CBS 'Early Show' Ignores Astronaut Criticism of Obama's Space Program Cuts

On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, fill-in news reader Betty Nguyen reported on President Obama's new plan to cut back America's space program, but failed to mention sharp criticism by astronauts Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, and Eugene Cernan in a signed letter sent to the White House.

Nguyen noted: "President Obama unveils a revamped plan for America's manned space program....reviving part of a plan he canceled earlier this year. NASA will begin development of a crew capsule called Orion....[it] won't go to the moon, but will be used as an emergency vehicle on the space station."

In contrast, on ABC's Good Morning America, anchor Juju Chang began a news brief on the same topic this way: "President Obama under fire, accused by the first man to set foot on the moon of leading the U.S. space program down a path of, quote, 'mediocrity.'" Correspondent Jake Tapper followed: "Armstrong and two other former astronauts wrote that it was a terrible decision. They called it 'a misguided proposal that forces NASA out of the human space operations for the foreseeable future.'"

NBC's Today also covered the criticism, as anchor Natalie Morales explained how: "three Apollo astronauts call the changes devastating. In a letter, Neil Armstrong, James Lovell and Eugene Cernan write, 'The President's plan destines our nation to become one of second, or even third-rate stature.'"

The full Early Show 8:03AM ET news brief:

BETTY NGUYEN: Well tomorrow, President Obama unveils a revamped plan for America's manned space program. The President is reviving part of a plan he canceled earlier this year. NASA will begin development of a crew capsule, called Orion, that was originally pegged to return astronauts to the moon. Orion won't go to the moon, but will be used as an emergency vehicle on the space station. And NASA will speed up development of massive rocket. But there are no plans, so far, to use it.

Meanwhile, in space, things are getting a bit topsy-turvy. At this morning's news conference from the International Space Station, it was a full house. Check it out. There are 13 astronauts and cosmonauts, including four women, making good use of weightlessness.

The full Good Morning America 7:15AM ET news brief:

JUJU CHANG: Well, we begin with President Obama under fire, accused by the first man to set foot on the moon of leading the U.S. space program down a path of, quote, "mediocrity."  The sharp criticism from Neil Armstrong and other astronauts comes just as the President prepares to announce sweeping changes at NASA. Jake Tapper has details from the White House. Good morning, Jake. That's some tough talk.

ABC GRAPHIC: Astronauts Vs. Obama: Taking on Space Program Changes

JAKE TAPPER: That is, indeed, Juju. They say in space, no one can hear you scream. But that's not the case down here after President Obama and his budget in February, announced that he wanted to cut the constellation program to ultimately lead to a mission to Mars. Armstrong and two other former astronauts wrote that it was a terrible decision. They called it "a misguided proposal that forces NASA out of the human space operations for the foreseeable future." Now, President obama has since revised that policy, which he'll announce those revisions tomorrow at Cape Canaveral. He has a new possible use for the space capsule Orion that he had planned on cutting. New plans for a heavy-lift rocket to take astronauts deeper and farther into space. And he has the second man to walk the moon, Buzz Aldrin on his side to back his side on these changes. Juju?

The full Today 7:04AM ET news brief:

NATALIE MORALES: And President Obama is set to outline the future of NASA tomorrow at the Kennedy Space Center. With space shuttles due to stop flying soon, the plan calls for canceling the next generation of rockets that would take astronauts back to the moon and to rely instead on private companies to ferry astronauts to the Space Station. Meantime, three Apollo astronauts call the changes devastating. In a letter, Neil Armstrong, James Lovell and Eugene Cernan write, "The President's plan destines our nation to become one of second, or even third-rate stature."
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC