Tuesday's PBS NewsHour ran two segments on House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) opening an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, extending the ongoing investigations by congressional Republicans into the president’s possible involvement in his son’s business dealings.
The supposedly objective tax-supported outlet showered McCarthy with “far-right” labels. A favored phrase of the liberal media also reared its head, one often used when referring to conservatives accusing liberals of scandalous behavior: “unsubstantiated.”
Predictably, PBS’s White House correspondent Laura Barron-Lopez defended the Democratic president from Republican attacks.
Barron-Lopez: Republicans have lobbed unsubstantiated allegations against President Biden since taking over the House in January but have so far turned up no evidence of wrongdoing….And far-right Republicans have threatened a shutdown and McCarthy's gavel if their list of demands, including an impeachment inquiry, go unmet.”
Then Barron-Lopez joined show host Amna Nawaz in the studio and kept it up.
Barron-Lopez: And to Heather's [Heather Caygle of Punchbowl News] point about the list of demands that these far-right conservatives are issuing in exchange for funding the government, the White House is very eager to latch on to that and say that this is extreme Republicans trying to potentially cause a government shutdown in exchange for an impeachment inquiry, in exchange for these, host of all these other demands….
So partisan Democrats call the GOP “extreme”…while objective PBS reporters call the GOP “far-right.” Some difference!
Host Nawaz joined the “far-right” labeling festivities.
Nawaz: Heather, we heard Representative Matt Gaetz there threatening basically to force a vote to remove McCarthy. We know the concessions Speaker McCarthy made to secure the gavel with many of those far-right members of his conference. Is his speakership in peril?
Republican Rep. Lisa McClain also talked to Nawaz on Tuesday’s edition. McClain was at least spared the “election denier” designation she was tarred with on a previous appearance, but got a helping of labeling bias.
Nawaz: But are these two separate issues, to be fair? I mean, we know those far-right Freedom Caucus members have been demanding an impeachment inquiry, and we know that they are -- have a number of conditions on moving forward with funding bills.
Barron-Lopez’s NewsHour colleague Lisa Desjardins used “unsubstantiated” back on June 12.
Desjardins: Now, this is something that`s going on separately in the House, where some House lawmakers were able to see an FBI report that accuses the Biden family of some bribery. It is unsubstantiated. There was not an investigation. But the Republicans are raising that as an example of a double standard.
Barron-Lopez herself used it July 26 in response to accusations Biden “was involved in his family`s illegal influence peddling scheme.”
BARRON-LOPEZ: Again, those accusations are unsubstantiated…
And Jeffrey Goldberg, host of PBS’s journalist roundtable Washington Week, used it on August 11:
Goldberg: President Biden already faces unsubstantiated allegations that he is entangled in his son’s foreign business misadventures….”
This label-happy segment was brought to you in part by the global business advisory firm BDO.