At the top of the 8PM ET hour on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante touted President Obama's comments about the midterm elections in a recent interview: "[He] told Rolling Stone magazine that for those people not to come out, those so-called 'surge voters,' would be 'inexcusable and irresponsible'....'people need to shake off this lethargy and buck up.'"
News reader Erica Hill then brought up another part of the interview: "Also in that Rolling Stone article, on a little bit lighter note, I understand the President is perhaps expanding his musical library a little bit?" Plante responded: "...there are 2,000 tunes on his iPod. We got a look inside, it's Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan....He's got Nas, Lil' Wayne, some of the hip-hop artists. And his daughters are getting into the act, too. Sharing their musical tastes with him." Hill remarked: "Ah, I imagine that could include the Jonas Brothers, from everything we've heard about the Obama girls."
What was missing in the discussion of the President's Rolling Stone interview were his attacks on the tea party movement and Fox News. Of the tea party, Obama declared: "...there are probably some aspects of the Tea Party that are a little darker, that have to do with anti-immigrant sentiment or are troubled by what I represent as the president." As NewBusters' Lachlan Markay pointed out, Obama also proclaimed that Fox News has a "point of view" that is "ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country." Neither Plante nor Hill made any mention of those controversial comments.
On CBS's Sunday Morning, correspondent Martha Teichner promoted left-wing class warfare talking points from former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich: "[He] in a new book points out another ominous parallel between the Great Depression and the 'Great Recession,' its cause." Reich proclaimed: "More and more of the income that was generated by the economy went to people at the top." [Audio available here]
Teichner worked to bolster Reich's argument: "In the last century, there were only two years, in 1928 just before the great crash, and then again in 2007, during which the richest 1% were taking home nearly a quarter of the entire income of the nation." Reich continued his assault on upper income earners: "Last year, when most Americans were suffering, the top 25 hedge fund managers each earned $1 billion. A billion dollars would pay the salaries of something like 20,000 teachers."
Again, Teichner made sure to back up Reich's assertions: "That wage inequality, Reich argues, is at the heart of our economic woes. And to fix things, we need to pay those teachers and the rest of the middle class more, not less, so they can spend enough to kick-start the economy. And yes, that means higher taxes for the rich."
In a Sunday 60 Minutes story that gave a glowing portrayal of the real estate developer and imam behind the Ground Zero mosque, CBS anchor Scott Pelley also used the opportunity to smear opponents of the project: "...a national controversy with anger, passion, and more than a little misinformation. Opponents whipped up a fury, calling the project a grotesque mega-mosque tied to terrorism."
Pelley began by touting how building developer Sharif El-Gamal was simply trying to improve a "dingy block in lower Manhattan" and that he "thought his project would be a step up for a seedy part of downtown." Pelley described how "the community enthusiastically agreed. The plan was endorsed by the Mayor, the borough president, and the community board." He then emphasized the distance from Ground Zero: "You can't see Ground Zero from here, but when you make the corner...you can see the cranes where the new World Trade Center buildings are going up....It took us another two minutes to walk to the edge of what the government officially designates as Ground Zero."
Pelley highlighted El-Gamal's multi-cultural background: "...you're a Muslim who married a Christian girl. Your mother is Catholic. And you joined the Jewish community center on the West Side of Manhattan." However, he then turned to mosque opponent Pamela Geller, whom he characterized as "a former New York media executive who writes a politically far Right blog that mixes news, opinion, and conspiracy theories."
While discussing sex allegations against Bishop Eddie Long on Friday, MSNBC host and gay rights activist Contessa Brewer asked Bishop James Dean Adams: "Long has taken a very strong anti-homosexual stand....Is there always a danger, if you're taking that sort of stand, that you're living in a glass house and people are going to be encouraged to throw stones?"
Brewer described how "the Southern Poverty Law Center calls Bishop Eddie Long 'one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay moment. Long reportedly told his congregation about homosexuals, he said, God says you deserve death.'" The left-wing organization spliced together that comment and other clips of Long's Sermons on its website.
