Appearing on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal Tuesday, CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer dismissed the notion of liberal media bias: "...there is so much media out there now that the idea of bias in the media, it’s almost become irrelevant. I mean, we’re in this age of opinion journalism, where you can get the news served up almost anyway you want it."
Schieffer went on to compare biased media coverage to ordering eggs: "If you want to hear it from a conservative point of view, you can find plenty of places on the dial to get that. If you want to see it served up from a, you know, a no apology liberal point of view you can get it served up that way. It’s almost like going into a restaurant and ordering eggs, you can get them sunny side up, scrabbled, with a little Jalapeno pepper if you want it."
Clearly, CBS has routinely served up news coverage with a distinctly liberal flavor for years, the latest example being CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith conducting a fawning interview with President Obama in which he asked the President where he "learned to love" and about the behavior of the White House dog.
During an interview with President Obama, Harry Smith asked about recent criticism by Dick Cheney and President Bush: "Leon Panetta intimated that the former Vice President was playing politics with national security issues. The former President has intoned his own displeasure with some of your policy changes. I think they feel like some of the things that you've done, in fact, are treacherous."
Smith failed to provide any direct quote of Panetta’s comments, made during an interview for The New Yorker, in which the CIA director declared: "I think he smells some blood in the water on the national-security issue...It’s almost, a little bit, gallows politics. When you read behind it, it’s almost as if he’s wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point. I think that’s dangerous politics."
Instead of asking Obama why a member of his administration would make such an outrageous statement about a former vice president, Smith simply mentioned that Panetta accused Cheney of "playing politics with national security issues."
In an interview with President Obama on Friday, CBS’s Harry Smith asked the "father-in-chief" about growing up without his own father: "In this fatherless world, where did you learn to love?" [audio available here]
The first part of the interview, which aired on Father’s Day on CBS’s Sunday Morning, focused on Obama’s role as "First Dad" as Smith declared: "Maybe it was on election night when we first realized not only would there be a new president but also a new first family. A family with young children...Along with the role of commander-in-chief and leader of the free world, Barack Obama would be First Dad. So, yes, there would be a swing set and, yes, there would be a dog." Sappy piano music was played in the background as a montage of Obama family photos scrolled across the screen.
Throughout the fawning profile, Smith described a young Barack Obama without a father: "He is everything his own father was not...In his first book, ‘Dreams From My Father,’ Barack Obama speaks about both the cultivated myth of his father and the cold, hard truth that he was absent by choice." At that point Smith asked: "In this fatherless world, where did you learn to love?" Obama replied: "Where I learned, I think, to be a father, was looking at some people that I respected...And it just reminded me that, you know, whatever the hardships, whatever the obstacles, you can be a good dad."
Smith then held up the president as role model to all fathers: "Your whole life is under a microscope now and believe it or not every parent in the country is watching your every move as a parent. Are you aware of that scrutiny?...The First Couple has made being present in their children's lives a top priority. The world can wait til’ after Sasha and Malia's soccer or basketball game."
Reacting to a New York Times column in which Frank Rich claimed Fox News was responsible for violent acts like the murder of abortionist George Tiller or the Holocaust Museum shooting, on MSNBC on Friday, John Harwood remarked: "I love Frank's columns, but I don't believe that cable television causes people to become violent."
Harwood, who is a reporter for the Times as well as the co-host of a weekly Friday show on MSNBC, The New York Times Edition, began by quoting Rich’s latest Op-Ed: "And here's Frank Rich on the ‘silent enablers’ of what he calls ‘extremist Obama haters,’ like the actor John Voight. Frank writes, ‘Voight's devout wish was to "bring an end to this false prophet Obama." This kind of rhetoric, with its pseudo-scriptural call to action, is toxic. It's getting louder each day of the Obama presidency and no one, not even Fox News viewers, can say they weren't warned.’"
After Harwood expressed that he thought Rich went too far, co-host Norah O’Donnell agreed and added: "Yeah and I think people end up hearing what they want to hear. They latch on to something. And they hear – I've heard people listen to the same channel before and hear two different – totally different things. That’s part of it, I think."
CBS Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez wondered on Friday: "Lots of politicians get caught having affairs, as you know. The trick, though, is making a comeback. It’s happened before, but the question is does John Edwards have a political future?"
Rodriguez later introduced the segment by citing Edwards’ recent comments about his political future in a Washington Post interview: "Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton, just two of the high profile politicians who’ve survived the scandal of having an extramarital affair. Now John Edwards is speaking out for the first time, since his affair, about testing the waters for a possible political comeback. But is it too late? Is the damage done?"
In the report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes quoted Kenneth Vogel of Politico on the topic: "His cancer-stricken wife knew about the affair, asked him not to run for president. He did anyway. He kept it from his staffers. His political committees may have paid hush money. All of these things put together just make it that much more difficult for him to find a way to rehabilitate himself in the public eye." Cordes responded to that seeming political obituary by declaring: "Not so fast. Lots of politicians, after all, have had affairs and gone on to successful careers. Crisis management experts say Edwards may be testing the waters and could still have a political future."
While sitting in the dentist office Wednesday afternoon I could not escape liberal media bias as I picked up the June edition of Scientific American Magazine and found that President Obama was honored as being one of ten people "who have recently demonstrated outstanding commitment to assuring that the benefits of new technologies and knowledge will accrue to humanity."
The ‘Scientific American 10' list that featured the President included an article by Sally Lehrman, who praised Obama’s commitment to science: "After eight long years in exile, scientists have been enthusiastically welcomed back into the White House. In the first few months of his administration, President Barack Obama acted with remarkable speed to place science at the center of policymaking on climate change, energy, health care and research funding. He wiped away science-averse policies."
Lehrman later explained the consideration that went into placing Obama on the list:
During a CNBC interview, New York Times reporter John Harwood shared an intense moment with President Obama: "He had this fly that was persistently buzzing around him during the interview...he swatted his hand and he said ‘I got the sucker’...it was a, you know, Dirty Harry ‘make my day’ moment."
Harwood described the showdown at the end of the 4PM ET hour on MSNBC, after anchor David Shuster remarked: "John, I know that the President is credited with being sometimes awfully lucky, rainbows appear sometimes when he speaks, but I understand there was an instance today where he killed a fly out of mid-air during your interview." Harwood began to tell the tale: "Well, David, this reminded me of that moment during the campaign when he took a three-point shot at a military base and it swished."
After detailing the President’s courage in battling the insect, Harwood also noted Obama’s cleanliness: "...and at the end of the interview, David, he picked up a napkin off the table and said ‘I clean up after myself’ and he picked up the fly off the carpet." In awe, Shuster observed: "Amazing...An amazing interview...it never fails, great weather, rainbows, incredible speeches, and three-point basket. A fly and he nails it. Unbelievable, unbelievable."
Co-anchor Tamron Hall concluded the discussion by comparing Obama’s quick reflexes to that of the martial arts expert in the movie Karate Kid: "Mr. Miyagi, just snapped it right up. Look at that – look at that intense look."
On Monday, MSNBC anchor David Shuster saw something profound in President Obama ordering a hamburger: "How does he approach a hamburger, I suppose some people might think well, that might also help explain some things about how he approaches foreign policy?"
Shuster was discussing comedian Bill Maher’s criticism that Barack Obama was becoming overexposed in the media with conservative talk radio hosts Martha Zoller and liberal talker Lionel. Shuster began by asking Zoller: "Martha, do you think it's a problem to have the President out there talking about all the issues that people care about?" Zoller replied: "I think that he is a little over exposed and he doesn't have to take the press with him everywhere he goes."
Even Lionel agreed with Maher: "I get the impression, though, that he gets – he's trying to show us, like, ‘hey this is pretty cool, I'm president. Hey, Joe, want a burger?’ Poor Biden’s saying, ‘I want a what?’" At that point, Shuster observed: "Given that we have all the issues, the health care, the economy, Iraq, Afghanistan, why shouldn't the American people see Obama dealing with regular things so they get an idea of what type of person, what type of president he is? How he thinks? How does he approach a hamburger, I suppose some people might think well, that might also help explain some things about how he approaches foreign policy?"
