NBC's 'Today' Show: Secrecy on Bush Trip Added 'Dramatic Effect'

<p><img hspace="0" src="media/2006-06-16-NBCTodayodonnell.jpg" align="right" border="0" />In the past week, President Bush has visited Iraq, had his top political operative cleared of wrongdoing, and presided over the elimination of the terrorist mastermind Abu Musab Al Zarqawi. NBC’s <i>Today</i> show took note of this fact and the June 16 edition featured a segment on Bush’s upturn in fortunes. But if conservatives expected the media to be happy about Bush’s &quot;<a href="http://www.abcnews.go.com/GMA/Politics/story?id=2083881">good week</a>,&quot;  they were sadly mistaken. <i>Today</i> reporter Norah O’Donnell began her piece, which aired at 7:13AM EDT, by stating that the Bush administration hoped the current string of positive events would become more then &quot;<b>just a fleeting bit of good news</b>.&quot; She also implied that the President’s trip was a political stunt:</p><blockquote dir="ltr" style="MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"><p>&quot;And the President may get the most mileage...literally and figuratively, out of his drop-in to Baghdad...<b>with secrecy both necessary and adding dramatic effect.&quot;</b></p></blockquote><p dir="ltr"><!--break-->The media is constantly telling us how close Iraq is to a <a href="node/4436">civil war</a>, yet the secrecy <a href="http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=2070794">surrounding</a> the trip was for &quot;dramatic effect?&quot; Lest anyone become too bullish about the President and his fortunes, Ms. O’Donnell made sure to remind everyone of all the bad news out there: </p><blockquote dir="ltr" style="MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"><p dir="ltr" style="MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px">&quot;And while giving the President his due about these positive events, his overall approval rating is still very low and the White House does have to contend with another milestone in Iraq that is a sad event. 2500 U.S. military dead.&quot; </p></blockquote><p dir="ltr">The MRC’s <a href="node/5933">Tim Graham</a> has already covered liberal strategist James Carville’s appearance on NBC’s <i>Today</i>. During that segment, Carville insinuated that the Norah O’Donnell over-emphasized a Bush recovery! He commented: </p><blockquote dir="ltr" style="MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px"><p dir="ltr" style="MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px">&quot;Well, you know, yeah. I mean, it's, it's kind of, it's kind of a pitiful thing. This is the biggest one point jump in an approval rating in the history of American politics. <b>If he ever got to 40, I think Norah O'Donnell and her colleagues would have a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue for him</b>....I find it almost amusing that we are, that, <b>that the press corps </b>and the administration is making so much about a one percent rise in the President's approval rating....<b>The President, you're right, he doesn't take a poll, he lets NBC take a poll</b>. He goes up one point and has a <b>celebration from, from the press corps</b>.&quot;</p></blockquote><p dir="ltr">Just to recap, Norah O’Donnell called the recent good news &quot;fleeting.&quot; She stated that the secrecy surrounding the trip was for dramatic effect, described the visit, which entailed a huge amount of planning, as a &quot;drop-in,&quot; and reminded her audience that Bush’s poll numbers remain &quot;very low.&quot; This is a media celebration? What would an example of negative coverage be? </p>

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org