Reacting to news that Texas conservatives Pete Sessions (R) and Jeb Hensarling (R) would not challenge Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for House Majority Leader, MSNBC’s Chuck Todd felt compelled to rip the Tea Party for their supposed lack of leadership. According to TheDaily Rundown host, Tea Party conservatives “will blind quote ‘leadership’ to death. They love to complain, moan, gripe, you know what, but when the chips are down, they don’t have the guts to run.”
NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell was unwilling to raise much of an objection to this blatantly partisan analysis [MP3 audio here; video below].
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."
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]
CBS journalists on Thursday morning investigated the latest details of the expanding Veterans Affairs scandal. Yet despite calling the newest revelation "ugly," correspondent Nancy Cordes somehow managed to avoid using Barack Obama's name or to discuss the White House. Instead, she focused on congressional culpability: "But the Inspector General's report points out Congress and the VA have known about similar manipulations and delays for nearly a decade." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Cordes talked to a GOP House member and pressed: "Florida Republican Jeff Miller is the chair of the House VA committee. If you've known about problems like this for years why are you only now calling on the V.A. Secretary to resign?" NBC skimped on discussing how much this issue could hurt the President personally. At the very end of a Nightly News discussion, Kelly O'Donnell briefly noted, "From the White House, NBC's Kristen Welker reports the President considers Secretary Shinseki to be on probation."
Friday's World News on ABC mentioned the ongoing scandal surrounding the Veterans Administration only in passing, despite the fact their own chief White House correspondent, Jonathan Karl, hounded Press Secretary Jay Carney at the regular White House press briefing on the issue. Meanwhile, they set aside two full segments totaling seven minutes and 54 seconds of air time to Barbara Walters' departure from The View.
Diane Sawyer gave a 30-second news brief to a new development in the scandal – about one-sixteenth the amount of time that she and her newscast spent on Walters: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Friday, NBC's Today kicked off its 2014 midterm election coverage by doing a fawning puff piece on former American Idol contestant Clay Aiken running for Congress in North Carolina as a Democrat. Co-host Willie Geist proclaimed: "A race that's getting a lot of attention. Clay Aiken is used to being at the mercy of the voters. He came in second on American Idol in 2003 and now he's running for Congress in North Carolina..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell touted Aiken on the campaign trail: "When he says hello at Brownie Lou's restaurant or breaks out a smile for selfies, Clay Aiken is campaigning for a big career change. From pop singer to politician."
Friday's NBC Nightly News played up the latest dust-up between Senators John McCain and Ted Cruz over the latter's criticism of three of the Republican Party's presidential candidates, including Bob Dole. Brian Williams underlined the apparent "genuine and palpable tension today in Washington," after Senator Cruz criticized Dole, McCain, and Mitt Romney's campaigns during a speech at CPAC: "When you don't stand for principle, Democrats celebrate."
Kelly O'Donnell zeroed in McCain's shot back at Cruz on Andrea Mitchell's MSNBC program, and hyped how "[Cruz], one of the Tea Party's most provocative figures...triggered a new Republican rift" with his remark. O'Donnell also hyped the Texas senator's Friday statement reacting to his colleague from Arizona: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
All three network morning shows on Tuesday continued the push against an Arizona bill [SB 1062] that aims to protect the religious freedom of business owners who oppose gay marriage. According to CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose, "Hundreds protested at the state capitol last night. They say the bill legalizes discrimination."
Today's Savannah Guthrie hyped, "Mounting pressure. From John McCain to Apple, even concern from Super Bowl organizers, a growing chorus calling on Arizona's governor to veto a bill that would let businesses turn away gay customers." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Journalist Natalie Morales muttered, "Really big decision, very controversial." None of the networks featured voices in support of the legislation.
NBC's Today on Thursday decided to make Republican Congressman Michael Grimm's verbal attack on a reporter after Tuesday's State of the Union a two-day story, with fill-in co-host Tamron Hall proclaiming: "Well, there's more fallout this morning from an ugly scene following the President's State of the Union address." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The additional "fallout" that Hall mentioned was simply the Congressman offering an apology to New York One reporter Michael Scotto. In the report that followed, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell declared: "Democratic critics say the Congressman is a hot head who should play a political price for his behavior. The Congressman tells me this was emotion that got the better of him after a very long day. Whatever the anger management issues were, he's trying to defend himself now."
On Wednesday evening's news casts, the networks all hyped GOP congressman Michael Grimm (N.Y.) threatening a reporter after Tuesday's State of the Union address while skipping the Republican response to the address entirely.
Of Grimm's outburst, ABC's Jeff Zeleny quipped, "It was not the State of the Union response Republicans had in mind." It was the response that the networks chose to cover, though. "Later, there was a far less dignified moment with a congressman from Staten Island, New York," CBS anchor Scott Pelley introduced the story.
Between Monday's Nightly News and Tuesday's Today, NBC devoted ten minutes and forty-four seconds to coverage of the now six-day-old controversy surrounding New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Meanwhile, poor ObamaCare enrollment numbers just released Monday afternoon garnered only forty-one seconds of air time on Today and were completely ignored on Nightly News.
On Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams touted investigations into Christie's "bridge traffic scandal" and hyped "an investigation into how some of the emergency relief money was spent after Hurricane Sandy." Williams announced: "It is quite clear that for Christie's political rivals it has now become something of an open season."
Leading off Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams declared: "It's war. A private battle blows wide open in public as the most powerful Republican in Washington says he's had enough, coming out swinging against members of his own party." Moments later, he hailed House Speaker John Boehner's "rare outburst of candor mixed with anger and frustration" at conservatives critical of the new budget deal in Congress. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Williams contemptuously observed: "His problem has been the rise of the Tea Party faction, the newly arrived and highly motivated members who do not go along or get along with the wishes of the leadership....Now they've gone after a budget deal that represents real compromise and keeps the country running. The Speaker today decided he's had enough and he said so."
On Tuesday's Nightly News, after news broke of a budget deal in Congress, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell announced: "...the usual Washington dysfunction is on hold tonight." She touted the agreement to anchor Brian Willams by noting: "It would also roll back some of the harshest automatic spending cuts, the sequester for the Pentagon and domestic programs." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
O'Donnell cautioned that the deal "does not extend jobless benefits for those out of work the longest..." On Wednesday's broadcast, fill-in anchor Ann Curry picked up on that point and fretted: "While the agreement avoids another government shutdown next month, it also sidestepped dealing with the crisis facing 1.3 million Americans who've been out of work for a long time. And that means their unemployment benefits will stop at the end of the month unless Congress takes action."
Continuing to hammer home the Democratic talking point that the Republican Party is to blame for the government shutdown, on Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams gloated: "Politically, it's widely agreed to have been a big loss and self-inflicted wound mostly for the Republican Party." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In a later report, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell asserted: "For many Republicans, they're now at that acceptance phase after a bruising defeat. Many, are admitting mistakes, assessing some responsibility." She then noted how "one of the most visible and divisive figures in this whole episode," Texas Senator Ted Cruz, "started the day trying to create some goodwill" by greeting visitors to the U.S. Capitol.
On Friday night's NBC Nightly News, reporter Kelly O’Donnell and producer Shawna Thomas brought out more tweets addressed to its “Dear Congress” hashtag. It’s a little fun now to see what other tweets these Twitter correspondents are posting.
A “MrKristoff” was quoted for tweeting “@johnboehner Enough already. Stop claiming to speak for American people & start Listening. #DearCongress”. But right next to that was a vulgar attack on that "monster with no soul" Ted Cruz:
A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll stumbled across a very interesting finding: 44 percent of respondents said they did not think Congress should raise the debt ceiling before the U.S. reaches it in October, while only half as many (22 percent) said Congress should raise it. On Friday, Andrea Mitchell reported that finding on her eponymous MSNBC program Andrea Mitchell Reports, but she dismissed it as reflecting a public that was ignorant of the debt ceiling debate.
As the poll results flashed on the screen, Mitchell declared, "Our polls show that people are not really that engaged. By two to one they think that Congress really should raise the debt ceiling-- or rather shouldn't, no 44 percent, yes 22 percent. But that seems to be sort of a very marginal number. They are not engaged because the debate is not yet engaged." In other words, Mitchell discounts the result because she believes the American public is blissfully ignorant, a rather condescending take. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Speaking to Republican Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory expressed newfound respect for former President George W. Bush: "[He] is expected to speak out about immigration reform this coming week. He could be a very strong voice within the Republican Party after the Senate has passed immigration reform to put pressure on the House. How will you respond to that?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing a report on Wednesday's Today about Bush's upcoming speech on the matter, news reader Natalie Morales touted him being "front and center today, weighing in on immigration reform." Correspondent Kelly O'Donnell noted: "And that's something the former president has strictly avoided for years, talking about a hot political issue. But immigration has always been important to him..."
Since Wednesday, ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have all played up the social media frenzy over Texas State Senator Wendy Davis' multi-hour filibuster on Tuesday against a pro-life bill. On Friday's Today, NBC's Tamron Hall claimed that the Davis story is "another example of how social media can turn a story into a whole other stratosphere. I think without Twitter and Facebook, this would have been a big story, but not to this magnitude."
By contrast, during the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell earlier in 2013, ABC and NBC completely ignored the widespread outrage on Twitter over the case. It took CBS four days to notice Kirsten Powers' April 11, 2013 USA Today column which "accused the media of ignoring the story because...[of] a bias in favor of abortion rights," as Jan Crawford reported on CBS This Morning. Crawford then pointed out how "those charges went viral on Twitter."
ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning newscasts on Wednesday spotlighted Texas State Senator Wendy Davis's filibuster against pro-life legislation, hyping how she stood for hours in "comfortable pink sneakers" to stop a vote on the bill. The networks trumpeted how "the unfolding drama topped the list of worldwide Twitter trends", but ABC and NBC failed to include any tweets or soundbites from supporters of the proposal. [audio available here; video below the jump]
CBS This Morning did include two clips from a pro-life Texas state legislator, but anchors Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell gushed over Davis. Rose harped about her "very interesting life story", while O'Donnell asserted that "she's going to become big figure now, I think, in Texas politics."
Introducing a report on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer announced "a significant breakthrough in a bitter fight on Capitol Hill," followed by correspondent Kelly O'Donnell declaring that "immigration is pitting Republican versus Republican."
O'Donnell explained that Senate lawmakers "worked late into the night writing a new version of immigration reform with more border security," noting how, "Democrats want to get something passed with a dozen or more Republicans, and that's the hard part."
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."