ABC’s WNT Hypes Hillary Playing Race Card Against GOP; ‘Talk in Coded Racial Language’

The Tuesday edition of ABC’s World News Tonight played the role of spin doctor for the Hillary Clinton campaign as it stood out from the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News by prominently touting Clinton attacking Republicans as being racist in their opposition to President Obama and most recently his desire to place the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Further, ABC saw it fit to play up Clinton battling a severe cough as a sign of “how grueling this campaign” has become after similarly fretting about the 2016 election’s “grueling pace” for Clinton back on January 25. 

Prior to Clinton correspondent Cecilia Vega’s piece, anchor David Muir noted the latest polling data from Nevada between Clinton and socialist Bernie Sanders before adding that Clinton “launch[ed] an assault on Republicans in defending President Obama, arguing race has played a role in their battles with the President.”

Right from the start, the tired liberal tactic of smearing Republicans as racist was front and center as Vega reported that Clinton spent Tuesday “implying racism is behind the threat to block President Obama's Supreme Court nomination.”

Vega then aired an extensive soundbite from Clinton using one recycled liberal talking point after another that you’d expect to find on the airwaves of MSNBC and liberal online/print outlets: 

Some are even saying he doesn't have the right to nominate anyone as if somehow he's not the real President. You know, that's in keeping what we've heard all along, isn't it? Many Republicans talk in coded racial language about takers and losers. They demonize President Obama and encourage the ugliest impulses of the paranoid fringe. This kind of hatred and bigotry has no place in our politics or our country.

After highlighting one of Clinton’s many swipes at Sanders over his civil rights credentials as the pair court the backing of African-American voters, Vega alluded to the fact that Clinton’s speech in Harlem, New York was “nearly derailed by a coughing fit that went on more than four minutes.” 

The subject of Clinton’s health returned near the end of the two-minute-and-28-second segment when Vega invoked it while discussing with Muir how the Clinton campaign is increasingly nervous about Saturday’s Nevada caucuses: 

Well, it says she's feeling the pressure there. In fact, she is heading back to Nevada. You can hear how grueling this campaign is in her voice. Her campaign is telling me they’re bracing for an extremely tight race in Nevada, David. They say it all comes down to turnout. We'll see on Saturday. 

The transcript of the segment from ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir on February 15 can be found below.

ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir
February 16, 2016
6:38 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Race for 2016; Fighting for Every Vote]

DAVID MUIR: Meanwhile, to the Democrats tonight, and their battle for the South, and in particular, the fight for black and Latino voters. New numbers tonight showing Hillary Clinton 18 points ahead of Sanders in South Carolina. It's believed to be much closer in Nevada and just a short time ago, Hillary Clinton, launching an assault on Republicans in defending President Obama, arguing race has played a role in their battles with the President. ABC's Cecilia Vega with what Clinton just said. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Race for 2016; Battle for the South; New Polls: Trump & Clinton Leading in S.C.]

CECILIA VEGA: Hillary Clinton today implying racism is behind the threat to block President Obama's Supreme Court nomination. 

HILLARY CLINTON: Some are even saying he doesn't have the right to nominate anyone as if somehow he's not the real President. You know, that's in keeping what we've heard all along, isn't it? Many Republicans talk in coded racial language about takers and losers. They demonize President Obama and encourage the ugliest impulses of the paranoid fringe. This kind of hatred and bigotry has no place in our politics or our country. 

VEGA: Clinton and Bernie Sanders with their eye on the same prize — the African-American vote. 

CLINTON: You can't just show up at election time and say the right things and think that's enough. 

VEGA: But her speech nearly derailed by a coughing fit that went on more than four minutes. 

CLINTON: Too much to say. 

VEGA: Sanders today attending a prayer breakfast in South Carolina. 

INDEPENDENT SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (Vt.): If we didn't dream, does anybody here think that we'd have an African-American as President of the United States today? 

VEGA: And a day earlier in Michigan, where they're struggling with that water crisis in Flint, Sanders with another appeal to black voters. 

SANDERS: Well, if we can rebuild villages in Iraq and Afghanistan, we can damn well rebuild Flint, Michigan. 

MUIR: A real battle between Sanders and Clinton. Cecilia with me now and you saw the new poll in South Carolina, but you're covering this campaign. Hillary Clinton has spent a lot of time in Nevada. What does this tell you? 

VEGA: Well, it says she's feeling the pressure there. In fact, she is heading back to Nevada. You can hear how grueling this campaign is in her voice. Her campaign is telling me they’re bracing for an extremely tight race in Nevada, David. They say it all comes down to turnout. We'll see on Saturday. 

MUIR: Alright, Cecilia, with us tonight, thanks, as always. 

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center