In a report on Friday's NBC Today, news anchor Natalie Morales profiled children who were born after the September 11th attacks and noted how celebrations following the death of Osama Bin Laden in May were "thrilling and confusing" for those children.
One girl worried: "I just don't think it's right to celebrate that somebody died, because they were all like, 'Oh, yay, he died, hooray!' But it's just not very nice to celebrate that somebody died." A boy observed: "I would celebrate a little, but at the same time I wouldn't."
On Wednesday evening, the NBC Nightly News devoted a segment to a recent study involving the World Health Organization asserting that infant mortality in the United States has fallen behind 40 other countries, including Cuba. NBC's Today show and ABC's Good Morning America also mentioned the study briefly earlier the same day.
NBC's Snyderman on Nightly News even seemed to hint that universal health care in Vermont may play a role in that state's ranking that is relatively higher than other states, even though several other states she named as relatively higher do not have universal health care.
While both ABC's Good Morning America and CBS's Early Show on Tuesday gave due credit to Senator Marco Rubio for catching former First Lady Nancy Reagan as she tripped at Reagan Library event, NBC's Today strangely avoided making any mention of the Florida Republican being present, even as video footage clearly showed him holding Reagan's arm. [Audio available here; Video follows page break]
ABC, CBS, and NBC all failed to mention former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's affiliation with the Democratic Party on their Monday evening news broadcasts and the Tuesday morning shows. Blagojevich was convicted by a jury on Monday on 17 out of 20 charges, mainly related to the attempt to sell the Senate seat of President Obama. Only CBS's Early Show noted his party with a "D" on-screen.
NBC devoted the least amount of time to the breaking news, a total of 1 minute and 50 seconds between NBC Nightly News and the Today Show. Brian Williams actually didn't mention the party of the new felon or his predecessor during his report on Monday, but noted that "Blagojevich will become the fourth Illinois governor in recent memory to go to jail. His predecessor, George Ryan, is still in federal prison, also for corruption." The following morning, news anchor Natalie Morales gave three news briefs on Blagojevich, all about 15 seconds long each.
The network morning shows on Monday hyped the "extra spectacular" gay pride parades in the wake of New York's newly passed same sex marriage legislation. Both ABC and NBC highlighted the "hero's welcome" Governor Andrew Cuomo received after signing the bill. At the same time, they ignored dissenters.
On Monday's Today, news anchor Natalie Morales touted, "Gay pride parades around the country turned into victory laps..." and added, "Gay and lesbian couples spoke about finally realizing their decades-long dream of walking down the aisle."
Reporter Mara Schiavocampo openly opined, "This year's parade isn't just a celebration of pride, but for the first time, equality."
During coverage of Arnold Schwarzengger's admitted affair on Tuesday, members of NBC's Today promoted his wife and their former colleague, Maria Shriver. Correspondent Natalie Morales declared that despite "much public scrutiny" of their marriage, "Many say it was Maria's enduring support through it all that allowed them to become one of America's most powerful couples."
Morales described Shriver as, "a member of the Kennedy political dynasty who became a network news correspondent....[then] left her long-time job at NBC News to support her husband's political career." Morales touted how Shriver's "support then, led to his landslide victory," and remarked: "Since then, the Republican foreign-born action movie star and the liberal polished member of one of America's most prestigious families, became a formidable team."
On Wednesday afternoon, CNN aired a misleading graphic about Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour's statements about a proposed license plate honoring a controversial Confederate general from the Civil War. The chyron, which ran during CNN Newsroom and The Situation Room, stated that the "Miss. Gov. won't denounce creation of KKK license plate."
At first glance, one would imagine that the proposed vanity plate has an image of a burning cross or a hooded figure. In reality, the organization behind it, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, aim to honor Nathan Bedford Forrest, who is a controversial figure, even disregarding his early membership in the Klan, because of his involvement in the massacre of black Union troops at Fort Pillow in Tennessee in 1864. Most people probably know the name because of the Oscar-winning movie Forrest Gump, as the title character was named after the Confederate figure (the movie also has a brief clip of actor Tom Hanks, playing Gen. Forrest, donning his Klan robes).
Say what you will about NBC's Today show but they recognize a ratings winner when they see one and they demonstrated that, when they invited Fox News host Glenn Beck back for a second appearance on Wednesday's show. However with that second guest spot came another opportunity to accuse him of fomenting hate.
In the 7am half hour Today co-anchor Meredith Vieira accused Beck of contributing to "a dialogue of hate" that led to the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and in the 9am hour it was her colleague Natalie Morales' turn to make that ugly inference as she pressed Beck: "How do you respond to the accusations...that people make" since the Tucson shooting "that you may be somewhat to blame?"
This time around, Beck took a back seat to his co-author psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow who offered this professional diagnosis for those critics that blame Beck and other conservatives like Sarah Palin for the tragedy in Arizona: "Refer them to me, they're crazy."
The Today show cast, on Tuesday, previewed a guest appearance by reality show star Kate Gosselin on Sarah Palin's TLC show, and after showing a clip of the former Alaska Governor frightening the celebrity mother of eight kids by firing off a gun, Vieira revealed she shared Gosselin's fears as she yelped: "You're with a woman with a gun. The whole thing makes me nervous, you know?"
The following is the full segment as it was aired on the December 7 Today show:
On Friday morning, after airing a full report on the Democratic strategy of painting Republican candidates as "dangerous" and "extreme," CBS’s The Early Show co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez seemed surprised when Republican guest Eric Cantor disagreed with her view that "there is no question these Tea Party Republicans are outside the Republican mainstream," and her suggestion that next year Republican congressional leaders may be in the "tricky position" of "feeling indebted to these candidates while trying to keep them in line."
And, picking up on Republican accusations of Democrats being extreme, the CBS anchor also wondered, "If these Tea Party-backed candidates win the election, wouldn't we just be going from one extreme to another?"
Meanwhile, over on the Today show, NBC’s David Gregory repeated the theory of some Democrats that Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell and other Tea Party-backed candidates are hurting Republicans in neighboring Pennsylvania. And, while he at least conceded that the Tea Party is a "legitimate movement," he described Nevada Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle – in addition to O’Donnell – as "outliers." He did not acknowledge the role the mainstream media may be playing in turning swing voters against Tea Party candidates.
California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown was caught on tape in a conversation with an aide, in which that aide called his Republican opponent Meg Whitman a "whore" and CBS's Early Show, on Friday, didn't find that gaffe worthy to report, even though Brown was forced to apologize. ABC's Good Morning America, didn't do much better, as while they did report on the sexist phrased being hurled at Whitman they didn't get around to it, until the second hour of their show. ABC's Juju Chang, in a news brief, noted "Some salty language in the race for California governor. It's difficult to hear, but it's a voice mail recording that captures Democrat Jerry Brown" and an aide, "who used a not-so flattering word to describe" Whitman. Chang went on to play a clip of the aide saying of Whitman "She's a whore."
NBC's Today show, for some reason, bleeped out the offending word, but did offer the most extensive report of the controversy and unlike their morning competitors highlighted the story in the first hour of their program with Vieira teasing at the top of the show: "And caught on tape. A private conversation between California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown and an aide recorded on a voice mail and derogatory word is used to describe rival Meg Whitman. The Brown camp is apologizing but Whitman's camp is calling it unforgivable, today." Vieira's colleague, Natalie Morales, then offered a full story, six minutes into the show.
NBC's Natalie Morales, on Wednesday's Today show, introduced Telemundo's Maria Celeste Arraras to tell the story of a South Florida family that has been separated by immigration laws in a segment that painted plight of the illegal immigrant in the most sympathetic tones. The tale of a Colombian mother deported back to her home country because she overstayed her visa, was part of, as Morales put it: "an NBC wide look at A Nation Divided." Arraras interviewed the children of Claudia Ramirez who were, as the story seemed to intimate, forced to fend for themselves in the U.S. after, as her daughter Kathy described, two "big guys with I.C.E. jackets" took their mom away.
Arraras mainly focused on the perspective of the family as she interviewed Claudia, her three children and an immigration lawyer, and only allowed one dissenting voice, a former INS agent who pointed out if "we find all these exceptions for people to be able to stay here, even though they violated the law, why should anybody ever go through the legal system?" Arraras, herself, did point out to the daughter "Some people may say, 'Well, this is a very sad case but too bad, your mother should not have come here in the first place.' What, what would you say to that?" To which Kathy guilt-tripped Today viewers by responding: "Have a heart." [audio available here]
The following is a transcript of the full story as it was aired on the May 26 Today show:
Liberals are circulating the idea the God is pro-gay. Near the end of Monday night's Hardball, after a segment on gays, Chris Matthews tossed in his not-so-Catholic two cents: "I don't think your orientation is a choice, by the way. God has a lot to do with this. Anyway, Michelle Goldberg, thank you. Charles Moran, sir, I love your organization." That group would be the Log Cabin Republicans. When Matthews loves you, you must be Republicans in name only.
The same theme came up in a Rosie O'Donnell satellite-radio interview on Friday with newly declared lesbian country singer Chely Wright, who declared: "I think God wanted me to [have a singing career], and I also think that God has been whispering in my ear for a very long time to come out as a lesbian...and I continued to override God and say, 'God...you [don't] quite understand Nashville. Let me handle this.'"
On her coming-out interview on the May 5 Today, NBC interviewer Natalie Morales offered her an enthusiastic endorsement of her decision and drew out of her how God apparently just wanted her to "tell the truth" about her choices:
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, fill-in news reader Betty Nguyen reported on President Obama's new plan to cut back America's space program, but failed to mention sharp criticism by astronauts Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, and Eugene Cernan in a signed letter sent to the White House.
Nguyen noted: "President Obama unveils a revamped plan for America's manned space program....reviving part of a plan he canceled earlier this year. NASA will begin development of a crew capsule called Orion....[it] won't go to the moon, but will be used as an emergency vehicle on the space station."
In contrast, on ABC's Good Morning America, anchor Juju Chang began a news brief on the same topic this way: "President Obama under fire, accused by the first man to set foot on the moon of leading the U.S. space program down a path of, quote, 'mediocrity.'" Correspondent Jake Tapper followed: "Armstrong and two other former astronauts wrote that it was a terrible decision. They called it 'a misguided proposal that forces NASA out of the human space operations for the foreseeable future.'"
NBC's Today also covered the criticism, as anchor Natalie Morales explained how: "three Apollo astronauts call the changes devastating. In a letter, Neil Armstrong, James Lovell and Eugene Cernan write, 'The President's plan destines our nation to become one of second, or even third-rate stature.'"
Left-wing protests for "immigration reform" (amnesty) used to be a huge TV-news story. MRC's 2006 special report Election in the Streets counted 309 stories in little more than two months. So it's a little surprising that Sunday's "pro-immigrant" protest received just a few seconds of attention.
It's better measured with a word count than a story count. ABC, CBS, and NBC combined gave it 239 words (or less than 80 words per network). NBC had 34 words, ABC 84, and CBS 141 (half a story).
This is 239 words more than the 2010 March for Life. Obviously, the timing was terrible, with the final vote on health "reform" scheduled. But you would think it would draw more than this. Perhaps the plugged-in Democrats like Stephanopoulos got a signal that focus on this issue wasn't helpful when voters are already angry with Democrats about health care.
Last night ABC News, as the MRC’s Brent Baker noted, showcased the "Why People Hate You Obama?" kid and on Friday’s "Today" show it was NBC's turn to be charmed by the Obama-adoring child. NBC's Savannah Guthrie, reporting from College Station, Texas about Obama's latest health care pitch and his upcoming joint appearance with George H.W. Bush to promote volunteerism, squeezed in a clip of Tyren Scott asking Obama why people hated him, when they're supposed to love him? After which Natalie Morales cooed: "Alright cute kid there."
The following is the full report as it was aired on the October 16 "Today" show:
NBC's Natalie Morales, on Wednesday's "Today," was bowled over by the First Couple's "tag-teaming" effort to lure the Olympics to their home city of Chicago. Reporting live from Copenhagen, Morales cheered that "it doesn't get any better in terms of PR blitzes than this," and effused the First Lady was "turning on the charm, as only she can."
"Today" co-anchor Matt Lauer introduced the segment touting the "star-studded campaign" led by the Obamas and Oprah Winfrey, as Morales called that combo a "one, two, three punch" that would require "a secret weapon," for the likes of other competing countries, like Brazil and Japan, to counter. Morales ended her report noting "the glitz will be on once again in full," as the First Lady is expected appear at a gala, that Morales giddily wished to attend: "I'm hoping I get a red carpet ticket today, at least, for that event."
