Journalists are quite eager to undermine Mitt Romney’s trip. “A new diplomatic dust-up,” CBS anchor Scott Pelley teased Monday night, citing how “Mitt Romney in the Middle East says culture makes Israelis economically superior to Palestinians.” NBC’s Peter Alexander declared upsetting Palestinians meant Romney’s “day began in Israel with another diplomatic misstep” as ABC’s David Muir saw “another overseas controversy in a trip with missteps already.”
Muir also discovered, without citing any evidence, “fallout today from a question we asked Romney during our one-on-one last night on World News,” specifically Muir’s demand to know: “Was there ever any year when you paid lower than the 13.9 percent” income tax rate?
Sunday's CBS Evening News and the NBC Nightly News tried to spin negatively a vague statement by Mitt Romney advisor Dan Senor that the GOP presidential candidate would "respect" the Israeli government's decision if it chose to attack militarily Iran's nuclear capability, suggesting that the Romney campaign's words amounted to a criticism of the Obama administration, and thus a breach of protocol that American politicians in a foreign land should not criticize the U.S. government.
But the effort to paint the statement into a gaffe contrasts with the media silence in July 2008 when then-Senator Barack Obama, during a trip to Israel as he campaigned for the White House, claimed to be a member of a Senate committee on which he did not serve, in an effort to portray himself as tough on Iran, as he tried to take credit for the actions of the Senate Banking Committee.
Talking to special correspondent Tom Brokaw about Mitt Romney's 10-day international tour on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie suggested the effort was a mistake: "Is it a smart idea, an opportunity to look presidential? Or is it a week lost when he could be driving that message on the economy?"
Brokaw's first reaction was to gush over Barack Obama's 2008 trip abroad: "I actually interviewed President Obama, then-Senator, here in London after a very successful trip. Times were different. There was no Arab Spring at that time, Europe was not yet in an economic meltdown, this was a fresh face after eight years of George W. Bush, who was not popular." Brokaw then added: "But it's mandatory for a presidential candidate to make these kind of tours."
In an interview with Mitt Romney's five sons aired on Thursday's NBC Rock Center, campaign correspondent Peter Alexander took a jab at the family's wealth: "Their life of privilege, plus a reported $100 million trust fund, continues to draw harsh scrutiny....The criticism is that a family like yours, the Romneys, can't really understand what the average American family is dealing with right now....are you out of touch?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Earlier in the segment, Alexander explained the role of the sons: "For a candidate who at times has struggled to connect, the campaign hopes the sons can also help explain some of their father's more idiosyncratic moments." In a preview of the interview on Thursday's Today, Alexander proclaimed: "For a candidate who's been called aloof, even awkward, the Romney boys help highlight their father's human side."
When Barack Obama insulted job creators everywhere, last Friday, by charging: "If you've got a business, you didn't build that, somebody else made that happen," the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks didn’t pounce on the politically damaging remark. It took five days and Romney making it the centerpiece of his speech on Tuesday before the first network mention - by Peter Alexander on last evening’s NBC Nightly News. In fact, Obama’s soundbite was ran exactly once, in the aforementioned Alexander report. Neither CBS or ABC ran Obama’s actual quote.
However, when former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, on Tuesday, said he wished Obama "would learn how to be an American" NBC jumped to report the story on the very same day on that evening’s Nightly News. CBS got to the Sununu remark on Wednesday’s This Morning. ABC’s World News and Good Morning America have yet to mention the Sununu statement.
Despite Mitt Romney clearly going on the offensive by seizing on President Obama's gaffe that business owners "didn't build" their businesses, on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Peter Alexander dismissed it as a futile effort: "...the Romney campaign right back where it started the day...on the defensive."
Early in the report, Alexander did his best to downplay Obama's comment that: "If you've got a business, you didn't build that, somebody else made that happen." Alexander spun that Obama made the remark,"While outlining his vision of American progress as a partnership between business and government last Friday."
At the top of Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie kept up the drum beat for Mitt Romney to release more tax returns as she proclaimed: "Mounting pressure. Mitt Romney facing new calls to release more of his tax returns. And this time they're coming from prominent conservatives."
