On Thursday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd depicted the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy as a boost for President Obama and a struggle for Governor Romney. Todd touted Obama receiving praise from "the GOP's convention keynote speaker" New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and how a trip to the storm-ravaged state was "a chance to show his empathetic side."
At the same time, Todd proclaimed that "Mitt Romney spent his Wednesday full-time on the trail in Florida, trying to balance campaigning and showing sensitivity for the storm victims." The headline on screen summed up the framing of the report: "President Tours Destruction & Gov. Romney Resumes Campaign."
Right on cue following Hurricane Sandy devastating the east coast, correspondent Harry Smith appeared on Thursday's NBC Today to sound the global warming alarm: "First it was Hurricane Irene, then last October's freak snowstorm, and now Sandy. Mother nature has put an unprecedented strain on the power grid and some experts are wondering if climate change is to blame." The headline on-screen wondered: "Is Global Warming to Blame for Storm Damage?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Previewing an upcoming report for Thursday's Rock Center, Smith warned viewers: "There is a growing consensus that this is all part of a new normal....Many a climate scientist say there is a reason this is happening." A sound bite followed of Ben Strauss from Climate Central: "We're seeing more and more extreme weather events. Leading to greater and greater economic damages. And I'm very suspicious that climate change is an important player for many of these."
Hawking a new NBC Publishing ebook on Wednesday's NBC Today about the network's election night television coverage dating back to 1948, author and TV Guide business editor Steve Battaglio touted a moment featured in the book of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams during election night in 2008: "Brian knew that it was going to be a very special night....having a pretty good idea that Barack Obama was going to win, and how do you tell this story of the first African-American president? It was such a monumental event." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Wednesday's NBC Today, political director Chuck Todd seized on the latest CBS News/New York Times poll showing narrow leads for President Obama in Ohio, Virginia, and Florida as "evidence, potentially, to back up the Obama spin" that "Romney has run out of routes to 270 electoral votes...so they are throwing Hail Marys in new states." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Wednesday's NBC Today, correspondent Keir Simmons reported from the European Weather Center in Britain that projected Hurricane Sandy's path and touted how "Global warming could make their work more important than ever." The center's Professor Alan Thorpe explained: "If it turned out to be the case that such storms became more common, then our weather forecasting models need to factor that in." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Simmons then cited Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to bolster the point: "Already the scientists are planning more research to help them, and all of us, plan for the future. Because if it's true, as New York's governor says, that we are now dealing with extreme weather patterns in a way we haven't seen, then centers like the one you've just seen are more important than ever."
Appearing on Monday's NBC Today, MSNBC Morning Joe co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski asserted that impending Hurricane Sandy would help Barack Obama in the election, with Scarborough proclaiming: "Mitt Romney had momentum….This was Mitt Romney's best weekend, and it stops. The momentum stops."
Brzezinski eagerly predicted how the President would be perceived during the storm: "…expect command centers up and down the east coast and the President to be very visible at all of them, telling people about the federal dollars that are on the way, and that will be advantage Obama." Meanwhile, she claimed Romney would be “in an awkward situation," and that "anything he does might look so blatantly political and almost needy, because he’s just not in the equation when the country’s under siege from a massive storm."
On Friday's NBC Today, political director Chuck Todd described how "both sides are dealing with some unexpected political speed bumps on the trail" and began by detailing the supposed obstacles for the Romney campaign:
...it's Indiana's Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, who made controversial comments about abortion and rape on Tuesday...another unforced error for Team Romney and Republicans, national campaign co-chair John Sununu made these eyebrow-raising commentsin response to Colin Powell's endorsement of President Obama.
It appears as though MSNBC has gone into overdrive covering up for the Obama administration over the terrorist attack on our consulate in Libya. Following emails uncovered by CBS News late Tuesday evening showing the White House knew within two hours that the attack was terrorist related, MSNBC has run a grand total of two stories on these shocking developments.
Unlike yesterday, NBC's Today did provide a news brief on the emails Thursday morning as well as a story during Wednesday night’s Nightly News, but their sister cable network MSNBC has only covered the story once today, on The Daily Rundown at 9:00 a.m. Eastern.
Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell badgered former RNC head Haley Barbour on Thursday's CBS This Morning on Indiana Republican Richard Mourdock's strongly pro-life stance, that even children conceived in rape are "God intended." Rose strongly hinted that the media firestorm surrounding Mourdock could affect the presidential race: "Romney may be gaining support among women. And the question arises, could this Mourdock controversy impact that?" [audio available here; video below the jump]
The CBS morning newscast stood out among its Big Three peers in significantly adding to the more than seven and half minutes of coverage from the previous day. The network devoted three minutes, 6 seconds to Mourdock, which is nearly three times the one minutes and 7 seconds that ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today set aside to the story combined.
Continuing to hype Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock's opposition to abortion as some kind of scandal for Mitt Romney, on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "...the Romney campaign is also dealing with a new controversy, trying to distance itself from this comment..."
After playing a sound bite of Mourdock explaining in a Tuesday senatorial debate that he believed an unborn child conceived by rape was still a life "intended by God," Alexander touted an ad of Romney endorsing the Indiana Republican. He then observed how, "Mr. Romney, who's been carefully courting women voters, ignored the controversy" and declared that the Governor's campaign has "been trying to steer away from it's party's right-wing since the contentious primaries..."
In an interview with President Obama on Wednesday, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams lobbed this softball: "How is it that with – what, 13 days to go, you're fighting for your life in a 47/47 race?... So after the excitement of '08, given the power of incumbency, you got Bin Laden, you did not expect to be sitting on a more substantial race than we are as we sit here today?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Obama argued he was exceeding media expectations: "...we always knew this was gonna be a close race from the start....you guys have some short memories. Folks in your business were writing me off a year ago, saying there's no way I would win."
NBC's Today on Wednesday glossed over the State Department e-mails showing that the Obama administration knew that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was carried out by terrorists. Their colleagues at ABC and CBS also minimized their coverage of this latest development, as they boosted the latest slam on Republicans from David Axelrod and the President's reelection campaign.
But all three network morning shows cordoned off significant amounts of air time to completely frivolous and celebrity-driven news stories. Here are some examples from Good Morning America, the Today Show, and CBS This Morning:
**UPDATE** At 2:30 p.m. EDT, MSNBC mentioned the damaging emails for the first time, coupling it with breaking news of an arrest in the attack on our Libyan consulate.
Following in the footsteps of its sister broadcast network, MSNBC has continued to ignore the shocking revelation that the White House knew on September 11 that the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was under a well-coordinated terrorist attack.
As NewsBusters’ Matthew Balan noted, NBC's Today was the only broadcast network morning show this to ignore the story altogether, with MSNBC following suit by remaining silent as well throughout the day. In contrast, both Fox News and CNN have run numerous stories Wednesday morning.
On Tuesday evening, CBS broke wide open a story on State Department e-mails showing the White House knew on September 11 that the consulate in Benghazi was subjected to a terrorist attack, and that terrorists took credit on Facebook and Twitter. But by Wednesday, the three network morning shows weren't leaping to follow up. ABC and CBS combined devoted just over a minute to the story, while NBC completely ignored it.
By contrast, all three newscasts showed that they were more interested in helping the Democrats in Indiana, aggressively spotlighting Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock's faith-based affirmation that he did not support abortion even in the case of rape, that even those are children "God intended." Mourdock's "controversial comments" drew more than seven and a half minutes of coverage.
All three morning shows on Wednesday touted White House talking points linking Mitt Romney to a Republican Senate candidate in Indiana who, while speaking about "the horrible situation of rape," called life a "gift from God." Only one program, CBS This Morning, seemed to notice how closely this story mirrored Democratic spin.
As though he was referencing a connection to a criminal, former Democratic operative George Stephanopoulos intoned, "Mitt Romney catching some flak for his ties to a GOP Senate candidate making controversial comments about abortion and rape in a Tuesday debate." Trying to make trouble, reporter David Muir asserted that the GOP campaign is "trying to distance itself from a Senate candidate that Romney endorsed, did a TV ad for." Muir needled, "The [Romney] campaign did not say whether it would ask [Richard] Mourdock to take down this ad." CBS's Norah O'Donnell speculated that the remark could cost Republicans a shot at "control of the Senate." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie brought on liberal MSNBC host Krystal Ball and radio host Michael Smerconish to discuss campaign strategy in the final two weeks before the presidential election, with the headline on-screen claiming: "Left vs. Right on Final Race for the White House."
