On Thursday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd recited Obama administration spin as he gave a fully positive assessment of the President's Wednesday announcement of an Afghanistan troop withdrawal: "The President went with the most aggressive compromised withdrawal plan he could get commanders at the Pentagon to sign off on."
Moments later, Todd declared: "It was a sober sounding president, not a triumphant one, who announced from the White House that he's fulfilling his promise to begin the drawdown of U.S. forces next month." The headline on screen throughout the report touted a line from the speech that the White House was probably pleased with: "'A Position of Strength'; Obama Defends Plan For U.S. Troop Withdrawal."
As news broke Thursday morning of Congressman Anthony Weiner's upcoming resignation, congressional correspondent Luke Russert appeared on NBC's Today and sympathetically declared: "...this is really a sad ending, a lot would say, to what was once a bright, promising political career."
Moments later, NBC political director and chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd similarly touted Weiner's role in Democratic politics: "...he was serving as sort of the bombastic angry progressive, you know, trying to almost be the anti-Tea Party liberal in Congress taking on these folks. He'd become sort of a hero to the more progressive left, who were always upset that Democrats don't stand up for themselves. So here was the guy that had all this potential to become a huge political figure..."
Trying to play up the idea of chaos in the Republican 2012 field, on Thursday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd argued Sarah Palin's bus tour making a stop in New Hampshire on Thursday was "a little bit of a slap in Mitt Romney's face" on the day he was planning to announce his candidacy.
Co-host Meredith Vieira had asked Todd about Romney's upcoming announcement and claimed the former Massachusetts governor would have to "steal back the spotlight" from Palin. Todd declared that Palin was "not even giving him [Romney] one news cycle to make his case."
At the top of Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Meredith Vieira worried about the impact of the Twitter photo scandal on Congressman Anthony Weiner's career: "Will the scandal and his response to it derail his political ambitions?"
Talking to chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd later, Vieira pointed out how "the people who write the headlines in New York City are obviously having a heyday with this" but then soberly added, "beyond the laughs here, this guy is a rising star in this state, especially in the city of New York, considered a front-runner for the next mayoral campaign....What about the political toll?"
Feigning interest in Republican presidential prospects, on Monday night NBC Political Director Chuck Todd contended the decisions by Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee to forgo presidential runs leaves “an opening now for the economic populous, a sort of confrontational fire-breather, if you will, in the Republican Party.”
Todd soon repeated his disparaging “fire-breather” formulation: “There is a vast opening now for the social conservative, sort of what Pat Buchanan was in 1992, this fire-breathing, pitch-fork carrying, I'm mad and heck and not going to take it anymore Republican.”
Just the kind NBC News staff would be sure to denigrate and ridicule.
MSNBC's Chuck Todd rattled off a list of reasons to explain the sharp rise in the price of oil – none of which included Barack Obama's offshore drilling moratorium – and was "confused" about why anyone would blame the president for the prospect of $4 per gallon gasoline.
On the April 28 "Daily Rundown," Todd suggested the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing measures and increases in global demand account for the dramatic spike in oil, but he absolved the president of any blame.
"I guess what I'm confused about, how is this an administration – what is it that the president could have done about the price of gasoline?" wondered Todd, interviewing Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
Reporters are eagerly anticipating President Obama’s budget speech this afternoon, with NBC’s Chuck Todd assuring viewers of Wednesday’s Today show that now, finally, “the President’s going to add his voice to this, debate, essentially, over what to do about the ever-growing deficit and debt.”
But over and over again over the past two years, the media have painted Obama as a leader committed to “slashing” the deficit, only to have the absurdity of such spin later revealed by the administration’s actual policies.
Let’s start the trip down memory lane with coverage of President Obama’s first budget speech in February 2009, which reporters claimed would include steps to aggressively reduce the deficit. ABC’s David Muir began the February 21, 2009 World News by pitching how the President was “slashing the deficit by at least 50 percent by raising taxes on the wealthy, people making $250,000 and above, and cutting war spending by bringing troops home from Iraq.”
During the panel discussion on Sunday's Meet the Press on NBC, host David Gregory gushed over President Obama's Friday night address to the nation on the budget deal: "The message was clear. Here he was to save the day, that it was President Obama – and he went to the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday – that he was able to rise above the fray. That's the image they want Americans to see."
The rest of the political panel agreed with Gregory's assessment. Special Olympics CEO Tim Shriver argued: "I think the President appears to be a mediator, and I think he, he rightfully gets some credit for averting the show – shutdown." CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer declared: "I think the President came out very much above this week, above the fray." New York Times White House correspondent Helene Cooper proclaimed: "[Obama] was trying very much to appear above the – above the fray....definitely did the political calculus that he has to appear above it all, presidential."
