On Thursday's NBC Today, while scolding New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for his handling of a heckler, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell declared: "Christie's week has been a lot like a series of battle rounds, from tangling with nurse Kaci Hickox over [Ebola] quarantine conditions....to the verbal towel snap Christie delivered in a live Today interview when Matt referred to the nurse's lawyer as talented....to federal health officials who loudly criticized his rules but recommended their own."
O'Donnell then touted a profane attack from the media's favorite liberal host: "Add the latest pop culture judgment from Jon Stewart." A soundbite played of Stewart ranting: "Why does Christie have to be such a d**k about everything?"
ABC and NBC failed to cover the upcoming midterm elections during their Wednesday evening broadcasts, but instead devoted over three-and-a-half minutes to going after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) for confronting a protestor earlier in the day during an event marking the second anniversary of Superstorm Sandy.
Christie, who has received some rare praise from the mainstream media for a Republican, was not that person this evening as ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir reported he was “unscripted” and “lashing out” as he engaged in “a war of words” with the heckler in what “was supposed to be a mission accomplished moment” for promoting the rebuilding of the Jersey Shore.
ABC's World News stood out as the sole Big Three evening newscast on Wednesday to not cover the release of Lois Lerner's e-mails, where the former top IRS official slammed conservatives as "a**holes" and "crazies." Instead, the news program devoted full reports to the water main that burst on the campus of UCLA and the controversy over usage charges on cell phone bills.
By contrast, NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News on Wednesday both set aside about two minutes each of air time to Lerner's "salty language," as NBC's Kelly O'Donnell put it: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On the July 28 edition of NewsNation, anchor Tamron Hall did her part to push the alarmist liberal narrative about how radical Republicans are itching to impeach President Obama. The news hook for this was how “the new incoming House GOP whip, Tea Party backed Louisiana congressman Steve Scalise will not rule out impeaching the president over his use of executive orders.” This despite the fact there’s much “unfinished business” and “that urgent do list” of “the border crisis” and “funding for the nation’s highway and infrastructure project” on Congress’s plate.
The Today show co-anchor aired a clip from Fox News Sunday of host Chris Wallace repeatedly asking the Louisiana Republican if he would “consider impeaching the president.” Wallace responded that “it might be the first White House in history that is trying to start the narrative of impeaching their own president.” Of course, nowhere in the clip did the Louisiana representative insinuate that he was angling for impeachment. Instead Scalise called out the White House for stressing impeachment talks in an attempt “to fundraise off of that” and “change the topic away from the president's failed agenda.” [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
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.