An awkward and pained Brian Williams on Monday night was forced to discuss the ethical lapse of someone other than himself. MSNBC journalists and panelists eagerly pounced on the fact that lines from Melania Trump’s Republican convention speech appear to be lifted from Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic National Convention address. However, Williams, who came under fire for grossly exaggerating stories he repeated on-air, at first tried to stay out of it.
Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org. Previously, he was a contributing editor to NewsBusters and the MRC's senior news analyst. Scott's work has been featured or cited in outlets such as the Washington Post, the Washington Times, National Review, Red State, to name a few. He has also been linked to several times on the Drudge Report.
A July 2014 Media Reality Check by Scott documented how the networks shut out critics of Barack Obama's foreign policy, despite a summer of international crises. In April of 2014, Scott's blog on NewsBusters exposed how ABC falsely connected a former tech CEO to the hateful Westboro Baptist Church. This forced an apology by ABC News Vice President Jeffrey Schneider.
In April of 2013, Scott researched and wrote a Media Reality Check on ABC's complete blackout of abortionist Kermit Gosnell's trial. His stories on this subject and others were linked to on the Drudge Report, the Washington Times, Breitbart and Mediaite, to name a few outlets.
Scott is a graduate of George Mason University and is originally from Philadelphia, PA. He lives in Northern Virginia and can be contacted at SWhitlock@MRC.org. You can also follow Scott on Twitter.
During live coverage of the Republican National Convention, Monday, the three networks chided the “dark” and “divisive” tone of the GOP’s opening night. CBS’s Bob Schieffer offered a closing commentary in which he suggested that Trump in 2016 could end up like the landslide losses of 1964 and 1972. Regarding a single Code Pink protester, ABC’s Terry Moran blamed, “It was the kind of unsettled emotions that Donald Trump has sparked in many people around the country.”
A smug Chuck Todd on Monday dismissed Benghazi at the Republican Convention as nothing more than “cheap unity” for the “lowest common denominator” crowd. Chris Matthews railed that the GOP speakers were presenting “third world rhetoric.” Todd insulted, “Benghazi... does serve Trump in another way positively, politically, which is a way to unify this crowd quickly. It's a way to get cheap unity.”
Now that Stephen Colbert is no longer pretending to be a conservative caricature, he’s can barely restrain his liberal love. Appearing on Access Hollywood, Monday, the Late Show host rhapsodized about the “nuclear core of passion,” Elizabeth Warren: “I'm really excited on the night Trump accepts the nomination. We have Elizabeth Warren to be here to rebut Mr. Trump's speech. She will be my guest that night. Talk about burning the place down, that woman can talk.”
For the first night of the Republican convention, MSNBC on Monday went to extremely liberal columnist Charlie Pierce to rant against all the “angry,” “old” “white people” attending. Host Chris Hayes also brought on the wife of a Democratic senator to ask her opinion on the GOP gathering.
Journalists still haven’t lost their devotion to the Kennedys. The Today show on Thursday hailed a new documentary on John F. Kennedy Jr. as highlighting “America’s royalty” and a “prince.” Previewing I Am JFK Jr., Savannah Guthrie lauded, “A new documentary sheds light on the life and love of America's prince nearly two decades after his tragic death.”
All three networks on Thursday touted NBA stars at the ESPY awards making a “call to action" on guns, but only CBS highlighted former Miami Heat player Dwyane Wade demanding a stop to the “shoot to kill” of African Americans. Good Morning America’s George Stephanopoulos opened the show by announcing, “Demanding action at the ESPYs.”
Saturday Night Live star Kate McKinnon wants to reassure liberal America: She’s a big fan of Hillary Clinton. The comic who plays the Democrat on SNL appeared on NBC’s Today, Thursday, to describe Clinton as “wanting to do good.” Co-host Savannah Guthrie asked what the “essential quality you have to capture if you want to be Hillary Clinton?”
