Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell took turns hammering Senator John McCain on Wednesday's CBS This Morning over his promise to block any potential nomination of Susan Rice to be secretary of state. Rose grilled McCain after the Republican slammed Rice for blaming a "spontaneous" mob for the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi: "Didn't Susan Rice say that...all the information was not in, and she did not know everything there was to be known....what should she have said, based on what she knew at the moment?"
O'Donnell also tried to shift blame away from Ambassador Rice to a "failure with the intelligence coming out of the CIA." She later pointed a finger at former CIA Director David Petraeus and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. When the Arizona senator confirmed that Petraeus and Clinton deserved scrutiny, Rose interjected, "But why not wait for them before you make a judgment about Susan Rice?" [audio available here; video below the jump]
During a eight minute interview, Tuesday's CBS This Morning helped left-wing radical Oliver Stone promote his latest project - a revisionist documentary and book on World War II and the beginning of the Cold War that credits the Soviet Union for winning World War II and indicting the United States for its supposed "history of aggression."
Anchor Charlie Rose omitted a key part of the New York Times critique of Stone's project when he noted that the liberal newspaper "called your series 'a ten-part indictment of the United States that doesn't pretend to be even-handed'." Reviewer Alessandra Stanley had also charged that the documentary "sounds almost like a parody, a sendup of that filmmaker's love of bombast and right-wing conspiracy." The leftist director flatly denied he wasn't being even-handed. [audio clips available here; video below the jump]
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Sharyl Attkisson filed a hard-hitting report on the possible ties between former CIA chief David Petraeus's resignation and the continuing controversy over the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Attkisson spotlighted how Petraeus told several members of Congress that "video of the Benghazi attack supports an element of spontaneity, as the administration first claimed."
Anchor Charlie Rose also hyped Rep. Peter King's theory on General Petraeus's resignation: "The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says the timing of the resignation suggests a cover-up. Petraeus was scheduled to testify to Congress this week about the attack that killed the American ambassador to Libya." [audio clip available here; video below the jump]
Liberal Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen caricatured the Republican Party's base on Thursday's CBS This Morning. Hiaasen asserted that President Obama won Florida on Tuesday because Mitt Romney's campaign didn't appeal to "people who vote who are not old/middle-aged, angry white guys."
The writer from Florida also credited the incumbent Democrat's supporters: "I think the Obama campaign picked up on that pretty quickly - that there's a lot of young people. There are a lot of diverse populations." [audio available here; video below the jump]
Bob Schieffer poured cold water on President Obama's victory during CBS's post-election coverage on early Wednesday morning: "He's not going to have a mandate here. The President has been re-elected, but nobody's put the stamp of approval on his program. I mean, when the vote is this close...he's going to have a very, very difficult time."
Schieffer repeated these same points on Wednesday's CBS This Morning, and pointed out that the incumbent liberal "almost lost the popular vote...so people are going to step back, and they're going to say, why should I cooperate with him?"
Norah O'Donnell lived up to her reputation on Tuesday's CBS This Morning for tossing softball questions at liberal guests while hounding conservative ones. During an interview of Obama campaign flack David Axelrod, O'Donnell wondered if "the minority vote will be bigger than it was in 2008." Charlie Rose assisted his co-host in asking, "Are we looking at a new Democratic majority - a different voter group that are coming together to be the majority in America?"
By contrast, the former NBC correspondent peppered Romney adviser Kevin Madden with questions that cast doubt on the Republican presidential candidate's chances to win. CBS political director John Dickerson also mangled polling data on minority support for Romney by asking Madden if the former governor "has trouble even breaking out of single digits with Latinos, and, certainly, with African-Americans...isn't that a problem for an incoming president - to do so poorly among minority voters?"
On Sunday's 60 Minutes, CBS's Steve Kroft tried to paper over Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's role in fostering deadlock in the Senate. Kroft spotlighted Reid's "responsibility" for setting the body's agenda, but quickly added that the Nevada senator has "just as much of a responsibility as Senator McConnell - to make the system work and to do some things."
The correspondent also turned to Steven Smith, who hinted that the Republican minority in the Senate was to blame for the "deadlock" in Congress, despite Reid's Democratic majority not passing a budget in over 3 years: "If you're in the minority...you know that if you can slow down everything, the majority will have less time to get to its entire agenda....when the minority blocks a piece of legislation, who does the public blame? Is it the minority for its obstructionism, or is it the majority that just wasn't willing to compromise enough?" He failed to mention that Smith is a former fellow at the liberal Brookings Institution.
