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NBC Suddenly Gets Tough on Clintons In Wake of Hillary Biopic Controversy

Perhaps in response to the backlash against a planned miniseries on Hillary Clinton, Thursday's NBC Today aired an unusually critical story about the "chaos" at the Clinton Foundation and the possible negative political fallout for the would-be 2016 presidential contender. [Listen to the audio]

White House correspondent Peter Alexander informed viewers: "As first reported by the New York Times, a 2011 review of the foundation raised concerns about infighting, bad management, and conflicts of interest. Observers say, echoing problems in Bill Clinton's White House and his wife's 2008 campaign."

Sound bites were featured of Times reporter Nicholas Confessore observing: "They have grand ambitions, you know, good purposes, and they get a lot done. But they also have a lot of messiness....If there are problems at the foundation, they are now Hillary Clinton's problems. And that's the big challenge for her in 2016."

Alexander began the report by noting how Clinton was planning to turn the foundation "into mission control for what's becoming an increasingly jam-packed public life," describing the organization as "the family business."

Touting Clinton's political posturing, Alexander declared:

Meanwhile, as talk of 2016 intensifies, new reports that the former secretary of state may go back to school, a return to academia. Clinton insiders confirm she's fielding offers from colleges and universities, including Harvard, Yale, and NYU. The though being that that could give Hillary Clinton a nonpartisan platform for some future policy speeches.

Following the report, co-host Savannah Guthrie sympathetically remarked: "Hard to imagine they [the Clintons] could be even more under a microscope, but perhaps they will be."

Such a statement is laughable given the number of fawning puff pieces NBC has done to promote Clinton.

Here is a full transcript of Alexander's August 15 report:

7:31AM ET

MATT LAUER: Let us begin this half hour, though, with new scrutiny of the Clinton family's charitable foundation amid reports of infighting and mismanagement. NBC's Peter Alexander is in Washington, he has details on this. Peter, good morning.   

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Clinton Chaos? Report: Foundation Faces Financial, Leadership Struggles]

PETER ALEXANDER: Matt, good morning to you. You know, with all the 2016 presidential speculation swirling, Hillary Clinton is now set to turn the family foundation that was, of course, first established by her husband more than a decade ago, into mission control for what's becoming an increasingly jam-packed public life. But that move is fueling new scrutiny.

For one of America's most powerful families it's the family business, the newly renamed Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. That since 2001 has directed crucial attention and resources to everything from life-saving medicines in Africa to community development here in the U.S.

But as first reported by the New York Times, a 2011 review of the foundation raised concerns about infighting, bad management, and conflicts of interest. Observers say, echoing problems in Bill Clinton's White House and his wife's 2008 campaign.

NICHOLAS CONFESSORE [NEW YORK TIMES]: They have grand ambitions, you know, good purposes, and they get a lot done. But they also have a lot of messiness.

ALEXANDER: The Times reports the foundation ran multi-million dollar deficits, which the foundation disputes. Among its expenses, a first class ticket for Clinton Global Initiative guest, actress Natalie Portman, who brought her yorkie. And months worth of international flights for employees working on a climate change proposal that never materialized.

CONFESSORE: If there are problems at the foundation, they are now Hillary Clinton's problems. And that's the big challenge for her in 2016.

ALEXANDER: The Clinton Foundation directed us to this statement by its board chairman, Bruce Lindsey, who said: "We're trying to institutionalize the foundation so that it will be here long after the lives of any of us. That's our challenge and that is what we are trying to address."

Meanwhile, as talk of 2016 intensifies, new reports that the former secretary of state may go back to school, a return to academia. Clinton insiders confirm she's fielding offers from colleges and universities, including Harvard, Yale, and NYU. The though being that that could give Hillary Clinton a nonpartisan platform for some future policy speeches.

You know, with the former First Lady and Chelsea Clinton, who by the way is also an NBC News special correspondent, joining the fold at the foundation, a lot of Washington observers say that the organization is going to be forced to evolve to really accommodate a former president, a possible future president, and their high-profile daughter. Matt and Savannah.

LAUER: Alright, Peter Alexander. Peter, thanks so much.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Hard to imagine they could be even more under a microscope, but perhaps they will be.