Media Hypocrites Pummel Pence Over NFL ‘PR Stunt’

After hailing former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for supposedly taking a “stand” for “civil rights” by disrespecting the National Anthem, Monday’s network morning shows had the gall to attack Vice President Mike Pence for walking out of an NFL game on Sunday in protest of such player actions. All three broadcasts touted left-wing “critics” deriding the move as a “PR stunt.”

Filling in for George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s Good Morning America, World News Tonight anchor David Muir proclaimed: “The White House reignites the debate over the National Anthem. Vice President pence sparking a firestorm. Was it a political stunt?” Minutes later, correspondent Mary Bruce announced: “Well, the White House seems to relish this fight and appears to want to keep it going. Again, they are reigniting this debate over the National Anthem.”

 

 

Bruce noted that the Vice President was “taking that stand to oppose players who take a knee,” but worried moments later “it wasn’t an impromptu protest” and that “Pence planned to leave all along if players took a knee.”

The protests against the National Anthem by NFL players were not “impromptu” either, in fact, those demonstrations have been highly orchestrated in many cases. That never seemed to bother journalists before.

Bruce explained: “Many 49ers are known for doing exactly that. Their former quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the protests last season.” She highlighted how “49ers player Eric Reid calls Pence’s actions a ‘PR stunt.’” After playing a sounbite of Reid, the reporter piled on: “And this morning some are asking, was it worth it? One Democratic congressman [Adam Schiff] saying, ‘After all the scandals involving unnecessarily expensive travel by cabinet secretaries, how much taxpayer money was wasted on this stunt?’”

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“The White House also involved in a new controversy over those player protests at NFL games. The Vice President, Mike Pence, added more fuel to the fire when he walked out of the Colts/49ers game after some players knelt during the National Anthem,” declared co-host Savannah Guthrie on NBC’s Today. Correspondent Peter Alexander warned: “This is the latest chapter in a divisive national debate, but it certainly escalates things.”

Like his ABC colleague, Alexander lined up opponents to denounce Pence:

To attend the game, Pence flew more than 1,800 miles aboard Air Force Two, from Las Vegas to Indianapolis, then another 2,000-plus miles back to L.A. ahead of a political fundraiser. Critics pounced. Democrat Adam Schiff tweeting, “After all the scandals involving unnecessarily expensive travel by cabinet secretaries, how much taxpayer money was wasted on this stunt?”....49er Eric Reid among those kneeling, later calling Pence’s walkout a “PR stunt.”

“He knew our team has had the most players protests, he knew that we were probably going to do it again. And so, this is what systemic oppression looks like,” Reid ranted in a clip that followed.

In contrast to the lengthy hyperbolic coverage on ABC and NBC, CBS This Morning only offered an 26-second news brief on the topic – but still managed to label Pence’s actions as a “stunt”:

BIANNA GOLODRYGA: The Indy Star reports Vice President Mike Pence left the Colts game after players from the 49ers kneeled for the anthem. Pence was in Indianapolis, Sunday, to see the Colts play San Francisco. After leaving, he tweeted, “President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our flag, or our national anthem. Critics called it a PR stunt, but in a tweet this morning the President said the Vice President's trip was, quote, “long planned.”

The networks wasted no time hammering Pence on Sunday, as the ABC and NBC evening newscasts both dismissed his walkout.

The biased coverage across all three networks Monday morning was brought to viewers by T-Mobile, Edward Jones Financial, and Toyota.

Here are transcripts of the October 9 coverage on ABC and NBC:

Good Morning America
7:01 AM TEASE

DAVID MUIR: The White House reignites the debate over the National Anthem. Vice President pence sparking a firestorm. Was it a political stunt?

7:08 AM SEGMENT [7:08:34 - 7:10:29, 1 min 55 sec]

DAVID MUIR: We turn now to the battle between the White House and the NFL. Vice President Pence walking out of that Colts game in Indianapolis Sunday when players from the San Francisco 49ers knelt during the National Anthem. Let’s get right to Mary Bruce on the Hill, she’s got reaction for us pouring in this morning. Good morning, Mary.

