After a long-running "bromance" between weatherman Al Roker and Vice President Joe Biden, the hosts of Wednesday's NBC Today arranged a surprise live appearance from Biden to wish Roker a happy 60th birthday. After Natalie Morales introduced the veep, sitting in a studio in Washington D.C., Roker gushed: "Oh, my gosh. Mr. Vice President!...Oh my gosh, this is such an honor." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Following the birthday wishes, Roker fawned over Biden: "Look, I have been with you on a couple of stories and you make the Ever-Ready Bunny [sic] seem like a slacker. You are constantly on the move. What's your secret?" Biden replied in part: "I'm more optimistic today about the prospects for our country than I was elected as a 29-year-old kid. And I really mean it."
What would you call an angry heckler who hurls insults at a Republican? According to the hosts of CBS This Morning, the answer is "a reporter." The journalists on Wednesday played footage of a protester sparring with Chris Christie over his use of Bruce Springsteen music at rallies. New Jersey resident Sandra Booket yelled, "I thought I heard that Bruce asked that none of his music was played at your events because he didn't believe in your politics."
Christie retorted, "No, you're wrong in, fact, I saw Bruce just a week and a half ago." He added, "If you're going to be cute, we should get the story right." The woman so impressed co-host Vinita Nair that she marveled, "[Booket] sounded like a reporter didn't she? She just kept going." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Tuesday's This Hour, Michaela Pereira endorsed guest L. Z. Granderson's take on the media's extensive coverage of the ongoing turmoil in Ferguson, Missouri in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown. The liberal commentator pointed out that "this past weekend, we had over 30 people shot – seven of them died – in the neighborhoods in Chicago – many of them black and brown. None of that was covered." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Pereira replied to Granderson by asserting that "because of Ferguson, Chicago is sort of taking a back seat in the headlines. And Chicago's a very concerning thing, and we need to keep watching. We need to keep addressing what's going on there." One wonders if the anchor will criticize her own network, as CNN has only mentioned the violence in the Windy City twice over the past week. Back on the August 13, 2014 edition of The Lead, Jake Tapper cited a recent column by Jesse Jackson:
After deluging Americans with two days of heavy coverage of Rick Perry's indictment, the network morning shows on Tuesday eased up. Only CBS This Morning offered a story on the Republican's vigorous defense. Reporter Jan Crawford noted that growing outrage against the indictment includes liberals: "Among those Democrats is President Obama's former adviser David Axelrod, who suggested the indictment was 'pretty sketchy' in a tweet over the weekend." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Crawford also made time for two clips of conservative Ben Ginsberg, a lawyer representing Perry. He railed, "This is an outlandish prosecution. I mean, it will never, ever, ever, stand." Ginsberg added, "It is unprecedented, it is outside the bounds. I think that's why you see so many people who are not Rick Perry supporters, who are Democrats, saying how wrong this indictment is." Of course, Crawford still found time to throw cold water on the governor's 2016 plans.
CNN anchor Jake Tapper was on the ground Monday night in Ferguson, Missouri as stun grenades and tear gas exploded around him. The journalist had been covering the standoff between protesters and police when the situation became chaotic. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Tapper and his cameraman had to make a hasty exit as the environment deteriorated. Later, CNN video captured a man on as he lay on the ground. "This is a photographer who got hit pretty bad by the tear gas." Earlier, an angry Tapper questioned the police presence: "Nobody is threatening anything. Nobody is doing anything. None of the stores here that I can see are being looted. There is no violence."
Filling in as host of NBC's August 17 Meet the Press, Andrea Mitchell looked back at departing moderator David Gregory's years anchoring the broadcast. The tribute followed Thursday's announcement that Gregory was being replaced by political director Chuck Todd and leaving the network. The switch marked the end of a tenure in which Gregory behaved more like a Democratic Party spokesman than an objective news anchor. Perhaps that contributed to the faltering ratings of the Sunday talk show on his watch.
Unlike his predecessor, the late Tim Russert, Gregory failed to be the tough-but-fair newsman who grilled all guests equally, no matter their party affiliation. Instead he played favorites, smearing Republicans like Paul Ryan as uncaring towards the poor while teeing up Democrats like Congressman John Lewis to attack conservatives as resentful racists. Here is a sampling of some of Gregory's most liberal quotes at the helm of Meet the Press:
Appearing on Fox Business Network's Cavuto program last night to discuss the liberal media's penchant for hyping Republican scandals while downplaying or outright ignoring Democratic ones, Media Research Center president and founder Brent Bozell offered free advice for Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), against whom the Big Three networks devoted 37 minutes of hype regarding an indictment which dropped on Friday. [By contrast, Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's ethics scandal has been mostly unreported with a scant 3 minutes, 36 seconds of coverage in 8 months time]
"If I were advising Gov. Perry, I would tell him simply run the video of the woman who you're trying to get fired, the DA who was drunk off her rear end with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit," Bozell noted, telling guest host Cheryl Casone, "I do believe if Rick Perry goes hard-charging, goes against the media that have been doing this and just simply tells the truth and tells the story, he's going to have a big wave of public sympathy." To watch the full segment, click the play button on the embed below the page break.
