NBC's Today behaved like the White House press office on Thursday as co-host Matt Lauer announced: "By the way, the White House is coming out with a brand new initiative today and the First Lady, Michelle Obama, sent us a special message about it. Take a look." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the White House-produced video that followed, the First Lady declared: "Hello Today show viewers....I'm working to inspire Americans from all across the country to drink more water. That's why I've stolen Matt and Savannah's mugs and exchanged them with water glasses. Water is the best and easiest choice we can make to feel energized, focused, healthy, and refreshed....So drink up."
Wednesday's CBS This Morning stood out as the only Big Three network morning show to devote a full report to Colorado voters recalling two pro-gun control state legislators. Barry Petersen highlighted how "those who oppose gun control have a lot to celebrate" with the recall, and how "those backing the two senators spent seven times more money – $3.2 million" than the gun rights supporters who spearheaded the campaign [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump].
By contrast, NBC's Today on Wednesday didn't devote a second of air time to the Colorado recall election. Instead, they set aside 36 seconds of reporting to Hillary Clinton receiving the Liberty Medal. ABC's Good Morning America also minimized their coverage, as they merely broadcasted a 16-second news brief on the story.
In news briefs on Tuesday and Wednesday, NBC Today anchor Natalie Morales touted: "Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be given the National Constitution Center's Liberty Medal for her years in public service and her work on human rights." The two segments totaled 36 seconds of air time. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the network morning show only managed to offer a couple mentions, totaling 10 seconds, to the anniversary of the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans – a major security failure that occurred during Clinton's tenure at the State Department.
All three networks on Tuesday and Wednesday touted a new report showing the gap between the wealthiest one percent of Americans and everyone else has grown to its widest level since the Great Depression. Yet, none of them mentioned that Barack Obama was president for the last five years, the time in which the disparity grew so large. In contrast, ABC, NBC and CBS hammered Mitt Romney in 2012 for supposedly being out of touch with average Americans.
On Tuesday, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams apocalyptically hyped the new study by a group of international economists: "We learned today that a dangerous, devastating, and paralyzing trend in the U.S. economy, the wealth gap, is getting worse." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] He added, "...The richest Americans, the top one percent, made nearly 20 percent of all the available income in America last year." If this is a "devastating" problem, it should be pointed out that Williams's yearly salary is $13 million and the journalist has a net worth of $40 million (according to CelebrityNetWorth.com).
The Big Three network morning shows on Wednesday briefly noted the one-year anniversary of the Islamist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, but not one pointed out the latest development in the ongoing controversy over what happened. On Tuesday, CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reported on Twitter that Secretary of State John Kerry "tells [C]ongress he will not honor the request to make Benghazi survivors available for questioning."
Norah O'Donnell highlighted on Wednesday's CBS This Morning that "Republican Congressman Darrell Issa wants to interview survivors" and that "he's giving the State Department until Monday to meet his demand", but didn't mention Kerry's refusal. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The NBC Tonight Show host spent much of his opening monologue lampooning President Obama beginning with, “It's still a little warm, but you can tell fall is coming...The leaves are changing faster than the White House position on Syria” (video and transcript follow):
When we last checked in on Barack Obama discussing Benghazi on the network news, he was reassuring Brian Williams on the October 25 “Rock Center” that “We’re going to do a full investigation.” It’s a year later and it’s still “we are going to.” Last fall, Williams and Obama posed as curious for answers on how this disaster happened. Neither of them has demonstrated any noticeable curiosity since.
A new Media Research Center study of Benghazi coverage in 2013 on ABC, CBS, and NBC shows there are two routine modes of operation: (a) praising Team Obama’s public relations and (b) silence.
According to the three networks, the serious effort by conservatives to defund ObamaCare isn't worth as much coverage as the addition of a new dog to the President's family. In just a 24-hour period, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening and morning shows devoted six minutes and 23 seconds to the debut of the puppy "Sunny." In contrast, those same shows have granted a scant two minutes and 26 seconds over a two-month period (July 9 through September 8) to the move by conservative senators such as Mike Lee and Ted Cruz to strip funding from the increasingly-unpopular ObamaCare.
