On Friday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Bill Whitaker reported on protests against Arizona's new immigration law, citing several opponents of the new measure, but failing to feature a single supporter. On Thursday's Evening News, Whitaker filed a nearly identical report that included a clip of at least one proponent of the legislation.
In the Early Show report, footage was show of an immigration law protestor declaring: "We are America. Get over it." Whitaker followed by proclaiming: "Opponents say requiring police to demand proof of citizenship from anyone they suspect is un-American. Even the mayor of Phoenix is suing to have the law overturned." A clip was played of Mayor Phil Gordon ranting: "Arizona and Phoenix is not the Arizona or Phoenix that you have seen portrayed by some individuals that have brought this racist, this hateful law to the state."
Whitaker noted how "protesters turned up the star power. Pop star Shakira voiced her opposition." A clip was played of the singer fretting: "I'm worried about the impact that the implementation of this law will have on hard working Latino families." Whitaker added: "Mexican American singer Linda Ronstadt spoke out, as well." Ronstadt remarked: "Gee, I better pack my passport, you know, coming to Tucson."
During Thursday's 11AM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Tamron Hall asked former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean about Florida Governor Charlie Crist's expected announcement to run as an independent in that state's senate race: "Is this a sign that people, perhaps centrists or moderates, like Charlie Crist, have no place in this new emerging Republican Party?"
That set up the left-wing Dean to bash conservatives and the GOP: "What effect does the tea party have on the Republican Party? And this is a really good example. They've driven another moderate out of the Republican Party....there just apparently is no place in the Republican Party for moderate, thoughtful people anymore."
Hall first asked Dean about an odd rumor: "There is a story online that's being picked up by conservative blogs that you offered to contribute to Charlie Crist's campaign if he left the Republican Party. What happened there?" Dean explained: "That was a joke between me and Joe Scarborough which some enterprising staffer for Crist picked up and pushed it around. It's not true. I'm supporting Kendrick Meek." He then added: "I actually think that the two big winners out of this are the United States, who are hopefully going to get a real senator instead of a far-right person, and I do think, of course, it helps the Democratic Party and Kendrick's candidacy as well."
After Hall introduced Dean at the beginning of the segment, she remarked: "I say it like you're a correspondent now....I love that being a possible segment Governor Dean, you coming on and talking about the top political news of the day."
On MediaBistro.com's TVNewser blog, Chris Ariens reported on Wednesday that CBS News has announced a list of special guests seated at its table for Saturday's upcoming White House Correspondents Association Dinner, a list which includes a handful of celebrities as well as a seven prominent political figures, only one of whom is a Republican.
The public officials who will be sitting down for a meal with CBS anchors and correspondents are White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Attorney General Eric Holder, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Washington DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, Democratic Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, and the lone Republican, Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor. I wonder who Katie Couric will choose to sit next to?
The non-political guests are actor Morgan Freeman, who narrates the opening of the CBS Evening News, actress Julianna Margulies, actress Betty White, talk show host Chelsea Handler, and Ayla Brown, the daughter of Republican Senator Scott Brown and newly named contributor to the CBS Early Show.
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith lamented Republican opposition to the Democrats' financial reform legislation: "The Senate is expected to vote for a third time on financial reform.Republicans blocked the previous two attempts. President Obama says he can't understand why, and plans to make his case once again later today."
In the report that followed, White House correspondent Chip Reid described the Democratic strategy against Republicans:
Of course, both parties have accepted millions of dollars in political contributions from Wall Street over the years. But now Democrats are doing everything in their power to portray Republicans as the party of Wall Street. It's an argument the President believes is especially effective here in the heartland. President Obama was back where it all started, Iowa, this time denouncing Senate Republicans for blocking debate on financial reform.
A headline on screen read: "Presidential Push; Obama Takes on GOP on Financial Reform."
Hitting from the left in an interview with Republican Senator John McCain on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith worried about the ability of financial reform legislation to expand government control over Wall Street: "How are you going to dis – how does any of this dismantle these giant financial institutions?"
On April 22, ABC Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos asked Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner a similar question: "Why shouldn't those big banks be broken up?"
At the top of Tuesday's Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez put the GOP on the defensive: "Democrats continue to push for Wall Street reform. But are Republicans on board?" Smith later introduced the segment by portraying Democrats as fighting for reform: "Democrats refuse to give up on reforming Wall Street. Yesterday Republicans put the brakes on, but another vote could happen today."
In a report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes declared: "Senate Republicans voted last night against moving forward with debate on the massive financial reform bill. That drew angry recriminations from Democrats." A clip was played of Democratic Virginia Senator Mark Warner slamming Republican opposition: "I never got the memo that said our job wasn't actually to get stuff done."
Near the end of an interview with Arizona Senator John McCain on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith turned to the subject of illegal immigration and the new Arizona law to combat it: "a very tough immigration reform bill which basically makes it illegal for you to be in the state without some sort of documentation. Is this law the answer to the immigration crisis?"
McCain noted the number of illegal immigrants entering Arizona and the level of drug trafficking taking place: "Across the Tucson sector of Arizona last year, there was 241,000 apprehensions of illegal immigrants....1.3 million pounds of marijuana intercepted on the Tucson border just last year." Smith followed up by wondering: "And for the millions of Hispanic Americans who live in Arizona, what do you say to them who feel like this bill is purely discriminatory?"
In a news brief on the topic at the top of the 8AM ET hour, fill-in news reader Betty Nguyen described how: "The Obama administration and activists are considering legal challenges to Arizona's new immigration enforcement law, which has reignited a national debate." A series of signs from an immigration protest in San Francisco appeared on screen: "Latinos Today, Who's Next? Shame on Arizona;" "Boycott Arizona;" "Brown Is Not A Crime."As footage of the protest rolled, Nguyen explained: "The law makes it a crime to be an illegal immigrant." On Monday, an MSNBC headline made the same odd statement.
During the Monday 12PM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC, anchor Contessa Brewer described the "firestorm" over a newly passed immigration law in Arizona and fretted: "does this lead to a situation where neighbors are turning in neighbors or families turning against families?" Later in the segment, a headline on screen read: "Law Makes it a Crime to be Illegal Immigrant."
Brewer discussed the issue with Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez and wondered: "Is this an effective way to deal with the problem?" In response, Sanchez declared: "to stop people and say, 'I think you look like an illegal immigrant' and then drag them off to jail is not the way to deal with this issue."
Brewer followed up by quoting current Homeland Security Secretary and former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano: "she would veto these kinds of bills because she said – she thought it was important for police to be doing actual police work, that they are not immigration enforcement officers." As Brewer made that argument, the headline "Law Makes it a Crime to be Illegal Immigrant" flashed on screen.
At the top of Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith referenced a possible Senate vote on the Democrats' financial reform bill and proclaimed: "Showdown in the Senate. Democrats are scrambling to get enough votes. Will anyone in the GOP break ranks?" It was just the latest example of a week of CBS coverage pressuring Republicans to sign on to the controversial legislation.
In a later report, correspondent Nancy Cordes explained: "both parties say they are for reform and they are deep in negotiations over it....But without a deal, many, if not all, Senate Republicans plan to vote 'no' today, blocking a floor debate on the bill." That was followed by a clip of Democratic Senator Chris Dodd declaring: "Here we are 17 months after someone broke into our house, in effect, robbed us, and we still haven't even changed the locks on the doors." A headline on screen read: "Financial Reform Showdown; Will Anyone in GOP Break Ranks?"
In his introduction to the report, Smith described the Democratic effort as a "test vote." Cordes pointed out: "this vote that Democrats have called for today could very well fail." She later concluded: "Even if the vote fails today, negotiations will go on and Republicans and Democrats seem confident that a financial reform bill will pass sooner rather than later." However, neither her nor Smith questioned holding the vote or suggested it was political theater to force a deal.
