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."
In a discussion of the midterm elections on Sunday's Face the Nation, CBS host Bob Schieffer asked members of his political panel a total of seven questions, six of which highlighted Republican difficulties, only one of which actually raised the problems for the Democrats in November.
Instead of acknowledging the greater political challenges facing Democrats, Schieffer began by acting as if both parties were equally in trouble: "You have Democrats on the one hand saddled with a very bad economy, high unemployment....Republicans, on the other hand, have – find themselves suddenly with some very, well, how would I say it, unusual candidates, people who have taken very extreme views on things." Schieffer then proceeded to focus almost exclusively on Republican obstacles.
In his first electoral question to former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, Schieffer asked about one of those "unusual" GOP candidates: "...you have Linda McMahon, who is formally – or maybe she still is part of the World Wrestling Federation." After playing a clip of McMahon appearing at a WWE event, Schieffer pressed: "I expect Republicans are going to be seeing that video a lot this year, and they're going to have to defend it. Is this somebody who's going to be good for the Republican Party? Is this a good image for Republicans to have?"
Late in the 7:00AM ET hour of Monday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Michelle Miller reported on the "war of words" between actress Jennifer Aniston and Fox News host Bill O'Reilly over women having children without a man. Miller remarked that Aniston had "made a seemingly simple comment supporting the concept," while the "conservative" O'Reilly "slammed the actress" for doing so.
The report included sound bites of O'Reilly: "That's destructive to our society....She's throwing a message out to 12-year-olds and 13-year-olds, okay, that 'hey, you don't need the guy. You don't need the dad." Miller followed up by noting: "It's not the first time a political conservative has lashed out at an actress for supporting single moms. In a 1992 speech, Dan Quayle questioned the choices of fictional character Murphy Brown."
She concluded the story by touting: "Aniston fired back the latest shot at O'Reilly, telling People magazine, quote, 'Of course the ideal scenario for parenting is obviously two parents of a mature age, but for those who've not yet found their Bill O'Reilly, I'm just glad science has provided a few other options.'"
After Miller's report, fill-in co-host Chris Wragge jokingly declared: "Jennifer Aniston, how dare you?" He then argued: "I mean, it's just a movie, right, at this point? I understand, I guess, both sides, but I think it's a little much about-" Fill-in co-host Erica Hill interjected: "Much ado about nothing."
Appearing on Monday's CBS Early Show to discuss President Obama showing support for a controversial mosque being built near Ground Zero, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer agreed with the President's sentiment but lamented the political fallout: "The President said and made the right intellectual argument, but I'm not sure that it was great politics for him to say it at this particular time."
Schieffer began by outlining White House talking points on the issue to substitute co-host Erica Hill: "The story they tell is the President thought this Ramadan dinner – these were dinners that were started after 9/11 by President Bush as an outreach to demonstrate that our problems are with terrorists, not with people who are Muslims – he thought this was an appropriate place to say what all Americans believe, in that everyone has a right to practice their religion in this country." Schieffer later added: "I would agree with the White House."
At the same time, both Hill and Schieffer fretted over the political fallout, particularly Republican criticism. Hill teased the segment at the top of show by declaring that Obama's "apparent defense of the proposed mosque at Ground Zero has Republicans howling." Schieffer remarked: "Republicans are trying to take every advantage of this they can."
On Thursday, instead of showing the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, the network's Washington DC affiliate, WUSA-TV, decided to continue with live storm coverage. The last time the CBS broadcast was preempted by local coverage occurred during the massive winter blizzards, which buried the region in a few feet of snow.
The Evening News has consistently ranked third among the network evening newscasts during Couric's tenure. During the week of August 2, the Evening News was around 2 million viewers behind competitors ABC Worlds News with Diane Sawyer and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Couric is about to mark her 4th anniversary in the anchor chair.
In a report on Friday's CBS Early Show, correspondent John Blackstone described the fallout of a decision by California Judge Vaughn Walker to lift his stay on gay marriages after overturning Proposition 8: "Inside San Francisco City Hall dozens of same-sex couples lined up for marriage licenses, anticipating their wedding day." A headline on screen declared: "Save the Date."
Blackstone explained how gay couples were still upset that the stay would not be lifted until August 18: "Despite a celebration here, these advocates know this may be just a temporary opening. And it turned out it wasn't opened yet....Among the disappointed couples was one of those who filed the lawsuit challenging California's ban on same-sex marriage."
Finally taking note of critics of the initial Proposition 8 ruling and the lifting of the stay, Blackstone remarked: "The delay gives opponents time to appeal and a political issue." The only sound bite of a critic was that of Maggie Gallagher from the National Organization for Marriage: "The extreme nature of this decision is, in fact, going to impact the elections in 2010."
Blackstone then concluded his report this way: "Polls show a majority of Americans oppose same-sex marriage, but in California, where there were 18,000 such marriages two years ago, plenty of wedding plans are now being made for next week." He made no mention of the majority of Californians also being opposed.
While ABC and NBC ignored a Monday USA Today report that found a significant gap in compensation between public and private sector employees, on Tuesday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Sharyl Attkisson provided a full story: "While many Americans have suffered pay cuts or job losses, one group is bucking the trend – federal workers."
Attkisson described how the "analysis finds that federal employees have gotten bigger pay and benefit increases than private employees for nine years straight." She cited numbers from the report: "Federal salaries have grown 33% faster than inflation. Their pay and benefits average $123,000, up 37% since 2000. Private workers average $61,000, up just 8.8% over the same time."
In addition, Attkisson included a sound bite from Cato Institute budget analyst Tad Dehaven: "So you have Wall Street, you have big oil, and now you have federal civilians." She went to note: "And the bonuses are flowing. CBS News has learned your tax dollars funded $95.8 million in airport security TSA bonuses last year. A $35,000 bonus to the head of the agency."
In a sympathetic story devoid of critics on Tuesday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Wyatt Andrews described Congressman Charles Rangel's rant over being charged with numerous ethics violations this way: "In an emotional and raw defense against 13 ethics charges, Charles Rangel mixed small doses of contrition...into a speech of political defiance."
Andrews's report featured only sound bites of Rangel's speech that afternoon on the House floor, no critics of the New York Congressman from either party were included. Andrews did explain that Rangel was in "serious trouble" and detailed the charges: "Rangel is charged with not reporting his income on a beach villa in the Dominican Republic, his taxable gains on a condo in Florida. Not reporting several large investment accounts and with raising money for his Rangel Center at the City College in New York from dozens of companies needing favors from his committee."
Continuing to report on Rangel's bombastic address, Andrews observed: "...this was real-world drama. A man who had clawed his way to the peak of political power now shocked to find himself deserted by so many friends." Andrews concluded: "Many Democrats...hoped that Rangel would actually take one for the team and quit before his ethics problem became their election issue. But Rangel called that kind of thinking unfair to him and even asked at one point in his speech, 'what about me?'"
During a discussion of the upcoming midterm elections on Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Erica Hill asked Republican strategist Kevin Madden: "...when you look at this from the Republican perspective...there is some competition from the Tea Party, from those perhaps to the extreme right...is this race Republicans to lose, and if so, what do they have to do to hold on to it?"
Hill picked up the "extreme right" label from her other guest, Democratic strategist Tanya Acker, who had just ranted: "I think that it's very evident that we're running against a group of Republican candidates, in large part, who've really positioned themselves at an extreme end of the right – of the right wing, which is really where not most of the country is....what Democrats have to do is talk about what it is they're standing for and why it is the country doesn't want to go back to a time when, frankly, a lot of us were much worse off."
Madden responded to Hill by pointing to the left-wing agenda of the Democrats: "...independent voters...they've abandoned Democrats, in large part because of the spending, because of the deficits, because of a very left of center agenda....it is a very good place to be right now when you're the alternative to a Democrat agenda."
Instead of challenging Acker on the Democrats "very left of center agenda," Hill gently wondered: "What about the President? He's doing a lot of fundraising, does he need to, though, work on a little bit different message or is he doing the right thing?" Acker reasserted her previous point: "...the real competition here is for the moderates, is for independents. And in order for Democrats to successfully get them back on board, they're going to have to explain why the alternatives are far too extreme."
