On this morning’s Today show, MSNBC's Chris Matthews set the table for a Republican defeat this November declaring the GOP will have to resort to "fear tactics." Also NBC’s medical correspondent took a quick slap at the administration during a piece on the health of Ground Zero workers.
First up, during a preview of the midterm elections Today host Matt Lauer and Matthews discussed what kind of strategy the Republicans would employ.
Lauer: "Let's talk strategy. You're a Republican member of Congress right now, you're running for reelection. You have two choices basically. Stand by the President and his policies or keep an arm's length. What do you do and what's gonna work?"
The ostensible topic was the NFL fantasy-league draft that members of the Today show crew recently conducted. But in sharing her strategy for making draft picks, Campbell Brown might have unintentionally offered hope to Republicans looking nervously to November and beyond.
Campbell admitted to weekend co-host Lester Holt that she knows little about football. So in making her picks, Brown said she simply adopted this strategy: "I picked the ones who looked tough and mean."
In a September 1 piece for the "Today" show, NBC reporter Keith Miller sought out Jerry Coyne, a University of Chicago professor, to discuss the struggle between science and religion, since it's now being debated in front of Pope Benedict XIV. NBC labeled him simply as a "evolutionary biologist." This is what he had to say about the mixing of faith and science:
Jerry Coyne: "The scientific way of looking at the world, which defends on evidence, and the religious way of looking at the world, which depends on faith, are fundamentally incompatible."
Coyne: "And if there is anything the history of the church should show, it's that if they fight scientific advances, they lose."
Who is Jerry Coyne really? He’s a leftist professor who attacked Ann Coulter for her new treatise on liberals and religion, "Godless." Writing in the "New Republic," he called her a "beached flamingo" and went on to compare Coulter to a zoo animal, saying:
"This beast draws crowds by its frequent, raucous calls, eerily resembling a human voice, and its unearthly appearance, scrawny and pallid."
Ah, the MSM, where bad news is good, and good news . . . can't be allowed to go unchallenged. So long as a Republican is in office, that is.
Take gas prices. Over the last year the MSM has had a field day with a profusion of stories on 'soaring gas prices.' 'Today' reached an absurd apotheosis on August 7th. As reported here, Ann Curry envisioned the absolute worst: a decrease of less than 1/200th in world oil supplies leading to more than a 1/7th jump in crude oil prices - a 1:28 cause-and-effect ratio. In dollar terms, Curry fretted over the possibility that the shutdown of a BP pipeline in Alaska could cause crude oil prices to leap $10/barrel.
We've been tracking prices since then and providing regular updates at the original column. Guess what? Crude was about $75/barrel on the day of Ann's report. Since then, rather than spiking to her imagined $85/barrel, it has slumped to $69 and change. Whoops!
On this morning's Today, NBC's Matt Lauer asked New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin to address the conspiracy theory that the levees were intentionally blown up to protect white neighborhoods at the expense of African-Americans. Reciting a question Brian Williams posed in his special, Lauer asked Nagin: "And finally the elephant in the room, if you will, Mr. Nagin. There are still people in the black community, many people, and Brian Williams touched on this in a special last night on NBC, who believe that the day after Katrina struck New Orleans the levees were breached intentionally. That they were blown, if you will, to flood black and poor neighborhoods to spare middle-class white neighborhoods. It would seem very difficult for New Orleans to move forward until that's directly addressed. What do you say about it?"
Is it news to anyone that Michael Brown thinks he got a bum rap on Katrina? As shopworn as was his concatenation of complaint this morning, Matt Lauer treated it with the enthusiasm of a Live at Five reporter on the scene of a fresh accident out on county route 11.
You knew this was coming: Lauer got things off to a Bush-bashing start with the famous "you're doing a heck of a job, Brownie" clip of the president congratulating Brown for his work at the beginning of the relief effort.
Matt moved things along with a series of 'helpful' questions/comments:
Lauer: "You warned the president and no help arrived?"
Brown says he did.
Lauer: "The stupid talking points [defending the relief efforts] should be thrown out the window when people are dying."
Lauer: "Do you think that you have been handed all of the blame for this situation? Should the president share the blame?"
NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell continued the skewed media reporting of the Middle East by noting the important social work that Hezbollah does and how the rest of the world has a very supportive take on the terrorist organization.
Liberal TV critic Bob Laurence hypothesized that the scant coverage of the kidnaping of two Fox News journalists was due to the frequency of abductions and the network’s "insulting" attitude towards other media outlets. (According to Laurence, nobody, not even terrorists, like FNC.)
NBC reporter David Gregory last night described Senator George Allen’s now well known "macaca" comment as a "off-the-cuff racial slur," giving the darkest possible interpretation of his words. The Senator has since apologized several times and stated that he wasn't attempting to use a discriminatory term. Gregory’s segment, which aired on the August 23 "Nightly News" at 7:13PM EDT, discussed the impact the web site YouTube is having on politics. This occasion allowed for Allen’s quote to be played, yet again. Gregory did mention that the remark was directed at an "Indian-American staffer from his rival’s campaign." He didn’t, however, recount the pertinent fact that this young man also shot the video and created what amounted to a free commercial for Democratic opponent Jim Webb. The NBC reporter also played a June 17 quip of another Senator with presidential aspirations, Democrat Joe Biden. Back in June, he made some ill-conceived comments about Indian Americans and their propensity to be in the vicinity of a 7/11 or Duncan Donuts. For some reason, however, the media didn’t seem very interested. And Biden's quotes were picked up by C-SPAN, not a political operative.
The "Today" show’s Kelly O’Donnell described President Bush’s discussion of the Iraq War at yesterday’s news conference as "a mix of campaign style rhetoric and crystal ball." O’Donnell, who seemed perturbed by the President’s determined attitude, also mentioned that Bush counseled against an early withdrawal "with a hammering repetition." (If President Bush repeated himself, it might be because the assembled media kept asking the same questions.)
The August 22 segment, which aired at 7:15AM EDT, featured downbeat assessments by Michael O’Hanlon, a Senior Fellow at the liberal Brookings Institute and political analyst Charlie Cook.
Michael O’Hanlon: "I think if the President insists on framing the choice as stay the course versus accept defeat, he will be, frankly, misleading the public and running the risk of undercutting his own support even more."
Charlie Cook: "I think the danger for Republicans is that we are nearing, or at the point, when people just give up and start tuning out on President Bush."
This week is shaping up as the MSM's kick-off of its Hillary for President campaign. Using Time Magazine's 10th cover of Hillary as a springboard, this morning's Today show convened a liberal coffee klatsch on Clinton's political future. Dem pollster Peter Hart summed up the segment's zeitgest nicely: "I think Americans are ready for a female president. I think they are definitely ready for Hillary Clinton."
Not a discouraging word was to be heard, as 'Today' found it unnecessary to invite to the party anyone who might have a negative view of Hillary
marketing to children is a $10-billion-a-year industry, and some
parents’ advocates and lawyers are saying it’s out of control,” noted
NBC reporter Stone Phillips as he opened his August 18 story.
lend scientific authority to these claims, Phillips turned to Harvard
psychologist Susan Linn, whom he merely described as “the author of
‘Consuming Kids.’ She says brand names are among toddlers’ first words
and logos among the first images they recognize.”
“Kids are requesting brands as soon as they can talk,” Linn told Phillips.
odd as it sounds that children would say “Cocoa Puffs” before “mommy,”
Phillips didn’t question Linn’s assertion. Instead, Phillips went on to
show clips of NBC’s Hoda Kotb conducting an experiment with a group of
preschoolers and toddlers as she asked them to identify corporate
Even then, Phillips conceded, “they didn’t get” every logo right, even though they “came pretty close.”
But Linn is a dispassionate researcher and neutral scientist, right?
Friday’s morning shows largely preferred the JonBenet Ramsey case over yesterday’s district court ruling declaring the National Security Agency’s terrorist surveillance program to be unconstitutional. NBC’s "Today" and CBS’ "The Early Show" limited their reporting on the issue to brief anchor reads, as did their evening news counterparts, as the MRC’s Brad Wilmouth previously reported.
"Good Morning America," however, did devote more than a few seconds on the topic, with ABC’s Jessica Yellin reporting from the White House. In her report, Yellin never acknowledged the liberal background of Judge Ann Diggs Taylor, who, Yellin pointed out, "accuses the President of acting like a king" and says the NSA program "blatantly disregards" the parameters established in the Bill of Rights. Yellin labeled the court’s decision a "stinging setback" for President Bush, and highlighted this warning to the President from George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley :
Jonathan Turley: "He could be impeached. And people should not be underestimating that. It's true that this Congress does not want to--"
Jim Cramer, the host of CNBC’s "Mad Money," appeared on the August 16th edition of "Today." Guest-host Lester Holt quizzed the always verbose financial adviser on which stocks are best in an age of terror. Holt prefaced the piece, which aired at 7:14AM EDT, by noting that Americans live in a volatile age and that he wasn’t advocating exploiting unrest in the Middle East, but that investors must react to such developments. Cramer agreed, saying that profiting from such pain "sounds ugly." A few minutes later, prompted by a question about buying stock in oil companies, he responded this way:
Cramer: "That's the profit area. You got to where I can talk about making money off of terror."
It's been 18 years but the media still can't get over Michael Dukakis' defeat to George Bush and the Willie Horton ad they blame for that Bush victory. On this morning's Today NBC's Ann Curry brought on psychologist Jeff Gardere to discuss a new study that showed how emotions can overtake logic in decision-making. Curry introduced the segment: "Have you ever been accused of thinking with your heart and not your head well if so a new study reports your just like everybody else....This is just the latest biological evidence to suggest that next time you make a bad choice maybe you really can blame it on your emotions." Just seconds later NBC's producers ran the Horton ad as Exhibit A of emotions leading to the "bad choice," of voting for Bush.
You wouldn't have known either their names or backgrounds had you relied on the Today show this morning for the information. According to the wife of one of the suspects, the men's families come from Jerusalem.
According to NBC reporter Janet Shamlian, who narrated a segment on the situation, those facing terrorism charges are "three Texas men."
On this morning's Today, NBC's Kevin Corke wondered how long the administration knew about the averted bombing plot and why they would withhold that information, asking: "If the administration has known about this potential plot what was the hold up in getting the word out, especially domestically?" Either this is a case of the media being overly-skeptical or just being clueless. Clearly the administration wouldn't want to release any information before any arrests were made so as not to tip off any suspects in the U.S. or Britain. The following is the full exchange between NBC's Ann Curry and Corke.
Ann Curry: "And British Prime Minister Tony Blair briefed the President overnight about this plot. Well NBC's Kevin Corke is in Crawford, Texas at the President's ranch this morning. Kevin, good morning. Any word from the President?"
That truth is the first casualty of war has been borne home by the proliferating 'fauxtography' scandal of photographs of the current Middle East crisis doctored or staged so as to portray Israel in the worst possible light. At this point, can we look at any image from the area without a good dose of doubt?
Take this morning's report on the Today show. NBC's Richard Engel, in Tyre, Lebanon, reported that:
"The fighting has made humanitarian relief efforts almost impossible. Israel has cut roads and attacked vehicles, isolating Hezbollah and everyone else."
This was followed by a clip of the unidentified individual pictured here. Judging by his words and accent, he might have been a Red Cross official. He asserted:
"Lots of people have died because they just couldn't make it to a hospital in time. Ambulances clearly marked with the Red Cross were hit right in the middle of the roof of the car. The Red Cross stands for protection and neutrality. This should not have happened."
There is a noteworthy MSM tendency to downplay the gravity of terrorist acts by suggesting that they are local, home-grown incidents rather than forming part of international conspiracies. A recent example was the MSM's treatment of the Seattle Jewish center shootings in which a Muslim-American killed one woman and injured several others.
To his credit, NBC terrorism expert Roger Cressey wouldn't let Matt Lauer sing that song when he tried it on this morning's Today show in connection with the just-disclosed plot to blow up in mid-Atlantic flights originating in the UK.
Matt Lauer, Diane Sawyer and Harry Smith aren't dumb, they know a potential roadblock to Democratic success when they see one, and that's why all three of them collectively told Sen. Joseph Lieberman to drop out. Lieberman appeared on all three network morning shows and received identical reactions from all three hosts.
NBC's Matt Lauer on this morning's Today show: "Senator is there any phone call you could receive, is there anyone in the Democratic Party who could call you today and ask you to drop out that you would listen to?" ABC's Diane Sawyer on this morning's Good Morning America: "Senator, I heard you say I'm a Democrat. But you're talking about running as an independent and there are members of the party who've already said, commentators, that this is a selfish decision. How can you run against the party? What will happen?" CBS's Harry Smith on The Early Show: "A final quick question. You will run as an independent at risk of losing the seat to the Republicans? You understand that risk? By splitting the Democratic vote."
Howard Dean's 2004 presidential primary run was largely fueled by internet-driven support orchestrated by campaign manager Joe Trippi. That campaign fell famously short in the echoes of Dean's Iowa caucus-night scream. But with Ned Lamont's win, the left wing blogosphere can this morning claim perhaps its first major victory . . . at least in a Democratic primary if not in a general election.
And that, in turn, raises the real question. Does the same left-wing blogosphere that can influence the outcome of Dem primaries foist on the party candidates so extreme that they stand little chance of winning in November? We are about to see a test case in CT, and indications are that by appealing to moderate Dems and Republicans, Joe Lieberman might well defeat Lamont and Republican Alan Schlesinger [perceived as a less-than-A-list candidate].
As more and more states recognize the basic right to defend yourself NBC’s Today, not surprisingly, took a dim view. On this morning’s Today, Ron Mott in a segment headlined by the graphic: "License To Kill, Self-Defense Gone Too Far," Mott slanted his story with alarmist rhetoric and unbalanced talking heads.
Matt Lauer introduced the story: "Now a debate. How far can you go in the name of self-defense? In a growing number of states people have much more leeway to use deadly force. Supporters say that's a good thing but critics argue it's a case of shoot first and ask questions later. We have more on this now from NBC's Ron Mott."
Bring back Katie! OK, perhaps that's not the solution, but the sycophantish display that Ann Curry put on for Queen Noor and her anti-Israel/pro-Hezbollah views was enough to make you pound the TV screen in frustration.
Noor is a Princeton-educated Arab-American who is the widow of the late King Hussein of Jordan. Curry's opening set the tone. Rather than asking a probing question, Ann invited Noor to lecture America: "what insights might you offer America about what Hezbollah wants and what it's willing to do to get it?"
Noor blamed the Jews and lauded Hezbollah: "Hezbollah was created as was Hamas in the Palestinian territories during a period of Israeli occupation which is on-going in the Palestinian territories and in Lebanon. Hezbollah was largely responsible and credited by the Lebanese for having creating the pressure for having Israel withdraw from Lebanese territory."
Curry took Noor's notion a grotesque step further: "So it's almost seen as a savior."
A price spike 28 times larger than the proportion of global oil production lost? The loss of 0.4% of oil output leading to a 13% price increase?
It's what NBC's Ann Curry imagined on this morning's Today show. 'Soaring Gas Prices' is one of the Today show's longest-running hits. This morning's episode brought us Ann Curry trying to induce CNBC financial reporter Ron Insana to paint the gloomiest possible picture in the wake of the news that BP has shut down an Alaskan oilfield. BP shut the Prudhoe Bay field indefinitely due to the discovery of severe corrosion and a very small spill from a Prudhoe Bay oil transit line. The 400,000 represents 8% of US domestic oil output and about 2.6% of US supply, including imports.
Was Matt Lauer showing balance in criticizing Hillary Clinton along with Donald Rumsfeld this morning - or was his skepticism about Hillary simply voicing the view of the Murtha/Lamont wing of the Dem party?
Interviewing all-purpose commentator Howard Fineman, Lauer seemed insistent that it was time for Rumsfeld to go.
Lauer: "[Clinton] said the president should accept Rumsfeld's resignation. He lost credibility with Congress and the people. It's time for him to step down. This is not the first person to call for his resignation, but at some point, do you think it's a possibility especially in the near term?"
Fineman held his fire: "Well, the Democrats will try to make it that."
On yesterday's The Early Show, as noted by Michael Rule, CBS's Dave Price blamed the current heat wave on global warming but over on NBC's Today this morning, as noted by Mark Finklestein, Al Roker refused to take Matt Lauer's bait to do the same. While Roker hedged a bit and didn't completely rule out global warming as a cause, the fact that he expressed some reservations contrasted with Price who went as far to take time out of the weather update to cite his "experts." Still one can only assume Roker will be brought back in line by Lauer. After all it was Lauer who brought viewers this very serious and sober piece of journalism. The following is a quick recap of the different takes taken by the CBS and NBC morning weathermen:
As news organizations update their obituaries of ailing Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, it’s worth recalling how many liberal journalists have fallen under Castro’s spell over the years, sounding like paid Cuban government propagandists as they touted the “great success stories” of Castro’s decades of communist rule. A new report from the Media Research Center offers some of the most egregious pro-Castro quotes of the last couple of decades.
For example, back in 1988, then-NBC reporter Maria Shriver let Castro himself lead her on a tour of Havana. “The level of public services was remarkable: free education, medicine and heavily-subsidized housing,” Shriver marveled on Today. The following year, ABC’s Peter Jennings trumpeted how “health and education are the revolution’s great success stories.”
The uniformed Cuban military officer pictured here barks commands at a smallish crowd in Havana that responds with pro-Fidel chants. Imagine you're an objective journalist. How would you report it? "The Castro regime orchestrates a public show of support," perhaps? Not Andrea Mitchell. Appearing on this morning's Today show, here's how NBC News' Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent characterized what you have to imagine was a less-than-spontaneous event:
"In Havana,Cubans turn out to show support for their long-time leader."
Andrea managed to get through her segment without mentioning Communism, repression or anything else that would cast aspersions on Los Hermanos Castro. She even obligingly passed along this bit of Castro propaganda: "He [Fidel] is calling on Cubans to remain calm, and they seem to be." Despite all the conjecture as to the state of his health Fidel hasn't made any public appearances. How can Mitchell know that it was indeed the great leader who was 'calling on' the Cuban people? And was it Fidel's reassuring words, or living in a police state, that had that calming effect on the Cuban people?
Traditionally, the networks have loved a slow, strict, statist bent at the Food and Drug Administration. In the 1990s, they warned that the FDA might be too lax on the threat of milk and hailed FDA head David Kessler for seizing crates of dangerous orange juice. But when it comes to sex and abortion, all the rules change. Suddenly, the networks go libertarian.
NBC's Tom Brokaw once called Newt Gingrich's criticism of the FDA "very ominous." (Scroll up from the orange juice Newsbite, and you'll see.) But when Hillary Clinton's the corporation-loving deregulator, then NBC has a different view. The topic was "Plan B," the abortifacient pill. Social conservatives hope to at least keep the drug from being easily available to minors without parental permission. On Tuesday's Today, substitute news anchor David Gregory implied delay was anti-woman: "After years of delay, women may soon be able to get the morning-after pill without a prescription. The FDA indicates it may be open to the idea, but with restrictions."
Tim Russert used his Today show appearance this morning to paint a bleak tour d'horizon of Bush foreign policy, expressing the fond wish - in guise of a question - that the American people might come to their senses and throw the bums out at the mid-term elections.
Interviewed by co-host Campbell Brown, Russert first asked: "What's the end game? The concern among Republicans I've talked to is how are the American people viewing this? Is this blind allegiance to Israel or is this standing by the only ally we have in the region? They don't know how much longer there will be patience with the American people."
Russert later made the electoral connection, after casting matters in their darkest light. Rather than speaking of nascent democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the current opportunity to defang Hezbollah, Russert portrayed things this way: