MSNBC anchor Brian Williams touted a new ad released by the disgraced Lincoln Project last week that tried to tie former President Donald Trump’s rhetoric about the coronavirus to the March 16 Atlanta spa shootings.
Williams closed Thursday’s edition of “The 11th Hour” with the ad from the anti-Trump group, which continued a mainstream media narrative linking the former president’s remarks about the “Chinese virus” or “Kung Flu” to the killings in Georgia, where six of the eight victims were Asian women. Authorites have said they do not believe racism motivated the killer, but that didn’t stop The Lincoln Project from throwing together a video that impressed Williams.
“While the election may be over, the folks over at the Lincoln Project put together a video compilation with an unmistakable message: That words matter,” Williams said in the clip flagged by NewsBusters.
Williams, whose program was a popular stomping ground for Lincoln Project founders and advisers last year, called the ad a “powerful message.”
The segment is a sign that the group still has viability among some media members, despite a slew of humiliating headlines that have forced multiple resignations and calls from its own members to shut down.
The Lincoln Project, once a media favorite, effectively collapsed earlier this year after revelations that co-founder John Weaver sexually harassed young men online, a fact which had been an “open secret” for years, according to sources who spoke with Fox News.
The super PAC, founded by Republicans furious at the rise of Donald Trump, became popular with liberals thanks to its vitriolic advertising and trolling social media style. MSNBC, CNN, and numerous online outlets gushed over their stance against their former party and touted their ads, while Lincoln Project co-founders like Steve Schmidt, George Conway, and Rick Wilson were cable news regulars.
Since Weaver’s behavior came to light, however, the group has come under far greater scrutiny. Several reports found Schmidt and other higher-ups knew about Weaver’s conduct months earlier than they claimed, while other reports described self-dealing and in-fighting as its senior leadership tried to maximize profits from liberal donors.
Still other stories reported on The Lincoln Project’s toxic work environment, while another scandal erupted after the group published co-founder Jennifer Horn’s private Twitter messages with a reporter after she exited the group in disgust over the Weaver scadal. Frequent MSNBC guest Kurt Bardella, a former adviser to the group, later admitted to tweeting out the private messages, saying he didn’t have “any fight left in me.”
Despite Williams constantly promoting the Lincoln Project to viewers over the past year, he has not reported on the Weaver scandals or the other issues besieging the group, NewsBusters noted.
The Lincoln Project could look to Williams for inspiration as it attempts to come back from scandal. The former NBC “Nightly News” anchor was suspended for six months in 2015 after admitting his oft-told story about being in a helicopter that was shot down over Iraq was a lie.
He was demoted to MSNBC, NBC’s left-wing cable affiliate, as a breaking news anchor and has hosted “The 11th Hour” since 2016. Lester Holt replaced him in the “Nightly News” chair and has held the spot ever since.
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