CBS ‘Early Show’ Focuses on Giuliani Scandal, Never Mentioned Hsu

On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Russ Mitchell introduced a news brief in which reporter Byron Pitts speculated on a potential indictment of former NYPD Commissioner and Giuliani friend, Bernard Kerik. Mitchell began the segment by exclaiming:

Republican presidential hopeful, Rudy Giuliani, has stood by his good friend and associate, Bernard Kerik, through good times and bad. But that could change now that Kerik maybe in some big trouble.

Despite the fact that no indictment had actually been handed down yet, that did not keep Pitts from furthering the speculation: "CBS News has learned former New York City Police Commissioner, Bernard Kerik, could face indictment as early as today on criminal charges, including tax fraud and other counts."

While the "Early Show" had no hesitation in reporting a possible Giuliani scandal, the morning news program failed to mention the Hillary Clinton fund raising scandal involving fugitive Norman Hsu even once. That was true even when "Early Show" co-host, Harry Smith, had reported the story on the August 31 and September 6 CBS "Evening News" broadcasts, while filling in for anchor Katie Couric.

During Thursday's report, Pitts worked to illustrate Giuliani’s close connection to Kerik while beginning to analyze the possible political fallout:

...for his former boss and Republican presidential candidate, Rudy Giuliani, there are potential political problems. The men who were friends, business partners. It was Mayor Giuliani who elevated Kerik from detective, to head of corrections, to police commissioner...It was Giuliani who recommended Kerik to President Bush for Secretary of Homeland Security. But it all fell apart. Allegations of wrongdoing doomed Kerik's nomination, and have haunted Giuliani ever since.

After playing a clip of Giuliani’s apology about Kerik, where the former mayor admitted he "should have done a better job of checking him out," Pitts declared that "For political analysts, that apology may not be enough, if or when indictments are handed out." Of course, CBS could not wait for "when," instead it decided that "if" was close enough.

The political analysts that Pitts referred to were Mark Allen of The Politico and University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato. Allen started with the dire prediction:

This could damage Mayor Giuliani in two of his core strengths. First, that he's a great leader and manager who knows what he's doing. And second, he has the great New York success story.

Sabato then chimed in with an analysis of Giuliani’s recent endorsement from the Christian Coalition’s Pat Robertson:

He would never be their first choice, but I think they've been focused by Hillary Clinton. In a way, Hillary Clinton is driving both nominations. She's winning the Democratic nomination, but she's also helping to determine the Republican nomination.

Pitts summed things up for Giuliani: "A more immediate concern for the Giuliani Campaign, stop any damage from the Kerik case." Well, Hillary certainly will not have to worry about any damage from the Hsu case. Based on "Early Show" coverage, Hillary Clinton is not only scandal-free, but is also so powerful that she is helping to pick the Republican nominee.

Here is the full transcript of the 8:03am segment:

RUSS MITCHELL: Republican presidential hopeful, Rudy Giuliani, has stood by his good friend and associate, Bernard Kerik, through good times and bad. But that could change now that Kerik maybe in some big trouble. CBS News Correspondent Byron Pitts reports.

BYRON PITTS: CBS News has learned former New York City Police Commissioner, Bernard Kerik, could face indictment as early as today. On criminal charges, including tax fraud and other counts. It's a personal crisis for Kerik.

BERNARD KERIK: You know, this has been an emotional nightmare for me and my family for the last three years, um, you know, enough is enough.

PITTS: But for his former boss and Republican presidential candidate, Rudy Giuliani, there are potential political problems. The men who were friends, business partners. It was Mayor Giuliani who elevated Kerik from detective, to head of corrections, to police commissioner. The two were symbols of unity and strength in the hours and weeks after 9/11. It was Giuliani who recommended Kerik to President Bush for Secretary of Homeland Security. But it all fell apart. Allegations of wrongdoing doomed Kerik's nomination, and have haunted Giuliani ever since.

RUDY GIULIANI: And I should have done a better job of checking him out, I didn't, I apologize for that.

PITTS: For political analysts, that apology may not be enough, if or when indictments are handed out.

MIKE ALLEN, THE POLITICO: This could damage Mayor Giuliani in two of his core strengths. First, that he's a great leader and manager who knows what he's doing. And second, he has the great New York success story.

PITTS: But it wasn't all bad news for the Giuliani Campaign Wednesday, with an endorsement from Evangelical leader and founder of the Christian Coalition, Pat Robertson.

PAT ROBERTSON: It is my hope and prayer that he will lead the Republican Party to victory in November of 2008. Congratulations.

LARRY SABATO, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: He would never be their first choice, but I think they've been focused by Hillary Clinton. In a way, Hillary Clinton is driving both nominations. She's winning the Democratic nomination, but she's also helping to determine the Republican nomination.

PITTS: A more immediate concern for the Giuliani Campaign, stop any damage from the Kerik case. Byron Pitts, CBS News, New York.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC