On Tuesday, the White House announced that President Obama would award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former NBC Nightly News anchor and current special correspondent Tom Brokaw – among other 2014 recipients. Today news anchor Natalie Morales touted the announcement on Monday, noting: "Obama said in a statement, these citizens have made extraordinary contributions to our country and the world."
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.
On Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer and Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd began writing Barack Obama's political obituary, but did so in the most sympathetic way possible. Lauer cited a line from Todd's new book on the President: "And you write that in the foreseeable future, quote, 'He [Obama] will be a president whose potential wasn't realized.' He came to Washington promising to bridge the political divide, change the discourse. Has that been his biggest failure?"
Introducing what amounted to a White House press release on Saturday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt opened the broadcast by parroting President Obama's praise for attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch: "Historic choice. The woman who's taken down mobsters and terrorists now tapped to be the country's next attorney general."
Worrying about President Obama's lame duck status following major Democratic Party losses in the midterm election, on Sunday's NBC Nightly News, White House correspondent Kristen Welker proclaimed: "...Republicans prepare to take over both houses of Congress, vowing to undo Mr. Obama's most treasured accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act."
In a report for Friday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Kristen Welker continued the network's effort to preemptively blame Republicans for any gridlock that may occur in Washington following the GOP's landslide win in Tuesday's midterm election: "Republicans have drawn their own battle lines, doubling down on their pledge to repeal the President's signature piece of legislation, ObamaCare, and vowing to approve the Keystone Pipeline, which the President has resisted."
Of the three network morning shows on Thursday, only NBC's Today highlighted Kentucky Senator Rand Paul's viral social media meme, #HillarysLosers, which pointed out that every Democratic candidate that would-be 2016 presidential contender Hillary Clinton campaigned for in 2014 lost in Tuesday's midterm election.
On Thursday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Chris Jansing blamed Republicans for upsetting the supposed conciliatory mood in Washington following Tuesday's GOP midterm wave: "Well, what looked to be at least a temporary truce between President Obama and Congress lasted less than 24 hours. Republican leaders now say the focus of the new Congress will be to repeal the President's signature accomplishment, ObamaCare. That after the President struck an optimistic tone in his post-election press conference."
On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O'Donnell fretted that the newly elected Republican Congress would dare to pass legislation: "If you look at a number of these new senators, they're quite conservative. Why wouldn't they go along with what Rand Paul has said? They're gonna send bills up to the President, as he told Charlie Rose last night, 'We're going to keep sending bills up to the President and we'll see whether the President wants to work with us or not.' Is the President going to be forced to veto a bunch of bills?"
Following the big Republican wave in Tuesday's midterm election, on Wednesday, Today co-host Matt Lauer immediately demanded that the new GOP-controlled Congress capitulate to President Obama: "Republicans have control of the House and Senate for the first time in eight years....In January, voters are gonna say,'What are you going to do with the power?' Opposing the President's policy is not a policy. Specifically, what can Republicans do with this power?"
Appearing on MSNBC's Morning Joe Tuesday morning, Politico's Jim VandeHei absurdly claimed that Republicans would be in big trouble if they took control of the Senate in the midterm election: "...even if Republicans win, I think they're going to be in a hell of a jam. In that they're not going to be able to get anything done."
Appearing on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports on Monday, NBC News special correspondent Tom Brokaw was already urging Republicans support liberal agenda items if they win control of the Senate in Tuesday's midterm election: "The question then is, what are they prepared to give to the Democrats to meet them in the middle ground? What are they going to do about immigration? What are they going to do about the minimum wage?"
While all three network morning shows on Monday covered the upcoming midterm election, only ABC's Good Morning America mentioned the real possibility of Republicans taking control of the Senate. Co-host George Stephanopoulos informed viewers: "And Republicans seem to be closing in on the six Senate seats they need to gain a majority....The forecaster Nate Silver, from FiveThirtyEight, puts their chances of getting the Senate at 74%."
As the chances of Republicans gaining control of the Senate in the upcoming midterm election remained high, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd appeared on Friday's NBC Today to pour cold water on the possibility: "...definitely feels like a hold-your-nose election....talking to voters that I did, they'd like to punish the President's party without rewarding the Republicans. And in many cases, they're sort of sitting on their hands, they're not sure what to do....They're probably leaning against the President, but they're not happy about it."
In the only full report on the upcoming midterm election on Thursday's NBC Today, correspondent Gabe Gutierrez shared his journey aboard the "Pot Bus" in Florida, a campaign effort urging voters to back legalized medical marijuana in the state: "...supporters say that they've made about 200 stops over the past few months to rally support....It's a ride full of high hopes."
On Thursday's NBC Today, while scolding New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for his handling of a heckler, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell declared: "Christie's week has been a lot like a series of battle rounds, from tangling with nurse Kaci Hickox over [Ebola] quarantine conditions....to the verbal towel snap Christie delivered in a live Today interview when Matt referred to the nurse's lawyer as talented....to federal health officials who loudly criticized his rules but recommended their own."
O'Donnell then touted a profane attack from the media's favorite liberal host: "Add the latest pop culture judgment from Jon Stewart." A soundbite played of Stewart ranting: "Why does Christie have to be such a d**k about everything?"
Appearing on Fox News's O'Reilly Factor Tuesday night, media analyst Bernard Goldberg praised reporter Sharyl Attkisson for calling out the liberal bias of her former employer, CBS News, in her upcoming book. He then lamented the difficultly in ending such bias: "But here's why the problem is not going to go away. Even if top management wants to eliminate this liberal bias, there are too many producers and reporters in important positions at all the networks who are liberal, and who let their liberalism affect their journalism."
Today co-host Matt Lauer spent most of a Tuesday interview with Chris Christie attacking the New Jersey governor's response to the Ebola crisis: "I want to read to you what Dr. Anthony Fauci from NIH said yesterday. He called the mandatory quarantine of all health care workers who come in contact with Ebola patients in West Africa and then return, 'draconian'....Is it possible, Governor you're on the wrong side of science here but the right side of public opinion?"
After failing to mention the upcoming midterm election a single time since he took over the anchor desk of ABC's World News Tonight on September 1, on Monday, David Muir finally informed viewers that a political contest with "enormous" stakes was just days away: "The countdown is on, this evening, to the midterm elections tonight. Your voice, your vote. Just eight days to go before this election. The stakes? Enormous. President Obama, already battling with a Republican House, will he soon face a Republican Senate?"
On Monday, all three network morning shows covered George P. Bush – the son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and current candidate for Texas land commissioner – telling ABC's Jonathan Karl that his father would likely make a 2016 presidential run. In addition, all three shows made sure to remind viewers of former First Lady Barbara Bush's objection to another one of her sons running for president.
Since the Media Research Center first published its study on Wednesday showing a glaring double standard in how the network evening newscasts covered the anti-Republican wave in the 2006 midterm election vs the likely anti-Democratic wave in 2014, various liberal pundits and journalists took to the airwaves in an effort to dismiss the findings.