CBS: Akin 'Put A Highlight on the Extreme End of the Abortion Debate'

John Dickerson hinted on Wednesday's CBS This Morning that the only radicals in the abortion debate were on the pro-life side. During a discussion about the furor over Rep. Todd Akin's recent "legitimate rape" remark, Dickerson stated that "Congressman Akin...put a highlight on the extreme end of the abortion debate."
                               
The political director's liberal slant came in the midst of his network's 37 minutes of coverage of the Akin controversy since Monday. By contrast, CBS devoted just under 10 minutes of coverage to Vice President Joe Biden's "put y'all back in chains" smear of Republicans over a similar three-day period earlier in August, a nearly four-to-one disparity.

Anchor Charlie Rose asked the former Time White House correspondent to weigh on how the Akin issue would effect the presidential race: "How serious do the people around Mitt Romney consider this?" Dickerson replied that it was "serious" and "distracting", and continued with his extremist suggestion about pro-lifers:

John Dickerson, CBS News Political Director | NewsBusters.orgDICKERSON: It falls into an existing storyline Democrats have been pushing for a while, which is Mitt Romney may talk about the economy, but if he comes into office - if the Republicans take over the Senate, they will bring in these extreme views. What Congressman Akin has done is, kind of, put a highlight on the extreme end of the abortion debate.

This isn't the first time in recent weeks that the CBS political director has spouted liberal talking points. On the July 26, 2012 edition of CBS This Morning, Dickerson invoked a Clinton-era slogan as he brazenly defended President Obama's controversial "you didn't build that" remark on business: "What the President was saying, is it takes a village essentially, to use a cliche from a previous campaign; that no matter what you've done, you've been helped in your life, whether it's by teachers or roads or the policeman on the corner."

The transcript of the relevant portion of the John Dickerson segment from Wednesday's CBS This Morning:

CHARLIE ROSE: Let me begin with this. The political community says what about Congressman [Todd] Akin?

JOHN DICKERSON: Well, the Republican political community says, get him out. He needs to be gone, because this puts the Senate race in Missouri in peril. That's one of the ones Republicans needed to take control back of the Senate. And also, it links up – they're about to have a party convention, which is supposed to be about unity, not debates over abortion, and not-

ROSE: I don't mean to interrupt you. I meant by that – the, sort of, wisdom of the political community, can he survive this?

DICKERSON: The wisdom - no. I mean, the wisdom of the Republican community is that he's not going to have any money. He's going to lose women voters, who this offends. And so, he's going to have to try and build it from the grassroots. So, he can survive, and he can stay in the race, but the thinking is, among Republicans, that he's thrown away this seat.

GAYLE KING: We just heard Bill Plante, John, say that he's blaming the liberal media. Do you think that that's going to help him - that tactic will help him at all?


DICKERSON: If he's going to raise money, he's going to have to make this a fight against somebody else - take the pressure off himself, make him look – make himself look like a victim. And so, he's only got a few boogiemen. The liberal media would be a good one, and there's a traditional – there's a, sort of, narrative already in Republican politics for that. The problem is that Mitt Romney is not a member of the liberal media. The entire Republican establishment that's come out against him - they're not members of the liberal media, so it's a tough sell.

ROSE: How serious do the people around Mitt Romney consider this?

DICKERSON: It's serious. It's distracting. It falls into an existing storyline Democrats have been pushing for a while, which is Mitt Romney may talk about the economy, but if he comes into office - if the Republicans take over the Senate, they will bring in these extreme views. What Congressman Akin has done is, kind of, put a highlight on the extreme end of the abortion debate. So, they are serious about it, but their hope is that they're going to have a convention. There will be a lot of news there - or at least a lot of fanfare that will look like news - and they hope they can, kind of, paper over this with events. Then, it will be on the Obama campaign to, kind of, keep this in the news.

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