Former President Jimmy Carter appeared on Tuesday’s "Early Show" to promote his book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid." Co-host Harry Smith gushed over Carter, calling him someone who has "built housing across the United States and across the world as well, and has continued to promote world peace." Smith even proceeded to seek Carter’s foreign policy counsel on the war, inquiring "is there a way out of Iraq?" Yet, Smith failed to mention Carter’s foreign policy failures such as the Iran hostage crisis when soliciting Carter’s advice.
As noted yesterday, President Carter’s book places the blame for the Israel/Palestine conflict, and by extension the conflict with Israel and other Middle Eastern or Persian countries, squarely on Israel. However, Smith didn’t challenge the former President on his conclusion. What about nations, whose stated goal is to eliminate the "Zionist" state, don’t they bear any blame? Or how about terror organizations who send children to blow themselves up in order to murder innocent Israelis in the process? Aren’t they equally responsible for this conflict? Yet, again, these are topics not pursued by Harry Smith. Perhaps Smith chose not to challenge President Carter’s premise because Carter’s publisher, Simon & Schuster is a division of CBS, but, nonetheless, Smith shirked his journalistic responsibility by not asking the tough questions.
On Sunday’s "60 Minutes," CBS News Chief Foreign Correspondent Lara Logan insisted the US had been defeated in Iraq. During an interview with General John Abizaid, the top US Commander in Iraq, Logan asserted, "We hear very little about victory in Iraq these days. We hear a lot about how to manage the defeat." It appears Ms. Logan suffers from selective hearing. While many Democrats and some Republicans talk about Iraq as a lost cause, sources such as Senator John McCain and White House officials still insist victory is not only possible, it is imperative.
General Abizaid dismissed Logan’s claims, and maintained that "defeat" was her word not his. However, Logan persisted in proclaiming that the United States had been beaten.
Friday’s "Early Show" analyzed the Democrat Party’s leadership election with CBS News Capitol Hill correspondent Sharyl Attkisson recognizing the failure of Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi in her endeavor to replace her rival, Representative Steny Hoyer, with her friend, Congressman John Murtha, in the House Democrat Party leadership. Pelosi was compared to a head football coach who’s team revolted when the star quarterback was chosen. Attkisson also referenced Murtha’s questionable ethics, the only reporter of the network morning shows, CBS, NBC, or ABC, to do so on Friday.
In introducing the piece, co-host Hannah Storm noted that the leadership elections were mixed results for Speaker-to-be, Nancy Pelosi, and Ms. Attkisson began her report citing Pelosi’s failure to elevate her ally to the majority leader post:
"It's as if the new coach picked her star quarterback, but the team wouldn't have it. And the coach, Nancy Pelosi, was shocked."
In an editorial entitled "The Republicans Really Won," which is posted on the CBS website, contributor Lloyd Garver claims, among other things, that the midterm election results are a ploy by the Republicans to solidify long term power, and that the reemergence of veterans of the Bush 41 administration, James Baker and Robert Gates, are part of a plan to elect Bush 41 to a second term in 2008. Garver leads his piece:
Democrats stop celebrating, and Republicans, don't despair. I know the Democrats won the recent election on paper, but in the long run the Republicans just might be the big winners of Election 2006.
In fact, I think the Republicans set the whole thing up so the Democrats could fail over the next two years, which will bring about a big Republican presidential win in 2008.
What other explanation is there? I mean, do you think that Karl Rove and the rest of the Republican brain trust suddenly got stupid? I don't think so.
On Tuesday’s "Imus in the Morning," Newsweek editor Jon Meacham opined that George H.W. Bush, the 41st president, had been vindicated by history. He suggested that Newsweek runs stories based on partisan preferences, i.e. we helped defeat President Bush in 1992, but in hindsight, George H.W. Bush was right. Meacham also revealed that journalists often make hasty judgements and treat those judgements as "infallible." In the same segment, Meacham admitted that journalists are wrong. Meacham offers as an example the coverage of President Bush 41 during the 1992 campaign and before:
"What's important is journalistically, one of the mistakes we make is we kick people in the shins and we tend to make instant judgments and act as though our judgment is infallible and absolute. It’s not. See ‘wimp factor,’ see the mistakes and the misperceptions of the first Bush at the time when everybody was saying he was out of touch and was no good. Now we see with hindsight that he’d done pretty well."
Can John McCain land enough "right hand punches" to "satisfy conservatives," and how is the 2008 presidential race unfolding? These are two of the topics raised on Wednesday’s "Early Show" in the "Capitol Bob" segment with Bob Schieffer. During the segment, Schieffer came to the obvious conclusion that the Democrat nominee will either be Hillary Clinton or someone else, and the Republican nominee will either be John McCain or someone else. However, co-host Hannah Storm alluded to one of Senator McCain’s weaknesses and humorously opined:
"Alright, we'll see if he's [McCain] able to throw enough right-hand punches in that race to satisfy the conservatives, right."
Is this more offensive to Democrats or Republicans? At least five separate reporters described incoming freshman Democrat Congressmen as conservative. On Wednesday’s "Early Show" Bob Schieffer noted "these Democrats that were elected last night are conservative Democrats." Later in the same program, CBS News Captiol Hill correspondent Sharyl Attkisson highlighted, "...a lot of these new Democrats who’ve been elected are social conservatives." Seconds later, CBS Political Correspondent Gloria Borger observed that with the Democrats taking the House, "the committee chairmen are going to be liberal and the people coming in are going to be these moderate conservatives." The trend continued on "Imus in the Morning" as NBC’s David Gregory remarked, "She’s [Nancy Pelosi] going to have a lot of center-right Democrats who won..."
During President Bush’s news conference Wednesday afternoon, New York Times writer Jim Rutenberg phrased his question to President Bush in terms utilized on the Times editorial page on Wednesday repudiating President Bush’s leadership. Earlier, David Gregory portrayed President Bush as out of touch with Americans and inquired as to whether now that the voters have spoken, is he "listening to the voters or the vice president."
During the press conference Jim Rutenberg questioned:
"But the results are being interpreted as a repudiation of your leadership style in some quarters. I wonder what your reaction is to that, and should we expect a very different White House? Should we expect a very different leadership style from you in these last two years given that you have a whole new set of partners."
Nasty and bitter is how the Virginia and New Jersey Senate races were described on Monday’s "Early Show" on CBS. No not necessarily the campaigns in general, but the Republican candidates and Republican ads. Additionally, Harry Smith highlighted that while Northern Virginia is "Webb country," the rest of Virginia "clings to its conservative roots." Notice how Smith omits the phrase "liberal" while commenting on Northern Virginia.
Smith noted how the Virginia race is "mean" and "nasty" before remarking on Allen’s gaffes and how they have kept this race close:
In an election year gift to Democrats, Sunday’s "60 Minutes" pointed out GOP failings in Congress on the eve of a crucial midterm election, hitting the Republican Congress over failure to control spending and in particular, earmarks. "60 Minutes" has a history of running stories like these on the show preceding an important election. In 2002, correspondent Morley Safer provided a forum for liberal columnist Molly Ivins to hype the candidacies of two Texas Democrats running for state wide office, while providing no counterpoint from a conservative or Republican in the piece.
On Sunday, Safer profiled Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake about earmarks and government spending, unfortunately Safer portrayed earmarks as the only wasteful spending in Washington. In an attempt to discourage conservatives and demoralize the GOP base, "60 Minutes" attacked the Republican Congress over its failure to limit spending. Safer invoked the name of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and equated earmarks with corruption while lamenting Congress’ wasteful spending.
Wednesday’s "Early Show" on CBS highlighted Senator John Kerry’s disparaging remarks about the American military in three separate segments, but instead of expressing outrage at Kerry’s comments, CBS seemed more concerned that the Republicans may use them for political gain in the midterm elections. While CBS omitted mentions that some Democrats have refused to campaign with Kerry and others have asked that he apologize, the network pondered if the outrage expressed by Republicans was an effort to "fire up the base" or simply a "desperate" attempt to change the subject.
Co-host Hannah Storm inquired of White House Press Secretary Tony Snow if President Bush’s demand that Kerry apologize to the troops was genuine or:
On Monday’s CBS "Evening News," correspondent Sandra Hughes highlighted "trend-setting California" for "tackling ground-breaking issues the federal government won’t touch." She listed liberal policies enacted by California, such as funding embryonic stem cell research, raising the minimum wage, providing discounts for prescription drugs, and for enacting "the nation’s most restrictive law on greenhouse gas emissions." Hughes further noted that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s "saving grace" has been his decision to work with Democrats instead of against them.
"Evening News" anchor Katie Couric introduced the segment calling the Congress do-nothing, and portrayed California as a trail blazing state:
Julie Chen, co-host of CBS’s "Early Show," was more biased than the New York Times in reporting on a new global warming study conducted by the British government. Chen highlighted the inflammatory claims of the study, citing that it concludes "global warming will devastate the world economy on the scale of the World Wars." Yet, the New York Times, in its coverage of the report, did not note this claim, and even quoted an expert who called the study "a bunch of guesswork."
Chen classified this research as a "wake up call" and reported that British Prime Minister Tony Blair thinks emissions need to be cut, an allusion to the media line that humans are responsible for global warming. But, the science is far from conclusive that global warming is a manmade phenomenon as opposed to one that occurs naturally. But, then again, this would not be the first time CBS has sensationalized "man made" global warming while ignoring contradicting studies (click here and here for examples).
CBS’s "The Early Show" followed last night’s Michael J. Fox bonanza on the "Evening News" with more of the same on Friday morning. "The Early Show" aired more than 13 minutes of coverage to stories mentioning Fox, more than 10 minutes of that focused on Fox alone, while just a mere 40 seconds dealt with a response ad starring Patricia Heaton and Jim Caviezel.
Hannah Storm called Fox "courageous" and asserted "you just couldn’t take your eyes off the television last night." Harry Smith thought Fox’s interview was "powerful" and urged all those opposed to embryonic stem cell research to "at least listen to these arguments." Additionally, CBS tried to make Fox out to be nonpartisan, despite the fact that he is running commercials for Democratic candidates. Yet in their awe of Michael J. Fox, there was no exploration of the claims made in his political commercials and whether they are indeed factually accurate. Nor did CBS take the opportunity to differentiate between different types of stem cells. In fact, in a live interview, Katie Couric called Rush Limbaugh, someone who raised questions about Fox’s ads, "heartless."
CBS’s ad expert claimed on Thursday’s "Early Show" that the Republicans in Tennessee are playing on "racist," "Reconstruction era" fears in the Senate campaign against Democrat Harold Ford Jr. While the RNC spot in question in its entirety hits Ford’s record and what his election would mean to Tennessee, CBS played only a brief segment, including where a "playboy bunny" tells Ford to "call me." Whereas this was denounced by the media as racist, there was no discussion on CBS of Mr. Ford making his moral values an issue by filming a political commercial inside of a church.
On the October 22 edition of "60 Minutes" on CBS, the media's pre-election celebration of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi continued. Pelosi was interviewed by Lesley Stahl, and while Stahl attempted to sound tough by noting that Pelosi’s rhetoric is part of the problem in terms of the tone in Washington, Pelosi was not challenged on issues important to voters. Stahl noted that Pelosi represents one of the most liberal districts in the nation, but did not seem to cope with the fact that perhaps Pelosi fits her district as a liberal, failing to mention Pelosi’s 99% Americans for Democratic Action rating over the past five years. Stahl called the Democratic agenda "centrist," while not demanding details of the agenda from Pelosi, and noted that Pelosi acknowledges she is obscure to the American people, insulating her from Republican attacks:
Republican Congressman James Saxton is not exactly an endangered incumbent, as CQ and C-SPAN rate him as safe. But, you wouldn’t know that from watching Thursday’s "Early Show" on CBS. Correspondent Randall Pinkston, who offered some wishful thinking, narrated a two and half minute piece on New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District where Congressman Saxton is being challenged by Democrat Richard Sexton. Apparently, the fact that the two men have similar sounding last names is enough to warrant a full story. Pinkston highlighted that the similarity in names could cause confusion at the polls, then proceeded to offer a shameless plug of another Viacom channel, Comedy Central, and its star of fake news, Stephen Colbert.
It is Wednesday, which means it was time for another installment of "Capitol Bob," Bob Schieffer; on CBS’ "Early Show." Today’s segment dealt with the midterm elections and Schieffer’s predictions. Schieffer still believes the Democrats will win control of the House, but cautioned Democrats not to get too over confident, as there are three weeks to go and the Republicans have a tremendous fund-raising edge. And in fact, the cash advantage was the only positive sign Schieffer could see for Republicans. Co-host Rene Syler, however, highlighted that with the Mark Foley coverage subsiding, experts were a little more skeptical of the Democrats chances. Syler introduced the segment:
"For weeks now, negative news from Washington left the Republican party sagging. But, now that it's gotten quieter, the GOP is ready to fight for control of the next Congress. And of course, for the inside scoop from Washington we turn to 'Capitol Bob,' CBS News Chief Washington correspondent and host of 'Face the Nation,' Bob Schieffer. Bob, good morning."