There's one problem with that assertion, Smerconish prominently supported President Obama in 2008 and has routinely filled in for left-wing Hardball host Chris Matthews on MSNBC in the years since. Apparently having someone on the left like Ball and someone center-left like Smerconish is NBC's idea of balance.
At the end of an interview with vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie parroted Democratic attacks on Mitt Romney's foreign policy credentials: "John Kerry said, 'this is the most inexperienced foreign policy ticket to run in decades,' talking about you and Governor Romney. What specific national security experience qualifies Governor Romney to be commander in chief?"
At the top of an interview with Joe Biden only seconds later, fellow co-host Matt Lauer teed up the Vice President to slam Romney on the same issue: "[I] started by asking him if he thought Governor Romney is a qualified candidate when it comes to his vision and understanding of foreign policy." Not surprisingly, Biden declared: "No, he's not."
The Big Three networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) gave the faux furor over Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” statement in Tuesday’s debate a whopping 22 mentions through Friday morning. Yet when Vice President Joe Biden, on Thursday, told an audience member that Republican “young guns” like Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan had “bullets” aimed at him the networks delivered just a scant two total mentions (on NBC and CBS, ABC skipped the gaffe entirely.)
On the morning after the debate ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas, on Good Morning America, singled out the “binders” comment: “You remember the Big Bird line that dominated the conversations online and around the water cooler, in essence, after the first debate? Last night, it was another Romney comment, ‘binders full of women’ that caused the heat to turn on.”
With Friday's Gallup tracking poll showing Mitt Romney with a 51-45 lead over Barack Obama, the crew at NBC's Today decided to focus on a much more reliable method of predicting the next President of the United States: Halloween mask sales. Co-host Matt Lauer announced: "...there's some science behind this when it comes to the election. For example, according to the Huffington Post, this year Obama masks are out-selling Romney masks by more than 30%." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer detailed how the candidate with stronger mask sales has won the past several presidential contests. Co-host Savannah Guthrie declared: "That's a perfect record....the polls are all over the place, so you know what? Maybe it's as good a predictor as any."
In a rare moment of genuine criticism of President Obama's response to the Libya terrorist attack, on Friday's NBC Today, Meet the Press moderator David Gregory slammed government "confusion" after the event: "...the administration response on this was both sluggish, sloppy and incoherent at some times..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Gregory's criticism was prompted by co-host Savannah Guthrie asking about Monday's upcoming foreign policy debate. While Gregory briefly noted "missteps" on the issue by Mitt Romney in the second debate, he quickly pointed to Obama's controversial comments about the attack during a Thursday Daily Show appearance: "The President's being criticized for his – his talking points on this, on Jon Stewart saying when four Americans are killed it's 'not optimal'..."
Near the top of Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie jumped on "a comment from Mitt Romney's son Tagg that's getting some attention....he said he wanted to, quote, 'take a swing' at the President for some of the attacks on his dad." Pretending it was a newsworthy item, she added: "The Romney campaign says this was just a joke. We'll get into that."
Introducing a campaign report minutes later, Guthrie declared the Romney son's comment in jest was "making some waves." Correspondent Peter Alexander promised viewers, "We'll play that comment for you from Tagg Romney in just a moment." For all the build-up to the supposedly controversial comments, at the end of his report, Alexander revealed the light-hearted nature of them: "During a radio interview Wednesday, Governor Romney's oldest son Tagg joked about his reaction to some of the contentious exchanges during Tuesday's debate."
Between Wednesday's Nightly News and Thursday's Today, NBC displayed an obsession with the liberal meme of attacking Mitt Romney's "binders full of women" remark during Tuesday's presidential debate. The network's delusional hyping of the manufactured controversy reached a crescendo when Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski appeared on Today to proclaim: "Romney just completely doesn't have any leg to stand on when it comes to women and the economy." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Today co-host Savannah Guthrie teed up Brzezinski to slam Romney: "...it has taken on a life of its own. The Democrats love it. They think it really shows Mitt Romney at his most awkward. But if the fight is for independent, undecided women voters, do you think this is an issue that's weighty enough to resonate?"
On Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer played the part of Obama campaign stooge when he promoted the President deflecting Libya criticism by slamming Mitt Romney: "...[He] firmly and pointedly chastised Governor Romney for politicizing a tragedy like this, a national tragedy. The father of Ambassador Stevens said, quote, 'It would be really abhorrent to make this into a campaign issue.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer then turned to Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan and sanctimoniously demanded: "So I want your response, not to the President, but to the father of Ambassador Stevens." Ryan responded: "What we owe Chris Stevens, what we owe these Americans who gave their lives, are to make sure that we get to the bottom of this so we can prevent something like this from happening again."
