On Tuesday's NBC Today, news reader Natalie Morales warned viewers: "With a potential government shutdown looming later on this month, the White House may have to cancel its annual Easter Egg Roll." In the report that followed, White House correspondent Kristen Welker added that the "event might be in jeopardy....due to the ongoing budget battles here in Washington." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While Welker simply repeated administration talking points without skepticism, she completely ignored the fact that just days ago, during a Fox News interview on March 15, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney testily told anchor Jenna Lee that while tours of the executive mansion had been cancelled, the Easter Egg Roll was safe: "Well actually, Jenna, again, if you did a little reporting...it's paid for by the sale of those eggs that come out, as well as from donations on the outside, so it's a totally different budget. These are apples and oranges."
On Monday's NBC Today, news reader Natalie Morales hyped how "Republican infighting broke out this weekend at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference." In the report that followed, political director Chuck Todd bolstered the meme: "...the party is trying to rehabilitate its image, solve an identity crisis, and it means that feuds are breaking out all over..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd particularly focused on one such "feud" between Sarah Palin and Karl Rove, with the headline on screen throughout the segment reading: "Family Feud; Sarah Palin & Karl Rove Trade Barbs at CPAC." Todd derisively remarked that while Palin "stole the show" at CPAC, she was "playing more the role of entertainer and stand-up comedian than of serious politician."
Introducing a brief report on Friday's NBC Today about the funeral proceedings for socialist Venezuelan strong man Hugo Chavez, news reader Natalie Morales announced: "In Venezuela, a hero's send-off today for Hugo Chavez, a harsh critic of the U.S. who ruled for 14 years." The headline on screen during the segment read: "Saluting Chavez; World Leaders in Venezuela for President's Funeral."
Correspondent Mark Potter, reporting from Caracas, noted that Chavez would "lie in state for another seven days so more Venezuelans can pay their respects" after "thousands and thousands of people stood in a mile-long line for the chance to quickly file past the casket." Potter added: "Chavez's body eventually will be preserved, much like those of historic communist figures Lenin and Mao, for future public display in a special tomb."
On Wednesday and Thursday, two of the Big Three networks ballyhooed how the Arkansas state legislature overrode Governor Mike Beebe's veto of a pro-life bill that outlaws abortion once the unborn baby's heartbeat is detected. Scott Pelley hyped "the most restrictive abortion law in the country" on Wednesday's CBS Evening News, echoing the New York Times' label of the new law – "the country's most restrictive ban on abortion".
Natalie Morales used nearly identical language to Pelley on Thursday's Today on NBC. ABC punted on covering the move by Arkansas state legislators on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning newscasts. By contrast, Norah O'Donnell didn't use such language during her news brief on the story on Thursday's CBS This Morning:
Sadly, MSNBC cannot follow sister network NBC’s lead in reporting the story of disgraced Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill) and his impending prison sentence for illegally using campaign funds for personal usage.
On the February 20 edition of NBC Nightly News as well as on the February 21 edition of Today, both shows correctly identify Jesse Jackson Jr. as a Democrat, but their MSNBC morning show Morning Joe skipped the important detail. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
After gushing coverage on Monday's NBC Today over Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton "finishing one another's sentences" in a joint interview, a four-minute panel discussion at the top of the morning show's 9 a.m. et hour was devoted to the topic as well, with co-host Tamron Hall declaring: "I was looking at the body language a lot, other than the words, and they leaned in together...both leaning in like, 'I got your back and I'll be voting for you.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the top of the 9 a.m. et hour on Thursday's NBC Today, the morning show cast devoted a four-minute panel discussion to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton getting emotional during her congressional testimony on Wednesday. News reader Natalie Morales gushed: "She was speaking passionately about, you know, that heat of the moment. And also, you know, I think she just loved those people [who died in Benghazi]. So that was true emotion." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Savannah Guthrie observed: "I don't know if there's as much a stigma anymore from public figures crying from time-to-time. I mean, this is not somebody who is crying all the time. We've seen her well up in the past. I think this is probably the most emotional we've ever seen her." Morales proclaimed: "Right, she's a strong leader."
In a panel discussion on Wednesday's NBC Today, the morning show cast excitedly touted the possibility of left-wing actress Ashley Judd running for senate against Mitch McConnell in 2014, with co-host Willie Geist declaring: "She was a delegate to the Democratic convention this summer, she's very involved in politics, she's outspoken." [Watch the video after the jump]
News reader Natalie Morales heaped praise on Judd: "She's a brilliant woman....Harvard, I think....she's a U.N. goodwill ambassador, speaks out on HIV/AIDS prevention. And also, you know, she's done so much good for public – public good and she's a great, very smart woman." Celebrity chef Paula Deen, a guest on the show, chimed in: "I've heard that she's an extremely bright woman." Morales added: "Very."
At the top of the 9 a.m. et hour on Friday's NBC Today, news anchor Natalie Morales eagerly touted a study released by Washington University in St. Louis on contraception: "A new study suggests that free birth control can dramatically lower rates of abortion and teen births."
Morales then quickly used the findings to promoted ObamaCare: "The report comes as millions of women are about to gain access to free contraception under most workplace insurance plans as part of President Obama's health care law."
ABC's Good Morning America hasn't once reported on U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's claim on the September 16, 2012 edition of This Week that the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was "a spontaneous - not a pre-meditated - response to what had transpired in Cairo." Even worse, the morning show hasn't reported on the subsequent developments on the consulate attack over the past 12 days that cast doubt on Ambassador Rice's statement.
NBC's Today show also hasn't covered Rice's talking points on the attack, after she appeared on Meet the Press on the same day as her This Week appearance. News reader Natalie Morales merely reported on September 19 that "the White House says there is currently no evidence that last week's deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya was planned and pre-meditated. Officials say it appears that the violence was sparked by that anti-Islam film made in the U.S." Two days later, Morales gave an update on how "the White House is now classifying the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya as a terrorist attack....But intelligence officials now believe it was a planned attack in the guise of a protest."
Both of those programs provided voluminous coverage of Romney's "47%" tape, but have no time to scrutinize the Obama administration's public statements about an incident that claimed the life of an American ambassador?
In what was billed as a profile of Ann Romney set to air on Thursday's NBC Rock Center, a portion of the interview played on Thursday's Today featured news anchor Natalie Morales grilling the Republican candidate's spouse on taxes: "...she fiercely defended the Romneys' decision not to release tax returns from before 2010. A lot of people still are asking why not be transparent and release more than the 2010 and the estimates for 2011." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Romney responded forcefully: "Have you seen how we're attacked? Have you seen what's happened?" Morales continued to press the issue: "It's been in the press quite a bit. Now are you angry that it's been in the press? I mean, should you not be questioned about your finances?" Romney pushed back: "We have been very transparent to what's legally required of us. But, the more we release, the more we get attacked. The more we get questioned, the more we get pushed."
The broadcast networks promoted gay activists’ protest of the fast food company Chick-fil-A, but when that protest fizzled, they did little to cover the failure.
ABC’s Steve Osunsami hyped the protests ahead of time, saying “nearly 100,000 friends and family have been invited online.” After the apparent lack of turnout at the kiss-in, however, the networks stopped reporting on the protest. Only ABC briefly mentioned the results of the kiss-in, after all three networks talked about the protests on the morning of Aug. 3.
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."
In a news brief on Monday's NBC Today, anchor Natalie Morales touted how "Palestinian leaders are slamming Mitt Romney" for remarks he made during a "fundraising visit" to Israel: "Romney sparked outrage by suggesting that he would move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, calling it Israel's 'capital city.' Palestinian leaders say the comment is, quote, 'unacceptable.'"
All three networks on Tuesday absolutely gushed over Barack Obama kissing his wife at a men's Olympic basketball game on Monday night. CBS This Morning guest anchor Norah O'Donnell thrilled, "Whoo-hoo-hoo! Hot in here!" Good Morning America news reader Josh Elliott cheered on the President's ability to kiss his wife in public: "[Obama] is showing the world he's got a little game off the court as well!" [See a video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
Today's Natalie Morales recounted how the President, after being spotted by the Kiss Cam, at first refused to kiss Mrs. Obama. Morales hyped, "...They got a second chance when the "Kiss Cam" found them again. So this time he delivered, planting a very presidential pucker on the First Lady and the crowd went wild." Weatherman Al Roker joked, "Mr. President, get a stadium."