The networks didn't bother to stack the deck with segments heavily opposed to the "Defund It" push, promoted by influential conservative organizations and some GOP lawmakers. Instead, they chose to deprive the campaign of nearly all publicity, omitting it from their normal political coverage. ABC was the worst offender, with the network offering a mere eight second reference to the defund effort.
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer and chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd engaged in a strategy session over how President Obama could minimize any political damage from Congress voting down a strike on Syria. Lauer fretted: "Is there an escape hatch for the President? Is there a way for him to save face politically if this vote goes against him?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer's concern was prompted by Todd observing: "[The White House is] very concerned, Matt, because it's not just that they believe they need Congress on this and they want to punish Assad and all of the Syria policy, but they realize a loss like this could be politically crippling to him [Obama] all over Washington on all the different battles that he's got coming in the next six months."
Wednesday marks the one year anniversary of the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi that left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead and sent the Obama administration scrambling for a cover story that the Big Three broadcast networks initially bought and were slow to unravel.
A similar pattern has emerged in 2013. As new information about the administration’s actions before and after the attacks have been revealed through congressional testimony, whistleblowers, and eyewitnesses, the Big Three have responded by censoring, breezing past or spinning politically damaging bombshells. (full special report after the jump)
NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd on Sunday said there are more Democrats coming to a "rational and principled" decision in opposing an attack on Syria compared to Republicans who in his view are just as likely to be basing their opinion strictly on politics.
Such was said on NBC's Meet the Press (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It seems even Barack Obama doesn't want to be seen on MSNBC.
The Washington Post reported moments ago that the President of the United States, ahead of his address to the nation about Syria Tuesday, will give interviews to the evening newscasts of ABC, CBS, CNN, FNC, NBC and PBS Monday.
Two months ago, NewsBusters asked when the Obama-loving media would get around to reporting the poor quality of jobs being created in this economy.
On Friday, the NBC Nightly News did just that in a surprising segment that included a reporter actually saying, "Of the eight hundred forty-eight thousand jobs created this year, nearly two thirds are part-time" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The fact that NBC News is the loving parent company of the rabidly left-wing MSNBC has not yet led to the broadcast news organization becoming a pariah among Republicans.
If you believe NBC News political director Chuck Todd, the reason this is still the case is that GOPers are grateful that he required the people under his supervision to show up and always follow the Republican presidential ticket around during the 2012 campaign, even though most other news organizations eventually decided to stop following around the party's vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan.
On Wednesday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, minutes after President Obama denied setting a "red line" on Syria's use of chemical weapons, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd excused the obvious falsehood: "I think it was clear that the President was trying to depersonalize the Syria issue a little bit....to say, you know, 'Stop making this about the President personally, depersonalize this.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Following those instructions from Obama, Todd proceeded to blame Republicans for the President trying to distance himself from his own red line: "...there are some House Republicans who are looking at this only view – through the prism of their disagreements and dislike for President Obama rather than the policy itself. And so [the White House is] trying to make the policy argument, 'Forget who's in the seat as commander-in-chief, would the United States believe this was a red line no matter who was president?'"
Wednesday's CBS Evening News twice underlined President Obama's 2012 "red line" remark before playing a soundbite of the Democrat's "I didn't set a red line" reversal earlier in the day. Scott Pelley noted that "a year ago, he [Obama] warned the Syrian dictator that a red line would be crossed if the dictator used chemical weapons against his rebellious citizens." Major Garrett soon added that Obama "set a red line on the use of chemical weapons 13 months ago." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
None of the Big Three evening newscasts played the actual clip of the President's 2012 warning. On NBC Nightly News, Chuck Todd did his best to explain away the President's denial: "The President redefined what he meant by his red line". Jonathan Karl didn't even mention the original "red line" comment during his report on ABC's World News.
In an exclusive interview with former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie attempted to blame the Bush administration for President Obama's difficulty in garnering support for military action against Syria: "Looming over this debate time and time again has been the specter of Iraq. Most recently, the U.K. Parliament, many members cited the failure of intelligence leading up to Iraq as the reason that they won't take action now in Syria..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Turning to Rumsfeld, Guthrie wondered: "Do you personally take any responsibility for that? Or feel any responsibility for that?" Rumsfeld reminded Guthrie of the lengthy process that led up to the Iraq War: "President Bush went to the congress, got the support of the congress. Went to the U.N., got the support of the U.N. And fashioned a very large coalition. So it seems to me that all the appropriate steps were taken and the congress, a Democratic congress, voted for regime change in Iraq."