As I mentioned last week, CBS was pushing the notion that the Bush administration ought to kowtow to North Korean demands and agree to bilateral talks. This theme was again highlighted on Wednesday’s "Early Show" by co-host Harry Smith. Smith had the opportunity to speak with Wendy Sherman, President Clinton’s former North Korea adviser, and while he noted that people like former Democratic Senator Sam Nunn, whom Smith describes as "a very wise guy about this stuff," think we should talk directly with the North Korean regime, he omitted any questions about Ms. Sherman’s role in the Clinton administration and its failed polices regarding North Korea. At the end of the 7:00 half hour, Smith inquired:
Not all vulnerable seats in the midterm elections are currently occupied by Republicans. This was the shocking revelation on Friday’s "Early Show," and as their example, they chose to profile Michael Steele and the Maryland Senate race. For anyone not knowledgeable about this campaign, the piece seemed fairly positive. But, for those familiar with the background of this race, there was a glaring omission. In July 2005, Democratic operative, Lauren Weiner, invaded Mr. Steele's privacy and illegally obtained a copy of his credit report, but this went unreported in Trish Regan’s story. According to the Washington Post, this Democratic scandal led to an FBI investigation and charges being filed against Ms. Weiner; Weiner plead guilty to the charges in federal court. Could this be because it would be a Democratic scandal? This isn’t the first time CBS has omitted facts damaging to Democrats, as again the "Early Show" remained silent about Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s lucrative, yet questionable, land deal.
With North Korea testing nuclear weapons and Democrats demanding that the Bush administration engage in bilateral talks with them, it should come as no surprise that the "Early Show" once again turned to Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution for analysis. O’Hanlon, made his 17th appearance of the year on Thursday’s "Early Show" where he was sure to plug his book. "Early Show" co-host Hannah Storm conducted the interview and pondered why, if the Democrats and Kofi Annan and the North Koreans want the Bush administration to engage the North Koreans directly, why wouldn’t President Bush simply acquiesce:
"But first President Bush said Wednesday that negotiating directly with North Korea would not have stopped that country's nuclear tests, and he added there would be no one-on-one talks now, that's something that Democrats are calling for...Also, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has called for direct talks. The North Koreans has asked for it. Why does the president say no?"
Harry Smith continued to pounce on the Foley scandal on this morning’s "Early Show." Smith talked with former Secretary of State James Baker in the 7:00 half hour, and immediately focused on the Foley e-mail scandal and whether Speaker Hastert ought to resign his position over it. Unlike Bay Buchanan on Thursday’s "Early Show," Baker disputed that Hastert should be turned into a sacrificial lamb by Republicans, and refuted Smith's assertions that if Hastert would just resign, that the story would go away.
Smith began by asking Baker what he would do if he were in charge to help Republicans get passed the Foley scandal:
"First off, you know, you were known, one of your nicknames along the line was 'The Velvet Hammer.' You had a lot of responsibility for cleaning up messes from time to time. If you were in charge right now, what would you do?"
What did Speaker Hastert know about former Congressman Foley’s lurid communications with a former page, and when did he know it? This is an open question that will be resolved through investigations by the House Ethics Committee and the FBI. Yet before all the facts are known, "The Early Show" continued to clamor for Hastert’s resignation. The "Early Show" has raised the subject of Speaker Hastert resigning in at least two stories in each of the last four days. On Thursday’s program, Hannah Storm spoke with CBS’s idea of a balanced panel-- a Republican and a Democrat who agree that Hastert should resign his position.
In the 7:00 half hour of today’s program, Hannah Storm spoke with Republican strategist Bay Buchanan and Democratic strategist Kiki McLean. Storm focused her first questions to each of her guests on whether Hastert should resign:
Wednesday’s ‘Early Show" continued to hype the Mark Foley scandal. In a segment with Bob Schieffer, called "Capitol Bob," co-host Julie Chen wondered if Speaker Hastert should resign his position over the scandal, while Schieffer cited conservative sources such as "The Washington Times" to emphasize the trouble Hastert is in and conveyed to viewers his conviction that the Mark Foley scandal will cost the Republicans control of the House of Representatives.
"If I were a betting man, I would now bet that the Republicans are going to lose the House. Not by very much. But I think this may be just the thing to give the Democrats control of the House. This is really serious business for the Republicans right now."