The following segment was aired on the October 1, "Today" show:
Move over Al Gore, NBC's Meredith Vieira and Natalie Morales have discovered the new face of global warming and it's a glacier. In the latest bit of goofy global warming nonsense Morales reported, on Thursday's "Today", that a photographer in Norway caught a picture of "what appears to be a face crying a river of tears as a glacier melts into the sea." To which "Today" co-host Vieira exclaimed, "That's gonna be the new image of global warming, right there." [audio available here]
The following exchange was aired on the September 3, "Today" show:
NBC's Matt Lauer, on Wednesday's "Today" show greeted viewers with the following teaser: "Good morning, Supreme showdown. Republicans gear up for a fight over President Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the nation's highest court," and then asked the racially loaded question: "But will taking on the first Hispanic nominee cost them down the road?" Lauer and other "Today" correspondents repeatedly questioned if Republican opposition to Sotomayor would cost them Hispanic votes in upcoming elections. However no one on "Today" mentioned it was Democrats, back in 2003, as the MRC's Tim Graham pointed out, who opposed the nomination, by Republican President George W. Bush of Miguel Estrada at the circuit court level.
That's what NBC's "Today" show did August 26 in a segment attacking online dealmakers. Co-host Meredith Vieira warned shoppers could find "mysterious and unwanted charges on their credit cards."
"Kathy Danzer wanted to reconnect with old classmates, so she bought a subscription on a popular high school reunion Web site," correspondent Natalie Morales reported. "But when she got her credit card bill there was another unexpected charge: an additional $12.99 for something called ‘GREATFN.'"
With all the complaining - not to mention the foreboding soundtrack the segment featured - a viewer might think Danzer and others like her had trouble getting refunds for the money they mistakenly spent. But that wasn't the case, as the company refunds money to unsatisfied customers, Morales admitted at the end of the segment.
The Big Three networks continued to ignore the party affiliation of the now-incarcerated Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on Friday morning, just as they had done in their evening news programs the previous night. The Early Show on CBS chose to ignore the story of Kilpatrick’s arrest on a bail violation entirely, while ABC’s Good Morning America devoted one 16-second news brief to the story near the beginning of its 7 am Eastern hour.
Ironically, NBC’s Today show, which is devoting most of its programming to the Summer Olympics in Beijing, spent the most time on the subject. It first aired a 12-second news brief just after the top of 7 am Eastern hour, and devoted an entire segment to the story at the beginning of the 8 am Eastern hour. The report by correspondent Ron Allen was just shy of 2 minutes long, but still ignored Kilpatrick’s Democratic affiliation.
Picking up where the broadcast network evening news shows of last night and yesterday's ABC's Good Morning America left off, Tuesday's "Today" show failed to note the party affiliation of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. NBC News' Natalie Morales had a total of three opportunities to mention that Kilpatrick was a Democrat but failed to do so in two news briefs and one introduction to a Michelle Kosinski story about the mayor's indictment. The show's graphic department also failed to slap a (D) next to Kilpatrick's name simply labeling Kilpatrick as "Detroit Mayor."
The following segment, as it occurred on the March 25 "Today", was typical of the show's Kilpatrick coverage:
NATALIE MORALES: Today Detroit's mayor is facing arraignment on 12 felony charges including perjury. The charges come amid allegations of sex, lies and text messages. More now from NBC's Michelle Kosinski.
[On screen headline: "Indicted, Detroit Mayor Facing Felony Charges"]
MICHELLE KOSINSKI: The mayor in a mug shot. Kwame Kilpatrick was the youngest mayor Detroit ever elected. He once talked about turning the Motor City around. Now the storm of allegations against him of corruption, cover-ups and sexually explicit text-messages has swirled into an indictment.
For the second consecutive day NBC's "Today" show refused to identify Eliot Spitzer as a Democrat. In a total of seven Spitzer-related segments on Wednesday’s "Today" show and one interview with Barack Obama, where the scandal was mentioned, not one anchor, reporter, guest, talking head or on-screen graphic mentioned Spitzer's party affiliation. However, following the trend on NBC's Nightly News, the "Today" show graphics department did take time to place an "R" next to Rep. Peter King and New York state Rep. Joe Tedisco.
National correspondent Natalie Morales did note that, "the governor was under lots of pressure from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle" to step down but never bothered to note on which side of the aisle Spitzer stood.
The following opening story from the March 12, "Today" show was typical of the rest of NBC News' Spitzer reports, in its refusal to note his party affiliation.
With four hours of air time to fill NBC's "Today" show devoted a whopping 11 segments to the Eliot Spitzer scandal but not once did any of the show's anchors, reporters, guests, talking heads or even on-screen graphics mention the fact that Spitzer was a Democrat.
"Today" co-anchor Meredith Vieira set the tone when she ignored Spitzer's party affiliation as she opened the March 11, "Today" show: "Good morning, client number nine. New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, a hard-charging moral crusader caught in a federal sting involving a high-price call girl ring." NBC's Matt Lauer, also bypassing the "D" next to Spitzer's name, piped in: "Just when you thought you couldn't be shocked any more we go from Eliot Ness to Eliot Mess. Another high profile politician making a stunning admission."
The following is a breakdown of all the Spitzer-related segments:
Is NBC News allergic to the use of "pimp" during its serious news broadcasts? In the wake of the scandal over MSNBC's David Shuster suggesting Chelsea Clinton had been "pimped out" by her mother's campaign, a quick look at the Nexis database shows that NBC News hosts and anchors have not been immune to the rising use of "pimp" in our pop culture as not only a noun, but as a verb or adjective, meaning to promote (either selling a product or the attributes of a person) or to improve or renovate (like the MTV show Pimp My Ride).
This is especially true of the Today show, where Al Roker, Natalie Morales, and Meredith Vieira (in her case by reading a quote) have all used the newfangled word. CNBC reporter Jane Wells also filed a story on the "Pimped Out John," a deluxe toilet with all kinds of amenities. Snippets of transcript follow.
Before Thanksgiving, the Laura Ingraham show had great fun with a Today segment on November 16. As part of a series on "Today Gives Thanks," news anchor Ann Curry expressed her deep love and appreciation for Maya Angelou, the liberal black poetess who delivered the mawkish "rock, river, tree" poem at Bill Clinton's first inauguration.
NATALIE MORALES, co-host: This morning we wrap up our special series "Giving Thanks Today" with Ann's turn to show her gratitude to a great woman. Ann.
ANN CURRY: That's right. You know, words can change your life, and listening to the words of Dr. Maya Angelou in 2002 changed mine. If you're not familiar with Dr. Angelou, you need to stop what you're doing and sit down and listen.A renaissance woman, she is a writer, performer, teacher and an American Poet Laureate...
If you've got an extra-billion dollars laying around and you happen to be a fan of "Today" co-host Ann Curry, just donate that extra cash at a Bill Clinton-fronted foundation conference and you may just get a kiss from her. On the Thursday, "Today" show Curry got so excited by a paper company exec's donation of $1 billion at a Clinton Global Initiative meeting that she actually planted a kiss on him.
After the chairman of Pratt Industries, Anthony Pratt, told NBC's Al Roker he was donating the money to help recycling efforts, the notoriously green Curry went into a tither as she exclaimed:
Curry: "$1 billion?! $1 billion?! You get a kiss!"
Environmental activist and An Inconvenient Truth producer Laurie David received a very warm welcome, from the green-friendly anchors on the Wednesday "Today" show, when she came on to promote her children's book, A Down-To-Earth Guide to Global Warming. During David's interview NBC's Natalie Morales noted that the book's publisher, Scholastic, was trying to place the book into schools everywhere and proclaimed: "We hope to see it there." Morales even bragged that her own son was already being indoctrinated: "They're already talking and learning about this in school. I mean, my own son already knows, 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.' You know the three 'R's."
No slouch herself, when it comes to preaching about global warming, Morales' colleague Ann Curry also proudly showed off her own son's concern about climate change in the following tease for the segment:
On Monday's "Today" show, NBC's Bob Dotson profiled Will Steger, a polar explorer who is indoctrinating America's youth about "collapsing" ice shelves and global warming. Dotson never doubted the explorer's theories, instead he chose to portray Steger's work as nothing short of much needed charity work:
"Pitching back in between and forth between the Poles, Will began to notice our warming world, wrote one of the first books about it. Now the old explorer has set himself a new challenge. Here in his home of the great northern Minnesota woods he's teaching the next generation how to rally support and solve the problem."