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MRC President Brent Bozell to appear on FNC's Kelly File at 9:20 p.m. EST

ABC: 'National Pride' Made Cold Feel Warmer While Seagulls 'Awed' --1/21/2009


1. ABC: 'National Pride' Made Cold Feel Warmer While Seagulls 'Awed'
Offering the most hyperbolic take of the night on the crowds who attended President Obama's inauguration, on World News ABC's Bill Weir delighted in wondering "can national pride make a freezing day feel warmer?" He decided it can indeed since "never have so many people shivered so long with such joy" while "from above, even the seagulls must have been awed by the blanket of humanity." Weir was certainly awed. Meanwhile, over on the NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams must have been as awed as those seagulls since he contended he could "feel" the masses watching from around the nation: "While it was unfolding today here in Washington, you could feel the millions around the country who were watching it all."

2. Mitchell: Cell Cameras 'Seemed Like Stars Shining Back' at Obama
NBC's Andrea Mitchell encapsulated the veneration for Barack Obama and what his inauguration means to the media elite as she began a Tuesday NBC Nightly News story about her day watching the festivities: "It may take days or years to really absorb the significance of what happened to America today, even for those of us who were lucky enough to have a very close up front view." Showing a clip of the new President saying "I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear," Mitchell proudly trumpeted: "His very name opening doors, as did his speech, to the rest of the world." And while most saw a sea of people waving flags, Mitchell saw something more meaningful for Obama, though it reflected more about her: "The mass flickering of cell phone cameras on the mall seemed like stars shining back at him."

3. NBC News Panel 'Emotional' and Cries Over Obama's Inauguration
The truly historic moment of the first African-American to be sworn-in as President cannot, nor should not, go without some comment but to the degree NBC News' anchors and reporters were willing to share their personal feelings, on air, about the moment was a bit remarkable for purported objective journalists. During NBC News' live coverage on Tuesday of Barack Obama's Inauguration, Meredith Vieira observed: "I think the hardest thing is, is not getting emotional because it is such an emotional morning, you just want to, you want to laugh, you want to cry," and later claimed she was "blissful." NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams admitted, repeatedly, that their panel, which included Tom Brokaw and Lester Holt broke down: "Lester and I were remarking that 'No Drama Obama,' kept it together, none of the rest of us did."

4. On Nightline, Obama's Ascension = 'America the Beautiful'
Nightline's slug for its Tuesday night story about President Obama's inauguration: "America the Beautiful." With that iconic song title on screen over images of Barack Obama being sworn in as President, President Obama and Michelle Obama walking during the parade and views of the crowd, at the top of the program ABC's Terry Moran plugged a segment: "America the Beautiful: The nation and the world pause to witness an extraordinary milestone as nearly two million people come together to hail the new chief and celebrate an era of change."

5. Tom Brokaw Cheers Obama Inauguration Like 'Velvet Revolution'
Reflecting on the mood of the crowd at Barack Obama's inauguration, NBC's Tom Brokaw likened it to when he was present for the fall of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. During NBC's live coverage of Obama's swearing-in on Tuesday, Brokaw declared, "It reminds me of the Velvet Revolution," and while Brokaw noted "a communist regime," was not being overthrown he pointed out: "An unpopular President is leaving and people have been waiting for this moment."

6. Tom Brokaw Compares Dick Cheney in Wheelchair to Dr. Strangelove
As Dick Cheney was literally rolled out of office, in a wheelchair due to a packing accident, Tom Brokaw had one final kick out the door for the Vice President as he compared him to "Dr. Strangelove," the mad scientist title character from the film of the same name. During NBC News' live coverage of Tuesday's inaugural ceremonies Brokaw made the following observation of Cheney as he was being ushered towards Barack Obama's swearing-in ceremony at about 11:32am EST: "It's unfortunate for Vice President Cheney to have had this accident obviously, because there will be those who don't like him, who will be writing tomorrow that he had a Dr. Strangelove appearance as he appeared today in his wheelchair."

