Shortly after news broke on Wednesday that Diane Sawyer would step down as anchor of ABC's World News and be replaced by David Muir, Temple University journalism professor Karen Turner ranted to MediaBistro's TVNewser blog: "In this growing multicultural nation, it's unconscionable that as of September three white men will lead their respective networks."
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.
At the top of the 9 a.m. ET hour on Wednesday's NBC Today, weatherman Al Roker suggested in jest that his colleague David Gregory deserved to be punched in the face by former President Bill Clinton after the Meet the Press moderator asked Clinton in a recent interview about wife Hillary being "out of touch." Roker joked: "You know, I'd give anything if after David finished the question, Bill just kind of hauled off and popped him. Just see what happens." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Moments later, co-host Hoda Kotb rushed to the defense of the Clintons: "There are certain people who when you look at them you think that money is their issue and that's – they're entitled or whatever. You don't really think that when you think of the Clintons. It's not the first thing, I don't think, that pops into people's heads." Roker lamented: "I think we were all probably raised that you don't talk about money and how much people make. And it's unfortunate."
Acting as a cheerleader for the White House "Summit on Working Families" on Tuesday's NBC Today, 9 a.m. ET hour co-host Natalie Morales hailed: "A lot of good talk at the White House yesterday. You know, the whole conversation about managing work-life balance." She teed up a clip of President Obama speaking at the event: "He spoke about the importance...of having that balance in his own life and how much Michelle has had to pinch hit for him. And vice versa." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In part, Obama observed: "You look at something like workplace flexibility. This is so important to our family....that flexibility made all the difference to our family. But a lot of working moms and dads can't do that." As the soundbite ended, Morales and weatherman Al Roker agreed that it was "so true."
After ten days of ignoring the June13 revelation that the IRS mysteriously lost two years worth of Lois Lerner's emails related to the scandal plaguing the agency, Tuesday's network morning shows finally took notice of the development only to tout Democrats dismissing the latest congressional hearing on the government abuse as a "farce." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
NBC's Today and CBS This Morning both provided full reports on the "contentious" hearing in which "Republicans unleashed their full fury" on IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. On Today, correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "The hearings showcased another round of bitter partisanship, with little resolution in sight." A soundbite followed of Massachusetts Democratic Congressman John Tierney declaring: "I don't think I've seen a display of this kind of disrespect in all the time I've been here in Congress."
Just prior to President Obama's Thursday press conference on Iraq, NBC's chief White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd was caught on an open mic joking that Republican Senator John McCain "must have had heart palpitations" after former general and CIA director David Petraeus seemed to back up President Obama's inaction during the crisis. Todd quipped: "Did anybody check John McCain? Is he okay now that David Petraeus came out against doing anything?"
In a statement to Business Insider on Friday, McCain communications director Brian Rodgers hit back at Todd: "It's not like further evidence was needed to prove the liberal bias at MSNBC and in the mainstream media, but Chuck Todd's 'hot mic' comments...show just how quickly the media will try and discredit Senator McCain and anyone who questions President Obama."
Promoting an upcoming White House summit on working families during an interview with President Obama aired on Monday's CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O'Donnell lobbed a series of softballs on the issue, starting with: "I know you said in your State of the Union, 'When women succeed, America succeeds.' What's the single most important thing you think you can do to help working women?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Obama seized the opportunity to spew talking points: "Well, the question is not just what can I do, but I think what we as a society need to do. And this is an issue that's near and dear to my heart. I was raised by a single mom....And now I've got two daughters. So I want to make sure that their able to balance family life and the workplace much better..."
After all three broadcast networks initially ignored offensive comments from former Democratic Montana Governor and possible 2016 presidential candidate Brian Schweitzer claiming outgoing Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor set off his "gaydar," on Friday, NBC's Today took notice of gaffe, with correspondent Peter Alexander declaring: "...a tough-talking Montana Democrat known for being unscripted is apologizing after he managed to offend Democrats, Republicans, gays, and southerners all at once." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Alexander described how Cantor "became the target of an attack that was both ugly and unfounded," with Schweitzer "slinging the mud." Alexander proceeded to quote the "shoot-from-the-lip" former governor's rambling comments about Cantor: "I'm fine with gay people, that's all right – but my gaydar is 60-70 percent. But he's not, I think..."
