Zero Air Time on CBS Evening News For Latest Weiner Sex Scandal

CBS Evening News stood out among the Big Three evening newscasts on Tuesday in their failure to cover former Rep. Anthony Weiner's admission that he sent lewd text messages even after his resignation in 2011. The CBS show apparently deemed the British royal family's new baby, the doping scandal in baseball, and whale watching to be more important news items. ABC's World News and NBC Nightly News both devoted air time to the Weiner story.

The network finally reported on the latest revelations about the disgraced politician on Wednesday's CBS This Morning, but failed to point out his Democratic affiliation. Jan Crawford merely identified him as a "former U.S. congressman turned New York City mayoral candidate."

CBS Evening News led with a 2 minute and 42 second report on the public debut of Prince William and Princess Kate's newborn son. The newscast immediately followed this with a 2 minute and 26 seconds report on the suspension of Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun for the remainder of the baseball season, and the possible upcoming punishment of other players as a result of the doping scandal. At the end of the broadcast, the show aired a 2 minute and 13 second segment on three divers' near-miss with feeding humpback whales.

The following morning, CBS This Morning led with Crawford's report on the latest Weiner scandal. Anchor Charlie Rose introduced the segment by trumpeting "the story that is rocking the political world again", and co-anchor Norah O'Donnell continued that new revelations "could cost him a shot at political redemption for his campaign for mayor of New York City".

Crawford first noted that "Weiner led people to believe he had put all this sexting behind him – went through therapy – when he resigned in disgrace in 2011. And then, he built this campaign for mayor on the idea of redemption and second chances. But yesterday, he admitted he was still sending lewd texts last summer." She then spent most of her report outlining what took place when the Democrat's obscene messaging first emerged, which ultimately led to his resignation, and what the latest developments were.

The CBS journalist, along with Rose and O'Donnell, also zeroed in on Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, who also spoke at her husband's Tuesday press conference, where he acknowledged his post-resignation indecent behavior. Crawford pointed out how Abedin is a "longtime aide to Hillary Clinton". O'Donnell added how the mayoral candidate's spouse is supposedly "widely respected and regarded." But all three on-air personalities couldn't be bothered to explicitly mention the former congressman's party identification during this segment, and in a follow-up segment during the 8 am Eastern hour.

CBS, along with its Big Three counterparts, have also omitted the political affiliation of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, another former congressman who has recently been embroiled in a sex scandal. CBS This Morning initially reported that Filner is the West Coast city's "first Democratic mayor in twenty years," but discontinued noting that information in subsequent reports.

The full transcript of Jan Crawford's report from the 7 am Eastern hour of Wednesday's CBS This Morning:


CHARLIE ROSE: We begin with the story that is rocking the political world again. Former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner is now admitting his role in a new sexting scandal involving explicit text messages.

NORAH O'DONNELL: Weiner says he continued sending inappropriate messages to young women long after resigning in the scandal two years ago. This time, it could cost him a shot at political redemption for his campaign for mayor of New York City.

Jan Crawford is with us. Jan, good morning.

JAN CRAWFORD: Well, good morning, Norah; good morning, Charlie. You know, it is the timing of this, I think, that is the stunner. Anthony Weiner led people to believe he had put all this sexting behind him – went through therapy – when he resigned in disgrace in 2011. And then, he built this campaign for mayor on the idea of redemption and second chances. But yesterday, he admitted he was still sending lewd texts last summer, after he had that therapy, and after his wife had had a baby.
           
[CBS News Graphic: "Sexting Scandal, Part II: Weiner Stays In Race Despite New Revelations"]

ANTHONY WEINER (from press conference): I have said that other texts and photos were likely to come out, and today, they have.

CRAWFORD (voice-over): Former U.S. congressman turned New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner found himself in a familiar position Tuesday, explaining tawdry online messages with a woman who is not his wife.

WEINER: Perhaps, I'm surprised that more things didn't come out sooner.

CRAWFORD: Plenty came out in 2011, when Weiner stepped away from his congressional seat over revelations he sent indecent pictures and texts to several women via Twitter – charges Weiner initially denied.

WEINER (from 2011 interview): This was a hoax. Now, it was committed on me. It was a prank.

CRAWFORD: But the truth caught up with him, and in June 2011, he resigned apologetically.

WEINER (from 2011 press conference): So today, I'm announcing my resignation from Congress.

CRAWFORD: But now, he's admitted his resignation did not mark the end of his lewd online activity.

WEINER: Some of these things happened before my resignation. Some of them happened after.

CRAWFORD: Most of the newest exchanges, in which Weiner took on the pseudonym 'Carlos Danger', and was made public by a gossip website called 'The Dirty', is too graphic for network television. But in his discussions with an unidentified woman, Weiner even referred to the scandal. 'Sadly my pics are out there to look at. Have you ever?' To which, the woman replied, 'Yes. And I must say I was quite impressed.'

Weiner was having explicit sexual exchanges last summer, and even after a People magazine profile last July, complete with a family photo. In that article, Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Hillary Clinton, said he was trying to be the best husband he could be. Yesterday, she spoke for the first time at the press conference.

HUMA ABEDIN: Anthony's made some horrible mistakes – both before he resigned from congress and after. But I do very strongly believe that that is between us in our marriage.

CRAWFORD (on-camera): Now, two New York newspaper this morning are calling for Weiner to get out of the mayor's race. The New York Times said he had disqualified himself with this. And the New York Daily News said on the front page, 'Enough of all the lies and salacious revelations. Weiner is not fit to lead America's premier city' – and then, in big headlines, Charlie and Norah, 'beat it!'

O'DONNELL: And Jan, it was not just sexting or text messages. They spoke on the phone, too?

CRAWFORD: Well, that's what the woman says – that they talked on the phone, not only every other day, but multiple times daily.

O'DONNELL: And then, let me ask you about Huma Abedin, who is widely respected and regarded, and – standing by his side. She's never spoken publicly at a campaign event. This was her first appearance.

CRAWFORD: And, you know, in that press conference yesterday – I mean, it was almost painful to watch. Her body language, the way she's standing there – you know, almost not looking at him, saying that they had put this behind them, and this was between the two of them.

ROSE: So, why do you think she did it?

CRAWFORD: You know, Charlie, that's the great question, and that's what everybody's asking now. Why is she staying in this marriage? What's motivating her? Is it love? Is it ambition? You know, she knows. That's the story of their marriage-

ROSE: And what kind of advice is she getting and from whom?

CRAWFORD: Well, yes. Is she talking to Hillary Clinton, who has some experience with some of these issues?

O'DONNELL: All right. I know you'll be back at eight to talk more about this. Jan Crawford, thank you.

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