On Thursday’s Today, NBC’s Meredith Vieira interviewed Robin Williams, introducing him jokingly that he "has always made people look to the heavens and say what was he thinking? So it's only appropriate that in his latest film, License To Wed, he plays a man of the cloth. And his character, Reverend Frank is more than a little unorthodox." He’s playing an Episcopalian minister, but all his trouble lately has been by making harsh jokes about Catholic priests and pedophilia.
On the June 18 Tonight show, Williams unfurled a whole routine suggesting there were pedophiles everywhere among the Catholic priesthood, a smear on the vast majority of serious and celibate priests, as well as mean-spirited jokes about priests being sexually aroused in the confessional. Ten days later, he smeared his critics – specifically, without citing names, Michael Chapman on NewsBusters -- suggesting they didn’t care whether child-abusing priests were exposed, that keeping it quiet was okay. About halfway into the interview, Vieira steered into his mockery of priests:
At the end of Friday’s Today show on NBC, the marketing of Al Gore’s Live Earth concerts began, just eight days shy of NBC’s big three-hour Live Earth concert in prime time, hosted by NBC anchor Ann Curry and Carson Daly. (Not to mention the other 72 hours donated to Gore by NBC Universal.) NBC’s Friday guest was David DeRothschild, author of "The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook." Like a good NBC employee, anchor Natalie Morales praised the climate-crisis cause: "Fantastic effort. It’s going to raise a lot of awareness."
The author mostly made the usual plugs for compact-fluorescent bulbs and other electricity savings, but the strange part (at least for late June) was urging everyone to wear a sweater and turn the thermostat down. Did they think they were recording a segment for Christmas break?
The landmark Supreme Court ruling which found that schools cannot diversify their student bodies based on race alone gave NBC the launch pad they needed to talk about the conservative nature of the Supreme Court.
NBC’s coverage on Nightly News was remarkably stacked to the left. Reporter Pete Williams led his package with this sentence: “This decision vividly reveals how divided this current supreme court is on social issues.” In reporting the ruling Williams described the majority ruling as coming from “the five most conservative justices.” But he never quoted Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion which included the statement, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race, is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” He did, however, quote this statement from the minority opinion of Justice Stephen Breyer, “It's not often that so few have so quickly undone so -- changed so much.”
Still stoking the flames of the fire it started on its cable outlet, MSNBC, NBC kept pushing the Ann Coulter vs Elizabeth Edwards fight, this time on this morning’s Today show. Substitute host David Gregory invited on Elizabeth Edwards to continue to bash Coulter on her "hate language." And while the on screen headline asked, "Out of Control? The Politics of Ann Coulter," 'Today', once again, never bothered to mention the Edwards campaign's own "out of control" bloggers.
To his credit Gregory did ask about Edwards using Coulter as a fundraising tool and noted the hypocrisy of John Edward's $400 haircut and his large speaking fees for a poverty group. However Today refused to identify either Edwards as a liberal but repeatedly labeled Coulter as "conservative," and even tagged her as a "flamethrower."
As the media continue to pile on Ann Coulter in the wake of her being ambushed by Elizabeth Edwards and Chris Matthews on Tuesday’s “Hardball,” a disturbing yet predictable double standard is emerging.
On the one hand, Coulter is being pounded for using “hate words,” so much so that Matthews advocated Wednesday that people not buy her books.
Yet, Edwards and her Democrat presidential candidate husband John appear to be getting a pass regarding the hiring of two anti-Christian bigots back in February as official bloggers for his campaign.
In fact, Mrs. Edwards was interviewed this morning by ABC, CBS, and NBC to get another chance to speak about Coulter's "hate words." Yet, not one host asked her any questions concerning these bloggers.
With that in mind, MRC President Brent Bozell issued the following statement Thursday:
The network morning shows all hyped up the recent remarks from Republican Senator Richard Lugar that the war in Iraq is not going well. ABC’s "Good Morning America" ran a brief story and noted that Republican Senator George Voinovich followed as well.
