NBC's Today Turns 60: MRC's Top 10 Most Obnoxiously Liberal Today Show Quotes

January 10th, 2012 10:18 AM

This week the Today show is celebrating 60 years of being on the air, and for over 20 of those years the MRC has been documenting the NBC morning show’s liberal agenda. From past anchors like Bryant Gumbel blaming “right wing” talk radio for the Oklahoma City bombing and  Katie Couric trashing Ronald Reagan as an “airhead,” up through current anchor Matt Lauer wondering how Barack Obama would “manage the expectations” of being called “The Messiah,”
MRC analysts have been documenting the worst the show has offered.

The following are 10 of the most obnoxiously liberal examples of Today show bias from the MRC’s archive; for even more bias from the Today show anchors please visit the Profile in Bias pages of Gumbel, Couric, Lauer, Meredith Vieira and Ann Curry. (Top 10 Video Countdown after the jump)

10. Happy Columbus Day!


“[Columbus] sailed just as Jews and Muslims were being expelled from Spain, the persecution of those peoples and the riches robbed from them paying for his small armada of ships, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, to set sail for new plunder. For Native Americans, the people who hardly felt discovered, Columbus’ landing commenced a Holocaust. There’s really no other word for the death delivered by settlers, as they scattered, enslaved, and obliterated Indian nations on their own sacred lands.”
— Co-host Scott Simon on NBC’s Today, October 11, 1992.

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9. Vive le Socialisme!


NBC News reporter Keith Miller in Paris: “Break out the band, bring on the drinks. The French are calling it a miracle. A government-mandated 35-hour work week is changing the French way of life....Sixty percent of those on the job say their lives have improved. These American women, all working in France, have time for lunch and a life.”
Katie Couric, following the end of Miller’s taped piece: “So great, that young mother being able to come home at three every day and spend that time with her child. Isn’t that nice? The French, they’ve got it right, don’t they?”
— NBC’s Today, August 1, 2001.


8. High Fives for Fidel! 


Host Maria Shriver: “The level of public services was remarkable: free education, medicine and heavily subsidized housing.”...    
Reporter Ed Rabel: “There is, in Cuba, government intrusion into everyone’s life, from the moment he is born until the day he dies. The reasoning is that the government wants to better the lives of its citizens and keep them from exploiting or hurting one another....On a sunny day in a park in the old city of Havana it is difficult to see anything that is sinister.”
— Reporting from Havana for Sunday Today, February 28, 1988.


7. Blaming Bill’s Victim


“We’ve got an awful lot to talk about this week, including the sexual harassment suit against the President. Of course, in that one, it’s a little tough to figure out who’s really being harassed.”
— Bryant Gumbel discussing the Paula Jones sexual harassment suit against Bill Clinton on the May 10, 1994 Today show.


6. Hardworking Hillary vs. Sexist America?


“Do you think the American people are ready for a First Lady who is that involved at a policy making level in the White House?...Some people say some not so flattering things about you. They say you’re the ‘power behind the throne,’ ‘overly ambitious.’ What’s your reaction to comments such as those?...Do you think those kinds of reactions, Mrs. Clinton, are the result of good, good old-fashioned sexism?”     
— Katie Couric questioning Hillary Clinton on Today, April 2, 1992.


5. Urging “Rock Star” Obama to Run


“You know you are the equivalent of a rock star in politics....Many people, afterwards [after Obama’s 2004 Democratic convention speech], they weren’t sure how to pronounce your name but they were moved by you. People were crying. You tapped into something. You touched people. What did you tap into that, that was missing?...If your party says to you, ‘We need you,’ and, and there’s already a drumbeat out there, will you respond?”
— Some of co-host Meredith Vieira’s questions to Senator Barack Obama on NBC’s Today, October 19, 2006.


4. Reagan Fiddled as America Burned


“The bottom line is more tax money is going to be needed. Just how much will be the primary issue on the agenda when Congressional leaders meet with the President later today, Wednesday, May the 9th, 1990. And good morning, welcome to Today. It’s a Wednesday morning, a day when the budget picture, frankly, seems gloomier than ever. It now seems the time has come to pay the fiddler for our costly dance of the Reagan years.”
—  Bryant Gumbel leading off Today, May 9, 1990.


3. Blaming Bush for 9/11


“Good morning. What did he know and when did he know it? The Bush administration admits the President was warned in an intelligence briefing last summer of the possibility that Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network might hijack American planes, raising more questions about whether the attacks on America could have been prevented.”
—  NBC’s Katie Couric introducing the May 16, 2002 Today.


2. Castigating the Competition


“The bombing in Oklahoma City has focused renewed attention on the rhetoric that’s been coming from the right and those who cater to angry white men. While no one’s suggesting that right-wing radio jocks approve of violence, the extent to which their approach fosters violence is being questioned by many observers, including the President.... Right-wing talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Bob Grant, Oliver North, G. Gordon Liddy, Michael Reagan, and others take to the air every day with basically the same format: detail a problem, blame the government or a group, and invite invective from like-minded people....Never do most of the radio hosts encourage outright violence, but the extent to which their attitudes may embolden or encourage some extremists has clearly become an issue.”
Today co-host Bryant Gumbel, April 25, 1995.


1. Reagan the Airhead


“Good morning. The Gipper was an airhead! That’s one of the conclusions of a new biography of Ronald Reagan that’s drawing a tremendous amount of interest and fire today, Monday, September the 27th, 1999.”
— Katie Couric opening the September 27, 1999 Today show, before an interview with Reagan biographer Edmund Morris, who actually wrote that President Reagan was “an apparent airhead.” He told Couric: “He was a very bright man.”