On Friday's CBS This Morning, Rick Santorum pushed back against Charlie Rose's interrogation about supporter Foster Friess's recent "bad off-color joke" on contraception, all but name-dropping former Obama pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright as an example of the media's double standard on playing "gotcha" politics with Republicans, but not Democrats.
Rose initially countered, "This is not gotcha; what this is, is trying to understand exactly what Rick Santorum stands for, and what he might say or do as president." But the GOP presidential candidate wasn't having any of it: "You don't do this with President Obama...he sat in a church for 20 years, and [you] defended him- that, oh, he can't possibly believe what he listened to for 20 years. It's a double standard...and I'm going to call you on it" [audio available here; video below the jump].
On Friday's NBC Today, substitute co-host Savannah Guthrie eagerly touted liberal talking points attacking a hearing held by House Republicans over the controversial ObamaCare contraception mandate on Thursday: "[They] held a hearing on the matter and Democrats got a lot of mileage out the fact that, that first panel of witnesses was all men."
On to discuss the political fallout, Meet the Press host David Gregory concluded: "You look at a scene like yesterday and it just underscores the fact that not only government, but our religious institutions, are dominated by men. It was an unfortunate image to put out there." Guthrie added: "...maybe Republicans stepped into it a little bit on that."
After suggesting that Republicans had done a better job of "enunciating" an anti-capitalist attack on Mitt Romney than "the Democrats have to date," NBC correspondent told fellow panelists on the January 11 Daily Rundown, "I hope the Democrats are furiously taking notes if this is the line of attack they plan to pursue against Mitt Romney."
Perhaps trying to evince a sense of fairness or balance, Guthrie then added (MP3 audio available here; video posted below page break):
For many months, the liberal media elite has made no secret that in its mind, the field of Republican presidental candidates includes Mitt Romney and a collection of clowns. Clearly, Romney is the opponent that Barack Obama and the liberal establishment want nominated.
Journalists have mercilessly savaged every single conservative alternative to Romney who’s ascended to the top of the polls. Palin. Bachmann. Cain. Perry. Gingrich. It’s too bad for them that the results from the Iowa caucuses threw off their bold predictions that the Romney Juggernaut would achieve liftoff in Des Moines. Yet Romney won by only eight votes over surprising Rick Santorum. This means one thing only: Senator, step up to the guillotine.
Earlier this week, both NBC's Today show and the NBC Nightly News made a point of informing viewers that President Obama's Gallup Daily Tracking Poll numbers had improved significantly since the Republican House caved on the payroll tax cut extension. The NBC Nightly News on Tuesday even highlighted the outdated numbers from Monday that were more positive for Obama, while merely noting as an afterthought the more recent Tuesday numbers that showed the trend starting to reverse back against the President.
As GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum appeared as a guest on Thursday's Today show on NBC, substitute co-host Savannah Guthrie focused the interview on the former Pennsylvania Senator's views on abortion and contraception, and whether he would be acceptable to "middle of the road voters." (Video below)
ABC, NBC, and CBS all reported on former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich receiving a 14-year prison sentence for corruption on their evening news programs on Wednesday and their morning shows on Thursday, but only CBS's Early Show gave his Democratic affiliation. ABC devoted only 3 news briefs total to the conviction, while NBC Nightly News and The Early Show aired full reports.
News anchor Jeff Glor introduced correspondent Michelle Miller's report on the CBS morning program at the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour by stating that "Rod Blagojevich is paying a very high price for corruption. Is it too high? In Chicago Wednesday, a judge sentenced the former Illinois governor to 14 years in prison"
The Big Three network morning shows on Wednesday highlighted the upcoming sentencing of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, but only CBS's Early Show identified the disgraced politician as a Democrat and devoted a full segment to him. ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today omitted his party ID, and just gave news briefs on the convict's possible sentence.
CBS correspondent Cynthia Bowers wasted little time before noting that "the former Democratic governor was convicted on 18 counts of corruption, after being caught on a profanity-laced federal wiretap offering political favors in return for financial gain." Bowers played two sound bites from the wiretap recording, including the infamous "bleeping golden" clip from Blagojevich.
