NBC Nightly News Invokes Jeb Bush’s Emails to Downplay Hillary Clinton’s Email Scandal

March 5th, 2015 12:18 AM

NBC Nightly News covered the Hillary Clinton email scandal for a second straight evening with another segment on Wednesday, but it took the position of downplaying the situation by portraying it as political and invoking Republican Jeb Bush’s email usage in comparison.

Interim anchor Lester Holt updated “the firestorm over Hillary Clinton’s private emails” by describing those desiring to see them as “her political enemies in Congress” in the form of the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

Correspondent Kristen Welker provided more on the latest developments and then sought to diminish the situation by comparing her email usage to that of former Republican Governor of Florida and possible 2016 Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush:

The potential political impact of the email controversy was blunted today with reports that Republican Jeb Bush also used private email for public business when he was Governor of Florida, but his supporters point out there were no regulations against that. 

By exclusively reading or hearing that and knowing nothing else, one would think that their troubles are identical with Bush not having received equal media coverage. In reality, Jeb Bush actually did have a public email address (unlike Clinton) and used it for official business. 

Also, Bush has released many of his emails already to the public with an entire website dedicated to it with his private email server being, according to an NBCNews.com article“widely known to the public and to the press when he served as governor” and included “‘digital security’ measures in place to protect Bush’s emails.”

Meanwhile, Wednesday’s CBS Evening News simply reported in a one-minute-and-two-second segment on the Benghazi committee’s subpoenas of Clinton’s emails relating to Libya after substitute anchor Charlie Rose provided spin for his “friend” Hillary Clinton the night before.

CBS News congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes told viewers that the chair of the committee, Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy (S.C.), has “actually been seeking Clinton's emails for a while, but only learned last week that the State Department doesn't have access to them” because “[o]nly Clinton does.”

In the latest Clinton report on ABC’s World News Tonight, chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl said that “her email story [got] stranger” and “even odder” with revelations of a private server hosted at her New York home and filed under a man’s name whose real identity is unknown.

Instead of addressing the scandal at fundraiser for EMILY’s List Tuesday night, Clinton focused on, in the words of Karl, “reminding her supporters of the history she hopes to make” by becoming the first female U.S. president.

Following Tuesday night’s 35-second brief on Clinton, Wednesday’s Noticiero Telemundo gave the matter a full segment that lasted for two minutes and 42 seconds. As part of covering the latest developments, the report mentioned the Benghazi committee’s latest actions regarding Clinton’s emails. Over on Univision, however, the network moved on from the email scandal completely with zero mentions during Noticiero Univision.

The relevant portions of the tease and transcript from NBC Nightly News on March 4 can be found below.

NBC Nightly News
March 4, 2015
7:15 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]

LESTER HOLT: Late word tonight in the firestorm over Hillary Clinton's private emails. Up next, new revelations about what was being kept in her home as subpoenas now start flying. 


7:18 p.m. Eastern


HOLT: We're back now with some new revelations tonight about Hillary Clinton's communications when she was Secretary of State. Not only was Mrs. Clinton using a private email account instead of an official one, a new report claims she was storing them on a server at her own house. Now her political enemies in Congress are demanding a look at them. Our Kristen Welker has the story. 

KRISTEN WELKER: Speaking to a friendly audience in Washington last night, Hillary Clinton ignored the email controversy, but today, Republican lawmakers investigating the Benghazi attack have subpoenaed all of Clinton's relevant documents after revelations Clinton exclusively used her personal email account while serving as Secretary of State. 

REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN TREY GOWDY (S.C.): Whether it's unprecedented or not is very unusual. 

WELKER: And today, the Associated Press reported Clinton's personal email account was linked to a server registered to her home in Chappaqua, New York. Tech experts say that gave Clinton extraordinary control over her files. 

MASHABLE’s PETE PACHAL: It's a large leap of faith to trust someone with that level of dominion over their own communications when they're representing a large organization. 

WELKER: But did she violate federal guidelines? Her aides and supporters say no. 

CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS PRESIDENT NEERA TANDEN: Obviously, they kept the records because many, many emails have been turned over. So, records were kept. 

WELKER: When Clinton was Secretary of State, the rules required officials using personal email accounts to ensure their records were “preserved in the appropriate agency recordkeeping system,” but there was no deadline for turning over documents. 

STATE DEPARTMENT DEPUTY SPOKESWOMAN MARIE HARF: That has since changed, but that was after she left. 

WELKER: Clinton finally turned over more than 50,000 pages of documents last year after the State Department asked for them. So far, Clinton has left her explanation to her supporters. The potential political impact of the email controversy was blunted today with reports that Republican Jeb Bush also used private email for public business when he was Governor of Florida, but his supporters point out there were no regulations against that. Kristen Welker, NBC News, the State Department.