Brewer used Long's comments to go after Bishop Adams: "I mean, you can't support that, do you? The saying that homosexuals deserve death?" Adams replied: "No. I don't say that homosexuals or anybody, for that matter, deserves death." Brewer continued: "Do you think, in any way, Bishop, this will change the way black churches deal with the issue of homosexuality?" Adams explained: "I disagree with the viewpoint that the church is somehow been purposefully anti-gay. It's not about anti-gay. It's just simply anti-sin."
Agreeing with Christine O'Donnell's decision not to do anymore national media interviews, CBS News political analyst John Dickerson acknowledged on Wednesday's Early Show that "the national media is not doing her any favors and, basically, a lot of people want her on so that she can have a car crash on air."
Dickerson went on to add that O'Donnell "needs to focus on Delaware....she's got to reach out to independents and get outside of the narrow conservative constituency she won." He then remarked: "...she's smart to keep to her knitting and she just has to hope that voters don't penalize her for trying to kind of stay away from the national media, which might look like staying away from any kind of difficult or probing questions." Co-host Harry Smith joked in reply: "Knit one, pearl two for John Dickerson this morning."
Both Smith and Dickerson joked about how "disappointed" they were that O'Donnell would not be making anymore national media appearances. Throughout the discussion, a headline on screen made reference to O'Donnell's witchcraft comments: "Bewitched?; O'Donnell Says No More National Interviews."
On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez promoted singer Lady Gaga calling for an end to the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy: "A unique showdown shaping up today in the Senate...it's Senator John McCain versus Lady Gaga. The Senator wants to keep the ban, but the world's biggest pop star is throwing her support behind the gays who want to serve in the military."
Correspondent Michelle Miller noted of Gaga: "...recently she's become more vocal with her political leanings, urging her Twitter followers – she has a record 6.4 million of them – to write their senators over 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'" Miller concluded: "...the singer known for being out there, hopes her gay friends in the military will simply be allowed to be out." Throughout the report, a headline on screen read: "Lady Gaga Vs. The Pentagon; Pop Star Takes On 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Policy."
All the sound bites in the segment were in favor of overturning the policy, three from the pop singer herself and one from an outed gay soldier who escorted Gaga to MTV's Video Music Awards. The only time given to the other side was after Miller's report, when Rodriguez mentioned: "...the reason John McCain opposes this, he's waiting for the results of that Pentagon study on how this repeal might impact the, you know, troops who are serving right now."
At the top of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "Angry Americans. A new report declares the recession officially over. But many of us are not feeling it. Even taking on the President himself."Later, he seemed to portray the President as a victim: "...a lot of Americans are still suffering its [the recession's] effects, and are taking it out on President Obama."
In a report that followed, correspondent Bill Plante noted how "numbers may be going in the right direction" but touted "frustrated" Obama supporters speaking out at a Monday CNBC town hall. In between clips of those voters, Plante sympathetically remarked: "On the defensive, the President responded by outlining some of his administration's accomplishments, but admitted that things aren't where they need to be." He concluded the report: "So the reality is that improving statistics aren't very convincing to voters who are worried about jobs, and that is the reality the President and his party face going into the November elections."
Introducing a brief report on the stock market reaction, co-host Maggie Rodriguez looked for a silver lining: "The average American may be skeptical about an economic recovery, but the reaction on Wall Street to the end of the recession shows that investors are optimistic." Business and economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis declared: "...yesterday, stocks responded positively to the news that it is now behind us. The Dow ended higher by 145 points, putting it on track for the best September in 71 years."
Following a report on Monday's CBS Early Show that slammed Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell for comments she made on Bill Maher's 'Politically Incorrect' in the 1990s, co-host Maggie Rodriguez suggested O'Donnell's response: "Well, she could do what Sarah Palin has done and which has worked so beautifully for Sarah Palin, and that is to play media victim." [Audio available here]
Rodriguez made the comment to political analyst John Dickerson, who added: "That's right. And the victim card is one that Sarah Palin has played, Rand Paul has done the same thing. It's a bit of a time-honored technique and it works with your supporters, who are apt to believe the things you say..." He then warned: "...but if you're trying to get to voters in the middle or independents....they're not just going to take it at face value that you are a victim and rally to your side." Neither Rodriguez nor Dickerson questioned whether media coverage of Palin and O'Donnell had been fair.
