Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday linked the accidental deaths of seven U.S. Marines to sequester spending cuts. All three networks have, thus far, skipped the story. After highlighting the details of the botched training event in Hawthorne, Nevada, the Democrat manipulated the tragedy: "But one of the things in sequester is we cut back in training and maintenance."
He added, "This sequester should go away...These men and women, our Marines were training there in Hawthorne. And with this sequester, it's going to cut back this stuff." These comments came on the floor of the U.S. Senate, yet ABC's World News and Good Morning America, NBC's Nightly News and Today, the CBS Evening News and the CBS This Morning all ignored Reid's remarks (though they discussed the accident itself). ABCNews.com covered the story, but acquitted Reid of bad motives: "Harry Reid Commemorates Dead Marines, Calls for End to Sequester."
ABCNews.com writer Sarah Parnass delicately explained, "Reid did not indicate how exactly sequestration cuts could have been involved with the accident."
Over on MSNBC, Jim Miklaszewski showcased outraged reaction by other Marines:
Now I can tell you, Marine Corps officials this afternoon are taking a strong exception to what Harry Reid implied. Saying that this this exercise, for example, was planned well in advance, had nothing to do with the budget cuts. There were no corners cut, and if they couldn't afford to have all the safety precautions into place, they wouldn't do the exercise.
And in fact, one Marine Corps official told us a short time ago that he considers this nothing but pure political posturing on the backs of these dead Marines.
Conservative radio host Mark Levin slammed Reid for the comments, calling him "the lowest of the low." Levin excoriated:
If Harry Reid really cared about these seven Marines, why politicize this? Why not just go to the Senate floor and talk about it, and if you want to talk about the sequester, that’s in a separate speech? The sequester had nothing to do with this.
Now look at the slime that comes out of his mouth. Seven dead Marines, somebody’s sons, somebody’s fathers, somebody's brothers, seven dead Marines, and this jerk goes to the Senate floor and he has to talk about the sequester which had nothing to do with it…This man needs to be condemned, on the Senate floor, in public, for the implication that he drew, and he clearly drew it, on the Senate floor today.
Reid's implication was obvious and his comments were clearly controversial. Yet, Good Morning America, for example, skipped the story. However, the show's hosts did find time to discuss important topics, such as the breakup between singers Katy Perry and John Mayer.