Offering some pro-Obama fluff on Tuesday's NBC Today, news reader Natalie Morales gushed over the President and First Lady getting caught on the "Kiss Cam" at a basketball game during a "date night." After the First Couple initially just waved to the camera, Morales excitedly told viewers: "Not to worry, they got a second chance when the 'Kiss Cam' found them again. So this time he delivered, planting a very presidential pucker on the First Lady and the crowd went wild."
In a particularly petty attempt to pump up President Obama and denigrate Mitt Romney, Tuesday's NBC Today brought on left-wing MSNBC host Alex Wagner for a supposed pop culture segment that devolved into Democratic campaign talking points. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Natalie Morales touted a new viral video that "reveals details about President Obama and Mrs. Obama's first date." Wagner gushed: "They always sort of had a high bar, as far as their husband and wife interactions.....The First Lady and the President first went and had lunch at the Art Institute of Chicago, then they took a walk down Michigan Avenue, and then they ended the date with a screening of Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing. The First Lady said it showed that he was hip, he was culturally sensitive. We know that it all ended in marital bliss."
ABC and NBC's morning shows on Thursday actually noticed something interesting was happening with the Fast and Furious scandal. Both networks covered the vote by a House committee to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt. However, Good Morning America and Today spent more time focusing on a heat wave hitting the east coast than they did the controversy involving a murdered border agent.
Good Morning America allowed a scant minute and 21 seconds for Fast and Furious, but that was only after first touting, for two minutes and 49 seconds, warm weather in the summer. NBC's Today featured a single report on the swirling controversy (one minute, 58 seconds), but only following two minutes and seven seconds on people sweating. News reader Natalie Morales highlighted the congressional action as partisan: "...A Republican-lead House panel voted along party lines to cite [Holder] for contempt of Congress."
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."
The Big Three networks certainly have their priorities straight. ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning shows on Wednesday dedicated more time to entertainment news than the results of the Wisconsin recall election. On CBS This Morning, Disney's new ban on junk food ads from its kids programming received a minute and a half more than the political story. The same gap occurred on ABC's Good Morning America, but instead of junk food, the Miss USA pageant got the extra time.
NBC's Today, however, one-upped its competitors, as they devoted over six minutes to former Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus getting engaged, while Republican Governor Scott Walker's victory received under four and a half minutes. Today also spent over five minutes on the Miss USA story.
Barack Obama suffered an embarrassing defeat, Wednesday, when the U.S. Senate rejected his budget 99-0. But, you wouldn't know it on ABC or CBS. The two networks completely skipped the political setback. NBC offered a single news brief on Thursday's Today.
On that program, news reader Natalie Morales allowed, "The Senate on Wednesday rejected President Obama's 2012 budget, the second year it has rejected the President's plan." Morales didn't mention the lopsided rejection, nor did she note that the House spurned the budget 414-0 in March.
In a complete violation of journalistic ethics, Friday's NBC Today aired an invented hidden camera scenario in which two teen girls were portrayed as participating in racial discrimination as judges of a fake singing contest. Reporter Natalie Morales described the shameful stunt as "such a great education for parents" and "truly a lesson for all of us." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Morales described the scheme: "Allison and the girl next to her, Nia, think they're here to judge a singing contest. They don't know that the other judges are actors we've planted to discriminate against Nick Rodriguez, who is also working with us....The actors go after Nick. Using insults experts say are common for Latino boys." The male actor denigrated Rodriguez for wearing a "backwards hat" and joked that "he could do some salsa dancing or whatever." The female actor suggested Rodriguez "could be illegal" and "May be involved in drugs."
Wednesday's nightly newscasts and Thursday's morning shows hyped "steamy," "romantic" journal entries from an ex-girlfriend of Barack Obama, but downplayed or ignored revelations that his autobiography created a "composite" relationship of multiple women.