In the report that followed, correspondent Peter Alexander failed to back up Guthrie's headline until the very end of the segment: "...there is growing pressure, this morning, for Romney to share more of those tax returns. You'll remember his own father released 12 years' worth during his 1968 presidential bid. And now, Savannah, some prominent conservatives are urging Romney to put more returns out. They say get it over with. One even calling Romney's refusal to do so, quote, 'crazy.'" Alexander did not mention the name of a single "prominent conservative" in the report.
In a campaign report for Friday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander touted a sound bite of President Obama telling CBS's Charlie Rose: "...the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people." Alexander added that the President wanted to tell, "A story that gives Americans a sense of 'unity' and 'optimism'..."
Immediately following that glowing description of Obama's communications style, Alexander lamented: "But Romney, who's relentlessly attacked the President for mishandling the economy, quickly pounced: 'Being president is not about telling stories,' Romney said in a statement, 'Being president is about leading.'"
Seated atop a high horse on Monday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Peter Alexander lamented the tone of the Wisconsin recall election of Republican Governor Scott Walker: "It is a fiery local campaign that analysts say highlights the country's nasty political landscape, where demonization often drowns out discourse."
What Alexander failed to notice from his lofty perch was that left-wing MSNBC host Ed Schultz has driven much of the nastiness in the campaign. Launching his vicious assault against Walker in February of 2011 on The Ed Show, Schultz spewed: "Governor Scott Walker is trying to balance the budget on the backs of school teachers, prison guards, and snowplow drivers...on a mission to destroy basic human rights, union rights that is, for public employees." From then through May of 2012, Schultz brought on 237 guests to denounce Walker.
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer worked to tarnish Mitt Romney officially becoming the GOP Nominee: "Mitt Romney secures the Republican presidential nomination....But will his ongoing relationship with Donald Trump overshadow his big moment? As Trump plays the birther card once again."
Moments later, Lauer continued to rain on Romney's achievement: "...even as he basks in the glow of securing the nomination, Donald Trump, who hosted a closed-door fundraiser for Romney in Las Vegas last night, has managed to once again grab some headlines by reigniting the debate over President Obama's birthplace. Should Romney have been quicker to distance himself from Trump?"
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams decried a pitch to use President Obama's former radical left-wing pastor Jeremiah Wright in a campaign ad: "...there was an explosive headline this morning. The New York Times reporting that a Republican super-PAC was considering an expensive anti-Obama ad campaign that would have put the issue of race front and center in the campaign..."
Williams conveniently skipped over Wright's vicious anti-American rhetoric in several sermons, preferring to cast the story in racial terms. The only sound bite featured of Wright in the segment was brief and again described in racial terms, as correspondent Peter Alexander explained: "...the plan for a short film to publicize Wright's racially incendiary sermons, including this remark following 9/11." The sound bite that followed showed Wright ranting: "America's chickens are coming home to roost."
Early on Sunday's NBC Today, co-host Jenna Wolfe stirred division between Mitt Romney and conservatives as she proclaimed: "[He] spoke at Liberty University, an evangelical school that's called his Mormon faith a cult. Can he get religious conservatives excited about his presidential campaign?"
Introducing the later report on the speech, fellow co-host Lester Holt ominously declared: "Mitt Romney, the likely Republican nominee, walked into the lion's den this weekend. He gave the commencement address at Liberty University, an influential conservative Christian school where some have a big problem with his Mormon faith."
At the end of a full report on Friday's NBC Today, based on a Washington Post hit piece that accused Mitt Romney of bullying of a gay high school classmate, correspondent Peter Alexander admitted the story may be false: "NBC News isn't naming the student who was allegedly bullied....Late last night, his sister told NBC News that his portrayal in the Washington Post story is 'factually incorrect'..."
Despite that important detail, the network morning show still decided to promote the accusations. At the top of the show, co-host Ann Curry teased: "Prep school bully? Mitt Romney responds to a report that as a teenager he led a bullying incident of a classmate who later came out as gay....Could an incident that happened nearly 50 years ago impact the presidential race?"
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Peter Alexander played up comments Mitt Romney made at a fund-raiser in Florida about cutting government programs as if the GOP presidential candidate's proposals were politically damaging, with the NBC correspondent asserting that Romney's remarks "out of the view of cameras have caused a stir." Alexander also suggested that the Romneys had been deceptive in their handling of Democratic strategist Hilary's Rosen's recent attack on Ann Romney as never having "worked a day in her life." (Video below)
Sarah Palin will be walking into the proverbial lion’s den when she guest hosts Tuesday’s Today show, as the NBC morning program’s hosts, reporters and guests have repeatedly trashed the one-time Vice Presidential candidate. While the former Alaska governor was treated to jovial jabs from the cast when she called into Monday’s Today show, she’s been subjected to much harsher attacks over the past four years.
