ABC and NBC Rush to Hillary’s Defense Against McCarthy on Benghazi; ‘Unlikely Political Lifeline’

On Wednesday night, the CBS Evening News punted on the latest batch of Hillary Clinton’s State Department e-mails released hours earlier while their competitors at ABC and NBC did cover them, but only through the veil of defending Clinton against Speaker of the House candidate Kevin McCarthy’s comments on the Benghazi Committee that NBC’s Andrea Mitchell touted as “an unlikely political lifeline.”

ABC’s World News Tonight also did their part to promote the public role former President Bill Clinton has taken on in the campaign by hailing him as “back in the game” and playing the role of Hillary’s “secret weapon” emerging “out of the shadows.”

Anchor David Muir first acknowledged that release of the 6,000 new pages of e-mails but quickly pivoted to informing viewers that the House Select Committee on Benghazi has now been “investigating longer than the Watergate scandal” with McCarthy’s comments about the committee prompting a “fiery response” from Hillary as Bill’s “back in the game, as well.”

Clinton campaign correspondent Cecila Vega also followed that pattern by first alluding to the new e-mails: 

Tonight, more than 6,000 new e-mails from Hillary Clinton's private account made public, but now, hundreds of those e-mails stored on her home server when she was secretary of state deemed so sensitive they've been marked classified. 

However, she turned to McCarthy after that by explaining that he told Sean Hannity on the Fox News Channel (FNC) Tuesday night “the bipartisan investigation into Benghazi is behind Clinton's sagging poll numbers.” Before a clip of Clinton responding to McCarthy, Vega promoted it as her “firing back today on MSNBC” with Al Sharpton.

The pro-Clinton spin continued as she brought the former President into the conversation: “But now, her secret weapon, former President Bill Clinton taking on a new, more public role in her campaign, and on CNN, defending how she's handling the e-mail controversy.” She closed by telling Muir in the studio that:

Yeah, Bill Clinton out of the shadows and center stage. He'll be fundraising for his wife this weekend. He’s not just raising money. He took on Donald Trump in those public comments too, David, this is the first time we are seeing him this campaign. so out front.

Also singing the tune of the Democratic presidential candidate was NBC Nightly News with anchor Lester Holt observing that the new e-mails “may be overshadowed by news concerning the long-running congressional Benghazi investigation and a comment made by a top Republican about how that investigation has hurt Hillary Clinton politically.”

Clinton correspondent and MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell gushed that Hillary spent Wednesday “dodging more obstacles” but was dealt “an unlikely political lifeline from the likely next speaker” as she grappled with “all the bad publicity over e-mails.” She went on to quip that McCarthy’s comments about the affect the Benghazi Committee has had on Clinton was “exactly what Bill Clinton has been saying.”

After reading from a few of the e-mails, Mitchell fretted about when the last four batches of e-mails will be released in relation to the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary: “Still to come, four more monthly e-mail releases. October 30th, November 30th, December 31st, and January 29th. The last just three days before the Iowa caucus and ten days before the New Hampshire primary.”

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