CBS’s Smith Scoffs at Giuliani Suggestion of Media Bias...Again

Harry Smith and Rudy Giuliani, CBS On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and asked about negative attacks in the campaign: "Alright, one of the things that's happened in the McCain campaign over the last couple of days is the personal attacks seem to have at least subsided or quieted down a little bit. Do you think, in the long run, this might actually have been a fatal wound to the McCain-Palin campaign?" Giuliani responded: "I think there's a tendency on the media to blame it more on John McCain and Sarah Palin than on Barack Obama and his campaign but, to me, it's -- you know it's been coming from both sides." To that, Smith sarcastically replied: "Yeah, it's got to be the media's fault." Giuliani laughed and added: "Don't be defensive, Harry."

This is the not the first time Smith has denied Giuliani’s charges of media bias. On September 12, Giuliani criticized the media for attacking Sarah Palin’s experience but not applying similar scrutiny to Barack Obama: "The whole issue of whether she knows world affairs or not, these are questions that were never asked of Barack Obama, never asked of him to this day." Smith angrily denied any such bias: "That's not true. That's not true...That's not true. That is absolutely not true...That is absolutely not true. Those -- all those questions have been asked over the last 19 months." However, Smith himself conducted eight interviews with Obama and only asked two foreign policy questions of the inexperienced Senator.

Not only did Smith find Giuliani’s charge of media bias ridiculous, but also Giuliani’s characterization of Obama’s economic proposals. Earlier in the segment, Smith asked: "This infusion of cash into these banks, as much as $250 billion, did the Fed get there? Is this too little too late and along with this, why should, in three weeks, the American people entrust the economy to another Republican administration?" In response, Giuliani pointed out: "He's [John McCain’s] not going to raise taxes. He's not going to cut off -- he's not going to cut off trade with high tariffs, the way Barack Obama wants to do. Barack Obama is talking about the kinds of things Herbert Hoover did and I know, you know people see him as change but this is like retrogression. High taxes, high tariffs, would be a disaster." Smith simply laughed at that legitimate criticism of Obama’s policies.

In contrast, Smith was abundantly respectful to left-wing commentator and economist Paul Krugman, whom he spoke to prior to the Giuliani interview: "Joining us now is Paul Krugman, who was just awarded the Nobel Prize in economics. He's a professor at Princeton University and a columnist and blogger for the New York Times. Good morning and congratulations." Smith later observed to Krugman: "We've been listening for all of these years to all these free marketeers, who are saying get the regulation out, keep the government away, yet now, all of a sudden, these banks and the government are literally going to be business partners." Apparently, Giuliani was one of those discredited "free marketeers."

Immediately preceding Smith’s interview with Giuliani, correspondent Jeff Glor reported: "Though his lead in the polls may be clear, Barack Obama has been criticized for having an economic plan that's not. His response? This four-part middle class rescue." A clip of University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato was played: "I think deep down, both McCain and Obama understand that there isn't a whole lot that a presidential candidate can do to change the current fiscal meltdown." Despite that analysis, Glor declared Obama the winner: "But it appeared the relentless Obama campaign has at least won the first round in this week's economic rescue race."

Here is the full transcript of the Giuliani segment:

7:10AM SEGMENT:

HARRY SMITH: With three weeks to go until election day, Barack Obama is out with a new economic plan and John McCain's following up with his own. Early Show correspondent Jeff Glor is in Philadelphia with more. Good morning, Jeff.

JEFF GLOR: Hey, good morning to you, Harry. John McCain will be talking about those new plans just outside of Philadelphia here today. Barack Obama will stay in Ohio, preparing for tomorrow's third and final presidential debate. Now with just 21 days left.

BARACK OBAMA: You got to be quicker than that, man.

GLOR: Though his lead in the polls may be clear, Barack Obama has been criticized for having an economic plan that's not. His response? This four-part middle class rescue.

OBAMA: Right now, we face an immediate economic emergency and that requires urgent action.

GLOR: Tax credits for small businesses that create new jobs. Penalty free withdrawals from I.R.A.S or 401(k)s. A 90-day moratorium on home foreclosures. And a federal program to get more credit for struggling local governments. There are serious questions about how he'd pay for all this and how much of a difference it would really make.

LARRY SABATO: I think deep down, both McCain and Obama understand that there isn't a whole lot that a presidential candidate can do to change the current fiscal meltdown.

GLOR: But it appeared the relentless Obama campaign has at least won the first round in this week's economic rescue race.

MCCAIN: I won't raise taxes on small businesses.

GLOR: The McCain camp, following mixed signals about the release of new economic plans, was pushing the message of a comeback kid.

JOHN MCCAIN: We're six points down. The national media has written us off. Senator Obama is measuring the drapes.

GLOR: Which is not without precedent. The media has been close to saying good-bye and McCain has come back.

MCCAIN: You know, I'm past the age when I can claim the noun 'kid,' no matter what adjective precedes it, but, tonight, we sure showed them what a comeback looks like.

GLOR: The question is whether his primary wins can be replicated when 130 million vote in a general election.

SABATO: If John McCain manages to win, he'll be compared to Harry Truman and Richard Nixon. Both of them came back from political oblivion to win the presidency.

GLOR: With chances to change this race dwindling right now, McCain will embrace any opportunity he can, which includes this new economic plan out today, which is supposed to target homeowners and seniors. Those, he says, need help the most. Harry.

SMITH: Jeff Glor in Philadelphia, thanks. Joining us now from Washington, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a supporter of the McCain-Palin ticket. Good morning, Mr. Mayor.

RUDY GIULIANI: Good morning, Harry. How are you?

SMITH: Very well. Three weeks to the day to election day. Some polls show McCain's opponent six points, seven points, even ten points ahead. If John McCain were to pick up the phone this very second and say, 'Rudy, give me the best advice you've got for this home stretch,' what would it be?

GIULIANI: Well, I think he's doing it without having to call me. I mean, John has outlined a plan to help get people through this crisis. With what the president is doing today, putting $250 billion into the -- into the banks, John McCain is also making sure that Americans who can't afford their mortgage, Americans who are seniors, who have to take some money out of their 401(k) or I.R.A. or are forced to do it, that they're all going to get relief as well. So I think the plan that he's announcing today reaches right to the core of the people who are the most concerned about our economy, the people who, you know, are really stretched.

SMITH: This infusion of cash into these banks, as much as $250 billion, did the Fed get there? Is this too little too late and along with this, why should, in three weeks, the American people entrust the economy to another Republican administration?

GIULIANI: Well, I mean the reality is John McCain is John McCain. We're not voting for a Republican or Democrat, we're voting for John McCain or Barack Obama. John McCain has the experience. John McCain has led people, led our country through crisis before. Barack Obama never has. John McCain has a much clearer vision of the economy. He's not going to raise taxes. He's not going to cut off -- he's not going to cut off trade with high tariffs, the way Barack Obama wants to do. Barack Obama is talking about the kinds of things Herbert Hoover did and I know, you know people see him as change but this is like retrogression. High taxes, high tariffs, would be a disaster.

SMITH: Okay [Laughter]. Alright, one of the things that's happened in the McCain campaign over the last couple of days is the personal attacks seem to have at least subsided or quieted down a little bit. Do you think, in the long run, this might actually have been a fatal wound to the McCain-Palin campaign?

GIULIANI: No. I mean, unfortunately, you've got examples on all sides of people making horrible attacks. I mean, I don't want to mention names, but there were some pretty horrible attacks on John McCain and Sarah Palin just this weekend by very prominent Democrats very close to Barack Obama. And you know, there have been some on our side, too. So, I think it's a good thing that it's subsided. I think there's a tendency on the media to blame it more on John McCain and Sarah Palin than on Barack Obama and his campaign but, to me, it's -- you know it's been coming from both sides.

SMITH: Yeah, it's got to be the media's fault. Alright, well Mr. Mayor, thank you very much for your time this morning.

GIULIANI: [Laughter] Don't be defensive, Harry.

SMITH: Alright, take care. Thanks for your time. Do appreciate it. Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

 

Here is the full transcript of the Krugman segment:

7:00AM TEASE:

HARRY SMITH: As markets soar around the world, the government's set to buy stakes in America's banks. Will it work? We'll ask new Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman.

7:04AM SEGMENT:

HARRY SMITH: Joining us now is Paul Krugman, who was just awarded the Nobel Prize in economics. He's a professor at Princeton University and a columnist and blogger for the New York Times. Good morning and congratulations.

PAUL KRUGMAN: Good morning and thank you.

SMITH: First off, this infusion of $250 billion, some of it straight into America's biggest banks, is this a good idea?

KRUGMAN: Yes, it is. I mean, we're following the lead of the British who did this. Actually, on a -- relative to the size of their economy -- on an even bigger scale yesterday. So this is -- this is what a lot of economists have been calling for. The problem is the banks don't have enough capital to do their business. People don't trust them. This is what the doctor ordered as far as we can tell.

SMITH: Right. We've been listening for all of these years to all these free marketeers, who are saying get the regulation out, keep the government away, yet now, all of a sudden, these banks and the government are literally going to be business partners.

KRUGMAN: Well it's -- it's an amazing thing, you know? The -- the Bush Administration has seized the commanding heights of the economy. Whoever thought that would happen. But it's necessary. You know, there are times, the free markets are great, but sometimes you got to step in and, right now, you know, we're on the edge of precipice and you need to do this.

SMITH: Yeah. Do you have a sense that in the days and weeks to come the markets will as volatile as we've seen in the last month?

KRUGMAN: Sure, because the truth is no one, although most economists that I know think this is the right thing to do, no one is sure it will work and there's going to be manic depressive markets as people wonder and we don't have the evidence in yet about whether it will really work. So this was a leap of faith, literally, by the Dow yesterday and there may be moments of depression coming along, too.

SMITH: So there's a band-aid now. Maybe it proves to be that maybe the cure on the end, though, we're starting to see mounting job loss. This is going to be passed on down the economy in the months to come. How bad do you foresee this recession going?

KRUGMAN: It looks like a nasty recession, even if this works. Right, what we're talking about here is preventing the collapse of the banking system, which is -- collapse of the banking system is what turned a recession in the 1930s into the Great Depression. So we're trying -- but the recession is still, you know, barreling along. There's a lot of momentum behind it. This is not -- these are not going to be good times. We're just trying to prevent them from being terrible times.

SMITH: You get a prize of more than $1 million when you win the Nobel. I'm just very curious, if, once you get that check, how will you invest it?

KRUGMAN: People are -- that probably depends on where the markets are. I mean -- as of -- before the markets opened yesterday, I was thinking maybe stocks are looking cheap. I'm not sure anymore.

SMITH: Paul Krugman, thank you very, very much for taking the time to speak with us and, again, congratulations.

KRUGMAN: Thanks so much.

SMITH: Do appreciate it.

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