After ignoring the story on Monday and Tuesday, the ABC and NBC morning shows on Wednesday finally noticed that a United States Supreme Court judge has been going on a partisan, anti-Donald Trump tirade. Good Morning America’s Tom Llamas stacked the deck, describing the dispute as Trump having “a new fight with an 83-year-old, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” Of course, Ginsburg started the war of words.
Veteran director John McTiernan spewed venom at the Captain America films, saying comic book movies are made by “fascists” and promote a “cult of hyper-masculinity.” The man behind such films as Die Hard and Predator talked to the French website Premiere and derided the action genre: “They are comic book adaptations. There is action but not of human beings, these are films made by fascists.”
According to the Weekly Standard on Tuesday, a just-released document by the Senate “confirms that the U.S. State Department funded an Israeli political organization that later ran a campaign dedicated to ousting Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.” Considering this is a rather outrageous breach, will the networks cover the embarrassing development for Barack Obama?
ABC and NBC on Monday and Tuesday ignored an obvious potential conflict of interest for Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The liberal justice told the New York Times that she “can’t imagine Donald Trump as our president” and had nice words for Hillary Clinton. (It must be pointed out that Ginsburg was appointed by Bill Clinton.) Only CBS This Morning on Monday bothered to cover the story — and that was for a scant 20 seconds.
When Jesse Jackson on Sunday tried to tell Fox News viewers that the Dallas shooter used an “AK-47,” the type of gun that could “bring down airplanes,” Fox News host Shannon Bream quickly rebuffed these erroneous claims. Jackson appeared on Fox News Sunday to lobby for more gun control, arguing, “[we] must do more with these military-style weapons on the street.”
With the growing speculation that Donald Trump may pick Lieutenant General Michael Flynn as his vice presidential pick, NBC’s Peter Alexander on Monday warned of the “limited amount of flexibility” Trump may have because of social conservatives. Flynn is a Democrat and a supporter of abortion. Today co-host Savannah Guthrie trumpeted this news at the top of the show: “Will he shake things up even more by putting a registered Democrat on the ticket? The surprising name being vetted.”
MSNBC anchor Brian Williams has been hosting the live reaction to the horrible shooting in Dallas. On Friday, the journalist brought on a guest to claim that Black Lives Matter protesters have never been “anti-police.” Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP and Williams also hinted that more gun control was needed in the wake of the killing.
Anchoring MSNBC's live coverage of the murder of five police officers in Dallas, Brian Williams on Thursday night repeatedly connected the tragic killings to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Referencing JFK’s murder from 53 years ago, Williams lectured, “[Dallas] has struggled mightily since 1963 to be associated with something other than gun violence, something other than the murder of our former President, John F. Kennedy.”
Five police officers were brutally murdered on Thursday night in Dallas during a Black Lives Matter protest. Though unrelated to this incident, it’s worth looking back at examples of media outlets urging violence or explaining it away. On June 6, 2016, the Huffington Post published a screed entitled, “Sorry Liberals, A Violent Response To Trump Is As Logical As Any.”
CBS This Morning reporter Mark Strassmann on Thursday offered a sneering, condescending look at a new biblical theme park attraction in Kentucky. Speaking of the gigantic Noah’s Ark Experience, Strassmann dismissed, “Nothing like it built before. But critics wonder why it was even built at all.”
FBI Director James Comey on Thursday testified for hours on why he recommended no charges against Hillary Clinton. But his testimony can be boiled down to this tense exchange with Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz: Yes, Hillary gave classified data away to people who shouldn’t have it. When journalists cover the hearings, will they focus on this exchange?
The journalists at Good Morning America on Thursday were eager to help Hillary Clinton turn the page and move on from the damaging e-mail server scandal. In contrast to the reporters and CBS and NBC, ABC’s Cecilia Vega simply parroted Clinton talking points: “Clinton's campaign calling the grilling yet another taxpayer funded sham of an inquiry to try to hurt Hillary Clinton politically.”