Following a tough grilling of Secretary of State John Kerry in the first part of her interview aired on Thursday, on Friday, NBC Today co-host Savannah Guthrie revealed that the rest of her time spent with Kerry was mostly devoted to fluff and softballs: "From breakfast with senators and the ceremonial duties of office to back-to-back trips to the White House, Secretary of State John Kerry has taken his new job and run with it....the once-staid senator now one of the President's most outspoken road warriors." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Guthrie observed: "It seems to me that you are looser than you've ever been." Kerry replied: "You know, after years and years in public life, I know who I am. I know what I want to achieve."
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams seized on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office revoking the trademark of the Washington Redskins as part of the liberal crusade to force the team to change it's name: "Taking a hit. The feds go after the Redskins where it hurts the most, money from team merchandise, as the controversy over the team's name takes a surprise turn." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing the later report, Williams proclaimed: "The pressure just increased on the Washington Redskins to change their team name. Starting with the fact that they may no longer have the exclusive use of their own name in the lucrative business of NFL merchandise." Correspondent Kristen Welker touted the government abuse of power as "A victory for Native Americans who say the name should go, calling it just as racist as the 'N' word."
In a remarkably tough interview with Secretary of State John Kerry aired on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie interrogated the nation's top diplomat on the Obama administration's failure to prevent terrorists from invading Iraq: "It seems like the U.S. was totally caught off guard by this....did you act too slowly? I mean, [Iraqi Prime Minister] Maliki was asking for help with air strikes in the last few weeks as this was coming, as ISIS was coming toward this part of Iraq. Why didn't we act then?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Later in the exchange, Guthrie pressed: "What's happening now in Iraq is directly related to the situation in Syria. Did the U.S. – did the President miss the moment, make a huge mistake by not trying to turn the tide in Syria then and what's happening in Iraq now is just the chickens coming home to roost?"
Appearing on Wednesday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd reported on the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showing President Obama's poll numbers taking a nose dive and made this stunning declaration: "This is as if the public is saying, 'Hey, buddy, your presidency is over. You may not believe it is, but your ability to lead and convince us that you have the right policies anymore, we're not listening.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
That observation was prompted by co-host Savannah Guthrie highlighting: "Let's show the poll number you call the dagger. 'Can the President lead and get the job done?' 54% say no."
In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace condemned network television news for being obsessed with "what's trending online or some Internet YouTube video" rather than hard news, lamenting: "I'm frankly disheartened by some of the stuff I see creeping into newscasts."
He further observed: "The weekday morning television shows have really been overrun by it, and I am kind of disheartened to see it creeping into the evening, weekday news. Walter Cronkite, my first boss, would not be happy to see what's happening in the evening newscasts."
While all three network morning shows covered the ongoing terrorist invasion of Iraq on Tuesday, only CBS This Morning made the connection between President Obama's foreign policy and the chaos in the country. In an interview with former U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, This Morning co-host Charlie Rose wondered: "Has the United States and the Obama administration failed to pay sufficient attention to Iraq since American troops left?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Later on the broadcast, correspondent Jan Crawford talked to Iraq war veterans upset by seeing their hard-fought accomplishments being lost. Crawford explained: "When he campaigned for president in 2008, then-Senator Obama made bringing the troops home a priority.... But the U.S. withdrawal came at a cost, leaving an opening for radical terror groups."
On Monday, only CBS This Morning reported Friday's stunning revelation that the IRS somehow lost two years worth of emails from Lois Lerner, the official at the center of the agency scandal in which conservative groups were unfairly targeted. At the top of the morning show, co-host Norah O'Donnell wondered: "How did the IRS lose emails in the scandal targeting conservatives after the government spent millions to back up data?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing the later report, fellow co-host Charlie Rose noted: "The Washington Times says congressional Republicans are blasting the IRS for losing some of Lois Lerner's emails.... the controversy that started last year is erupting again." Correspondent Nancy Cordes reported: "Republican lawmakers, as you can imagine, are furious. They say the IRS has been promising to get them these emails for a year, and now suddenly says that Lois Lerner's computer crashed way back in 2011."
UPDATE [06/16]: Monday's Today offered a correction on Trump's claim that Blair Kamin had been "fired" from the Chicago Tribune. At the top of the 8 a.m. ET hour, news anchor Natalie Morales explained: "Well, in fact, that critic, Pulitzer Prize winner Blair Kamin, has been with the Chicago Tribune for more than twenty years and also spent the 2013 academic year as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard." See a transcript of the June 16 news brief below.
On Friday, NBC's Today and CBS This Morning touted Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin hurling insults at Donald Trump's newest skyscraper in the Windy City, condemning the "brashness" and "egotistical overstatement" of the billionaire's decision to place his name on the building, even calling it a "wart" on the city skyline and comparing it to "Godzilla." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Reacting to the melodramatic declarations during a live phone interview on Today, Trump slammed Kamin: "This was started by a third-rate architectural critic for the Chicago Tribune, who I thought got fired. He was gone for a long period of time. Most people thought he got fired. All of a sudden he re-emerges, and to get a little publicity, he started this campaign."
On Friday, CBS This Morning was the only one of the Big Three network morning shows to cover Hillary Clinton's testy Thursday exchange with NPR host Terry Gross over Clinton's shifting position on gay marriage. Neither NBC's Today nor ABC's Good Morning America bothered to mention the unflattering incident for the potential 2016 presidential candidate. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
This Morning co-host Charlie Rose informed viewers: "Politico says Hillary Clinton rejects the idea that politics affected her views on same-sex marriage....In an interview Thursday, NPR host Terry Gross repeatedly asked Clinton about the issue." A clip followed of the contentious back and forth in which Clinton ranted to the liberal host: "I think you are being very persistent, but you are playing with my words and playing with what is such an important issue."
On her 12 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Thursday, host and NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell was unusually critical of the Obama administration's handling of terrorists seizing control of large portions of Iraq: "Where is our intelligence? We were there for ten years. We oughta know something about Iraq. This isn't North Korea." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
That comment followed Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine's attempt to defend the White House for being caught flat-footed by the foreign crisis: "Well, this is a late-breaking development. Look, nobody in the administration contemplated that the Iraqi armed forces would just melt away and capitulate as fast as they have." Mitchell shot back: "Shouldn't they have?"
Despite Al Qaeda being on the rise in Syria and Iraq, numerous unanswered questions remaining about the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange, and the ongoing VA scandal, NBC News decided to send former first daughter and Today show correspondent Jenna Bush Hager to the White House to conduct a softball interview with President Obama on fatherhood.
Today co-host Savannah Guthrie teased the pro-Obama fluff at the top of Thursday's broadcast: "Father-in-chief....In an exclusive interview with Jenna Bush Hager, President Obama gets personal about his own childhood without a father and what it's like to raise kids in the White House." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Appearing on Wednesday's CBS This Morning, Republican pollster Frank Luntz attacked his own profession following the surprising primary defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor: "Right now there are 230 House Republicans who are waking up praying that they do not have Eric Cantor's pollster. Honestly – and I'm one of them – we Republican pollsters suck. We have no ability to be able to analyze the electorate." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Luntz noted how Cantor's pollster "told him twelve days ago that he was going to win by thirty-four points and then he loses by ten....he didn't even see it coming." Luntz concluded: "...you have to be able to analyze who is actually gonna vote, who's gonna participate."
After Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's stunning primary defeat Tuesday night, the broadcast networks Wednesday morning wrung their hands over the loss and fretted that immigration reform, which Cantor supported, was doomed. On NBC's Today, political director Chuck Todd declared: "...this, by the way, means immigration reform during the rest of the Obama presidency, the idea that it's gonna happen, is dead. It is not going to happen in 2016." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Savannah Guthrie worried: "Is anything going to happen? I mean, I guess the question is whether Republicans will be so spooked by someone in such a strong position of leadership being vulnerable that they won't want to compromise even one bit." Todd replied: "They're going to be afraid to do anything the rest of this legislative cycle. Anybody that might be facing a primary, no matter how underfunded their challenge, forget it. I think legislating is done."