The Sunday network morning shows were filled with discussion of the health care bill recently released by Senate Republicans on Thursday. That discussion was loaded with fake news about the bill drastically slashing Medicaid, which was being pushed by the program moderators. ABC’s George Stephanopoulos actually yelled at Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway because she refuted it. Meanwhile, on the other networks, GOP Senators were embarrassing their hosts by educating them on what the bill actually did to Medicaid.
Last this week, The Washington Post published an article saying that the Obama administration knew well in advance of Election Day 2016 that Russia was trying to meddle the U.S. election process but chose not to go public out of fear that many would think President Obama was swaying the election to Hillary Clinton. During NBC’s Sunday Today, Chuck Todd let his true feelings show when equated Obama not putting his figure on the electoral scale to President Bush not acting on intelligence reports about Osama bin Laden before the 9/11 attacks.
During an NBC News special report moments before Attorney General Jeff Sessions began his testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday afternoon, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd argued that the Justice Department chief had “a couple of different challenges” to face in the hearing and would have to “re-establish his own credibility.”
During an NBC News special report immediately following James Comey’s congressional testimony on Thursday, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd admitted that there was no “smoking gun” in any of the statements from the former FBI director, but still insisted that it was a “horrendous day” for the Trump administration.
The liberal network shows were all busy Sunday morning pushing accusations and speculation about President Trump and his adviser Jared Kushner. Their discussion was driven by more anonymous sources telling The Washington Post that Kushner tried to set up a backchannel discussion between Trump and the Russians to talk about Syria. The hysteria was also present on NBC’s Meet the Press, but theirs was shattered by The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel after she introduced facts to the discussion.
During a panel discussion on Wednesday’s NBC Today about the reported James Comey memo accusing President Trump of asking to the former FBI Director to “let go” of the investigation into Michael Flynn, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd made clear what the media agenda would be for the next several months: “I think we know what the summer is gonna be, it’s gonna be the summer of Comey.”
Another alleged “bombshell” fell on Washington, D.C. Tuesday, this one in the form of a memo Comey supposedly left for himself in his Russia investigation file. According to The New York Times, who had the unclassified memo read to them by a Comey associate over the phone, it purported claims that Trump pressured Comey to end the FBI investigation into Mike Flynn. Every member of the Big Three Networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) rushed to shout the claims, but none of them have actually seen the memo first hand.
On Friday, NBC’s Today brought on Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd and MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace to blast President Trump’s interview with Nightly News anchor Lester Holt. Todd derided the White House sit-down as a “bungling attempt” by Trump to explain the firing of FBI Director James Comey, while Wallace ranted that the entire administration had “zero credibility.”
In an almost stunning moment of clarity during Sunday’s Meet the Press, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews admitted in a rant that the media were targeting President Trump. “This president has gale-force winds against him. He comes in with the media killing him every day,” he told NBC moderator Chuck Todd, who was obsessing over the President’s approval numbers. “The New York Times does enterprise pieces, four or five a day against him.”
Of this past Sunday's political talk shows, NBC's Meet the Press went the furthest in informing viewers of Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez's recent statement against Democrats who hold pro-life views as host Chuck Todd brought up the issue with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and even raised the matter again during the show's regular panel segment. CNN's State of the Union also touched on the issue as CBS's Face the Nation only brought it up vaguely, while ABC's This Week and Fox News Sunday ignored it completely.
With Republicans set to make another run at repealing and replacing ObamaCare this week, look for the Big Three networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) to blame conservatives, specifically, the House Freedom Caucus for any sort of obstruction to getting a deal done. In 30 days of health care debate coverage (March 7 through April 5), the broadcast networks consistently framed it as a fight between unreasonable conservatives versus more moderate Republicans and Senate Democrats by overwhelmingly applying ideological labels to one side of the argument.