On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, a piece by correspondent Andrea Mitchell incorrectly claimed that Mitt Romney "doesn't say how" he believes the Obama administration should assist rebels who are fighting against Bashar Assad's rule of Syria, giving the impression that the GOP presidential candidate was criticizing President Obama without offering constructive ideas. She even hinted that Romney had not voiced support for arming rebels as she noted that "Others, including John McCain, say the U.S. should arm the rebels."
But, earlier in the day, as she hosted Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC, Mitchell had acknowledged that "the Romney camp is calling for the U.S. to help arm the opposition," and read a statement the Romney campaign released on Tuesday that said as much before allowing Romney foreign policy advisor Dan Senor to further discuss what the Romney campaign believes America's role should be.
In contrast with the NBC Nightly News, on the same day's CBS Evening News, correspondent Nancy Cordes related that "Romney argues the U.S. should arm the Syrian opposition."
But NBC's report - which was recorded before the show was taped although Mitchell did make an appearance to introduce the piece - undermined Romney by hinting that he had not offered his own ideas:
ANDREA MITCHELL: In the face of all this, Mitt Romney argues the U.S. should help the rebels but doesn't say how.
MITT ROMNEY, ON FOX NEWS CHANNEL: The world looks to America to lead, and we've been sitting in the backburner, hoping things would become arranged in a way that was attractive to the world. But, frankly, what's happening in Syria is unacceptable.
MITCHELL: Others, including John McCain, say the U.S. should arm the rebels.
But, several hours earlier, just past 1:00 p.m. on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports, host Mitchell had informed viewers:
And while the administration relies on diplomacy to counter the brutality of this regime. The Romney camp is calling for the U.S. to help arm the opposition. ... I wanted to bring to you, to everyone's attention to what Mitt Romney's statement was yesterday:
"President Obama's lack of leadership has resulted in a policy of paralysis that has watched Assad slaughter 10,000 individuals. We should increase pressure on Russia to cease selling arms to the Syrian government and to end its obstruction at the United Nations. And we should work with partners to arm the opposition so they can defend themselves."
-- Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center