Reacting to news that Texas conservatives Pete Sessions (R) and Jeb Hensarling (R) would not challenge Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for House Majority Leader, MSNBC’s Chuck Todd felt compelled to rip the Tea Party for their supposed lack of leadership. According to The Daily Rundown host, Tea Party conservatives “will blind quote ‘leadership’ to death. They love to complain, moan, gripe, you know what, but when the chips are down, they don’t have the guts to run.”

NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell was unwilling to raise much of an objection to this blatantly partisan analysis. [MP3 audio here; video below]



On Friday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie gushed over the network getting an advanced copy of Hillary Clinton's new book: "Well, here it is. It's the memoir that a lot of people are talking about, waiting to read, Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton. We happened to find this copy actually at a bookstore in Los Angeles just days ahead of the official release." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

In the report that followed, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell touted the 600 pages of Clinton spin as "an opening argument for her next presidential campaign – if, if she decides to run again." O'Donnell added that the potential 2016 contender "writes about her time as secretary of state on a range of issues where she could make news again."  



Ann Curry trumpeted that Hillary Clinton supposedly gave a "uncharacteristically revealing interview" to People magazine on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News. Kelly O'Donnell filed a gushing report about how Mrs. Clinton apparently "has plenty to say," and spotlighted the former secretary of state's new book.

O'Donnell later zeroed-in on the upcoming arrival of Clinton's grandchild and asserted that this would give a "new dimension to her already well-known, often-scrutinized political identity." She also turned to a Washington Post editor, who played up that the former Democratic senator might gain a political advantage from the baby: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]



CBS journalists on Thursday morning investigated the latest details of the expanding Veterans Affairs scandal. Yet despite calling the newest revelation "ugly," correspondent Nancy Cordes somehow managed to avoid using Barack Obama's name or to discuss the White House. Instead, she focused on congressional culpability: "But the Inspector General's report points out Congress and the VA have known about similar manipulations and delays for nearly a decade." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

Cordes talked to a GOP House member and pressed: "Florida Republican Jeff Miller is the chair of the House VA committee. If you've known about problems like this for years why are you only now calling on the V.A. Secretary to resign?" NBC skimped on discussing how much this issue could hurt the President personally. At the very end of a Nightly News discussion, Kelly O'Donnell briefly noted, "From the White House, NBC's Kristen Welker reports the President considers Secretary Shinseki to be on probation." 



Friday's World News on ABC mentioned the ongoing scandal surrounding the Veterans Administration only in passing, despite the fact their own chief White House correspondent, Jonathan Karl, hounded Press Secretary Jay Carney at the regular White House press briefing on the issue. Meanwhile, they set aside two full segments totaling seven minutes and 54 seconds of air time to Barbara Walters' departure from The View.

Diane Sawyer gave a 30-second news brief to a new development in the scandal – about one-sixteenth the amount of time that she and her newscast spent on Walters: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]



On Friday, NBC's Today kicked off its 2014 midterm election coverage by doing a fawning puff piece on former American Idol contestant Clay Aiken running for Congress in North Carolina as a Democrat. Co-host Willie Geist proclaimed: "A race that's getting a lot of attention. Clay Aiken is used to being at the mercy of the voters. He came in second on American Idol in 2003 and now he's running for Congress in North Carolina..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

In the report that followed, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell touted Aiken on the campaign trail: "When he says hello at Brownie Lou's restaurant or breaks out a smile for selfies, Clay Aiken is campaigning for a big career change. From pop singer to politician."



Friday's NBC Nightly News played up the latest dust-up between Senators John McCain and Ted Cruz over the latter's criticism of three of the Republican Party's presidential candidates, including Bob Dole. Brian Williams underlined the apparent "genuine and palpable tension today in Washington," after Senator Cruz criticized Dole, McCain, and Mitt Romney's campaigns during a speech at CPAC: "When you don't stand for principle, Democrats celebrate."

Kelly O'Donnell zeroed in McCain's shot back at Cruz on Andrea Mitchell's MSNBC program, and hyped how "[Cruz], one of the Tea Party's most provocative figures...triggered a new Republican rift" with his remark. O'Donnell also hyped the Texas senator's Friday statement reacting to his colleague from Arizona: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]



All three network morning shows on Tuesday continued the push against an Arizona bill [SB 1062] that aims to protect the religious freedom of business owners who oppose gay marriage. According to CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose, "Hundreds protested at the state capitol last night. They say the bill legalizes discrimination."

Today's Savannah Guthrie hyped, "Mounting pressure. From John McCain to Apple, even concern from Super Bowl organizers, a growing chorus calling on Arizona's governor to veto a bill that would let businesses turn away gay customers." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Journalist Natalie Morales muttered, "Really big decision, very controversial." None of the networks featured voices in support of the legislation. 



NBC's Today on Thursday decided to make Republican Congressman Michael Grimm's verbal attack on a reporter after Tuesday's State of the Union a two-day story, with fill-in co-host Tamron Hall proclaiming: "Well, there's more fallout this morning from an ugly scene following the President's State of the Union address." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

The additional "fallout" that Hall mentioned was simply the Congressman offering an apology to New York One reporter Michael Scotto. In the report that followed, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell declared: "Democratic critics say the Congressman is a hot head who should play a political price for his behavior. The Congressman tells me this was emotion that got the better of him after a very long day. Whatever the anger management issues were, he's trying to defend himself now."



On Wednesday evening's news casts, the networks all hyped GOP congressman Michael Grimm (N.Y.) threatening a reporter after Tuesday's State of the Union address while skipping the Republican response to the address entirely.

Of Grimm's outburst, ABC's Jeff Zeleny quipped, "It was not the State of the Union response Republicans had in mind." It was the response that the networks chose to cover, though. "Later, there was a far less dignified moment with a congressman from Staten Island, New York," CBS anchor Scott Pelley introduced the story.



Between Monday's Nightly News and Tuesday's Today, NBC devoted ten minutes and forty-four seconds to coverage of the now six-day-old controversy surrounding New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Meanwhile, poor ObamaCare enrollment numbers just released Monday afternoon garnered only forty-one seconds of air time on Today and were completely ignored on Nightly News.

On Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams touted investigations into Christie's "bridge traffic scandal" and hyped "an investigation into how some of the emergency relief money was spent after Hurricane Sandy." Williams announced: "It is quite clear that for Christie's political rivals it has now become something of an open season."



Leading off Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams declared: "It's war. A private battle blows wide open in public as the most powerful Republican in Washington says he's had enough, coming out swinging against members of his own party." Moments later, he hailed House Speaker John Boehner's "rare outburst of candor mixed with anger and frustration" at conservatives critical of the new budget deal in Congress. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Williams contemptuously observed: "His problem has been the rise of the Tea Party faction, the newly arrived and highly motivated members who do not go along or get along with the wishes of the leadership....Now they've gone after a budget deal that represents real compromise and keeps the country running. The Speaker today decided he's had enough and he said so."