CBS and NBC: Tea Party 'Reeling' After Losses, Skip Big Defeat for Hillary

NBC and CBS on Wednesday hyped a win by Senator Mitch McConnell as an example of a major setback to the Tea Party movement. But it was only ABC's Good Morning America that highlighted the "big loss" suffered by Bill and Hillary Clinton as their candidate went down to defeat. CBS This Morning co-anchor Charlie Rose lectured, "Tea Party backers are reeling this morning from primary election results in six states." [MP3 audio here.]

He added, "Tea Party favorites lost in all of the most important Republican races heading into the November midterms." The journalist trumpeted, "...A CBS News poll out this morning show that Tea Party support fell over nine point this past year." Surprisingly, it was former Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos on GMA who exposed a "House race in Pennsylvania that was a big loss for both Clintons." 

Correspondent Jon Karl explained that Marjorie Margolies failed at becoming a Democratic nominee for Congress. He noted, "She is Chelsea Clinton's mother-in-law and lost despite the strong support of both Bill and Hillary Clinton." 

Karl elaborated, "Bill Clinton actually did an ad for her, recorded prerecorded phone calls that went out to voters in the district right before the election." GMA's Amy Robach even followed-up in the 8am hour, specifically informing viewers that "Chelsea Clinton's mother-in-law lost her Pennsylvania house race." 

Hillary Clinton, in her only political endorsement of the year, hosted a fundraiser for the failed candidate. Yet, CBS and NBC somehow managed to ignore this development, failing to spin it as a "big loss" for the Clintons. 

Instead, in a separate CBS This Morning segment, co-host Norah O'Donnell touted, "Republicans turned away from Tea Party favorites and embraced the party establishment." 

Over on NBC's Today, Natalie Morales narrated, "In Kentucky, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell cruised to victory over his Tea Party challenger Matt Bevin." She made no mention of Margolies or the Clintons. 

On Tuesday's Nightly NewsChuck Todd interpreted, "Democrats are watching this Tea Party fade with disappointment....They were counting on a few bad Tea Party nominees to bail them out of a race or two." 

[Thanks to MRC interns Connor Williams and Jackie Seal for the transcripts.] 

A transcript of the May 21 CBS This Morning segment, which aired at 8:04am ET, follows: 

CHARLIE ROSE, host: Tea Party backers are reeling this morning from primary election results in six states. Tea Party favorites lost in  all of the most important Republican races heading into the November midterms and a CBS News poll out this morning show that Tea Party support fell over nine point this past year. CBS political director John Dickerson is in Washington. John, good morning. 

JOHN DICKERSON, CBS News political director: Good morning, Charlie. 

ROSE: So tell us what it means. 

DICKERSON: I think what it means basically is that these outcomes mean that Republican candidates are finding a way to appeal to the Tea Party and grab those voters. Those candidates sometimes quote unquote  establishment candidates, sometimes  considered more Tea Party candidates. But in these recent primaries, the more establishment candidates have won. This is really a labeling question. At the bottom, these candidates who are winning still believe in low taxes, low government spending and individual liberty. Those are the Ideological principles of the Tea Party. So ideologically, the conservative movement is still alive and well. 

O'DONNELL: But, John, isn't it true there are some warring factions within the Republican Party and  that someone of the establishment in the Republican Party wanted to see Tea Party candidates lose? 

DICKERSON: Well, what the establishment wanted to see is good candidates win elections, and what happened over the last couple of cycles is you had sometimes tea party candidates, sometimes candidates who were supported by the grassroots but wouldn't necessarily fit the tea party label who ended up getting nomination. Then they were inexperienced, untested, and they ended up kind of frittering away what looked to Republicans like seats they could win. So what the establish hasn't has wanted is to get candidates who can be successful. There are certainly spats and arguments. They're off about among the elites at the top who claim to speak for the Tea Party but part of what happen here, again is these quote unquote establishment candidates, they're not squishy moderates winning. These are candidates who appeal to tea party voters. The people who claim to speak for the tea party may not like them exactly but the voters like them enough to be voting them in. 

ROSE: They clearly sense the midterm elections and the possibility of taking over for the Senate. 

DICKERSON: Absolutely. What the Democrats had hoped was that there would be these ugly, bloody fights that would have these extreme moments where candidates would do outrageous things. Then the Democrats would be able to label the entire republican party to be full of this kind of extremism. That has not happened and that's good for Republicans who want to take over the Senate. 

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