Displaying a stunning double standard on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie gave Vice President Joe Biden plenty of room to applaud President Obama's debate performance, while fellow co-host Matt Lauer hammered Congressman Paul Ryan on issue after issue.
In her first question to Biden, Guthrie wondered if the President had "repaired the damage from his lackluster performance in the first debate," then followed up with: "Is the President's strategy here to beat Romney by disqualifying him in the minds of voters?" Meanwhile, Lauer began his interview with Ryan by asking essentially the same question: "A lot of the reporting this morning says that the President was the aggressor and may have won back some of the momentum lost after the first debate. Would you agree with that?"
In a fawning softball interview with First Lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday's NBC Today, special correspondent Ryan Seacrest was eager to know how she helps the President during debates: "What did you say to him when the two of you walked backstage after the first debate?...Have you spoken to him about the prep?...does he make eye contact with you? Does he look at you for encouragement?"
The First Lady explained: "I'm perched. I'm looking at him. I'm smiling. I'm giving a thumbs up if he can see it....I assume that he can, so I make sure that I'm always giving him that positive love."
On Tuesday's NBC Today, during a panel discussion previewing the second presidential debate, co-host Matt Lauer mandated that Mitt Romney answer charges that he's moderated his positions: "How does Mitt Romney answer that question tonight of, 'Why have you moved to the middle, have become more moderate in these closing weeks?'"
Former McCain campaign advisor Steve Schmidt rejected Lauer's assertion: "I don't think he has to answer that question." Lauer immediately interrupted: "What if he's asked that question?" Former Democratic governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm joined Lauer in ganging up on Schmidt: "Oh, I think he does. He absolutely does."
All three morning shows on Tuesday highlighted Hillary Clinton "falling on her sword" and "taking blame" for the growing scandal over Libya. But NBC and ABC avoided specifics. On Good Morning America, reporter Reena Ninan failed to press the Secretary of State on details concerning Barack Obama's role.
In contrast, CBS reporter Margaret Brennan pushed for details on what the administration knew and when. She singled out United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice and her initial claims that the murder of Chris Stevens was a result of an anti-Islamic movie: "Who briefed Ambassador Rice that day? Did you sign off on that briefing and those speaking points?" Clinton said no and curtly replied, "You would have to ask her...Everybody had the same information." Yet, according to ABC's Ninan, "...Clinton appeared to fall on her sword."
In a pathetic attempt to smear Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan ahead of Tuesday's second presidential debate, NBC's Today seized on a story in Monday's Washington Post accusing Ryan and his family of washing already clean pots and pans at a soup kitchen in Ohio for a photo-op. Co-host Matt Lauer wondered: "Would a campaign do that? We're gonna talk about it." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Following a report on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton taking responsibility for security failures in the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, political director and chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd actually treated the supposed dishwashing incident as if it were a scandal: "Paul Ryan is dealing with some fallout from that weekend photo-op....something that – that the campaign is a little nervous about because they're trying to get through this idea of whether they're in touch or out of touch."
On Monday's NBC Today, political director Chuck Todd analyzed the state of the presidential race following a series of new national polls showing a slight Romney lead: "Well, look, the first debate really did sort of shift things....the numbers I've seen, and in talking to both campaigns, something shifted fundamentally."
However, only four days earlier, on Thursday's Today, Todd argued the debate was "not as helpful to Romney as he might have hoped," leading co-host Savannah Guthrie to conclude: "Alright, so the debate had maybe not as much of an impact." That was as the ABC and CBS morning shows highlighted Romney's clear momentum.
The ABC and NBC morning shows on Friday showed no interest in fact checking some of Joe Biden's misstatements during Thursday's vice presidential debate. CBS This Morning partially debunked some of Biden's claims, ignoring the Vice President's suggestion that he opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
During the debate, Biden asserted, "It came from this man [Paul Ryan] voting to put two wars on a credit card...I was there. I voted against them. I said, ‘No, we can’t afford that.’" Actually, the then-senator voted to authorize force in both Afghanistan and Iraq. However, this point was ignored by ABC's Good Morning America, NBC's Today and CBS.