On Thursday's Today, Natalie Morales gossiped like a school girl: "Steamy journal entries from a long-ago ex-girlfriend of President Obama are heating up the internet..." She revealed important details such as the fact that his apartment smelled like "running sweat" and "raisins." However, Morales skipped the fact that, as reported by Politico, "the 'New York girlfriend' was actually a composite character, based off of multiple girlfriends he had both in New York City and in Chicago." [Video of Diane Sawyer's recap below. See audio here.]
On Wednesday, two out of the Big Three broadcast networks yawned at Mitt Romney's wins in five primaries the previous evening and minimized covering this story on the morning newscasts. ABC's Good Morning America didn't air one report on Romney's victories, and NBC's Today offered just two news briefs. By contrast, NBC devoted a full report and a news brief to a woman spilling frozen yogurt on President Obama.
ABC also covered the "embarrassing" yogurt encounter on GMA, but with only one brief. CBS This Morning, on the other hand, devoted one full report and a discussion segment to the Romney win and ignored the dessert story.
On Friday's NBC Today, news anchor Natalie Morales worried about the safety of reality star Kim Kardashian after a "nasty surprise" at a red carpet event: "...a woman threw white powder on the starlet. Paramedics were called to the hotel, but Kardashian refused treatment....The woman who allegedly threw the so-called flour bomb was detained but later released."
The same concern was never extended to Republican presidential candidates who endured glitter-bomb attacks from radical gay activists at campaign events. In fact, NBC actually depicted those incidents as gaffes and stumbles for the candidates.
In the 7 a.m. et hour of Tuesday's NBC Today, news anchor Natalie Morales fawned over Michelle Obama's appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman: "She...talked about her late-night chats with the President, and joked that he's always upbeat, especially about the notoriously deadlocked Congress. I guess you got to keep your sense of humor about you."
Later, in the 8 a.m. et hour, Morales was equally thrilled by a YouTube video mocking Republican front-runner Mitt Romney: "And will the real Mitt Romney please stand up? This video parody of Eminem's famous rap hit is going viral and being shared across Facebook."
ABC's Dan Harris trumpeted the "bromance between President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron" on Thursday's GMA. Harris noted the presence of Vogue magazine head Anna Wintour at Wednesday's state dinner, but omitted that she is a major donor to Obama's campaign. Instead, he gushed over how "Michelle Obama and Samantha Cameron [were] both looking very regal in blue, floor-length gowns."
The same morning, NBC's Today show chose to play up the "little star power from George Clooney...and movie mogul Harvey Weinstein" at the dinner, but failed to mention Weinstein's $500,000 contribution to the President's campaign. CBS This Morning did report that "many of the guests included some of the President's top fundraisers," but anchor Charlie Rose, who attended the function, and correspondent Bill Plante, spent more time talking about the wines that the White House served [audio clips available here; video below the jump].
On Monday, uniquely among the broadcast network evening newscasts, ABC's World News skipped the news that Israeli diplomats were the targets of simultaneous assassination attempts in two different countries, most likely from Iranian sources.
On the "Grapevine" section of Friday night's Special Report, Fox News anchor Bret Baier reported the MRC's findings on how the networks covered this year's "March for Life" -- or, to be more precise, how they skipped it. Once again, ABC, CBS, and NBC aired nothing on the thousands and thousands of pro-life protesters marching to the Supreme Court on the 39th anniversary of the high court legalizing abortion.
"If you were listening to the Big Three broadcast networks, you wouldn’t have heard a peep about the event," said Baier. "You would have been in the dark, too, if you were reading the print version of The New York Times. Not one word." Fox asked me for a quote which then appeared on screen: (Video below)
Having apparently run out of actual news to cover on Friday, the cast of NBC's Today gushed over President Obama singing a line from the song "Let's Stay Together" during a fundraiser at the Apollo Theater. After a clip played of the musical moment, weatherman Al Roker proclaimed: "He could be on The Voice." News anchor Natalie Morales excitedly added: "Sign him up." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Matt Lauer agreed, declaring Obama was "really very good." The sycophantic group went even further when fellow co-host Ann Curry touted: "...our editors actually did...a little mash-up between a little Obama, a little [singer] Al Green. Let's take a listen." After the ridiculous video, Curry admitted: "We obviously had too much time on our hands." Yeah, no kidding.