While all three network morning shows conducted live interviews with Hillary Clinton on Monday ahead of the Iowa caucus, only CBS This Morning actually brought up her ongoing e-mail scandal. NBC’s Today and ABC’s Good Morning America both ignored the issue and lobbed softballs to the Democratic frontrunner instead.
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. His media analysis has been routinely cited by nationally syndicated radio hosts Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin, as well as on Fox News and The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ.com website. He joined the MRC in 2007 after graduating from Providence College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science.
After devoting nearly ten minutes of air time to Donald Trump’s boycott of the Republican debate on Thursday’s evening newscasts (rather than preview the debate itself), on Friday morning, the three broadcast networks offered over 21 minutes of political coverage continuing to hype Trump’s absence while only managing 7 minutes for the GOP contenders who participated in the event.
After scolding Fox News on Wednesday over a snarky press release criticizing Donald Trump’s decision to boycott the upcoming GOP debate hosted by the network, on Thursday, NBC’s Today seemed to reverse course, with co-host Matt Lauer pointing out the irony of Trump being offended by the FNC statement.
On her MSNBC show on Wednesday, host Andrea Mitchell fretted over the possibility of Bernie Sanders winning Democratic contests in Iowa and New Hampshire: “And after two primary victories, you're gonna see chaos on the Democratic side, you're gonna see Uncle Joe Biden saying, ‘Well, maybe I should get back in.’ You're gonna see a lot of stuff.”
On Wednesday, NBC’s Today had the audacity to lecture Fox News on journalistic ethics and treating all Republican presidential candidates with “respect.” This was the same network responsible for the disastrous and wildly biased CNBC debate in October that prompted the RNC to dump NBC as a host for an upcoming February debate.
On MSNBC on Tuesday, New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker admonished host Andrea Mitchell for trying to use the weekend blizzard to attack Republican Governor Chris Christie. After Mitchell wondered if Christie had “risked” his presidential campaign “by his response to flooding from the winter storms back home,” Booker pushed back: “Literally some families on this – in this community lost everything. It’s not a time for politics.”
Appearing on Tuesday’s NBC Today, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd touted President Obama giving a boost to Hillary Clinton’s struggling campaign during a softball exchange with Politico’s Glenn Thrush: “...this is something where the President was trying to do her a solid in this case.”
On her 12 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Monday, host Andrea Mitchell teed up correspondent Rehema Ellis to blast New Jersey Governor Chris Christie over the blizzard clean-up effort in the state: “Tell us about the clean-up, because Rehema, we've already seen that Chris Christie, the governor, flew out early yesterday saying all was fine there. How is it in New Jersey?”
On Monday, all three network morning shows hyped the possibility of former New York City mayor and liberal activist Michael Bloomberg entering the 2016 presidential race. However, only NBC’s Today made any mention of Bloomberg’s nationwide anti-gun crusade as a stumbling block for him.
On Friday, not only did CBS This Morning skip any coverage of the annual March for Life in Washington D.C., the morning show actually attacked one of the event’s keynote speakers, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, for her “anti-abortion” views. In a news brief at the top of the 7:30 a.m. ET hour, co-host Norah O’Donnell touted: “Our Des Moines affiliate, KCCI, reports on accusations Carly Fiorina used preschoolers as props during an anti-abortion speech.”
In an interview with Texas Senator Ted Cruz on ABC’s Good Morning America on Friday, co-host George Stephanopoulos demanded the GOP presidential candidate respond to attacks from former Senator Bob Dole: “But how about the argument he is making? I mean, he repeated that ‘No one likes Ted Cruz,’ but he also said he believes your candidacy, if you’re the nominee, is going to cause ‘cataclysmic losses’ for Republicans.”
In an interview with Duck Dynasty stars Jep and Jessica Robertson on Thursday’s Good Morning America, correspondent Jesse Palmer suggested that family patriarch Phil Robertson might be unhappy about the couple recently adopting an African American baby: “I have to ask you, obviously your father got in some hot water back in 2013. He made some inflammatory racial remarks. What's his reaction been to this adoption and is he welcoming of the brand-new addition?”
On Thursday, all three network morning shows were eager to hype former senator and Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole viciously attacking Texas Senator Ted Cruz. On ABC’s Good Morning America, correspondent Tom Llamas proclaimed: “This morning, more and more prominent Republicans turning their backs on Senator Ted Cruz. First Iowa's governor, and now, former Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole, telling the New York Times Cruz is a, quote, “extremist” and ‘nobody likes him.’”
On CBS’s Late Late Show on Tuesday – aired early Wednesday morning – host James Corden ridiculed President Obama for abandoning the job of commander-in-chief in favor of doing a series of appearances on YouTube and reality TV shows: “...there is one guy who's definitely not interested in being the President of the United States, and that's the President of the United States, Barack Obama, who, I don't know if you've noticed, seems to totally have checked out recently.”
On Wednesday, NBC’s Today completely ignored a major development in Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal, while CBS This Morning and ABC’s Good Morning America only offered seconds of coverage to the news. After the story broke on Tuesday that the intelligence community’s inspector general found several e-mails sent through the former Secretary of State’s private server contained some of the nation’s most classified secrets, all three broadcast networks censored the revelation on the evening newscasts.
On Tuesday’s CBS This Morning, co-host Charlie Rose led off the broadcast by triumphantly announcing: “Protesters demand Michigan's governor resign over a toxic war crisis. He admits it is his Hurricane Katrina."
Appearing on Tuesday’s NBC Today to promote her new documentary series on Netflix, left-wing comedian and talk show host Chelsea Handler highlighted the topic of one episode: “...you think you know about racism and then you delve into it and you kind of realize how little you do know and then how embarrassed you are about how little you know. And how embarrassing people in this country are when you talk to them.”
On Monday, CBS This Morning devoted a nearly three-minute-long report to Democratic presidential candidates and left-wing activists denouncing Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder over the Flint water crisis. Correspondent Adrianna Diaz began the one-sided segment by declaring: “Frustration over Flint's tainted water supply is spilling over.” A soundbite followed of Jesse Jackson telling a group of protesters: “Flint is now a crime scene.”
On Monday’s NBC Today, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel reported live from Tehran on the lifting of sanctions on Iran and sounded like an anchor on Iranian state television as he touted the authoritarian regime celebrating the development: “Well, this is an extraordinary time to be here in Tehran. The mood is one of expectation and optimism. People are encouraged by the deal. They think they got the better half of the deal, and they are looking forward to a better economy.”
Appearing on Friday’s NBC Today, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd hyped the birther attacks on Ted Cruz as damaging to the Texas Senator’s campaign: “...it has unnerved Cruz. You saw him. What got him to attack Trump? He avoided it for six months....This has rattled him. We're now on day seven where every day he has had to answer questions about this.”