CBS Evening News Most Aggressive in Besmirching Palin

The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Tuesday all focused stories on the media's latest obsession: the inadequacies of VP choice Sarah Palin and John McCain's supposedly rushed and inept vetting process. ABC anchor Charles Gibson, for instance, teased: “The Republicans finally take to the convention floor. Many questions still being asked about John McCain's vice presidential pick.” But CBS was the most aggressive in trying to discredit Palin. Katie Couric teased the CBS Evening News:
Tonight, new questions about Sarah Palin's past, including whether she once supported a party that wants Alaska to secede from the U.S. How much did John McCain really know about his running mate?
Couric led by insisting, as if the media are simple observers and not participants: “The story that's continuing to get all the attention here -- and elsewhere for that matter -- is Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska, and John McCain's judgment in choosing her as his running mate.” Couric set up a second Palin story: “The McCain campaign has portrayed Governor Palin as a reformer and opponent of pork barrel spending, but there are some new questions about that. Wyatt Andrews now with a Reality Check.”

From the floor of the Republican convention at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Couric opened the Tuesday, September 2 CBS Evening News:
The Republicans are holding the first full session of this quadrennial gathering tonight. Yesterday's was abbreviated because of Hurricane Gustav. And after some re-jiggering of the schedule, President Bush will address this convention over a video hookup from the White House. But the story that's continuing to get all the attention here -- and elsewhere for that matter -- is Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska, and John McCain's judgment in choosing her as his running mate.
In that story, Nancy Cordes reported: “After yesterday's revelation that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, questions are flying about how much the McCain campaign knew about other issues like the probe into Palin's firing of her public safety commissioner or reports that she participated in Alaska's Independence Party which has called in the past for the state to secede from the union. “ Mark Chryson, former Chairman if the Alaska Independence Party: asserted: “All I know is she was at the convention in '94 with her husband and several hundred other people.”

Cordes did at least later note that voter registration records show Palin has always been a Republican.

Couric introduced the next story:
The McCain campaign has portrayed Governor Palin as a reformer and opponent of pork barrel spending, but there are some new questions about that. Wyatt Andrews now with a Reality Check.
Andrews began:
When John McCain introduced Governor Sarah Palin, he presented her as a tough reformer of earmarks, all those direct, often hidden, federal grants for local projects. Palin even claimed she killed off one of the worst earmarks ever, a proposed $233 million bridge from Ketchikan, Alaska, to Gravina island.

PALIN ON FRIDAY: I told Congress thanks, but no thanks, on that bridge to in the no where.

ANDREWS: No thanks to that bridge? Here are the facts. Congress killed off that earmark well before Governor Palin formally abandoned it. And while the bridge is, in fact, a dead project, the state still kept the money. $233 million in federal funds for other transportation needs. The record also shows that two years ago Palin supported the bridge...
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