Nets Tout Liberal Town Hall Protests, Deny Outside Organization

The liberal Big Three networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) continued to revel in the throngs of agitated leftists descending on the town hall meetings of GOP lawmakers Wednesday. “We begin tonight with Americans across this country determined to have their voices heard, and their target, members of Congress home for break,” hyped anchor David Muir, kicking off World News Tonight, “What they are getting instead is an earful.” They all pushed back on claims that the rabble-rousers were not organized protesters, but that’s not what one network was glorifying just last week.

Muir heaped praise on the mobs by constantly referring to them as “voters,” implying that they all were indeed registered to vote. “Voters putting these missing signs on milk cartons to call them out,” Muir claimed, “Tonight the White House is calling some of these voters professional protesters.

ABC reporter Matt Gutman ran a highlight reel of GOP lawmakers being screamed at by the liberal protesters. There was no mention at all that members of Congress were getting shouted down whenever they tried to speak. And he seemed to hold it against a frustrated Jodi Ernst when she left an event. “Leaving after just 45 minutes, protesters following her to her car,” he noted.

He also hailed a tweet from Hillary Clinton scolding Republicans, reporting that, “For a second day in a row, Hillary Clinton taking aim. This time at the lawmakers avoiding their constituents, Clinton tweeting, ‘If you can't stand the heat, get out of the congress.’

Tonight, the hostile homecoming continues for Republican members of congress. Being confronted by angry constituents at town halls held across the country,” announced anchor Lester Holt during NBC Nightly News. Holt handed it off to Peter Alexander who grilled Republican Representative Dave Brat with ridiculous questions. “Is this a metaphor for America, what we witness in this room? You’ve got people yelling and screaming at you,” Alexander inquired after playing a clip of a wild-eyed protester who shrieked “What are you talking about?! You're insane!

The coverage conducted by Nancy Cordes on CBS Evening News was extremely slanted, as she set out to investigate the accusations of organized protesters. “If professional agitators were lurking in the line outside the Jefferson Parish Library today, we didn't meet them,” jokingly declared at the start of her segment. “Do we look like loud individuals? Do we look like paid protesters,” an elderly old lady told her.

This group of mostly retired women, brought homemade signs, umbrellas for the sun, and a newfound sense of activism,” Cordes concluded. Yet Cordes interviewed a woman who admittedly used Facebook to help “spread the word” and organize people. She also feigned seriousness and asked her if she paid people to be there:

CORDES: How does this crowd match up to your expectations?

TODD: It's pretty good. We did have, you know, over 1,000 people R.S.V.P. on Facebook.

CORDES: Could you pay protesters if you wanted to?

TODD: No. Nor would I.

But it was CBS who, one-week-ago to the day, glorified the efforts of “progressive” organizations to gin up liberal protests. Reporter Dean Reynolds touted how a father of two would “get his marching orders” from “Progressive websites that seek to marshal his energy and meld it with millions of other opponents of the new president.” And just yesterday, reporter Chip Reid interviewed the founder of just such a website.

Eight years ago, the Big Three networks parroted every word from the Obama administration that the Tea Party was a violent “AstroTurf” movement because it had online organization. But in 2017, they simultaneously glorify their online organizing and treat it as an organic movement. 

Transcripts below: 

<<< Please support MRC's NewsBusters team with a tax-deductible contribution today. >>>

ABC
World News Tonight
February 22, 2017
6:31:22 PM Eastern

DAVID MUIR: Good evening, and it's great to have you with us here on a Wednesday night, and we begin tonight with Americans across this country determined to have their voices heard, and their target, members of Congress home for break. What they are getting instead is an earful. Some voters angry with Trump, and others demanding more from Congress. This town meeting in Iowa with Senator Jodi Ernst, it is just one of many, where voters are demanding to know “what is the replacement for Obamacare if it goes?” Others asking who’s investigating Russia's meddling. And tonight some are avoiding confrontation. Voters putting these missing signs on milk cartons to call them out. Tonight the White House is calling some of these voters professional protesters. President Trump with a different description. ABC's Matt Gutman leading us off.

[Cuts to video]

MATT GUTMAN: Across the nation, scenes like this. Long lines of people filing into town hall meetings venting their frustration at the Republican congress and the Republican president.

CROWD: You work for us! You work for us!

GUTMAN: In Iowa, Senator Charles Grassley confronted with questions about President Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I am so unsettled. It feels like we've got a juvenile running our country.

CROWD: Here here.

GUTMAN: Iowa's other Senator Joni Ernst jeered at her town meeting.

CROWD: Do your job!

GUTMAN: Leaving after just 45 minutes, protesters following her to her car.

...

GUTMAN: Dozens of Republicans have avoided holding public events in their districts at all during the congressional recess, critics plastering their faces on milk cartons. For a second day in a row, Hillary Clinton taking aim. This time at the lawmakers avoiding their constituents, Clinton tweeting, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the congress." Here in California, jeers erupted at a health care town hall organized by labor unions after congressman Darrell Issa turned down an invitation to speak.

...

NBC Nightly News
February 22, 2017
7:03:17 PM Eastern

LESTER HOLT: Tonight, the hostile homecoming continues for Republican members of congress. Being confronted by angry constituents at town halls held across the country. Americans who are worried and venting their frustrations, at times, in pretty dramatic fashion. The White House, however, is accusing them of being infiltrated by so-called professional protesters. NBC's Peter Alexander has details.

[Cuts to video]

PETER ALEXANDER: Tonight, an uproar in Arkansas.

CROWD: Do your job!

ALEXANDER: The latest in a series of fiery, in your face confrontations.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Don’t repeal ObamaCare! Improve it, for God’s sake.

ALEXANDER: For many Republican lawmakers, at town halls nationwide, a hostile homecoming. Constituents demanding answers on health care, taxes and immigration.

...

ALEXANDER: In rural Virginia.

UNIDENTIFED WOMAN 2: What are you talking about? You're insane!

ALEXANDER: Backlash for Tea Party favorite Dave Brat, who rode a wave of anger into office in 2014 and now faces one.

DAVE BRAT: ObamaCare has just collapsed.

ALEXANDER: An overflow crowd of mostly defiant Democrats last night rallying outside. Is this a metaphor for America, what we witness in this room? You’ve got people yelling and screaming at you.

BRAT: The divide, the anxiety level and the tension level is huge. Now, we need to relieve the anxiety. And part of what will relieve the anxiety is when you get the economy growing.

ALEXANDER: The President remains unimpressed, mocking so-called angry crowds, insisting many are planned out by liberal activists. These protesters dispute that anyone was paid. Still, the tension is gaining traction.

...

CBS Evening News
February 22, 2017
6:37:31 PM Eastern

ANTHONY MASON: Republican members of congress holding town meetings with constituents are facing loud protests from opponents of President Trump. The administration claims professional outside agitators are partly to blame. Congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes went to Metairie, Louisiana to look into it.

[Cuts to video]

NANCY CORDES: If professional agitators were lurking in the line outside the Jefferson Parish Library today, we didn't meet them.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Look at us.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMEN: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Do we look like loud individuals? Do we look like paid protesters?

CORDES: This group of mostly retired women, brought home made signs, umbrellas for the sun, and a newfound sense of activism.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2: I'll be in this until I die, if that's necessary.

CORDES: Really, you feel that strongly?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2: I feel that strongly about it.

...

SUSAN TODD: And the instability that that would create in the state, in our health insurance market, that's not good for anyone.

CORDES: Susan Todd runs a local association of nonprofit health care providers. She helped spread the word about today's town hall. How does this crowd match up to your expectations?

TODD: It's pretty good. We did have, you know, over 1,000 people R.S.V.P. on Facebook.

CORDES: Could you pay protesters if you wanted to?

TODD: No. Nor would I.

[Cuts back to live]

CORDES: The White House calls these protesters a vocal minority, and here in Louisiana, they may well be right. President Trump won the state by about 20 points. But, Anthony, the Tea Party was a vocal minority, too, and still succeeded in pushing congressional Republicans to the right.

Nicholas Fondacaro
Nicholas Fondacaro
Nicholas C. Fondacaro