‘Big Three’ Ignore Democratic Debate No-Show But Promoted ‘Fangate’ Controversy

Senator Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and her Republican opponent, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, are currently locked in a close Senate race, but with less than two weeks until Election Day Senator Hagan declined to participate in debate Tuesday night. Despite Senator Hagan’s absence, all three network morning shows ignored the story on their Wednesday morning broadcasts.

While the “big three” (ABC, CBS, NBC) failed to cover the Democrat’s debate absence, last week all three pounced on the supposed “fangate” controversy from the Florida gubernatorial contest between Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) and former Governor Charlie Crist (D-FL) giving it 3 minutes and 37 seconds.

The North Carolina Senate “debate” aired live on North Carolina’s Capitol Tonight program, with Speaker Tillis sitting next to an empty chair designated for Senator Hagan. While the Hagan campaign maintained that she declined an invitation to participate in the debate earlier this year, given that she is tied with her Republican challenger one would expect to her to accept an opportunity to speak to the voters of her state.

Hagan has also faced recent negative publicity about how her family received nearly $390,000 from the 2009 "stimulus" law that Hagan supported in the Senate.

While the networks couldn’t be bothered to cover a Democratic Senator’s absence at a debate two weeks before the election, NewsBusters’ Curtis Houck last night caught how even MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow mocked the North Carolina Democrat’s no-show:

See the empty chair there? The moderator explained that there that Thom Tillis’s answers wouldn't be timed as they were otherwise planning on timing them because nobody else needs to talk because the Democratic incumbent Senator, Kay Hagan, would not be attending that debate.

So for you, voters, we present this hour-long conversation with just the Republican candidate on TV for an hour uncontested so we can tell you what he thinks without any time constraints and without anybody rudely erupting, two weeks before Election Day? Did I mention this race is basically tied? I did mention that. 

When a liberal MSNBC host finds a Democrat Senator’s debate absence embarrassing but the “big three” yawn at the story it makes their spotty midterm coverage even more disturbing with less than two weeks until Election Day.  

— Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Jeffrey Meyer on Twitter.