NBC & CBS Dismiss Whistleblower Heads Up to Schiff, ABC Still Censors

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After NBC Nightly News was the only evening newscast on Wednesday to even acknowledge that the CIA whistleblower consulted with a staffer for House Democrat Adam Schiff before filing a formal complaint with the Intelligence Community Inspector General, on Thursday, NBC’s Today show and CBS This Morning worked to downplay the bombshell revelation. Meanwhile, ABC’s Good Morning America maintained the network’s silence.

Following a full report on the latest impeachment news, Today show co-host Savannah Guthrie asked White House correspondent Kristen Welker: “Kristen, we just saw Adam Schiff, who is the Democratic chair of the Intelligence Committee, and there’s questions this morning about what exactly he know about the whistleblower’s claims before that whistleblower report was actually filed. What’s the story there?”

 

 

Welker immediately went to work parroting denials of wrongdoing from Schiff and the whistleblower, as if such denials were some kind of objective fact check: “Well, here’s the latest on that, Savannah, a spokesperson for Adam Schiff tells NBC News, ‘At no point did the Committee review or receive the complaint in advance.’ An attorney for the whistleblower corroborates that.”

So the Democratic Congressman and the attorney for the whistleblower who had a “political bias” against Trump both agree that they did nothing wrong.

The reporter then further tried to downplay the story and even justify the move:

So what did happen? Well, the whistleblower did contact the committee for guidance on how to properly submit a complaint. Now, for perspective, that is something that past whistleblowers have done. According to The New York Times, the whistleblower had real concerns the complaint was at the risk being swept aside by the White House.

In total, Thursday’s Today show offered 44 seconds to the whistleblower contacting Schiff’s staff before filing the complaint.

On CBS This Morning, White House correspondent Paula Reid lamented that, during a Wednesday press conference, the President “seized on a New York Times report that the whistleblower met with a member of Congressman Adam Schiff’s staff days before the complaint was filed.” She emphasized that “The whistleblower’s attorney disputed the President’s characterization of the article...”

Later in the broadcast, co-host Tony Dokoupil repeated: “The President also targeted House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff after The New York Times reported a Schiff staffer had advance knowledge of the whistleblower’s accusations.” After a soundbite played of Trump calling it a “scandal,” Dokoupil was quick to portray the contact as routine: “CBS News spoke to a Democrat and a Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and they say it would have been standard practice for the Committee to tell a potential whistleblower to hire an attorney and file a complaint with an inspector general.” Of course that process doesn’t usually result in the partisan impeachment of the President of the United States.

The CBS This Morning coverage added up to 53 seconds of air time.

Missing from the paltry amount of reporting on the topic was any mention of the fact that Schiff himself lied in multiple media appearances about his office having any contact with the whistleblower. On Thursday, even MSNBC’s Morning Joe admitted that Schiff was “in some trouble” for his dishonesty.

Despite featuring a lengthy softball interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about the Democrats’ impeachment push, ABC’s Good Morning America could not find anytime to report on the whistleblower contacting Schiff’s staff.

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Here is a transcript of the brief October 2 coverage on NBC’s Today show:

7:11 AM ET

(...)

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Kristen, we just saw Adam Schiff, who is the Democratic chair of the Intelligence Committee, and there’s questions this morning about what exactly he know about the whistleblower’s claims before that whistleblower report was actually filed. What’s the story there?

KRISTEN WELKER: Well, here’s the latest on that, Savannah, a spokesperson for Adam Schiff tells NBC News, “At no point did the Committee review or receive the complaint in advance.” An attorney for the whistleblower corroborates that.

So what did happen? Well, the whistleblower did contact the committee for guidance on how to properly submit a complaint. Now, for perspective, that is something that past whistleblowers have done. According to The New York Times, the whistleblower had real concerns the complaint was at the risk being swept aside by the White House.

(...)

Here is transcript of the brief coverage on CBS This Morning:

7:15 AM ET

(...)

PAULA REID: But then [President Trump] seized on a New York Times report that the whistleblower met with a member of Congressman Adam Schiff’s staff days before the complaint was filed.

DONALD TRUMP: I’d go a step further. I think he probably helped write it.

REID: The whistleblower’s attorney disputed the President’s characterization of the article, writing, “We can absolutely confirm that the whistleblower drafted the complaint entirely on their own.”

(...)

8:04 AM ET

TONY DOKOUPIL: The President also targeted House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff after The New York Times reported a Schiff staffer had advance knowledge of the whistleblower’s accusations.

JOHN ROBERTS [FOX NEWS]: Your response to the fact that that happened and that Schiff may have learned some of what the whistleblower knew prior to the complaint being filed.  

DONALD TRUMP: I think it’s a scandal that he knew before.

DOKOUPIL: CBS News spoke to a Democrat and a Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and they say it would have been standard practice for the Committee to tell a potential whistleblower to hire an attorney and file a complaint with an inspector general.

(...)

NB Daily Congress Trump Impeachment Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats ABC Good Morning America CBS CBS This Morning NBC Today Video Tony Dokoupil Kristen Welker Donald Trump Adam Schiff

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