On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams introduced a full report on cancer research at the National Institutes of Health being stopped under the government shutdown: "And there are the millions who are feeling the impact of this shutdown very close to home and across this country, including some for whom this standoff feels very much like a matter of life and death for them."
In the story that followed, correspondent Tom Costello declared: "The NIH funds research nationwide. At its headquarters, a lack of funding means 200 patients, including 30 children, each week will be turned away from clinical studies." What he failed to mention was that congressional Republicans proposed a bill to provide the needed funding, but were rebuffed by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
The Washington Post is a legend in the minds of the Washington elite, so its financial decline has caused quiet panic. As NPR media reporter David Folkenflik put it, “You think of stories like the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, these are all stories where The Washington Post led the nation's understanding, the world's understanding of some major issues.”
Outside the liberal media, you wonder how long Post fans can wallow in their Nixon-crumbling polyester “glory days” in the early 1970s. But nostalgia ruled as the Graham family sold the Post to Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon.com. “Now he is being credited as a white knight with deep pockets helping to save one of this country's great newspapers,” oozed NBC reporter Tom Costello.
Amid the debate over immigration reform and media predictions that the Republican Party will never again win a national election due to demographic shifts in the country, correspondent Tom Costello appeared on Friday's NBC Today to eagerly promote a new study: "You know, by 2043, just three decades from now, the Census Bureau says whites will be a minority....a changing complexion that will have huge, social, political and economic implications for the entire country."
Costello remarked: "Far from the 50s, a new kaleidoscope of color....For the year ending July 2012, the Asian population expanded by 530,000 people, African Americans added 560,000, and the Hispanic population grew by the most, 1.1 million people. Non-Hispanic whites, long the dominant demographic group in the country, added only 175,000 people to their ranks, and for the first time, deaths, by a slim margin, out-paced births for whites..."
On Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Tom Costello fretted over the impact of modest reductions in government spending: "401 parks, battlefields, monuments, seashores, volcanos, and deserts make up the National Park System....But the parks and their future are under stress....The Park Service budget hasn't changed since 2006....Now the sequester is forcing another $153 million in cuts just as tourist season begins."
During a similar report on Nightly News that evening, Costello warned viewers: "Park advocates say for years the parks have been underfunded. Now some are in trouble....Despite rising costs, the Park Service budget has been flat for seven years and now has lost another $153 million in the sequester."
At next week’s State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama is likely to continue his ongoing push for more gun control. It’s a push first spurred on by Obama’s gun control allies in the liberal media. In the wake of the horrific school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks quickly moved to exploit the tragedy to push for more gun control legislation while mostly ignoring solutions that respect gun owners’ Second Amendment rights.
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams was eager to seize on any perceived momentum for greater gun control in the wake of Friday's school shooting: "The President said he would use the power of his office to prevent more gun tragedies, and tonight he is being joined by a growing number of prominent voices."
In the report that followed, correspondent Tom Costello listed some of those voices. While pro-gun Democratic senators like Joe Manchin and Mark Warner were noteworthy, Costello attempted to pad the list with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a longtime anti-gun activist. To create the appearance of bipartisanship, Costello even threw in MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, who he pointed out was a "former Republican Congressman." On Thursday's Today, he went so far as to label Scarborough an "influential Republican."
Following a report on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News about the dropping value of Facebook's initial public stock offering and possible investigations into what went wrong, anchor Brian Williams saw an opportunity to adopt the talking points of the left-wing Occupy Wall Street movement: "Is this a case of the rich get richer, another advantage to the 1%...?"
Williams posed that question to New York Times reporter and CNBC host Andrew Ross Sorkin, who enthusiastically added to the class warfare rhetoric: "Boy does it feel that way, Brian. This is that and probably a lot more. And it couldn't come at a worse time given the enormous distrust that the public has of Wall Street. And it goes to this sense of fairness. This is the ultimate 1% versus 99% all over again."
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, one week after NBC TV star Alec Baldwin got booted off an American Airlines flight for refusing to turn off his iPad, anchor Brian Williams declared: "Now we turn to the latest skirmish in the battle over electronic devices on airplanes and what some passengers are seeing as a kind of a double standard here, now that we've learned pilots will be allowed to use iPads in the cockpit."
NBC's Tom Costello made a gaffe of planetary proportions on Saturday's Nightly News as he reported on the launch of NASA's latest Martian rover. The correspondent identified the rocket, which blasted the unmanned Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) probe into space for its eight month-plus journey to the fourth planet, as a "Saturn V." This is actually the name of the rocket that took Apollo astronauts to the Moon in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The last Saturn V flew in 1973.
The expendable rocket that actually blasted off on Saturday morning, taking MSL and its Curiosity rover beyond the Earth's atmosphere, is the Atlas V. It is the newest member of a rocket family that has been in service since the 1950s. John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962 after a modified first-generation Atlas launched his Mercury capsule into space.
