On Wednesday's Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan didn't see any point to continuing the war in Afghanistan and slammed military air strikes against terrorist targets as: "kids with joysticks in New Jersey and Las Vegas dropping predator bombs on civilians willy-nilly." [Audio available here]
Ratigan began a panel discussion on Afghanistan with Democratic strategist David Goodfriend and Republican strategist Brent Littlefield by wondering: "Is there anybody in this administration on either side that can actually justify the American presence in Afghanistan at this point?" Littlefield attempted to explain: "we had the previous president, took the country in there because of the attacks on 9/11." Ratigan was dismissive: "That was almost ten years ago, right? I mean that was a long time ago."
Ratigan moved on to Goodfriend and referenced NBC correspondent Richard Engel's appearance on the show on Tuesday: "He is making the point that the Bush doctrine of fight them there and they won't get us here appears to be continuing to break down as we now default to just predator drone-them-to-death wherever they may be on remote control and an apparent, sort of, nonevent in Afghanistan. It's like a charade." Of course the reliance on predator drone attacks was significantly increased under the Obama administration.
On CBS's Sunday Morning, correspondent Mark Phillips described the latest adaptation of the Robin Hood legend by director Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe: "And so here is an evil King John, squeezing his subjects for more taxes....And here is Robin. Not as a thief, but as a revolutionary figure trying to limit the King's power. Robin Hood meets Che Guevara." [Audio available here]
Protesting high taxes and wanting to limit government power is the equivalent of a Communist revolution? Sounds more like the Tea Party movement.
After making that bizarre comparison, Phillips further explained the plot of the new film: "This Robin joins the fight to get the English king to sign the Magna Carta in the year 1215, the document establishing the first rights on which modern democracies are based." Guevara, of course, was the ruthless henchman of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, hardly an advocate for democracy.
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reported on Conservative Party leader David Cameron becoming the new British prime minister, but downplayed the political shift: "Cameron is a conservative in the British sense. In favor of gay rights, a green agenda, and the welfare state."
While in American conservative terms Cameron would certainly be considered a moderate, for Britain, the swing from 13 years of rule by the liberal Labour Party to a Conservative becoming head of state was quite significant.
Palmer cited more evidence of Cameron's supposed liberalism: "In fact, in his victory speech, addressing the huge challenges facing debt-ridden Britain, he even paraphrased John F. Kennedy." A clip was played of Cameron declaring: "One where we don't just ask, what are my entitlements? But what are my responsibilities? When we don't ask where, what am I just owed, but more, what can I give?" Calling on people to not simply rely on government entitlements hardly sounds like a liberal tenet.
In an interview with Senator John Kerry on Wednesday's CBS Early Show on the Gulf Coast oil spill, co-host Maggie Rodriguez hit from the left on new energy legislation proposed by the Massachusetts Democrat: "correct me if I'm wrong, your legislation calls for expanding offshore drilling at a time when polls show most Americans no longer support it. Why do you believe it's necessary to do that?"
A CBS News poll flashed on screen showing that only 46% Americans now support offshore oil drilling in the wake of the spill, as opposed to 62% supporting it in 2008. Kerry responded by pointing out that his bill would "actually restrict the current plan of the President" to expand offshore drilling. Rodriguez pressed further: "Are you saying it does not call for expanded offshore drilling?" Kerry reiterated: "I'm saying that it restricts the current law and it restricts the President's current plan."
Kerry began the interview by touting his desire to restrict oil production: "we have to really take the steps that we've been talking about for 30 years, for too long now, to move away from our energy dependence on fossil fuels, and particularly on imported fuel....The importance is now to move to the new economy." Apparently anything short of an all out ban on offshore drilling was not enough for Rodriguez.
Later in the segment, spurred by Rodriguez, Kerry proclaimed: "we're not going to stop drilling all of a sudden....it isn't going to disappear until we put our bill in place."
Late in Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed 9-year-old actress Fatima Ptacek and wondered: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Ptacek replied: "I definitely want to be the first female president. But I also want to be a lawyer, so I can protect those innocent people." Rodriguez gushed: "Oh, that's good. You sound like President Obama."
Rodriguez then remarked: "So he [Obama] went to Harvard. Where do you want to go to college?" Ptacek predictably responded: "Harvard."
Later in the interview, Rodriguez mentioned a recent television appearance by Ptacek: "And you've gotten to do some really cool things. What was it like to be on Sesame Street with Michelle Obama?" Ptacek declared: "It was an amazing experience, Michelle Obama is very sweet, very down to earth. She's great." Rodriguez asked: "Did she give you any words of wisdom?"
In an interview with Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith lamented President Obama's nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court: "Liberals feel let down because she would be filling a seat left by John Paul Stevens, they don't feel like she's enough – has enough gravitas to fill his shoes."
In his first question to Biden, Smith fretted: "Some people have said she's a person so careful as to leave no footprint. Do you really know what you're getting? Do the American people know what they're getting?" Smith went on to question Kagan's qualifications: "she's never been a public defender, she's never been a prosecutor, she's never been a judge. Most of her career has been in Washington or in an ivy or ivory tower."
In an interview with Republican Senator Jeff Sessions immediately following the Biden interview, co-host Maggie Rodriguez went so far as to wonder if Kagan would have a conservative influence on the court: "When she worked for the Clinton administration, Ms. Kagan asked the President to support a ban on all abortions of viable fetuses except when the mother's health was at risk. And some analysts have used that example to show that she may actually shift the court to the Right, compared with Justice Stevens. How do you respond to that?"
In the 7:30AM ET half hour on Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez lobbed softballs to disgraced former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer about his college friend and Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan: "She's been labeled as moderate. If you had to put a label on her, would you say that one is accurate?" A headline on screen read: "Who is Elena Kagan?"
Spitzer replied: "I guess you could say moderate....it's very hard to pigeon hole her." Rodriguez's question was prompted by his insistence that Kagan "is not an ideologue of the Left or the Right and that is clear from what she did as dean of Harvard Law School. Just a perfect temperament to be a justice." Of course, during Kagan's tenure as dean of Harvard Law, she pushed for military recruiters to be barred from campus because of her opposition to 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy.
Rodriguez wondered about Kagan's college days: "Can you think of a story or an anecdote from back then?" Spitzer recalled: "a friend and I were going back and forth about who could eat more, she goaded us into having a spaghetti eating contest." Rodriguez looked for the best way to spin the story to make it relevant: "I'm trying to take something from that, could it be that she's persuasive, can bring people together, which is what the President is hoping?" In response, Spitzer declared that once on the Supreme Court, Kagan "will get the fifth vote."
During live CBS News coverage on Monday of President Obama's nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer argued that the Senate confirmation process would be "nasty....Not because of Elena Kagan....she is eminently qualified" but because Republicans are "very wary of what the right part of their party is thinking about them."
As evidence of his theory, Schieffer pointed to the primary defeat of Republican Utah Senator Bob Bennett on Saturday: "it is a very toxic election year. You saw over the weekend that Bob Bennett, the very conservative Republican senator from Utah lost the Republican nomination out in his home state because people there, including a lot of tea party people, thought he was not conservative enough." He concluded: "I think in the end, she will probably be confirmed, but I think it's going to be a very tough vote for a lot of Republicans and I think it's going to take some time before they get to that final vote."
In response to Schieffer's assertion, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric, who broke into CBS daytime programing at 10AM ET with a special report on the nomination, lamented: "Nothing is easy or simple in Washington these days, Bob."
In Friday's 3PM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC, anchor Peter Alexander asked black Republican congressional candidate Allen West of Florida about "aligning" with the tea party movement: "the Tea Party has raised concerns that it may have, I guess, racism built within it. We have seen some racist signs at past events...are African-American candidates aligning themselves with the tea party?" [Audio available here]
West responded: "The principles and values that I espouse, limited government, lower taxes, individual responsibility, and accountability, liberty, and honoring the traditions of our constitutional republic, are connecting me with those grass roots Americans that attend tea party rallies. And I've spoken at four to five of those rallies and I've not seen any racist type of signs."
On Wednesday, Alexander talked with correspondent Luke Russert about the fact that 32 African-Americans are running for Congress as Republicans. Russert noted with surprise how "these candidates are actually soliciting support from the tea party, a group that a lot of folks have claimed to be racist against African-Americans."
On Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith commemorated the 50th anniversary of the invention of the birth control pill: "This week is the golden anniversary of the birth of birth control, a medical breakthrough that has changed society and the sexual landscape forever....'The Pill' promised to free women from biological bonds and it did just that."
In a taped report, Smith described the breaking of those "bonds": "In the 1950s, women made up about a third of the workforce. Today, women hold nearly half of all U.S. jobs. In the 1950s, American women, on average, had 3.8 children. Today that number has dropped to 2.1." The report featured a clip of Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, who proclaimed: "The invention of the birth control pill revolutionized life for women in America. It's completely changed women's options."
Smith noted how the contraceptive "was condemned by the Catholic Church and by many conservatives." A clip of historian Ellen Chesler followed: "It was really considered immoral to suggest that women's primary role should not be that of wife and mother. But, rather, that women should have rights to experience their sexuality free of consequence, just like men have always done."
On Thursday's 11AM hour on MSNBC, anchor Tamron Hall described "growing controversy" surrounding the recent shooting of an Arizona sheriff's deputy by illegal immigrant drug smugglers and noted how: "The Pinal County sheriff released the 911 tapes the injured deputy made, in response to what he called 'growing speculation' that the shooting was staged." [Audio available here]
Hall brought on Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu to respond and grilled him on the conspiracy theory put out by the left-leaning Phoenix NewTimes: "a report...comparing the deputy who received that wound...to another officer who had staged a gun battle. The allegation here is that this shooting...was to supposed to help convince people that the tough Arizona law against immigration was needed, that this was the example that you could hold up as proof. What do you say to those claims that this was all staged?"
Babeu replied: "Well, we in law enforcement operate in the realm of facts....We don't have the luxury to operate just with all these wild ideas that could be out there." He went on add: "So this news account, they didn't have the benefit of any of the facts. In fact, they didn't even talk to me or anybody from my agency."
On April 13, I reported on CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft complaining about the fact that Dick Cheney and Karl Rove have refused to appear on the program. I pointed to recent instances of 60 Minutes smearing both men as a possible cause of their unwillingness to be guests and found that one of those examples was referenced by Rove in his new book, Courage and Consequence.
On February 24, 2008, 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley did a story on a bizarre conspiracy theory in which an Alabama lawyer named Dana Jill Simpson accused Rove of engineering the political downfall and imprisonment of the state's former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman. In Chapter 34 of his book, entitled "Rove: The Myth," pages 506-507, Rove describes his reaction to Pelley airing the piece: "I was flabbergasted that Pelley had bought her [Simpson's] story. His producers had called me about Simpson the previous October. I told them I had never met the woman or worked with her in any campaign or capacity."
Rove went on to note: "It struck me as odd that five months later, Pelley did not call to say that 60 Minutes was going with the story and that he wanted to give me a chance to tell my version." Rove also explained his efforts to reach out to Pelley after the segment aired: "[I] stewed about it for several weeks before calling Pelley on March 31 to list all the ways I thought he had failed to exercise due diligence. While cordial, Pelley was unresponsive. So I followed up with a letter on April 2, summarizing my concerns....In a letter two weeks later, Pelley answered virtually none of my questions."
Near the top of Tuesday's Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan fretted over American Muslims being harassed in the wake of the failed Times Square bombing: "how do you deal with these types of crimes without resulting in racism, effectively, towards people of Pakistani or Middle Eastern descent?...is there not a natural backlash to this?" [Audio available here]
Ratigan asked that of Sofian Zakkout, the director of the American Muslim Association of North America, who replied: "We should calm down, it's – thank God nobody got hurt. We all know – and also I spoke today, this morning, with CAIR and other Islamic organizations....we denounce what was going to happen." Zakkout's organization has had links to questionable Islamic organizations on its website and has voiced support for the terrorist organization Hamas.
Ratigan seemed to be following the lead of his MSNBC colleague Contessa Brewer, who appeared on Tuesday's Stephanie Miller radio show and lamented the ethnicity of the would-be bomber: "I get frustrated...There was part of me that was hoping this was not going to be anybody with ties to any kind of Islamic country."
Filling in for host Bob Schieffer on Sunday's Face the Nation on CBS, Early Show co-host Harry Smith grilled former Republican Congressman J.D. Hayworth on Arizona's new immigration law: "Some people would contend that this law in Arizona is racist in nature. Some have equated it even with Jews having to carry identification during Nazi Germany. How do you respond to that?" [Audio available here]
Hayworth shot down the absurd comparison: "That is overblown rhetoric. And it's a tool that's been used before....what's going on is a deliberate distortion to move this from a question of enforcement to one of ethnicity. It's not the case. I read you the language of the bill-" Smith interrupted: "But hang on second...J.D. let me ask you this. If you were Hispanic and you were walking down the street today in Arizona, would you have some concern if a squad car drove by?"
Only minutes earlier, Hayworth had read from the Arizona law, citing a key provision that directly contradicted Smith's assertions: "It says the law, quote, 'shall be implemented in a matter consistent with federal laws regulating immigration, protecting the civil rights of all persons, and respecting the privileges and immunities of United States citizens.'"
Hayworth attempted to reiterate that point: "The law is very finely crafted, protecting-" Smith again interrupted: "It was amended Friday." Hayworth replied: "because good people of good will want to go the extra mile to ensure there is not a hint of racism here."
In wake of Arizona's new immigration law, CBS 60 Minutes anchor Scott Pelley fretted over illegal immigrants entering the United States by swimming across California's All-American Canal: "a national moat on our southern border, and hundreds of people have perished in its waters. It is a carnage that has gone mostly unnoticed because many of the victims are buried without their names." [Audio available here]
Pelley began the story by proclaiming: "In the California desert, in a field of mud, is a graveyard that is hard to imagine in America.Bricks mark the final resting place of hundreds of human beings, identities unknown. They died traveling to America in search of a life better than their home countries could offer." Moments later, Pelley explained: "While the canal is a death trap, it is also a lifeline for the nation....Two thirds of our winter fruits and vegetables are grown with this water. But half of the people who pick those crops are illegal immigrants. To get the jobs created by the canal, they cross the canal, usually at night on makeshift rafts or using plastic jugs for flotation."
It did not take long to for Pelley place blame for drownings, not on those crossing the border illegally, but on those operating the canal: "The water is 225 feet across, 20 feet deep, with almost no rescue lines or climb-out ladders, safety devices that you would find in some other canals....management is controlled by a regional authority called the Imperial Irrigation District....They've taken votes, commissioned studies, but done almost nothing."
On Friday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Bill Whitaker reported on protests against Arizona's new immigration law, citing several opponents of the new measure, but failing to feature a single supporter. On Thursday's Evening News, Whitaker filed a nearly identical report that included a clip of at least one proponent of the legislation.
In the Early Show report, footage was show of an immigration law protestor declaring: "We are America. Get over it." Whitaker followed by proclaiming: "Opponents say requiring police to demand proof of citizenship from anyone they suspect is un-American. Even the mayor of Phoenix is suing to have the law overturned." A clip was played of Mayor Phil Gordon ranting: "Arizona and Phoenix is not the Arizona or Phoenix that you have seen portrayed by some individuals that have brought this racist, this hateful law to the state."
Whitaker noted how "protesters turned up the star power. Pop star Shakira voiced her opposition." A clip was played of the singer fretting: "I'm worried about the impact that the implementation of this law will have on hard working Latino families." Whitaker added: "Mexican American singer Linda Ronstadt spoke out, as well." Ronstadt remarked: "Gee, I better pack my passport, you know, coming to Tucson."
During Thursday's 11AM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Tamron Hall asked former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean about Florida Governor Charlie Crist's expected announcement to run as an independent in that state's senate race: "Is this a sign that people, perhaps centrists or moderates, like Charlie Crist, have no place in this new emerging Republican Party?"
That set up the left-wing Dean to bash conservatives and the GOP: "What effect does the tea party have on the Republican Party? And this is a really good example. They've driven another moderate out of the Republican Party....there just apparently is no place in the Republican Party for moderate, thoughtful people anymore."
Hall first asked Dean about an odd rumor: "There is a story online that's being picked up by conservative blogs that you offered to contribute to Charlie Crist's campaign if he left the Republican Party. What happened there?" Dean explained: "That was a joke between me and Joe Scarborough which some enterprising staffer for Crist picked up and pushed it around. It's not true. I'm supporting Kendrick Meek." He then added: "I actually think that the two big winners out of this are the United States, who are hopefully going to get a real senator instead of a far-right person, and I do think, of course, it helps the Democratic Party and Kendrick's candidacy as well."
After Hall introduced Dean at the beginning of the segment, she remarked: "I say it like you're a correspondent now....I love that being a possible segment Governor Dean, you coming on and talking about the top political news of the day."
On MediaBistro.com's TVNewser blog, Chris Ariens reported on Wednesday that CBS News has announced a list of special guests seated at its table for Saturday's upcoming White House Correspondents Association Dinner, a list which includes a handful of celebrities as well as a seven prominent political figures, only one of whom is a Republican.
The public officials who will be sitting down for a meal with CBS anchors and correspondents are White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Attorney General Eric Holder, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Washington DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, Democratic Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, and the lone Republican, Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor. I wonder who Katie Couric will choose to sit next to?
The non-political guests are actor Morgan Freeman, who narrates the opening of the CBS Evening News, actress Julianna Margulies, actress Betty White, talk show host Chelsea Handler, and Ayla Brown, the daughter of Republican Senator Scott Brown and newly named contributor to the CBS Early Show.
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith lamented Republican opposition to the Democrats' financial reform legislation: "The Senate is expected to vote for a third time on financial reform.Republicans blocked the previous two attempts. President Obama says he can't understand why, and plans to make his case once again later today."
In the report that followed, White House correspondent Chip Reid described the Democratic strategy against Republicans:
Of course, both parties have accepted millions of dollars in political contributions from Wall Street over the years. But now Democrats are doing everything in their power to portray Republicans as the party of Wall Street. It's an argument the President believes is especially effective here in the heartland. President Obama was back where it all started, Iowa, this time denouncing Senate Republicans for blocking debate on financial reform.
A headline on screen read: "Presidential Push; Obama Takes on GOP on Financial Reform."
Hitting from the left in an interview with Republican Senator John McCain on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith worried about the ability of financial reform legislation to expand government control over Wall Street: "How are you going to dis – how does any of this dismantle these giant financial institutions?"
On April 22, ABC Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos asked Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner a similar question: "Why shouldn't those big banks be broken up?"
At the top of Tuesday's Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez put the GOP on the defensive: "Democrats continue to push for Wall Street reform. But are Republicans on board?" Smith later introduced the segment by portraying Democrats as fighting for reform: "Democrats refuse to give up on reforming Wall Street. Yesterday Republicans put the brakes on, but another vote could happen today."
In a report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes declared: "Senate Republicans voted last night against moving forward with debate on the massive financial reform bill. That drew angry recriminations from Democrats." A clip was played of Democratic Virginia Senator Mark Warner slamming Republican opposition: "I never got the memo that said our job wasn't actually to get stuff done."
Near the end of an interview with Arizona Senator John McCain on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith turned to the subject of illegal immigration and the new Arizona law to combat it: "a very tough immigration reform bill which basically makes it illegal for you to be in the state without some sort of documentation. Is this law the answer to the immigration crisis?"
McCain noted the number of illegal immigrants entering Arizona and the level of drug trafficking taking place: "Across the Tucson sector of Arizona last year, there was 241,000 apprehensions of illegal immigrants....1.3 million pounds of marijuana intercepted on the Tucson border just last year." Smith followed up by wondering: "And for the millions of Hispanic Americans who live in Arizona, what do you say to them who feel like this bill is purely discriminatory?"
In a news brief on the topic at the top of the 8AM ET hour, fill-in news reader Betty Nguyen described how: "The Obama administration and activists are considering legal challenges to Arizona's new immigration enforcement law, which has reignited a national debate." A series of signs from an immigration protest in San Francisco appeared on screen: "Latinos Today, Who's Next? Shame on Arizona;" "Boycott Arizona;" "Brown Is Not A Crime."As footage of the protest rolled, Nguyen explained: "The law makes it a crime to be an illegal immigrant." On Monday, an MSNBC headline made the same odd statement.
During the Monday 12PM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC, anchor Contessa Brewer described the "firestorm" over a newly passed immigration law in Arizona and fretted: "does this lead to a situation where neighbors are turning in neighbors or families turning against families?" Later in the segment, a headline on screen read: "Law Makes it a Crime to be Illegal Immigrant."
Brewer discussed the issue with Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez and wondered: "Is this an effective way to deal with the problem?" In response, Sanchez declared: "to stop people and say, 'I think you look like an illegal immigrant' and then drag them off to jail is not the way to deal with this issue."
Brewer followed up by quoting current Homeland Security Secretary and former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano: "she would veto these kinds of bills because she said – she thought it was important for police to be doing actual police work, that they are not immigration enforcement officers." As Brewer made that argument, the headline "Law Makes it a Crime to be Illegal Immigrant" flashed on screen.
At the top of Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith referenced a possible Senate vote on the Democrats' financial reform bill and proclaimed: "Showdown in the Senate. Democrats are scrambling to get enough votes. Will anyone in the GOP break ranks?" It was just the latest example of a week of CBS coverage pressuring Republicans to sign on to the controversial legislation.
In a later report, correspondent Nancy Cordes explained: "both parties say they are for reform and they are deep in negotiations over it....But without a deal, many, if not all, Senate Republicans plan to vote 'no' today, blocking a floor debate on the bill." That was followed by a clip of Democratic Senator Chris Dodd declaring: "Here we are 17 months after someone broke into our house, in effect, robbed us, and we still haven't even changed the locks on the doors." A headline on screen read: "Financial Reform Showdown; Will Anyone in GOP Break Ranks?"
In his introduction to the report, Smith described the Democratic effort as a "test vote." Cordes pointed out: "this vote that Democrats have called for today could very well fail." She later concluded: "Even if the vote fails today, negotiations will go on and Republicans and Democrats seem confident that a financial reform bill will pass sooner rather than later." However, neither her nor Smith questioned holding the vote or suggested it was political theater to force a deal.
On Saturday's Fox News Watch, while discussing media coverage of environmental issues on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, host Jon Scott cited a special report from the Media Research Center's Business and Media Institute: "The Media Research Center posted a special report this week claiming networks generally hide the decline in credibility of claims of climate change."
Scott went on to add that: "48% of Americans, according to a March 2010 Gallup poll, think the threat of global warming is greatly exaggerated." Show panelist and Democratic strategist Kirsten Powers admitted: "It probably is exaggerated by some people....I know some very smart environmentalists who think that Al Gore has exaggerated it too much and has made it to a point where it's losing credibility." However, she quickly added: "it's still a very serious threat and so, just because it's exaggerated, doesn't mean it's not a serious threat."
Earlier in the discussion, Powers argued that environmentalists warning of global warming is similar to calls to stop using toxic lead paint: "people who believe in global warming, like myself, you know, are called 'doom and gloom people.' Well, guess what they used to be called when they were talking about lead paint and they were talking about the water being polluted, 'doom and gloom people.'"
On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared that when it comes to financial reform legislation, "Democrats have all the leverage right now." Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer appeared on the show and observed that "They think this is the time to picture Republicans as trying to protect fat cat bankers, as it were."
In her first question to Schieffer, Rodriguez wondered: "Do Democrats have anything to lose by going for a vote on Monday even though the Republicans have said they'd like a little bit more time to work on a compromise?" Schieffer replied: "No, they have absolutely nothing to lose. They want to get this out and get it on the table as quickly as possible."
Following his comment about the image of Republicans supporting "fat cat bankers," Schieffer added: "it's one thing to oppose health care reform, but on this case, I think most people would agree that doctors are more popular than bankers, especially at this particular time when you've had this lawsuit filed against Goldman Sachs." The headline on screen throughout the segment read: "Financial Reform Face-Off; Obama Takes on Wall Street, GOP."
In the 8:30AM ET half hour of Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez introduced an Earth Day segment by proclaiming: "Americans throw away more than 30 billion plastic bottles every year....We have a film maker, Stephanie Soechtig, here with us, she has a documentary out called 'Tapped,' which looks the impact that all those bottles have had on the environment."
Rodriguez invited Soechtig to explain her mission: "What has your message been?" Soechtig responded: "we've been trying to educate people that bottled water's one of the greatest marketing scams of all time. 40% of bottled water is really just filtered tap water. And every day we throw away 30 million single serve bottles of water." A headline on-screen read: "Early's Earth Day; Filmmaker Says 'Get Off the Bottle!'"
Soechtig warned of the "tremendous impact" of bottled water on the environment: "there's a soup of plastic in the north Pacific that's twice the size of Texas, that's just littered with plastic. So this type of plastic getting out in the environment is hurting our sea life, it's hurting us....plastic is a byproduct of oil. So from the production of the plastic all the way through the disposal, it just has a tremendous carbon footprint."
Cheering some Republican support for Democratic financial reform legislation on Wednesday, CBS Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "encouraging news out of Washington, that after a week or so of attacking this financial bill that the Democrats are proposing to regulate Wall Street, Republicans are changing their tone and they seem to be wanting to come on board."
Rodriguez turned to business correspondent Rebecca Jarvis and wondered: "Does it look, this morning, as though a bipartisan bill will emerge?" Jarvis replied: "Well, Maggie, it looks this morning like Republicans are warming up to the idea of a bipartisan bill on financial reform." She added: "With Obama, the President, coming here to Wall Street tomorrow to push the agenda forward, it looks like there will be a political expediency to getting the deal done." An on-screen headline read: "Financial Reform Push; Obama & Senate Take on Wall Street."
On Tuesday, the Early Show had on disgraced ex-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer to discuss financial reform. Co-host Harry Smith introduced him as "the sheriff of Wall Street."
At the top of Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez proclaimed: "the truth about salt, why a new report wants the government to take salt off the table." She later introduced a segment on the topic by explaining: "Americans eat about 1 ½ tablespoons of salt every day....there's a major new push this morning to curb that habit."
Rodriguez spoke with CBS medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton about the government intrusion and noted that there was "confusion" over "reports that the FDA might regulate salt." Ashton claimed: "there was a fair amount of misinterpretation of yesterday's news....the Institute of Medicine approached the FDA and asked for their assistance in working in conjunction with the food industry and other health services to help increase awareness about salt intake and hopefully, in the future, reduce the consumption of salt that Americans have."
However, near the end of the segment, after Ashton detailed the negative health effects of too much salt, Rodriguez observed: "So then there maybe is an argument for someone getting involved in making these companies put less sodium in their foods." Ashton agreed: "Exactly. And so we're going to be seeing more of that more aggressively from the government in the future."
Over the past year since its inception, the media have worked hard to discredit and denigrate the tea party movement. News organizations employed various strategies, from dismissing the protests as astroturf, to using derogatory nicknames for participants, and finally labeling it as a violent extremist fringe. In their futile attempt to get something to stick, the media have become increasingly desperate and irresponsible in their coverage.
In the Media Research Center's special report, 'TV's Tea Party Travesty,' MRC Research Director Rich Noyes focused in on the slanted coverage of the tea parties by ABC, CBS, and NBC over the past year.
On Sunday's Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer asked columnist Kathleen Parker about her views on the tea party: "the rhetoric that's coming out from the right side, especially from the tea party....you think it may be dangerous." Parker replied: "this heated rhetoric and some of these words...that are pretty loaded, 'reload,' 'targeting'...there's a danger there."
Parker, syndicated with the Washington Post Writers Group, claimed she was not casting negative aspersions on the whole political movement: "I'm not saying the tea party people are violent or racist or any of that....I'm not saying that the tea partiers are bad people or dangerous," but warned: "I just think we have to be very vigilant....and be extremely careful, because I do think there is a lot of anger and it could become something else."
Schieffer brought up internet journalism as a possible source of some of the "dangerous" anger: "some of this really nasty rhetoric that shows up on the Internet....the only vehicle to deliver news that has no editor....And that is the added factor to the volatility of this stuff and where it goes." Parker agreed, and moments after warning of tea party extremism, made this comparison: "It's, sort of, like terrorism. You know, we don't know where to aim our bombs, so we can't go after a country because there are – you know, there's no one place to focus on it. And it's the same thing with – with the Internet.You can't really – you don't know who to go after."