The CBS Evening News bid farewell on Thursday to Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal as the newscast dodged news that longtime Clinton aide Cheryl Mills testified before the House Select Committee on Benghazi plus word late Wednesday night that a former staffer who helped set up her private e-mail server would invoke his Fifth Amendment by not testifying before Congress.
Along with the Clinton omission by CBS, Spanish-language networks Telemundo and Univision also censored this story from their newscasts (after the former had repeatedly covered the scandal earlier in the week).
In contrast, ABC’s World News Tonight anchor David Muir declared that Clinton is still “under fire, of course, for that private server” as “the IT professional who helped Mrs. Clinton set up that server” is “now planning to plead the Fifth, refusing to testify.”
Muir added prior to Clinton correspondent Cecilia Vega’s report that “many say it does not look good for campaign” and then afterward, he wondered aloud to Vega: “[W]ith that IT worker pleading the Fifth and the optics of it all, many are wondering the bigger picture here. Can Hillary Clinton survive this e-mail scandal?”
Vega responded by pointing to the polls, highlighting how “we have seen her poll numbers take a hit during this scandal” and that her campaign “plans to be more aggressive and she will fully answer these lingering questions that are out there.”
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While not as frank as Muir, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt started that newscast’s segment by informing the audience that “[p]ersistent questions over Hillary Clinton's e-mails will go unanswered by the former aide that set up her server.”
Noting that former State Department staffer Mills “testif[ied] behind closed doors to the Republican-led Benghazi investigating committee,” Clinton correspondent and MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell reported that former Clinton IT staffer Brian Pagliano’s refusal to cooperate has “clearly added fuel to the fire” with “[t]he political fallout...immediate.”
In a nod to the Clinton campaign, however, Mitchell closed by paraphrasing Clinton campaign head John Podesta: “In a conference call today with reporters, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta called the e-mail controversy ‘headwinds,’ acknowledging there is a lot of noise that's made it more difficult to breakthrough, he said.”
Earlier on Thursday, NBC’s Today led with the news about Pagliano and spent six minutes and 20 seconds on the ever-growing scandal while ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS This Morning devoted only 51 seconds and 40 seconds, respectively.