When the widow of the slain police officer killed by Mumia Abu-Jamal appeared on the Thursday "Today" show to promote her new book, NBC's Matt Lauer seemed to take up the cause of the convicted cop killer as he asked Maureen Faulkner mostly skeptical questions like: "Do you ever allow yourself to consider the fact that perhaps he didn't do this?"
Appearing on the December 6, "Today" show, Faulkner, along with her co-author, conservative radio talk show host Michael Smerconish, were subjected to questions about the legitimacy of Abu-Jamal's guilt by the "Today" show host. Lauer repeatedly aired claims from the Abu-Jamal defense team as he displayed new photos meant to prove Abu-Jamal's innocence, repeated charges that Smerconish was helping Faulkner for "personal gain" and even took time out to show pro-Mumia supporters in the "Today" show crowd:
Even as scientific advancements on stem cell research have vindicated George W. Bush's resistance to destroy actual embryos, Michael J. Fox refused to give the President any credit on Monday's "Today" show, instead choosing to indirectly insult him as he declared that after the next election "the chances are very good that there's gonna be a new attitude towards science."
When asked by NBC's Maria Menounos, whether the ability to reprogram ordinary cells to mimic those of embyronic stem cells changed his view on the issue, Fox refused to abandon the practice of embryo destruction as he warned: "At the same time too we don't want to discontinue the embryonic stem cell research that's being done because one begat the other and, and it all becomes part of a broad canvas that we want to continue to work on."
The following is the full segment as it aired on the December 3, edition of "Today":
Wednesday's editions of the CBS "Early Show" and NBC's "Today" show both ignored Bill Clinton's incredible assertion on Tuesday that he opposed the Iraq war from its inception. Only "Good Morning America" correspondent Jake Tapper pointed out the obvious fact that Clinton was no vocal critic of the military action. Filing a report on the subject, Tapper incredulously wondered, "Bill Clinton opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning?"
After acknowledging that the ex-President did call for the U.N. weapons inspectors to have more time, Tapper clarified the record: "...[Bill Clinton] was hardly, at least publicly, an opponent of going to war against Saddam Hussein." The ABC journalist then read from a 2003 speech on the Clinton Foundation's website that featured the former Commander in Chief asserting, "I supported the President when he asked the Congress for authority to stand up against weapons of mass destruction in Iraq." So, despite the fact that ample information exists calling into question the validity of Clinton's recent statement, only GMA covered the story.
On Tuesday's "Today" show NBC's Washington bureau chief, Tim Russert, scoffed at President Bush's attempt to broker Middle East peace at the Annapolis conference, as he derided it as a "Hail Mary pass." However, nine years ago, when Bill Clinton made a failed attempt at Mideast peace, in the midst of his impeachment, Russert praised the former President on the October 23, 1998 "Today" show: "As the impeachment hearings grind on, could you have a situation where next year the President cannot go to the Judiciary Committee on a particular day because he's receiving the Nobel Peace Prize? That's the kind of irony the White House looks at as they look at the success of President Clinton on this day."
The following exchange, that occurred on the November 27, "Today" show, stands in stark contrast to Russert's overly optimistic analysis of Clinton's bungled Mideast peace attempt in 1998:
On this morning's Today show, Matt Lauer discussed with Tim Russert the Middle East peace conference that began today. After years of MSM criticism of President Bush for not getting more involved in the Israeli-Palestinian situation, how does Lauer react when the president undertakes an historic initiative bringing together leaders of all the area's countries for the first time? You guessed it.
Before Thanksgiving, the Laura Ingraham show had great fun with a Today segment on November 16. As part of a series on "Today Gives Thanks," news anchor Ann Curry expressed her deep love and appreciation for Maya Angelou, the liberal black poetess who delivered the mawkish "rock, river, tree" poem at Bill Clinton's first inauguration.
NATALIE MORALES, co-host: This morning we wrap up our special series "Giving Thanks Today" with Ann's turn to show her gratitude to a great woman. Ann.
ANN CURRY: That's right. You know, words can change your life, and listening to the words of Dr. Maya Angelou in 2002 changed mine. If you're not familiar with Dr. Angelou, you need to stop what you're doing and sit down and listen.A renaissance woman, she is a writer, performer, teacher and an American Poet Laureate...
