At 7:12 this morning, NBC's Today was already turning the Zarqawi victory into a Republican-Democrat spitting match, inviting on Senator Joe Biden (Democrat from Television, I mean, Delaware).

How on Earth would the networks work in the alleged Marine massacre at Haditha today? Oh, don't worry. Matt Lauer was on that six minutes into the show, MRC's Geoff Dickens reports. Oh, the timing was very political, we at NBC would like to underline:

Early AP dispatches from the press conference Nouri al-Maliki held this morning to announce the death of Zarqawi said these words were "drawing loud applause from reporters" there.

For weeks, the MSM has been billing as a bellwether the congressional by-election in California to replace convicted felon Randy 'Duke' Cunningham. As per the conventional wisdom, if the Democrats managed to take the seat in what is normally a GOP-stronghold, it would be seen as a harbinger of horrible things to come for the Republican congressional majority.

Coming on long after Ann Coulter presumably left the Today show set Kathy Griffin couldn't resist taking a shot at the conservative author. Griffin cracked Al Roker up when she called Coulter a "nut-ball" and asked Al: "Doesn't she just make stuff up?"

Kathy Griffin: "I like to make fun of everybody. I think nobody is sacred, everybody can be ridiculous. And I love making fun of just all of celebrity culture."

Matt Lauer has two different sets of standards for politically provocative authors. If you are on the left he laughs with you, if you are on the right he slams you. On this morning’s Today show Ann Coulter’s statements drew outrage from Matt but last October when Al Franken suggested Karl Rove and Lewis Libby be executed for treason Matt and the Today show crew laughed.

In the wake of the Ann Coulter interview on Tuesday's "Today" -- specifically the part where Matt Lauer simply couldn't believe Coulter's attacks on 9-11 widows channeling their grief into anti-Bush attacks on TV news shows -- here are a few reminders of how the Kristen Breitweisers of the world (who endorsed John Kerry in the fall) were given the lion's share of attention by network hosts like Matt Lauer.

Looks like NBC's Matt Lauer isn't missing Katie Couric too much.

This just in from Reuters, dateline Las Vegas: "Addressing the annual convention of CBS affiliates, [Katie] Couric predicted that the 'pretentious era' of the evening-news anchor is going to be a thing of the past." The headline, at least on the New York Times website, is "Couric Hopes to End 'Pretentious Era' in News."

As Katie Couric departed the Today show after 15 years Wednesday with hours of "misty, watercolor memories" -- for you in the under-40 crowd, that's Streisand singing "The Way We Were," in, ouch, 1973 -- it’s quite obvious that CBS knew it was not only getting one of America’s most famous journalists, but also one of America’s most liberal ones.

On the "Couric Watch" over at TVNewser, Brian Stelter noticed the early reviews for the looong Katie Couric goodbye on Wednesday were negative. Take B&C Beat at Broadcasting and Cable magazine:

CBS's Early Show wasn't the only morning show yesterday doing unpaid commercials for "social justice" products. MRC's Geoff Dickens noticed that on her penultimate Today performance Katie Couric was talking up Global Goods Partners products. Katie once again insisted we know exactly what she thinks about America: