The way the news media fawned over the Democratic 111th Congress -- which passed the wildly unpopular ObamaCare -- while smearing the Republican House in the 112th is like a bad Saturday Night Live skit, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told Sean Hannity on the January 3 edition of his eponymous Fox News Channel program.
"Look, what they're saying is, when the Democrats were in charge with the 111th Congress they did all these things moving the agenda to the left, and, oh happy days, look at all the wonderful left-wing things they did," Bozell noted, but then, "The112th Congress comes around and Republicans try to put a stop to the madness and it's called tyrannical." [Watch the full "Media Mash" segment in the embed below the page break]
At the top of Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer teased an upcoming interview with New York Congressman Peter King by seizing on House GOP disagreement over when to schedule a vote on a Hurricane Sandy relief bill: "...fresh off the fiscal cliff fight, the Republican Party appears in the throes of a civil war. This morning, we'll talk to an outspoken GOP congressman who urged voters in his district not contribute to Republican campaigns." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the exchange that followed, Lauer eagerly quoted King: "You said that Speaker Boehner had a, quote, 'Dismissive and cavalier attitude toward New York and New Jersey.' And you went further, you said, 'Republicans have no trouble finding New York when it comes to raising money. And I would just say to anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to Congressional Republicans after this should have their head examined.'"
After worrying on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News about possible House GOP "shenanigans" preventing a fiscal cliff deal, on Monday's Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd breathed a sign of relief: "...this 112th Congress does leave us today, and some people say finally leaves us today....it began with a threat of a government shutdown just two months into this congress. And then, of course, we had the debt ceiling showdown. Then it culminated with this fiscal cliff..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Picking up on Todd's rant against Congress, co-host Matt Lauer eagerly quoted New York Times columnist David Brooks: "If Congress couldn't make a single tough decision under these circumstances, why should we think it'll make any further down the road? More likely, there will just be more squabbling and brinkmanship, more posturing and punting, which could not only poison future budget talks, but also prospects for immigration reform, tax reform, gun control and many other projects."
Neither Todd nor Lauer laid any blame on President Obama for the contentious atmosphere in Washington.
Strangely missing from NBC's look back on the 2012 campaign were gaffes and controversial statements from the Obama-Biden campaign. Friday's Today featured a mini-blooper reel of GOP mishaps on the campaign trail, but made no mention of Democratic controversies.
In its lengthy string of highlights from the 2012 campaign, Today included Mitt Romney's infamous "47 percent" remarks along with Rep. Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" meltdown. Today said nothing, though, of Biden's controversial "chains" comments or Obama's "you didn't build that" remark.
With four days until the "fiscal cliff," CBS This Morning peppered its report on the Congressional negotiations with four Democratic sound bites compared to just one from Republicans.
Chief White House correspondent Major Garrett quoted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) three times and simply relayed his smear of Rep. John Boehner's Speakership as a "dictatorship." Both ABC and NBC called out Reid's rhetoric, however. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
Both NBC and CBS covered the outrage Thursday morning over a New York newspaper publishing the names and addresses of gun permit holders in two counties. ABC made no mention of the controversy, however.
"A suburban New York City newspaper is in the middle of a big controversy this morning after it put up online the names and addresses of everyone with a gun permit," reported CBS This Morning co-host Jeff Glor. "Call it a battle between the First and Second Amendments," said NBC News correspondent Katy Tur on the Today show.
On Friday's Today, NBC's David Gregory used the Newtown tragedy to buttress President Obama's push for more gun control. During a heartbreaking story about the grieving father of shooting victim Emilie Parker, Gregory switched to a massive petition for the White House to pursue gun control.
"This morning, President Obama has posted this video response online to nearly 200,000 people that signed a petition on the White House website, pushing the President for action on gun control," reported Gregory. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
It seems apparent that NBC is following orders from The White House to continue to argue for stricter gun control in the wake of the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Appearing on Thursday morning's Today, NBC’s White House Correspondent Kristen Welker continued to peddle The White House message to “pledge action to prevent such a massacre from every happening again.”
Welker provided a one-sided segment in favor of President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden’s new gun control task force. The segment was peppered with gun control advocates and White House talking points, with only one pro-gun quote sited throughout the entire segment.
