CBS Allows Jim McGreevey to Whitewash His Own Scandal

CBS allowed former Democratic New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey to air a sympathetic note to himself about his homosexuality while downplaying the tawdry scandal that caused his political downfall, on Tuesday's CBS This Morning.

McGreevey's confession whitewashed his appointment of a male poet he later claimed he had an "affair" with to head the state's department of homeland security. When the poet, Golan Cipel, had accused him of sexual harassment, McGreevey announced that he was gay and stepped down from office.

While telling his story, McGreevey skipped over the scandal of his appointment, focusing on his sexuality instead. "And only when it was thrust upon me, in the most difficult of circumstances, then did I accept my own reality," he admitted. "That I also – I am a gay American."

CBS minimized the former half of the story, only briefly flashing headlines of McGreevey's "secret affair" and "gay blackmail" on the screen. Co-host Charlie Rose merely reported that McGreevey "announced he was gay. He then resigned from office," implying that he was forced out merely because of his sexuality.

Co-host Gayle King gushed over McGreevey's confession. "But I always like these 'Notes to Self,' Charlie. As you point out, they are always so revealing and so candid and so well done," she remarked. Co-host Charlie Rose also hailed the former governor's story. "This was fascinating to me and interesting to me," he said, adding that "they have done a wonderful job."

King added that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's daughter Alex would be involved in the documentary with McGreevey. "Does a good job," she noted.

Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on CBS This Morning on March 26 at 8:42 a.m. EDT:

[8:42]

CHARLIE ROSE: In 2004, New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey shocked the nation. He announced he was gay. He then resigned from office. McGreevey recently sat down in St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in New York. It's where he turned for support after stepping down. It's there that McGreevey reflects on his life's journey in our ongoing series "Note to Self."

(Video Clip)
 
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: In New Jersey, a shocking political announcement.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: In one of the most remarkable public confessions in recent memory –  

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: – a shocking revelation. Governor Jim McGreevey announced he is gay –

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: – stepped out of the closet and also out of office all in one press conference.

JIM MCGREEVEY, former governor of New Jersey: Throughout my life I have grappled with my own identity.

MCGREEVEY: (on camera) Dear Jimmy, I'm sorry for the pain and anguish of being a homosexual. Even using that word now conjures up dark and sickly and unhealthy images. I know you have struggled to be quote-unquote "normal" in the face of the taunts, calling you a "fag" and a "homo." You worked so diligently to prove yourself just another kid at Boy Scouts, at church outings, on the Little League field. I remember the fear of when you first went into the local public library, when you thought you were homosexual, and how your heart was pounding as your fingers went through the card catalog to look up the word "homosexuality" and being so deathly afraid of somebody in the next aisle seeing you look up that word. Finally when you found the word, it was listed as a psychiatric illness and how your heart began to pound and your mind began to race. I know the anguish that you felt when you read what the church said about homosexual love. Homosexual love was an abomination, that it was worthy of eternal damnation. And how crushed you were. Because it was the church you so dearly loved who hated you so deeply. And despite your best efforts to change yourself, trying to be straight, you could never change who you were and who you are.

MCGREEVEY: (video clip) It's about having a governor who is going to get in there and fight. Fight for middle class New Jersey.

Jim McGreevey. I'm running for governor.

You voted for me, God bless you!

Thank you!

(On camera) I tried to seek acceptance at the ballot box, with public acclamation. Because I was afraid to be who I was.

(Video clip) Shamefully I engaged in an adult consensual affair with another man.

(Voice over) But it did not answer the longings of my heart.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Planning to file a sexual harassment lawsuit.

MCGREEVEY: (voice over) And only when it was thrust upon me –

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Resign now.

(On camera) – in the most difficult of circumstances –  

(Video clip) So I am removing these threats by telling you directly about my sexuality.

(On camera) Then did I accept my own reality.

(Video clip) And so my truth is that I am a gay American.

MCGREEVEY: That I also – I am a gay American.

And so, Jimmy, while you may pace about nervously or anxiously or confused at high school dances, and yes, even the disaster which was your senior prom, not to worry. One day you will meet your life's partner and fall deeply in love, unconditionally, raise wondrous children, and you learn to be the happiest that your heart has ever provided. In the meantime, be patient. Enjoy the blessings of friendship, be at peace, and accept yourself. Love and all good things, Jim.

(End Video Clip)

ROSE: A documentary film about McGreevey's life after public office called "Fall to Grace" airs this Thursday on HBO. This was fascinating to me and interesting to me, and since that even they have done a wonderful job. He's also now engaged in prison ministry, which is what he's doing now with his life.

KING: He said that that was going to be his life's calling after this whole episode in New Jersey. But I always like these "Notes to Self," Charlie. As you point out, they are always so revealing and so candid and so well done. You know who's doing that documentary with him? Alex Pelosi.

ROSE: Oh yes, indeed. Right. Right.

KING: Who's Nancy Pelosi's daughter. Does a good job.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014