It was an all-Obama Monday as each of the three network morning shows highlighted the Illinois Senator’s weekend trip to New Hampshire. NBC, ABC and CBS all hyped the prospect of a potential Barack Obama presidential campaign as the senator made his rounds through the state, host of the first presidential primary. The trip was hailed as a successful venture by all the networks. ABC’s Jake Tapper on Good Morning America declared Obama’s appearance to be "very successful", while Norah O’Donnell over on Today, as the MRC’s Geoff Dickens noted, stated that Obama was "mobbed by supporters" and "ignited excitement," among New Hampshire Democrats. CBS’ Harry Smith on The Early Show went further, calling the buzz surrounding Obama’s trip a "sensation," during a question to political analyst Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report:
Harry Smith: "Front page USA Today, Barack Obama right there, front page, Washington Post, Barack Obama right there. I could go on and on and on and on and on. Why is this single appearance causing such a sensation?"
Aside from sharing the same last name NBC's O'Donnells, Kelly and Norah, share the same penchant for liberal bias. On this morning's Today show Kelly O'Donnell highlighted Republican division on Iraq while Norah O'Donnell pointed out Democratic "excitement," over Barak Obama.
First up Kelly O'Donnell, in a report about Bush seeking answers in Iraq, noted, 'while he is seeking advice his party is splitting over the war." Then later in the 7am half hour the other O'Donnell, Norah, fawned over Obama: "Barack Obama's first ever visit to New Hampshire ignited excitement!"
The following are the complete reports filed by both O'Donnells on the December 11 Today show with relevant portions highlighted in bold:
Monday’s edition of "American Morning" featured a decidedly one sided segment that advocated for Democratic legislation, generously highlighted Ted Kennedy and promoted San Francisco as the wave of the future. Correspondent Alina Cho used the piece to boost a bill that would require employers with more than 15 workers to give seven sick days a year. Disparaging America’s primitive stance on the issue, she noted that "139 countries provide paid sick leave for workers. The U.S. is the only industrialized nation that does not pay." Cho almost entirely ignored opposition to this plan. Her segment also highlighted a supposed victim of this problem who is actually on the board of directors of a group that lobbies for similar laws. (Somehow, this didn't come up.) The entire story sounded like something taken straight from a DNC press release:
Alina Cho: "...For many Americans, taking a sick day is not a big deal. You take it for granted. But by most estimates, more than half of all Americans who work in the private sector do not get a single day of paid sick leave. Not a single day. Well, all of that could change now that the Democrats are about to take control of Congress. And for some families, it could make all the difference. Rachel Sobel, mother of two, quit her job last December when she was forced to make a choice: her job or her son. Leo had broken his arm and needed her care."
On the Iraq War, Sen. Chuck Hagel has long been one of those people we call the "Even Republicans," that species of politician who often side with the Mainstream Media Party to please reporters, who can say "Even Republicans are opposed" to something liberal reporters oppose. On Friday's Today, MRC's Justin McCarthy noted that just after White House reporter David Gregory was finished underlining the importance of swallowing every bite of James Baker's glorious "fruit salad" of negotiating with terrorists and other acts of political wisdom, this comedic line emerged:
Gregory: "Politically, time is running out. The White House has begun to lose critical support even among Republicans."
What is it about leaving a network gig that makes news anchors even more biased? Ex-host Tom Brokaw told a "Harball" audience that Barack Obama is a "rock star," lavished praise on Jon Stewart, and claimed that Ronald Reagan neglected "Mother Earth."
Speaking of NBC stars who suck up to environmentalists, Matt Lauer recently encouraged Al Gore to run for president and "save the planet." Way to stay objective, Matt!
The "Today" anchor continued his global warming obsession in another segment, lauding actor Leonardo DiCaprio for "standing up to get people thinking" about the issue. (Funny, I don’t recall the "Today" host complimenting many pro-life activists for "standing up.")
Lobbying for global warming can be tiring work, as NewsBusters editor Matthew Sheffield noted when he pointed out that CNN host Miles O’Brien fell asleep during recent hearings on the subject.
This week, the "mainstream" media continued lobbying for a complete acknowledgment of total failure in Iraq. "Time" magazine likened the Iraq Study Report to a drug intervention. Discussing the same subject, "Hardball" guest host Mike Barnicle wondered if President Bush is "delusional," " isolated" or "stubborn." Those are certainly some great options to chose from!