Missing from NBC's rosy Wednesday interview of Michelle Obama is her family vacation's cost to taxpayers. Reports are that the taxpayer bill for the Hawaii vacation will top $4 million.
"Come Christmas the First Family, Bo included, will head some 5,000 miles away from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," Today contributing correspondent Jenna Bush Hager said during NBC's "A White House Christmas" segment. "After an exciting but exhausting election season, the Obamas are happy to take this time to be together and enjoy the simple pleasures of family."
News of the State Department report on the U.S. government’s failures surrounding the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, broke too late last night for the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts, but all three broadcast networks had full reports on their Wednesday morning shows.
Of the three, ABC’s Good Morning America was the most perfunctory, with a less-than 90 second report from correspondent Martha Raddatz that completely failed to mention the controversy over the Obama administration’s preposterous initial explanation that the attack was the result of a “spontaneous” demonstration over an anti-Muslim video posted on YouTube.
But as detailed in the very first of the official report’s “Findings,” the determination that there was no “spontaneous” demonstration: “The Board concluded that there was no protest prior to the attacks, which were unanticipated in their scale and intensity.”
Although Time magazine revealed that 15 percent of Obama voters didn't even care about politics, NBC's Today show still wouldn't challenge the President's supposed mandate from the public to raise taxes when Time's Richard Stengel was on Wednesday.
"And one of the things they found out is that there's about 15 percent of voters who actually don't care about politics," Stengel referred to Time's story on the matter. "These are the people we didn't know who were going to show up at the polls who actually like Barack Obama in the sense they feel like he's outside of politics."
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams was eager to seize on any perceived momentum for greater gun control in the wake of Friday's school shooting: "The President said he would use the power of his office to prevent more gun tragedies, and tonight he is being joined by a growing number of prominent voices."
In the report that followed, correspondent Tom Costello listed some of those voices. While pro-gun Democratic senators like Joe Manchin and Mark Warner were noteworthy, Costello attempted to pad the list with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a longtime anti-gun activist. To create the appearance of bipartisanship, Costello even threw in MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, who he pointed out was a "former Republican Congressman." On Thursday's Today, he went so far as to label Scarborough an "influential Republican."
The NBC, ABC, and CBS morning shows on Monday all touted President Obama seemingly calling for more gun control during a Sunday night vigil for the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting. NBC's Today provided the most hype as correspondent Lester Holt proclaimed: "While he offered words of comfort, he also laid down a political gauntlet....sketching the outlines of what amounted to a policy statement on gun violence."
Holt acknowledged: "He did not utter the words 'gun control,' but his message could set the stage for such a debate." Speaking to co-host Savannah Guthrie later on the broadcast, Holt observed: "He didn't talk specifics, Savannah. But you got the sense that he was laying down a political gauntlet, saying perhaps it's time now to look at this issue of gun violence from all perspectives, political risks laid to the side." Guthrie replied: "Well, we'll see what happens when lawmakers get started in January with the new term."
Following a report on Thursday's NBC Today in which political director Chuck Todd touted a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, co-host Matt Lauer tried to spin one finding: "...only 53% say they're optimistic about a second term for Obama and 47% say they are pessimistic. Is this really more pessimism about Washington in general?"
Todd accepted the characterization: "It is. You know, you see it in the poll....this is a much less naive public, maybe let's put it that way, after they've watched all of this in Washington. And a full 70% now think that the next year is going to be acrimonious." Todd then portrayed Republicans as embracing such acrimony: "...this is really dangerous in the talks, actually...I talked to one Republican who said, 'How low can we go? We don't have a lot to lose.' And I pointed out, 'But you would have a lot to gain, because the par's pretty low from the public's point of view.'"
During a panel discussion on Tuesday's NBC Today about hiring people to do Christmas chores like decorating the tree or buying gifts, the network's chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman suddenly broke into an anti-religious rant: "I don't like the religion part. I think religion is what mucks the whole thing up....I think that's what makes the holidays so stressful." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Snyderman's take-the-Christ-out-of-Christmas commentary was prompted by fellow panelist Star Jones explaining: "I focus on, honestly, the religion part of it. I really and truly do. So I can't out-source that part of it. I can send you to get my tree, but I can't help – you can't help me pray." When Snyderman launched into her attack on faith, Jones countered: "That's the only reason for me to have the holiday....We wouldn't have the holiday if it wasn't for the religion part."
