Amid the ongoing media coverage surrounding Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on illegal immigration, Thursday’s NBC Nightly News surprisingly went down to the U.S.-Mexico border to further understand on the situation. Following a news brief that mentioned a protest at the site of a Trump hotel being built in Washington D.C., anchor Lester Holt explained that even though some are “angered” by Trump’s remarks, they “are striking a cord” “for others” as they “believe he’s calling attention to a vital threat along our border.”
On Thursday night, NBC continued to shower praise in the direction of President Barack Obama’s move to normalize relations with the communist country of Cuba and brush off any criticism of the policy shift.
NBC Nightly News had two additional segments on Cuba that, with a tease in the program’s opening, totaled 5 minutes and 12 seconds, but only 28 seconds of that involved mentioning those against the move.
During the five minutes of coverage that Thursday's NBC Today provided on President Obama reopening diplomatic relations with Cuba, only twenty-three seconds was devoted to critics of the controversial move. In addition, the only opponent featured was Republican Senator Marco Rubio, despite Democratic Senator Robert Menendez equally condemning the presidential action.
Following the trend set when news broke early Wednesday, the major broadcast networks continued their praising of the move by President Obama to seek normalized relations with Cuba on their Wednesday night newscasts.
Between the “big three” of ABC, CBS, and NBC, they made only a few, brief mentions over the course of their 30-minute programs that Cuba was both a communist country and brutal in the treatment of its own people (especially dissenters).
During Wednesday’s NBC Nightly News, correspondent Mark Potter reported from Havana, Cuba on the news that President Obama was altering U.S. relations with the communist state and parroted a long-standing liberal argument as to why Cuba’s economy has struggled for over half a century.
Speaking about the regime of Fidel and Raul Castro, Potter chose not to blame the policies of the Castros, but those of the United States in why the island nation has suffered economically: “His revolution is showing its age too and Havana, known for its charm and vintage cars, is on life support, its economy crippled by the long-standing U.S. Embargo. People here now hope that will change.”
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams heralded protests in Brazil "driven by economic injustice," followed by correspondent Mark Potter in Rio de Janeiro detailing the motivation: "Many in the crowds complained about rampant corruption, crime, low wages, and a lack of social services....As Brazil spends billions to build stadiums for next year's World Cup and the 2016 Olympics."
What Williams and Potter failed to mention was the fact that NBC is a beneficiary of the Olympics, having exclusive rights to broadcast the games. In 2011, NBC's parent company Comcast paid the International Olympic Committee $4.38 billion to continue to cover the Olympics from 2014 to 2020, with goal being "to use the Olympics as a way to raise its number of subscribers and the monthly fees they pay."
Introducing a brief report on Friday's NBC Today about the funeral proceedings for socialist Venezuelan strong man Hugo Chavez, news reader Natalie Morales announced: "In Venezuela, a hero's send-off today for Hugo Chavez, a harsh critic of the U.S. who ruled for 14 years." The headline on screen during the segment read: "Saluting Chavez; World Leaders in Venezuela for President's Funeral."
Correspondent Mark Potter, reporting from Caracas, noted that Chavez would "lie in state for another seven days so more Venezuelans can pay their respects" after "thousands and thousands of people stood in a mile-long line for the chance to quickly file past the casket." Potter added: "Chavez's body eventually will be preserved, much like those of historic communist figures Lenin and Mao, for future public display in a special tomb."
[Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Good Morning America as airing the Brandi Hitt story. Her piece was posted on GMA's website, but did not air on the program.] ABCNews.com on Wednesday greeted the death of Hugo Chavez by avoiding the word “socialist.” Instead, journalist Brandi Hitt touted the repressive leader as someone who “appeared to never back down from a challenge.” The reporter never mentioned Chavez’s crackdown on free speech or democracy. Instead, she featured a woman in the streets of Venezuela gushing, “He’s a man that cared about us…He did not give anything to me, but he gave it to my people.”
Over on Today, NBC’s Mark Potter offered this friendly description of the individual who made friends with Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: “Many here were still surprised when he died, in part because of his larger-than-life personality.” Potter announced that crowds in Caracas were chanting “Chavez lives” and “the struggle continues.” Both Today and Good Morning America made sure to play footage of Chavez’s 2006 appearance at the United Nations. There, the authoritarian leaded mocked George W. Bush as “the devil.”
As stranded Carnival Cruise passengers began finally disembarking in Mobile, Alabama, late Thursday evening, MSNBC had NBC News correspondent Mark Potter on the scene to speak with them.
One young lady during her over three minute interview tried to cite a Bible verse that helped her get through the ordeal, but Potter pulled his microphone away and quickly ended the discussion (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Friday's NBC Nightly News gave attention to the dangers posed to farmers who live near the border with Mexico as correspondent Mark Potter filed a report on the activities of drug traffickers who illegally cross the border and trespass on the land of American farmers and ranchers and threaten violence.
Anchor Brian Williams introduced what he referred to as a "frightening" report:
On Saturday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt marked the 50th anniversary of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion as "one of the most infamous events in American history." In the report that followed, correspondent Mark Potter proclaimed: "This weekend Cuba is remembering a critical moment in history still felt today. Huge crowds have come out to celebrate in ways not seen here for years."
Sounding like he was reading a press release about the celebration, Potter declared: "In the Plaza of the Revolution, a massive display of military might and a celebration of Cuba's victory 50 years ago at the Bay of Pigs. The failed invasion planned by the CIA and backed by the US military is seen as a historic turning point for Fidel Castro." At no point in the story was the brutality of Castro's 50-year communist dictatorship mentioned.
NBC's Matt Lauer, at the top of Thursday’s "Today" show, was careful to note the party affiliation of Mark Sanford as he announced "The political future of South Carolina's governor Mark Sanford, a once-rising star in the Republican Party, is very much in doubt." However when he invited on former Democratic New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey – who resigned after admitting an affair with a gay man who he appointed to office – to discuss the story, he never mentioned McGreevey was a Democrat.
After a set-up piece by Mark Potter, Lauer interviewed McGreevey and asked him the ex-governor, "If it comes out that the governor used taxpayer money to go to Argentina on one or more occasions, does that complicate the issue? And, and would that make it more difficult for him to survive in office?" Interestingly Lauer failed to mention the fact that this was one of the reasons that forced McGreevey to step down.
The following are the relevant teasers and then full segment as they were aired on the June 25, "Today" show: