Bias by omission: 10 major controversies the media avoided covering or downplayed in 2021

Many big stories were brushed under the rug from The Lincoln Project turmoil to the ongoing Durham probe

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2021 was a jampacked year for news. While many suspected calm would be restored under President Biden, the news cycle kept roaring from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to growing inflation to the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

However, there were plenty of controversies that liberal media outlets chose to brush under the rug, many of them implicating Democrats. 

Here are 10 major headlines that were largely avoided by the media. 

Sex allegations plague The Lincoln Project 

The Lincoln Project became a media darling for its over-the-top attack ads against President Trump during the 2020 election cycle, but the pro-Democrat PAC was virtually abandoned when it became the subject of scandal. 

In January 2021, a damning report from the New York Times revealed that Lincoln Project co-founder John Weaver, who had formally parted ways with the group last year, was accused of sexually harassing over 20 young men online, including minors. 

Lincoln Project co-founders Steve Schmidt, Rick Wilson, George Conway and John Weaver. 

Lincoln Project co-founders Steve Schmidt, Rick Wilson, George Conway and John Weaver. 

CNN and NBC completely avoided the Weaver allegations. ABC reported on the controversy on Sunday's edition of "World News Tonight," but the topic received no mention on the network to much wider audiences on that Monday. 

THE LINCOLN PROJECT'S SPECTACULAR DOWNFALL: A TIMELINE

MSNBC, meanwhile, made only one mention of it when "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski briefly confronted George Conway, who co-founded the Lincoln Project with Weaver and others, about the allegations.

CBS delayed any coverage of the Lincoln Project turmoil until weeks later when "60 Minutes" anchor Lesley Stahl provided an "update" to viewers after the magazine show aired a glowing profile of the anti-Trump PAC in October 2020, which Weaver was interviewed for. 

The mounting political woes of Andrew Cuomo

One of the biggest political stories of 2021 was the downfall of Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. While the media offered ample coverage of the damning AG report that outlined 11 accusations of sexual misconduct, the networks downplayed or completely ignored the Albany controversies that piled up throughout the year. 

In January, New York Attorney General Letitia James issued another bombshell report revealing Cuomo's state Department of Health may have underreported COVID deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50%. Cuomo had directed New York nursing homes to accept patients who had or were suspected of having the virus. The decision created an onslaught of cases that infected thousands of elderly patients and resulted in hundreds of deaths among the state's most vulnerable population. The governor eventually reversed the decision, but not before thousands died from COVID-19 in New York nursing homes.  

ABC, CBS, NBC GO FULL DAY WITHOUT MENTIONING LATEST CUOMO NURSING HOME SCANDAL BOMBSHELL

The liberal networks that once idolized the governor in the early months of the pandemic offered minimal coverage of James' first report. While NBC's "Nightly News" spent the most time on the subject clocking in at 86 seconds, CBS' "Evening News" dedicated a brief 10 seconds during a lengthier coronavirus report, which didn't even mention Cuomo by name. ABC's "World News Tonight" completely skipped the story altogether. CNN and MSNBC completely avoided the subject during their most-watched primetime shows, including "Cuomo Prime Time" anchored by the governor's little brother, Chris Cuomo. The next day, only two CNN programs addressed the nursing home scandal collectively clocking in eight minutes and 18 seconds of coverage while MSNBC spent less than three minutes on the story.

The three broadcast networks later avoided the bombshell New York Times report outlining the Cuomo administration's effort to deliberately block the release of data on COVID nursing home deaths, which the paper tied to the release of the governor's book "American Crisis." The memoir, which came out in October 2020, prematurely touted the Democrat's "leadership" during the early months of the pandemic. 

CNN and MSNBC waited more than 12 hours before mentioning the story on their air. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in New York. He resigned in August. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in New York. He resigned in August. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

It took a while for the media to take the sexual misconduct allegations against Cuomo, which ultimately led to his ousting as governor, seriously. In February, none of the five networks initially covered the accusations made by Lindsey Boylan, the first woman to come forward against the powerful Democrat. 

Bizarrely, even after the sexual harassment scandal fueled, the liberal networks ignored Cuomo's sixth accuser, who alleged the governor touched her without her consent in the Executive Mansion. 

Neither did they cover the bombshell report from May that the Cuomo administration engaged in a quid pro quo with vaccine distribution in order to rally support amid calls for his resignation. 

Biden's phone call urging Afghan president to push stability ‘perception’

The foreign policy debacle that defined President Biden's first year in office was the chaotic military withdrawal from Afghanistan that resulted in 13 U.S. servicemen killed in a terrorist attack, the resurgence of the Taliban and hundreds of Americans and Afghan allies being left stranded. 

While the Biden administration repeatedly claimed the fallout from the August exit caught top officials by surprise, the president seemed to have advanced knowledge that the current state of Afghanistan was not as stable as what was being presented to the public. 

MSNBC'S CHRIS HAYES DOWNPLAYS BIDEN'S PHONE CALL WITH GHANI: ‘NOT A SCANDAL ANY MORE THAN THE WAR ITSELF WAS’

In September, Reuters obtained transcript excerpts from a July phone call Biden had with then-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

"I need not tell you the perception around the world and in parts of Afghanistan, I believe, is that things are not going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban," Biden said. "And there is a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture."

Ghani later warned Biden, "Mr. President, we are facing a full-scale invasion, composed of Taliban, full Pakistani planning and logistical support, and at least 10-15,000 international terrorists, predominantly Pakistanis thrown into this, so that dimension needs to be taken account of."

President Joe Biden and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani.

President Joe Biden and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani. (Photos by Pete Marovich-Pool )

Following the release of the phone call transcript excerpts, critics accused Biden of knowingly misleading the nation while promising a "safe and orderly" exit out of Afghanistan.

But neither CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS nor NBC offered any airtime to the damning exchange between Biden and Ghani, signaling they were ready to move on from the turmoil on the ground in Afghanistan. 

Documents suggest Fauci lied to Congress about Wuhan lab funding

Dr. Anthony Fauci has had a long history of watering down China's culpability over the origins of the COVID pandemic, repeatedly expressing doubt that the virus had leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. 

During his Senate testimony, Fauci repeatedly denied in his fiery clashes with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., that the U.S. government funded the lab's research. 

RAND PAUL SAYS NEW WUHAN DOCUMENTS SHOW FAUCI LIED

But documents obtained by the Intercept revealed the NIH pumped $3.1 million into American health organization EcoHealth Alliance to back bat coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and that almost $600,000 of that federal money was partially used by the WIV to find and alter bat coronaviruses that could jump to humans and infect them.

The bombshell revelations were faced with a full-blown media blackout. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, responds to questions by Senator Rand Paul during the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on July 20, 2021. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, responds to questions by Senator Rand Paul during the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on July 20, 2021.  (J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Neither CNN nor MSNBC touched the subject on any of their programs nor did newscasts on ABC, CBS and NBC.

The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, Politico, Axios and The Associated Press also skipped the major development. 

McAuliffe's major debate remark declaring parents shouldn't have a say in what schools teach

Perhaps the most consequential moment in the Virginia gubernatorial race was downplayed or ignored by major media outlets.

Education was front and center at the second debate where former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe was challenged by GOP rival Glenn Youngkin for vetoing a bill that would have allowed parents to be informed about materials provided in Virginia schools after citing examples of books featuring pedophilia and other sexually explicit content.

MCAULIFFE SAYS HE DOESN'T BELIEVE PARENTS SHOULD TELL SCHOOLS WHAT TO TEACH

"I'm not going to allow parents to come into schools and actually take books out, make their own decision," McAuliffe defended the veto in September. "Yeah, I stopped the bill that – I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach."

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate former Governor Terry McAuliffe debates Republican nominee and businessman Glenn Youngkin at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia, on Sept. 16, 2021  (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate former Governor Terry McAuliffe debates Republican nominee and businessman Glenn Youngkin at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia, on Sept. 16, 2021  (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File) (AP)

The exchange lit up social media with critics calling McAuliffe's comment an "unforced error" and a major political "gaffe," some even describing it as his "basket of deplorables" moment. The Youngkin campaign released an attack ad using the Democrat's own words against him less than a day later. 

However, the three major networks, ABC, CBS and NBC, completely avoided covering the debate altogether on their morning and evening newscasts the following day. 

Additionally, while MSNBC and CNN offered minimal coverage of the debate, neither mentioned McAuliffe's costly remark. 