It seems Matt Lauer and Tom Brokaw can't get their story straight. On this morning's Today show Brokaw falsely stated the U.S. went to war in Iraq without allies but apparently this was news to Matt Lauer as he opened the show identifying British Prime Minister Tony Blair as a "war ally." Appearing live from Pearl Harbor, Brokaw comparing World War II to the current action in Iraq declared: "The irony of course is that we're trying to get out of one war in which we had no allies..." But in the same hour Today host Lauer opened the program this way:
"Good morning the study is finished, now comes the test. President Bush meets this morning with his war ally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, a day after that scathing report from the Iraq Study Group."
How do you know the Iraq Study Group's suggestion of reaching out to Iran is in trouble? When of all people a leading MSM light like Matt Lauer approvingly cites leading neo-con Richard Perle to shoot down the idea.
The Baker-Hamilton duo was making the TV rounds this morning. Appearing on 'Today,' it wasn't long into their chat with Matt that he hit them with this:
"Let's talk about this idea of reaching out to the people in the neighborhood - Syria and Iran. Richard Perle said recently that 'talking to Iran about Iraq will be seen throughout the region as an indication of American weakness."
To drive home the point, 'Today' displayed a graphic with Perle's photo and the language cited above.
Matt Lauer is getting greener by the minute. Fresh off his promotion of Al Gore the Today co-host turned to noted environmental activist/actor Leonardo DiCaprio to plug his latest enviro-flick. Initially on to promote his movie on the African diamond trade, Blood Diamond, Lauer couldn’t resist asking DiCaprio about his first liberal love, global warming. DiCaprio went on to push his upcoming movie, Eleventh Hour, that featured the "greatest minds in the world," on the subject of global warming. DiCaprio claimed his scientists represented "over 90 percent of the collective thought," on the issue but absurdly lamented they don’t get the appropriate amount of time in the media claiming: "But then when it's on the media you have that 10 or five percent and there sitting opposite on a chair and it becomes an argument when they are actually the minority."
Not only did Matt Lauer push Al Gore to run for President, as pointed out here, on this morning's Today show, he also repeatedly plugged Gore's An Inconvenient Truth DVD and pushed the former Vice President to call the President's decision to invade Iraq, "The worst strategic mistake in the entire history of the United States." First Lauer pressed Gore on the Iraq Study Group's findings: "So it's being described by some as 'cut and stay,' as opposed to 'cut and run.' Does it do enough to acknowledge the results of the midterm election and, and the message that voters were sending this administration, if these are listened to, these recommendations?" Then Gore moved on to Gore's pet cause, the environment, and pressed him to run for President with the following questions:
In all my years of Today-watching, I'm not sure I've ever seen anything quite like the display Matt Lauer put on this morning. In beseeching Al Gore to run for president, Lauer literally portrayed him as the planet's potential savior.
"If you were to run for president, you could take this issue to the next level, even if just during a campaign. And if you were fortunate enough to win the presidency, you would sit in the most powerful office in the free world with a real chance to make . . . " Matt stopped himself at the immensity of the prospect before exclaiming "you could be in a position to save the planet!"
It's understood there's a professional partnership between Newsweek and NBC/MSNBC, but it really seemed like the crew at Today on Tuesday were pounding consistently on the Newsweek drum of the week, that the crucial question in Washington is whether George W. Bush will listen to critics -- or to be more precise, whether George Bush will bend to the will of the liberal media establishment. NBC could have started the day be saying "We at NBC News, after consultations, have decided to ask today whether President Bush will listen."
MRC's Geoff Dickens noted that in the show's first minute, Ann Curry began: "Today, confirmation hearings begin for President Bush's pick to be the next defense chief, and tomorrow the Iraq Study Group releases its highly anticipated report. But just how open is President Bush to suggestions? We're gonna ask the man who's worked closer with him than probably anyone else, his former chief of staff Andy Card."
The Iraq Study Group's recommendations are about to be released. Think about it: what should be the media's focus? I'd say attention should center on what those recommendations are, and whether if implemented they would advance - or impair - US interests in Iraq.
But that's not the MSM's focus at all. From the cover of Newsweek to the Today show, the concern is not whether the recommendations are good, but only whether President Bush will accept them.
In the course of Matt Lauer's interview of former Bush chief-of-staff Andy Card, 'Today' flashed the Newsweek cover shown here. When Card began
Ever wonder what makes Keith Olbermann such a fine journalist? Well, according to the former sportscaster, it’s the fact that he doesn’t "make the facts up" like Rush Limbaugh does.
PBS host Jim Lehrer trumpeted his objectivity in a more creative way. Using a food analogy, the anchor deemed himself the "flavor of neutrality." (Just a thought, but where do the liberal flavors originate? Ben and Jerry's?)
Perhaps longing for the "good old days," NBC News chose no less an authoritative source than Matt Lauer to announce that the situation in Iraq is a civil war. Maybe NBC is attempting to recreate the famous "Cronkite moment"?
Interestingly, this same network that is so eager to declare a civil war, has, at times, been hesitant to label Hezbollah a terrorist group.
'Today' continued this morning its campaign of promoting the Baker-Hamilton slo-mo surrender. Chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell left little doubt as to her inclinations with this mini-editorial in the guise of a report:
"Americans might well be asking today after all the high-profile summits this week on two continents 'is the administration any closer now to an exit strategy for Iraq?'"
Noting that "time is running out and options limited," Mitchell wanted to know whether President Bush is "ready to change policy before events overtake him?" She then launched into a description of the policy changes to be proposed by the Baker-Hamilton Study Group.
Yesterday, I noted here the pride of place 'Today' accorded Richard Haas, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, to trumpet his abjectly bleak view of Iraq. Haas confirmed Meredith Vieira's assessment of his position: "You do not believe that there is anything about the situation that is winnable, I take it." He added that Iraq would be seen as a "colossal foreign policy failure."
All this sets the stage nicely for the forthcoming, much-leaked recommendations of the Baker Study Group, which effectively will be calling for a slow-motion retreat and surrender.
Enter John Podhoretz. In his NY Post column of today, Podhoretz excoriates both the Study Group's members and its recommendations. Excerpts:
It's hard to be a sunny optimist when considering the situation at Iraq. Things are tough, no doubt. That said, was Today, the show whose NBC News parent famously declared "civil war" earlier this week, giving us a fair-and-balanced view of matters this morning when the only expert we heard from expressed the most unalloyed pessimism on Iraqi prospects?
Meredith Vieira interviewed Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations and former principal adviser to then Secretary of State Colin Powell. At the end of their conversation, Vieira summed up Haas's views this way: "You do not believe that there is anything about the situation that is winnable, I take it."
The other networks are not quite ready to jump on NBC's "civil war" bandwagon. "Secretary of State Matt Lauer" (according to Howard Kurtz) and other NBC reporters have decided to declare the situation in Iraq a civil war, a move that is praised by some in the MSM and denounced by others. Reports the New York Observer:
“It was their decision to make and their process,” said Jon Banner, the executive producer of ABC’s World News. “We constantly discuss editorial matters here—all the time, every day. How that decision got made there I have no idea, nor do I want to guess.”
“To be honest with you, I think it’s a political statement, not a news judgment,” said Rome Hartman, the executive producer of the CBS Evening News. “We deal with the events of the day, and we decide the best way to describe those events based on the news of the day, not by—never mind, I’m not gonna go there.”
Then he did.
This morning, New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller announced the paper will follow NBC's lead and allow its reporters to refer to the conflict in Iraq as a "civil war."
Keller said in a statement to Editor & Publisher:
"After consulting with our reporters in the field and the editors who directly oversee this coverage, we have agreed that Times correspondents may describe the conflict in Iraq as a civil war when they and their editors believe it is appropriate. It's hard to argue that this war does not fit the generally accepted definition of civil war. We expect to use the phrase sparingly and carefully, not to the exclusion of other formulations, not for dramatic effect. The main shortcoming of 'civil war' is that, like other labels, it fails to capture the complexity of what is happening on the ground. The war in Iraq is, in addition to being a civil war, an occupation, a Baathist insurgency, a sectarian conflict, a front in a war against terrorists, a scene of criminal gangsterism and a cycle of vengeance. We believe 'civil war' should not become reductionist shorthand for a war that is colossally complicated."
Amid all of the media excitement of NBC’s choice to grandly pronounce the ongoing violence in Iraq a “civil war,” some (like MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann) are gleefully touting NBC’s editorializing as a “Walter Cronkite moment,” referring to the then-CBS Evening News anchor’s 1968 editorial declaring that the U.S. had become “mired in stalemate” in Vietnam.
In their desire for a U.S. retreat in Iraq, journalists had previously pronounced Cindy Sheehan’s protesting in Crawford, Texas and Democratic Congressman John Murtha’s calling for a withdrawal of troops to be “Cronkite moments” of the Iraq war, each time apparently hoping that the weight of the media's pessimism finally forces a change in U.S. policy.
