On Tuesday's NBC Today, correspondent Kristen Welker amazingly shoe-horned a swipe at Republicans into a report about Commerce Secretary John Bryson causing multiple car accidents over the weekend, claiming that a tweet from a GOP super-PAC about the incident was "a sign of how contentious the campaign season has gotten." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After quoting the tweet in question – of American Crossroads joking about Bryson's odd series of fender-benders – Welker then quoted another tweet shortly after that apologized. A sound bite then followed of left-wing Washington Post opinion writer Jonathan Capehart, who eagerly seized on the Twitter postings: "We always knew that it was going to be a negative campaign. But we're beginning to see just how low and how negative it can get."
It's important to note that NBC News employs several hosts and contributors that have a long list of offensive remarks, many of which they have never apologized for. In a particularly notorious example, MSNBC host Ed Schultz ranted on his 2010 radio show that Dick Cheney's heart was a "political football" and that "We ought to rip it out and kick it around and stuff it back in him."
Here is a portion of the June 12 report:
WELKER: President Obama nominated Bryson just last year. Late Monday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney issued a statement saying, "The President's thoughts are with Secretary Bryson and his family during this time." Mr. Obama learned about the bizarre chain of events more than a day after it happened.
OBAMA: We're going to make sure that obviously he gets the best care. And we'll be able to make a determination from that.
WELKER: In a sign of how contentious the campaign season has gotten, the Republican-leaning super-PAC founded by Karl Rove, American Crossroads, posted this tweet first thing Monday morning: "How does @commerce sec have three car crashes in five minutes and alcohol not be involved? #Skills." Once they learned it was health related they apologized, tweeting: "...attempted levity (before facts known) and failed miserably. We took it down and regret the tweet."
JONATHAN CAPEHART [WASHINGTON POST]: We always knew that it was going to be a negative campaign. But we're beginning to see just how low and how negative it can get.
WELKER: Now senior administration officials say President Obama didn't learn about the accidents until Monday morning because Secretary Bryson spent Saturday in the hospital and the Commerce Department didn't learn about the incidents until Saturday evening. But there will likely be more questions around that part of this story. In the meantime, the good news here, there were no serious injuries. Police did cite Bryson with a felony hit-and-run, but he has not been formally charged with anything. This morning he is back in D.C. resting. Ann.
CURRY: Alright, Kristen Welker this morning. Kristen, thanks for your reporting on this.