The major news networks largely absolved President Biden and his team, feeling empowered to make another move in what Putin considers the retaking of the Russian empire.
Instead, one buried the reality on Friday as CBS’s Face the Nation moderator Margaret Brennan said thisThe following are the CBS Evening News: “It was on his watch back in 2014 when he was Vice President that he ran Ukraine policy, and…Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea…and fed the fighting in the east of the country. And he didn’t pay a large price for that.”
However, it returned to Tuesday and continued to promote the pretended actions of the Administration and NATO Allies to defeat Russia.
On NBC’s TodayHoda Kotb, the co-host of The Hoda Show, teased that the U.S. “call[ed]” Putin “sending troops into eastern Ukraine…a clear and unprovoked attack during an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council” as they’re “already imposing sanctions, vowing more to come.”
Kotb’s cohost Savannah Guthrie and Richard Engel, chief foreign correspondent also boasted about the U.N. Meeting as significant.
Kristen Welker, chief White House correspondent, did the exact same thing but she gave away the game in terms of the futility in naming who ran the meeting. “That tense meeting overnight at the U.N. Security Council which Russia currently chairs comes as the White House braces for what it says is an imminent invasion[.]”
Welker only alluded to Biden facing “pressure” from both parties “to get tougher with Putin right now,” which, as we’ll see, matched the tone of ABC and CBS.
Elle continued insisting on the “administration has taken a hard line” “for weeks” (click “expand”):
WELKER – The White House was scrambling for a quick response Monday. Following a meeting with his national security staff, President Biden signed an executive order that imposed limited sanctions against the Russian-controlled regions of Ukraine. More can be done today. This warning was issued by the administration to warn that these first rounds of sanctions will not be combined with more serious, punishing sanctions Washington would have prepared in case Putin invades. Republicans, as well as some Democrats, are still calling for the President’s tougher stance. Close ally of President Biden, Delaware Senator Chris Coons said, “the time for taking action to impose significant costs on Putin and the Kremlin starts now.”
SENATOR TOM COTTON [on FNC’s America’s Newsroom, 02/21/22]We are waiting for what? If we want to make any difference, we need to inform Vladimir Putin of exactly what our plans are.
JAKE SULLIVAN [on NBC’s Meet the Press, 02/20/22]President Biden spoke out about the fact that an invasion is when a Russian tank, or troop crosses the border.
WELKER The administration is expected to announce new sanctions today. It has stated that it will work with its allies and partners, but not revealed who they will target. As the president has already agreed in principle that a summit would be held with Putin but it is only possible if Russia does no invade Ukraine, all of this happens. The prospects of a summit with Putin or for any other diplomatic route are getting less and less likely each hour.
GUTHRIE – There is much discussion about the definition of an invasion within this context.
On ABC’s superficial newscast Good Morning AmericaGeorge Stephanopoulos (co-host, former Clinton flack) hyped Biden’s U.S. “allies imposing sanctions as President Biden faces pressure from both parties for tougher ones and fears grow of a full-scale invasion.”
Robin Roberts is the co-host.This Week co-host Martha Raddatz were also all in on the U.N. meeting with the latter boasting of “[a]llied countries blasting Putin’s actions” even though “hopes” for “diplomacy” are “dwindling.”
Speaking from the White House, correspondent Mary Bruce said Biden’s actions “will hit Russia directly” He reminded the viewers of his humanity. “has said all along that if Russian forces cross the Ukrainian border, there will be swift and severe costs but Biden administration is already facing growing pressure from both parties…to act faster, to be more aggressive.”
So as to grease the skids, he added a caveat that “past…sanctions have done little to deter” Putin.
CBS Mornings Although there was some criticism about Biden’s performance, it came only from two unaffiliated guests to CBS.
White House correspondent Nancy Cordes mimicked Bruce and Welker, saying the administration’s going to level “new, tougher sanctions announced…in concert with U.S. allies as the U.S. and Europe all try to dissuade Russia[.]”
To that, U.N. ambassadors “urged Russia to back down,” Biden was kept out of the pictures by her, except for saying that he “issue[d] new, limited sanctions on investments in or exports from those regions” following Putin’s Monday afternoon speech.
In the show’s second hour, co-host Nate Burleson passed long a State Department statement that “call[ed] Putin’s actions ‘a major escalation’” With this in mind, it is unclear if Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, would meet again with his Russian counterpart.
In contrast, Eurasia Group’s Ian Bremmer and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) called out the “failure” of the U.S. and its allies to thwart Putin and the administration’s lack of both domestic energy production and strong, initial condemnations (click “expand”):
BREMMER: This is the end to the Minsk Process. It is the result of coordination between American and European allies who declared that this was unacceptable, and would lead to sanctions. This is why the Americans, along with our European allies, have worked tirelessly for several months to ensure that negotiations fail.
BREMMER: Remember when they destroyed the Colonial Pipeline? It left a large number of Americans without power and offline. They stopped doing that when Biden warned them for a few months, but they’ve now called the Americans’ bluff, so cyber attacks are likely to come again. This is also important to us.
DOKOUPIL. Sanctions against Russia in 2014 regarding the taking of Crimea were unsuccessful. They have no hope today.
RUBIO: Well, I don’t believe the sanctions are going to stop them from doing what their plan is, but I do think — if you don’t pay a price for doing this, he’s going to do more of it. If you listen to that speech yesterday, the argument he used for why invading Ukraine — the old Soviet rules — you could make that argument about any of the Baltic states, who are all — who are now all members of NATO and many of those Baltic states were actually part of the, you know, the old Russian empire, even longer than Ukraine. These arguments could be used to justify his decision to continue with Ukraine. He must pay a big price for it, but I also think we’ve got to return, for example, to our own energy production as a matter of national security emergency now because Russia and this disruption that this is going to create is going to increase oil prices and we’re going to feel it at the pump here in America and that, by the way will increase prices on everything because everything that we buy and sell is transported by something that’s burning gas and diesel.
BURLESON – Senator, do you think that a full-scale invasion is likely? You also tweeted yesterday, “weakness always invites aggression.” So, what should the Biden administration do if you believe a full-scale invasion is happening?
RUBIO: They should have considered it a complete-scale invasion yesterday. They should have treated it yesterday as a full-scale invasion. I am hopeful that they will do the same today. Yesterday night, they appeared to think that moving into the areas controlled and occupied by separatists was public recognition of something already true. This was not my opinion. If you think about it, one thing that made Putin believe now was the right time to act is the global energy price. The rise in global oil prices, and America’s decision to restrict oil exploration, have contributed to higher oil prices, which has in turn empowered the Russians. And, in an ironic way, even though this crisis is going to create higher oil prices, that benefits Putin and that’s his leverage. We’ll find out. He believes that the Europeans, who depend on him heavily for their energy sources — oil and natural gas, will not be able to sustain sanctions against him for long because of energy prices. And so, I — it was a big mistake to sort of make it harder to do exploration. 2018 was the year we went energy independence. That is what we need to do again.
Aleve (on ABC), Amazon, and Hyundai (on NBC) sponsored the media treatment of Biden using kid gloves. Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.
For the transcripts of February 22nd, click here to view ABC’s, CBS’s, or NBC.