Move over, War on Women, there's a new war in town. On the August 18 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, contributor Michelle Bernard warned there is a "war on black men" in the United States, as evidence both by the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and persistent criticism of President Barack Obama from Republicans.
What's more, Bernard insisted, there would be a "genocide" of young black men unless the problem were seriously addressed to her satisfaction. Suffice it to say, Hardball host Chris Matthews at no point called out Ms. Bernard for her heated rhetoric. [see relevant transcript below the page break; MP3 audio here; video update forthcoming]
On Sunday's Reliable Sources on CNN, Dr. Gail Saltz blasted Fox News contributor Dr. Keith Ablow for his jab at Michelle Obama's weight: "To be criticizing people, kind of, willy-nilly is – I don't think meets the Hippocratic Oath." She played up how Dr. Ablow previously hinted that Vice President Biden might have dementia, and claimed that the psychiatrist violated "American psychiatric guidelines, which is not to diagnose someone that you have ever met." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Host Brian Stelter wondered if there's "this urge to be entertaining; to be provocative; to be outrageous." Dr. Saltz asserted that she tries "very hard every day to resist that," and that "any professional wants to express their opinion that has nothing to do with medicine, they have to carefully take off their doctor hat, and make it clear that they're doing so." The CNN guest should take her own advice, as she diagnosed conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh as a "bully" in October 2009:
In just two days, the three network morning and evening shows deluged viewers with over 25 minutes of coverage (17 stories) on the indictment of Texas Governor Rick Perry. These programs made sure to speculate as to whether the controversy could "end any chance" for the Republican in 2016. [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The indictment came afterPerry lobbied for Texas District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to resign after her drunk driving conviction.
From Saturday morning through Monday morning, CBS offered the most amount of coverage, five stories over nine minutes and 14 seconds. Over the same period, ABC produced six segments (or eight minutes and 48 seconds). NBC delivered six segments for of seven minutes and 37 seconds.
All three network morning shows on Monday continued to hype the Friday indictment of Texas Governor Rick Perry but none of the broadcasts mentioned prominent liberals like Obama adviser David Axelrod or Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz coming to Perry's defense and dismissing the charges as politically motivated.
On NBC's Today, correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed Perry to be "the first Texas governor to be indicted in nearly a century." The reporter then attempted to paint the entire field of possible 2016 Republican presidential candidates as plagued by scandal: "It's another possible 2016 contender with a blemish on his resume. You've got Perry's indictment, Chris Christie's bridgegate, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker under new scrutiny for allegations of campaign finance violations." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
MRC president Brent Bozell appeared on the Steve Malzberg Show on Newsmax TV August 14 to discuss the media's coverage of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri as well as the lack of party labels in TV news stories on Democratic scandals.
Mocking MSNBC's preachy "Lean Forward" ads that promote every liberal cause under the sun, the Media Research Center has launched a series of online "Lean Over" videos to illustrate the absurdity of the network's left-wing hosts. First up, Hardball's unhinged partisan propagandist, Chris Matthews. [Watch the video after the jump]
Keep an eye out in the coming weeks for more parody videos as part of the #LeanOver campaign, featuring MSNBC bomb-throwers Ed Schultz and Al Sharpton.
In an exclusive preview of his interview with Paul Ryan, CBS This Morning journalist Richard Schlesinger on Friday chose to highlight a shot at the "brown-noser" Congressman. The reporter recounted Ryan's high school career.
He noted that the Representative was named prom king and added, "Along the way, he picked up another title -- brown-noser. And that he doesn't talk about too much." Schlesinger prompted, "You proud of the brown-noser title?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
NBC Nightly News was the sole Big Three evening newscast on Friday to cover ISIS's ongoing rampage against non-Muslims in northern Iraq. Chris Jansing filed a full report on the heartbreak for a Yazidi community in Nebraska, who have lost family to the Islamist group's campaign of terror. By contrast, ABC's World News and CBS Evening News both found time to air news briefs on the historical gaffe in a photo promoting the new season of PBS's Downton Abbey.
