Monday's NBC Nightly News gave a nice shout-out to First Lady Michelle Obama's trip to China without mentioning the controversy that no press contingent was allowed to accompany her and her daughters.
Anchor Brian Williams warmly recapped the Obamas' trip abroad: "They have walked along a section of the Great Wall, they have visited the incredible Terra Cotta army at 6,000 strong. And the First Lady has jumped rope by local invitation."
Ignoring the most important part of the story, CBS This Morning reporter Jan Crawford hyped Michelle Obama for promoting free speech in China. Yet, Crawford never mentioned that American journalists weren't allowed to travel with the First Lady on her trip. With no sense of irony, Crawford touted, "Michelle Obama hit a hot button issue in China by praising freedom of speech in America." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The journalist played a clip of Mrs. Obama trumpeting, "My husband and I are on the receiving end of plenty of questioning and criticism from our media and our fellow citizens...But we wouldn't trade it for anything in the world." Wouldn't this have been a good point to stop and inform viewers that the First Lady did just that? Crawford even used Michelle Obama to report on Michelle Obama.
National coverage of Michelle Obama’s trip to communist China has been overwhelmingly glowing and shamelessly quiet on Team Obama’s decision to allow no press contingent to follow along, because the trip was apparently “not political.” The networks dutifully repeated that with no protest, despite more than 30 tweets from the First Lady’s account touting her trip.
But NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday deserves some kind of booby prize for burying the story of the press pool-drowning. Anchor Rachel Martin blatantly discussed how the Chinese press was fascinated by the trip, while ignoring the restricted access of American journalists.
First Lady Michelle Obama is wrapping up her tour of China today and even though the American press was shut out from her trip, the First Lady has received glowing coverage of her taxpayer-funded visit.
Despite the already over-the-top praise, NBC’s “Today” had a unique take on the trip. Appearing on Sunday, March 23, CNBC’s Eunice Yoon commented that both Mrs. Obama and the wife of the communist president of China were a “hip fashion icon from a small town who happens to be married to a very powerful man who’s running a country.”
First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to students at Peking University in China over the weekend and spoke of the need for China to limit its censorship of information and controlling access to the Internet.
Despite both ABC and NBC hyping Mrs. Obama’s “strong message” about the need for an open Internet in China, both networks skipped the irony of the White House not allowing American press to travel with the First Lady to China. Instead, ABC promoted how Obama decided to tackle “hot-button issues” as “she’s making headlines over what she said about the Internet.”
Friday's CBS Evening News and ABC's World News both glowingly harkened back to a prominent past example of bilateral exchange between the U.S. and China, as they reported on Michelle Obama's trip to the East Asian country. But they continued their blackout on covering the White House's ban of journalists accompanying the First Lady. During a news brief, CBS's Scott Pelley trumpeted how "education is the focus of her [Mrs. Obama's] week-long trip, but there was also time for a little bit of ping-pong diplomacy."
The ABC evening newscast surpassed their competitor, however, with David Muir touting "the images making headlines out of China... the Chinese president unexpectedly coming out to meet her – the whole thing reminiscent of those iconic shots of President Nixon in his groundbreaking trip to China." Jonathan Karl also raised the air of "ping-pong diplomacy," but noted the current First Lady's departure from her predecessors in her approach to the communist regime: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
In a full report for Friday's Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "This trip is really focused on building good will. White House aides are confident that the First Lady's personal story will also resonate with the Chinese people....It's a highly anticipated visit to a country whose relationship with the U.S. is complicated at best." All the more reason to allow American journalists to go along. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Thursday, NBC's Today and CBS This Morning dutifully parroted the White House line that First Lady Michelle Obama's trip to China was "not political" but ignored the fact that the press corps was banned from traveling with her on the overseas junket. ABC's Good Morning America skipped the topic. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
As of Monday evening, ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover North Korea's firing of 25 short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan on Sunday. NBCNews.com did post an unsigned article from Reuters on Sunday about how the "missiles flew for 45 miles before splashing into the sea," and ABC News' website went with AP's write-up on the development, but neither outlet devoted any air time to the story.
By contrast, CNN's New Day on Monday devoted a 20-second news brief to the Obama administration's reaction to this latest instance of North Korean sabre-rattling: [video below the jump]
Michelle Obama’s highly touted “Let’s Move” campaign might not have its first victory after all. Despite healthy living advocates touting a decline in obesity among preschoolers, that CDC claim of a 43 percent decline in a decade might not be at all true.
In fact, the data is so vague that the obesity rate may actually have increased, according to Reuters. ABC and CBS praised the statistic as a victory for Obama’s healthy living campaign when it came out, but failed to mention on news programming the evening of March 16 or the morning of March 17 that the statistic was called into question.
Good Morning America's Robin Roberts has repeatedly been awarded interviews with Michelle and Barack Obama. There's a good reason for this: She doesn't ask tough questions. On Thursday, the co-host promised a "revealing, one-on-one conversation" with Mrs. Obama. Roberts did bring up ObamaCare, but offered no tough questions about the repeated delays.
Talking to the First Lady at a Black Entertainment Television conference, Roberts vaguely began: "[The health care law] has not been without its critics who question whether or not this will work." The journalist continued, "How do you see that and being able to close the gap for those people who have not been given that opportunity to have quality health care?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
NPR celebrates political anniversaries – when it likes them. They celebrated the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, when when it had already faded away. This week, NPR aired five stories discussing the fourth anniversary of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative to get kids to eat better and exercise.
But there was no story on the fifth anniversary of the Tea Party. The closest thing was a Mara Liasson analysis on Thursday of how the Senate races look tough for Democrats this fall – if the Republicans can keep the Tea Party extremists at bay:
On Friday, the NBC, ABC, and CBS morning shows all happily touted a White-House-produced video of President Obama and Vice President Biden jogging through the executive mansion to promote the fourth anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign. This was the same week that the networks refused to cover an Obama administration report showing two-thirds of small business employees would see a spike in health care premiums under ObamaCare. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing the video on NBC's Today, co-host Tamron Hall explained: "When the First Lady was on with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show, she actually made the pledge that if everyone uploaded videos and pictures of themselves moving around, that perhaps she could have some influence and get the President and the Vice President to show us how they get moving. Well, overnight, developing news, take a look."
She’s made more than 100 television appearances. Her next one will be on “Parks and Recreation’s” season finale, April 24. But she’s not an actress. She’s the first lady of the United States, and she’s Hollywood royalty.
Mrs. Obama clearly enjoys the spotlight, and the liberal TV industry is happy to give her the attention. She has been a frequent guest on “The Late Show,” “The Daily Show,” “The Colbert Report,” “Rachael Ray,” “The Tonight Show,” and “The Biggest Loser” among many others. She has danced with Jimmy Fallon, partied with Al Roker, and squealed over cute puppies at this year’s Puppy Bowl.
The Obamas have had few more obsequious media allies than NBC's Jimmy Fallon. Now that he's taking over the hallowed ground of "The Tonight Show," Fallon's proven ability to spread his reach into viral videos on YouTube promises to become even more politically potent.
Fallon's Obama-friendly sketches and interviews have become immediate "news" grist for the Comcast corps at NBC and MSNBC. The same sensation happens when Fallon is ripping into a Republican.
First Lady Michelle Obama insulted the young people of America during an appearance on Thursday night’s Tonight Show. Host Jimmy Fallon asked her why young people should sign up for ObamaCare if they can’t afford it, and Mrs. Obama struck a condescending note in her response. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
“[A] lot of young people think they’re invincible,” she said. “But the truth is, young people are knuckleheads. You know? They're the ones who are cooking for the first time and slice their finger open. They’re dancing on the bar stool.”
