Initially, the networks covered Anthony Weiner's entry into the New York City mayoral race as the "comeback kid" fighting for a "second chance." However, over the last several days, top state Democrats have recoiled at the campaign of the scandal-scarred congressman. Governor Andrew Cuomo mocked, "shame on us," should Weiner win. Senator Chuck Schumer refused to talk about the race.
After these comments surfaced, ABC's World News on Saturday offered a much tougher critique on Weiner. Reporter Marci Gonzalez grilled the politician, wondering, "Why should [the people] trust you? You've lied to them before." Pushing for details on Weiner's sexting history, she quizzed, "And you have said there could be other photos out there. How many more could there be?" [MP3 audio here.]
The reporter made sure to highlight how the liberal establishment has turned against Weiner, noting that he lacks "support from Democratic heavyweights." She added, "Just this morning, Senator Charles Schumer refused to talk about the controversial candidate."
In contrast, on Wednesday, ABC's Good Morning America hyped Weiner's entry into the race, playing an extended clip of his announcement video. Host George Stephanopoulos mostly glossed over his previous transgressions. NBC's Today promoted Weiner as the "comeback kid."
That day's CBS This Morning hyped the importance of Huma Abedin, the Democrat's wife. The network played a clip of Iona College political science professor Jeanne Zaino lecturing, "I think she's really got to be there to support him and say, "Look, if I can forgive him, so can you."
Yet, by Saturday, after the deluge from Schumer and Cuomo, CBS This Morning was actually playing jokes of another network's comic mocking Weiner:
JIMMY FALLON: This isn't good. Anthony Weiner – (audience laughs) he's running for mayor of New York City, and he had to change his campaign website yesterday because it accidentally showed a picture of the Pittsburgh skyline, instead of Manhattan. (Audience laughs) Or, as Weiner calls that, an embarrassing photo I can live with.
A transcript of the May 26 World News segment, which aired at 6:17pm ET, follows:
ABC GRAPHIC: Second Act: Anthony Weiner's Comeback
DAVID MUIR: Here in New York City tonight, a second act, or at least an attempt at one. Politics are famous for them. But in this case, voters would have to look past pictures that rocketed across Twitter and everywhere else. Our correspondent tonight with tough questions for the man who wants to be mayor. Here's ABC's Marci Gonzalez.
MARCI GONZALEZ: Disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner getting a warm welcome from voters today as he launches his political comeback.
ANTHONY WEINER: Thank you. Nice to meet you.
GONZALEZ: Weiner campaigning for New York City mayor, trying to move past the scandal that led to his resignation from Congress two years ago, those racy photos and messages he sent to women through social media.
WEINER: I'd like to make it clear that I've made terrible mistakes.
GONZALEZ: And you have said there could be other photos out there. How many more could there be?
WEINER: What I've said is this is exactly what people know it is. It is something I've done that is very regrettable.
GONZALEZ: His wife, Huma, pregnant when the scandal broke, appears in this new campaign video standing by her man.
HUMA ABEDIN: And no one will work harder to make it better than Anthony.
GONZALEZ: Weiner hopes voters will be as forgiving. Will he get your vote?
MAN: Yes, he will. I strongly feel he's a good politician and he deserves a chance.
GONZALEZ: But what Weiner lacks is support from Democratic heavyweights. Just this morning, Senator Charles Schumer refused to talk about the controversial candidate.
CHUCK SCHUMER: I'm not commenting on the mayor's race or Anthony Weiner's race at this point.
GONZALEZ: On ABC's This Week, Politico's Maggie Haberman told Martha Raddatz, Weiner has a very slim chance at becoming New York City's mayor.
MAGGIE HABERMAN: Because this field is pretty lackluster and nobody is capturing the imagination of the public.
GONZALEZ: And that is just what Weiner is hoping to do. One apology at a time. Why should they trust you? You've lied to them before?
WEINER: It's entirely up to them. But one of the things I'm going to say is I'm going to present them with my vision for the city.
MUIR: And Marci is with us now. This would seem to be a bit of a test run for a politician trying to get past something that ricocheted across social media.
GONZALEZ: Absolutely. And this is why he's taking preemptive action, warning that more images could still surface.
MUIR: All right. Tough questions for him. Thanks, Marci.
-- Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.