While discussing President Obama’s Tuesday night address to Congress and the Republican response given by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez observed: "And Americans loved it. The polls show that they're very optimistic, and then out comes Bobby Jindal, Debbie Downer, saying ‘hated it, it's not going to work.’" Rodriguez made the remark while speaking with Democrat Dee Dee Myers and Republican Dan Bartlett. She turned to Bartlett and asked: "Do you think the Republican Party's taking the right approach, Dan, being so vocal with their objections?"
At the top of the show, Rodriguez interviewed Vice President Joe Biden and asked: "...the Republican party came out with their own charismatic, young, dynamic, ethnic spokesperson after the speech and said ‘we don't buy it, we're not on board.’ Are you taking any of their objections into account? Are any of their objections legitimate in your view?" Biden replied: "Sure. I'm sure there's -- there's some legitimate objections they have. But what I don't understand from Governor Jindal is, what would he do?...if you choose the inaction that Governor Jindal is talking about, how responsible is that? While people are just sinking into the abyss."
In commemoration of the one-month anniversary of the Obama family moving into the White House, on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "For the last month, as President Obama has settled into running the country, the first family has settled into life at the White House. While President Obama has been trying to repair our failing economy, First Lady Michelle Obama has become his number one advocate. Visiting five federal agencies this month,plugging her husband's economic stimulus plan."
Rodriguez went on to describe the Obamas hitting the Washington D.C. social scene: "In one month, the Obamas have engaged in their community, reading to school kids and visiting community organizations...They've become part of the local scene, eating out and attending a performance at the Kennedy Center. They're familiarizing themselves with their new home...They just hosted their first black-tie dinner and have entertained nearly 200 school children at the White House. But above all, in five weeks, Mr. and Mrs. Obama have learned their role as parents-in-chief to daughters Malia and Sasha."
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez spoke with FDIC Chairwoman Shelia Bair and asked: "I can't think of a better morning to have you here, because all the talk is about the bank and if you look at the cover of The Washington Post, there it is, the n-word, 'nationalization,' which you have said you would be surprised if we get to that point. But isn't it maybe going to be a necessary evil?" On February 16, Rodriguez asked Republican Congressman Eric Cantor: "Can the Republican Party accept that there are situations when large-scale government intervention is necessary?"
After Bair downplayed the possibility of a government takeover of banks, Rodriguez countered: "But it sounds to me like it's a very real scenario that the government could wind up owning a majority stake in these banks if these stress tests show serious cracks because the stock is worth so little now, we don't have to put that much money in to own a majority." Bair replied: "Well, I think the inter-agency statement that was released yesterday indicated a strong presumption in favor of private control. And I think we would like to continue that. It's a very tough thing to run a bank." Rodriguez responded: "You would like to but is it realistic, do you think?"
During the Monday 12PM EST hour of MSNBC news coverage, anchor Norah O’Donnell interviewed conservative film maker John Ziegler, creator of ‘Media Malpractice,’ a documentary on media bias against Sarah Palin, and denied any such bias: "Well, let me ask you, you called the treatment of Sarah Palin and her family a, quote, 'media assassination, one of the greatest public injustices of our time.' Is that a little strong? Are you and her a little thin-skinned?"
Ziegler responded by pointing out O’Donnell’s own anti-Palin bias: "The evidence is overwhelming. It's continuing today. I mean, just a few weeks ago, Norah, you incorrectly stated on the air Sarah Palin called Barack Obama a terrorist during the campaign." NewsBusters reported on O’Donnell’s January 29 smear of Palin.
O’Donnell criticized part of Ziegler’s documentary: "Let me ask you, in your documentary you cite examples of media bias by Saturday Night Live, that that's media bias. Aren't those comedians?...How's that media bias?" Ziegler explained: "Poll after poll shows that more people get their news from comedy shows because the line between entertainment and news, as this network has shown time and time again, has virtually evaporated...MSNBC used to be a news organization, now it's an advocacy organization, and SNL is actually thought to be a news organization."
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith played a clip of himself talking to left-wing actor Sean Penn following the Oscars Sunday night: "In a night full of first-time winners, Sean Penn took home his second Oscar as best actor for his emotional performance as slain gay civil rights activist Harvey Milk in Milk. I caught up with him and other big winners at the Governor's Ball." During the interview, Smith admitted to Penn: "As I sat watching the film, seems to happen to me more rare these days, but I wept openly during several scenes in the film because it really is a film about a civil rights movement." On December 10, Smith interviewed Penn’s Milk co-star, James Franco, and called the film "a must-see."
