Leading off Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams eagerly touted gun control supporters going after Republican New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte at a recent town hall meeting: "Pushing back. A tense moment as a U.S. senator gets an earful about her no vote on gun control." Williams hopefully added: "And with lawmakers home from Washington on a break, is this about to start happening more often?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While Williams promoted the incident as a genuine public uprising, emphasizing "9 of 10 Americans support expanded background checks," he failed to mention that President Obama's campaign machine, Organizing for Action, was motivating many of the anti-Ayotte protests. On FNC's Special Report on Wednesday, anchor Bret Baier reported: "OFA took to the streets of New Hampshire at the end of April for an impassioned protest against [Ayotte]...One sign spattered in what appears to be fake blood reads, quote, 'More shot in one day than marathoned.'"
Following gun background check legislation being voted down in the Senate on Wednesday, anchor Brian Williams led off NBC Nightly News that evening by proclaiming: "There are cries of 'shame' from victims of gun violence watching from the Senate gallery and the President reacts with anger." Williams later touted how Obama "called it 'a pretty shameful day for Washington'" when ranting about the loss from the Rose Garden that afternoon. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell portrayed opponents of gun restrictions as unsympathetic to shooting victims: "...many of those Newtown families watched senators they had personally met with vote down expanded background checks....Patricia Maisch, [a] Tucson shooting survivor who shouted at senators, 'Shame on you!'" A sound bite was included of Maisch condemning senators who voted against the bill: "They have no souls. They have no compassion."
On the eve of a proposed deal on a limited expansion of background checks for guy buyers, Tuesday's NBC Nightly News went after Republicans for opposing gun restrictions, with Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell proclaiming: "In a provocative move, more than a dozen Republicans are threatening to use Senate rules to block a vote on new gun restrictions....Sensing public disdain, a rift emerged among Republicans. A dozen now saying publicly they would not support a filibuster..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In her report, O'Donnell cast GOP senators as the villains opposite family members of Newtown shooting victims: "The families here today were looking lawmakers in the eye with a direct appeal. A movement and a deeply personal cause, one Senate office at a time." O'Donnell declared that the possible Republican filibuster of new laws was "adding an extra urgency to the Newtown families' visit."
With his penchant for ripping Republicans rather than Democrats, Joe Scarborough likely long ago ruined his chances of winning a Republican primary. But the Morning Joe host today jokingly acknowledged how particularly tough it would now be, after Harry Reid yesterday approvingly quoted him on the Senate floor.
Ever since Newtown, Scarborough has been waging a daily campaign for gun control, repeatedly scourging Republicans for their opposition to President Obama's proposals. Quoth Reid: "Scarborough tears into GOP filibuster on gun bill, and I quote, 'is anybody awake in my party?'" View the video after the jump.
Lapdog journalist Josh Elliott on Tuesday offered no skepticism about a controversial trip Beyonce and Jay-Z took to Cuba. The Good Morning America news reader insisted that there was nothing troubling about the fact that the music power couple, who raised over $4 million dollars for Barack Obama's reelection, received special permission to visit the communist country of Cuba. (American tourists are barred from traveling there.)
Elliott reassured, "Meanwhile, an uproar over Beyonce and Jay-Z's trip to Cuba may be much ado about nothing." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] After noting that the visit drew "criticism," he insisted that no laws were violated and added, "The trip was reportedly approved by the Treasury Department as a cultural visit." Elliott never mentioned the financial help Beyonce and Jay Z provided Obama, nor did he ask why the vacation was approved. In contrast, Hoda Kotb on NBC's Today deemed the trip "controversial." NBC reporter Natalie Morales offered far more skepticism: "New questions and outrage from lawmakers this morning following Beyonce and Jay-Z's trip to Cuba."
In 2006, Joe Biden, then a powerful U.S. senator and future vice president, smeared Indian Americans as mostly working at the convenience store 7-11. At the time, NBC (and the other networks) completely ignored the story. This week, when obscure Republican Congressman Don Young referred to Hispanic migrant workers as "wetbacks," NBC's Today show devoted a full segment to the story.
Reporter Kelly O'Donnell on Friday explained how the Alaska Representative gave an interview to a local radio station and "used an offensive slur to describe" some Latinos. She then took this as an excuse to highlight the GOP as out of touch: "Young's comments come at a time when the Republican Party is struggling to connect with minorities after failing to do that in the 2012 presidential election where 71 percent of Latinos voted for President Obama." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
MSNBC's Martin Bashir made a bit of a fool of himself Thursday surprisingly with the assistance of NBC News's Kelly O'Donnell.
When Bashir claimed the just-ended failed cloture vote on Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary was "an example of the fractures in the Republican Party because at the beginning of the day we didn't think that Harry Reid would get any Republican votes," O'Donnell responded, "Actually, not a surprise, not a surprise" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
While the NBC and CBS morning shows on Friday both covered troubling Thursday testimony from outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that revealed President Obama's lack of engagement during the Benghazi terrorist attack, ABC's Good Morning America completely ignored the story. In addition, none of the networks mentioned the testimony on their Thursday evening newscasts.
Friday's CBS This Morning provided the most coverage, with a full report by correspondent Nancy Cordes, who explained: "Panetta revealed that he briefed the President at the start of the attack, but the two men did not speak again that night....Republicans say it's a sign that the President was disengaged the night of the attack. Panetta said his aides and the President's were in touch, but he said as well that he did not speak to Secretary Clinton the night of the attack either."
On Tuesday's Today, while teasing NBC's third full report on the unfolding scandal surrounding New Jersey Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, co-host Matt Lauer proclaimed: "...we're hearing from [him] this morning for the first time about claims that he was with prostitutes during some overseas trips. Coming up, his emotional response to what he says is a false attack."
In the segment that followed, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell teed up a series of sound bites of Menendez denying the allegations and attacking those making them: "[He] denied that online story and grew emotional, saying political enemies launched a false attack." Referring to the story that broke on The Daily Caller, Menendez ranted: "...smears that right-wing blogs have been pushing since the election...It's amazing to me that anonymous, nameless, faceless individuals on a website can drive that type of story into the mainstream..."
Monday's NBC Today was quick to seize on Sarah Palin ending her tenure as a contributor for Fox News, with correspondent Kelly O'Donnell announcing: "Sarah Palin has people guessing again this morning...After a breakup that seemed unlikely between the former governor and her conservative home at Fox News."
O'Donnell remarked that Palin had "carved out an unusual space, at the intersection of politics, celebrity, and pop culture," followed by a clip of comedian Tina Fey mocking the former Republican vice presidential candidate. O'Donnell then observed that "Palin's main gig is over."
On their evening and morning news shows on Thursday and Friday, NBC and CBS were quick to tout Democratic efforts to reimpose an assault weapons ban, with NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams proclaiming the move to be "the latest step in the ongoing response to the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings."
On CBS Evening News, correspondent Nancy Cordes described the scene as the legislation was announced on Thursday: "Flanked by police officers, doctors, and mayors, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California made her case today for banning the types of weapons used to carry out mass shootings." Cordes further highlighted the stagecraft: "Feinstein also asked half a dozen gun victims to share their stories, to give the measure a human face. Lilly Habtu was shot three times at Virginia Tech."
At the top of Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer gushed over Vice President Biden doing a series of photo-ops while swearing in newly elected senators on Thursday: "Joe Biden welcomes lawmakers and their families to Washington like only he can." In a later report, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell glossed over several awkward moments caused by Biden: "There was certainly a lot of charm being poured on by the Vice President." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A few minutes later, fill-in news reader Willie Geist played a brief montage of some of the especially odd comments by Biden, including the Vice President telling the husband of one senator, "Spread your legs; you're going to be frisked," and declaring after looking a woman up and down, "holy mackerel."
Despite John Boehner receiving overwhelming support from the Republican caucus to be reelected as Speaker of the House, NBC Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell hyped dissension in the ranks on Friday's NBC Today: "After a turbulent few weeks of setbacks that had cast doubt on his power and influence, a dozen rebellious conservatives turned against him, but Boehner had enough votes."
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, O'Donnell proclaimed: "John Boehner's path to a second term as Speaker of the House has been rocky. But there was no challenge, only a handful of conservatives voted against him." That morning, Today co-host Matt Lauer proclaimed a "civil war" among Republicans over a Hurricane Sandy relief bill.
The way the news media fawned over the Democratic 111th Congress -- which passed the wildly unpopular ObamaCare -- while smearing the Republican House in the 112th is like a bad Saturday Night Live skit, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told Sean Hannity on the January 3 edition of his eponymous Fox News Channel program.
"Look, what they're saying is, when the Democrats were in charge with the 111th Congress they did all these things moving the agenda to the left, and, oh happy days, look at all the wonderful left-wing things they did," Bozell noted, but then, "The112th Congress comes around and Republicans try to put a stop to the madness and it's called tyrannical." [Watch the full "Media Mash" segment in the embed below the page break]
In a pair of back-to-back stories leading off Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, House Republicans were painted as villains for briefly delaying a vote on Hurricane Sandy relief. First, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell declared: "Stunned Democrats and Republicans could not believe that their hometown suffering could be ignored."
In the next report, correspondent Anne Thompson decried the move: "Where the reminders of Sandy are still all too vivid, today frustration turned to fury....the House of Representatives' failure to vote is just one more body blow."
Employing sanctimonious rhetoric to paint Senate Republicans as cruel and heartless for opposing a U.N. treaty on disabled rights completely redundant to the Americans With Disabilities Act, on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams lectured: "If you want to know how broken, how partisan our Congress and our government has become, all you need to look at is this one day in Washington....Senator John Kerry called this one of the saddest days he's seen in close to three decades in the U.S. Senate." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell pointed to the GOP as the source of the sorrow: "For those looking for cooperation tonight, only disappointment, even real sadness over what happened with this treaty intended to help the disabled....Five Republican votes short of the 66 needed....it's unusual to see tears shed in the Senate chamber, I witnessed that today....I saw a woman in a wheelchair, leaving with tears rolling down her face."
In an obituary for former Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter on Sunday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell summarized his shift in political allegiance this way: "Specter's views, supporting abortion rights, immigration reform, and gun control, made him too liberal for the Tea Party movement...Under assault, he bolted to the Democratic Party."
Introducing O'Donnell's report, anchor Lester Holt declared Specter to be "a longtime voice of moderation in Washington, and at times a figure of controversy." As evidence of Specter's controversial nature, O'Donnell cited him questioning the credibility of Anita Hill during a 1991 Supreme Court hearing: "Specter angered many women over the spectacle around Anita Hill, who claimed Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her."
In a report on Tuesday's NBC Today, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell described "awkward stumbles" for Senator Scott Brown and challenger Elizabeth Warren in a Massachusetts senatorial debate on Monday. Brown's supposed stumble was that he "first named an ultra-conservative" Antonin Scalia as an example of "a very good judge" and model Supreme Court justice.
O'Donnell described Warren's stumble being that she named "retiring" Indiana Senator Dick Lugar as a Republican she could work with if elected. In reality, Lugar was defeated by Richard Mourdock in the Republican primary.
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie promoted "a congressional battle in Massachusetts featuring a very familiar name" and wondered, "Could another Kennedy be headed to Congress?" In the report that followed, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell lamented the end of 65 years of Kennedys in Congress, then proclaimed: "But now a new generation has stepped forward."
In reference to Joseph Kennedy III running for Congress in the Bay State, O'Donnell announced: "In Massachusetts politics, he's no ordinary Joe....Going door to door in the rain Sunday, he bears both a family resemblance and a weighty family legacy." She noted him being "the first of his generation to enter the family trade" and touted his resume as "a Harvard law grad, former assistant D.A., and Peace Corps volunteer."
On NBCNews.com's "First Read" Kelly O'Donnell attempted to further tie in the Romney-Ryan campaign to Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comments with this gasp-inducing headline: Ryan backed more than one 'forcible rape' abortion bill.
In the article, O'Donnell made a substantial deal out of the term "forcible," seemingly implying that if there wasn't much violence during the rape, then it would be more "acceptable," and/or if the rape wasn't "forcible," then the woman is out of luck if she wanted an abortion:
At the top of Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie seized on controversies involving Republican members of Congress and proclaimed: "Hot water....Two distractions for the GOP with the convention now just one week away." Introducing coverage of the incidents, fill-in cost Lester Holt similarly declared: "...some high-profile distractions for the Republican Party. Two congressmen under fire this morning, one for what he did, the other for what he said."
Beginning an otherwise positive story on Wednesday's NBC Today about vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's intense exercise regimen, P90X, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell managed to work in this jab: "He's doing a workout you've probably seen all over late night TV. Call it extreme. And we're not talking about his politics here." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On its Wednesday evening and Thursday morning newscasts, CBS didn't file one report or news brief on the controversial federal abortifacient/contraception mandate going into effect. Even worse, the only mention of religious liberty scandal over the regulation was CBS This Morning playing a clip of liberal comedian Stephen Colbert making fun of it.
ABC's Diane Sawyer heralded the mandate taking effect as "an important day for women's health" on Wednesday's World News, and forwarded the White House's talking points on the regulation: "Religious employers, like Catholic charities and hospitals, do not have to directly include free birth control under their health plans." On NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams lamented that "simply by taking effect, it started up the health care fight all over again."
Seizing on a handful of Republican members of Congress questioning Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin's supposed tenuous family connections to the Muslim Brotherhood, on Thursday's NBC Today, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell used the incident to fawn over Clinton's "second daughter": "Abedin is Hillary Clinton's dear friend, closest senior aide...Elegant, glamorous, profiled in Vogue."
O'Donnell labeled the charges against Abedin – outlined in a congressional letter sent by Michele Bachmann and five other Republican House members to the State Department – as "what some are calling a sinister attack on the patriotism" of the top Clinton aide. She then hyped Republican Senator John McCain denouncing the obscure letter to what a front-page Washington Post story admitted was an "otherwise empty Senate chamber."
Uniquely among the broadcast network evening newscasts, the NBC Nightly News, not only ran a full report on the House of Representatives vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, but the network also noted that some Democrats joined Republicans on the vote.
By contrast, ABC's World News and the CBS Evening News only mentioned the dozens of Democrats who walked out of the Capitol in protest as they devoted only about half a minute each to the story.
NBC's Today kept up its complete omission of the Fast and Furious gun-running controversy on Wednesday, even as a House committee prepared to vote later in the day on whether to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. CBS This Morning stood among the Big Three morning newscasts in devoting a full report to the issue. ABC's Good Morning America gave only a 20-second news brief on the controversy.
Overall, NBC has punted on the story since December 2010, when the scandal first emerged. NBC Nightly News had its own blackout on Fast and Furious until June 12, 2012, when correspondent Kelly O'Donnell finally mentioned "Congress's investigation of a failed operation that sent U.S. guns into Mexico" during a 30-second news brief. The issue hasn't been mentioned since on the evening newscast.
NBC provided its first coverage of the Fast & Furious gun running scandal on Tuesday, providing a scant 30 seconds on Nightly News. In contrast, Thursday's NBC Today devoted a 37-second report to a video of "Obama Boy," a gay activist singing over his support for the President in 2012. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Today news anchor Natalie Morales proclaimed: "Justin Brown's viral YouTube video focuses on the President's support for gay marriage." A long clip played of Brown musically professing he had a "crush on Obama" and wanting to the President "get hard on Romney in debate." Morales added: "Meanwhile, 'Obama Girl' says she loves the video. She hopes she and 'Obama Boy' can maybe get together for a duet."
As Newsbusters reported yesterday, the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) network news shows have been stunningly slow to report on the Eric Holder hearings on the Fast and Furious scandal. NBC news hasn’t even reported once on the gunwalking controversy, until last night. On Tuesday’s NBC Nightly News, at the very end of her report, Kelly O’Donnell finally told viewers about “a failed operation that sent US guns into Mexico.” O’Donnell awkwardly attempted to explain the controversy, in 30 seconds, since no one on Nightly News or Today had previously done it.
The only other mention of the Holder hearings came on Wednesday’s edition of CBS's This Morning. ABC skipped the story entirely.
A Google alert this morning brought an article about a speech in which NBC's Lester Holt claimed that he and his MSM colleagues "are perfectly capable of putting [their] personal bias aside." Holt went to state that "the level of organized attacks against news organizations from the blogosphere and even from competitors in recent years is unprecedented and disturbing."
Less than an hour later there was Holt on the Today show . . . which proceeded to run a segment typifying the very kind of bias he claims the MSM is "perfectly capable" of putting aside.