On Saturday's Fox News Watch, while discussing media coverage of environmental issues on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, host Jon Scott cited a special report from the Media Research Center's Business and Media Institute: "The Media Research Center posted a special report this week claiming networks generally hide the decline in credibility of claims of climate change."
Scott went on to add that: "48% of Americans, according to a March 2010 Gallup poll, think the threat of global warming is greatly exaggerated." Show panelist and Democratic strategist Kirsten Powers admitted: "It probably is exaggerated by some people....I know some very smart environmentalists who think that Al Gore has exaggerated it too much and has made it to a point where it's losing credibility." However, she quickly added: "it's still a very serious threat and so, just because it's exaggerated, doesn't mean it's not a serious threat."
Earlier in the discussion, Powers argued that environmentalists warning of global warming is similar to calls to stop using toxic lead paint: "people who believe in global warming, like myself, you know, are called 'doom and gloom people.' Well, guess what they used to be called when they were talking about lead paint and they were talking about the water being polluted, 'doom and gloom people.'"
On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared that when it comes to financial reform legislation, "Democrats have all the leverage right now." Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer appeared on the show and observed that "They think this is the time to picture Republicans as trying to protect fat cat bankers, as it were."
In her first question to Schieffer, Rodriguez wondered: "Do Democrats have anything to lose by going for a vote on Monday even though the Republicans have said they'd like a little bit more time to work on a compromise?" Schieffer replied: "No, they have absolutely nothing to lose. They want to get this out and get it on the table as quickly as possible."
Following his comment about the image of Republicans supporting "fat cat bankers," Schieffer added: "it's one thing to oppose health care reform, but on this case, I think most people would agree that doctors are more popular than bankers, especially at this particular time when you've had this lawsuit filed against Goldman Sachs." The headline on screen throughout the segment read: "Financial Reform Face-Off; Obama Takes on Wall Street, GOP."
In the 8:30AM ET half hour of Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez introduced an Earth Day segment by proclaiming: "Americans throw away more than 30 billion plastic bottles every year....We have a film maker, Stephanie Soechtig, here with us, she has a documentary out called 'Tapped,' which looks the impact that all those bottles have had on the environment."
Rodriguez invited Soechtig to explain her mission: "What has your message been?" Soechtig responded: "we've been trying to educate people that bottled water's one of the greatest marketing scams of all time. 40% of bottled water is really just filtered tap water. And every day we throw away 30 million single serve bottles of water." A headline on-screen read: "Early's Earth Day; Filmmaker Says 'Get Off the Bottle!'"
Soechtig warned of the "tremendous impact" of bottled water on the environment: "there's a soup of plastic in the north Pacific that's twice the size of Texas, that's just littered with plastic. So this type of plastic getting out in the environment is hurting our sea life, it's hurting us....plastic is a byproduct of oil. So from the production of the plastic all the way through the disposal, it just has a tremendous carbon footprint."
Cheering some Republican support for Democratic financial reform legislation on Wednesday, CBS Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "encouraging news out of Washington, that after a week or so of attacking this financial bill that the Democrats are proposing to regulate Wall Street, Republicans are changing their tone and they seem to be wanting to come on board."
Rodriguez turned to business correspondent Rebecca Jarvis and wondered: "Does it look, this morning, as though a bipartisan bill will emerge?" Jarvis replied: "Well, Maggie, it looks this morning like Republicans are warming up to the idea of a bipartisan bill on financial reform." She added: "With Obama, the President, coming here to Wall Street tomorrow to push the agenda forward, it looks like there will be a political expediency to getting the deal done." An on-screen headline read: "Financial Reform Push; Obama & Senate Take on Wall Street."
On Tuesday, the Early Show had on disgraced ex-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer to discuss financial reform. Co-host Harry Smith introduced him as "the sheriff of Wall Street."
