Kyle Drennen

Kyle Drennen's picture
Senior News Analyst


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 kdrennen@mrc.org.

Latest from Kyle Drennen

Running defense for Barack Obama on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer touted "some of the President's defenders" pushing back against a video of the commander-in-chief sloppily saluting Marines while holding a coffee cup by "circulating this photo of George W. Bush during his presidency...saluting service members while holding his dog, Barney." [Listen to the audio]

Lauer noted that despite Obama gaffe going viral on social media and "sarcastically being called the 'latte salute,'" it "didn't take long for that photo [of Bush] to come out as well."


In an exclusive interview with White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Wednesday's Today, co-host Matt Lauer actually questioned the administration's handling of terrorism: "Think of the things we're talking about here with the Khorasan group, with ISIS and the territory they've taken in Iraq, with the threat to airline travel internationally, with beheadings that we're seeing on camera. What happened to the days when the administration was able to say it felt confident that we had dealt a crippling blow to Al Qaeda and Islamic militants?" [Listen to the audio]

Unfortunately, Lauer failed to use the opportunity to grill Rice on the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack in Libya, which she infamously spread false information about and which occurred precisely at the time when President Obama was asserting that Al Qaeda had been "decimated" on his watch.


On her 12 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Tuesday, host and NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell, along with chief environmental affairs correspondent Anne Thompson, gushed over President Obama's effort to push the climate change agenda. Mitchell touted how Obama "will be delivering remarks at the United Nations Climate Action Summit" and "is expected to call on world leaders to follow the U.S. lead on climate change..."

Thompson praised the White House: "I think what you do see is the United States is now coming from a position of strength. The Obama administration has set out a climate action plan, it has promised – it has got an agreement with the auto companies to double fuel efficiency by the year 2025. It is going to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, oil power plants by 30%." [Listen to the audio]


Sitting down with CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose at Monday's Clinton Global Initiative conference, former President Bill Clinton fawned over the longtime PBS interviewer: "The reason I like your program is you interview everybody the same. And you ask hard questions, just like you threw a few zingers at me, but you always give people the chance to tell their story....You never go into an interview...with the purpose of really just screwing the person you're interviewing..." [Listen to the audio]

Perhaps Clinton's high praise was a thank you to Rose for doing such a friendly softball exchange with Hillary Clinton a couple months earlier. On his July 17 PBS program, Rose began an interview with the former secretary of state by calling her a "friend" and reciting a glowing Mayo Angelou poem about her.


In an interview with Ken Burns on Sunday's web-based Meet the Press feature Press Pass, moderator Chuck Todd asked the historian and film-maker about his PBS documentary on the Roosevelts: "It's amazing what the press didn't cover....I mean, and if they had, obviously it could have changed history." Burns responded:

It could. But I think we focus too much – we presume that because there was a gentleman's agreement to turn off the cameras as he [FDR] started to stand up or when he started to sit down, that we know less...."Wasn't that quaint an arrangement? They sort of looked the other way when JFK did that or they, you know, didn't really notice Franklin Roosevelt's illness." They actually did and they actually knew more and had better and more intimate access to power, and that's an important thing. [Listen to the audio]


The hosts on NBC's Today spent over a minute of air time on Monday applauding Louisiana Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu for helping a fan tailgating at an LSU football game do a keg stand. Co-host Matt Lauer touted how Landrieu "may do just about anything to get your vote" given that she was "in the middle of a really tough reelection campaign."

Substitute co-host Hoda Kotb concluded: "I think that wins her votes, personally....I do guarantee you, in Louisiana, that definitely helps. I mean that helps in the vote department. For sure, right?" [Listen to the audio]


On her 12 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Friday, host Andrea Mitchell noted that "Chris Christie has been cleared by the federal investigators of any allegations" in the George Washington Bridge closing scandal. However, MSNBC political reporter Kasie Hunt quickly dismissed the development: "But, there's a lot of damage that's been done in the interim. And there's going to be a lot of questions still that Chris Christie's gonna have to answer..." [Listen to the audio]

Hunt imagined what donors to a hypothetical Christie presidential campaign would say: "People who want to be able to make a sound investment who might look at him and say, 'Well, okay, maybe you didn't do anything criminal, but this is indicative of an overall kind of atmosphere in your administration that would be problematic in the White House.'"


On Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer brought on political director and Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd to discuss the latest NBC News/Marist poll on a major American institution being rocked by scandal. It wasn't the Obama administration getting the bad press, it was the National Football League.

That's right, NBC News conducted an entire poll just on the controversies surrounding the NFL and then put its chief political expert on air to analyze the findings. Not a single mention of President Obama's sinking poll numbers was mentioned during the Today segment, not even any reference to politics. [Listen to the audio]


During a segment on Thursday's Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC, fill-in host Kristen Welker noted Joe Biden making a string of gaffes – which included using an anti-Semitic slur – during a trip to Iowa, but then she and her guests proceeded to excuse his offensive remarks as merely being part of his charm. [Listen to the audio]

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza observed: "Joe Biden is probably the most 'real,' I suppose, politician you have these days. He does say what's on his mind. Unfortunately, what's on his mind often gets him in trouble."


Starting off a gentle interview with United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power on Thursday's CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O'Donnell began to pitch what could have been a hardball question on the Obama administration's slow response to violence in Syria giving rise to the ISIS terrorist threat, but instead tossed out this: "When you first became ambassador, you pushed for air strikes in Syria. Now we have lawmakers on record supporting engagement in Syria. How do you see this playing out?"

No question about whether the President was wrong to not take Power's recommendation on Syria, just simply, "How do you see this playing out?"


As reported by Politico, recently dumped Meet the Press moderator David Gregory moderated a panel for the No Labels Strategic Agenda conference in Washington on Wednesday and lectured his media colleagues: "[I]n Washington political journalism the narrative gets set, and it gets set early and built on. And things that fight the narrative get harder to report out, I think, often because of laziness in media."

Given that Meet the Press on his watch was routinely a place to promote the conventional wisdom of Washington, Gregory is hardly one to accuse other journalists of lazily accepting inside-the-beltway spin in political coverage.


Appearing on Wednesday's CBS This Morning, Barak Barfi, spokesman for the family of beheaded journalist Steven Sotloff, ripped the Obama administration over it's handling of the kidnapping of Sotloff and fellow journalist James Foley by ISIS terrorists: "We never really believed that the administration was doing anything to help us. We had very, very limited contact with senior officials..."

Moments later, Barfi accused the White House of intimidating the families of the hostages: "The families sat with this National Security Council official and basically he bullied and hectored them and they were scared....I sat in other meetings with mid-level State Department officials and the FBI and I basically heard the same thing." [Listen to the audio]


During the first installment of PBS's The Roosevelts: An Intimate History on Sunday, historian Clay Jenkinson and former Newsweek editor turned historian Evan Thomas slammed Theodore Roosevelt as a bloodthirsty "imperialist" who promoted the "glorification of war" and built up a "cult" of personality. [Listen to the audio]

Speaking on Roosevelt's command of the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War, Jenkinson proclaimed: "There's no question that Roosevelt is an imperialist. Apologists like to try to play this down. But the fact is he's probably the most significant imperialist in American history." Jenkinson seemed troubled by Roosevelt's call for the United States to "take our place in the world's arena."


NBC, ABC, and CBS completely ignored the latest setback for ObamaCare after news broke Monday that around 115,000 people were expected to lose health insurance coverage at the end of September due to their failure to verify their legal status as United States citizens.