In the prior report, correspondent Nancy Cordes touted how "O'Donnell says she's a devout Catholic, but in the video she describes her experimentation with witchcraft. And the man who released the clip says there's a lot more where that came from." Later, Cordes mentioned how "The 1999 clip was released by comedian Bill Maher," without noting his left-wing ideology.
Reporting on Pope Benedict's visit to the UK on Friday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Mark Phillips noted how 65,000 people attended a Thursday outdoor mass in Scotland, but observed: "...it was only about a quarter of the size of the crowd Pope John Paul drew to the same park on his visit 28 years ago. And this crowd had a much better warm-up act...TV talent show star...Susan Boyle."
On Thursday, correspondent Richard Roth touted low turnout predictions during the Papal visit: "Some Church officials this morning were already lowering expectations, saying seats were still unsold for several outdoor events."
Phillips described the trip as "A test of whether Pope Benedict can get his message across over the background noise of the Church's child abuse scandal. And that test gets harder as time goes on." He went on to observe "This Pope finds himself with an ironic challenge, he bemoans the weakening role of religion in everyday life, yet it is the Church's very own public struggle with its child-molesting priests that is helping to drive people away."
Appearing on Friday's CBS Early Show, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer continued to compare the rise of the tea party and possible candidacy of Sarah Palin in 2012 to the 1964 campaign of Barry Goldwater. In response, co-host Harry Smith remarked that Palin could take Republicans "to the edge of the abyss, as it were."
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Schieffer argued: "...it is very much like 1964....they threw out all the establishment candidates...they nominated Barry Goldwater who – fine man – but he was far to the right of most of the people in his party, and they lost in a landslide. And that's why you have establishment Republicans worried about what's going to happen now in November." He repeated the same line on the Early Show and described the tea party as being full of "very, very conservative" voters who would not be as influential in the general election.
Prior to the discussion between Smith and Schieffer, correspondent Dean Reynolds reported on Palin taking a fundraising trip to Iowa and supporting "tea party insurgents...to the chagrin of GOP regulars, who worry they are too extreme, unelectable, or both." He went on highlight how "Democratic strategists say the more Sarah, the better for them" and touted: "Indeed, our latest polling shows the number of Americans viewing her unfavorably has been rising along with her visibility."
At the top of Thursday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Erica Hill teased a report on Pope Benedict's visit to Scotland: "...it's a rather controversial visit for a number of reasons." Later, correspondent Richard Roth proclaimed the state visit "has more pomp and potentially more problems" and would "bound to be shadowed by controversy along with ceremony."
Roth went on to tout a gaffe made by a Papal aide prior to the trip and noted how the Pope "courts criticism on a range of issues, from the visit's cost – figured at around $20 million – to the cover-up of sex abuse among Catholic clergyman." He also highlighted predictions of low turnouts at Papal events during the visit: "[Benedict's] welcome will be measured, in part, by the size of his crowds. Some Church officials this morning were already lowering expectations, saying seats were still unsold for several outdoor events." In fact, about 125,00 people lined the streets of Edinburgh to see the Pope's motorcade, with 65,000 attending a later outdoor mass.
The only positive comment about the Papal visit was a sound bite of Queen Elizabeth welcoming the Pontiff: "On behalf of the people of the United Kingdom, I wish you a most fruitful and memorable visit." Roth concluded his report this way: "This is a country with a strong anti-clerical streak and a critical press. But, one leading paper's comment here that Benedict's 'entering the lion's den,' may also reflect a flare for dramatic overstatement."
While acknowledging bad news for Democrats in the latest CBS News/New York Times poll on Thursday's CBS Early Show, White House correspondent Bill Plante worked to find a silver lining: "But when it comes to who's at fault for the rotten economy there's a disconnect. 37% say the Bush administration is most to blame. Only 5% blame the Obama administration."
