Kyle Drennen

Kyle Drennen's picture
Senior News Analyst


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 kdrennen@mrc.org.

Latest from Kyle Drennen

On Friday's CBS This Morning, co-host Gayle King promoted protests in Colorado designed to silence local school board members who were considering whether to have a discussion about possibly changing the history education curriculum to reflect a more positive view of the United States: "High school students outside Denver promise more protests today against the Jefferson County School Board. The panel refuses to drop a controversial plan reassessing how the district teaches American history."

In the report that followed, correspondent Anna Werner hyped "an incredibly contentious meeting" of the school board where "Audience members called for the board's three conservative members to resign after they voted in favor of curriculum review." The headline on screen throughout the segment read: "Censoring History? School Board Votes to Review Lessons Amid Outrage." [Listen to the audio]


In a contentious interview with Benjamin Netanyahu aired on her 12 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Thursday, host Andrea Mitchell badgered the Israeli Prime Minister by repeatedly parroting a nasty attack line from the Obama administration: "...the White House and the State Department say that the new settlements in Arab East Jerusalem undercut your commitment to peace. That it could poison the atmosphere, it could turn the world against you. What is your response to that, when the President says that to you?" [Listen to the audio]

After Netanyahu explained that the supposed "new settlements" were already existing Jerusalem neighborhoods, Mitchell repeated the White House talking points: "But what do you say when the President says that this undercuts your commitment to peace and is poisonous to an agreement with the Palestinians?"


Appearing on MSNBC's Jose Diaz-Balart on Thursday, former talk show host and retired Marine Montel Williams scolded the Obama administration for not taking action to free Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi, held in a Mexican prison for six months on a trumped up weapons charge: "...what I found out was extremely disturbing....Jill Tahmooressi has had a son in prison for six months who is ill. No one from the White House has reached out to her to say, 'We're going to do something.' The State Department hasn't even called her directly to say, 'We're going to do something.'"

Williams, who testified on behalf of Tahmooressi at a congressional hearing on Wednesday, pointed out the President's hypocrisy on the issue: "Remember, when [Sergeant Bowe] Bergdahl was let out, the President said he did so because he was in imminent risk of medical danger. Sergeant Tahmooressi's in the same position. The President should do the same thing. And not trade anybody, just make the call to the president of Mexico." [Listen to the audio]


In a report for Tuesday's CBS Evening News, correspondent John Blackstone touted California passing a law to ban plastic bags from grocery stores as "a victory for those who've declared the single-use plastic bag an environmental enemy." Leading off a similar segment on Wednesday's CBS This Morning, he declared: "You see them everywhere, plastic bags by the road, by the water, in landfills. But now you won't see them at any California grocery stores."

After Blackstone's This Morning report, co-host Norah O'Donnell excitedly endorsed the nanny state government overreach: "You know, in Washington, D.C. they did this several years ago. They didn't ban them outright, but they said if you want a bag, you gotta pay the extra five or ten cents and that money would go to cleaning up the Anacostia River. And it's worked. People use less plastic bags." Fellow co-host Gayle King chimed in: "I think it's a great idea." [Listen to the audio]


On Tuesday, NBC's Today seized on accusations of anti-Muslim bias in the NFL after Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah was hit with a 15-yard penalty after appearing to pray in the end zone after scoring a touchdown against the New England Patriots Monday night. This was the same network that censored any mention of the Islamic extremism of an Oklahoma man who beheaded a co-worker on Thursday.


After ignoring criticism on Monday of President Obama's claim to 60 Minutes that the intelligence community was to blame for having "underestimated" ISIS, Tuesday's CBS This Morning finally caught up with the story as co-host Norah O'Donnell declared: "...intelligence officials sort of brustled [sic] at hearing the President say that the intelligence community may have underestimated this threat. I mean, publicly, there's a paper trail of intelligence officials before Congress saying ISIS is a problem."

