Appearing on Thursday's CBS Late Show aired early Friday morning, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw discussed the Russian invasion of Ukraine with host David Letterman and observed: "...when chemical weapons were used in Syria and they were discovered, I didn't think it was President Obama's finest moment. He said there's a red line, then he kept moving that sucker....[Vladimir Putin] might have taken the measure of President Obama and said, 'I may be able to test this guy'....it has that appearance." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
That analysis was prompted by Letterman noting: "And people are saying this [Russian invasion of Ukraine] is because of the negotiations, or the unilateral negotiations regarding Syria, when he [Putin] stepped in looking for weapons of mass destruction...and Obama had to sort of acquiesce that because it was not a bad idea. So now he [Putin] feels like he can get away with this. Is that part of it?" Brokaw replied: "Well, I think that's pretty astute."
Introducing a gushing interview with HBO Girls star Lena Dunham aired on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie eagerly proclaimed: "You know, to call her the voice of her generation might actually be underselling her abilities. At just 27 years old, she isn't just starring in the hit HBO show Girls, she created it, writes it, produces it, and she also directs it. And now she can add something else to that impressive resume, she'll be the host of Saturday Night Live this weekend." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Both NBC's Today and CBS This Morning on Thursday saw the beginning of the end of an investigation into the Obama administration's IRS scandal following tirade by Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings at the conclusion of a Wednesday hearing on the topic. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Today, news reader Natalie Morales proclaimed: "Well, after a shouting match on Capitol Hill, California Republican Darrell Issa says his probe of alleged IRS abuses may have hit a dead end." The headline on screen read: "IRS Hearing Showdown; Probe In Danger After Chaotic Hearing." CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose similarly declared: "A congressional investigation into the IRS may be stalled this morning because of partisan bickering."
Like a simple parlor trick, the networks are able to make skeptical scientists vanish, at least from the eyes of their viewers.
In some cases, the broadcast networks have failed to include such scientists for years, while including alarmist scientists within the past six months. ABC, CBS and NBC’s lengthy omission of scientists critical of global warming alarmism propped up the myth of a scientific consensus, despite the fact that many scientists and thousands of peer-reviewed studies disagree.
Talking to MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough on Thursday's NBC Today about the Ukranian crisis, co-host Matt Lauer saw the Republican Party, not Russia, as President Obama's fiercest adversary: "We're six days into this crisis now, the rhetoric seems to be heating up. Not between Russia and the United States, but between Republicans in Congress and the administration." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer pressed Scarborough: "You heard John McCain say it was a massive intelligence failure and a misreading of Vladimir Putin's intentions. Lindsay Graham weighed in, saying, 'What we're seeing in the Ukraine right now is a result of failed policies in Syria and Benghazi.' Do you agree with those assessments?" Scarborough immediately dismissed the GOP criticism: "No, absolutely not....Barack Obama didn't lose Ukraine any more than George W. Bush lost Georgia in 2008, anymore than Ike lost Hungary in 1956."
Only CBS This Morning on Wednesday bothered to cover yet another delay of ObamaCare. NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America both skipped the news. On Tuesday night, all three networks ignored the topic.
CBS co-anchor Charlie Rose explained, "This morning, critics of the President's health care law have a new target for anger, another major delay." He added, "The Obama administration will allow insurers to continue offering bare-bones plans, even if they don't comply with the minimum standards." Journalist Jan Crawford described the move as one that would avoid more cancellations near the 2014 midterm elections. She opined, "...The administration will allow insurers to offer the substandard plans." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, NBC has been the only Big Three broadcast network to look back to President Obama ridiculing Mitt Romney for calling Russia a U.S. "geopolitical foe" in 2012. On Wednesday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander reminded viewers: "Republicans have repeatedly attacked President Obama's Russia policy as weak and naive....Helping fuel that criticism, this moment from the 2012 campaign, where President Obama mocked Governor Mitt Romney for calling Russia America's number one geopolitical foe." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Neither ABC's Good Morning America nor CBS This Morning managed to work that into their coverage of the unfolding international crisis on Wednesday.
