The coverage on NBC was insidious. White House correspondent Geoff Bennett didn’t even play the soundbite of the Speaker making the accusation to MSNBC earlier in the day. Instead, he relied on NBC senior business correspondent and MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle.
“It's a national security issue,” Ruhle proclaimed, parroting Pelosi. “You could potentially have a sitting president who owes hundreds of millions of dollars. The American people are going to want to know who he owes that money to and can he make it clear he can put country over business interests?”
Interestingly, Ruhle had spoken on the same MSNBC program just moments before Pelosi. Bennett also seemed to take pleasure in suggesting Trump was drowning in a “mountain of debt.”
And while he spent a lot of time making hay out of how Trump supposedly paid only $750 in federal income taxes the year he was elected, Bennett only briefly admitted: “Mr. Trump did pay other forms of federal taxes.” And then, it was gone.
CBS, on the other hand, was upfront about how they were doing Pelosi’s bidding and pushing the unfounded conspiracy theory. “Well, today, the Speaker of the House suggested those debts could be a threat to national security,” announced anchor Norah O’Donnell as she led into the segment. She then lied and claimed, “the President does not appear to be denying the facts in the Times report.”
Back in reality, the President had held a press conference on Sunday (the same day the report dropped) and called it “fake news;” a fact CBS White House correspondent Ben Tracy would later contradict her on.