MSNBC's Chuck Todd, who despite having moderated the Virginia debate, briefly referenced the showdown on his weekday program, but refrained from mentioning the exchange while one of his guests alluded to education being a weakness for the Democrat at the debate.

CNN anchor Erin Burnett even landed an interview with the former governor the next day but skipped the subject. CNN delayed any coverage of the exchange until two days later using the "GOP seizes" trope. 

Kamala Harris goes viral for space video featuring child actors

Vice President Harris was torched for her participation in a space video and the details behind the production further fueled mockery towards her. 

Clips of Harris went viral after she expressed over-the-top enthusiasm about space towards the five children, joining them for a visit to the Naval Observatory.

INTERNET GOES CRAZY OVER KAMALA HARRIS SPACE VIDEO USING CHILD ACTORS: ‘BETTER THAN VEEP’

However, it was revealed that the children who participated in the YouTube Originals video were actors.

(NASA)

None of the three major broadcasts networks mentioned Harris' widely panned video on their morning and evening newscasts as of Tuesday, according to Grabien search results. 

Even 24-hour cable news networks CNN and MSNBC failed to squeeze in any time to note the use of child actors.

A White House official told Fox News Harris' office did not select the children who appeared in the video.

Durham probe indictment offers devastating blow to Steele dossier

For much of the Trump presidency, the media elevated the infamous Steele dossier that fueled the Russian collusion conspiracy. But as the Durham probe continues to crack down on the origins of the Russia investigation, the networks have largely turned a blind eye. 

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Igor Danchenko, the primary sub-source for ex-British spy Christopher Steele, was charged by Special Counsel John Durham in November for lying to the FBI. But details from the indictment offered a crushing blow to the credibility of the Steele dossier that was previously touted by the media. 

The findings from the Durham indictment led to the series of stunning corrections from the Washington Post on over a dozen reports claiming they had verified parts of the dossier. 

The Washington Post corrected its coverage of Christopher Steele’s infamous dossier after the indictment of Igor Danchenko. 

The Washington Post corrected its coverage of Christopher Steele’s infamous dossier after the indictment of Igor Danchenko.  (Reuters/Getty Images)

ABC's "World News Tonight," "CBS Evening News" and "NBC Nightly News" all skipped Durham's indictment.

In September, CBS and NBC completely avoided the indictment of Democratic attorney Michael Sussmann, who was accused of lying to the FBI over allegedly not disclosing his ties to the Hillary Clinton campaign after pushing for an investigation into then-candidate Donald Trump, specifically over a server connection between the Trump Organization and a Russian bank. ABC dedicated roughly 70 seconds on "World News Tonight." 

MSNBC star Rachel Maddow, who championed the Russian collusion narrative during the Trump administration, minimized the Sussmann indictment, suggesting the Durham probe is politically motivated. 

DOJ whistleblower reveals ‘threat tag’ targeting parents at school board meetings

Whistleblowers under the Trump administration were heralded by journalists and usually received wall-to-wall coverage. That wasn't the case for the DOJ whistleblower in the Biden administration. 

The whistleblower revealed in November the FBI created a "threat tag" to aid in tracking alleged threats against school board officials, teachers, and staff as part of its implementation of a controversial memo issued by Attorney General Merrick Garland.

FBI WHISTLEBLOWER REVEALS AGENCY CREATED ‘THREAT TAG’ TO TRACK ALLEGED HARASSMENT OF EDUCATION OFFICIALS

An Oct. 20 internal email from the FBI’s criminal and counterterrorism divisions, released by House Republicans, instructed agents to apply the threat tag "EDUOFFICIALS" to all investigations and assessments of threats directed specifically at education officials.

The claims made by the whistleblower undermined Garland's testimony on Capitol Hill when he insisted parents were not being treated like terrorists.

Attorney General Merrick Garland testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing examining the Department of Justice on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. 

Attorney General Merrick Garland testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing examining the Department of Justice on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021.  (Tasos Katopodis/Pool via AP)

Neither ABC, CBS, NBC nor CNN offered any on-air coverage to the growing controversy.

Meanwhile, MSNBC addressed the controversy only once – and it was when "Deadline: White House" anchor Nicolle Wallace scoffed at the GOP uproar. 