Teasing an upcoming story in the 7:30AM ET half hour on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith cheerfully promoted Levi Johnston's pitch for a reality show in Alaska: "He's going to star in a new reality show and it's all about him running for mayor of Wasilla. That's right, he's gunning for his would-have-been mother-in-law's old job."
Later, Smith further teased: "Johnston's quest to follow in Sarah Palin's foot steps and hold political office." Introducing the report, fill-in co-host Erica Hill remarked how Johnston would "be chasing Sarah Palin's legacy." Correspondent Priya David-Clemens discussed the show as if it was about to go on the air: "He's inked a reality show deal that will be all Levi and no Bristol. The new show, called 'Loving Levi: The Road to the Mayor's Office,' will follow the young father as he campaigns for the top job in his hometown of Wasilla, Alaska." In fact, as the New York Times reported, the show is simply an idea being pitched by Johnston and producers but has not been picked up any network yet.
David-Clemens touted a description of the proposed show: "In a statement to 'Us Weekly,' the show's executive producer said, quote, 'he'll give us a real inside look into who he is as a father, a skilled hunter, an avid dirt biker, and, of course, his journey down the road of small town politics, right after he gets his high school diploma.'"
In a report on Arizona's immigration law for CBS's Sunday Morning, correspondent John Blackstone declared: "In the heat of the Arizona summer, America's long-simmering immigration debate is boiling over." He portrayed it as the latest wave of anti-immigrant sentiment: "The often-angry debate....whether yet another influx of outsiders can be accepted into a nation of immigrants."
At the top of the program, the Early Show's Harry Smith, filling in for host Charles Osgood, teased Blackstone's report this way: "'The New Colossus' is the name of the Emma Lazarus poem about the Statue of Liberty, the poem that speaks of a 'golden door' for immigrants to America. S.B.1070 is the name of the Arizona law that critics say betrays that promise, but which supporters say is necessitated by a tide of illegal immigration."
As Blackstone introduced his report later, a series of newspaper headlines flashed on screen: "Ariz. immigration law creates rift; Obama Blasts Arizona Law; Arizona Enacts Stringent Law on Immigration." He then profiled one illegal immigrant: "...the immigration debate...means everything to 23-year-old Hermann. He's an undocumented immigrant we met at a church gathering....The current atmosphere leaves Hermann nervous but eager to tell his story." A clip was played of Hermann fretting: "For eight years, I've been in the shadows, you know. It's been to a point where you're almost paranoid, walking around."
During a discussion of California's Proposition 8 being overturned on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday, fill-in host John Dickerson questioned Family Research Council President Tony Perkins's assertion that the federal judge who made the ruling was openly gay: "You mention this claim that he's openly homosexual. I'm not sure if that's, in fact, the case."
Perkins replied by citing his source on Judge Vaughn Walker's sexual orientation: "Well, that, according to The San Francisco Chronicle, that he is openly homosexual, one of two federal judges." Thursday's Good Morning America on ABC reported that fact as well, even while NBC's Today and the CBS Early Show failed to mention it.
Dickerson followed his doubt of Perkins by arguing: "...whether [Walker] is or isn't, what basis – what bearing does that have on the case?" Perkins responded: "...had this guy been a – say, an evangelical preacher in his past, there would have been cries for him to step down from this case. So I do think it has a bearing on the case." Dickerson countered: "You think it's made his ruling skewed?"
While Thursday reports on both ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today featured Proposition 8 supporters questioning the impartiality of California Federal Judge Vaughn Walker's decision to strike down the state's referendum defending traditional marriage, CBS's Early Show failed to provide any such arguments.
On Good Morning America, correspondent Terry Moran explained: "Opponents of same-sex marriage vowed to fight on and blasted the judge for, they said, letting personal interests trump his legal duty." A clip was played of one Proposition 8 supporter: "The judge has imposed his own agenda upon the voters and the children and the parents of California."
On Today, legal correspondent Pete Williams noted: "But opponents of gay marriage, who supported Proposition 8, denounced the ruling and began preparing to fight back." Supporter Randy Thomasson explained: "The judge has shut the Constitution, imposed his own agenda. He's made a lot of people happy in the gay community in San Francisco, but he is the most dangerous type of judge in America."
The Early Show report by correspondent Priya David-Clemens only featured a couple brief sound bites of gay marriage opponents in "outright disbelief" of the ruling, but no specific criticisms of the judge being biased. In contrast, three sound bites in favor of the ruling were featured.
Of the three network morning shows, only Good Morning America noted that Judge Walker was himself openly gay. Introducing the segment, co-host George Stephanopoulos mentioned: "The judge, Vaughn R. Walker, a Republican first nominated for the bench by Ronald Reagan, he is also openly gay." Both the Early Show and Today skipped over that detail.
On Monday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric praised the heroism of the New York City Fire Department but fretted: "...a federal judge says something is missing in their ranks: Diversity." Correspondent Jim Axelrod began a report on the topic by noting: "Fire Captain Paul Washington has a big problem with his department." Washington declared the FDNY to be "all-white, lily white."
Axelrod described how "Eight years ago, the fire department was 92 percent white and only 2.8 percent black, in a city that was 24 percent black. A disparity that remains largely unchanged." A sound bite was featured from Columbia Law School Professor Suzanne Goldberg, who like Couric, noted the department's heroism, but went on to describethe lack of diversity as a "singular embarrassment."
Touting how "a federal judge agreed" with Goldberg, Axelrod explained: "...the hiring test to become one of New York's bravest was not just discriminatory, but illegal. [The judge] ordered the city to fix it."
As Axelrod mentioned the judge's ruling, a few sample questions from the supposedly discriminatory test appeared on screen. One set of questions asked applicants to respond to a particular firefighting scenario: "What would be the most direct entrance for firefighters to take to save the children?...The probable cause of the fire was?...How many ways can firefighters enter the house?"
Playing Stevie Wonder's version of 'Happy Birthday' at the end of Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Erica Hill reported: "The Obamas, of course, big Stevie Wonder fans. And President Obama, 49 years old today." After she observed that Obama looked a little grayer, co-host Harry Smith, who interviewed the President on Friday, chimed in: "He came bounding into the interview area full of energy."
Smith went on to note how "in terms of energy and sort of lines on the face or any of that other kind of stuff....looks like [Obama's] still got it together." Hill wondered: "He doesn't look tired or drawn or stressed?" Smith replied, "No, no. Nope," and started to joke about his own age: "[Obama] was probably very happy to see me....Because Lord knows, everybody likes it when they see the old- "
At that point, weatherman Dave Price interjected: "But keep in mind, you really never notice it until you see those pictures." He added: "...the only one who really came out looking just like he did was Reagan....left looking great." Smith couldn't resist getting in a quick shot at the late president: "...they insisted till the end that he never dyed his hair."
During her 1PM ET hour show on Monday, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell promoted allegations from the Congressional Black Caucus that ethics investigations into Democrats Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters are racially motivated: "Are black lawmakers being singled out by the ethics watchdogs on Capitol Hill? New charges of racial bias."
After detailing the accusations against California Congresswoman Waters, Mitchell noted the formal ethics charges filed against New York Congressman Rangel and touted his defense: "...he, we now know, tried to point out that Mitch McConnell and others allegedly did the same thing, trying to raise money for a center named after them. He's claiming that this is a matter of bias."
Mitchell's guest, Politico editor-in-chief John Harris, continued to make the case: "...that there is a clear double standard and they're asking why is it that the new congressional ethics procedures seem to be the result of that, seem to be a number of African-Americans that are getting put under a tough ethical microscope....They say that there seems to be a pattern that reflects, they're alleging, a racial bias."
Similarly, on Sunday's CNN Newsroom, anchor Don Lemon interviewed the Reverend Al Sharpton and wondered: "...some are openly questioning why two high profile African-American House members are coming under such tough scrutiny. Do you think that black members are being targeted unfairly by the Ethics Committee?"
Friday's CBS Early Show devoted a six-minute segment in its 7:30AM ET half hour to the Saturday wedding of Chelsea Clinton. Correspondent Elaine Quijano reported on the event having "Eva Longoria's florist" and "presidential party planners." Entertainment Tonight correspondent Diane Dimond added: "...they have porcelain port-a-potties for all of the guests....with music piped in."
