ABC’s WNT and NBC NN Blackout of Clinton Foundation Scandal Hits One Week

With the coming and going of the network evening newscasts on Thursday, the Clinton Foundation scandal blackout stretched into a full week since it was last covered on ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir and NBC Nightly News while the CBS Evening News covered twice in the same time span.

Following a 20-second news brief on Monday regarding the Clinton Foundation admitting to mistakes in disclosing foreign donors, the CBS Evening News devoted a full segment to some of the latest developments, including the fact that a Clinton charity never informed the State Department of its foreign donations for any of Clinton’s four years as secretary of state. 

Anchor Scott Pelley set the scene for correspondent Nancy Cordes’s report by observing that the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate “is being dogged by new reports about undisclosed foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation.”

Cordes then brought viewers up to speed on one of the newest chapters in the still-growing scandal:

Of all the Clinton charities, this is one of the largest – the Clinton Health Access Initiative or CHAI, based in Boston. In 2013 alone, foreign countries donated at least $54 million to CHAI to fight HIV/AIDS and other illnesses, but CHAI didn't inform the State Department that year or any year when Clinton was Secretary, despite this 2008 memo of understanding, stating that the Clinton “Foundation will share such countries” with a State Department “ethics official for review.” 

With that mind, Cordes cited how Clinton promised Republican Senator David Vitter (Lou.) during her confirmation hearing in 2009 that “[a]ll contributors will be disclosed” to the State Department.

Cordes returned to CHAI with the addition that it also failed to “disclose 1,100 mostly foreign donors to the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership,” but noted officials claim they’re in clear due to the fact that “revealing those names would violate Canadian laws.” 

Not surprisingly, she stated that Clinton has repeatedly declined comment on the issue. After a second soundbite from an interview Vitter gave to Cordes, the CBS News congressional correspondent concluded with this:

A State Department spokesperson said today the Department would have liked to review those foreign donations and, Scott, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who just got into the presidential race today and is Clinton's first Democratic challenger, well, he said he thinks the donations are a fair campaign issue.

Thursday’s NBC Nightly News did indeed devote most of a segment to Clinton, correspondent and MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell neglected to explicitly mention the Clinton Foundation or e-mail scandals but instead focus on the entrance of socialist Bernie Sanders in the Democratic race for president and Clinton’s recent efforts to distance herself from policies forged during her husband Bill’s administration.

When World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News last covered the story on their April 23 programs, the latter used a Soros-funded expert to downplay the allegations made in the upcoming book Clinton Cash (which he has since reversed course on).

The relevant portions of the transcript from the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley on April 30 can be found below.

CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley
April 30, 2015
6:50 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Donor Disclosure]

SCOTT PELLEY: In the presidential race, Hillary Clinton is being dogged by new reports about undisclosed foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation. Here's Nancy Cordes. 

NANCY CORDES: Of all the Clinton charities, this is one of the largest – the Clinton Health Access Initiative or CHAI, based in Boston. In 2013 alone, foreign countries donated at least $54 million to CHAI to fight HIV/AIDS and other illnesses, but CHAI didn't inform the State Department that year or any year when Clinton was Secretary, despite this 2008 memo of understanding, stating that the Clinton “Foundation will share such countries” with a State Department “ethics official for review.” 

REPUBLICAN SENATOR DAVID VITTER (Lou.): One has the impression that they didn't take this commitment seriously. 

CORDES: Louisiana Republican David Vitter grilled Clinton about potential conflicts of interest at her 2009 confirmation hearing. He was promised this: 

HILLARY CLINTON [at 2009 confirmation hearing]: All contributors will be disclosed. 

CORDES: But in addition to CHAI, the foundation acknowledged this week it did not disclose 1,100 mostly foreign donors to the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership. Officials for the Canada-based charity say revealing those names would violate Canadian laws. Candidate Clinton has avoided the issue. [TO CLINTON] Mrs Clinton, are you going to address those questions more fully? Foundation leaders say they are acting quickly to remedy past mistakes. [TO VITTER] The Clinton campaign argues that there is no proof that secretary Clinton was influenced in any way by all these foreign donations. 

VITTER: In this case, e-mails were destroyed. In this case, certain contributions were never disclosed and so, it's hard to prove or disprove anything when that's the case. 

CORDES: A State Department spokesperson said today the Department would have liked to review those foreign donations and, Scott, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who just got into the presidential race today and is Clinton's first Democratic challenger, well, he said he thinks the donations are a fair campaign issue. 

PELLEY: Nancy Cordes on Capitol Hill tonight, Nancy, thank you.

NBDaily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Media Bias Debate Bias by Omission Liberals & Democrats Political Scandals ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Video Clinton Foundation State Department Scott Pelley Nancy Cordes Hillary Clinton
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