As the Big Three's evening newscasts ignored the latest in the controversy over the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya for seven straight days, their morning shows aren't doing much better. On Friday, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning together devoted less than two minutes of air time - 1 minute, 50 seconds - to the ambush that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three American military veterans.
NBC's Today show mentioned the Libya attack only in passing, when Tom Brokaw noted it as one of a "series" of supposed October surprises in the presidential race, including "the President not showing up for the first debate, Benghazi", and Hurricane Sandy.
On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, Jan Crawford hyped the cleanup from Hurricane Sandy as a "huge opportunity" for President Obama to display his leadership skills, as opponent Mitt Romney currently hold the advantage in that area in the latest CBS News poll of key battleground states, particularly in Florida.
Crawford also touted that Obama could "build his lead on the question of which candidate better understands people's needs and problems. Voters here [in Florida] give him the edge on empathy."
Liberal historian Douglas Brinkley gushed over President Obama on Thursday's CBS This Morning and Friday's CNN Newsroom, and tried to put the incumbent in the best possible light: "He's [Obama] a very natural person....He's a really warm and genial person. What he has going for him is he exudes family values." Brinkley later asserted to CNN's Suzanne Malveaux that Obama is an "intellectual...he reads all these books about Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, FDR...he's wonkish, in a sense of detail in history."
Both times, the Rice University professor downplayed the President's "BS-er" smear of his opponent, Mitt Romney, that emerged during his recent Rolling Stone interview of the Democrat by using the veneer of history: "It's another part of 'Romnesia', I suppose. The working man's 'Romnesia' is BS-er....I mean...there's no love between even John F. Kennedy and his own vice president, Lyndon Johnson; let alone Harry Truman, who once said about Eisenhower, he knows no more about politics than a pig knows about Sunday."
CBS This Morning brought on liberal Colin Powell on Thursday so he could break his endorsement of President Obama and boost the Democratic candidate that he supported in 2008. Norah O'Donnell spotlighted Powell's service with "several Republican presidents" and wondered if he was "still Republican." When the former secretary of state claimed that he's a "Republican of a more moderate mold," Rose pressed him if he "may have to leave the Republican Party, if it continues in the direction that it's going."
Despite noting Powell's past service as secretary of state and national security advisor, and asking for his "concerns...about Governor [Mitt] Romney's foreign policy," neither Rose nor O'Donnell once mentioned the ongoing issue of the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. They decided instead to joke with their guest about his love of the viral musical track, "Call Me Maybe."
Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell badgered former RNC head Haley Barbour on Thursday's CBS This Morning on Indiana Republican Richard Mourdock's strongly pro-life stance, that even children conceived in rape are "God intended." Rose strongly hinted that the media firestorm surrounding Mourdock could affect the presidential race: "Romney may be gaining support among women. And the question arises, could this Mourdock controversy impact that?" [audio available here; video below the jump]
The CBS morning newscast stood out among its Big Three peers in significantly adding to the more than seven and half minutes of coverage from the previous day. The network devoted three minutes, 6 seconds to Mourdock, which is nearly three times the one minutes and 7 seconds that ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today set aside to the story combined.
NBC's Today on Wednesday glossed over the State Department e-mails showing that the Obama administration knew that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was carried out by terrorists. Their colleagues at ABC and CBS also minimized their coverage of this latest development, as they boosted the latest slam on Republicans from David Axelrod and the President's reelection campaign.
But all three network morning shows cordoned off significant amounts of air time to completely frivolous and celebrity-driven news stories. Here are some examples from Good Morning America, the Today Show, and CBS This Morning:
On Tuesday evening, CBS broke wide open a story on State Department e-mails showing the White House knew on September 11 that the consulate in Benghazi was subjected to a terrorist attack, and that terrorists took credit on Facebook and Twitter. But by Wednesday, the three network morning shows weren't leaping to follow up. ABC and CBS combined devoted just over a minute to the story, while NBC completely ignored it.
By contrast, all three newscasts showed that they were more interested in helping the Democrats in Indiana, aggressively spotlighting Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock's faith-based affirmation that he did not support abortion even in the case of rape, that even those are children "God intended." Mourdock's "controversial comments" drew more than seven and a half minutes of coverage.
On Tuesday, liberal stalwart NPR hyped a BBC World Service poll that found that "if the world picked U.S. president, election would be a blowout" for President Obama. Writer Eyder Peralta's item, which was the number-one most-viewed on its website, spotlighted that the poll "taken in 21 countries...found for the most part, foreign countries preferred Obama. The only exception was Pakistan where more people said they preferred Romney."
