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."
ABC and NBC touted the Obama administration's new report on women by leading their evening news shows with it on Tuesday. Diane Sawyer gushed over the "huge new report," while NBC's Savannah Guthrie trumpeted the "first comprehensive White House report on women since...Kennedy asked Eleanor Roosevelt to lead a study." CBS also highlighted the report on Evening News and on The Early Show the next day.
NBC's Brian Williams, during his introduction to correspondent Savannah Guthrie's report, proclaimed how "the White House reported some new numbers today about women in this country, and while, in many ways, women continue to pass men by, an old problem is just as bad, just as serious, and it continues to hold women back economically." After noting the gains by women in terms of college attendance, Williams continued that the problem was "the pay gap in the workplace, and that hasn't changed."
Guthrie began with her Eleanor Roosevelt line, and continued that the report "paints a portrait of a modern woman- less June Cleaver, more Liz Lemon" (Tina Fey's character from "30 Rock"). She then spouted some of the figures from the Obama administration document:
A buoyant Chris Matthews popped into the Today show studio, on Monday morning, to hype his MSNBC documentary on Bill Clinton's post-presidency and he didn't spare a platitude as he claimed that Clinton is "bigger than the host country president" wherever he goes, is as active as the "Energizer Bunny" and unapologetically offered: "It's right to do a good story about a good guy."
To her credit substitute host Savannah Guthrie, who conducted the interview, actually did poke Matthews a bit when she pressed: "So a lot of people are asking has Chris Matthews gone soft on President Clinton?" To which Matthews sheepishly responded: "That's very nice of you to bring that up. I love film criticism from a colleague," but then lamely rationalized it's "been 10 years" and revealed his personal reason for producing the documentary: "About four years ago my son got out of Brown and he went to work in Africa making sure that the drugs, the AIDS drugs, the cocktails got to the actual people from the donors. And somebody has to make sure that happens. That's the Clinton Global Initiative."
Matthews did theorize the reason for Clinton's post-presidential advocacy was that "it may be to make up for things that went wrong...Obviously Monica and all that stuff," but then quickly returned to singing his praises this way:
NBC's Today show, on Wednesday, used the occasion of two responses to Barack Obama's State of the Union speech, by Republicans Paul Ryan and Michele Bachmann, as an opportunity to portray the GOP as a party divided. Despite a historic victory by Republicans in last year's midterm elections NBC anchors, past and present, on this morning's Today show, took pains to portray the Republican Party in dire trouble with co-anchor Matt Lauer questioning if the party was "split" and "heading in different directions" and Meredith Vieira wondering if there was "a divide." Even former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw got into the act as he claimed the GOP was locked in a "two front war" against Democrats and the Tea Party.
NBC's White House correspondent Savannah Guthrie kicked off the GOP "divide" theme when she declared "Republicans had what amounted to dueling responses" in her set-up piece to a Lauer interview with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. In that segment Lauer pressed Giuliani "Do you worry...that as we approach the next election in 2012...that the Republican Party is split and heading in different directions," as seen in the following exchange:
Daily Rundown host Chuck Todd on Monday parroted Barack Obama's talking points and repeatedly wondered if the new GOP majority in the House will insist on 'relitigating health care." He began by lecturing, "Will the first month of a Republican-led House be known for relitigating the past, pushing for repeal of health care, focus on investigation?"
Compare that to President Obama during a November 3, post-midterm press conference: "We'd be misreading the election if we thought the American people want to see us for the next two years relitigate arguments that we had over the last two years." Todd on Monday mimicked, "Is that really the first impression the Republican Congress wants to leave with the American public or are they going to keep their focus on spending and the economy?"
During the piece, the MSNBC anchor talked to Republican strategist Kevin Madden and reiterated, "If you were still in your old job with John Boehner, do you want the headlines to be about investigations and relitigating health care or do you want them to be about spending and jobs and making government smaller?"
On Saturday morning, FNC’s Fox and Friends Saturday and ABC’s Good Morning America highlighted Democratic Senator Bob Menendez’s assertion that negotiating with Republicans taxes is like negotiating with terrorists. NBC’s Today show included a brief mention, but CBS’s The Early Show and CNN Saturday Morning ignored the New Jersey Democrat’s over-the-top rhetoric.