The CBS "Early Show’s" "Capitol Bob" segment focused mainly on the Lugar remarks. Host Harry Smith discovered admiration for the Indiana Senator exclaimed he is a "smart guy" and is "not fickle." Bob Schieffer forecasted "I think we’re going to begin a withdrawal," claimed the troops are in "the middle of this civil war," and editorialized "the policy as we know it is not going to work." Schieffer also claimed inside sources tell him Republicans are "not enthusiastic" about the president’s Iraq strategy.
Update with transcript of Matthews on MSNBC appended below.
After yesterday's ambush of Ann Coulter by Elizabeth Edwards on Hardball, MSNBC's Chris Matthews was rewarded a victory lap by Meredith Vieira on this morning's Today show. Matthews crowed that Edwards came out the winner, long after he stacked the deck against the conservative columnist with the surprise call-in, from John Edwards' wife, on a live show. Like a bribed referee in a fixed match Matthews, proverbially, raised Edwards' hand in victory as he blared: "Elizabeth Edwards has won this round."
The following is the full transcript of the segment, first noted here, as it occurred on the June 27th Today show.
Update (Ken Shepherd | 09:16 EDT): Matthews appeared with Joe Scarborough a few minutes ago on MSNBC to discuss the matter. Expect more coverage in a followup post on NewsBusters shortly.
Chris Matthews should keep his evening job. Appearing on this morning's "Today," the Hardball host was manifestly bleary and off his game.
Matthews was in, at 7:12 am EDT, to discuss with "Today" co-host Meredith Vieira the dust-up on last night's "Hardball," reported here by NewsBuster Geoffrey Dickens, between Ann Coulter and Elizabeth Edwards. Matthews couldn't keep his names straight. He first referred to Coulter as "Ann Edwards," then recycled the "Ann Edwards" moniker in referring to Elizabeth Edwards.
HARDBALL HOST CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well that was a pretty tough [translation: pro-Coulter] crowd, and if you think Ann Edwards is over the top, she had a lot of people behind her last night who agreed with her.
And later . . .
MATTHEWS: Unfortunately, you're dealing with a real-life situation with Ann Edwards' medical challenges, which we all know about, and the fact that they did lose their son Wade, and you don't make jokes about that.
Carrying the left's water, on this morning's 'Today' show, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell furthered the liberal spin of Dick Cheney as a dark and sinister force inside the White House. While refusing to label Melanie Sloan and Michael Blanton as the known liberals that they are, O'Donnell cited them, along with the Washington Post's Barton Gellman, in a segment that portrayed Cheney as a "master of stealth." In the story about Cheney withholding documents from the National Archives, O'Donnell aired three soundbites opposed to Cheney but only aired one from a Cheney advocate, White House Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino.
Barbara Walters, who sometimes plays an objective journalist on TV, chose this week to endorse "Sicko," Michael Moore’s left-wing screed about the health care industry. The veteran news anchor enthused, "Everyone should see it." Conservatives shouldn’t be surprised by this type of propagandizing, however. Last year, Walters endorsed Al Gore’s "An Inconvenient Truth." (See blog for link.)
Speaking of the "The View," an ex-host from that program, Meredith Vieira, gushed on Monday’s edition of "Today" that Hillary Clinton is "unbeatable" and a "teflon candidate." Later in the week, Matt Lauer, a co-anchor on the NBC program, touted Mrs. Clinton’s "Sopranos" parody. He declared it "a hit" and "clever." The other network morning shows were similarly impressed.
On June 22, all three networks covered the Senate bill mandating higher automobile fuel efficiency. NBC's "Today" only ran an anchor brief on the story, but ABC's "Good Morning America" and CBS's "The Early Show" both ran short stories on the news.
On "Good Morning America" David Kerley spun it in a positive fashion hypothesizing the bill "should save you some money." They then played the clip of Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) hailing passage of the bill implying the United States will be less dependent on Middle Eastern oil. GMA did play a clip of General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner stating "we think there are ways to do it that are smarter," but there was no mention of the potential increased danger of automobile accidents as documented by the CATO Institute.
NBC Today co-host Meredith Vieira opened her Today at the Pump segment cheering the recent decrease in gas prices as "sweet relief" but then wondered: "Would we be better off...if gas prices were even higher?" On this morning's Today show, Vieira invited on Chevron’s CEO, David O’Reilly, to harass him about getting America off its "dependence" on oil and cited critics of Chevron’s allocation of profits to find alternative sources of energy as merely, "symbolic."
