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."
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?"