FNC included a soundbite of Menendez in the opening teaser, as co-host Alisyn Camerota asked if the "hostile words" of Democrats would "hurt negotiations." On ABC, correspondent David Kerley included a clip of the "tough language," and co-host Bianna Golodryga gave Republican Senator Orrin Hatch a chance to respond as the Utah Senator appeared as a guest. Golodryga: " I want to begin by asking your response to that dramatic language we heard from your Democratic counterpart, Senator Menendez, basically calling Republicans terrorists with regards to the process of tax cuts."
FNC began its show:
ALISYN CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. It's Saturday, December 4. Two major tax votes happening today in the Senate, but are the Democrats' hostile words hurting negotiations?
SENATOR BOB MENENDEZ (D-NJ): It's almost like the question of: Do you negotiate with terrorists?
After a week of silence, NBC Nightly News finally mentioned that President Obama, in an interview with Univision Radio last Monday, October 25, encouraged Hispanic voters to not sit out the election, but say “we’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us.”
But correspondent Savannah Guthrie failed to see that as a divisive and unpresidential statement that had been burning up conservative talk radio for the past week, but merely as a “potential attack” that Obama was trying to “head off” by now “saying he should have used a different word.”
Well, they did stop short of presenting him with a ceremonial seppuku sword . . .
But other than that, MSNBC's Daily Rundown duo of Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie did their best to convince Florida Dem Kendreck Meek to get out of the senatorial race to give Charlie Crist a shot against Marco Rubio.
Todd tried the cold-hard-numbers route, while Guthrie made an emotional appeal, literally asking Meek if he "can live" with himself if his continued candidacy resulted in the election of Rubio. View video here.
NBC's Savannah Guthrie, on Wednesday's Today show, proclaimed: "The President proved last night, in Wisconsin, he can still pack tens of thousands of young people into an arena" but lost on Guthrie was the fact that if Barack Obama has to campaign in one of the most reliably liberal cities -- in this case Madison, WI for incumbent Senator Russ Feingold -- it's not a good sign for the Democratic Party. While Guthrie did question if Obama could get those young voters to the polls, she went on to leave the impression that Obama's "old campaign magic" may be closing the gap as she noted: "The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows the race for Congress tightening. Republicans now hold a three point lead over Democrats among likely voters, down from a nine point lead last month."
What Guthrie failed to report was that same poll showed some very bad numbers for the Dems. As the MRC's Brent Baker noted, even Guthrie's NBC colleague Brian Williams couldn't ignore the poll results that showed: "'The change that voters want' includes 54 percent who 'hope that this Tea Party enthusiasm in the Republican Party makes them a fiscally conservative party' and '54 percent want to see the repeal of health care.'"
All three broadcast evening newscasts on Thursday covered the formal unveiling of the Republican ‘Pledge to America,’ a campaign document calling for the repeal of ObamaCare, no tax hikes and balanced budgets. CBS’s Nancy Cordes cast it as pro-Tea Party, “littered with references to the Constitution and promises to reduce the federal debt,” and Tea Party members as “grateful” for its policy prescriptions.
But ABC’s Jonathan Karl said the Pledge was “hardly a Tea Party manifesto. The 45-page document includes more photographs than specifics on spending cuts. No mention of controlling Social Security or Medicare. No mention of eliminating any federal departments. Not even a promise to eliminate earmarks or pork barrel spending.”
Karl even hit GOP Representative Mike Pence from the right: “There aren’t enough cuts in this thing that I see to get anywhere near a balanced budget.”
Isn’t it odd after the passage of TARP, the stimulus and ObamaCare that left-wing politicians and their cheerleaders in the mainstream media are suddenly worried about budget deficits?
As opposed to reining in deficit spending, the new public policy stance for the Democratic Party going into the 2010 midterm election is to call for a tax hike on the top-income earners by letting the Bush tax cuts expire for those folks. In an interview on MSNBC’s Sept. 17 “The Daily Rundown” with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, co-host Savannah Guthrie pressed the Texas senator on the need to raise taxes in order to lower budget deficits.
Guthrie asked: “Sir, as you know, a lot of the energy in the Republican Party, some of the animating issues have to do with deficit and spending, and I ask you given the concern among Republican voters about deficit spending, how is it that Republicans can get behind allowing the Bush tax cuts to go forward for the wealthiest Americans, something that will cost $700 billion borrowed money deficit spending. How do you square that up?”
In the first voter referendum on ObamaCare, Missourians on Tuesday overwhelmingly (by 71 to 29 percent) backed Proposition C which called upon the state to enact a statute to “deny the government authority to penalize citizens for refusing to purchase private health insurance,” an outcome the St. Louis Post-Dispatch described as “rebuking President Barack Obama's administration.” On Wednesday night, however, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts skipped the bad news for President Obama – yet all found time to celebrate his 49th birthday.
(The Missouri repudiation of a central tenet of ObamaCare came a day after another setback for ObamaCare which the newscasts also ignored: A federal district judge in Richmond rejected the Obama administration’s quest to block Virginia’s lawsuit challenging Congress’ jurisdiction to mandate individuals buy health insurance.)
“At the White House today, they sang to the President,” ABC anchor Diane Sawyer touted over a graphic which declared it Obama’s “Big Day.” Viewers were treated to one stanza of “Happy birthday to you!” before Sawyer related: “He says we've watched him go gray, and the photographs since the campaign do show a little speckle in that hair.”
On Wednesday's Today show, Matt Lauer, Ann Curry and Savannah Guthrie left the impression that Fox News's criticism of Shirley Sherrod was the reason she lost her job at the Agriculture Department, with Lauer, in his interview with Sherrod, charging: "I don't know who to blame here, Miss Sherrod. I mean the, the, the activist who put forward this garbage in the first place has an agenda. We shouldn't be surprised by that. The cable news network that, that played this garbage on and on and talked about it, has an agenda. We shouldn't be surprised by that." But Lauer and NBC News, itself, revealed they have their own agenda, by failing to report, as the MRC's Rich Noyes pointed out, that Fox News didn't mention the Sherrod story until she had already left her job.
However, that didn't stop Curry from claiming, in the 8am half hour news brief, that: "After the video was used to vilify her on Fox television, she lost her job," and Guthrie advancing the NAACP's notion, in her piece, that they had been "snookered" by Fox News.
The following is a complete transcript of Guthrie's set-up piece followed by Lauer's interview with Sherrod as they were aired on the July 21 Today show:
While some on the left side of the aisle in Congress are getting all starry-eyed about prospects of more federal stimulus spending, the first round of stimulus under President Barack Obama may have done even less to help the ailing economy than supporters claim.
On MSNBC's July 9 broadcast of "The Daily Rundown," co-hosts Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie interviewed CNBC "Closing Bell" anchor Maria Bartiromo from the Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colo. And Bartiromo offered her views why the economy didn't spiral out of control any more than it did. She said according to some on Wall Street, it wasn't Obama's $787-billion "stimulus" that included a huge bulk of state government bailout spending, but instead action by the Federal Reserve to put more liquidity in the economy.
"Look, there's no doubt about it - we were close to going off a cliff the weekend at Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy, Merrill [Lynch] was sold and AIG acquired by government," Bartiromo said. "You know, I mean I think we were very close and the economy needed stimulus in a big way. It's arguable whether that stimulus that helped the economy was really because of the stimulus plan or really because of the Federal Reserve. I think most people on Wall Street will believe and will tell you that it was really the Fed action in terms of giving greater access to the banks to overnight lending that really, really got us out."
CNN's "American Morning" reacted with an appropriately downbeat report, but the onscreen chyron led with the better news -- showing the lower unemployment rate rather than the job losses. Christine Romans also pointed out that it was the "best unemployment rate since July 2009," though later in the segment she admitted the rate is still "horrible."
NBC's Ann Curry offered a very brief report on the jobs data on "Today," also highlighting the lowest unemployment rate "since last July."
The report also contradicted Vice President Joe Biden's predictions of 100,000 to 200,000 jobs gained each month for the rest of 2010. This month, Biden is off by about 275,000 jobs
In covering Elena Kagan's confirmation hearings, CNN and MSNBC have repeatedly lauded the Supreme Court nominee for her "flashes of humor" and "disarming ease."
In tune with the reverberations of the network morning shows' echo chamber, correspondents like CNN's Dana Bash and anchors like MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Tuesday praised Kagan for her ability to inject humor into otherwise "hollow and vapid" hearings and charm hostile Republican senators into docility.
"But just on a color note, what struck me, Candy, has been the way Elena Kagan has tried to use a sense of humor to really disarm the senators, particularly Republicans," noted Bash.
Maddow's guest, Dahlia Lithwick of the liberal Slate magazine, gushed over Kagan's "gut-wrenching" sense of humor, her masterful ability to balance "seriousness and levity and humor," and her "disarming and charming and kind of likeable" personality.
"A likeable liberal. Dear me, I know," quipped Maddow.
Unlike Katie Couric on Monday night, on Wednesday evening NBC's Brian Williams didn't hide the bad news for President Obama in the network's latest poll, but Williams and Savannah Guthrie sure seemed to lament the public mood's swing against Obama as Williams attributed it to how Obama “had to touch” the gulf oil leak, “he had to own it and now he's getting tagged with how he's reacting to it.” As if Obama had nothing to do with it, Guthrie agreed he's “had a barrage of bad headlines on some of these very issues of leadership, handling a crisis...”
“If you're the White House looking at these numbers we're about to debut tonight, there isn't much here that's encouraging right now,” Williams warned of the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey findings. Guthrie agreed: “There's not a lot of good news in this poll for the White House. Gushing oil, persistent unemployment the real problem.”
Online, MSNBC.com's headline also ascribed Obama's troubles to the gulf: “Spill drags the President's rating down.” The subhead, over the posting by NBC News Deputy Political director Mark Murray, emphasized a bright spot in areas Guthrie noted declines : “A silver lining for Obama is that his personal scores are still strong.”
MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday claimed that for what General Stanley McChrystal allegedly said about the White House, he legally, morally, ethically, professionally ought to be canned.
Discussing the issue with colleagues Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie on "The Daily Rundown," Mitchell claimed McChrystal's alleged statement "crosses the line of insubordination, and it crosses the line of the military code of justice."
She later made a comment one can't possibly imagine such a liberal media member making when George W. Bush was in the White House, "There is a reason why the military code of justice says you don't diss the Commander in Chief" (video follows with partial transcript and commentary, h/t HotAirPundit):
Barack Obama's presidency goes the way of Jimmy Carter's if he doesn't get control of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
So said New York Times White House correspondent Helene Cooper on the most recent installment of "The Chris Matthews Show."
As the opening segment's discussion concerning the spill moved to a close, the host surprisingly asked his panel if Obama can continue to "blame the previous administration, the oil patch guys, Bush and Cheney" for the disaster.
Readers will likely find the answers quite surprising (video follows with transcript and commentary):
MSNBC’s Savannah Guthrie thinks the Vatican has “minimized” the clergy abuse scandals for months, before Pope Benedict’s Friday apology. And MSNBC seemed to do their level best to “minimize” that, during the 9a.m. EDT news hour.
Guthrie reported that the Vatican publicly apologized for the sex abuse scandals within the Catholic clergy Friday, “after months of minimizing” the scandals.
“I have to ask,” Guthrie said to NBC correspondent Jim Maceda, “what prompted this apology?”
Jonathan Alter of Newsweek once again blamed Bush and the Republicans for creating the mess that Obama is now cleaning up, preventing the President from accomplishing his agendas.
Alter, appearing Wednesday on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown,” called the BP oil spill crisis “the perfect metaphor” for Obama’s presidency so far. “It’s been cleaning up a lot of the messes left to him by his predecessors,” he stated.
Alter added that Obama is trying to stop an economic depression “that, you know, began to happen on George Bush’s watch.”
“It is a distraction from Obama’s own agenda,” Alter added about the oil spill, “and in that sense, it irritates him.”
MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Chuck Todd, and Savannah Guthrie on Tuesday’s “The Daily Rundown” were in “anguish” over the forced retirement of Helen Thomas, but showed little sympathy for the Israelis that the Hearst columnist so odiously disrespected.
“I think a lot of people feel some anguish about this because the comments were beyond the pale,” lamented Guthrie. “And yet it tarnishes a career that otherwise people would be celebrating because she was indeed a trailblazer.”
Glossing over the longtime reporter’s comments that Israelis should “get the hell out of Palestine” and go back to Germany or Poland, Mitchell lauded Thomas’s career as “storied” and proceeded to hearken back to a time when Washington was an “all-male town” and Thomas was blazing the trail for women.
“When I first arrived here, after dinner, at political dinners, women went to one room, men went to another to smoke cigars and have brandy,” recalled Mitchell. “This was a very traditional place–not like New York or other East Coast cities.”