MARY BRUCE: Good morning, David. Well, the White House seems to relish this fight and appears to want to keep it going. Again, they are reigniting this debate over the National Anthem. The Vice President yesterday taking that stand to oppose players who take a knee. And the President says, it was all his idea.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: White House vs. the NFL; VP Pence Walks Out of Colts Game Players Kneel]

As players from the San Francisco 49ers took a knee during the National Anthem Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence staged a protest of his own. The Vice President, who flew from Las Vegas to Indianapolis for Sunday’s game, standing with his hand on his heart. But soon after, he and his wife abruptly left the stadium. Then he tweeted this, “I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our flag, or our National Anthem.” But it wasn’t an impromptu protest. An aide says Pence planned to leave all along if players took a knee. And President Trump is taking credit for the walkout, tweeting, “I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled. I am proud of him.”

Many 49ers are known for doing exactly that. Their former quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the protests last season. 49ers player Eric Reid calls Pence’s actions a “PR stunt.”

ERIC REID: He knew our team and most players protests, he knew that we were probably going to do it again.

BRUCE: And this morning some are asking, was it worth it? One Democratic congressman saying, “After all the scandals involving unnecessarily expensive travel by cabinet secretaries, how much taxpayer money was wasted on this stunt?”

Now, we’ve asked the White House about those criticisms and questions about the expense of the Vice President’s appearance, but, David, so far no response.

MUIR: Alright, Mary, stick with us here.


Today
7:07 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: The White House also involved in a new controversy over those player protests at NFL games. The Vice President, Mike Pence, added more fuel to the fire when he walked out of the Colts/49ers game after some players knelt during the National Anthem. NBC National Correspondent Peter Alexander with that story this morning. Peter, good morning.

PETER ALEXANDER: Hey, Matt and Savannah, good morning to you. This is the latest chapter in a divisive national debate, but it certainly escalates things. The Vice President, Mike Pence, leaving the Indianapolis Colts game, hosting the San Francisco 49ers, before the game even started, to publicly demonstrate his disapproval with NFL protests – NFL players protesting silently during the National Anthem.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: VP Walks Away From NFL Game; Leaves Over Anthem Protest as Cost of Trip Questioned]

Vice President Mike Pence touching down in Los Angeles after walking out in Indianapolis. Pence leaving Sunday’s 49ers/colts game after more than 20 players took a knee during the National Anthem. The Vice President and his wife did stand, hand over hearts, tweeting out the picture, writing, “President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our flag, or our National Anthem.” Adding, “While everyone entitled to their own opinions, I don’t think it’s too much to ask NFL players to respect the flag and our National Anthem.” The President says he asked the Vice President “to leave the stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country.” Adding, “I’m proud of him and Second Lady Karen.”

To attend the game, Pence flew more than 1,800 miles aboard Air Force Two, from Las Vegas to Indianapolis, then another 2,000-plus miles back to L.A. ahead of a political fundraiser. Critics pounced. Democrat Adam Schiff tweeting, “After all the scandals involving unnecessarily expensive travel by cabinet secretaries, how much taxpayer money was wasted on this stunt?” At the stadium, reporters traveling with Pence were told to stay in the van because there may be an early departure from the game.

It's not surprising the 49ers would take a knee after former Quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the protest last season to bring attention to police brutality and racial injustice. 49er Eric Reid among those kneeling, later calling Pence’s walkout a “PR stunt.”

ERIC REID: He knew our team has had the most players protests, he knew that we were probably going to do it again. And so, this is what systemic oppression looks like.

ALEXANDER: Still, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who recently knelt down with his team, now issuing a warning to his players, “if we are disrespecting the flag, then we will not play. Period. We’re going to respect the flag and I’m going to create the perception of it.”  

I reached out last night and the NFL is declining to comment, but President Trump is weighing in this morning on Twitter, tweeting just a moment ago, “The trip by Vice President Pence was long planned. He is receiving great praise for leaving game after the players showed such disrespect for the country!” A senior Pence official tells us that the Vice President was hopeful all the players would stand, but prepared to leave if they didn’t. Matt and Savannah?

GUTHRIE: Alright, Peter Alexander, thank you.


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