This is now approaching the level of high comedy. Two the major broadcast networks that were so in the tank for the president when his name was Barack Obama have decided to play dumb in the era of Obama’s successor. Or maybe they’re not playing.
In their nightly broadcasts yesterday, ABC News and NBC News both chose not to report the story that broke mid-afternoon yesterday revealing that Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser, played a major role in the unmasking of members of the Trump team. CBS reported the story but slanted it in such a way as to excuse Rice’s actions and play down their seriousness.
Here’s CBS’s report in its entirety. The transcript follows:
SCOTT PELLEY: Margaret, we learned more today about the President’s allegation that he and his aides were caught up in Obama-era surveillance. What did you find out today?
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, Scott, as national security adviser to the president, Susan Rice could and did request the names of individuals who were picked up during legal surveillance of foreign nationals. Now, according to a former national security official, Trump associates were not the sole focus of Rice’s request, but they may have been revealed when she asked to understand why they were appearing in intelligence reports. However, Rice did not spread the information according to this former official, who insisted that there was nothing improper or political involved. [Emphasis added]
PELLEY: Margaret Brennan at the White House. Margaret, thank you.
The report is heavily slanted, but at least the network did due diligence in covering the story. As for ABC and NBC, their silence is puzzling. Whether they like it or not, this is a major news story. In the age of the internet and cable, the American public is going to learn about it one way or another.
Besides, “liking” the import of a news story should not be a news organization’s criterion for whether to report it. Surely, ABC and NBC learned that in Journalism 101.