CBS’s Crawford Sees ‘Spectacle’ in Media ‘Ripping Through’ Palin Emails to 'Find Something Damaging'

 Catching up on an item from Saturday’s The Early Show, CBS correspondent Jan Crawford used the word "spectacle" to describe various media organizations "ripping through" the recently released emails from Sarah Palin’s time as governor of Alaska, noting that some media organizations were "enlisting people you don’t even know" to help examine the mountain of documents and "find something damaging" on Palin.

Crawford noted that it was an "unusual step" for the New York Times and Washington Post to ask for help from its readers to help the papers pore through the thousands of pages of correspondence, and concluded that "this e-mail release may say a lot more about the press and its views than it does about Palin."

Near the beginning of her report, the CBS correspondent recounted: "The second the e-mails were released, hundreds of journalists pounced eager to sift through the messages from Sarah Palin's time as Alaska governor. Some news organizations even took the unusual step of soliciting outside volunteers to help go through the documents to find something, anything about Palin."

After reading a few quotes from Palin’s correspondence, Crawford took a shot at the media feeding frenzy: "Now this spectacle of hundreds of journalists tearing through these e-mails, news organizations like the New York Times, the Washington Post putting out a call for citizen online volunteers to help them to find something damaging on Sarah Palin, well, at the end of the day, this e-mail release may say a lot more about the press and its views, Russ, than it does about Palin."

As she discussed the story further with anchor Russ Mitchell, noting that legitimate pieces of information can be found from such correspondence, she took another shot at the media as she characterized reporters as "ripping through" the emails to "find something damaging." Crawford: "A public official`s correspondence and documents always can be valuable to help us understand their thinking, their priorities, to get a full picture of the person. That`s different than just ripping through these documents, enlisting people you don`t even know, you know, to find something damaging."

Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Saturday, June 11, The Early Show on CBS:

RUSS MITCHELL: The state of Alaska has released more than 24,000 pages of e-mails sent by Sarah Palin during her term as governor. Nearly 2,300 pages were held back because state attorneys say they contained privileged information. CBS News political correspondent Jan Crawford is in our Washington bureau with a look at what was on the mind of then-Governor Palin. Jan, good morning to you.

JAN CRAWFORD: Well, good morning, Russ. I mean, reporters from across the country and even some overseas have been waiting more than two years to get their hands on these e-mails. And what they're showing, so far anyway, is pretty much what everyone knew all along. The second the e-mails were released hundreds of journalists pounced eager to sift through the messages from Sarah Palin's time as Alaska governor. Some news organizations even took the unusual step of soliciting outside volunteers to help go through the documents to find something, anything about Palin.

Buried in the 24,000 pages of e-mails are these revelations. She doesn't much like the press: "I, too, will continue to be dismayed at the media." She was engaged in her work as governor and intensely focused on energy issues. And even once praised Barack Obama who seemed to agree with her ideas on energy policy. "He did say 'yay' to our gasline. Pretty cool. Wrong candidate."

The state of Alaska released the e-mails in response to requests more than two years ago from media organizations. They cover most of Palin's time as governor and including when she was John McCain's running mate. Beyond her official work, there are also e-mails that deal with ordinary aspects of her life. In one there is even talk of her daughter wanting a trampoline.

Now this spectacle of hundreds of journalists tearing through these e-mails, news organizations like the New York Times, the Washington Post putting out a call for citizen online volunteers to help them to find something damaging on Sarah Palin, well, at the end of the day, this e-mail release may say a lot more about the press and its views, Russ, than it does about Palin.

RUSS MITCHELL: Jan, let me ask you what`s the (INAUDIBLE) in Washington? Are people saying that Sarah Palin was smart not to vehemently oppose these e-mails coming out?

JAN CRAWFORD: Well, listen, I mean, everyone was focused on it yesterday. And so far no one has seen that smoking gun that they`ve all been looking for. And listen, I mean, a public official`s correspondence and documents always can be valuable to help us understand their thinking, their priorities, to get a full picture of the person. That`s different than just ripping through these documents, enlisting people you don`t even know, you know, to find something damaging. Listen, I mean, Palin was the vice presidential nominee. And as you and I have discussed on this show many times, there is discussion she`s going to run for President in 2012. So her correspondents can, you know, show the issues she cared about as governor and how she will govern. You know, that`s what I think people are going to start looking for now in these e-mails.

RUSS MITCHELL: Okay. Jan Crawford in Washington. Thank you so much.