CBS ‘Early Show’ Makes No Mention of Spitzer Being Democrat

NewsBusters.org - Media Research CenterAt the top of Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show"a 1,612 word story on New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s sex scandal did not feature the word ‘Democrat’ even once, nor was the word used in any further coverage of Spitzer during the show. A 'D' did appear briefly next to Spitzer's name on screen at two points during the show, for a total of 14 seconds. In addition, the story portrayed Spitzer as a great crusader against corporate corruption as reporter Jeff Glor explained: "Eliot Spitzer was once called 'Crusader of the Year' by "Time" Magazine...Spitzer built his career by taking down white-collar criminals and righting the wrongs of Wall Street."

During his report, Glor mentioned Spitzer’s "political opponents" calling for the Governor’s resignation making sure not mention those "opponents" were Republicans. At the very end of the segment, co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to political correspondent Jeff Greenfield and hinted at Spitzer’s party affiliation as she mentioned that Spitzer was a Hillary Clinton superdelegate: "You're our political guy, so I have to ask you, Eliot Spitzer was a superdelegate for Hillary Clinton. That meant one vote for the nomination towards her. What happens to that head count now?"

The coverage painted Spitzer in a sympathetic light, co-host Harry Smith began by expressing disbelief at the news of the scandal: "Incredulous was one of the words that came to mind as we watched yesterday on television as the New York Governor dealt with accusations he was involved in a prostitution ring." Rodriguez followed by referring to Spitzer’s nickname as a reformer:

Nicknamed 'Mr. Clean' because he made a career of cleaning up corruption on Wall Street. And promised to do the same when he was elected governor. Many thought a presidential run was in his future, but now his career may be over, and we're all left to ask why would a man with such a future and so much at stake risk so much?

Glor quoted an interview Spitzer did with "60 Minutes II" in 2002, as the then New York Attorney General ironically described the arrogance of Wall Street executives he was going after: "I think that there was a culture of ‘if we can do it and nobody is raising a fuss or protest, let's just keep doing it.’" At the beginning of that interview "60 Minutes" anchor Steve Kroft introduced Spitzer this way: "Spitzer has deputized himself as the sheriff of Wall Street, and is leading the posse for retribution, restitution and reform. In a matter of months, he's gone from complete anonymity to what Fortune magazine calls the most feared man on Wall Street."

When Rodriguez talked to Jeff Greenfield about the scandal, she asked: "Are you surprised Spitzer hasn't resigned?" Greenfield responded by suggesting that Spitzer’s approval rating was not high enough to get out of it, unlike Bill Clinton:

Well, it's early -- it's very early. Maybe he wanted time to talk to his family, but there is no support for him in the state. One of the big differences when you think about other politicians in trouble. Bill Clinton, 60% approval rating, solid support from the Democrats in Congress and six months to let the story kind of settle. This happened overnight to a governor in the 30s in approval ratings, alienated many of his own party members up in Albany. So, it may not have happened yet, but I can't see how he survives.

Greenfield did flatly call Spitzer a hypocrite when Rodriguez asked about Spitzer’s work prosecuting white collar criminals: "Outright, the blatant level one, 'Def Con Five' hypocrisy. You're quite right, he put people in jail for running a prostitution ring. And -- that and also not just hypocrisy, but the sheer jaw-dropping hubris, arrogance."

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

7:00AM TEASER:

HARRY SMITH: Breaking news this morning. He was known as 'Mr. Clean.' Now New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is facing calls to resign after being linked to a high-priced prostitution ring. Why did he risk it all?

ELIOT SPITZER: I've acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and that violates my or any sense of right and wrong.

7:01AM SEGMENT:

HARRY SMITH: So much news to get to today, but what a lot of people are buzzing about is the Eliot Spitzer story. Incredulous was one of the words that came to mind as we watched yesterday on television as the New York Governor dealt with accusations he was involved in a prostitution ring.

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: This is, after all, a father of three, married for more than 20 years. Nicknamed 'Mr. Clean' because he made a career of cleaning up corruption on Wall Street. And promised to do the same when he was elected governor. Many thought a presidential run was in his future, but now his career may be over, and we're all left to ask why would a man with such a future and so much at stake risk so much?

SMITH: We're going to try and answer those questions and many others with our complete coverage of the scandal. We have all the latest as information continues to come out this morning. Let's turn right away now to CBS News Chief Investigative Correspondent Armen Keteyian. Armen, good morning.

ARMEN KETEYIAN: Well, good morning, Harry. He was known by a number, not a name, linked to a high-price online prostitution ring known as Emperor's Club VIP, busted by federal authorities last week. New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is now fighting for his political life. Law enforcement officials who have been briefed on the case tell CBS News the man identified in the complaint as 'Client 9' is Spitzer. Implicated via wiretap to a tryst in this Washington, D.C. hotel on February 13th, 2008, room 871. The call girl in question, Kristen, described in court documents as petite, very pretty brunette, 5'5" and 105 pounds. According to court papers, 'Client 9' "would be paying for everything: train tickets," from New York to D.C., Plus "cab fare from the hotel and back, mini bar or room service, travel time, and hotel. But one law enforcement official told CBS News this was far from a one-shot deal. Those same officials tell CBS News Spitzer's involvement first surfaced last summer when a financial institution tipped the IRS to the unusual movements of money. IRS agents watching as cash from Spitzer's account was allegedly channeled through a series of money-laundering steps, when it became clear it was a government official involved, perhaps in a political corruption case, the sources said the IRS alerted the FBI and a wire tap was ordered. On its now defunct website, the Emperors Club offered more than fifty models on call around the world, introduction fees symbolized by the number of diamonds, from three to seven, next to their name. Rates ranging from $1,000 to $5,500 per hour for service. Four people have been arrested in the case. As for Spitzer--

ANDREW COHEN: As far as prostitution goes, I don't think Eliot Spitzer's in very much trouble legally. I don't think he's going to be tried for what he did. I certainly don't think he's going to be convicted and go to jail for it.

KETEYIAN: Any criminal case against Spitzer will likely rest on attempts to conceal the flow of money. He faces charges ranging from money laundering to tax fraud, Harry.

SMITH: Alright, Armen, thank you very much. Governor Spitzer has hired a top legal team, and there are calls for him to resign. "Early Show" National Correspondent Jeff Glor is live outside Spitzer's office here in New York this morning. Good morning, Jeff.

JEFF GLOR: Good morning to you, Harry. Eliot Spitzer did say he was sorry from inside his New York office here. Then he spent the night with his family and he hired a lawyer. It is hard to imagine a more stunning swing of fortune.

SPITZER: I've acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and that violates my, or any, sense of right and wrong.

GLOR: A star prosecutor turned governor used to calling out criminals from behind a podium.

SPITZER: I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public whom I promised better.

GLOR: Now, apologizing for his own actions. His link to a prostitution ring. Eliot Spitzer was once called 'Crusader of the Year' by "Time" Magazine. He was Harvard educated, an assistant D.A., Then New York Attorney General before winning a landslide election to the governor's office. He was thought to be a future presidential contender. Married to the same woman for 20 years with three daughters, Spitzer built his career by taking down white-collar criminals and righting the wrongs of Wall Street. This was him speaking to "60 Minutes" in 2002.

SPITZER: I think that there was a culture of 'if we can do it and nobody is raising a fuss or protest, let's just keep doing it.'

GLOR: But his prosecutions ran the gamut, including, yes, several high-profile indictments of high-end prostitution rings.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I think the guy was a fool. Go ahead and do something like that when he goes ahead and practices moral -- morality to people outside? Come on.

GLOR: The streets are buzzing with talk of the Spitzer scandal. But so far his political opponents are taking the high road.

JOSEPH BRUNO: The important thing for the people of New York State is that people in office do the right thing.

GLOR: That doesn't mean there isn't enormous pressure for Spitzer to resign. If he does, it would be historic for a couple reasons. The man who would take over, Lieutenant Governor, David Paterson, is legally blind, and he would become New York's first African-American governor. Harry?

SMITH: Jeff Glor, thanks very much. With more on the story now, here's Maggie.

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Thank you Harry. Joining us now is CBS News Senior Political Analyst, Jeff Greenfield. Good morning Jeff.

JEFF GREENFIELD: Good morning.

RODRIGUEZ: Are you surprised Spitzer hasn't resigned?

GREENFIELD: Well, it's early -- it's very early. Maybe he wanted time to talk to his family, but there is no support for him in the state. One of the big differences when you think about other politicians in trouble. Bill Clinton, 60% approval rating, solid support from the Democrats in Congress and six months to let the story kind of settle. This happened overnight to a governor in the 30s in approval ratings, alienated many of his own party members up in Albany. So, it may not have happened yet, but I can't see how he survives.

RODRIGUEZ: And also, the perceived hypocrisy of it all, the fact that he was dubbed 'Mr. Clean,' he cracked down on corruption, prosecuted the same crimes he's accused now of committing. I think that people just, you know, don't like that.

GREENFIELD: Yeah, I would not even be so kind as to say perceived hypocrisy.

RODRIGUEZ: Alright.

GREENFIELD: I'd call this hypocrisy.

RODRIGUEZ: Outright.

GREENFIELD: Outright, the blatant level one, 'Def Con Five' hypocrisy. You're quite right, he put people in jail for running a prostitution ring. And -- that and also not just hypocrisy, but the sheer jaw-dropping hubris, arrogance. How did he think he was going to get away with it? Does he assume that the people he was with, the women, didn't recognize one of the more visible political figures? The whole thing just is a head-scratcher in a lot of ways.

RODRIGUEZ: Help us understand how much this man squandered. This was a superstar politician with such a bright future.

GREENFIELD: Eliot Spitzer was elected Governor of New York in 2006 with roughly 69% of the vote, I think it was an all-time record in New York. He was widely assumed to be looking at the national scene. He'd actually -- people had actually said he might be the first Jewish president. So, to go from that to where he is now in the space of a little less than a year -- and even before this he had had a very rocky first year politically. Many people ascribe that to that sense of arrogance. Thought he could come to Albany and change a culture overnight with a kind of a 'my way or the highway' attitude. So that's what I mean. It was -- that part of his fall, the political part, had already happened, driver's licenses for illegal immigrants really alienated a lot of his folks. But this one, I don't know anybody who isn't looking at this and going, I just can't believe the arrogance, stupidity, whatever.

RODRIDGUEZ: I know. You're our political guy, so I have to ask you, Eliot Spitzer was a superdelegate for Hillary Clinton. That meant one vote for the nomination towards her. What happens to that head count now?

GREENFIELD: Well, If he -- if he's no longer governor and David Paterson is, Paterson has come out for Eliot Spitzer, he's been under some pressure to switch his support, he's an African-American, represented Harlem for 20 years. The other political fallout - and I'm not sure about this -- is if you're Senator Clinton, do you want the public to reminded of a high-ranking official in a sex scandal?

RODRIGUEZ: Alright, thanks a lot, Jeff Greenfield. We'll talk to you later about Clinton and Obama a little bit more. And at 7:30, a look at why powerful men cheat.

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