The big tell in Ted Cruz's comments to CBS about election “fraud"
Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan let Cruz get away with a flawed defense of the big lie. Let's examine it.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) did a rare non-Fox News interview on Sunday. But those hoping he would face a grilling were left sorely disappointed.
After giving Cruz an opportunity to saber-rattle about China, Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan asked him about his votes hours after the January 6 insurrection to overturn the 2020 election results. Unfortunately, however, the exchange largely ended up illustrating what journalists shouldn’t do when interviewing Republicans who push the big lie.
Instead of shutting Cruz down as he defended himself with unfounded insinuations that President Biden’s victory over Trump was tainted by fraud, Brennan let Cruz speak at length and with little pushback. After he finished, she offered a disclaimer of sorts, but then abruptly and awkwardly changed the topic to Cruz’s possible plans to run for president.
"Senator, there is no evidence of fraud that would have really drawn the outcome of the election into doubt. You know that. I want to ask you about 2024. Are you going to run for president in 2024?” she said.
The Face the Nation Twitter account posted video of the exchange and framed it as evidence that Brennan pressed Cruz on “debunked claims of voter fraud.”
But since the footage doesn’t really back up the notion that Brennan held Cruz accountable for the big lie, a number of expert observers — including MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan — found the back and forth to be evidence that some in the media haven’t learned much over the past five years.
For the purposes of today’s newsletter, however, I want to focus on a big tell in Cruz’s comments defending his effort to overturn the election results — one that Brennan failed to call him out on.