NBC Ignores ‘Democratic Mega-Donor’ Arrested After Drug Deaths

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While CBS This Morning and ABC’s Good Morning America both devoted full reports on Monday to the arrest of prominent Democratic donor Ed Buck on drug charges following two recent overdose deaths at his Los Angeles home, NBC’s Today show was remarkably silent on the major political news.  

“Breaking overnight, a leading Democratic Party donor is accused of running a drug house where two men died. Why prosecutors in Los Angeles call him a dangerous sexual predator,” co-host Tony Dokoupil announced at the top of CBS This Morning. Introducing the story minutes later, fellow co-host Anthony Mason repeated: “A prominent Democratic donor is accused of running a drug den out of his southern California home.” Mason added: “Buck is well-known in Democratic Party circles and has donated to Hillary Clinton and other high-profile candidates.”

 

 

Correspondent Nikki Battiste reported: “We do know Buck is charged with a felony count of providing methamphetamine to a 37-year-old man who then overdosed. Prosecutors call Buck a violent, dangerous sexual predator who mainly preys on men made vulnerable by addiction and homelessness.”

She noted that the “Democratic mega-donor” was “charged with injecting drugs into a man” and that “police have eyed the powerful political insider for more than two years.” Battiste explained: “In January, angry crowds gathered outside Buck’s apartment after 55-year-old Timothy Dean was found dead of an overdose....In July, 2017, 26-year-old Gemmel Moore died there in similar circumstances.”

Ironically, back on January 8, NBC Nightly News was the only network evening newscast to cover those protests outside Buck’s apartment.

On Monday, Battiste offered more details: “In court filings, prosecutors say Buck used the bait of ‘narcotics, money, and shelter’ to lure victims to his home, where, ‘in a position of power, Buck manipulates his victims into participating in his sexual fetishes.’” She again highlighted his political connections: “Buck is an LGBTQ activist who has donated tens of thousands of dollars to high-profile Democratic candidates, Including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.”

“Now to a big arrest overnight. A major Democratic donor, Ed Buck, is in custody this morning, charged with operating a drug house and linked to the deaths of two men at his home,” Good Morning America co-host Michael Strahan informed viewers. Reporter Matt Gutman declared: “In the space of just a few months, Ed Buck went from being Democratic Party darling to accused predator, with the L.A.D.A. saying that he lured men struggling with homelessness and addiction to this apartment with the promise of drugs, money, and shelter.”

While describing how Buck was “trying to duck photographers” during his overnight arrest, Gutman followed up by observing: “But he’s been highly visible as a Democratic donor, giving more than $100,000 to the party over the years and hosting fundraisers for Hillary Clinton, former Governor Jerry Brown and Congressman Ted Lieu.”

Just imagine if a prominent financial backer of President Trump was arrested for similar crimes, it’s hard to believe that NBC would skip the story, especially when both of its network competitors were covering the crime.

Here is a full transcript of the September 18 report on CBS This Morning:

7:11 AM ET

ANTHONY MASON: A prominent Democratic donor is accused of running a drug den out of his southern California home. Ed Buck is behind bars after his arrest overnight. Two men have died in his West Hollywood home from apparent overdoses since 2017. A third man survived an overdose last week. Buck is well-known in Democratic Party circles and has donated to Hillary Clinton and other high-profile candidates. Nikki Battiste is following the case. Nikki, what more do we know?

NIKKI BATTISTE: Anthony, good morning. We do know Buck is charged with a felony count of providing methamphetamine to a 37-year-old man who then overdosed. Prosecutors call Buck a violent, dangerous sexual predator who mainly preys on men made vulnerable by addiction and homelessness.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Democratic Donor Arrested; Prosecutors Call Ed Buck a “Violent, Dangerous Sexual Predator”]

Democratic mega-donor Ed Buck left his Los Angeles home overnight in the back of a police car. The 65-year-old is charged with injecting drugs into a man, but police have eyed the powerful political insider for more than two years.

HUSSAIN TURK [VICTIM’S ATTORNEY]: It’s unfortunate that it’s taken a third overdose for the L.A. Sheriff’s Department to finally act. We believe that, that third overdose could have been avoided.

BATTISTE: In January, angry crowds gathered outside Buck’s apartment after 55-year-old Timothy Dean was found dead of an overdose.

PROTESTERS [CHANTING]: Arrest him now! Arrest him now!

BATTISTE: In July, 2017, 26-year-old Gemmel Moore died there in similar circumstances.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN [PROTESTER]: I’m not okay with people dying in his house and people like coming over here and dying.

BATTISTE: In court filings, prosecutors say Buck used the bait of “narcotics, money, and shelter” to lure victims to his home, where, “in a position of power, Buck manipulates his victims into participating in his sexual fetishes.” Buck is an LGBTQ activist who has donated tens of thousands of dollars to high-profile Democratic candidates, Including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster.

SEYMOUR AMSTER: This is not a situation where Mr. Buck has caused the death. This is a situation where Mr. Buck has had longtime friends who unfortunately do not handle their life well.

BATTISTE: Police say they never had sufficient evidence to arrest Buck in the previous overdoses. Prosecutors are recommending bail to be set at $4 million. If convicted of supplying meth, Buck could face a maximum sentence of nearly six months in prison.

GAYLE KING: Very disturbing story. Thank you very much, Nikki.

Here is a full transcript of the report on ABC’s GMA:

7:11 AM ET

MICHAEL STRAHAN: Now to a big arrest overnight. A major Democratic donor, Ed Buck, is in custody this morning, charged with operating a drug house and linked to the deaths of two men at his home. Our chief national correspondent Matt Gutman is in the West Hollywood – is in West Hollywood with the latest. Good morning to you, Matt.

MATT GUTMAN: Hey, good morning, Michael. In the space of just a few months, Ed Buck went from being Democratic Party darling to accused predator, with the L.A.D.A. saying that he lured men struggling with homelessness and addiction to this apartment with the promise of drugs, money, and shelter. But for two of those men, it ended in death, and the L.A.D.A. says that for others, in near-fatal overdoses.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Major Democratic Donor Arrested; Linked to Deaths of Two Men in His Apartment]

Overnight, prominent Democratic donor and LGBTQ political activist Ed Buck arrested after a third man was allegedly overdosed at his West Hollywood home. Buck, seen here being led out of his Hollywood apartment and placed in the back of a police SUV, trying to duck photographers. But he’s been highly visible as a Democratic donor, giving more than $100,000 to the party over the years and hosting fundraisers for Hillary Clinton, former Governor Jerry Brown and Congressman Ted Lieu.

This morning, Buck is charged with battery, operating a drug house, and providing Methamphetamine to a 37-year-old man who survived an overdose after investigators say Buck injected him with the drug. But according to prosecutors, two other men weren’t as lucky.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN [PROTESTER]: We’re gonna be out here every night!

GUTMAN: Earlier this year, anger and protest after police say they found the body of 55-year-old Timothy Dean inside Buck’s home, the same location where officials say 26-year-old Gemmel Moore died of a drug overdose back in July 2017. Buck was not charged in either man’s death and he denied any wrongdoing in both incidents.

JASMYNE CANNICK [POLITICAL CONSULTANT AND RALLY ORGANIZER]: I don’t care if he was in his 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s or older, he was a black man, and he died of an overdose in Ed Buck’s house.

GUTMAN: Now, the L.A.D.A. saying that Buck personally injected his victims with Meth. The family of one of the victims, Gemmel Moore, wondered in a statement why it took several overdoses and two deaths to finally take action. Now, we reached out to Buck’s attorney, so far, no response. If he is convicted of these charges, he faces over five years in prison and his bail, Michael, or Robin, set at $4 million. Robin?

ROBIN ROBERTS: Yeah, many people watching this, Matt. Thank you very much.

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