NBC became the first network to move on from the scandal involving Democratic Senator Robert Menendez (N.J.) on Thursday as NBC Nightly News made zero mention of the story and that entered a plea of not guilty in a Newark, New Jersey federal courtroom. As fellow networks ABC and CBS, ABC’s World News Tonight aired a one-minute-and-25-second segment on Menendez while the CBS Evening News devoted a 19-second news brief to his not guilty plea. However, between the two reports, Menendez was labeled a Democrat only twice.
In a stark departure from the usual routine, the networks on Wednesday night and Thursday morning repeatedly identified scandal-plagued Senator Robert Menendez as a Democrat, mentioning his affiliation nine times in just six stories. NBC spotlighted Menendez's party four times. ABC highlighted it three times and CBS twice.
While all three of the major broadcast networks covered the indictment of Democratic Senator Robert Menendez (N.J.) on Wednesday night, the CBS Evening News chose to largely downplay the news by spending just 22 seconds on the story and hailed Menendez as someone “who often seems to relish a fight.” Additionally, the “big three” of ABC, CBS, and NBC all made sure to mention that Menendez is a Democrat, but stopped there and declined to label him a liberal or progressive.
NBC and ABC barely covered the possible corruption case against Democratic Senator Robert Menendez on their Friday evening newscasts. Together, the two networks set aside 49 seconds of air time to news briefs on Senator Menendez being "the subject of a corruption investigation over jet trips he took on the private plane of a Florida eye doctor," as Lester Holt put it on NBC Nightly News.
Daily Kos founder and publisher Markos Moulitsas is exultant that we are “finally moving on” from the embargo “despite the wailing and teeth gnashing of the [Marco] Rubios and [Bob] Menendezes of the world, and the new generation of Cuban Americans is leading the way.”
On Wednesday's All In show, MSNBC's Chris Hayes ended the show with a commentary appealing to 16 Senate Democrats who are joining with Republicans to push more sanctions on Iran, as the MSNBC host blamed the pro-Israel group AIPAC for influencing these Democrats, and accused the Senators of being "intent on sabotaging the President's peace talks and pushing us towards another war."
As he listed out a number of public figures who oppose the Obama administration's deal with Iran, Hayes also framed skeptics of the deal as being "apoplectic at the thought of peace."
Before a commercial break, Hayes complained:
On MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes show, host Hayes tagged opponents of President Obama's deal with Iran over its nuclear program as "extreme" and "nefarious' even while acknowledging that the opposition is bipartisan. Hayes began the segment:
As of Thursday morning, CBS's morning and evening newscasts have yet to mention a revelation made by their own investigative correspondent, Sharyl Attkisson, on Tuesday – that Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress "he will not honor the request to make Benghazi survivors available for questioning."
Wednesday's CBS Evening News aired a full report on the State Department's slow progress in upgrading security at U.S. diplomatic posts in the aftermath of the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack, but failed to mention Kerry's refusal. Margaret Brennan also let the Obama administration and Senator Robert Menendez hint that congressional Republicans were to blame for not appropriating the $2.2 billion needed for the security upgrades. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
One of the worst things a reviewer can say about a television program is that "it has potential,” which usually means the show's not utilizing much of it. That situation was played out on Monday, when the Cable News Network brought back “Crossfire,” a conservative-liberal debate program that had been in television limbo for eight years.
Despite a newsworthy discussion topic -- the fate of Syria, where chemical weapons may have been used by the government on rebels -- and two well-known hosts, GOP former House speaker Newt Gingrich and Stephanie Cutter, deputy manager of President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, critics were not impressed by the first edition of the 30-minute weeknight series.
NPR's David Welna stacked his Thursday report on Morning Edition full of liberal politicians and activists who support granting citizenship to illegal immigrants. Welna aired sound bites from a representative of the left-wing SEIU, three Democratic politicians, and a woman who has illegal immigrant family members. He only included one clip from a Republican – Senator John McCain, who has long been a supporter of "comprehensive" immigration reform.
The correspondent also spent much of the segment spotlighting a recent Capitol Hill demonstration in favor of a so-called path to citizenship, where many of his liberal talking heads spoke.
The New York Times is engaging in defense of scandal-plagued Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, accused of influence peddling in his suspicious relationship with Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen, who flew Menendez to the Dominican Republic on his private plane. Menendez intervened on Melgen's behalf in two Medicare disputes.
Last Sunday the paper very strangely chided a conservative group, the National Legal and Policy Center, for its part in exposing the Menendez scandal (even though the Times itself collaborated with the group, using its data to write its February 1 front-page story on the Menendez accusations). As if to make up for helping put the story (somewhat) into the mainstream press, the front of Thursday's edition featured a sympathetic profile of Menendez by reporters Raymond Hernandez and Sam Dolnick, "Amid Questions About Ethics, Battle-Tested Senator Digs In." The Times gave more space to supporters who suggest the whole thing is a smear job.
All too often when reporters are discussing Democrats caught in scandals, they develop a peculiar speech impediment that prevents them from uttering the "D" word. However, when members of the GOP stumble, the word "Republican" cascades out of the mouths of reporters.
When news broke on February 15 that former Democratic Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. was charged with improperly spending campaign funds on (among other items) Michael Jackson and Bruce Lee memorabilia, the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) network anchors and reporters struggled to get their lips to form the word "Democrat." In 15 total stories on Jackson, reporters failed to utter the "D" word in 11 of them (73 percent). On the February 21 CBS This Morning Jackson was labeled a Democrat, but only in an on-screen graphic.