On Friday's NBC Today, correspondent Tom Costello described how "Nearly one in six Americans is living in poverty. 16 million are children. That's 3 million more than three years ago." However, nowhere in his report on the growing problem did he mention the Obama administration's failed economic policies as a cause.
Instead, Costello lamented over possible cuts to government welfare programs: "It was 50 years ago that Sergeant Shriver led President Johnson's war on poverty. Today his son, Mark, runs Save the Children in the U.S....[and] fears that programs like Head Start, which serve poor children, might face cuts in the next round of congressional budget cuts, just as more and more families find themselves struggling to put food on the table."
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer warned: "Record flooding in the wake of Irene leading to new evacuations and dramatic rescues across the Northeast....As FEMA's disaster fund runs dangerously low." Moments later he announced the agency was "running into a serious money crunch because of Irene and in-fighting in Washington."
In a later report, correspondent Tom Costello singled out those responsible for the "infighting": "You can blame politics and the new budget realities. The Republican-controlled House already voted to give FEMA another $1 billion this fiscal year, but that increase is tied to budget cuts elsewhere. So Senate Democrats haven't acted."
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams praised China's high-speed rail system and lamented that United States had not done the same: "China is rocketing ahead of the U.S. with high-speed rail. And it has a lot of people wondering how long we can keep chugging along the same old track."
Touting the completion of a new rail line between Beijing and Shanghai, Williams proclaimed: "Which raises again the question, when it comes to trains, why is America, home of the iron horse and the golden spike, still on the slow track?" Correspondent Adrienne Mong filed a report riding the rails across China, touting the high-speed system as "smoother, sleeker, greener than a jet plane."
NBC's Saturday Today show ran a piece recounting recent car safety tests which find that large vehicles like SUVs are among the safest vehicles to drive. The same vehicles that used to receive much negative attention from the media because of rollover accidents and lower fuel efficiency seem to have seen improvements in the likelihood of rollovers. NBC correspondent Tom Costello on Saturday gave a positive review of SUVs and other large vehicles. Anchor Amy Robach introduced the report citing "surprising findings" of safety tests.
Costello soon informed viewers: "The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports today the overall safest vehicles on the road are minivans, with 25 deaths per million registered vehicles. SUVs are close behind with 28 deaths per million vehicles. And that's a surprise since just a few years ago, SUVs were prone to rollovers and considered dangerous."
An otherwise straightforward report on bad economic news on Friday's NBC Today cited economist Diane Swonk, who argued government stimulus prevented things from getting worse: "We basically had a massive coronary during the financial crisis....Financial stimulus and monetary stimulus, you know, got us to the stage where we're healing but we're in still in a lot of rehab."
Correspondent Tom Costello set up the sound bite by declaring: "To get things moving, the government has already cut payroll taxes while the Fed has pumped in $600 billion of stimulus money." He lamented: "But more government spending is unlikely given the political battle over the debt ceiling in Washington."
On Friday morning, NBC's Tom Costello couldn't close his Today show report on high gas prices without airing the proverbial soundbite from an angry gas station customer accusing oil companies of gouging the consumer. Costello even managed to taint Big Oil with the Watergate scandal, in his set-up for the perturbed gas pumper, as he pointed out one of the highest prices he found in Washington D.C. was "right in the shadow of the Watergate" adding, "customers across the country are increasingly suspicious of the oil companies."
NBC's Today on on Monday offered the most sympathetic take on the growing outrage over invasive pat downs being conducted at airports by the Transportation Security Administration. While ABC highlighted "outrage" and CBS observed how some find the procedures "violating," Today host Matt Lauer worried about the government "caving" on the policy.
All three morning shows interviewed TSA Administrator John Pistole. But, only Matt Lauer fretted, "...I hate to even think of what happens if the government caves in on this, and relaxes these procedures, and someone manages to get something on board a plane and causes harm. Imagine the questions you'll be asked at that point."
Lauer asserted that with the comparatively small number of people complaining, the anger could be "overblown." While all three programs played a clip of Barack Obama critiquing the screening program, Today, Good Morning America and The Early Show failed to portray the controversy as a problem for the White House.
NBC's Tom Costello, on Friday's Today show, in previewing Glenn Beck's rally at the Lincoln Memorial this weekend, focused on the racial insensitivity of the Tea Partiers as he reminded NBC's viewers that at last year's rally in Washington "there were a lot of signs that had rather racist overtones. The concern is that might be repeated this time. By the way, many Beck followers, who are coming, are being urged to avoid African-American areas and avoid conflict."
Costello began his story noting that while "Glenn Beck says that Dr. King is a hero of his" he is still "defiant in his right to be here" and then went on to cite political analyst Stu Rothenberg in insisting "this weekend's event could carry risk for Republicans."
The following is the full Costello story as it was aired on the August 27 Today show:
Over the weekend, ABC provided hyperbolic, worried reporting on the 9/12 protest in Washington D.C. And while the other networks had mixed results, Good Morning America co-host Bill Weir opened the program on Saturday by fretting, "This morning, outrage. Protesters descend on Washington to rally against the President's health care plan. As civility gives way to shouting, what's fueling all this anger?"