In a testy interview on Tuesday's NBC Today, fill-in co-host Savannah Guthrie avoided asking retiring Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank about his role in the collapse of the housing market and yet the liberal Democrat still complained: "You've managed to ask all sort of negative questions.....you're four for four in managing to find a negative approach."
Guthrie began the segment by fretting that the Democrats could lose Frank's House seat: "...you said that your district has been redrawn in a way that would make it more difficult for you to win re-election. My question is, are you leaving your fellow Democrats in the lurch? It won't be any easier for any other Democrat to win this seat, right?"
The network morning shows on Thursday took a mostly light-hearted look at clothing company Benetton's ad campaign featuring the Pope kissing a Muslim cleric. The ads, which have now been pulled under legal pressure, were summarized by Good Morning America's Josh Elliott. He parroted, "It was part of Benetton 's Unhate campaign, challenging people to have the courage not to hate."
Elliott described the company's removal of the ad as "bowing to pressure from the Vatican." None of the networks, however, mentioned any possible negativity from Muslims. Only NBC's Today referred to them as "very, very controversial," with fourth hour co-host Hoda Kotb blanching, "Put your breakfast down. Because you're going to want to."
According to the network morning shows, violent Occupy Wall Street protesters are fighting back against government officials who are trying to rein them in. Early Show's Erica Hill highlighted "this growing crackdown on the anti-Wall Street protests around the country." She added, "In Oakland, California, the protesters are pushing back."
The "pushing back" came in the form of throwing rocks and bottles at police officers who attempted to remove them from a public encampment.
During a panel discussion on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer asked of the Occupy Wall Street protests: "What's the civics lesson in this for our kids as they're watching this on TV?" News anchor Natalie Morales argued: "...there's a huge civics lesson....the idea of having that civil discourse is important to teach our kids and it's something in history we've seen."
In contrast, moments later while discussing the latest Republican presidential debate, Lauer lectured Mitt Romney and Rick Perry on a heated exchange between them: "My parents, in teaching me manners, taught me, one, don't interrupt, bad on Rick Perry's point, keep your hands to yourself, bad on Mitt Romney's point." Weatherman Al Roker chimed in: "...we're seeing our kids are getting, again, this anti-teachable moment. Give somebody a chance to talk. They're just talking all over each other."
On Wednesday's NBC Today, fill-in news anchor Savannah Guthrie shared this important presidential news with viewers: "And it's the last day of the President's bus tour through North Carolina and Virginia but it hasn't been all business for the commander in chief. At a Virginia high school he sparked a giggle-fest and even managed to break some hearts." [Audio available here]
A clip followed of a group of teenage girls asking Obama if he knew singer Justin Bieber. The President said that he did, but that Bieber had a girlfriend. Guthrie then remarked: "Oh, look at those faces....The President crushing Bieber fever one teenager at a time." [View video after the jump]
In an interview light on substance and heavy on praise with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton aired on Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Savannah Guthrie fawned: "Hillary Clinton of course is known for keeping a tireless pace....[her] approach is a combination of blunt talk, personal charm and above all, frequent-flyer diplomacy."
Later, Guthrie sympathetically informed viewers: "She has flown more than 600,000 miles on this government plane, a flying satellite office where she can reach world leaders at a moment's notice or hone her most necessary diplomatic skill, the ability to nap on command....I saw your cabin. For those who think this may be glamorous work, it's a pull-out couch....And there's not a hair and makeup team waiting on board."
On Thursday's NBC "Today," co-host Savannah Guthrie asked a panel of guests about the possibility of New Jersey's governor entering the presidential race and observed: "There's kind of this conventional wisdom among the political chattering class that someone as heavy as Chris Christie-" Dr. Nancy Snyderman interjected: "As fat as he is." Guthrie continued: "...would not be elected." [Audio available here]
Fellow panelist, attorney Star Jones, chimed in: "You are so sweet the way you put that. You're really asking us will America elect a fat president?" Later in the discussion, advertising executive Donny Deutsch fretted: "If he's [Christie's] not disciplined enough to keep himself healthy, is he disciplined enough to make the tough decisions for our country?...if he's not in charge of himself, can he be in charge of country?"
