At the top of Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith enthusiastically proclaimed: “A frustrated President Obama gets set to read the riot act to the heads of America’s top banks.” Minutes later, Smith claimed it would be a “tough day for America’s biggest bankers” as the President planned to admonish them over executive compensation and lending practices at a White House meeting.
White House correspondent Bill Plante followed with a report on the meeting: “...the bankers are likely to get an earful when they meet with the President later today and he previewed some of his frustrations over their bonuses and over their reluctance to make loans on 60 Minutes.” Plante referred to an interview the Obama gave to 60 Minutes’ Steve Kroft Sunday night, but none of the Early Show coverage mentioned the numerous parts of that interview in which Kroft grilled the President on topics ranging from Afghanistan to health care reform.
In an unusually tough interview with President Obama on Sunday’s 60 Minutes on CBS, correspondent Steve Kroft described the President’s West Point speech as being “greeted with a great deal of confusion” and that “some people thought it was contradictory.” He later said of the health care bill: “some people think is incomprehensible....I’ve not met anybody who’s read it.”
Kroft began the interview by asking about the new Afghanistan strategy and made some observations about Obama’s announcement of the plan: “In your West Point speech, you seemed very analytical, detached, not emotional....There were no exhortations or promises of victory. Why? Why that tone?” Obama argued: “...that was actually probably the most emotional speech that I’ve made.” And then hit the Bush administration: “...one of the mistakes that was made over the last eight years is for us to have a triumphant sense about war. There was a tendency to say, ‘We can go in. We can kick some tail. This is some glorious exercise.’”
Kroft went on to note that the speech: “was greeted with a great deal of confusion.” A testy Obama interjected: “I disagree with that statement.” Kroft rephrased: “...it raised a lot of questions. And some people thought it was contradictory. That’s a fair criticism.” Not according to the President: “I don’t think it’s a fair criticism....There shouldn’t be anything confusing about that.” Obama then touted a Bush administration success to make his point: “...that’s something that we executed over the last two years in Iraq. So, I think the American people are familiar with the idea of a surge.”
In an interview with actor Matt Damon on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith discussed the star’s role in a liberal documentary on American history: “‘The People Speak,’ based on one of Damon’s favorite books, ‘A People’s History of The United States’....examine’s America’s founding and expansion from the perspective of the revolutionaries, rebels, and rarely heard voices of dissent.”
Damon described the left-wing revisionism as “an honest look at – at where we’ve come from and the idea that all of these changes have been struggled for by everyday people.” Smith also spoke with the book’s author Howard Zinn and wondered: “Does it seem like this is an extra good time to be making a version of this book into a movie?” Zinn replied: “we want this history to speak to our present situation. What is our present situation? War. So in many ways the film, I think, speaks to things that are going on now.”
On Wednesday, Zinn proclaimed his anti-war views on NBC’s Today: “I believe the best way to support the troops is to bring them home. You’re not supporting them when you’re keeping them there and for not a good reason.”
While interviewing former Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean on Wedneday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez questioned his support for a plan by Senate Democrats to expand Medicare coverage: “...the criticism is that Medicare as it stands doesn’t work because the payments don’t cover the plan. Are we just not creating a bigger problem if we have to insure more people under Medicare?”
Dean praised the idea as a good alternative to the public option: “Medicare is a very, very effective program. It’s a government-run single payer program. Everybody over 65 is in it and it works very well....This isn’t perfect and the coverage is not broad enough, in my view, but I do think this is a positive step forward.”
Rodriguez began the interview by pointing out that Dean had previously been adamant about the public option being part of any health care legislation: “...back in August when we talked about this. You said ‘you can’t have reform without the public option.’ But as you know this plan, devised by these ten senators does not include it. So do you oppose it?” Dean replied: “Actually, not at all. Medicare is a public program, and it’s a single payer run by the government....I judge all these plans by whether they move things forward or move things backward. This move things forwards.”
While interviewing Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith referred to recent comments by Senator Harry Reid: “[He] said Republicans are on the wrong side of history when it comes to this health care bill and very soberly...compared those who opposed health care to those who opposed civil rights legislation....How would you respond to that?”
Steele fired back: “Well, you know, it was not a sober moment for Harry Reid at all. It was an ignorant moment for Harry Reid.” Steele continued: “ I’m kind of sick and tired of, you know, the Left and Democrats in this country, when they get into trouble and don’t get their way...they play that race card, that slavery card, that civil rights card.” Smith didn’t even mention Reid’s further comparison of Republicans to those who resisted ending slavery.
Steele called on Reid to apologize: “...it was an ignorant comment. Harry needs to go to the well of the Senate, take it back, and apologize for offending the sensibilities of the American people on something so important.”
Near the end of the 2PM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Contessa Brewer discussed the ClimateGate scandal only to claim there was no scandal in the emails that seemed to show climate scientists manipulating global warming data: “I mean is someone using differences in semantics to try and play up a controversy that’s not really there?”
Brewer spoke with Politico reporter Erica Lovely about the emails in which scientists referred to a “trick” to conceal evidence that contradicted predicted warming trends. Brewer explained: “...there’s a Penn State scientist Michael Mann....He says the word ‘trick’ doesn’t actually refer to any kind of deception, but to a very well-known accepted data technique.” Lovely saw nothing improper in concealing data: “They wanted to keep it out of some of the international reports that the United Nations would be looking at, you know, just to – to move the global talks forward.”
After Brewer suggested the use of the word “trick” as “just semantics,” Lovely agreed: “Sure....They’ll use language that maybe to us would look like, you know, something fishy is going on. But to them this is just everyday speak.” Lovely again defended their actions: “...they’ve been working so many decades trying to get some traction on the global warming science that they really can’t afford to have much detracting science get out.”
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez pressed Republican Senator Lamar Alexander on the GOP’s opposition to ObamaCare: “...there’s been a lot of criticism that Republicans have done nothing but oppose this bill, nothing to help pass it, just try to kill it....have you done more than say ‘no, no, no, no, no’?”
At the top of the show, Rodriguez described a weekend visit by President Obama to Capitol Hill: “A rare closed-door rally on Capitol Hill over the weekend as President Obama calls on Democrats to close ranks and pass health care reform.” Rodriguez later suggested that Republicans “were not invited to the meeting yesterday” based on their criticism of the legislation. Senator Alexander responded: “Well that’s really an amazing statement. I mean, the President was elected on the idea of open meetings.”
Rodriguez also spoke with Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill but tried not to be too tough as she asked the Senator about the Presidential visit: “There were four holdouts yesterday before your meeting with the President. Did he succeed in changing any minds?” McCaskill declared: “Well, I think we’re getting there. Failure’s not an option.”
Responding to President Obama criticizing media coverage of the White House jobs summit, on Friday’s Hardball on MSNBC, host Chris Matthews wondered why the President wasn’t more appreciative of all the media’s help: “Why would you ride the ref when he’s calling all the plays for you? What’s he out there bashing the media for?”
During a town hall meeting in Allentown, Pennsylvania on Friday, Obama remarked: “I noticed the press yesterday, because we had this jobs forum at the White House, they said ‘Obama’s finally pivoting to jobs.’ As if what we haven’t been doing for the whole nine months from the day I was sworn in and we start talking about the recovery was all about jobs.”
Matthews skeptically asked Newsweek’s Howard Fineman: “Can he [Obama] credibly say he’s been worrying about jobs all year?” Fineman proved Matthews point about the media “calling all the plays” for the President: “Oh, I think he can in one way or another. Yeah, I think he can because he would argue that the whole health care push is related to the well being of people and so forth.” However, Fineman did point out: “But again, 17% total of people who are – don’t have enough of a job or if you count the people who are underemployed as well. It’s a huge number.”
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith asked Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer about all the problems facing President Obama: “it was Afghanistan, now it’s jobs...healthcare....Do you remember a time when a president had as many irons – critical irons – in the fire, as this one seems to have right now?” Schieffer replied: “Oh, I suppose during the dark days of World War II.”
Schieffer went on to lament that “...as we approach this Christmas season it doesn’t look like there’s going to be very much under the tree for this administration.” He referred to high unemployment numbers as a source of Obama’s difficulty: “...there just isn’t anymore money that the government has, even to try to stimulate this economy....people are out of work and that is what’s driving so much of this discontent right now.”