On Sunday’s GMA, Weir spun that the protesters were "rail[ing]" against higher taxes, government run health care and spending. Reporter Yunji de Nies highlighted a marcher who labeled Barack Obama a "communist." She then pounced, "Do you really believe the President is a communist?" Right after this exchange, de Nies told viewers that those rallying "insist they're not extremists."
Some financial indicators took somewhat of a shock over swine flu fears on the first day after the swine flu fears were realized.
"But on Wall Street today and overseas, travel-related stocks took a beating over flu fears," NBC correspondent Tom Costello said on the April 27 "NBC Nightly News," reporting that U.S. airline stocks were hit hard, down a little over 8 percent on the news.
"If this lasts two months and spreads across the globe, then the global downturn will intensify," Zandi said. "Millions of more jobs will be lost, unemployment will rise, and this recession will last well into 2010."
Here we go again - another Obama administration/media personality feud in the works.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has no problem addressing media critics of President Barack Obama - even on an individual basis. Since Obama was sworn in as president, Gibbs has addressed criticism from conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, CNBC mercantile exchange floor reporter Rick Santelli and now CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer.
During the March 3 White House press briefing, Tom Costello of NBC News asked Gibbs to respond to remarks from Cramer, who was described as "not a conservative," made on NBC's March 3 "Today" show that he "thought the president's policies, his agenda had contributed to the greatest wealth destruction he's ever seen by a president."
Like ABC and CNN on Monday morning, NBC’s Today also lauded the Obama daughters’ new Sidwell Friends school as green and compassionate, a school that "emphasizes a lot of the themes of the Obama administration." Like the other networks, NBC made no mention of the Obamas choosing a pricey private school and not considering a public school, or their opposition to school choice for children poorer than theirs. Today co-host Matt Lauer interviewed Maureen Orth of Vanity Fair magazine (Tim Russert’s widow) to get all the compassionate details:
LAUER: Yeah but, but I just want to mention, a lot of people thinking, well it's great, they're sisters, they'll have each other to lean on. But they're going to separate campuses, aren't they?
ORTH: That's right, yes. The lower school where Sasha is going is in Bethesda and that's just right outside of Washington D.C. Where Malia is going is a, the first platinum green building in Washington. And there are so many things about the school, it's a Quaker school. There are so many things about the school that, that emphasizes consensus. Lighting your light from within.You bring a vegetable on Wednesdays to cut up for the homeless shelter. There's a lot of stuff in this school that emphasizes a lot of the themes of the Obama administration.
As anyone aware of the concept of supply and demand could have foreseen, Americans are driving less now that gasoline prices have passed $4.00 per gallon. So on this morning’s Today show, NBC’s Tom Costello dutifully noted that Americans have driven 20 billion fewer miles so far this year, but then declared a “bad news” side effect of drivers buying less gasoline:
“We use federal tax money that comes from gasoline sales to maintain the nation’s roads and bridges. We’re looking at a billion-plus-dollar short fall right now, and the National Governors Association wants Congress to come in and fill the gap.”
I guess “filling the gap” could either mean hiking the tax on gasoline, or supplementing the highway fund with other tax dollars. Maybe the real “bad news” for consumers is that some politicians seem determined to collect all of the gasoline taxes they desire, whether drivers actually buy the gas or not.
"More than a dozen lenders have pulled out of the federal student loan program, unable to raise enough money to make loans," NBC correspondent Tom Costello said. "Now - Pennsylvania, Missouri, Michigan, New Hampshire and Iowa have suspended parts or all of their student loan programs - unprecedented."
"But airline mergers have traditionally meant job losses, especially in the airlines' hub cities, as well as fewer flight options for passengers in smaller cities and higher ticket prices," NBC correspondent Tom Costello said. "In Atlanta, we found frequent travelers fearing that's exactly what could happen."
"Nightly News," however, based its report completely on a 78-year-old story who felt she was deceived.
"Reverse mortgages allow seniors 62 and older to borrow against the equity they've built up in their home," NBC correspondent Tom Costello said. "But upfront costs can be steep, $12,000 for Ms. Munoz. Then, her attorney claims, the sales agent who suggested the reverse mortgage sold the 78-year-old woman long-term investment annuities that don't mature until 2033. When she tried to withdraw some of that money, she faced a 20-percent penalty."
Rather than attack the government for its inability to manage air traffic, the August 20 “NBC Nightly News” shifted the blame to the airlines – specifically attacking American Airlines.
“So far this summer, Flightstats.com has reported American Airlines has had the lowest on-time arrival rate at 65 percent. But yet another Dallas-based carrier, Southwest, has had the highest on-time rate at 78 percent,” said correspondent Tom Costello making the case against American.
However, Costello’s comparison was faulty because it ignored major differences between the two airlines.