As was reported here on Wednesday afternoon, ABC, NBC, and CBS had nothing but gushing praise for former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. This was also true later that evening as the liberal networks drooled all over Reid and his legacy as the longtime leader of the Democratic Party in the U.S. Senate. However, NBC Nightly News did change their tune slightly from this morning.
While the three networks largely repeated their lauding of Reid almost word for word, NBC did add some criticism. But it was mostly a hit from the left. Towards the end of their mourning of Reid, NBC’s chief Washington correspondent Andrea Mitchell noted bemoaned the decision to change the Senate filibuster rules for lower court nominees.
Mitchell noted, “critics say he polarized the Senate by changing the filibuster rule to confirm presidential nominees with only fifty votes, except for the Supreme Court.” But lamented that though it was “helping Obama" it also "open[ed] the door for Mitch McConnell to change the rule again when Republicans took power, enabling Donald Trump to confirm three justices with bare majorities.”
Over on ABC’s World News Tonight, the coverage was overwhelmingly positive with White House correspondent MaryAlice Parks gushing about how “Reid was so soft-spoken he could be hard to hear, but he was known for his shrewd deal-making and tenacity.”
Reminiscing fondly about the early Obama years, Parks noted Reid’s success in getting the President’s agenda through: “In the Senate, he was instrumental in passing the historic Affordable Care Act to get health insurance to millions for the first time.”
The coverage from CBS Evening News was no better with fill-in host Major Garrett narrating Reid’s climb from backbencher Congressman to eventually Senate Majority Leader, with not a lick of criticism to be found anywhere in the broadcast.
As NewsBusters Deputy Managing Editor Nick Fondacaro pointed out, if Reid were a Republican, they would be pointing out his rise to power as a sign of white privilege, not Reid’s hard work and tenacity.
This gushing praise was made possible because of lucrative sponsorships from Progressive on CBS and Bayer on ABC. Their contact information is linked so you can tell them about the biased news they fund.
To read the relevant segment from NBC click “expand”:
NBC Nightly News
ANDREA MITCHELL: Tonight flags flying at half-staff for former Senator Harry Reid, who worked his way through law school as a Capitol Police officer. A kingmaker who came from a home with no indoor plumbing in the desert town of Searchlight, Nevada. A Washington power broker whose father was a miner and an alcoholic and mother took in laundry from a local brothel.
HARRY REID: I didn't make it because of my good looks. I didn't make it because I'm a genius. I made it because I worked hard.
MITCHELL: The one-time boxer brought his fighting skills to the political arena during 30 years in Congress, eight as Senate Majority Leader.
CLAIRE MCCASKILL: He said famously one time. I know how to dance, and I know how to fight. I'd rather dance than fight, but if I have to fight, I know-how.
MITCHELL: A political gambler who saw talent in a freshman Senator named Barack Obama, telling him to take a chance and run for the Oval Office.
BARACK OBAMA: Harry is tough, I believe he is gonna go down as one of the best leaders that the Senate ever had. I could not have accomplished what I accomplished without him being at my side.
MITCHELL: Reid famously horse traded with Senators to pass the Affordable Care Act. Known as Obamacare.
JON RALSTON (NBC POLITICAL ANALYST): It should be called Reidcare as much as it should be called Obamacare. Only he could have gotten that done.
MITCHELL: But critics say he polarized the Senate by changing the filibuster rule to confirm presidential nominees with only fifty votes, except for the Supreme Court. Helping Obama, but opening the door for Mitch McConnell to change the rule again when Republicans took power, enabling Donald Trump to confirm three justices with bare majorities. Tonight President Biden honoring his friend and former Senate colleague. Writing, “for Harry it wasn't about power for power's sake. It was about the power to do right for the people.” Reid was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer four years ago, losing his battle with the disease Tuesday. Harry Reid leaves behind his wife of 62 years, Landra. Just last month, the Las Vegas airport was renamed for the soft-spoken fighter for his state and his party. Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Washington.