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."
MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan took time out his Friday show to send a special message to the founder of the left-wing Huffington Post blog: “happy birthday to a good friend of the show…. Miss Arianna Huffington, earlier this week, turned 60 years young and had quite the celebration…. I had the privilege of being able to join her.”
Not content with simply wishing her a happy birthday, Ratigan went on to declare: “Arianna Huffington, who represents such a voice of truth and the highest aspiration for any individual that hopes to improve themselves each and every day, as they go through their days, to be better, not only for themselves, but to those around them.” He concluded: “I believe she is a role model for all of us in that regard and couldn’t be happier for her.”
In reality, the Huffington Post has been far from a “voice of truth,” let alone representing anyone’s “highest aspiration.” As a 2007 Media Research Center report, Huffington’s House of Horrors, detailed, “the HuffPost’s content reveals that flame-throwing, name-calling, and hate speech against conservatives are all on the Web site’s everyday menu.”
On Friday's Dylan Ratigan show on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan reported on Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann attempting to form a congressional tea party caucus and proceeded to rant: "...the tea partiers were nowhere when it came to ending the mass extraction in Wall Street, so I think they're actually full of crap." [Audio available here]
Ratigan then wondered: "...for a movement, however, that prides itself on having no formal ties to the federal government, forget the aspect of being full of crap when it comes to the banking system, why are the Republican Party members and tea party members so receptive to getting together?" He posed that question to his guests, left-wing talk show host Cenk Uygur and former Bill Clinton speechwriter Michael Waldman.
Uygur couldn't agree more with Ratigan's assessment: "You took the words right out of my mouth. She [Bachmann] is so full of crap. I mean, she might be the queen of crap." He then proclaimed: "All she's ever done is protected the bankers....I guess the tea party movement, in essence, is actually about protecting the richest people in America. Wow, what a populist movement you have there."
Waldman took the conversation even lower, as he argued: "The Republicans would like to benefit from the...neurotic energy of the tea party. But they don't really want them in the front parlor. They don't want everybody to identify their extremism with the Republican Party, just the way the Democrats didn't want the Weathermen determining the face...At the front of the house." The Weathermen, or Weather Underground, was a anti-war domestic terrorist organization during the Vietnam war era. Barack Obama associate Bill Ayers was a member.
On Thursday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric touted the just-passed financial reform bill as a "big win" for President Obama, "as was the passage of health care reform." She then lamented how despite that: "...there are rumblings he's in big political trouble as the midterm elections approach."
In the report that followed, White House correspondent Chip Reid proclaimed: "...the President was reveling in another victory on a major piece of legislation.... he'll add it to a long list, headlined by health care reform and the stimulus." A graphic then appeared on-screen actually listing half a dozen of the Obama administration's supposed accomplishments for viewers.
Turning to Obama's falling poll numbers, Reid seemed puzzled: "With so many accomplishments in just 18 months, you'd think the President would be flying high. Instead, his approval rating continues to sink and now stands at just 44 percent."
Reid then observed: "So, what's the problem? In a word: jobs." He highlighted the President's recent trip to stimulus-funded projects in Michigan and sympathized with how Obama "seems powerless to do anything about an unemployment rate stuck at an excruciating 9.5 percent."
While discussing President Obama's sinking approval ratings with Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer on Friday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Erica Hill did her best to make lemonade out of lemons for the Democratic Party: "But in the end, could losing the House ultimately be good for the President? Because it certainly helped Bill Clinton."
Schieffer was the rare voice of wisdom, replying: "You know, Erica, I don't think it is ever good to lose. I think you're always better off when you win." Though he did try to downplay the potential Democratic losses by suggesting both parties were in danger: "I think this is just a symptom of the greater problem, and that is until this economy gets better, everybody in elected office better look out because they could be in trouble." Hill agreed: "Be very careful, no one is safe at this point."
The majority of the segment touted Obama's supposed policy achievements and wondered why he wasn't more popular with the American people. At the top of the broadcast, co-host Harry Smith declared: "Congress approves sweeping changes in financial regulations as President Obama takes on Wall Street and wins. So, why are his poll numbers so bad?" Hill later proclaimed: "It's another legislative victory for the President. His poll numbers, however, are worse than ever."
CBS’s Early Show was eager to host Levi Johnston when he was trashing the Palin family last year – 5 segments totaling more than 24 minutes of airtime. But since admitting that some of his attacks were untrue, the morning show has barely noticed, making only two brief mentions of Johnston's reversal and apology in a July 6 People Magazine interview.
On Friday, fill-in co-host Erica Hill offered a scant 42 second discussion of Johnston's apology in the show's weekly 'Early Wrap' segment. She actually admitted that it had been "highly under-reported." On Wednesday, amidst 2 minutes and 32 seconds of coverage of Johnston's re-engagement to Bristol Palin, a total of 25 seconds was given to his apology.
During the Wednesday coverage, co-host Harry Smith remarked: "How many times was that young man on this show talking really horrible things about the Palins?" Later, Hill declared that Johnston "said some rather unflattering things," causing Smith to once again describe how "Levi was on this show a bunch, several times in that era, and did interviews with [fellow Early Show co-host] Maggie [Rodriguez]."
Of the five 2009 segments about Johnston, three were exclusive interviews between him and Rodriguez. The first interview aired on April 8, while the second was aired in two parts on October 28 and 29. In addition, the show did September 3 segment on Johnston's anti-Palin Vanity Fair interview and a November 17 story previewing an interview with him on the CBS entertainment news program 'The Insider.'
On Saturday's CBS Evening News, anchor Jeff Glor reported on an immigration protest in Boston: "...hundreds opposed to Arizona's controversial immigration law protested the presence of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer at a meeting there." One protestor held a sign that read: "Jan Brewer is a Bigot." Glor then turned to a report on a similar immigration law proposed in Pennsylvania.
Correspondent Elaine Quijano explained how a CBS News poll showed 52% of Americans support the Arizona's immigration law and that "other states are preparing to follow Arizona's lead": "In Pennsylvania, bipartisan measures to compel construction companies to check worker's status are moving swiftly through the legislature." She then warned: "Republican state representative Daryl Metcalfe wants to go further, introducing a tough measure modeled after Arizona's law." She went on to declare: "Metcalfe's proposal is already facing fierce opposition."
Quijano described one source of that "fierce opposition," the Democratic mayor of Philadelphia: "Michael Nutter says the solution lies with the federal government, not the states." Nutter repeated Obama administration talking points on the issue: "We should not have a patchwork of immigration policies for every state in the United States of America. That's insane." Quijano added: "Nutter believes the law could create problems for law enforcement, making illegal immigrants afraid to report crimes to police."
On Saturday's CBS Evening News, anchor Jeff Glor decided what should be at the top of Congress's agenda as it returned from the July 4th recess: "Congress returns to Washington next week to face a big backlog of unfinished business, and topping the list is the future of unemployment benefits."
In a report that followed, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante chided elected officials for going on vacation without resolving the issue: "It's been ten days since senators went home for their July 4th vacation without extending unemployment benefits....They've now run out for more than 1.3 million people and the Labor Department says that number could rise to 3 million by the end of this month."
Plante then touted Democrats blaming the GOP for the inaction: "As he campaigns for Democrats, the President paints the lack of new benefits as Republican heartlessness....There were protests this week from labor unions against some Senate Republicans. This one in Lexington, Kentucky directed at the GOP leader Mitch Mcconnell, calling for action when the Senate returns next week." Plante noted the Republican response to such claims: "But Mcconnell blames Democrats for refusing to cut spending to pay the $34 billion cost of the extension."
While devoting all of Sunday's Face the Nation to an interview with Attorney General Eric Holder, CBS host Bob Schieffer failed to ask a single question about the Obama Justice Department dropping a voter intimidation case against the Black Panthers or allegations that the department has adopted a policy of ignoring such cases.
Schieffer discussed a range of topics with Holder, from the federal lawsuit against Arizona's immigration law, to a potential criminal investigation into BP, to the trial of terrorist Khalid Shaik Muhammed and closing Guantanamo Bay. At the end of the interview, Schieffer even asked about Holder's infamous comment that the United States was a "nation of cowards" when it came to discussing race.
However, the Face the Nation host failed to use that comment as a transition to the Black Panthers case, despite the fact that former DOJ attorney Christian Adams recently testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, accusing the department of adopting a policy of refusing to pursue voter intimidation cases that involved black defendants and white victims.
Appearing on Monday's CBS Early Show, actor Sean Penn described ongoing relief efforts in Haiti following January's earthquake and condemned the media for its lack of coverage of the disaster beyond the initial weeks: "I think that the media has played an enormous part in the failures that are still going on today and the recovery here and the relief operations."
Those comments from Penn were prompted by co-host Harry Smith wondering: "People would be curious why you went in the first place. And then, why you stayed. What's the best answer for that?" Penn replied: "...if they're wondering that, then that would be an indictment of the American and the international press that came here in the immediate aftermath of this devastating earthquake." Penn explained: "The United States sent its military, that did an extraordinary job in immediate relief....And then when they went on with other deployments, when the amputations en masse stopped, the media left."
Smith gave absolutely no reaction to Penn's scathing criticism, but simply went on to tout praise for the left-wing actor's work on the island nation: "I was reading the comments of a lieutenant general from the U.S. Southern Command who you came in contact with. And he said, 'you know, maybe I don't agree with Sean Penn's politics but I can tell you this, he's a doer, not a talker....I applaud the leadership he has shown. He doesn't have to do this.'"
Update: CBS earlier declined comment on Johnston apology.
On Friday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Erica Hill confessed Levi Johnston's apology for making false statements about the Palin family was "highly under-reported." During the 'Early Wrap' segment, Hill told a panel of media pundits: "My favorite story of the week, which was highly under-reported...is that Levi Johnston came out and said....Some things he said about the Palin family were not true."
It's interesting that Hill used the phrase "under-reported," when CBS did not cover Johnston's admission at all since he made the statement in a Tuesday interview with People Magazine. Meanwhile, the network, and the Early Show in particular, heavily promoted Johnston's claims about the Palins last year.
Update: In a Wednesday article entitled "Will Levi's apology lead to media corrections?," Michael Calderone of Yahoo News observed: "Johnston used to have a lot to say. And the media — whether they were news, politics or celebrity outlets — listened. He appeared on the 'CBS Early Show,' 'Entertainment Tonight' and 'The Tyra Banks Show.'" Calderone attempted to get a response from CBS on Johnston's apology but they "declined comment."
In response to Hill, panelist Joe Levy, editor-in-chief of Maxim Magazine, dismissed the revelation: "Wow. So, a teenager who breaks up with his girlfriend says untrue things about her and her family? That is a shocker. I don't think that's ever happened before." Fellow panelist, Daily Show correspondent Olivia Munn, chimed in: "I think he needs to apologize for his Playgirl spread first and then go to the Palins....Because America is hurt, first and foremost, and then some people in Alaska."
In an interview with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric noted President Obama's unpopularity in Israel and pressed Netanyahu to remedy that fact: "To change public opinion in your country, should you be more strongly advocating on his behalf?"
Couric preceded that question by citing a recent poll of Israelis, which she seemed perplexed by: "Can you explain this to me, then? In a poll conducted a month ago – just a month ago – 71 percent of the Jews in Israel surveyed said they dislike President Obama; 47 percent expressed a strong dislike."
Earlier in the interview, Couric tried to gauge Netanyahu's feelings toward Obama: "Do you trust Barack Obama?...surely there have been disappointments with the Obama administration. Can you just be candid with me and tell me how the administration has disappointed you?" While Couric asked about Israeli "disappointments" with Obama, she never cited any specific Obama administration policies or actions as the cause of those disappointments.