The BBC poll, conducted between July 3 and September 3, found that the most strongly pro-Obama country, to no one's shock, was France, with 72 percent of respondents supporting the incumbent Democrat. The second highest pro-Obama country was Australia, followed by Kenya, Nigeria, and Canada.
Martha Raddatz boosted President Obama on ABC after the final presidential debate on Monday evening, just as she did during the earlier vice presidential debate that she moderated. Raddatz asserted that Obama "humanized what he was talking about. He talked a lot about the troops; he talked about the survivors from 9/11; he talked about the people in Israel. So if, in fact, he was going towards the female vote, he probably got their attention with that sort of approach." [audio available here; video below the jump]
Gateway Pundit blog and Michelle Malkin's Twitchy site both reported on Saturday how Ryan Clayton, a far left contributor to DailyKos and Huffington Post, was escorted out a Friday night showing of the documentary, Hating Breitbart, in Arlington, Virginia, for his outbursts during the opening minutes of the film. Clayton actually makes an appearance in the movie, where he shouted bogus allegations of cocaine use and soliciting male prostitutes at Breitbart in 2011.
I actually played a part in getting the leftist booted out of the theater. I went to the 10:20 pm showing at the invitation of Jason Jones of Movie to Movement, who is a good friend and a former boss. I sat towards the back of the theater, as many of the seats were filled by the time I entered. When the documentary started, Clayton somehow thought it was appropriate to add his own commentary track and laughed like a hyena at various points. I spoke up and told him to stop talking. But he didn't stop.
On Friday's CBS This Morning, John Dickerson was all too eager to pour cold water on the latest Gallup daily tracking poll that has Mitt Romney with a seven-point lead over President Obama: "There is a lot of debate about that...poll - whether it lags behind where the race really is....there's also other criticisms about...the way it looks at likely voters...it's a bit of an outlier from some other polls. So, if you're Mitt Romney, you like it, but we should, with all polls, be really, really skeptical."
The CBS political director raised no such objections back in mid-September, when the morning newscast spotlighted the same poll at a point where the two candidates were in a statistical dead heat, with Obama slightly ahead among both registered voters and swing state voters.
Tim Graham pointed out earlier on Thursday how Whoopi Goldberg forwarded a misunderstanding on ABC's The View during an interview of Ann Romney - that Mormonism "doesn't allow you to go fight" in the military. Mrs. Romney corrected this false statement: "No, that's not correct....We have many, many members of our faith that are serving in the armed services."
Goldberg could have just consulted Wikipedia, as the website lists four Mormon recipients of the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award for valor - one from World War I, two from World War II, and one from the Vietnam War.
Gayle King's support of President Obama - both vocal and financial - emerged on air on Thursday's CBS This Morning, as the newscast covered Mitt Romney's much-ballyhooed "whole binders full of women" answer at Tuesday night's debate. King blustered, "I think it's going to be the joke that keeps on giving. I really do." [audio available here; video below the jump]
Correspondent Seth Doane hyped "Romney's now-infamous phrase", and spotlighted how "on Twitter, a conservative binder backlash unfolded." Strangely, Doane cited a Tweet from Obama-defending journalist Mark Halperin as an example of a "conservative."
Julie Rovner, NPR's resident ObamaCare flack, failed to include any conservatives experts for her report on Medicare on Tuesday's All Things Considered . Rovner played two sound bites each from Drew Altman of the Kaiser Family Foundation and from MIT's Jonathan Gruber, whom the Washington Post named the Democratic Party's "most influential health-care expert." She didn't mention either individual's liberal affiliations.
The closest that the correspondent got to mentioning their left-of-center politics is when she pointed out how Gruber "likes the way the Affordable Care Act takes on Medicare with a variety of approaches."
Minutes after the second presidential debate ended on Tuesday, ABC pundits Matthew Dowd and Donna Brazile brushed off the three-plus minute advantage of speaking time President Obama had over Mitt Romney under CNN's Candy Crowley's moderation. Dowd asserted that this imbalance would lead to "conservatives and Republicans attacking Candy Crowley, and when that happens, that is a sure sign that President Obama won this."
Brazile seconded this taunt: "When Republicans lose debates, they always find something wrong with the moderator or the referee." The two ABC panelists didn't give such an assessment after the first debate on October 3, even though liberals, such as Howard Fineman, attacked moderator Jim Lehrer.
On Monday, the Cato Institute's Michael F. Cannon spotlighted how more than 150 employers inside the District of Columbia have signed onto a protest letter that decries the local ObamaCare board's "dismantling and recasting the separate health insurance marketplaces that serve small employer groups and individuals." One of the signatories was Chef Geoff's, owned by Geoff Tracy, who happens to be married to CBS This Morning anchor Norah O'Donnell.
