It's no secret that the media have given significant attention to GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's history of marital problems and whether this facet of his past will undercut him with socially conservative Republican voters, but on Friday's Today show on NBC, correspondent Peter Alexander went so far as to refer to Gingrich's wife as his "third wife" in a story that otherwise had nothing to do with his marital history. (Video below)
Below is the relevant portion of Alexander's report from the Friday, December 30, Today show on NBC:
In a report for Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander described the rise of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, noting how the NFL player's devout Christian faith has earned him the nickname of "God's Quarterback." Alexander went on to declare: "Many Americans were first introduced to Tebow during this controversial anti-abortion ad that aired during the 2010 Super Bowl."
While Alexander's report only featured a brief clip of the ad, if the full spot had been shown, viewers would have seen for themselves the complete lack of controversy in the commercial. In fact, the ad never even used the word abortion.
On the day the Republicans took over the House, NBC's Today show found time to send correspondent Peter Alexander out to profile New York's "First Couple" of the newly elected Governor Andrew Cuomo and his Food Network chef girlfriend Sandra Lee. While Alexander devoted most of his Wednesday report to Lee's biography, he did air political consultant Dan Gerstein observing that an unmarried First Couple in New York wasn't a big deal considering that Cuomo was following a governor "who was discredited in a prostitution scandal and another governor who admitted not just infidelity but cocaine use." Of course neither Gerstein or Alexander bothered to mention that those two respective scandalized former governors (Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson) were Democrats.
The following is Alexander's puff piece on Cuomo and Lee as it was aired on the January 5 edition of the Today show:
NBC's Peter Alexander, on Tuesday's Today show, decided to explore the softer side of WikiLeaks founder and purveyor of U.S. state secrets Julian Assange as he interviewed an investigative journalist from Oxford University who found him to be "funny, intelligent" and "not at all...rigid" and also aired a clip of Assange's mother speaking up for her son as she demanded that the world "stand up for my brave son."
In fact Alexander never aired a clip or interviewed any one who had a negative word to say about Assange but he did reveal some postings Assange allegedly made to an Internet singles site as Alexander reported:
"He writes, 'I am Danger.' And describes himself as 'passionate and often pig headed activist intellectual seeks siren for love affair, children and occasional criminal conspiracy.' That he's looking for a 'spirited, erotic non-conformist,' concluding 'Do not write to me if you are timid. Write to me if you are brave.'"
(video after the jump)
On Friday, all three network morning shows expressed sympathy for protestors in London rioting against college tuition increases, despite a Thursday attack on the royal family. While CBS's Early Show, ABC's Good Morning America, and NBC's Today all reported on security concerns over Prince Charles and wife Camilla, each broadcast also lamented Britain's "drastic new budget cuts."
At the top of the Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "There have been these protesters in London for a couple weeks now because tuition hikes for college tuition skyrocketing there." Fill-in co-host Rebecca Jarvis then chimed in by arguing on behalf of the rioters: "Of course they pay very high taxes there so they expect something for those taxes." Later, in an 8:00AM ET hour news brief, anchor Jeff Glor pointed out: "In the last fiscal year, the government spent $60 million on household costs for the royals....But, the government still voted to triple university tuition to $14,000 a year to help control the deficit."
NBC's Peter Alexander, on Tuesday's Today show, mocked Sarah Palin for making up a word, 'refudiate' in her tweets about the Ground Zero mosque controversy. However when Joe Biden, the gaffe machine that he can be, made an arguably much more embarrassing mistake back in March, of falsely asserting that the Irish prime minister's mother was dead, the Today show, as Newsbusters' Scott Whitlock reported then, ignored it.
Alexander, after initially reporting about the former Alaska governor wading into the controversy surrounding the building of a mosque at the Ground Zero site, then poked fun at Palin combining two words:
PETER ALEXANDER: The former vice presidential candidate is, herself, coming under fire for both her substance and style. Palin tweeted "Ground Zero mosque supporters, doesn't it stab you in the heart, as it does ours, throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, please refudiate. But, of course, "refudiate" isn't an actual word, more like a blend of two words with similar meanings: refute and repudiate. Bloggers quickly pounced. "If Republicans can demand that immigrants speak English," one tweeted "can't we demand same for Sarah Palin?" For what it's worth, Palin has refudiated before.
