As of Friday morning, NBC News broadcasts had completely ignored an important scoop from the network's own national investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff that Attorney General Eric Holder personally approved the Justice Department's aggressive investigation of Fox News reporter James Rosen. Meanwhile, both CBS News and FNC provided on-air coverage of the new development. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In an article for NBCNews.com on Thursday, Isikoff reported that Holder "signed off on a controversial search warrant that identified Fox News reporter James Rosen as a 'possible co-conspirator' in violations of the Espionage Act and authorized seizure of his private emails, a law enforcement official told NBC News."
On Thursday's Nightly News, White House correspondent Peter Alexander passed up the perfect opportunity to mention the breaking news as he wrapped up a report on President Obama's afternoon national security speech: "Also today, on the topic of national security leaks, the President said that he's asked Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct a 45-day review...of the Justice Department's guidelines for investigations that involve journalists."
Given the revelation from Isikoff, that would mean that Holder has been put in charge of reviewing misconduct that he himself approved.
Friday's NBC Today didn't even mention the press crackdown scandals plaguing the administration.
However, Friday's CBS This Morning found the time, when co-host Gayle King posed this question to Face the Nation moderator Bob Schieffer: "The President also said yesterday, Bob, that he wants to protect journalists from the government's overreach. And now comes news this morning that Attorney General Eric Holder signed off on allowing an investigation into some reporters' e-mails. Is that an awkward position?"
While NBC didn't bother to report its own exclusive on Thursday evening, Fox News's Special Report informed its viewers of the news. Not once, but twice. [Thanks to intern Nathan Roush for transcribing the Special Report coverage]
First, at 6:10 p.m. ET, a full 20 minutes before NBC Nightly News began its 6:30 p.m. ET taping, Fox News correspondent Doug McKelway announced: "Just moments ago, NBC News reported that Eric Holder signed off on the search warrant on James Rosen as a co-conspirator. That phrase is key. the co-conspirator part is apparently what the attorney general signed off on."
Later, at 6:51 p.m. ET, 9 minutes before the 7 p.m. ET airing of Nightly News, Special Report anchor Bret Baier again reported: "We learn tonight Attorney General Eric Holder, according to NBC News, approved and signed off on the controversial search warrant going after and identifying Fox News reporter James Rosen as a possible co-conspirator..."
During the panel discussion that followed, columnist Charles Krauthammer observed: "So here is a president saying journalists shouldn't be at risk, legal risk, and yet he endorses full confidence in Eric Holder, who now admits or it turns out signed off on a search warrant essentially that named Rosen as a co-defendant..."