In an interview with actor Jamie Foxx on Wednesday's NBC Today about his upcoming movie Django Unchained, co-host Savannah Guthrie brought up offensive comments Foxx made while hosting Saturday Night Live: "You said your character gets to, quote, 'kill all the white people,' adding, 'how great is that?' I know you know about the criticism, do you think it was fair?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Rather than show any regret for the remark, Foxx simply replied: "I'm a comedian. So, I mean, I'm not a – I don't even know what to say." Instead of following up on that non-answer, Guthrie made the awkward transition: "Back to the movie..."
All three networks on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning ignored the violent assaults by union protesters in Michigan, instead vaguely insisting that activists were simply "voicing their anger" at the "showdown raging in the heartland." The morning shows on Wednesday allowed little coverage of Michigan at all, a mere 72 seconds out of eight hours of programming. (On Tuesday, the nightly newscasts offered eight minutes out of a possible 90 total.)
On Tuesday, World News reporter Alex Perez put the focus not on out of control violence, but on the fact that Michigan's right-to-work bill actually passed. He began, "The anger boiling over. Officers turning to pepper spray to control the crowd at least 10,000 deep. But it wasn't enough." One might think the journalist was speaking of the attack on Fox News contributor Steven Crowder. No. Perez kept the attention on the new law: "Michigan Republican lawmakers approving landmark legislation, lifting the requirement that workers in unionized workplaces pay union dues." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Eager to insulate President Obama from controversy surrounding past anti-American comments by Korean pop star Psy, who performed at the annual Christmas in Washington charity concert attended by the First Family, on Tuesday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "And of course, the President had no say over who the private charity chose to invite." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Ignoring the fact that Obama could have refused to attend the event as long as Psy performed, Alexander explained: "...petitioners demanded President Obama...block the appearance of the rap sensation Psy, under fire for anti-American performances. But that petition was removed [from the White House website] because the rules say the petitions only apply to federal actions."
In a report for Tuesday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd touted President Obama supposedly being nicer to the GOP while in pursuit of a fiscal cliff deal: "Mr. Obama was noticeably less confrontational toward Republicans....The President's softer tone came just a day after he sat down with House Speaker John Boehner..."
While Todd focused on Obama's "softer" side, Monday's New York Times reported on the President's team playing hardball: "The White House is also cranking up the machinery of the Obama campaign to help in the battle. On Monday, the campaign sent an e-mail to its entire mailing list from its deputy manager, Stephanie Cutter....'Who will decide if your taxes increase in just 22 days?' Ms. Cutter said. 'A few dozen members of the House of Representatives, that's who.'"
Reporting on the Supreme Court taking up the issue of gay marriage for the first time, on Friday's NBC Nightly News, justice correspondent Pete Williams proclaimed: "The fact that the Court has agreed to take up both cases could mean that the Justices are prepared to get to the heart of the same-sex marriage issue, and that could result in what would essentially be the Roe v. Wade of gay rights." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the top of the broadcast, anchor Brian Williams billed the upcoming report as "big news...that could change everything." Introducing a repeat of the story on Saturday's Today, co-host Lester Holt announced: "Game changer? The U.S. Supreme Court plans to tackle two cases involving same-sex marriage. So will this become the law of the land?"
After gushing on Wednesday over left-wing actress Ashley Judd possibly running for Senate in Kentucky, on Friday's NBC Today, the cast applauded liberal comedian Stephen Colbert suggesting in jest that he might replace outgoing South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, with co-host Willie Geist proclaiming: "I can tell you, having done a show with him [Colbert] in Charleston, he is an absolute rock star in that state."
Geist added: "It doesn't mean he will be a senator, but he could probably pull it off." Fill-in news reader Erica Hill remarked: "Doesn't mean he...won't be either." Fellow co-host Savannah Guthrie chimed in: "He's already run for president. I mean, this is really a downgrade." Weatherman Al Roker quipped: "Comedy concert with him and [Minnesota Senator] Al Franken, that would be fantastic."
In what ABC News deemed a "major blow to union rights," Michigan became the 24th right-to-work state on Thursday. Yet, NBC and CBS totally ignored this development. ABC allowed a scant 14 second news brief on Friday's Good Morning America.
