The “big three” networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC continued to cover on Wednesday night news that scandal-ridden Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton turned over her private e-mail server and numerous thumb drives to the FBI but largely brushed it off as “a headache” and “distraction” for Clinton in what has “been a tough summer.”
Following in the footsteps of its morning counterpart, ABC’s World News Tonight clocked in with the least amount of time across the networks with two minutes and 23 seconds on the story. Anchor David Muir began by observing that “the firestorm” is “growing for Hillary Clinton tonight” as she’s “now reversing course, turning over that home server after insisting she would not.”
Chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl mentioned both developments regarding her server and that two of her e-mails were found to have been “top secret” and reported that Clinton’s “e-mail controversy has been overshadowed lately by the Donald Trump show.”
Concerning Clinton’s Democratic opponent in socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Karl gushed that “Clinton’s unlikely challenger is soaring” and “has addressed huge crowds” with a New Hampshire poll showing him in first place “that should be a real wake-up call to the Clinton team.”
Wrapping up his report, Karl fretted that “this has been a tough summer for Hillary Clinton” with the race “shaping up to be a much tougher race for her than anybody expected.”
With the most time across the networks, the CBS Evening News reserved four minutes and 26 seconds across two reports for the former First Lady’s e-mail scandal. With the investigation “now sure to push deep into 2016,” anchor Scott Pelley handed off to the second story from correspondent Nancy Cordes by adding that “Republican presidential candidates were quick to take advantage” of the huge break.
Cordes reported that these “problems” for Clinton “have gone from fodder for Republicans to a virtual feast” and after soundbites from three GOP candidates, Cordes made the determination that: “At the very least, it's a distraction for Clinton, who has tried to stick to substance in recent weeks.”
She further worried that each time Clinton has tried to change messaging, “the conversation keeps shifting back to her e-mails” and “could be contributing to the rapid rise” of Sanders.
To her credit, Cordes sharply reacted to a statement from the Clinton campaign accusing her GOP opponents of also using private e-mail: “But none of those Republicans served as secretary of state or handled the kind of sensitive material that Clinton did.”
Over on NBC Nightly News, the two minutes and 30 seconds of coverage featured both anchor Lester Holt and Clinton correspondent/MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell hyped that the Clinton campaign is “[i]n damage control mode” with Mitchell adding that the former secretary of state was “secluded today after agreeing to turn over her private e-mail server, something she had vowed never to do.”
Spinning for the Clinton campaign, Mitchell left viewers with the thought that this story represents “a headache” that will linger “for months to come”: “The FBI investigation guarantees that the e-mail controversy will be a headache for Clinton for months to come. The good news for her, a new poll tonight shows she still has a commanding lead over Sanders in Iowa.”