Yet again the Thursday network evening newscasts on NBC, ABC, and CBS failed to cover the ClimateGate scandal. However, ABC World News did manage to devote a two minute story to the release of singer Susan Boyle’s first album.
[Editor's Note: Call and write the networks about this. Click here to sign the petition at our MRCAction.org Web site]
On Thursday afternoon, ABC White House correspondent Jake Tapper reported the controversy on his blog: “President Obama’s science adviser, Dr. John Holdren, faced a barrage of questions yesterday from Republican Members of Congress about a series of hacked emails at the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit that climate change skeptics have seized upon as evidence that the whole concept of climate change is a hoax.” Apparently ABC reporters are allowed to discuss the topic online, just not on air.
Interestingly, World News anchor Charles Gibson did a brief report on climate change on Thursday, about how the bad economy has reduced carbon emissions: “The government said today that one offshoot of the recession is cleaner air. Total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. fell 2.2% last year, the decline due in part to record high oil prices, which resulted in less driving.” Gibson looked for that economic upside as he reported live outside the White House for the Obama administration’s jobs summit.
While ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today questioned Obama White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett on the breach of security at last week’s state dinner, her appearance was conspicuously absent from the CBS Early Show on Thursday. The CBS morning show has made a consistent effort to downplay the administration’s role in party crashing scandal.
On Good Morning America, co-host Robin Roberts wondered why White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers would not be testifying before Congress on the issue: “But, first, I want to ask you about the congressional hearing today. And ask you why isn't the social secretary, Desiree Rogers, testifying today before Congress?....you know that leaves people thinking, Valerie, that there’s something more.”
Similarly, on Today, co-host Meredith Vieira asked Jarrett: “White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers. She was the point person for that event. She is the one who failed to assign aides to vet guests at those checkpoints. She’s the one who named herself a guest instead of a staffer, and yet, she is not being investigated. The Secret Service is, but not her. Do you think she should be investigated?”
As the MRC’s Business and Media Institute reported on Wednesday, in the twelve days since emails were released showing climate scientists manipulating global warming data, many in the media have been stunningly silent.
The evening network newscasts on ABC, CBS, NBC have failed to make any mention of the scandal going on day thirteen since the story broke.
On NBC’s Nightly News on Wednesday, anchor Brian Williams failed to cover the climate controversy, but did manage to find the time to congratulate himself on his fifth anniversary of taking over the broadcast from Tom Brokaw.
As NewsBusters’ Noel Sheppard reported on Wednesday, even faux news anchor Jon Stewart referenced ClimateGate on The Daily Show.
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Bianca Solorzano reported on the couple who snuck into the White House state dinner, but avoided fully explaining the role a Pentagon official played in the scandal. She claimed emails between Pentagon liaison Michele Jones and Michaele and Tareq Salahi: “actually undermine their claims that they were invited...”
Solorzano quoted one email in which Jones told the Salahis that “it doesn’t seem likely” she could get them an invitation to the event and that she “then left the Salahi’s a voice mail before the dinner, saying they did not get an invitation.”
However, Solorzano failed to cite later emails in which Jones reacted to the Salahis getting into the dinner. After getting home from the White House gala, Tareq Salahi sent an email thanking Jones for her help: “Hi Michele, You are an Angel!....it worked out at the end. We ended up going to the gate to check in at 6:30pm just to check, in case it got approved since we didn’t know, and our name was indeed on the list! ☺ We are very grateful and God bless you.” Jones replied back: “Tareq, You are most welcome! I here the smile in your email and am delighted that you and Michaele had a wonderful time.”
Writing for Newsweek magazine’s feature on the top ten “startling scoops” of the past ten years, ex-CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather identified the most shocking: “Abu Ghraib has opened our eyes, serving as a dark icon that reminds us our fiercest enemies – hubris, cruelty, and ignorance – wage war from within.”
Rather went on to proclaim that the prisoner abuse scandal “is still the subject of debate and the source of despair, a shadowy gateway to learning how these wrong-headed practices became American policy.”