"Researchers in Texas say they have developed an invisibility cloak," Jodi Miller dryly noted in the February 14 edition of NewsBusted. Of course, "We already have an invisibility cloak. It's called having a show on MSNBC," she cracked.
Other targets stung by Miller's arrow-sharp wit this Valentine's Day included New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), global warming alarmist Al Gore, and the president's most devoted not-so-secret admirer, Chris Matthews[watch the video below the page break]:
Michael W. Chapman of our sister site CNSNews.com reports on cost estimates for the hand-sewn gown Michelle Obama wore at Tuesday’s state dinner for the prime minister of France. Think five figures. If Ann Romney were First Lady now, would that escape the media’s politicized scrutiny? (In 2012, she was slammed for wearing a $990 shirt on "CBS This Morning."
Wednesday’s Washington Post merely carried the headline “America, elegantly draped over her shoulders” next to a foot-high page-dominating photograph of Mrs. Obama in the dress. Michelle-loving fashion writer Robin Givhan insisted only “churlish” rumblers would lower themselves to asking about the price tag of a gown like this:
Fifty years to the day after The Beatles' first concert in the United States, NBC's Shawna Thomas could have been mistaken for one of the screaming fan girls at the Washington Coliseum. But instead of idolizing the rock and roll band, the network's White House producer shouted for joy over Michelle Obama's gown, which the First Lady wore to Tuesday's state dinner for French President Francois Hollande.
Thomas' Tuesday night Tweet in all capital letters is probably the most blatant example of Obama worship that has come out NBC, and that is saying something, given the Big Three network has raved about Mrs. Obama since the 2008 presidential race: [screen cap below the jump]
ABC reporter Jon Karl on Wednesday broke from the official journalistic fawning over Michelle Obama's birthday, asking White House Press Secretary Jay Carney about the cost and whether the American taxpayer would pay the bill. Yet, his own network totally ignored the exchange and kept it off Wednesday's World News, Nightline and Thursday's Good Morning America.
In the briefing, Karl pushed, "The First Lady had her 50th birthday party and I believe you said that the President picks up the cost for that party." Carney dodged, "I think we put out information. I don't have it here. I would refer you to the east wing." The ABC journalist followed-up, "I was just wondering if you had an estimate on what the cost was?" Again, the White House spokesman spun, "I don't. But I would refer you to the east wing." The "east wing" is a reference to Michelle Obama's office. [For C-SPAN video of the exchange, see below.]
On Wednesday the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a devastating report that blamed the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton’s State Department for security failures leading up to the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack.
While the Big Three (ABC, CBS and NBC) networks covered the report for a day, they found another event far more compelling -- The First Lady’s 50th birthday bash, spending twice as much time on the White House party than Benghazi. (chart and video montage after the jump)
Calling in to Monday's NBC Today, weatherman Al Roker was giddy as he told his fellow co-hosts about attending Michelle Obama's White House birthday party: "...it was literally a house party. It was a house party that happened to be in the White House. My wife Deborah and I went. And it was – yeah, there were all these stars, which was kind of terrific." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Referencing Roker's long-running bromance with the Vice President, co-host Savannah Guthrie joked: "Did you and Joe Biden do like a conga line or anything like that?" Roker mentioned seeing Biden but was really thrilled by the First Lady: "I actually got to boogie a little with the First Lady....Deborah and I were dancing and all of a sudden I turned around and there was Mrs. Obama....And I'm thinking, 'Oh, my gosh, I'm dancing with the First Lady.'"
First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated her 50th birthday on Saturday night, and NBC and ABC couldn’t hold back their excitement during their Sunday morning broadcasts. The two networks both offered full reports as they cheered on the First Lady at the “country’s most exclusive dance party.”
ABC’s Susan Saulny began her report and called The White House “party central” and beamed at the long-list of liberal celebrities who attended the birthday bash. Co-host Bianna Golodryga lamented, “We weren’t invited to this but I’m not offended.”
