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. Prior to that, he interned at the MRC in the summer of 2005. He lives in Northern Virginia and can be contacted via email at email@example.com.
Latest from Kyle Drennen
Continuing the sky-is-falling mantra about lead laden toys, on Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Hannah Storm asked Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) spokeswoman, Julie Vallese:
...you are standing there, Julie, among a whole group of toys, 61 recalls, a third of those because of lead paint. Why don't you tell us as parents, why we just shouldn't buy books and clothes and pets this Christmas? Why even buy toys?
Of course that followed Julie Chen’s assertion on October 31 that Halloween and Christmas had been "ruined" because of the CPSC. It also complimented Lesley Stahl’s rant against the fast food industry on Sunday’s "60 Minutes." Not to be out done in alarmism, Storm began the segment by warning, "Millions of toys tainted with lead have been recalled so far this year, so it's tough to know what toys are actually safe to buy this holiday season."
On Sunday’s CBS "60 Minutes," anchor Lesley Stahl began a segment on calorie labeling for fast food by making this alarmist proclamation: "Obesity rates continue to spiral out of control in this country and nutritionists say one main reason is how dependent we've become on eating out." Enter the big government hero:
Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden is in charge of regulating New York City's $11 billion restaurant market...the chains are up against a formidable foe, because Frieden has a record of making big industry bend to his will. He's the one who forced smoking out of city bars and artery-clogging trans fats out of city restaurants. Both those bans spread nationwide, which is also happening with his new crusade.
Frieden’s latest "crusade" is to force big fast food chains nationwide to label the calories of all of their products, which were exempt from doing so. As Stahl explained, "Now, one of the most powerful health officials in the country wants to change that by forcing chain restaurants like McDonald's and Wendy's to spell out exactly how fattening their food is right when you decide what to order."
The lead story on Friday’s CBS "Early Show" focused on the Democratic debate and celebrated Hillary Clinton’s comeback as co-host Harry Smith exclaimed: "This morning, Hillary's camp declares a landslide as the Dems sling mud, exchange barbs, in the feistiest debate yet." The segment began with a report by CBS White House Correspondent, Jim Axelrod, who described how, "Hillary Clinton's two top rivals didn't waste any time attacking her...[she] looked confident, taking the attacks in stride." Axelrod later concluded his report by declaring that:
Her performance at this debate makes her prior stumble look like an isolated event. The story line now goes back to Hillary the sure-footed front-runner, where it will stay. At least for now.
On CBS’s "Sunday Morning" this past weekend, reporter Martha Teichner did a profile of recently deceased ultra left-wing author, Norman Mailer, who she described as "... a hell of a big man for a short guy, scrappy, brilliant, controversial. Slugging away at life and letters until the very end." Of course, this was the same Norman Mailer that said of the World Trade Center in October 2001: "Everything wrong with America led to the point where the country built that tower of Babel, which consequently had to be destroyed."
Later Teichner remarked that "Mailer was unapologetically liberal, anti-war, anti-Nixon, anti-establishment." Well, he certainly was "anti-establishment" when he said to a "London Telegraph" reporter in February 2002, "America has an almost obscene infatuation with itself...The right wing benefitted so much from September 11 that, if I were still a conspiratorialist, I would believe they'd done it."
At another point, Teichner observed that "Norman Mailer loved playing the political provocateur." That proved true when in 2003, Mailer asserted to the "London Times" that, "Bush thought white American men needed to know they were still good at something. That's where Iraq came in...."
Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show" featured a segment on a recent Veteran’s Affairs report that outlined "an alarming suicide rate among veterans," according to co-host Julie Chen. Reporter Armen Keteyian then previewed an upcoming "Evening News" segment on the findings and shared the stories of particular veterans who served in Iraq:
Staff Sergeant Justin Reyes spent a violent year serving in Iraq...Medical records show Justin suffered severe psychological trauma after witnessing "multiple dead" and having to "sort through badly mutilated bodies." Earlier this year, one month after separating from the Army, Justin hanged himself with a cord in his apartment, at just 26...families recently sat down to talk about losing loved ones, all veterans of Iraq, to suicide...Mia Sagahon's boyfriend, Walter, shot himself at age 27 about a year and a half after he came back from Iraq.
Keteyian got a response from Democratic Senator, Patty Murray (D-Wash.) on the issue: "That's a lot of young men and women who've gone to fight for us, who've come home and found themselves that lost."
