The PBS NewsHour managed to find 23 seconds that ABC, CBS, and NBC couldn't find on Friday night...Another record high on Wall Street. They couldn't manage to add any context for Trump in their 11-minute-long Week in Review segment, as "conservative" David Brooks wisecracked the Democrats were killing it on impeachment: "If this were a football game, it would be 42 to 3."
Democrat presidential front-runner Joe Biden granted an interview to PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff for Friday night's program. The Trump campaign sent around an e-mail decrying "Two Big Lies" in the interview, one on the allegedly "stagnant" economy and the other on his ignorance of Hunter Biden's business dealings in Ukraine.
Liberal PBS NewsHour analyst Mark Shields sort of bumbled into the idea that the way voters prove they're not racist is by voting for Democrats. Many years ago, NBC's Bryant Gumbel announced they had a test to see "whether you're a racist or a liberal." Shields was discussing counties where voters picked Obama, but then switched to Trump. If -- and the if is what makes the bumble -- voters pick a Democrat over Trump, they "wouldn't be racists."
In the past couple of weeks, New York Times reporters Michael Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis have made TV appearances to promote their book Border Wars: Inside Trump's Assault on Immigration. In appearances on CNN and MSNBC, anchors have underlined revelations that President Trump suggested the extreme step of government agents shooting immigrants in the legs -- often leaving out the notion that it would be in response to immigrants throwing large rocks...and of course, often leaving out the word "illegal" to characterize the immigrants.
The anchors on PBS and NPR share the robotic talking point that there's "no evidence" that Joe or Hunter Biden "did anything wrong" in Ukraine. On Wednesday night, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo patiently answered fairly pointed questions from PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff, but he couldn't abide the Biden talking point, telling Woodruff she sounded like the Democratic National Committee.
On Tuesday night, PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff performed the latest in a decades-long parade of puffball interviews with Hillary Clinton, going all the way back to the 1992 campaign. The only way Hillary gets a negative question is when the anchor reads a Trump tweet. But that's only because the questioner believes everything Trump tweets just sounds preposterous.
Rush Limbaugh and conservative Twitter made a big deal on Thursday out of Rep. Adam Schiff wildly mischaracterizing President Trump's phone call with the president of Ukraine: "And I’m going to say this only seven times, so you better listen good. I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand? Lots of dirt, on this and on that." On NPR's All Things Considered, anchor Ari Shapiro interviewed Schiff for almost seven minutes, and never brought it up. Once again, so much for considering All Things. The PBS NewsHour was even worse.
It's always amusing when reporters insist that they're not "stenographers to power," but when you look at their interviews with Democrats, they often come across as stenographers -- extremely accomodating, and not at all challenging. Take for example, Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut in his interviews on the Ukrainian kerfuffle on Wednesday. None of his three national TV interviews seriously raised the idea that he or other Democratic senators pressed Ukraine in a similar way to President Trump to cooperate with their domestic political goals.
ABC could only devote 14 SECONDS to the latest unemployment news on Friday night. CBS and NBC skipped it entirely. All three networks reported the latest on actress Felicity Huffman's fate in the college-admissions scandal. ABC actually gave that 18 seconds in the promo at the top of the show (and then a two-minute report).
On Friday night's week in review on the PBS NewsHour, the taxpayer-funded network's dynamic duo of pundits upset the hardcore left by agreeing "the steam went out" of impeachment. But when it came to Joe Biden mangling the facts of a medal ceremony honoring a military hero, New York Times columnist David Brooks came rushing to Biden's defense, that unlike the president, he's not "mendacious" or "irresponsible" with the facts.
After Special Counsel Robert Mueller's underwhelming testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor declared that Mueller had raised the stakes in 2020. No longer is 2020 a contrast of visions between President Trump and whoever the Democratic nominee is, but, "it may also come down to [Trump] being a free man." Host Judy Woodruff agreed, "That's a good point Yamiche."
It was bad enough when liberals like Thomas Friedman reacted to Hillary Clinton losing the election by calling it a "moral 9/11," which in no way represented anything like a set of terrorist attacks that killed 3,000 and wounded more than 6,000. But on Friday night, PBS NewsHour analyst Mark Shields returned to the scene of that rhetorical excess in reaction to the Mueller report. The investigations into Russiagate must never end. We need a "new 9/11 Commission."