While Networks Ignore Obama Golf Outing, CNN Humorist Gets Story Right

CNN correspondent Jeanne Moos has a penchant for quirky, off-beat reporting, but what happens when the eccentric newswoman gives a more accurate picture of important events than the serious journalists?

While media outlets relentlessly denounced BP CEO Tony Hayward for taking Saturday off to participate in a yacht race, they mostly glossed over or completely ignored President Barack Obama's Saturday golf outing with Vice President Joe Biden.

It was left to CNN's resident humorist to connect the dots.

"It's the yachting versus golf smack down, round one," declared Moos. "BP's CEO gets pummeled for taking a day off to watch his yacht race...CBS White House correspondent Mark Knoller says already President Obama has played 39 rounds of golf, compared to the 24 George Bush played his entire presidency."

Moos's evenhanded coverage of Obama's and Hayward's weekend misadventures contrasted markedly with reports filed by network news correspondents. ABC's Sharyn Alfonsi covered the outrage surrounding Hayward's yachting, but ignored criticism of Obama's golfing. CBS anchor Charles Osgood parroted White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's derision of Hayward, but failed to present an Obama critic.

The grown-up journalists might have selfishly ignored Obama's 39th round of golf since taking office, but as Moos reported, at least the children shared both sides of the story.

"My mom doesn't take breaks like every two months," proclaimed one child. "You don't really need to take a break every two months to go see a yacht race."

"President Obama? I'm not sure he should actually be golfing right now," argued another.

The transcript of the segment can be found below:
CNN
American Morning
6/22/10

6:54 a.m.

KIRAN CHETRY, co-host: 54 Minutes past the hour. Time now for the most news in the morning with Jeanne. BP's CEO did manage to find cleaner waters over the weekend and many said it was a major PR fail for the company.

JOHN ROBERTS, co-host: But many critics are saying that the president can't say anything about it until he puts down the golf clubs. Here's Jeanne.

JEANNE MOOS, CNN correspondent: It's the yachting versus golf smack down, round one. BP's CEO gets pummeled for taking a day off to watch his yacht race.

JOY BEHAR, co-host of "The View": How dare he just take off.

Sen. RICHARD SHELBY (R-Ala): The height of stupidity.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: How do you spell fool?

MOOS: But before you could spell it – BP's CEO – President Obama's golfing came under attack.

DANA PERINO, former George W. Bush press secretary: Almost five hours on the golf course with Biden.

ELIZABETH HASSELBECK, co-host of "The View": And it shouldn't have been eight times between the spill and now.

MOOS: Actually, seven times. CBS White House correspondent Mark Knoller says already President Obama has played 39 rounds of golf, compared to the 24 George Bush played his entire presidency, including some that got into a Michael Moore film.

Former President GEORGE W. BUSH: Stop these terrorist killers. Thank you. Now watch this drive.

MOOS: And while some equate president Obama's golf to Tony Hayward's yachting – two different men, two different jobs, one management style – the president's defenders note a big difference.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That's the thing, he didn't create that mess that is there. What do they want the man to do? Put a wetsuit on and go down and fix that pipe?

MOOS: Meanwhile, Politico pondered the really important question, why is Tony Hayward's yacht names "Bob"? Wondering if it has anything to do with the Bill Murray movie, "What About Bob?" Sailor so scared he has to be lashed to the mast. Now Tony Hayward is being lashed.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I really think it was a disgrace.

MOOS: On the other hand, surprisingly it was the first day off he's had in two months.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I really don't care.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Too bad. Look what he did.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Every day of his life is a day off.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I think he's probably due for a little down time.

MOOS: But downtime on the water can be a downer. Remember when presidential candidate John Kerry went wind surfing and it ended up in an attack ad.

ANNOUNCER: Whichever way the wind blows.

MOOS: BP's CEO is being mocked in an animation by a Taiwanese tabloid website. He sits on the beach sending out a drink to a guy drowning in oil, from the mouths of babes.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: My mom doesn't take breaks like every two months. You don't really need to take a break every two months to go see a yacht race.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: In the two hours it takes to golf or to go yachting, another 1,000 to 10,000 tons of oil could leak out.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: President Obama? I'm not sure he should actually be golfing right now.

MOOS: Just plug the darn hole, Mr. president. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
--Alex Fitzsimmons is a News Analysis intern at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.