Jansing interviewed several Yazidis for the segment, who detailed the atrocities that ISIS is inflicting on their minority community: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Good Morning America has a history of ignoring the spasms of bloody violence that rock Rahm Emanuel's Chicago. The city's little league baseball team prompted ABC to mention the problem. Correspondent Lara Spencer on August 15th noted the appearance of the Jackie Robinson West squad in the Little League World Series and reminded, "The victory bringing a much needed moment of pride to a city riddled with violence with 82 shootings occurring over fourth of July weekend alone." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Back on July 8th, the weekend after the mayhem occurred, GMA reporter Dan Harris allowed a scant 11 seconds to recapping the crimes. Mentioning Emanuel on Friday, Spencer enthused, "...Even Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel attending [baseball] watch parties across the land of Lincoln." ABC hasn't shown much interest in mentioning Barack Obama's former chief of staff in relation to his city's death toll.
In an interview with the director of a Boston drug rehabilitation center on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer worried about the impact media coverage of legalized marijuana was having on America's youth: "You know, if you're a teenager, a young adult, and you're watching the news and you're hearing more and more stories about the legalization of marijuana...and now you're saying, 'Wait a minute, here.' Are we sending mixed messages on drugs to our kids?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
David Ray, co-founder of Number 16, replied: "We are. We are. We're sending mixed messages because what we're saying is, 'Well, this is okay, but this isn't.' And so, what's a kid to do?"
Ronan Farrow is at it again. On the August 14 edition of Ronan Farrow Daily, MSNBC’s favorite Hillary Clinton prodigy tried to blame the outfitting of local police departments with military-style gear, as exemplified in the police reaction to the recent racially charged protests in Ferguson, Missouri, on evil “defense contractors.” He asked his guest Radley Balko, author Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces “how much of” the militarization of police “is due to defense contractors profiting off of this ability legislatively of the Defense Department to purchase to the point of surplus?”
Earlier Balko explained that President Reagan “off the cuff, instructed the Pentagon to start making surplus military equipment available to police departments across the country.” He added it was not until the 1990's, and the institution of section 1033 of the National Defense Authorization Act that the “transfer to Federal and State agencies personal property of the Department of Defense, including small arms and ammunition” to local police forces to aid in fighting the War on Drugs became official policy. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
Smartphones and social media are enabling African-Americans all over the country to join in on peaceful, digital protests of the fatal shooting of unarmed Ferguson, Mo., teenager Michael Brown, CBS's Jim Axelrod reported on the August 14 Evening News. Axelrod turned to one such Twitter user, "Andre Fields... a 27-year-old political aide" from New York. But while Axelrod presented Fields as measured and interested in "both sides" of the story being heard, a look at this Twitter stream reveals some disturbing tweets.
"If rioting and looting is what it's gonna take for them to get their voices recognized then I say keep at it," Fields (@_JustDreTho) tweeted at 10:31 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, August 12. Hours earlier, Fields tweeted a quote from the late Martin Luther King Jr., "Riots are the language of the unheard." Of course the whole conceit of Axelrod's story is that the previously unheard and marginalized ARE being heard, and seen, through the peaceful and ubiquitous means of social media [see the segment's transcript, screen capture, embedded tweets and video below page break]
Univision is out with a new ad series promoting ObamaCare enrollment. In the latest installment, instead of distancing Univison’s news division from the ObamaCare marketing machine, now the tie-in could not be more direct, as the new ObamaCare ad features none other than network’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Juan Rivera.
“We want you to enroll now. Insure yourself,” Dr. Rivera exhorts viewers in the new ad [see video after the page break.] Unlike Univision's previous ObamaCare enrollments ads, which featured network morning show talent, Dr. Rivera is a regular fixture in Univision's news programming.
Thursday's CBS This Morning stood out for zeroing in on the plight of Catholics in China, as it covered Pope Francis's trip to South Korea. Seth Doane noted the Pope's overflight of the communist country, and pointed out how "that's significant, because the last time a pope wanted to fly through Chinese airspace was in 1989, and Beijing refused the request." The Pope at that time, St. John Paul II, took a vocal stance against the communist regime in his native Poland.
Meanwhile, ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today touted the Pope "making history" with his trip, as he is the first pontiff to visit South Korea in 25 years. Both newscasts also hyped the temporary Popemobile – something that CBS This Morning left out of its coverage: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
International human trafficking is a lucrative, exploitative, and deadly criminal enterprise, often operated by ruthless drug cartels who don’t mind branching out into sex trafficking. So it was a little shocking that Jose Diaz-Balart gave a platform to a fellow journalists who evinced some sympathy for the plight of the smugglers.
On the August 14 edition of his eponymous MSNBC program, Diaz-Balart hosted Telemundo’s Julio Vaqueiro, who discussed his recent interview with “a coyote, a member of an international crime syndicate set up to smuggle people across the border.” At no point, however, did Diaz-Balart protest Vaqueiro’s portrayal of the criminal as a necessary helper to “migrants who are putting their lives at risk just to get a better life here in the United States.” [See transcript below. Click here for MP3 audio]
On Thursday, the hosts of CBS This Morning interrogated former NBC and CNN journalist Campbell Brown and prominent liberal attorney David Boies over their effort to reform the public education system by eliminating a union sacred cow, teacher tenure. Co-host Norah O'Donnell began the segment by proclaiming: "This could be a watershed moment for America's public schools or a misguided effort to punish teachers for problems far beyond the classroom." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Brown explained that tenure "makes it almost impossible to remove a grossly ineffective or incompetent teacher or in some cases even an abusive teacher." In response, O'Donnell toed the union line: "But you both should answer this, what your critics charged. You've focused a lot of time and money and one of the best lawyers in the country on an issue like tenure, when many people say that budget cuts to schools and inadequate funding is really the reason why there's inequality."
The journalists at the CBS Evening News on Wednesday investigated whether Rick Perry is "using" the immigration crisis to increase his profile for a 2016 White House bid. Talking to the mayor of Rio Grande City, Manuel Bojorquez said of the move to send Texas National Guard to the border: "A lot of people have criticized his decision by saying that it's pure politics, that he's looking to make a point on the national stage because he wants to run for president."
In a tease for the segment, anchor Scott Pelley insisted that Perry is "upping the political ante." The journalist wondered, "Is he using the crisis to raise campaign money?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Liberals are shifting their focus from the unpopular Barack Obama to Hillary Clinton's potential 2016 bid and even MSNBC anchors are getting into the act. Hardball guest host Steve Kornacki on Tuesday played up Clinton's criticism of the President as a possible overture to the Republican Party. According to The Atlantic, Clinton dismissed the Obama motto of "don't do stupid stuff" as "not an organizing principle" for governing.
Talking to former GOP Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, Kornacki wondered, "Is there a message here you see Hillary Clinton sending to those Republicans, saying, 'yes, there is room on my bandwagon for you'?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
As NewsBusters reported on Tuesday, CNBC's chief Washington correspondent John Harwood observed on Squawk Box that the world "blowing up" on President Obama's watch would be a "big problem" for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016. Appearing on the show again on Wednesday, Harwood divulged that the Clinton team contacted him about how much attention his comments had generated among "conservative groups." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Host Joe Kernen began the Wednesday segment by declaring: "Harwood, did you see all the press he got yesterday from his appearance on our show yesterday?...He was everywhere. John, you're the man...Big press yesterday." Harwood noted: "You know who I heard about it from? I heard about it from the Hillary Clinton team." Kernen replied: "I'm sure you heard about it. In fact, you won't be getting an interview with them anytime soon."
MSNBC did its best to hype the “really tight race” facing Republican incumbent and possible 2016 candidate Governor Scott Walker on the August 13 edition of The Daily Rundown. Guest host Chris Cillizza teased a segment on the Wisconsin Republican’s re-election twice in the first half hour of his 9 a.m. show, boasting “a look at Scott Walker's biggest fight yet” and the “tough road to re-election ahead of him.” MSNBC even featured the clip on their website, with the title “Scott Walker starts to scramble for November.”
The overblown segment was barely over one minute long, in which Cillizza began the discussion by asking NBC news political reporter Carrie Dann, “How much trouble is Scott Walker in?” Based on the tone of The Washington Post reporter, the fact that the Wisconsin governor celebrated his nomination with “a big rally last night,” even though “no one thought he wasn't going to be the Republican nominee” was a bad sign. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
On Wednesday, NBC's Today devoted a nearly four-minute segment to promoting a fawning interview that Wired magazine conducted with NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Despite introducing the story by labeling Snowden as "the man U.S. officials have called a traitor and a coward," co-host Willie Geist went on to proclaim: "Out from the shadows...in front of the flashbulbs. Appearing at times exhausted, at times defiant..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
With a musical score playing throughout the segment that made it sound like an action movie, a sound bite ran of Snowden declaring: "My name is Ed Snowden. I used to work for the government and now I work for the public." Wired editor-in-chief Scott Dadich explained the magazine's cover photo showing Snowden draped in an American flag: "He came in actually quite nervous to the shoot. And he said, 'I love my country, I feel like a patriot.' And it was at that moment that we knew that we had the cover."
Given a national platform on tonight's All In with Chris Hayes, Democratic State Senator Jamilah Nasheed (Mo.) charged that the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer was an "execution-style" killing. [WATCH video and READ the relevant transcript following page break]
At no point, however, did host Chris Hayes object to such rhetoric and protest that the facts have not been established in an impartial investigation. Producers and Mr. Hayes should well have known, however, that Ms. Nasheed might make such a heated charge on air. In an August 10 tweet she condemned Brown's shooting as an "execution-style murder" (see embedded tweet below the page break):