CBS's Crawford Dismisses Christine O'Donnell's Response to Accusations
On Thursday's CBS Evening News, as correspondent Jan Crawford filed a report on the allegations that former Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell misused campaign money, the CBS correspondent seemed dismissive of O'Donnell's reaction to the accusations as Crawford harkened back to the 2010 campaign and described some of O'Donnell's recent words as the Delaware Republican's response "whenever she faced embarrassing revelations." Crawford: "O'Donnell says the charges are dirty tricks by the political establishment. Now, if that sounds familiar, it should. That was often her response during the campaign whenever she faced embarrassing revelations."
After a clip of O'Donnell from the campaign accusing her opponents of "making up stories," then came a soundbite of David Catanese of Politico.com: "It's something she used during her entire campaign, she used in the primary and the general election. And here she is on morning TV again pitting herself against the world, basically."
The report did not relay to viewers O'Donnell's contention that her accusers are disgruntled former employees who were fired or the left-wing nature of the organization pushing the investigation, the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), or her assertion that she paid rent to her campaign to use the headquarters as a residence, rather than the widely reported claim that her campaign paying for her rent.
Earlier in the day, as O'Donnell made appearances on each of the broadcast network morning shows, a setup piece by Crawford on CBS's The Early Show was the only report which labeled CREW as a "left-leaning" group, but this relevant piece of information was ignored in the piece aired on the CBS Evening News.
The NBC Nightly News did not mention the O'Donnell story on Thursday, and ABC's World News ran a short piece that focused on O'Donnell's supposed suggestion that Vice President Biden was involved in pushing for an investigation of her. The ABC story also did not recount any of the previously mentioned contentions made by O'Donnell earlier in the day as she defended herself.
Below are complete transcripts of the relevant stories from ABC's World News and the CBS Evening News from Thursday, December 30:
#From ABC's World News:
DAVID MUIR: We're going to turn now to politics, and even after she lost, Tea Party candidate Christine O'Donnell is back in the news tonight, blaming Vice President Biden after reports O'Donnell is now being investigated. The former candidate told Good Morning America the Vice President is behind accusations that she misspent campaign funds during her failed Senate race in his home state.
CHRISTINE O'DONNELL, FORMER DELAWARE REPUBLICAN SENATE NOMINEE: -don't need a tipster to show that this is politically motivated. We were informed that the Delaware political establishment was going to use every resource available to them.
MUIR: The Vice President's office is declining comment tonight.
#From the CBS Evening News :
HARRY SMITH: Tea Party Republican Christine O'Donnell today fiercely denied accusations that she diverted campaign funds to her own pocket. O'Donnell ran for the U.S. Senate in Delaware but lost. Chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford reports O'Donnell is not shying away from the controversy.
JAN CRAWFORD: Under scrutiny by federal prosecutors for campaign spending, Christine O'Donnell today came out swinging. She appeared on every morning television show to confront allegations she misused campaign funds.
CHRISTINE O'DONNELL, FORMER DELAWARE REPUBLICAN SENATE NOMINEE: Well, you know, it's obviously politically motivated.
CRAWFORD: Federal prosecutors are reviewing allegations that O'Donnell paid for meals, gas, and other expenses with political contributions. That's illegal until federal election rules.
SMITH, FROM CBS'S THE EARLY SHOW: Did you use campaign money to-
SMITH: - pay your rent or pay your personal expenses?
O'DONNELL: Absolutely not. There has been no impermissible use of campaign funds. And, you know, you've got to look at how many ridiculous accusations have been taken out of context.
CRAWFORD: O'Donnell says the charges are dirty tricks by the political establishment. Now, if that sounds familiar, it should. That was often her response during the campaign whenever she faced embarrassing revelations.
O'DONNELL: When they can't attack on substance, they try to call you names. They try to make up stories.
DAVID CATANESE, POLITICO.COM: It's something she used during her entire campaign, she used in the primary and the general election. And here she is on morning TV again pitting herself against the world, basically.
CRAWFORD: And O'Donnell knows her responses could determine her political future. Jan Crawford, CBS News, Washington.
-Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center