CBS Report Echoes DNC's Partisan Anti-Palin Slam

As the broadcast network evening newscasts reported Friday on Sarah Palin's decision to resign as Alaska's governor, some of the negative wording on the CBS Evening News sounded eerily similar to the partisan statement attacking Palin that was released by the Democratic National Committee, which was quoted the same evening on FNC's Fox Report, and on Special Report with Bret Baier.

As she began her report, correspondent Nancy Cordes used words with a negative connotation --  "abandoning her job" -- to describe Palin's departure from office. Cordes: "Surrounded by family at her home in Wasilla, Alaska, Sarah Palin said she was abandoning her job because she has no interest in being a lame duck."

Similarly, the statement issued by DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse also used the word "abandon" to refer to Palin's resignation: "Her decision to abandon her post and the people of Alaska who elected her continues a pattern of bizarre behavior that more than anything else may explain the decision she made today.”

Also similar to the DNC statement, CBS managed to squeeze in the word "bizarre" twice as a description of Palin's announcement as Cordes first showed a soundbite of the Politico's Mike Allen calling Palin's actions "bizarre," and, moments later, as he appeared with substitute anchor Maggie Rodriguez to discuss the story, CBS News political consultant John Dickerson also used the word. Allen: "This is very unusual, even bizarre." Dickerson: "It's bizarre, and there's no good explanation."

But Cordes did employ other negative words of her own in her report as she also described Palin's statement as "rambling" and "confusing." Cordes: "In a rambling, at times confusing announcement, the former vice presidential candidate said this move had been in the works for a while." NBC's Andrea Mitchell notably used similar words in a report on Sunday's NBC Nightly News.

CBS also resurrected an infamous exchange between Katie Couric and Palin in which the Alaska Governor became tongue-tied while responding to criticism of her statement about the proximity of Russia and Alaska as a source of international experience:

KATIE COURIC: You’ve cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land boundary that we have with Canada. It's funny that a comment like that was kind of made to – I don't know, you know, reporters-

COURIC: Mocked?

PALIN: Yeah, mocked. I guess that’s the word, yeah.

Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Friday, July 3, CBS Evening News, followed by the text of the DNC's statement on Palin's resignation, as read by FNC's Chris Wallace on the same day's Special Report with Bret Baier:

#From the July 3 CBS Evening News:

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Good evening, everyone. Katie’s off tonight. On this 3rd of July, Sarah Palin is declaring her independence. In a move no one saw coming, she announced today she's resigning two and a half years into her first term as governor of Alaska. She said she believes she “can effect positive change outside government.” This, of course, raises a lot of questions about the future of one of the few big stars of a battered Republican party. Nancy Cordes begins tonight's coverage.
       
GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN (R-AK): And I really don't want to disappoint anyone with this announcement.       
       
NANCY CORDES: Surrounded by family at her home in Wasilla, Alaska, Sarah Palin said she was abandoning her job because she has no interest in being a lame duck.

PALIN: That's what's wrong. Many just accept that lame duck status, and they hit the road, they draw a paycheck, they kind of milk it. And I'm not going to put Alaskans through that.

CORDES: In a rambling, at times confusing announcement, the former vice presidential candidate said this move had been in the works for a while.

PALIN: -millions of your dollars go down the drain in this new political environment. Rather, we know we can affect positive change outside government at this moment in time on another scale, and actually make a difference.

CORDES: Palin didn't go into detail on how she plans to do that. But she did allude to the hits she's been taking lately, everything from a dust-up with David Letterman to a scathing new expose in Vanity Fair about her rocky relationship with the Republican establishment.

PALIN: -and I know when it's time to pass the ball for victory.

CORDES: The former high school basketball star has also been on the defense in Alaska, where the Anchorage Daily News reported this week that the state has spent $300,000 investigating 15 ethics complaints against the Governor, most notably related to state-paid family trips and “Troopergate.”

PALIN CLIP #1: And this political absurdity, the politics of personal destruction, Todd and I, we’re looking at more than half a million dollars in legal bills just in order to set the record straight.

PALIN CLIP #2: The people who offer up these silly accusations, it doesn't cost them a dime. So they're not going to stop draining the public resources.

CORDES: Palin’s surprise decision is sure to fuel speculation that she is clearing her plate to run for President, though this approach would be a risky and highly unconventional political gamble.

MIKE ALLEN, POLITICO, CLIP #1: This is very unusual, even bizarre. Governors just don't stop in the middle of their terms when there’s no clear reason.

ALLEN CLIP #2: -frees her to run for President, but now she has to answer questions about why she quit her job, about why she now is traveling around to make money for herself instead of working for her state.

CORDES: Leaving the state house would give her the freedom to travel across the country, campaigning for Republicans and giving her valuable political experience she could never get in Alaska.

KATIE COURIC: You’ve cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land boundary that we have with Canada. It's funny that a comment like that was kind of made to – I don't know, you know, reporters-

COURIC: Mocked?

PALIN: Yeah, mocked. I guess that’s the word, yeah.

CORDES: The timing of all this is curious. Typically, when politicians make announcements on a Friday at the start of a holiday weekend with no notice, it means they're trying to bury the news, not herald the onset of an exciting new chapter in their political lives. Maggie?

RODRIGUEZ: Nancy Cordes in Washington. Thanks, Nancy. John Dickerson, also in Washington, is a CBS News political consultant. John, after listening to the entire news conference, I'm still not sure why Sarah Palin is resigning. What's your take?

JOHN DICKERSON: Well, I think she's basically sick of being governor, sick of being the target of both the media and her political opponents who have launched all these ethics investigations. She's going to take the bulls eye off her back. And now she can travel. And she can go embrace her public. They are wildly in love with Sarah Palin in the Republican base. She can raise money for Republicans, build morale in the party, and if she wants a future in the national party, those are all important things if she wants to run again.

RODRIGUEZ: But 2012 is a long way away. Why do you think she chose to leave now?

DICKERSON: It's bizarre, and there's no good explanation. And if she were trying to do away with the kind of speculation that she says has so irritated her, this is not the way to do it.

RODRIGUEZ: What about the down side here? Could her actions be seen as bailing on the citizens of Alaska?

DICKERSON: The down side is that her greatest card used to be the charges that she lacked depth and didn't have executive experience, she could point to her role as Governor. Now she doesn't have that anymore. She used to say I could fight the old boy network, but today in her remarks she clearly was sick of the fight.

#From the July 3 Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC:

CHRIS WALLACE: The Democratic National Committee released a statement on Governor Palin's announcement saying, quote, "Either Sarah Palin is leaving the people of Alaska high and dry to pursue her long shot national political ambitions or she simply can't handle the job ... now that her popularity has dimmed and oil revenues are down. Either way, her decision to abandon her post and the people of Alaska who elected her continues a pattern of bizarre behavior that more than anything else may explain the decision she made today."