This puts Tracy in, perhaps, an uncomfortable position, as O'Donnell has a record of defending the President's health care law. Here a few examples from the MRC's archives from the past few months:
On Friday afternoon, Joe Biden lived up to his reputation for committing gaffes, not even a day after Paul Ryan zinged the Vice President over how "sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way" during Thursday's debate. At a rally in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Biden claimed Planned Parenthood "under law cannot perform any abortions." In reality, the organization is the largest abortion racket in the country.
Hours later, none of the Big Three's Friday evening newscasts had covered Biden's patently false claim. But just two days earlier, these programs devoted a combined five minutes and 1 second on Wednesday to Mitt Romney's statement to The Des Moines Register that "there's no legislation with regard to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda." NBC's Brian Williams mouthed the Obama campaign's spin - that "what Mitt Romney said about abortion that sure sounds like a change."
Former Clinton administration flack and current ABC personality George Stephanopoulos slanted towards Joe Biden after Thursday night's vice presidential debate between the incumbent and challenger Paul Ryan. However, unlike his definitive pro-Democratic track record with debates, he initially wouldn't give a clear answer as to who won the match-up.
Stephanopoulos trumpeted how "Joe Biden came in and gave the game that a lot of Democrats wanted from Barack Obama last week, but did not get", and later claimed, "over the course of the debate, more of issues fell in Biden's corner. He was able to take control of more of the debate." When Diane Sawyer asked whether there was a "clear winner", he replied, "I'm saying exactly what I said, Diane," and acknowledged that "Ryan held his own – did not make any big mistakes; humanized himself, when he had to humanize himself."
Norah O'Donnell hounded Republican strategist Mike Murphy on Wednesday's CBS This Morning, repeatedly hinting that Mitt Romney flip-flopped on the issue of abortion during his Tuesday interview with The Des Moines Register. O'Donnell conspicuously failed to mention that during the same interview, Romney promised to "reinstate the Mexico City policy....that foreign aid dollars...would not be used to carry out abortion in other countries." [Update, 3:55 pm Eastern: audio clips available here; video below the jump]
By contrast, the anchor's former employer, NBC, pointed out on Wednesday's Today show that "Romney did say he would instead use an executive order to reinstate a ban on using American foreign aid to fund abortions."
Charlie Rose badgered former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Tuesday's CBS This Morning over the "few specifics" of Mitt Romney's foreign policy speech on Monday. During the interview, Norah O'Donnell boosted former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's "full of platitude and free of substance" blast at Romney's speech.
Rose changed subjects midway through the segment and also hounded the former U.S. attorney on whether the Romney campaign has "decided to be more moderate" in the last days of the presidential race.
The 2007 video of then-Senator Barack Obama hinting at racism in the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina isn't the only news story that NBC's Todayshow stuck up its nose at during the first days of October. The morning newscast has conspicuously ignored covering the latest developments in the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. It hasn't devoted a full segment or even a news brief to the issue since September 29.
As Today devoted air time to how Mitt Romney's debate performance was supposedly "completely overshadowed" by "hunting" Big Bird, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning devoted full reports on Monday to a former security official's charge that the State Department ignored repeated requests for extra security at the diplomatic facility in Libya.
On Friday's CBS This Morning, Nancy Cordes trumpeted that the Obama campaign is "turning lemons into lemonade" as she reported that the Democratic operation is "arguing that Romney had a great performance at the debate, but only because he was untethered from the truth." Not once did the correspondent or colleagues Norah O'Donnell and Bill Plante critically examine the claims from the incumbent or his operatives.
O'Donnell even spotlighted how "we heard David Axelrod say that they're going to change some things. They're even suggesting that Mitt Romney is a liar for what he said in the debate."
On Thursday's CBS This Morning, just hours after Mitt Romney's "crisp" debate performance, Norah O'Donnell stuck to her fixation on playing up the Republican's supposed negatives. O'Donnell maligned how Romney phrased his opposition to the federal government's subsidization of PBS: "This may have been the first time in a presidential debate that Big Bird was mentioned. It seems kind of like a silly thing to bring up."
Gayle King, an admitted friend of Michelle Obama and donor to the President's reelection campaign, also spotlighted a Tweet that referenced a decades-old anecdote about Romney placing his dog, Seamus, in a carrier on top of his car: "This wasn't a debate so much as Mitt Romney just took Obama for a cross-country drive strapped to the roof of his car."