After once dubiously omitting his answer to a question about his senility, CBS Evening News via political correspondent Ed O’Keefe acted as a campaign surrogate for Democratic candidate Joe Biden on Wednesday, boosting his lie that President Trump was America’s “first racist president.” NBC Nightly News also got in on the act. Between pushing the lie and praising a new campaign video, does this mean the networks committed federal election violations?
As CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell pivoted to the segment, she was clearly excited to be talking about Biden teaming up with former President Obama to trash Trump.
“Joe Biden and former President Obama met face to face for the first time in months to team up on a new campaign video where they take turns hitting President Trump on his response to the pandemic. This as Biden releases his most direct attack yet on Mr. Trump’s character,” she boasted before handing it off to O’Keefe.
And he jumped right into pushing Biden’s false claim, touting how his candidate was “calling out Mr. Trump as the country’s first racist president.” O’Keefe then played this soundbite of Biden’s comment and qualified it for him:
BIDEN: We have racist and they’ve existed and they’ve tried to get elected president; he’s the first one that has.
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O’KEEFE: That’s what he told a worker who expressed concern that the President claims blames China for the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, on NBC, White House correspondent Kristen Welker applauded how Biden was “sharply criticizing the President, who has referred to COVID as the China virus.” She followed that up with the same soundbite.
But unlike O’Keefe, Welker actually allowed the White House’s response. “I have done more for black Americans than anybody with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln. Nobody has even been close,” Trump told the press pool.
Of course, none of the smears were true. The U.S. has had racist presidents such as Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, and FDR (all of them Democrats). Boosting the claim also disproved their decades of smears against Republican presidents George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan.
Beyond that, just as he did just over a week ago, O’Keefe actively campaigned for Biden by gushing and rebroadcasting their latest campaign video. “Meanwhile Biden and his former boss reunited with a pandemic style campaign video with masks, social distancing and criticism of the current President,” he touted to viewers.
He added: “Aides say, in the absence of traditional rallies, videos like this one, are how Mr. Obama plans to help out.” Here’s how O’Keefe helped out too:
BIDEN: This guy has generated a sense out there, that people are waking up to, that he ran by deliberately dividing people from the moment he came down that escalator.
O’KEEFE: Former President Obama heaped praise on the former number two.
BARACK OBAMA: You are going to be able to reassemble the kind of government that cares about people and brings people together.
Now, should this count as an in-kind donation to the Biden campaign?
O’Keefe’s campaigning for Biden was made possible by lucrative sponsorships from Amazon and Purina. Their contact information is linked. CBS Evening News has also asked viewers to “Text Norah” at this number: (202) 217-1107.
LifeNews Note: Nicholas Fondacaro writes for Newsbusters, where this originally appeared.