To the surprise of probably no one who visits NewsBusters, CBS and NBC went soft in their Tuesday evening newscasts previewing President Obama’s farewell address, touting Obama as having been “the embodiment of hope and the personification of change.”
With zero allusions on either network to his many scandals, NBC Nightly News instead showcased the first soundbite from anchor Lester Holt’s ride on Air Force One to Chicago with the President in which Holt wondered if this speech will be “a hard one” to deliver.
“Tonight you're going to talk to the American people. Is this a hard one? Do you know what you're going to say,” Holt wondered to Obama in the lone question that was aired (prior to the full interview airing on Friday night).
White House correspondent Kristen Welker followed with a report about how Obama “will address a deeply divided nation and a successor who has vowed to dismantle his entire legacy” even though “his approval ratings are at a seven year high.”
Welker continued after some friendly soundbites with Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett by hyping that his supposed successes ranged “[f]rom rescuing a cratering economy to negotiating the Iran nuclear deal and passing his signature piece of legislation, ObamaCare” while “his biggest regret [was] not passing stiffer gun laws.”
CBS was arguably far worse than this. Filing from the speech venue in Chicago, national correspondent Dean Reynolds gushed that Obama “was the embodiment of hope and the personification of change eight years ago.”
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Reynolds quickly fretted that “the soaring rhetoric quickly gave way to the grinding reality of the Great Recession” which “took most of his two terms to fully rebound, but the economy added 16 million jobs on his watch.”
“He realized the progressive dream of national health insurance and 20 million uninsured now have coverage. He opened the door to Cuba, banned torture, confronted climate change, recognized same-sex marriage, gave children of the undocumented hope, and he was a model of rectitude during his two terms in the White House,” Reynolds added.
As for what he failed to accomplish, Reynolds conveniently ignored how he already had two successful Supreme Court appointments when he ruled that “[w]hen he sought to fill a seat on the Supreme Court, Republicans said no, and that was that.”
“But Mr. Obama leaves office with questions about what might have been, fighting Republicans whose stated goal was to beat him, Mr. Obama often seemed hamstrung, vainly seek compromise and even veering right-ward in search of a deal...Democrats lost Congress and legislatures in state after state,” lamented Reynolds.
Going lastly to race relations and gun control, Reynolds spun them this way:
REYNOLDS: As for the plague of gun violence here, Obama fought the gun lobby and lost, even after Newtown.
OBAMA: Every time I think about those kids it gets me mad and, by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago every day.
REYNOLDS: Perhaps most worrisome —
OBAMA: You know, if I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon.
REYNOLDS: — is whether racially charged passions have deepened the divide in this country after eight years of the Obama presidency.