NBC's Today on Monday aired a sensationalistic report on the upcoming release of two books that are "exposing alleged corruption and infighting within the Catholic Church." Keir Simmons boosted a statement from one of the publishers involved, who claimed that "if the Vatican were a company they'd be in Chapter 11, and heads would be rolling from all the mistrust and financial abuses." Simmons also injected the political into his segment, underlining that "Pope Francis has introduced controversial changes opposed by some of the more conservative Church officials."
While reporting on the aftermath of the weekend terrorist attacks in Copenhagen, ABC and CBS neglected to mention in their Monday evening reports that the man believed to have carried out the attack that killed two had pledged his allegiance to ISIS and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, just prior to the first attack at a free speech event. Even though ABC’s Terry Moran referred to the attack as a “terror spree” and “terror” on World News Tonight with David Muir, he failed to go any further and mention Islamic extremism or that it was an Islamic terror attack.
On Friday morning, the major broadcast networks were out in full force to defend President Obama after his remarks at a press conference Thursday afternoon in which he said that “we don’t have a strategy yet” in how to militarily address the Islamic terrorist group ISIS in Syria.
Leading the way was NBC’s Today, where co-host Matt Lauer told NBC News political director and moderator of Meet the Press Chuck Todd that “[c]ritics pounced” when Obama made that remark and wondered if they took “his words too literally.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
In a report aired on Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Keir Simmons spoke with Islamic extremists in Britain acting as apologists for the ISIS terrorists who brutally murdered journalist James Foley. A soundbite played of one man ranting: "The question to ask is, who's really to blame for the death of James Foley? I believe it is the foreign policy of Obama."
Following the taped story, Simmons added: "It is so sickening, so disturbing to hear a group like that exercise their First Amendment rights...by saying things like that. But I said to them directly, 'You do not even represent a fraction of Muslims around the world.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In a report from the Vatican on Thursday's NBC Today, correspondent Keir Simmons fretted over Church officials limiting press access to cardinals as they prepare to elect the next Pope in Conclave: "The U.S. cardinals have been told to stop talking, to close ranks. Since Monday, they've been holding news conferences....The last, abruptly cancelled before it began, the Vatican imposing immediate clamp down in spite of hopes that the Church will modernize."
Introducing the segment, co-host Matt Lauer declared: "...secrecy has become a top priority for Vatican officials." A sound bite was featured in the report of Reuters Vatican senior correspondent Phil Pullella ranting: "I think it will backfire because it shows fear, it shows fear of the truth, it shows fear of dealing with the outside world."
On Wednesday's NBC Today, correspondent Keir Simmons reported from the European Weather Center in Britain that projected Hurricane Sandy's path and touted how "Global warming could make their work more important than ever." The center's Professor Alan Thorpe explained: "If it turned out to be the case that such storms became more common, then our weather forecasting models need to factor that in." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Simmons then cited Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to bolster the point: "Already the scientists are planning more research to help them, and all of us, plan for the future. Because if it's true, as New York's governor says, that we are now dealing with extreme weather patterns in a way we haven't seen, then centers like the one you've just seen are more important than ever."