Question: When does the leftist TV "news" elite stop caring about Russiagate?
Answer: When federal law enforcement officials start pleading guilty to abusing their power.
On Friday, the news broke that Kevin Clinesmith would plead guilty to falsifying an email to justify surveillance of former Trump adviser Carter Page, the first guilty plea in U.S. Attorney John Durham's investigation of the origins of the Russia probe in the last months of the Obama administration. They tried to hide that Page helped the CIA as an "operational contact" on the Russians.
NBC Nightly News offered no story whatsoever on this development Friday night, but found time for a four-and-a-half minute investigative story on a troubled Michigan teenage boy who died at a home for at-risk youth in Kalamazoo.
NB's Curtis Houck tweeted out video of the ABC and CBS stories, which added up to 48 rather boring seconds:
Video: @NBCNightlyNews ignored the guilty plea of FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith as part of the #DurhamProbe for fabricating evidence to spy on Carter Page. ABC and CBS weren't much better as @ABCWorldNews Tonight gave it 26 seconds and the @CBSEveningNews doled out 22 seconds. pic.twitter.com/Gl49cbvHT1— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) August 14, 2020
Houck also offered the contrast in a tweet: "In contrast, these same newscasts spent 24 minutes and eight seconds the day that Michael Flynn was indicted and accepted the guilty plea (which he later withdrew). When the DOJ moved to drop their case, it got six minutes and 35 seconds."
The PBS NewsHour spent 51 seconds reporting the story in their news briefs. Judy Woodruff emphasized it didn't mean much: "The charging document does not allege any criminal wrongdoing by anyone else, and offers no evidence of a broader conspiracy to undermine President Trump's 2016 campaign."
NPR's All Things Considered gave it a four-minute story, but legal correspondent Carrie Johnson also ended dismissively: "Russia is trying all over again to interfere in a serious way, so even with this expected guilty plea by the FBI lawyer, it doesn’t change that Russia tampered four years ago, or that the Trump campaign welcomed the help back then."
CNN offered only two brief segments on Friday from reporter Evan Perez, one in the noon hour and one in the 3 pm hour.
MSNBC spoke dismissively in three segments, with Deadline: White House fill-in host Alicia Menendez noting "today's not-Earth-shattering guilty plea in the Durham investigation." They dismissed it with great bias on The Beat with Ari Melber. But Joe Wulfsohn of Fox News noted it was not mentioned on their most Russia-obsessed hour, The Rachel Maddow Show.
Saturday's New York Times buried the Clinesmith plea on page A-16 under the subhead "Prosecutors did not reveal any evidence of the kind of broad anti-Trump conspiracy among law enforcement officials that the president has long alleged." Reporter Adam Goldman wrote "Republicans have seized on a narrow aspect of the inquiry — the investigation into Mr. Page — in a long-running quest to undermine it."