After NBC warned viewers that the partial government shutdown that ended weeks ago may be "the Grinch that stole Christmas," on Tuesday's Today, correspondent Stephanie Gosk fretted that Thanksgiving would be ruined as well: "Macy's, the company that sponsors the Thanksgiving Day Parade, will open its doors on the holiday for the first time in 155 years....But there is a risk, the identity of one of the country's most cherished holidays may be in jeopardy." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Despite co-host Matt Lauer noting moments earlier that the trend of Black Friday creeping into Thanksgiving had been happening "for years," Gosk laid blame on October's temporary shutdown: "Retailers are facing a tough reality. The government shutdown slowed down the economy and took a serious toll on consumer confidence. A recent poll showed that just over half of shoppers say they will spend less than last year this Christmas season."
ABC and CBS both failed to point out San Diego Mayor Bob Filner's Democratic party affiliation on their Wednesday morning newscasts. Good Morning America devoted just one 17-second news brief to the ongoing Filner scandal. CBS This Morning didn't do much better, with two news briefs on the former congressman. NBC's Today didn't set aside any air time to the controversy.
The NBC morning show did one-up its Big Three competitors in identifying Anthony Weiner as a Democrat. Stephanie Gosk underlined the "Democratic drums are beating loudly for Anthony Weiner to step out of race for New York mayor", and noted the scandal-plagued politician's fourth-place standing among "likely Democratic primary voters". CBS This Morning and GMA merely labeled Weiner a "former congressman".
On Wednesday, NBC Nightly News covered the Dr. Kermit Gosnell case for the very first time, a whopping 44 days after the opening of the trial, and only after the jury had finished its first full day of deliberations. Stephanie Gosk wasted little time before emphasizing that Gosnell's clinic was "one of the only places in this low-income neighborhood in Philadelphia where pregnant woman could afford to go for abortions" [audio available here; video below the jump].
Gosk's report was also the first time that Big Three aired a report on the trial on its evening newscasts, even as ABC and CBS's evening newscasts continued their blackout. Previously, the only time that a NBC journalist mentioned the murder case on-air was when Savannah Guthrie asked President Obama if he had been "watching the Gosnell trial....and do you think it animates a larger debate about abortion in this country" on the April17, 2013 edition of Today.
On Thursday, the morning shows on NBC, CBS, and ABC all touted a New York Times Magazine profile of disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, an article designed to rehabilitate the Democrat's image in preparation for a mayoral run in New York City. On NBC's Today, correspondent Stephanie Gosk explained: "Most people wanted to know whether or not he had learned from his mistakes before they could vote for him. His wife says she forgives him."
Gosk detailed Weiner's expression of regret for the 2011 sexting scandal that ended his congressional career: "Both Weiner and his wife revealing in their own words how it happened, why it happened, and the damage it caused....Weiner describes the shame and the guilt." A sound bite was featured of NYT magazine interviewer Jonathan Van Meter sympathetically recalling: "[Weiner's] still wracked with a sort of shame and pain and guilt about it, and – and he cried, I think every time I interviewed him, at some point."
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Stephanie Gosk promoted the Occupy-Wall-Street-stye rhetoric of left-wing British Member of Parliament Oona King: "King believes economic inequality was a driving force behind London's riots last year....The physical recovery from the riots has been slow....But the effort to improve lives is even more difficult."
Gosk interviewed King as they walked through London's East End, near the Olympic Village: "This is not the London that tourists typically get to see. Here the double-dip recession has hit hard. Unemployment is over 14%." King lamented: "Huge, vast repositories of wealth. And yet, that wealth doesn't trickle down anywhere, you know?" Gosk helpfully added: "So, they can see it....but they can't get there."
On Wednesday's NBC Today, correspondent Stephanie Gosk reported the latest details on the phone hacking scandal in Britain involving a Rupert Murdoch owned tabloid and declared: "Damage to the company [News Corporation] may have already been done. And some say it is about time."
Gosk noted that included, "actor Hugh Grant, who in recent months has led his own campaign against the tabloids." A sound bite was played of Grant: "we're talking about pretty nasty people." Gosk went on to speculate that the scandal may spread and put "pressure on Rupert Murdoch's worldwide media empire," which of course includes Fox News. She also argued that in Britain, Murdoch's "political support...has all but disappeared."
All three broadcast networks reported allegations of abuse by Catholic priests during their nightly news programs on March 25. But none of them provided an objective report.
ABC, CBS and NBC ran a combined total of 13 sound bites from victims and victim advocates, who claimed the Catholic Church, and Pope Benedict XVI in particular, covered up sexual abuse by Father Lawrence Murphy.
They alleged that Murphy abused 200 boys at a school for the deaf in Milwaukee, WI, throughout the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Only NBC's report included a defender of the church: George Weigel of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
Sunday's "NBC Nightly News" featured retired General Barry McCaffrey, NBC News military analyst and "one-time war critic," as he voiced his "surprising new assessment" that conditions in Iraq have improved "dramatically" since the surge. McCaffrey, former Drug Czar of the Clinton administration, remarked: "A year ago, I thought the thing was going over the edge of a cliff. That has changed dramatically in a very short period of time."
Anchor Lester Holt played up McCaffrey's history of being a war critic as he teased the December 23 show: "Reality Check: New progress in Iraq, and a surprising new assessment from a four-star general and one-time war critic, just back from Baghdad." (Transcript follows)