At the top of Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie seemed to get swept up in the network's own one-sided reporting on the gay marriage cases before the Supreme Court, proclaiming: "Supreme decision. This nation's highest court taking up the divisive issue of same-sex marriage this morning. Will the justices make it legal in every state?"
In the report that followed, justice correspondent Pete Williams touted the anticipation of gay marriage supporters: "The day has finally come for the people who've lined up for days to see the historic argument....The two California couples at the heart of today's case are already here after a brief visit Monday to see the Constitution at the National Archives. Their lawyer says Prop 8 should be struck down because allowing them to get married would have no effect on traditional couples."
Sadly, MSNBC cannot follow sister network NBC’s lead in reporting the story of disgraced Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill) and his impending prison sentence for illegally using campaign funds for personal usage.
On the February 20 edition of NBC Nightly News as well as on the February 21 edition of Today, both shows correctly identify Jesse Jackson Jr. as a Democrat, but their MSNBC morning show Morning Joe skipped the important detail. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
In a segment this morning discussing the breaking news that a panel of judges on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously ruled that some of President Obama's recess appointments had been made in an unconstitutional manner, MSNBC's Thomas Roberts turned to network contributor and former Democratic Senate staffer Jimmy Williams for his reaction.
Williams conceded the the court had ruled correctly, but rather than chiding the president for violating his oath of office with unconstitutional appointments, he blamed Senate Republicans for driving Mr. Obama to do so. For his part, Roberts agreed, mumbling "mm hmm" in reply to the ex-lobbyist's partisan swipe [MP3 audio here; video follows page break]:
Reporting on the Supreme Court taking up the issue of gay marriage for the first time, on Friday's NBC Nightly News, justice correspondent Pete Williams proclaimed: "The fact that the Court has agreed to take up both cases could mean that the Justices are prepared to get to the heart of the same-sex marriage issue, and that could result in what would essentially be the Roe v. Wade of gay rights." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the top of the broadcast, anchor Brian Williams billed the upcoming report as "big news...that could change everything." Introducing a repeat of the story on Saturday's Today, co-host Lester Holt announced: "Game changer? The U.S. Supreme Court plans to tackle two cases involving same-sex marriage. So will this become the law of the land?"
The 2007 video of then-Senator Barack Obama hinting at racism in the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina isn't the only news story that NBC's Today show stuck up its nose at during the first days of October. The morning newscast has conspicuously ignored covering the latest developments in the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. It hasn't devoted a full segment or even a news brief to the issue since September 29.
As Today devoted air time to how Mitt Romney's debate performance was supposedly "completely overshadowed" by "hunting" Big Bird, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning devoted full reports on Monday to a former security official's charge that the State Department ignored repeated requests for extra security at the diplomatic facility in Libya.
Readers are advised to remove all food, fluids, and flammables from proximity to their computers before proceeding. You've been warned.
NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams on this weekend's syndicated Chris Matthews Show actually said that when it comes to nominating judges, "A Democratic president is more likely to appoint somebody near the middle who is less ideological" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As the weekend's syndicated Chris Matthews Show concluded, the entire panel chose political figures echoing sentiments either from the left or at least in criticism of conservatives to answer host Matthews's "Big Question" of who has "made a big, gutsy decision so far this year."
NBC's Nightly News on Friday offered a one-sided segment touting Barack Obama's decision to lift the threat of deportation to young people who came to America illegally. The Pete Williams report featured six clips of individuals or groups thrilled by the reaction, only two against and one nuanced response by Mitt Romney.
Williams began by touting, "Young people covered by the new policy cheered the announcement outside the White House." An unidentified woman enthused, "I can't describe it. It's so amazing. I'm so happy." A crowd in front of the White House chanted, "Yes, we did! Yes, we did! Yes, we did! Yes, we did!"
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams accused a federal judge of bringing politics into the judicial process simply by ordering the Justice Department to explain controversial comments President Obama made against the Supreme Court: "Politics are ideally supposed to stay out of the nation's courtrooms, but that's not what happened this week in a federal courtroom in Texas."
In report that followed, correspondent Pete Williams proclaimed: "The political controversy spilled into a Texas federal court, where the rules are designed to filter out politics, interrupting arguments about a challenge to part of the Obama health care law." Williams noted how Judge Jerry Smith "put a Justice Department lawyer on the spot" to explain the President's attack on the court system and made sure to point out that Smith was "a Reagan appointee."
Imagine that one of the FBI's most wanted mobsters had a brother who for decades had been a Republican power broker in a deep red state like say Texas. On top of that, that Republican party boss may have helped his brother flee justice. Imagine that that mob boss was arrested last night after 16 years on the lam.
MSNBC would most certainly report not just the capture but the political connections of the mobster's brother, right?
Only the party boss was former Massachusetts Senate President Billy Bulger (D) and the mobster was South Boston's James "Whitey" Bulger.
Borrowing the phraseology of left-wing bloggers, NBC Justice correspondent Pete Williams has (so far) thrice invoked Nazi terminology to describe SB-1070, the Arizona immigration law that continues to be the object of liberal scorn.
The first reference occurred today during the 10 a.m. EDT hour of "Jansing & Co.," when Williams called the state measure the "show us your papers law."
Moments later, Williams led the top of 11 a.m. EDT hour of "MSNBC Live" by repeating the "show us your papers" line.
The NBC correspondent took a break for about an hour before rephrasing the legislation during the 12 p.m. EDT hour as the "round up the usual suspects law."
When reporting on the nationality of a criminal from another country who has already been arrested, it normally would be considered unnecessary or even uncalled for to take the extra step of explicitly identifying the suspect’s ethnicity or religious affiliation as well. But, given that Israelis, the vast majority of whom are Jewish, often face sharp criticism and negative press reaction over conflicts with their Arab neighbors – inflaming anti-Semitic sentiment – if an Israeli citizen who is non-Jewish is implicated in a violent crime, informing viewers that he is non-Jewish would seem to be in order.
But so far in the media coverage of serial stabber Elias Abuelazam’s arrest, some major news shows on both broadcast and news networks have avoided explicitly informing viewers that he is not a Jewish Israeli, while others have been more upfront with viewers on the subject. CNN’s The Situation Room, the NBC Nightly News, FNC’s Fox and Friends, and CBS’s The Early Show all have directly relayed to viewers at least once that Abuelazam is an Israeli Arab. But ABC’s World News, the CBS Evening News, FNC’s Fox Report, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN’s American Morning and NBC’s Today show have all avoided such a direct identification of ethnicity.