7. MSNBC: Bush Family Like Romanovs, Obama 'Oratorical Mt. Rushmore'
During Tuesday morning's inaugural coverage on MSNBC, Chris Matthews twice compared the Bush family to the Romanovs as he contended that the Bushes are now likely to go into hiding because of President Bush's unpopularity: "It's going to be like the Romanovs, too, and I mean that. There's a sense here that they are fallen from grace, that they're not popular, that the whole family will now go into retreat." Even liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson had to call him out on the exaggeration as it sounds like he says in the background that "it didn't happen exactly like the Romanovs," referring to the overthrow and execution of the Russian royal family after the Bolshevik communists seized power in 1917. A few minutes earlier, claiming "this isn't a partisan statement," Matthews raised the possibility that Obama could give such a good speech that he would join the "oratorical Mount Rushmore"

8. ABC's Gibson on Al Gore: 'Had He Gotten a Second Term...'
Less than an hour before Barack Obama took the oath of office, ABC News anchor Charles Gibson spotted former Vice President Al Gore arriving at the inauguration, and Gibson fantasized about how this could have been Gore's last day in office, not George W. Bush's. "Had he gotten a second term," Gibson began before correcting himself, "had he been elected President in the first place in the year 2000, and then gotten a second term -- he would be there as the outgoing President of the United States."

9. Matthews Gushes About How MSNBC 'Has Opened Its Heart to Change'
MSNBC's Chris Matthews, in his latest heart-palpitation over the new era of Barack Obama, marveled about how the crowds apparently reacted to his network's presence at the inauguration: "This is the network that has opened its heart to change -- to change and its possibilities. Let's be honest about it. These -- these people watch this network out here." His co-anchor, Keith Olbermann, jokingly seconded his observation: "He's Chris Matthews and he approved that message." Matthews then made an indirect slam at Obama's detractors: "We're not crotchety about change -- stuffy."

10. Matthews Criticizes Anti-Bush Booing, Olbermann Not So Much
During Tuesday morning's inaugural coverage on MSNBC, when spectators were heard booing President Bush as he was introduced, Chris Matthews seemed to become uncomfortable and criticized the protest as "bad form," remarking, "Don't do that. Don't boo, don't boo, don't boo." But minutes later, when protesters could be heard singing "Hey, hey, goodbye," co-anchor Keith Olbermann seemed to suggest that he was only bothered by the behavior because it distracted attention from Michelle Obama's introduction. Olbermann: "Far be it for me to have been critical of anyone critical of this President, obviously, but, unfortunately, during that demonstration, something of the introduction of Mrs. Obama was lost because people were singing the, they still are, the 'Hey, hey,' song from various sporting events over the year, towards the 43rd President."

11. ABC Enthuses 'New Face' of Obama; 'Driven by an Audacity to Hope'
Good Morning America kicked off its inauguration coverage on Tuesday with an anonymous announcer enthusiastically repeating the talking points of Barack Obama. During a 7am tease, this voice trumpeted: "Barack Obama sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. A new face from a new generation. Driven by an audacity to hope." The male announcer continued his introduction of the ABC show: "The nation's capital, filled to capacity. A journey of millions, fueled by hope and the shared dreams of a renewed America...And a call to overcome challenges not seen in generations." While discussing the throng of visitors descending on Washington D.C. a few minutes later, GMA host Diane Sawyer announced, "We saw a silent pilgrimage proceeding through this city."

12. CNN's Verjee: Obama Inauguration Like Muslim Pilgrimage to Mecca
CNN correspondent Zain Verjee, in a report posted on CNN.com on January 17, likened the expected large crowds for the inauguration of Barack Obama to the Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca: "The coming political pilgrimage to Washington is similar to another grand event in both size and preparation -- the Hajj, the most important religious pilgrimage in the Muslim world."


ABC: 'National Pride' Made Cold Feel
Warmer While Seagulls 'Awed'

Offering the most hyperbolic take of the night on the crowds who attended President Obama's inauguration, on World News ABC's Bill Weir delighted in wondering "can national pride make a freezing day feel warmer?" He decided it can indeed since "never have so many people shivered so long with such joy" while "from above, even the seagulls must have been awed by the blanket of humanity." Weir was certainly awed.

Meanwhile, over on the NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams must have been as awed as those seagulls since he contended he could "feel" the masses watching from around the nation: "While it was unfolding today here in Washington, you could feel the millions around the country who were watching it all."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Tuesday night, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

From the Lincoln Memorial, Weir began his January 20 World News report: "We know that wind can make a cold day feel colder, but can national pride make a freezing day feel warmer? It seems to be the case because regardless of the final crowd number estimates, never have so many people shivered so long with such joy. From above, even the seagulls must have been awed by the blanket of humanity..."

The night before, Weir credited Obama for calming DC. The CyberAlert, "And Obama Shall Bring Tranquility to the Land," recounted:

Is there anything President-elect Barack Obama's very aura cannot make better? Apparently, he has eliminated road rage -- and even honking.

ABC's David Muir, over video of stuck traffic followed by the sound of singing, in a Monday World News story on the crowds coming to Washington, DC: "So many of the streets are closed those that are open are clogged. But there were no car horns, no shouting. Instead, the San Francisco Boys and Girls choruses practicing for their Inaugural moment on the steps of the Capitol."

Previous CyberAlert item: www.mrc.org

Mitchell: Cell Cameras 'Seemed Like Stars
Shining Back' at Obama

NBC's Andrea Mitchell encapsulated the veneration for Barack Obama and what his inauguration means to the media elite as she began a Tuesday NBC Nightly News story about her day watching the festivities: "It may take days or years to really absorb the significance of what happened to America today, even for those of us who were lucky enough to have a very close up front view." Showing a clip of the new President saying "I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear," Mitchell proudly trumpeted: "His very name opening doors, as did his speech, to the rest of the world." And while most saw a sea of people waving flags, Mitchell saw something more meaningful for Obama, though it reflected more about her: "The mass flickering of cell phone cameras on the mall seemed like stars shining back at him."

She also touted "the final blessing from a civil rights icon, the Reverend Joseph Lowery, changing the tones of official Washington," but his prayer hardly saw a unified nation. In the soundbite she aired, he lectured the American people: "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 when white will embrace what is right."

Mitchell, however, concluded on a more upbeat note: "One day can't fully erase what the new President called the 'bitter swill of civil war and segregation,' but today it sure felt as though we'd come a long way."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Wednesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this transcript of the story aired in the second half of the hour-long January 20 NBC Nightly News:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Immediately after lunch was over, the inaugural parade got under way, we discovered by dubbing it "Flatbed One" that our own indomitable Andrea Mitchell had one of the best vantage points on the whole day on a flatbed truck directly in front of the new President's limousine. She has survived the trip, joins us from the White House lawn tonight. Andrea, good evening.

ANDREA MITCHELL: Good evening, Brian, and what a day it was. It may take days or years to really absorb the significance of what happened to America today, even for those of us who were lucky enough to have a very close up front view. It was no ordinary inaugural. Not just the enormous crowds braving the cold and the security lines for hours to see this particular passage of power, but there's also electricity in the air in the high-rent seats among the very important persons, as the assembled Senators and House members sitting here are called.
And because of Barack Obama it's no longer a sea of white faces. Celebrities, civil rights heroes and millions more drawn by the desire to witness history, to celebrate and preserve the memories. People, as far as the eye can see, not a patch of green all the way to the Washington Monument. This tells the story of what Barack Obama's inauguration means to Washington, to America, and to the rest of the world. When he finally emerged, he seemed, even in this throng, so solitary, somber, perhaps already feeling the weight of the world, even before he was transformed into the leader of the free world.
BARACK OBAMA: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear-
MITCHELL: His very name opening doors, as did his speech, to the rest of the world. The ceremony acknowledging a debt to the sacrifices that made this day possible. The final blessing from a civil rights icon, the Reverend Joseph Lowery, changing the tones of official Washington.
REVEREND 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 when white will embrace what is right.
MITCHELL: And the mass flickering of cell phone cameras on the mall seemed like stars shining back at him. Now, the 44th President in his new car, finally getting to see the admiring crowds who have waited so long. He's waving at the crowd surrounded by Secret Service, and Michelle Obama is also out of the car. They're walking up Pennsylvania Avenue. I'd say they are maybe about 50 yards from me right now walking up Pennsylvania Avenue, walking slowly. Brian, the crowds are going crazy here. People are just piled up on bleachers out front of the old post office building, just as the Obamas are approaching. The walk made their new connection to Washington, D.C., all the more personal, as America gets to know a new First Family. One day can't fully erase what the new President called the "bitter swill of civil war and segregation," but today it sure felt as though we'd come a long way.

NBC News Panel 'Emotional' and Cries
Over Obama's Inauguration

The truly historic moment of the first African-American to be sworn-in as President cannot, nor should not, go without some comment but to the degree NBC News' anchors and reporters were willing to share their personal feelings, on air, about the moment was a bit remarkable for purported objective journalists.

During NBC News' live coverage on Tuesday of Barack Obama's Inauguration, Meredith Vieira observed: "I think the hardest thing is, is not getting emotional because it is such an emotional morning, you just want to, you want to laugh, you want to cry," and later claimed she was "blissful."

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams admitted, repeatedly, that their panel, which included Tom Brokaw and Lester Holt broke down: "Lester and I were remarking that 'No Drama Obama,' kept it together, none of the rest of us did."

[This item, by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The following exchanges occurred during NBC News' January 20, live coverage of the Obama Inauguration:

MATT LAUER: I was gonna say it's at a moment like this, as we get set to hand it off to you folks, what great jobs we have. You have to stop and think about the privilege that we all have this morning and you'll have for the next several hours to bring this story, in some way, to the American people because this is a rare opportunity and to, and to have a seat, even though we're in the studio. There's Magic Johnson right there.
MEREDITH VIEIRA: Magic Johnson, yep.
LAUER: We have a seat far from the Capitol, where we are, but to be able to bring these images to you is just extraordinary.
TOM BROKAW: The job is so great you can't get rid of me.
VIEIRA: I think the hardest thing is, is not getting emotional because it is such an emotional morning, you just want to, you want to laugh, you want to cry. It's, it's so moving. And it hits you that you will probably never see anything like this again. It's quite something.
PEGGY NOONAN: I keep thinking of the, the old poem. The end of the old poem about the French Revolution that says, "Bliss was it then to be alive, but to be young was very heaven." You're seeing so many young people here.
VIEIRA: Yeah.
NOONAN: It's very moving for them, very beautiful.
VIEIRA: Well I'm not young but I'm blissful, that's for sure.

...

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Well make no mistake this a huge and sweeping political change today. And Lester, then there's everything else. And-
LESTER HOLT: Ah so much.
WILLIAMS: You know the nickname "No Drama Obama," comes to mind. He was able to easily hold his emotions in check, how come nobody else was?

...

WILLIAMS: And we want to bring in several more friends of ours beginning with Mark Whitaker, who is our NBC News Washington bureau chief, who is a lot of things actually. Former editor of Newsweek magazine. And I've been sitting here today thinking, Mark you went to Harvard with about half of the incoming administration. I haven't spoken with you today, yet. Certainly since the Oath of Office. Lester and I were remarking that "No Drama Obama," kept it together, none of the rest of us did.

...

AL ROKER DESCRIBING BUS TRIP WITH HIGH SCHOOL BAND: You know Brian I gotta tell ya it was a very emotional trip. We were on one of the, the Presidential Inaugural Committee busses with the Brattleboro High School. And we were listening when, when President Obama took the Oath of Office and a cheer went up on that bus and there were people crying on the bus. And these were all very young people, high school students, all very moved.
And as we came across the Memorial Bridge and, and the Washington Monument, you could see in the distance and the Lincoln Memorial came up in the fore and as we crossed over we saw this sea of people. And as we continued along the, in between the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Memorial the crowd grew and we could see everybody on the bus, a hush fell over the bus. We were in awe of the number of people that had come to hear this president. To be a part of this Inaugural.
And, and I gotta tell ya it, it, really moved. I had tears in my eyes. A producer, the band director. It, even the bus driver was crying. It was, it was one, a moment that I think this entire country is sharing. Republican, independent, Democrat. Everybody has these hopes with this President. And, and I gotta tell ya it was one of the most moving moments in, in my life.
To come across that bridge with this group of kids I've never met before, but we were all together. And that's the sense you get here, we're at the paraded route where, where the President is going to review the parade. This sense of family, of the country coming together. That's what people are looking for, I think.
WILLIAMS: Al I'd love to tell you that I have no idea what you're talking about, that everybody here kept their emotions thoroughly in check during the ceremony, but I'd be lying to you my friend.

On Nightline, Obama's Ascension = 'America
the Beautiful'

Nightline's slug for its Tuesday night story about President Obama's inauguration: "America the Beautiful."

With that iconic song title on screen over images of Barack Obama being sworn in as President, President Obama and Michelle Obama walking during the parade and views of the crowd, at the top of the program ABC's Terry Moran plugged a segment: "America the Beautiful: The nation and the world pause to witness an extraordinary milestone as nearly two million people come together to hail the new chief and celebrate an era of change."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Tom Brokaw Cheers Obama Inauguration
Like 'Velvet Revolution'

Reflecting on the mood of the crowd at Barack Obama's inauguration, NBC's Tom Brokaw likened it to when he was present for the fall of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. During NBC's live coverage of Obama's swearing-in on Tuesday, Brokaw declared, "It reminds me of the Velvet Revolution," and while Brokaw noted "a communist regime," was not being overthrown he pointed out: "An unpopular President is leaving and people have been waiting for this moment."

[This item, by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Tuesday afternoon, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The following Brokaw blurb was aired at around 10:02am EST on NBC's January 20 pre-Inaugural speech coverage:
"You know what it reminds me of? It reminds me of the Velvet Revolution. I was in Prague when that happened. And Vaclev Havel was a generational leader and was in the square in Prague and the streets were filled with joy. And we're not overthrowing a communist regime here, obviously, but an unpopular president is leaving and people have been waiting for this moment. And there's that same sense of joyfulness and possibility even though, as in Czechoslovakia, they had enormous problems and we do as well."

Tom Brokaw Compares Dick Cheney in Wheelchair
to Dr. Strangelove

As Dick Cheney was literally rolled out of office, in a wheelchair due to a packing accident, Tom Brokaw had one final kick out the door for the Vice President as he compared him to "Dr. Strangelove," the mad scientist title character from the film of the same name. During NBC News' live coverage of Tuesday's inaugural ceremonies Brokaw made the following observation of Cheney as he was being ushered towards Barack Obama's swearing-in ceremony at about 11:32am EST:
"It's unfortunate for Vice President Cheney to have had this accident obviously, because there will be those who don't like him, who will be writing tomorrow that he had a Dr. Strangelove appearance as he appeared today in his wheelchair. It's not something he'll be happy about going out in a wheelchair because he prides himself on his robustness."

[This item by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Tuesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

For a description of the Cold War era dark comedy and its title character to which Brokaw referred: en.wikipedia.org

MSNBC: Bush Family Like Romanovs, Obama
'Oratorical Mt. Rushmore'

During Tuesday morning's inaugural coverage on MSNBC, Chris Matthews twice compared the Bush family to the Romanovs as he contended that the Bushes are now likely to go into hiding because of President Bush's unpopularity: "It's going to be like the Romanovs, too, and I mean that. There's a sense here that they are fallen from grace, that they're not popular, that the whole family will now go into retreat." Even liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson had to call him out on the exaggeration as it sounds like he says in the background that "it didn't happen exactly like the Romanovs," referring to the overthrow and execution of the Russian royal family after the Bolshevik communists seized power in 1917.

A few minutes earlier, claiming "this isn't a partisan statement," Matthews raised the possibility that Obama could give such a good speech that he would join the "oratorical Mount Rushmore" of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy in making memorable inauguration speeches: "And it seems like there's a third opening there for Barack Obama. It's almost the oratorical Mount Rushmore, that there's so much open space among those Presidents. And only two stand out. And this isn't a partisan statement. This is a fact. There's FDR. There's JFK. And there may be Barack Obama."

[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

While Bush's "fall from grace" was being compared to Richard Nixon's resignation, Olbermann disagreed with Matthews's contention that Nixon was "trickier" than Bush. Olbermann: "Perhaps, but perhaps not. We could have a three-hour argument about that, too, but it would interfere with the inaugural." But Matthews also belittled Bush as not being a "consequential" President compared to Nixon. Matthews: "[Nixon is] a much greater historic figure than this President. Let's not even put George W. Bush anywhere in the category of Richard Nixon. Richard Nixon was tragic, and he made terrible mistakes, he did wrong things, but he was a major President."

Again, it was left to the liberal Robinson to come across as the most balanced of the group: "[Nixon] was a more complex and interesting character, but Bush's presidency was a consequential presidency. He had the war in Iraq, 9/11, it was a consequential presidency."

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of MSNBC's inauguration coverage that occurred between 10:44 and 11:00 a.m. EST:

10:44 a.m.
MICHELLE BERNARD: I wonder what President Bush is thinking when he looks at the crowds that are here in anticipation of the swearing in and really demanding change and saying, you know, change is going to come, that change is here. It's probably got to be a little bit bittersweet for him as you hear people like-
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Bittersweet, Michelle? Do you think that's the right, I think they're going to feel more like the Romanovs today.

...

10:52 a.m.
MATTHEWS: If you look back to the last part of the 18th century, the American inaugural has not always been historic in nature. There's only been a few for example in the 20th century that really stand out '€" the 1933 inaugural of Franklin Roosevelt, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself," the John F Kennedy inaugural, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," and it seems like there's a third opening there for Barack Obama. It's almost the oratorical Mount Rushmore, that there's so much open space among those Presidents. And only two stand out. And this isn't a partisan statement. This is a fact. There's FDR. There's JFK. And there may be Barack Obama. And I thought it was very interesting. I was looking through this book on Newsweek, that Ethel Kennedy at the funeral of Martin Luther King's wife, Coretta King, said, leaned over to him and whispered, this is Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert Kennedy, speaking to the young Barack Obama, "The torch is being passed to you." And he said, "A chill went up my spine." I have to tell you, there is an interesting transference here of that torch from the Kennedys to Obama, and it is not a happy thought to some of the Clinton people, but its true. They may be overlooked here. They may be overlooked today.

...

