On Monday's CBS Evening News and Tuesday's Early Show, CBS failed to cover an Iowa Tea Party activist's confrontation with President Obama. Both ABC's GMA and NBC's Today mentioned the encounter. Just days earlier, CBS and ABC spotlighted how left-wing protesters heckled Mitt Romney at an Iowa appearance and how the Republican apparently made a "gaffe" in reply.
NBC correspondent Chuck Todd noted the "heated exchange" between Tea Partier Ryan Rhodes and the President midway through his report just after the top of the 7 am Eastern hour of Today:
TODD: In one heated exchange-
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I know it's not going to work if you just stand up when I ask everybody to raise their hand.
TODD: The head of the Iowa Tea Party jeered the President over unsubstantiated reports that Vice President Biden referred to the Tea Party as 'terrorists.' And the two even had words after the event. In an interview with NBC News, Ryan Rhodes explained why he came.
RYAN RHODES: The reason I came here was because I wanted to see what he was going to have to say. And I didn't expect anything different, continued blaming of the other side.
At about the same time, on Good Morning America, ABC's Jake Tapper reported on the face-off:
TAPPER: ...President Obama came face to face with the same unruly Tea Party style that Governor [Rick] Perry was channeling, when some Iowa Tea Partiers confronted him.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: He was the second person in your administration to call the right-wing people terrorists. Janet Napolitano did it first!
OBAMA: Well, no- No, no.
RHODES: What we stand for is a balanced budget. That's reasonable.
Norah O'Donnell reported on Mr. Obama and Governor Perry's appearances on Iowa just after the top of the 7 am Eastern hour as well, but chose to focus on how the new Republican presidential candidate apparently "served up a withering critique of the President's record on the economy" and how Perry is "certainly not shy about questioning President Obama's patriotism in very personal terms."
All Big Three network evening shows on August 11 highlighted the liberal activists' heckling of former Governor Romney. Todd stated during his report on NBC Nightly News that the Republican was "challenged on taxes by a group of Democratic activists," while Tapper trumpeted on ABC World News how "Romney’s detractors call him insincere and note his propensity to gaffe as happened today when he said corporations are people." CBS Evening News put a "Voter Anger" graphic on the screen as they played footage of the confrontation. Unlike the reports on the Tea Party activist, none of the programs labeled the left-leaning protesters "unruly."
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