Kyle Drennen is the Senior News Analyst for MRC
Kyle Drennen is the Media Research Center's Senior News Analyst and a Contributing Editor to NewsBusters. He is the co-author of the 2014 Media Reality Check study, TV News Blacks Out This Year’s Bad Election News for Democrats.
In 2009, he captured the infamous comment from then-Newsweek editor Evan Thomas comparing President Obama to God. Later that same year, he exposed for MSNBC deceptively editing video footage of a Tea Party rally to conceal the racial identity of an African American participant, forcing the liberal network to respond to criticism and explain its actions.
His media analysis has been cited by nationally syndicated radio hosts Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin, as well as media outlets including Fox News, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ.com, The Washington Times, Washington Examiner, Politico, National Review, among others.
Kyle joined the MRC in 2007 after graduating from Providence College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science. He lives in Northern Virginia and can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Latest from Kyle Drennen
At the top of Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith teased a story on John McCain being born in the Panama Canal zone rather than inside the United States and if it would disqualify him from the presidency: "Born in the USA. John McCain wasn't. Can he still be president?"
The story, which was regurgitated from The New York Times, was presented as a news brief by co-host Russ Mitchell a few minutes later:
Does John McCain's birthplace disqualify him from serving as president? The New York Times raises the issue in a report this morning. McCain is a citizen, but he was born on a U.S. military base in the Panama Canal where his father was posted. The Constitution says only a natural-born citizen can serve as president. So far no one born outside the U.S. has served as president.
At the top of Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith teased upcoming coverage of a photo of Barack Obama in Somalian dress: "Heading into the final debate tonight. Obama, the target of a photographic smear." Compare that to how Smith introduced a New York Times hit piece against John McCain last week: "This bombshell report that Republican front-runner John McCain may have had a romantic relationship with a lobbyist who was a visitor to his office and traveled with him on a client's corporate jet."
Later on Tuesday’s segment, reporter Jim Axelrod described the Obama campaign’s reaction to the photo: "His campaign says Clinton staffers put it out and that that's shameful." Smith then asked Axelrod about the photo:
SMITH: Jim here's the thing though, because it ends up on the front page of so many papers all around the country. Here is this morning's New York Daily News. It's on the Post too. Why is the Obama campaign so upset about the picture?
On Sunday’s CBS "60 Minutes," anchor Scott Pelley interviewed former Alabama Republican attorney, Jill Simpson, about a supposed effort to smear the former Democratic governor of Alabama, Don Siegelman: "Now this woman tells us there was a covert campaign to ruin the governor, a campaign that she says involved Karl Rove, at the time the president's top political advisor." In a story that violated more journalistic ethics than last week’s New York Times hit piece on John McCain, Pelley went on to ask Simpson: "Karl Rove asked you to take pictures of Siegelman...In a compromising sexual position with one of his aides." Simpson responded: "Yes. If I could."
Siegelman, a Democrat who was governor of Alabama from 1998-2002, is currently in federal prison after being convicted of bribery in 2006. Simpson claimed that this conviction was part of a grand conspiracy led by Rove. Pelley introduced the story this way:
On Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith interviewed Hillary Clinton and wondered if she would step aside for the good of the Democratic Party: "More important for you to be elected, or for a Democrat to be in the White House a year from now?"
Smith began the interview by asking Clinton: "And you stopped, you paused, you drew a breath, and you said you were honored to be there with Barack Obama. And I whispered, as you said that, 'valedictory.' Was that the beginning of the end of your campaign?" Smith went on to wonder if a long drawn-out nomination fight was "worth it"given Obama’s lead:
And I thought I saw some of the fight leave your body last night. I thought I saw there was almost a sign of body language like this guy has won ten states in a row. He has a significant lead in delegates. You know, is it worth going after every single vote tooth and nail for the next two, three, four weeks?
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez teased a segment on police brutality: "And in our next half hour, another woman badly hurt while in police custody. And it was caught on videotape. Growing concern this morning about police hostility towards women." In another tease, Rodriguez declared: "Coming up here in our next half hour, caught on videotape, women being hurt by police." At this time video of a male police officer tasering a woman appeared on screen with the caption: "Police Targeting Women?"
