State Run TV: Brian Williams Declares Obama Had ‘No Personal Scandals’

Disgraced journalist Brian Williams on Monday offered up a glowing documentary on Barack Obama that censored the President’s numerous scandals and controversies. Talking to historian Michael Beschloss, Williams flatly declared, “There has been no personal scandal. This has been a president whose behavior has been important to him.” The historian agreed, responding, “There was no personal scandal that attached to him and when you think about the presidency in recent decades, that's an achievement.” 

Ignoring scandals is one way to pretend they don’t exist. Despite the hour of air time for The Obama Years, Williams skipped the targeting of conservatives at the IRS, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, ObamaCare problems and Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal at Obama’s State Department. The use of the word "personal" before "scandal" isn't an excuse to ignore these controversies. 

Also avoided? The substandard treatment at Veterans Affairs. Yet minutes before Williams declared Obama scandal-free, the journalist offered this spin: 

WILLIAMS:  [Obama] has said often he is most proud of his title as Commander-in-Chief. His time with servicemen and women hasn't all been publicized, however. He has made numerous secret visits to Walter Reed to spend time with wounded vets. And when we spoke at Normandy on the 70th anniversary of D-Day, he was thinking of family as well, particularly his grandfather. It's quite a distinction to be able to say that a family member fought in Patton's Third Army. 

How can you highlight Walter Reed hospital and not at least mention the neglect suffered there by members of the military?

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Instead, Williams sounded as though he was narrating a Democratic National Committee video: 

WILLIAMS: At home, unemployment has been cut almost in half. Twenty million new people have health insurance. Marriage equality has been legalized across this country and a history-making climate deal has been signed as well. As he leaves office, more than 50 percent of Americans approve of his handling of the economy and nearly six in ten approve of President Obama himself.

Viewers of the liberal MSNBC also learned that “Obama has the kind of performance chops and comic timing that even some veteran, life-long performers lack.” 

What scandals did Williams address? Thirty three minutes into the program, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s hate-spewing former pastor, came up. The journalist gently noted, “The unavoidable issue of race presents a big challenge early on in his candidacy.” 

After playing a clip of Wright famously saying that, after 9/11, “America’s chickens are coming home to roost,” the journalist showed Obama addressing the pastor in a speech. MSNBC talking heads jumped in to heap praise on the Democrat: 

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: He spoke movingly and openly and emotionally about his early life. It worked because people saw into Barack Obama's soul and they liked him. 

NICOLLE WALLACE: He turned that around in a single speech. That is Herculean. In a single address, that he helped craft, gave one of the most important speeches on race that we’ve heard in modern times. 

Syria and Obama's "red line" also came up, but only briefly.

A Dateline special from Friday also ignored Obama’s scandals. To view the seven most undercovered Obama scandals, see this MRC study. 

A 60 Minutes report from Sunday described the President’s interviews as “intellectual workouts.” 

A partial transcript is below: 

The Obama Years With Brian Williams
1/16/17
11pm 

BRIAN WILLIAMS: The bigger story, our politics had changed for good. Even the appearance of cooperation had vanished. 

BARACK OBAMA: I can't spend all my time with my birth certificate plastered on my forehead. It is what -- the facts are the facts.

...

WILLIAMS: The president finds a workable balance for himself and his family inside the White House. Outside it's another story. Though the Republicans are in the minority in Congress it's still a fight every day and with the midterm elections just two years away, the clock is ticking to enact his agenda. You get to choose.  You have a two year window to get something done. Obama chose health care. 

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: Some of the advice Barack Obama got was the economic situation is so bad, you have to first say your priority is to get jobs back. And Obama resisted that.      

...

WILLIAMS: The relationship between the president and Republicans is at a low point in September 2009. But when Obama lays out his health care proposal to a joint session of Congress it hits rock bottom. 

MAN: Madame Speaker, the President of the United States.  

WILLIAMS: In the middle of live coverage, in the middle of Americans watching their president, these two words pierced the president's speech. 

REP. JOE WILSON: You lie!

BESCHLOSS: Never happened before. And it tells you a lot about the opposition to Barack Obama that it was so intense and it was so ugly that it would even make itself into that setting. 

JOY REID: For black America it was the ultimate symbol of disrespect. It was the ultimate symbol that these guys are never going to accept that he's the President. They're never going to give him the honor or the respect that the president is due. 

