ABC Hides Sexual Assault Allegations Against Northam’s Possible Replacement

As the blackface/KKK scandal consumed Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, the party was calling for him to resign and to let “rising star” Justin Fairfax, the lieutenant governor, take over. But the young Democrat had his own problem in the form of a new sexual assault allegation. Despite the Monday accusations being seen by some serious and credible, that evening’s ABC World News Tonight ignored them while hawking Fairfax’s ascension. And NBC downplayed the allegations by adopting Fairfax’s terms.

Fairfax was only mentioned once in the ABC report by correspondent Tom Llamas. “And if he ultimately takes their advice, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax is next in line,” he noted. Llamas then played a soundbite of Fairfax talking about how Northam had to “make the decision that's in the best interest for the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

Both Spanish-language networks Telemundo and Univision appeared to have grown bored with the Virginia scandals altogether because not only did they ignore the Fairfax accusations, but they didn’t mention Northam at all. Instead, they chose to chastise President Trump’s upcoming State of the Union address.

Meanwhile, on NBC Nightly News, reporter Geoff Bennett downplayed the allegations by adopting Fairfax’s claim that they were “uncorroborated”. “Does anybody think it's any coincidence that on the eve of potentially my being elevated, that that's when this uncorroborated smear comes out? [SCREEN WIPE] It's uncorroborated because it's not true,” Fairfax said in a soundbite shared by Bennett.

 

 

Bennett failed to mention that Fairfax admitted to having a sexual encounter with the accuser, albeit an alleged consensual one.

The media should be cautious when it comes to reporting those kinds of serious allegations, but NBC threw that to the wind with their smears against Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

When it came to the allegations from accuser Julie Swetnick, NBC aired an interview with her despite knowing beforehand that her accusations were dubious at best. Swetnick and her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, had been referred to the FBI for lying to Congress by the Senate.

In sharp contrast, CBS Evening News and political correspondent Ed O’Keefe reported on the accusations without discrediting them and while allowing Fairfax to proclaim his innocence. “The woman says the incident took place in Fairfax's hotel room. Today, he denied assaulting her and said it was a consensual encounter,” O’Keefe reported.

The Lieutenant Governor today stoked speculation it was the Governor's team that had leaked the allegations, but a spokeswoman for the Governor tells us that's ‘absolutely untrue’. Fairfax has not explicitly called for the Governor's resignation, but he hasn't spoken to Northam in more than 48 hours,” O’Keefe concluded.

The squabbling between the Northam and Fairfax factions was a new and important detail in this jaw-dropping saga, but CBS was the only network broadcaster to mention it.

The transcripts are below, click "expand" to read:

CBS Evening News
February 4, 2019
6:33:52 p.m. Eastern

(…)

ED O’KEEFE: If he does resign, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax would take over, but he too is facing controversy. The same website that exposed Northam's yearbook is reporting an allegation that Fairfax sexually assaulted a woman at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. The woman says the incident took place in Fairfax's hotel room. Today, he denied assaulting her and said it was a consensual encounter.

JUSTIN FAIRFAX: Does anybody think it's any coincidence that on the eve of potentially my being elevated that that's when this uncorroborated smear comes out? Does any believe that's a coincidence?

[Cuts back to live]

O’KEEFE: The Lieutenant Governor today stoked speculation it was the Governor's team that had leaked the allegations, but a spokeswoman for the Governor tells us that's “absolutely untrue”. Fairfax has not explicitly called for the Governor's resignation, but he hasn't spoken to Northam in more than 48 hours.

(…)

NBC Nightly News
February 4, 2019
7:02:58 p.m. Eastern

(…)

GEOFF BENNETT: The governor telling his staff today he “needs more time” to plan a path forward and “doesn't want to be branded as a racist”, according to one source. This comes amid further chaos at the capitol. With new troubles for Northam's would-be successor, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax. After an uncorroborated sexual assault accusation against him emerged, dating back to the Democratic National Convention in 2004.

JUSTIN FAIRFAX: Does anybody think it's any coincidence that on the eve of potentially my being elevated, that that's when this uncorroborated smear comes out? [Transition] It's uncorroborated because it's not true.

(…)

NBDaily Bias by Omission Double Standards Labeling Political Groups Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Political Scandals Sex Scandals Race Issues Racism Broadcast Television ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Foreign/Non-English Media Hispanic Media Telemundo Univision Video Ed O'Keefe Tom Llamas Ralph Northam Justin Fairfax

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