As of Friday morning, NBC News broadcasts had completely ignored an important scoop from the network's own national investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff that Attorney General Eric Holder personally approved the Justice Department's aggressive investigation of Fox News reporter James Rosen. Meanwhile, both CBS News and FNC provided on-air coverage of the new development. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In an article for NBCNews.com on Thursday, Isikoff reported that Holder "signed off on a controversial search warrant that identified Fox News reporter James Rosen as a 'possible co-conspirator' in violations of the Espionage Act and authorized seizure of his private emails, a law enforcement official told NBC News."
While the three network morning shows on Thursday all promoted President Obama's "renewed focus on transparency" in an upcoming national security speech, none of the broadcasts made any mention of the administration's deception in the ongoing scandal surrounding the terrorist attack in Benghazi.
On NBC's Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander declared that Obama would be "highlighting new efforts to bring about transparency and even new restriction in the so-called hidden war" while citing "evidence of that renewed focus on transparency" in the form a Justice Department letter to Congress officially acknowledging the already widely-reported fact that drones were used to kill American citizen and terrorist cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki.
On Sunday's NBC Nightly News, White House correspondent Peter Alexander led off with Obama team spin on the scandals rocking the administration: "...the White House is aggressively responding, calling accusations of mismanagement 'offensive and absurd.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A sound bite played of Obama advisor Dan Pfeiffer ranting: "There is no question that we want to – that Republicans are trying to make political hay here....What they want to do when they're lacking a positive agenda is try to drag Washington into a swamp of partisan fishing expeditions, trumped-up hearings, and false allegations. We're not gonna let that happen."
During a report on Monday's NBC Today about the Benghazi and IRS scandals wracking the Obama administration, a headline on screen wondered if they were the result of "Obama's Second Term Curse?" White House correspondent Peter Alexander lamented: "Fewer than four months since his ambitious inaugural address, President Obama is facing significant political obstacles.... Some observers are already asking if Mr. Obama is falling victim to the second term curse."
After Alexander detailed second-term problems for past presidents, "From Watergate to Iran-Contra, even Bill Clinton's impeachment," a sound bite followed of NBC's liberal presidential historian Michael Beschloss offering this bit of advice to Obama: "The presidents who have weathered these crises best have been those who do not let themselves get distracted."
Following an one-sided report on Monday's NBC Today about the push for more gun restrictions, which touted Democratic Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy dismissing the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre as a "clown at the circus," co-host Matt Lauer lamented: "There does seem to be a disconnect...90% of the Americans, when asked about expanding background checks say, 'Yes, we're in favor of that.' And yet, if you look at the prospects for doing it in Congress, they don't seem all that positive." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
White House correspondent Peter Alexander responded by informing Lauer: "Yeah, Matt, that's very much the White House's argument, a point that the White House, President Obama will make again this afternoon in Connecticut."
On Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer touted "breaking news" that Ohio Senator Rob Portman, "a leading figure in the Republican Party," was now in favor of gay marriage after learning that his son was gay. Leading off the report that followed, White House correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed that Portman "...is now joining a growing list of Republicans to come out in support of gay marriage..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Turning to coverage of the Conservative Political Action Conference, Alexander asserted: "The Republican Party now faces an identity crisis, with no clear leader and no clear path to widening its appeal." Wrapping up the report, Alexander continued to push the meme of a GOP in disarray: "But if you need any more evidence of the divide that now exists in the Republican Party, consider this. One of the most popular figures in the party, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the guy who praised President Obama's response to Hurricane Sandy last fall, was not invited."
On Thursday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander promoted the first public comments from Scott Prouty, the bartender who secretly recorded Mitt Romney's 47% comments during the 2012 presidential race: "Even today some political observers insist without that 47% tape, we might actually be talking about President Mitt Romney these days. Instead, the infamous comments marked what was really a campaign game-changer. And now months later, the man behind that tape has finally come forward." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, Alexander highlighted portions of a Prouty's interview with MSNBC host Ed Schultz on Wednesday's The Ed Show and whitewashed the bartender's obvious left-wing ideology made apparent in the exchange: "Speaking publicly for the first time Wednesday, Prouty, who says he's a registered independent...[said] he arrived at the dinner that night with an open mind."
"The Obama administration couldn’t have made its cheerleaders at ABC, CBS, and NBC look any more foolish," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell noted earlier today in reaction to a new study by the Media Research Center's (MRC) Geoff Dickens showing that 66 percent of the broadcast network news coverage of the budget sequestration that took effect on Friday advanced Obama White House talking points but failed to include any rebuttals from skeptics.
