CBS Notices Harry Reid's Kids' Cancer Research Gaffe; ABC, NBC Out to Lunch

Nancy Cordes stood out on Wednesday's CBS Evening News for pointing out Senator Harry Reid's eyebrow-raising "why would I want to do that" answer to a question about approving funding for cancer research for children. Meanwhile, on NBC Nightly News, John Yang hyped how "200 patients a week...including about 30 children" had been turned away from "last-resort medical treatment" due to the government shutdown, without mentioning Reid's gaffe.

Jim Avila also ballyhooed the detrimental effects of the shutdown on World News, and used man-on-the-street interviews to hint that Tea Party Republicans were mainly to blame for the issue. But the ABC evening newscast also ignored the Senate majority leader's remark. Hours later, none of the Big Three's morning shows mentioned Senator Reid's misstep during their reporting about the shutdown. [MP3 audio from Cordes' Wednesday report available here; video below the jump]

Cordes' Wednesday report differed little from her earlier biased reporting, which placed the blame for the shutdown on the congressional GOP. During his introduction to the segment, anchor Scott Pelley contended that "the shutdown, as you know, is the result of Republican attempts to roll back ObamaCare. But House Republicans appeared to be having second thoughts today, and they began passing bills to fund parts of the government, despite threats of a presidential veto."

The correspondent continued that "House Republicans moved to fund national parks and the National Institutes of Health, after the nation saw stories about sick children shut out of cancer trials, and veterans blocked from the World War II Memorial." Moments later, she played a clip of her slanted question to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor during a press conference:

NANCY CORDES: Why are you pushing for monuments to be opened instead of – say, Head Start preschools for low-income children? Isn't it all important?

REP. ERIC CANTOR, (R), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: That is coming as well, okay? We are going to take every issue that is out there that we have agreement on, and put it on the floor. And we will pass the funding bills to go to the Senate.

Cordes ended her report with her reference to Reid's gaffe, but only after playing a soundbite from a Democratic representative bemoaning the shutdown:

REP. JOYCE BEATTY, (D), OHIO (from speech on House of Representatives floor): It's like asking a large family – for the parents to pick three children to feed, and let the others starve before their eyes.

CORDES (live): Senate Democrats say the only funding they'll agree to, is a bill that funds the full government – no strings attached. In fact, Scott, today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was asked if he would be open to funding cancer research for kids only. And his response was, 'Why would I do that?'


The CBS correspondent failed to mention the Nevada Democrat's answer during her report on Thursday's CBS This Morning. She again played the soundbite of her left-leaning question, but unlike her earlier reports, she included a clip of a hardball question that she asked Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski: "Why not put some of your constituents back to work? Isn't that better than nothing?"

[Update, Thursday, 4:40 pm Eastern: the full transcripts of the relevant reports from ABC, CBS, and NBC's evening newscasts on Wednesday are available at MRC.org.]

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