In what began as a Veterans Day tribute to African-American military veterans, a segment on Sunday’s CBS "Sunday Morning,"soon became a rant against the Bush Administration as reporter Bill Whitaker exclaimed:
The concerned Department of Defense has studied why black enlistment has plummeted and found that many of the so-called "influencers" in the black community, parents, teachers, clergy, feel in general, that Bush Administration policies have hurt African-Americans. And more than any other group, they oppose the war in Iraq.
Whitaker then examined the case of Macio Sheffield, an African-American high school student in Los Angeles who was a member of the Junior ROTC. After Sheffield explained his reason for being in ROTC: "I enjoy learning about respect and discipline. I like the Army. I love America," Whitaker followed with, "But first Macio will have to get past his parents, Macio senior and Terry Craten, who, like the majority of the blacks in the survey, oppose the Bush Administration and this war." Whitaker then talked to Sheffield’s parents:
In an interview with obscure Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul on Sunday’s "Face the Nation," host Bob Schieffer asked the Texas Congressman: "What is it that you see that the government ought to do besides deliver the mail?" This followed Schieffer’s description of Paul’s limited government philosophy:
Well, let me -- I want to just get your take on what you think the government ought to do. You've already said your anti-war. We know you're anti-abortion. You're anti-drug administration. You're anti-Medicare. I wrote all this down. Let's see. You're anti-income tax. You want to do away with that. You're anti-United Nations. You're anti-World Bank. You're anti-International Monetary Fund. And there must be some other things that you're against.
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Russ Mitchell introduced a news brief in which reporter Byron Pitts speculated on a potential indictment of former NYPD Commissioner and Giuliani friend, Bernard Kerik. Mitchell began the segment by exclaiming:
Republican presidential hopeful, Rudy Giuliani, has stood by his good friend and associate, Bernard Kerik, through good times and bad. But that could change now that Kerik maybe in some big trouble.
Despite the fact that no indictment had actually been handed down yet, that did not keep Pitts from furthering the speculation: "CBS News has learned former New York City Police Commissioner, Bernard Kerik, could face indictment as early as today on criminal charges, including tax fraud and other counts."
While the "Early Show" had no hesitation in reporting a possible Giuliani scandal, the morning news program failed to mention the Hillary Clinton fund raising scandal involving fugitive Norman Hsu even once. That was true even when "Early Show" co-host, Harry Smith, had reported the story on the August 31 and September 6 CBS "Evening News" broadcasts, while filling in for anchor Katie Couric.
On the CBS "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith admitted last Friday that he's "actually admired Dennis Kucinich for a long -- since he was mayor of Cleveland." Well, five days later on Wednesday's "Early Show," Smith interviewed his hero. Kucinich was on the program to discuss his House resolution to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney, which was unexpectedly called up for a vote on Tuesday.
Smith teased the segment at the top of the show by declaring, "On the record, 21 Democrats officially call for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney, citing deceit in Iraq and covert operations in Iran." This declaration was preceded by a song that CBS managed to find on the internet with the lyrics: "Impeach Cheney first."
The top of the segment featured a report by Chip Reid, who explained, "The resolution accuses Cheney not only of alleged past sins regarding Iraq, but alleged current ones on Iran." Despite Cheney’s "sins," Reid also admitted the unpopularity of the proposal:
In a rather odd teaser for an upcoming Bill O’Reilly interview with co-host Hannah Storm on Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith remarked, "And looking for love in all the wrong places. Here's Bill O'Reilly in the studio this morning." What? Who’s "love" is O’Reilly looking for and why is the "Early Show" the "wrong" place to find it? Smith certainly made no such comment when he welcomed the ultra left-wing Dennis Kucinich earlier on the program.
For his part, O’Reilly had some odd responses when Storm asked about Hillary Clinton’s latest debate performance and charges of sexism against other Democratic candidates, "What do you make of Bill Clinton criticizing Hillary Clinton's Democratic rivals, saying that they were swift-boating her?" O’Reilly responded, "You see, I don't believe anything the press writes about Bill and Hillary Clinton at all...We tracked it yesterday, and we couldn't find any swift boat reference."
At the end of Sunday’s 60 Minutes, commentator Andy Rooney did his usual rant, this time about politicians. Of course when Rooney speaks of politicians, one always seems to come first to his mind: "I'll bet there hasn't been a day this year that President Bush's name hasn't been in the newspaper." At one point Rooney almost seemed sympathetic to the president, "A lot of people complain about things President Bush does but they wouldn't know what to do themselves if they were in his shoes." However, that sympathy soon turned to contempt as Rooney compared his own public speaking to that of President Bush, "I usually can’t remember what it was I was going to say. The president seems to have the same problem sometimes."
Unfortunately, Rooney seemed to remember exactly what he wanted to say at the end of his little diatribe:
The one thing I have to say for myself that I wouldn't say for President Bush is: I know I'm no where near smart enough to be President of the United States. But I will say I might have been smart enough not to get us into a war in Iraq.
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith interviewed New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg. The liberal mayor has followed in the footsteps of Al Gore and implored the government to take action to address an impending environmental crisis, saying "We need to do something now." To match Bloomberg’s alarmist rhetoric, Smith added "Manhattan will be underwater by 2050." Amusingly, even Bloomberg thought that assertion went too far, "There's a -- I don't know that Manhattan will be underwater, but certainly the environment's going to be a lot worse that we leave our children." Smith also pressed Bloomberg on a possible 2008 presidential run.
The interview began with Smith asking about Bloomberg’s proposal to impose a national carbon tax. Smith asked, "Who gets taxed?," to which Bloomberg responded, "People who generate carbon and put it into the air, that pollute the air that you breathe, and that I breathe, and that's causing worldwide changes over the long term in our environment." In other words, everyone. Far from challenging Bloomberg on how people would react to such a plan, Smith instead followed up with, "Something similar to this has been advocated for a long time, the sort of cap and trade...Why is yours better than theirs?" Smith’s assumption that Bloomberg’s plan is "better" is an interesting way of challenging such a policy.
While previewing an upcoming interview with extreme left-wing presidential candidate, Dennis Kucinich, on Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith remarked, "I've actually admired Dennis Kucinich for a long -- since he was mayor of Cleveland." In addition to Smith admitting that he admired someone as liberal as Kucinich, who wants to establish a Department of Peace and claims to have seen UFOs, Smith specifically mentioned Kucinich’s disastrous tenure as Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio.
Even The New York Times could not ignore Kucinich’s failures as mayor in a 2003 candidate profile:
But it all came crashing quickly down when Mr. Kucinich presided over the city's plunge into default in 1978. The collapse attracted international ridicule and, except for a brief sojourn on the City Council in the early 80's, left the obstreperous boy wonder in political exile for 15 years...[he] was elected mayor in 1977 and governed the city with a tight circle of friends. But Cleveland's finances, already troubled, spiraled out of control. The climactic moment came in December 1978, when the city was unable to meet $14.5 million in bond obligations. Despite pressure from the business community, Mayor Kucinich refused to sell the municipal electric system to cover the debt. Cleveland went bust, as did his career.
On Firday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith began a segment on the controversy over Attorney General nominee, Michael Mukasey’s stance on water boarding with a report from Capitol Hill Correspondent Chip Reid, who exclaimed that:
Water boarding is a highly controversial interrogation technique that simulates drowning...It's been used by interrogators since the Spanish Inquisition. Reportedly, it's been used by the CIA in real life, too, on a small number of Al Qaeda suspects.
In addition to this exaggerated characterization, Reid also made it seem as though the issue of water boarding was a sudden, shocking controversy, rather than an instance of a consensus nominee, well-liked by Democrats and Republicans, being attacked by those who once welcomed him:
Michael Mukasey looked like he was sailing along to easy confirmation as attorney general, until he ran aground on the issue of water boarding...If he is defeated, water boarding will be the issue that made the difference, something no one could have predicted when the hearings began.
In his "Final Word" on Sunday’s "Face the Nation" on CBS, host Bob Schieffer denounced a fake news conference held by FEMA officials in the wake of the California wildfires. Not content to just say the staged conference was a bad mistake, Schieffer decided to be as arrogant and condescending as possible:
The last time I was at Disney World, they had sticks of a certain height stuck in the ground with signs that said something like, `You must be this tall to ride this ride.' Well, FEMA, the disaster relief agency, must use a variation of that to hire its public relations staff. Somewhere on their employment application there must be a clause that says, `Your IQ must be below a certain level to work here.'
