In an obituary for former Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter on Sunday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell summarized his shift in political allegiance this way: "Specter's views, supporting abortion rights, immigration reform, and gun control, made him too liberal for the Tea Party movement...Under assault, he bolted to the Democratic Party."
Introducing O'Donnell's report, anchor Lester Holt declared Specter to be "a longtime voice of moderation in Washington, and at times a figure of controversy." As evidence of Specter's controversial nature, O'Donnell cited him questioning the credibility of Anita Hill during a 1991 Supreme Court hearing: "Specter angered many women over the spectacle around Anita Hill, who claimed Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her."
In a report on Tuesday's NBC Today, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell described "awkward stumbles" for Senator Scott Brown and challenger Elizabeth Warren in a Massachusetts senatorial debate on Monday. Brown's supposed stumble was that he "first named an ultra-conservative" Antonin Scalia as an example of "a very good judge" and model Supreme Court justice.
O'Donnell described Warren's stumble being that she named "retiring" Indiana Senator Dick Lugar as a Republican she could work with if elected. In reality, Lugar was defeated by Richard Mourdock in the Republican primary.
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie promoted "a congressional battle in Massachusetts featuring a very familiar name" and wondered, "Could another Kennedy be headed to Congress?" In the report that followed, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell lamented the end of 65 years of Kennedys in Congress, then proclaimed: "But now a new generation has stepped forward."
In reference to Joseph Kennedy III running for Congress in the Bay State, O'Donnell announced: "In Massachusetts politics, he's no ordinary Joe....Going door to door in the rain Sunday, he bears both a family resemblance and a weighty family legacy." She noted him being "the first of his generation to enter the family trade" and touted his resume as "a Harvard law grad, former assistant D.A., and Peace Corps volunteer."
On NBCNews.com's "First Read" Kelly O'Donnell attempted to further tie in the Romney-Ryan campaign to Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comments with this gasp-inducing headline: Ryan backed more than one 'forcible rape' abortion bill.
In the article, O'Donnell made a substantial deal out of the term "forcible," seemingly implying that if there wasn't much violence during the rape, then it would be more "acceptable," and/or if the rape wasn't "forcible," then the woman is out of luck if she wanted an abortion:
At the top of Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie seized on controversies involving Republican members of Congress and proclaimed: "Hot water....Two distractions for the GOP with the convention now just one week away." Introducing coverage of the incidents, fill-in cost Lester Holt similarly declared: "...some high-profile distractions for the Republican Party. Two congressmen under fire this morning, one for what he did, the other for what he said."
Beginning an otherwise positive story on Wednesday's NBC Today about vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's intense exercise regimen, P90X, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell managed to work in this jab: "He's doing a workout you've probably seen all over late night TV. Call it extreme. And we're not talking about his politics here." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On its Wednesday evening and Thursday morning newscasts, CBS didn't file one report or news brief on the controversial federal abortifacient/contraception mandate going into effect. Even worse, the only mention of religious liberty scandal over the regulation was CBS This Morning playing a clip of liberal comedian Stephen Colbert making fun of it.
ABC's Diane Sawyer heralded the mandate taking effect as "an important day for women's health" on Wednesday's World News, and forwarded the White House's talking points on the regulation: "Religious employers, like Catholic charities and hospitals, do not have to directly include free birth control under their health plans." On NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams lamented that "simply by taking effect, it started up the health care fight all over again."
Seizing on a handful of Republican members of Congress questioning Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin's supposed tenuous family connections to the Muslim Brotherhood, on Thursday's NBC Today, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell used the incident to fawn over Clinton's "second daughter": "Abedin is Hillary Clinton's dear friend, closest senior aide...Elegant, glamorous, profiled in Vogue."
O'Donnell labeled the charges against Abedin – outlined in a congressional letter sent by Michele Bachmann and five other Republican House members to the State Department – as "what some are calling a sinister attack on the patriotism" of the top Clinton aide. She then hyped Republican Senator John McCain denouncing the obscure letter to what a front-page Washington Post story admitted was an "otherwise empty Senate chamber."
Uniquely among the broadcast network evening newscasts, the NBC Nightly News, not only ran a full report on the House of Representatives vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, but the network also noted that some Democrats joined Republicans on the vote.
By contrast, ABC's World News and the CBS Evening News only mentioned the dozens of Democrats who walked out of the Capitol in protest as they devoted only about half a minute each to the story.
NBC's Today kept up its complete omission of the Fast and Furious gun-running controversy on Wednesday, even as a House committee prepared to vote later in the day on whether to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. CBS This Morning stood among the Big Three morning newscasts in devoting a full report to the issue. ABC's Good Morning America gave only a 20-second news brief on the controversy.
Overall, NBC has punted on the story since December 2010, when the scandal first emerged. NBC Nightly News had its own blackout on Fast and Furious until June 12, 2012, when correspondent Kelly O'Donnell finally mentioned "Congress's investigation of a failed operation that sent U.S. guns into Mexico" during a 30-second news brief. The issue hasn't been mentioned since on the evening newscast.
NBC provided its first coverage of the Fast & Furious gun running scandal on Tuesday, providing a scant 30 seconds on Nightly News. In contrast, Thursday's NBC Today devoted a 37-second report to a video of "Obama Boy," a gay activist singing over his support for the President in 2012. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Today news anchor Natalie Morales proclaimed: "Justin Brown's viral YouTube video focuses on the President's support for gay marriage." A long clip played of Brown musically professing he had a "crush on Obama" and wanting to the President "get hard on Romney in debate." Morales added: "Meanwhile, 'Obama Girl' says she loves the video. She hopes she and 'Obama Boy' can maybe get together for a duet."
As Newsbusters reported yesterday, the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) network news shows have been stunningly slow to report on the Eric Holder hearings on the Fast and Furious scandal. NBC news hasn’t even reported once on the gunwalking controversy, until last night. On Tuesday’s NBC Nightly News, at the very end of her report, Kelly O’Donnell finally told viewers about “a failed operation that sent US guns into Mexico.” O’Donnell awkwardly attempted to explain the controversy, in 30 seconds, since no one on Nightly News or Today had previously done it.
The only other mention of the Holder hearings came on Wednesday’s edition of CBS's This Morning. ABC skipped the story entirely.