Making his 16th appearance of the year on the "Early Show" on Monday, Brookings Institution senior fellow Michael O’Hanlon promoted his new book, "Hard Power: The New Politics of National Security," criticized Democrats for not having a National Security plan, and, unlike his 15 previous appearances, was labeled a Democrat. Yet, regardless of O’Hanlon’s criticisms of the Democrats, or observations of what Republicans are doing well, this is yet another example of the "Early Show" allowing a Democrat to offer election year advice to the Democratic party with no balance on the other side.
Storm began by inquiring about accusations made by Bob Woodward in his book, but soon changed the subject to the Democrats lack of a national security plan, while mentioning O’Hanlon’s party affiliation:
As I mentioned on September 25, CBS News terror analyst Michael Scheuer pounced on President Clinton and asserted the Clinton administration did not try to get Osama bin Laden, as Clinton had claimed on "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace. That sentiment was echoed by MSNBC analyst and Congressional Medal of Honor winner, Colonel Jack Jacobs on Wednesday’s "Imus in the Morning." Jacobs maintained Clinton’s response to Chris Wallace was "pure fiction;" he accused the Clinton administration of not even trying to kill bin Laden, and described President Clinton as "...basically a junk yard dog with a little bit of polish and a lot of hair."
Colonel Jacobs first discussed the erosion of the nation’s intelligence capabilities and described it as having been broken for "a very long time. Decades as a matter of fact," and was critical of the way intelligence funds are spent now because it’s not "in an organized fashion, before airing his criticisms of President Clinton. Jacobs declared:
James Carville and Paul Begala were not the only Democrats on morning televison offering advice for Democrats as the midterm elections approach. On the "Early Show,"former Senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart, another democrat who got into trouble for extramarital affairs, discussed his new book, "The Courage of our Convictions: A Manifesto for Democrats." Like Carville and Begalia, Hart maintains the Democratic Party needs to grow a spine. During the segment with Hart, "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith allowed his populist beliefs to shine through, even has he noted the Democratic party is "adrift" and bemoaned the fact that the Democrats don’t really stand for anything:
The incoming top editor of "Newsweek" magazine, Jon Meacham, cast aspersions on the legitimacy of President Bush on the same "Imus in the Morning" broadcast I referenced earlier. Meacham conjured up memories of the 2000 election, asserting that "Al Gore was elected by the American people, but not allowed to serve." Additionally, Meacham gave credence to the left wing blogosphere and claimed that it has been since 1988 since a candidate for president has won a clear majority of the popular vote without "any questions about the count in a presidential election."
President Bush won almost 51% of the vote in 2004, a clear majority. However, this is dismissed by Meacham, most probably because of "questions" of the vote count in Ohio. President Bush won the state of Ohio by 118,601 votes. First of all, it is highly unlikely that any "questions" about the vote would be enough to overturn that type of margin. Secondly, where did these "questions" come from? From the left wing blogosphere, people who would not have accepted a Bush victory by any margin and would have tried to delegitimize the vote regardless.
On Monday, a senior "Newsweek" editor, Jon Meacham, defended Bill Clinton’s performance on "Fox News Sunday," calling the interview, fantastic. Meacham also asserted that Clinton was articulate; there was a lot of merit to what he said, and that he was making a good case.
On Monday’s "Imus in the Morning," Meacham gushed over Clinton’s performance noting:
"For anyone who believes that character doesn’t matter in politics, that (the Fox interview) should be exhibit A."
He continued, defending Clinton’s performance:
"At the same time, he was, you know, making a good case that he had, you know, made, moved in the right direction on bin Laden, but flip it round, as we all remember, and you all are talking about, he was handcuffed by his own faults and flaws."
Despite Bill Clinton's angry protestations, the bulk of the blame for America's failure to catch or kill Osama bin Laden lies squarely on the Clinton administration, at least according to terrorism analyst Michael Scheuer.
Scheuer's words, delivered on today's edition of CBS's "Early Show," must have come as a shock for co-host Harry Smith since the liberal media's usual refrain on bin Laden is to blame Bush for the failure to kill him back in the early days of the Afghanistan campaign.
That just isn't the case, Scheuer argued, implicitly criticizing the press.
"The former president seems to be able to deny facts with impugnity. Bin Laden is alive today because Mr. Clinton, Mr. Sandy Berger, and Mr. Richard Clarke refused to kill him," he said.
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