On the show Palin has been blamed for the shooting of Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, denounced as a political liability for the GOP, been called a “Nazi” by journalist/stalker Joe McGinnis, and has seen herself and family become the object of rampant speculation and crude mockery. (videos after the jump)
The following are some of the worst instances of Palin bashing that were aired on NBC’s Today show:
Eager to seize on an unfortunate Etch-A-Sketch analogy made by a Romney campaign advisor, on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Ann Curry used all her cleverness to come up with this one-liner: "...a very mixed day for GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney. He picked up a key endorsement on Wednesday, but it's a campaign gaffe from a top aid that Romney's having a hard time shaking."
In the report that followed, correspondent Peter Alexander declared: "Mitt Romney's critics have hounded him as a flip-flopper....[He's] on the defensive once again..." Alexander also joined in the mocking: "Who knew that classic toy could cause a presidential candidate so much trouble....If only those words could magically disappear."
On Thursday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander excitedly promoted an upcoming Obama campaign ad disguised as a documentary: "Next week the Obama campaign will release this 17-minute documentary about the President's first term in office. And Today was given an exclusive first look."
On Wednesday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander noted how the Republican primary "has increasingly become laced with references to religion" and predicted that in the upcoming GOP debate on CNN, "[Rick] Santorum is likely to be peppered with questions about his remarks on what he called the President's 'phony theology.'"
Later in the report, Alexander touted Mitt Romney being drawn into the issue: "Romney has tried to narrow his focus to the economy. But at a town hall meeting on Tuesday he was asked how he would protect religious freedom and answered by attacking the President." After a sound bite of Romney describing how President Obama "hangs around" with people who have a "secular agenda," Alexander dutifully forwarded the White House defense: "The Obama campaign quickly fired back, calling Romney's comments 'disgraceful.'"
At the top of Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Ann Curry admonished Rick Santorum for accurately describing President Obama's religious history: "Fanning the flames. Rick Santorum takes a new shot at President Obama's faith by mentioning his controversial former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright."
In a later report, correspondent Peter Alexander announced: "Rick Santorum isn't backing down from what some viewed as a shot this weekend at the President's faith....On Fox News, Santorum may have fanned the flames, when he again insisted he was not questioning the President's Christianity."
On Sunday, NBC's David Gregory spent much of Meet the Press blasting Rick Santorum for criticizing President Obama's "phony theology" of liberalism. Earlier that morning, he appeared on the Today show to wonder if the GOP was "comfortable" with that line of criticism and warned: "Does it want to reignite culture wars in America over these kinds of issues?"
On Monday's Today, fill-in co-host Savannah Guthrie followed Gregory's lead as she lead the top of the show with this proclamation: "Culture wars. Rick Santorum is trying to explain his comment that appeared to question President Obama's faith." NBC did not dare accuse the Obama administration of trying to "reignite" a "culture war" over the ObamaCare contraception mandate controversy.
Leading off Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams spun hard for the Obama administration as he distorted Mitt Romney's opposition to the government bailout of the auto industry: "The fight for Michigan as Mitt Romney scrambles to explain to the voters in his home state why he thought the auto industry should be allowed to fail."
Having ignored the fact that Romney called for a "managed bankruptcy" of General Motors and Chrysler in order for them to reorganize and become healthier companies, Williams announced to viewers: "Mitt Romney's in a tough spot....he's working hard to explain why he was against the government's auto industry bailouts. That doesn't go over well in the state we associate with Detroit and American cars."
Following Democratic National Committee talking points to the letter at the top of Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams saw Donald Trump's endorsement of Mitt Romney as an excuse to bash the Republican frontrunner: "New fallout from Mitt Romney's choice of words about the very poor, and tonight a new endorsement from a man who's catchphrase is 'You're fired.'"
In the report that followed, correspondent Peter Alexander gleefully touted Democrats smearing Romney in the wake of Trump's backing: "For Romney, the endorsement of a billionaire businessman with this as his signature line [clip of Trump saying "You're fired"] Gave Democrats new fodder for attacks on cable." A nasty sound bite followed from DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz: "They both like firing people and they’ve both made millions doing it."
