On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith glossed over President Obama’s indecision over sending more troops to Afghanistan by describing it this way: “...there are so many moving parts in this part of the world. And here is President Obama in this long contemplation about what to do next in Afghanistan with our troops.”
Smith discussed the war in Afghanistan with the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, who was equally happy to mask Obama’s inaction in thoughtful terms:
He’s really got his own dynamic in Afghanistan and I think you’re going to see everything slow down on decision making. In part because of the winter, there’s no real urgency to get more troops in right now. Also the administration has already signaled they want to see what happens internally in Afghanistan, whether there’s new elections, more important, what kind of government is formed. So I think the administration’s going to hold back sending more troops for quite a while.
Monday’s CBS Early Show took time to highlight the selling power of the Obama family as correspondent Dean Reynolds reported: “Bill Grimshaw thinks he has the perfect sales pitch for the house he’s trying to sell on Chicago’s south side....he lives right next door to the Obamas....because of this...special location, the sky could well be the limit.”
Reynolds gushed over how the Grimshaw family was “So close they let Obama use their living room as a backdrop to record a holiday message days before last year’s Iowa caucuses.” He then spoke with real estate agent Matt Garrison, who argued: “We anticipate an Obama – an Obama premium. We don’t know exactly how much that is.” Reynolds wondered: “An Obama premium?” Garrison reiterated: “Yeah, an Obama factor, an Obama premium.” Reynolds further explained: “For example, Matt says living next door to the Nobel Peace Prize winner could make Grimshaw a winner, too.” Garrison remarked: “We certainly think it makes the price go up.”
During the 3:00PM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC Friday, co-host David Shuster admitted that racially charged quotes he and other hosts attributed to Rush Limbaugh had not been verified: “MSNBC attributed that quote to a football player who was opposed to Limbaugh’s NFL bid. However, we have been unable to verify that quote independently. So, just to clarify.” Shuster did not formally retract the quote or apologize.
On Monday, Shuster revealed the supposed source of the false quote: “Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Farrior says Limbaugh should be denied the privilege of owning an NFL franchise for comments like ‘slavery had its merits.’” Speaking with columnist Stephen A. Smith later that afternoon, Shuster’s co-host Tamron Hall wondered: “Should a person who says there are merits with slavery be able to have this privilege of owning a team?”
As result of the ensuing controversy raised by the false quotes reported by MSNBC, CNN, and other media outlets, Limbaugh was removed from an investment group that was considering purchasing the St. Louis Rams football team.
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Elizabeth Palmer proclaimed: “Climate scientists say the ice has helped keep the planet cool by reflecting the Sun’s rays. Once it’s largely gone, though, the sea will absorb heat more rapidly and global warming will speed up.” However, an October 6 New York Times article declared: “Over the Summer, a Spread of Thicker Arctic Ice.”
Co-host Russ Mitchell introduced Palmer’s report by fretting: “Scientists report today that the Arctic is melting so fast, the North Pole could be ice free during the summer within the next decade or two.” Meanwhile, in the New York Times story, Andrew Revkin explained: “The National Snow and Ice Data Center released its summary of summer sea-ice conditions in the Arctic on Tuesday, noting a substantial expansion of the extent of “second-year ice” — floes thick enough to have persisted through two summers of melting. The result could be a reprieve, at least for a while, from the recent stretch of remarkable summer meltdowns.” The CBS report failed to cite such evidence.
On the June 3, 2009 Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, host Rachel Maddow cited a false quote attributed to Rush Limbaugh in which the radio host supposedly said he wanted to award Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassin the Medal of Honor. Since Limbaugh expressed interest in becoming part owner of the St. Louis Rams in October, several MSNBC hosts have repeated that and other false quotes.
Reacting to Limbaugh calling then Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a racist, Maddow declared: “When you get called racist by the guy who says the assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr. should get the Medal of Honor, consider yourself honored. Also, nauseated.” Maddow’s dishonest rant was originally reported by NewsBusters’ D. S. Hube.
Before lying about Limbaugh, Maddow attacked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for also labeling Sotomayor as racist and not fully retracting his statement: “Last week, Mr. Gingrich used Twitter to declare that Judge Sotomayor is a Latina woman racist. Today, he issued a statement that seemed designed to take credit for retracting that comment without actually retracting it.” Viewers are still waiting for MSNBC to retract its charge of racism against Limbaugh based on fabricated quotes.
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes celebrated one GOP Senator’s support for health care reform: “Democrats can claim a smidge of bipartisan support and that’s because of one yes vote from one rebel Republican....When Olympia Snowe cast the lone Republican vote for the Senate Finance bill, she reaffirmed her place as a power player on Capitol Hill.”
Cordes went on to tout Snowe’s history of going against the Republican Party: “This is not the first time Snowe has bucked her party. In 2006, she helped kill an amendment that would’ve federally banned gay marriage. And she voted in favor of allowing federal funding for stem cell research. This January, she joined Democrats to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and was one of only two Republican senators to support President Obama’s stimulus package.”
After Cordes’s report, co-host Harry Smith spoke with Senator Snowe and wondered why other Republicans on the Finance Committee did not support the legislation: “You’ve described this crisis as like the Titanic heading toward an iceberg and this being an opportunity to turn away from it. If there is no bill, and if there is no Republican support, will they be abrogating their responsibility to avert this crisis?”
Speaking with political analyst John Dickerson on Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith asked about the latest Obama administration attack on Fox News: “Anita Dunn, the communications director for the White House, pushed back against Fox. This is the first time that we’ve seen somebody really come out, out loud and say what she had to say....Now there seems to be a full frontal assault.”
Dickerson replied by describing the White House mud slinging as a win-win: “..the White House website where they talked about the ‘lies of Fox News,’ which is stronger language than you usually hear. This is kind of good for both sides. Fox News sees its viewers – viewership increase, the White House has an enemy. It can galvanize its liberal supporters by attacking Fox News. That’s something that gets cheers in those quarters.”
However, he did follow up by warning of a potential downside: “The problem for the White House, of course, is that it can look a little petty and a little small as it sort of takes it sort of punches down at a cable network. And so they have to make sure that if they’re going to take on Fox News, that they don’t seem overly obsessed by it.” It seems like that ship has already sailed.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: “Washington’s largest gay rights rally in a decade puts pressure on President Obama.” Co-host Harry Smith later introduced the story: “An issue that was on the back burner for President Obama suddenly got turned up to high over the weekend. Thanks to a group that is normally supportive of the President, gay rights activists.”
The Early Show coverage failed to label the protestors as being liberal or part of the left-wing base of the Democratic Party. Instead, they were simply referred to as “gay rights supporters.” White House correspondent Bill Plante explained: “The President has yet to deliver on the promises that he made to the gay community and members of that community are concerned. They’ve gathered here in Washington to remind him of those campaign pledges.”
Meanwhile, NBC’s Today and ABC’s Good Morning America downplayed the march, only offering perfunctory news briefs. At the top of Today, co-host Ann Curry reported: “Tens of thousands of gay rights supporters took to the streets of Washington DC on Sunday and demanded that the President keep his promise to allow gays to serve openly in the military. They also want the President to work to end discrimination against gays.” She later repeated the exact same brief in the 9:00AM hour.
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer wondered about negative political fallout from President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize win: “one European commentator who said ‘will this become a poison chalice?’ In other words, is this going to hurt the President rather than help him?...is this going to widen the part of partisan divide rather than bring people together?”
Schieffer spoke with Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez, who asked: “Clearly a surprise to everyone, including the White House, for the President to be awarded this less than nine months into his term. And already some people are questioning whether he deserves it.” Schieffer expressed that skepticism: “My first reaction was, ‘what?!....It’s almost as if they’re saying ‘we’re giving you the Nobel Peace Prize for winning the election.’...I can’t recall anybody who won this prize for his aspirations. People usually get it for results.”
During 11AM CBS breaking news coverage of the President’s acceptance speech, anchor Jeff Glor got more Scheiffer reaction: “Is this more a commentary on the current administration and the current president or the previous administration, Bob?” Schieffer replied: “It’s almost as if the committee today was giving Barack Obama a prize for not being George Bush.”
Following the talking points of the Democratic Party, at the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared a win for health care legislation being pushed by Montana Senator Max Baucus: “President Obama’s health care plan gets a green light from the Congressional Budget Office, as a key bill not only pays for itself, but actually saves billions.”
Rodriguez later introduced a report on the CBO estimates by declaring: “This morning Democratic leaders are cheering a report that shows that the Senate Finance Committee’s health care bill actually saves money.” Correspondent Nancy Cordes followed: “The new bill would actually reduce the federal deficit by $81 billion according to the new estimates. The price tag, $829 billion over ten years, would be fully paid for, and then some, by an excise tax on top dollar insurance plans, by fees on drug makers and medical device manufacturers, and more.”
During the segment, an on-screen headline read: “One Step Closer? New Health Care Estimate Raises White House Hopes.” In her report, Cordes cited Jonathan Cohn, the senior editor of the liberal magazine, The New Republic, who praised the bill: “You’re average family will have security they don’t have, they won’t – they’ll know they won’t lose their insurance if they lose their job. If they need financial assistance paying for their health care, that will be available to them.”
Reporting the lead story on CBS’s Sunday Morning, correspondent Martha Teichner touted a new on-line poll conducted by Parade magazine about religion in America: “nearly a quarter of the respondents call themselves spiritual, not religious. And how about this? Half the people polled say they seldom, if ever, attend religious services.”
One supposed religious expert Teichner spoke with about the poll findings was Barnard College professor and Episcopal priest Randall Balmer, who argued: “And so you have all these religious options out there and we Americans are good consumers.” Teichner asked: “So you’re saying that Americans choose their faith or their spirituality in very much the way they shop a mall.” Balmer replied: “I think they do.” In 2006, Balmer wrote Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America.
The Parade magazine cover story about the poll was written by Christine Wicker, author of The Fall of the Evangelical Nation. In addition, Wicker is also a contributing writer for the left-wing blog The Huffington Post. Just days prior to the 2008 presidential election, Wicker authored a post entitled “Evangelical Leaders Using God Like a Hired Gun,” in which she claimed: “They tried branding Obama the anti-Christ. They tried linking him with Islamic terrorists....They’ve used their pulpits to endorse McCain...None of these tactics has brought their errant minions under control. So using God like a hired gun to terrorize the town’s people, the evangelical Christian mullahs are declaring that Obamageddon is at hand.”
In a display of the ever lowering standards by which the media judge Barack Obama’s presidency, on Sunday’s CBS Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer downplayed the President’s failed Olympic bid: “this is going to come as a surprise to some but the world did not end Friday....a lot of people thought it might if the President flew to Copenhagen and failed to bring home the Olympics.”
Schieffer went on to chastize those who speculated that Obama would take a political hit for such a failure: “Washington spent most of the week gnashing its teeth about whether he should have gone. Republicans accused him of dereliction of duty. Some in his own party shuddered at the possible humiliation of it all. Frankly, it didn’t seem all that big a deal to me.” He added: “I said at one point that if a trip to Copenhagen took his presidency over the side then it wasn’t much of a presidency.” Schieffer was referring to his defense of Obama’s trip on last week’s Early Show.
Wrapping up his end-of-the-show commentary, Schieffer argued: “If he wanted to give his hometown a boost, why not? Chicago is part of America the last time I looked.” He then sarcastically declared: “Anyway he’s back. Nothing happened. When I drove in this morning, the Washington Monument was still standing.” So as long as the nation’s capital isn’t crumbling to the ground, Obama is doing a fine job.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith promoted a new book and documentary about a New York City couple that spent a year without modern amenities, such as toilet paper and electricity, to limit their impact on the environment: “This is an amazing saga....when the lights were switched back on, Colin and Michelle clearly saw a year that meant so much more than living without toilet paper.”
Smith asked Colin and Michelle Beavan what their “inspiration” was, to which Colin replied: “Concern for the planet. I mean, we were reading so much about global warming happening and we were just frustrated because what can any one person do? So we thought we’d try to do what we could.” Michelle added: “I had just seen the movie An Inconvenient Truth, so that really – it was kind of perfect timing.”