"Debates over things like mask mandates and what topics are being taught to children now turning into fiery and at times violent clashes. They’ve reached such a critical level, the FBI is now taking steps to protect anyone who could be in danger," Wallace began before detailing the FBI's implemented "threat tag" on parents. 

"Now Republicans seized on that directive. They used it to rile up their base by falsely claiming that the Biden administration is targeting parents," Wallace told viewers.

FBI'S RESPONSE TO DOJ'S SCHOOL BOARD WHISTLEBLOWER CONFIRMS ‘THREAT TAG,’ HELPS MAKE CRITICS' CASE: ‘THE FIVE’

The liberal host rejected the notion that Garland's memo was "targeting" or "censoring" parents as Republicans have alleged, but regardless of the truth, the conservatives have "found their newest flashpoint."

The FBI issued a statement defending its conduct, saying, "A tag is merely a statistical tool to track information for review and reporting. The creation of a threat tag in no way changes the long-standing requirements for opening an investigation, nor does it represent a shift in how the FBI prioritizes threats. The FBI has used tags to track everything from drug trafficking to human trafficking."

New York Times runs bombshell report on Hunter Biden's business deal with Chinese company

It wasn't long ago that a New York Times bombshell about business ties between the president's son and a foreign entity would have received wall-to-wall coverage, but that was not the case with the paper's newest report about Hunter Biden.

According to the Times, an investment firm that counts Biden among its founders helped a Chinese company purchase one of the world’s most lucrative cobalt mines from an American company while his father, Joe Biden, was vice president. This renewed concerns about potential conflicts of interest and whether the now-current president had any knowledge about his son's business dealings, which he had previously denied.

Hunter Biden

Hunter Biden (Photo by Teresa Kroeger)

However, the stunning report published by the Times received zero coverage on CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS and NBC, according to transcripts. 

HUNTER BIDEN'S FIRM HELPED CHINESE COMPANY PURCHASE RICH COBALT MINE IN $3.8 BILLION DEAL: REPORT

The lack of scrutiny toward President Biden's son is nothing new. During the final weeks of the 2020 presidential election, the liberal networks famously avoided covering Hunter Biden's laptop that further shed light on his foreign business dealings. 

CNN, specifically, spiked the Hunter Biden story as its top bosses were caught on leaked audiotapes saying "we're not going with" the bombshell first reported by the New York Post. 

CNN marred with an avalanche of controversies

No news organization had a tougher 2021 than CNN. Putting its historic decline in viewership aside, the liberal news organization was plagued with controversies throughout the year. Fortunately for CNN, it was able to find aid and comfort among the network's politically aligned competitors. 

CNN's biggest scandal was the downfall of its primetime star Chris Cuomo, who was fired amid the revelation of a new sexual misconduct allegation from a former colleague at another network. His ousting occurred amid his suspension following damning revelations from the New York Attorney General's report about his role in helping his brother during his sexual harassment scandal. 

CNN'S CHRIS CUOMO ACCUSED OF SEXUALLY HARASSING FEMALE PRODUCER WHILE AT ABC NEWS

While all three broadcast networks covered the breaking news of Cuomo's suspension and his eventual firing, both ABC and CBS initially ignored his involvement in the AG report. 

MSNBC, CNN's liberal rival on cable, offered scant coverage of the AG report and completely skipped Cuomo's suspension before offering minimal coverage of his firing. Notably, none of MSNBC's primetime hosts even mentioned their fallen competitor as the controversy unfolded. 

Chris Cuomo was fired in December by CNN.

Chris Cuomo was fired in December by CNN. (CNN)

ABC, CBS, and NBC joined MSNBC in avoiding Chris Cuomo's first accuser, veteran TV producer Shelley Ross, who alleged Cuomo grabbed her buttock at a 2005 event when the two of them were colleagues at ABC News. 

Ross came forward with a piece published in the New York Times in September, even providing the email Cuomo had sent to her at the time apologizing for the incident. 

The network newscasts similarly turned a blind eye to the awkward return of CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who went on leave after he was caught masturbating on a work Zoom call that led to his termination from The New Yorker in 2020, receiving only one mention on ABC's "The View."

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Toobin sparked an utter meltdown on social media when he sat down with CNN's Alisyn Camerota for an uncomfortable interview about his behavior. 

The liberal channels also avoided the shocking federal charges facing ousted "New Day" producer John Griffin, who is accused of child sex crimes.