CBS, NBC Highlight Release of Infamous Intelligence Leaker Chelsea Manning

Buried among the louder news stories of Wednesday evening was the release of the United States’ most infamous intelligence leaker, Army Private Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning). “Manning was released from a military prison in Kansas today. The transgender soldier served seven years of a 35-year sentence for giving government secrets to WikiLeaks,” touted Anchor Scott Pelley in a news brief during CBS Evening News. “Manning posted [on Instagram] a picture of her feet with the caption, "First steps of freedom."

On NBC Nightly News, Anchor Lester Holt had his own news brief, where reported that: 

After serving seven years of a 35-year prison sentence, Army Private Chelsea Manning walked free from the Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas early this morning. Manning was convicted in one of the largest intelligence leaks in U.S. history after handing nearly 750,000 military files and cables to WikiLeaks. Manning, who is transgender, was known as Bradley Manning before she transitioned in prison. Former President Obama commuted her sentence as one of his final acts in office.

When Manning’s commuted sentence was first announced on January 17, 2017, the nets praised her release. Pelley declared that “The Obama presidency is ending on a note of forgiveness.” And at the time, NBC’s Cynthia McFadden hyped Manning’s theft of sensitive government secrets, saying it had “all the makings of a spy thriller.”

Their championing of Manning was completely hypocritical because they chastised Trump just two days prior for talking to Russia about an ISIS threat. During the opening tease of Monday’s CBS Evening News, Pelley speculated saying: “Loose lips at the White House? Did the President reveal highly classified information to the Russians in the Oval Office?”

Holt kicked off NBC Nightly News on Monday with: “We begin tonight with multiple reports saying President Trump disclosed closely guarded classified information about ISIS to Russia’s foreign minister during a White House meeting last week potentially jeopardizing a valuable source of intel about ISIS.”

They’ve also hammered WikiLeaks claiming that the organization sunk their candidate’s bid to be the president of the United State. On May 2, both CBS and NBC helped prop-up Hillary Clinton’s flimsy claims that WikiLeaks and the Russians were behind she failed campaign. “In a Q&A on a New York staging, Clinton described a victory derailed by outside forces,” hyped CBS’s, Nancy Cordes.

They typically like to mention Trump’s support for WikiLeaks during the campaign whenever they’re talking about it being an arm of Russian intelligence. But this time (nor on January 17) there was no such connection made between WikiLeaks and Russian spies.

Clearly, the only time CBS and NBC are up in arms over highly classified information being leaked is when it can be used damage President, or is being used to hurt Hillary Clinton. They labeled Trump’s comment in the Oval Office a “bombshell” while touting the release of a person who leaked “nearly 750,000 military files.” 

Transcripts below:

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CBS Evening News
May 17, 2017
6:54:28 PM Eastern

SCOTT PELLEY: Army Private Chelsea Manning was released from a military prison in Kansas today. The transgender soldier served seven years of a 35-year sentence for giving government secrets to WikiLeaks. President Obama commuted Manning's sentence before leaving office. Manning posted a picture of her feet with the caption, "First steps of freedom."

...

NBC Nightly News
May 17, 2017
7:21:45 PM Eastern

LESTER HOLT: After serving seven years of a 35-year prison sentence, Army Private Chelsea Manning walked free from the Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas early this morning. Manning was convicted in one of the largest intelligence leaks in U.S. history after handing nearly 750,000 military files and cables to WikiLeaks. Manning, who is transgender, was known as Bradley Manning before she transitioned in prison. Former President Obama commuted her sentence as one of his final acts in office.

Nicholas Fondacaro
Nicholas Fondacaro
Nicholas C. Fondacaro