The following exchange occurred on the June 21st edition of Today:
Vieira: "Would, would we be better off, sir, if gas prices were even higher, if it were four, five, six dollars a gallon? Wouldn't that provide the incentive we need to come up with alternative forms of gas and to stop this dependence that we have on foreign oil?"
OpinionJournal.com's James Taranto on Wednesday proposed that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is the preferred presidential “candidate of the media, ideologically as well as professionally,” a supposition demonstrated by media excitement over his separation from the Republican Party in preparation for a possible independent bid. “The presidential race just got a whole lot more interesting,” gushed Today co-host Meredith Vieira in plugging Wednesday's top story while, on CBS, Early Show co-host Harry Smith excitedly relayed how “we want to get right to our top story, and that's a bombshell from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.” On ABC's Good Morning America, Diane Sawyer enthused about how “the hugely popular Mayor of New York City ditches the Republican label and declares independence, asking if other Americans are ready for a change.” Robin Roberts insisted that “many are asking now whether he is destined to be a contender.”
All day Wednesday the cable networks were full of speculation over Bloomberg and in the evening all three broadcast network newscasts ran full stories on his possible candidacy. An on-screen graphic on ABC's World News asked “Will He Run?” and the NBC Nightly News looked at the possibility of three candidates from New York. But the CBS Evening News was the most promotional. Katie Couric highlighted how a poll “found more than one out of three Democratic primary voters and more than half of Republicans want more choices. So how about an independent? Today a certain Mayor of New York was the talk of the town and a lot of the country.” More likely, the talk of America's newsrooms. Noting how Bloomberg is “sparking imaginations,” Jim Axelrod recited some of Bloomberg's liberal positions: “So no one really knows what this 65-year-old billionaire who favors gun control, gay marriage, and abortion rights is up to, aside from sparking the imaginations of those uninspired by the current field.”
When Hillary faked a Southern accent in Selma, Alabama the major network morning news shows, *for the most part, ignored her blatant and awkward pandering but when Hillary and Bill played like Tony and Carmela Soprano in a campaign ad, meant to humanize Hillary, it drew widespread praise on those very same shows.
On this morning's Today show, co-anchor Matt Lauer declared it, "a hit" and "clever" while fellow anchor Meredith Vieira exclaimed she "loved" it. On ABC's Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos called it "effective" in "showing that she's also a human being who can laugh at herself." Over on CBS's The Early Show, Bob Schieffer called the ad, "hilarious," and cheered: "I think it's one of the cleverest things I've seen in a long, long time."
This morning's 'Today' pumped Hillary Clinton as the next nominee of the Democratic Party and even used two former Clinton flacks, Lisa Caputo and Dick Morris to posit she may be unbeatable in the general election. In fact Today co-host Meredith Vieira acted as a third flack as she called Hillary the "Teflon Candidate" and noted two recent anti-Clinton books haven't "made any dent in her popularity."
First up, at the top of this morning's Today, Vieira greeted viewers with Hillary's inevitablity: "And Senator Hillary Clinton definitely on a roll. A new poll out today shows her lead widening. So why is she doing so well and can she go the distance?"
That’s right, a food police group has turned cereal killer. What's worse, the media don't see any foul play.
Fruit Loops cereal’s brightly colored mascot Toucan Sam, along with Sugar Smack’s Dig ‘Em and Rice Krispies’ Snap, Crackle and Pop are likely to be axed due to an agreement between Kellogg Company and the food police group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
“Early Show’s” Hannah Storm was happy about the announcement. She called getting rid of the popular cartoon figures a “great idea” on June 14.
“[B]ecause you can’t even take your child to the grocery store because they’re clamoring for the products with characters on them. When are we going to see them disappear?” Storm asked correspondent Nancy Cordes.
A quick hit this morning, as I'm on the road . . .
Question for our readers, astute observers of the political scene that they are. Scanning the news this morning, you see a report on the latest presidential poll. John McCain has lost over 1/3rd of his support. What's the first thing that pops into your mind? OK, the headline here is a hint, but isn't it obvious that McCain's pro-amnesty stance has hurt him badly among Republican voters? Well, apparently not so obvious to Tim Russert. Here's how it went on this morning's "Today."
TIM RUSSERT: John McCain's lost eight points since April, Matt.
MATT LAUER: What's wrong with his campaign?
RUSSERT: Well, he's having some fund-raising problems and I think Fred Thompson's presence is starting to draw folks away.
Al Roker was one of the villagers with torches who stormed the castle demanding that Don Imus be fired, but now the foot is in the other mouth. On the June 7 edition of the “Today” show, during a segment discussing London's truly horrible 2012 Olympic logo, which was said to have driven people into epileptic seizures upon viewing, Roker cracked a joke about the disorder. Without turning inflecting a politically correct tone or blowing the situation out of proportion, the New York Post reported his comments and next-day apology (hat tip: Insignificant Thoughts):
"Remember that controversial Olympic logo for the 2012 Olympics in London? Some folks have complained that the campaign actually sent them into epileptic seizures," Roker said on Thursday's show.
"Well, we asked you to weigh in on our Web site in an informal poll; those of you who could get up off the floor after shaking around were able to actually log in…"
I guess things have changed since Roker wrote in his blog that he was sick of the “ 'humor' at others expense” and “the cruelty that passes for funny” (bold mine throughout):
Does Lindsey Graham truly believe that his highest calling as a senator is to work with the likes of Ted Kennedy? Apparently so, judging by the South Carolinian's statement on this morning's "Today." Meredith Vieira interviewed Graham, a staunch supporter of the president's immigration plan, during the show's first half-hour.
TODAY CO-HOST MEREDITH VIEIRA: When you went home recently you were at a GOP meeting and you got booed over immigration. There are a lot of people in a lot of states -- conservatives -- who think this bill is bad and they see this as a litmus test.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM [R-S.C.]: Well here's what I believe. This is a bill that's a million per cent better than the current system. I mentioned working with Ted Kennedy and I got booed. The lady in your piece earlier said no compromise. I'm a Republican conservative who believes my country is at risk by not solving immigration. I'm a member of the United States Senate who believes it's my job to work with Democrats to do hard things. This is no longer about immigration. Can your Congress, can your Senate, come together to do things that one party can't do itself? I think the answer is yes.
Bush is officially a lame duck, well at least that's what the Big Three network morning shows would have you believe. This morning White House spokesman Tony Snow appeared on NBC's Today, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS' The Early Show and was hit with one common question: is Bush a "lame duck?"
First up on NBC's Today show, co-host Matt Lauer threw the following questions at Snow:
Lauer: "Tony if he, if he can't convince the skeptics, if he can't accomplish this, if he can't get immigration reform passed, you know what they're saying, is it time for him to concentrate full-time on his presidential library?"
Looks like the MSM just can't wait to declare President Bush a lame duck. Matt Lauer tried to grease the skids on this morning's "Today." Interviewing White House press secretary Tony Snow at 7:05 am EDT, Lauer first suggested that it would be very difficult for the president to get an immigration bill through Congress. Then, this.
TODAY CO-HOST MATT LAUER: If he can't convince the skeptics, if he can't accomplish this, if he can't get immigration reform passed, you know what they're saying: is it time for him to concentrate full-time on his presidential library?
The immigration bill crafted by U.S. senators and White House negotiators behind closed doors may have been Topic A on talk radio over the past few weeks, but after heavy positive coverage of the “landmark” deal on May 17 and 18, ABC, CBS and NBC provided surprisingly little airtime to the hot debate.
MRC’s Matt Balan and I examined the broadcast networks' morning and evening news coverage from May 17 through June 8. We found just 73 stories (36 full reports and 37 brief items) totaling 104 minutes, or one percent of available airtime.
Nearly half the coverage (45%) aired May 17-18 as the deal was introduced, after which the issue virtually disappeared. The CBS Evening News, for example, ran no stories from May 22 until June 7, when Katie Couric read a brief item on the bill's imminent failure.
There's nothing like a Republican turning on his President to get liberal reporters tongues wagging. On this morning's Today, co-host Meredith Vieira along with Tim Russert and Andrea Mitchell repeatedly whacked President Bush over the head with Colin Powell's criticism from his Meet the Press appearance.
In the 7am half-hour of the program, the Vieira first teased the segment this way:
Vieira: "President Bush's former Secretary of State Colin Powell is speaking out for the first time in a long time and his former boss cannot be happy about what he is saying."
Then Mitchell opened her report with Powell's laundry-list of complaints:
Earlier today, Mark Finkelstein found that NBC thought the reaction to President Bush in eastern Europe was "over the top," which suggests their own dismissive judgment of his worth. "Over the top" was not a designation NBC used when President Clinton was hailed by large, adulatory crowds in eastern Europe. On June 22, 1999, as Brent Baker noted at the time, the NBC Nightly News featured the late reporter David Bloom touting how Clinton was greeted as a "liberator" – unlike President Bush?
BLOOM: In a refugee camp filled with mud and misery, but also today, hope, President Clinton, with his wife and daughter, walked hand-in-hand with children who escaped Kosovo's hell, but who cannot escape their own nightmares. 'The children,' Mr. Clinton says, 'have a glazed-over look in their eyes, full of hurt and terror and loss.' This woman tells the president, "My little boy has seen people killed. He's still afraid." But with the war over, these refugees, many still afraid to go home, fearing the unknown, greet the president like a liberator.
Can you remember the last time you heard "Today" or other MSM outlets describe, in terms such as "over the top," rabid anti-Bush protests by the likes of the Cindy Sheehan crowd, the Code Pink girls, or the folks pictured below ? Neither can I. Conversely, when Bill Clinton receives enthusiastic receptions overseas, the MSM breaks out the "rock-star" analogies, with no sarcasm in sight.
But let President Bush receive a warm welcome from Eastern European crowds who appreciate his leadership on behalf of their freedom, and "Today" just can't take it.
On this morning's "Today" at 7:04 am EDT, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell reported from Bulgaria on the president's European trip, in which crowds in Bulgaria and notably in Albania greeted him very enthusiastically.
NBC CORRESPONDENT KELLY O'DONNELL: We've seen the president get a warm, sometimes over-the-top reaction here in Eastern Europewhere countries send troops to Iraq and also generally back the president. So he may not be all that anxious to get back to Washington."
To hear the media tell it, Cuba is a great country to live in and visit. With propagandist Michael Moore’s “Sicko” soon to debut and glorify the Cuban health care system, NBC “Today host Matt Lauer broadcast from Havana, Cuba on June 5.
Lauer praised the “booming” economy and talked about the country’s stability.
“There’s stability here. Business is booming and tourists are flocking here, some two million a year.”
Lauer didn’t emphasize that those tourism dollars pay to keep Fidel Castro’s dictatorship in power, or that the Cuba seen by tourists is not the Cuba lived in by ordinary Cubans.
No journalists in the last thirty years have built more of a legend than the old Washington Post pairing of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. As the Watergate wrecking crew that put Richard Nixon in the scrap yard, they are America’s most venerated “icons” of investigative reporting.
But since that event, the paths of Woodward and Bernstein have separated dramatically. Woodward is still considered the top-dog journalist in Washington, a titan no president can ignore if he cares about his historical legacy, or his short-term political standing. By contrast, Bernstein has bounced around to cushy media jobs, at ABC, and at Time magazine, rarely distinguishing himself, with a mere fraction of Woodward’s celebrity aura.
What's the matter with Cuba? Why is its economy a disaster, its people mired in poverty? Could it be . . . communism? Of course not. Cuba's dire straits are the fault of that hegemonistic entity just to the north of the Florida Straits. Oh, and Cuban youth could care less about being enslaved. Don't believe it? Ask Andrea Mitchell.
The NBC correspondent appeared this morning at 7:10 am EDT on a special live-from-Havana edition of "Today," anchored by Matt Lauer.
NBC CORRESPONDENT ANDREA MITCHELL: The island's infrastructure is crumbling, crippled by a U.S. trade embargo that has lasted nearly half a century.
That was the sum total of Mitchell's explanation of Cuba's economic woes. Although Cuba is free to trade with all the 180-or-so other countries in the world, she offered not a word suggesting the brutal communist dictatorship could be to blame for what Matt Lauer had earlier acknowledged is the 50-cents per day average wage. True, Mitchell was seen boldly inveighing for change to a government official . A U.S. official, that is. Interviewing Cuban-born U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, Mitchell made her case for lifting the embargo.