10:59 a.m.
MATTHEWS: Two or three hours from now, we'll have a brand new President. He will really be the President. Bush will not be President.
RACHEL MADDOW: Bush will be on his way to Waco with Karl Rove and Karen Hughes, which is where he's going today. Remarkable.
MATTHEWS: You don't send me flowers anymore. [LAUGHS] No, it's going to be like the Romanovs, too, and I mean that. There's a sense here that they are fallen from grace, that they're not popular, that the whole family will now go into retreat. You have a sense that the former President Bush already-
EUGENE ROBINSON: -happen exactly like the Romanovs-
MATTHEWS: It's not like the Romanovs in the end, but there's a sense of retreat here.
KEITH OLBERMANN: Would you not have said, I mean, if we had been on the air in, and thank goodness we were not, the day of Nixon's resignation, we would have assumed we'd never see any of those people again either the day that Richard Nixon left this city, and yet, even under his circumstances, he reemerged.
MATTHEWS: Well, Nixon was trickier.
OLBERMANN: Perhaps, but perhaps not. We could have a three-hour argument about that, too, but it would interfere with the inaugural.
MATTHEWS: No, he's a much greater historic figure than this President. Let's not even put George W. Bush anywhere in the category of Richard Nixon. Richard Nixon was tragic, and he made terrible mistakes, he did wrong things, but he was a major President.
ROBINSON: He was a more complex and interesting character, but Bush's presidency was a consequential presidency. He had the war in Iraq, 9/11, it was a consequential presidency.

ABC's Gibson on Al Gore: 'Had He Gotten
a Second Term...'

Less than an hour before Barack Obama took the oath of office, ABC News anchor Charles Gibson spotted former Vice President Al Gore arriving at the inauguration, and Gibson fantasized about how this could have been Gore's last day in office, not George W. Bush's. "Had he gotten a second term," Gibson began before correcting himself, "had he been elected President in the first place in the year 2000, and then gotten a second term -- he would be there as the outgoing President of the United States."

Over on NBC, Tom Brokaw merely pointed out how Gore would be an advisor on climate change to the new President, while CBS's Katie Couric enthused about how such high-profile individuals from different parties seem to get along so well at inaugurations.

[This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Here's the transcript of Gibson's remarks from about 11:10am EST: "We see three former Vice Presidents and their wives coming in, having been introduced, Walter Mondale, and then Dan Quayle, who's gotten some gray hairs since he was in Washington, and Al Gore. And you wonder what must be going through his mind because, had he gotten a second term -- had he been elected President in the first place in the year 2000, and then gotten a second term -- he would be there as the outgoing President of the United States. So close, we all remember the long election of the year 2000."

Matthews Gushes About How MSNBC 'Has
Opened Its Heart to Change'

MSNBC's Chris Matthews, in his latest heart-palpitation over the new era of Barack Obama, marveled about how the crowds apparently reacted to his network's presence at the inauguration: "This is the network that has opened its heart to change -- to change and its possibilities. Let's be honest about it. These -- these people watch this network out here." His co-anchor, Keith Olbermann, jokingly seconded his observation: "He's Chris Matthews and he approved that message." Matthews then made an indirect slam at Obama's detractors: "We're not crotchety about change -- stuffy."

Matthews' latest gush came just before the bottom half of the 11 am Eastern hour of MSNBC's coverage of the inauguration. He first remarked on the apparent giddiness of the mass of people in attendance for the swearing-in of the 44th president: "Well, there's one thing you can't see at home. I have never seen so many teeth in my life. Everybody is smiling. I mean, it's all teeth out -- when you get close." Olbermann responded with his first joke: " A combination of smiling and the weather -- there's chattering going on." Matthews then continued about how the crowd seemed "radiant" and how they were "lucky enough to be in this business today, looking out the window here and getting the reaction when the crowd catches your eye. It is such a deal."

[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Tuesday evening, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Olbermann continued by commenting on the friendliness of the crowds. Matthew couldn't help but to brag about his network:

OLBERMANN: Well, as we noticed, and again, we all walked through this crowd to some degree. I dont know how many good mornings were said today.
MATTHEWS: Well, it sure as hell helps to be on MSNBC-
OLBERMANN: Well, all right-
MATTHEWS: Let's talk straight here-
OLBERMANN: All right.
MATTHEWS: This is the network that has opened its heart to change -- to change and its possibilities. Let's be honest about it. These -- these people watch this network out here.
OLBERMANN: Well, I'm -- also was going to say, not just to us. You heard other people say hello to each other. People didn't know each other, who are here for one single purpose. And were thus already introduced to each other-
MATTHEWS: This is the network of the 21st Century -- MSNBC, and I think we're open to it and that's why this crowd knows us and I think-
OLBERMANN: He's Chris Matthews and he approved that message.
MATTHEWS: We're not crotchety about change -- stuffy.

Matthews Criticizes Anti-Bush Booing,
Olbermann Not So Much

During Tuesday morning's inaugural coverage on MSNBC, when spectators were heard booing President Bush as he was introduced, Chris Matthews seemed to become uncomfortable and criticized the protest as "bad form," remarking, "Don't do that. Don't boo, don't boo, don't boo." But minutes later, when protesters could be heard singing "Hey, hey, goodbye," co-anchor Keith Olbermann seemed to suggest that he was only bothered by the behavior because it distracted attention from Michelle Obama's introduction. Olbermann: "Far be it for me to have been critical of anyone critical of this President, obviously, but, unfortunately, during that demonstration, something of the introduction of Mrs. Obama was lost because people were singing the, they still are, the 'Hey, hey,' song from various sporting events over the year, towards the 43rd President."

Ironically, just a minute earlier [see #9 above], Matthews seemed to praise his network for embracing Obama's "change," and remarked that the spectators at the inauguration were part of MSNBC's audience.

[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the January 20 inaugural coverage on MSNBC, which aired at about 11:32 a.m. EST:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Don't do that. Don't boo, don't boo, don't boo.
RACHEL MADDOW: That's a surprise. We're hearing some booing and that is a surprise.
MATTHEWS: Bad form here.
MADDOW: That is not what I expected.
[SPECTATORS CAN BE HEARD CHANTING "Hey, hey, goodbye"]
KEITH OLBERMANN: Far be it for me to have been critical of anyone critical of this President, obviously, but, unfortunately, during that demonstration, something of the introduction of Mrs. Obama was lost because people were singing the, they still are, the "Hey, hey," song from various sporting events over the year, towards the 43rd President.
[SPECTATORS CAN BE HEARD CHANTING "No more Bush, no more Bush"]

ABC Enthuses 'New Face' of Obama; 'Driven
by an Audacity to Hope'

Good Morning America kicked off its inauguration coverage on Tuesday with an anonymous announcer enthusiastically repeating the talking points of Barack Obama. During a 7am tease, this voice trumpeted: "Barack Obama sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. A new face from a new generation. Driven by an audacity to hope."

The male announcer continued his introduction of the ABC show: "The nation's capital, filled to capacity. A journey of millions, fueled by hope and the shared dreams of a renewed America...And a call to overcome challenges not seen in generations." While discussing the throng of visitors descending on Washington D.C. a few minutes later, GMA host Diane Sawyer announced, "We saw a silent pilgrimage proceeding through this city."

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Tuesday afternoon, with audio and video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

During another segment in the 7am hour, correspondent Brian Ross examined the small group of wealthy donors who are funding elaborate inaugural celebrations. And although the piece operated under the liberal assumption of the corrupting nature of money in politics, Ross should be credited for focusing the same negative attention on Obama that would certainly be placed on a Republican.

He began, "Well, in this 'we are one' inaugural, some seem more equal than others." After observing that 216 wealthy donors had paid millions towards these celebrations, he chided, "Even in the middle of a brutal recession, there's been no shortage of wealthy Americans ready to pay for the most expensive inaugural ever."

In a challenging tone, Ross closed his piece by critiquing Obama: "When he announced he was running for president, Barack Obama railed against those who write a check and get access. Now, we'll soon find out if that was just campaign rhetoric or an honest pledge to go against the system of money in power that has long ruled Washington."

A transcript of the introductory segment, which aired at 7am, follows:

ABC ANNOUNCER: This morning, a new dawn: Barack Obama sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. A new face from a new generation. Driven by an audacity to hope.
PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA: They said this day would never come.
ANNOUNCER: It has. It's here.
OBAMA: Change has come to America.
ANNOUNCER: The nation's capital, filled to capacity. A journey of millions, fueled by hope and the shared dreams of a renewed America.
OBAMA: Yes we can.
ANNOUNCER: And a call to overcome challenges not seen in generations.
OBAMA: I stand here as hopeful as ever that the United States of America will endure. That the dreams of our founders will live on in our time.
ANNOUNCER: Now, live, a special edition of "Good Morning America" from Washington D.C., the inauguration of Barack Obama.
DIANE SAWYER: And good morning, America. It is January 20th, 2009. The morning we will inaugurate the 44th president of the United States in a ceremony as old as the nation itself. Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts. And what scenes we have witnessed this morning. It started at the crack of dawn. People starting to arrive. Look at these pictures! Hundreds of thousands of people already with their blankets, their thermoses, their waves and their smiles. We saw a silent pilgrimage proceeding through this city. The sidewalks completely filled as people are already getting in place for inauguration ceremonies.
ROBERTS: The metro, which is the train system here in D.C. was packed at 1:45am. They closed it for a little bit. Reopened it at 4:00am. It was packed again. So, as Diane said, already over several hundred. More than two million expected today.
SAWYER: That's right. We want to give you a sense of the dimensions here. Because if we take a look at ceremonies past. Take a look at President George W. Bush. 400,000 people came to his inauguration. We can show you right there on the map of the capital leading down the mall. Then we had 800,000 at Bill Clinton's. And the most ever, Lyndon Johnson's at 1.2 million. But a projected two to three million expected to come today. Think of it this way. It's as if the entire population of New Mexico decided to come to the mall today.
ROBERTS: Keep that in mind.

CNN's Verjee: Obama Inauguration Like
Muslim Pilgrimage to Mecca

CNN correspondent Zain Verjee, in a report posted on CNN.com on January 17, likened the expected large crowds for the inauguration of Barack Obama to the Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca: "The coming political pilgrimage to Washington is similar to another grand event in both size and preparation -- the Hajj, the most important religious pilgrimage in the Muslim world."

[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Tuesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Verjee has personal experience of the Hajj, as she belongs to the Ismaili branch of Shiite Islam. She filed a web log for CNN of her experience on the pilgrimage in 2005. During her report, she emphasized how security is "[a]t the heart of the planning" for both the Hajj and on Inauguration Day. The CNN correspondent featured a clip of author Michael Wolfe, a convert to Islam, who claimed that security forces in Saudi Arabia "do have lessons to teach us in crowd control and in caring for large numbers of visitors in a modern city."

For the Zain Verjee's video report on CNN.com, see "Inauguration and Hajj compared," at: www.cnn.com

For more on Verjee's background, including her Ismaili heritage, see "News Anchor Zain" at: saharanvibe.blogspot.com

For Verjee's web log of her experience on the Hajj, see "CNN's Zain Verjee: My Hajj experience" at: edition.cnn.com

For more on Michael Wolfe's background as a convert to Islam, see "Michael Wolfe's story of conversion to Islam" at: www.islamfortoday.com

Wolfe also played up Verjee's earlier point about the similarities between the two events: "In both cases, you have large numbers of people gathering at a pre-ordained time in a specific city, to express a common set of beliefs and to celebrate a period of renewal. That's very much at the heart of pilgrimage."

Later in her report, Verjee highlighted how the inaugural "pilgrimage" of hundreds of thousands of people is being called by some "an act of faith in democracy and renewal." She closed her report with a list of some of the differences between the Hajj and the Inauguration, such as the span of time and the weather.

The full transcript of Zain Verjee's report from CNN.com:

ZAIN VERJEE (voice-over): The coming political pilgrimage to Washington is similar to another grand event in both size and preparation -- the Hajj, the most important religious pilgrimage in the Muslim world.
MICHAEL WOLFE, AUTHOR, '1001 ROADS TO MECCA': In both cases, you have large numbers of people gathering at a pre-ordained time in a specific city, to express a common set of beliefs and to celebrate a period of renewal. That's very much at the heart of pilgrimage.
VERJEE: At the heart of planning -- security. With two or three million people crammed into Mecca, there have been disasters, like stampedes, fires, terror attacks. The Saudis now roll out about 100,000 soldiers and policemen.
WOLFE: The Saudis do have lessons to teach us in crowd control and in caring for large numbers of visitors in a modern city. There's a real emphasis, and has been for many years, on control of traffic. There's a central computerized station in Mecca which is used to provide an overview to professional traffic controllers.
VERJEE: In 2006, we saw how this high-tech command center gets instant images from about 1400 cameras monitoring crowds. Software zooms in to inspect, and if there's a problem, it's e-mailed out to a field commander to check out. There's a similar FBI monitoring center in Washington.
As many as two million are expected to come to the nation's capital. Some are calling it an act of faith in democracy and renewal.
WOLFE: They're not going to watch it on television. They're going to be there, and that is the initial definition of a pilgrimage -- show up.
VERJEE (on-camera): There are differences too. Inauguration Day lasts just one day. The Hajj goes on for a few days. There's a lot of living on the scene in the hot desert. In Washington, it will be freezing cold. Zain Verjee, CNN, Washington.

-- Brent Baker