Journalists and networks hyped the so-called Republican "war on women" during the 2012 election. But ABC and CBS on Wednesday skipped the claim that liberal Congressman Alan Grayson committed domestic abuse against his estranged wife. Only Today show journalist Kristen Welker on Wednesday revealed, "Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson is denying allegations that he shoved his wife, Lolita Grayson." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
She continued, "According to court documents filed Monday and obtained by the Orlando Sentinel, Ms. Grayson accused her husband of showing up at her Florida home unannounced over the weekend and then deliberately and with force pushed her very hard against the door, causing her to fall to the ground." CBS This Morning and ABC's Good Morning America ignored the accusations. Tuesday night's evening newscasts did as well.
The three network morning shows combined gave less than two minutes of air time to President Obama's proposed 2015 budget on Tuesday, though they all managed to highlight how the plan "will cut taxes for thirteen and a half million working Americans" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]. What the NBC, ABC, and CBS broadcasts all ignored was that the debt projections under the President's budget were off by $2.7 trillion compared to recent numbers released by the Congressional Budget Office.
As the Washington Post pointed out on Tuesday, "[Obama's budget] forecasts a dramatic reduction in deficits over the coming decade. The request paints a much rosier debt scenario than a report released by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office a month ago."
On Tuesday morning, only NBC's Today marked the beginning of the 2014 midterm primary season and explained the dire situation for Democrats ahead on the November election. Co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed: "While President Obama's dealing with the crisis in Ukraine, here at home, the future of his presidency could be at stake. The midterm primary season kicks off today, and this will affect who will control the levers of power in the coming years." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, chief White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd warned: "...it sets the stage for what's going to be an epic national battle in these midterms between the two parties for control of the Senate, which in turn, holds the fate of the rest of the Obama presidency."
NBC was caught asleep at the switch on Monday's Today, as the morning newscast broadcast a clip that featured two uncensored images of fully nude women – 10 years and a month after fellow Big Three network CBS aired Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" during the Super Bowl.
Savannah Guthrie led into an interview of actor Willem Dafoe by playing a clip from his upcoming movie "The Grand Budapest Hotel," but the scene included two black and white posters of the completely unclad people: [WARNING: video, including the nudity, below the jump]
Appearing on NBC's Today on Monday, New Yorker magazine editor and former Washington Post Moscow correspondent David Remnick fretted that the United States lacked the moral authority to oppose Russia's invasion of Ukraine: "The United States also does not have the leverage it wants in historical terms. Invading countries is something the United States knows about from really raw experience. And Russia knows that and asserts that day in and day out on Russian television all the time. That's a cost, too." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Moments earlier, co-host Savannah Guthrie excused the Obama administration's poor handling of the situation: "So what is the White House supposed to do? I mean, on Friday we see the President coming out saying to Putin, 'There will be high costs if you invade.' The very next day, he invades. What leverage do we have?" Remnick replied: "Economic leverage, diplomatic leverage, but I don't think in any way the United States or Europe has any interest in making this military, making it a military clash between the United States and Russia, because we know how horrible and bloody that could get."
On Friday, the NBC, ABC, and CBS morning shows all happily touted a White-House-produced video of President Obama and Vice President Biden jogging through the executive mansion to promote the fourth anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign. This was the same week that the networks refused to cover an Obama administration report showing two-thirds of small business employees would see a spike in health care premiums under ObamaCare. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing the video on NBC's Today, co-host Tamron Hall explained: "When the First Lady was on with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show, she actually made the pledge that if everyone uploaded videos and pictures of themselves moving around, that perhaps she could have some influence and get the President and the Vice President to show us how they get moving. Well, overnight, developing news, take a look."
After spending days denouncing a religious freedom bill in Arizona as "anti-gay," all three network morning shows on Thursday hailed protester celebrations following Governor Jan Brewer vetoing the proposed legislation. Fill-in co-host Lara Spencer led off ABC's Good Morning America by excitedly announcing: "Vetoed! Protesters cheering the Arizona governor's decision to strike the controversial bill that would have given businesses the right to deny service to gay people for religious reasons." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Cecilia Vega described the joyous atmosphere: "Boy, a lot of celebrating here overnight....And that very moment outside Arizona's capitol, from cheers to tears." Vega talked to one protester who compared the vetoed bill to segregation: "Nobody rides at the back of the bus and everybody sits at the lunch counter. We fought that battle once and that's what this battle is. We shouldn't have to do this again and I hope this is the last time."
On Tuesday, all three network morning shows touted "pressure mounting from all sides" for Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to veto an "anti-gay" bill designed to protect religious freedom. On NBC's Today, correspondent Mike Taibbi declared: "Governor Brewer actually has until the end of the week to make her decision. But the pressure has been mounting to finally kill the bill that at the very least has reignited the culture wars." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host Robin Roberts announced: "Governor Jan Brewer, under a lot of pressure to veto the measure that would give businesses the right to refuse service, citing religious beliefs. Protests overnight right outside the Governor's office..." In the report that followed, correspondent Cecilia Vega stood amongst those protestors and proclaimed: "...they promise to be out here every night until this bill is vetoed."
Continuing his creepy infatuation with Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday, NBC Today weatherman Al Roker expressed his tongue-in-cheek jealously over new Late Night host Seth Meyers getting Biden as a guest the night before: "I'm a little upset about this....We have been begging Vice President Joe Biden to come on our program. He's right across the street. He was right across the street....now I'm gonna have to redouble my efforts." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After noting the long-running "bromance" between Roker and Biden, fellow 9 a.m. co-host Natalie Morales pleaded: "He went there for Seth, why couldn't he do this for you? This is Al asking, Mr. Biden, Mr. Vice President." Moments later, co-host Willie Geist turned to Roker and observed: "You're wounded by this. This really hurts." Roker replied, "I am," and pretended to start crying.
All three network morning shows on Tuesday continued the push against an Arizona bill [SB 1062] that aims to protect the religious freedom of business owners who oppose gay marriage. According to CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose, "Hundreds protested at the state capitol last night. They say the bill legalizes discrimination."
Today's Savannah Guthrie hyped, "Mounting pressure. From John McCain to Apple, even concern from Super Bowl organizers, a growing chorus calling on Arizona's governor to veto a bill that would let businesses turn away gay customers." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Journalist Natalie Morales muttered, "Really big decision, very controversial." None of the networks featured voices in support of the legislation.
On Monday, the hosts of NBC's Today invited left-wing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to perform a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly-renovated plaza outside Rockefeller Center's Studio 1A, with Matt Lauer gushing: "And look who stepped in here, the new mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio. Mr. Mayor, it's nice to see you....you're here for a great reason....to help us cut the ribbon and usher in a new era on our gussied up plaza here." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
De Blasio gave a resounding endorsement of the morning show: "It's great to be here....It's beautiful, it's beautiful. Let me tell you, people love this part of our town and this makes it even better. And I think it's going to be an exciting addition to New York City. All I can say is come visit. Wherever you are in the country, come visit and be a part of this." Co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed: "Thank you. The Mayor said so."
The plan by Barack Obama's government to "dramatically" shrink the size of the Army to its lowest level since World War II warranted a scant one minute and 56 seconds of total coverage on Monday's morning shows. Yet, CBS, NBC and ABC devoted 19 and a half minutes to such topics as TV shows, makeup and viral videos. [See video of ABC's coverage below. MP3 audio here.] None of the networks mentioned the President, shifting the responsibility solely to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
The Today show allowed the least amount of coverage, a mere 21 seconds. This despite the program's four hour running time. Natalie Morales revealed, "Under the plan, the Army would shrink to its smallest force since the World War II build-up." She asserted that "the proposal is likely to face fierce opposition on Capitol Hill." If that's true, why devote less than 30 seconds and allow no debate? Instead, the Today anchors spent almost nine minutes on the subject of makeup and body image.
Despite openly gay NBA player Jason Collins only spending 10 minutes on the court during a game Sunday night, all three network morning shows on Monday hailed his non-scoring time off the bench as a momentous occasion. On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos proclaimed: "A history-making moment in the NBA. Jason Collins broke through a big barrier last night when he suited up for the Brooklyn Nets against the Lakers, becoming the first openly gay player in any of the four major pro-leagues." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On NBC's Today, co-host Matt Lauer announced: "History was made...last night in a basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers." In the report that followed, 9 a.m. co-host Willie Geist gushed: "History on the basketball court Sunday night, when 35-year-old Jason Collins became the first openly gay male athlete to play in any of the four major professional U.S. sports."
ABC, CBS, and NBC have largely punted in covering the protests against the leftist government in Venezuela. Since Monday, only NBC Nightly News has devoted a full report on the demonstrations in the South American country. Altogether, NBC has aired just over two minutes of reporting on the story. Brian Williams also stood out for explicitly mentioning the political ideology of the regime: "Many...are feeling increasingly let down by the socialist government." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The network's Big Three competitors trail far behind in their coverage, with CBS only mentioning the protests during a 24-second news brief on Wednesday's CBS This Morning. The network's evening newscast, CBS Evening News, has yet to cover the story. ABC has devoted three news briefs on its morning and evening newscasts since Wednesday, for a total of 52 seconds of air time.
While all three broadcast networks happily promoted President Obama's crusade to hike the minimum wage following his State of the Union address, NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America only managed to provide a scant 42 seconds of coverage on Wednesday to a new Congressional Budget Office study showing such a move would cause 500,000 people to lose their jobs.
Wednesday's CBS This Morning did offer a 2-minute report on the news, while Tuesday's CBS Evening News provided a 1-minute news brief. NBC Nightly News and ABC's World Newscompletely ignored the topic Tuesday night.
Appearing on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told host David Gregory that former President Bill Clinton had "embarrassed the nation" while in office. However, of the three network morning shows on Monday, only CBS This Morning mentioned the political headline. ABC's Good Morning America ignored it and even NBC's Today skipped the scoop from it's own network. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the last couple of weeks ObamaCare has been dealt two serious setbacks: yet another delay in the employer mandate, and a devastating CBO report that claimed it will cost the equivalent of two million jobs. However, the reaction of Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) network reporters to these latest ObamaCare failures has been to blow them off as just a little “hiccup.”
When the White House announced another delay in the enforcement of the employer mandate to buy health insurance, the networks couldn’t even cover the story for a full day. The first reports arrived on the February 10 evening news, with the final stories filed on the February 11 morning shows. In total the Big Three networks spent just 4 minutes and 26 seconds on the delay. ABC spent the least amount of time on the mandate extension (41 seconds) followed by NBC (53 seconds) with CBS (2 minutes, 53 seconds) devoting the most time to the topic. (videos after the jump)
In a report aired on Monday's NBC Today from the Sochi Olympic games, correspondent Stephanie Gosk toured the Russian capital: "Moscow evokes powerful images. The Kremlin, Soviet leaders, the Red Army. But beyond the Cold War symbols, this city of 10 million people is a modern bustling metropolis..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Later in the segment, Gosk described the city's subway system as "one of Moscow's hidden gems," even to the point of praising the ruthless Soviet dictator who created it: "Stalin promised the metro would be a palace for the people, and so it is. Open architecture, mosaics, even chandeliers."
While in Russia for the Olympics, NBC morning weatherman Al Roker sent several hostile tweets at ultraliberal New York mayor Bill de Blasio for keeping the city's schools open during the winter storm. The most acidulous tweet said: "I knew this am @NYCMayorsOffice @NYCSchools would close schools. Talk about a bad prediction. Long range DiBlasio forecast: 1 term."
That raised from eyebrows in the Big Apple! Now Roker is apologizing for that remark, if not for the gist of his attacks (or misspelling "de Blasio"):
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have so far punted on reporting the strong critique of the Obama administration's "disturbing retreat from democratic practices" with regard to the freedom of the press, according to Reporters Without Borders. The U.S. fell 13 places in the international group's annual "World Press Freedom Index" for the federal government's "increased efforts to track down whistleblowers and the sources of leaks."
The organization spotlighted the controversial leaks from Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden as examples, but also included the Department of Justice's seizure of the Associated Press' phone records as a "reminder of the urgent need for a 'shield law' to protect the confidentiality of journalists' sources at the federal level." Fox News' Shannon Bream devoted a brief to the Reporters Without Borders report on Wednesday's Special Report: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
While all three broadcast networks provided some amount of coverage to Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai releasing 65 dangerous Taliban insurgents from prison on Thursday despite explicit U.S. objections, none of the reporting suggested President Obama's handling of the war in Afghanistan was to blame for the "tattered U.S. relations" with Karzai's government. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the top Thursday's ABC World News, anchor Diane Sawyer declared "American outrage" over the release, followed by White House correspondent Jonathan Karl proclaiming: "It's another low-point for already tattered U.S. relations with President Karzai, who has been trying to get his own peace deal with the Taliban."