At the top of Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez proclaimed: "the truth about salt, why a new report wants the government to take salt off the table." She later introduced a segment on the topic by explaining: "Americans eat about 1 ½ tablespoons of salt every day....there's a major new push this morning to curb that habit."
Rodriguez spoke with CBS medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton about the government intrusion and noted that there was "confusion" over "reports that the FDA might regulate salt." Ashton claimed: "there was a fair amount of misinterpretation of yesterday's news....the Institute of Medicine approached the FDA and asked for their assistance in working in conjunction with the food industry and other health services to help increase awareness about salt intake and hopefully, in the future, reduce the consumption of salt that Americans have."
However, near the end of the segment, after Ashton detailed the negative health effects of too much salt, Rodriguez observed: "So then there maybe is an argument for someone getting involved in making these companies put less sodium in their foods." Ashton agreed: "Exactly. And so we're going to be seeing more of that more aggressively from the government in the future."
Over the past year since its inception, the media have worked hard to discredit and denigrate the tea party movement. News organizations employed various strategies, from dismissing the protests as astroturf, to using derogatory nicknames for participants, and finally labeling it as a violent extremist fringe. In their futile attempt to get something to stick, the media have become increasingly desperate and irresponsible in their coverage.
In the Media Research Center's special report, 'TV's Tea Party Travesty,' MRC Research Director Rich Noyes focused in on the slanted coverage of the tea parties by ABC, CBS, and NBC over the past year.
On Sunday's Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer asked columnist Kathleen Parker about her views on the tea party: "the rhetoric that's coming out from the right side, especially from the tea party....you think it may be dangerous." Parker replied: "this heated rhetoric and some of these words...that are pretty loaded, 'reload,' 'targeting'...there's a danger there."
Parker, syndicated with the Washington Post Writers Group, claimed she was not casting negative aspersions on the whole political movement: "I'm not saying the tea party people are violent or racist or any of that....I'm not saying that the tea partiers are bad people or dangerous," but warned: "I just think we have to be very vigilant....and be extremely careful, because I do think there is a lot of anger and it could become something else."
Schieffer brought up internet journalism as a possible source of some of the "dangerous" anger: "some of this really nasty rhetoric that shows up on the Internet....the only vehicle to deliver news that has no editor....And that is the added factor to the volatility of this stuff and where it goes." Parker agreed, and moments after warning of tea party extremism, made this comparison: "It's, sort of, like terrorism. You know, we don't know where to aim our bombs, so we can't go after a country because there are – you know, there's no one place to focus on it. And it's the same thing with – with the Internet.You can't really – you don't know who to go after."
While the tea party movement began to take shape in late February of 2009, the CBS Early Show did not offer a complete story on it until nearly 14 months later, with co-host Harry Smith declaring: "Today is tax day, April 15th. And thousands of tea party activists are headed to Washington...a new CBS News/New York Times poll is showing us just who these passionate conservatives really are."
Various co-hosts, correspondents, and guests certainly mentioned the tea party on the CBS morning show over the past year, but Thursday's broadcast was the first to provide a report that actually focused on the movement itself. Correspondent Nancy Cordes summed up the protests: "the tea partiers are planning to hold a series of rallies, not just hear in Washington, but around the country today, tax day. They're calling it the people's tax revolt. They say they're just fed up with the nation's tax burden."
Cordes noted how "Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin rallied an estimated 5,000 tea party protestors in Boston" and explained that a Washington D.C. event would "cap weeks of protests in 47 cities across the country. Tea partiers voicing their frustration with Congress and the White House." The headline on screen read: "Tea'd Off; Upstart Party Holds Final Rally On Tax Day."
At the top of the 3PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Peter Alexander reported on a tea party event being held in Boston and grilled conservative author Kevin Jackson on "the fringe elements who show up for these rallies. Some in the past have had offensive signs and rhetoric." As Alexander spoke a large sign from the Boston rally appeared on screen, displaying the word 'LOVE' and a heart symbol.
In fairness to Alexander, he prefaced his comment by acknowledging that such signs were "perhaps not at today's event."
After Jackson, author of 'The Big Black Lie' and founder of TheBlackSphere.net, observed that the "fringe" claim was "much ado about nothing," Alexander responded by arguing that a recent email sent out calling on tea party members to avoid any offensive behavior was evidence of offensive behavior: "I think it said the following: Like, 'no chants or signs that you wouldn't want to repeat to your mother or children....'No bigotry, threats, or profanity. No alcohol or pre-drinking.' I mean, would that be necessary if there weren't signs of bigotry or offensive signs at these events?"
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.'"
While attending the Radio Television Digital News Association conference in Las Vegas on Monday, 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft spoke to a crowd of young journalists and claimed that his dream interview would be with Dick Cheney, but complained how the former vice president and Bush adviser Karl Rove simply "make hay" in criticizing 60 Minutes coverage, but would not go on the show.
If one looks at a recent history of 60 Minutes reporting, it's easy to see why Cheney and Rove would not be eager to appear on the CBS program. On the May 11, 2008 broadcast, correspondent Morley Safer conducted a fawning interview with left-wing actor Alec Baldwin and light-heartedly remarked: "Your eloquence, if that's the word, can get you into deep trouble....perhaps excessively eloquent, as in your description of Dick Cheney, who you said was a sociopath and a terrorist, and you later apologized by just calling him a 'lying, thieving, oil whore and a murderer of the US Constitution.'"
On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez described how comedian Conan O'Brien could attract viewers to his new late night show on the TBS cable channel: "if he can get this young revolution, you know, a la President Obama, to follow him, that could be huge."
Rodriguez made the comment after guest Dalton Ross, the assistant managing editor for Entertainment Weekly, observed that O'Brien was: "now competing with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, he's not expected to have these mass numbers. As long as he brings his younger audience, his albeit smaller, but passionate audience to TBS, it's going to be successful."
Ross thought Rodriguez's comparison of Obama and O'Brien supporters was "exactly right."
At the top of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "At an historic summit, President Obama joins world leaders to try to stop terrorists from obtaining nuclear weapons." He later declared: "It's the largest gathering of world leaders hosted by a U.S. President since the 1945 conference that founded the United Nations. And it's already yielded some quick results."
White House correspondent Chip Reid reported on some of those "quick results": "Ukraine announced it will send its entire stockpile of highly enriched uranium, enough to build several nuclear weapons, out of the country, perhaps to the United States, by 2012....China...has shown a new willingness to consider sanctions against Iran, but is still reluctant to fully endorse them because it gets so much of its oil from Iran." In a news brief at the top of the 8AM ET hour, fill-in news reader Betty Nguyen mentioned another dangerous regime giving up its nuclear stockpile: "Canada announced it's returning a significant amount of its spent nuclear fuel to the U.S."
In concluding his report, Reid touted: "Now, at most international summits, they try to lower expectations to kind of soften the disappoint of not accomplishing much. At this summit, the President is taking the opposite approach. He is building up expectations, promising that by the end of the day, there will be a concrete plan of specific actions to lock up those loose nukes." Given that dealing with rogue states like Iran and North Korea are not subjects of the summit, it is unclear how much will really be accomplished at the meeting.
In his end-of-the-show commentary on Sunday's Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer cited a Saturday New York Times article celebrating retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens: "that Justice Stevens 'may be the last justice from a time when ability and independence, rather than perceived ideology, were viewed as the crucial qualifications for a seat on the court.'"
Schieffer agreed with that assessment and declared that for President Gerald Ford "sending John Paul Stevens to the Supreme Court is not a bad legacy." He concluded: "As Justice Stevens's fine service was being rightly celebrated last week, I couldn't help but think of that as well."
Prior to his commentary, Schieffer spoke with CBS legal analyst Jan Crawford about possible nominees to replace Stevens. Crawford argued that President Obama and Democrats would attempt to "counter" Republican efforts to "beat up on their candidate," "by continuing to portray the Supreme Court as out of touch with everyday Americans."
At the top of the 8:30AM ET half hour of Friday's CBS Early Show, co-hosts Maggie Rodriguez and Harry Smith welcomed a new contributor to the broadcast, the daughter of Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, Ayla Brown. As Smith put it: "she's about to graduate from college and she's agreed to come aboard as a special contributor with us here on the Early Show."
Rodriguez led into the announcement by recalling: "...remember back in January, Ayla Brown made headlines sort of by accident when her father, newly elected Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, announced during his victory speech that she was 'available.'" Smith followed by mentioning Brown's previous appearance on the show: "And remember then a couple of weeks later, we asked Ayla, who's a veteran of American Idol, to sing for us here on the Early Show. She knocked it out of the park."
Appearing in the 11AM ET hour on MSNBC Friday, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams gushed over the legacy of retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens: "He was famously called a 'lawyer's lawyer'...He leaves the court approaching his 90th birthday here, with one of the great quality minds, 90 or not, on the Supreme Court. Always had a kind of finely tuned intellect and nuanced opinions."
Apparently, consistently handing down left-wing rulings is what Williams considers "nuanced. "
Williams went on to conclude: "It's just been so interesting to see his ideology change over the years. You never know what's going to happen to a person when you appoint them to the Supreme Court....no one in 1975 would have believed you if you'd said someday this man, President Ford's appointment, would be known as the lion of the liberal wing of the court in 2010."
In the 2PM ET hour on MSNBC on Tuesday, left-wing Huffington Post writer Ryan Grim commented on the Republican National Committee spending scandal: "You know, what Republican donors do, generally, is pretty obnoxious to the American people. What did they have to cancel? They had to cancel a polo match, some yachting, you know, trips to bondage clubs."
Grim went on to claim: "if you want to get money from rich Republicans, you're going to have to engage in some of these obnoxious activities, so they like that to happen without the entire nation watching. Now that everybody's watching, it makes it a lot harder for them to raise money from these rich Republicans."
While Grim pretended to be a journalist reporting facts, he told Hall: "I actually haven't spoken to any – any big Republican donors the last few days." He simply noted how he was "hearing" things "in general" about RNC donors. Hall even remarked at the end of the segment: "Well Ryan, for a guy who hasn't spoken to any big money donors in 24-48 hours, not bad intel there." Apparently MSNBC now sees liberal ranting against the GOP as "intel."
During a fawning segment on a busy day of presidential traditions for Barack Obama, on Monday's CBS Evening News, fill-in anchor Harry Smith used the commander in chief's embarrassing pitch at the Washington Nationals opening game to tout ObamaCare: "If there had been a batter he might have been hit, but we are assured by the White House he would have been covered by the new health care reform law."
After showing a clip of the Obama's flubbed throw, Smith remarked: "Whoops." He then added: "In the broadcast booth, the President got a chance to analyze his performance on the mound." A clip was played of the President admitting: "This is heart breaking right here. You know, I was a little disappointed with the pitch, it was high and outside. I was intentionally walking the guy."
The segment began with Smith describing the annual White House Easter Egg Roll that morning: "Some 30,000 moms, dads, and kids from all 50 states crowded on to the South Lawn for a day of fun and games....The Obamas put their own special imprint on the event today, focusing on healthy, active living."
Smith also mentioned how "the President put on a basketball clinic for the kids." Perhaps the Early Show co-host was reminded of his own "basketball clinic" with the President, following an interview on Thursday in which Smith pitched worse softballs than Obama.
Near the end of the Saturday edition of Fox & Friends on Fox News, co-host Clayton Morris introduced a segment on the media's double standard when it comes to covering the tea party movement versus left-wing protestors: "Mainstream media casting tea party protesters as violent and racist, the same media that characterized leftist protests against President Bush as patriotic."
