As NewsBusters has previously reported, ABC World News Tonight was the only network newscast to report on the latest developments in the scandal surrounding Democratic Congresswoman Katie Hill’s relationship with one of her staffers; which has led to a probe from the Congressional Ethics Committee. The scandal, to say the least, is weird. It involves threesomes (or “throuples”) and an alleged Nazi-era tattoo.
MSNBC on Thursday and Friday (as of this posting) ignored the news about Hill. While the other left-wing cable network, CNN, aired a report on the Hill scandal, anchor Brooke Baldwin and reporter Kyung Lah had a very hard time hiding their admiration for the freshman Congresswoman.
In that respect, CNN’s reporting on the Hill scandal had much in common with the ABC report; both were loaded with language that made it seem like the supposedly objective reporters were rooting for her. CNN host Brooke Baldwin made sure to refer to Hill as “one of the rising stars among the freshmen Democrats” and “part of that huge, you know, women wave...that really just won so many seats in the midterms in 2018” before asking reporter Kyung Lah “how shocking is this?”
As footage of a cheerful Lah interviewing Hill played in the background, Lah referred to Hill as “absolutely a rising star” and an “extraordinary person” who “really has a bright future ahead of her.” Lah remarked “this is something that was certainly unexpected, that for someone who has followed her for months...it certainly seems out of character.”
Fox News also aired a report on the developments in the Hill scandal during the 3:00 p.m. ET hour. Both reports mentioned that a nude photo of Hill was also published and neither report discussed the Daily Mail’s allegation that Hill has a “Nazi-era tattoo” of an iron cross but reporter Ellison Barber did mention that “we did see more allegations come out in the last hour but so far...the Fox News has not been able to independently verify any of those.”
It should definitely raise eyebrows that MSNBC, which all too happily covered a campaign finance scandal involving Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter, did not show the same interest on reporting on a scandal involving a Democrat. Maybe MSNBC’s silence on the matter can be explained by the fact that one of the network’s employees effectively campaigned for Hill on air last year.
MSNBC hosts used to be fascinated with Hill. This year alone, she appeared on MTP Daily with Chuck Todd (January 21), The 11th Hour with Brian Williams (February 5), Hardball with Chris Matthews (May 14), and All In with Chris Hayes (May 22). Suddenly, however, MSNBC journalists seem to have lost interest.
Last summer, while filling in for MTP Daily host Chuck Todd, MSNBC’s Chris Jansing promoted a website called “Swing Left,” designed to help “connect Democrats who live in…blue districts with nearby purple districts where they can make a difference and try to flip control of the House.” Jansing actually went to a canvassing event for Hill in California’s 25th Congressional District; where she spoke to volunteers working on behalf of the then-Congressional candidate. An excited Jansing celebrated the fact that Hill received a check for $164,297.14 during the course of her report.
While CNN’s on-air talent also came across as fangirls for Hill, at least they had the integrity to report on the scandal. It looks like when it comes to scandals involving Democrats, for MSNBC, silence is golden.
A transcript of the relevant portion of Thursday’s edition of CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin
BROOKE BALDWIN: She has been one of the rising stars among the freshmen Democrats. But now, California Congresswoman Katie Hill, Vice Chair of the powerful House Oversight Committee, is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee over allegations that she had an improper relationship with a Congressional staffer in possible violation of House rules. And that is just one of Hill’s personal entanglements that’s making news today. CNN’s Kyung Lah has more on this. And so, Kyung, first, just help us understand this House Ethics investigation and the Congresswoman’s response.