Early in the brief article, Rather claimed: “Many don’t know that the story aired in the wake of debate and delay. At the time, there were deep fears that all of us would face a blast furnace of criticism for taking on the administration, ‘undermining the troops,’ and possibly exposing our soldiers to fresh anger from the Muslim world.” Rather certainly was not concerned with going after the Bush administration with fraudulent documents later that same year.
Rather defended the decision to break the story by arguing: “It was only the American public that was in the dark, never consulted or considered when these policies were approved. Back then, we all needed awakening to what was being done in our names.” He then alleged more widespread abuses by the U.S. military: “A couple of years earlier, when our team was in Afghanistan, we had heard whispers of abuse underway at Baghram Airport, where Americans were in charge of an unknown number of prisoners. We flat out didn’t believe it. Now we know better.”
Monday’s CBS Early Show featured two stories on the security breach at last week’s White House state dinner, but each made only scant reference to Obama administration officials being partly to blame. Instead, both segments faulted the couple themselves, Michaele and Tareq Salahi, as well as the Secret Service.
In the first story, White House correspondent Bill Plante placed blame squarely on the Salahis, referring to them as “notorious” and “probably delighted with the attention.” Plante even noted how “some members of Congress are calling for charges to be brought against the Salahis.”
Only near the end of the report did Plante make any mention of the White House staff being responsible: “The Secret Service has admitted it made mistakes, but several people who attended Wednesday night’s dinner suggest the agency shouldn’t shoulder all the blame. Because the White House was also at fault.” Washington Post reporter Amy Argetsinger explained: “Procedure would have dictated that someone from the social office should have been at the door. These are the people who recognize the people on the guest list.”
The first question in a poll conducted by CBS’s 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair magazine asked Americans to nominate a fifth face for Mt. Rushmore and included Barack Obama among the contenders. While President Kennedy took the lead with 29%, Obama came in fourth with 16%, just behind Franklin Roosevelt at 18% and Ronald Reagan at 20%.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-hosts Harry Smith and Maggie Rodriguez discussed the poll with CBSNews.com’s Cali Carlin and Vanity Fair’s Michael Hogan. Smith thought the Rushmore question was “terrific” and guessed that “it’s got to be between Kennedy and FDR.” Rodriguez made the same prediction: “if you know anything about history, you’d have to do FDR because he served four terms. But I think given our current population, most people probably said Kennedy.” Neither of them suggested Republican choices Reagan or Eisenhower would earn such a place of honor.
Carlin confirmed those guesses: “You’re right, it is JFK. People want to further that Camelot feeling and they would add him.” She then added: “But about 16% wanted our current president, Barack Obama, even though he hasn’t even served a full year in office. He got fourth place.” Rodriguez observed: “That’s unbelievable. Maybe just because of the historic significance of him being African American.” Carlin expressed skepticism: “Yeah, it could be a little premature though, maybe like that Nobel Prize.”
At the top of Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez teased an appearance by singer Adam Lambert on the show and addressed his raunchy performance at the American Music Awards on Sunday: “And is he the new Elvis? Or did he simply just go too far? American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert is here to set the record straight after his controversial performance at the AMA’s.”
As the show opened, co-host Harry Smith echoed Rodriguez, seeming to dismiss Lambert’s open mouth kiss with another man and simulated oral sex on stage at the awards show, as just breaking new barriers: “Those of us of a certain age, who were actually alive when Elvis first performed on Ed Sullivan so many years ago. There was so much controversy about him performing, they actually had to shoot him from the waist up....Because of the hips shaking and people didn’t want to – wanted to make sure that their children weren’t harmed by what was happening there. So maybe there’s some similarities to all of this.”
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes reported on the Obamas hosting their first state dinner in the White House and declared: “Everyone wants one, but only a few hundred are lucky enough to get an invitation to the hottest ticket in town...”
Cordes concluded her brief report by mentioning: “Pop entertainer and Chicagoan Jennifer Hudson will entertain the guests, giving everyone, including the Obamas, ample opportunity to dance.” Footage was played of the first couple dancing as co-host Maggie Rodriguez added: “Which we know they love to do.”