On Monday, MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer offered some advice to Republicans: "Until they change policies – I mean, that's what it took for conservatives in Great Britain to win – is a real change in focus away from morals and values into things that affect people's daily lives.’
Brewer made the comment during the 2PM ET hour while discussing the future of the GOP with New York Times reporter John Harwood, who completely agreed: "Well, bingo, Contessa, that's exactly right." Harwood added: "The question is what is the right mix? To what extent are they going to focus on economic issues...Or do they focus more on national security...Or those social issues which have repelled some voters. But still motivate a lot of people in the Republican base." Brewer replied: "The one’s who probably vote Republican anyway."
The segment began by Brewer asking Harwood about his latest article in the New York Times, entitled "Rethinking the Reagan Mystique," in which he argued that some Republicans are calling for the party to move beyond Ronald Reagan. Brewer observed: "While there may be disagreement in the Republican about the best way forward, you know, it's been in this sort of Republican mantra to invoke Ronald Reagan's name often and loudly. That could be changing though."
The CBS Early Show continued its usual fawning over Michelle Obama as co-host Harry Smith declared: "They couldn't come from more diverse backgrounds. One grew up in Chicago. The other grew up with a silver spoon...this new royal odd couple, the First Lady and the Queen."
Correspondent Sheila MacVicar reported on the First Lady’s relationship with the Queen: "It’s a friendship that began in April with this encounter between Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and Mrs. Obama. A meeting so congenial that at a later reception, as they apparently compared their shoes, the two embraced. That meeting ended with a request from Her Majesty that the First Lady keep in touch. And apparently she has, by letter and phone."
MacVicar went on to describe Michelle Obama’s latest visit with the Queen while in Europe last week: "They spent three hours in the palace and its gardens, including the Queen's new vegetable patch. That's one interest both share. And that is forging a new friendship, helping to keep the trans-Atlantic relationship very warm indeed. In fact, a source with excellent royal connections tells CBS News that the Queen has told members of her family that she adores Michelle Obama and that she hopes she gets to see her again soon."
On Saturday, CBS’s Anthony Mason blamed tough economic times in a small Iowa town on immigration enforcement: "...the small town of Postville, Iowa, is still struggling to recover from an immigration raid last year that left its economy in tatters."
Reporting for Saturday’s Evening News, correspondent Seth Doane followed Mason’s introduction by similarly arguing: "...last May when Agriprocessors, a kosher meat processing plant, and the town's largest employer, was raided by Homeland Security. Hundreds were arrested, accused of illegally working in the U.S...After the raid, the plant declared bankruptcy. At one point, leaving hundreds of legal workers without jobs." Doane described the town’s commemoration of the one-year anniversary of the raid: "A few weeks ago at the one-year anniversary of the raid, church bells tolled 389 times, one for each person arrested. It served as a reminder, as if anyone here needed one."
In November, Doane issued an almost identical report on the impact of the raid on the Early Show: "With empty streets and shuttered shops, this small town is facing economic calamity. Mayor Bob Penrod is taking steps this weekend to declare a state of emergency here. But it's not a natural disaster. Rather, one that's manmade...It all started May 12th, when hundreds of federal immigration authorities raided Agriprocessors and arrested 389 workers."
On Wednesday, the Early Show continued its obsession with the Obamas’ recent date nights as co-host Julie Chen exclaimed: "If Barack and Michelle Obama can find time for each other, why can’t you? We’re going to hear why it is a good idea to follow the President’s lead."
Earlier, co-host Maggie Rodriguez similarly declared: "We want to encourage everybody in America to bring back, or start, date night. Because if the Obamas can do it, so can we." Correspondent Hattie Kauffman later reported: "It took a couple of helicopters, a private jet, and a limo, but President Obama recently took the First Lady to dinner and a show in New York. Over the weekend, a rendevous in Paris. They may be the busiest couple in America, but the Obamas still manage to pull off date night."
Kauffman got reaction from one married couple: "The Larsens have been married 50 years and they still go out on dates. They say the Obamas are setting a good example." However, Kauffman did have some criticism: "Sure the Obamas will always have Paris, but have they set the bar too high?" Kauffman concluded her report by declaring: "Air Force One may not be available for your weekend retreat, but it's the time spent together that's priceless."
CBS correspondent Thalia Assuras touted the celebrity status of the Obamas on Wednesday: "The paparazzi and the press corps treat them like movie stars. They're on magazine covers and in fashion spreads. Even the presidential pooch is a celebrity. The Obamas are helping turn staid old Washington into Hollywood on the Potomac." [audio available here]
During the Early Show, Assuras reported on numerous upcoming reality TV shows being set in Washington D.C. and credited the first family for turning the nation’s capital into a celebrity hot spot. She cited Washington Post reporter Sally Quinn, who declared: "All of the power is concentrated here and power is a great aphrodisiac. And so, Washington has become the place to be." Assuras added: "And be seen. Even film stars are flocking here for a chance at the spotlight. Now the latest proof that the nation's capital is indeed the new hot spot, the arrival of reality TV."
On Monday, correspondent Richard Roth gave a glowing report on President and Michelle Obama in Paris: "The big tourist treat in Paris this weekend was for the tourists treated to a sight of the Obamas driving by. For the President and First Lady, the treat may have been a European reprise of their date night in New York a week ago."
Reporting for the Early Show, Roth also emphasized the idea that no one in Paris was "inconvenienced" by the Obamas’ visit: "Other tourists at the Eiffel Tower Friday night were surprised when the First Lady and the Obama girls turned up, but not much inconvenienced...And no whining, at least certainly not in public, though what's to complain about when the Pompidou Center’s been opened, especially for a presidential family viewing of modern art and the day's capped with a bit of shopping at a Left Bank children's boutique."
Following Roth’s report, fill-in co-host Debbye Turner Bell showed how impressed she was with the President’s romantic getaway, remarking: "My husband’s got a lot of explaining to do." Co-host Russ Mitchell jokingly added: "If you’re a guy and your name is not Barack Obama, this is not good news. There’s nothing good about this." Bell agreed: "The bar has been raised." Later, weatherman Dave Price concluded: "No, you know what? I think it's great. I said it before. You know, whether it would be President Bush or another president, I think it's great. You know, you try and have some semblance of a – of a relationship or a family life."
While discussing the future of the GOP on Sunday, CBS’s Harry Smith wondered: "Is there room for moderates in the Republican Party?...there’s a brand-new Gallup poll that mostly white, older, very religious, just almost demographically the future of the party can’t just be based in those folks."
Smith, filling in for Bob Schieffer as host of Face the Nation, spoke with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich about the state of the Republican Party and began by asking: "Who’s the most real Republican, you, Dick Cheney , Sarah Palin , Colin Powell, Rush Limbaugh?" Gingrich responded diplomatically: "Oh, all of us are. So is Mitt Romney. So is Bobby Jindal. So is Governor Lindle – Lingle of Hawaii."
In response to Smith wondering if there was "room for moderates" in the party, Gingrich explained: "I am a Reagan Republican. Reagan believed in a very broad base. He always talked about ‘my fellow Republicans’ and those independents and Democrats who want a better future...Here’s my simple test for Republicans. In California, a state which voted 61% for Obama, two weeks ago, 64% of the state voted against higher taxes and more spending in Sacramento."
On Sunday, White House correspondent Chip Reid gave a glowing review of President Obama’s overseas trip: "A trip laden with symbolism and elegant words, asking the world to look beyond old hatreds and wounds. In doing so, he hopes to create a world where there never has to be another D-Day." [audio available here]
During CBS Sunday Morning, Reid reported on Obama’s trip to the Middle East and Europe, highlighting the President’s speech in Cairo last week and marking of the 65 th anniversary of D-Day in France on Saturday. On the subject of Obama addressing the Islamic world, Reid cited left-wing New York Times columnist and Obama sycophant, Roger Cohen, who declared: "He went out there, he spoke movingly...He spoke in a way that convinced Muslims that he is sensitive to their view of their suffering, to their culture, to their religion. And that's a new message from an American president."
