All three major networks ran full-length stories on their Saturday morning shows on the sex scandals involving San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. However, none of the networks directly identified either politician as a Democrat.
ABC’s Saturday edition of Good Morning America ran separate stories on each of the two men. Their two-and-a-half minute package on Filner made no mention of the mayor’s party affiliation, while the two-and-a-half minute story on Weiner merely hinted that the former congressman was a Democrat. There was a sound bite halfway through the story in which an angry female New Yorker exclaimed, “I’m suggesting wholeheartedly he ought to withdraw, and I am a Democrat.” Yet nobody from ABC ever referred to Weiner as a Democrat.
On Saturday’s Today show, NBC ran two stories that each combined the Filner and Weiner scandals. Michelle Franzen, who presented both stories, played up the East coast/West coast angle, using phrases such as “both of these politicians on opposite coasts” and “[t]wo embattled politicians on two different coasts.” But she never directly identified either man as a Democrat.
Franzen did drop a couple of hints about Mayor Filner’s party affiliation. In the first story, she referred to “pressure from the Democratic community to resign.” Later, she proclaimed that, “A county Democratic committee is urging him to quit.” But again, she never explicitly labeled Filner as a Democrat. As for Weiner, Franzen referred three times to the “primary race” for mayor, but she left it up to viewers to figure out which party’s primary she was talking about.
CBS This Morning: Saturday ran one story on Mayor Filner in which they failed to identify him as a Democrat or even hint at his party label. They did not report any news on former Congressman Weiner.
All in all, the three major networks appear reluctant to identify Filner and Weiner as Democrats, and the reason seems clear. All of these Saturday morning stories portrayed the two men in an unfavorable light, and in the liberal media’s world, unfavorable light must shine primarily on Republicans and conservatives. In addition, the networks have spent so much time pushing the so-called Republican “war on women” that they undoubtedly can’t bear to admit that two Democratic politicians have mistreated women. Weiner’s and Filner’s misdeeds simply don’t fit the narrative of Democrats as the party that cares about women.
Below are transcripts of all of the stories:
LESTER HOLT: San Diego's mayor will soon enter intensive therapy after admitting he needs help just two days after several more women came forward claiming he sexually harassed them. While here on the east coast, former congressman Anthony Weiner continues to defend himself from the sexting scandal as he faces new calls to drop out of the New York City mayoral race. Michelle Franzen is here with all that for us. Michelle, good morning.
MICHELLE FRANZEN: Well, good morning. It has been a week of apologies for both of these politicians on opposite coasts. But saying I'm sorry hasn't made the accusations of wrongdoing go away. In San Diego, Bob Filner is accused by at least seven former female employees and colleagues of sexual harassment. Now when those allegations surfaced two weeks ago, the 70-year-old apologized for being disrespectful and said he was innocent. Yesterday though, after pressure from the Democratic community to resign, Filner quickly announced he would begin a two-week intensive therapy program to take responsibility for what he described as inexcusable conduct. But Filner is not resigning, instead saying he plans to run the city's business by listening to daily briefings. Now back here in New York, a new sexting scandal involving Anthony Weiner is taking its toll on the mayoral candidate in the polls. Now in June, Weiner was leading the primary race. Now, since that scandal broke and despite Weiner’s apologies and the support of his wife, Huma, his numbers seem to be in free fall. And the chorus for Weiner to drop out of the race is growing louder each day with voters confronting him at campaign events, and women's groups and lawmakers also calling for him to drop out of that primary race. Now the timing of this scandal, this latest scandal is one of the main factors. Weiner, who was forced to resign from Congress in 2011, admitted to sending these latest texts after he left office. There is just over a month left of this campaign and the question remains whether voters are willing to give him another chance? Lester? Erica?
HOLT: We want to turn now to that sex scandal, two of them actually, that are rocking both coasts this morning from San Diego's mayor's admission that he needs help to Anthony Weiner's refusal to drop out of the New York City mayor race. Michelle Franzen is following it all for us. Michelle, good morning.
MICHELLE FRANZEN: Good morning, Lester. Both men are caught up in their own scandals and allegations and even though each has apologized publicly, those accusations of wrongdoing and the fallout are not going away. Two embattled politicians on two different coasts. In San Diego, appearing contrite and apologetic for what he called inexcusable conduct, that city’s mayor, Bob Filner, says he'll be spending two weeks undergoing intensive therapy.
