Nets Minimize Filner Scandal Coverage, Won't ID Him As A Democrat

ABC and CBS both failed to point out San Diego Mayor Bob Filner's Democratic party affiliation on their Wednesday morning newscasts. Good Morning America devoted just one 17-second news brief to the ongoing Filner scandal. CBS This Morning didn't do much better, with two news briefs on the former congressman. NBC's Today didn't set aside any air time to the controversy.

The NBC morning show did one-up its Big Three competitors in identifying Anthony Weiner as a Democrat. Stephanie Gosk underlined the "Democratic drums are beating loudly for Anthony Weiner to step out of race for New York mayor", and noted the scandal-plagued politician's fourth-place standing among "likely Democratic primary voters". CBS This Morning and GMA merely labeled Weiner a "former congressman".

During GMA's sole news brief on Filner at the top of the 8 am Eastern hour, ABC news anchor Josh Elliott reported that "an eighth woman has come forward to accuse San Diego's mayor of sexual harassment, claiming that Mayor Bob Filner kissed her after a business meeting. Filner refuses to resign, and has requested that the city pay his legal bills. Last night, the city council said no."

An hour earlier, the morning show led with the latest on the Weiner scandal. Correspondent Linsey Davis stopped short of giving the mayoral candidate's party ID during her report. The closest that Davis came is when she spotlighted how Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, is "expected to take an extended vacation from her job with Hillary Clinton."

On CBS This Morning, anchor Gayle King summarized a local media outlet's reporting on the latest woman to accuse Mayor Filner of sexual harassment: "The San Diego Union-Tribune says the city is suing its own mayor, Bob Filner, and the city council voted to make Filner pay for his own legal bills, as he fights a sexual harassment suit. Eight women now accuse Filner of unwanted sexual advances. Filner has apologized for his behavior, but says he did not harass anyone."

Forty-eight minutes later, co-anchor Charlie Rose gave an extended news brief on the San Diego mayor, and included a soundbite from the latest accuser. Rose did point out that "the latest to come forward is Lisa Curtain, an official at San Diego City College. She says her encounter with Filner happened two years ago when he was a congressman." But like Elliott and King, the CBS host failed to include Filner's political affiliation.

The CBS morning show also aired a full report on the Weiner scandal six minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour of the morning show. Correspondent Elaine Quijano outlined that in the past week, "the former congressman [Weiner] has seen his campaign manager step down, and his one-time lead in the polls disappear", but never mentioned that the candidate is running as a Democrat.

King recapped the latest details in the New York City scandal an hour later during a news brief. An on-screen graphic gave Weiner's party ID for three seconds, but the CBS anchor didn't explicitly mention it.

The transcripts of Gayle King's news brief on Anthony Weiner from Wednesday's CBS This Morning:


GAYLE KING: Anthony Weiner says people who want him to quit his campaign for mayor do not know New York. That's part of a new video on his website. And Weiner is sending that same message in person to the voters.

[CBS News Graphic: "Sexting Scandal: Weiner: 'Quit Isn't The Way We Roll In NYC'"]

ANTHONY WEINER, (D), MAYORAL CANDIDATE (from campaign event): I violated the trust of my wife. I did that. That was wrong; that was wrong. And people have every right in the world to say that it disqualifies me. But I'm not going to quit based on that.

Do you see what's going on here today? If you become mayor of the city of New York, you've got to put up with this every single day. People saying to you, you know what? You did something we don't like – cameras in your face. Change your mind – back down – quit. That's not the kind of mayor I'm going to be. Sir, I say to you, with all due respect, if you don't like to vote for me, do not vote for me, but don't deny these people the right to vote for me if they want to. (audience applauds)

KING: Weiner is facing pressure to drop out, after admitting sexting with more woman since he resigned from Congress back in 2011.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center