All three of Wednesday’s network morning shows celebrated Democrat Conor Lamb’s apparent narrow victory over Republican Rick Saccone in Pennsylvania’s congressional special election, cheering the “incredibly exciting” race as a “blow” to Republicans and President Trump. However, buried in NBC’s Today show coverage was a four-second acknowledgment that Lamb actually ran against House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, not Donald Trump.
“Breaking overnight, stunning upset!...A district the President had carried by 20 points going to the Democrat. Is it a sign of things to come?,” hailed co-host Savannah Guthrie at top of the Today show. Minutes later, she touted how Lamb’s projected win was “giving Democrats a boost and Republicans some nerves ahead of this fall’s crucial midterms.”
Correspondent Kasie Hunt was giddy as she proclaimed: “It was an incredibly exciting election night, so close between these two candidates. In a district that, quite frankly, there never should have been a question that the Republican should have won. But instead, they’re sending a Democrat from the heart of Trump country.”
In wasn’t until late in the report that Hunt actually explained how Lamb reached out to voters in the traditionally Republican district:
Lamb’s opponent hitting Democrats hard in the final days of the campaign....But Lamb won anyway, in a very close race. Campaigning as a moderate on guns and opposing Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, potentially giving Democrats a blueprint for winning back voters they lost in 2016.
One wonders how the media would actually react to Democratic candidates across the country actively campaigning against one of their liberal heros.
Glossing over the anti-Pelosi sentiment, Hunt concluded: “So this morning, Republicans in Congress are waking up very nervous based on last night’s results, Democrats very excited about their chances of potentially taking back the House in the fall.”
Leading off ABC’s Good Morning America, fill-in co-host Cecilia Vega enthusiastically declared: “Democrat Conor Lamb declaring a huge upset victory in that Pennsylvania election seen as a referendum on President Trump.” Introducing a report on the election results minutes later, fellow co-host George Stephanopoulos announced: “A lot of other breaking news, including that special election in Pennsylvania, a blow to President Trump.”
Correspondent Tom Llamas gushed: “The big highlight for Democrats, Lamb outperformed Hillary Clinton in Republican, Democratic, large and small precincts in the district.” Turning to the candidate himself, the reporter asked: “Do you think this is because people really like you or do you think they’re really upset with the President?”
Talking to former New Jersey Governor and ABC News political analyst Chris Christie in a later segment, Stephanopoulos was eager to predict doom for the GOP: “Got to get in on this special election in Pennsylvania, this is a blow to Republicans. Expect more resignations, retirements now in the House?”
In another report early in 8:00 a.m. ET hour, Llamas promoted: “Democrats may also use Lamb’s campaigning style as a blueprint for other areas where Trump did well but Democrats want to win in the midterms.” Unlike his NBC colleague Kasie Hunt, Llamas forgot to mention that Lamb promising not to vote for Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker was part of that blueprint.
“Democrats say that it’s a sign that the President’s low approval ratings are going to be a drag on his party come November,” exclaimed correspondent Nancy Cordes on CBS This Morning. “Especially because there are more than 100 GOP-controlled congressional districts that are more competitive than this one has been...in recent years,” the reporter added. Co-host Norah O’Donnell chimed in: “That’s a good point.”
Again, like GMA, there was no discussion of Lamb running against Pelosi, not Trump.
Not only did Lamb not attack the President, before and after the election he repeatedly told the press that the campaign had nothing to do with Trump. He even touted the President’s popularity in the district:
Given how far Lamb ran away from the Democratic Party in order to win the race, perhaps the liberal media should temper their celebrations.