During the weekly "Today's Professionals" panel discussion in the 9 a.m. ET hour of Thursday's NBC "Today," while on the subject of the execution of Troy Davis, attorney Star Jones used the opportunity to proclaim: "You're never going to see a rich, white man being put to death in the United States of America. That's not going to happen right now." [Audio available here]
The outburst was prompted when co-host and panel moderator Savannah Guthrie wondered: "Some people....think the system is rigged against the poor in our society, against African-Americans in particular, and I wonder what your view is of that?"
NBC's Today touted an "exclusive" interview Thursday with Sarah Palin stalker and author Joe McGinniss, smearing the former governor with unsubstantiated allegations. NBC didn't try to prove them. They just spread them. Fill-in co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed: "Stunning allegations made about Sarah Palin in a bombshell book. Is she really the hockey mom she claims to be? How strong is her marriage to Todd?...Does she use her children as props?" [Audio available here]
McGinniss, promoting his newly released book that amounts to an anti-Palin screed, declared the former Alaska governor to be "An utter fraud. An absolute and utter fraud." Guthrie responded: "You call her a tenth grade mean girl." McGinniss went further: "Oh, that's – those are kind words compared to a lot of what you would hear in Wasilla today. The thing that I found, Savannah, that really surprised me, was that the people who know her best like her least."
Appearing on Tuesday's NBC Today to promote his autobiography, left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore decried "the amount of hatred that was generated on a certain news channel and on AM hate radio" against him, insisting: "They daily encouraged people to essentially commit acts of violence against me." [Audio available here]
Moore leveled the charges in response to a question from fill-in co-host Savannah Guthrie about his 2003 Oscar acceptance speech that devolved into a rant against President Bush and the war in Iraq. He continued to defend those comments: "I said we're going to war for false reasons and there are not going to be any weapons of mass destruction....what I said was accurate and true, but it generated such an enormous amount of – to where they had to hire security for me and everything."
On Thursday's Today show NBC's Savannah Guthrie prodded Jon Huntsman to slam his fellow GOP presidential candidates Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann as too conservative, as she pressed the former Governor of Utah: "Are they too far right to win and beat President Obama?"
For his part, Huntsman played into Guthrie's portrayal of his competitors by responding that the American people "don't want politics at the extreme ends," as seen in the following exchange:
In an interview with former press secretary and current Obama campaign advisor Robert Gibbs on Sunday's Meet the Press, substitute host Savannah Guthrie pushed the President from the left: "If the President thinks more should be done, if he thinks there should be more stimulus, why doesn't he just go for broke? Why doesn't he go out there and ask for it, make a case for it?"
Guthrie worried that Obama was "pre-settling" and that, "He's making a political calculus about what he thinks might be able to pass and not getting out there and fighting for what he thinks is best of the economy." Gibbs responded: "...the President's going to fight for exactly what he believes is best for the economy because he's done that every single day he's been president. But you just mentioned it, Savannah. What can get through Congress?"
Filling in for Andrea Mitchell during Thursday's 1 p.m. ET hour on MSNBC, Savannah Guthrie talked to correspondent Kristen Welker about President Obama's vacation plans: "Kristen, do you have any idea what he and the First Family plan to do while they're spending this time on Martha's Vineyard? I'm going to venture a guess there will be golf and ice cream, if past vacations are any indication."
Welker enthused: "I think you're absolutely right about that, Savannah. I think there's going to be golf, I think there's going to be ice cream. We've passed some really good-looking cupcake shops as well. So I bet there are going to be some cupcakes and some swimming time with his family."
NBC on Friday offered a light-hearted defense of Barack Obama's vacation, justifying it by pointing out how hard it is for world leaders to take trips.
On Today, NBC's Savannah Guthrie implored, "Well, is there ever a good time for a world leader to take a vacation? President Obama is receiving some criticism for his summer getaway to Martha's Vineyard and he's not the only one."
During a panel discussion about the Michele Bachmann Newsweek cover, left-wing advertising executive Donny Deutsch acknowledged that "It is politically biased," but didn't see any problem with that: "Who says the media's not biased?...Why can't they make a statement? Obviously that was a real picture...It's not a flattering article....why can't you write an unflattering biased article?"
The discussion actually began with Dr. Nancy Snyderman, someone just as liberal as Deutsch, denouncing the Newsweek cover:"Sexist, ridiculous, not fair. The inside copy, the word 'rage' is never used....She is charismatic and engaging and this made her look cruel and mean." Snyderman even preemptively declared: "And Donny Deutsch can say whatever he wants, but he's wrong."
On Monday's Today show, substitute host Savannah Guthrie got snippy with GOP presidential contender Herman Cain as she played up his lack of time in government as a negative and demanded of the former head of the Godfather's pizza chain: "If you were still a CEO, if you were in business, would you hire someone for a key role who had no experience whatsoever in business?"
For his part, Cain jabbed back that his experience as a businessman, away from the Beltway, was exactly what government needed now.
NBC barely covered the Thursday arrests of two Islamists in a planned terrorist attack on a military facility in Seattle. The network didn't cover the breaking news at all on Thursday's Nightly News, and devoted only 17 seconds to it on Friday's Today Show. Thursday's CBS Evening News had a minute-long report on the arrests, while ABC had full reports on the arrests on World News and GMA.
CBS anchor Scott Pelley introduced correspondent Bob Orr's brief report on the terror plot: "It has been a busy 48 hours for the FBI. We learned today that agents have arrested two men in what the feds say was a terrorist plot to attack a military recruiting station in Seattle." Orr only made one indirect and vague reference to the suspects' religion: "The two men...somehow had become radicalized on their own." Actually, in an online report on Thursday, ABC referenced unnamed officials who stated that they are "believed to have met in prison and to have converted to Islam in prison."
In a report designed to separate fact from fiction on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, White House correspondent Savannah Guthrie decided to blur fantasy and reality as she compared President Obama's press conference announcing the release of his birth certificate to a moment from the 1995 movie, "The American President." [Audio available here]
After a clip was played of Obama declaring: "We live in a serious time right now, and we do not have time for this kind of silliness. We've got better stuff to do," Guthrie proclaimed: "At that moment, the real president sounding a lot like that Hollywood one." Then footage ran of the fictional President Andrew Shepherd – played by actor Michael Douglas in the liberal film – denouncing one of his Republican opponents: "This is a time for serious people, Bob, and your 15 minutes are up. My name is Andrew Shepherd, and I am the president."
Douglas, of course, narrates the introduction to NBC Nightly News.
Meet the Press host David Gregory on Wednesday derided the Republican National Committee Chairman as "low-minded" for his response to the release of Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate. Jansing and Co. guest host Savannah Guthrie lauded the President for looking "like the most reasonable man in Washington."
Appearing just minutes after the President completed a press conference on the release, Gregory responded to a statement by Chairman Reince Priebus which both dismissed birtherism and attacked Obama for playing up the issue. The NBC host opined that the Republican operative was both "high-minded and low-minded at the same time."
After complimenting Priebus for dismissing the issue, he scolded, "...To somehow blame the President for seeking to distract the country through this birth certificate issue seems to be well off the mark."
There are times when I watch MSNBC and wonder if there are actually producers paying any attention to what's going on.
Consider the following brief segment from Tuesday's "Hardball" wherein host Chris Matthews first derided a Dallas, Texas, reporter for being tough during an interview with President Obama and then immediately chastised Donald Trump for being displeased by the constant interruptions during his interview with NBC's Savannah Guthrie (video follows with transcript and commentary):
At the top of Monday's Today on NBC, co-host Matt Lauer touted "breaking news" of President Obama announcing his re-election bid: "...the expected announcement comes with a prediction, he could become the first candidate ever to raise a billion dollars." Lauer then added: "Will Republican hopefuls sitting on the sidelines be compelled to dive in as well?"
While fill-in co-host Ann Curry noted the announcement was "not a surprise" the broadcast still lead with a full report on the topic. Like Lauer, White House correspondent Savannah Guthrie highlighted Obama's fundraising efforts while noting the lack of formal announcements from Republican candidates: "The President is already planning fundraising trips this month to Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, while the Republican race is still off to a slower start."