NBC News Finally Ends Its Blackout of Fast and Furious Scandal

As the MRC reported on Tuesday, the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) network news shows have been stunningly slow to report on the Eric Holder hearings on the Fast and Furious scandal. NBC news hasn’t even reported once on the gunwalking controversy, until last night. On Tuesday’s NBC Nightly News, at the very end of her report, Kelly O’Donnell finally told viewers about “a failed operation that sent US guns into Mexico.” O’Donnell awkwardly attempted to explain the controversy, in 30 seconds, since no one on Nightly News or Today had previously done it.

The only other mention of the Holder hearings came on Wednesday’s edition of CBS's This Morning. ABC skipped the story entirely.

The following excerpts were aired on the June 12 NBC Nightly News and June 13 CBS's This Morning:

NBC Nightly News
7:08pm EDT

KELLY O’DONNELL Another controversy, Republicans claim [Eric] Holder has misled and refused to cooperate with Congress's investigation of a failed operation that sent US guns into Mexico, code name ‘Fast and Furious.’ Today Holder made a new offer to try to work out differences over ‘Fast and Furious,’ and that could include providing more documents to congressional investigators, very important Brian, because House Republicans have made a serious threat to hold the Attorney General in contempt of Congress next week. Brian?  

CBS This Morning
7:16 am EDT

[CBS News Graphic: "Holder On The Hot Seat: Republicans Call On AG To Resign"]

ERICA HILL: Attorney General Eric Holder is rejecting a call to resign over the Fast and Furious gunrunning operation, a story first revealed by a CBS News investigation. Justice Department officials allowed smugglers to take tens of thousands of guns to Mexico - some of them later used in crimes, including the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent. Holder faces a possible contempt of Congress charge in the House for not releasing documents in the case.

As he testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Texas Senator John Cornyn made it clear he does not buy the attorney general's story.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN, (R), TEXAS (from congressional hearing): So, Mr. Attorney General, it's more with sorrow than regret -- than anger, that I would say that you leave me no alternative but to join those that call upon you to resign your office.

ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I don't have any intention of resigning. I heard the White House press officer say yesterday that the President has absolute confidence in me. I don't have any reason to believe that that, in fact, is not the case.

HILL: In the meantime, Democrats familiar with White House thinking tell CBS News the administration sees Holder as a liability, but there is nothing it can do this close to the election.

-- Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Geoffrey Dickens on Twitter.