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NBC and CBS Ignore Democratic Hypocrisy on Anti-Filibuster Nuclear Option

While NBC and CBS covered Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell having a "war of words" over GOP opposition to some of President Obama's nominees, neither network detailed the hypocrisy of Reid considering the so-called "nuclear option" to eliminate the filibustering of such nominees.

On Thursday, Time's Michael Scherer cited numerous quotes from Reid decrying the tactic in 2005, when Senate Republicans – then in the majority – toyed with the idea. In one statement, Reid warned that such a move would "set a new precedent – an illegal precedent – that will always remain on the pages of Senate history – a precedent that will thrust us toward totally eliminating the filibuster in all Senate proceedings, a precedent that will eliminate the essential deliberative nature of the Senate..."

On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams described how Reid and McConnell "went at each other in the Senate chamber" as "McConnell took on Reid's threat to change the filibuster rules to stop Republicans from blocking so many Democratic nominees."

After playing sound bites of both senators, Williams downplayed the proposed Democratic power grab: "Again, the Democrats haven't decided whether they're going to do this, they're just debating it for now."

On Friday's CBS This Morning, fill-in co-host Anthony Mason declared: "A showdown in the Senate over the approval of President Obama's nominees has turned into a war of words. Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell traded unusually personal charges yesterday."

Mason didn't even bother to mention the effort by Reid to change the filibuster rules, simply noting: "The nominee to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has waited two years for approval."

Here is a full transcript of the July 11 Nightly News report:

7:10PM ET

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Today in Washington, two of the most powerful men in American politics, the majority leader and the minority leader of the U.S. Senate, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, went at each other in the Senate chamber. While their remarks were couched in the gooey and formal parlance of the Senate, each calling each other "my friend" while attacking each other, today's exchange by these two men, who bear their full share of the blame of how cancerous and politicized Washington has become, is a lesson in what goes on in the U.S. Senate.

And here's what happened today when McConnell took on Reid's threat to change the filibuster rules to stop Republicans from blocking so many Democratic nominees.

MITCH MCCONNELL [SEN. R-KY]: This is really a sad, sad day for the United States Senate. And if we don't pull back from the brink here, my friend the Majority Leader's going to be remembered as the worse leader of the Senate ever.

HARRY REID [SEN. D-NV]: I don't want him to feel sorry for the Senate, certainly not for me. And I'm going to continue to try to speak in a tone that is appropriate. His name calling, he – I guess he follows, I'd hope not, the demagogic theory that the more you say something, even if it's false, people will start believing it.

WILLIAMS: Again, the Democrats haven't decided whether they're going to do this, they're just debating it for now. Both men will appear on Meet the Press this coming Sunday morning.

Here is a full transcript of the July 12 CBS This Morning report:

8:05AM ET

ANTHONY MASON: A showdown in the Senate over the approval of President Obama's nominees has turned into a war of words. Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell traded unusually personal charges yesterday.

SEN. HARRY REID, (D), MAJORITY (from press conference): If there's a single person out there who thinks Washington is working well – you can search for him – but one place – walk out here and down the hall, Mitch McConnell thinks the status quo is terrific. The only person who thinks that is my good friend, the Republican leader. The constant obstruction of this chamber has gone on long enough.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R), KENTUCKY (from speech on Senate floor): So this is really a sad, sad day for the United States Senate, and if we don't pull back from the brink here, my friend, the majority leader, is going to be remembered as the worst leader of the Senate ever.

MASON: The nominee to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has waited two years for approval.