The amazing discovery that apparent embryonic stem cells can be made in the laboratory without destroying human embryos could be spun as a victory for pro-lifers, who have been mercilessly mocked as the Antonym of Science for suggesting any delay in crushing embyros in the hope of finding other methods that would be less destructive of human life. That media spin hasn’t happened. But look at how some reporters are still skirting around the hard, cold fact of embryo destruction for research. Here’s NBC on Wednesday morning, courtesy of MRC’s Justin McCarthy:
ANN CURRY: There is a potential breakthrough in stem cell research to report this morning. Scientists have found the way to create stem cells without using human embryos. NBC's chief science correspondent Robert Bazell has more now....
ROBERT BAZELL: Many people, including President Bush, are thrilled with the research, because it does not use embryos, which have been the only source of embryonic stem cells.
NBC News White House correspondent David Gregory, accused of being a partisan, made a false statement about the "Scooter" Libby case. In reporting former White House press secretary Scott McClellan’s charge that the Bush administration fed false information, Gregory claimed Libby "went to jail for obstructing the leak investigation."
Although Libby was sentenced to 30 months of prison, Libby never actually went to jail as Gregory claims. President Bush commuted Libby’s sentence, eliminating the prison term yet still upholding a hefty fine and probation.
"Today," however, did not spend a lot of time on the McClellan charge, just a brief story. The transcript is below.
As the first anniversary of its grand declaration fast approaches, does NBC continue to believe that Iraq is in a state of civil war? Readers will recall that as we described here, Matt Lauer opened the Today show on November 27th, 2006 with these words:
Good morning. Civil war. A bloody weekend of sectarian clashes in Iraq and no sign it's letting up.
A bit later, Lauer portentously declared:
For months the White House rejected claims that the situation in Iraq has deteriorated into civil war. For the most part news organizations like NBC hesitated to characterize it as such. After careful consideration, NBC News has decided the change in terminology is warranted and what is going on in Iraq can now be characterized as civil war.
A Google alert this morning brought an article about a speech in which NBC's Lester Holt claimed that he and his MSM colleagues "are perfectly capable of putting [their] personal bias aside." Holt went to state that "the level of organized attacks against news organizations from the blogosphere and even from competitors in recent years is unprecedented and disturbing."
Less than an hour later there was Holt on the Today show . . . which proceeded to run a segment typifying the very kind of bias he claims the MSM is "perfectly capable" of putting aside.
NBC’s Today called the Democratic debate a "Vegas slugfest" at the beginning of the Friday morning show, but the story that followed by NBC reporter and Hillary pal Andrea Mitchell made it look like a TKO for Hillary. "She proved she can take a punch," oozed Mitchell, and "she denied playing the gender card." Mitchell noted her husband did, but she made no attempt to rebut the falsehood that Hillary's campaign in general never did.
If the "pal" language sounds strong, find Andrea Mitchell’s recent memoir Talking Back and see the gal-pal, smiley-faced Hillary-autographed picture from the 1995 Beijing summit for women that’s in the book's photo section in the middle. That’s either true feminist sisterhood or just an eagerness to be pictured arm in arm with the powerful. "Talking back" is not something she’s done to Hillary on NBC. Matt Lauer introduced Mitchell’s story of Hillary vanquishing her brutish male rivals:
It’s a little odd when a reporter contradicts herself and discloses she doesn’t necessarily agree with what she’s reporting.
But that’s what happened this morning when CNBC’s Maria Bartimoro appeared on the November 12 “Today” to report the chances of a recession. “Today” host Meredith Vieira asked Bartiromo if she thought the economy was heading into a recession after Bartiromo delivered a report about economic fears.
“You know Meredith, I do not,” Bartiromo said. “My gut feeling tells me that we have strength around the world. Economies like China and India and Europe continue to grow and that certainly helps American companies that have operations there. I think that that growth will probably offset the weakness that we’re seeing in housing and of course this pressure from oil.”
How overmatched were the two lukewarm-at-best Republicans that "Today" tossed in against two partisan Dems this morning? If NBC scheduled this unfair a fight for Sunday Night Football, Al Michaels would be calling the play-by-play between the New England Patriots and the proverbial Little Sisters of Mercy.
The Today show's farce of a "voter panel" was invited to discuss politics and the state of the country this morning. With tens of millions of voters to choose from, NBC can of course contrive any cross-section it wants. So the views expressed by the participants say relatively little about the mood of the country -- but a lot about the network's own political bias.
In the past six years, any time someone wrote a tell-all book about George W. Bush or a member of his administration, they were given the royal treatment by the press with lavish interviews offering them the perfect platform to market their work as well as their politically charged opinions.
