After asking President Obama if the prospect of Donald Trump having control of the nuclear codes was “frightening,” in part two of a White House interview aired on Tuesday’s NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie worried that Trump was the one launching personal attacks: “Does it feel personal? I mean, Mr. Trump has made it pretty personal against you. I could give you a list, which I guess I probably don't need to.”
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.
In a softball exclusive interview with President Obama conducted on Tuesday and aired on Wednesday’s NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie teed up the Democratic commander-in-chief to blast Republican nominee Donald Trump: “Hillary Clinton says that Trump is most dangerous candidate ever to run for president. On this very specific issue, do you personally find it frightening the prospect of him having the nuclear codes?”
As the media swooned over First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech to the Democratic National Convention Monday night and applauded her defense of America’s “greatness,” journalists seemed to suffer from collective amnesia as they forgot Mrs. Obama’s controversial revelation that she was “proud” of the country for the “first time” during her husband’s 2008 presidential run.
In a report previewing Bill Clinton’s upcoming address to the Democratic National Convention, on Tuesday’s NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander actually alluded to some of the former president’s problems: “As a surrogate, President Bill Clinton, he boasts an incomparable resume – husband, adviser, and past president himself. But he also brings to the table tonight some significant personal and political baggage.”
In an effort to downplay the chaos and division on display at the first day of the Democratic National Convention, on Tuesday’s NBC Today, correspondent Andrea Mitchell celebrated Monday night’s speech from Bernie Sanders as “everything Hillary Clinton could have wanted, an unqualified endorsement.” The reporter gushed: “Passion and purpose at the Democratic National Convention."
Longtime Democratic operative Donna Brazile being named interim head of the Democratic National Committee on Sunday following the ouster of chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz amid the DNC e-mail scandal created some awkward moments for CNN and ABC. Hosts on both networks had to explain that Brazile was stepping down as a political analyst as she took over the new partisan position.
In a desperate attempt to downplay chaos in the Democratic Party following leaked Democratic National Committee e-mails and the resignation of chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz, on Monday’s NBC Today, Meet the Press moderator Chuck actually tried to spin the controversy as a positive: “Look, the only piece of good news out of this for Democrats, Jeff Weaver, Bernie Sanders's campaign manager, told me yesterday the best thing for Democratic unity is her resignation and that actually could calm the waters today.”
Speculating over Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential running mate on Friday, NBC’s Today fretted that the leading contender – Virginia Senator Tim Kaine – might be too moderate for the left-wing base of the Democratic Party. In a report on the topic, correspondent Kristen Welker noted: “A former governor who also has national security experience, Kaine has emerged as the frontrunner. Some progressives have accused him of being too pro-trade and soft on Wall Street, but supporters say he checks all the boxes.”
Reacting to Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention Thursday night, on Friday morning, the hosts and correspondents of NBC’s Today scolded the GOP nominee for his “dark” tone of “doom and gloom.” Opening the broadcast, co-host Matt Lauer proclaimed: “Donald Trump closes out the Republican National Convention in a speech that was both fiery...and dark.”
On Thursday’s NBC Today, correspondent Andrea Mitchell couldn’t wait to get away from the “razor-sharp rhetoric” of the Republican National Convention and move on to the love-fest for Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia next week: “After today, Hillary Clinton gets her turn planning a convention designed to prove that she is not the demon the Republicans have been portraying all week.”
On Thursday, NBC’s Today blasted Ted Cruz in the most hyperbolic terms over the Texas Senator’s unwillingness to endorse Donald Trump during a Wednesday night speech at the Republican National Convention. Co-host Savannah Guthrie went biblical on the conservative lawmaker: “Peter King said it was a disgrace, that he's a liar. Chris Christie said it was an awful and selfish speech. I was walking out last night, I overheard a delegate say, ‘Let's call him Judas Cruz.’”
Still harping on accusations of plagiarism against Melania Trump during an interview with Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort on Thursday’s NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer demanded an apology from the GOP operative for suggesting Hillary Clinton’s campaign was fueling the story: “You even went as far as to blame Hillary Clinton....you said, ‘When Hillary Clinton is threatened by a female, the first thing she does is try to destroy that person,’ would you offer Secretary Clinton an apology for blaming her?”
Appearing on Wednesday’s NBC Today, Saturday Night Live Weekend Update hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost both agreed that Republicans had a better sense of humor than Democrats. After a clip ran of the comedians doing man-on-the-street skits at the Republican National Convention, co-host Matt Lauer asked: “You're gonna also be at the Democratic National Convention. In your opinion, who do you think is funnier? Would Republicans be funnier or Democrats?”
Ahead of Mike Pence accepting the vice presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention Wednesday night, NBC’s Today made sure to warn viewers about the “conservative” and “controversial” Indiana governor. Correspondent Andrea Mitchell proclaimed: “And as governor, he has proven to be a staunch social conservative, signing controversial legislation, including a religious freedom bill that came under fire from gay rights groups.”
Following night two of the Republican National Convention, Wednesday’s NBC Today kept up its portrayal of the event being filled with “inflammatory rhetoric” and “raw red meat” as correspondent Peter Alexander declared: “Still, the night was heavy on harsh rhetoric, much of it directed at Hillary Clinton....Delegates repeatedly calling for Clinton to be thrown in jail.”
On Tuesday, all three network morning shows worried over the Republican convention being too conservative and throwing “raw red meat” to the party base. On NBC’s Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie fretted: “Okay, let’s talk about the tone of last night. There was a lot of red meat for the base. Is that good strategy? Is this going to be a base election?”
As presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump arrived in Cleveland Monday afternoon, he was greeted by NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer hectoring him about the “tone” of the GOP convention, which had barely started: “There’s been so much violence in the country in the last couple of weeks. People are on edge, they’re tense. You add to that the passion that comes with political debate and there are people who are truly afraid that things could boil over here in Cleveland.”
On NBC’s Today on Monday, co-host Savannah Guthrie teed up former Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw to compare the Republican National Convention in Cleveland to Chicago’s violent Democratic convention in 1968: “It would not be a convention without NBC special correspondent Tom Brokaw. He has covered every election, every convention since 1968....I mentioned 1968. There's something about this time and how unsettled we are as a nation that reminds us.”
On Monday, the three network morning shows hyped “security concerns” over Ohio’s open carry gun law and the prospect of protesters being armed around the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. On NBC’s Today, correspondent Stephanie Gosk feared: “The other concern that police have, that people are going to come here carrying their guns. There is a long list of banned items, but because of Ohio law, they are allowed to bring guns.”
With NBC’s Today live in Cleveland Monday morning to cover the Republican National Convention, co-host Matt Lauer used the killing of three police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana over the weekend to denounce “inflammatory rhetoric” from Donald Trump: “...the President spoke out and basically said, ‘Look, we’ve got to turn down the inflammatory rhetoric’....you have Donald Trump calling the President ‘clueless’ and saying the nation is a ‘divided crime scene.’ Are we going to hear more of that in the convention hall behind us?”