On Thursday and Friday, NBC's Today provided viewers with gushing over-the-top coverage of First Lady Michelle Obama turning fifty, with White House correspondent Kristen Welker excitedly declaring in a Thursday report: "For days they've been gearing up for a big bash here at the White House. Guests were told to wear comfortable shoes and to be prepared to move around a lot, an indication there will be no shortage of dancing here. You can also bet there will be a long list of celebrities to pull off a party fit for a first lady." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Welker fawned over President Obama acting as "planner-in-chief" for the extravagant celebration and touted: "Just back from an extended stay at Oprah's house in Hawaii, a gift from the President [with her separate flight back to Washington paid for by taxpayers], the First Lady seems to be taking up the big five-zero in stride..."
On the same day that the latest report on the terrorist attack in Benghazi was released, the journalists at Good Morning America chose to obsess over an "exclusive first look" at People magazine's "revealing" interview with Michelle Obama. Focusing on the scoop, lifestyle anchor Lara Spencer on Wednesday gushed, "So honest on a range of topics, including her take on plastic surgery and Botox. We have an exclusive first look right here." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Regarding the First Lady's 50th birthday, Spencer could hardly contain herself. She announced, "The big day is fast approaching." The host insisted that the President has "already given an early gift" by "taking the girls home to Washington, leaving the First Lady behind for an extra few days of vacay [sic] with some of her close friends, including Oprah." As with GMA's last report on the vacation, there was no mention of what the extended trip will cost taxpayers.
The journalists at CBS This Morning on Tuesday hyperventilated over the latest "fashion milestone" for Michelle Obama, donating four minutes to the First Lady's second inaugural dress appearing at the Smithsonian. In contrast, the latest setback for ObamaCare warranted only a minute and 19 seconds.
Co-host Charlie Rose enthused, "First Lady Michelle Obama is marking another fashion milestone. The Smithsonian Institution decided two dresses are better than one." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Jan Crawford appeared at the American History Museum to update the breaking news that Mrs. Obama's red dress will be on display. Crawford promoted, "Mrs. Obama's shoes also will be on display. But they're a little different than the shoes she wore four years ago."
The journalists at Good Morning America on Tuesday offered a gushing, excited look at Michelle Obama's "extended vacation" in Hawaii, offering no questions or skepticism about what the trip will cost taxpayers. Entertainment reporter Lara Spencer enthused, "This morning, there are reports that Mrs. Obama is spending the rest of her stay with her good friend Oprah Winfrey at her estate on the island of Maui. Winfrey will also be celebrating a milestone birthday." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Spencer hyped the First Lady's impending birthday, touting, "Word is there won't be a formal dinner but there will be plenty of dancing. She does love to dance and we wish her a very happy birthday." On Monday, Fox News reporter Ed Henry quizzed White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: "The First Lady stayed behind and the White House said that was an early birthday present from the President. Does that mean he's paying for the flight back or taxpayers?"
Joe Scarborough made a point of mentioning that until today, his MSNBC show hadn't discussed the Obama selfie at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela. Morning Joe's way too highbrow for that kind of stuff, don't you know, particularly when it might reflect badly on Barack Obama.
But when the crew finally got around to it today, opinion from Joe to Mika to Ed Rendell to Thomas Roberts was unanimous: there was nothing to criticize. Mika made her point by seeking to snap a selfie with Scarborough, as Joe jokingly showed her the hand. View the video after the jump.
All three networks on Monday morning highlighted the appearance of the Obamas at the Kennedy Center Honors, but only ABC fawned over "fashion win" of First Lady. Lara Spencer enthused that " one of the stars of the show was Michelle Obama." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
An excited Spencer explained that Mrs. Obama looked "absolutely ravishing in a flowing teal gown as she accompanied President Obama." The co-host declared, "Another big fashion win for the First Lady."