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Faux Psaki: ABC Plays WH Spox for a Day, Touts Biden’s Infrastructure Plan

With the Biden administration trying to suggest anything and everything is infrastructure, ABC was more than happy on Wednesday night to both help lobby support for the $2 trillion item bolstered by tax increases but also mislead by painting the plan as a traditional transportation package.

Over the course of a 23-second tease and a three-and-a-half-minute story, World News Tonight made sure to sell the “infrastructure plan” and tax increases as a net positive that, if Republicans accept it, will allow for bridges in blue and red states to be repaired. 

 

 

Nowhere did anchor David Muir or senior White House correspondent Mary Bruce mention how a scintilla of the package would be about said roads and bridges (despite a shameless puff piece from The Washington Post claiming otherwise). If it were simply that and not other poison pills such as more federal control and welfare spending, it’s likely there would be bipartisan support.

Muir went all-in for the tease, offering zero criticism or reason to oppose it:

President Biden tonight defending his $2 trillion infrastructure plan and his plan to raise corporate taxes to pay for it. He says creating millions of jobs, repairing roads, bridges and power grids, expanding internet access to small towns and rural America. Tonight, right here, some of the bridges in the middle of this country due to be fixed and the local business owners who say, get it done.

Just over ten minutes later, Muir doubled down and boasted that Bruce would highlight “some of the bridges due to be fixed and what we’re hearing on the ground.”

Doing her best Psaki impression, Bruce trumpeted Biden’s “blunt warning to the GOP” for their “resistance” to his plan and accepting as fact Biden’s claim that saying it’s “not rational” to “say that the only thing that’s infrastructure is a highway, a bridge, whatever.”

If Bruce did her homework, she would have cited comments like these from White House chief of staff Ron Klain in 2017 that, by Biden’s own definition, were irrational.

But alas, Bruce pressed ahead with her report that read more like a White House “Fact Sheet” as she showed off one of the crumbling bridges that make the Biden plan worth one’s while (click “expand”):

BRUCE: The President is calling for $100 billion to expand broadband internet to 100 percent of the country, small towns, and rural America and $45 billion to replace every lead pipe. Moves, he says, that will create millions of jobs. Also $115 billion to fix 20,000 miles of roads. And more than 10,000 bridges badly in need of repair. Bridges like the Scudder Falls Bridge in Pennsylvania, or the Calcasieu Bridge in Louisiana and the crumbling Brent Spence bridge over the Ohio River. Over 50 years old, it’s crucial to commerce across this country. So, we are now one of the more than 160,000 vehicles that cross this bridge every single day. The thing is, it’s only designed to handle half that amount. In the shadow of the bridge, Brad Slabaugh helping to run a concrete business. But the bridge in constant disrepair ends up costing everyone. 

BRAD SLABAUGH: If it takes twice as long to get to a project, that means either half — half the service or twice the amount of equipment and drivers to supply. 

BRUCE: This old bridge is actually costing you time and money. 

SLABAUGH: Right. 

BRUCE: The bridge runs from Ohio to Kentucky, the home state of Republican leader Mitch McConnell. Even he wants the bridge fixed, but not Biden’s way. 

And to help her cause, she seemed to imply businesses could accept such an increase because not only does Amazon support it, but the increase of the corporate rate “from 21 percent to 28 percent…would still be lower than under the Obama and Bush administration [sic].”

Back live, Bruce and Muir reiterated their talking points (click “expand”):

MUIR: Alright, so, let’s get to Mary Bruce. She’s live in Covington, Kentucky tonight. And Mary, the Biden administration, I would guess, clearly hoping people on the ground like that business owner you just spoke with there, are going to eventually help drive the politics on this in Washington, but that’s a tough hill to climb. 

BRUCE: Well, David, the White House has been quick to note that these kinds of investments are supported by voters in both parties. That businessman today telling me that Washington should do whatever it takes, saying he’s willing to see some taxes go up if it means they can finally fix this bridge. David? 

MUIR: Mary Bruce with just one of those bridges over her shoulder tonight. Mary, thank you.

Over on NBC, Nightly News spent less than a minute on Biden’s remarks. Anchor Lester Holt provided the most oomph, boasting that “Biden turned up the heat on Congress today to pass his massive infrastructure plan while saying he is open to compromise on taxes.”

White House correspondent Kristen Welker with a summary that was relatively balanced and straight-forward, including a nod to the fact that most of the bill doesn’t focus on roads and bridges:

Lester, tonight President Biden is defending his more than $2 trillion infrastructure plan he says will create millions of jobs. To pay for it, the President says he’ll raise taxes on corporations. Republicans say those tax hikes will actually cost jobs and they call the plan a spending spree with most of the money not going to things like roads and bridges. I pressed the president on whether he’s open to compromise. He said he’s “wide open.”

And as for CBS, the Evening News steered clear of Biden and infrastructure. In fact, Biden’s name was never even mentioned during the newscast.

This latest act of support for the Biden administration was made possible thanks to advertisers such as Allegra and Fidelity on ABC and Farmer’s Insurance on NBC. Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.

To see the relevant transcripts from April 7, click “expand.”

ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir
April 7, 2021
6:31 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Biden’s $2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan]

DAVID MUIR: President Biden tonight defending his $2 trillion infrastructure plan and his plan to raise corporate taxes to pay for it. He says creating millions of jobs, repairing roads, bridges and power grids, expanding internet access to small towns and rural America. Tonight, right here, some of the bridges in the middle of this country due to be fixed and the local business owners who say, get it done.

(….)

6:41 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Massive Infrastructure Plan]

MUIR: And next this evening, President Biden defending his $2 trillion infrastructure plan and his plan to raise the corporate tax rate to pay for it. He says the projects across this country will create millions of jobs, rebuilding roads and bridges, bringing internet access to all of America, small towns in rural America and tonight here, some of the bridges due to be fixed and what we’re hearing on the ground. Our senior White House correspondent Mary Bruce traveling to Kentucky. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; Massive Infrastructure Plan; Biden: Open to Compromise But Not Inaction]

MARY BRUCE: With his $2 trillion infrastructure plan facing resistance from Republicans on Capitol Hill, President Biden today with a blunt warning to the GOP, saying he’s open to compromise, but not inaction. 

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: We’ll be open to good ideas and good faith negotiations, but here’s what we won’t be open to: We will not be open to doing nothing. Inaction simply is not an option. 

BRUCE: The President pushing back against critics who say his plan is far too sweeping. 

BIDEN: But to automatically say that the only thing that’s infrastructure is a highway, a bridge, whatever, that’s just not rational. It really isn’t.

BRUCE: The President is calling for $100 billion to expand broadband internet to 100 percent of the country, small towns, and rural America and $45 billion to replace every lead pipe. Moves, he says, that will create millions of jobs. Also $115 billion to fix 20,000 miles of roads. And more than 10,000 bridges badly in need of repair. Bridges like the Scudder Falls Bridge in Pennsylvania, or the Calcasieu Bridge in Louisiana and the crumbling Brent Spence bridge over the Ohio River. Over 50 years old, it’s crucial to commerce across this country. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; Massive Infrastructure Plan; Studies: 10,000 U.S. Bridges Badly in Need of Repair]

So, we are now one of the more than 160,000 vehicles that cross this bridge every single day. The thing is, it’s only designed to handle half that amount. In the shadow of the bridge, Brad Slabaugh helping to run a concrete business. But the bridge in constant disrepair ends up costing everyone. 

BRAD SLABAUGH: If it takes twice as long to get to a project, that means either half — half the service or twice the amount of equipment and drivers to supply. 

BRUCE: This old bridge is actually costing you time and money. 

SLABAUGH: Right. 

BRUCE: The bridge runs from Ohio to Kentucky, the home state of Republican leader Mitch McConnell. Even he wants the bridge fixed, but not Biden’s way. 

SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): This package that they’ve laid out at the beginning — styled infrastructure — is a Trojan horse for massive tax increases and a whole lot of more debt and a whole lot of spending. 

BRUCE: Tonight, the President defending his plan to increase the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent, which would still be lower than under the Obama and Bush administration [sic]. And tonight, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, running the biggest company in the country, says he’s for the corporate tax increase. 

MUIR: Alright, so, let’s get to Mary Bruce. She’s live in Covington, Kentucky tonight. And Mary, the Biden administration, I would guess, clearly hoping people on the ground like that business owner you just spoke with there, are going to eventually help drive the politics on this in Washington, but that’s a tough hill to climb. 

BRUCE: Well, David, the White House has been quick to note that these kinds of investments are supported by voters in both parties. That businessman today telling me that Washington should do whatever it takes, saying he’s willing to see some taxes go up if it means they can finally fix this bridge. David? 

MUIR: Mary Bruce with just one of those bridges over her shoulder tonight. Mary, thank you.

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt
April 7, 2021
7:01 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; President Biden’s Tax Push]

LESTER HOLT: President Biden unveiling a plan to raise taxes on corporations to pay for his $2 trillion infrastructure plan. 

(….)

7:12 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; Pres. Biden’s Tax Push]

HOLT: President Biden turned up the heat on Congress today to pass his massive infrastructure plan while saying he is open to compromise on taxes. Kristen Welker is at the White House. Kristen, what’s the President saying?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; Biden Unveils Plan to Raise Corporate Taxes]

KRISTEN WELKER: Lester, tonight President Biden is defending his more than $2 trillion infrastructure plan he says will create millions of jobs. To pay for it, the President says he’ll raise taxes on corporations. Republicans say those tax hikes will actually cost jobs and they call the plan a spending spree with most of the money not going to things like roads and bridges. I pressed the president on whether he’s open to compromise. He said he’s “wide open.”