Despite a running time of four hours, NBC's Today show on Tuesday skipped a blistering poll for Barack Obama and the latest news about the disastrous rollout of the President's health care law. Yet, the morning show managed five minutes for discussing the new TV special from singer John Rich and three minutes on table etiquette for Thanksgiving. Not exactly pressing topics. In contrast, both ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning covered the current wave of bad news.
An ABC News/Washington Post survey found Obama's approval rating at just 42 percent, what Jon Karl referred to as "the lowest job approval we have ever seen" for his presidency. GMA's George Stephanopoulos conceded that these are "brutal numbers." Karl even relayed this result: "We asked voters if they can have a mulligan on the 2012 presidential election, who they would vote for? A plurality now say they would vote for Romney over Obama." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The journalists also focused on what the administration knew in advance of the impending ObamaCare collapse.
Has the disastrous rollout of ObamaCare even made Whoopi Goldberg lose confidence in the President she adores?
On NBC’s Tonight Show Monday, The View co-host said, “I don't understand how a four-year-old can upload videos and put a whole website together and these guys can't do jack” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Monday's CBS This Morning is the sole Big Three newscast so far to cover the firing of William P. White, a day after the now former D.C. official criticized President Obama's plan to let insurers temporarily restore canceled health insurance policies for a year. Nancy Cordes revealed how "D.C.'s insurance commissioner was abruptly fired by the city's Democratic mayor...after he warned that reinstating canceled plans 'undercuts the purpose' of the new health care exchanges." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Cordes's mention of Mayor Vincent Gray sacking the commissioner came a day after the Washington Post buried their story on the firing on page C7 of its Metro section on Sunday.
After playing a clip of Saturday Night Live mocking President Obama's "embattled second term" on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie sympathetically observed: "I guess if you're at the White House you laugh so you don't cry." She then turned to Obama's former press secretary Robert Gibbs and wondered: "What do you think the President's state of mind is right now? I mean, have you ever seen him like this, saying – acknowledging, 'I have a credibility problem'?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Gibbs responded by trying to insulate the President from any responsibility for the disastrous ObamaCare rollout: "I think he is obviously tremendously frustrated that no one told him the extent of this problem. I think that you, as the commander-in-chief and as the President of the United States, have to trust all of those around you to implement and I think there's no doubt a deficit of trust that's lead to that deficit of credibility."
On Monday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander lifted talking points directly from an Organizing for Action email while reporting on the political fallout from ObamaCare: "With his signature law under fire, the President faces a daunting to-do list to resuscitate ObamaCare. Number one, fix the website....Number two, clear up confusion....Number three, keep Democratic allies on board....And finally, regain Americans' trust." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the OFA email, President Obama told his supporters: "I have just over three years left as president – and there's a lot left on my to-do list. That's why I want to talk with you....I want to cut through the noise and talk with you directly about where we're headed in the fight for change."
On Friday, NBC's Today tried to cast President Obama's Thursday press conference about the ObamaCare disaster in the most sympathetic light possible, with co-host Savannah leading off the show by proclaiming: "The humble president....President Obama does damage control on the botched health care rollout with his legacy hanging in the balance." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing the segment moments later, Guthrie claimed the President was "falling on the sword over this health care rollout disaster." In the report that followed, White House correspondent Peter Alexander emphasized Obama's supposedly humility: "The President the first to admit that he has a lot of work ahead of him to regain the confidence of the American people....[he] was strikingly contrite."
Teasing an upcoming story on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams warned of "the habitat of the polar bears melting earlier and faster than ever" and promised "a jaw-dropping look at a way of life quickly disappearing." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed minutes later, chief environmental correspondent Anne Thompson kept up the global warming alarmism: "This 10-month-old polar bear cub practices his ice-breaking skills on the tundra....But Dr. Steve Amstrup, chief scientist of Polar Bears International, says the greenhouse gases we are putting into the atmosphere threaten the cub's future."
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Nancy Cordes zeroed in on the three Republican congressmen who grilled top administration officials during a hearing on ObamaCare, ballyhooing that "none of them were really able to explain why this product they worked on for years was so flawed". Cordes played extended clips from the hearing totaling 51 seconds – nearly twice the combined number of ABC's World News and NBC Nightly News, which each played 13 seconds from it.
The correspondent played up one clip in particular from White House chief technology officer Todd Park, who gave indications that HealthCare.gov might not be fixed by the target date of November 30 [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]:
Appearing on Thursday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd matter-of-factly declared that ObamaCare was always going to be a bad deal for some Americans: "There are always winners and losers in any piece of legislation. There is a small number of losers in here, if you want to count losing as in having to pay more for your health insurance....That was always the intention, that was the only way you could make the law work..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd acknowledged that was not the way President Obama sold the law, but avoided calling it a lie: "...this goes to the problem that the President brought upon himself, when they didn't make this clear." On the March 3, 2010 Nightly News, just weeks before the passage of ObamaCare, Todd touted the President's deception: "If this reform works the way the White House hopes it does, the bottom line is simple, it should be easier for you to get health insurance and harder for you to lose it."
At least for Thursday, the network morning shows admitted that ObamaCare is an "embarrassing," "botched" failure that has landed with a "resounding thud." ABC, NBC and CBS offered blunt, stark descriptions of the health care law's low enrollment rates and the disastrous implementation. Good Morning America reporter Jim Avila explained, "The President's signature achievement, health care for everyone, officially got off to a resounding thud." He added that Republicans are "seizing on the botched rollout."
Over on NBC's Today, Savannah Guthrie unloaded on the President: "A new poll that has the President's approval rating hitting an all-time low as the administration is forced to acknowledge health care enrollment numbers that are embarrassingly low." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Correspondent Peter Alexander marveled, "For a better sense of just how few Americans signed up for ObamaCare in the first month – 106,000 total – consider that's barely enough to fill a large football stadium and only one-fifth of what government officials had projected."
On Tuesday, ABC's World News and CBS Evening News both reported the latest poll numbers from the "respected" Quinnipiac University, as CBS's Scott Pelley labeled the institution, regarding President Obama's "lowest ever" approval rating, along with Americans' dim view of the politician's honesty. ABC's Diane Sawyer noted that "for the first time in his presidency, a majority of American voters – 52 percent...say President Obama is not honest and trustworthy."
Both evening newscasts reported these numbers as they led into their coverage of former President Clinton's recent word of advice to Obama on his health care law – that "the President should honor the commitment...[he] made to those people, and let them keep what they've got." NBC Nightly News also devoted air time to Clinton's remarks, but failed to mention the current President's drooping approval number. [MP3 audio from the ABC and CBS reports available here; video below the jump]
In the midst of the unmitigated disaster that has been the roll out of ObamaCare, on Saturday's NBC Today, co-host Lester Holt had the audacity to suggest to Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus that Republicans should be the ones on defense: "...you took it on the chin when you fought it in the last budget battle. When we go back around to the budget in January, are Republicans gonna be a little more timid taking on health care, given the experience and given the lower approval ratings?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Priebus replied: "I think that the American people are seeing now how serious it was of a fight against ObamaCare....People are hurting and they're losing their coverage and they're paying more money that they can't afford. It's just not fair."
If anyone can be expected to have no love for the liberal, legacy media, it’s former Alaska Governor and GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. The character assassination, insults and slander leveled at her during the 2008 campaign were textbook examples of “the politics of personal destruction.”
So a new book from Palin – even one about Christmas – should have some sharp barbs for the newsroom partisans of New York and D.C. Palin does not disappoint.
Early in the 9 a.m. ET hour on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-hosts Willie Geist, Natalie Morales, and Al Roker mocked a series of new ads designed to promote ObamaCare, even with Geist reading one of them while doing his best impression of Anchorman's Ron Burgundy: "Let's get physical. OMG, he's hot. Let's hope he's as easy to get as this birth control. My health insurance covers the pill, which means all I have to worry about is getting it between the covers." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning on Tuesday both picked up the Wall Street Journal's Monday revelation about the HealthCare.gov website – that "fewer than 50,000 people had successfully navigated the troubled federal health-care website and enrolled in private insurance plans as of last week".
