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NBC Groans About Calls to Investigate Biden: No ‘Huge Appetite’ for It

Tucked into the final minutes of Sunday’s Meet the Press, NBC political director Chuck Todd led a panel discussion, featuring Cook Political Report’s Amy Walter and NBC Capitol Hill correspondent Kasie Hunt, where they groaned about calls to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden for an allegation of rape. One even claimed there was no “huge appetite” for it. Meanwhile, the call they were whining about was designed to rig the investigation in Biden’s favor, and that wasn’t their complaint.

Reading a portion of a column written by The New York Times editorial board, Todd noted that they were “not satisfied” with the denials Biden made on MSNBC’s Morning Joe late last week:

The New York Times is not satisfied with the Vice President’s answer. In fact, they write, “Mr. Biden’s word is insufficient to dispel the cloud. Any inventory should be strictly limited to information about Ms. Reade and conducted by an unbiased, apolitical panel, put together by the DNC, and chosen to foster as much trust in its findings as possible.”

“So, Amy Walter, how much appetite is there in the Democratic Party to do something as extensive as The New York Times is outlining,” Todd wondered, as if letting the DNC run an investigation into their presumptive nominee was serious. Meanwhile, Todd and the rest of the liberal media were apoplectic that an FBI investigation into the bogus claims against Justice Brett Kavanaugh didn’t drag on for months and months.

For Hunt’s part, she complained that “Republicans are focusing on how Brett Kavanaugh was handled and how the media handled Brett Kavanaugh. How Democrats talked about Brett Kavanaugh.” “They’re not talking about Donald Trump because the reality is that they can’t,” she lashed out.

 

 

As if we’re supposed to score the alleged sexual misconduct of politicians as if it were a game of golf, Hunt noted “the list of accusers that this President has is very long” and “in the case of Joe Biden, there is one.” Hitting on that point, she added: “voters are obviously going to be able to make up their own minds about that.”

If what Hunt said was correct, and scandal math mattered to how the media covered such things, then they would have covered the plethora of allegations against Bill Clinton the same way they harped on the claims against Trump. The media deserved all the criticism they got over their hypocrisy and that’s why Todd bemoaned how “every social media debate devolves into, is some sort of whataboutism on those two gentlemen.”

And there was undeniable hypocrisy in how sexual misconduct allegations were covered in favor of Democrats, no matter how many times Hunt claimed: “this debate [about Biden’s alleged conduct] has become very muddled and devolved into lobbing charges back and forth.”

Backing up the Democratic Party’s refusal to take the rape allegation seriously, Hunt noted there was no “huge appetite” to investigate because they were afraid of a 2016 repeat. “[T]he e-mail question around Hillary Clinton, that’s kind of the first memory that Democrats have. And you know, I think behind the scenes, the Biden campaign is very much trying to focus on insisting they’re not going to get into a situation where it’s ‘but her emails,’” she explained.

On the other hand, Walter rightly scoffed at The Times’ suggestion. “Not much, Chuck, and I think for a lot of Republicans and conservatives, the idea that the DNC is going to put together an unbiased panel to look through the documents of Joe Biden is kind of stretching it,” she said. Walter also talked about how many people “believe” there was hypocrisy in the way Biden and Kavanaugh were covered and noted that “partisanship” drove a lot of it.

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

NBC’s Meet the Press
May 3, 2020
11:22:11 a.m. Eastern

CHUCK TODD: Welcome back Kasie Hunt is still with us. And joining us is Amy Walter, national editor of the Cook Political Report. All righty, let me play one of the bites from Joe Biden’s interview on Morning Joe from Friday. Here it is

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Would you please go on the record with the American people. Did you sexually assault Tara Reade?

JOE BIDEN: No. It is not true. I’m saying unequivocally, it never, never happened. And it didn’t. It never happened.

TODD: Amy Walter, The New York Times is not satisfied with the Vice President’s answer. In fact, they write, “Mr. Biden’s word is insufficient to dispel the cloud. Any inventory should be strictly limited to information about Ms. Reade and conducted by an unbiased, apolitical panel, put together by the DNC and chosen to foster as much trust in its findings as possible.”

So, Amy Walter, how much appetite is there in the Democratic Party to do something as extensive as The New York Times is outlining?

AMY WALTER: Yeah. Not much, Chuck, and I think for a lot of Republicans and conservatives, the idea that the DNC is going to put together an unbiased panel to look through the documents of Joe Biden is kind of stretching it.

Look, Chuck, we are in the place where we have been for so much of these last couple years especially in the light of this #MeToo movement about the fight not just over who to believe, but the fight over hypocrisy. And that’s where a lot of this debate is being centered on. Democrats, including Joe Biden, but a lot of Democrats and liberals who held one standard for folks like Brett Kavanaugh and seem to be holding a different standard for Joe Biden.

But this, Chuck, reminds me a little bit of the battle we saw in 2016 and, quite frankly, we still see today with evangelicals and their support for Donald Trump. Right? How can you support this person who’s going against the standards you set for somebody else?

And at the end of the day, this is what voters are left with. Not so much who they believe or don’t believe but how they battle this cognitive dissonance. And usually, partisanship is what breaks the tie.

TODD: No. And Kasie, on social media, basically it’s the hypocrisy of the defenders of the party of Bill Clinton and the defenders of the party of Donald Trump. Right? That that’s what every social media debate devolves into, is some sort of whataboutism on those two gentlemen.

KASIE HUNT: Well Chuck, I think also to Amy’s point, Republicans are focusing on how Brett Kavanaugh was handled and how the media handled Brett Kavanaugh. How Democrats talked about Brett Kavanaugh. They’re not talking about Donald Trump because the reality is that they can’t. Because the list of accusers that this President has is very long. And you know, each individual accusation has a different set of facts, a different set of claims.

In the case of Joe Biden, there is one, and that claim is now being explored and they are having to grapple with it. But you’re right that, you know, this debate has become very muddled and devolved into lobbing charges back and forth.

You know, at the end of the day, I think Americans who care deeply about this issue and who care about women and harassment and changing that culture, at the end of the day, this is going to be a choice between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. There are two separate sets of facts there. And, you know, I’m going to — voters are obviously going to be able to make up their own minds about that.

TODD: Yeah, I mean — Kasie, I think without – without the piece of paper showing up, but I am curious, how many Democrats on Capitol Hill are empathetic, do you think, quietly, are quietly empathetic with the call by The New York Times for some formal investigation

HUNT: Chuck, I don’t know if there’s a huge appetite for that. I think you talk about–

TODD: Okay.

HUNT: — shifting the debate into a different sphere, the email question around Hillary Clinton, that’s kind of the first memory that Democrats have. And you know, I think behind the scenes, the Biden campaign is very much trying to focus on insisting they’re not going to get into a situation where it’s “but her emails.”

But I do think, you know, Democrats want this campaign to be as clean and straightforward as possible, and to the extent there are questions about transparency, that’s going to be a problem for every Democrat, and particularly women Democrats. They have been the ones who have had to answer questions about this accusation. Nancy Pelosi has defended Joe Biden, Kirsten Gillibrand, as well.

So, the easier the Biden campaign can make them in terms of answers our questions in hallways, I think the happier Democrats are going to be.

(…)

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