CBS on Iraqi Shoe-Thrower: ‘Sock and Awe;’ ‘Thrilled the Arab World’

Iraqi Shoe-Thrower, CBS At the top of Tuesday’s CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith offered this witty line teasing a story on the Iraq journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush: "Sock and awe. How the Iraqi shoe-thrower is now being hailed as a hero and drawing thousands of supporters." Later, Smith introduced a report about the shoe-thrower: "It's being referred to as the 'toss heard around the world.' In fact, many Iraqis are showering accolades on the journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush." The report, by correspondent Elizabeth Palmer, declared: "As demonstrators across the Arab world called for Muntathar al-Zaidi's release, his stature as a folk hero was growing...al-Zaidi using his shoes to disrespect America's president has thrilled the Arab world."

Palmer, who offered a similar report during Monday’s CBS Evening News, went on to describe al-Zaidi’s global popularity: "The internet is brimming with shoe jokes and a Saudi businessman has offered a million dollars for Zaidi's shoe...al-Zaidi's TV station announced today that not only are they going to give his family a house, but that his support extends beyond the Arab world. Another fierce critic of America, Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, has offered Al Zaidi permission to settle there, whenever, that is, he gets out of jail." Palmer also featured testimony from Shibley Telhami, a Middle East expert from the liberal Brookings Institution: "It's a reminder, and a reminder that we shouldn't forget that the vast majority of people, in the Middle East and around the world, still think Iraq is a huge failure and that the Iraq war was a big mistake."

On Monday’s Early Show, correspondent Richard Roth compared President Bush’s unpopularity in Iraq to that of Saddam Hussein. On Tuesday, Palmer promoted the same theme in her report: "al-Zaidi got into the Green Zone wearing his weapons and then threw first one, then the other, at President Bush...But in the Middle East, there is no bigger insult. When Saddam's statue was toppled, this is how Iraqis showed their contempt." Footage of Iraqis beating the head of Hussein’s statue with their shoes was shown.

Here is the full transcript of Palmer’s Tuesday report:

7:00AM TEASE:

HARRY SMITH: Sock and awe. How the Iraqi shoe-thrower is now being hailed as a hero and drawing thousands of supporters.

7:12AM TEASE:

SMITH: Coming up, the journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush has become a hero in some parts of Iraq. We'll bring you the latest.

7:15AM SEGMENT:

SMITH: It's being referred to as the 'toss heard around the world.' In fact, many Iraqis are showering accolades on the journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush. CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer has the latest.

ELIZABETH PALMER: As demonstrators across the Arab world called for Muntathar al-Zaidi's release, his stature as a folk hero was growing. An accredited journalist for a Baghdad TV station, al-Zaidi got into the Green Zone wearing his weapons and then threw first one, then the other, at President Bush. After he'd been wrestled to the ground by Iraqi security, local journalists apologized for his behavior.

GEORGE W. BUSH: Thank you for apologizing on behalf of the Iraqi people. It doesn't bother me.

PALMER: But in the Middle East, there is no bigger insult. When Saddam's statue was toppled, this is how Iraqis showed their contempt.

[FOOTAGE OF IRAQIS BEATING HEAD OF SADDAM HUSSEIN STATUE WITH SHOES]

PALMER: al-Zaidi using his shoes his shoes to disrespect America's president has thrilled the Arab world. The internet is brimming with shoe jokes and a Saudi businessman has offered a million dollars for Zaidi's shoe.

SHIBLEY TELHAMI [BROOKINGS INSTITUTION]: It's a reminder, and a reminder that we shouldn't forget that the vast majority of people, in the Middle East and around the world, still think Iraq is a huge failure and that the Iraq war was a big mistake.

PALMER: al-Zaidi's TV station announced today that not only are they going to give his family a house, but that his support extends beyond the Arab world. Another fierce critic of America, Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, has offered Al Zaidi permission to settle there, whenever, that is, he gets out of jail. Elizabeth Palmer, CBS News, London.

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