Dimond went on to mention how the guest list would feature Hollywood liberals like Barbara Streisand and Steven Spielberg. Concluding her report, Quijano declared: "Now tonight the rehearsal dinner is reportedly set to take place nearby, at the 500-plus acre Grasmere estate. We are told, Harry, that guests will dine in an old stone barn overlooking a bucolic pastoral setting....they're being asked to wear country chic." The segment did not raise any questions about the over-the-top extravagance of the affair, which is estimated to cost a few million dollars.
On Thursday's CBS Early Show, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante praised President Obama taping an appearance on ABC's 'The View' on Wednesday: "...the President is trying to reach people who may not normally pay attention to politics....It's not the first time [he] has reached out to audiences beyond the Washington Beltway."
Plante went further, explaining: "...it is the beginning of the Democrats' strategy to try to save their majority in Congress." He touted how Obama "blamed Republicans for holding up a bill with tax cuts for small business" while visiting a New Jersey sandwich shop. Plante then highlighted the President's fundraising ability: "Two fund-raisers in Manhattan on behalf of congressional Democrats....it cost 100 guests $30,400 each....That cash will help finance the Democrats' election year strategy."
Plante concluded his report by pointing to DNC talking points for the election: "Party Chairman Tim Kaine laid it out, charging that the Republican Party and tea party have become one in the same." He then remarked: "That's what you'll be hearing for the next three months. Meanwhile, the President will continue to vacuum up campaign dollars."
On Thursday's Early Show, correspondent John Blackstone reported on a federal judge blocking several provisions in Arizona's new immigration law: "The judge's ruling seemed to answer the prayers of many in Arizona's immigrant communities." Footage of two women crying and praying at a protest against the law followed his declaration.
Blackstone began his report by noting that protestors "are already beginning to gather for more protests today against Arizona's new law. They know that even with the court ruling yesterday...there will be an appeal, that their battle is not over." During the segment, the headline on screen read: "Border Battle; Judge Blocks Part of Controversial Immigration Law."
Continuing to highlight opposition to the law, Blackstone focused one woman: "Waitress Yessica Perez is a U.S. citizen, but she feared the law would make her a target for police." He then inaccurately claimed that the law "would have required police to check the immigration status of virtually anyone they suspected of being here illegally." Blackstone never explained that police could only question someone's status after stopping them for a legal violation. Meanwhile, a clip was played of Perez fretting: "I heard of people that they didn't want to go out, just grocery shopping. They were worried they were going to be pulled over just because – because of this law."
On Saturday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Jim Axelrod reported on the death of former CBS correspondent Daniel Schorr, declaring that he "was an old-school broadcast journalist, he was the last working reporter who'd been one of Edward R. Morrow's boys." An on-screen headline read: "Celebrating Daniel Schorr; Legendary Journalist Dead at 93."
Axelrod touted Schorr's reporting from CBS's Washington bureau, "ending up on Richard Nixon's enemies list during Watergate, which he always called his greatest achievement." He briefly noted Schorr being fired from CBS after reporting a leaked classified CIA report, and described the reporter's time at CNN and NPR in later years. Axelrod quoted one NPR colleague of Schorr, Scott Simon: "'Dan Schorr was around from the Russian Revolution to the digital revolution.'" Axelrod remarked: "Simon could have added 'and we were all better informed for it.'" He never used the word liberal to describe Schorr.
As NewsBusters' Brent Baker earlier reported, one way in which Schorr infamously "informed" viewers while at CBS was to compare Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater to the neo-Nazi movement in Germany: "It looks as though Senator Goldwater, if nominated, will be starting his campaign here in Bavaria, center of Germany's right wing....Hitler's one-time stomping ground....there are signs that the American and German right wings are joining up."
At the end of Sunday's CBS Evening News, anchor Russ Mitchell celebrated the efforts of 82-year-old Jean Hill to ban the sale of bottled water in Concord, Massachusetts as: "...one woman's campaign for a greener America, one bottle at a time." He declared: "...you may remember the environmentalist mantra: 'Think globally, act locally'....[Hill] is trying to take that message to heart."
