On Friday, ABC and CBS's evening newscasts touted how Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau "personally welcoming Syrian refugees" as they flew into Toronto. ABC's David Muir heralded, "Trudeau greeting fathers, mothers, and children — telling them — quote, 'You're home.'" CBS's Scott Pelley spotlighted the "noteworthy landing — 163 refugees escaping the war in Syria were welcomed to Canada by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau."
Acting as though the latest news the war against ISIS, new developments in the Hillary Clinton scandal or any other story barely existed, the “big three” networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC devoted a whopping 24 minutes and three seconds of their Tuesday evening newscasts to obsessing over Donald Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States. Not surprisingly, NBC Nightly News led the way by spending nearly half its newscast on Trump with five segments adding up to 12 minutes and 34 seconds.
Given the Morning Joe reviews, if President Obama's terrorism speech were a Broadway show, it would have closed after one night. From Richard Haass to Richard Engel, Joe Scarborough to Willie Geist, the prez's performance was universally panned.
And in the cruelest comment of all, Mika Brzezinski reported that "I watched it with my youngest daughter who's very, very interested and we were waiting for the address, and sat together and watched. And when he was finished she got up and left. She goes: I don't really know what the point of that was." Mr. President, when you've lost Mika's daughter . . . But hey, look at the bright side: you could fire up Air Force One and still make an afternoon tee time in Palm Springs.
Maybe you're a liberal, reluctant to accept Charles Krauthammer's conclusion that President Obama's speech on terror tonight was a "complete failure." Fine. But there's no getting around Richard Engel, whom no one would accuse of conservatism. Speaking with Chris Matthews on MSNBC, the bleak assessment of NBC's chief foreign correspondent was that President Obama laid out "the same strategy that hasn't been working for last several years."
After a point-by-point takedown of Obama's weak tea, Engel concluded "the course of treatment that he laid out for this sick patient with cancer with no immediate cure does not seem like an incredibly strong prescription." Ouch.
In a welcome change of pace for MSNBC programming on Tuesday night, liberal primetime host Rachel Maddow was given the night off in favor of NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel, who anchored the network’s 9:00 p.m. Eastern coverage of the Paris Islamic terror attacks and closed with a brief but astute commentary on how it’s doubtful that Paris will change the global ISIS strategy.
Despite the revelation on Wednesday that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) made secret side deals with Iran over nuclear weapons inspections and refused to disclose the details to the U.S. Congress, NBC, ABC, and CBS all ignored the story. By contrast, FNC’s Special Report led with the news as anchor Bret Baier informed viewers “there is word tonight of a separate covert deal between the Islamic Republic and the U.N.’s nuclear team. Two of them, in fact, that are not going to be shared with members of Congress nor with you.”
Soon after President Barack Obama announced on Tuesday morning that the government of Iran signed a nuclear arms treaty with the United States and a coalition of allies, Richard Engel -- NBC's chief foreign correspondent – stated on MSNBC's Morning Joe program that the deal was “a gamble” for the U.S. that “very possibly” could lead to a new arms buildup in the Middle East.
Later that day, Engel told Chris Matthews, the host of the weeknight Hardball program, that people were filling the streets of Tehran -- the capital of Iran -- because “they see this as a real moment to celebrate, a moment of renewal, of hope when they could maybe improve their lives, their freedoms, their financial freedoms, their ability to live a decent life.”
Following news on Wednesday that the Obama administration will send 450 additional U.S. troops back to Iraq to help train the Iraqi military against ISIS, ABC’s World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News chose to exclude any criticism of the Obama administration’s ISIS policy while NBC Nightly News made multiple critical points about the administration as Richard Engel declared: “It’s hard to see how a few hundred non-combat troops are going to make much of a difference.”
In May, as ISIS terrorists captured the cities of Ramadi and Palmyra, and with FBI warnings of hundreds of radicalized sympathizers here in the U.S., ABC, CBS and NBC devoted a combined 84.5 evening news minutes to ISIS. Despite the dour news, viewers heard virtually no criticism of President Obama’s handling of the terror group — just 43 seconds in a pair of NBC Nightly News stories, or less than one percent of the coverage.
The morning after he appeared on multiple MSNBC and NBC programs to rip President Obama’s handling of ISIS, NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel joined the Friday panel of MSNBC’s Morning Joe to continue his streak of tearing into the President for a “confused” and “self-contradictory” plan that “fights itself.”
As the Islamic terrorist group ISIS seized Ramadi earlier this week and now the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra, the major broadcast networks have largely declined to even mention any criticism of President Obama and his so-called policy in dealing with ISIS and Thursday night was no exception as ABC and CBS declined to raise that point of view. While it was brief, NBC Nightly News did make time for criticism of the administration in a segment by chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel: "Military officials say the current U.S. strategy just isn't working."
Add Richard Engel – NBC News’ chief foreign correspondent – to the growing number of voices in the media who have criticized the United States’ strategy to defeat the Islamic State. On the May 21 edition of The Rundown with Jose Diaz-Balart, Engel found no reason to dispute that ISIS was a de facto nation and argued that U.S. efforts to repel the terror group have been largely ineffective.