Following Plante's report, fill-in co-host Erica Hill spoke with political analyst John Dickerson and wondered: "37% of those in the poll said that fault for the bad economy lays with the Bush administration. 5% said it lays with the Obama administration. Does that mean that this Democratic message is getting through?"
Dickerson explained: "People don't blame the Obama administration and they also, in our poll, believe the Democrats have the better policies to deal with the economy and, also, they believe the Democratic position on tax cuts. Nevertheless, they want to throw out the people who are in power and the problem is there are just more Democrats in power."
Talking to Republican strategist Dan Bartlett on Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith wondered if the electoral success of the tea party could harm the GOP: "Are all of these tea party victories good for the Republican Party?...I wonder if you're making a miscalculation at your own peril at, you know, this perceived enthusiasm gap, these people are literally changing the face of a party."
Bartlett admitted difficultly in electing Christine O'Donnell, the winner of Tuesday's Republican Senate primary in Delaware, but staunchly defended the overall impact of the movement: "...the intensity gap that we're seeing between the two parties this election cycle is mainly being fed by the tea party movement on the Republican side....The prospect of taking over the House of Representatives would not happen without this vibrant activity within the tea party."
Smith turned to his other guest, Democratic strategist Tanya Acker, and continued to stress Republican difficulties: "...as Democrats are watching this all unfold, with the rancor and derision within the Republican Party, with the tea party really catching fire out there, how – how do you view it?" Acker ranted: "...I think that more Democrats are going to be motivated to go to the polls when you hear what some of these tea party candidates are saying. I don't think most of the country wants to repeal the Civil Rights Act."
On the September 11th Saturday Early Show, CBS News Middle East analyst Reza Aslan slammed opponents of the Ground Zero mosque as having "unapologetically politicized" 9/11 and being part of a "whole wave of anti-Muslim sentiment."
While he denounced others for trying to "take advantage of this symbol for their own political purposes," Aslan made his comments only seconds after live coverage of the first moment of silence for victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks. Co-host Chris Wragge accepted Aslan's characterization of the controversy and responded: "...this is not an opportunity to add controversy into the mix. If there's one day, you know what, to keep our mouths quiet and let's just reflect on the lives lost, today is it, you don't mess with that."
Aslan followed up by admitting: "I'll be honest with you, I hope that there is kind of a backlash against what's going on right now. As you know, at 1pm today there'll be a rally in support of the so-called Park 51 project, at 3pm there'll be this international rally against it. So, I'm hoping that Americans all over the country see these images and think we've gone too far."
He later specifically condemned mosque opponents: "...particularly in the case of this sort of international anti-Islam rally that's being brought by this group called Stop Islamization of America. And they're inviting all these European anti-Muslim politicians in to speak. I mean, that's really now taking this to a whole other level."
In a report on the Republican senate primary in Delaware on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes portrayed tea party favorite Christine O'Donnell's conservative social views as being on the fringe: "[She] has crusaded for abstinence and against porn. Writing once that 'when a married person uses pornography, it compromises the spouse's purity.'"
Cordes noted O'Donnell's position on those issues following a sound bite of primary opponent Mike Castle declaring: "I think she's too extreme for Delaware." In another sound bite after Cordes's comment, editor-in-chief of The Hotline, Reid Wilson, explained: "If Christine O'Donnell wins the primary election she's going to have a very difficult time winning in what is still a very blue, very Democratic state."
In concluding the report, Cordes observed: "...until recently this seat in Delaware seemed like it was in the bag." Fill-in co-host Erica Hill replied: "Ah, but no longer."
Following the report, Hill interviewed O'Donnell, focusing on the candidate's position in the polls and financial issues being raised in the campaign. Throughout the interview, the headline on screen read: "Primary Day; Controversial Tea Party Candidate Takes On Establishment."
In a puff piece on Attorney General Eric Holder on CBS's Sunday Morning, correspondent Rita Braver praised his professionalism: "...ignoring political pressure is Holder's constant message as he talks to Justice Department lawyers....Though he was a key advisor to the Obama campaign and considers the President a friend, Holder says he now keeps it purely professional." [Audio available here]
Throughout the interview, Braver portrayed Holder as lacking any political agenda: "And when he took office last February, he got a hero's welcome. It was in part, he believes, a reaction to cronyism and questionable policies advocated in the Bush-era Justice Department." As Braver mentioned Bush "cronyism," a photo of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales appeared on screen. Holder proclaimed: "Waterboarding, things like that, from my perspective, inconsistent with the great traditions of this department."
Braver began with some gentle criticism of Holder: "And with controversies over everything – from his pushing to quickly close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo to his very public condemnation of the new Arizona law that cracks down on undocumented immigrants – even some Holder fans are saying, 'he's honest, he's smart but sometimes he can be a little tone deaf about how things play out in public.'" That gave Holder the opportunity to declare: "I don't have the same latitude that other politicians might have to put my finger up to the wind and figure out what's going to be popular....So it's not tone deafness. It's a commitment to justice and a commitment to the law." Braver then touted Holder "ignoring political pressure."
Filling in for anchor Katie Couric on Thursday's CBS Evening News, Early Show co-host Harry Smith introduced a report on opposition to building mosques in some areas of the country: "...they feel like strangers in their own country, Muslims shocked by the growing opposition to new mosques....building a mosque has suddenly become a hot-button issue in many communities."
Smith expounded on the cause of the protests: "The furor over plans to burn the Koran and the building of the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero has had ripple effects all across America." Correspondent Seth Doane followed by focusing on opposition to a proposed mosque in Tennessee: "About 250 Muslim families live here in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. For decades, they've lived in peace and have prayed at a small local mosque. But then trouble started brewing over this site, where they want to expand and build a bigger Islamic center."
Doane described the feelings of one Muslim resident: "[Saleh Sbenaty]says even after September 11th, he didn't see hatred like this." Doane added: "Nationwide, more than half a dozen proposed Islamic centers have run into roadblocks, from Temecula, California, to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, to the high-profile one near Ground Zero." He did not explain what those "roadblocks" were.
In a Thursday interview with CBS Early Show special contributor Amanda Holden, Larry King replacement Piers Morgan talked about his new CNN show and who would be at the top of his guest list: "Well, I'd love to do President Obama. I like what he's done for the reputation of America abroad, which I'm not sure many Americans fully understand."
The second on Morgan's list: "Bill Clinton, another one....One of the most charismatic people I've ever seen." At the mention of Clinton, Holden gushed: "Oh, yes. I'd love you to interview him." Holden concluded her report by proclaiming: "[Piers] is a complete news junky and he tells me that he cannot wait for the next big story to break....he knew he wanted to be a reporter since he was 6 years old. Aww. Replacing Larry King is really a dream come true for him."
While teasing Holden's exclusive interview with Morgan earlier in the broadcast, co-host Harry Smith gave the British talker a ringing endorsement: "...the big headline, Piers Morgan gets Larry King's job....He's got an amazing, interesting newspaper background and he may actually have the right feet to fill those shoes."
In an interview with Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison on Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith implied a link between Ground Zero mosque opposition and a pastor's plan to burn the Koran: "...a line that can be drawn from the...anti-Muslim sentiment that seems to be growing in this country and seems to be festering in the Islamic cultural center....Do you see a line that connects here?"
Ellison, the only Muslim member of Congress, defended the planned mosque: "...in my view, the cultural center in lower Manhattan, the purpose of it wasn't to offend or insult anyone. The purpose was to try to build bridges of understanding...there's no doubt that the people who pull this project together were not intending to insult anyone." The Congressman then agreed with Smith's characterization of the opposition: "...there does seem to be a certain wave of anti-Islamic sentiment."
In an interview with controversial Florida Pastor Terry Jones on Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith doubted whether or not Muslim extremism was really a threat: "Would you regard radical Islam, then, as the enemy?"
While Jones' plan to burn copies of the Koran on the anniversary of 9/11 has been rightfully condemned as offensive and an unnecessary provocation, Smith's response of questioning the danger of Islamic radicalism altogether denies the ideological motivation of America's enemies. After Jones described receiving threats over his planned event, Smith responded by quoting scripture: "...you're a student of the New testament, I'm sure. Did not Jesus say you're to love your enemy?"
After Jones continued to defend the burning of the Muslim religious text, Smith again cited the Bible: "But there are at least two different times in Matthew and Luke where Jesus is quite, quite clear about loving – about loving your enemy." Concluding the interview, Smith commented: "Well, I know you say you've been praying about it. And I hope that you find the wisdom in order to do the right thing, as the next couple of days unfold."
On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith touted President Obama's economic proposals and portrayed Republicans as obstructionist: "Obama's new plan. The President proposes to spend $50 billion on roads, airports, and railways and offers businesses a $200 billion tax cut. But the GOP says not so fast."
Later, Smith introduced a report by senior White House correspondent Bill Plante: "With unemployment at 9.6% and the midterm elections just two months away, President Obama is out and about this week promoting new ideas to get the economy moving again." Plante proclaimed: "Pumped up in full campaign mode before a crowd of union members in Milwaukee, Mr. Obama celebrated his administration's accomplishments and announced a new project to repair the nation's infrastructure." A headline on screen read: "Obama's New Deal; Announces $50 Billion Infrastructure Plan."
Following Plante's report, Smith spoke with CBS economics and business correspondent Rebecca Jarvis and political analyst John Dickerson about the President's plans. As Jarvis promoted the idea that more spending would create jobs, Smith asked Dickerson about Republican opposition: "...almost anything that the White House talks about, say over the last couple months or so, has met – had been met with a raspberry, I suppose we should assume this will be met with the same kind of reaction?" The on-screen headline changed to "GOP Rips New $50 Billion Infrastructure Plan."
Tuesday marks the four-year anniversary of Katie Couric's assumption of the anchor chair for the CBS Evening News on Tuesday, September 5, 2006. To commemorate the occasion, the Media Research Center has assembled Perking Up for Liberal Spin, a profile in bias of Couric's top forty biased quotes from her four years at CBS.
Marking her one-year anniversary, a September 2007 MRC Media Reality Check, New Network, Same Old Biased Katie, noted: "In her first year at the helm of the CBS Evening News, Katie Couric has perpetuated the bias problem that eroded CBS's credibility under Dan Rather." The three years that followed were no exception, as Couric actively promoted liberal figures and causes, while disparaging conservatives. From cheering on Barack Obama's campaign and presidential agenda to smearing Arizona's immigration law or opposition to the Ground Zero mosque, she has maintained her long journalistic record of liberal slant.
On Thursday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Erica Hill interviewed Vanity Fair reporter Michael Joseph Gross about his article slamming Sarah Palin with outlandish accusations: "...we've watched Sarah Palin go from a small town hockey mom and the mayor to international celebrity....it certainly changed her, that's according to a rather unflattering new article in Vanity Fair magazine. "
Talking to Gross, Hill noted how he "had a tough time...getting to people who are close to Sarah Palin," but wondered: "...tell us about the people you did speak to who are around her....What kind of an impression did they give you of Sarah Palin?" Gross detailed some of the wild claims made by his questionable sources: "They'd tell stories about screaming fits, about throwing things....where Sarah and Todd will empty the pantry of canned goods, throwing them at each other until the front of the refrigerator looks like it's been shot up by a shot gun." Taken in by the story, Hill simply replied: "Wow."
Gross continued, alleging that Palin "tortured" former assistants, one of whom "had to quit the job, seek psychiatric counseling, and leave the state to escape Palin's influence." He asserted: "...[Palin] exacts retribution on people after they leave. They're afraid that she's going to get them fired from their job, try to ruin their reputations. That's the modus operandi." Earlier in the interview, he described Palin's current political activity as an effort to exact "a kind of vengeance on the country for rejecting her" in the 2008 election.
