All three network morning shows on Wednesday were in awe of President Obama tearing up during his White House gun control address on Tuesday. On NBC’s Today, co-host Matt Lauer used the “rare display of emotion” to tee-up a four-minute segment on “The Politics of Tears” and Obama being the “Latest in Long Line of Emotional Politicians.”
Kyle Drennen is the Media Research Center's Senior News Analyst and a Contributing Editor to NewsBusters. He is the co-author of the 2014 Media Reality Check study, TV News Blacks Out This Year’s Bad Election News for Democrats.
In 2009, he captured the infamous comment from then-Newsweek editor Evan Thomas comparing President Obama to God. Later that same year, he exposed for MSNBC deceptively editing video footage of a Tea Party rally to conceal the racial identity of an African American participant, forcing the liberal network to respond to criticism and explain its actions.
His media analysis has been cited by nationally syndicated radio hosts Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin, as well as media outlets including Fox News, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ.com, The Washington Times, Washington Examiner, Politico, National Review, among others.
Kyle joined the MRC in 2007 after graduating from Providence College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science. He lives in Northern Virginia and can be contacted via email at email@example.com.
During special coverage of President Obama’s announcement of gun control executive orders on Tuesday, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt and senior White House correspondent Chris Jansing applauded the commander-in-chief playing on people’s emotions to win support for his unilateral action. Holt began: “President Obama in an emotional over-half-hour-long address announcing executive actions to further his goal toward gun control, working essentially around Congress.... at one point fighting back tears, the tears actually flowing..."
In an interview with actor John Krasinski about his role in the new movie 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi on ABC’s Good Morning America on Tuesday, co-host Lara Spencer fretted over the political impact of the film set to be released on January 15: “Do you feel like this movie will re-open the wound, the debate of what happened in Benghazi?”
In a stunning contrast displayed in back-to-back reports on Tuesday’s Today show, NBC correspondents portrayed chaos in the Republican presidential race while hailing Hillary Clinton as having all but won the White House.
On Monday, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell hosted her 12 p.m. ET hour show live from a Hillary Clinton campaign event, happily announcing: “I'm Andrea Mitchell live on the trail in Nashua, New Hampshire for President Clinton's first official public campaign event for his wife Hillary. Speaking moments ago here in Nashua, New Hampshire, a state that has been very good to the Clintons.”
On Monday, all three network morning shows touted Barack Obama planning to take unilateral executive action to restrict gun rights and worried that Republicans were already strong critics of the presidential power grab.
Appearing in the 3 p.m. ET hour of MSNBC Live on Tuesday, Hardball host Chris Matthews revealed how terrified he is at the prospect of Texas Senator Ted Cruz becoming president: “...Cruz is scarier than Trump and that will be a frightening prospect to realize....if we weren't talking about Trump, we’d be talking about the horror of this country possibly being led by Cruz.”
On Tuesday, NBC’s Today devoted two full reports to President Obama appearing on Jerry Seinfeld’s web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. The first report came late in the 7 a.m. ET hour, with co-host Carson Daly proclaiming: “President Obama and Jerry Seinfeld take a little spin on the South Lawn in a 1963 Corvette before they sit down for a candid conversation about life in the White House....[which] focuses more on the ‘lighter side of the presidency’...an opportunity to ‘pull back the curtain.’”
Talking to NPR’s Steve Inskeep on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, fill-in anchor Luke Russert congratulated the Morning Edition host for teeing up the President to slam Republican critics as racist in a recent interview. A clip played of Inskeep asking the President: “Do you feel over seven years that you’ve come to understand why it is that some ordinary people in America believe or fear that you are trying to change the country in some way that they cannot accept?”
In a focus group with American Muslims on CBS This Morning, participants told political strategist Frank Luntz that Republicans discussing terrorism was so offensive that their children could not be exposed to GOP debates. One woman warned: “I actually did a call out to Muslim parents across the country to not watch the Republican debate in front of their children because I knew that, that – subjecting our children to hear the hateful stereotyping and the lumping of Muslims with terrorism in front of our children is actually something that psychologically impacts them.”
On Wednesday night, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly pressed NBC’s Ted Koppel on the state of the country: “...a new Wall Street Journal poll says just 20% of Americans believe the country is headed in the right direction....do you believe the USA is in bad shape right now, Mr. Koppel? And if so, why?” Koppel dismissed the public’s pessimism and tried to minimize the threat from ISIS terrorists: “I don't think the country is in as bad a shape as your question implies. I think we’re scaring ourselves to death with this ISIS threat."
Interviewing Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus on Wednesday, the hosts of both NBC’s Today and CBS This Morning pushed the idea that the 2016 Republican field was so divided that there would have to be a brokered convention to pick the party’s nominee. In 2008, instead of discussing a possible brokered convention, all three morning shows excitedly promoted the idea of unifying Democrats around an Obama-Clinton “dream ticket.”
On Tuesday, NBC left it to CBS to report its own poll showing a significant drop in President Obama’s overall approval rating and specifically regarding his handling of terrorism. CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King covered the numbers from the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll: “43% approve of Americans approve of the job that he's doing, and that’s the lowest number in more than a year. But 60% disapprove of the way that he’s handling the current situation with ISIS.”
After covering the upcoming Republican presidential debate on Tuesday, NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer promoted Hillary Clinton preparing to attack her GOP rivals: “Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton is planning a preemptive strike against the barrage of criticism that she's expecting from her Republican rivals on that stage tonight. So today she’ll make her case on how she’d take on the ISIS threat.”
During a segment on her Monday MSNBC show using the third anniversary of the Newtown school shooting to demand gun control, host Andrea Mitchell pleaded for national legislation: “Andrew Cuomo, the governor who passed really tough gun legislation in New York....Yet he has said that it is impossible task because you can't do it state by state.”
On Monday’s CBS This Morning, while covering Ted Cruz’s rise in the polls, correspondent Nancy Cordes noted the Republican presidential candidate’s “outspoken opposition to ObamaCare and his willingness to take on both sides of the Washington establishment resonates with Iowa conservatives,” but warned: “That approach has made Cruz deeply unpopular with leaders in his own party, who worry that he could be just as polarizing of a nominee as Trump.”
In the latest edition of its Note to Self series, Monday’s CBS This Morning featured left-wing actress Jane Fonda reciting a letter to herself in which she praised her own activism against the Vietnam war: “Your biggest strength will be that you won't shutdown and become cynical. You'll become an activist.”
While interviewing Hillary Clinton on Thursday’s NBC Late Night, aired early Friday morning, host Seth Meyers lobbed softballs to the Democratic frontrunner on gun control: “...we have lived through so many tragic shootings...in recent months. You know, obviously, gun control is a big part of your campaign. But how can you convince people now that gun control – considering how many times it’s tried and failed – that it is anything more than a fantasy?”
In a hostile interview with Carly Fiorina on CNN’s New Day on Friday, anchor Chris Cuomo accused the Republican presidential candidate of inciting violence with her criticism of abortion provider Planned Parenthood: “Do you feel any sense of regret about how you characterized what was going on at Planned Parenthood after the attack in Colorado? Because of what the man said, which seems as though he was influenced by some of the rhetoric that was coming out of you and others that painted a very ugly picture, an unfair one, about Planned Parenthood?”
After Florida Senator Marco Rubio rejected demands from the hosts of CBS This Morning for gun control in a recent December 4 interview, Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler took it upon himself to examine the claim. Much to the chagrin of the rest of the liberal media, he found: “Rubio’s statement stands up to scrutiny – at least for the recent past, as he framed it....He earns a rare Geppetto Checkmark.”