What did the networks cover instead? Over a three minute segment, CBS This Morning highlighted the deeply important news that Justin Bieber endured a snub from the Grammys. On NBC's Today, the hosts donated four minutes and 43 seconds to watching Obama operative David Axelrod shave his moustache for charity. Good Morning America's brief report aside, the program lavished five and a half minutes on Catherine Zeta-Jones' new film.
In a panel discussion on Wednesday's NBC Today, the morning show cast excitedly touted the possibility of left-wing actress Ashley Judd running for senate against Mitch McConnell in 2014, with co-host Willie Geist declaring: "She was a delegate to the Democratic convention this summer, she's very involved in politics, she's outspoken." [Watch the video after the jump]
News reader Natalie Morales heaped praise on Judd: "She's a brilliant woman....Harvard, I think....she's a U.N. goodwill ambassador, speaks out on HIV/AIDS prevention. And also, you know, she's done so much good for public – public good and she's a great, very smart woman." Celebrity chef Paula Deen, a guest on the show, chimed in: "I've heard that she's an extremely bright woman." Morales added: "Very."
During a segment on Thursday's NBC Today on the upcoming film about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, Zero Dark Thirty, co-host Matt Lauer wondered if scenes depicting "brutal interrogations" of terror suspects would make movie-goers feel guilty: "It's inevitable people are going to sit in the movie theater...and when they see the scenes of torture, they're going to ask themselves if they think it was justified, if the ends justified the means." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Turning to director Kathryn Bigelow, Lauer pressed: "Do you want to make a political statement with this movie?" Bigelow replied: "Well, I think the film doesn't have an agenda. I think it just shows the story as – you know, the story of the greatest man hunt in history. And that's part of that history." Lauer urged: "But do you want people to discuss that topic more? Whether these kind of enhanced interrogation techniques are justified?"
After the cast of NBC's Today gushed on Tuesday over President Obama's "very fashionable decision" to possibly appoint Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour as an ambassador, on Wednesday, regular panelists Donny Deutsch and Star Jones scoffed at the idea, with Deutsch declaring: "I'm not quite sure somebody who edits a fashion magazine is qualified to be a liaison to one of our biggest allies." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While the morning show's supposed journalists touted the news and made a joke out of ambassadorships being handed out to big Obama campaign donors, Deutsch and Jones, reliable fans of the President, spoke out against the notion. Deutsch took the cronyism to task:
On Wednesday's NBC Today, political director Chuck Todd proclaimed that despite fiscal cliff negotiations being "in such a bad state," one bit of "good news" was that House Republicans "realize they don't have much leverage right now" and predicted they would eventually sign on to tax hikes proposed by President Obama. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Moments later, co-host Savannah Guthrie declared: "Speaker John Boehner is probably in the most unenviable position because he has to get the deal, he has to sell it to the far right of his caucus in the House. Can he get that deal?"
Actor Matt Damon made a crude sexual joke about "tossing salad" on NBC's Today show Tuesday.
Although the topic was food, co-hosts Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie both clearly understood the reference and laughed along with Damon and others on the set (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
At the top of Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie cheered the news that President Obama may make one of his major campaign donors, Anna Wintour, an ambassador: "Going Vogue? A report this morning that the President could appoint Vogue's famed editor-in-chief Anna Wintour to be his next ambassador to England or France. More on what could be a very fashionable decision." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
During a panel discussion later in the show, fellow co-host Willie Geist excused the obvious patronage job: "This is not unusual...I think something like 30% of appointees to ambassadorships are political, as a reward for people who raise a lot of money." That prompted a round of jokes about giving money to Obama to get an appointment. Fill-in news reader Tamron remarked: "[Wintour] raised more than $500,000 for his campaign, so we need to get on the ball....We need to get it going..."
Appearing on Monday's NBC Today, lawyer Robert Sheehan, one of the defense attorneys for former murder suspect Lois Goodman, managed to attack GOP strategist Karl Rove while asserting that the charges recently dropped against Goodman would not be re-filed: "Anybody who thinks that this case is gonna be reopened can go count votes with Karl Rove in Ohio."
Co-host Matt Lauer didn't seem fazed at all by the gratuitous slam of Rove that had no connection to the topic at hand.