Priorities: NBC Still Silent on Menendez Bribery, Hypes Cruz Twitter ‘Like’

What’s more important? A staff member for a Republican senator apparently “liking” a pornographic tweet or a Democratic senator on trial for bribery and corruption, facing possible resignation and years in prison? If you answered with the first option, then you might work for NBC News. 

Despite the fact that it started on September 6, NBC STILL hasn’t covered the bribery trial of Senator Bob Menendez. Yet, NBC’s Today show devoted two stories on Wednesday to someone on Ted Cruz’s staff liking an explicit tweet. Which has more impact on the nation? 

 

 

NBC journalist Peter Alexander made sure to highlight Cruz’s traditional stances in an effort to portray him as a hypocrite: “This morning, family values firebrand Ted Cruz is trying to explain why his official Twitter account liked a two-minute pornographic video from Sexuall [sic] Posts.” 

Highlighting his ideology, Alexander underlined, “The conservative Texas Senator saying there were a number of people on his team who have access to his account.” 

Yet, the same four-hour-long program offered nothing on Menendez. In fact, NBC hasn’t mentioned the scandal-plagued Menendez at all since January 15, 2017. And that wasn’t even about the corruption charges. 

It’s not as though the Democrat’s story is free of similar titillating details. ABC’s Mary Bruce at Good Morning America on Wednesday noted the salacious details: 

Well, at times this case sounds a lit more like an episode of Scandal. Bribery charges, mistresses and alleged abuse of power and at the heart of it all a U.S. senator on trial for federal corruption. This morning, these women find themselves caught up in bribery charges against a sitting U.S. senator. Federal prosecutors allege New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez helped these women obtain visas to the U.S. as a political favor for their boyfriend, the senator's married friend and wealthy donor, Dr. Salomon Melgen. Just one of the favors Menendez allegedly did for the doctor in exchange for expensive hotel stays, flights on private jets and hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. 

ABC also deserves congratulations for objectivity on this point: Not only did the network cover the story, GMA journalists mentioned twice that Menendez is a Democrat. However, Wednesday’s report was the first for the network on the corruption case.

CBS This Morning covered the bribery accusations on the morning of September 6, the day the trial started. But since then, network reporters avoided it. (This includes skipping dramatic moments like the judge telling Menendez’s lawyers to “shut up.”) 

On Wednesday, however, CBS This Morning’s Norah O’Donnell recounted the Cruz story: “Ted Cruz blaming a staffing issue for his Twitter feed liking an explicit porn video.” 

Clearly, NBC and CBS have priorities. They include staffers “liking” an inappropriate tweet, but not a federal bribery scandal enveloping a Democratic senator. 

[The bias on NBC’s Today was brought to you by National rental cars, Mattress Warehouse and movie Kingsman: The Golden Circle.]

A transcript of ABC’s Menendez segment is below: 

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GMA
9/13/17
7:34:53 to 7:36:41

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to move on and get the latest in the corruption trial of Democratic Senator Bob Menendez. Two women who were mistresses of Menendez's friend took the stand to describe how the New Jersey Senator helped them get visas. Our congressional correspondent Mary Bruce is on Capitol Hill with the details. Good morning, Mary. 

MARY BRUCE: Good morning, George. Well, at times this case sounds a lit more like an episode of Scandal. Bribery charges, mistresses and alleged abuse of power and at the heart of it all a U.S. senator on trial for federal corruption. This morning, these women find themselves caught up in bribery charges against a sitting U.S. senator. Federal prosecutors allege New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez helped these women obtain visas to the U.S. as a political favor for their boyfriend, the senator's married friend and wealthy donor, Dr. Salomon Melgen. Just one of the favors Menendez allegedly did for the doctor in exchange for expensive hotel stays, flights on private jets and hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. Menendez arrived at federal court last week to cheers. 

SENATOR BOB MENENDEZ: I started my public career fighting corruption. That's how I started. And have always acted in accordance with the law and I believe when all of the facts are known, I’ll be vindicated. 

BRUCE: On the witness stand one of the women reportedly testified when her visa to the U.S. Was initially denied, her boyfriend, Dr. Melgen, told her he was going to fix it by talking to the senator. E-mails were counted in the indictment reveal the senator later told one of his aides, “call ambassador ASAP.” If convicted, Menendez could face decades in prison. Now his defense attorneys insist none of this was part of a bribe and they say he did not improper. They say the senator, it's customary for him to help out with Visa applications. George? 


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