On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric was dismissive of a vote by House Republicans to repeal ObamaCare as she asked congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes: "There is no chance this repeal will succeed, it's a largely symbolic measure. So what's the point?" Cordes described it as "the first step in their long-term effort to wipe this health care law off the books."
Cordes proclaimed that "The party line vote capped a vigorous debate....In which Republicans vilified the health care law, and Democrats exalted it." However, only seconds earlier in the report, an image appeared on screen of the House of Representatives vote tally, showing that three Democratic members of Congress joined Republicans in voting for repeal. No sound bites of those three Democrats were featured.
Wednesday's CBS Early Show adopted a hostile tone in its coverage of the upcoming vote by House Republicans to repeal ObamaCare, with co-host Chris Wragge proclaiming: "The battle over health care heats up again today. The House plans a vote on repealing the legislation. It fulfills a campaign promise for Republicans and begins a two-year effort to try to dismantle the law."
In the report that followed, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes portrayed the GOP as an eager aggressor: "This is a day that House Republicans have been waiting for, for months. The day that they get to vote to undo a law that they fiercely oppose." The headline on screen throughout the segment read: "GOP vs. Obama; House to Vote on Repealing Healthcare Reform."
On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes reported on Sarah Palin's first interview since the Tucson shooting: "She accused the Left and the news media of trying to destroy her message, trying to destroy her, said she was being accused of being an accessory to murder." Cordes forgot to mention her role in furthering those accusations against the former Alaska governor.
After playing a clip of Palin's Monday interview on Fox News' Hannity, Cordes mentioned: "The early response I'm hearing from some on the Left about this interview is, 'Look we never said she was an accessory to murder, we simply said she was an accessory to in-civility in politics.'" On the day of the shooting, reporting for the CBS Evening News, Cordes implied Palin played a role in inciting the violence: "Giffords was one of 20 Democrats whose districts were lit up in cross hairs on a Sarah Palin campaign Web site last spring. Giffords and many others complained that someone unstable might act on that imagery."
On Monday's CBS Early Show, after reporting claims from Ron Reagan Jr. that President Ronald Reagan may have had Alzheimer's Disease while in office, co-host Erica Hill asked other son Michael Reagan about those accusations: "And your brother has said this is just his own feeling....Could it be possible there may have been something else? Could he [President Reagan] have had dementia?"
Michael rejected the notion: "No, he didn't have dementia. Look what he accomplished in the last four years of his presidency. Reykjavik, START agreements, all the things he accomplished. The speech at the Berlin Wall in 1987 on June 12th. Look what he accomplished in those last four years. Someone with dementia does not accomplish all of those things." He went on to say of his brother: "...we don't even know in the family if Ron voted for his father back in 1981 or in 1984 when he ran for President."
The liberal media wasted no time in trying to exploit the shooting in Tucson, Arizona by blaming Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, and conservatives in general for creating a "culture of violence" that led to the tragedy. Here is a video compilation of journalists and pundits promoting the meme in the hours and days that followed.
On Friday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Mark Phillips declared how the beatification of Pope John Paul II to sainthood was moving "at break-neck speed" and noted that "Groups protesting the Catholic Church's child abuse scandal are urging the Vatican to slow down the process."
Despite the protests, Phillips remarked that "the current pope, Benedict XVI, seems determined to charge ahead with the canonization of his extremely popular predecessor." Earlier in the report, he suggested John Paul II's road to sainthood was a short cut: "It normally takes centuries for major Church figures to reach sainthood and join the saintly statues on the facade of St. Peter's Basilica. But John Paul II has been fast-tracked."
On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Erica Hill noted President Obama "calling for a little bit of a detente" in the wake of the Tucson shooting and wondered, "is this civility going to last?" Political analyst John Dickerson argued: "There will be one small test next week as House Republicans bring up the repeal of the health care bill."
Dickerson criticized the name of the repeal legislation: "What used to be called the 'Job-Killing Health Care Bill,' which now of course has – operates in a much different context." Hill followed up: "Can the President make that, I guess, good will, for lack of a better word, last past the State of the Union in a couple of weeks?" Dickerson asserted: "Health care will be a bit of a sideshow because it won't really go anywhere after the House does it its work on that bill. But on the budget, on lifting the debt ceiling, on some of these other issues, there will have to be actual cooperation."
During a bipartisan panel discussion with members of Congress on Wednesday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric asked about the role of political rhetoric in the Tucson shooting, to which Florida Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz replied: "After my daughter heard...Gabby [Giffords] had been shot, the first thing she asked me was...'Mommy, are you going to get shot?'"
Schultz went on to recall: "...the next thing she said to me was – and this is where you don't realize how closely they're watching – 'But Mommy, Florida's going to pass an immigration law like Arizona and then people are going to be mad at you.'" The Congresswoman concluded: "The civil discourse is very important because it's not just – it's not just adults that – that this permeates. It's our children." Couric did not challenge Schultz's suggestion that the enforcement of stronger immigration laws would cause violence.
At the top of Wednesday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric lamented: "The President tries to comfort a nation in mourning, but even on a rare day of unity, politics and controversy intervene." A clip was then played of Sarah Palin's Facebook video reaction to the Tucson shooting and media finger-pointing: "Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel."
Later, correspondent Chip Reid reported that in his speech at the memorial service for the victims, "one thing we're told he [President Obama] will not do is get into the political battle that's developed over this tragedy." Reid then added: "a battle that became even more heated today when Sarah Palin joined the fray."
Introducing a segment on Tuesday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric acknowledged the latest CBS News poll showing that 57% of Americans do not believe heated political rhetoric had anything to do with the Tucson shooting. Even so, she added: "Just the same, nearly half say the discourse has become less civil than it was ten years ago."
The poll numbers that appeared on screen showed that 49% of respondents thought political discourse was less civil than a decade ago, while 33% saw the civility level about the same, and 15 % thought the current political climate was more civil. In other words, Americans are evenly divided over the question, with 48% seeing no decline in civility over the last ten years.
On Monday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric announced that Democratic Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik had "been thrust into the national spotlight for some remarks he made," adding, "he's not backing down." In the interview that followed, Dupnik asserted: "If you're in law enforcement and you're not a right-winger you get all kinds of heat from the right-wing nuts."
Couric noted how Dupnik "blamed the rampage in part on overheated political rhetoric, saying Arizona has become, quote, 'a Mecca for prejudice and bigotry.'" She acknowledged that "some Republicans have called his remarks irresponsible" and challenged the Sheriff: "Some people would say you were overly politicizing the situation. That it appears at this juncture – although it's unclear – that this was a lone deranged individual that might not have been inspired to do this at all for political reasons." Dupnik laughingly professed: "I'm not a political person by nature. I've been a police officer my entire life. I have no agenda."
On Monday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric used the Tucson shooting to go after gun ownership: "As we reported, Jared Loughner purchased his gun legally....Saturday's attack is now putting the state's gun laws under a magnifying glass." In the report that followed, correspondent Dean Reynolds declared: "Arizona has among the most permissive gun laws in the nation."
Reynolds portrayed Arizona's commitment to gun rights as a danger: "The right to keep and bear arms here extends to weapons in cars, restaurants, and even bars....you can literally go on a shopping spree armed from store to store." He seemed aghast at the idea that guns may be allowed on Arizona college campuses: "And now there are proposals pending in the state legislature here that would allow college faculty and even college students, like those here at the University of Arizona, to carry concealed weapons on campus."
Reynolds spoke with former Democratic Mayor of Tucson Tom Volgy, who argued: "I think in the state of Arizona it is easier to purchase a weapon like that [a Glock semiautomatic] than it is to get a driver's license."
