On FNC, Steve Hayes Chides CNN’s Candy Crowley for Considering Harry Reid ‘Honorable’

“Harry Reid is disgrace. But you expect this from Harry Reid,” The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes zinged on FNC’s Special Report Friday night before turning his ire on a certain Washington, DC-based anchor for CNN for advancing Reid’s baseless allegation that Mitt Romney didn’t pay any income tax for ten years.

“The disappointing cohort in this, to me, is journalists,” Hayes contended as he recalled how “I saw another network anchor ask a Romney supporter about this accusation, saying Harry Reid is a really honorable man.”

Hayes excoriated the unnamed journalist for telling the guest, as Hayes paraphrased, “there’s one way to settle this question and that’s for Mitt Romney to put his taxes out.” Hayes scolded: “That is exactly what that kind of a baseless, absurd charge is going to bring about and he’s having to answer questions about it all day. It’s ridiculous.”
 

Audio: MP3 clip

Hayes’ recollection matches what occurred on CNN’s The Situation Room a little after 5:30 PM EDT where fill-in anchor Candy Crowley, a CNN veteran who hosts its Sunday morning State of the Union, cut off guest John Sununu when he dared cite Reid’s “smarmy land deals.” She jumped in:

Before we turn this into a Harry Reid bashing, let me just say we don’t know. He says -- he’s an honorable man, he says that he was told by someone at Bain that Mitt Romney did not pay taxes.

Just as Hayes relayed, Crowley told Sununu: “There’s a way to fix this,” suggesting: Romney reward Reid’s scurrilous charge: “If you want to talk about the economy, wouldn’t the conversation about Mitt Romney’s tax returns go away if he just put them out there?”

From CNN’s The Situation Room at about 5:35 PM EDT on August 3:

JOHN SUNUNU: ...Coming from Harry Reid, that the Investor’s Business Daily had a nice little article today talking about Los Angeles Times and other Nevada papers exposes on him pocketing a million dollars on a smarmy land deal and the problems with his kids with lobbying in Washington when he was Majority Leader.

CANDY CROWLEY: Before we turn this into a Harry Reid bashing, let me just say we don’t know. He says -- he’s an honorable man, he says that he was told by someone at Bain that Mitt Romney did not pay taxes. Now, we’ve heard Mitt Romney, an honorable man, say I did pay taxes. But, Governor, there’s a way to fix this.

SUNUNU: Yeah. I know. Harry Reid probably heard it from the mirror when he was shaving.

CROWLEY: Nonetheless, do you wish this conversation would go away? If you want to talk about the economy, wouldn’t the conversation about Mitt Romney’s tax returns go away if he just put them out there?

During the roundtable on FNC’s Special Report:

STEVE HAYES: Harry Reid is disgrace. But you expect this from Harry Reid, right? He does this kind of thing. He’s a politician. That’s what you expect from politicians. The disappointing cohort in this, to me, is journalists. I mean I was watching another network earlier today and I saw -- I know. I was. Every once in a while-

SHANNON BREAM, ANCHOR: Doing some research.

HAYES: My satellite was out, I couldn’t get Fox. But I saw another network anchor ask a Romney supporter about this accusation, saying Harry Reid is a really honorable man. You should answer this. ‘And by the way, there’s one way to settle this question and that’s for Mitt Romney to put his taxes out.’ That is exactly what that kind of a baseless, absurd charge is going to bring about and he’s having to answer questions about it all day. It’s ridiculous.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center