Nets Disregard AG Garland Grilled in Hearing for Targeting Parents

News & Politics

Earlier this month, Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Biden administration used federal actions in an attempt to chill the exercise of free speech by concerned parents protesting their school boards after they were equated to domestic terrorists by the National School Boards Association. But on Thursday, Garland was held to account by Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee in a heated hearing that went unreported by the evening newscast of ABC, CBS, and NBC.

Instead of informing their viewers about the hearing in which other matters were discussed as well, ABC’s World News Tonight whined about Democratic Senators Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) not going along with their party. CBS Evening News gushed about nurses getting married. And NBC Nightly News spent 1 minute and 21 seconds fawning over a dog famous on TikTok for sleeping. All three also noted Congress voted to hold former Trump advisor Steve Bannon in contempt.

“Also breaking tonight, Attorney General Merrick Garland is in the hot seat all day on Capitol Hill, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee quizzing the AG over his recent memo targeting parents of school students over comments at school board meetings,” announced Fox News Channel anchor Bret Baier on Special Report.

Adding: “The Attorney General saying his Justice Department defends those free-speech rights and that the parents are not domestic terrorists.”

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Correspondent David Spunt highlighted a couple of Republicans on the committee holding Garland’s feet to the fire (Click “expand”):

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): I think your memo, Mr. Attorney General, was the last straw. I think it was the catalyst for a great awakening that is just getting started.

(…)

REP. STEVE CHABOT (R-OH): Not in a million years did we dream that one day we’d see the Justice Department treat American parents as domestic terrorists.

“Attorney general Merrick Garland in the hot seat answering multiple questions from Republicans about his October 4 memo that directs ‘the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working with each United States attorney to convene meetings […] in each federal judicial district within 30 days of the issuance of this memorandum,’” Spunt reported, reading from the memo.

But he also noted: “[Garland] says the one-page memo is a warning only for those who threaten or commit violence. The memo does use the phrase ‘other forms of intimidation and harassment’ without definition.”

In his own defense, Garland told the committee that he couldn’t “imagine any circumstance in which the PATRIOT Act would be used in the circumstances of parents complaining about their children, nor can I imagine a circumstance where they would be labeled as domestic terrorism.”

ABC came the closest to admitting Garland was in a hearing Thursday as anchor David Muir and chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl noted his comments about Bannon being held in contempt (click “expand”):

MUIR: It’s now up to the Justice Department, of course, to decide whether to prosecute Steve Bannon with criminal contempt. Of course, everyone studying every word from the Attorney General today and there weren’t many.

KARL: No, and David, Congress has no power itself to prosecute so it is entirely up to the Justice Department and the attorney general. Attorney General Merrick Garland wouldn’t say today what he is going to do, saying only the DOJ, quote, “will apply the facts and the law and make a decision consistent with the principles of prosecution.”

According to Muir, “everyone” was “studying” Garland’s “every word” but he refused to share where the AG spoke and even seemed to suggest he didn’t say much. And Karl made it seem as though anything Garland said came from a written statement and not hearing testimony.

The networks also ignored bombshell reporting from The Washington Free Beacon that found the Biden White House had “collaborated” with the National School Boards Association to craft the letter calling protesting parents domestic terrorists.

“The country’s largest school board association collaborated with the Biden White House before sending a controversial letter calling on the FBI to investigate parents as potential domestic terrorists, according to previously unreported emails,” wrote investigative reporter Chuck Ross.

An important detail in a recent series of events that the broadcast networks have hidden from their viewers.

This omission of the Attorney General being held to account for trying to chilling the free speech of protesting parents was made possible because lucrative sponsorships from Dove on ABC, Progressive on CBS, and Liberty Mutual on NBC.

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

Fox News Channel’s Special Report
October 21, 2021
6:03:00 p.m. Eastern

BRET BAIER: Also breaking tonight, Attorney General Merrick Garland is in the hot seat all day on Capitol Hill, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee quizzing the AG over his recent memo targeting parents of school students over comments at school board meetings. The Attorney General saying his Justice Department defends those free-speech rights and that the parents are not domestic terrorists.

But that issue and others may force some explosive moments at this hearing. Correspondent David Spunt has out other a top story tonight from Capitol Hill. Good evening David.

DAVID SPUNT: Bret, good evening to you. Tonight, Attorney General Merrick Garland is standing his ground on several hot button topics brought up today from January 6th to voting rights. One of the recurring themes over several hours today, school board meetings.

[Cuts to video]

Minutes after the hearing began, it went off the rails.

[Members of Congress arguing, crosstalk]

SPUNT: As Republicans pushed to show a video about school board meetings, Democrats said no sighting of rule that requires 48-hours notice for video presentations to be shown.

Attorney general Merrick Garland in the hot seat answering multiple questions from Republicans about his October 4 memo that directs “the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working with each United States attorney to convene meetings […] in each federal judicial district within 30 days of the issuance of this memorandum.”

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): I think your memo, Mr. Attorney General, was the last straw. I think it was the catalyst for a great awakening that is just getting started.

SPUNT: The memo issued five days after the National School Board[s] Association wrote to President Biden about the rise of threats by parents to school board officials. Writing, “these heinous actions could be the equivalent of a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”

REP. STEVE CHABOT (R-OH): Not in a million years did we dream that one day we’d see the Justice Department treat American parents as domestic terrorists.

SPUNT: But Garland said his memo doesn’t use the words “domestic terrorism” or “PATRIOT Act.”

AG MERRICK GARLAND: I can’t imagine any circumstance in which the PATRIOT Act would be used in the circumstances of parents complaining about their children, nor can I imagine a circumstance where they would be labeled as domestic terrorism.

SPUNT: He says the one-page memo is a warning only for those who threaten or commit violence. The memo does use the phrase “other forms of intimidation and harassment” without definition.

(…)

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