NBC Nighly News to the Left of Morning Joe in Latest on Clinton Scandal

Early Wednesday morning, Nicholas Fondacaro at NewsBusters noted how the NBC Nightly News spent Tuesday evening defending Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation in the wake of an Associated Press report showing that "At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs." Wednesday evening, Fondacaro observed that Wednesday's Nightly News "failed to mention the scandal at all."

Contrary to usual past form, the broadcast network's Nightly News treatment seems to be running far to the left of its weak cable sister MSNBC in the name of keeping damning information about Mrs. Clinton's activities away from low-information voters.

On Wednesday's Morning Joe, by contrast, every panelist in the video segment presented below was either shocked, disgusted, dismayed, or asking, "What was she thinking?"

Host Joe Scarborough and panelists Willie Geist, Mike Barnicle, and Nicole Wallace all weighed in. Even insufferable lefty lapdog Sam Stein couldn't come up with anything to say in defense:

Transcript (link added by me; bolds are mine):

WILLIE GEIST: The USA Today editorial board even weighed in, writing in part, "the only way to eliminate the odor surrounding the foundation is to wind it down and put it in mothballs, starting today, and transfer its important charitable work to another large American charity such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation." That's from the USA Today.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, it's, the numbers are staggering. I don’t know what else to say, how else to put it. It is so — I want to be careful with what I say here, but I don't think I can. It’s just so crass.


SCARBOROUGH: I just, I, I, I saw the numbers. I saw the AP report, and I just sat there and I’m like, "Are you kidding me?"

WALLACE: I looked twice to make sure it was written by the AP, because these allegations have been around for a long time.


WALLACE: Clinton Cash was a book about this very sort of topic and it didn't’t get much traction in the mainstream media because it was written by someone entrenched in the conservative media establishment. But the AP, sort of the most impeachable journalism source.

MIKE BARNICLE: If she were running against a more credible opponent, this would perhaps be almost a death knell because rather than get to corruption at first, it gets to judgment.

WALLACE: Right.BARNICLE: What were they thinking? Both Clintons. What were they thinking while she was Secretary of State

to continue this? And it it does show it was about access to a certain extent, to a large extent. They knew, obviously, that she was going to be running for president at some point.

WALLACE: Of course.

BARNICLE: What were they thinking?

WALLACE: Yeah, and it gets to what we were talking about Maureen Dowd before the show, what she's written about for years, just this sort of feeling that Clintonism includes an ideology and mindset that the rules don’t apply to them.

SCARBOROUGH: Rules don’t apply to them and they always, Willie, make things tougher for themselves than they need to. Just think about this, you know, in the past Hillary Clinton blamed vast right wing conspiracies for going after her. Think about who her main opponents have been this year. The people that have been hammering her the most. The New York Times.

WALLACE: Bernie Sanders.

SCARBOROUGH: New York Times. Bernie Sanders. Ron Fournier, a Democrat who is, I mean, I don’t know if he’s an independent, but long admired the Clintons and voted for them. And now we have the Associated Press, who called this number like, and again, this means nothing in the blogging age, I suppose. But for the Associated Press to write in a news story this term — that it was “an extraordinary proportion" — shows you just how out of skew this was. I just, it really was breathtaking when I, when I read this story.

GEIST: Hillary Clinton knew she was going to run for president from the minute she lost in 2008. So, she had some ample time to prepare to position herself to run. That presumably would have included not having a private server put into her home to open herself up to that and not taking these donations to the Clinton Foundation.

SCARBOROUGH: And having half of everybody that gets in to see you that’s not in government, like having to give to the Clinton Foundation first. And I said it yesterday to James Carville in the back of the board, it’s also giving speeches to state universities — that you represented! That you represented as a senator for $250,000!

SAM STEIN: There is a lot of poor judgments here. (Panel laughs.) If you go through the list there's a lot of poor judgments.

No kidding, Sam.

Note that what AP found confirms what was already in a published book which was largely ignored because it came from icky "conservative media." So AP gets to portray itself as heroic because it and other media outlets wouldn't follow the roadmap laid out in Clinton Cash and decided to find all of this corruption on their own (and if they didn't get to it in time on their own ... "oh well, we tried")? Spare me.

Before anyone starts handing out Pulitzers to the Associated Press, let's also remember that the wire service originally requested the information involved three years ago, and at the time likely thought that what it had requested was routine, non-controversial, and, if anything, would work in Hillary Clinton's favor. Its beat reporters have spent the better part of the past 12 months alternately ridiculing and ignoring Hillary Clinton's Democratic primary opponent (who should have gone after her more strongly himself) and especially his supporters, who argued strenuously that Mrs. Clinton has been corrupt to the core.

Once Clinton and the State Department stonewalled the wire service's FOIA request, the AP had no practical choice other than to pursue the matter in court, partially because it would have been embarrassing to pull back after having made a public request, and partially because other legitimate watchdogs like Judicial Watch and a few lesser media outlets had their own FOIA requests in a gigantic backlog State had created which might have surfaced what AP has reported. Thank goodness there's still a little competition in the news and information business. We should enjoy it while we still have it.

As to MSNBC, yes, it's nice to see that its Morning Joe panelists understand the degree of corruption which has been exposed. The cable network's hundreds of thousands of viewers are being better served than usual. Too bad the over 9 million viewers who tune into the Nightly News aren't. This strategy of isolating negative news about Hillary Clinton to its weak cable news network is great for NBC parent Comcast if it naively believes that it would somehow be better off during a Hillary Clinton administration.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

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