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.”
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.