"Thanks to the bogus sequestration panic pushed by the administration and the liberal media, the American people recognize that the networks are nothing more than an adjunct of the Obama White House press office," the MRC founder added in a March 4 statement. “Like squawking parrots, ABC, CBS, and NBC mindlessly repeated the administration’s phony, over-hyped doomsday talking points during the two weeks leading up to sequestration. That a full two thirds of their stories didn’t include a shred of skepticism is an abomination." Below are just some of the most outlandish claims made on the networks:
Acting like an extension of the White House press office on Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander promoted Obama administration talking points on the upcoming budget sequester: "This morning, the White House is picking up the pace of its PR offensive, they are rolling out reports for each of the country's states and how they will be affected by these automatic budget cuts." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Alexander listed the "dire warnings" coming from the executive branch: "In California, 9,600 low-income students could lose their college financial aid. In Florida, nearly $4 million could be slashed to provide meals for needy seniors. And in Texas, nearly 10,000 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases like whooping cough and the flu."
Wednesday's NBC Today featured a full report on Tiger Woods praising President Obama's golf game, with White House correspondent Peter Alexander cheering the weekend outing as the "most talked about golf pairing in years" and that Woods "was to golf what the President wants to be to politics, the guy who can't stop winning." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In between clips of Woods, Alexander proclaimed: "And reflecting on their weekend round together, this ruthless competitor admits he was impressed by his presidential partner." After a sound bite of Woods saying Obama could "get to where he's a pretty good stick," Alexander gushed: "In golf-speak, that means the President's got game."
On Sunday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Peter Alexander sounded like he was simply reciting a White House press release about President Obama's upcoming State of the Union address rather than actually reporting on the story: "...senior advisers to the President say that...[the speech] will be more specific, more policy and agenda-oriented....will focus on jobs and the economy, echoing familiar themes about strengthening the nation's middle class."
Alexander continued to parrot talking points: "The President, advisors say, will emphasize the value of spending on education, to give Americans the skills they need. Infrastructure, like roads. Research, including clean energy technology. And manufacturing." That was followed by liberal historian Douglas Brinkley declaring: "The inauguration was more about the underdog. This is about people that have already made it, but the American dream is fading and [Obama's] got their backs."
On NBC's Wednesday Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander wrung his hands over the possibility of sequester budget cuts happening next month: "If you think of the federal budget as a t-bone steak, the sequester is like a butcher's knife loping off a big piece, roughly a trillion dollars worth in defense and domestic spending. What experts call the worst way to deal with a budget." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In contrast, back in February of 2009, when President Obama was pushing the nearly trillion-dollar stimulus package, Today co-host Matt Lauer grilled former Bush advisor Karl Rove about Republicans daring to oppose the massive government spending: "Doesn't it seem that quick and bold action was necessary?...216 Republicans [who voted against the stimulus] seem to have placed a bet on failure. Isn't that safe to say?"
Following the friendly chat President Obama and outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had with CBS's Steve Kroft on Sunday's 60 Minutes, NBC's reporters could barely contain their glee over the duo getting along so well, with correspondent Peter Alexander proclaiming on Monday's Today: "There they were, side-by-side, at times chuckling together, it seemed even finishing one another's sentences." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Alexander fawned over Obama and Clinton repeatedly patting each other on the back during the self-promotional interview: "The President said he simply wanted to thank Hillary Clinton for being what he called one of the finest secretaries of state we have ever had. But the mutual gushing did not end there....the bitter rivals turned partners showed just how far their relationship's evolved. The President lavishing Clinton with praise for her discipline, stamina, and thoughtfulness."
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, White House correspondent Kristen Welker touted President Obama gearing up for his second term: "An invigorated President Obama joined in a prayer service this morning....On Monday, resolve, defending entitlements and calling for action on climate change and gay rights, a broad liberal agenda."
Welker then heralded Obama appeasing the Democratic base in his inaugural address: "The President, once criticized by his own party's left for caving into Republicans, seemed emboldened by his reelection and ready for a fight." A sound bite followed of Time's Michael Duffy happily declaring: "Yesterday's speech at the Capitol was not about bipartisanship. It was about the agenda that Barack Obama, a Democrat, the direction he wants to take the country. Republicans can come along if they'd like."
When TNT was preparing its annual special “Christmas in Washington” with the President of the United States, you’d think the last star musician they would consider to join the official caroling would be Psy, the South Korean rapper. What on Earth is Christmasy about this man’s invisible-horse-riding dance to his dorky disco-rap hit “Gangnam Style”? It’s not exactly the natural flip-side to “O Holy Night.” But TNT couldn’t resist this year’s YouTube sensation.
This inane publicity stunt backfired when the website Mediaite reported on December 7 that Psy (real name: Park Jae-sang) had participated in a 2002 protest in which he crushed a model of an American tank with a microphone stand. But that’s nothing compared to the footage of a 2004 performance after a Korean missionary was slaughtered by Islamists in Iraq. These lyrics cannot be misunderstood.
Eager to insulate President Obama from controversy surrounding past anti-American comments by Korean pop star Psy, who performed at the annual Christmas in Washington charity concert attended by the First Family, on Tuesday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "And of course, the President had no say over who the private charity chose to invite." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Ignoring the fact that Obama could have refused to attend the event as long as Psy performed, Alexander explained: "...petitioners demanded President Obama...block the appearance of the rap sensation Psy, under fire for anti-American performances. But that petition was removed [from the White House website] because the rules say the petitions only apply to federal actions."
Continuing to hype Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock's opposition to abortion as some kind of scandal for Mitt Romney, on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "...the Romney campaign is also dealing with a new controversy, trying to distance itself from this comment..."
After playing a sound bite of Mourdock explaining in a Tuesday senatorial debate that he believed an unborn child conceived by rape was still a life "intended by God," Alexander touted an ad of Romney endorsing the Indiana Republican. He then observed how, "Mr. Romney, who's been carefully courting women voters, ignored the controversy" and declared that the Governor's campaign has "been trying to steer away from it's party's right-wing since the contentious primaries..."
Near the top of Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie jumped on "a comment from Mitt Romney's son Tagg that's getting some attention....he said he wanted to, quote, 'take a swing' at the President for some of the attacks on his dad." Pretending it was a newsworthy item, she added: "The Romney campaign says this was just a joke. We'll get into that."
Introducing a campaign report minutes later, Guthrie declared the Romney son's comment in jest was "making some waves." Correspondent Peter Alexander promised viewers, "We'll play that comment for you from Tagg Romney in just a moment." For all the build-up to the supposedly controversial comments, at the end of his report, Alexander revealed the light-hearted nature of them: "During a radio interview Wednesday, Governor Romney's oldest son Tagg joked about his reaction to some of the contentious exchanges during Tuesday's debate."
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams recited Obama campaign talking points as he proclaimed: "What Mitt Romney said about abortion that sure sounds like a change."
Moments later, Williams attempted to frame Romney's innocuous comments on the subject to the Des Moines Register as a misstep: "Mitt Romney is trying to take advantage of a bounce coming off the last debate, but it was something he said on the subject of abortion that is getting a lot of the attention today and tonight. It's where we begin tonight..."
Leading off Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, fill-in anchor Savannah Guthrie declared the presidential race in one key battleground state all but over: "Tonight, both candidates are in Ohio as a spate of new polls shows the all-important bellwether may be slipping away for the Republican challenger."
In the report that followed, correspondent Ron Allen reiterated that "new polls show Ohio slipping away" from Romney and quickly asserted the cause: "Romney down by ten points in a new poll out this morning, and nearly that in another recent poll, after that video of Romney talking disparagingly about the 47% who pay no income tax."
Repeating a common mythology that a person’s federal income tax rate equals the effective tax rate they actually pay after deductions, ABC’s Jonathan Karl on Friday night forwarded the canard that Mitt Romney’s 14.1 percent rate is lower than what a $75,000 earner pays. NBC’s Peter Alexander, however, correctly noted “the average middle class American family pays roughly 13 percent.”
On World News, Karl reported that Mitt Romney “made $13.7 million last year and paid nearly $2 million in taxes. His effective tax rate, 14.1 percent.” Then, without citing any source, Karl asserted: “That’s a lower rate than an auto mechanic who made $75,000 in pay.”
In a report for Friday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander touted how Mitt Romney "was briefly interrupted by a heckler" at campaign stop in Virginia and played a clip of the angry malcontent ranting: "Why are you politicizing Libya?!" Alexander then played a clip of President Obama being greeted by cheers and applause in Colorado, proclaiming: "Obama took a firm stand, reminding voters of his power as commander in chief."
Alexander began the report by declaring: "Less than eight weeks til' election day, Romney, who by the way authored a book titled No Apology, is making no apologies for his sharp criticism of the President's foreign policy." At the same time, Alexander suggested Romney was backing down: "Mitt Romney toned down his foreign policy attack on President Obama Thursday, seeking to project strength in more subtle terms, arguing the President's a weak leader."
