CBS Devotes 3% of Hillary Profile to Scandals, 42% in Obama Piece

In a lengthy seven-a-half minute Friday CBS Evening News profile story, “For the Record: Hillary Clinton,” reporter Nancy Cordes devoted a measly 15 seconds, a piddling three percent of the story, to scandals connected to Clinton's actions. But the night before, in a “For the Record: Barack Obama” profile, reporter Dean Reynolds allocated 42 percent of his piece to Obama scandals: Anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan's ties to him and his church as well as his connections to indicted developer Tony Rezko. Here's the totality of all viewers heard Friday night from Cordes about scandals blamed on Hillary Clinton during her life:
Hillary Clinton's role and relationships factored into nearly every scandal that rocked the Clinton White House. Whitewater, an investment deal gone bad with friends from Arkansas. Travelgate, where she allegedly participated in the firing of seven White House Travel Office employees.
Cordes then stressed her innocence as she led into a mention of Monica Lewinsky; “But multimillion-dollar investigations turned up either no wrongdoing on her part or not enough evidence to prosecute. And the only Clinton investigation that did stick had decidedly little to do with the First Lady." Cordes proceeded to segue into her Senate years: “She has called it the greatest adversity she ever faced. But instead of retreating from public life, she decided to run for office herself.”

CBS News could contend that since Obama's past and questionable relationships are less known -- and certainly have been virtually ignored by the media -- that his profile needed to take more time to get viewers caught up on those matters. But a piddling three percent of a story to go through the many scandals in Clinton's past, to say nothing of the present with Norman Hsu? That seems ridiculously short and missed an opportunity to remind viewers of the myriad of Clinton scandal details they have probably forgotten.

Also, while Reynolds had described Obama as “a traditional liberal,” Cordes refrained from applying any ideological tag to Clinton.

In his February 28 story, which at 6:16 was more than a minute shorter than the time Clinton got Friday night, Reynolds gave 2:37 (157 of 376 seconds, 42 percent) to charges Obama's church is “anti-Israel,” how “a church-related publication saluted Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan, a well-known anti-Semite who in turn has praised Obama's candidacy,” and Tony Rezko:
Obama's long association with a now-indicted developer named Tony Rezko could be a liability. An Obama fundraiser from the early 90s, Rezko goes on trial for fraud next week. But his unsavory reputation was well-known for years. So it raised eyebrows when Obama and Resko's wife, Rita, bought property next to each other on Chicago's South Side on the very same day in 2005 even though by then Tony Rezko was under federal investigation. But no one has charged Obama with wrongdoing...
The time Cordes devoted to Clinton administration scandals in the February 29 CBS Evening News story in which I counted her first paragraph (15 seconds of a 444-second story, 3 percent) as allocated to raising scandals for which Hillary Clinton could be blamed (this entire portion took up 38 seconds, just over 8 percent of the story):
Hillary Clinton's role and relationships factored into nearly every scandal that rocked the Clinton White House. Whitewater, an investment deal gone bad with friends from Arkansas. Travelgate, where she allegedly participated in the firing of seven White House Travel Office employees.

But multimillion-dollar investigations turned up either no wrongdoing on her part or not enough evidence to prosecute. And the only Clinton investigation that did stick had decidedly little to do with the First Lady.

HILLARY CLINTON, IN 1998: I am happy to answer the grand jury's questions.

NANCY CORDES: She has called it the greatest adversity she ever faced. But instead of retreating from public life, she decided to run for office herself.
For the online version of “For the Record: Barack Obama,” with video of the story.

For the online version of “For the Record: Hillary Clinton,” with video of the story.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center