BOB FILNER: I must take responsibility for my conduct by taking action so that such conduct does not ever happen again.
FRANZEN: The mayor, accused by former female employees and colleagues, including a retired navy rear admiral, of sexual harassment. Two weeks ago, he said he was innocent. A county Democratic committee is urging him to quit, but so far, Filner is refusing to resign. Meanwhile in New York, mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner toured areas hit by Superstorm Sandy on Friday trying to stay on message and stay in the race amid his latest sexting scandal.
ANTHONY WEINER: It's very difficult to get my message out here, but I'm going to keep trying.
FRANZEN: Difficult when the media, along with some voters, are questioning his actions.
WOMAN: Had I conducted myself in the manner in which you conducted yours, my job would have been gone.
WEINER: In the privacy of your home?
WOMAN: In the privacy of my home.
FRANZEN: Weiner has been in free fall since the fallout of a new sexting scandal after he resigned from Congress in 2011 for the same behavior. A recent poll showed Weiner leading the race in June. But the front-runner has now fallen well behind despite the vocal support of his wife Huma.
DR. LEE MIRINGOFF: He’s dug a hole that’s very deep in his comeback bid that he may not be able to recover from.
FRANZEN: Several women’s groups are demanding he drop out. And lawmakers, including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, are echoing calls for both men, in two different cities, to step aside.
NANCY PELOSI: The conduct is reprehensible. It is so disrespectful of women. And what's really stunning about it is they don't even realize it.
FRANZEN: There is just over a month left in the primary race for mayor here in New York, and Weiner is vowing to stay in the race. Lester?
CBS This Morning: Saturday
VANITA NAIR: San Diego mayor Bob Filner says he will undergo therapy following allegations that he sexually harassed women. Filner has apologized for his behavior, but as John Blackstone reports, that's as far as the mayor will go to address the issue.
BOB FILNER: Let me be absolutely clear. The behavior I have engaged in over many years is wrong.
JOHN BLACKSTONE: Despite calls for his resignation, when San Diego mayor Bob Filner stepped up to the podium, he did not step down. Instead, he asked for forgiveness and announced he'll enter a counseling clinic next month for two weeks of intensive therapy.
FILNER: I apologize to my staff. I apologize to the citizens and staff members who have supported me over many years. I apologize to the people of San Diego. And most of all, I apologize to the women that I have offended.
BLACKSTONE: The mayor's mea culpa comes after a scandal and lawsuit that have rocked the nation's eighth largest city, with seven women accusing the mayor of sexual misconduct.
REPORTER: Is there any validity to what they said?
BLACKSTONE: Four of his accusers came forward on a local television station including a dean at San Diego State University and a retired navy rear admiral.
RONNE FROMAN: And he stopped me and he got very close to me and he ran his finger up my cheek like this and he whispered to me, do you have a man in your life?
LAURA FINK: It's a humiliating incident and it's unfortunate that it happened and it's one of the reasons I'm speaking out today.
BLACKSTONE: Laura Fink worked for Filner when he was a congressman in 2005. She says he inappropriately touched her at a campaign dinner.
FINK: He then told me to turn around, which I did, not knowing what was to come next. And he patted me on the rear and laughed and said, no, it's still there.
BLACKSTONE: For Fink, the mayor’s apology is not enough.
FINK: He doesn’t seem to understand the gravity of the situation that he is in and that he has put the city of San Diego in.
BLACKSTONE: The San Diego city attorney has ordered that the mayor can't be alone with women in any city building, and the mayor’s attorney has agreed to that order. For CBS This Morning: Saturday, John Blackstone, Los Angeles.
DAN HARRIS: And now to a true political circus here in New York City. There was a moment when Anthony Weiner's improbable campaign for mayor seemed to be taking flight. That moment, however, has now passed. Take a look at the cover of The New Yorker magazine, reacting to fresh revelations in Weiner's ongoing sexting scandal. Meanwhile, out on the campaign trail, it is getting truly dicey. And ABC’s Susan Saulny spent the day following the candidate. Susan, good morning to you.
SUSAN SAULNY: Good morning, Dan. That's right. The campaign I've seen up close so far has been more about spectacle than substance.
ANTHONY WEINER: Let me finish my thought.
SAULNY: Anthony Weiner, facing a wrath of voters on Friday.
PEG BRUNDA: Had I conducted myself in the manner in which you conducted yours, my job would have been gone.
SAULNY: After losing control of his message at a campaign stop.
BRUNDA: I don't quite understand how you would feel you would have the moral authority as the head administrator in this city.
SAULNY: The embattled New York mayoral candidate had hoped to talk about Hurricane Sandy relief. But he was overwhelmed with questions about his escalating sexting scandal.
WEINER: Things that I did were wrong.
SAULNY: Two of only a few voters who turned up at the event say Weiner should drop out of the race.
BRUNDA: I’m suggesting wholeheartedly he ought to withdraw, and I am a Democrat.
HEATHER COLLINS: He’s degrading women, and I wouldn't vote for him, either.
SAULNY: Overnight, this New Yorker magazine cover hit newsstands, further mocking the former congressman. His poll numbers plummeting now, erasing an early lead. And begging the question how long can he survive? Weiner admitted he can't say how many sexually explicit messages and photos are out there. Three women have already come forward. On Thursday, the woman on the receiving end of the latest dirty tweets, Sydney Leathers, shown here in photos posted by TMZ, went public, exposing Carlos Danger, Weiner's online alter ego.
SYDNEY LEATHERS: He was making these campaign promises that he had totally changed. And he was a better man now and he learned from his mistakes. And I am proof that that is not true.
SAULNY: Now, Weiner is reduced to playing defense.
WEINER: I’m going to have to hope that sooner or later we get back to talking about issues that people care about.
SAULNY: This morning, Weiner's uphill battle continues to captivate and, more often, disturb. And if we look at another cover, this one from The Daily News, where Eliot Spitzer, who has his own problems, calls Weiner a bad husband, you know this race has become a circus.
DAN HARRIS: We're going to start here this half-hour, though, with the allegedly rather handsy mayor of San Diego, who is in a profound political mess right now. Seventy percent of his constituents want him to go. The cops have set up a hotline for alleged new victims of his sexual harassment. And yet, the mayor is holding fast.
BIANA GOLODRYGA: You see video, he did hold a news conference yesterday, saying he's going into, quote, “intensive therapy.” The question this morning, is that enough? ABC's Linzie Janis is on the story.
LINZIE JANIS: And guys, another bizarre twist in this scandal this morning. The city attorney said it took several days to find the mayor in order to serve him with a subpoena, in relation to a case filed by one of his alleged victims. San Diego mayor Bob Filner is giving himself a second chance, whether people like it or not.
BOB FILNER: I will be entering a behavior consulting – counseling clinic, to undergo two weeks of intensive therapy.
JANIS: He's refusing to resign, despite seven women coming forward with accusations of sexual harassment. One of them speaking to ABC News.
LAURA FINK: A guest at the table made a joke and said she worked her behind off for you. And he then told me to turn around. He then patted me on the behind and proceeded to laugh.
JANIS: When the scandal erupted two weeks ago, the mayor reacted immediately to allegations by issuing an apology on YouTube. But then, a day later, said he was innocent of sexual harassment. Since then, his alleged victims have come forward with more details.
WOMAN: He would come in and try and kiss me on the lips and I'd have to squirm to get away.
WOMAN: That he had asked me to work without my underwear on.
JANIS: San Diego police have even set up a hotline for other alleged victims of the 70-year-old mayor, who admits there’s no excuse for his behavior.
FILNER: It is simply not acceptable for me to try to explain away my conduct as the product of the standards of a different generation.
FINK: I think therapy is what you do when you have a personal problem. When you're the mayor of San Diego and you have a problem of that degree, you resign.
JANIS: Well, as for running the city of San Diego while all this is going on, the mayor has appointed an interim chief operating officer to help with his duties. And the city attorney has said no woman can meet with the mayor one-on-one. Dan and Bianna, since these allegations emerged, he also lost his 43-year-old fiancee. She broke it off, saying he was sending explicit text messages to other women and asking them out in front of her.