NBC Avoids Reporting on Fani Willis Misconduct Hearing on Trump Case [UPDATED]

January 19th, 2024 12:09 AM

UPDATE, 10:57 a.m. Eastern: This article has been updated to include coverage from the Friday morning broadcast network flagship news shows.

Some of our major networks made an editorial decision not to cover the upcoming hearing, ordered by the judge overseeing the Trump trial in Atlanta, regarding misconduct allegations against Fulton County prosecutor Fani Willis. We are thus reminded of that great Iowahawk quote: “Journalism is about covering important stories, With a pillow. Until they stop moving.

Unlike NBC, ABC and CBS mustered the time and effort to cover the Willis saga on Thursday night and Friday morning, respectively. Watch a sample of ABC’s report below:

PIERRE THOMAS: Tonight, a Georgia judge ordering Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to answer allegations she has improperly "engaged in a personal, romantic relationship" with one of the special prosecutors she hired to help her try the sprawling election interference case against former President Donald Trump and his 18 co-defendants. The accusations against Willis came in a filing by one of those co-defendants, former Trump campaign aide Mike Roman. Without providing evidence, he claims Willis engaged in a secret relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade, who her office has paid $650,000 to help try the case. And that Willis "personally benefited" because Wade allegedly used some of that money to take her on lavish vacations.

It’s pretty straightforward. “Without evidence” notwithstanding, the report did include some of the ridiculous race-based deflections that Willis delivered from the pulpit at Big Bethel AME Church during the weekend preceding Martin Luther King Day, and did lay out the summary of the case against Willis.

CBS Mornings was far more substantive in its full report from congressional correspondent Nikole Killion, though they too trotted out the “without evidence” defense (click “expand”)::

KILLION: District Attorney Fani Willis broke her silent this week at an Atlanta church accusing critics of racism, amid accusations she had an improper relationship with Nathan Wade, a special prosecutor she hired to lead the 2020 election interference investigation into former president trump.


KILLION: The allegations were made in a filing this month by co-defendant Michael Roman, a former Trump campaign operative who pleaded not guilty to seven felony counts for his role in an alleged fake elector scheme. His attorney wants the charges dismissed and suggests without citing evidence that Willis not only had a romantic relationship with Wade but financially benefitted from it. The complaint alleges the pair became involved before the case and says Wade filed for divorce a day after taking a contract with the DA in November 2021. Since then, it alleges Wade has been paid more than $653,000 for his work by Willis' office and used some of the money to take Willis on lavish trips to such places as Napa Valley, California, Florida, and the Caribbean. Willis says the two other special prosecutors were paid the same hourly rate.


RIKKI KLIEMAN:  This is not what the prosecution needed.

KILLION: CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman says whether the charges with proven or not, there could be consequences.

KLIEMAN: I do not expect this case to be dismissed and go away. But it is not out of the question for a different prosecutor to take charge of the case to simply remove the appearance of impropriety.

Surprisingly, ABC and CBS weren’t the sole network to report on the Willis hearing. Univision covered the story and was more comprehensive like CBS than ABC, thanks to a report that included quotes from Trump as well as a brief analysis from a criminal defense attorney on the gravity of the accusations against Willis. I’ve often said that Univision disinforms their audience -- not this time, though. Well done. And well done, ABC.

To view the ABC transcript, click HERE.

To view the Univision transcript, click HERE.