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NBC, CBS Morning Shows Gloss Over Low Support for Obama's Libya Attacks, Harsh Criticism

Only Good Morning America's Jake Tapper on Tuesday pointed out the relatively low public support for Barack Obama's military actions in Libya and the harsh criticism from both the right and the left.

On NBC's Today, Chuck Todd parroted, "[Obama] also took the opportunity to rebut critics on the left and the right about how and whether to target Qadhafi with the military. In total the President used the framework of American values to make the case."

On CBS's Early Show, Bill Plante narrated, "The President defended his decision to use military force in Libya, he said that when the interests and values of the U.S. are at stake, he has a moral obligation to act." Tapper, on the other hand, highlighted both the economic cost and the poor poll numbers.

He explained, "The public, too, is deeply divided. Less than 50 percent of Americans support the military actions and taxpayers are facing a heavy price tag." Tapper, uniquely, added, "192 Tomahawk missiles at $1.4 million each. $10,000 an hour for each jet and the first week of military action alone? More than $600 million."

The ABC reporter featured clips of Republicans such as Sarah Palin, John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Democrat Dennis Kucinich criticizing the President. To be fair, McCain did appear on the Early Show. But, co-host Erica Hill did not mention the cost or the low poll numbers.

Over on Today, Todd rather than quote or feature critics such as McCain, he merely summarized: "Despite this being a foreign policy speech, the congressional reaction is split harshly along partisan lines with Republicans upset about the lack of a time line for an exit strategy and even John McCain being upset that the President didn't want to use the military to dictate regime change."

A transcript of the March 29 GMA segment can be found below:

JAKE TAPPER: President Obama described last night how a confluence of events compelled the U.S. to act. The U.S. having a unique ability to stop a massacre, a moral and strategic case to act and, of course, broad support for the action throughout the world. But, George, that did not stop the President's critics. The President said they were a special set of circumstances.

BARACK OBAMA: The United States has worked with our international partners to mobilize a broad coalition, secure an international mandate to protect civilians, stop an advancing army, prevent a massacre and establish a no-fly zone.

TAPPER: Also clearly informing his decisions were lessons from two previous presidents. Why would the U.S. not militarily seek regime change in Libya?

OBAMA: To be blunt, we went down that road in Iraq.

TAPPER: But, also the responsibility to prevent a massacre, as did not happen in the former Yugoslavia during Bill Clinton's tenure in 1995.

OBAMA: As President, I refuse to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.

TAPPER: The critics quickly came out swinging. From the right-

SARAH PALIN: That was a profoundly disappointing speech because it proved that President Obama doctrine is still full of chaos and questions. It's dodgy. It's dubious.

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): We are now fighting on the side of the pro- the anti-Qadhafi rebels. We are paving the way for them. He should acknowledge that.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): It was almost too late. If we had done this three weeks ago, it would be over.

TAPPER: -and from the left.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D-OH): People have to understand that we're sacrificing our domestic agenda here.

TAPPER: The public, too, is deeply divided. Less than 50 percent of Americans support the military actions and taxpayers are facing a heavy price tag. 192 Tomahawk missiles at $1.4 million each. $10,000 an hour for each jet and the first week of military action alone? More than $600 million. By comparison in Afghanistan, it costs twice that each week. But that's a war with over 100,000 troops on the ground. And President Obama did not offer much by way of cost. That price tag for this action still remains elusive as does an end game. Although President Obama did say he anticipated Qadhafi would desperately cling to power, perhaps setting the stage for a long and protracted conflict.

- Scott Whitlock is a news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.