In March of 2008, Cohen jumped aboard the Obama campaign, using his column to praise then candidate Obama’s speech on race: "It takes bravery, and perhaps an unusual black-white vantage point, to navigate these places where hurt is profound, incomprehension the rule, just as it takes courage to say, as Obama did, that black ‘anger is real; it is powerful’...Can an inquiring mind actually explore the half-shades of truth? Yes. It. Can...The clamoring now in the United States for a presidency that uplifts rather than demeans is a reflection of the intellectual desert of the Bush years."
On Sunday, CBS’s Bill Whitaker praised the liberal activism of former TV producer Norman Lear: "But in 1980, the king turned his back on his TV empire. He grew alarmed as evangelical Christian preachers grew more visibly and vocally involved in politics with views and tactics he found divisive. He responded the way he knew best, on TV."
Whitaker, reporting for CBS Sunday Morning, went on to describe Lear’s efforts: "His ads spawned People For The American Way, his grass roots civics organization to keep Americans aware and protective of their rights." No liberal label was given for the left-wing "civics organization." Whitaker asked Lear: "What is it about the approach of the Religious Right that so rankles you?" Lear responded: "Politics and religion are not the American way. My contention is every individual's compact with God, with that, is different from every other individual's. So don't come to me with your compact and insist it must be mine. America is open to all of them."
Newsweek editor Evan Thomas brought adulation over President Obama’s Cairo speech to a whole new level on Friday, declaring on MSNBC: "I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God."
Thomas, appearing on Hardball with Chris Matthews, was reacting to a preceding monologue in which Matthews praised Obama’s speech: "I think the President's speech yesterday was the reason we Americans elected him. It was grand. It was positive. Hopeful...But what I liked about the President's speech in Cairo was that it showed a complete humility...The question now is whether the President we elected and spoke for us so grandly yesterday can carry out the great vision he gave us and to the world."
Matthews discussed Obama’s upcoming speech marking the 65th anniversary of D-Day and compared it to that of Ronald Reagan. He then turned to Thomas and asked: "Reagan and World War II and the sense of us as the good guys in the world, how are we doing?" Thomas replied: "Well, we were the good guys in 1984, it felt that way. It hasn't felt that way in recent years. So Obama’s had, really, a different task We're seen too often as the bad guys. And he – he has a very different job from – Reagan was all about America, and you talked about it. Obama is ‘we are above that now.’ We're not just parochial, we're not just chauvinistic, we're not just provincial."
MSNBC’s Tamron Hall attempted to justify multiple stories on Rush Limbaugh supposedly comparing Barack Obama to Al Qaeda: "We have a right to cover people who are speaking out...Many people listen to this man, and we have a responsibility to report all sides and you can't try to duck and hide, throw the rock and then hide in the bush."
Hall was responding to criticism by Republican strategist Alex Conant, who, in the 4PM hour on Thursday, pointed out MSNBC’s excessive coverage of Rush: "Well, let me just make an observation. Two weeks ago, Rush Limbaugh challenged this network, MSNBC, to go a whole month without repeating his name, and this is like the fifth segment you guys have had this afternoon talking about Rush-" Hall immediately interrupted: "Oh, you know – okay, that's ridiculous, absolutely. You know, I don't know if you've ever, ever watched Keith Olbermann, who just obliterated Rush Limbaugh on this topic."
The segment with Conant, opposite liberal talk radio host Bill Press, was the third story MSNBC had done on Rush’s comments on Thursday. Hall herself had covered the story only an hour earlier, with liberal blogger Peter Slutsky and conservative Brian Faughnan from Redstate.com. During that segment in the 3PM hour, Hall asked Slutsky: "...do the Republican leadership, conservatives out there, need to speak out against this kind of language? I cannot imagine, you know, if there was a liberal blogger who had compared George W. Bush directly to Al Qaeda or some of the other language that’s coming out recently."
On Thursday, CBS Early Show co-host Julie Chen declared: "President Obama seeks to reset Mideast relations in a historic speech in Cairo." Co-host Harry Smith gushed: "Powerful, far-ranging speech this morning...he was not only presidential, he was also professorial. He was very much a teacher this morning. He was giving Americans and Muslims a history lesson."
In a later segment, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer shared Smith’s description of Obama as a history professor: "I mean, one thing I didn't know, he pointed out that Morocco, a Muslim country, was the first to recognize the United States. He also pointed out there is a mosque in every state in the United States of America. This was, as you say, this was Professor Obama...during a lot of this, and I think that will have an impact."
Smith got reaction to Obama’s speech from CBS analyst Reza Aslan, who praised the President’s criticism of Israel: "...some very frank talk about issues, about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict... there were some words that Obama used that had never been used before by any American president, including the word ‘occupation,’ and the word ‘Palestine.’ I think this is going to be really remarkable, the way that the Muslim world reacts."
At the top of Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith cast doubt on talk show host and major Obama supporter, Oprah Winfrey: "And call it the ‘Oprah Effect.’ She speaks, people listen. But is her show actually leading her audience astray?" Oddly, no mention was made of Winfrey’s very public endorsement Barack Obama in the 2008 campaign.
Later, co-host Julie Chen also teased the upcoming segment with similar declarations: "Still ahead in this half hour, it is no secret that Oprah is a great sales person, but just because she's selling, the question is should you be buying?...Well up next, the Oprah Winfrey seal of approval. Is it all that it's cracked up to be? We're going to look at the pros and the cons of Oprah's power." During the latter tease from Chen and briefly in the report that followed, footage of Oprah speaking at an Obama rally was shown, but not discussed.
The report, by correspondent Michelle Miller, featured Syracuse University pop culture professor Robert Thompson, who explained: "She has managed to put the Oprah seal of approval, which is a really powerful seal of approval, on some things that I think most people would call real crackpot ideas." Miller cited Newsweek magazine’s reporting on the topic and quoted senior editor Weston Kosova: "Some of the advice she gives on the show, especially with regard to health matters and medicine, is not good advice. Sometimes the advice that guests give on the show could actually hurt you."
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Lara Logan described President Obama’s upcoming speech in Egypt’s capital as if it were a campaign stop: "...everywhere you go in this city it's what everybody is talking about...The one word that keeps coming up over and over is excitement. There is definitely a lot of anticipation about this visit...very excited that he chose Cairo."
Logan was responding to co-host Harry Smith asking about the speech during a segment outlining Obama’s trip to the region: "Is there a way to measure the anticipation there for this speech?" Logan did acknowledge some opposition: "And I mean, although there are the detractors, there are extremists, they are small in number. Most of the people that we've encountered, everyone we've spoken to, says that people have great expectations." Logan fretted those "great expectations" would be Obama’s biggest challenge: "...the only concern is that there may be too much expectation riding on the shoulders of one man, because hopes here are extremely high."
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen mentioned President Obama taking the First Lady on a date night to New York City over the weekend: "The President and First Lady had a long-planned night out in New York City on Saturday, doing dinner and Greenwich Village and taking in the Broadway show, ‘Joe Turner's Come and Gone’" Co-host Maggie Rodriguez commented on the restaurant the first couple went to: "Blue Hill, down in Greenwich Village. It’s a wonderful restaurant." Co-host Harry Smith added: "Probably impossible to get a reservation now, right?"
Later, Rodriguez explained the "long-planned" excursion: "...this is something that he [Obama] promised her, apparently, when he was on the campaign, ‘I'm going to take you out on a date night in New York City.’" Guest co-host Amanda Holden, judge of the talent show ‘Britain’s Got Talent,’ remarked: "Oh, that’s so sweet." Rodriguez agreed: "I know, it is sweet." Holden went on: " They’re such a good looking couple, aren’t they? Fantastic." Rodriguez again agreed: "They’re beautiful."
During live MSNBC coverage in the 9AM EST hour on Monday about the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller, guest Dr. Warren Hern, a fellow abortionist and friend of Tiller, declared: "Dr. Tiller's crime was that he helped women and the man who killed him tried to kill an idea. The idea is freedom. So we don't have to invade other countries to find the terrorists. They’re here killing doctors who do abortions. The difference between – the main difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles." Instead of challenging such an incendiary statement, correspondent Monica Novotny simply concluded the segment: "Dr. Warren Hern, thank you for joining us today. We appreciate it." [audio available here]
Earlier in the interview, Novotny asked Hern: "You were quoted as saying that Dr. Tiller's death was ‘predictable.’ What was your reaction when you heard and why do you say that?" Hern explained his statement: "This was not the act of a lone deranged gunman. This is a result of 35 years of relentless and merciless anti-abortion harassment, violence, and intimidation, hate speech and violent rhetoric, and this is the absolutely predictable consequence of that kind of mindless harassment and fanaticism."
Reporting on the murder of Kansas abortion doctor, George Tiller, on Monday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Jeff Glor touted the doctor’s career, while not depicting it as controversial: "...a doctor in the middle of the abortion debate for 35 years...Tiller, one of only a handful of doctors in the country performing late-term abortions, when the mother's health is at risk." Glor later commented about the murder: "Abortion providers feared a chilling effect."
At the top of the segment, co-host Julie Chen declared: "President Obama says he is shocked and outraged at the murder of Dr. George Tiller, one of the few doctors in the country who provided late-term abortions." Following Glor’s report, Chen spoke with Tiller’s friend and attorney, Dan Monnat, and wondered: "Can you explain why Dr. Tiller continued his practice all these years, despite all the harassment?" Monnat portrayed Tiller as courageous: "Both Dr. Tiller and his family continually asked the question, if Dr. Tiller is not here to serve a woman's right to choose, who will be here to do it? There are only a handful of late-term abortion providers that remain in the United States, and in the world. Most of them have been terrorized and run off by the protesters."
The Early Show coverage made no mention of Tiller’s controversial career, including a recent investigation into whether he conducted 19 illegal partial-birth abortions.
While reporting on disgraced priest Alberto Cutie leaving the Catholic Church in the wake of a sex scandal, on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked CBS News analyst Father Thomas Williams about the Church’s celibacy rule: "It seems to me that the Catholic Church, at least in south Florida, is not necessarily being introspective and considering whether Father Cutie and others have left the Catholic Church, and others are failing to join, because of its stringent rules. Would you like to see your church be more introspective, more progressive?"
When the story about Father Cutie first broke in early May, Rodriguez then asked Father Williams if it was time for the Catholic Church to overturn the "outdated" and "rigid" vow of celibacy that it requires of its priests. She went on to describe the vow as a "nearly impossible standard." On May 11, Rodriguez interviewed Cutie, and asked: "You don't believe that the celibacy promise should be lifted?...If they don't change this policy, do you think that they will continue to lose people, or fail to recruit people who feel the Church is too rigid?"
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen teased an upcoming segment on a new way to combat global warming: "Up next, if you could do one thing to fight global warming, would you do it? How about painting your roof white? We’ll explain." Fill-in co-host Chris Wragge later introduced the report: "Could painting your roof white be the best defense against global warming? Some very important people think so. So Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman put that idea to the test."
Kauffman explained: "In any given city, most rooftops are black. And that's the problem. The darker the surface, the more heat it retains...the lighter the surface, the better it is for the environment." Kauffman talked to Bill Nye, ‘The Science Guy,’ who further explained: "The building doesn't get as hot so you don't need to run the air conditioner nearly as long."
Later, Kauffman cited Obama Energy Secretary Steven Chu: "[he] says if all rooftops and roads in the world were made white it could combat global warming." A clip was played of Chu claiming: "That would be the equivalent as if you took off all the automobiles of the world for eleven years." Kauffman added: "Think of it this way, every year you would keep out of the atmosphere 2.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide or the emissions produced by 60 million cars. There’d be even more savings if roads and parking lots were not covered in black asphalt." Nye declared that asphalt was: "...absorbing more heat...squandering billions of tons of carbon dioxide every year."
During the 3:00PM EST hour on MSNBC on Wednesday, political analyst Pat Buchanan wondered why President Obama’s short list for the Supreme Court only included women, in response, anchor Norah O’Donnell declared: "Did it ever occur to you, Pat, that maybe there weren’t any white men who were qualified?" (video here)
Buchanan replied: "No, it did not occur to me...You mean there are no white males qualified? That is – that would be an act of bigotry to make a statement like that." O’Donnell defended her remark by claiming past discrimination against women in the nominating process: "In the past there have been no women that have been qualified." Buchanan argued: "They certainly have been qualified in the past. I don’t doubt there are. But probably half of the great lawyers and judges are white males in this country. And to rule them out, why? Because of their sex and because of their race is wrong, I think. At least it’s affirmative action."
O’Donnell rejected Buchanan’s claim: "I don’t think you have proof that they did that." Buchanan asked: "How did he come down to four women?" O’Donnell simply repeated White House talking points: "He said that they were the best and that met the views that he had, the particular criteria." Buchanan summed up that "criteria": "One of them, it’s got to be a woman, and the other it got down to be, ‘hey, it’s an Hispanic,’ that’s affirmative action."
During the 2:00PM hour of live Wednesday coverage on MSNBC, anchor Carlos Watson called on President Obama to stand up for gay marriage, comparing the issue to the civil rights movement: "You know what I predict, just like we saw LBJ in the late 60's, very unexpectedly and very famously, looked into the camera, addressed the nation, and say ‘we shall overcome,’ adopting the language of the civil rights movement, I wouldn't be surprised if before 2012 we see President Obama get out in front on this."
Watson made the comment while discussing the California Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Proposition 8 with Roy Seacoff, editor of the left-wing Huffington Post. Earlier in the segment, Seacoff commented on a recent article Watson wrote for the liberal website: "Now Carlos, I know, because I read it on the Huffington Post... That you think that this is the moral equivalent of Plessy vs. Ferguson." Watson explained: "The old – the old 1890s case that said ‘separate but equal.’" Seacoff added: "Right, separate but equal. Right. And I tend to agree with you, which makes me sad that Obama is behind the curve on this issue."
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez was unusually tough on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor as she asked the judge’s former clerk, Julia Tarver Mason, about some of Sotomayor's past controversial comments: "...she, herself, has rejected the notion that a judge should decide cases based solely on facts and the law...referring to one case – she hopes that ‘a wise Latina woman would reach a better conclusion than a white male.’What do you say to critics who say if a white conservative male had said that, he would have been booted out of the judiciary?"
Mason defended her former boss: "Well, I think that comment has been grossly misconstrued, frankly, it was a comment she made in a speech a decade ago, talking about the importance diversity on the court... when she decides a case, she decides it based on the law, as that's appropriate." Earlier Mason had argued that Sotomayor was "legal purist" and "...not someone who is going to try to reach a particular result in a particular case. She calls them straight down the middle, just like she sees them."
Rodriguez later followed up with a question about one of Sotomayor’s most controversial decisions: "Some of her critics are also bringing up a case where she sided against some white firefighters who claimed reverse discrimination in hiring practices...Rush Limbaugh has called her a ‘reverse racist.’ Could that be true?" Mason denounced Limbaugh: "That's an absurd notion. If – Judge Sotomayor is one of the most egalitarian people I’ve ever met...the fact that people from the right are throwing these outrageous allegations right now is just an indication that they don't know much about her record...it was not in any way a radical decision by her. And it was supported by the city of New Haven itself. So if you call her racist, you have to call the entire city of New Haven racist."