CBS Host Admits Levi Johnston Apology 'Highly Under-Reported'

Erica Hill, CBS

Update: CBS earlier declined comment on Johnston apology. 

On Friday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Erica Hill confessed Levi Johnston's apology for making false statements about the Palin family was "highly under-reported." During the 'Early Wrap' segment, Hill told a panel of media pundits: "My favorite story of the week, which was highly under-reported...is that Levi Johnston came out and said....Some things he said about the Palin family were not true."

It's interesting that Hill used the phrase "under-reported," when CBS did not cover Johnston's admission at all since he made the statement in a Tuesday interview with People Magazine. Meanwhile, the network, and the Early Show in particular, heavily promoted Johnston's claims about the Palins last year. 

Update: In a Wednesday article entitled "Will Levi's apology lead to media corrections?," Michael Calderone of Yahoo News observed: "Johnston used to have a lot to say. And the media — whether they were news, politics or celebrity outlets — listened. He appeared on the 'CBS Early Show,' 'Entertainment Tonight' and 'The Tyra Banks Show.'" Calderone attempted to get a response from CBS on Johnston's apology but they "declined comment."

In response to Hill, panelist Joe Levy, editor-in-chief of Maxim Magazine, dismissed the revelation: "Wow. So, a teenager who breaks up with his girlfriend says untrue things about her and her family? That is a shocker. I don't think that's ever happened before." Fellow panelist, Daily Show correspondent Olivia Munn, chimed in: "I think he needs to apologize for his Playgirl spread first and then go to the Palins....Because America is hurt, first and foremost, and then some people in Alaska."

Earlier in the panel discussion, Hill asked for reactions to the heat wave. Levy complained: "I don't know when we moved to the surface of Venus." CBS contributor Mo Rocca later pointed out: "We should not confuse weather with climate, though, right? This shouldn't necessarily be an indication of climate change." Levy replied: "No, but it would be nice if the global heating deniers who thought, 'hey, it was cold last winter, there's no such thing as global heating, right?' now had to eat their words and say 'hey, there's a heat wave so-'" Implying that she was one such "denier" Munn interrupted: "I prefer you to address me by my first name, Olivia." Rocca then joked: "But even Al Gore would say that this is just Earth's second chakra, just acting up a little bit."  

Here is a transcript of the two exchanges during the July 9 segment:

8:33AM ET

ERICA HILL: What I want to know is – I'm impressed that you all survived – you survived the heat wave. You live here in New York City, Mo, how did you do it? Surviving the heat wave?

MO ROCCA [CBS NEWS CONTRIBUTOR]: I did the only sensible thing I could do, I spent the weekend in Houston. I really did, I went to Houston.

HILL: Where it felt cooler and less humid?

ROCCA: There was actually a chill. I had to borrow a pashmina. It was that cold, in comparison.

HILL: That's unfortunate.

ROCCA: Yes.

HILL: What did you make of the heat wave, Joe?

JOE LEVY [EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, MAXIM MAGAZINE]: I don't know when we moved to the surface of Venus, I don't understand. I thought I'd be consulted if we were making a planetary move, but no, we just – literally the building down the street from me was on fire yesterday, the roof, big roof fire down the street.

HILL: That fire was crazy, I saw it.

LEVY: I didn't know how they knew it was that hot. No, nothing?

[LAUGHTER]

HILL: It was a nice try, though.

OLIVIA MUNN [CORRESPONDENT, THE DAILY SHOW]: I'm from Oklahoma – you know, right above Texas, fun fact – and it's very humid there all of the time. So I – when I would walk out, when people would talk about the heat, I wasn't really – it's hot?

ROCCA: But the wind comes sweeping down the plain, doesn't it?

MUNN: When I'm in a covered wagon it does.

ROCCA: Right, okay, with the fringe on the top. We should not confuse weather with climate, though, right? This shouldn't necessarily be an indication of climate change.

LEVY: No, but it would be nice if the global heating deniers who thought, 'hey, it was cold last winter, there's no such thing as global heating, right?' now had to eat their words and say 'hey, there's a heat wave so-'

MUNN: I prefer you to address me by my first name, Olivia.

HILL: Oh.

ROCCA: But even Al Gore would say that this is just Earth's second chakra, just acting up a little bit.

HILL: Very nice.

ROCCA: Thanks.

....

HILL: My favorite story of the week, which was highly under-reported – and I'm glad you're sitting down for this – is that Levi Johnston came out and said that he had-

LEVY: He came out?

HILL: No, no.

ROCCA: That's amazing.

HILL: He came out and said.

MUNN: Man, let her finish.

HILL: Thank you, Olivia. Some things he said about the Palin family were not true, not true.

LEVY: Wow. So, a teenager who breaks up with his girlfriend says untrue things about her and her family? That is a shocker. I don't think that's ever happened before.

MUNN: I think he needs to apologize for his Playgirl spread first and then go to the Palins.

HILL: And then – because that was more egregious ?

MUNN: Because America is hurt, first and foremost, and then some people in Alaska.

ROCCA: Just when he thought he was out, they pull him right back in. It's amazing, that family.

HILL: The bond.

ROCCA: Yes.

HILL: The bond. Mo Rocca, Joe Levy, Olivia Munn, good to have you with us this morning.

MUNN: Thanks for having us.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC