CBS Heralds Rahm Emanuel 'Weeding Out Corruption' in Chicago

CBS's Cynthia Bowers trumpeted the inauguration of incoming Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday's Early Show, highlighting how the former Obama chief of staff went "weeding in a community garden. He called it...weeding out corruption." Bowers also acclaimed the legacy of former mayor and "family man" Richard M. Daley, despite referencing the poor high school graduation in the city.

Anchor Erica Hill played up the changeover in her introduction for the correspondent's report: "It's a big day in Chicago this morning. It's actually the end of a dynasty there. Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is taking over as the city's mayor." She then noted how the Democrat "got a little emotional yesterday when he was asked if he'll be thinking about his family in his inaugural speech" and played a clip of Emanuel choking up during a recent interview.

Bowers picked up where Hill left off, asserting how it was "the most emotional I've ever seen Rahm Emanuel" and reported that the previous occupant of the mayor's office, "another family man, Richard M. Daley" would be attending Emanuel's inauguration, along with Vice President Biden. She then highlighted the "weeding" anecdote about the new mayor, despite the "very cold, rainy weekend," and pointed out how "he says that he will listen to every person in the city, and get their opinion about stuff, which is going to be interesting, given that this man, more than most, is known for his partisan politics."

Later, the CBS reporter gave her gushing retrospective about Mayor Daley:

Cynthia Bowers, CBS News Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgBOWERS: Forty-three of the last 56 years of Chicago has seen a Daley in office. Now, when Richard M. Daley took over 22 years ago, this city was mockingly called Beirut-by-the-lake because it was so racially divided. Somehow, he was able to unite the races and all the ethnicities, and get people to see his single vision to make this a global city, and no doubt that has happened. He also turned the lakefront into a jewel. And although his 22-year administration was tainted by talk of corruption, he left on Friday to cheering crowds.

Near the end of the segment, Bowers reported how Emanuel had "already taken on the powerful teachers' union....He says that a graduation rate here in Chicago that is stuck at 55% does not mesh with his idea of a world-class city." Now, the obvious followup to such a statistic is to ask why did now former Mayor Daley left it so low for Emanuel, his successor, but the correspondent failed to make this connection.

The full transcript of Cynthia Bowers's report from Monday's Early Show:

ERICA HILL: It's a big day in Chicago this morning. It's actually the end of a dynasty there. Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is taking over as the city's mayor. He got a little emotional yesterday when he was asked if he'll be thinking about his family in his inaugural speech. CBS News correspondent-

CHICAGO MAYOR-ELECT RAHM EMANUEL: (unintelligible) Do something like that. You know, there will be stuff about my family- stuff about the challenges, something about the opportunities. We'll see.

HILL: CBS News correspondent Cynthia Bowers is in Chicago this morning to give us the very latest on this. Cynthia, good morning.

CYNTHIA BOWERS: Good morning, Erica. I think that's the most emotional I've ever seen Rahm Emanuel. His swearing-in happens at about 11:15 this morning. His predecessor, another family man, Richard M. Daley, will be there, as will the vice president, Joe Biden. After his swearing-in ceremony, he will be greeting the public. That's kind of a way that things go here. You always greet the public. It will be on the fifth floor of city hall right behind me.

Now, Rahm Emanuel was out and about this weekend. He's already busy planning what he is calling his first term. It was a very cold, rainy weekend, but he was out weeding in a community garden. He called it getting out- weeding out corruption. He met with locals. Now, he says that he will listen to every person in the city, and get their opinion about stuff, which is going to be interesting, given that this man, more than most, is known for his partisan politics. So we'll see how that goes.

As you mentioned, he will be replacing a dynasty. Forty-three of the last 56 years of Chicago has seen a Daley in office. Now, when Richard M. Daley took over 22 years ago, this city was mockingly called Beirut-by-the-lake because it was so racially divided. Somehow, he was able to unite the races and all the ethnicities, and get people to see his single vision to make this a global city, and no doubt that has happened. He also turned the lakefront into a jewel. And although his 22-year administration was tainted by talk of corruption, he left on Friday to cheering crowds.

HILL: Cynthia, what are some of the main challenges that Rahm Emanuel faces as he takes over?


BOWERS: Well, I mean, no question, like most people who are leading a state or a local government these days, it's going to be the budget. He face a $1.2 billion budget shortfall, if you include worker pensions. He has already come in and says that he's going to freeze the city budget. He's going to put $75 million worth of cuts into a $6 billion budget. He's already taken on the powerful teachers' union. He says that teachers have to teach longer hours, and they have to teach a longer school year. He says that a graduation rate here in Chicago that is stuck at 55% does not mesh with his idea of a world-class city.

HILL: Cynthia Bowers in Chicago this morning. Cynthia, thanks.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center