The former Mayor of Nashville, Tennessee Megan Barry was arraigned Tuesday on charges of felony theft for using taxpayer funds to support her affair with her bodyguard. It was one of the big stories of the day with all three of the evening network news broadcasts giving it airtime. The only problem was with NBC Nightly News not reporting Barry’s Democratic Party affiliation. Between anchor Lester Holt and correspondent Kerry Sanders, neither of them mentioned the “(D)” at the end of Barry’s name.
“In Nashville tonight, a bitter public farewell from the city's now-former mayor after an extramarital affair with her bodyguard led to a swift fall from grace,” announced Holt in his lead-in. “Megan Barry resigning from office hours after pleading guilty in court to theft of property, accused of taking city funds.”
Sanders began his report by noting that Barry was “smiling for her mug shot.” And he seemed a bit shocked about the “sudden and dramatic fall for the once popular mayor.” “[Barry was] now facing multiple investigations after admitting last month to a two-year affair with her police bodyguard Robert Forrest,” he added, then noting they were both married.
After going through a timeline of Barry’s affair and the things both she and Forrest spent taxpayer funds on, Sanders appeared to make an attempt at getting viewers to sympathize with her by noting the death of her son last summer. “Barry already coming off a difficult year, her 22-year-old son max dying of an overdose of drugs, including opioids last July. Talking to NBC just ten days after his death,” he said before playing a clip of her interview.
Even though Sanders wrapped up his report by stating that “Megan Barry leaves office in disgrace,” not once in the two minute-seven seconds-long segment was Barry’s Democratic Party ID mentioned. When former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens was forced to resign after the details of his own affair and sick cover-up were exposed NBC Nightly News made sure to mention he was a Republican.
“Now to the scandal swirling around a GOP rising star. The governor of Missouri, a former Navy S.E.A.L., admitting he cheated on his wife, but he's denying explosive allegations that he threatened to blackmail the other woman,” announced Holt back on January 11.
In sharp contrast, both of NBC’s network competitors reported Barry’s political persuasion. “Megan Barry was a rising star in the Democratic Party,” anchor Jeff Glor stated on CBS Evening News, note the similarity in language used to what Holt said just two short months ago. Meanwhile, reporter Steve Osunsami was on ABC’s World News Tonight saying: “Sergeant Forrest resigned five weeks ago when the popular Democratic mayor was forced to publicly admit to their affair.”
It’s just another example of a liberal news outlet defending the Democratic Party brand from blemishes.
Transcript below, click expand to read:
NBC Nightly News
March 6, 2018
7:09:39 PM Eastern [2 minutes 7 seconds]
LESTER HOLT: In Nashville tonight, a bitter public farewell from the city's now-former mayor after an extramarital affair with her bodyguard led to a swift fall from grace. Megan Barry resigning from office hours after pleading guilty in court to theft of property, accused of taking city funds. Our Kerry Sanders is in Nashville and has details.
[Cuts to video]
KERRY SANDERS: Tonight the now former mayor of Nashville smiling for her mug shot.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Guilty or not guilty?
MEGAN BARRY: Guilty.
SANDERS: Megan Barry pleading guilty to a felony theft charge, then resigning her office.
BARRY: Well, my time today as your mayor concludes.
SANDERS: A sudden and dramatic fall for the once popular mayor now facing multiple investigations after admitting last month to a two-year affair with her police bodyguard Robert Forrest. Both are married. Back then, Barry insisting she had done nothing illegal.
BARRY: And I am embarrassed, and I am sad, and I am so sorry. [flash] I know that God will forgive mow but that Nashville doesn't have to.
SANDERS: But then came evidence of nude photos taken on her bodyguard's work phone while on duty. Investigators say the pair took ten taxpayer-funded trips by themselves. Including a conference in Greece, staying an extra three night.
In a two-year period, according to the National Tennessean, Forrest earning more overtime pay than the other four officers on her security detail combined. Barry already coming off a difficult year, her 22-year-old son max dying of an overdose of drugs, including opioids last July. Talking to NBC just ten days after his death.
BARRY: This hole that I have in my heart will never be filled.
[Cuts back to live]
SANDERS: Tonight, Nashville's vice mayor has been sworn in as music city's newest mayor. Meantime, Barry has paid $11,000 in restitution and will serve three years probation on the theft charges, a once popular politician here, Megan Barry leaves office in disgrace. Lester.
HOLT: Kerry Sanders in Nashville tonight, thank you.