Accuracy in Media

In a stunning display of media bias, Brian Williams of MSNBC cut into the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing with Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday to repeat Democrat talking points and try to discredit information presented by Republicans.

The first instance came during the opening statement by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the chairman of the committee.

Graham had ticked off the resources used in the Mueller investigation and the degree of cooperation provided by the Trump administration. He stated how many witnesses had been made available by the White House, how many documents had been turned over, how much information had been requested from other sources, including 13 foreign countries, and how the White House did not assert executive privilege even one time.

“So what did we learn from this report?” Graham said. “After all this time and all this money, Mr. Mueller and his team concluded there was no collusion. I didn’t know. Like many of you here, on the Republican side, we all agreed that Mr. Mueller should be allowed to do his job without interference.

“I joined with some colleagues on the other side to introduce legislation to protect the special counsel … that he could only be removed for cause. He was never removed. He was allowed to do his job. So … no collusion. No coordination. No conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government regarding the 2016 election.

“As to obstruction of justice, Mr. Mueller left it to Mr. Barr to decide after two years and all this time, he said, “Mr. Barr, you decide.” Mr. Barr did. There are a bunch of lawyers on this committee, and I will tell you the following. You have to have specific intent to obstruct justice. If there’s no underlying crime …”

At that point, Williams appeared on a split screen. “We’re reluctant to do this; we rarely do,” said Williams, who was suspended and removed as anchor of the nightly news by NBC in 2015 after he was caught lying about being in a helicopter that was attacked during the Iraq War.

“But the chairman of the Judiciary Committee just said that Mueller found there was no collusion. That is not correct. Nicole Wallace, the report says collusion is not a thing they considered. It doesn’t exist in federal code.”

As the Washington Examiner pointed out, the term ‘collusion’ has been used as a catch-all to mean illegal coordination between Trump’s people and the Russians for going on two years now. On top of that, Graham also supplied the correct legal terms – conspiracy and coordination.

Wallace then furthered the bias by saying, “What’s stunning is that Lindsey Graham is offering answers to questions that aren’t on the table today. The question on the table today after the reporting last night is why did Barr mischaracterize what was actually in the Mueller report? I’m sorry, Lindsey Graham, but your defensiveness is showing. To talk about everything that went into it and then in the next breath distort it, is a stunning, stunning mischaracterization of what the whole exercise is supposed to be about.”

Wallace is wrong on the facts. The hearing was set before the Post story came out to allow senators to question Barr about the Mueller report.

Williams returned to say, “We try to offer gavel-to-gavel coverage, but that phrase, or lack of it, its absence from the federal code. This ‘no collusion’ mantra is so foundational to why we’re here today that we decided to flag it when we heard him use it yet again.”

Later, Williams interrupted during questions from Jon Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, during which he told listeners “Dick Durbin is coming up next,” as a seeming promo, and later during questions from another Republican, Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa. They returned to the broadcast for Durbin’s questioning and for the statement from Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, who said Barr should resign.

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