After the Democrats regained control of the House in 2006, Nancy Pelosi promised NBC's Brian Williams that she would "drain the swamp" and "turn this Congress into the most honest and open Congress in history." So when news broke that a House Ethics committee found that long time New York Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel accepted corporate money for trips to the Carribean one would think Williams would be all over the story – he wasn't.
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News Williams completely ignored the charges, as did ABC's World News Tonight. Of the three broadcast network evening news shows, only Williams' competitors at CBS Evening News covered the Rangel scandal as Katie Couric reported Rangel "broke House rules," and Nancy Cordes told viewers he could be "censured," but didn't tell them that he was a Democrat.
[UPDATE, 7:30 PM EST Friday, February 26: ABC's World News caught up with Rangel on Friday night as anchor Diane Sawyer identified him as a Democrat and the Friday NBC Nightly News rolled Rangel into a “Democrats' Disarray” story with Desiree Rogers and David Paterson.]
Williams' NBC News colleague Amy Robach did mention the investigation into Rangel's wrongdoing, the next morning on the Today show, but omitted Rangel's party affiliation in the one and only story aired on the morning show:
AMY ROBACH: And an ethics panel has found that New York Congressman Charles Rangel knowingly accepted Carribean trips from a corporation in violation of House rules. Rangel said he was unaware of the corporate financing and should not be held responsible for mistakes by his staff.
For the record both CBS' The Early Show and ABC's Good Morning America on Friday aired only one anchor brief each on the Rangel story, however they did manage to attach the "D" next to the Congressman's name.
The following are transcripts of the Rangel stories as they were aired on Thursday's CBS Evening News, and Friday's CBS's The Early Show and ABC's Good Morning America:
February 25, 2010
KATIE COURIC: And meanwhile, Nancy, there's breaking news tonight. The Associated Press is quoting a source as saying the House Ethics Committee has found Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel, that he broke House rules. Remind everyone what he was being investigated for.
NANCY CORDES: Well this was a longstanding investigation into the way that he filed his taxes, the way that he reported his taxes here in Congress, and some questionable trips that he took. The fact that he's now being, uh, uh, found to have broken some rules could mean that he would be censured; it could mean that he'll just get a slap on the wrist. We don't know yet Katie.
COURIC: Alright, Nancy Cordes, Chip Reid, thank you both so much.
The Early Show
February 26, 2010
CHRIS WRAGGE: In other news now, the House Ethics Committee has accused long-time New York Congressman Charles Rangel of misconduct. The committee found that Rangel accepted corporate money for trips to the Caribbean. Rangel admits his staff knew what was going on, but says he didn't.
CHARLES RANGEL [ON-SCREEN LABEL: (D) NEW YORK]: Common accepts dictates that members of Congress should not be held responsible for what could be the wrongdoing or mistakes or errors of staff unless there's reason to believe that the member knew or should have known.
WRAGGE: Rangel is also being investigated for other possible ethics violations.
Good Morning America
February 26, 2010
JUJU CHANG: One of the most powerful members of Congress has been blamed for violating ethics rules. A House committee has concluded Democrat Charlie Rangel accepted trips to conferences in the Caribbean, financed by corporations. Rangel insists he was unaware of the funding and blames his staff.