Obama's Latest Moves to Close Gitmo A Mere Blip On Networks' Radar

Charlie Rose's 18-second news brief on Thursday's CBS This Morning is the sole Big Three network mention so far of the Obama administration's decision to review the cases of dozens of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay in preparation for the possible release. Both ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today ignored this latest development in the ongoing controversy over the Islamist detainees at the U.S. military base.

Rose cited a report from the Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg during the brief, and noted that the Defense Department also recently appointed a new special envoy for the closure of the detention camp: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

CHARLIE ROSE: The Miami Herald says the Obama administration is now reviewing the cases of dozens of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. They're being held without charges. Up to 71 men will be considered for possible release. It is part of President Obama's effort to close the prison. Yesterday, a new special envoy was named to oversee the transfer of detainees.

On Tuesday, Rosenberg reported that the Obama White House chose Paul Lewis, "a former U.S. Marine and seasoned congressional lawyer", to serve as the special envoy. She noted that Lewis "in his most recent job, working for Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., the ranking member at the Armed Services Committee, he has focused on Guantánamo issues....In 2002, he was counsel to the chairman of the House Ethics Committee and served as the lead counsel when the House of Representatives expelled Rep. James Traficant, D-Ohio."

Mr. Obama promised to close the Guantanamo Bay facility during his first presidential campaign. However, ABC, CBS, and NBC haven't been strident about getting the Democrat to keep his word. Prior to Rose's brief, the last time the networks' morning and evening programs devoted a report or a news brief to the issue was on the July 30, 2013 edition of CBS This Morning.


Anchor Gayle King reported during the 22-second brief that "the most requested book for some prisoners at Guantanamo Bay is 'Fifty Shades of Grey'. The book's fans are high-value prisoners kept in the secretive Camp Seven....In other parts of the prison, the Koran is a more likely choice."

Earlier in 2013, CBS's Bill Plante asked President Obama about a hunger strike going on at the time at the detention camp, and hinted at sympathy for the prisoners: "Is it any surprise, really, that they would prefer death rather than – have no end in sight to their confinement?" Plante echoed his colleague Bob Schieffer with the question, who labeled the military facility an "open sore" back in May 2009. However, Schieffer didn't bring up the Gitmo issue during the October 2012 presidential debate he moderated between Obama and Republican opponent Mitt Romney.

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