The networks and cable channels on Sunday and Monday went into full panic over anti-immigration candidate Marine Le Pen advancing to the final round of France’s presidential elections. Some of the labels spewed by journalists include: “Far-right,” “xenophobic,” “racist.” But the one description that came, over and over, on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and MSNBC, is “far-right,” “far-right,” “far-right,” “far-right” and, also, “far-right.”
On Monday’s NBC Today, while reporting on the results of the first round of France’s presidential election, Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel made no secret of his distaste for one of the candidates as he accused her of running a “xenophobic” campaign that she was “modeling” on Donald Trump.
Leave it to MSNBC anchor and serial liar Brian Williams to step in it on a breaking news night. On Thursday night after the U.S. military fired over 50 missiles at a Syrian military base, Williams whined about the cost of the missiles and complained that it endangered Americans. Williams was speaking to NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel when he suggested they “look at it in brass tax terms” because “we just spent $30 million tonight.”
It appeared that NBC sharpened its claws in preparation for NBC Nightly News on Tuesday, as the network sent Richard Engel to Russia. The reporter was there to find dirt on President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of State, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson. “I'm Richard Engel in Moscow, where the Kremlin couldn't be happier with the way Trump's cabinet is shaping up, especially with Rex Tillerson as potential Secretary of State,” he declared at the start of his report.
Following MSNBC’s 10 a.m. ET hour coverage of a joint press conference between President Obama and the Greek prime minister in Athens, anchor Kristen Welker brought on chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel and worried: “What level of concern is there right now in this region and other regions around the world – the Middle East, for example – about this election and what we have seen so far in this transition period?”
Giving proper coverage to the heartbreaking and tear-jerking scene out of Aleppo, Syria with a bloody and dusty young boy sitting in an ambulance, MSNBC/NBC’s Andrea Mitchell devoted a full segment to the matter on Thursday afternoon but of course made no mention of President Barack Obama or his administration’s inaction in Syria to dispose of the Assad regime or ISIS in the over five years since the conflict began.
With still nothing definitively known about the identity of the Munich, Germany attacker or attackers early Friday night, MSNBC’s MTP Daily ushered the Brexit vote for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union into the conversation as an example of anti-refugee sentiment that, in their speculations, was behind the mall shooting in Germany.
In the midst of MSNBC’s rolling coverage Friday afternoon of what appeared to be an act of terrorism in Germany, breaking news anchor Brian Williams and NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel used the occasion to lament the rise of “a rightward tilt” in Europe of “intolerant” ideologies and parties against Muslims and Middle Eastern refugees.
On Friday, NBC’s Today skipped any mention of CIA Director John Brennan detailing Obama administration failures in the fight against ISIS while testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The morning show ignored the major story despite Thursday’s NBC Nightly News devoting a nearly two-minute segment to the topic.
The smoke hadn’t cleared from the airport in Brussels and already the press was issuing its typical lament: This will only stoke Europe’s “right wing” and spread “rampant Islamophobia.”
NBC’s Richard Engel complained on the “Today” program that “We're already seeing the rise of the right wing. We're already seeing rise of hate attacks, where people will use the kind of terrorist attacks, these kind of incidents, to vilify all of the Muslim community. Which, of course, only makes the situation worse. Because then people feel isolated, ostracized, ghettoized, and they retreat into their own communities.”
During NBC’s breaking news coverage of the terrorist attacks in Belgium Tuesday morning, correspondents Andrea Mitchell and Richard Engel wasted no time warning of the “rise of the right wing” throughout Europe in response to such attacks.
On Monday’s NBC Today, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel reported live from Tehran on the lifting of sanctions on Iran and sounded like an anchor on Iranian state television as he touted the authoritarian regime celebrating the development: “Well, this is an extraordinary time to be here in Tehran. The mood is one of expectation and optimism. People are encouraged by the deal. They think they got the better half of the deal, and they are looking forward to a better economy.”