On Friday’s NBC Today, the hosts of the 9 a.m. ET hour ran to the defense of NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt in the wake of Donald Trump questioning the political views of the presidential debate moderator. Weatherman Al Roker proclaimed: “Lester Holt is moderating it, and if there's anybody who can withstand the pressure and be down the middle and cool and calm and take this thing on, it is Lester Holt.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Filling in for host Andrea Mitchell during MSNBC’s 12 p.m. ET hour on Thursday, Peter Alexander worried that Donald Trump only had a “low bar” to surpass in the upcoming debates: “Do they [the Clinton campaign] have real concerns...that the bar has been set so low for Donald Trump, in effect, that clearing that bar of acceptability is not much of a challenge? How do they combat that in some way?”
On Thursday’s NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer proudly announced that the network had received an Emmy award for its biased coverage of the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling legalizing gay marriage across the country. Lauer told viewers: “By the way, the News and Documentary Emmy awards were held last night and NBC News and MSNBC picked up this one for our live coverage of the Supreme Court's landmark decision on same-sex marriage.”
During her softball interview with Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine on Monday, self-avowed Hillary Clinton supporter Ellen DeGeneres bemoaned a supposed double standard against the former Secretary of State: “So Hillary is, it seems – and I've said this before – that she is held to a different standard than Donald Trump is. Would you agree with that?”
In a predictably softball interview with Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine set to air on Wednesday, talk show host and Hillary Clinton superfan Ellen DeGeneres began the friendly chat by gushing: “Well, first of all, thank you for everything you have been doing for a long, long time.”
On Tuesday, all three network morning shows ran with an unconfirmed claim from prominent Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend that former President George H.W. Bush supposedly told her he was voting for Hillary Clinton. On NBC’s Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie excitedly told viewers: “Is a Bush ready to back a Clinton? Yes, according to a Kennedy...”
On her 12 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Monday, host Andrea Mitchell was in panic mode, fretting that the rash of terror attacks over the weekend would hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign: “...this is exactly what a lot of the people around Hillary Clinton had been concerned about, some incident. We recall how San Bernardino and the Muslim ban was – elevated Donald Trump and gave him this tough persona....He is now polling better than Hillary Clinton in the ability to combat terrorism.”
At the top of Monday’s NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer hyped concerns that Donald Trump was “too quick to judge” about an explosion in New York City, despite accurately labeling it a bombing on Saturday. The anchor then wondered if Hillary Clinton was “too cautious” in her response. In the report that followed minutes later, correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: “Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump demonstrating very different strategies and styles on issues of national security.”
On Friday, both NBC’s Today and CBS This Morning blasted Donald Trump for refusing to respond to a question about whether President Obama was born in the United States and “fact-checked” his assertion that Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign actually first pushed the conspiracy theory. On Today, correspondent Peter Alexander noted: “The Trump team issuing a reversal, saying, quote, ‘Mr. Trump believes President Obama was born in the United States’....And falsely accusing Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign of first raising the issue.”
Appearing on Thrusday’s NBC Today, sports columnist Mike Lupica actually criticized the ongoing protests in the NFL against the National Anthem inspired by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Despite most of the media cheering the disrespectful display, Lupica downplayed the impact: “I don't think it's become a wave, a thing that's sweeping the country. But it’s also not the Freedom Marches, okay?”
On Thursday’s NBC Today, co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Willie Geist interrogated Dr. Mehmet Oz about his interview with Donald Trump for his daytime talk show. Guthrie began by questioning the health records provided by the Republican nominee on the program: “Seems like it was a genuine surprise, him handing you this piece of paper with medical results. Didn't give you a big chance to really look at it beforehand....could you tell just by looking right then and there whether it was legit and comprehensive?”
After CBS was caught editing footage of Bill Clinton saying Hillary Clinton “frequently” suffered from fainting spells, the network was back at it on Wednesday, again censoring unflattering news for the Democratic couple. While reporting on leaked e-mails from former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Wednesday’s CBS This Morning, co-host Gayle King conveniently stopped reading from one correspondence just before Powell referred to Bill Clinton’s sex scandals.
On her MSNBC show on Tuesday, host Andrea Mitchell fretted: “Trump continues to exploit Hillary Clinton’s gaffe saying that half of the Trump supporters could be put, quote, ‘into the basket of deplorables.’” In the interview that followed, Donald Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway called out Mitchell for downplaying Clinton’s comments: “...that’s her on tape and I respectfully disagree when people characterize what she said as a gaffe. She was reading prepared remarks and she had said it previously.”
Appearing on Tuesday’s NBC Today, actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt gushed over playing NSA leaker Edward Snowden in a new movie and even compared the fugitive former intelligence analyst to a civil rights icon: “...he did break the law and he admits that he broke the law, but then there’s examples of people who break the law who aren’t necessarily doing the wrong thing. Like one example I thought of is Rosa Parks.”
On Tuesday’s NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie grilled Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on whether Donald Trump should release his tax returns: “Speaking of transparency....Are you on the record as Donald Trump should turn over those tax returns?” O’Reilly pushed back: “No matter what he does, he puts his tax returns out, the press – which wants him to lose....Trump knows whatever he does in that area, he’s going to be destroyed.”
After Hillary Clinton nearly collapsed due to an undisclosed case of pneumonia on Sunday, on Monday, all three network morning shows tried to deflect from questions about her health and honesty by claiming that “both candidates” were guilty of not being forthcoming on the issue.
In two campaign reports for NBC’s Today, correspondents Peter Alexander and Kristen Welker both promoted Hillary Clinton meeting with numerous national security experts, including former CIA director David Petraeus, who resigned amid scandal and was prosecuted for mishandling classified information.
On Thursday’s NBC Today, correspondent Ron Allen promoted President Obama blasting Donald Trump in the wake of NBC’s Commander-in-Chief Forum: “It didn't take much for President Obama to weigh in. At a closing news conference he was asked about those comments that Donald Trump made about our generals being reduced to rubble and about Vladimir Putin being a better leader than President Obama.”
On Thursday, both NBC’s Today and CBS This Morning hyped an effort by Democrats to provide “smoking gun” evidence that former Secretary of State Colin Powell was to blame for Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal. Reporters on the morning shows dutifully used the story to distract from Clinton being hammered over the scandal during Wednesday’s Commander-in-Chief Forum.
After news broke late Tuesday that the Obama administration actually paid $1.7 billion in cash ransom to Iran to secure the release of American hostages – a sum much larger than the initially reported $400 million – only NBC’s Today bothered to devote a full two-minute segment to the shocking development. CBS This Morning and ABC’s Good Morning America could only manage seconds of air time for the scandal.