Democratic Presidential candidate and former North Carolina Senator John Edwards appeared Sunday on CBS’s "Face the Nation." While Mr. Edwards was on the program for more than nine minutes, host Bob Schieffer followed NBC’s lead and neglected to ask the former Senator about his anti-Christian bloggers Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan. Both have since left the Edwards campaign, but it is unknown whether they left voluntarily or were pushed out because the networks have avoided covering this story.
While Schieffer failed to inquire about these two bloggers, he did ask the former Vice Presidential candidate some tough questions on Iraq. Particularly, Mr. Schieffer pressed Edwards about the President’s stance:
On Monday’s "Evening News" on CBS, anchor Katie Couric asserted a common talking point among feminists and that is that women make 76 cents for every dollar a man does, which is a misleading statistic. In a series entitled "The American Spirit," Couric profiled Janet Hanson, the founder of a women’s networking group called 85 Broads, which is dedicated to helping women get ahead, as Hanson doesn't seem to believe a woman can make it on her own:
Katie Couric: "Women earn only 76 cents for every dollar a man earns, and that really hasn’t changed much over the last 30 years. Why?"
Janet Hanson: "Women have to learn how to become better negotiators for themselves, which is hard to do. So they need to see other women doing that successfully, and the whole mission behind this network is that women cannot succeed if they don’t leverage each other’s intellectual firepower."
Yet, an article on CNN Money, written by a woman, argues why the 76 cent statistic is misleading:
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney formally announced today that he would seek the Republican nomination for President, but one would hardly know this from watching CBS’s "Early Show." Romney’s candidacy received exactly ten seconds worth of coverage, following stories on a Utah mall shooting, winter storms, and the ongoing soap opera of Anna Nicole Smith’s demise. However, on Saturday, when Illinois Senator Barack Obama announced his candidacy as a Democrat, CBS’s "Saturday Early Show" devoted 9 minutes and 9 seconds, (549 seconds) to this story, a greater than 54:1 bias.
On the "Saturday Early Show," CBS aired at least one story on Barack Obama in each of the first three half hours. Yet, the ten seconds they allotted to Governor Romney on Tuesday’s program, was buried in the 7:30 half hour at 7:37. Unlike CBS, both ABC and NBC on Tuesday devoted a full story to Governor Romney’s announcement, and NBC added an additional anchor brief, roughly comparable to the coverage they gave Obama on Saturday.
Jon Meacham, Executive Editor of "Newsweek" joined the Obama bandwagon on Monday’s "Imus in the Morning" program. Mr Meacham declared that Senator Obama’s presidential candidacy was a good thing because it will make people face their prejudices, not only in terms of race, but against Democrats as well. Meacham further declared Senator Hillary Clinton to be old news. Later, in the segment, Meacham praised John Kerry, particularly his "finest moment" when he denounced the Vietnam war and claimed Senator Kerry’s statement asking "how do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake," is prescient now, and Mr. Meacham regrets that the Democrats are so rough on the Massachusetts Senator.
Is America ready for a black president? This was how CBS’s Steve Kroft portrayed the presidential candidacy of Illinois Senator Barack Obama in a piece on the February 11th "60 Minutes." In an interview that touched on Mr. Obama’s personal life story, his lack of experience and his past drug use, Mr. Kroft seemed most interested in discussing race, and by implication the notion that America is racist. Kroft seemed shocked when Senator Obama asserted that his race would not be a factor in the race, and that America is ready for a black president:
Steve Kroft: "Do you think the country is ready for a black president?"
Is Al Gore a prophet? This was a suggestion made by Harry Smith in yet another one-sided story on CBS about global warming. Smith interviewed former Vice President Al Gore and Richard Branson, the Chairman of Virgin Group to discuss actions they are taking to combat, what they claim, is man-made global warming. During the segment, Smith seemingly urged Al Gore to run for President -- "would you not be better off trying to affect this change from the White House?" -- and CBS displayed its agreement with Gore and Branson’s approach, running the graphic "Saving the Planet" on screen throughout the almost five minute long segment.
Gore and Branson, appearing in the 7:00 half hour of the "Early Show," discussed a reward offer, where they are offering $25 million to a scientist who can figure out a way to extract carbon from the atmosphere. But, Mr. Smith lamented that this idea sounded like the men were giving up on the idea of conservation and reducing emissions:
CBS’s Bob Schieffer utilized Democratic Party spin in discussing Monday evening’s procedural vote in the Senate that blocked a vote on a non-binding Iraq resolution. Schieffer, appearing in his weekly "Capitol Bob" segment on Wednesday’s "Early Show," blamed Republicans for blocking the vote and dismissed their arguments:
"...So they did the only thing that they could do, they used the Senate rules to block the vote. Now that group will give you another version of all this, but basically that's what happened."
Schieffer failed to mention the reason Republicans blocked the vote and that is because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will not allow votes on two Republican alternatives. As the Washington Times noted on Wednesday:
"Global warming is for real and we are to blame." This was the sentiment presented on CBS’s "Early Show" on Friday morning while discussing a report released from "leading climate experts." During the segment, CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips classified the climate document as "not so much a report as a call to action." Mr. Phillips’ piece also contained comments from Achim Steiner who claimed that people who "risk inaction" will be judged by history to be "irresponsible." Steiner was identified on screen as head of the UN Environment Project. However, a look into his background reveals him to be somewhat of an environmental activist. And while CBS presented the views of an environmentalist, it continued it’s pattern of ignoring scientists that are skeptical that human activity is the cause of global climate change.
Tuesday’s CBS "Evening News" aired a soft-news puff piece on liberal Massachusetts Democratic Governor Deval Patrick that sounded more like a campaign ad than a news story. Missing from the piece were the words Democrat and liberal or any mention of Mr. Patrick’s policy priorities. CBS’s Richard Schlessinger highlighted Mr. Patrick’s background and fawned that he "had always been a trailblazer." Evening News anchor Katie Couric in a tease wondered "how does a kid from the mean streets end up as governor?" Both Couric and Schlessinger noted that Governor Patrick had grown up in a rough Chicago neighborhood.
However, on November, 13, 1994 the CBS "Evening News" was not so kind to African American conservatives like Rep. J.C. Watts. Instead of soft personal profiles, they were portrayed as "openly and vehemently endorsing Republican themes," and, yet, "in a position to ask tough questions of the new Republican leadership." Which is it, CBS? Even in mentioning Watts, that a new African American had been elected to Congress in the 1994 elections, CBS qualified the achievement by adding, "only he’s a Republican."
The February 5 edition of Newsweek magazine’s "CW" section asserts that Virginia Democratic Senator Jim Webb "gives Dems testosterone." This sentiment was echoed on Tuesday’s edition of "Imus in the Morning" by Boston Herald columnist, Mike Barnicle. Barnicle described Webb as being "so terrific for this country and for the United States Senate because at any given time, he’s liable to reach across the aisle or reach across the desk in front of him and choke the person that he’s dealing with." Mr. Barnicle further portrayed Senator Webb as the savior of the Democratic Party, telling Don Imus Webb is the antidote to 25 years of liberals in the Democratic Party taking the party too far to the left.
CBS News correspondent Cynthia Bowers reported that Hillary Clinton’s campaign trip to Iowa this past weekend "marked the first time any Clinton has ever campaigned in Iowa." Ms. Bowers, reporting in the 7:00 half hour of Monday’s "Early Show," should have researched the facts before making such a blanket assertion. According to a Nexis search, CNN reported on February 11, 1996 that then President Clinton was campaigning in Iowa, even though he had no primary opponent, to "solidify his support." And, a Nexis search on Hillary Clinton revealed that the New York Senator was the key note speaker at a Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner to raise funds for Iowa Democrats on November 15, 2003.
Ms. Bower’s report, while not necessarily biased, raises the question, is anyone at CBS doing research? One would think that in the wake of the Dan Rather "memogate" scandal in 2004, CBS journalists would be more cautious about what they report and would take the time to verify the accuracy of their claims.
In discussing the resolution passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee expressing disagreement with President Bush, CBS’s "Early Show" only featured sound clips from senators who voted for the measure, including from Senator Chuck Hagel, the lone Republican on the panel to vote for it. There was no video of any of the nine Republicans who voted against the proposal. Though many of these nine oppose President Bush’s troop surge, they view a non-binding resolution to be the wrong tool to express this.
CNN’s "American Morning," however, recognized the differences of opinion on the panel. They aired footage of Indiana Senator and ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee Richard Lugar, who opined:
On Wednesday’s "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith pressed Republican Senator and presidential candidate John McCain on the war in Iraq and the president’s handling of it, but in a subsequent interview with Democratic presidential hopeful and Illinois Senator Barack Obama, Smith only had softball questions. For instance, Smith wondered what Obama was thinking while he was listening to the president’s speech and what running for president has taught the Illinois Senator. Smith also neglected to question Obama regarding his inexperience.
