Blackout: ‘Big Three’ Ignore AG Holder’s Claim That ‘Racial Animus’ Behind Dislike of Obama’s Policies

Attorney General Eric Holder spoke with ABC’s Pierre Thomas over the weekend and made highly controversial comments in which he claimed that the lack of support for President Obama’s policies was a result of “racial animus.” 

Despite the highly charged nature of Holder’s statement, none of the “big three” networks have yet to pick up on the story. During the interview, Holder insisted  that "there's a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that's directed at me [and] directed at the president,” Holder said. “You know, people talking about taking their country back. … There's a certain racial component to this for some people.”

The job of Attorney General is supposed to be free from politics, yet all three networks seem completely uninterested in covering the White House lawyer making explicitly political and racially charged attacks at President Obama’s critics. While the “big three” have done their best to ignore Holder’s comments, the same cannot be said of the coverage they gave to critics of the Iraq War.

During the Bush presidency, ABC, CBS, and NBC were quick to promote Iraq War critics and highlight negative aspects every chance they had. Glorification of the downside of the Iraq War was never considered un-American or disrespectful to our troops and instead was featured in the majority of network stories throughout the Bush presidency.

In the weeks leading up to the congressional votes that gave President Bush legal authority to use military force in Iraq, all three networks exaggerated congressional opposition by “disproportionately stressing the views of Bush’s anti-war opponents in Congress.” 

In 2002, MRC’s researchers examined all 81 soundbites from members of Congress in Iraq stories from September 12-October 10. Nearly three in five of these quotes (59%) were from members of Congress who opposed the use of force, or “roughly double the percentage of Senators and Representatives who actually held such views (29%).” 

As the war in Iraq continued, the network’s continued to highlight the negative stories from the battlefield. An MRC study from 2005 found that 61% of network coverage focused on U.S. casualties, bombings, kidnappings or political setbacks, compared to just 14% highlighting positive developments in the war. 

In 2007, when the Bush Administration attempted to salvage the situation in Iraq by sending in additional troops, the decision was met with a “blizzard of hostile coverage” in January of of that year: 

Ex-NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw scoffed that sending more troops to Iraq would “seem to most people...like a folly.” NBC’s White House reporter David Gregory suggested even White House insiders have lost faith: “As the President prepares to start a new phase of the war in Iraq, the White House is fending off charges that key figures in the administration have concluded the war is lost." Over on CBS, correspondent Lara Logan counseled that an earlier experiment adding 12,000 troops into Baghdad "made absolutely no difference....In fact, security here in Baghdad got even worse."

It appears that when the nation's Attorney General declares opposition to President Obama being the result of "racial animus" it doesn't interest the networks, but the "big three" were happy to provide non-stop coverage to opponents of the Iraq War and even joined in on the anti-Iraq War/anti George W. Bush rhetoric themselves. 

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.