Appearing on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, Reverend Jesse Jackson continued to promote the idea that Harvard Professor Henry Gates was a victim of racial profiling, despite new evidence to the contrary: "This issue of Dr. Gates being a victim of excessive force and bad judgment is a much bigger subject...This one case could open up the issue of the pervasiveness of race profiling."
Co-host Harry Smith had asked Jackson about a scheduled meeting between Gates, Cambridge police officer Sergeant James Crowley, and President Obama: "Do you think there's any chance these three men can embark after this meeting is over having found common ground?" Jackson argued: "Well, they have the supreme arbiter in the President of the United States of America. It's a big subject for a small meeting." He went on to compare the Gates case to that of Rosa Parks: " If Rosa Parks and James Blake, the bus driver, had met at the White House and did not deal with the issue of denial of public accommodations, it would have been personal and not policy."
Immediately preceding the discussion with Jackson, correspondent Bianca Solorzano reported on the newly released 911 call by Gates’ neighbor Lucia Whelan, and pointed out that Whelan: "...describes the scene, but what she doesn't mention is the men's skin color." Solorzano went on to cite Whelan’s attorney, Wendy Murphy: "Now she's glad to have an opportunity to clear the air and make it very clear she is not a racist."
Appearing on Monday’s CBS Early Show, former Bush speech writer David Frum remarked on Sarah Palin’s political future following her resignation as governor of Alaska: "She's a divisive force within the Republican Party...And many fear, as I do...that she represents a future that leads the party both to political defeat and then to ineffectiveness in government."
Co-host Harry Smith moderated a debate over Palin’s role in the party between Frum and author Ann Coulter. Even Smith acknowledged the now former Governor’s star power: "This woman is a rock star, there’s no denying it...I don't think it matters that she quit." Coulter agreed: "And she's just an amazing speaker. I mean, I think she may do something like the Ronald Reagan GE tours, where she goes around and speaks because she is heavily desired by various Republican, conservative groups, politicians. She has amazing star power and it will be interesting to see."
Coulter went on to criticize a media double standard when it comes to politicians leaving public life: "I mean, the reason the mainstream media, by and large, didn't cover the [former Senator John] Edwards affair was the argument, ‘well, he's a private citizen now. He’s an ex-presidential candidate, but just a private citizen.’ If the media will leave her [Sarah Palin] alone. And I don't think so."
After portraying Professor Henry Gates as a victim of racial profiling on Thursday, on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith reported: "We are learning more about the arresting officer...this is the guy hand-picked to help teach recruits how not to racially profile. This is a guy who helped try to save the life of [late Boston Celtics basketball player] Reggie Lewis."
A report by correspondent Bianca Solorzano further informed viewers: "It turns out the arresting white officer was actually hand-picked by a black police commissioner to have him teach recruits how to avoid racial profiling...Sergeant James Crowley, an 11-year veteran of the force, is an expert on racial profiling, having taught a course at the police academy."
In addition, Solorzano’s report featured clips of an interview with Sergeant Crowley: "I acted appropriately. Mr. Gates was given plenty of opportunity to stop what he was doing. He didn't...There was a lot of yelling. There was references to my mother, something you wouldn't expect from anybody that would be – should be grateful that you're there investigating the report of a crime in progress, let alone a Harvard University professor."
While interviewing the daughter of arrested Harvard Professor Henry Gates on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith wondered: "Is there something in this that says, ‘I'm not going to take this’?...In speaking with your father, was he hurt by this?...Was his heart broken by it?" [audio available here]
Elizabeth Gates, a writer for the DailyBeast.com, declared that: "I think for anybody, you know, who is violated in their own home in that way, I think they would, you know, also call on their own defenses...My father was so sad about this, and again because he's always – you know, my father might be one of the last black men on earth who actually believed in the justice system." It would seem that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas still believes in the American justice system.
Gates, whose father was arrested for disorderly conduct after breaking into his own home, went on to explain: "You know, my father is a proponent of, you know, intellectualism can help you outrun the – the war on race. And I think the incident last week is a clear indication that that's not yet true...You know, he believes in following the rules, and when they're broken, it kind of disturbs his sense of security. And yeah, he was deeply heartbroken. I was not surprised, but he was very surprised."
While reporting on President Obama’s efforts to pass health care reform legislation on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez cited one person who would benefit from the plan: "Debby Smith from Virginia...lost her job back in 2006, and lost her health care benefits, and says that she can't afford the $700 a month that it would cost take to pay for her own insurance."
What Rodriguez failed to mention was that Smith was an Obama volunteer. During a July 1 health care town hall meeting, the President singled out Smith, giving her a hug as she tearfully told her story of lacking health insurance for cancer treatments. That night, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric reported: "Debby Smith is a volunteer for Mr. Obama's political operation Organizing for America. The White House invited her to attend. The President called her exhibit A in a system that's too expensive and too complicated."
On Wednesday, Rodriguez took no note of Smith’s activism on behalf of Obama but did describe her as "the prototypical person that this [health care] proposal would help."
During an interview with CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric on Tuesday, President Obama defended the administration’s handling of the economy: "nobody...anticipated that in the first three months, we would lose 700,000 jobs per month...the severity and the depth of the recession was something that, you know, really exceeded everybody's expectations."
However, on the February 6 Evening News, prior to the passage of the Obama stimulus package, correspondent Anthony Mason told Couric: "The size of the job losses last month surprised even most economists. And even if we begin to get a recovery later this year, many say the unemployment rate will continue to rise into next year, topping out somewhere north of 9 percent."
Obama made his claim after Couric asked about the current 9.5% unemployment rate: "Your administration projected that with the stimulus package, as you know, unemployment could be kept under 8%. Well, that was then, this is now." After Obama argued that the job loss "exceeded everybody’s expectations" Couric failed to point out the fact that she had reported on such expectations earlier in the year.
In her Tuesday interview with President Obama, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric wondered: "You're so confident, Mr. President, and so focused. Is your confidence ever shaken? Do you ever wake up and say, ‘Damn, this is hard. Damn, I'm not going to get the things done I want to get done and it’s just too politicized to really get accomplished the big things I want to accomplish’?" [audio available here]
In her last interview with Obama, during the debate over the stimulus package in February, Couric also portrayed Obama as a victim of Washington: "You campaigned to change the culture in Washington, to change the politics as usual culture here. Are you frustrated? Do you think it is much, much harder to do that than you ever anticipated?"
Most of Couric’s latest presidential interview was aired on Tuesday’s Evening News, however, the question about Obama’s confidence was saved for Wednesday’s Early Show. At the top of the CBS morning show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez informed viewers about the President’s press conference scheduled for Wednesday night: "President Obama goes prime time tonight, taking the battle for health care reform directly to the American people."
While President Obama’s health care plan seemed to be floundering, Tuesday’s CBS Early Show spun it as an opportunity for him to fight back, as co-host Julie Chen declared: "President Obama pushes back hard against critics of his health care plan as hopes fade it could be passed by August."
Co-host Harry Smith kept up the theme of Obama fighting back in the later segment: "First, though, the fight over health care is becoming a very bitter pill. President Obama goes on the offensive today, not only against Republicans, but also some members of his own party."
Following Smith’s introduction, correspondent Bill Plante reported: "It's game on in the effort to find health care reform. The President has been six months on the job and he now faces his first major battle with Congress. And as you said, not just with Republicans, he's calling in some Democrats today on the House committee to do a little arm twisting, or persuading I think they'd call it."
In reaction to a propaganda video of the Taliban holding an American soldier hostage in Afghanistan, on Monday’s CBS Early Show, terrorism analyst Jere Van Dyk argued: “What they [the Taliban] are saying is that ‘we can treat American soldiers, we can treat prisoners, better than Americans are treating them.’”
Speaking to co-host Maggie Rodriguez about the capture of Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, Van Dyk continued to explain his observation: “There’s a story in the New York Times this morning, also in the Wall Street Journal earlier, about prisoner abuse, Americans abusing prisoners in Afghanistan. What they [the Taliban] are saying to the -- to the Afghan public is that ‘we can do a better job, do not be afraid of us in the future.’” Rodriguez accepted that premise and added: “Because he’s clean, the place looks like -- he’s being fed. They’re taking care of him.”
Van Dyk went on: “…that’s a signal there. He’s wearing nice clothes, he’s being fed, he has a cup of tea there… what they are saying is that ‘we will protect to the death… a guest in our home.’ He is in someone’s home right now.” He went on to predict: “My belief is, my hope of course is, and my cautious feeling is that he will be protected. He will not be harmed.”
On Friday, MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall exclaimed: "Harsh political discourse against [President Obama] really amped up and people started to push the boundaries of what might be considered decency. From talk radio to those tea parties that we saw with some pretty offensive signs folks were holding, even in the presence of children. The anger has certainly intensified."
As evidence of the supposed lack of "decency" co-anchor David Shuster declared: "And so listen to Glenn Beck make his case against health care reform just yesterday on his radio show, watch." The audio clip that followed featured Beck yelling at a hostile caller during his Wednesday show.
Based on that one example, Shuster wondered: "So are the political attacks, is the language, is the discourse, going too far? And does it have real consequences?" He then teased another segment on the topic in the next hour, but it was preempted by live coverage of President Obama speaking on health care reform.
Marking the 100th anniversary of the NAACP on CBS’s Sunday Morning, correspondent Bill Whitaker wondered: "A black president who addresses black issues unflinchingly...Attorney General Eric Holder dedicated to equal justice...some say begs the question, is the NAACP needed anymore? Is it even relevant? Is it time for the venerable organization to say ‘mission accomplished’?"
Later in the segment, Whitaker answered that question: "[Current NAACP President Benjamin Todd] Jealous and [former NAACP President Julian] Bond say with one of fifteen black males behind bars, with black students in inferior schools, with almost half of black homeowners in subprime mortgages...there’s plenty of work to do."
On NBC’s Nightly News on Wednesday, correspondent Ron Allen similarly questioned the NAACP’s relevance: "With an African-American in the White House and many discrimination battles won, the question is whether the NAACP is still necessary." Allen, like Whitaker, cited the organization’s leadership: "Jealous says the battle now is to close the social and economic achievement gap between people of color and mainstream America...A fight for justice and equality he insists must be carried on."
Neither Whitaker nor Allen applied a liberal political to the NAACP or featured any critics of the organization’s left-wing causes.
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Randall Pinkston described President Obama’s Thursday address to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People: "The crowd responded to his soaring, almost sermon-like rhetoric."
Obama’s speech was part of the NAACP’s annual convention and marked the 100th anniversary of the organization’s founding. Fill-in co-host Jeff Glor introduced Pinkston’s report by declaring: "The NAACP has spent a century trying to break down racial barriers...last night's anniversary party in New York featured the man who broke the ultimate barrier."
In contrast to the two news briefs the Early Show dedicated to the President’s speech, both ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today offered only single-sentence reports. [audio available here]
On Thursday, MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer reported on Meghan McCain calling Joe the Plumber a "dumb ass" for his views on homosexuality and remarked: "Is that name calling? Or, you know, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck and looks like a duck. Just asking, folks. I'm just asking." [audio available here]
In the brief report, during the 2:00PM ET hour, Brewer explained:
Let's go to the war of words between Meghan McCain and the man known as Joe the Plumber. In a recent interview, the daughter of the former GOP presidential contender railed against her dad's big supporter here. And she was talking about her support for gay marriage, she criticized Samuel Wurzelbacher, that’s his real name, his comments about homosexuals. She said – this is – okay, these are her words, I’m going to quote them, ‘Joe the Plumber, you can quote me, is a dumb ass, he should stick to plumbing.’ Is that name calling? Or, you know, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck and looks like a duck. Just asking, folks. I'm just asking.
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith marked the ten-year anniversary of the death of JFK Jr. by declaring: "He was such an icon in the city [New York], and we're going to remember JFK Jr. a little bit later on this morning."
In the later segment, Smith described Kennedy as "a paparazzi magnet" who was "crowned the sexiest man alive." Smith went on to exclaim: "Now ten years after his tragic death, the public fascination continues. People magazine has just released these never before seen photos."
In addition to touting Kennedy’s tabloid popularity, Smith alluded to his potential as a political player: "John attended private school and then headed to Brown University and NYU Law School, but he did not follow in his father's footsteps." The segment featured Peter Canellos, editor of the book ‘Last Lion: The Rise and Fall of Ted Kennedy,’ who observed: "So many people who, you know, remember the Kennedy presidency always assumed that someday he would go into politics."
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show co-host Russ Mitchell described President Obama’s lackluster first pitch at Tuesday night’s All-Star game in St. Louis: "And it appears President Obama has a wicked sinker." Mitchell referred to his colleagues in studio: "Somebody’s laughing over there, I’m not going to mention any names."
At the top of the show, even Obama fan co-host Harry Smith acknowledged the President’s poor performance: "Oh, golly. Talk about a pitch that’s going to be repeated over and over and over again." Smith did try to defend Obama, sounding a little like the father of an uncoordinated little league player: "He got it there. That's what counts."
Reporting on Sonia Sotomayor responding to questions about her "wise Latina" comments during Tuesday’s confirmation hearing, CBS’s Wyatt Andrews glossed over the multiple times she made the remark: "What did she mean in her 2001 speech to Hispanic law students at the University of California that "a wise Latina woman...would reach a better conclusion than a white male?"
In addition to the Evening News story, Andrews similarly reported on Wednesday’s Early Show: "She said it in a speech to a mostly Hispanic audience at the University of California in 2001." In reality, Sotomayor made some version of that controversial statement at least four other times during speeches in 1994, 1999, 2002, and 2004.
In the Early Show story, Andrews went on to depict the comment as an isolated incident: "At the hearing, she first explained she was trying to inspire the students, that she was misunderstood. But pressed hard by Senator John Kyl, she admitted to some overheated rhetoric...But she also argued the comment did not reflect some deep-seeded bias."
A cover story in the June edition of Latino Magazine, discussed CBS Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez’s efforts to "...educate her peers on how to be cognizant of Latino viewers, by pushing stories about Latinos that are of interest to all Americans, as well as informing them of more humane and respectful labels – such as undocumented immigrant instead of illegal alien."
The story, written by Aida Bardales, quoted Rodriguez: "All you have to do is to mention it to them. If I wasn’t here, they wouldn’t think twice because forever ‘illegal alien’ was used and they didn’t put a face to that term." It went on to praise Rodriguez’s reporting on the 2008 conference of the left-wing Hispanic group La Raza: "Though she’s careful to not force irrelevant stories upon her viewers, she does feel a need to include the Latino perspective. When she was invited to host the National Council of La Raza’s Annual Conference in 2008, she saw it as opportunity to share the experience with "The Early Show" viewers."
Earlier in the story, Rodriguez argued that her ethnic background actually made her a better reporter on certain issues: "As Hispanics [we] will always give a more accurate representation of a Hispanic story...just because we understand the language and are part of the culture. We have a unique understanding of the people that an Anglo would not have."
While discussing the Sotomayor confirmation hearings with former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith wondered: "Senator Lindsey Graham said, ‘unless you have a meltdown, you're going to get confirmed.’ So is this all theater then, or is this a process that should literally be paid attention to?"
Gonzales responded by describing the importance of a Supreme Court seat: "This is a lifetime appointment. She will be making decisions that will affect the lives of millions of Americans for decades. And so I think the members of the Senate have taken an oath of office to the Constitution and to the American people to ensure this is a person that should serve on the Supreme Court. So it's more than theater. I think it's – it’s a learning experience, a teaching experience."
Earlier, Smith asked Gonzales if Sotomayor’s assurances of objectivity would be enough for Republicans: "Because she pledged her fidelity to the law. She said, ‘my personal and professional experiences help me to listen and understand with the law always commanding the result in every case.’ Is that going to make any difference to Republicans? What she says and her track record?"
On Monday’s Early Show, co-host Julie Chen teased an upcoming story on Sarah Palin’s political future: "Also ahead, the always controversial Sarah Palin remains in the headlines this morning. We're going to tell you what she's now saying about her future plans as well as what she's planning to do right after she leaves office later this month."
Chen teased the story later, again labeling the Alaska Governor as controversial: "We're going to tell you where the controversial Alaska governor is headed once she leaves office." In the report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes cited new poll numbers: "According to a new CBS poll out this morning, Sarah Palin faces doubts, even from Republicans, about her ability to be an effective president. Less than 1 in 4 Americans think she has the ability. Among Republicans, only one-third say Palin could be effective."
Cordes went on to describe Palin’s future plans, including an upcoming speech in California: "Her appearance is almost certain to raise speculation about her political ambitions. But some say Palin hasn't done enough to change how people feel about her." After mentioning that Palin was offering to stump for Republican candidates, Cordes observed: "But a couple of Republicans running for governor this year have already appeared cool to the idea of having her in to support them."
Responding to Senator Jeff Sessions describing Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor as a "typical liberal activist judge" CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith argued: "You feel like her record indicates that? I mean, she gets a glowing review from the American Bar Association. Her record doesn't seem to necessarily match up with her – what – some of the things she said."
Later in the Monday interview, Smith defended Sotomayor’s record, particularly her decision in the New Haven firefighter case: "But basically, she was following precedent. I think people who would actually look at it would agree she was kind of acting as any judge in that position probably would – most judges would have acted in that position. Do you really believe – you really believe her words indicate that there are – she's a different person than her record would indicate?" Sessions replied: "I think philosophically her – her statements indicate an approach to judging that's outside the mainstream so far as I can tell."
On Monday, CBS correspondent Wyatt Andrews reported on the beginning of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor and declared: "To Democrats, Sotomayor is the perfect nominee. That a child of the projects would progress through Ivy League schools and later a 17-year career as a federal judge makes hers an all-American story."
The Early Show segment began with co-host Julie Chen citing poll numbers that showed the American people were not fully impressed with that "all-American story": "A new CBS poll finds that 23% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Judge Sotomayor [decrease from 33% in June], while 15% were unfavorable [up from 9% in June]. 6 in 10 are still undecided or have not heard enough yet [62%, up from 58%]. And 35% say it's very important to have another woman on the high court." An on-screen graphic of the numbers showed a shift from June, but Chen failed to note the change in people’s attitudes toward Sotomayor.
On Thursday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Chip Reid described the relief of world leaders at the G-8 Summit that Barack Obama was representing the United States: "...the President showed yet again he's the most popular leader here...And some leaders said they're relieved that President Obama is here instead of President Bush."
Reid’s report focused on Obama’s efforts to get world leaders to agree on policies to combat global warming and the difficulty the President encountered: "Being well liked, though, doesn't necessarily translate into influence. The President came here hoping to forge consensus on an aggressive response to global warming... But in the end, there was disappointment, as the gap between rich and poor nations proved impossible to bridge, just as it has for years."
The report failed to mention any criticism of Obama’s efforts, other than a brief explanation of why nation’s like China were not on board with the plan: "While the eight major economies agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050, the nine developing nations, including China, refused to adopt specific limits, fearful that cutting emissions too much will hurt their growing economy." No time was given to global warming critics in the United States who share that concern.
Appearing on MSNBC Thursday afternoon, Washington Post writer and founder of the paper’s On Faith blog, Sally Quinn, exclaimed of Sarah Palin: "Well, clearly, she has not put her family first...And these children have, it seems publicly, to have been exploited by her in a, I think, really unfortunate way."
Even anchor David Shuster, who on Wednesday declared that Palin had "no future" politically, questioned Quinn’s accusation: "Sally, the use of the word ‘exploited’ is pretty strong. Give us some specific examples that you think qualifies for that?" Quinn was happy to elaborate: "Well, you know, she brings them all to the convention, including Trig, the baby. She brings the pregnant daughter with the boyfriend who clearly didn't want to be there. She then travels around with the children, using them as sort of photo ops...she brings the children up when she needs them to shore up her own image."
Quinn even seemed to blame Palin for defending her family against David Letterman’s attacks: "It just seemed to me that the David Letterman situation where she whipped that up into a huge scene, bringing in her other daughter Willow and making a big – a big to-do about it when she could have just let it go."
During the 2008 campaign, Quinn appeared on the September 3 CBS Early Show to denounce Palin for deciding to run for vice president, claiming that the governor "has got to rethink her priorities."
On Wednesday, MSNBC anchor David Shuster made a bold prediction about Sarah Palin’s political future: "I've said it before, I'll say it again, Sarah Palin will never recover from this...No matter what people say, no matter what these polls, she has no future." [audio available here]
Shuster made the comments in the 4:00PM ET hour, following a debate between Democratic strategist David Goodfriend and Republican strategist Chris Wilson about the impact of Palin’s resignation as governor of Alaska. Co-anchor Tamron Hall was somewhat skeptical of the declaration: "I don't know that the answer to that absolute." However, she then added: "But I mean, you're a very smart and wise man that I trust on these things."
The accuracy of Shuster’s predictions are unreliable at best. On May 8, 2006, Shuster appeared on MSNBC’s Countdown and told host Keith Olbermann: "I am convinced that Karl Rove will, in fact, be indicted." Shuster was referring to Rove’s role in the Valerie Plame CIA leak investigation and an indictment failed to ever come.
On Monday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Terry McCarthy described reaction to Sarah Palin’s decision to resign as governor of Alaska: "After her bombshell announcement Friday, Sarah Palin has essentially vanished, to the frustration of some Alaskans...Even her allies in the Republican Party are perplexed."
The story featured a clip of one Alaskan resident declaring: "I don't think it's right for her just to disappear on us like that." Another clip featured former Bush communications director Dan Bartlett explaining: "She's left both supporters and detractors once again scratching their heads." McCarthy went on to remark: "And the normally effusive Rush Limbaugh, didn't know what to make of her."
McCarthy did manage to highlight speculation that Palin might have been the subject of a criminal investigation: "In fact, the only definitive statement we have about Sarah Palin is from the FBI, which says she is not the target of a criminal investigation, dismissing one theory of her sudden resignation. Palin has been targeted with 15 ethics complaints, which friends say have worn her down. 13 have been dismissed, but she says they cost the state some $2 million to investigate."
Marking the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riot in New York City on Sunday, CBS’s Anthony Mason declared: "A night of violence that led to a new day for human rights... Stonewall triggered the modern gay rights movement."
Filling in for Sunday Morning host Charles Osgood, Mason explained: "...it was around 2:00 that morning that young gay patrons started fighting back against police raiding a New York City bar called the Stonewall Inn. Police accused the bar of selling liquor without a license but gays charged the raid was harassment." He went on to tout the progress made since the riot: "By the 25th anniversary of Stonewall in 1994, things had changed so much that New York City was hosting the gay games...In the years since then, six states have legalized same-sex marriage. Legislation is pending that would make New York the seventh."
Mason concluded the brief story by describing the ongoing struggle: "Not that gay rights groups believe their job is done. Among other goals, they're still fighting to overturn the military's ban on openly gay service members. Today, as in years past, gay pride parades will be held in New York and many other cities across the land. Marking the distance the campaign has already traveled from that turbulent night outside the Stonewall Inn."
Teasing an upcoming interview with actress Megan Fox on Tuesday’s Early Show, co-host Harry Smith gushed: "...this woman has jumped from virtual unknown to Hollywood A-lister. It doesn’t hurt she is one of the most beautiful women on the planet...And a very nice young person."
Smith failed to make any mention of the "Transformers" star’s controversial comments in a June 5 interview, in which she wished the villainous robots in the movie could "...just take out all of the white trash, hillbilly, anti-gay, super bible-beating people in Middle America." Fox, a self-described bisexual, made the comments while talking with "Total Film UK."
Fellow co-host Maggie Rodriguez similarly fawned over Fox: "Harry already got the chance to meet her and I said ‘how is she?’ You sounded like Tony the Tiger...‘She’s great.’ A lot of people are saying, you know, she’s the new ‘it girl,’ the new Angelina Jolie."
In an interview with Republican Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour on Sunday, CBS’s Bob Schieffer wondered: "Do you think that Republicans now should sort of shift the emphasis, though, from stressing social and family values and shift to more – to economic issues and be a party of economic conservatives rather than putting so much emphasis on these social issues?"
Schieffer began the Face the Nation interview by asking Barbour about the sex scandal involving South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford: "How much damage has it done to a Republican Party that is already on the ropes?...Your chances in 2012? This is the party that’s called itself the party of family values and so on and so forth. You’re going through a series of scandals now. This is not the first. Just like in the past, Democrats – we have seen Democrats involved in things like this. What does this do to the image of the party and how you try to project yourself and present yourself as a party, Governor?"
While discussing the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court on MSNBC Monday, guest Eliot Spitzer made a startling observation: "Democratic presidents nominate very centrist justices to the Supreme Court. The Republican presidents over the past 10-15 years have nominated very extremely conservative justices and that’s why the court has eschewed to the right."[audio available here]
Spitzer, the former Governor of New York who resigned from office in 2008 amid a sex scandal with a prostitute, went on to lament the unwillingness of Democratic presidents to appoint more liberal justices: "And the role of the Democratic judges – justices – has been to play the middle... And that is, I think, at a larger ideological point, a discussion we should have, because Democratic presidents have been hesitant to put really liberal justices on the court."
MSNBC anchor Dylan Ratigan, who was premiering his new show "The Morning Meeting," did not challenge Spitzer’s absurd assertions, but rather turned to Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart and asked: "Yeah, Jonathan what do you think about that? That the Republicans have papered it with very conservative judges and that Democrats have tried to go more middle or slightly left of center, as opposed to way left judges?" Capehart agreed with Spitzer: "Well look, I respect everything my – Governor Spitzer says."
In the wake of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford’s admission to having an affair, evening and morning newscasts on NBC, CBS, and ABC all immediately identified him as a Republican. In contrast, in March of last year, the networks rarely identified disgraced New York Governor Eliot Spitzer as a Democrat in the wake of his affair with a prostitute.
In a 2008 study of evening and morning network newscasts following the Spitzer scandal, NewsBusters’ Rich Noyes found that within the first week of news coverage Spitzer was only identified as a Democrat 20% of the time. However, within the first 24 hours of Sanford’s confession to having an affair, he was identified as a Republican 100% of the time, during coverage on all the networks.
On Wednesday, the NBC Nightly News, which failed to give Spitzer’s party affiliation for three days following his scandal, immediately focused on Sanford’s national role in the Republican Party as anchor Brian Williams declared: "In a Republican Party hungry for young stars, he was one of them: Mark Sanford, the governor of South Carolina...Tonight his political career is in tatters. His state, his party are in some turmoil. And Mark Sanford is no longer being mentioned as a possible GOP nominee for the White House."