Earlier in the broadcast, a clip was played of Penn describing his feeling’s about the Oscar win during a press conference after the award show: "That means a lot to myself and to everybody involved, not only in the movie, but to anybody who believes in equal rights for other human beings." However, no clip was played of Penn’s actual acceptance speech, in which he declared: "I think it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect, and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that way of support. We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone."
During the 3:00PM EST hour of MSNBC news coverage, anchor Norah O’Donnell discovered the source of sexism in the Middle East was not Islamic fundamentalism, but rather, capitalism: "And to another big story, is oil behind sexism in the Middle East? It's a provocative new theory out there today, suggesting the real culprit of the lower status of women in the Middle East is because of the region's oil wealth."
O’Donnell then turned to Sally Quinn of the Washington, who wrote about the theory on the newspaper’s On Faith blog: "This is a hot topic, Sally. Do you believe that oil is behind sexism in the Middle East?" Quinn replied: "Well, I do think that it has a lot to do with it...when you have an oil-rich country, there's much less manufacturing, so that there are fewer jobs for women. But also because the country is so rich that women don't need to work and therefore they're comfortable and they stay home."
Later, O’Donnell concluded: "But it's a very interesting question, it's not necessarily Islam, it may be more, and you would know this better than I, as -- because of what you're doing -- it may more be the wealth of that country." Quinn replied: "Well, it is the wealth. The -- part of it, too, has to do with culture. I mean, that they come from a culture where women don't work. And so, because the oil-rich countries, all of the jobs that are involved around oil are much more male-oriented jobs."
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Jeff Glor reported on conservative leader Benjamin Netanyahu being chosen as Israel’s prime minister: "Israel's president chose hardline Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu today to form a new Israeli government. As prime minister, Netanyahu will try to cobble together a coalition of right-wing parties. Such a government might dim hopes for peace with the Palestinians."
An article on the CBS News website went on to stress the importance of Netanyahu forming a moderate centrist government: "Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, in a seeming about-face, indicated she might be willing to come on board a Netanyahu government. But Livni, a centrist, would certainly exact a high price: sharing the prime minister's job she so fervently sought with a reluctant Netanyahu. Should he balk, his alternative would be an unstable coalition of right-wingers sure to collide with the Obama administration and its ambitious plans for ending 60 years of conflict between Israel and the Palestinians." Later, the article stated: "With Livni out, Netanyahu might have little choice but to forge a coalition with nationalist and religious parties opposed to peacemaking with the Palestinians and Israel's other Arab neighbors."
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith opened the show by declaring: "As President Obama heads on his first foreign trip, some state governors are saying 'thanks, but no thanks' to the stimulus money, even in these desperate times. We'll ask one of them why." Later, co-host Maggie Rodriguez interviewed Republican South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and asked: "Even if it takes a while to get the money, how do you justify, let's say, not taking it to your constituents when in your state, for example, in December had the third highest unemployment rate in the country. Don't you need the money?"
After Sanford explained that he was opposed to the bill but may accept some of the funding, Rodriguez responded: "You say you're against it, but you still might take the money. Do you realize how some people might think that you're putting ideology ahead of the interests of your constituents?" He began to reply: "Well, I'd say it's the reverse. If we take the money -- in other words, I've said -- I've made my ideological stand, saying this is a bad idea-" Rodriguez interrupted: "But if you're so against it, why take the money?"
On Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Chip Reid described Barack Obama’s signing of the massive "stimulus" spending bill into law: "After a mere four weeks in office, the President today signed what he called ‘the most sweeping economic recovery plan in American history’...A new law that he described as a new beginning...In Missouri, the reaction was instantaneous. As the bill was signed, highway commissioners signed a contract, cut a check, and work began on the first project in the nation."
Reid dedicated only one sentence of his report to those opposing the legislation: "On the steps of the Colorado statehouse today, protestors condemned the bill, while Republicans across the nation vowed to analyze every dollar of spending in search of waste and fraud." Reid followed that up with: "The White House is already fighting back. Today launching a web site intended to instill public confidence in the President's plan." None of the protestors or Republican lawmakers were quoted in the story.