CLIP OF PALIN ON FOX NEWS: They have power in their words. They could refudiate what it is, that this group is saying.
Alexander, then went on to remind viewers of another Republican who got "creative with words.
NBC correspondent Peter Alexander reused Geist's "legendary" label, and chronicled the CNN personality's "perch in prime time" during his 25 years on his Larry King Live program, spotlighting how he "has interviewed nearly 50,000 people over more than 50 years in broadcasting." Alexander underlined this with clips from King's interviews of Frank Sinatra, Ross Perot, and Paris Hilton, noting that "if you wanted the country to listen, you sat down with Larry King." The correspondent also included a clip from Ken Baker of E! News, who stated that "whoever is going to replace Larry King has obviously very big shoes to fill."
Twice in the span of ten minutes, MSNBC on Tuesday ran segments touting left-wing complaints that Elena Kagan may not be "liberal enough." News Live host Peter Alexander seriously speculated of the Supreme Court pick: "...But who is really most frustrated with the pick? It seems as many liberal groups are upset by this as are conservatives."
Later in the 10am hour, Alexander worried, "And also right now on the left, she may not be liberal enough. That's the complaint there. Some progressives say she's too much of a blank slate to know how she stands on any issue." He also uncritically listed the issues Kagan is supposedly conservative on, including "supporting banning late term abortions."
In Friday's 3PM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC, anchor Peter Alexander asked black Republican congressional candidate Allen West of Florida about "aligning" with the tea party movement: "the Tea Party has raised concerns that it may have, I guess, racism built within it. We have seen some racist signs at past events...are African-American candidates aligning themselves with the tea party?" [Audio available here]
West responded: "The principles and values that I espouse, limited government, lower taxes, individual responsibility, and accountability, liberty, and honoring the traditions of our constitutional republic, are connecting me with those grass roots Americans that attend tea party rallies. And I've spoken at four to five of those rallies and I've not seen any racist type of signs."
On Wednesday, Alexander talked with correspondent Luke Russert about the fact that 32 African-Americans are running for Congress as Republicans. Russert noted with surprise how "these candidates are actually soliciting support from the tea party, a group that a lot of folks have claimed to be racist against African-Americans."
MSNBC's Peter Alexander on Friday eagerly agreed with a journalist who attacked Sarah Palin as "Larry the Cable Guy, minus the class and intelligence." Talking to Cathy Areu, contributing editor of the Washington Post magazine, Alexander gushed, "It's a good line." [Audio available here.]
As first reported on NewsBusters, Areu slammed the former Alaskan governor on CNN, Wednesday. Playing to MSNBC's left-wing audience, an onscreen graphic playfully asked, "Palin the Cable Gal?"
After explaining that Bill O'Reilly asked Areu to come on his show and defend her remarks, Alexander sympathized, "Areu said thanks but no thanks to Fox. Saying she wanted to appear right here on MSNBC. We don't blame her."
At the top of the 3PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Peter Alexander reported on a Tea Party event being held in Boston and grilled conservative author Kevin Jackson on "the fringe elements who show up for these rallies. Some in the past have had offensive signs and rhetoric." As Alexander spoke a large sign from the Boston rally appeared on screen, displaying the word 'LOVE' and a heart symbol.
NBC News White House reporter Chuck Todd, who suggested she decided to quit so she could “make a lot of money” on the speaking circuit free of ethics complaint hassles, also predicted she will bring in big crowds at fundraisers for GOP candidates which will also entice those not so impressed by her:
She may spend the next year campaigning for Republicans all across the country. She's probably going to be the person that can attract the largest crowds, some of it is car-wreck watchers -- you know, they just are coming, kind of curiosity-seekers. It doesn't matter. She can attract a lot of people.
Audio: MP3 clip (16 seconds)