On Tuesday's Early Show, correspondent Ben Tracy acknowledged that the facts in the Tuscon shooting do not support media spin that the tragedy was incited by right-wing political rhetoric: "Authorities tell CBS News that Loughner's attack on Congresswoman Giffords' was not partisan, but more likely because he was anti-government in general and she was a symbol of it."
Minutes later, co-host Erica Hill reported on a new CBS News poll on the shooting: "The Sheriff [Clarence Dupnik] investigating the shootings in Arizona has publicly blamed the extreme political rhetoric across this country for the tragedy....A majority of Americans, however, don't necessarily agree that's the case....57% of respondents don't believe the harsh tone had anything to do with the shootings. Just 32% say it did." At the top of the 8:00AM ET hour, news reader Jeff Glor again touted the new poll: "...there's more debate over whether a heated political atmosphere played a role....most Americans reject that idea."
Reporting on the political fallout of the Tucson shooting on Monday's CBS Early Show, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes declared: "Now some are questioning whether the increasingly angry tone in politics could have contributed to a culture of violence."
Cordes noted how "members of Congress took their soul searching public, Sunday," followed by sound bites of two Democrats lamenting heated political rhetoric. Cordes observed: "Look no further than recent campaign ads....Filled with images and rhetoric that would once have been considered off limits." Two clips were played as examples, the first from West Virginia Democratic Governor and then Senate candidate Joe Manchin, going after his own party, using a rifle to shoot a bullet through proposed Cap and Trade legislation. Cordes failed to identify Manchin as a Democrat. The other ad was from Alabama Tea Party candidate Rick Barber, with a depiction of Thomas Jefferson calling on conservatives: "Gather your armies."
With Republicans taking control of Congress, those in the media suddenly feel that proposing legislation, such as repealing ObamaCare, is a waste of time. From CBS's Harry Smith referring to it as "a fool's errand" to MSNBC's Chuck Todd fretting over the GOP "relitigating health care," here is a video compilation of the slanted coverage this proposal has received.
Friday's CBS Early Show praised the pick of former Commerce Secretary William Daley as the new chief of staff for the Obama White House, with senior White House correspondent Bill Plante proclaiming: "While Daley has long ties to the Democratic Party, he's viewed as a centrist whose Wall Street connections should help him with the newly divided Congress."
Following Plante's report, co-host Erica Hill got reaction from former George W. Bush adviser Dan Bartlett and wondered: "As you look at this appointment of Bill Daley....coming over from Chase, he sits on a number of corporate boards. Is the message from the White House essentially not only that the White House is open for, but also open to, business this morning?" Bartlett replied: "I really think that is the clear message. If you take this, coupled with the tax compromise they made at the end of last year, it is sending an important signal."
Appearing on FNC's Fox & Friends on Friday, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center president Brent Bozell reacted to the resignation of National Public Radio executive Ellen Weiss and credited the incoming Republican Congress: "NPR is hearing footsteps, their hearing the footsteps of Republicans, who are saying...what in the world are we doing spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on this network that is completely unnecessary."
As NewsBusters' Tim Graham earlier reported, an internal review of NPR's firing of news analyst and Fox News contributor Juan Williams led to Weiss being forced out.
In addition, Bozell predicted that despite the resignation of Weiss, NPR would soon returned to its biased coverage. He explained: "This is the face of the intolerant left today...these people are utterly intolerant of any position other than their radical agenda and they will kneecap you, including their own, Juan Williams, if you do anything such as appear on Fox News." [Audio available here]
On Thursday's CBS Early Show, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes derided Republican efforts to repeal ObamaCare: "On Friday, they begin their assault on health care reform, with a vote to repeal the law scheduled for next week."
Cordes noted how repeal "will hit a wall in the Senate," observing: "That legislative reality will force both sides to work together on some issues, something Speaker Boehner promised to Democrats." However, moments later she touted Democratic accusations of GOP partisanship: "Democrats are already crying foul, saying that that vote to repeal health care is being held without holding hearings first, without allowing amendments, a move that they argue flies in the face of all those promises of openness."
