NBC Devotes Full Story to GOP Corruption Case, Skips Dem Sentencing

On Tuesday, NBC’s Today featured a nearly two-minute long report on former Republican Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock being arraigned on corruption charges in federal court. However, the morning show completely ignored the 10-year prison sentence handed down against former Democratic Pennsylvania Congressman Chaka Fattah for racketeering.

Fill-in co-host Hoda Kotb introduced the report by proclaiming: “Former Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock, once a rising star in the Republican Party, has been officially arraigned of federal fraud charges.” Correspondent Blake McCoy explained the charges: “A grand jury handed up a 24-count criminal indictment, including charges of wire fraud, filing false tax returns, and allegations he illegally pocketed more than $100,000 of government and campaign funds.”

The reporter went on to detail Schock’s fall from grace:

Elected to the House at 27, the young congressman seemed to relish life in the public eye, posting photos of exotic trips and famous friends on Instagram. And showing off his 6-pack abs on the cover of Men's Health magazine.

But those headlines took a shocking turn nearly two years ago, when a Washington Post reporter exposed the elaborate redesign of his Washington D.C. office, apparently inspired by the show Downton Abbey. That lead to further investigations into how Schock was funding his luxurious lifestyle. Shock resigned from Congress in March of 2015, citing the media frenzy surrounding him. Later saying he “never intentionally did anything wrong,” calling any errors “honest mistakes.”

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Unlike Today, Tuesday’s CBS This Morning at least provided an 18-second news brief on the Fattah case, with co-host Gayle King informing viewers: “The Philadelphia Inquirer says a former congressman is headed to prison for racketeering. Chaka Fattah receive a ten-year sentence for misusing federal grants and charity funds. The term is one of the longest ever imposed on a federal lawmaker for corruption. The Democrat served two decades in the House.” Fellow co-host Norah O’Donnell chimed in: “That’s a big story.”

On June 21, when Fattah was convicted, the NBC, CBS, and CBS evening newscasts were silent on the scandal. In sharp contrast, Schock’s resignation from Congress in March of 2015 received immediate attention on network morning shows.

Here is a full transcript of the December 13 report on Today about Schock:

7:16 AM ET

HODA KOTB: Former Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock, once a rising star in the Republican Party, has been officially arraigned of federal fraud charges. But Schock and his legal team are saying they’re confident he will be exonerated. NBC’s Blake McCoy has that story.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE “Downton Abbey” Congressman Pleads Not Guilty; Aaron Schock Arraigned on Federal Corruption Charges]

BLAKE MCCOY: Moments after pleading not guilty to all federal corruption charges against him, Aaron Schock spoke briefly to reporters outside a Illinois courthouse Monday evening.

AARON SCHOCK: I have full confidence in my legal team, full confidence in the good people of this community, and I’m confident that in the end justice will prevail.

MCCOY: A grand jury handed up a 24-count criminal indictment, including charges of wire fraud, filing false tax returns, and allegations he illegally pocketed more than $100,000 of government and campaign funds.
            
Elected to the House at 27, the young congressman seemed to relish life in the public eye, posting photos of exotic trips and famous friends on Instagram. And showing off his 6-pack abs on the cover of Men's Health magazine.

But those headlines took a shocking turn nearly two years ago, when a Washington Post reporter exposed the elaborate redesign of his Washington D.C. office, apparently inspired by the show Downton Abbey. That lead to further investigations into how Schock was funding his luxurious lifestyle. Shock resigned from Congress in March of 2015, citing the media frenzy surrounding him. Later saying he “never intentionally did anything wrong,” calling any errors “honest mistakes.” It’s a message his lawyer echoed.

CHRISTINA EGAN: Aaron Schock has pled not guilty in this case for one very important reason, he is not guilty. And we look forward to defending this case at trial.

MCCOY: A trial that’s set to begin in early February. For Today, Blake McCoy, NBC News, Chicago.

CyberAlerts Bias by Omission Double Standards Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Political Scandals CBS CBS This Morning NBC Today Video Gayle King Hoda Kotb Aaron Schock Chaka Fattah