CBS anchor Norah O'Donnell zeroed in on the "newest blow to ObamaCare – how the White House enrollment expectations could be off by 80 percent." On GMA, Jonathan Karl underlined that this figure is "far short" of the Obama administration's target of 500,000 enrollees. However, NBC's Today ignored this development. Instead, the morning show devoted an entire segment to trying to get Vice President Joe Biden to be a co-host. [MP3 audio of the CBS report is available here; video below the jump]
On Monday's NBC Today, weatherman Al Roker continued his campaign to get Vice President Joe Biden to co-host the morning show: "I mean, we love the VP, just because he's fun and he would fit in perfectly here." Roker was happy to gain support from The Huffington Post, touting an article published on the liberal blog entitled "Dear Joe Biden: Please Co-Host Today!!!" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Yet again, Roker made an impassioned plea for Biden to join the show for a day: "Again, Mr. Vice President, this is where you belong. We want you here. Spend the hour with us, hang out."
The broadcast networks have aired more than a few critical stories about the ObamaCare rollout -- from "glitches" with the HealthCare.gov website to the millions of individuals who are losing their health insurance in spite of the President's oft-repeated promise to the contrary (a lie that NBC's Chuck Todd naively argued was not "intentional.")
But an exchange on Monday night's The Kudlow Report on CNBC included evidence the troubles are much deeper than the pro-Obama media have generally acknowledged.
Appearing on Tuesday's NBC Today to hawk his new book, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough – whose own radio show was cancelled after a brief run in 2010 – proceeded to slam conservative talk radio hosts: "They make millions and millions of dollars....they start pushing their world view on Republicans across the country and start saying, 'You either have to run up to the barricades and fight to the death every single time or you're not sufficiently conservative' and you actually have politicians listening to that and not understanding that's a profit motive." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
He added: "...we've got to stop feeding every single little resentment if we want to get back into the White House."
The news media worried a lot about how awful the government shutdown would be and estimated it would take a huge toll on the economy as well. Now it looks like they were wrong about the size of the damage.
The networks touted a recent Standard & Poor’s (S&P) estimate that the shutdown would cost $24 billion. That figure was mentioned on the networks five times from Oct. 17 to Oct. 24. But according to new figures from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the economic toll was one-fourth that size or less: between $2 billion and $6 billion. The OMB estimate was only mentioned in one Nov. 8 story on CBS, according to a Nexis search from Nov. 7 through Nov. 10.
Speaking to Meet the Press moderator David Gregory for NBC's web-based program Press Pass on Sunday, usually liberal actor Rob Lowe expressed a more conservative political perspective: "Just my own world view is that the individual needs to be more responsible for their own lives and that's not the conversation we're having right now, for whatever reason." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lowe was discussing his role as President Kennedy in the new documentary Killing Kennedy and used JFK to make his point: "Kennedy's 'Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country'...today I think that's – our discussion is the inverse. People are asking, 'What can our government do for us?'"
Trying to deflect from the political damage ObamaCare has done to Democrats, on Monday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander hyped GOP divisions: "...the Republican Party is facing a war within....Republicans have an issue over defining their brand, an ideological civil war of sorts." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In an interview with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin following Alexander's report, co-host Matt Lauer sought to stoke that supposed "civil war": "[Governor Chris Christie] called the shutdown of the government and that strategy hatched by Ted Cruz and members of the Tea Party a 'monumental failure.' If you look at the results of the [New Jersey] election, isn't the message to the Tea Party that the middle ground, not the far right, is the most fertile ground for upcoming elections?"
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer declared that President Obama "apologized" for ObamaCare failures, "not only the issues with the website, but broken promises as well." Turning to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Lauer hoped Obama's vague statement of regret was the end of the story: "Did he say what he had to say?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Palin shot down Lauer's assertion that the President had taken responsibility for the disastrous health care rollout: "What apology? What apology? He kind of acknowledged a bit that there is a broken website. The broken website is the least of America's worries. This broken website, I think, is symbolic of a broken administration – takeover of 1/6 of our economy and this socialized medicine that's being crammed down our throat, that's what's broken."
On Wednesday’s NBC Nightly News and Thursday’s Today, NBC hyped the notion that Palestinian guerrilla leader Yasser Arafat “may have” been assassinated by poisoning. They let Palestinians accuse Israel, and bizarrely suggested only Israel “considered” Arafat a terrorist (forgetting decades where the U.S. officially agreed).
There was no NBC update Friday when NPR’s All Things Considered reported the Palestinian Authority released a separate Russian study that did not confirm the notion of poisoning with Polonium-210. NBC didn’t offer any journalist or government official who disagreed with the pro-Arafat line:
Assisting the Obama administration in its perpetual flight from responsibility for anything, former Obama campaign manager David Axelrod, who now campaigns from a paid propaganda perch at NBC and MSNBC, tweeted the following on Friday afternoon (HT Twitchy): "Wonder how many Insurance cos that sold junk policies after ACA was signed told customers at purchase that they'd have to eventually switch?"
Yeah, David it was their responsibility to inform their customers about a law whose constitutional fate wasn't decided until June 2012, and about which President Obama issued dozens of guarantees — not promises, guarantees — that "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan," as recently as late September of this year. And who believes, if they had tried to communicate the likelihood of cancellation before they legally had to late this year, that the unhinged wrath of the Obama administration and its leftist smear apparatus wouldn't have rained down mercilessly on them? I'll have more on that topic after the jump, but first, let me highlight several choice responses to Axelrod's tweet out of hundreds:
Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement has become a laughing stock.
On NBC’s Tonight Show Friday, the audience broke out into cheers and applause when Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) told host Jay Leno, “ObamaCare: it's the biggest jobs killer in this country” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Touting chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd's exclusive interview with President Obama on Thursday, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams proclaimed: "We are all about to hear the President of the United States apologize, and not just for the troubled rollout of this new health care website, but for the fact that his promise to the American people that 'If they like their current health insurance, they can keep it,' has not held true for all." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, Todd sympathetically observed: "...the President's apparent broken promise about folks keeping the plans they like has been weighing heavily on the entire White House. So it was a chastened commander-in-chief that I spoke with earlier today."
CBS and ABC on Thursday and Friday offered respectful tributes honoring "America's pastor," Billy Graham. The networks, which are often hostile or dismissive of religion, all featured segments on the minister's 95th birthday and played clips of what has been announced as his final sermon. (However, NBC's Today allowed a mere 24 seconds to the topic.) World News correspondent Dan Harris observed, "Throughout his life, it's been the Gospel that has sustained him."
The journalist oddly related, "...In private, he's a surprisingly humble man, married to the same woman, Ruth, for more than 60 years." But Harris also included ample footage of Graham's final sermon, featuring the pastor leading his worldwide audience in a prayer: "I invite you to come into my heart and my life. I want to trust and follow you as my Lord and savior, in Jesus's name, amen." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
While NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd did question President Obama on the failed ObamaCare rollout during an exclusive interview on Thursday, the network political director tried to downplay the notion that the commander-in-chief actively lied in promoting the health care law: "'If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.' You said it a lot during the run-up. At this point, though, it's obviously something – a promise that has not been able to be kept....What happened?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In his next question, Todd came close to accusing Obama of deception, but quickly equivocated: "Do you feel like you owe these folks an apology for misleading them? Even if you didn't intentionally do it, but at this point, they feel misled. And you've seen the anger that's out there."
On Thursday's NBC Today, Al Roker's self-described "bromance" with Vice President Joe Biden continued as the morning show weatherman pleaded: "Mr. Vice President, once again, we beseech you, please come to the third hour, Today's Take, and co-host our show....right here, Vice President Biden, we want you here." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The invitation was prompted by Biden's latest gaffe, which Roker giddily explained to viewers: "Our favorite....My man. In an effort to congratulate the new Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Vice President Joe Biden placed a phone call to Marty Walsh....Except he called the wrong Marty Walsh. He said, reportedly, 'Oh, you son of a gun, Marty, you did it!'"
ABC on Wednesday and Thursday managed a mere 21 seconds total for the latest revelations about the botched ObamaCare rollout, minimizing the grilling that Kathleen Sebelius took before Congress and the resignation of one of the people behind the website. Instead, Good Morning America focused on deeply irrelevant topics such as promoting "Thor's leading lady," star Natalie Portman. In comparison to ObamaCare, the actress appeared for over three minutes on Thursday.
NBC's Today also yawned at the resignation of Tony Trenkle, the chief information officer at HealthCare.gov. Wednesday's Nightly News featured the testimony of Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius for two minutes and 20 seconds. In contrast to ABC, which featured no clips of Sebelius's appearance, NBC included Republican senators such as John Thune, deriding, "This is a dishonesty. You've been misleading the American people!" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]