Both NBC and CBS on Monday highlighted footage of Barack Obama at the Lincoln memorial on Saturday as they portrayed a President ready to cut the deficit. In the wake of an averted government shutdown, NBC's Chuck Todd on Today enthused, "Barely pausing to consider the $38.5 billion in budget cuts he and congressional leaders had just agreed to...Mr. Obama is already looking forward" with plans to lower the debt.
Today then featured footage of the President at the Lincoln Memorial from the weekend. On CBS's Early Show, Nancy Cordes narrated, "The President bounded up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial this weekend, trying to put the best face possible on a spending deal he had admitted was not to his liking."
The Obama administration launched its air war against Moammar Qaddafi’s Libya after a vote of the UN Security Council, but without any congressional authorization — and apparently not even very much consultation with congressional leaders. A review of the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts from Friday night through Monday night finds virtually no network interest in Obama’s bypassing of Congress — an attitude in stark contrast to their approach to the Bush administration during the run-up to the Iraq war in late 2002. (Video montage below jump.)
With Libya, only the NBC Nightly News has even mentioned the controversy over the Obama administration’s decision to cut Congress out of the decision-making. On the March 20 Nightly News, White House correspondent Chuck Todd offered one sentence taking note of John Boehner’s objections in a laundry list of other congressional complaints:
Twitter and other social networks have provided social scientists with unprecedented means of measuring human interaction. As it turns out, that fact has implications for the media bias debate.
In a study to be released next month, three Duke University researchers rank politicians and other public figures by political ideology as measured by a formula that incorporates whom they follow on Twitter, and who follows them. "The results dovetailed with ideological ranking systems based on the politicians’ voting records," the New York Times reported on Monday.
If the study is accurate, it demonstrates just how liberal some of America's most prominent journalists really are. Check below the break for some key findings concerning on the not-so-neutral news media.
MSNBC's Chuck Todd on Thursday fretted over the blame Barack Obama is enduring for making televised NCAA picks during the ongoing crises in Libya and Japan. After gushing over the President's basketball predictions on Wednesday, Todd followed up by lamenting, "Makes people wonder why anyone wants the job."
Talking to former Bush aide Tony Fratto, a defensive Todd argued, "[The White House has] been criticized for using him too much in time of crises. Here's a week where, now, people are criticizing, 'We're not seeing him enough.'"
Justifying Obama's basketball picks, golf outings and speeches to Democratic donors, the Daily Rundown anchor added, "...The schedule is the schedule. And you get- you get, almost, handcuffed to it sometimes, don't you?"
MSNBC's Chuck Todd on Wednesday hyped the fact that Barack Obama will be making his NCAA tournament picks on ESPN. The Daily Rundown anchor enthused, "You got about 27 hours to get your brackets in. The President has already done his."
Perhaps referencing the devastating earthquake in Japan or the ongoing crisis in Libya, Todd vaguely allowed, "He's a bit distracted, of course. Maybe he just doesn't just have time to do the research [for college basketball]." But, the MSNBC anchor didn't question the appropriateness of making televised basketball while Japan's nuclear reactors are still a major threat.
Chuck Todd on Sunday bashed Republican governor Mitch Daniels for his state having a 9.1 percent unemployment rate.
The substitute host of NBC's "Meet the Press" must not be aware that this is lower than most of Indiana's neighbors and is basically the same as the national rate (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The three evening newscasts on Monday and the morning shows on Tuesday mostly ignored Barack Obama's abandonment of a campaign pledge to close Guantanamo Bay and end trials of detainees there. NBC's Today, CBS's Early Show and ABC's Good Morning America all covered the story only in news briefs. Yet, when President Bush was in the White House, the networks obsessed over the issue.
Today's Ann Curry called the move to resume military trials there a "stunning reversal," but the network allowed just two brief anchor reads during the four hour program. ABC almost completely ignored the development. Monday's World News skipped the topic entirely.
On Tuesday's Good Morning America, Juju Chang offered a single mention, explaining, "And an about-face from President Obama on Guantanamo Bay. He is resuming military trials for terrorism suspects held in Cuba, two years after he pledged to close the prison."
NBC's chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd, on Tuesday's Today show, had no problem labeling Republican governors like Scott Walker, "conservative," but for some reason just couldn't get his lips to utter the word "liberal" when referring to the President.
In a piece about Barack Obama meeting with the nation's governors, Todd observed that in his first two years in office "when the President was desperate for bipartisan support" he turned "to some Republican governors but a lot of the moderates are gone among that group" adding that now there was "a conservative force in the states." Todd then went on to note that moderate Republicans like Charlie Crist and Arnold Schwarzenegger were being replaced by "conservative warriors like Wisconsin's Scott Walker" but he never attached a single liberal label to the President or any of his policies.
Chuck Todd has developed an interesting device to delegitimize support for Gov. Scott Walker, depicting his backers as uneducated, frustrated, blue-collar people who are willing to "lash out at government workers."
Yup, there's no respectable basis to support Walker and his call for reforms on a collective bargaining system that has nearly wrecked Wisconsin and many other states. No, there's just the irrational reaction of the embittered, ignorant masses.
Todd offered his analysis on today's Morning Joe in explaining that the Obama administration is backing off a bold stand on Wisconsin, given its swing-state status.
Of the three morning shows on Monday, only ABC's Good Morning America aggressively pushed the Obama administration on a lack of substantial cuts in the 2012 budget. NBC's Today and CBS's Early Show either downplayed the issue or didn't fully explain the President's new spending.
ABC's Jake Tapper declared that Obama's plan "shows that the President will not take the lead in any aggressive measures to reduce the debt." He also pointed out, "President Obama's budget projects at least $1 trillion in deficit reduction over ten years, but it still creates $7.2 trillion in new debt, pitting the President on a collision course with Republicans who are already saying this budget does not take the deficit seriously enough and deeper cuts are needed."
NBC's Chuck Todd ignored the new spending in the budget and instead asserted that the White House is "join[ing] the battle" with its new plan. Todd blandly repeated Obama's talking points on the cuts.
Of the three evening newscasts, only NBC's Chuck Todd on Wednesday offered no critical analysis of Barack Obama's call for both new spending and deficit reduction. ABC's Jake Tapper actually investigated the proposed plans and concluded, "...It almost looks like a wash between his new ideas for cutting and his new ideas for spending."
CBS's Chip Reid also highlighted Republican opposition and the fact that the deficit reduction plan doesn't include Medicare or Social Security. Yet, Todd, appearing on Nightly News, simply parroted, "The President was reinforcing a call he made last night for greater investment and innovation and infrastructure to keep America competitive."
NBC's Matt Lauer was joined by his colleague Chuck Todd, on Thursday's Today show, as the two trumpeted "good news" for President Obama in the latest results from a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. After Lauer hailed Obama received "an eight-point leap from last month" in his approval rating, Todd explained the surge was because the respondents "think he's going to be the reasonable guy" and that the Republicans will be "inflexible."
While Lauer did offer that a rise in optimism for the economy, as seen in the poll, could be spun the GOP's way because people "see there will be shared power in Washington" Todd quickly threw cold water on that theory as he countered: "Right now the President is getting all of the benefit. The Republicans aren't getting any of the credit yet."
Neither Lauer or Todd explored the idea that perhaps a reason for a bump in Obama's ratings was his signing of the tax deal in December.
Talk about bullish consensus, the entire panel on this weekend's "Chris Matthews Show" felt that President Obama was going to be a big winner in the first quarter of this year making him the proverbial comeback kid.
Alex Wagner of Politics Daily went so far as to predict, "Obama’s going to be flying on angels wings two feet off the ground" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
With Republicans taking control of Congress, those in the media suddenly feel that proposing legislation, such as repealing ObamaCare, is a waste of time. From CBS's Harry Smith referring to it as "a fool's errand" to MSNBC's Chuck Todd fretting over the GOP "relitigating health care," here is a video compilation of the slanted coverage this proposal has received.
NBC's Matt Lauer, on Monday's Today show, feared cooler heads would not prevail in the newly GOP controlled House as he worried that those who've "staked their entire careers and reputation on dissent" are going "to do a lot of yelling in these first couple of days and weeks." Lauer, apparently not realizing that many Americans voted in the midterms for "dissent" against the likes of Obamacare, asked David Gregory who would win between the aforementioned yellers and those "who really listen to the voters."
Gregory responded that the Tea Party comes to Washington with a "mandate" to "stick to some of the principles" they campaigned on, but then added that the incoming chair of the House Government committee, Republican Darrell Issa, was going to use his subpoena power "to take that opposition to the next level." This prompted Lauer to huff: "But is that what Republicans across the country want, David? Do they want investigations or do they want other things accomplished?"
Later on in the segment, on a different topic, Lauer, Gregory and Todd, piled on New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie, as well as New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, asking if their political futures were "hurt" by their handling of the recent snowstorms. Todd affirmed both were hurt as he asserted: "Both of them have sketched out this idea that they are the competency candidates." and "If they ever ran for president they'd be like, 'Look we can make this thing work.' Well the first test of competency is managing an emergency crisis like this. And on this one, right now, it looks like they had a tough time passing that test."
Daily Rundown host Chuck Todd on Monday parroted Barack Obama's talking points and repeatedly wondered if the new GOP majority in the House will insist on 'relitigating health care." He began by lecturing, "Will the first month of a Republican-led House be known for relitigating the past, pushing for repeal of health care, focus on investigation?"
Compare that to President Obama during a November 3, post-midterm press conference: "We'd be misreading the election if we thought the American people want to see us for the next two years relitigate arguments that we had over the last two years." Todd on Monday mimicked, "Is that really the first impression the Republican Congress wants to leave with the American public or are they going to keep their focus on spending and the economy?"
During the piece, the MSNBC anchor talked to Republican strategist Kevin Madden and reiterated, "If you were still in your old job with John Boehner, do you want the headlines to be about investigations and relitigating health care or do you want them to be about spending and jobs and making government smaller?"
Even as the public grew increasingly disenchanted with Washington's full-throated liberal policies in 2010, the media elite's partisanship remained on full display. The Media Research Center's Best Notable Quotables of 2010 captured the highlights, as journalists continued to blame America's misfortunes on George W. Bush, even as they also insisted that Barack Obama deserved more credit for his amazing accomplishments.
In the MRC's "They Don't Miss Him Yet Award for Still Bashing Bush," Time's Joe Klein took the prize for insisting that the April 2010 Gulf oil spill was really Bush's fault: "This is more Bush’s second Katrina than Obama’s first,” Klein lamely insisted on The Chris Matthews Show. Klein made his crack on May 30, nearly 500 days after Bush left the Oval Office.
Can two grown men really be this dumb, or is their hatred for conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh so blinding they wouldn't know sarcasm if it punched them in the face?
As tough as it might be to believe, Ed Schultz and Al Sharpton actually took seriously Limbaugh's joke that media outlets criticizing President Obama's tax compromise plan did so because they are racist (video follows with transcript and commentary):
MSNBC's Chuck Todd on the December 7 "Daily Rundown" was uncharacteristically heated in his opposition to the compromise between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans on extending the Bush tax rates.
Interviewing a Treasury Department official, Todd used flawed statistics to malign the proposed two-year extension of tax breaks for all families as unacceptably expensive.
"The cost of this is astronomical though," proclaimed the NBC Political Director. "The payroll tax cut means essentially borrowing from the Social Security trust fund to do this temporary payroll tax. I mean, it's 120 billion, that's a lot of money!"
Brian Williams adopted a liberal framework as he opened Monday's NBC Nightly News by declaring “it’s a fair question to ask and for a while now Americans have been wondering how lawmakers in Washington could possibly extend tax breaks for wealthy Americans while allowing benefits for jobless Americans to be cut off.”
Then, after Chuck Todd outlined the Obama-GOP compromise to maintain income taxes at their current rates for two years while extending unemployment benefits and implementing a temporary reduction in the payroll tax, Williams fretted the deal contradicts how “the fight has been over anything in government that isn't paid for,” yet, as Todd despaired in filling in Williams’ regret, “none of this is paid for. In terms of lost revenue for the government next year, it's $450 billion.”
Covering President Barack Obama’s White House meeting with congressional leaders, ABC and CBS portrayed incoming House Republicans as the ones obstinate about tax rates, refusing to compromise – meaning agreeing to Obama’s wish to raise income tax rates on many – or match Obama’s conciliatory tone, though NBC’s Chuck Todd pointed out how Obama “seemed unwilling” to even agree with a Democratic proposal to raise “the middle-class tax threshold from $250,000 to those Americans making more than $1 million.”
ABC’s Jake Tapper reported “Obama pushed Republicans today to allow Congress to vote separately on Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and on those for everyone else,” but, he noted, “Republicans rejected that idea.” He concluded with how “Obama told the Republicans” that “he should have reached out more to them over the previous two years. Republicans,” however, “who oppose the President's domestic agenda lock-step, offered no such mea culpa.”
On CBS, Chip Reid, who relayed how Obama “did offer an olive branch, taking some responsibility for partisan tensions” while “Republicans did not return the peace offering,” contended: “Republicans, with their hands strengthened by the election victory, appeared even less inclined to bend than the President.”