Mitchell went on to describe Hill's involvement in the issue: "...it was only a few months ago that this grandmother, best known for her blueberry pie, became a political force....At the annual town meeting in April, Hill proposed a resolution to ban her town from selling still water in plastic bottles. It passed." Some clips were played of Hill proclaiming: "There's nothing wrong with tap water....The most appalling was the trashing of our planet....They're filling our landfills and they're ending up in the ocean."
While noting the objections of a local grocery store owner, who feared a loss of customers due to the ban, Mitchell concluded the segment with a glorified comparison: "Concord would become the first American town to ban the sale of bottled water – a revolutionary move in a place where the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired 235 years ago." He added that Hill had "received postcards of support from around the country."
Appearing on Friday's CBS Early Show to discuss the Shirley Sherrod controversy, Ann Coulter pointed out the network's own faulty reporting on tea partiers protesting the passage of ObamaCare: "CBS News itself has reported that John Lewis was called the 'N' word 15 times. That is a lie, that is a despicable lie, that never happened. Why doesn't CBS News apologize for that?" [Audio available here]
Earlier in the discussion, fill-in co-host Erica Hill described how "things happen on both sides," like the inaccurate claims made against Sherrod. Coulter agreed and cited some examples:
Hill reiterated her initial point: "But Ann, Ann, things like this happen on both sides." She then went after Fox: "On Fox News we saw footage that was ran months ago, purportedly showing certain crowds at rallies, and they were from a different event. This happens across the board." At that point, Coulter noted the poor reporting done by CBS News.
On Thursday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Erica Hill discussed the firing of Shirley Sherrod with left-wing Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson, who used the opportunity to slam conservatives: "...there's unfair pressure on the Obama administration, Mr. Obama himself, from, I think, the far right wing, which perceives black gain at the expense of white security."
Dyson used the phrase "right wing" a total of eight times throughout the five-minute segment. He lamented how the White House "caved into duress and stress from the right wing" and later pushed the false claim that Fox News had pushed the Obama administration to fire Sherrod: "And it does show that Andrew Breitbart and other right-wing bloggers have an intense power, this is focused at Fox News, that then forces the mainstream media to pay attention and the White House itself got roped into this."
At one point, Dyson remarked: "...it's not just a matter of 'oh, those right wing guys over there are horrible,' there's liberal enlightened racism as well." Hill responded: "The NAACP initially jumped on this and said – and condemned – condemned Sherrod as well. So, I mean, this is coming from all sides. This is not just a right wing issue or a left wing issue." Dyson admitted that he thought the NAACP acted "dishonorably," but quickly moved back to conservatives: "...why do we take the word of a right-wing media on the issues and practices and behaviors of people in the broader mainstream? I think we have to be very careful here."
Appearing on Wednesday's Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC to discuss the Shirley Sherrod controversy, Politico co-founder Jim VandeHei pointed out the NAACP's role in fueling racial accusations: "If you think about this, where this thing started, the NAACP comes out and makes this charge against the tea party movement."
VandeHei rejected the NAACP's claim of racism in the political movement: "It's a very, very diffuse group. You cannot say that they are racist anymore then you can say the Republican Party's racist or the Democratic Party is racist, so it creates this culture and it's a dangerous topic, it's a dangerous fire to light, and then when it happens this is the outcome."
Explaining how the NAACP charge led to the accusations against Sherrod, VandeHei observed: "I'm not defending Breitbart. But conservatives are outraged, they feel like 'listen, you're – because I'm part of the tea party movement you say, therefore, I'm racist.' And so what Breitbart's arguing is 'I want to push back.'"
On Tuesday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Jeff Glor managed to squeeze criticism of a gaffe made by Sarah Palin into a story on a controversial plan to build a mosque just blocks from Ground Zero in New York City: "...on Twitter she called on peaceful Muslims to 'refudiate' the plan....Liberal bloggers pounced on the made-up word and Palin retracted her tweet."
While describing the opposing sides in the debate, Glor noted how Palin "upped an already raucous debate" with her comments on Twitter. After showing her tweet on screen, Glor played a clip of her using the word "refudiate" during a television appearance. He noted her response to criticism: "'Shakespeare liked to coin new words, too.'" Glor then clumsily shifted back to the topic at hand: "Grammatical debates aside, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has come out firmly in support of the plan."
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Erica Hill cheered the passage of financial reform legislation as "another huge milestone for President Obama." Hill went on to explain: "The first was when he signed the historic health care bill back in March. Today he is set to sign a bill aimed at completely overhauling Wall Street."
White House correspondent Chip Reid began a report on the new bill by proclaiming: "It's being hailed as the biggest shakeup of Wall Street since the Great Depression." Reid enthusiastically touted provisions in the legislation: "The bill's centerpiece is the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection....charged with regulating financial products, including mortgages, credit cards, and student loans. The legislation also gives broad new powers to the federal government, allowing it to take control of and shut down large financial institutions..."
Reid pointed out criticism of the legislation: "But critics say the bill fails to reform mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, does not create a fund to help shut down big banks when they fail, and gives too much power to federal regulators to create reams of new rules." After noting GOP concern that bill "will curb growth and kill jobs," Reid turned to an analyst from the left-leaning Brookings Institution for reassurance: "Still, former investment banker Douglas Elliott believes the bill is better than doing nothing." Elliott argued: "The bill addresses most of the problems and makes a good start. It's not perfection, but in the real world, we don't get perfection."
After the network pushed Congress for weeks to extend unemployment benefits, CBS's Early Show cheered the expected passage of the legislation on Tuesday. Co-host Harry Smith noted how Democrats "have enough votes to break a GOP filibuster" and White House correspondent Chip Reid later added: "Democrats appear to have won a major battle in the long fight to extend unemployment benefits."
Reid portrayed the Democrats as standing on the side of the American people against obstructionist Republicans: "...this unemployment benefits extension has been stalled in the Senate since June. If it passes, millions of Americans will start getting about $309 a week." A headline on screen read: "Jobless Relief; Senate Set to Extend Unemployment Benefits."
Describing White House attacks on the GOP over the issue, Reid declared: "President Obama accused Republicans of indifference to out of work Americans for refusing to extend benefits." After a clip of the President was played, Reid explained Republican objections: "they support the extension but want the $34 billion cost paid for by an equal cut in the budget." A clip of House Minority Leader John Boehner was played, but Reid chose to end with Obama: "The President fired back, saying the Republicans have a double standard."
On Monday, Andrew Breitbart, on his blog Big Government, revealed video of a Department of Agriculture official making racially charged comments at an NAACP meeting in March. While the media were quick to jump on the civil rights organization accusing the tea party of racism last week, they have failed to provide any coverage of this controversy.
The comments were made by the USDA's Georgia Director of Rural Development Shirley Sherrod at a NAACP Freedom Fund dinner in Georgia on March 27. As the video clearly shows, Sherrod's description of discriminating against white farmers was well received by the audience. The comments stirred so much controversy that Sherrod resigned Monday night and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was forced to issue a statement on the matter: "“There is zero tolerance for discrimination at USDA, and I strongly condemn any act of discrimination against any person.”
As NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard earlier reported, none of the network evening news broadcasts touched the story on Monday . On Tuesday, the CBS Early Show, NBC's Today, and ABC's Good Morning America were all silent on the controversy and resignation. However, all three morning shows did manage to focus on a recent verbal gaffe made by Sarah Palin.
Following a report on Saturday's CBS Evening News, in which White House correspondent Chip Reid defended President Obama's Maine vacation with a comparison to President Bush's vacation time, Monday's Early Show took the same approach as correspondent Michelle Miller reported:
But it's not just where and when presidents travel, it's how often. Ronald Reagan took 349 vacation days at his California ranch during his eight years in office. In his first year and a half as President, George W. Bush vacationed 96 days. Over that same time period, President Obama has taken 36 days.
On Saturday, Reid had similarly noted: "Whatever criticism there may be of the President's vacation choices, he's spent 33 days on vacation in his first 18 months. His predecessor, Bush W. Bush, spent 96 in the same period."
When Obama vacationed on Martha' Vineyard in August of 2009, Reid highlighted how it helped the local economy: "One thing that’s going to give a huge boost to the economy is all the Obama paraphernalia...t-shirts, it’s baseball caps and magnets and coffee mugs and glasses. And restaurants are selling the ‘Baracko Taco.’ Bars are selling ‘Ale to the Chief.’ And all of it is selling like crazy."