Consider for example all the attention given to Valerie Plame Wilson just recently when her book "Fair Game" was released, or the focus on George Tenet and his "At the Center of the Storm" exposé back in April.
With this in mind, if a former female White House aide published a new book implicating a former president -- whose wife just so happens to be the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination in 2008 -- in rape and other possible crimes, shouldn't she be welcomed with open arms by evening television magazines like "60 Minutes" and morning shows like "Today?"
After all, given Kathleen Willey's shocking statements about her new book "Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton" to WOR radio's Steve Malzberg Thursday, one would think such programs would be all over this like white on rice, assuming of course their goal was journalism and not political activism (audio in two parts available here and here, highlights of the interview follow):
On Monday, "Today" kicked off Green Week with an Al Gore interview in which he proclaimed there was no room for dissenting voices on global warming. Over at MSNBC the same day, an NBC environmental "correspondent" urged viewers to vote for candidates with an environmentalist agenda.
But this morning, "Green Week" at "Today" went out on a mysteriously innocuous note. Gone, at least during the crucial first-half hour, was the environmentalist crusading, replaced by little more than a travelogue. Instead of global warming, the focus was Ann Curry's personal accomplishment in Antarctica [note the screen graphic].
“No, he's not doing his job,” Cramer said to host Meredith Vieira, in his usual animated, over-the-top manner. “This is New York State. This is not the federal government. He is making it so that the very institutions we need right now to provide money for people are gun shy – Fannie Mae, Washington Mutual.”
A Pew Research Center poll released late last month found that while four out of five American adults (81%) could name one of the Democratic presidential candidates, far fewer (just 59%) could recall any of the GOP candidates. Even among self-described Republican voters, Pew found “Clinton and Obama are much more visible than Giuliani or any other GOP presidential candidate.”
One reason may be that the big broadcast networks have treated the Democratic frontrunners like celebrities worthy of intense coverage, while the Republican candidates have received far less TV time. A new Media Research Center study of the ABC, CBS and NBC morning news shows has found that in the first 10 months of 2007, the networks spent more time covering the Democratic race and spent far more time interviewing the Democratic candidates than the Republicans. And those interviews were much friendlier to the Democrats, with the morning show anchors emphasizing a predominantly liberal agenda.
Shirley MacLaine appeared on the Wednesday "Today" show to promote her new book Sage-ing While Age-ing, and after host Matt Lauer finished talking to the actress about her belief in UFOs and reincarnation, he asked if there was anything she feared in life, the author responded: "Mad men who say they're at the head of democracies scare me."
Now while MacLaine didn't mention George W. Bush by name it's not a stretch to assume the sister of liberal actor Warren Beatty was referring to the current president. In fact Lauer, earlier in the interview, noted MacLaine was the godmother of the daughter of fellow UFO witness Dennis Kucinich.
Did Al Gore win his Nobel for "peace," or did it perhaps come in a new category: comedy? I ask in the wake of his rib-tickling routine on this morning's "Today." Al, that inveterate card, actually claimed that the MSM's coverage of global warming is . . . too balanced.
Talk about talking down the economy! No fewer than three times today, Matt Lauer invited Barack Obama to declare that the U.S. economy is headed into recession. At the end of a "Today" interview that focused largely on Hillary-related issues and Iran, Lauer turned to the economy and pressed Obama to predict the worst.
Like the latest runway trend, "green is the new black" according to the media. At least where business is concerned. But it turns out that companies are finding "going green" is an easy way to put themselves in the red.
Back in 2003 FedEx announced it would begin switching to hybrid trucks and won an award from the Environmental Protection Agency, but at $70,000 more per truck the costs got in the way. Four years later, the company has fewer than 100 hybrid trucks, according to the October 29 BusinessWeek.
Other companies like PepsiCo and Caterpillar could face problems with the bottom line because of their support for more government regulation, said Steve Milloy on CNBC's "Street Signs" October 12.
A billionaire and a receptionist walk into an IRS bar. They each order a beer. The IRS bartender charges the receptionist $2.50 and the billionaire $2,260. Who got undercharged? If you're Warren Buffett or Tom Brokaw, the answer is . . . the billionaire.
As NB Editor Brent Baker has noted, the NBC Nightly News "decided Monday night to base a story on a four-year-old contention by a professor that the middle class is worse off now than in the 1970s, followed by a piece promoting Warren Buffett's claim the rich don't pay enough in taxes."
