CBS Ignores Dems Slamming White House Leaks as NBC Catches Up

Since last Thursday, when Democratic members of Congress joined Republicans in denouncing the leaking of classified information which is suspected to have been divulged by members of the Obama administration, CBS has been dragging its feet compared to ABC and NBC in filling in viewers on the developments.

The CBS Evening News has so far given no attention to the developments, while CBS This Morning on Saturday and again on Monday briefly informed viewers that Attorney General Eric Holder had appointed U.S. attorneys to investigate the leaks. But neither the Saturday nor the Monday show noted that Democrats have joined in denouncing the leaks, and neither show has devoted a full report to the story the more recent developments.

Notably, CBS This Morning did have Republican Senator John McCain to discuss the subject as a guest last week on Wednesday, but has not given so much attention to the story since Democrats started joining with Republicans.

By contrast, ABC’s World News has run two complete reports on the subject - one on Thursday and another on Saturday - in which the White House was not only highlighted as a likely source for the leaks, but it was conveyed that members of both parties had voiced concerns.

ABC’s Good Morning America on Saturday ran a report informing viewers of the appointment of U.S. attorneys by Holder, noting that “Republicans and Democrats in Congress are livid about the leaks,” but, on the down side, while the GMA report did mention the possible implication of the White House in the show’s teaser, this angle was not mentioned during correspondent Pierre Thomas’s report which ran at the beginning of the show.

It was not until the second half hour that Ron Claiborne read a news brief and mentioned that the White House was being accused of being behind the leaks. Claiborne: “Critics accuse the White House of orchestrating the leaks to improve or try to improve President Obama's election chances.”

NBC was also slower than ABC in catching onto details of the story. Friday’s Today show only included a news brief which did not specify the White House as being a likely source of the leaks, or the concerns of Democrats.

Saturday’s Today show did run a full report and highlighted suspicions of White House involvement, but gave no attention to the Democrats who had raised concerns previously noted by ABC on Thursday.  NBC correspondent Mike Viqueira on Saturday's Today asserted:

There's been an outcry on Capitol Hill - principally, of course, from Republicans - saying that these leaks had to be intentional and they had to come from the administration from senior sources.

But Sunday’s NBC Nightly News ran a report by Kristen Welker which did note that Democrats were also criticizing the leaks. Welker:

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle turning up the heat on the White House Sunday, demanding to know who leaked classified information about the administration's cyber attacks against Iran, drone strikes on suspected terrorists, and a foiled al-Qaeda plot to bomb a U.S.-bound airliner. ... Senator John McCain called for an independent investigation and continued to accuse the administration of leaking the secrets, for political gain.

Below are transcripts of relevant portions of the Saturday, June 9, and the Monday, June 11, CBS This Morning:

#From Saturday’s CBS This Morning:

JEFF GLOR: Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered an investigation into suspected leaks of classified national security information. Holder says two U.S. attorneys - Ronald Machen of Washington and Rod Rosenstein of Maryland - will work separately from an FBI probe that's already under way. Political critics say the White House leaked this information to boost President Obama's image. Mr. Obama calls that "offensive" and "wrong."

#From Monday's CBS This Morning:

BILL PLANTE: The White House has also been on the defense about leaks of classified information in two recent books, secrets of U.S. cyber warfare against Iran and the targeting of drone strikes. The administration appointed two U.S. attorneys outside Washington to investigate as Republicans charged that the leaks came from inside sources trying to boost the President’s reelection chances.

JOHN MCCAIN: This is the most highly classified information that has now been leaked by the administration at the highest levels of the White House. That’s not acceptable.