." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the preview that followed, Curry proclaimed: "It feels like an all-out assault. For the last year and a half, it seems mother nature has thrown everything at us. What on Earth is going on?" She touted how "for more than a year" she and her news crew had been "searching for answers to what's causing these weather extremes."
After eagerly promoting President Obama's selfie with Red Sox player David Ortiz on Wednesday, Thursday's NBC's Today and CBS This Morning expressed their dismay that Ortiz may have staged the seemingly spontaneous cell phone picture to promote his sponsor Samsung. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie lamented: "Okay, so turns out that wasn't as spontaneous as it looks. The selfie was captured with a Samsung phone and it turns out, mm-hm, you guessed it, David Ortiz has an endorsement deal with Samsung....I think it's kind of ridiculous that it's a product placement. And also because I thought it was a really cute moment, so I guess I'm kind of disappointed."
Despite a tragic shooting at Fort Hood, a major Supreme Court ruling and developments on Benghazi, all three morning shows on Thursday devoted time to Bill Clinton's discussion of aliens on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Yet, NBC's Today, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning ignored a profoundly dumb question from the comic regarding Clinton running for vice president. [See video of the question below. MP3 audio here.]
Instead, GMA's Amy Robach enthused, "And finally, former President Bill Clinton isn't ruling out a possible alien invasion here on Earth. He visited Jimmy Kimmel last night and revealed that he did, in fact, look into the possibility when he was president." Talking to co-host and former Democratic operative George Stephanopoulos, she wondered, "George, was it the common topic of conversation in the Clinton administration?"
On Thursday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander decried Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling striking down some campaign finance restrictions: "So just consider this, in just twelve year from the 2000 elections to those in 2012, total campaign spending in this country doubled from $3 billion to $6.3 billion. And the Supreme Court ruling now opens the door even wider for unlimited money in politics that has obviously already skyrocketed." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Alexander assumed viewers agreed with that liberal narrative: "And you thought there was already too much money in politics. Fasten your seat belts. From now on, there's gonna be a whole lot more. The Supreme Court struck down a decades-old campaign law..."
There is a jobs crisis in the U.S. that is going virtually unnoticed by the broadcast networks. The unemployment rate for African Americans towers over the national average, upsetting conservatives and liberals.
In spite of bipartisan outrage, the three broadcast networks gave just 10 seconds combined to the black unemployment rate around the monthly jobs reports in the past year. Liberal Rev. Jesse Jackson was one of many frustrated people. He has complained that “the media [is] dismissing it as not important.”
Forget all the unanswered questions about ObamaCare or the President's sinking poll numbers or the Democratic Party's vulnerability in the midterm elections, on Wednesday's NBC Today, all that was wiped away by President Obama taking a selfie with Red Sox player David Ortiz. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
As fill-in news anchor Tamron Hall put it, "In a town where they don't agree on a lot, I think everyone agrees that this was a pretty cool moment....The Red Sox meeting with the President.... Big Papi [David Ortiz] with the President preparing to take his official photo. Then, he went rogue....The Big Papi selfie....Look at those smiles there. A good day in Washington."
While ABC, NBC, and CBS all hyped President Obama slamming Republican opposition to ObamaCare during his Tuesday "victory lap" in the White House Rose Garden, the network coverage that evening and Wednesday morning did not include a single GOP sound bite on the topic. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Tuesday's ABC World News, White House correspondent Jon Karl proclaimed: "It looked like a victory celebration, and the beginning of a new campaign." A clip ran of Obama asserting: "The debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay."
Tuesday's NBC Today fawned over Vice President Joe Biden sharing his skin care tips with daytime talk show host Rachael Ray on Monday, with co-host Matt Lauer declaring: "Vice President Joe Biden's smooth complexion was long admired by Rachel Ray. So he revealed his beauty regimen to her. Take a look." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
All three morning shows on Tuesday hyped an "eye-popping" surge on the final day of ObamaCare sign-ups, but NBC's Today minimized the latest problems for those attempting to meet the deadline. Despite two segments on the topics, the four-hour program covered this angle for a scant 22 seconds.
In contrast, Jon Karl on ABC's Good Morning America threw cold water on the celebration. Ignoring co-host George Stephanopoulos's claim that "all signs point to an eye-popping surge in sign-ups for health insurance," Karl warned of "big, unanswered questions." He explained, "One of the biggest is how many of those have signed up were previously uninsured? Remember, this was about expanding insurance coverage." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] He added that "we don't know how many people signed up here...simply had their previous plans cancelled."
While Monday's NBC Today began its 7 a.m. ET hour coverage of the ObamaCare enrollment deadline by noting the healthcare.gov website had crashed yet again, it took an hour for ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning to notice the malfunction and mention it in their reporting. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Good Morning America's initial coverage was particularly stunning in that it touted how well the website was supposedly working. Co-host George Stephanopoulos proclaimed: "After all those early problems with the website, the White House now saying things are now back on track." White House correspondent Jon Karl declared: "That's right, George. They say they saw a huge increase of traffic to the website over the weekend....And so far, the website seems to be handling it without any major problems."
Appearing on Monday's Today, NBC's chief White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd seized on ObamaCare hitting the six million sign-up mark by the March 31 deadline, proclaiming: "So at a minimum, the importance of hitting the six million....it means the law is unrepealable....It means that it's here to stay." Todd made no mention of only 26% of Americans supporting ObamaCare in a new poll. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Matt Lauer accepted Todd's declaration and wondered about the political impact of the health care law: "You can't repeal it, but does that mean seven months down the road, as the midterm elections come around, that this will be any less of an issue in terms of close races in congressional districts?" Todd admitted: "No, I don't think – at this point, the law is so embedded as sort of a – as a political negative for the Democrats and political negative overall, that I don't think anything's going to change by November."
On Thursday evening and Friday morning, ABC, NBC, and CBS all touted a "surge" in sign-ups for ObamaCare ahead of Monday's March 31 deadline. What none of the networks mentioned was that the percentage of young, healthy enrollees was still short of the minimum necessary to sustain the health care law.
On ABC's World News on Thursday, anchor Diane Sawyer hailed the enrollment numbers as an "achievement" for President Obama as she proclaimed: "ObamaCare has hit a new milestone. More than 6 million people have now signed up. That's almost the original goal of 7 million. They have seen a surge in this final sprint before the deadline on March 31st..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
All three network evening newscasts on Thursday found time to cheer the JFK Library Foundation announcing former President George H. W. Bush would the 2014 recipient of its annual Profile in Courage award. So what specific accomplishment did the organization cite from the Republican's decades of public service? His decision to hike taxes in 1990 that cost him re-election and paved the way for Bill Clinton to become president. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On NBC Nightly News, fill-in anchor Lester Holt proclaimed: "Bush had famously said, 'Read my lips. No new taxes.' His decision to break that promise not only took courage, as the award says, it also may have cost him re-election."
On Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer couldn't resist mocking a nice gesture from House Speaker John Boehner to Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. News reader Tamron Hall explained: "...the House Speaker knows that his Democratic counterpart Nancy Pelosi just loves chocolate. So, for her 74th birthday on Wednesday he gave her something sweet, pints of chocolate gelato." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Moments later, Lauer remarked: "If there's ever a need for a food taster, that would be it right there." After a chorus of "ohs" from his fellow hosts, he added: "I'm kidding."
During coverage of President's Obama meeting with Pope Francis on Thursday, both NBC's Today and CBS This Morning hoped the papal visit would boost the commander-in-chief's sinking poll numbers. Today co-host Matt Lauer wondered: "The Pope, enormously popular....Is there something in just rubbing elbows with the Pope for President Obama?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd observed: "I think that the President, particularly right now where his own approval ratings are not so hot, just being seen with the Pope, particularly in some places where there are a lot of Catholic voters in the United States, it's not gonna hurt. So, yes, I think the White House sees this as a potential political up side."
Thursday's network morning shows tripped over themselves in their rush to fawn over President Obama meeting Pope Francis for the first time at the Vatican. At the top of ABC's Good Morning America, co-host Robin Roberts touted how the President "feels a special bond with the Pontiff." On NBC's Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd spoke of an "ideological comfort level" between the two leaders, while on CBS This Morning, White House correspondent Major Garrett described their "genuine connection." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While ABC, NBC, and CBS provided a combined 14 minutes 30 seconds of coverage to the papal meeting on Thursday, only 2 minutes 21 seconds of that air time referred to the fundamental disagreements between Obama and the Pope on a host of issues. Instead, the morning broadcasts chose to play up the "common ground" between the two men on issues of "income inequality" and "social justice."
Introducing a story on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer touted the Washington Post publishing the resignation letter of Massachusetts kindergarten teacher Suzi Sluyter, who decided to quit her job after being "frustrated by what she says is too much emphasis on test scores and testing instead of the kids themselves." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed – amid clips of Sluyter reciting her letter on camera – correspondent Ron Mott declared: "A sobering assessment about standardized tests, how children are damaged by what she calls a broken system more focused on scoring them." He soon found who to blame: "When President George W. Bush signed No Child Left Behind into law in 2002, supporters applauded the sweeping reform for holding schools and teachers accountable for student performance. But it wasn't long before complaints surfaced."
On Wednesday, all three network morning shows repeated the White House line that the reason for delaying the March 31 ObamaCare enrollment deadline was due to a last-minute "surge" of people signing up. In a 20-second news brief on NBC's Today, fill-in news reader Tamron Hall announced "a reprieve this morning for people who've been trying to sign up for ObamaCare," before noting that "the Health and Human Services Department says there has been a last-minute surge in demand." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
During a 17-second news brief on ABC's Good Morning America, fill-in news reader Amy Robach gently described the law's new setback as a sign-up "grace period" and declared: "...the White House predicts a crush of applicants in the final hours could cause a computer traffic jam."
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, co-host Gayle King adopted liberal spin on the ObamaCare contraception mandate being challenged in the Supreme Court: "It pits the rights of a woman's access to contraception against a company's religious freedom." That description of the case was nearly identical to the false framing of the issue in Monday's New York Times. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed on This Morning, correspondent Jan Crawford teed up the faulty argument: "Women's rights groups and doctors say the cases are about women's health." A clip ran of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists president Jeanne Conry ranting: "As a physician, I need a number of ways to treat women, and treat them appropriately. And I don't need an employer coming into my exam room and telling me how to treat a patient."
With one week to go before the March 31 ObamaCare enrollment deadline, Monday's NBC Today completely skipped any reporting on the latest sign-up numbers still being below administration projections. Instead, the hosts of the morning show devoted air time to discussing rumors that President Obama may trade in his BlackBerry for a new smart phone. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Matt Lauer announced to viewers: "Is President Obama finally ready to part with one of his most prized possessions?....Since he first took office back in 2008 [sic], Mr. Obama said there were two habits he could not kick, smoking and using a BlackBerry. Well, he ditched cigarettes a long time ago and now his beloved smart phone could get the boot."
In a report for Monday's NBC Today, political director Chuck Todd described how "Democrats seem comfortable with the idea of a coronation of Hillary Clinton" in 2016, as "many of them are almost begging her to run." Meanwhile, he asserted that Republicans, "nervous about the influence of the Tea Party," were looking to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as a potential candidate. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The segment played a clip of one of Clinton's adoring fans pleading for the former secretary of state to run: "If you don't represent women in politics in America as future president, who will?" Moments later, Todd warned that Bush "has family matters to consider" given that "his own mother has said she doesn't want him to run." A sound bite ran of Barbara Bush remarking on the Today show in 2013, "We've had enough Bushes."
First Lady Michelle Obama is wrapping up her tour of China today and even though the American press was shut out from her trip, the First Lady has received glowing coverage of her taxpayer-funded visit.
Despite the already over-the-top praise, NBC’s “Today” had a unique take on the trip. Appearing on Sunday, March 23, CNBC’s Eunice Yoon commented that both Mrs. Obama and the wife of the communist president of China were a “hip fashion icon from a small town who happens to be married to a very powerful man who’s running a country.”