In the later segment, following a report by correspondent Jeff Glor on a recent allegation of a Louisiana police officer beating a woman in custody, Rodriguez and CBS Legal Analyst Lisa Bloom saw a broader trend as Rodriguez exclaimed: "What strikes me from this incident and others is that we're seeing male officers beating in this case, strip searching, tasing, female suspects and not even large women, you know, petite women like us."
At this point, Bloom made an outrageous generalization, comparing male police officers to convicted and suspected murderers:
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith teased upcoming coverage of accusations of John McCain having an affair with lobbyist Vicki Iseman: "And Republican front-runner John McCain blasted on the front pages of The New York Times...not exactly the coverage you may be looking for if you're running for president." Later, Smith introduced the segment by exclaiming: "This bombshell report that Republican front-runner John McCain may have had a romantic relationship with a lobbyist who was a visitor to his office and traveled with him on a client's corporate jet."
In a following report by correspondent Nancy Cordes, the New York Times article was quoted:
According to The Times, the aides warned him "he was risking his campaign and career" because Iseman's firm had telecom clients with business before his Senate committee. They say quote, "McCain acknowledged behaving inappropriately and pledged to keep his distance from Iseman."
On Sunday’s "60 Minutes," anchor Morley Safer did a segment on Demark being ranked the happiest country in world consistently for the past three decades and wondered: "What makes a Dane so happy? And why isn't he wallowing in misery and self doubt like so many of the rest of us?" Later in the segment, Safer discovered that low expectations of the Danish people was the key to their happiness and he concluded that:
Wanting it all is a bacterium that stays with us from youth to old age -- wanting a bigger house, fancier car, more stuff. And when we get more, there's always someone with even more stuff who's just as unhappy. Some suggest that the unhappiest zip codes in the country are the wealthiest, like the Upper East Side of New York.
It’s interesting that many liberal media figures reside in New York’s Upper East Side.
During a two part interview on the Thursday and Friday CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked Hugo Chavez’s ex-wife, Marisabel Rodriguez, "Is Hugo Chavez a charismatic leader or a mad man?" This was followed later by the question, "Is he a Communist?" To which Marisabel Rodriguez responded: "If he's not, he's very similar to one."
Maggie Rodriguez, who is Cuban-American, had several other questions critical of Chavez:
Just last week Hugo Chavez reportedly boasted about chewing coca leaves, which is the base of cocaine. What do you think about this? Could this have altered his mind?...Do you think he should step down as president of Venezuela?
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," while covering Roger Clemens’ testimony before Congress, co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to sports radio talk show host, Chris "Mad Dog" Russo, who said of the hearing: "I thought the panel for the most part did a pretty good job on the Democratic side. And I'm not really a party politic guy, but the Republicans did a terrible job." Russo went on to bash Republicans and praise Democrats "...they let Clemens off the hook. Waxman was great, Elijah Cummings was great from Maryland."
Without challenging that assessment, Rodriguez asked: "Why do you think, real quick, that they did a terrible job? There's some talk that maybe they were star struck?"
Russo then made this accusation:
I don't think they were star struck. I don't know why all of a sudden, maybe Clemens is friends with the Bush family, he's a Republican, whatever it might be, this came across on party lines. The Republican guys here did an atrocious job because they directed all their questions at Mcnamee and talked about his terrible job with credibility and laid -- let Clemens get off the hook. Terrible job.
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith introduced a fawning segment on Barack Obama: "On the campaign trail, Barack Obama is often treated like a rock star. People wait hours just to hear him speak." The segment did not focus on campaign strategy or policy, but rather it focused entirely on Obama’s rhetoric as correspondent Tracy Smith touted MSNBC’s Chris Matthews being "thrilled" by a speech from the Senator from Illinois:
TRACY SMITH: They come in droves, by the tens of thousands at times, to hear Barack Obama speak...With soaring rhetoric, Obama is moving his audiences not just politically, but emotionally. Even some political commentators who've seen it all can't help but gush.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: You hear Barack Obama's speech, my -- I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often.
On Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith discussed the ‘Potomac Primaries’ with Democratic Strategist Dee Dee Myers and Republican CBS Political Analyst Nicolle Wallace, a former Bush Administration Communications Director, who said of John McCain’s conservative critics: "The more that we see kind of the crazies like Ann Coulter out attacking John McCain, the better Republicans feel about their chances in the general election."
This attack upon conservatives critical of McCain, who include Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, and others, was prompted by Harry Smith asking about Mike Huckabee’s continued support in the race:
SMITH: Nicolle, let's talk about the Republicans, because McCain, he said himself a week ago, now I'm the frontrunner. This lingering Huckabee thing. Huckabee got a lot of votes in Virginia. These conservatives they're -- they're still -- they're not happy. They're not happy about this guy.
NICOLLE WALLACE: And, you know what, Republicans are beginning to say that's okay.
On Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez reported on the importance of the youth vote in the 2008 election, but seemed unable to find any young people who supported Republican candidates: "Young voters are having a huge impact on this election. Exit polls show 14% of registered Democrats who voted on Super Tuesday were under 30. The majority went for Obama."
Rodriguez, who was on assignment in California, made a trip to UCLA and talked solely to young supporters of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton: "22-year-old Natalie Gonzalez is a Clinton supporter. Why are you so excited about this?...Curtis Whatley is supporting Obama."
Rodriguez also discussed the importance of the internet in attracting young voters, once again something only Democrats seem to do:
At the top of Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," CBS Correspondent Chip Reid began the day’s Super Tuesday election coverage with a report that described the Democratic race this way: "With more than 20 states on the line, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are locked in a neck-and-neck sprint, campaigning almost around the clock. Focused, like voters, on the economy." Reid then went on to describe the Republican race:
REID: Mitt Romney, now well behind McCain in the national polls and trying to hang on, spent Monday in a frantic race from Tennessee to Georgia to Oklahoma to the big prize, California. Then through the night to West Virginia. All the while continuing his bitter feud with Mike Huckabee. Fighting for the same pool of southern conservatives, Huckabee accused Romney of trying to manipulate the election. Romney hit back hard.
MITT ROMNEY: First, a couple of rules in politics. One, no whining. And number two, you get them to vote for you.
REID: No whining in politics, those are fighting words. And one reason it's so bitter between Romney and Huckabee is that today one or both of them could be knocked out of this race.
Throughout Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-hosts Harry Smith and Maggie Rodriguez gushed over Obama and some of his recent famous female endorsements, beginning with Smith’s proclamation at the top of show: "With 24 hours to go, a CBS News poll shows Barack Obama has knocked down Hillary Clinton's lead going into Super Tuesday. Are the 'Obama Girls' making a difference as Oprah, Caroline, Michelle and now Maria hit the trail?"
In later segment, Rodriguez continued to look at the influence of these endorsements:
Ahead this morning, the power of 'O' in California. The Obama all-stars hit the campaign trail...You've probably seen 'Obama Girl' on the internet, and now you're seeing Obama's girls on the campaign trail. All powerful women recognized by their first names. We're talking about Oprah, Caroline, Michelle and now Maria.
I’m pretty sure that Oprah excluded, no one recognizes Caroline Kennedy, Michelle Obama, or Maria Shriver, solely by their first names.
During a news brief at the top of the 7am hour on Friday’s CBS "Early Show," CBS Correspondent Mark Strassmann reported on a suicide bombing in Baghdad:
So these twin attacks are devastating here, and not just to the families of the killed and wounded. To many people here, this morning's a frightening reminder that Baghdad may feel safer but is still a long way from safe. Mayhem and misery are back in Baghdad after a pair of similar mid-morning attacks.
Strassmann later concluded his report by proclaiming:
The attacks are the deadliest here since last spring when thousands of U.S. troops began a security surge in Baghdad. The city grew much quieter and safer. But today, at least, the new Baghdad feels a lot like the old Baghdad. For today's attackers, this morning was perfect, a sunny Friday, the holy day here, lots of people out and about feeling confident. Apparently the attacks are back.
On Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith analyzed Thursday’s Democratic debate with Democratic strategist Joe Trippi and the left wing editor of "The Nation," Katrina Vanden Heuvel, who called the debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama "a historic first," while referring to Republicans as the "Grim Old Party" and "a restricted white men's club." Vanden Heuvel went to say that, "You also had a sheer -- the difference in policy knowledge and competence between Obama and Clinton and the Republican field to me was staggering."
This analysis of the Democratic debate followed Thursday’s analysis of Wednesday’s Republican debate, which featured Smith and CBS Political Correspondent and former Robert Kennedy speech writer, Jeff Greenfield, with no Republican guests.
Later in the Friday segment, Vanden Heuvel used a prior "Early Show" news brief about a suicide bomb attack in Iraq to claim "Yeah, I mean, you have a surge that isn't working. Look at the piece you just did." Smith made a feeble attempt at balance by replying, "Well that's arguable." Vanden Heuvel went on to shill for Obama "You have McCain of endless war -- of endless war without accountability and you have two candidates, Obama arguably wants to end this war and end the mind set that brought us into this war."
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith continued the media’s love affair with John and Elizabeth Edwards following the former Senator dropping out of the presidential race: "John Edwards says he is stepping aside so 'history can blaze its path.' And it will tonight. Also this morning, we're going to look at the amazing grace of Elizabeth Edwards who has campaigned passionately beside her husband all these months despite her diagnosis that she is terminally ill."
In a later segment, CBS Correspondent Tracy Smith began by exclaiming: "They've been a team since the start. And that's how they went out. Elizabeth by John's side. It's the end of a campaign made all the more difficult by a disease that would have made a lesser woman give up long ago."
While Harry Smith portrayed Elizabeth Edwards as graceful, reporter Tracy Smith referred to her as being an "attack dog" against the likes of Ann Coulter, whom Edwards ambushed on MSNBC’s "Hardball" on June 26 of last year:
On Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez reported from "Little Havana" in Miami, Florida at the top of the 7am hour, mentioning the tight Republican race only briefly before moving on to Hillary Clinton’s recent photo ops and fundraising efforts in the state:
This is the biggest state to vote to date with the most delegates up for grabs for the Republican winner, 57. This morning it is a dead heat between Mitt Romney and John McCain, with a fizzling Rudy Giuliani now saying that he'll make a decision tomorrow about whether to stay in the race. It is the Republicans who have been going after voters here most aggressively. But in recent days, a Democrat has been trying to steal the spotlight. Four Republicans and one Democrat in Florida ahead of the primary election. The Republican winner here will get 57 delegates. The Democratic winner will get none. Why is she here in Florida?
After these first few sentences, mention of the Republicans vanishes and the analysis focuses entirely on Clinton:
At the top of Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith described Ted Kennedy’s endorsement of Barack Obama yesterday in biblical terms: "In the civic religion that is Democratic politics, the most treasured covenant was passed to the young Senator from Illinois."
Smith teased the segment by excitedly proclaiming that "Ted and Caroline set to hit the campaign trail after they announce the heir to Camelot." Smith went on to claim that "It feels like the '60s are back," to which co-host Julie Chen replied: "I think it's safe to say no matter what your party affiliation, you have to admit that no one gives a speech like a Kennedy."
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show" Senior Political Correspondent and former Robert Kennedy speech writer, Jeff Greenfield, discussed Obama gaining the endorsement of Patrick, Caroline, and Ted Kennedy: "It is, Harry, a family affair, and it is loaded with political significance and more than a little irony. At its center, one of the most significant legacies in American politics."
Greenfield went on to gush over the Kennedy legacy and how Obama is now its "legitimate heir":
They are iconic images. The youngest elected president ever, whose violent death made him a permanent symbol of youth and energy. And so when another young man sought the presidency 32 years after John Kennedy, the Clinton campaign showcased this image of a teenage Bill Clinton shaking hands with JFK. During his presidency, the images of the Clintons sailing off Cape Cod with the Kennedys burnished that connection. But now as Senator Hillary Clinton seeks the White House, key members of the Kennedy family have designated her principal opponent as their legitimate heir.