Editor's note: The following article originally appeared on the Media Research Center's NewsBusters blog.
A massive revelation in the alleged surveillance of President Trump’s aides broke Monday morning when Bloomberg reported that, “Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign.” With their identities unmasked, it allowed for someone to freely and illegally leak their names to the press. It’s controversial news but ABC and NBC both chose to ignore it that night, while CBS defended Rice.
“We learned more today about the President's allegation that he and his aides were caught up in Obama-era surveillance,” Anchor Scott Pelley said, teeing up reporter Margaret Brennan on CBS’s “Evening News.” Strangely, Pelley stayed away from flinging the fiery insults which drew him much praise from the left. Instead of calling Trump’s claims ‘baseless’ he kept it neutral, only referring to them as “allegations.” He also described what the concern was as “Obama-era surveillance,” something he had not done in the past.
Brennan played defense for Rice, stating, “Well, Scott, as national security adviser to the president, Susan Rice could and did request the names of individuals who were picked up during legal surveillance of foreign nationals.” She then cited unnamed sources who told her there was nothing wrong with what Rice did:
Now, according to a former national security official, Trump associates were not the sole focus of Rice's request, but they may have been revealed when she asked to understand why they were appearing in intelligence reports. However, Rice did not spread the information according to this former official, who insisted that there was nothing improper or political involved.
On Fox News’ “Special Report,” it was a whole different story as they kicked off the program with the Rice’s unmasking efforts. “The surveillance of people close to President Trump, possibly the president himself, now has a name and a face attached to it. And it's one you've seen in major scandals before,” declared James Rosen, who was filling-in for Bret Baier, during the opening tease.
“Two weeks ago, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee announced to the press and President he had uncovered a disturbing trend of intelligence collection on Trump officials, some of which was made public,” reported Chief White House Correspondent John Roberts, “Today we learn more about the ‘how’ and ‘who’ of what's going on.”
The Fox News reporter noted that when it came to statements from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes about Trump aides being swept up in incidental collection, Rice claimed not to know a thing about it. “I know nothing about this. I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that count today,” she claimed on PBS’s “NewsHour.” That is now exposed as a lie, just like then she lied about what caused the Benghazi attack.
All of that and more went unreported on the Big Three networks.
Ironically, during the White House press briefing on Monday, Press Secretary Sean Spicer called the media out for doing just that.
“I think that it is interesting the level or lack of interest that I've seen in these developments when it goes in one direction,” he declared, referencing when the press rushed to wrongly finger NSC Director Ezra Cohen-Watnik as the source of Nunes’ information. But he, in fact, was the one who discovered Rice’s order during a review of the unmasking process.
A noticeable double standard indeed.
Nicholas Fondacaro is a news analyst for NewsBusters.