Politico posted a curious headline by senior media reporter Michael Calderone the other day: "News anchors fight back against GOP senators' refusal to condemn Trump." At this point, is it really news that "news anchors" are fighting the GOP?
Calderone in this case refers to CNN's Jake Tapper and NBC's Chuck Todd. Let's address them separately.
"Tapper proclaimed on Sunday that no Republican Senate or House leaders would appear on his show 'State of the Union' to defend Trump," Calderone wrote. Tapper told Calderone that "he doesn't think it should be controversial to say 'using your political office to push foreign nations to dig up dirt on your political opponents' is empirically wrong, as he implored Republicans to say on his show."
But Tapper wasn't done lecturing. "This is a precedent that will destroy the concept of free and fair elections," he told Calderone. "It's not really picking any sort of bold moral stance to say that you can't have that. I don't know why so few people are willing to say it." Calderone then noted no Republican senator has appeared on CNN or MSNBC since Sept. 25, when "Ukrainegate" began.
This is remarkably disingenuous. We're in the middle of an impeachment inquiry, and CNN and MSNBC have been eager to remove Trump from office since the day he was elected, at least as eager as the Democrats. This is simply undebatable. Why should Republicans' avoidance of these channels be a scandal?
A better question might be this: What took so long? Republicans accomplish nothing by appearing on MSNBC and CNN other than giving them some notion of nonpartisan credibility, something they manifestly don't deserve.
Tapper and his fellow anchors are fiercely decrying foreign-government interference in our elections, or governments being badgered into interfering. But when you start talking about how the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign, they consider it a crackpot "conspiracy theory" from the Fox News crowd. You can't talk about how the Hillary Clinton campaign paid a former British spy to dig up dirt on her opponent from Russian government sources. That hypocrisy about inconvenient facts is why this impeachment effort is so ridiculous.
Then there's Chuck Todd, who Calderone notes "became visibly exasperated" with Republican Sen. Ron Johnson when Johnson refused to accept his line of liberal questioning on "Meet the Press." When Johnson suggested questions that Todd should ask former Obama CIA Director John Brennan about Team Obama's conspiracy to ruin Trump, Todd yelled that "Fox News conspiracy, propaganda stuff" was being unloaded on his show. He goaded Johnson and said, "Can we please answer the question that I asked you, instead of trying to make Donald Trump feel better here that you're not criticizing him?"
That's not the half of it. Todd wouldn't let Johnson finish his sentences and instead constantly interrupted him and argued with him. Then he turned to Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, threw him puffy questions and let him speak uninterrupted for long paragraphs. Todd did the same for Brennan.
This is not new for Todd. The week before, Todd rolled out the red carpet for Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff and set him up to explain his Trump-ruining plans for the coming week. Then he fought tooth and nail with House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, complaining he wasn't answering his questions and was spreading "bizarre" Joe Biden conspiracies. Scalise shot back that Todd was reading Democratic talking points.
It's now a consistent pattern on Sunday morning shows — puffballs for Democrats, the third degree for Republicans. Is it really scandalous that Republicans are sick and tired of it?
(L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.)