Fellow co-host Charlie Rose added: "We're also now hearing from high-level intelligence officials off the record, you know, that they think that it was wrong in a sense, as to some are suggesting, to throw intelligence community under the bus. I'm not sure the President meant to do that. But clearly, there is a push-back on the part of the intelligence community saying, 'We tried to tell you.'" [Listen to the audio]


In an interview with Ben Affleck on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer observed that the actor's new murder mystery thriller Gone Girl was "a little hostile to the institution of the media." Affleck agreed but reassured Lauer: "Yeah, it's not media broadly. It's not you guys or The New York Times or even the news. It's about that stripe of media that's the sort of the cable, 24-hour, 'Who killed somebody today?,' you know, kind of hustle."

Affleck – who plays a husband suspected of murdering his wife amid a media frenzy in the film – listed various real-life murder cases the press became obsessed with: "...Scott Peterson or Laci Peterson or whatever, Amanda Knox, or that girl whose daughter died. You know, whatever horrible thing happens, there's somebody kind of really sanctimonious running a show twenty four hours a day trying to make money off of it..." Of course NBC was saturated with sensational coverage of all of those stories as well.


Even as President Obama clearly attempted during a Sunday 60 Minutes interview to blame others for his failure to recognize ISIS as a growing threat in the Middle East, Monday's NBC Today spun the buck-passing as a "very candid" admission by the commander-in-chief.

Co-host Matt Lauer opened the morning show by proclaiming: "Underestimated. The President admits his administration and U.S. intelligence officials misjudged the threat of ISIS." While that headline suggested to viewers that Obama was taking responsibility for the failure, a soundbite ran of the President distancing himself from blame: "I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria."


Of the three broadcast evening newscasts Thursday night, only the CBS Evening News offered a full report on the resignation of controversial Attorney General Eric Holder. NBC Nightly News only offered a news brief on the topic, while ABC's World News amazingly skipped the news completely – though it did find the time to provide a full segment on Yankees captain Derek Jeter retiring.

On Friday's morning shows, the pattern was similar. CBS This Morning featured another full story on Holder's contentious tenure at the Justice Department while NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America each included mere seconds of coverage. However, both NBC and ABC devoted full reports to Jeter.


In an interview with United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer pointed out President Obama contradicting himself on fighting terrorism: "Many times during his presidency, the President has said that the tide of war is receding....But yesterday, he talked about this fight against ISIS and he said, 'The only language understood by killers like ISIS is the language of force.'"

He then wondered: "Are we heading back to a perpetual footing of war?" Power replied: "No. But what we are doing is engaging in a campaign to degrade and ultimately destroy this monstrous group." Lauer followed up: "Are we at war now against ISIS?" Power stated: "We're at war against group of ISIL, yeah." [Listen to the audio]


Appearing on MSNBC's News Nation on Thursday to react to Attorney General Eric Holder announcing his resignation, NBC's Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd had the audacity to proclaim that Holder "wasn't political at all" during his tenure at the Justice Department. [Listen to the audio]

This is the same Eric Holder who declared America to be a "nation of cowards" on race, was held in contempt of Congress for not handing over documents related to the Fast and Furious gun running scandal, and who just in April implied to Al Sharpton's National Action Network that Republican criticism of him and President Obama was racially motivated.


Running defense for Barack Obama on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer touted "some of the President's defenders" pushing back against a video of the commander-in-chief sloppily saluting Marines while holding a coffee cup by "circulating this photo of George W. Bush during his presidency...saluting service members while holding his dog, Barney." [Listen to the audio]

Lauer noted that despite Obama gaffe going viral on social media and "sarcastically being called the 'latte salute,'" it "didn't take long for that photo [of Bush] to come out as well."


In an exclusive interview with White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Wednesday's Today, co-host Matt Lauer actually questioned the administration's handling of terrorism: "Think of the things we're talking about here with the Khorasan group, with ISIS and the territory they've taken in Iraq, with the threat to airline travel internationally, with beheadings that we're seeing on camera. What happened to the days when the administration was able to say it felt confident that we had dealt a crippling blow to Al Qaeda and Islamic militants?" [Listen to the audio]

Unfortunately, Lauer failed to use the opportunity to grill Rice on the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack in Libya, which she infamously spread false information about and which occurred precisely at the time when President Obama was asserting that Al Qaeda had been "decimated" on his watch.


