NBC and CBS Declare Michelle Obama's China Trip 'Not Political'; Ignore Press Being Banned

On Thursday, NBC's Today and CBS This Morning dutifully parroted the White House line that First Lady Michelle Obama's trip to China was "not political" but ignored the fact that the press corps was banned from traveling with her on the overseas junket. ABC's Good Morning America skipped the topic. [Listen to the audio]

On Wednesday, Politico's Dylan Byers described his frustrating attempt to get an answer from the White House on why reporters were not allowed on the high-profile trip. That morning, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof tweeted out his paper's report on the press ban, calling it a "mistake" that "signals weakness or fear of coverage."

The First Lady's Twitter account has certainly been promoting the China visit as if it were political.

Here is the March 20 coverage of the trip on Today and CBS This Morning:

7:15 AM ET

NATALIE MORALES: Today, First Lady Michelle Obama arrived in China for a week-long visit, along with her mother and daughters Sasha and Malia, who have traveled with her before.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Michelle Obama China Visit; Aides Call Trip Cultural, Not Political]

Aides call her visit a cultural exchange and not political.

7:30 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: The First Lady, her daughters, and her mother landed in Beijing this morning. This spring break visit will focus on promoting education and cultural exchanges between the U.S. and China. The First Lady says this is not a political trip.

CBS This Morning
7:19 AM ET

NORAH O'DONNELL: First Lady Michelle Obama began a seven-day trip to China this morning.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: First Lady in China; Michelle Obama and Daughters Arrive in Beijing]

It's Mrs. Obama's first visit there. She's traveling with her daughters and mother. The White House says the First Lady plans to focus on education and avoid politics.

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