On January 14, NBC’s Today show will mark its 65th anniversary on the air. Over the decades, hosts and correspondents on the morning program have routinely spouted liberal talking points on a wide range of issues, boosted Democrats, and lambasted Republicans. Despite the cavalcade of co-hosts – from Bryant Gumbel to Matt Lauer, Katie Couric to Meredith Vieira, Ann Curry to Savannah Guthrie – the left-wing bias has remained constant.
Here are some of the most obnoxious Today quotes over the years:
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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 NBC's Sunday Today, February 28, 1988.
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 NBC's Today, May 9, 1990.
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.
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.”
– Today co-host Scott Simon, October 11, 1992.
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 Today, May 10, 1994.
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.
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.”
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?”
– Today, August 1, 2001.
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.
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 Today, October 19, 2006.
Imploring Gore to “Save the Planet”
Matt Lauer: “From your point of view, if you were to run for President you could take this issue [global warming] to the next level, even during just a campaign. And if you were fortunate enough to win the presidency, you’d sit in the most powerful office in the free world with a real chance to make — you could be in a position to save the planet, without putting too much emphasis on it. Wouldn’t that be enough of a reason to run for President for you?”
Former Vice President Al Gore: “Well, I appreciate the impulse behind the question. I am not planning to run....”
Lauer: “But as someone who feels as passionately about the subject as you do, and your documentary is evidence of that, why pass up the opportunity to have that world stage again?”
– Exchange on Today, December 6, 2006.
Warm Day: “Are We Gonna Die?”
“So I’m running in the park on Saturday, in shorts, thinking this is great, but are we all gonna die? You know? I can’t, I can’t figure this out....There were record breaking temperatures across the, 72 in New York City, 69 in Boston on Saturday. A lot of people wondering is it global warming or something much simpler?”
– Co-host Meredith Vieira on Today, January 8, 2007.
Worshiping “Messiah” Obama
"People have called you ‘The Savior,’ ‘The Messiah,’ ‘The Messenger of Change.’ The expectations have been raised to such a level....If you are, as you just say, lucky enough to be elected the next president, are you going to have to consciously manage expectations during the first several months of your administration?”
– Matt Lauer to Barack Obama on Today, October 20, 2008.
Michelle Obama: “Just Too Good to Be True”
Correspondent Dawna Friesen: “Her husband is, of course, the big star of the show, but this is Michelle Obama’s first foray on to the global stage as First Lady. And you can bet that her every move, her every fashion decision will be dissected and analyzed, especially when the couple go to meet the Queen. But she’s got a lot of good will on her side.”
Video of Michelle Obama shown as Andy Williams sings: “You’re just too good to be true/Can’t take my eyes off of you.”
Friesen, as song continues playing in background: “Ask the British about Michelle Obama, and you’ll hear a lot of what you hear in the states.”
Woman on the street: “Oh, I think she’s really cool. She’s got a lot of really good styles. It makes a change from politicians’ wives to look good.”
Man on the street: “She looks supportive and that’s what a man needs in life.”
Second man: “I have been totally stunned at the awesome nature of Michelle Obama.”...
Friesen: “Then there’s those arms, the envy of a lot of British women....”
– Today, March 31, 2009.
Crashing the Tea Party
Co-host Matt Lauer: “When you look at some of the things the Tea Party and others on the far right are asking for — no funding for Planned Parenthood, no funding for climate control, public broadcasting — does it seem to you, Senator, that this is less about a fiscal debate or an economic policy debate and they are making an ideological stand here?”
Democratic Senator Charles Schumer: “That’s exactly right, Matt. You’ve hit the nail on the head.”
– Exchange on Today, April 6, 2011.
Obama = “Tall, Cool, Cerebral” Thomas Jefferson
[Thomas Jefferson] was a tall, cool, cerebral president who won re-election, who was actually really good at politics even though he didn’t want to act as though he was. So there’s some similarities with President Obama.”
– Author and ex-Newsweek editor Jon Meacham on Today, November 9, 2012.
Bryant Returns to NBC to Denounce GOP “Extortion”
Co-host Matt Lauer: “At number five, the federal government shutdown. I think that was on most of our lists as well.”
Guest host Bryant Gumbel: “Yeah, but I called it the GOP shutdown....I thought it was a false equivalency for people to say it was a government shutdown, a failure of government. It was not. It was a few individuals who were trying to extort the government.”
– Reviewing the top news stories of 2013 on Today, December 30.
Saluting Stalin’s “Palace for the People”
“The subway is one of Moscow’s hidden gems. Moscow is basically built on a bog, this marshy land. So when it came time to build this subway, they had to dig deep, very, very deep. Stalin promised the metro would be a palace for the people, and so it is: open architecture, mosaics, even chandeliers.”
– Correspondent Stephanie Gosk on Today, February 17, 2014.
GOP Commits “Suicide” with Benghazi “Witch Hunt”
“You’ve got Hillary Clinton performing well at this debate, the Benghazi Committee now kind of de-legitimized. She’s teed up to have a great day next week.”
– Bloomberg host John Heilemann on Today, October 16, 2015.
“Hillary Clinton has done a fairly good job of trying to disqualify this panel. Some would argue they disqualified themselves.”
– Co-host Savannah Guthrie on Today, October 22, 2015.
Teeing Up Democrats to Trash Trump
“Hillary Clinton says that Trump is most dangerous candidate ever to run for president. On this very specific issue, do you personally find it frightening, the prospect of him having the nuclear codes?”
– Co-host Savannah Guthrie to President Barack Obama on Today, July 27, 2016.