During the Trump era, CNN's "Reliable Sources" has featured a roster of those whom the network calls "legendary journalists" to exhort the media masses and drive President Donald Trump out of the White House. The words "legendary journalist" are put on screen, and even in CNN transcripts.
That would include PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers, Watergate welterweight Carl Bernstein, disgraced Dan Rather and the long-yelling former ABC anchor Sam Donaldson. The more aggressively liberal (and less professional) you are, the more "legendary" you become in the eyes of CNN.
On Valentine's Day, CNN's Anderson Cooper brought on Donaldson to announce he was endorsing Michael Bloomberg for president because President Trump is a "sick, ignorant man." Donaldson even made a commercial for Bloomberg, calling him a "great leader" and a "great role model for our children."
Some of his colleagues didn't think it was a great idea.
"Never thought I'd see this," tweeted Fox News' Brit Hume, who worked with Donaldson for decades at ABC. Former Washington Post editor Len Downie, who famously insisted he didn't vote, decried the endorsement as "a misuse of his considerable journalistic credibility and reputation."
Except everyone knew where Donaldson stood. He was never careful to hide that he was a Democrat. In 1997, he went on TV and called then-Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., a "dictator" and compared then-Rep. Newt Gingrich to Soviet dictator Vladimir Lenin.
He spent Super Tuesday boosting Bloomberg on MSNBC, saying: "Donald J. Trump ... must be defeated. We're gonna have one more chance to get the country back on track with the rest of the world, one more chance to stop hurting people in this country unnecessarily: the caged children at the southern border — you know, all that stuff."
Donaldson told MSNBC host Ali Velshi that former Vice President Joe Biden isn't the best candidate. "He's a nice guy, but I think he doesn't have the fire in the belly," he said. "I think he doesn't have what it takes to get in a knife fight in the back alley with Donald Trump — taught by Roy Cohn to win at any cost, no matter whether it's legal, no matter whether you hurt anyone, no matter whether you try to never concede a point. I don't think Joe's the guy. I think Mike Bloomberg's the guy."
All this he said ... during lunch hour on Super Tuesday. Then the results came in, and Bloomberg had only won American Samoa. Donaldson's endorsement didn't sway a lot of people.
Like many Trump trashers, Donaldson will try anything to rid the country of this president. He admitted on TV, "Before I joined Mike Bloomberg, before he got into the race, I gave money to Joe Biden."
That doesn't line up with Federal Election Commission records. Bloomberg entered the race Nov. 24. The FEC reports that Donaldson donated $1,200 to Biden in January 2020. He also donated $1,550 to Julian Castro's presidential campaign in 2019. And he has contributed to the House campaigns of Valerie Plame and Adam Schiff, and the Senate campaigns of Jeanne Shaheen, Sara Gideon (running against Susan Collins in Maine) and Patrick Leahy.
In the 2018 cycle, Donaldson donated to nine Democratic Senate campaigns. Six candidates lost: Bill Nelson, Joe Donnelly, Heidi Heitkamp, Claire McCaskill, Phil Bredesen and Beto O'Rourke. Three won: Jacky Rosen, Kyrsten Sinema and Jon Tester. Donaldson backed Democrat Doug Jones in the 2017 Senate special election. In 2016, he made anti-Trump donations to John Kasich late in the primaries and to Hillary Clinton leading up to the general election.
For decades, Sam Donaldson gave to the Democrats "at the office," so to speak. Now he's spreading his retirement money all over to drag Republicans down.
(Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.)