For Nevada voters, the debate unequivocally exposed that it was Reid who was the candidate that came unprepared for prime time. But on the three networks, it was a different story. Though they tried to acknowledge weakly that Reid didn't win, only Jonathan Karl on ABC played a clip of a confused Reid at the podium, fumbling for his notes: "OK. Got to find my little notes here. ... OK. A lot of paper here." Karl was also the only network correspondent who, after Reid denied that he grew rich in office, featured this ridiculous line by the Democrat: "I've been on a fixed income since I went to Washington." Karl noted Reid makes $193,400 as majority leader. None of the networks used Angle's line that Reid, most unpolitically, lives in the Ritz-Carlton in Washington. Some fixed income.
But the worst part of the debate that the network Angle-bashers ignored concerned Reid's biggest and most outspoken mistake: his declaration in April 2007 that the Iraq war was lost. The debate moderator, Mitch Fox, quoted his remarks precisely: "You were quoted as saying the following: 'The war is lost, and the surge is not accomplishing anything as indicated by the extreme violence.' Do you believe that your statement demoralized the troops and (was) inaccurate as judged by the success of the troop surge?"
Reid simply lied in response. He tried to suggest he merely had been restating the thesis of Gen. David Petraeus: "He said and I said the war could only be won militarily, economically and diplomatically." Reid said this, without an ounce of shame, after the moderator had just quoted him as saying "the war is lost."
But then Reid dug an even deeper trench of untruth. "After I made my statement and Gen. Petraeus made his statements, we did the surge then, not later. And it was the right thing to do."
So now Reid is taking credit for the surge? Again, the moderator had just told the voters of Nevada that Reid had declared that "the surge is not accomplishing anything." Reid didn't care about the truth of what he said. He was just recklessly, shamelessly inventing an alternate universe. History, truth, facts -- damn them all. Reid now says that "the surge worked" and that somehow, in spite of his white-flag remarks, he was supportive of the mission and the troops.
How can the "truth" detectors in TV news skip over Reid's fabrications of his own record? They can't, of course, unless they are shamelessly partisan and don't care whether politicians tell the truth or invent fiction.
Back in 2007, NBC reporter Bob Faw insisted Reid merely was "saying out loud what many say privately about Iraq." What "many say privately" (read: inside the national media) turned out to be wrong and unwise. So the reporters are not just covering for Reid. They're covering for themselves.