2014 Midterms: Nets Yawn at Democratic Gaffes and Scandals, Tout GOP Problems

The 2014 midterms may be building towards a Republican wave, but the elections in 39 days have drawn little interest from the networks. NBC and CBS on Thursday made exceptions, but only to highlight GOP struggles and embarrassments. Awkward, uncomfortable examples involving Democrats have been either ignored or severely minimized. 

On Today, Peter Alexander played grainy video of a married GOP representative in an embrace with a staffer. Alexander reminded viewers that "this is likely the last time" they saw "the co-called kissing Congressman, Louisiana Republican Vance McAllister." The reporter needled, "Instead, McAllister promised to not run for reelection. He broke that vow." 

On the CBS Evening News, Scott Pelley lectured, "Republicans believe they can pick up the six seats they need to take it back from the Democrats. But an unusual race in Kansas threatens to dash their hopes." 

Reporter Nancy Cordes highlighted the liberal independent, who is currently leading incumbent Republican Senator Pat Roberts. Cordes included a clips of Greg Orman promoting himself: "You know, I've tried both parties and I've generally been disappointed." 

Since Cordes and CBS were covering Kansas, they could have featured that state's Democratic gubernatorial candidate. 

In September, it was revealed that Paul Davis was getting a lap dance at a strip club in 1998 when police raided it. Number of mentions this year on ABC and CBS? One. The only reference on NBC came when Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist brought it up on September 21: 

GROVER NORQUIST: The Democrat running for governor, Paul Davis, a week ago people thought might win, now because Politico did an expose on his lap dance with the naked lady in a strip club, he is not the kind of person that you can ask your sister to the vote for anymore.

The Democratic Senate candidate in Montana, Amanda Curtis, is an avowed socialist who lost her train of thought in a painfully awkward interview that has been circulating online. Townhall's Guy Benson summarized her gaffes: 

There are a lot of things Ms. Curtis doesn't seem to know, such as her positions on major issues.  From a CNN profile:  "When asked her position on the situation in Iraq, Curtis told CNN, 'Give me a little more time.' On the border crisis, 'I'll need more time, you know only 11 days ago I was painting my storm windows.'" 

Number of mentions on any of the networks? Zero. ABC News relegated Curtis's beliefs to their website, revealing: "Conservatives have pounced on her writing in a socialist newsletter." 

Incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Begich came under fire for running an ad that suggested his GOP opponent was somehow responsible for a sex crime. He pulled the ad. Number of mentions of Begich's campaign? Three. Again, this is all of 2014. On September 14, Jeff Zeleny allowed that Begich is in a "tough reelection bid."  

For more on Democratic scandals being minimized in 2014, see an August analysis by the Media Research Center.'s Geoff Dickens. 

A transcript of the September 25 Today segment, which aired at 7:34am ET, follows:

MATT LAUER: Let's turn to politics and an unconventional campaign ad. Louisiana Congresswoman – or Congressman, sorry, Vance McAllister was caught on camera kissing a top aide. Now, he and his wife are asking voters to forgive and forget. NBC's national correspondent Peter Alexander has more on this. Peter, good morning to you. 

PETER ALEXANDER: Matt, good morning to you. Congressman Vance McAllister is hardly the first scandal-scarred politician to ask voters for a second chance. Few have done it like this with McAllister touting the support of the woman he cheated on, his wife. 

REP. VANCE MCALLISTER [R-LA]: I'm Vance McAllister. 

KELLY MCALLISTER: And I'm Kelly McAllister. 

ALEXANDER: It's not the kind of campaign ad any politician wants to make, one side-by-side with his wife, explaining that he should be reelected, despite getting caught kissing a woman who was definitely not his wife. 

VANCE MCALLISTER: Life is filled with ups and downs. 

KELLY MCALLISTER: But a man's character is based on how many times he gets back up and stands again. 

ALEXANDER: This is likely the last time most people saw the so-called kissing congressman, Louisiana Republican Vance McAllister caught on camera locking lips with a top aide. Republican leaders wanted him to resign. Instead, McAllister promised to not run for reelection. He broke that vow. But now McAllister is trying to turn his other broken vow into a virtue. 

VANCE MCALLISTER: I am lucky to be blessed with a great family and a wonderful Christian wife. 

KELLY MCALLISTER: And I'm blessed to have a husband that owns up to his mistakes, never gives up, always fighting for the people of Louisiana. 

ALEXANDER: Among McAllister's opponents, Zach Dasher related to another set of a famous Louisianians. 

PHIL ROBERTSON: I'm voting for Zach, my nephew. He's been officially and thoroughly vetted by the Robertson clan. 

ALEXANDER: That was the dynasty's patriarch Phil Robertson who finally has all his ducks in a row. 

WILLIE ROBERTSON: Hey, this is Willie Robertson. 

ALEXANDER: Last election, his son Willie backed McAllister. 

WILLIE ROBERTSON: Vote for my good buddy Vance McAllister. 

ALEXANDER: McAllister is not the first politician one seeking redemption. 

MARK SANFORD: I've experienced how none of us go through life without mistakes. 

ALEXANDER: It worked for South Carolina's Mark Sanford, who got reelected after a very public affair. Analysts say these ads can cut both ways. 

STEVE SHEPARD (Politico): Voters are judgmental and consider moral values very seriously in a district like this. But voters are also very forgiving. 

VANCE MCALLISTER: And we approve this message because some things are just worth fighting for. 

ALEXANDER: Of course, Mark Sanford made that reelection run without his wife, who divorced him. McAllister faces a pretty big field in Louisiana's primary. It is set for November 4th. If no candidate wins at least 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates will face off in a runoff election in December, Matt. So, we may be seeing this ad for a little while still. 

LAUER: Peter Alexander, thank you very much. 

HODA KOTB: All right. Louisiana politics. 

— Scott Whitlock is Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Scott Whitlock on Twitter.