On both Tuesday’s "Evening News" and Wednesday’s "Early Show" CBS gave prominent coverage to Nancy Pelosi’s call for the resignation of the head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Nancy Nord. In an interview with Nord on Wednesday’s "Early Show" co-host Julie Chen asked:
American parents are upset, they're frightened, they feel like their Halloween and their Christmas is now ruined. They don't know what to buy. Members of Congress are calling for your resignation. Are you going to resign?
The "Evening News" featured a portion of Pelosi’s rant against the Bush Administration, "I'm calling upon the President of the United States to ask for the resignation. It is, after all, his administration, his policy, his appointee." That was followed by reporter Chip Reid’s explanation that "Pelosi says it's clear that Nancy Nord, the Acting Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, doesn't understand the gravity of the situation because Nord opposes legislation now before Congress that would double the agency's budget over the next seven years to more than $141 million a year." Later, Reid did present Nord’s perspective that "Democrats...want to change the mission of the agency to less testing of products and more litigation against companies."
However, on the "Early Show" Reid again reported from Capitol Hill, but this time followed Nord’s explanation with "Consumer advocates say what's really going on here is the Bush Administration protecting big business at the expense of consumers, a charge the White House vigorously denies." Why the sudden addition of an attack on the administration?
In an interview with Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards on Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith wondered how Edwards could possibly have a chance against Hillary Clinton’s perfect campaign: "This woman's got numbers, she's got money, she's got name recognition. I mean, how do you begin to even chip away at that?"
As Smith began the segment, he went so far as speak of the "harshness" of Edwards’ Campaign, a term usually reserved for the Republican field: "His harshest rhetoric is reserved for front-runner, Hillary Clinton. As you go forward then, do you ratchet up the rhetoric?"
In a segment on Sunday’s "60 Minutes," anchor Scott Pelley described how "The enemy has killed hundreds of civilians this year, but surprisingly, almost the same number of civilians have been killed by American and allied forces." Pelley focused on U.S. air strikes citing a statistic from the liberal group Human Rights Watch: "So far this year, 17 air strikes have killed more than 270 civilians, according to the humanitarian organization Human Rights Watch."
Pelley introduced the segment by exclaiming that:
It's been six years since the liberation of Afghanistan, but the fighting there now is the greatest it's been since the start of the war, and more civilians are dying...With relatively few troops on the ground, the U.S. And NATO rely on air power, and civilian deaths from air strikes have doubled. Now, there's concern that those deaths are undermining Afghan support for the war.
Of course framing the story in this way followed the typical mainstream media template of suggesting that the war in Iraq has diverted resources from where they are needed and that U.S. actions are a cause of anti-Americanism throughout the world.
A segment on Monday’s CBS "Early Show" by co-host Julie Chen about accusations by the late President Ford of Bill Clinton being a "sex addict," was in sharp contrast to an interview last week with author Sally Bedell Smith, when co-host Harry Smith referred to the Clintons as a "still-young couple" and "political rock stars."
Smith teased the Monday segment on Clinton’s sex addiction by saying, "Plus, a presidential scandal comes back in the spotlight. Find out who's calling Bill Clinton a sex addict." Contrast that statement with Smith’s glowing assessment of the Clinton marriage from last Tuesday’s segment on Bedell-Smith’s new book on the Clinton marriage:
A simple Google search reveals there are more than 40 books about this still-young couple. They met in law school, two bookish, wonkish, idealistic kids who somehow transformed themselves into political rock stars.
Strangely, in last week’s segment Smith never thought to ask a single question about the affect of Bill Clinton’s sex scandals on the marriage.
On Friday’s CBS "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith and reporter Jeff Greenfield held a Hillary love-fest as they discussed her 60th birthday party and her inevitability as the Democratic nominee. Co-host Hannah Storm previewed the segment at the top of the show with this excited declaration: "Hillary Clinton has turned 60, and ahead, we have the scoop on the star-studded birthday bash and what might be her favorite presents, a ridiculous lead in the polls and a sack full of campaign cash." Presents, a sack -- it sounds like Santa came early this year.
Even more gushing came from Greenfield’s fawning political analysis:
So, she leads big in every poll, she's ahead in the money race, she's practically been awarded the nomination by the pundits, and the question arises -- how did so polarizing and so controversial a figure, come to so dominate her party's race for the nomination?...If Senator Clinton feels like celebrating her 60th birthday, who can blame her? She seems somewhere between uncatchable and untouchable.