Not only did CBS skip any mention of the bad news for President Obama's signature legislation, but on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O'Donnell actually touted a good news story about the law in the New York Times: "Federal researchers say the number of uninsured Americans dropped by about 4 million to 41 million during the first quarter of this year. It's the first time the government has counted uninsured Americans since President Obama's Affordable Care Act kicked in last January." [Listen to the audio]


In preparation for Democrats possibly losing control of the Senate in the midterm election, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd and his panel actually tried to preemptively spin such a defeat as a good thing for the Democratic Party. On Sunday, Todd proclaimed: "What everybody in Washington knows but won't say, and that is, secretly...I'm convinced, I think we know this, Hillary Clinton would love to see the Senate in Republican hands going into 2016, wouldn't she?" [Listen to the audio]

Politico's Jim VandeHei agreed: "I think a lot of Democrats would. They never say it in public. Because everybody knows virtually nothing is going to happen over the next two years, and Democrats, Hillary Clinton in particular, would love Republicans, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, to actually have to take ownership of some of the dysfunction."


After fretting on Sunday's Meet the Press that Hillary Clinton may not be liberal enough for 2016 Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa, on Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Andrea Mitchell eagerly touted the Clinton campaign machine: "This time, Clinton organizers say they've learned their lesson, busing in volunteers from all over the country."

A clip played of Mitchell shouting a question to the former secretary of state: "Does it feel great to be back out here?" Clinton replied: "It's great. It was a great day. Couldn't have been better." To former President Bill Clinton, Mitchell enthused: "If she wants to, can she do it this time?" He dodged the question, remarking: "I have nothing to say. It's not my decision." Mitchell concluded: "I think I know which way you would vote." [Listen to the audio]


On Friday, all three network morning shows seized on reports that Sarah Palin and her family were "caught in a massive brawl" during a house party in Anchorage, Alaska. ABC's Good Morning America opened with substitute co-host Lara Spencer declaring: "One witness saying it was like an episode of Jerry Springer, her kids throwing punches. What sparked this rumble in the tundra?" The song Eye of the Tiger was heard playing in the background. [Listen to the audio]

In the full report that followed on GMA, correspondent Paula Faris pushed the tabloid story: "According to the Washington Post, Palin, along with her husband Todd and kids Bristol, Willow, and Track, arriving in a stretch Hummer. The Post also reporting that as the beer started flowing, that's when the fighting started." Supposed eyewitness Eric Thompson proclaimed: "I heard Sarah Palin scream out, 'You know who we are, don't you?' It was like we were just on a Jerry Springer episode."


On Thursday's NBC Today, several hours after NBC chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel ripped President Obama's strategy to combat ISIS as being "wildly off-base," correspondent Peter Alexander promoted the commander-in-chief's Wednesday primetime address: "President Obama announced that he would lead a broad coalition to destroy ISIS....The war will be more like those in Yemen and Somalia, Mr. Obama stressed..." [Listen to the audio]

At the core of Engel's criticism of the President was the notion that the same strategy used to combat Al Qaeda forces in places like Yemen and Somalia could also be used to fight ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Engel dismissed the idea as "an oversimplification of the problem," warning that the situations were "not comparable at all."


Wednesday's NBC Today was the only network morning show to cover President Obama being refused tee times at several top golf courses during his Labor Day weekend trip to New York, with co-host Matt Lauer declaring: "...the President has faced some criticism recently over the time he spends playing golf....[now] more problems tied to his favorite hobby." [Listen to the audio]

Fellow co-host Willie Geist explained: "Club managers saying they didn't want to inconvenience their high-profile and dues-paying members by shutting down their courses to accommodate the President during the busy holiday weekend." Moments later, Geist seemed to fault the courses by labeling the refusals a "country club snub."


At the end of a report on Wednesday's NBC Today about President Obama's upcoming speech on combating ISIS terrorists, correspondent Peter Alexander sympathetically observed: "The primetime nature of this speech really underscores its stakes, but also a significant shift for this President, who wanted to leave the White House as a peacetime president. But now...is likely to commit the country to what some say could be another potentially costly military campaign." [Listen to the audio]

In the segment that followed, co-host Matt Lauer led off a discussion with Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd on that sentiment: "Peter just said the President wanted to leave office as a peacetime president. ISIS makes the decision whether he leaves as a wartime president." Todd replied: "He's been reluctant and we know over about a ten-day period he seemed to be the last one in his administration acknowledging that there needed to be a military campaign."