The mainstream media Sunday morning talk shows, as expected, wasted no time getting straight to work for the Biden administration this weekend. But even more concerning was a theme and coordinated language pointed toward Republican Senators who appeared as guests. On both ABC and NBC’s political Sunday talk shows, hosts attempted to force Republican senators to denounce themselves and their counterparts as liars.
On NBC's Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd began by interviewing Biden's Chief of Staff Ron Klain on Biden's COVID-19 action plan, but not before explaining to the audience that Bidens' "ambitious multi-tier national strategy to confront the virus is precisely the kind of muscular response the Trump administration avoided."
Todd framed Biden's COVID-19 response as one that, if successful, would "go a long way" toward "proving that government still has the ability to get big things done."
Todd highlighted Biden's "promise to make government effective again," later asking Klain to explain "where is the hold up" as far as vaccine distribution.
"You know, you said at the top, the fundamental difference between the Biden approach and the Trump approach is that we're going to take responsibility at the federal government. We're going to own this problem," Klain said. "We're going to work closely with the states. They are our key partners in getting this done. But we're also going to do the work ourselves. We're going to set up these federal vaccination centers to make sure that in states that don't have enough vaccination sites, we fill those gaps.
Todd pointed to COVID vaccine skeptics with disdain, and suggested the need to "counter-program" vaccine skepticism.
"This was something Michael Osterholm warned about, a lot of people warned about, that the anti-vaxxers would take advantage of situations like this. How do you counter-program this?" asked Todd.
Klain's response let slip an intention to get "all Americans" to vaccinate, claiming that the virus would continue to be an active problem until that is the case:
I mean, I understand, in some people's minds it's ironic that we have a lot of people who want to get the vaccine who can't get it, and why are we worried about the people who don't want to get the vaccine? Well, we have to worry about those people because unless we can reduce vaccine hesitancy, unless we can get all Americans to take this vaccine, we're going to continue to see Covid be a problem in our country.
He also boasted that the administration has plans to work with Big Tech to prevent unapproved messaging about vaccinations from reaching the public.
We know a lot of this hesitancy is located in communities of color. We're going to tackle that problem with trusted communicators, with direct on the ground communication and try to win over those people who are vaccine hesitant. We're going to obviously try to work with the social media companies to lessen the amount of disinformation that's available online and get the truth out there.
Todd focused heavily on the inclusion of a $15 minimum wage requirement in the newest COVID-19 relief package, repeatedly pressing Klain and other guests on the topic.
"And we're very dedicated to passing the minimum wage. We think that's an urgent priority. We're going to push the Congress to push our priorities. And that includes the minimum wage. And so, what we want to do is work with the Congress, reach out to members in both parties, see what we can get done as quickly as possible. We certainly think the minimum wage should be part of this urgent relief package." Todd offered no pushback on the supposed necessity of this, and instead asked about how cooperative Senate Republicans have been in the effort.
Todd then interviewed both Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin and Republican Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota. His questions to Durbin teed the Democrat up nicely for an explanation of the need to do away with the Senate filibuster, even going so far as to put up far-left "progressive" propaganda on the screen demanding it be done.
Here’s one we’re putting up: “The time has come” here. It looks like a movie trailer and they quote Barack Obama saying, “Jim Crow relic.” AOC calling it a “cherished tool of segregationists.” And former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saying it has “outlived its usefulness," said Todd.
"Well, I think it gets down to the bottom line here, the American people want us to take action. Action on this pandemic, action on this economy and on a host of other issues," Durbin responded. "And if this filibuster has now become so common in the Senate that we can’t act, that we just sit there helpless, shame on us. Of course we should consider a change in rule under those circumstances, but let’s see. Let’s see if we can initiate a real bipartisan dialogue and get something done. That’s the bottom line.
The interview of Rounds instead included a visual aid of a statement from the senator on election fraud, and as Todd accused him of perpetrating a "lie."
"Senator, I want to note something you did on a press release the day before the insurrection,” said Todd. “You wrote, 'I wholeheartedly support an independent investigation into the 2020 election. I'm interested in restoring faith, certainty, and transparency for the American voter. And unless we get to the bottom of these allegations I fear American's faith in our electoral process is in great jeopardy."
“Obviously, the next night, you know, colleagues of yours, including Mitt Romney, said, you know, part of the problem here with sort of appeasing this belief that something went wrong with the election is that: these people were lied to. Do you at all regret this statement that basically you helped further this lie, even, even, even indirectly, by implying there should be some investigation for allegations that just didn’t -- don't exist?"
"I still believe that we should have an investigation. But -- and I think it should be bipartisan in nature. 74 millions, 74 million Americans supported President Trump," Rounds responded. "There's probably 50 million Americans out there that have questions about whether or not --
Todd interrupted Rounds, insisting that the "election was fair" and that those who believe otherwise were "fed a lie."
The interaction between Todd and Rounds was mirrored with eerie similarity in an exchange between ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos and Republican Sen. Rand Paul on ABC's "This Week."
Stephanopoulos opened the interview with a similar assertion of "fact" as Todd, asking Paul "This election was not stolen, do you accept that fact?"
Paul answered by asserting that "the debate over whether or not there was fraud should occur," adding, "we never had any presentation in court where we actually looked at the evidence. Most of the cases were thrown out for lack of standing, which is a procedural way of not actually hearing the question."
"There were several states in which the law was changed by the secretary of state and not the state legislature. To me, those are clearly unconstitutional and I think there’s still a chance that those actually do finally work their way up to the Supreme Court.
Courts traditionally and historically don’t like to hear election questions," Paul conceded. "But yes. Were there people who voted twice? Were there dead people who voted? Were there illegal aliens who voted? Yes, and we should get to the bottom of it.
I’ll give you an example. In my state, when we had a Democrat secretary of state, she refused, even under federal order, to purge the rolls of illegal voters. We got a Republican secretary of state and he purged the rolls."
"I have to stop you there," Stephanopoulos interrupted. "No election is perfect. But there were 86 challenges filed by President Trump and his allies in court, all were dismissed."
The host continued to interrupt Paul, demanding "Can’t you just say the words, this election was not stolen?"
Paul repeatedly refused, eventually accusing Stephanopoulos of "forgetting who you are as a journalist," and reminding him that there are "two sides to every story."
"Sir, there are not -- there are not two sides to this story," Stephanopoulos insisted, continuing to call the suggestion that it might have been a "big fat lie."
"Sure there are. There are two sides to every story. George, you're forgetting who you are. You’re forgetting who you are as a journalist if you think there's only one side," Paul continued. "You're inserting yourself into the story to say I’m a liar because I want to look at election fraud and I want to look at secretaries of state who illegally changed the voter laws without the permission of their state legislatures. That is incontrovertible, it happened."
"And you can't just sweep it under the rug and say, oh, nothing to see here, and everybody is a liar and you're a fool if you bring this up. You’re inserting yourself into the story. A journalist would hear both sides and there are two sides of a story."