In response to the Beavan’s only eating fresh unpackaged food, Smith saw the logic: “the cost of what the wheat is in a box of cereal that costs $4? It’s a couple of pennies, you know, versus all of this stuff that’s around it. So there’s – there’s some sense in all of this.” Near the end of the segment, Colin again cited global warming hysteria: “And we discovered that, you know, there is a climate emergency happening and it is possible for us as citizens to actually take care.” Smith agreed: “You just have to get 300 million people to do it.”
A week after aggressively defending school children in New Jersey literally singing Barack Obama’s praises, on MSNBC on Friday, anchor Norah O’Donnell once again expressed her support of the song and went after critics: “I think this is sort of a silly issue, I do, I’ll just say that, you know, and I’m not an ideologue. And I got hammered in the blogs for making that comment.”
As NewsBusters’ Scott Whitlock reported on September 24, O’Donnell argued with conservative columist Tim Carney, seeing no problem with the disturbing song: “I mean, this is children. They're singing a song...If you can make your point again about why this is indoctrination, political indoctrination to praise your President...I remember certainly in elementary school when Ronald Reagan was President and we sent him jelly beans.”
On Friday, during MSNBC’s weekly New York Times Edition program, O’Donnell explained to liberal New York Times columnist Nick Kristof:
Nick, you know, there was – this was something that was on the Right that got a lot of play, which was these school students who were singing a song about President Barack Hussein Obama. It was during black history month, and those on the Right, in conservatives circles, have used that to say they’re now indoctrinating kids, essentially, in schools....I just wonder what it is then, when we can’t allow our children to praise a president or sing about a president, whether they’re a Republican or a Democrat or an independent or even people of different religions.
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez speculated on the impact of President Obama’s personal appeal for the 2016 Olympics to be held in Chicago: “President Obama arrives in Copenhagen, carrying the torch for Chicago as the best candidate for the 2016 summer Olympics...Will he bring home the gold?” When the announcement came, Chicago was immediately eliminated from contention.
In the report that followed, correspondent Sheila MacVicar declared: “For this Olympic bid, it’s all about celebrity star power and supporters of Chicago’s bid hope President Obama will be the biggest star of all.” An on-screen headline read: “Chicago Hope; Obama Makes Case For 2016 Olympics. ” MacVicar fawned over the first couple’s emotional appeal: “ For Michelle Obama, a very personal story about her own father, who struggled with multiple sclerosis...And from the President, a heartfelt pitch for his adopted hometown.”
MacVicar concluded her report: “And that if Chicago does take it in a very tight race, analysts here say they’ll be calling it the ‘Obama effect.’” Apparently that effect was overrated.
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith painted a glowing portrait of the Clinton administration while previewing a new book on the former president: "During Bill Clinton’s presidency, the nation prospered, he worked to broker peace in the Middle East and in the Balkans, championed welfare reform, and signed the NAFTA free trade agreement."
The book, entitled The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History With The President was written by Clinton friend and historian Taylor Branch, who recorded a series of 79 conversations with the president while in office.
After listing Clinton’s supposed accomplishments, Smith lamented: "But his presidency was marred by numerous investigations, a lawsuit brought by Paula Jones charging sexual harassment, and the Monica Lewinsky scandal." Smith later asked Branch about the scandals: "What was he [Clinton] like during that time?" Branch responded sympathetically: "He talked about it seldom and painfully....He said ‘I cracked’....A little later he said he felt sorry for himself, that he thought he had beaten down all the scandals and then they would keep reviving and coming back....he just said this ‘it’s never going to stop.’" Smith repeated: "Never going to stop."
Appearing on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer shrugged off any concerns over President Obama traveling to Copenhagen to lobby for the 2016 Olympics in Chicago: "I mean, being associated with the Olympics has always been good politics for presidents....I don’t think it’s going to make any difference to the success or failure of the Obama presidency."
Co-host Harry Smith agreed with Schieffer’s assessment: "Fourteen hours on an airplane will not make or break his presidency, I think we can go along with that." However, Smith still worried about the political fallout: "But doesn’t this seem awfully risky for this president to do right now?...we’ve got Iran coming to a boiling point, Afghanistan waiting for a decision on how many troops should or should not be sent there, health care bubbling back on the back burner. Does he have time to do this?"
