CBS, NBC Ignored Embattled Lincoln Project Sex Scandal During Monday’s Evening Broadcasts

A man enters CBS headquarters, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Mark Lennihan/AP Photo

Establishment media outlets CBS News and NBC News failed to cover the damning allegations lodged against one of the Lincoln Project’s cofounders, who was accused of sending unsolicited and provocative messages to young men, during their evening broadcasts on Monday, according to a report from NewsBusters.

According to the outlet, neither CBS News nor NBC News covered the scandal “all the way through their Monday evening newscasts”:

While CBS Evening News was avoiding the Lincoln Project story, they spent part of their Monday newscast trying to tie former President Trump to the military coup in Myanmar.

And it wasn’t so long ago that CBS was prompting the anti-Trump group. During the Democratic National Convention, then-political correspondent Ed O’Keefe (now a White House correspondent) boasted: “The man [Hillary Clinton] lost to is the target of yet another ad, produced by a Republican group seeking to unseat him.” Adding: “This time, it’s focused on how he bungled the U.S. response to Hurricane Maria, after it devastated Puerto Rico.

The allegations stem from 21 men who say Lincoln Project cofounder John Weaver sent provocative messages to young men, even allegedly offering advice in exchange for sexual favors. One of the accusers said he began to receive messages when he was 14. According to the New York Times, which published the story on Sunday, Weaver allegedly asked questions “about his body while he was still in high school and then more pointed ones after he turned 18.”

“Help you other times. Give advice, counsel, help with bills. You help me … sensually,” one of the messages reviewed by the Times reads.

The organization as a whole has forcefully condemned Weaver, contending that he “led a secret life that was built on a foundation of deception at every level,” though some, such as political consultant Ryan James Girdusky, say the organization’s statement is a lie and that members were aware of allegations and the forthcoming story.

Prior to the allegations, the Lincoln Project stood as a bastion for establishment Republicans, attracting rabid anti-Trump progressives in both Washington and Hollywood. Celebrities and influential executives donated large sums of money to the organization as others lent their voices for ads produced by the group. They were not alone, as establishment media outlets sang the praises of the organization, boasting of their political ads and co-founder George Conway’s frequent, snarky quips criticizing Trump on social media.

As NewsBusters noted, ABC’s This Week even did a “whole segment celebrating the Lincoln Project ad campaign” in August 2020, as host Martha Raddatz marveled that the Lincoln Project was “waging war against the president of their own party.”

Notably, ABC’s World News Tonight devoted a short segment, less than three minutes, to the allegations on Sunday night.

“Tonight, explosive allegations against a top Republican strategist and cofounder of the anti-Trump group the Lincoln Project,” ABC’s Andrew Dymburt said.

“The New York Times reporting John Weaver, who worked on the presidential campaigns of John McCain and John Kasich, allegedly ‘sent unsolicited and sexually provocative messages’ to young men online, sometimes offering to help them get work in politics,’ according to the report,” he continued.

“In a statement to ABC News, Weaver suggested he believed the messages were consensual. ‘I am so disheartened and sad that I may have brought discomfort to anyone,’” he continued.

Last month, Weaver admitted to sending inappropriate messages to men.

“The truth is that I’m gay. And that I have a wife and two kids who I love,” Weaver told Axios. “My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”

“To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry,” he added. “They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you.”

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