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith served as an apologist for President Obama, who failed to credit President George W. Bush with the Iraq troop surge in an Oval Office address Tuesday night: "...while he [Obama] did not acknowledge...President Bush's support for the surge....he at least gave it tacit agreement – approval. And he has certainly approved a surge in Afghanistan."
Smith made the defense during an interview with Arizona Senator John McCain, who took the President to task for opposing the 2007 troop surge: "...it was President Bush who made the decision – over the vociferous option of the President of the United States, then Senator Obama – to do the surge. And if we had done what President Obama wanted, we would have failed in Iraq because he even voted against the funding for it." After Smith claimed that Obama "had a year and a half to rescind" his opposition to the surge and eventually gave "tacit agreement" to it, McCain replied: "...if we had done what he wanted to do, we would have left and we would have lost and had a horrendous setback to America's national security."
Smith moved on to Afghanistan, still skeptical of the success of the Iraq surge strategy: "If, in fact, the surge was successful in Iraq, is that – is there a lesson from that to be applied to Afghanistan now that we've – there are more than 320 kids have been killed in Afghanistan this year. Are the lessons of Iraq applicable to Afghanistan?"
Opening Saturday's CBS Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge proclaimed: "Image Problem: The President is on vacation and under fire. From the jobless numbers to the Mosque mess – why is the man with the soaring rhetoric having such a hard time getting his message across?" The headline on screen during the later segment read: "Image Issues; Can Obama's Team Bring Campaign Magic Back?"
Introducing the segment, co-host Rebecca Jarvis referred to "conservative critics" taking issue with President Obama's vacation time on Martha's Vineyard. In a report that followed, White House correspondent Chip Reid made sure to parrot administration talking points on the matter: "White House advisers stress that this is a working vacation with numerous daily briefings....White House officials say they're confident the American people understand that with such a high-pressure job, a President needs and deserves some time to unwind and recharge."
Reid also compared Obama's time-off with that of his predecessor: "By the end of this trip, President Obama will have taken 9 vacations and visited Camp David 14 times for a total of 80 vacation days since he took office. But at the same point in his first term, President Bush had taken far more time away – 14 trips to his Ranch in Texas and 40 to Camp David. The total, 225 days." During Obama's earlier trip to Maine, Reid made the same comparison.
During the 10 a.m. ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Chris Jansing spoke with Islamic scholar Hamza Yusuf Hanson about the Ground Zero Mosque controversy, who proclaimed: "I think there's a lot of fear....there has been a concerted effort by a certain segment. It's a very small minority, but their powerful and vocal, to demonize the Muslim community."
Yusuf was on to discuss his founding of Zaytuna College in California, the nation's first Islamic higher education school. However, Jansing introduced the segment by placing the college in this context: "...the [mosque] controversy prompted Time magazine to ask, Is America – if America is Islamophobic. A Time poll found that 46% of Americans believe Islam is more likely than other faiths to encourage violence against nonbelievers. And a small college in Berkeley, California, may become the new battleground in America's uneasy relationship with Islam."
After briefly discussing the college, Jansing turned to the mosque: "Do you understand the unease among many Americans, and we are seeing a lot of it come out with this mosque controversy?" After denouncing opponents of the project, Hanson defended the imam involved: "Feisal Abdul Rauf, who's the imam there, is an extremely gentle person and to frame him as an extremist means that the whole community is mad...these are people that have spent their life in interfaith dialogue..." Rauf claimed the United States was an "accessory" to the September 11th attacks during a September 2001 60 Minutes interview on CBS.
Speaking to conservative commentator Ann Coulter on Thursday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Erica Hill seemed to hope the Ground Zero mosque controversy had run its course: "Does it go away or does this continue through November?"
Hill's question to Coulter followed fellow guest, Democratic strategist Tanya Acker, ranting: "...the notion that in the United States of America we would deny people the right to have a religious edifice is simply – like, that's just not – it's unconscionable....I think that smart Republicans, fair Republicans, fair people of all political persuasions need to look – are looking at this really as a constitutional issue and really as a freedom issue. It should not be this political question that it's become." Picking up on Acker's argument, Hill turned to Coulter: "So, it shouldn't be a political issue. Though is it going to continue to be one as we head to November?"
