The Big Three networks all recognized the 50th anniversary of John Glenn's historic orbital spaceflight on their evening newscasts on Monday. Both NBC and CBS highlighted how there's "no certainty when the U.S. will launch astronauts again, [and] Glenn worries America may be losing its edge." But the networks failed to mention that President Obama put the decades-old endeavor in limbo, which led to the unemployment of thousands of technicians.
Brian Williams concluded his report on NBC Nightly News by noting how "it irks Senator Glenn that the manned space program is now idle. The Shuttle program is over, and the only ride available into space for American astronauts is the Russians, the former enemy that [he] was chasing into space 50 years ago today."
A visibly perturbed Jay Barbree, during MSNBC live coverage on Thursday, called out Barack Obama for making cuts in NASA that could result, as he claimed, in 9,000 employees losing their jobs even though during the campaign, as the long time NBC correspondent reported, the President "told 15,000 workers here at the Space Center that if they would vote for him, that he would protect their jobs." This sent MSNBC live anchor Alex Witt immediately into administration defense mode as she asserted: "I will say on behalf of the Obama administration, they contend that 2500 new jobs will be created."
The following exchange was aired during MSNBC's live April 15 coverage at around 12pm Eastern:
ALEX WITT: Right now on MSNBC, President Obama gets ready to head to NASA to try to build support for his efforts to revamp the nation's space program. Although the international space station will remain active, plans to send astronauts back to the moon are being scrubbed for now and that is dividing, not only Congress, but also some of the few people who have actually stepped foot on the lunar surface. Let's bring in NBC's Jay Barbree who's live for us at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Jay, good day to you.