Nets Condemn Trump, While Excusing Biden's Lynching-Impeachment Comparison

October 23rd, 2019 10:38 AM

All three network morning shows Wednesday spent reports blasting President Trump for comparing the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry to a “lynching.” ABC, NBC and CBS seized on the racially-charged language, characterizing it as yet another example of Trump’s racial insensitivity. However, Joe Biden’s own history using the word to describe the Clinton impeachment, was given a pass by the networks, who couldn’t find the same outrage for the Democrat candidate.

ABC’s report was the most forceful in its condemnation. Good Morning America co-anchor Cecilia Vega touted Trump’s tweet “sparking new outrage” for “comparing the inquiry against him to a racist and painful chapter in American history.” Frowning disapprovingly, Vega noted that Senator Lindsey Graham defended the language. Turning to correspondent Terry Moran, she gushed in disgust, “This was yet another remarkable moment in this presidency.” Moran’s subsequent report scolded the President for “deliberately detonating” a “rhetorical firebomb:”

The president has used a lot of incendiary language to express his fury at the impeachment inquiry but for millions of Americans this crossed a line. The history of lynching in this country is the history of pain and terror and racist tyranny, thousands of black Americans were murdered this way so for the president to use this term to compare a congressional investigation to a lynching, it was a rhetorical firebomb. One he deliberately detonated for political purposes.

Funny enough, Moran didn’t use this same language about Joe Biden. Biden used the term in 1998 about the Clinton impeachment. Other Democrats were also guilty of using the term. Instead of condemning Biden as well, Moran framed Biden’s use of “lynching” as a right-wing attack. He eagerly touted Biden deflecting blame back on President Trump:

Now, the President's defenders were very quick to point out that some Democrats including Joe Biden used this term to describe the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Biden's defenders say neither he nor the other Democrats have the same incendiary issue around racial issues that this president does.

On NBC’s Today much shorter report, Kristen Welker touted, President Trump had “prompted a new controversy” and “sparked a fierce bipartisan backlash” with his lynching comparison. Like Moran, Welker was forced to acknowledge Biden said the same thing before, but also framed it as Republicans "pounce:"

The Trump campaign has pounced on comments made by former Vice President Joe Biden in 1998 when Biden questioned whether the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton was a, quote, partisan lynching. Overnight Biden apologized in a tweet saying, 'this wasn't the right word to use and I'm sorry about that. Trump chose his words deliberately and continues to stoke racial divides in this country daily.' Savannah?

CBS correspondent Nancy Cordes report was the most straightforward but she also ended her report downplaying Biden being equally guilty of insensitive word choice, just as ABC and NBC did. Cordes read Biden’s half-apology, without comment or criticism:

But other Republicans pointed out that it's not the first time that this term has been used in a political context. They pointed to 1998 when then-Senator Joe Biden used the term before Bill Clinton's impeachment proceedings began. After he was reminded of that on Twitter, Joe Biden said, quote, ‘that wasn't the right word to use, and I'm sorry about that. Trump, on the other hand, he added, chose his words deliberately today in his use of the word lynching and continues to stoke racial divides in this country.’ Anthony?