NBC Tonight Show host Jay Leno took another comedic shot at NBC Tuesday.
Paying tribute to long distance swimmer Diana Nyad during his opening monologue, Leno said, “On her fifth try, she completed 110-mile swim from Cuba to Florida. See, 64 is not too old to swim 110 miles – it’s too old to host a late night talk show, but not to swim 110 miles.”
On Tuesday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, NBC senior political editor Mark Murray dismissed the notion that if Democrat Terry McAuliffe lost the closely contested Virginia governor's race, it would not be a defeat for his strongest backers, the Clintons: "I'm not sure this race is going to impact Hillary Clinton or Bill Clinton if McAuliffe wins or if he loses. Simply because if Hillary Clinton were running against Ken Cuccinelli in this contest, she would be the clear favorite, she'd be leading in the polls by 10, 15 points." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Murray didn't bother to cite any evidence to back up his assertion. In fact, recent electoral history would seem to contradict his claim. In Virginia's 2008 Democratic primary, Clinton only garnered 35% of vote compared to then-Senator Barack Obama's 63%.
Back to school is an exciting time of year – new classmates, new subjects, new books, new gender and a new court-invented right to use the boys or girls room, depending on how you currently “identify.”
Welcome to the brave new world of “the next civil-rights struggle.” From a California law decreeing that any student has the right to use any gender-specific restroom and play on any gender-specific sports team he or she (or she or he) wants, biology be d**ned, to LGBT activists counseling network honchos on more sensitive TV portrayals, transgender is all the rage among liberals and media types.
Friday's CBS This Morning ballyhooed the Justice Department's recent move to relax enforcement of laws against marijuana in the several states that have legalized medical or recreational use of the drug. Gayle King heralded the "historic new regulations", while Bill Whitaker failed to include talking heads who oppose this move by the Obama administration [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump].
By contrast, ABC and NBC's morning newscasts minimized their coverage of the story on Friday. ABC's Good Morning America granted a mere 17 seconds of air time to the federal government's decision, while devoting 25 seconds to the plight of two kittens that strayed onto subway tracks in New York City.
In a puff piece on Wednesday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Kristen Welker heralded President Obama's upcoming speech marking the anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech: "President Obama has delivered a number of big speeches before, but this one is different. He'll be speaking in the shadows of Dr. King, a man who gave his life fighting for civil rights. So, today, the stakes couldn't be higher." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Only Obama's fellow liberals were given sound bites throughout the report that sounded more like a press release. First, White House aide Valerie Jarrett declared: "Are comparisons inevitable? Sure. But I think he's looking forward to the opportunity....I think, as the original speech was about not just civil rights but it was about jobs, and so I think he'll talk about that, and I think it'll also be a message to the next generation."
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie conducted a cooking segment with White House chef Sam Kass to promote First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign and wondered: "So do you feel like the program is having the intended effect? Do you think people are thinking differently about food, now?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Kass, boyfriend of MSNBC host Alex Wagner, declared: "Oh, absolutely. I think we're seeing the country unite around our kid's health....last year the new school lunch standards were put in place. School chefs are cooking much healthier food, and that's going to happen gain this year." However, on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported: "After just one year, some schools around the country are dropping out of the healthier new federal lunch program..."
Based on a review of the archive at Media Bistro's Evening News Category, NBC's Nightly News has just turned in its lowest consecutive two weeks of ratings in over six years. You'd never know that from reading Chris Ariens's narrative at today's ratings post there.
The Big 3 networks combined also failed to break 20 million during both the week of August 12 (19,859,000) and August 19 (19,994,000). That's probably not unprecedented, but it's definitely a rarity.
Anthony Mason played up President Obama's $89 restaurant tip on Monday's CBS This Morning, underlining that "when it comes to tips, President Obama is tops." However, the network has yet to cover a Monday story from the New York Times that pointed out the "uncomfortable reality for the White House: the administration has named no more women to high-level executive branch posts than the Clinton administration." [audio clip available here; video below the jump]
In fact, none of the Big Three networks have covered writer Annie Lowery's scoop on the air, which cited critics of the President from the left on the issue of the administration's Cabinet gender gap.