NBC was back at it again this morning, with a "Today" segment featuring Brokaw's interview with Buffett and his gripe that the rich are undertaxed. Brokaw seconded Buffett's notion, introducing the segment this way:
When you're the world's third-richest man, you can break some rules. Warren Buffett, the "Oracle of Omaha," is going after a fundamental injustice he says touches all Americans [cut to clip of Buffett]: the taxation system has tilted toward the rich and away from the middle class in the last 10 years. It's dramatic and I don't think it's appreciated."
NBC Universal’s “Green is Universal” initiative is sending staff across the planet to either cover or cause global warming. That effort “takes an unprecedented look at Planet Earth.” Three members of the ‘Today’ crew – Matt Lauer, Ann Curry and Al Roker – will emit 24.9 tons of carbon to go to the ends of the earth to show viewers climate is affecting the planet. That number is more than three times what a typical American emits in a whole year. (See video here.)
“Well, the journey has begun,” “Today” co-host Matt Lauer said on the October 29 broadcast. “‘Today’ is going to the ends of the earth to report on the changing climate and examine the limits of human exploration in an unprecedented simultaneous broadcast from the top, the bottom and the middle of the world.”
Is there any strife in the world the "Today" show isn't going to blame on global warming? Last week NBC's Ann Curry cited climate change a cause of increasing tween stress, this week, "Today's" chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman warned global warming has sparked an increase of food allergies.
The following exchange between Snyderman and co-host Meredith Vieira occurred on a segment about the increase of food allergies in women on the October 25 edition of "Today":
Meredith Vieira: "You touched on it briefly in the piece but why are food allergies on the rise, especially with women?"
As Valerie Plame does the interview rounds – CBS, NBC, CNN, NPR – someone might miss the far-left, Bush-hating blog interviews. On Firedoglake, the most notable pro-Plame blog, Plame did a typewritten chat with her leftist admirers on Monday. She loved the leftist bloggers at FDL – even had them to her home for dinner -- and declared her interviews on CBS and NBC were fair. Her husband, Joe Wilson, popped in to suggest that two people convinced the Wilsons to fight the pernicious far right: Sidney Blumenthal – and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Former Watergate figure John Dean also popped in – to suggest Plame could be Hillary’s CIA Director.
Meredith Vieira on Monday's "Today" show, like Katie Couric on Sunday's "60 Minutes," offered a sympathetic venue to Valerie Plame Wilson, but unlike Couric, her replacement pointed out how the leaker of Plame's name was not a White House operative with a vendetta against Plame's husband and quoted an editorial that contended Plame's outing was her husband's fault.
Vieira began the interview by prompting Plame to explain her perception of “four-and-a-half years of character assassination.” When Plame said she felt “betrayal,” Vieira suggested: “By the President himself?” Vieira also invited Plame to denounce the supposed “beating of the drums” about Iran, “a lot of the rhetoric that you heard leading up to Iraq from the President and from the Vice President,” and wondered: “Do you believe what happened in Iraq could possibly happen in Iran? Do you believe we are headed toward war in Iran?”
Careening from the accusatory to the adoring, there was only one constant in Ann Curry's interview of Benazir Bhutto aired on this morning's "Today": an over-the-top emotionalism that had the show's news anchor lurching from shouted accusations to the verge of tears.
Curry is in Pakistan this week, and scored an exclusive with Bhutto, whose triumphal return to the country where she has served as Prime Minister ended in tragedy as terrorist bombs on her motorcade route killed about 140 people. Curry began her interview by focusing on Bhutto's feelings of responsibility for those deaths. While the transcript is telling, only the video completely conveys Curry's mawkish meltdown.
National political reporters and pundits have often forwarded preposterous-sounding reports about one of the biggest political problems that Bill and Hillary Clinton have: their spectacle of a marriage. That's why it's so interesting that Newsweek (one of those shameless outlets that wrote of how the devoted Clintons "don't kiss, they devour each other") would feature a page on biographer Sally Bedell Smith's new book on the Clinton marriage, For Love and Politics. (And that Smith had a rough time getting Hillary nuggets out of the Clinton Presidential Library.) NBC's Ann Curry also interviewed her on Friday's Today. MRC's Justin McCarthy jotted down the good parts:
CURRY: You found something pretty interesting. Not only evidence of Hillary's early ambitions from very young to run for president. But also you say on one page here that Hillary had to sign off on all the big decisions that her husband made as president. Now, how do you know that?