Such skepticism from Smith was certainly a change from his declaration on Monday’s Evening News: "The Olympic motto is ‘swifter, higher, stronger.’ Apparently, President Obama is taking that to heart. In a change of plans today, the President decided he will go to Denmark to try to win the 2016 summer games for his hometown."
Monday’s CBS Early Show touted a new 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll about American cultural attitudes, with CBSNews.com’s Cali Carlin asking co-host Maggie Rodriguez one of the survey questions: "Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Angelina Jolie or Beyonce...Who would you want to swap lives with for a week?" Rodriguez immediately responded: "Hands down, Michelle Obama."
Carlin happily declared that Rodriguez, who had not yet seen the poll results, was "in step with mainstream America." Carlin further explained: "26% of women we surveyed said they’d want to switch with Michelle Obama. In fact overall, Washington beat out Hollywood, surprisingly. So both Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton beat out Angelina Jolie and Beyonce."
The poll had a similar question for men, as Vanity Fair online editor Michael Hogan asked co-host Harry Smith: "Okay, so the choices are George Clooney, Bruce Springsteen, Barack Obama, or Tom Brady. So what do you think?" Smith went the Hollywood route: "George Clooney... I mean that’s who I would switch places with. I mean, I know he wants to switch places with me, obviously." Rodriguez joked: "We could arrange that."
Enraged over Republican opposition to ObamaCare, on The Ed Show on MSNBC Wednesday, host Ed Schultz screamed at viewers: "The Republicans lie! They want to see you dead! They’d rather make money off your dead corpse! They kind of like it when that woman has cancer and they don’t have anything for her."
The woman Schultz was referring to was a relative of a woman who asked Republican Congressman Eric Cantor a question at a health care town hall in Virginia. Cantor replied to the woman, Patricia Churchill, by mentioning charitable care. After playing the question and Cantor’s response, Schultz launched into a diatribe: "This is a classic, because when you present the Republicans and the obstructionists with a real-life scenario, they don’t have an answer.... they’re great at holding up the socialism, the communism, the Marxism, all kinds of ’isms, but they don’t have an answer for that woman...Americans, you can’t trust Eric Cantor!"
In a somewhat schizophrenic report on Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, White House correspondent Chip Reid proclaimed President Obama is: "still the darling of the international community. Warmly welcomed by a world that grew weary of President Bush’s brash go-it-alone style." But also admitted: "But with scant progress on a long his of issues, the question now is what does he have to show for it?"
Anchor Katie Couric opened the segment by asking Reid: "Can the President be anything other than the center of attention? Can he do more with that?" Reid replied: "He sure would like to be, Katie. You know, at every international summit he has attended he has been the most popular person in the room. But now many people are asking what good is popularity if it doesn’t lead to concrete results?" After denouncing President Bush’s "brash style," Reid praised Obama for his "sharp departure" which " has recommitted the United States to working with the U.N. and engaging the world."
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith spoke with Christopher Anderson, author of Barack and Michelle: Portrait of An American Marriage, and wondered: "I’m starting to read this book and there’s a lot of quotation marks....I wonder, sometimes – this one to me feels like it’s on a little thin ice. Why is that?"
The book focused on some difficult moments in the Obama marriage, as Anderson explained: "And I have to say that it’s very interesting because the strains in their marriage, they’ve been very open about. During the period when he was in the Senate, the state Senate, in Illinois, he said it was a dark time in their marriage. He was angry all the time." Smith responded: "But these – here’s what – it’s disconcerting to me because as I started to read this and all these quotation marks, I felt, well, this reads – this looks more like a novel than nonfiction."
In contrast, Smith was not at all skeptical when discussing a tell-all book about President George W. Bush by former press secretary Scott McClellan. On the May 29, 2008 Early Show Smith proclaimed that the memoir, which claimed the Bush administration lied about the Iraq War, "actually confirms what a lot of people have come to believe, though, about the Bush Administration, that truth was secondary to policy and politics."
