Filling in for Matt Lauer on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Hoda Kotb made a bizarre proclamation about race relations in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting: "Skittles obviously has become really kind of a symbol in the whole Trayvon Martin case. A symbol of racial injustice. You see people holding up the bags of Skittles in their hands and it clearly means something." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Kotb made the comment to advertising executive Donny Deutsch during a segment about how the candy maker should deal with new attention to the brand caused by the fact that Martin happened to have a bag of Skittles on him when he was shot. Surprisingly, Deutsch was actually the voice of reason in the exchange: "If you're Skittles point of view, you put your head down and you wait for it to go away."
The network morning shows on Thursday took a mostly light-hearted look at clothing company Benetton's ad campaign featuring the Pope kissing a Muslim cleric. The ads, which have now been pulled under legal pressure, were summarized by Good Morning America's Josh Elliott. He parroted, "It was part of Benetton 's Unhate campaign, challenging people to have the courage not to hate."
Elliott described the company's removal of the ad as "bowing to pressure from the Vatican." None of the networks, however, mentioned any possible negativity from Muslims. Only NBC's Today referred to them as "very, very controversial," with fourth hour co-host Hoda Kotb blanching, "Put your breakfast down. Because you're going to want to."
In the fourth hour of Thursday's Today show NBC's Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb took a strong stance against the right to smoke, pretty much everywhere, as both endorsed Mayor Mike Bloomberg's proposed ban that goes several steps further than just restaurants. During the opening chat session of the hour, Kotbe announced: "So some good news in New York City...Mayor Bloomberg is considering banning smoking in all places like parks, beaches and Times Square." Gifford also praised the move declaring that "Second-hand smoke is a bigger killer than asbestos or a lot of other things" but later seemed to contradict herself as she proclaimed: "I'm all for personal rights. I'm becoming more and more of a libertarian the older I get."
The following is the full exchange as it was aired on the September 16 Today show:
As of this Friday, NBC's Today show has yet to mention the Joe Sestak scandal, (as noted by the MRC's Tim Graham in this Media Reality Check) however they did find time to poke fun at Republican California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina making fun of Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer's hair in an open mic moment. On Thursday's Today, they ran the clip of Fiorina's gaffe three times, even leading the show with it in the opening teaser with co-anchor Meredith Vieira exclaiming: "Ay Carly! California Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina caught on an open mic making a joke about her opponent's hair."
Interesting to note that the reporters and producers at the Today show care more about a GOP Senate candidate mocking a Democrat's hairstyle than the White House attempting to manipulate a Senate race in Pennsylvania with a job offer.
The following takes on the Fiorina vs. Boxer open mic incident were aired on the June 10 Today show:
If anyone at NBC News has a sense of irony, they hide it well. Ironic is about the best you can say about a supposedly reputable, unbiased news organization taking up with a magazine called The Advocate. But there was NBC last month, announcing with a straight face (pardon the pun) a new partnership with The Advocate, a gay-oriented magazine.
According to Media Bistro, "The magazine's online home, Advocate.com, will use NBC resources to produce daily news segments that will run online and on air via "The Advocate On-Air. NBC News, in turn, may use content and writers from The Advocate to report on issues relating to the LGBT community."
Late night talk show host and author Chelsea Handler was invited on Tuesday's Today show to plug her new book Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang and couldn't leave the show without taking a dig at earlier guest Karl Rove, as well as Sarah Palin who she called "Really stupid." When asked by 10:00am hour Today host Hoda Kotb how she felt about having her book released at the same time as the former White House advisor's the E! talk show host quipped she was worried about competing for the "stupid" audience with him and Palin, as seen in the following exchange that was aired on the March 9 Today show: [audio available here]
KATHIE LEE GIFFORD: It is, it is, It's laugh out loud though, it really is.
HODA KOTB: Yeah it really is fun.
GIFFORD: I've been reading it since we got it, for a couple weeks. I'm not a slow reader. It's just that I just read it in the morning.
CHELSEA HANDLER: Well it's an easy. It's like a third grade reading level.
GIFFORD: It's an easy read! Yes.
HANDLER: I like to write for my audience and I know that my audience are going, mostly going through some tough times.
KOTB: What do you think about your book coming out at the same time as Karl Rove's?
Joy Behar of ABC's The View has had a talk show on CNN Headline News for less than a year, and she’s already receiving an "Excellence in Media Award" from the hard-left Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, presented to "presented to media professionals who have increased the visibility and understanding of the LGBT community."
In a press release announcing the award will be handed out in New York on March 13, GLAAD touted how "A number of episodes have featured discussion of LGBT issues and LGBT guests, including a segment featuring Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black speaking about his Mormon upbringing as a gay man. The episode is nominated for a GLAAD Media Award this year for Outstanding Talk Show Episode." Past recipients of the Excellence in Media Award include ABC’s Diane Sawyer.
In a similar vein, the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association are holding their annual "Headlines and Headliners" fundraiser in New York on March 25, co-hosted by NBC's Today fourth-hour co-hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. NBC Universal is a "diamond sponsor" of the event and will have a heavy NBC contingent attending, including other female Today co-hosts and news anchors:
On Wednesday's Today show, the co-hosts of the 10am hour, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, invited on David Mizejewski of the Wildlife Federation to participate in that talk-show time honored tradition of the animal segment but viewers couldn't enjoy the cuddly creatures without getting a dose of global warming alarmism. As the camera closed-in on the eyes of the Arctic fox that he was trying to control, Mizejewski preached to the Today audience: "If anybody needs a reason to care about global warming it's animals like this, they are threatened by the Arctic warming up."
The following moment of climate change propaganda was aired on the December 16, Today show:
Tiger Woods' "transgressions" sparked conversations about why men cheat but it took a comedian to pinpoint the basic reason - lack of character.
Comedian Chuck Nice appeared on the "All Guy Panel" during the fourth hour of Thursday morning's "Today" and blasted men who engage in extramarital affairs.
"I've said this before and I will say it again. And no one wants to accept this as an answer, but here is the reason why men cheat. It is a failure of character. That is it," Nice exclaimed.
"End of story. It's a failure of character," he continued. "A man who has the strong, spiritual conviction to say that although I want to do this, I will rely upon a higher power to make sure and strengthen me so that I am able to stand for my vows is the man who will not cheat. Now, that's the end of it."
We're heading into the fourteenth day that the networks have deliberately ignored the Climategate scandal. And it's understandable. After all, air time is valuable and there are so many pressing issues to cover. Like ... um ...
Well, on Dec. 4, NBC's four-hour "Today" show couldn't squeeze in a single reference to Climategate, but it did find the time to discuss a British couple that's financing their wedding by producing their own porn movies.
"They have made some money already off their porn movies," NBC's Hoda Kotb said.
"Yes," said Kotb's co-host Kathie Lee Gifford. "They've made $2,155 making three of their own X-rated movies ... They plan to make four more, and they want to finance their romantic wedding beach ceremony in Cancun, Mexico next June."
Perez Hilton has proved that demonstrable talent or skill is no longer a prerequisite for fame. These days, all that's needed is a proclivity for peddling the sleaziest material imaginable.
Hilton created a career for himself out of enhancing paparazzi shots of celebrities with crude white drawings of genitalia and bodily fluids and posting them on his blog, PerezHilton.com. He regularly described young actresses in the most misogynistic terms imaginable, relentlessly attempted to bring gay celebrities out of the closet and reserved a special brand of hate for conservative women, such as referring to "The View's" Elisabeth Hasselbeck as "Elisab----" or re-posting lesbian comedian Margaret Cho's graphic oral sex fantasy about Sarah Palin. As a reward, his Web site reportedly receives 24 - 30 million views per month.
The mainstream media aided Hilton's rise to the top of culture corrupters. Since 2006, he has been the focus of 49 television news reports. He has been cited as an "expert" on all things related to Hollywood in 32 news stories. The Los Angeles Times recently labeled the blogger a "tastemaker."
Ann Coulter made a second appearance during the 10 am Eastern hour of Wednesday’s Today show, and hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb continued the discussion about the apparent “venom” in her books. Kotb asked if Coulter’s style was “kind of like shock jock, shake the cage, freak everyone out, wake everybody up,” and later stated that she felt the tone of the conservative’s writing was “dripping with venom.” The two hosts focused Coulter’s take on single motherhood in her new book, as Matt Lauer had done in her earlier appearance on the NBC program.
Kotb began the interview with her “shock jock, shake the cage” question. Coulter answered that she tries to “write in an entertaining, intriguing way, so that people will read what I have to say.” After the three briefly discussed the writing process for the author, Kotb then brought up the title of Coulter’s chapter on the problem of single motherhood: “Victim of a Crime? Thank a Single Mother.” Coulter explained her central point in the chapter, that single mothers are “victimizing their children by raising their children without fathers,” and how these children are “70% of the prison population, 60% to 70% of future unwed mothers -- of murderers, of rapists, of juvenile delinquents, of teenage runaways.”
Appearing in the timeslot of the fourth hour of Tuesday's "Today" show that Ann Coulter was originally booked to appear on, celebrity blogger/author Perez Hilton addressed the Coulter bumping controversy directly, as he challenged the conservative author: "Ann Coulter, if you’re watching, bite me!"
"Today" co-hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb then acknowledged that Coulter was, in fact, scheduled to promote her book at that time but may be invited back on Wednesday's show. Gifford expressed disappointment that Coulter and Hilton weren't on together, saying it would have been "good television," which prompted Hilton to respond: "She's not very friendly with the gays...but that's okay I'm friendly with everyone." However Hilton then went on to brag, "I'll talk trash about her, to her face...I'm not a fan of anyone trying to deny me my rights."
The following exchange aired during the fourth hour of the January 6, "Today" show:
Proving that no segment, be it even one on food trends, is safe from liberal bias, NBC's "Today" show food editor claimed, in a report on hot new food trends, that global warming was causing Napa Valley wines to become passe. On Thursday's "Today" show co-anchors Ann Curry and Hoda Kotb sipped wine, while Lempert claimed that North Carolina wines were going to be all the rage because Napa Valley wineries were being harmed by "global warming."
The following exchange occurred on the March 27 "Today" show: