On Syria, Sunday Morning TV Journalists Don't Need Proof

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The public doesn't seem to support going to war in Syria–but some high-profile Sunday morning TV journalists are declaring their support for the war, or professing faith in the case for going to war.


On Syria, Intelligence and Evidence

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One would hope that the lessons of Iraq might inform more of the coverage of Syria. But that's not always the case. Over the course of the past week, the White House and various officials have been adamant that they have evidence that shows the Syrian government was responsible for the horrific attack last week that likely killed hundreds, and very well could have been a chemical or gas attack of some sort. But too many journalists were treating what the government said it knew as if it was already actual evidence. On NBC Nightly News (8/27/13), Andrea Mitchell reported […]


David Gregory Doesn't Understand David Gregory's Snowden Question


NBC's David Gregory didn't just "ask a question." The question as posed assumed that the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald was involved in a crime–aiding and abetting–and the question Gregory was pondering was the extent of his wrongdoing.


Did the Public Really Give Up on Gun Control?


On two Sunday shows this weekend, the hosts made the same point about the White House's plan for modest gun control efforts: The public isn't going along. Oddly, they both ignored their own networks' polling that would have undermined their argument.


Romney's Latest Gaffe: Telling the Truth on Taxes


We're familiar with campaign reports that don't do enough factchecking. But here's a  strange one from ABC World News (9/25/12), which seems to be complaining that Mitt Romney departed from his usual misleading claims about how Obama's been raising your taxes. Pointing this out would be a good thing. The problem is that you have a hard time figuring out what the facts are, because the truth doesn't seem to be the primary concern of the segment. Here's what correspondent David Muir said: MUIR: Today, something from Romney about the President we haven't heard before. Romney has long argued the […]


Presidential Campaign as Olympics: Chuck Todd's Tired Routine

Coverage of national political campaigns is generally pretty bad–a parade of polls, horesrace analysis and fundraising tallies, with pundits doing their best at pretending they're campaign strategists. Can it actually get worse than that? Maybe. NBC reporter Chuck Todd made that case with a full page article in the Washington Post on August 5 that compared the Obama/Romney contest to Olympic gymnastics. The concept behind it is corny, but even Todd seems to think so. Apparently this is supposed to be, well, kind of fun: "At NBC, to say we have Olympics fever is an understatement," he writes at the top. […]


Prostitution Scandal Is the Big Government Story You Were Waiting For

The Beltway press is remarkably fixated on two stories: A "scandal" over an $800,000 General Services Administration (GSA) conference in Las Vegas, and the unfolding saga involving prostitutes and some Secret Service and military officers in Colombia. The White House thinks both are bad, of course, but not worth the amount of coverage they're getting. Beltway journalists think otherwise, and seem to want to believe that by paying so much attention to these stories they are a) standing up to the government by exposing wrongdoing; and b) not really talking about prostitutes at all, but telling a larger quasi-morality tale […]


Great Moments in Campaign Journalism…

Three moments, actually: –NBC's Chuck Todd yesterday on Meet the Press (12/10/11), commenting on Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich: Well, first of all, those are a couple of nimble debaters. They are pretty good. I think we have seen it. This is the final two. I'm old enough to remember when Todd had the campaign narrowed down to a Top Three, way back in August: "We have a top tier. It is Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann." –ABC host Diane Sawyer, asked to describe (This Week, 12/11/11) the most revealing lesson she learned about the candidates after she […]


Chris Christie Doesn't Say He's NOT Running for President!

The New York Times had a headline on Saturday that read, "Imagining a Christie Campaign for President." That seems appropriate–if we're talking about how it's the corporate media doing the imagining. On ABC's This Week (10/2/11), Jonathan Karl announced that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's speech at the Reagan Library "was the most electrifying event of the campaign so far." That speech was treated like a big event on the NBC Nightly News (9/28/11), with anchor Brian Williams saying up front that Christie is "the man whose every word is being watched and listened to so very carefully." Reporter Chuck […]


Meet the Other Chuck Todd

I caught this MSNBC commercial last night featuring their own Chuck Todd, explaining (apparently) how he thinks about his job: My job is to bring up issues that Americans care about. It's my responsibility to ask the tough questions. No matter who's leading the country, they need to be held accountable. I have unique access to the president, his advisers, the candidates and members of Congress. I'd better use that access for a greater good. Use it for people who can't get through the White House gates. For people who can't be heard. The American people deserve answers. Huh. The […]


NBC Finds 'Balance' in Debt Ceiling Poll

NBC (Nightly News, 7/19/11) did some polling to see what the public thinks about the Republican and Democratic positions on the budget and debt ceiling : CHUCK TODD: Now, look, any sort of deal is putting pressure on the bases of both parties. For Republicans, a large majority of the country is telling Republicans get off the no new taxes pledge and compromise, 62 percent. TEXT: NBC News/The Wall Street Journal Should Republicans Compromise? Agree to Raise Taxes Yes 62% No 27% TODD: But inside those numbers, tea party supporters, 65 percent of them say to Republicans, "No. Stick to […]


Time for a 'Debate' on Nuclear Power–Involving Mainly Boosters

Will the unfolding crisis in Japan lead to a debate over the safety of nuclear power in the United States? Initial signs are not encouraging. NBC's Meet the Press(3/13/11)had an interview with Marvin Fertel of the Nuclear Energy Institute.Host Chuck Todd prefaced one question with, "Iunderstand that you represent the industry's interests in this…." Later on the show, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) was asked to weigh in–since he had been speaking out in favor of nuclear power, a position he doesn't appear to be abandoning: Well, we're going to have to see what happens here. Obviously, it's still, still things […]


MTP Panel: Afghan War Politics Will Change. But Will MTP's Coverage?

Wrapping up a panel discussion (10/31/10) on Barack Obama's post-midterm political challenges, NBC reporter Chuck Todd raised the possibility that the Beltway debate on Afghanistan might change: On Afghanistan, the Democratic caucus that will be left, you brought this up, is going to be a very liberal caucus, very anti-war caucus. This is going to be a political challenge for him like no other. And by the way, a lot of these Tea Party conservatives have all talked about "We don't want to be there forever" in these debates…. They're all like, "I don't want to be nation builders." There […]