On Tuesday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Michelle Miller lectured Americans on their diet: "According to Consumer Reports Health, many Americans are simply deluding themselves, most say they eat well but don't....85% of Americans rarely, if ever, count calories. Another 79% never set foot on a scale."
At one point, Miller stopped by a New York City restaurant and warned: "...people have good intentions...but often sabotage themselves." She then harassed one patron eating a salad: "Take a look at this green salad with all that caesar dressing. Don't you think the dressing sort of ruins it for you?" The unidentified man replied: "Well, otherwise I'm not going to be able to eat it."
Talking to Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer on Wednesday's Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge saw efforts to repeal ObamaCare as a political liability: "How risky a proposition is this for Republicans incoming now?" Schieffer dismissed it as, "a lot of shouting, hollering, and symbolic votes," adding, "we've got a couple of months before anything really serious is going to happen."
Wragge went on to cite liberal New York Times writer Matt Bai, who claimed Republicans had no real political mandate despite extensive victories in November: "Once you win, the human tendency is to credit the gravitational force of your own ideas, to assume that you made a more compelling and more substantive case than you actually did." Wragge asked Schieffer: "Is that what we may see in the early days from the Republican leadership here, do you think?"
During the 12PM ET hour on MSNBC on Tuesday, anchor Contessa Brewer condemned Republican plans to reign in government spending: "Republicans poised to take over the U.S. House tomorrow and they arrive with a big, fat budget ax. They're planning make good on a promise to curb spending and cut the federal deficit and their plan could mean real pain for many Americans."
Brewer claimed the effort "is so politically risky, even Republicans in the Senate haven't pledged their support." She then touted White House talking points attacking the GOP: "...the White House warns Republicans the cuts could create catastrophic consequences for the economy. Budget Director Jacob Lew says it could put the recovery in a deep freeze and kill thousands of jobs." Brewer cheered: "The President is urging GOP leaders to focus on the economy and steer clear of politics."
On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante warned that as President Obama returns from vacation, " the new Republican majority in the House is ready to pounce." Plante went on to declare that the House GOP "slammed" Obama by scheduling a vote to repeal "his signature health care bill" on January 12.
Plante parroted Democratic talking points denouncing the repeal effort: "Senate Democrats fired back in a letter, warning that to do so would be 'irresponsible and reckless at a time when it is becoming harder and harder for seniors to afford a healthy retirement.'" He then concluded: "Both sides know that the House vote is purely symbolic. With no chance that the Senate Democrats will agree to kill health care."
Reporting on Monday's CBS Early Show, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes decried House Republicans attempting to repeal ObamaCare: "...they made it clear they'll try to use their 49-vote advantage to wipe out key Democratic legislation from 2010. Including the President's signature achievement, health care reform."
Following Cordes's report, co-host Erica Hill asked political analyst John Dickerson about the likelihood of repeal. After Dickerson explained that repeal could not pass, a relieved Hill declared: "So, folks who like it may not have to worry about it? Because there are certain provisions that have actually gone over well with a fair number of Americans. Things like keeping your adult children on you're insurance and of course those lifetime coverage limits." Dickerson agreed: "And new things that people will like are coming on line with the new year. Middle income seniors will see – get some relief in the prescription drug prices."
On Sunday's Face the Nation, substitute host Harry Smith dismissed GOP goals of "dismantling health care" as merely a "fool's errand."
Filling in for Bob Schieffer on Sunday's Face the Nation, CBS's Harry Smith grilled Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann on Republican efforts to repeal ObamaCare: "One of the things the Tea Party has talked about is dismantling health care. And we're wondering if, in the end of the day, that ends up being a fool's errand...it will face a certain veto. Is it worth the effort to try to do?"
Bachmann defended the move and pointed out popular support for repeal: "ObamaCare will bankrupt the country. And so you've seen that the more the people learn about ObamaCare the less they like it. It's very costly, it's unwieldy. So we will put forth a clean repeal bill of ObamaCare. And you'll continue to see us make that fight because that's what the American people want us to do."
During her 1PM ET hour show on MSNBC on Tuesday, host Andrea Mitchell sympathized with exiting Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, remarking that the California Democrat having to hand over the gavel to John Boehner in January has "got to be painful," but that Pelosi is "doing it with class."
Mitchell made the comments after talking to Politico's congressional bureau chief Martin Kady about a recent interview Pelosi conducted with the political website. Mitchell cited excerpts: "Pelosi says quote, 'I'm obviously devastated by the loss we had' but she also says she 'feels serene' and is already working on getting Democrats to win back the House, a tall order." Kady portrayed Pelosi as defiant: "I mean she's really still promoting the accomplishments of the Democratic congress, even the accomplishments that some believe, you know, may have cost her some seats in this House."
In a report at the top of the 8AM ET hour of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante ridiculed Sarah Palin for daring to criticize First Lady Michelle Obama's weight loss campaign: "Palin has never been at a loss for an opinion on anything, including taking a pot shot at the First Lady's campaign to eat healthy."
Fill-in news reader Betty Nguyen introduced Plante's report by declaring: "And there's a war over dessert. Yes, a food fight has broken out between the First Lady and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin." Throughout the segment, the headline on screen read: "Palin Food Fight; Dessert War."
On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, substitute co-host Russ Mitchell announced that "the lame duck session of Congress could hand President Obama yet another victory" with possible passage of the START nuclear arms treaty. Moments later, Mitchell declared that "The President seems to be on a hot streak."
Mitchell got analysis from Republican strategist Dan Bartlett and Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons. Bartlett hardly offered an opposing viewpoint, as he completely agreed with Mitchell's assessment of Obama: "It's a great streak he's on. He's on a hot streak....this is a narrative now that the President can stitch together going in to the new year....they've got a lot to crow about going into the new year." The headline on-screen throughout the segment read: "Obama's Rebound?; President Scores Political Victories During Lame Duck Session."
On Saturday's Early Show fill-in co-host Russ Mitchell saw passage of the tax deal as a possible "turning point for Mr. Obama's presidency" and speculated that it was "perhaps setting the stage for another victory as the Senate takes up the repeal of the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law."
In the report that followed, correspondent Whit Johnson declared that with the deal "President Obama could finally declare victory." The headline on screen read: "The President's Big Win; More Success Before The Holiday Break?" Johnson explained "that after months of debate, they [Democrats] finally have the votes to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'" In a report on Sunday Morning, Johnson touted the eventual repeal of the policy on Saturday as a "major victory" for Democrats.
At the top of a report on CBS's Sunday Morning, correspondent Whit Johnson proclaimed: "In San Francisco yesterday, they celebrated the end of an era. After nearly two decades, the policy of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' which bans gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, is all but history." The one-sided segment focused almost exclusively on supporters of repeal.
Of the ten sound bites featured throughout the story, only one, that of Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, was critical of the policy being overturned. Johnson described how "Opponents of repeal...pleaded that such a dramatic change during a time of two wars would put troops in harm's way." However, after the clip of McCain was played, Johnson dismissed critics of repeal: "Democrats got a boost from a recent Pentagon study in which two-thirds of U.S. troops said changing the controversial law would have little impact, a feeling shared by most of America."
On Friday's CBS Early Show, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes reported on the passage of legislation to extend current tax rates and described it as: "an early holiday gift for every American taxpayer." She pointed out how "The cost of all that led 112 Democrats and 36 Republicans to vote no."
Moments later, she falsely claimed: "The bill also cuts the estate tax rate from 45% in 2009 to 35%, a White House concession to Republicans." While tax did exist in 2009, the 2010 estate tax rate was zero, therefore, having any tax on inheritance in 2011 would be a tax increase. Also, the fact that the estate tax is being reimplemented at all is a concession by Republicans, who would prefer it to remain at zero.