In the second hour of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, correspondent Savannah Guthrie gave a live report on the upcoming G-20 summit from London. This was a fairly straightforward report, hitting on issues that the major parties were interested in hammering out – the French want more financial regulation, for example. And then, at the very end of the report, Mika Brzezinski threw a hanging curveball. Guthrie did not disappoint:
76 years ago today, President Franklin Roosevelt summoned radio news microphones to a desk next to a fireplace in the Oval Room of the White House, and the fireside chat was born. He wanted to talk to the nation about the economy and the banks. And here we are 76 years later, in the midst of another deep and wide economic crisis. For President Obama, it remains job one in this different era.Reporter Savannah Guthrie at the White House touted how before a Business Roundtable gathering Obama “really sought to engage them” as he assured the attendees: “I'm a serious free enterpriser and we'll return the markets to free enterprise once this is over.” Guthrie highlighted what she saw as a “a really interesting moment today where the Chairman of CitiGroup... asked the President, 'hey, you're confidence builder in chief, can you give us some confidence?' Well the President did that...”
Noting the “accusation that he's taken on too much all at once,” NBC's Savannah Guthrie relayed how Obama “took some time to answer his critics.” Viewers then heard Obama invoking Abraham Lincoln: “You may forget that Lincoln helped lay down the transcontinental railroad and passed the Homestead Act and created the National Academy of Sciences in the midst of civil war.”
On ABC, Jake Tapper contended “you can disagree with what President Obama has done, but you cannot accuse him of dragging his feet. His first 50 days have been marked by presidential action on nearly every issue under the sun. Of course, for his critics, that's precisely the problem.” Tapper soon asserted: “Seven weeks ago, just minutes after taking the oath of office, President Obama formally nominated his cabinet. He's been a whirling dervish of activity ever since.”
CBS's "Early Show" and ABC's "Good Morning America" on Friday almost entirely ignored the embarrassing departure of yet another of Barack Obama's cabinet nominees, with only NBC's "Today" providing any real information on the event. GMA devoted a scant 15 seconds to the withdrawal of Republican Senator Judd Gregg as the President's second nominee for Commerce Secretary. (Previous choice Bill Richards dropped out for tax reasons.) Instead, the networks included segments on aphrodisiacs for Valentine's Day and how to make a flourless chocolate cake.
"Early Show" doubled ABC, managing a still insignificant 30 second anchor brief. NBC's "Today" actually featured a full report and had the most coverage, three minutes and 21 seconds. Out of a combined eight hours of programming, the total for all three came to only four minutes and six seconds. None of the coverage made any mention of Senator Gregg's opposition to the Obama administration's goal of moving the 2010 census count from the Commerce Department to the White House. (The census issue was mostly ignored on Thursday's evening news programs as well.)
On Thursday's "Today" show NBC reporters offered little skepticism of Barack Obama's dictations to corporate America, instead buttressing Obama soundbites with sloganeering as, Meredith Vieira declared, "President Obama lashing out at Wall Street and clamping down on corporate fat cats," and Savannah Guthrie underlined, "The President bashed Wall Street," and "took a shot across the bow." The "Today" show then brought on CNBC'ers Melissa Francis and Dylan Ratigan to discuss Obama's capping of executive pay at $500,000, to which they both agreed, "it didn't go far enough." "Today" anchor, millionaire and world traveler, Matt Lauer himself lectured: "Can the culture of Wall Street be changed? Let, let's just be clear here. Private jets, perks, lavish trips gone. Is it ever, are they ever gonna come back?" But when Ratigan tried to use the ratings performance of the "Today" show to make a point, Lauer jokingly, but quickly, cut him off as seen in the following exchange:
MATT LAUER: Just going back to the beginning. We talk about $500,000 for these corporate CEOs. Let's just be clear-
DYLAN RATIGAN: It's a ton of money.
LAUER: That's a lot of money. It's a lot of money-
MELISSA FRANCIS: Yeah.
LAUER: -for the average person waiting on tables and...
RATIGAN: Not to mention if you, if you ran your, if, if this show had, has, ratings went to zero-
LAUER: Don't bring this show into it.
Continuing the trend of embracing Barack Obama's bashing of Wall Street bonuses from last night's evening news, NBC's "Today" show, on Friday, described Obama as "outraged!" "agitated," and claimed he "took the tone of a scolding parent." Opening the "Today" show Matt Lauer exclaimed: "Good morning, outraged! President Obama lashes out at Wall Street for doling out nearly $20 billion in bonuses despite the financial crisis." Then a little later Lauer threw it to Savannah Guthrie, who opened her story this way:
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: The President did not hold back. He gave a dressing down to Wall Street that went on uninterrupted for two-and-a-half minutes. This after he read in the newspaper about some big bonuses.
[On screen headline: "Outraged Obama Blasts Banks For Bailout Bonuses"]
BARACK OBAMA: That is the height of irresponsibility. It is shameful.
GUTHRIE: The President took the tone of a scolding parent, reacting to news Wall Street was still paying itself big bonuses. $18 billion last year, even as many banks' balance sheets crumbled, billions of taxpayer dollars spent to bail them out.
Liberal pastor and civil rights leader Joseph Lowery’s strange benediction prayer hoping that one day "white will embrace what is right" wasn’t ignored on the Tuesday night news, but it wasn’t portrayed as at all controversial. CBS skipped over it. But ABC, NBC, and PBS’s NewsHour all featured it, often without interrupting their gauzy promotional tone. Here’s a brief tour of how it unfolded.
ABC: In the first half-hour of a 60-minute World News, Charles Gibson recalled a legend praying:
GIBSON: The Reverend Joseph E Lowery, the legendary civil rights leader, delivered the benediction.
Rev. JOSEPH LOWERY: We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man and white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say amen.
GIBSON: As hundreds of thousands on the Mall savored what they had just seen.
On Tuesday morning’s Today show, NBC substitute anchor Lester Holt and correspondent Savannah Guthrie all but expressed regret over President-Elect Barack Obama having to make an “adjustment” -- not being able to “just pick up and go anytime he wants” due to “not just Secret Service, but a traveling corps of journalists now follows his every move, even in Hawaii.” Guthrie reported on the “signs Obama is growing a bit frustrated with all the attention.” The on-screen graphic accompanying her report inflated this apparent frustration on the part of future chief executive: “Man in a Bubble: Obama Chafes at Constant Scrutiny.”
Holt introduced Guthrie’s report with a lament over Obama’s seeming predicament: “He may not be president yet, but Barack Obama is getting an early taste of what life as leader of the free world is really like -- a lack of freedom, and an entourage documenting his every move.” Guthrie then began her report along a similar line: “Obama came here to Hawaii to get away from it all -- get one last vacation in before becoming president. But even here, he can’t just pick up and go anytime he wants, and that’s been quite an adjustment for the president-elect.”
Even though the votes have all been counted, NBC couldn't resist taking one last shot at GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin on this morning's Today broadcast.
Last week, CMI released a study documenting the media's character assassination of Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Analysts found that during a two-week period earlier this fall the media pushed three major narratives about Palin: that she was unqualified and unintelligent, that she's tearing apart the conservative movement and that she's little more than McCain's attack dog. All three networks reinforced the "unintelligent" theme by repeatedly playing clips from Saturday Night Live's skits ridiculing Palin, and embarrassing moments from Palin's interview with CBS anchor Katie Couric.
Reporter Savannah Guthrie virtually recapitulated CMI's study in a single news segment, rehashing all three narratives during her brief report on Palin's future in the Republican party.
Up first, how Palin asserted “my job has been to oversee nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of oil and gas.” Guthrie pounced: “She's wrong. Alaska accounts for only 3.5 percent of America's total energy production, 7.5 percent of oil and gas.” Unmentioned by NBC: How the Alaska Resource Development Council's Web site has stated: “Alaska's oil and gas industry” accounts “for an average of 20 percent of the entire nation's domestic production.”
Add Monica Conyers's name to that list of Dems run afoul of the law whose party affiliation the MSM fails to mention. Conyers, the Detroit City Council President Pro Tem, a Democrat and an Obama supporter, has made unwelcome headlines before, from getting into an argument with an eight-grader to allegedly threatening to shoot an aide to the Detroit mayor. Now things have taken a turn for the worse. According to the Detroit News in an article today entitled Bribe probe ensnarls Conyers:
Federal investigators have electronic surveillance evidence that allegedly links Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Monica Conyers with receiving a payment or payments in connection with a city-approved sludge contract.Ruh-roh. Conyers is the wife of John Conyers, the Dem Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who continues to toy with the notion of seeking to impeach President Bush. So how did this morning's Today show report the story?
View video here.
The media are always trying to find a way to report the bad side of economic news, so it's shouldn't come as a terrible surprise to anyone that they managed to make positive holiday sales growth a bad thing.
According to MasterCard SpendingPulse, retail sales were up 3.6 percent during the holiday season - 2.4 percent excluding gas prices. But because it's not as big an increase as recent years have produced, the media reported it as bad news.
On NBC's "Nightly News," reporter Savannah Guthrie announced a "dramatic" 2.4 percent decrease in women's clothing sales. She didn't think the same percentage increase was "dramatic," however. Instead, she referred to the overall sales increase as "disappointing."
Other media labeled the figures "dismal," "small," "weak," "bleak" and "a clear sign that the economy is slowing down." Most made sure to point out, like "Good Morning America's" Ryan Owens, that the increase is "the smallest in four years."