Double Standard: CNN Airs GOP Dirty Laundry But Cleans Up After Democrats

CNN's Early Start should have been re-named "DNC TV" on Tuesday. Anchors omitted almost every controversial detail about Democrats, showing no such love for Republicans.

While CNN reported charges against a former staffer for Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), the network spun scandals into positives for New York Democrats Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer with the headline "Scandals Help, Not Hurt." Then in its report on embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, CNN omitted his Democratic affiliation. Filner is also a former Democratic congressman, who currently faces accusations of sexual harassment.

"You know, it looks like high name recognition despite some scandals that's helping Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer in their comeback bids," co-host Don Lemon chirped of the two Democrats who fell from office amidst scandal. Spitzer was also a CNN prime-time host just two years ago, but Early Start didn't disclose that.

And reporting on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's threat to do away with the filibuster, CNN ignored that Reid howled against such proposals by Republicans when Senate Democrats were in the minority in 2005.

When the network noted that "Republicans have been stalling the confirmation process for months now" for President Obama's appointments to agency posts, CNN failed to note why.

President Obama made three appointments to the National Labor Relations Board while the Senate was technically still in session, "pro forma" session. Since the appointments were made without Senate confirmation while they were in session, a federal court ruled them unconstitutional. CNN made no mention of this.

And the network also highlighted liberal "Moral Monday" protests in North Carolina against the state's majority Republican state legislature. "So far, there have been more than 700 arrests. They say Republicans have cut unemployment benefits, health care for the poor, and just last week, approved strict new rules limiting abortions," reported co-host Pamela Brown.

CNN quoted a protester and a Democratic state senator bashing "backwards" Republicans, but got no quote from the GOP side. For a network that claims to be non-partisan, Tuesday's 5 a.m. ET news hour was anything but.

Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on July 16 on Early Start at 5:10 a.m. EDT:

[5:10]

PAMELA BROWN: Don, so far, no deal in the Senate to avoid the, quote, "nuclear option." That's a Democratic plan to end Republican filibusters of presidential nominees. Nearly all 100 senators attended a rare, private meeting late last night, but failed to come up with a deal. They will keep talking until the deadline later this morning. And then, after that, Democrats plan to change the rules to make appointing nominees a lot simpler.

(Video Clip)

Sen. HARRY REID (D-Nev), Majority Leader: The Constitution is very, very specific.

The Founding Fathers talked about supermajority. They mention presidential nominations. Majority. Majority. The Founding Fathers wanted an up or down vote. And that's basically what we've been crying for now for years.

(End Video Clip)

BROWN: Two cabinet member nominees and five appointees to agency posts come up for votes this is morning. Republicans have been stalling the confirmation process for months now.

LEMON: Charges this morning for a former staffer for Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Javier Sanchez is accused of stealing from a congressional office building. Police aren't saying what was taken, but the congresswoman's office says he no longer works there. At one point, Sanchez was Bachmann's legislative director.

(...)

[5:38]

LEMON: You know, it looks like high name recognition despite some scandals that's helping Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer in their comeback bids. In a Quinnipiac poll, Weiner, who resigned from Congress after exchanging sexually explicit messages with women online, leads the Democratic pack in the race to be New York's next mayor. And former New York Governor Spitzer, who resigned after soliciting prostitutes, leads the field to become the top financial officer in the city.

BROWN: Well, it was another "Moral Monday," North Carolina and thousands of protesters gathered in Raleigh upset with Republican lawmakers. Every week for the last three months, outraged demonstrators have rallied right outside North Carolina's Republican-dominated state house.

So far, there have been more than 700 arrests. They say Republicans have cut unemployment benefits, health care for the poor, and just last week, approved strict new rules limiting abortions.

(Video Clip)

GAYLE RUEDI, protester: It's just wrong. What they did with unemployment is wrong. What they did with Medicaid is wrong. What they're doing with abortion.

BEN CLARK, (D-N.C.) STATE SENATOR: There's tends to be a movement as we would call it, backwards.

(End Video Clip)

BROWN: Republicans in North Carolina control the governor's office and the state legislature for the first time in more than a century.

LEMON: San Diego's mayor is again insisting he won't resign despite growing calls for him to step down. Bob Filner faces accusations he sexually harassed women. And now, some of those women's stories are being told.

(Video Clip)

MARCO GONZALEZ, attorney for one of Filner's accusers: He puts his arm around their shoulder, pulls it in tighter around her neck. The woman believes that the mayor just wants to talk to her.

And he says things, "come on, you know you love me, just give me a kiss." Let's go up to my office, no one will know."

(End Video Clip)

LEMON: Attorneys for the women say it's become unsafe for any woman to be around the mayor. His former fiancee says she caught him texting other women sexually explicit messages. But Filner says he believes he will be vindicated once all the facts are known.
 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014