Sounding like an Obama campaign spokesman on Thursday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander touted how a recent gaffe by Mitt Romney was "not the first time...Remember that he said corporations are people, or there was the $10,000 bet during the debate."
Alexander proclaimed it to be, "just one more item that could go on to the president's re-election campaign team's greatest hits reel against Romney." At the top of the broadcast, co-host Ann Curry hyped: "GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney deals with a backlash to this controversial comment." The edited sound bite that followed ignored the full context of Romney's remark: "I'm not concerned about the very poor, we have a safety net there."
While NBC correspondent Peter Alexander noted on Tuesday's Today how "Republicans are jumping on the president's choice of words" in telling a woman her husband's long-term unemployment was "interesting" to him, neither ABC's Good Morning America nor CBS's This Morning bothered to highlight Obama's aloof flub.
The NBC report played the sound bite of the president's remark: "It is interesting to me – and I meant what I said, if you send me your husband's resume I'd be interested in finding out exactly what's happening right there – because the word we're getting is, is that somebody in that kind of high-tech field, that kind of engineer, should be able to find something right away."
At the top of his Tuesday report for NBC's Today, correspondent Peter Alexander warned viewers about the state of the Republican primary race in Florida: "This campaign has just gotten so nasty lately. By some accounts, more than 90% of the ads that have run in this state have been negative."
Remarkably, later in the same segment, Alexander was happily promoting a nasty line of attack by the Obama campaign against Mitt Romney: "...the president's re-election team is now weighing in on the issue of how Romney treated his former pet....when he put the family dog, Seamus, on the roof of his car."
On Thursday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander promoted a photo of Mitt Romney that supposedly "shows Governor Romney on a tarmac, his feet kicked up, getting polished in front of a corporate jet." In reality, as National Public Radio reported on Friday, the picture in question actually shows Romney being wanded by an airport security official before boarding a charter flight.
In the same Thursday report, Alexander touted a Gordon Gekko impersonator greeting Romney in South Carolina without explaining the stunt was engineered by a left-wing group in the state.
In a report for Thursday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander promoted attacks on Mitt Romney: "There's been no let-up in the barrage of criticism over Romney's record as the former head of Bain Capital." Alexander pointed out: "This Gordon Gekko impersonator greeted Romney's arrival in South Carolina."
A scene from the movie "Wall Street" was played with actor Michael Douglas depicting the corrupt Gekko and uttering the famous line: "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good." The impersonator following Romney, dressed in a suit with a name tag reading "Gordon Gekko" and chomping on a cigar, repeated the line for NBC's camera. Alexander failed to note the Gekko look-alike was a stunt cooked up by the left-wing group, South Carolina Forward Progress.
It's no secret that the media have given significant attention to GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's history of marital problems and whether this facet of his past will undercut him with socially conservative Republican voters, but on Friday's Today show on NBC, correspondent Peter Alexander went so far as to refer to Gingrich's wife as his "third wife" in a story that otherwise had nothing to do with his marital history. (Video below)
Below is the relevant portion of Alexander's report from the Friday, December 30, Today show on NBC:
In a report for Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander described the rise of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, noting how the NFL player's devout Christian faith has earned him the nickname of "God's Quarterback." Alexander went on to declare: "Many Americans were first introduced to Tebow during this controversial anti-abortion ad that aired during the 2010 Super Bowl."
While Alexander's report only featured a brief clip of the ad, if the full spot had been shown, viewers would have seen for themselves the complete lack of controversy in the commercial. In fact, the ad never even used the word abortion.
On the day the Republicans took over the House, NBC's Today show found time to send correspondent Peter Alexander out to profile New York's "First Couple" of the newly elected Governor Andrew Cuomo and his Food Network chef girlfriend Sandra Lee. While Alexander devoted most of his Wednesday report to Lee's biography, he did air political consultant Dan Gerstein observing that an unmarried First Couple in New York wasn't a big deal considering that Cuomo was following a governor "who was discredited in a prostitution scandal and another governor who admitted not just infidelity but cocaine use." Of course neither Gerstein or Alexander bothered to mention that those two respective scandalized former governors (Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson) were Democrats.
The following is Alexander's puff piece on Cuomo and Lee as it was aired on the January 5 edition of the Today show: