CBS Grants All Its 'Jobs Bill' Air Time to Obama and DNC, Skips GOP

CBS's Early Show on Monday devoted two segments and a news brief to the Obama "jobs bill," but in none of the three stories did they allow a single Republican to speak. Correspondent Bill Plante filed a report that was almost all Obama soundbites -- and to make the sound of a sales job complete, it even included a clip of a TV ad from the Democratic National Committee to help push the $447 billion "stimulus" package.

Plante led the 7 am Eastern hour with his report on the President's legislation, and mentioned the Republicans only in passing: "He's [Obama] been saying that both Republicans and Democrats support the kinds of ideas that he's got in this job bill. But he knows that Republicans are reluctant to embrace the kind of spending he wants. So, he's taking his case directly to the voters, as he did Friday in Richmond, Virginia."

After playing a clip from Mr. Obama's Friday speech, the CBS correspondent played up how "the corrosively nasty debate over raising the debt ceiling soured the public, and they let members of Congress know that when they were back home." Plante continued that "Republicans appear more conciliatory, and there are parts of the President's job plan they may endorse- a payroll tax holiday for both employees and employers, a tax credit for companies that hire unemployed veterans, and an extension of unemployment benefits may all get bipartisan agreement."

Though the journalist acknowledged the high unemployment rate and how "some Democrats are now questioning whether the President can win another term," two out of the three remaining sound bites during the report came from the executive:

OBAMA: Each single one of these proposals has been supported by Democrats and Republicans before. And so, they should be supporting them now.

Bill Plante, CBS News Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgPLANTE: And with eyes on campaign 2012, the Democratic National Committee is out with a new ad campaign this morning. A TV spot will play in key states, to try to rally the public, and pressure the divided Congress to act.

OBAMA (from DNC TV ad): They need help and they need it now. And members of Congress, it is time for us to meet our responsibilities!

PLANTE: With unemployment at 9.1% and forecast to remain near there through next year, and consumer confidence taking a nose dive in August, some Democrats are now openly questioning whether the President can win another term.

LARRY SABATO, POLITICAL ANALYST, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: There are three important issues in the presidential campaign- jobs, jobs, and jobs. Everything else is number four.

Right after that, CBS congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes filed a report on Congress's reaction to the President's plan, but still didn't include any sound bites from Republicans:

JEFF GLOR: I want to move now to Nancy Cordes- congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes on Capitol Hill. Nancy, good morning to you. The President is urging Congress to pass this bill right away. We know that probably will not happen. So what's the timetable?

NANCY CORDES: Well, Jeff, over the next few weeks, you'll probably see the President and Republican leaders hashing it out, trying to come up with a plan that both sides can vote for, because Republican leaders have signaled that they're open to the President's ideas, but only if their ideas make it into the plan too.

GLOR: Nancy, any indication at this point what stays and what goes?

CORDES: Well, leaders have already indicated that they can probably live with some of the cornerstones of the President's plan, and that's a cut in the payroll taxes, and also, extending unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless. Where it gets trickier is infrastructure spending. You have a lot of Republicans who feel that that's just more stimulus spending. Others say it's important to repair our nation's crumbling roads. And so, what you'll probably see is some infrastructure spending- maybe not as much as what the President wants.

GLOR: And then, the even bigger fight, of course, looming about how to pay for all of this.

CORDES: That's right.  That's the big question mark. The President said in his speech last week that he wants that super-committee that's tasked with finding $1.5 trillion worth of cuts over the next few months to now find about $2 trillion worth of cuts. Well, that's not sitting very well with some of the Republican members of that committee, who say that the job was already hard enough as it was.

GLOR: Nancy Cordes on Capitol Hill- Nancy, thanks very much. The President and Congress have their work cut out, clearly.

About a half hour later, fill-in news anchor Betty Nguyen gave a brief on the proposed legislation and followed Plante's lead by only mentioning the GOP in passing:

BETTY NGUYEN: President Obama's $447 billion jobs bill will be sent to Congress today. The President will be back on the road, promoting the plan tomorrow in Ohio, and Wednesday in North Carolina. He is urging quick passage of the jobs package, and is urging voters to pressure Republicans to support it.

Earlier in September, Plante hyped the supposedly "testy confrontation" between President Obama and Speaker Boehner over scheduling Obama's address to Congress on his jobs plan.

The full transcript of Bill Plante's report on Monday's Early Show:

ERICA HILL: We do want to start off this morning talking about the economy and jobs. President Obama, of course, will send that $447 billion jobs package to Capitol Hill later today, and he will be speaking again at the White House to try to get voters to put pressure on Congress to pass his bill.

CBS news senior White House correspondent Bill Plante has some more of the details for us this morning. Bill, good morning.

BILL PLANTE: Good morning, Erica. Well, you know, ever since the President spoke to Congress, he's been saying that both Republicans and Democrats support the kinds of ideas that he's got in this job bill. But he knows that Republicans are reluctant to embrace the kind of spending he wants. So, he's taking his case directly to the voters, as he did Friday in Richmond, Virginia.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA (from speech in Richmond, Virginia): We've got to give them a little help to do the right thing. I want you to tell your congressperson the time for gridlock and games is over.

PLANTE (voice-over): The corrosively nasty debate over raising the debt ceiling soured the public, and they let members of Congress know that when they were back home. Now, Republicans appear more conciliatory, and there are parts of the President's job plan they may endorse- a payroll tax holiday for both employees and employers, a tax credit for companies that hire unemployed veterans, and an extension of unemployment benefits may all get bipartisan agreement.

OBAMA: Each single one of these proposals has been supported by Democrats and Republicans before. And so, they should be supporting them now.

PLANTE: And with eyes on campaign 2012, the Democratic National Committee is out with a new ad campaign this morning. A TV spot will play in key states, to try to rally the public, and pressure the divided Congress to act.


OBAMA (from DNC TV ad): They need help and they need it now. And members of Congress, it is time for us to meet our responsibilities!

PLANTE: With unemployment at 9.1% and forecast to remain near there through next year, and consumer confidence taking a nose dive in August, some Democrats are now openly questioning whether the President can win another term.

LARRY SABATO, POLITICAL ANALYST, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: There are three important issues in the presidential campaign- jobs, jobs, and jobs. Everything else is number four.

PLANTE (on-camera): Well, you know, they know that here, and so, when the President introduces this bill later this morning in the Rose Garden, there is going to be a very carefully selected audience out in the Rose Garden- teachers, firefighters, small business owners, construction workers- the people that he hopes it will target. Jeff?

JEFF GLOR: All right. Bill Plante, thank you very much.

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