Moving on from His Controversies, ABC and CBS Tout 'Bloomberg's Surge'

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Seemingly finished with reporting Tuesday on the alleged racism and sexism controversies of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, ABC’s World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News took to touting his rise in the polls and subsequent qualification for the Democratic debate in Nevada. It had CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell marveling at how Bloomberg's “surge” in the polls puts him in “second place” nationally and “puts him over the top” to get on the stage.

“He's not competing in Nevada, but Bloomberg will be on the debate state here against five rivals who’ve been debating for months,” CBS correspondent Nikole Killion noted at the top of her report. She later added: “Bloomberg has spent $415 million of his own money on ads, and it's paying off. In the super Tuesday state of Virginia, has now tied for the lead with Bernie Sanders.”

Killion also highlighted an extremely vague warning from of damaging dirt the Bloomberg campaign supposedly had on Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT):

On Twitter, Bloomberg's campaign manager warned today, “the opposition research against the democratic socialist is damaging, perhaps even disqualifying.” [BACK LIVE] Tonight the Bloomberg campaign isn't saying what information it has that could be disqualifying and the Sanders campaign isn't commenting, although aides have privately expressed concern that Bloomberg could be their most formidable opponent.

There was no mention of Bloomberg’s stop and frisk policy, accusations of sexism at his company, nor his condescending dismissal of the plight of American farmers.

 

 

Over on ABC, anchor David Muir and correspondent Eva Pilgrim ignored those controversies as well. But Muir seemed eager to talk about “the race for 2020 tonight, and former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, rising in the polls. He will be on the debate stage for the first time this week.”

After Muir hyped Bloomberg’s “promise” to distance himself from his company if he was elected, Pilgrim replied:

We are just learning Bloomberg's campaign saying that if he is elected president, he will immediately put his company into a blind trust and then sell it. He knows his wealth will be an issue on the debate stage tomorrow night and they are trying to get ahead of it.

But shortly after President Trump was elected, ABC decried Trump’s plan to turn his business over to his adult children in a bid to combat a perception of a conflict of interest. ABC later admitted, “There is no law that specifically requires the president to give up his business or put it in a blind trust.” ABC (and CBS) still have yet to report on air how Bloomberg had directed his news company not to investigate him and other Democratic candidates.

While ABC and CBS were talking about how other Democratic candidates were blasting Bloomberg’s multi-million-dollar ad campaign, NBC Nightly News (via White House correspondent Kristen Welker) reported on how they were also attacking his “controversial past NYPD police tactic of stop and frisk for which he recently apologized.”

Welker shared soundbites of Sanders and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg hitting Bloomberg for his “racist” policy. She also shared the results of a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll that had Trump at 47 percent, a record high for that particular poll.

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

ABC’s World News Tonight
February 18, 2020
6:39:54 p.m. Eastern

DAVID MUIR: And next, to the race for 2020 tonight, and former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, rising in the polls. He will be on the debate stage for the first time this week. The other candidates preparing to take aim. They have said he's trying to buy the presidency. We do have breaking developments tonight in this: what Bloomberg is now promising to do if elected. ABC's Eva Pilgrim on the campaign trail in Nevada tonight.

[Cuts to video]

EVA PILGRIM: 24 hours before Michael Bloomberg takes the debate stage for the first time in this race, Bernie Sanders sounds ready to rumble.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): Here is the message: anybody here worth $60 billion, you can run for president! And you can buy the airwaves! My friends, that is called oligarchy, not democracy.

PILGRIM: Bloomberg's campaign manager says the Democratic primary is now a two-man race. The billionaire, former New York mayor versus the self-described democratic socialist Senator. That doesn't sit well with Pete Buttigieg, who came out of Iowa and New Hampshire riding high.

PETE BUTTIGIEG: We're asking people to choose between a revolution and the billionaire who thinks you can just buy your way onto television and win that way.

PILGRIM: Later, I pressed the former South Bend mayor.

Do you think he's buying the race or do you think he's just trying to beat Donald Trump?

BUTTIGIEG: No, he's definitely trying to buy the race. But here's the thing: it's not that simple. You have to actually be willing to look voters in the eye, to take questions. At some point, you've got to be ready to be challenged.

PILGRIM: Bloomberg's rivals making it clear that tomorrow night, the gloves come off.

(…)

PILGRIM: Elizabeth Warren tweeting: "At least now primary voters curious about how each candidate will take on Donald Trump can get a live demonstration of how we take on an egomaniac billionaire."

[Cuts back to live]

MUIR: Eva on the campaign trail for us. She’s in Las Vegas tonight. And Eva, Michael Bloomberg hasn't been on the debate stage since 2009. We’ve been told he's prepping with his team. But you also learned some breaking news just before we came on the air tonight about a new promise from Bloomberg, should he get elected?

PILGRIM: That's right, David. We are just learning Bloomberg's campaign saying that if he is elected president, he will immediately put his company into a blind trust and then sell it. He knows his wealth will be an issue on the debate stage tomorrow night and they are trying to get ahead of it. David?

MUIR: All right, Eva pilgrim with us again tonight. Eva, thank you.

 

CBS Evening News
February 18, 2020
6:35:01 p.m. Eastern

NORAH O’DONNELL: A new candidate is set to make his debut on the presidential debate stage. Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s latest showing in a national poll has him in second place behind Senator Bernie Sanders. Now, that puts him over the top, qualifying him the meet rivals head-on at tomorrow's Democratic debate in Nevada. Nikole Killion has more on Bloomberg's surge.

[Cuts to video]

NIKOLE KILLION: He's not competing in Nevada, but Bloomberg will be on the debate state here against five rivals who’ve been debating for months. Bloomberg hasn't debated since he ran for a third term as New York City's mayor in 2009.

(…)

KILLION: He's been away from the campaign trail preparing for the attacks he'll likely face from the other candidates.

(…)

KILLION: Elizabeth Warren lost her voice but made sure it was heard on Twitter, posting, "The debate will give voters eager to defeat President Trump a live demonstration of how we each take on an egomaniac billionaire."

(…)

KILLION: Bloomberg has spent $415 million of his own money on ads, and it's paying off. In the super Tuesday state of Virginia, has now tied for the lead with Bernie Sanders.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): Anybody here worth $60 billion, you can run for president, and you can buy the airwaves. [Transition] My friends, that is called oligarchy, not democracy.

KILLION: Sanders, the one to beat here in Nevada, has been engaged in a tit-for-tat the battle with Bloomberg. On Twitter, Bloomberg's campaign manager warned today, “the opposition research against the democratic socialist is damaging, perhaps even disqualifying.”

[Cuts back to live]

Tonight the Bloomberg campaign isn't saying what information it has that could be disqualifying and the Sanders campaign isn't commenting, although aides have privately expressed concern that Bloomberg could be their most formidable opponent. Norah?

O’DONNELL: All right, Nikole, thank you.

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Debates Bias by Omission Double Standards Political Groups Liberals & Democrats Political Scandals Race Issues Racism Sexuality Sexism Broadcast Television ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Video David Muir Norah O'Donnell Eva Pilgrim Michael Bloomberg

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