Appearing on CBS’s Sunday Morning, commentator Ben Stein ripped into CNN political analyst James Carville for claiming anti-Obama protestors were "classless": "the elitist anger of the liberal Democrats is boiling over as some ordinary citizens show they don’t like being pushed around....Contempt for the ordinary citizen is just not American and it does not win elections."
Earlier in his commentary, Stein wondered: "I thought the Democrats were the party of the little guys and those who aren’t classy or well born...So now the Democrats are admitting they’re the party of the rich?" He went on to point out that Democrats have "been getting the lion’s share of very large political gifts for years now. The truth is that the Democrats are the fat cats. I’m impressed that Mr. Carville admitted it. I like him more than ever now."
Stein continued: "I was also interested to see that Mr. Carville, a mere lad of 64, same age as I am, has made fun of the age of the tea party attendees." A clip was played of Carville declaring: " I mean they had every old crank in the country out there." Stein observed: "So now the Democrats don’t think the opinions of senior citizens are worth anything more than ridicule?"
Reporting for CBS’s Sunday Morning, political analyst Jeff Greenfield wondered about the impact of nationwide ant-Obama protests: "Does this new militancy on the Right pose an opportunity for the Republican Party or create a dilemma?" He fretted over the tone: "Some of it is aimed specifically and virulently at Obama....At his background, at his race, at his agenda."
Greenfield began the segment by highlighting the source of all the "militancy": "Discontent is in the air. You can see it in the signs they carry. Hear it from the most prominent voices on talk radio. All from the Right....And most notably from Glenn Beck, whose radio program and Fox News telecasts draw millions with his apocalyptic visions of where the President is going."Greenfield went on to include South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson, whom he mistakenly labeled as being from Louisiana: "You even heard it from the floor of the House...In an unprecedented outburst from Louisiana Congressman Joe Wilson."
Later, Greenfield worried about "signs here that show like pictures of Hitler, Stalin, and Obama." One sign showed President Obama as Adolf Hitler, but as NewsBusters earlier reported, that particular sign has been traced back to followers of left-wing radical Lyndon LaRouche. In response to some of the other signs, Protestor Carol Fessler explained to Greenfield: "That comes from a fear...the fear is, you know, if the media’s not doing its job, if government is just taking over every single thing it can and we now have an unfettered liberal – the radical left has gotten control of the process. That’s the fear." Greenfield concluded: "Indeed, that fear has been fed not by politicians but by Fox News pundits."
While concluding a segment on racism involved in anti-Obama protests, MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews promoted the book of one of his guests, liberal historian Douglas Brinkley, and proceeded to rant: "There’s so much right-wing crap on the best seller list these days. It’s great to see a book that you might want to put on your shelf and let your respected friends see you actually reading."
Brinkley’s book, Teddy Roosevelt: The Wilderness Warrior, did make the New York Times best seller list, coming in at twenty one. However, the list’s top ten was dominated by "right-wing crap." Michelle Malkin’s Culture of Corruption, takes the top spot. Bill O’Reilly’s A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity comes in at number six, with Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny at number seven. Dick Morris’s Castrophe earned a number eight ranking.
Matthews made a point of saying to Brinkley: "It’s great to see one book on the best seller list that’s worth reading these days. And yours is." Apparently readers seem to think conservative literature is worth reading a little more.
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, White House correspondent Bill Plante highlighted President Obama’s latest media blitz on health care reform and touted a new piece of the PR arsenal: "The President does have a new partner in his nonstop effort to sell health care, it’s the First Lady....Michelle Obama will be more like a stealth weapon in the battle for health care, giving it a softer touch."
Plante further explained the logic behind using the First Lady to promote ObamaCare: "With a favorable rating of around 70%, well above her husband’s, and the background of a hospital executive, Michelle Obama will counter balance her husband’s hard sell." A clip was played of Politico’s Nia-Malika Henderson exclaiming: "They feel like she can give a different voice, because as you can see, a lot of the folks out there are very partisan." Unlike Michelle Obama’s completely non-partisan approach.
In the first story on CBS since the scandal broke last week, on Tuesday’s Evening News, anchor Katie Couric reported: "The grassroots community organization called ACORN helps low-income Americans find affordable housing and gets tens of millions of dollars in government funding. But as Cynthia Bowers reports, that may be coming to an end after a scandal caught on tape."
After showing undercover video of ACORN workers across the country advising filmmakers James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, who posed as a pimp and prostitute, on how to run an underage prostitution ring, Bowers explained: "ACORN says the workers caught on tape were fired but contends the videos were illegally obtained, doctored and deceptive, and is threatening legal action against the undercover filmmakers posing as the couple...No matter who’s to blame, long-term damage to the reputation of the poverty rights organization may already be done." The CBS story failed to identify ACORN as a liberal organization.
NBC did not get to the ACORN story on Tuesday’s Nightly News, but did cover the scandal on Wednesday’s Today, with co-host Meredith Vieira reporting: "And now to the scandal involving the community organizing group known as ACORN. Over the years, it has received tens of millions of dollars in federal housing money, but now hidden camera videos have led to the U.S. Senate voting to cut off funds to the group."
Appearing on CBS’s Sunday Morning, commentator Nancy Giles shared her thoughts on Congressman Joe Wilson’s outburst: "Some sign waving and you probably heard about it, heckling. At a joint session of Congress....That’s the voice of Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina, not some drunk at open mic night, calling the President a liar."
Giles continued, denouncing all health care reform protestors: "He later apologized, but still, it was a frightening mix of disrespect and bad behavior, with a dash of this summer’s town hall meeting craziness. I guess we should be grateful that there weren’t any ‘show us your birth certificate’ signs and at least no one beat anyone with a cane, which actually happened in the old Senate chamber in 1856."
Giles would certainly know about "disrespect and bad behavior," on the October 5, 2003 broadcast of Sunday Morning, she compared conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh to Adolf Hitler: "So as Rush’s world has steadily crumbled, it’s no wonder he allegedly had to turn to prescription pain killers....Edgy, controversial, brilliant....Hitler would have killed in talk radio. He was edgy, too."
Approaching the 11-year anniversary of the murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard, on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez spoke with his mother Judy Shepard and asked about her efforts to pass hate crimes legislation: "Do you think this is finally the administration and the Congress that will get it done?"
Shepard, who was on to discuss her new book about her son, was hopeful that it would pass, especially after some legislative manipulation: "Well, I hope so. We know that this President will sign it if the bill comes to his desk, with his other requirements, because it’s attached to a Department of Defense bill, so that makes it a little trickier now. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed."
When Rodriguez initially asked about her activism, Shepard praised the role of the media in pushing the gay rights agenda: "What Matt’s story did was cause a lot of unintended education, if you will, through the press. People were made aware of what was going on in the gay community and it started a national dialogue...The gay community was part of every public discussion, where it used to be, you know, something you didn’t talk about, in the closet, if you will."
On Sunday, CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer praised President Obama’s recent media blitz for health care reform: "There’s no question he is the best salesman on the staff," but wondered: "Does he run the risk of overexposing himself?" Politco.com’s Roger Simon dispelled that fear: "It is a risk, but he keeps topping himself."
Simon elaborated on Obama’s oratory skill: "Every time you think this guy can’t give another speech that’s better than the last one, he gives another speech that’s better than the last one. And he’s achieving his purpose." He added that the President’s address to Congress last Wednesday: "was to unite Democrats around him. As a man who can get this job done."
In the same segment, Schieffer also spoke with syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, who gushed: "There is always that risk of overexposure. And yet, if you watched his speech yesterday in Minneapolis, he sort of redeems himself every time he goes out there in front of the public, because he is so good."
At the end of Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer denounced South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson: "The irony of a congressman trying to heckle a President in the midst of a speech that was, among other things, about the need for civility, is just one ugly sign of the mindless meanness that has settled over our politics."
Apparently Schieffer forgot this passage of President Obama’s speech last Wednesday: "Some of people’s concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost. The best example is the claim...that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Such a charge would be laughable if it weren’t so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple." Calling your critics liars hardly sounds like a call for "civility."