CBS and NBC Continue to Omit ‘Conservative’ Tag in Descriptions of Rand Paul

Following Republican Senator Rand Paul’s announcement that he’ll be entering the 2016 presidential race, the major broadcast networks each devoted a full segment to the Kentucky Senator’s event in Louisville on their Tuesday night newscasts.

After all three networks declined to label Paul a conservative during their morning news shows, ABC’s World News Tonight broke ranks and labeled him a “mainstream conservative” on issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and tax cuts. Fellow networks CBS and NBC continued to not use the conservative label and stuck to labels such as “Republican” and “libertarian.”

While anchor David Muir blasted Senator Ted Cruz (Tex.) for his conservative positions, Muir instead described Paul as “the Republican rising star” who’s looking “to shake up Washington and members of his own party.”

Reporting from Louisville, correspondent Jonathan Karl again highlighted some of Paul’s foreign policy views as aligning with President Obama: “He’s the anti-hawk senator who has pushed for defense cuts and fewer drone attacks in the war on terror, even bucking his own party to support President Obama’s talks with Iran.”

Later, Karl changed gears and ruled that Paul “is a mainstream conservative” in some aspects since he has “demand[ed] big tax cuts and oppos[ed] abortion rights and gay marriage, two issues he says should be left to the states.”

Over on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes began her report by saying this about the junior Senator from Kentucky: “The 52-year-old senator and eye doctor laid out a vision today that is one part libertarian, one part anti-foreign intervention with a heavy dose of fiscal restraint.”

Prior to noting that “[h]is passion has earned him a loyal following,” Cordes cited a few of Paul’s priorities as President that include “a balanced budget amendment, term limits for members of congress, and less government surveillance.”

Concerning his foreign policy, Cordes reported that “Paul’s world view could be a stumbling block with the large hawkish wing of the Republican Party, but he is recalibrating a bit” as he now “wants to boost” funding for the military after having “once favored slashing” it.

On NBC Nightly News, interim anchor Lester Holt described the crowd Paul received at his event as “raucous” while correspondent Kelly O’Donnell added from Louisville that Paul “offers himself as a different kind of Republican” and bolstered “by the tea party movement” and “his father [and] former Congressman Ron Paul’s libertarian grassroots supporters.”

While mentioning that Paul has been “courting minority communities on issues from jobs to prison sentencing reform,” O’Donnell focused a portion of her report on his foreign policy views and stated that “threats like ISIS have made him adjust.”

Closing out Nightly News’s segment, O’Donnell touted “[t]he Republican Party’s old guard” as being “wary of Rand Paul,” but added how “for now, that works for his campaign.”

The relevant portions of the transcript from ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir on April 7 can be found below.

ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir
April 7, 2015
6:41 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: In the Race]

DAVID MUIR: Back here at home this evening, and to the race for president. It is official tonight. Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky saying he’s running in 2016. The Republican rising star this evening vowing to shake up Washington and members of his own party. ABC's chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl.

(....)

KARL: So, who is Rand Paul? He's the anti-hawk senator who has pushed for defense cuts and fewer drone attacks in the war on terror, even bucking his own party to support President Obama’s talks with Iran. 

(.....)

KARL: Appealing to young people with a promise to fight government spying on American citizens and even easing drug laws. [TO PAUL SUPPORTERS] Where do you guys stand on legalizing marijuana? 

(....)

KARL: But in other ways, Paul is a mainstream conservative, demanding big tax cuts and opposing abortion rights and gay marriage, two issues he says should be left to the states. Rand Paul's father, Ron, of course, ran for president three times himself. He was here in Louisville for the big announcement, but David, he sat off to the side and that is likely where he will likely remain throughout this campaign.

A partial transcript from the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley on April 7 can be found below.

CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley
April 7, 2015
6:50 p.m. Eastern

SCOTT PELLEY: In Louisville, Kentucky, today, freshman Senator Rand Paul joined the race for the Republican presidential nomination and here's Nancy Cordes.

(....)

NANCY CORDES: The 52-year-old senator and eye doctor laid out a vision today that is one part libertarian, one part anti-foreign intervention with a heavy dose of fiscal restraint. 

PAUL: I propose we do something extraordinary. Let’s just spend what comes in. 

CORDES: A President Paul, he said, would seek a balanced budget amendment, term limits for members of Congress, and less government surveillance. 

PAUL: I say the phone records of law-abiding citizens are none of their damn business.

CORDES: His announcement was paired with an online onslaught, a campaign web site selling everything from “Stand with Rand” flip-flops to beer steins. 17 slick new videos on YouTube play out his positions on everything. 

(....)

CORDES: Millennials also flocked to his father's campaigns for president. Former Congressman Ron Paul stayed off to the side today, but the views he shares with son were front and center. 

(....) 

CORDES: Paul's world view could be a stumbling block with the large hawkish wing of the Republican Party, but he is recalibrating a bit, Scott. He once favored slashing the military’s budget. Now, he wants to boost it.

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Labeling Conservatives & Republicans ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Video Jonathan Karl Nancy Cordes Lester Holt Kelly O'Donnell David Muir Rand Paul
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