WILLIAMS: Despite Republicans best efforts, the Affordable Care Act forever known as ObamaCare is signed into law in March of 2010. Vice president Joe Biden sums up the achievement in his own unique way. 

JOE BIDEN: This is a big [expletive deleted] deal. 

WILLIAMS: As Obama navigates Washington his cool, no drama demeanor comes off to sum as aloof and detached. His critics say he is insular, introspective, operates more from the head than the heart and they complain he doesn't use the perks of the presidency to grease the legislative wheels. 

... 

11:33

WILLIAMS: The unavoidable issue of race presents a big challenge early on in his candidacy. 

JEREMIAH WRIGHT: We bombed Iraq, we killed unarmed civilians trying to make a living! 

ADAM FRANKEL (Speechwriter 2007-2011):  Footage emerged of the president's past making some comments about America that were deeply upsetting to a lot of people. Rightly so. 

WRIGHT: The stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back into our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost. 

WILLIAMS: With the future of his 2008 campaign at risk, Obama addresses Reverend Wright’s comments in a speech his aides say he had been thinking about his entire life. 

OBAMA: As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. I can no more disown him than I can disown my white grandmother a woman that loves me as much as she loves anything in this world but a woman that once confessed her fear of black men that passed her by on the street. These people are part of me and they are part of America. This country that I love. 

BESCHLOSS: He spoke movingly and openly and emotionally about his early life. It worked because people saw into Barack Obama's soul and they liked him. 

NICOLLE WALLACE: He turned that around in a single speech. That is Herculean. In a single address, that he helped craft, gave one of the most important speeches on race that we’ve heard in modern times.  

WILLIAMS: But we learned that electing a black president doesn't end racism. Questions of racism aside, from the beginning there's been a determined effort by many to delegitimize the nation's first African American president. 

DONALD TRUMP: Place of birth. You know, perhaps it's going to say Hawaii. Perhaps it's going to say Kenya. 

WILLIAMS: Mr. President you're an American-born Christian and yet a fifth of the people just about, believe you're a Muslim. 

OBAMA: Well, look, Brian, I would say that I can't spend all my time with a birth certificate plastered on my forehead. The facts are the facts. 

...

11:53

WILLIAMS: Overseas, the unrest in the Middle East has continued to boil through the President’s two terms. In particular, he’s been condemned for his inaction at a critical point in Syria. 

FORMER REP. ERIC CANTOR: President Obama had said he was going to insist that a red line would be drawn if bashar Al Assad was found to have used chemical weapons against his people then America would respond. Then America would respond. 

NICOLLE WALLACE: He drew a red line and didn't enforce it. It changed how people saw him.

11:54

WILLIAMS:  He has said often he is most proud of his title as Commander in Chief. His time with servicemen and women hasn't all been publicized, however. He has made numerous secret visits to Walter Reed to spend time with wounded vets. And when we spoke at Normandy on the 70th anniversary of D-Day, he was thinking of family as well, particularly his grandfather. It's quite a distinction to be able to say that a family member fought in Patton's third army.

OBAMA: My grandfather passed away over 20 years ago. I think he would have been proud to see what he was a part of so long ago was now being celebrated by a grandson who is the commander and chief of the greatest military on Earth. I think he would have been pretty proud and probably more than a little surprised. 

...

WILLIAMS: And at home unemployment has been cut almost in half. 20 million new people have health insurance. Marriage equality has been legalized across this country. And a history- making climate deal has been signed as well. As he leaves office, more than 50 percent of Americans approve of his handling of the economy and nearly six in ten approve of President Obama himself.

...

WILLIAMS: His sense of humor helps to humanize him over two terms in office. 

ZACH GALIFIANAKIS: Let's get this out of the way. What did you come here to plug? 

OBAMA: Have you heard of the Affordable Care Act? 

GALIFIANAKIS: Oh, yeah. I heard about that. That's the thing that doesn't work. 

WILLIAMS: He has the kind of performance chops and comic timing that even some veteran, life-long performers lack. 

...

WILLIAMS: There has been no personal scandal. This has been a president whose behavior has been important to him. 

BESCHLOSS: Early on he called himself no drama Obama and I think over eight years he demonstrated that he was serious. There was no personal scandal that attached to him and when you think about the presidency in recent decades, that's an achievement. 

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org site.