Rodriguez spoke with former Clinton White House official Laura Schwartz, who remarked: “What an exciting day today.” Rodriguez agreed: “I know.” She then asked Schwartz: “...what do you think the Obamas want this dinner to say about them?” Schwartz described the event as the Obamas “inviting the world into their home” and noted the couple’s frequent global travel: “...the Obamas have been traveling quite a lot this first year, which is very exciting, it’s good for America. It’s good to be involved.”
Speaking with Brookings Institution analyst Michael O’Hanlon on Tuesday about President Obama’s upcoming decision to increase troop levels in Afghanistan, CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith worried: “...how much is this going to cost him on the Left? Because I’m – I’ve got this sense that there will be people on the Left of President Obama who are not pleased by this.”
Despite representing a liberal leaning think tank, O’Hanlon dismissed the political concern: “Of course that’s right, Harry. But I think the real risk is if the war isn’t won. You know, the Left won’t like this, but if in a year we can see progress, people will forget their original doubts and they’ll be glad there is an exit strategy emerging ahead.”
Prior to Smith’s discussion with O’Hanlon, White House correspondent Bill Plante reported on the soon-to-be-announced war strategy and pointed out: “A new CBS News poll shows 69% of Americans think the war is going badly. And only 36% believe more U.S. troops would make things better.” A clip was then played of another Brookings analyst, E.J. Dionne, who lamented: “We’ve been at this since 2003. We have spent a lot of money, we’ve lost a lot of lives. When does this end?” He mistakenly confused the start of the Iraq war with that of Afghanistan, which began in 2001.
At the end of CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, host Bob Schieffer fretted over massive government spending but avoided blaming current Democratic proposals: “I’m not even talking about the cost of health care....It is now costing $1 million a year to keep one U.S. soldier on the ground in Afghanistan, not to mention that for every soldier there, we have one civilian contractor.”
Schieffer also cited reconstruction costs in Iraq: “I picked up the New York Times to discover we have spent more money rebuilding Iraq’s schools, hospitals, water treatment and electrical plants – $54 billion – than we have spent on any construction project since the Marshall Plan.” He described his reaction to the war spending: “...last week I got surprised – no, I should say had a jaw-dropping shock – a better way to put it – every time I picked up the newspaper and read about the numbers that we’re throwing around lately.”
In concluding his commentary, Schieffer wondered: “...when President Obama came calling to China, we owed the Chinese more than a trillion dollars...is going a trillion dollars in hock to one country made us more secure?”
Continuing the push for medical marijuana, on Monday’s CBS Early Show co-host Russ Mitchell declared: “As more youngsters are being diagnosed with autism, there is a growing need for alternative treatments. One California mother says medical marijuana has made vast improvements in her autistic son.”
Correspondent Hattie Kauffman reported: “Joey is severely autistic, so uninterested in food he was wasting away....But Mieko [Joey’s mother] claims it all changed with marijuana brownies.” Meiko Perez argued: “They’re seeing Joey come out. He’s never made noises. We didn’t even know he could make noise until the first batch of brownies.”
At the end of the brief report, Kauffman noted mild criticism of the controversial treatment: “The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes legalization of marijuana, but supports more research.” She then concluded: “Though there’s absolutely no evidence Marijuana cures autism, this mom says it has improved her child’s life.”
At the top of Friday’s Hardball on MSNBC, host Chris Matthews discovered the reason for President Obama’s political difficulties in recent months: “President Obama has his chin out on just about every hot issue out there....He’s exposed and vulnerable. His poll numbers are dropping. Is he just too darned intellectual? Too much the egg head?”
Later in the show, Matthews talked to Atlantic Media’s Ron Brownstein and USA Today’s Susan Page about Obama’s great flaw. He began by wondering: “I’m not attacking intellectuals because I do appreciate their contribution – but when politicians begin to get a little too intellectual, they lose connection with the American people....I begin to think this administration’s getting almost like one that you would imagine Adlai Stevenson running. Highly ethereal, highly intellectual, egg head. Not connected to real people and their emotional gut feelings about things.”
Page agreed and pointed out: “...there are many strengths to the Obama administration, but they’ve got an awful lot of people who went to Ivy League schools, which is great, but you also need some people who went to big state colleges.” Luckily, Page found an ‘average Joe’ in the administration: “Vice President Biden’s been the target of some fun, he is maybe the only voice in that inner circle that reflects that kind of big state school mentality.”
Citing a Democratic congressman who recently proposed a no whining day, on Friday’s Morning Meeting on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan asked: “...unemployment, health care, a couple of wars, Americans got plenty to be frustrated about these days...But some people say stop the whining....Is ‘shut up and deal’ the new American mantra?”
Ratigan made that question the topic of discussion for the ‘Trend or Talker’ segment near the end of 9:00AM ET hour of the show with correspondent Contessa Brewer and Financial Times U.S. managing editor Chrystia Freeland. Ratigan explained: “...the congressman, by the name of Emmanuel Cleaver, wants to declare the day before Thanksgiving complaint-free Wednesday.” He wondered: “Worthy proposition?”
Brewer replied: “Yeah, absolutely. Here you get a two-fer. No complaints on Wednesday and Thursday gives you something to be grateful for.” Freeland enthusiastically agreed with the idea: “I think the no whining day is a fabulous idea....What they say in preschools, you get what you get and don’t get upset.”
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, after Rudy Giuliani suggested the Obama administration was trying to “satisfy left-wing critics” by trying 9/11 terrorists in civilian court, incredulous co-host Harry Smith saw no such connection: “But Hang on. So it’s – so the idea of them being tried in open court is a left-wing political agenda?”
Smith began the interview with the former New York City Mayor by skeptically wondering: “You said yesterday that this was a political decision. How is it – do you think it’s a political decision?” Giuliani responded: “Well, it’s a political decision because I believe that this is being done to satisfy left-wing critics....After all, it was lawyers in Attorney General Eric Holder’s law firm that challenged the military tribunal, challenged the habeas corpus, fought these cases all throughout. So I think this is a political agenda.”
After Smith was taken aback by the charge that liberal politics was involved in the decision, Giuliani began to explain: “Of course. Because they could be tried in military courts. As everyone else was up until now. And it would add-” Smith cut him off: “So as the attorney general yesterday, ‘we need not cower in the face of this enemy’” Giuliani shot back: “Please let me finish what I was saying. I didn’t get a chance to complete my thought.”
Citing an interview the President gave to White House correspondent Chip Reid, at the top of Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith declared: “An outraged President Obama says heads may roll when he returns from Asia, telling CBS News he’s furious over leaks about Afghanistan.” The leaks in question have highlighted the administration’s inaction on the war.
Rather than press the President on why he has failed to make a decision on Afghanistan, in the taped interview, Reid explained: “I asked the President if he’s as angry as Defense Secretary Robert Gates about all of the leaks coming out of his administration about the Afghanistan deployment decision.” Obama replied: “I think I’m probably angrier than Bob Gates about it....For people to be releasing information during the course of deliberations, where we haven’t made final decisions yet, I think, is not appropriate.” Reid followed up: “Is it a firing offense?” Obama responded: “Absolutely.”
After the interview clip, co-host Maggie Rodriguez was glad to see the President putting his foot down: “Good to hear that he has a zero tolerance policy on the leaks. That is no joke.”
The latest CBS News poll shows that Obama only has a 38 percent approval rating on his handling of Afghanistan, perhaps that is why the network is running defense for him.
At the top of Monday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric teased a story on the President’s trip to China by casting him as Reaganesque: “Mr. Hu, tear down that firewall. President Obama challenges China’s government to allow unfettered access to the internet.”
Couric introduced the segment that followed by continuing to play up the idea that Obama took a hard line on Chinese censorship: “In China today, he challenged leaders of the communist government to give people greater access to the internet.” Correspondent Chip Reid reported that the President’s actual statement on the matter was hardly so dramatic: “It’s one of the touchiest topics in China and the President’s long answer took on the tone of a polite lecture.”
A clip was played of Obama declaring: “I have always been a strong supporter of open internet use. I’m a big supporter of non-censorship....I have a lot of critics in the United States who can say all kinds of things about me. I actually think that that makes our democracy stronger...” Reid described those comments as a “rebuke” that “was aimed at China’s leaders.” However, He went on to admit: “...if they were watching it on TV, most Chinese were not, because the government allowed it to run on only one local channel in Shanghai. In the rest of China, they aired a soap opera.”
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez previewed an exclusive interview with Levi Johnston on the CBS entertainment show, The Insider: “Levi Johnston says he is winning the war of words between Sarah Palin and him. We’ll hear from him.” Later, correspondent for The Insider, Chris Jacobs, declared: “Sarah Palin lashing out at Levi and now Levi fires back.”
Rodriguez has conducted three exclusive interviews with the estranged father of Palin’s grandson in the last six months, the latest on October 29. In The Insider interview, Johnston is given the opportunity to continue his vicious, personal, and unsubstantiated attacks against the former Alaska governor, claiming: “I think she’s going out and talking and she’s just digging a bigger hole for herself....I just look at her in disgust. It’s almost funny that she’s like 46 years old and she’s battling a 19-year-old and I’m winning and I’m telling the truth. She’s lying and losing.”
On CBS’s Sunday Morning, New York Daily News Washington correspondent James Meek related President Obama’s visit to the graves of Iraq and Afghanistan war dead at Arlington National Cemetery: “Now, cynics may say this was just an Obama photo-op. But they weren’t there looking him in the eye. I saw a man fully carrying the heavy burden of command on a weighty day.”
In an article Meeks wrote for the Daily News on Thursday, he used harsher terms to denounce any “cynics” critical of Obama’s visit: “If they’d been standing in my boots looking him in the eye, they would have surely choked on their bile. His presence in Section 60 convinced me that he now carries the heavy burden of command.” To use such a personal experience to promote the current administration and attack critics seems rather cynical.
In the Sunday Morning piece, Meek almost poetically described the President’s appearance at the section of the cemetery reserved for Iraq and Afghanistan war dead: “I was in Section 60 that morning when he made an unscheduled stop before huddling with his war council on sending more GIs into harm’s way. In a bone-chilling drizzle, he and the First Lady walked through the rows of gleaming white headstones. I saw the President embrace grieving widows, mothers, and battle buddies tending to the graves of loved ones. He asked about each one.”
Appearing on Monday’s CBS Early Show to discuss Sarah Palin’s upcoming book tour, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer dismissed the former vice presidential candidate’s political ambitions: “I think she’s going to sell a lot of books. I think she’ll be a great attraction out, you know, as an amusement....But I can’t imagine that she has much future in politics. I really don’t.”
Early Show co-host Harry Smith began by asking Schieffer about Palin’s criticism of the McCain campaign in her book, ‘Going Rogue.’ Schieffer responded: “Well, this is Sarah Palin’s turn to get even....I don’t think it’s going to work.... it’s kind of like a baseball player going into a slump and blaming the manager or blaming the bat boy or blaming the fans or something.”
Schieffer went on to write Palin’s political obituary: “But I don’t think it’s going to help re-establish her as a, you know, as a political candidate. I – my guess is she’s not ever going to run for anything and I think if she did, I don’t think she would get very far.” Even Smith seemed to think that was premature, replying in a surprised manner: “Really?”
Speaking to the defense attorney for Ft. Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith asked: “Do you think – and this is not from a scientific or even legal standpoint, but just as you’ve been able to speak with him, do you think he’s competent to stand trial?”
In his first question to Hasan’s attorney, retired Army Colonel John Galligan, Smith wondered: “First things first, you met with Hasan at some point yesterday. Is he coherent?” Galligan replied: “He’s coherent.” He then lamented: “I learned from, actually members of the media, that apparently he was going to be charged yesterday. I was surprised by that and I was saddened by the manner in which it occurred, because I – I received belated notice.”
Smith seized upon that statement: “How unusual is it for a case as important as this one is, for the suspect to be charged with a crime and for his attorney not to be present?” Galligan admitted: “Well, there’s no legal requirement that I have been present when the charges are preferred, under the manual.” He then added: “I was extremely upset to learn that they were going about this important step in the pre-trial procedural process without formally notifying me....my first five minutes with the client were spent almost apologizing for the manner in which it went down.”