On Thursday’s NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie touted an exclusive preview of Fortune magazine’s list of the world’s 50 greatest leaders and wondered about one name that was absent from the ranking: “Bill Clinton comes in at number five and makes the cover. There are a lot of other notable names here. Tell you what, though, there may be some talk about one leader who did not make the list, the leader of the free world, President Obama. Fortune tells us he was not overlooked, he just did not make the cut.” Co-host Matt Lauer reacted: “Yeah, that’s surprising.” He then noted leaders who “did make the cut”: “Pope Francis takes the top spot. Congratulations to him….Some other folks you may recognize, Bono, Derek Jeter – yes! – Angelina Jolie, and Malala Yousafzai.”
During a report on Thursday’s NBC Today about the impact of NCAA March Madness office pools on worker productivity, correspondent Kerry Sanders casually touted: “March Madness, an American distraction….Even the President takes a break from world affairs to fill out his bracket.” At no point did Sanders offer any criticism of Obama taking a “break from world affairs” during the Ukrainian crisis. Co-host Savannah Guthrie introduced the segment by wondering: “Does March Madness really interfere with getting actual work done?” Amid clips of employees filling out their brackets, Sanders declared: “If you’re calling a business today, don’t be surprised if your call goes unanswered.”
Bill Plante acted as a stenographer for the Obama administration on Thursday’s CBS This Morning, as he spotlighted the “multi-tiered state and national effort to get young people enrolled” in ObamaCare before the end of March. Plante touted the “supportive celebrity Tweets and videos….and a tongue-in-cheek tool kit that teaches parents how to get on social media and ‘nag’ their children ‘mercilessly.’” The correspondent again noted Zach Galifianikis’ mock interview of President Obama, which the Big Three networks spent 100 times more coverage on than the low enrollment the previous week. However, CBS This Morning at least mentioned how the administration fell millions short of its original seven million goal. ABC nor NBC have yet to mention the new enrollment figures on their morning and evening newscasts.
On Thursday, NBC’s Today and CBS This Morning dutifully parroted the White House line that First Lady Michelle Obama’s trip to China was “not political” but ignored the fact that the press corps was banned from traveling with her on the overseas junket. ABC’s Good Morning America skipped the topic. On Wednesday, Politico’s Dylan Byers described his frustrating attempt to get an answer from the White House on why reporters were not allowed on the high-profile trip. That morning, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof tweeted out his paper’s report on the press ban, calling it a “mistake” that “signals weakness or fear of coverage.”