My antenna went up when Matt Lauer opened this morning's "Today" with these words: "Good morning. Civil war. A bloody weekend of sectarian clashes in Iraq and no sign it's letting up."
"Civil war"? I was certain I hadn't heard Today employ the term before. And sure enough, Lauer shortly thereafter 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."
Lauer later brought in retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey to make the case for the change in terminology.
Anyone who tunes into late-night comedy shows knows that many black comedians utter the n-word with rapid-fire frequency. Perhaps Michael Richards mistakenly thought that what was sauce for the goose was sauce for the white gander. In any case, in a Today show appearance this morning, Jesse Jackson declared that he would be working to "prohibit" the use of the word. He didn't offer specifics, but one question naturally arises. Would Jackson's n-word ban begin where the word is most frequently in use - the black community?
Interviewed by weekend host Lester Holt [one of my MSM favorites for his level-headedness, I might add] on the Michael Richards mess, Jackson floated his proposal in these terms:
Wednesday’s Fox and Friends discussed the recent feud between Rosie O’Donnell and Kelly Ripa. Co-host Gretchen Carlson said what so many of us are thinking.
Kelly Ripa complaining about singer Clay Aiken covering her mouth on TV: "Regardless of whatever the sexual orientation is, it was outrageous, it was out of line, it was unprofessional, and he wouldn't have done it to you because there is respect there." (End Video)
Gretchen Carlson: "Maybe he should do it to Rosie O'Donnell. You know what? This really just upsets me. Just stay out of everyone else's business, Rosie. I mean, for goodness sake, Kelly Ripa is the host of this show. Clay Aiken made a mistake in putting his hand over her mouth. You just don't do that to the host of a show when you are a guest and by the way, according to Kelly Ripa, he did not even say thank you for being the co-host of her show that day. I don't think Kelly Ripa should get any blame for what she said. She says 'look, it's cold and flu season, when I said I don't know where that hand's been,' she did not mean-"
Attacking Fox News is not an unusual tactic of the mainstream media, but on Tuesday’s Today, Matt Lauer began the show with a false claim about Fox News.
Matt Lauer: "But we begin this morning with the controversial story out of Fox News: The O.J. Simpson case. Fox News Corporation deciding to cut its losses and cancel that highly controversial project where he speaks out about those notorious murders."
The problem here: the Fox broadcast network, not Fox News, almost aired the interview with O.J. Simpson. He did accurately call it Fox later in the broadcast but, never issued a correction. Meanwhile, on Fox and Friends, Brian Kilmeade, Steve Doocy, and Gretchen Carlson questioned Bill O’Reilly on whether the mainstream media will tie Fox News in with the O.J. Simpson interview.
This morning, NBC’s Today led the broadcast by highlighting Fox’s decision not to air their smarmy interview with O. J. Simpson about how he “would” have killed his wife “if” he had committed the crime, which, of course, most Americans believe he did, only to escape a double-murder conviction in a circus of a trial. But while NBC seemed to be enjoying Fox’s pain today, back in the ’90s, their Today show was perhaps O.J.’s most sympathetic venue on TV.
This morning, co-host Matt Lauer talked to the late Nicole Brown’s sister Denise in both the 7am and 7:30am half-hours about the awfulness of Fox’s deal with O.J., which News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch scuttled on Monday, saying it was an “ill-considered project” — perhaps the understatement of the decade.
The network morning shows noticed Indonesian Muslims protesting President Bush, but sadly, once again, they tended to sanitize out the extremists. In this case, protest leaders called for the execution of Bush, but the networks mostly offered Americans quotes from protesters saying they loved America, just hated the president. They left out what Agence France-Presse reported: a protest leader declared through a loudspeaker: "Kill him, kill him...the blood of George Bush is halal," meaning it was not a sin under Islam to kill him. "Not only is it halal, it is obligatory to kill him."
The networks seem to want the American audience to bite on the Democratic line that conservative policies make us unpopular around the world, when people would be much more agreeable under the sorry-we-didn’t-mean-to-be-a-superpower poses of a Gore, Kerry, or Hillary Clinton. Showing protesters who want to execute our president tend to ruin the line of the day. On NBC’s Today on Monday, Matt Lauer led off the show with a plug for their "Hello, Go Home" segment on Bush's visit. MRC’s Justin McCarthy found reporter Kelly O’Donnell’s selected protesters who stressed their love for America, and their hatred for Bush:
On Monday’s Today, NBC emphasized that Bush is still losing the War in Iraq, and is now losing key allies. Norah O’Donnell picked out sound bites from some of Bush’s allies so they would appear critical of the president and the war. O’Donnell added quotes from Senator John McCain, Henry Kissinger, Richard Perle, and Prime Minister Tony Blair. The entire transcript is below.
Meredith Vieira: "Harry Truman called the presidency the loneliest job in the world and President Bush might agree with him these days. Now it appears he's losing some of his key supporters over the war in Iraq. NBC's Norah O'Donnell is at the White House with more. Good morning, Norah."
Okay, not really. Well, maybe it is, I don't follow the price of poultry and I'm sure the media doesn't have it that high in its pecking order either. But they do when it comes to gasoline, and it's up from two weeks ago.
The law of supply and demand be damned, it's up and it's screwing you just in time for the trip to grandma's house!
Up a whole nickel from two weeks ago! Man is that gonna gobble up your travel budget. Just ask Matt Lauer.
In 1992, Bill Clinton campaigned for president by promising tax cuts for the middle class. Fourteen years later, his Party ran on a similar “tell the people exactly what they want to hear” motif, this time the mantra being a speedy withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.
Though separated by almost a decade and a half, these campaign strategies were quite similar to a now illegal marketing scheme called a bait and switch – whereby a company advertises a product for sale at a cheap price to lure in customers. Unfortunately, the organization’s retail outlets don’t actually have the item in stock forcing anxious shoppers to consider more expensive products that are available.
I Dig a Phony
Much like this advertising scam, the 1992 and 2006 political campaigns had three things in common:
NBC's Today carried a series on faith this week, and finished it Thursday morning with two liberal journalists about a new website Newsweek is setting up on faith. It all sounded very much like soft-soap Episcopalianism, no doubt because the preacher on the set was Newsweek editor and Episcopalian Jon Meacham, along with Sally Quinn, a writer best known as the wife of former top Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. Ann Curry began by saying Meacham and Quinn "started a conversation about religion over lunch one day, and that discussion hasn't stopped." Curry continued:
"It's so interesting to think about how, just, what, 20 years ago, we would not speak about faith in America in any sort of big way. We talked about basically the separation of church and state meant that we didn't speak about church because we felt it was going to inflame and cause problems. What has changed? What has changed fundamentally about America that now lets us talk so much about it? In fact, have it influence policy in America. Sally."
The Friday broadcast network evening newscasts, seemingly with no self-awareness of the role of the traveling press corps, all focused on how in Vietnam President Bush was pressed about comparisons of the Iraq war to the Vietnam war -- a topic he commented on only when asked by a U.S. reporter. CBS was the most adamant in raising parallels, Bush's avoidance of service in Vietnam and how he is now “creating another” Vietnam. Katie Couric declared that Bush “couldn't get away from the inevitable comparisons between Iraq and the war America lost in Vietnam.” Over vintage video of the Vietnam war, Jim Axelrod asserted that the Iraq war “is starting to look more and more like this war. The parallels are plain.” Axelrod contended that “Mr. Bush's trip here was bound to fuel his critics who've never bought his explanation about how he managed to avoid military service in Vietnam. But Iraq raises the stakes and changes the focus from what he did during the Vietnam War to whether he's creating another one. On a just-released audiotape, President Johnson in 1966 shared his goals for Vietnam." Following audio of LBJ promising the U.S. would leave Vietnam “just as soon as you can have anybody that will guarantee stability," Axelrod intoned: "Mr. Bush's remarks today had an eerie echo as he spoke about Iraq."
On ABC's World News, fill-in anchor Elizabeth Vargas insisted "the war in Iraq shadowed President Bush today during his visit to Vietnam” as the Vietnam war “has drawn comparisons to America's experience in Iraq.” From Vietnam, Martha Raddatz echoed Couric: “For President Bush, the comparisons to his own war in Iraq were inevitable.” NBC anchor Brian Williams announced that “the topic of the current war followed” Bush “all the way” to Vietnam. David Gregory, in Vietnam, also used the “inevitable” characterization of the comparison made by journalists: “The White House tried to avoid reflecting on the war in Vietnam because of the inevitable comparisons to the Iraq war.” Gregory asserted that “the obvious parallel between Vietnam and Iraq is the American public's desire to find a way out,” and though the Vietnamese are still oppressed in a communist state, Gregory suggested the U.S. won: “But if there is a hopeful sign in the Vietnam of today, prosperous and western-looking, it is this -- that it is possible to lose the war but win the peace." (Transcripts, and a little bit on the morning shows, follows)