By Nicholas Fondacaro
In the wake of the Democrats’ humiliating defeat in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District Tuesday night, members of the party were in a rush to cast blame on someone. And for many Democrats that blame fell on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Even with the loud calls for new leadership, CBS News decided to omit them from their reporting Wednesday evening. Meanwhile, ABC’s coverage simply brushed over them in a 40-second-long news brief. NBC was the only network in the Big Three to give the blaming serious consideration.
While CBS Evening News didn’t mention the heavy criticism of Pelosi, they did entertain the idea, from other Democrats, that the party’s brand was “toxic.” “We better take a good, long, strong look in the mirror and realize that the problem is us. It’s the party,” Congressman Tim Ryan told CBS’s Nancy Cordes. She also read from a social media post of another, saying: “’We need a genuinely new message,’ wrote Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, ‘A serious jobs plan that reaches all Americans.’”
On ABC’s World News Tonight, Anchor David Muir and Senior White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega simply brushed over the results of the election, including the criticism of the party and Pelosi. “We turn now to that special election in Georgia overnight, being closely watched by the White House and the country,” announced Muir. “Republicans holding onto their seat, Karen Handel winning.”
The report lasted roughly 40 seconds (including Muir), with Vega just saying that:
Exactly. And the Democrats spent more than five times as much as Republicans on this race, David. There is a lot of soul searching going on here in Washington today. Some Democrats say that business as usual just isn’t cutting it. Others are pointing the finger directly at Nancy Pelosi, calling for a change in leadership. But David, tonight, this White House is celebrating. This is a win.
NBC Nightly News was the only network program to dedicate serious time to the criticism of Minority Leader Pelosi. “A House special election they had high hopes of winning only to see their hopes dashed again. The latest in a string of defeats,” declared Anchor Lester Holt at the start of the segment. “Some pointing the finger now at House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.”
Correspondent Kristen Welker noted how a major strategy for Handel’s victorious campaign was to tie Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff to Pelosi. The ads Handel was running were effectively “undercutting Ossoff’s message of change,” Welker explained.
In an interview with Welker, Texas Democratic Congressman Filemore Vela Jr. said that “as long as Nancy Pelosi is the leader of the Democratic Party, it’s going to be very difficult to win.” And according to Welker, the Democratic leader was not talking about the dissent within the ranks. “Pelosi’s spokesperson not responding to those calls for her to go and instead said: ‘Republicans voters don’t get to select the leaders of the Democratic Party,’” Welker reported.
Welker did try to deflate the hopes of Republicans, saying: “Still, Republicans may have their own reasons to worry. The races they’ve won so far are GOP strongholds and Democrats are outperforming their 2016 numbers.”
Editor’s note. This appeared at Newsbusters and is reposted with permission.