KYUNG LAH: Well, let’s start there because the House Ethics investigation is really stemming from an accusation that Hill had a relationship with one of her staffers in her Congressional office. There is no evidence of this relationship. Hill has denied it. And she says, you know, as far as the ethics probe, she welcomes it, she will fully cooperate. There’s a secondary relationship; a second relationship that Hill did address in a letter to supporters and this involves a worker on her campaign staff. In a letter to supporters, she writes “I became involved in a relationship with someone on my campaign. I know that even a consensual relationship with a subordinate is inappropriate, but I still allowed it to happen despite my better judgment. For that I apologize.” Now, she wrote this because a conservative blog posted an explicit photo of her and in response to that, she also addressed it in this letter. She adds “distributing intimate photos with the intent to publish them is a crime, and the perpetrator should be punished to the full extent of the law.” There it appears that she’s referring to, Brooke, California’s revenge porn law that does carry a fine of six months behind bars and that law is to try to prevent explicit photos from being distributed. Brooke.
BALDWIN: And if…if people don’t know Katie Hill’s name, she was part of that huge, you know, women wave that…that really just won so many seats in the midterms in 2018. And I know you followed her, you followed her campaign from the early days. So, just how shocking is this, Kyung?
LAH: She is a formidable fundraiser. She’s one of the youngest women to enter Congress, to be elected, first-time candidate. We followed her from candidate…from citizen to candidate to Congresswoman. This is somebody who is absolutely a rising star, who swung a purple district, who has been very comfortable about identifying as bisexual. So, an extraordinary person; really has a bright future ahead of her. This is something that was certainly unexpected that for someone who has followed her for months, it…it certainly seems out of character.
BALDWIN: We will follow it along with you, Kyung Lah, thank you very much, on Congresswoman Katie Hill.
A transcript of the relevant portion of Thursday’s edition of Fox News Reporting is below. Click “expand” to read more.
Fox News Reporting
MARTHA MACCALLUM: So, the House Ethics Committee is investigating a freshman Congresswoman after a report accused her of having an affair with one of her congressional staffers. That is not allowed under House rules put in place last year. The lawmaker under scrutiny is Democrat Katie Hill from California. She’s considered a rising star in the party. She denies the accusation but in doing so, admits that she had a previous relationship with a different campaign staffer. Ellison Barber, reporting live from our Washington newsroom on this very interesting story and lots of developments here. Hi, Ellison.
ELLISON BARBER: Yeah, hey, Martha. So, the House Ethics Committee says they have begun an investigation, will gather additional information regarding some of the allegations against Representative Katie Hill but they’re careful to say investigating the allegations does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred. The California Democrat denies having an affair with the congressional staffer. That is the allegation that triggered the ethics probe and if true, would violate House rules. She did, however, admit to having a relationship with a subordinate on her campaign. In a letter sent to constituents obtained by Fox News, Hill says this: “During the final tumultuous years of my abusive marriage, I became involved in a relationship with someone on my campaign. I know that even a consensual relationship with a subordinate is inappropriate, but I still allowed it to happen despite my better judgment. For that I apologize.” She went on to say “I am going through divorce from an abusive husband who seems determined to try to humiliate me. I am disgusted that my opponents would seek to exploit such a private matter for political gain. This coordinated effort to try to destroy me and the people close to me is despicable and will not succeed.” Hill says she is cooperating with the Ethics Committee and that she’s reached out to law enforcement. When these allegations were first published by a conservative blog, a nude photo of Hill was also published. Hill says that was a crime and that she has notified Capitol Police. We’ve tried to speak with Representative Hill the past couple of days. We know that she voted last night but our team has not been able to find her roaming the hill…the halls of Capitol Hill today. Martha.
MACCALLUM: Tough situation all around, to be sure. Is she getting any defenders among her colleagues on Capitol Hill here?
BARBER: She…she is and it’s not who you would expect. Republican Congressman and ardent Trump supporter Matt Gaetz is coming to her defense. In a tweet earlier today, the Florida Republican called the ethics investigation absurd, adding “Who among us would look perfect if every ex leaked every photo/text? Katie isn’t being investigated by Ethics or maligned because she hurt anyone – it is because she is different.” Hill identifies as bisexual. We have seen more allegations come out in the last hour or so but so far, Martha, Fox News has not been able to independently verify any of those. Martha.
MACCALLUM: Ellison, thank you very much.