Mr. Smith first talked with Senator McCain, and Smith spent much of the interview discussing Iraq. Given the tone of the interview, it seems unlikely that McCain will be the media sensation he was in 2000. During today’s segment, Smith first wondered if President Bush even deserved another chance on Iraq:
In perhaps an ominous sign of the fawning media coverage Senator Hillary Clinton will receive as she runs for president, CBS News correspondent Joie Chen proclaimed that "it may be easier to get an audience with the Wizard of Oz than steal Clinton’s thunder right now." Yet isn’t it the media that is creating this thunder? Monday’s "Early Show" ran four stories pertaining to Hillary Clinton entering the Democratic race for president, including an interview with her top advisor, Howard Wolfson, and to be fair, "Early Show" co-host Hannah Storm did ask him some tough questions. Yet, when top tier Republican candidates have announced their intentions, as Arizona Senator John McCain, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney have all formed exploratory committees, the "Early Show" has not provided any coverage at all.
"Do you owe the Iraqi people an apology for not doing a better job?"
This is one of the questions President Bush faced from "60 Minutes" correspondent Scott Pelley on Sunday’s program. Pelley also cited the same "Military Times" CBS’s Chief White House correspondent Jim Axelrod cited on the January 11 edition of the "Evening News," which shows more miltiary troops now disapprove of the President’s handling of the war in Iraq, and was highlighted by Brent Baker here on Newsbusters. However, when John Kerry and John Edwards and their wives were jointly interviewed on the program on July 11, 2004, correspondent Lesley Stahl did not mention a CBS poll that showed war veterans supporting President Bush for reelection by a large margin, and that poll was significant in that veterans were a group that Senator Kerry was actively courting.
Illinois Senator Dick Durbin appeared on Thursday’s "Early Show" to discuss President Bush’s new strategy for Iraq, and, as one would expect, Senator Durbin was highly critical of the plan. However, it wasn’t anything that Durbin or "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith said that was attention grabbing, but the information CBS provided under Mr. Durbin’s name that was perplexing. For example, CBS informed viewers that the senior Senator from Illinois supports the presidential ambitions of his junior colleague, Barack Obama. Other tidbits of information provided by CBS included that Mr. Durbin is in his second term in the Senate and that "Time" rated him as one of the Senate’s ten most effective members.
CBS’s Sandra Hughes was once again impressed with California’s liberal policy initiatives. On October 31, 2006, Hughes praised California for tackling liberal issues that ‘the federal government won’t touch," such as funding embryonic stem cell research and for enacting "the nation’s most restrictive law on greenhouse gas emissions. And on Wednesday’s "Early Show," in reference to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s health care initiative, Hughes continued to laud California for once again leading "where the federal government fears to tread."
Recently added "Early Show" news anchor Russ Mitchell introduced the piece calling Schwarzenegger’s health care idea a "bold plan." Hughes’ report tried to gain support for the plan by featuring an uninsured man who suffers from diabetes, who claimed that there are a lot of uninsured people in his community, and manyof them are single mothers. Yet, Ms. Hughes neglected to mention that Schwarzenegger’s plan would cover illegal aliens as well as legal California residents. Wouldn’t this type of benefit encourage more illegal immigration, and shouldn’t it, therefore, be explored?
Eleanor Clift of Newsweek asserted on this past weekend’s McLaughlin Group that John Negroponte was moving from the role of Director of National Intelligence to become the number two man at the State Department because Vice President Cheney and President Bush wanted a yes man in the intelligence position who would "support their desire to make war with Iran." Clift also portrayed Vice President Cheney as a bully on intelligence matters as she claimed that had Negroponte remained the Director of National Intelligence, "he’d spend the next two years agreeing with Dick Cheney that we have to wage war with Iran, or he’d be pushing back unsuccessfully."
Yet in her indictment of the President and Vice President over wanting war with Iran, Clift neither condemned any of Iran’s provocative actions, nor did she mention paths the Bush administration is pursuing to avoid war, such as working through the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions.
According to Bob Schieffer, the Democrats in Congress will be pursuing an "ambitious schedule" on ethics reform. Yet, Schieffer neglected to mention what the Democratic leadership is going to do about ethically challenged Democrats like William Jefferson of Louisiana or Alan Mollohan of West Virginia. Schieffer, appearing on the "Early Show’s" weekly "Capitol Bob" segment, noted loopholes in the Democrats plan on ethics reform, but was pleased that the new Congress was "going to get started."
However, when the Republican controlled Congress attempted to overhaul ethics procedures in June, Schieffer classified these attempts as "not much more than a joke." In a June 11, 2006 commentary on CBS’ "Face the Nation," Schieffer lamented:
Both ABC’s "Good Morning America" and NBC’s "Today" picked up where they left off yesterday, and promoted a new "Washington Post" story detailing how former President Ford and ex-President Nixon were closer friends than previously believed. Both networks used the opportunity to once again highlight Gerald Ford’s dissatisfaction with the Iraq war, and both networks portrayed Mr. Ford as being more anti-war than he in fact was.
ABC and NBC for the most part played the same audio clips from both the Woodward tapes and a Nixon tape from 1973, including playing the exact same shortened audio clip of President Ford as evidence that the former Republican president strongly disagreed with the war in Iraq:
"I think Rumsfeld, Cheney, and the president made a big mistake in justifying going into the war in Iraq."
NBC’s Andrea Mitchell claimed:
"Gerald Ford believed the Iraq war was a mistake...Gerald Ford told [Bob] Woodward that he strongly disagreed with the president’s decision to go to war..."
Global warming is killing the polar bears? Sounds like a fund-raising letter from Greenpeace or the World Wildlife Federation, but it was actually the subject of two stories on Thursday’s "Early Show" on CBS. CBS News correspondent Thalia Assuras delivered a brief report and "Early Show" Co-host Harry Smith , talked with Jeff Sailer, animal curator at New York City’s Central Park Zoo, and gushed that the U.S. government is "finally acknowledging" that the earth is getting warmer and the polar bears’ habitat is shrinking. But it doesn’t sound like the government is acknowledging that here.
Former Senator and Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards announced on Thursday that he will once again be a candidate for president in 2008, and he appeared on all three network morning programs to discuss his aspirations. Given the treatment he received on NBC’s "Today" and ABC’s "Good Morning America," it is clear he is not the darling of the media for this campaign cycle as ABC highlighted a potential campaign by Barack Obama, and NBC portrayed Hillary Clinton as the inevitable Democratic nominee.
On "Good Morning America," George Stephanopoulos accused Senator Edwards of exploiting hurricane Katrina by announcing his candidacy in New Orleans and wondered why Democrats should nominate him over "someone who was against the war from the start, like Barack Obama?" On NBC, "Today" co-host Matt Lauer inquired on whether Edwards can truly connect with the "have-nots" in America, given that he lives a luxurious lifestyle, and would he once again accept a nomination to be vice president, this time with Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket, "So down the road, would you consider a vice-presidential slot for Hillary Clinton?" However, on CBS’s "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith gave Senator Edwards a softball interview. He asked simple questions that did not challenge Mr. Edwards record or current positions such as what advice Edwards would give President Bush on Iraq.
Kudos to "Fox and Friends" as they were the only morning news program on Thursday to extensively cover the Sandy Berger story. Mr. Berger, former National Security Adviser to President Clinton, pled guilty in federal court for stealing classified documents from the National Archives, but a Wednesday AP story revealed that the details of Mr. Berger's offense were far more damning then we had previously known including that he hid the documents in a construction site before destroying them. CNN’s "American Morning" and ABC’s "Good Morning America" both offered brief news reads on the subject. CNN’s coverage totaled 24 seconds while ABC’s totaled 23 seconds. CBS’s "Early Show" and NBC’s "Today" both ignored the story completely.
As Brent Baker noted on Tuesday, the "CBS Evening News" framed the story of Laura Bush’s skin cancer around how the White House didn’t reveal it rather than the cancer itself, and Wednesday’s "Early Show" continued this theme. CBS News correspondent Joie Chen asserted that Tony Snow got his "Christmas goose cooked" by downplaying the story, and "Early Show" co-host Rene Syler opened the segment by noting the "fallout" from the fact that "the White House felt the need to keep it secret for so long."
This is not the first time the Bush White House has been accused by the media of being "secretive." However, what business is the health status of Laura Bush to the media or anyone else outside the Bush family? Yet, other than clips of White House press secretary Tony Snow insisting during a press briefing that First Lady Laura Bush has privacy rights, and is a private citizen, there was no mention by the reporters that Laura Bush is not a public official. Instead, Ms. Chen used this incident to imply the White House is hiding other health secrets. And later, Chen further asserted that the First Lady could have avoided this whole controversy, if only she had worn pants instead of a skirt:
Bob Schieffer continued the "Early Show’s" praise of Barack Obama on Wednesday, declaring that the Illinois Senator "comes across as charming, as bright, and fresh." Schieffer, appearing in his weekly "Capitol Bob" segment on the CBS morning show discussed campaign 2008, at least as it pertains to Obama and to some extent Hillary Clinton, and opined on why the White House has delayed an announcement from President Bush on a new direction in Iraq strategy.
"Early Show" co-host Hannah Storm played the footage of Obama’s appearance on Monday Night Football before fawning over the Senator’s sense of humor and charm:
"Showing a great sense of humor there. He's so charming, the public is really in this honeymoon phase with him right now, but how do you see this campaign playing out?"
Ana Marie Cox of "Time" magazine asserted that the pregnancy of Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, shames the White House and pondered whether it was a "...genetic experiment to extend the lineage," on Tuesday’s "Imus in the Morning." Cox, appearing in the 6:00 hour, alluded to Ms. Cheney’s sexual orientation on several occasions and emphasized that she is the vice president’s "gay daughter."
Cox claimed that the Bush administration is "falling apart" because the news of Mary Cheney’s pregnancy is the best they’d received recently:
"This administration’s really falling apart though, I do agree. I think, you know, you know times are bad when the best news the White House has had recently is, you know, Dick Cheney’s gay daughter is pregnant. Like, he’s going to be a granddad, that’s pretty much it."
Co-host of CBS’s "Early Show," Harry Smith, highlighted the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group and his worries that they could be disregarded by the Bush administration, and may "end up with the dust bunnies." In the 7:00 half hour of Thursday’s program, Smith interviewed the co-chairs of the Iraq Study Group, former Secretary of State James Baker and former Democratic Congressman Lee Hamilton, and he also spoke with Illinois Senator Barack Obama. In both instances, Smith alluded to the fact that the Bush administration may not follow the Baker/Hamilton Commission findings.
During his segment with Secretary Baker and Congressman Hamilton, Smith lamented to Secretary Baker that the Iraq Study Group had spent months on its report, but it may be discarded by the president:
Jon Meacham, editor of "Newsweek," compared journalists to MTV’s teen morons Beavis and Butt-Head for the demands they make on public officials, and portrayed himself as understanding of negative public sentiments of the media:
"One of the things people don’t like about journalists, reasonably, is that we’re kind of like Beavis and Butt-Head. You know, we demand people change, and then when they change, we kick ‘em in the shins and say ‘well, you didn’t change quick enough.'"
Meacham's comments came in the 6:00 hour of Monday’s "Imus in the Morning." Yet, if one were to read the latest issue of "Newsweek," it is apparent Meacham’s words are not followed by action. An article by Evan Thomas, criticized the White House for not changing course quick enough and being hostile to change. It rekindled the story of President Bush’s alcoholism, and his decision to quit drinking twenty years ago and asserted that this was the last "midcourse correction" of the current president:
For the second consecutive year, CBS seized upon the opportunity to view the White House Christmas decorations to ambush First Lady Laura Bush with questions about Iraq. However, when CBS interviewed first lady and Senator-elect Hillary Clinton in 2000, Jane Clayson ignored policy questions and instead highlighted Mrs. Clinton’s accomplishments and inquired about Mrs. Clinton’s favorite Christmas traditions.
On Thursday’s "Early Show," co-host Hannah Storm portrayed Iraq as hopeless and was dismayed that U.S. troops are not being withdrawn:
"And can you offer them words of comfort and hope as I think many of them were hoping that perhaps with the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group that maybe we would begin a gradual pullout of troops but yet, once again we hear today that our troops will be there indefinitely."
On this past weekend’s edition of the "McLaughlin Group," panelist Eleanor Clift of "Newsweek" insisted global warming is man made, and called contrary opinions "theological arguments," and moderator John McLaughlin referred to those who do not accept Clift’s premise as "neanderthals." Ms. Clift also displayed her environmentalist sympathies, proclaiming "...[Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma] has, like, a zero rating from the environmentalists. And he, thankfully, will not be chairing that [Environmental and Public Works] committee anymore in the Senate."
In the opening segment of the program, McLaughlin brought up the subject of global warming. Token conservative on the panel, Pat Buchanan, asserted that though global warming is occurring, there is a real debate as to the cause, but he was outnumbered by his fellow panelists: Jay Carney of "Time," Clarence Page of "The Chicago Tribune," and Ms. Clift.