Morris brought on a tea party activist to discuss the topic: "Well, our next guest is someone who's not afraid to stand up to biased coverage. Check out this heated exchange with a CNN reporter at a tea party rally last year." A clip was played of tea partier Kathy Barkulis berating former CNN reporter Susan Roesgen: "You are not talking to regular, mainstream people. You picked people to talk to." Roesgen was later fired from CNN in July of 2009, in the wake of her slanted reporting on the tea party.
After the clip, Morris asked Barkulis: "So what do you say here? That the mainstream media's casting tea party protests as violent, dangerous, extremist? Is there a double standard, as you see it?" Barkulis replied: "Oh, of course there is, there's always been a double standard and it's just getting worse.... they're misrepresenting us and I really don't even think they've ever been to a tea party rally and they don't really know what we're all about. They're just repeating what other left-wing sources have told them."
Next week, the Media Research Center will be releasing a special report documenting media coverage of the tea party movement over the past year.
On CBS's Sunday Morning, host Charles Osgood marked Easter Sunday by proclaiming: "For many Roman Catholics, the joy of this Easter is mixed with sadness over continuing charges of child abuse and of cover-ups within the Church's hierarchy." In a report that followed, correspondent Dean Reynolds declared that the scandal was "like a heavy blow to the soul."
Reynolds went on to cite the latest accusations of abuse by a Milwaukee priest in the 1960s as mounting evidence: "damming stacks of court exhibits, documenting the abuse of predator priests...Documents, the victims say, leave a long and shameful trail." A clip was played of attorney Jeff Anderson, who was representing one of the victims: "That all trails involving the cover-up and the concealment of sexual abuse by Catholic clerics lead to Rome and the Pope."
Remarking on the "corrosive effect" of the accusations, Reynolds pointed to poll numbers on the Pope: "A new CBS News poll finds only 27% of American Catholics view Pope Benedict XVI favorably now; 55% gave him poor marks for the way he's dealt with the priest abuse scandal." The poll appeared on screen, showing that 36% were undecided, a number Reynolds failed to highlight. He also failed to mention – and the on-screen graphic did not show – the 19% who "haven't heard enough" to have an opinion on the Pope.
In addition to the softball interview CBS's Harry Smith conducted with President Obama on Thursday, the Early Show co-host also played some one-on-one with the commander in chief on the White House basketball court, declaring on Friday's show: "it's not just talk, there's a little action too, as we bring in Clark Kellogg of CBS Sports to check out the President's basketball skills." [Audio available here]
In honor of Good Friday, at the top of show, Smith used some religious language to describe where the game took place: "This is the sanctum sanctorum....I'm not sure anybody has ever really been down there with cameras before." Meanwhile, co-host Maggie Rodriguez pretended that Smith actually conducted a hard interview: "you ask him all the tough questions...Does he then proceed to take it out on you on the basketball court?"
At one point in the game, Smith jokingly asked the President: "the question is – that everybody wants to know, can you go to your right?" Obama replied: "I can go to my right, but I prefer my left." Smith laughed gleefully in response. Rodriguez remarked that it was Obama's "comfort zone."
In a fawning interview with President Obama on Thursday, CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith spoke of the "enmity" of conservative talk radio and sympathetically wondered: "Does it bother you a little bit?" The President replied: "you end up getting a pretty thick skin in this job....I am concerned about a political climate in which the other side is demonized." [Audio available here]
As NewsBusters' Brent Baker previewed earlier, Smith portrayed talk radio critics of Obama as extreme: "I've been spending time out and about, listening to talk radio. The kindest of terms you're sometimes referred to, out in America, is a 'socialist.' The worst of which I've heard is called a 'Nazi.' Are you aware of the level of enmity that crosses the air waves and that people have made part of their conversation about you?"
In the interview, which aired on Friday's Early Show, the President began to reply: "Well, I mean, I think that when you listen to Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck it's-" Smith pressed further: "It's beyond that." Obama continued: "It's pretty apparent and it's troublesome. But, you know, keep in mind that there have been periods in American history where this kind of – this kind of vitriol comes out."