Media pros weren’t exactly shocked by Fox News' exclusive report that two of the questioners at the ABC town hall featuring Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Thursday had ties to high-profile Democrats, including one participant who previously worked as a speechwriter in the Obama administration.
“Just as the sky is blue and water is wet, the liberal media will show no shame in finding town hall audience members that have partisan ties but present them as quite the opposite,” NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck told Fox News.
The revelation that there were Democrat-tied questioners at the ABC town hall comes after a controversy earlier this month surrounding a Biden town hall held on NBC, which on Thursday was carrying the forum with Trump.
“What's sad about this continued pattern has been that these shameful networks know they can pull a fast one on viewers because they'll almost never be held to account for their mistakes within their own media and political ecosystems,” Houck added. “But that said, actual journalists and media observers should continue their dogged pursuit of the facts in fact-checking the backgrounds of these audience members.”
The Hill’s Saagar Enjeti feels someone purposely overlooked the town hall participants’ party backgrounds.
“At this point, it’s intentional. Not even negligence can explain this,” Enjeti tweeted.
Bongino Report’s Jeremy Frankel joked, “Who’s shocked?”
The Washington Free Beacon reported on Oct. 6 that two attendees who were identified as undecided voters at an NBC town hall with Biden had previously been shown on NBC's sister network, MSNBC, as Biden supporters.
ABC's George Stephanopoulos, who was a communications director for the Bill Clinton White House and who has been a political journalist since 2002, hosted the latest town hall event.
When reached for comment about the participants with Democratic ties, ABC News directed Fox News to comments made by Stephanopoulos at the beginning of the event.
"And they're a group of -- some are voting for [Biden], some have said they're voting for President Trump, some are still undecided, and we're going to try to take questions from as many as we can tonight," Stephanopoulos told viewers.
ABC News declined additional comment.
“It's with the public's best interest to know if audience members aren't the people the networks claimed they were, even if ABC and NBC see no problem with lying to viewers. So, yet again, what an abject failure last night was for ABC,” Houck said.
One of the questioners at the ABC-hosted event was Nathan Osburn, a former speechwriter for the Obama White House. Osburn specifically worked for the Office of Public Affairs at the Commerce Department under the Obama-Biden administration and at the Small Business Administration.
Osburn's profession was listed as "communications" on the ABC town hall graphic and his city was listed as Philadelphia, Pa. He was quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer earlier this year as "a former Obama administration speechwriter" who had created a "Philly for Pete group" aimed at boosting former Democratic presidential primary candidate Pete Buttigieg.
Another questioner at the town hall was Mieke Haeck, who ABC presented as a physical therapist from State College, Pa. She is also the wife of Ezra Nanes, a high-profile Democrat in Pennsylvania who in 2018 ran a campaign challenging Republican state Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman. Nanes is currently an at-large member of the Centre County Democratic Committee. Centre County is the county in which State College resides.
Several other media members took to Twitter with thoughts on the news that two of the questioners had ties to Democrats: