Brian Williams glossed over the V.A. scandal during his interview of President Obama on Friday's NBC Nightly News. Williams did devote time to the ongoing controversy surrounding the release of senior Taliban leaders in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl – specifically the White House failing to inform Congress 30 days before the Islamists were let go from Guantanamo Bay, as required by federal law.
However, the anchor didn't mention that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid revealed that he was informed of the trade for Bergdahl on May 27, 2014 – a day before it actually happened. Williams also forwarded the President's own misleading claim about his grandfather's World War II service: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Friday's World News on ABC paid tribute to the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy with an emotional look at one of the remaining veterans who survived the hellish landings on Omaha Beach. However, the Big Three newscast made a historical gaffe during anchor David Muir's introduction to the segment.
Muir directed his audience's attention to a black-and-white photo of troops landing on June 6, 1944, and contrasted it with a photo taken Friday morning supposedly at the same place: Omaha Beach. But the 70-year-old picture was actually of British and Canadian troops landing at Juno Beach miles to the east: [video below the jump]
Jon Stewart began his June 5 Daily Show with a 10-minute-long rant against Open Carry Texas, a pro-gun rights organization that recently received media attention for its members openly carrying guns into various chain restaurants throughout the Lone Star State. Doing so is perfectly legal in Texas, albeit rather rare in practice.
While the National Rifle Association (NRA) first condemned the behavior for showing a “lack of consideration and manners,” it later retracted those criticisms. And so Comedy Central’s favorite late night liberal had all the ammunition he needed to ruthlessly mock both NRA spokesmen and Open Carry Texas members, charging that the NRA is facing a “quandary,” because while “you have a right to carry a weapon” under open carry, you also have the right to “respond with deadly force” according to Stand Your Ground laws, therefore creating a “perpetual violence machine.” Stewart finished with a liberal classic, claiming the entire debate boils down to “a business plan for arms dealers.” [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
At the top of the 9 a.m. ET hour on Friday's NBC Today, co-hosts Al Roker, Tamron Hall, and Natalie Morales came up with an odd imaging of a 2008 meeting between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama following the bruising Democratic primary. Roker joked: "Well, during that date, they did play Kenny G. That really helped." Hall added: "No, no, they played Kenny G. Bill Clinton came in with the sax as Kenny G." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Hall confessed: "We fantasize a lot around here." Roker remarked: "We're just in our little world." Morales chimed in: "And they drank bottles and bottles of Chardonnay and then everything was okay."
On Friday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie gushed over the network getting an advanced copy of Hillary Clinton's new book: "Well, here it is. It's the memoir that a lot of people are talking about, waiting to read, Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton. We happened to find this copy actually at a bookstore in Los Angeles just days ahead of the official release." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell touted the 600 pages of Clinton spin as "an opening argument for her next presidential campaign – if, if she decides to run again." O'Donnell added that the potential 2016 contender "writes about her time as secretary of state on a range of issues where she could make news again."
Doing his best to keep the Obama administration’s front line from falling into retreat, MSNBC’s Ed Schultz sprayed rhetorical cover fire all over the place on his June 5 program, defending Team Obama’s much-criticized deal to release Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five deadly Taliban leaders.
Within the first two minutes of Thursday’s The Ed Show, Schultz called Republicans “ruthless and without boundaries,” using Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s family as “a tool in their toolbox to take down President Obama.” According to Schultz, Republicans “can’t stand the fact that [Bergdahl’s father] Bob Bergdahl doesn’t hate Muslims.” [See video below. Click here for MP3]
It was a tale of two slow-jam-the-news partners last night on NBC. Nightly News host Brian Williams offered some very serious reporting on the video circulating of President Obama pumping iron. On the other hand,Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon offered a more humorous take on the video.
Williams simply couldn’t fathom the privacy breach of such a video as the president’s work out regime is now being “critiqued” by millions -- well, probably more like billions. Gasp! Jimmy Fallon, seemingly more in tune with the American public, offered the more humorous – perhaps, more truthful side to the video, “I know it’s just the president working out, but it’s weird, right?” (Video below)
The journalists on CBS This Morning devoted nine minutes to excitedly reviewing Hillary Clinton's new book. Despite the fact that the publisher, Simon & Schuster, is a division of CBS, co-host Charlie Rose insisted that they scored an advance edition the old-fashioned way: "But we were able to buy a copy at a bookstore." Sounding more like an excited fan, Rose blurbed: "It is a portrait of doggedness." CBS political director John Dickerson praised Hard Choices as a portrayal of "a hard working person who flew all around the world grinding it out." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Asked whether opponents will seize on the content of the book, Dickerson enthused, "...The volume of this book is meant in a political context to suggest that the voters can put the world in her hands. She sees the complexity and understands it." CBS offered two segments to the new book totaling nine minutes and seven seconds. Of that, only 13 seconds were devoted to discussing Clinton's role in the terrorist attack at Benghazi that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Last night on FNC’s The Kelly File, host Megyn Kelly sat down in an exclusive interview with six soldiers who served with Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.
When Kelly asked them about accusations floating around that they’re just engaging in “swiftboating” and “playing politics” by speaking out, the men voiced their frustration. One soldier told her, “I don’t know how he [Bergdahl] felt about us, but we would all die for him and he left.”
In an interview with the Fox News host on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer wondered if "President Bill O'Reilly" would have made the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange with the Taliban. O'Reilly replied: "I would not make the deal....These are not prisoners of war, these Taliban guys, they're war criminals. We ran down last night the atrocities that the Taliban has committed over the past ten years, and it's horrifying." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer followed up: "Do you think the administration either didn't see the reaction coming or misread the reaction?" O'Reilly responded: "It's such a mystery that they wouldn't know. First of all, President Obama knows what Bergdahl did because there's a classified report on the guy....They already know what he did, and it's not good."
Fox News host Bret Baier appeared on C-SPAN’s June 1 Q&A with Brian Lamb to promote his new book Special Heart: A Journey of Faith, Hope, Courage, and Love. Among the many topics discussed during the interview was the nation's political divide and Lamb wanted to know what Baier thought of the people who blamed the divide on Fox News.
Baier noted that is very worthwhile to point out that D.C. is more divided now than it ever has been. But Lamb wanted to know why such a divide exists. Baier pointed out that there really is no way to pinpoint it to one issue. That's when the C-SPAN founder took the opportunity to bring up the people who blame Fox News by saying, “I’m sure you’ve heard people blame Fox News.”
Appearing on Thursday's MSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports, Bloomberg News reporter Jeanne Cummings asserted that the highly controversial Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange – which an overwhelming majority of Americans feel has endangered the lives of U.S. soldiers – would have no negative political impact on Democrats in November's midterm elections. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Asked if the deal with the Taliban would affect the elections, Cummings declared: "Generally, no. It's a bipartisan reaction....I don't think this is going to last very long unless Congress comes up with better arguments than, 'We really hated the Rose Garden ceremony.' That compared to bringing a soldier back, for the American public, I don't think they weight together."
In a fit of partisan pique, national Republican leaders like RNC chairman Reince Priebus are whipping up a "lynch mob" against Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl that threatens the soldier's right to due process.
That's the latest Obama-shielding spin hitting the airwaves on MSNBC courtesy of NationalMemo.com editor-in-chief Joe Conason, who made such a charge on the June 5 edition of The Reid Report towards the conclusion of a segment with host Joy Reid and Salon.com's Joan Walsh. The relevant transcript appears below the page break [Listen to MP3 audio here; Watch the video below the page break]:
CBS This Morning reporter Anthony Mason uncritically promoted the band Pink Floyd's campaign to boycott the "racist regime" of Israel and attack the Rolling Stones for performing in Tel Aviv. After a clip of Pink Floyd's song "Another Brick in the Wall," Mason reminded that the group wanted "the Stones to join them in a boycott and build a cultural wall around Israel." The segment featured not a single quote from anyone opposing the boycott or supporting Israel. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Instead, Mason promoted the group's cause and explained that Roger Waters, Pink Floyd's lead singer "is a vocal opponent of what he believes is Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine." Instead of providing any balance, he featured Waters at a United Nations conference denouncing, "We found that the state of Israel is guilty of a number of international crimes." In a statement, members of Pink Floyd lectured the Rolling Stones for daring to defy the boycott.
During a fawning segment on Thursday's NBC Today promoting Hillary Clinton's People magazine interview, co-host Savannah Guthrie parroted the former Secretary of State's spin on the 2012 terrorist attack in Libya: "On Benghazi, Clinton said the chance to testify was the most important thing to her, despite a fall and concussion that's brought some Republican hard knocks on her health." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Guthrie touted Clinton's thinly-veiled attempt to question the health of Republican Congressman Paul Ryan: "Clinton told People that 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan told her he had suffered three concussions, one serious." Guthrie then noted: "Team Clinton has set up a rapid response team to address criticism about Benghazi during her book tour."
Ann Curry trumpeted that Hillary Clinton supposedly gave a "uncharacteristically revealing interview" to People magazine on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News. Kelly O'Donnell filed a gushing report about how Mrs. Clinton apparently "has plenty to say," and spotlighted the former secretary of state's new book.
O'Donnell later zeroed-in on the upcoming arrival of Clinton's grandchild and asserted that this would give a "new dimension to her already well-known, often-scrutinized political identity." She also turned to a Washington Post editor, who played up that the former Democratic senator might gain a political advantage from the baby: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
It's the latest viral video burning up the Internet, the talk of watercooler conversation all over the country today: President Obama looking positively goofy strenuously working out with a set of dumbbells. [I'll pause to let you write your own punchline]
It was video too good to ignore for both ABC's World News and CBS's Evening News, while NBC Nightly News decided to take a pass. Of course, both networks worked in a relatively positive spin for the president, with ABC worrying about and subsequently dismissing the notion of the video being a "security breach" while CBS's Maurice DuBois hailed the president as an disciplined athlete who sleepily hit the gym while on a grueling overseas trip. [See the relevant transcripts below the page break; Listen to MP3 audio here; Video follows page break]
A near-hysterical Ed Schultz on Wednesday lashed out against Republicans for questioning the prisoner swap made by President Obama that released five terrorists from Guantanamo Bay. The MSNBC anchor also dismissed GOP concerns as just another attempt to impeach the President. Regarding the top Taliban members who were set free last week, Schultz sanitized, "You mean to tell me, we just happen to negotiate away the absolute worst people on the face of the Earth and this is such a bad deal for America?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Coming up with his own conclusion as to why Republicans might be worried over the prisoner swap, the anchor lectured, "Well, this Republican freak-out over the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, it's all about one thing and one thing only and that is impeaching President Obama."
On Tuesday's CNN Tonight, Don Lemon hounded conservative author Dr. Ben Carson over his October 2013 likening of ObamaCare to slavery and his recent blunt remarks about the V.A. scandal. Lemon acted as an apologist for the President and wondered, "How can you compare a health care program to the brutal oppression and abuse of black people in this country?"
The anchor later asked, "Are you saying the President and this administration don't have Americans' best interests at heart because they're trying to get people health coverage?" He also accused the neurosurgeon of needlessly injecting inflammatory language into politics: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Appearing on Wednesday's Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC, NBC Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski offered a blunt response to the notion that the White House was "taken aback" by the controversy swirling around the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange: "I think if anybody at the White House would have done "Google: Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl," it would have jumped right up at them. There's no explanation for why they didn't know this." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Such critical analysis was prompted by host Andrea Mitchell wondering: "Were they [at the Pentagon] at least, were they somewhat taken aback, as the White House was, by the controversy that erupted over this?" Miklaszewski replied: "Not at all....senior defense and military officials were aware from the very beginning, shortly after he was – disappeared from his base five years ago, that this was a controversial issue. That soldiers were upset that one of their own would abandon their post in a war zone..."
It did not take long for MSNBC to begin blaming the right-wing “anti-Obama machine” for the backlash against the Bergdahl prisoner swap. Intent on ignoring their own poll in which 65% of respondents didn’t support Obama’s decision to make the exchange, the June 3 edition of The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell went above and beyond in criticizing Republicans for “swiftboating” Bergdahl.
After airing multiple clips from Fox News, host Ari Melber, filling in for O’Donnell, went so far as to claim that “many of the loudest voices here on the Right today remain utterly uninterested in any of the questions, and are instead obsessed with hurling any accusation that might, just might, stick to this particular president.” He accused Republican strategists of manipulating Bergdahl’s platoon members for testimony discrediting Bergdahl, an outrageous claim considering these veterans came forward of their own accord and even created a Facebook group labeling the Bergdahl as a deserter. [See video below. Click here for audio]
The Veterans Affairs scandal engulfing the Obama administration has spread into Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, but only ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday found time to cover the latest developments. GMA news reader Amy Robach revealed, "We're learning those secret waiting lists were also kept at ten facilities in these four Midwestern western states with nearly 100 veterans waiting more than three months for treatment." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Despite the eight hours of air time available to the three network morning shows, CBS and NBC avoided the story. ABC allowed 21 seconds. Obviously, the prisoner swap involving a U.S. soldier and five Taliban terrorists has rightly dominated the news. However, The four-hour-long Today show still found time to devote five minutes and 13 seconds on the subject of "six months to six pack" abs. CBS This Morning offered three minutes and 50 seconds to the phenomenon of "urban farming." Clearly, time was available.
Acting as a stenographer on Wednesday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd parroted the Obama administration's new attack against critics of the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange: "They did not expect this backlash on Bergdahl himself. I've had a few aides describe it to me as, 'We didn't know that they were going to swift boat Bergdahl'....a reference to that political fight back in 2004 over John Kerry's military service that became so controversial in that campaign. So there's some fighting words there." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The outrageous talking point was prompted by co-host Matt Lauer wondering: "Did the White House truly think this was just going to be a celebratory moment, the release of Sergeant Bergdahl? Did they not see any of this backlash coming? Were they caught flat-footed?"
[Warning: Vulgarity ahead.] Dennis Miller has a response for those liberals who think this country is full of people who can't better their lives with new jobs: America "is built on busting your a**." Late Night host Seth Meyers on Tuesday night hosted his fellow Saturday Night Live alum. The radio host and comic was promoting his new stand up act, “America 180.”
Meyers asked Dennis Miller to explain a little bit about the theme of his “America 180" act. The comedian explained that he grew skeptical when he heard Nancy Pelosi use the term “job lock," the idea of someone being stuck in a job simply for the benefits. According to Pelosi, that isn’t fair. She thinks people should be able to "free themselves" from this problem.
On his June 3 Hardball program, MSNBC's Chris Matthews expressed his disapproval of the president having broken federal law in the process of securing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's release in exchange for transferring five high-level Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Qatari government custody.
Of course, it took a liberal Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) complaining about the matter to register with Matthews as a problem for the president, but all the same, the Hardball host seemed angry that President Obama violated a law which he signed into effect. The relevant transcript appears below the page break [emphasis mine; Listen to the MP3 audio here or watch the video below the page break]:
On Tuesday, MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports presented two very different accounts of what kind of soldier Bowe Bergdahl was, first as a disillusioned free spirit who wished he'd joined the Peace Corps, then as a bloodthirsty warrior who wanted to rip the enemy's face off. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Talking to New York Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller, host Andrea Mitchell portrayed Bergdahl sympathetically: "I read somewhere, and it may have been your reporting, that he initially thought it was sort of joining the Peace Corps, that he was going to be helping the Afghan people, that maybe he didn't really understand. Because his disillusionment came so quickly..." Bumiller replied: "He did have some romantic notions...he was going over to Afghanistan to help the Afghan people. And those views were quickly dashed after he got there."
[UPDATE 16:00: Two and a half hours after posting, Reuters updated and used the word "Democrat."] According to Reuters, the ex-mayor of North Carolina's largest city admitted on Tuesday that he accepted bribes totaling at least $50,000 "in exchange for using his official positions to help people seeking to do business in the city." Yet the article by journalist Emily Harris avoided identifying Patrick Cannon as a Democrat.
Harris instead used generic terms for Cannon, referring to him as the "the former Charlotte mayor." Cannon is also accused of "taking bribes from the owner of an adult entertainment club and using his influence to help the business stay open despite being in the path of the city's new light-rail line." In contrast, Fox and Friends anchor Steve Doocy highlighted the former mayor's political party, noting, "The Democrat faces a maximum of 20 years in prison." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Monday night's Conan the host gave hope to aspiring comedians everywhere when he dug up one of his early performances.
Check out the video below to see a young and awkward (actually he still is awkward) Conan O'Brien try to act in an old '80s training video where he plays an agitated customer looking to buy a new guitar. Ahh humble beginnings. (Video after the jump)