ABC Doubles Down on 'Louisiana Republican' Caught in Affair, Yawns at Democratic Scandals
For the second day in a row, Good Morning America on Wednesday devoted a full report to investigating Vance McAllister, the married "Louisiana Republican" who was caught on camera kissing a staffer. [MP3 audio here.] On Tuesday, the show's reporters made sure to remind viewers that the Congressman involved in the alleged affair is a "conservative" and "Republican." Yet, Democratic controversies have largely been ignored or downplayed by the network.
Despite the news that a House committee plans to ask the Justice Department to charge former top IRS official Lois Lerner, ABC skipped the development and hasn't mentioned the scandal-plagued bureaucrat since March 5, 2014. (The occasion was only to highlight Democrat Elijah Cummings complaining about the unfairness of the hearings. Excluding that incident, Lerner's name was last uttered on May 24, 2013.)
During West Coast feeds of Good Morning America on March 5, 2014, then-news reader Josh Elliott quickly summarized the latest on the investigation:
JOSH ELLIOTT: Former IRS official Lois Lerner once again refused to answer questions about the targeting of Tea Party groups before the last presidential election. Lerner ran the IRS division that targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny, but pleaded the fifth. Just moments later, however, fireworks erupted when Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings said he had a question but was cut off.
This was the last mention on ABC of the IRS scandal.
Including stories on Nightline and World News, ABC has identified Congressman McAllister's GOP affiliation four times in two days.
The same network gave just a scant nine seconds on March 27 to the arrest of Leeland Yee, an aggressive gun control advocate and a Democratic candidate for state-wide office in California. He has been accused of trafficking guns. GMA's Amy Robach briefly noted, "And a California lawmaker who pushed for gun control has been arrested in a gun trafficking scheme. State Senator Leland Yee is fighting those charges."
Unsurprisingly, Robach ignored Yee's political affiliation.
So, while the reporters at ABC love the hypocrisy angle of a conservative, Christian congressman having an affair, they don't seem interested in the contradiction of a gun control advocate allegedly trafficking illegal guns.
For more on this topic, see a column by Brent Bozell and Tim Graham.
A transcript of the April 9 segment is below:
LARA SPENCER: We want to get to now the new developments on that congressman caught kissing a staffer on camera. This morning, the staffer is out of a job and the congressman's office may be asking the FBI to launch an investigation into who leaked the tape. ABC's Jeff Zeleny has the story.
JEFF ZELENY: This morning, Congressman Vance McAllister under fire and firing back after this surveillance video surfaced, showing the married Louisiana Republican kissing a married scheduler in his office. Overnight, aides to the Congressman telling ABC News, they may ask the FBI to investigate how the video was leaked.
REP. ERIC CANTOR: Good morning.
ZELENY: Republican leaders, keeping their distance.
CANTOR: The American people deserve all of their representatives here in Washington to hold to a very high standard of behavior and conduct.
ZELENY: As for the scheduler, Melissa Peacock, seen here in the congressman's arms, she's resigned. Melissa's husband Keith speaking out for the first time about that kiss. Keith Peacock, a long-time family friend who donated over $5,000 to the McAllister campaign, told Inside Edition he is devastated that the Congressman ruined his life. Peacock added, "Mcallister is about the most non-religious person I know." But the congressman is begging forgiveness and vowing to run for re-election in November, though he's not shown up to vote this week. We stopped by his office, Tuesday, but we were told he wasn't around. [Walking in the Congressman's office.] I'm Jeff Zeleny ABC News. After running to promote Christian values --
REP. VANCE MCALLISTER (R-Louisana): I believe Louisiana values like faith, family and hard work, are sorely missing in Washington, D.C.
ZELENY: – he told us when he arrived here nearly five months ago, he was focused on working, not playing hard.
MCALLISTER: We're up here to go to work, not to cook and socialize. But It seems like there's a lot of that that goes on.
ZELENY: Now, McAllister could face an ethics investigation because the woman he was kissing worked in his office. While the Congressman is trying to figure out who leaked this videotape, politically speaking, it may not matter. These families were long-time friends. So, in addition to the scandal unfolding here in Washington, there is a family drama in Louisiana that's even more painful and complicated. Lara?
— Scott Whitlock is Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Scott Whitlock on Twitter.