Cenk Uygur, host of the left-wing internet talk show 'The Young Turks,' filled in for MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan during the 4PM ET hour on Wednesday and decried the nation's "shift to the Right." He lamented: "...when I started out I was a liberal Republican. No such thing exists anymore." [Audio available here]
He wondered why the media hadn't reported on the supposed radical shift in American politics and quickly came up with this explanation: "Why the media didn't challenge it is because they [conservatives] kept calling them the liberal media, and why did they call them that? Because during civil rights, they [the media] said 'yeah, black people and white people are the same' and the conservatives at the time said 'damn liberal media,' and, you know, that intimidated the media into not recognizing this trend."
Uygur's liberal guests, author Linda Monk and Wesleyen University professor Claire Potter did not disagree. In fact, Monk made sure to criticize President Eisenhower for his views on civil rights: "...let's not be too celebratory of Eisenhower. He did stand up for the desegregation decisions. He did his job as president. But privately he was known for saying that racial desegregation was social disintegration, so he perhaps wasn't as progressive on the race issue as some would interpret his actions to be."
In an interview with People Magazine on Tuesday, Levi Johnston admitted: "I publicly said things about the Palins that were not completely true." On Wednesday, the CBS Early Show failed to make any mention of the admission, despite having provided a media platform for Johnston last year by conducting exclusive interviews with him.
On the April 8, 2009 broadcast, co-host Maggie Rodriguez conducted her first interview with Johnston, and introduced the segment by proclaiming: "He [Johnston], along with his mother and sister, sat down with me last night for an interview to clear up the 'lies' they say the Palins have been telling about them." Rodriguez sympathized with the former boyfriend of Bristol Palin by wondering: "Did you get your heart broken?"
During a September 3 segment on Johnston's latest attack against the Palins, Rodriguez declared: "And shocking allegations that could shatter former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's conservative family image. If she chooses to believe what Levi Johnston is saying." Rodriguez's second interview with Johnston came weeks later on October 29: "He is back on the offensive in this he-said-she-said battle that began shortly after the presidential election....he says he's trying to show the world the real Levi." In reaction to that interview, Sarah Palin called out the network for promoting Johnston: "CBS should be ashamed for continually providing a forum to propagate lies."
In part two of her interview with TVNewser editor Kevin Allocca on MediaBistro.com's Media Beat, MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer discussed a incident last year in which she mistakenly introduced Reverend Jess Jackson as Al Sharpton: "...those things make me crazy.... I really hate that something like that can paint your whole career."
Brewer specifically called out blogs for reporting the gaffe: "...when I was younger in my career, if I had made a mistake like that, there were no blogs to keep it perpetuity." Allocca replied: "Are you looking at me? I do have a blog that keeps things in perpetuity." Brewer responded: "Whether you do or not, there will be someone else to pick up that slack, so I won't hold it against you in particular." The TVNewser blog did indeed report the incident on October 21, 2009, as did NewsBusters.
Brewer explained: "...the best thing I can do at the point is just to apologize and the Reverend has been very gracious and accepted my apology." She then added how the gaffe "turned into a great opportunity to develop a relationship with someone that I admire," referring to a subsequent meeting with Jackson.
In an interview on MediaBistro.com's 'Media Beat,' MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer told TVNewser editor Kevin Allocca about the cable network's high standards in its audition process: "...it's got to be like the Marine Corps obstacle course in order to land this job." She later complained about "difficult" guests: "When someone comes on with an agenda and their agenda is to take you down."
Allocca asked Brewer about some her toughest interviews. She responded by describing certain guests who "come on and they are prepared to be challenging and to be difficult." Two examples came to her mind, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Republican Senator Judd Gregg.
In recalling a January interview with Gregg, Brewer whined about how "it was a difficult interview to conduct." In reality, Gregg simply pointed out Brewer's liberal bias on the issue of government spending, after she equated Republican calls for less spending with cutting off funding for schools. Gregg pointed out that she was "being fundamentally dishonest" in her reporting.
During the Media Beat interview, she said of guests like Gregg: "...when you have guests on who are difficult or if they're – if they're sticking they're heels in the ground and they're really – you just end it, you move on."