On her 12 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Tuesday, host and NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell, along with chief environmental affairs correspondent Anne Thompson, gushed over President Obama's effort to push the climate change agenda. Mitchell touted how Obama "will be delivering remarks at the United Nations Climate Action Summit" and "is expected to call on world leaders to follow the U.S. lead on climate change..."

Thompson praised the White House: "I think what you do see is the United States is now coming from a position of strength. The Obama administration has set out a climate action plan, it has promised – it has got an agreement with the auto companies to double fuel efficiency by the year 2025. It is going to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, oil power plants by 30%." [Listen to the audio]


Sitting down with CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose at Monday's Clinton Global Initiative conference, former President Bill Clinton fawned over the longtime PBS interviewer: "The reason I like your program is you interview everybody the same. And you ask hard questions, just like you threw a few zingers at me, but you always give people the chance to tell their story....You never go into an interview...with the purpose of really just screwing the person you're interviewing..." [Listen to the audio]

Perhaps Clinton's high praise was a thank you to Rose for doing such a friendly softball exchange with Hillary Clinton a couple months earlier. On his July 17 PBS program, Rose began an interview with the former secretary of state by calling her a "friend" and reciting a glowing Mayo Angelou poem about her.


In an interview with Ken Burns on Sunday's web-based Meet the Press feature Press Pass, moderator Chuck Todd asked the historian and film-maker about his PBS documentary on the Roosevelts: "It's amazing what the press didn't cover....I mean, and if they had, obviously it could have changed history." Burns responded:

It could. But I think we focus too much – we presume that because there was a gentleman's agreement to turn off the cameras as he [FDR] started to stand up or when he started to sit down, that we know less...."Wasn't that quaint an arrangement? They sort of looked the other way when JFK did that or they, you know, didn't really notice Franklin Roosevelt's illness." They actually did and they actually knew more and had better and more intimate access to power, and that's an important thing. [Listen to the audio]


The hosts on NBC's Today spent over a minute of air time on Monday applauding Louisiana Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu for helping a fan tailgating at an LSU football game do a keg stand. Co-host Matt Lauer touted how Landrieu "may do just about anything to get your vote" given that she was "in the middle of a really tough reelection campaign."

Substitute co-host Hoda Kotb concluded: "I think that wins her votes, personally....I do guarantee you, in Louisiana, that definitely helps. I mean that helps in the vote department. For sure, right?" [Listen to the audio]


On her 12 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Friday, host Andrea Mitchell noted that "Chris Christie has been cleared by the federal investigators of any allegations" in the George Washington Bridge closing scandal. However, MSNBC political reporter Kasie Hunt quickly dismissed the development: "But, there's a lot of damage that's been done in the interim. And there's going to be a lot of questions still that Chris Christie's gonna have to answer..." [Listen to the audio]

Hunt imagined what donors to a hypothetical Christie presidential campaign would say: "People who want to be able to make a sound investment who might look at him and say, 'Well, okay, maybe you didn't do anything criminal, but this is indicative of an overall kind of atmosphere in your administration that would be problematic in the White House.'"


On Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer brought on political director and Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd to discuss the latest NBC News/Marist poll on a major American institution being rocked by scandal. It wasn't the Obama administration getting the bad press, it was the National Football League.

That's right, NBC News conducted an entire poll just on the controversies surrounding the NFL and then put its chief political expert on air to analyze the findings. Not a single mention of President Obama's sinking poll numbers was mentioned during the Today segment, not even any reference to politics. [Listen to the audio]


During a segment on Thursday's Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC, fill-in host Kristen Welker noted Joe Biden making a string of gaffes – which included using an anti-Semitic slur – during a trip to Iowa, but then she and her guests proceeded to excuse his offensive remarks as merely being part of his charm. [Listen to the audio]

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza observed: "Joe Biden is probably the most 'real,' I suppose, politician you have these days. He does say what's on his mind. Unfortunately, what's on his mind often gets him in trouble."