Last week when President Barack Obama raised the old tale of how Mitt Romney once put his dog in a car top carrier, the NBC Nightly News gave a sentence to how Obama “took a dig at Romney” and the CBS Evening News didn’t mention it, but on Friday night both newscasts pounced on Romney for daring to make a birth certificate joke.
“Was it a joke?” fill-in NBC anchor David Gregory demanded, teasing a full story: “What Mitt Romney said on the campaign trail today that immediately erupted in controversy.” Reporter Peter Alexander recalled Donald Trump’s tie to Romney and highlighted how “the Obama campaign quickly cried foul, insisting ‘Romney’s decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America.’”
As the broadcast network evening newscasts on Tuesday gave attention to Vice-President Joseph Biden asserting that Mitt Romney, by "unchaining" Wall Street would effectively "put y'all back in chains," only CBS's Bob Schieffer informed viewers that about half the audience in Danville, Virginia, was African-American, thus suggesting the Vice-President was making an embarrassing pander to black audience members who likely have ancestors who used to be "in chains."
On the CBS Evening News, as he set up a soundbite of Biden, substitute host Schieffer related:
Mitt Romney made a smart executive decision selecting Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate. Ryan’s genial personality, serious policy wonkery, and political courage have dazzled conservatives and won respect even in a few liberal circles. Romney scores points for political courage as well. He knew liberal politicians and journalists would talk in punishing terms about Ryan’s budget ideas.
They did not disappoint. It took only minutes for the onslaught to begin. At the same time liberal media outlets acknowledge the country now faces two opposing visions of government, why is only the Romney-Ryan vision “polarizing” and “extreme”?
All three broadcast network evening newscasts recounted President Obama's charge that Rep. Paul Ryan is holding up a farm aid bill as the President campaign in Iowa, but only CBS's Nancy Cordes took the time to forward to viewers the Romney campaign's rebuttal that "Ryan voted in favor of a drought relief package that's currently languishing in the Senate."
On ABC's World News, correspondent David Muir set up Obama's complaint:
Chuck Todd has chutzpah. Jake Tapper has some integrity. For decades, journalists have aided liberals by mischaracterizing proposed slight reductions in the rate of spending hikes on a program as a “cut” or “slash” to it, so many trusting people, naively presuming the words have meaning, thus assumed there’d be an actual reduction.
NBC’s Peter Alexander repeated this fallacy on Monday’s Today when he described Paul Ryan as “the architect of a politically polarizing budget plan to slash trillions in federal funding, including cuts to Medicare...” NBC’s chief political correspondent, Chuck Todd, however, had the gall to correct Mitt Romney over a “cut” claim while ignoring Alexander’s falsity.
Hoping to define vice presidential pick Paul Ryan early with liberal talking points, on Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander painted the Wisconsin congressman as "the architect of a politically polarizing budget plan to slash trillions in federal funding, including cuts to Medicare..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Alexander began his report by offering this description of Ryan: "To Republicans, Ryan is viewed as a conservative, a courageous and visionary conservative. To Democrats, his views are seen as extreme." At the top of the show, co-host Matt Lauer only saw problems for Republicans and advantages for Democrats with the Ryan pick: "Will Ryan's budget plan hurt the ticket? And how is President Obama using the choice to his own advantage?"
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams smugly dismissed Mitt Romney's overseas trip as having, "ended today almost the way it started here in London, with controversy, some hurt feelings, and some raw tempers. Campaigning back home in the states is hard enough. The stakes weren't supposed to be this high for the campaign overseas." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Correspondent Peter Alexander followed: "...this trip has been supposed to be, according to his advisors, a low-risk one....But it was at times marred by missteps. Romney offending his Olympic hosts and Palestinian leaders."
On Tuesday's NBC Today, campaign correspondent Peter Alexander attempted to spin bad behavior by reporters covering Mitt Romney's trip to Poland as a new controversy for the presidential campaign: "This morning, after reporters tried to shout questions to Romney while he left a plaza near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier....A campaign spokesman angrily intervened....The spokesman later called reporters to apologize." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The report featured a clip of one female reporter screaming at Romney: "Governor Romney, do you feel that your gaffes have overshadowed your foreign trip?!" A campaign aide chastised: "This is a holy site for the Polish people. Show some respect." He could be heard saying: "Shove it. Shove it." That same aide reportedly also said "Kiss my ass," but NBC did not include that in its coverage.