NBC on Tuesday excoriated “bully” Donald Trump for interrupting and "peeing on our democracy" during the first presidential debate. Next week is the vice presidential debate featuring Mike Pence and Democratic Senator Kamala Harris. Four years ago, on October 4, 2016, journalists were much more gentle on then-vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine.
Savannah Guthrie allowed that “Kaine is probably going to get dinged for interrupting and seeming overeager at points during the debate” but he “did land quite a few punches against Pence, but I think the question will be whether or not with all of that over talk, and all that confusion people really heard those zingers.”
As the MRC’s Curtis Houck noted at the time, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos used an analogy of the Democrat jumping on a grenade: “It seemed as — let me bring that back to you, Matthew Dowd, it seems like in some ways Tim Kaine was willing to sacrifice himself to do the job for the ticket.”
Quite a contrast to Trump destroying democracy with his interruptions. Over on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow on October 4, 2016 bashed Trump’s running mate: “Mike Pence is a hard-line, hard-core religious right guy.” She contrasted, “He's running with, you know, [a] thrice-married brags about his affairs, Two Corinthians, not-a-religious right guy at the top of his ticket.”
It was left to a shocked Chris Matthews (no longer on MSNBC) to acknowledge the “eloquent,” “excellent” Pence “won” his debate against a “desperate Kaine.
For more examples from our FLASHBACK series, which we call the NewsBusters Time Machine, go here.