In an attempt to make excuses for Thomas while appearing to condemn her remarks, contradictions ran rampant. First up, Mitchell:
A new Pew poll that shows just 22 percent of respondents trust the government was actually covered by NBC Nightly News on Monday night but for some reason NBC's Today show didn't find that news interesting as they failed to report on the results. However, on Tuesday's Today, they did find a Pew poll they did like, their results on teen texting, as Today co-anchor Ann Curry relayed: "The study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project says that texting is now the main way that teens communicate."
On last evening's Nightly news Savannah Guthrie, at the tail end of another report, noted that "just 22 percent say they trust Washington" and "feel that the government regulates free enterprise too much." However Guthie also pointed out "they would like to see more regulation of Wall Street." At least Nightly News covered the poll, something Today couldn't be bothered about.
The following excerpts are from the April 19 NBC Nightly News and then April 20 Today show:
MSNBC's Savannah Guthrie on Thursday conducted a sycophantic interview with Michelle Obama, urging the First Lady to complain about the "uglier side" of the health care debate. The Daily Rundown co-host sympathetically asked, "There was a lot of vitriol, some pretty hateful things said. And I wondered what your feeling was about that?" [Audio available here.]
Guthrie continued, "Was it hard to stand by and listen to some of that?" Offering the First Lady another softball, she reiterated, "Hearing some of the uglier side of it, did that make you angry?"
The questions didn't get any tougher. Discussing Barack Obama's coming Supreme Court nomination, Guthrie prompted, "You're a Harvard-educated lawyer. Do you think there should be more gender balance, gender equity on the court?" Many of the queries were so vague as to barely qualify as questions: "Do you feel like you have to avoid controversy? Do you feel like you have to edit yourself?"
An evening after all three broadcast network newscasts led by advancing the Democratic narrative of violent ObamaCare critics, a storyline intended to discredit conservatives as all gratuitously named Sarah Palin as a culprit, on Thursday night the same programs weren't so interested and only stumbled into the suddenly “bipartisan” victims – despite fresh revelations of threats and violence aimed at Republicans who voted no.
“It's getting ugly as anger over health care reform erupts into some over-the-top rhetoric,” Brian Williams announced at the top of Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, arguing “the debate over health care reform has gone too far. It's now veered into threats of violence,” citing “ten Democrats who have been threatened.” Incredibly, on Thursday night, Williams still portrayed opponents as the only ones with miscreants amongst their ranks:
While the White House continues to celebrate its largest-ever legislative victory, opponents of health care reform have reacted to the final vote with anger, a few of them with threats of violence.
Two stories later, only after reporter Kelly O'Donnell had noted that “just before the Senators cast their votes, they paused to honor the late Ted Kennedy,” did Williams arrive at the threats “reported by Democrats and Republicans.” Williams:
Sounding more like MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann than impartial newscasts, ABC, CBS and NBC all led Wednesday night by legitimizing Democratic talking points meant to discredit critics of the just-passed health care bill. “Opposition to health care turns menacing,” ABC’s Diane Sawyer warned. CBS teased with audio clips -- “Baby-murdering scumbag,”“You are a dirtbag” and “I hope you die” -- as fill-in anchor Maggie Rodriguez cited “threats of violence against Democrats who voted for health care reform, even as public support for the plan is growing.”
On NBC, Brian Williams teased: “It's getting ugly as anger over health care reform erupts into some over-the-top rhetoric, including threats now against members of Congress.” He opened by declaring: “It can now be said that the debate over health care reform has gone too far. It's now veered into threats of violence.” Reporter Kelly O’Donnell relayed how “Democrats accuse Republicans of stirring a hostile mood” before Savannah Guthrie rued “Washington's epic 14-month battle over health care has exposed an angry side of America.” She recounted:
Wrapped around the brick that smashed the door of Democratic party headquarters in Rochester, New York, a note with the Barry Goldwater quote: ‘Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice.’ On Twitter, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin told followers, ‘Don't retreat, reload.’ While an Alabama man advocated armed uprising....At a conservative Tea Party protest at the Capitol this weekend, some demonstrators hurled racially and sexually-charged insults at members of the Congress.
CBS’s Nancy Cordes dutifully reported “Democrats accuse their GOP colleagues of inciting such acts with inflammatory rhetoric” as “Democrats complain Sarah Palin is also using violent words and imagery. On Twitter, she urges conservatives: ‘Don't retreat. Instead, reload.’ And the Web site of her political action committee posts bull's-eyes on districts of vulnerable Democrats.”