On CBS’s Sunday Morning, correspondent Kimberly Dozier interviewed former C.I.A. agent Robert Baer, who argued that Iran: "...is empire by proxy. You get people -- it's like Communism. You get people to go along with you and your vision of the world. And they're saying, you know, ‘we can finally drive the United States out of the Middle East.’" Dozier added: "Unless, Baer says, we give President Ahmadinejad and his religious backers what they want."
Baer explained what Iran wants: "First of all, they want to be recognized as a major power in the Gulf...By the United States, by the Europeans. They want to be deferred to on big issues like Iraq and Afghanistan, issues that directly affect them." Dozier asked: "But in a sense, wouldn't the U.S., wouldn't Europe be rewarding them for bad behavior?" Baer replied: "Well, we would be. But does it matter? We have to be pragmatic about this."
Dozier went on to explain: "If we don't negotiate, Baer worries, the United States may find itself in yet another war we can't afford to fight." Baer exclaimed: "And do we really want to take down the most powerful country in the Middle East? I mean, we've just taken down Iraq, the second most powerful country, and it hasn't done a bit of good for anybody in the region." Dozier interjected: "It's a mess." Baer agreed: "It's a mess and it's going to remain a mess. Let's talk them back into the game of nations."
On Monday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Nancy Cordes reported on perjury allegations against Illinois Senator Roland Burris and calls for his resignation: "Burris admits he did much more than just talk to one person, in fact, he says he talked to four other people with close connections and took three phone calls from the ex-governor's brother about raising money. In the down and dirty world of Illinois politics, some Republicans are calling on him to resign."
In addition to bashing Illinois Republicans, Cordes’s report featured CBS legal analyst Andrew Cohen, who argued: "From a purely legal point of view, it is not a strong perjury case. All it does is suggest that Mr. Burris was a little bit more involved in all of this than he initially claimed to be."
In contrast, in January 2007, Cohen described perjury charges against Vice President Cheney’s former chief of Staff Scooter Libby this way: "The whole thing reminds me of an experience I had in law school. I was serving as a ‘baby’ public defender and one of my ‘clients’ was a man, already incarcerated, who was being brought up on new charges that he stole a car. "I didn't steal that car," he said to me. ‘Great,’ I said. ‘That's great. Can you tell me what did happen?’ ‘You don't understand,’ he said to me, "I'm a crack dealer. I don't do that petty car (stuff).’ That is darn close to what Libby and his lawyers are saying. He was an architect and implementer of (mostly failed) foreign policies, the defense goes, and thus did not have time, inclination or criminal state of mind to be guilty of the petty offense of perjury and obstruction of justice."
Monday morning show coverage of allegations that Illinois Senator Roland Burris may have perjured himself with respect to connections to impeached Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich minimized calls for investigation or Burris’s resignation. On the CBS Early Show, correspondent Thailia Assuras explained: "State Republican lawmakers are calling for Senator Roland Burris to resign and be investigated for perjury...The U.S. Senate could move to expel Burris, but analysts say that's unlikely to happen. It's not the kind of distraction Senate Democrats need as they try to move forward the president's agenda."
On NBC’s Today, correspondent Lee Cowan had a similar take: "...some Republican lawmakers here are now calling for Senator Burris to resign. At the very least, some want to see a criminal investigation launched to see whether or not he perjured himself. As for his colleagues in the U.S. Senate, so far they're reserving judgment." ABC’s Good Morning America barely mentioned the controversy, only offering one 15-second news brief on the story. In addition to downplaying the issue, none of the three morning shows mentioned that Burris was a Democrat. Only the Early Show featured an on-screen graphic with ‘Illinois (D)’ next to Burris’s name while playing a clip of the Senator.
At the top of the 8AM hour of Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith hyped a new report on Global Warming: "A dire new warning about global warming. Why is the world's climate heating up faster than scientists have predicted?" Co-host Maggie Rodriguez later introduced the segment with similar alarmism: "An alarming warning from scientists this morning. Global warming is happening much faster than expected."
Correspondent Daniel Sieberg reported: "Yes, a dire new warning from scientists says the amount of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide is higher than predicted...Scientists say those higher temperatures are fueling the intensity of wildfires, now raging in places like Australia." Sieberg concluded his report by exclaiming: "Now scientists say this global warming is part of a vicious cycle. Each changing ecosystem affecting the other and made worse by human activities. For environmentalists and many others, it's a cycle that needs to be broken. And soon. Maggie." Rodriguez remarked: "Tall order."
