Friday’s edition of Dateline NBC featured the long-planned hour-long special Reality of Hope dedicated to outgoing President Barack Obama and, naturally, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt stayed clear of all Obama scandals in lieu of gush over his so-called accomplishments.
Much is being made of The View host Joy Behar's outrageous smear earlier this week of three women who have accused Bill Clinton's sexual assault and unwanted sexual advances as "tramps." The blowback is richly deserved, especially because compelling evidence indicates that these women are the victims, not only of Bill Clinton, but of Hillary Clinton's enabling behavior and actions.
In a narrow sense, the item discussed here really shouldn't be newsworthy, because it's based on history which has for all practical purposes long been settled. But now that it's being treated as news, let's look into the can of worms at least two media outlets have chosen to open, perhaps without fully grasping the consequences of their doing so.
Leada Gore, an AL.com reporter who says she's "been covering Alabama news for more than 20 years," reported Tuesday morning that Ed Henry, an Alabama lawmaker who is also the state's Donald Trump for President co-chair, tweeted a sharp response to accusations of sexism directed at Trump by Hillary Clinton in Monday night's debate, specifically: "It is ironic that Lying Hillary blast (sic) Trump as a sexist when she is married to Bill, who is likely a rapist." We're supposed to believe that this tweet is controversial or over the top. It is, of course, no such thing.
On separate occasions during Sunday’s special edition of NBC’s Dateline on the Orlando terror attack, anchor Lester Holt equated mass shootings to hurricanes in the event guns aren’t corralled and could leave the American people stuck on a “hamster wheel” of violence. Prior to Holt’s first comment, Democratic Senator Bill Nelson (Fl.) was speaking to him near the scene and reminded viewers that “Americans cannot succumb to fear” and “these animals will ultimately do themselves in” whenever we decide to “dig down deep and face this” evil.
As if media behavior concerning a motive of Sunday’s Orlando terror attack hadn’t already sunk towards the bottom, NBC’s Dateline vastly accelerated the spin not toward radical Islamists but gun control with correspondent Josh Mankiewicz lecturing the American people that Islam almost never related to mass shootings but “our long history” of people dying are instead.
Donald Trump’s rise as a presidential candidate has prompted many political observers to blame TV outlets for giving him historic amounts of free air time. While it’s true the media have overwhelmingly focused on Trump in their coverage during the current election cycle, there is another media phenomenon at play. NBC has spent more than a decade building his brand as a successful businessman of almost mythic proportion.
The network’s coverage of Trump was overwhelmingly and consistently positive. MRC Business found only 15 stories (out of 335) on Trump’s business failures, and 320 stories promoting him as a businessman, his businesses and his shows. The vast majority of stories were about the network’s show The Apprentice, which featured Trump.
Since last night, Matt Drudge has teased his link to CNN's coverage of Hillary Clinton "heckler" Katherine Prudhomme O'Brien with the following headline: "Clinton heckled in NH by rape survivor."
The headline at CNN's story by Dan Merica is quite different: "NH GOP lawmaker heckles Hillary Clinton over Bill Clinton's sex scandals." The headline difference is not unusual. What is unusual is that Merica's article as currently posted never refers to O'Brien as a "rape survivor" (which, by the way, she has said since at least 2000). Since Drudge usually refers in some way to a story's content when he writes his headlines, this opens up the possibility that earlier versions of Merica's story did mention O'Brien's rape survivor status, and that CNN censored it. What we do know is that CNN and Merica made sure that readers of their story wouldn't know that Juanita Broaddrick credibly accused Bill Clinton of raping her, and that they treated Clinton's one-man war on women sexual history as entirely "alleged" (bolds are mine):
On Wednesday, Stars and Stripes reported that NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams admitted to not being aboard a helicopter that was shot and had to be rescued following RPG fire during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Williams stated that he “feels terrible” and “was wrong” for not telling viewers that he was instead “on the Chinook behind the bird that took the RPG.”
The story comes after he reported on Friday's NBC Nightly News that he was reunited on the day prior with the U.S. Army Command Sergeant who was put in charge of his NBC News crew after the helicopter they “were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG” and had to be “rescued, surrounded, and kept alive by an armored mechanized platoon from the U.S. Army’s Third Infantry.”
"CBS Evening News" distinguished itself among the Big Three networks on Monday by devoting an entire segment to the ongoing controversy over the "Fast and Furious" program, where the federal government smuggled guns to Mexican drug cartels. NBC hasn't mentioned the story on its news programs since April 17, while the last time ABC covered it was a news brief on June 15.
Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reported that "new documents obtained by CBS News show Attorney General Eric Holder was sent briefings on the controversial 'Fast and Furious' operation as far back as July 2010. That directly contradicts his [May 3, 2011] statement to Congress." After playing a sound bite from Holder's testimony, Attkisson continued that "at least ten months before that hearing, Holder began receiving frequent memos discussing 'Fast and Furious.' They came from...Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer."
Monday's NBC Today featured another preview of the upcoming Dateline interview with Dick Cheney about his new memoir, with correspondent Jamie Gangel declaring the former Vice President to be "A conservative hero to his fans, Darth Vader to his critics." [Audio available here]
On Thursday, Gangel also appeared on the NBC morning show to promote the interview, with co-host Ann Curry proclaiming Cheney to be "one of the most controversial figures of our time."
On Monday, fellow co-host Matt Lauer kept up that theme as he announced: "Former Vice President Dick Cheney speaks out about his controversial new memoir....looks back on his controversial time in the White House. In an exclusive interview he pulls no punches, makes no apologies. No one's spared, from Colin Powell to Condoleezza Rice."
Thursday's NBC Today previewed an upcoming Dateline interview with Dick Cheney about his new memoir and labeled the former Vice President "controversial" three times in less than a minute. Co-host Ann Curry proclaimed him to be "one of the most controversial figures of our time." [Audio available here]
Turning to correspondent Jamie Gangel, who conducted the interview, Curry noted: "I understand that you asked the former Vice President, in a wide-ranging conversation, about one of the biggest controversies of his time in office and that's the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques?"
Gangel described how Cheney's book was "filled with revelations and he does not back down on those controversial programs he championed that made him such a lightning rod for criticism after 9/11."
You can tell the liberals are really sweating the politics of the debt-limit talks when NBC puts on a special “Dateline NBC” devoted to politics. This is normally a time slot devoted to “news” topics like Casey Anthony or Lindsey Lohan. But last week, viewers were “treated” to anchorman Brian Williams actually covering a real news topic. It’s just too bad he forgot he was supposed to be a reporter, not an editorialist, spinning furiously against conservatives trying to rein in Obama’s incredibly reckless flood of new spending.
The last time Brian Williams showed up in prime time for a splashy special on public policy was an enormous tribute to the new president, Barack Obama -- making a run for hamburgers with him, hailing how he displayed apples everywhere, and bowing to him and wishing him a pleasant evening after NBC chronicled his glorious day of saving America from recession. You know, just like Williams treated Bush.