ABC was not alone in touting the "witch hunt" accusation. On CBS's Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes described how "already foes [of the hearings] are calling them discriminatory and a witch-hunt." On NBC's Today, co-host Meredith Vieira introduced a report on the hearings by noting how "critics say it amounts to a witch hunt."
In addition, reports on all three network morning shows cited a spokesperson from the left-wing Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to bolster accusations of discrimination against the hearings being conducted by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman, Republican Congressman Peter King.
ABC and CBS both used sound bites from Ibrahim Hooper. On Good Morning America, Hooper warned the hearings "have the potential to demonize Islam." On the Early Show, Hooper slammed King as someone who "has a past history of anti-Muslim rhetoric. He has a past history of promoting anti-Muslim sentiment." NBC's Today cited fellow CAIR member Nihad Awad, who proclaimed: "Our community is bracing against generalization and fear-mongering because our community has suffered. It is very sad that we have not learned lessons from history."
Interviews with Congressman King on all three shows amounted to interrogations. Good Morning America and Today were particularly bad in that both compared King to Joseph McCarthy. ABC's Stephanopoulos declared: "You've been accused of modern-day McCarthyism, fueling bigots." NBC's Vieira observed: "...the hearing hasn't even started yet and already you are being compared to Joe McCarthy, hell bent, on a witch hunt. What is your mission?"
On CBS, co-host Chris Wragge cited a recent study in an attempt to undermine King's argument for holding the hearings: "In a study conducted by Duke University and the University of North Carolina, since 9/11, in the 120 terror plots the public knows of, 48 have been thwarted by the Muslim community. So you say the community's not really doing enough but the numbers show that, you know what, they're not doing badly. So why do you say they're not doing enough?"
In response, King pointed out the numerous flaws in the data:
I don't accept those numbers....they left out a number of cases involving terrorist financing, which they did not include in there....they include cases in there, for instance, there's the Zazi case in New York, the subway bombing plot, when actually in that case the imam tipped off the defendant that police were coming after him. The imam almost disrupted that case. How they can give him credit for that I don't know. They also give credit for the Muslim vendor in Times Square who saw a car on fire and reported it to the police. Now why seeing a car on fire would indicate a Muslim attack or a terrorist attack is beyond me. So I think that - that - that report was skewed.Stephanopoulos cited the same study in his interview with King.
Unlike ABC and NBC, CBS interviewed King alongside Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison, the only Muslim member of Congress. Wragge actually did challenge Ellison's criticism of the hearings: "...many of the recent attacks and attempted attacks have come from within the Muslim community. So, what is wrong with questioning Muslim leaders as to what is actually going on inside their communities?"
Ellison argued: "...if you take a hearing like this, and use a congressional investigative hearing to investigate a community with the allegation - before we've even had any testimony, the allegation that there's no cooperation, I think what you're doing is you're setting the tone of blame and collective guilt, and you're thwarting the very thing you say you want to achieve, which is greater public safety."
In a sound bite for the ABC report, Ellison claimed: "These hearings, as presently organized, won't do any good and they may well do a lot of damage." On NBC, Vieira asked King about Ellison's concerns: "...he is very concerned that this hearing is gonna backfire. That it's gonna play into the hands of terrorist recruiters who are gonna use it to say, 'See America is at war with Islam.'"