Carol Costello on Rocket Mishap: 'Can NASA Really Trust Private Companies?'

Carol Costello's liberal bias emerged yet again on Tuesday's CNN Newsroom, as she covered the catastrophic failure of Orbital Science Corporation's Antares rocket during a launch from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. During an interview of former astronaut Leroy Chiao, Costello wondered, "Can NASA really trust private companies to do its business?" Chiao replied, "It's not much of a change...NASA, per se, doesn't build rockets, and never really has. They've always hired commercial companies to build them."

However, the anchor pressed on with her skepticism of private business, and followed up by asking, "Well, you know, it's a concern, because NASA also plans to use private companies to take astronauts into space. Should those plans be put on hold in light of what happened?" The former commander of the International Space Station replied by defending the public-private partnership: [MP3 audio available here; video below]

LEROY CHIAO, FORMER NASA ASTRONAUT: Oh, no. I mean, you know, rocketry is still something that's very difficult to do. It's complex pieces of machinery. You know, just as – just as certain as there will be another airline crash sometime in the future, you can bet that there'll be another rocket mishap. It doesn't mean that there's any kind of lack of oversight. You know, we've got the FAA looking over the airlines – making sure that they're regulated – and the same is happening in the space business. You've got NASA and the FAA looking over the shoulders of these commercial providers.

We've been going – we've been launching astronauts into space for over 50 years. The technologies mature. It's a matter of – of seeing if we can create a commercial environment for these commercial companies to make a profit, and then, let NASA buy those services, rather than have to run it itself.

Just over an hour and a half later, Costello turned to correspondent Rachel Crane for her report on the rocket explosion. Crane actually corrected her colleague and repeated Chiao's point about private industry's long involvement in the space program:

CAROL COSTELLO: Rachel Crane joins me now. Let's talk about private companies making these rockets and in charge of sending supplies – and, one day, astronauts – to the International Space Station-

RACHEL CRANE: Big responsibility-

COSTELLO: Big responsibility! So, what happened with Orbital?

CRANE: Well, what people don't realize, actually, is that NASA has worked with the private sector since the genesis of the space agency. Actually, Boeing is the main contractor on the International Space Station. So, this reliance on the private sector by NASA is nothing new, and we're not going to see that relationship change, just as a result of an accident like this.

Back in September 2013, the CNN anchor hounded the senior vice president of the National Retail Federation over Walmart's decision to open locations inside Washington, D.C.: "Walmart's going to make a whole bunch of money by doing this. That's why it's moving into the D.C. area. So why not share the profits with others?"

Two weeks earlier, she tossed softball questions at a fast food worker, while hammering a representative of the National Restaurant Association: "If you take a look at a company like McDonald's, they have high profit margins. So why not share?" Costello did compliment Burger King during an August 26, 2014 segment for its "very smart business move" in deciding to merge with Canadian restaurant chain Tim Hortons.

— Matthew Balan is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Matthew Balan on Twitter.