NBC Uniquely Notes Some Dems Voted to Sanction Holder

Media Research CenterUniquely among the broadcast network evening newscasts Thursday night, the NBC Nightly News, not only ran a full report on the House of Representatives vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, but the network also noted that some Democrats joined Republicans on the vote.

By contrast, ABC's World News and the CBS Evening News only mentioned the dozens of Democrats who walked out of the Capitol in protest as they devoted only about half a minute each to the story.

Even though it took NBC more than 20 minutes to get to the report, anchor Brian Williams alerted viewers of the upcoming story right after he teased the day's lead item, the Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare, as he opened the show: "In contempt: The vote in Congress against the U.S. Attorney General late today and the dramatic walkout in protest."

He later introduced the report:

Eric Holder today became the first United States Attorney General ever to be held in contempt of Congress. The vote was a result of a dispute over a botched federal anti-gun trafficking operation known as Fast and Furious. Some of the guns ended up in Mexico. Two of them were found at the scene of a fatal shooting of a U.S. border patrol agent. House Republicans say Holder misled them about the operation and that he's withholding documents. They're accusing the Justice Department of a coverup.

NBC correspondent Kelly O'Donnell began her piece by focusing on the Democrats who walked out and their complaints, before getting to the Republican side. Referring to the 17 Democrats who voted with the GOP to find Holder in contempt, O'Donnell eventually informed viewers:

Inside the chamber, House Republicans joined by more than a dozen Democrats voted to sanction the Attorney General. They say Holder failed to turn over subpoenaed documents that might explain why the Justice Department gave Congress false information.

Below are complete transcripts of the relevant reports from ABC's World News, the CBS Evening News, and the NBC Nightly News:

# From ABC's World News:

DIANE SAWYER: And now we want to tell you about another kind of history made today, and also in Washington. The House of Representatives approved a resolution holding Attorney General Eric Holder in criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to disclose documents on that botched undercover program, the Fast and Furious operation, the program supposed to track guns smuggled to drug dealers in Mexico. No sitting Cabinet member has ever been held in contempt. Dozens of Democrats boycotted the vote. They walked out of the chamber, assembling on the Capitol steps.

# From the CBS Evening News:

SCOTT PELLEY: The House voted today to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. More than a hundred Democrats boycotted the vote. Holder angered Republicans by refusing to turn over all the Justice Department documents about Operation Fast and Furious. That's the botchedinvestigation in which agents stood by as guns were smuggled from the U.S. into Mexico. Until today, no Cabinet member had ever been cited for contempt of Congress.

# From the NBC Nightly News:

BRIAN WILLIAMS, IN OPENING TEASER: In contempt: The vote in Congress against the U.S. Attorney General late today and the dramatic walkout in protest.

(...)

WILLIAMS: Eric Holder today became the first United States Attorney General ever to be held in contempt of Congress. The vote was a result of a dispute over a botched federal anti-gun trafficking operation known as Fast and Furious. Some of the guns ended up in Mexico. Two of them were found at the scene of a fatal shooting of a U.S. border patrol agent. House Republicans say Holder misled them about the operation and that he's withholding documents. They're accusing the Justice Department of a coverup. We get a late report tonight from NBC's Kelly O'Donnell.

KELLY O'DONNELL: In a rare act of protest, most Democrats walked off the House floor, refused to vote, and headed out the Capitol door.

DEMOCRATS IN FRONT OF CAPITOL CHANTING: Shame on you! Shame on you! Shame on you!

O'DONNELL: They insist the Attorney General, Eric Holder, is being treated unfairly.

REP. JIM CLYBURN (D-SC): This is not about oversight. This is about overkill.

O'DONNELL: Inside the chamber-

JOHN BOEHNER, HOUSE SPEAKER: I don't take this matter lightly, and I would, frankly, hoped it would never come to this.

O'DONNELL: -House Republicans joined by more than a dozen Democrats voted to sanction the Attorney General. They say Holder failed to turn over subpoenaed documents that might explain why the Justice Department gave Congress false information.

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R-UT): That's not good enough.

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R-CA): We were lied to. We were lied to repeatedly and over a 10-month period.

O'DONNELL: After the vote, Holder responded with pointed language toward Republicans.

ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Today's vote may make for good political theater in the minds of some but it is at base both a crass effort and a grave disservice to the American people.

O'DONNELL: And tonight the White House dismissed the use of contempt against Holder, calling it a transparently political stunt. Now, Brian, you know, the President injected himself into this last week by claiming executive privilege over some of theseĀ  documents shielding them from Congress. House Republicans say they will continue to fight for access and fight for answers.

-- Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center