NBC's 'Today' Gives 28 Seconds to Benghazi Emails, Touts White House 'Dismissing Claims' of Cover-Up

During a 28-second news brief on Thursday's NBC Today, anchor Natalie Morales seized on Obama administration spin downplaying newly-released emails suggesting a cover-up of Benghazi: "The White House is dismissing claims by Senator Lindsey Graham that a previously undisclosed talking points email is a smoking gun about the 2012 attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans....The White House says the email was explicitly not about Benghazi, but was about the overall situation in the region." [Listen to the audio]

That parroting of White House talking points was the only mention of the ongoing scandal on the network morning shows on Thursday. CBS This Morning did a full report on the topic on Wednesday. ABC World News provided a full report Wednesday evening while NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams offered a mere news brief that glossed over key details.

On Thursday's Today, Morales quickly summarized Senator Graham's criticism of the administration: "Graham said the email shows what he called, quote, 'political operatives' in the White House working to create a political narrative at odds with the facts."

At the same time on MSNBC's Morning Joe, NBC's chief White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd was rushing to Obama's defense.

Moments later on the same program, frustrated host Joe Scarborough got into a shoot-out with liberal pundit Donny Deutsch over the issue and declared: "I got everybody here apologizing for the White House."

Here is a full transcript of the May 1 news brief on Today:

7:15 AM ET

NATALIE MORALES: The White House is dismissing claims by Senator Lindsey Graham that a previously undisclosed talking points email is a smoking gun about the 2012 attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Benghazi Attack; White House Denies Email is "Smoking Gun"]

Graham said the email shows what he called, quote, "political operatives" in the White House working to create a political narrative at odds with the facts. The White House says the email was explicitly not about Benghazi, but was about the overall situation in the region.

— Kyle Drennen is News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.