Brian Williams Jumps to Defend Hillary Clinton, Denounces ‘Nasty’ Rove ‘Smear Campaign’

Moving to discredit, as illegitimate, Republican operative Karl Rove’s inquiry about Hillary Clinton’s health, on Tuesday’s NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams denounced the “smear campaign” oozing from “some very nasty politics.” 

Williams teased at the top of his newscast: “Smear campaign. Are we witnessing a new GOP line of attack against Hillary Clinton and did Karl Rove take things too far?”

“Still ahead for us tonight,” he plugged at the first ad break on the May 13 program, “what Karl Rove said about Hillary Clinton that has even some fellow Republicans denouncing his remarks.”

Indeed, there are Republicans who see as intemperate Rove’s decision to raise the former First Lady’s December of 2012 head injury, and Williams discovered wisdom from an unusual source for those inside NBC: Newt Gingrich. Williams set up the subsequent full story, on a subject neither ABC’s World News nor the CBS Evening News deemed newsworthy:

We’re back as promised with some very nasty politics playing out tonight. Long before the next presidential race heats up a war of words between two of the biggest names in their parties. Karl Rove in a very personal attack against Hillary Clinton. And today, fellow Republican Newt Gingrich called this the type of thing that weakens the fabric of our democracy.

Might NBC’s interest in discrediting Rove have something to do with his role as a contributor to FNC, arch-enemy of NBC’s MSNBC?

In his report, Chuck Todd, Political Director and Chief White House correspondent for NBC News, asserted Republicans are afraid she’ll win and thus are going low to scare her off from even running: “Privately, many Republicans admit if Clinton runs, she’ll likely win. Their hope? Going nasty early convinces her not to. But long-time Clinton confidant James Carville says that’s wishful thinking.”

From February: “NBC Frets Over ‘Brutal’ Attack on Hillary from ‘Anti-Clinton’ Web Site

Flashback to 2012: “ABC, NBC Fail to Lunge at Harry Reid’s ‘Explosive Accusation’ that Romney Hasn’t Paid Taxes

— Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Follow Brent Baker on Twitter.