In her response, Coulter fired back at Acker: "I will say Tanya's absolutely giving the Democratic position. America, you want a mosque at Ground Zero, you vote for the Democrats." Acker angrily replied: "No. No, I'm giving – I'm giving the American position, Ann. I'm giving the American position because my constitution says that-" Hill then interrupted, notifying both guests that they were out of time.
Appearing in the 2:00PM ET hour on MSNBC, New York Daily News reporter Samuel Goldsmith cited a poll featured on the paper's website, about opposition to the Ground Zero mosque: "[it] shows that 70% of New Yorkers say that they think the opposition is out of hatred and religious intolerance."
Unfortunately, Goldsmith forgot to mention that it was a completely unscientific poll that only appeared within articles on the topic and allowed people to potentially vote numerous times. The slanted poll question read: "Is opposition to the building of a mosque near Ground Zero intolerant?" The three responses offered were: "Yes, it's pure religious bigotry against Muslims; No, you can be against because it dishonors victims of Sept. 11; Maybe, but the sensitive thing to do is to move it further from the WTC site."
Goldsmith touted the Daily News poll after anchor Jeff Rossen cited a scientific poll on the issue: "A new Siena College poll suggests – and we actually have the results right here – that 63% of New Yorkers oppose this Islamic center. Only 23% support it." After promoting the unreliable online poll, Goldsmith argued: "...there's a lot of voices coming out....It's hard to really get a grasp of what the public opinion is, I think."
At the top of CBS's Sunday Morning, host Charles Osgood proclaimed: "From sky-high air-conditioning bills to gasoline-fueled vacations in the car, there's nothing like summer to remind us that we Americans are power hungry." In the story that followed later, correspondent Seth Doane declared: "In the wake of the Gulf oil disaster, calls for cleaner, greener energy, are growing louder."
Doane lamented: "America is still powered by the energy of yesterday. 95% of our electricity comes from an aging network of coal, natural gas, nuclear, and hydroelectric plants. Despite decades of promise, today less than 5% of our electricity comes from all other forms of alternative energy combined." He then turned to "Nobel Prize-winning physicist" and Obama administration energy secretary, Dr. Steven Chu: "Secretary Chu sees the oil spill as a tragedy, of course, but also as something else." Chu argued: "The United States has an opportunity to lead in what I consider to be essentially a new industrial revolution."
After detailing different forms of alternative energy, Doane moved on to liberal advocacy. He warned:"But agreeing on a national energy policy won't be easy....And the coal and petroleum lobbies spend millions to protect the status quo." Doane then cited the head of the left-wing group Environmental Defense Fund, Fred Krupp, who whined: "You know, we've passed three energy bills in the last ten years and none of them has done a damn thing to get us a brighter energy future."
While teasing an upcoming report on President Obama campaigning for Democrats on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Chris Wragge touted: "...plunging poll numbers haven't stopped the President from raking in millions at fund raisers across the country."
Later, White House correspondent Chip Reid observed: "You know, the President's approval rating is only 44%, but he is still quite popular with the party's base and he's using that clout to raise millions of dollars for fellow Democrats." Reid went on to declare: "President Obama and the Democratic Party are managing to raise big bucks in the hope of retaining control of Congress. The Democratic National Committee is committing $50 million to help candidates in 2010, $20 million in cash, and $30 million to get out the vote."
A campaign sound bite was played of the President attacking Republicans: "We do not fear the future. We shape the future. That's part of what this election's about. The other side wants you to be afraid of the future." Reid concluded: "President Obama is doing six fund-raisers over three days in five states. By week's end, he'll have raised over $56 million this campaign season."
Only at the end of his report did Reid briefly notice the money raised by the GOP: "Now, Republicans are also raking in the cash this campaign season. The Republican Governors Association, for example, has brought in $58 million since President Obama came into office."