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked Republican Congressman Eric Cantor about President Obama’s proposed housing bill: "Unlike the stimulus, will you urge your fellow Republicans in the House to support this?" When Cantor criticized the proposed bill and the passage of the "stimulus" bill, Rodriguez declared: "But Congressman, it's clear that Americans are begging for help with foreclosures. Corporations are begging for bailouts. Can the Republican Party accept that there are situations when large-scale government intervention is necessary?"
Cantor began to explain that Republicans supported some aspects of the "stimulus," but Rodriguez quickly interrupted him: "But everyone opposed it. Why? Where's the bipartisanship?" Before Cantor could respond, she added: "Are you afraid of being seen as obstructionist?" An on-screen graphic read: "Economic Crisis, Party Politics & Recovery Roadblocks."
Cantor replied by describing the lack of "bipartisanship" of congressinonal Democrats: "And if you look at the bill that was put together, it was brought to the floor after a couple of hours having just been printed. No one -- not one member of the Senate, not one member of the House -- was able to read the bill. And I believe the public's got a right to know. So the fashion in which this plan was put together by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Leader Harry Reid was just unacceptable."
On Thursday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric introduced a report on the Democrats’ so-called "stimulus" plan about to pass Congress: "And we'll tell you what's in it for you, including tax breaks...It's designed, in part, to get you spending again by giving you the money to do it." However, in July of 2001, when President Bush was trying to get tax cut legislation passed, then Evening News anchor Dan Rather warned: "...new worries that his big tax cuts, along with a shrinking budget surplus, are re-shaping the political and fiscal landscape of the country."
Following Couric, Correspondent Nancy Cordes touted the benefits of the tax cuts: "For restaurant owner Tom Glascow, and for most Americans, the new stimulus package serves up a variety of tax cuts...The biggest bit is a $400 credit for almost all workers. That comes out to about $13 a week, which may not sound like much, but consider this-" Glascow explained: "The bottom line is, is every little bit will help...Basically, what does my business good is people with disposable income that can spend a little extra on lunch on a daily basis."
In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez did a segment highlighting five, "...things you may not know about Honest Abe," including his sexual orientation. The segment featured New York University history professor Jeffrey Sammons, who argued: "One of the very interesting stories about Abraham Lincoln is that he might have been gay. Lincoln actually did sleep in the same bed with a gentleman for a four-year period." Rodriguez concluded: "So the question of Abraham Lincoln's sexuality still remains a mystery."
In addition to spreading revisionist rumors about Lincoln’s sexuality, the segment also focused on his racist attitudes as Rodriguez declared: "Myth number two, he was the great champion of equality." Sammons explained: "Lincoln is known as the great emancipator or the great father of black people, but Lincoln was a man of his times when it came to race. He indicated that he did not believe that blacks were equal to whites, said to have used the n-word in speeches and in letters. So there's no indication that Abraham Lincoln believes in black equality."
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Richard Roth reported on the outcome of the Israeli election and a possible victory for the conservative parties led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "So, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims victory, too, with fewer votes, but it's believed more support from his traditional allies in right wing parties...there's a clear sign Israel shifted to the right. It may take weeks to create the next government here, but whoever leads it, is likely to have obligations to parties on the fringe of Israeli politics." Roth also pointed out that conservative victories may hinder Obama foreign policy: "And that could be a setback for the White House, eager to restart a peace process in the Middle East."
Back in 1996, when Netanyahu first served as Israel’s prime minister, CBS had similar concerns about his "right-wing" leanings. On the May 31 Evening News of that year, then anchor Dan Rather described Netanyahu’s election: "Right-wing hardliner Benjamin Netanyahu is declared Israel's new Prime Minister." During CBS’s This Morning that same day, then co-host Harry Smith asked: "Let's talk about his words for a second. Because it's not that many months ago that a lot of people were accusing Bibi Netanyahu of fanning the flames of the Israeli right, of setting the rhetorical tone for [Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin's assassination."
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen spoke with Obama supporter Julio Asegueda, who attended the president’s economic town hall in Florida on Tuesday: "President Obama took his economic stimulus message to Fort Myers, Florida yesterday. And in the crowd of 1,500 he heard real stories of economic struggle and hardship, including from 19-year-old college student Julio Asegueda." By contrast, the Early Show reacted quite differently when Joe the Plumber dared to question Obama during a campaign stop last October.
In his question to Obama, Asegueda complained about being stuck in a job at McDonald’s for the past few years. Chen asked Asegueda: "I want to know what happened after you voiced your problem to the president?" He replied: "When I voiced my problem to the President of the United States, I was so shocked at the answer he gave me. The answer that he gave me was so -- so sincere and so motivational to me that it just -- I had such a surreal feeling that I've never had in my life." In reality, Obama simply offered talking points about tax credits for college students, hardly "motivational." [audio excerpt available here]
On Monday’s CBS Evening News correspondent Chip Reid described Barack Obama’s efforts to gain support for the so-called "stimulus" bill: "The president aimed the full power of his office, including Air Force One, at the Heartland today, speaking directly to the people in Elkhart, Indiana...For now, the president appears to have the public on his side. A new Gallup poll out today gives him a 67 percent approval rating for his handling of the stimulus legislation, far higher than either Democrats or Republicans in Congress, and he'll be turning on the pressure of popularity again tonight when he holds his first prime time press conference."
In later coverage, just prior to the presidential press conference, Reid again cited the Gallup poll numbers. However, recent Gallup poll results showed that only 38 percent of Americans supported the actual bill in its current form, with 37 percent wanting major changes, 17 percent rejecting it, and 8 percent having no opinion.
Following Reid’s Evening News report, anchor Katie Couric asked: "And, Chip, after the Senate passes the bill, it goes to conference with the House. What is the outlook for that?" Reid replied: "Well, the Democrats and Republicans admit that it is going to be passed eventually, probably by the end of this week, but there's going to be some serious horse trading. It all goes on behind closed doors, and that's when the real work gets done. It gets done much more quickly than when it’s out in public." Apparently public support is not that important.
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen took an unusually critical tone toward President Obama’s first press conference on Monday night: "President Obama takes to prime time to pitch his nearly trillion-dollar rescue plan...But does the president have his facts straight? And what does a trillion dollars really buy you? We'll tell you."
In a later report on the press conference correspondent Bill Plante challenged some of the president’s assertions, including: "Most economists, almost unanimously, recognize government is an important element of introducing some additional demand into the economy." Plante countered: "In fact, several hundred economists argued for more tax cuts, rather than more spending." Plante also questioned Obama’s denial of any earmarks in the so-called "stimulus" bill: "Even so, the bill does call for some specifics that sound a lot like earmarks. $2 billion for a clean coal power plant. $2 billion for hybrid car batteries. $255 million for a Coast Guard icebreaker."
A CBS News poll conducted February 2 through February 4 found that 62 percent of Americans believe that tax cuts would do more to get the country out of recession, while only 16 percent thought government spending would. However, when Evening News anchor Katie Couric touted other results from that same poll on Thursday, February 5 she managed to leave out that particular finding. That poll finding has not been mentioned in any CBS News coverage since the poll’s release on February 5.
Instead, Couric focused on the aspect of the poll that claimed that 51 percent of Americans support the so-called "stimulus" bill being pushed by the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress. In addition, later on Thursday’s Evening News, correspondent Chip Reid also cited a poll question that showed 81 percent of Americans saw President Obama as being bipartisan in the debate over the massive spending bill.
During the opening of Friday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric teased upcoming coverage of the so-called "stimulus" bill being debated in Congress: "Tonight, 13 jobs a minute disappearing...Senate moderates race to trim the stimulus package to a passable size." An image of a ticking clock appeared on screen as Couric spoke. A clip was also played of Barack Obama exclaiming: "These numbers demand action." In another clip, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid remarked: "The world is waiting to see what we're going to do in the next 24 hours." [audio excerpt here]
Couric later reported on a possible Senate agreement regarding the legislation, portraying it as a compromise despite a lack of significant Republican support: "The Senate has reached tentative agreement on an economic stimulus package. Price tag: $780 billion, trimmed down from more than 900 billion. The compromise followed more dismal economic news." Correspondent Chip Reid continued to tout the so-called "compromise": "The deal was worked out behind closed doors by a group of about 16 moderate Republicans and Democrats, who plodded slowly through the 700 page bill line by line, looking for projects that won't do much to stimulate the economy." Neither Reid nor Couric explained that only three moderate Republican senators offered support.
Following Reid’s report, Couric asked him: "So, Chip, does today's deal mean the House and Senate will be able to compromise on a final stimulus bill, or once again will everything be back on the table?" Reid raised concerns, but only those of Democrats who wanted to spend more: "Not everything, but a whole lot. Nancy Pelosi and other liberal Democrats in the House do not like these cuts. They didn't even like the idea of trying to cut $100 billion out of this bill, much less 150 billion, and they're vigorously opposed to those cuts in education."
On Friday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Steve Hartman made fun of Texan Robert Havercamp, who helps monitor border cameras via the internet as part of the virtual border fence: "Whether you think I'm naive or he's paranoid, this is a story that will astound you regardless...It's about how concerned citizens like Robert Havercamp, a truck driver from south Texas, are taking on illegal immigrants and drug smugglers from the comfort of their own computers...Although it's hard to say exactly how much safer he's really making us...Paranoid? Maybe. Patriotic? Unabashedly."
In addition to mocking Havercamp’s efforts, Hartman criticized the funding for the virtual fence program: "Donald Reay oversees the project...He runs the Texas Border Sheriff's Coalition, which got a $2 million grant to put up the cameras and run the web site for a year...And yet, so far the program has only produced eight arrests and four drug seizures. Not much bang for the buck." Following his report, Hartman remarked: "After the grant expires, the coalition hopes to keep the site up by selling ads, and since it is a virtual stakeout, the first sponsor they're hoping to get is Dunkin’ Donuts." Anchor Katie Couric chimed in that people like Havercamp could be rewarded for their work with: "Maybe a free doughnut at some point?"
However, NewsBusters called up Mr. Reay and asked him if he had a donut discussion with Hartman. Reay replied: "None. It never came up. The truth of the matter is that most of the towns that we serve don’t have a Dunkin’ Donuts....In El Paso, Dunkin’ Donuts went broke here. Sorry, it wasn’t cute." Reay said the interview wasn’t that jokey: "We had a very serious discussion of close to three hours with him" and said "considering some of the publicity we’ve gotten, it’s not that bad." He tried to persuade Hartman of the seriousness of fighting crime on the border with concerned citizens. Reay also said "The Daily Show" has been calling around, trying to do a segment. Apparently, there’s nothing but comedy in border vigilance.
Offering a defense of President Obama’s decision to close Guantanamo Bay within the year, on Thursday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent David Martin argued: "During his final years in office, President Bush said repeatedly he wanted to close the prison at Guantanamo, where suspected terrorists were being held indefinitely without trial. Turns out it was his own vice president who stood in the way."
Martin worked to discredit Dick Cheney’s concerns about closing the detention facility: "According to Cheney, 61 of the 530 prisoners released from Guantanamo during the Bush administration have already gone back to terrorism. According to the Defense Intelligence Agency, there are 61 suspected cases of former detainees rejoining the fight, but so far only 18 have been confirmed." Martin then admitted: "Most have subsequently been killed or captured; but some, like this suicide bomber in Iraq, lived long enough to kill again."
On Thursday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Chip Reid touted a new CBS News poll that portrayed Barack Obama as being more bipartisan on the current "stimulus" spending bill being debated in Congress, than Republicans: "The new CBS News poll shows 81 percent of Americans think the president is trying for bipartisanship, but less than half say congressional Republicans and Democrats are doing the same." The poll, which separated the president from his fellow Democrats in Congress, claimed 49 percent of Americans felt congressional Democrats were being bipartisan, while only 41 percent said the same of congressional Republicans.
However, those poll findings were not reported on Friday’s CBS Early Show. Perhaps because later Thursday night, speaking at a retreat for House Democrats, Obama declared: "Don't come to the table with the same tired arguments and worn ideas that helped to create this crisis...We're not going to get relief by turning back to the very same policies that, for the last eight years, doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin...We can't embrace the losing formula that says only tax cuts will work for every problem we face, that ignores critical challenges like our addiction to foreign oil, or the soaring cost of health care, or failing schools and crumbling bridges and roads and levees."
Appearing on Wednesday’s O’Reilly Factor on FNC, CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft discussed his campaign interviews with Barack Obama that have been spliced together to create a CBS News DVD, ‘Obama: All Access,’: "Well, they were dying to have somebody come out, especially '60 Minutes,' very early on to kind of explain their campaign...we developed a nice rapport."
Host Bill O’Reilly asked Kroft about the documentary: "...what does it say to people other than ‘go, go Obama?’" Kroft replied: "It's an historical document. And I think we'll probably sell a lot of copies to libraries and things like that. Maybe to some -- maybe to some Republican political consultants." O’Reilly followed up: "Is there cheerleading in it?" Kroft responded: "No, I don't think so. It's -- we've taken the interviews and it is a straight narrative of the campaign."
However, during the CBS News documentary aired on Sunday, December 28, 2008 and re-aired this Sunday, Kroft pulled out the pom-poms: "...on the campus of George Mason University in the Virginia suburbs, where Obama held his first campaign rally, just two weeks after establishing an exploratory presidential committee...It was our first exposure to what came to be known as 'Obama-mania.' You sensed immediately that something unusual was going on, something rarely seen in American politics... 5,000 students had turned out to see him...he urged his young audience to cast aside its cynicism of politics and engage the system, evoking the words of Martin Luther King."
Appearing on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, Evening News anchor Katie Couric discussed her White House interview with President Obama regarding the withdrawal of recent cabinet nominees: "He is surprisingly relaxed...extremely comfortable, very focused. It’s very different than sort of the buttoned-up Bush White House...he said to every person who interviewed him...that he ‘screwed up,’ he ‘messed up.’ And I think he really is trying to be the anti-Bush because President Bush was so criticized for never saying, you know, ‘I made a mistake.’" On Tuesday’s Evening News, Couric portrayed Obama as a victim.
Early Show co-host Harry Smith agreed with Couric and pointed out another criticism of the Bush administration: "There was also criticism of too much loyalty." Like Couric, Smith then praised Obama for being the "anti-Bush" and throwing Health and Human Services secretary nominee Tom Daschle under the bus: "...and here was Tom Daschle, who had been his mentor all these-" Couric interjected: "And he's been working on health care, by the way...for many, many months...And really focused on it. You know, President Obama reiterated that he thought Tom Daschle was the right man for the job, it was an honest mistake."
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Bill Plante reported on Health and Human Services Secretary nominee, Tom Daschle, failing to pay taxes and working as a health care lobbyist: "Daschle's problem shines a light on something that usually stays in the shadows around here, and that is how connections work in Washington. When is a lobbyist not a lobbyist, and how does a power player, like the former Senate majority leader, not know that he owes back taxes?"
The report featured Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibilities and Ethics, who defended Daschle: "What Tom Daschle does is the more sophisticated kind of lobbying we have in Washington, where he's a consultant. And he talks to people about the strategy for getting a piece of legislation passed...Maybe the truth of the matter is, you need some of those Washington insiders in order to make your new government work. But then let's say that."
However, in a 2005 column by Ari Berman in the liberal magazine, The Nation, Sloan was quoted reacting to an ethics scandal surrounding Republican House majority Leader Tom Delay: "The fact that Tom DeLay is under criminal indictment and Senate majority leader Bill Frist is under criminal investigation is a historic first...This demonstrates the culture of corruption among the Congressional leadership that has become a cancer on our country." Berman’s column was posted on the CBS News website.
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith teased a segment on Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps caught smoking marijuana: "Also, so far there seems to be little fallout for Michael Phelps following publication of that photo showing him inhaling -- what looks like to be inhaling from a marijuana pipe. Should there be outrage?" When he later introduced the segment, Smith argued: "So far there hasn't been much negative reaction to the photo showing Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps smoking what appeared to be marijuana. A few years ago, it might have ruined his career. Maybe it's a sign of changing attitudes."
Correspondent Randall Pinkston reported on Americans’ "changing attitudes": "The seeming lack of outrage may reflect America's changing attitudes towards marijuana...While a majority of Americans still oppose legalization, a new CBS News poll shows a big swing in opinion in recent years. 27 percent supported legalization in 1979. 41 percent support it today." Pinkston even touted the drug use of Democratic presidents as proof: "Even attitudes from the nation's leaders have changed. While Bill Clinton famously said he tried it but never inhaled, President Obama has acknowledged he did try marijuana while in high school."
At the end of Sunday’s Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer commented on former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele as chairman of the Republican National Committee: "So it was that the party of Lincoln, which had freed the slaves, but in the process had become the party of mainly white people, came full circle and turned to an African-American Moses to lead it out of the political wilderness."
Schieffer started his commentary by explaining how the Republican Party came to be the party of "mainly white people": "When Lyndon Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, he told a fellow Democrat 'we have lost the south for a generation,' and he was right. Richard Nixon capitalized on southern anger brought on by that act, developed a southern strategy, which emphasized states' rights, won the presidency twice, and a region where there had been few Republicans since the Civil War became the base of the reborn Republican Party."