CBS’s 'Early Show' Skips Grilling of Geithner, Lawmakers Calling for Resignation
CBS’s Early Show on Friday completely ignored the grilling Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner received on Capitol Hill on Thursday and the calls for his resignation by members of Congress. ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today both covered the contentious exchanges.
ABC’s Good Morning America provided the most coverage. Correspondent Bianna Golodryga observed that "a handful of Republicans and one Democrat are calling for his resignation" based on the current economic situation. She then played video of Republican Michael Burgess deriding Geithner: "I don't think you should be fired. I thought you never should have been hired."
Another clip featured Republican Kevin Brady directly asking the Treasury Secretary: "For the sake of our jobs, will you step down from your post?" But, even though the Early Show found time for generous coverage of Oprah Winfrey and the announcement that she’s retiring in two years, the news program skipped reporting on the calls for Geithner’s resignation by these Republicans. (House Democrat Peter DeFazio and Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell both have previously made similar announcements.)
CBS’s Evening News also did not cover the story on Thursday, unlike ABC’s World News and NBC’s Nightly News. Both of those shows did and featured the calls for resignation.
GMA correspondent Golodryga on Friday did attempt to defend Geithner. At the close of her report, she asserted, "One year ago, the stock market was on a nose-dive. Major banks were going under. And the economy suffered its biggest quarterly contraction in seven years. Now, all of that has significantly improved today, except for when it comes to jobs." However, Golodryga left out any mention of the deficit, which has been tripled under President Barack Obama.
This Week host George Stephanopoulos appeared next and did admit that the Obama administration’s claim that things could be worse without the stimulus, isn’t "good enough." But, he also dismissed any notion of a growing movement against Geithner: "You have still only got two members of Congress [sic]. One from the far right and one from the far left who have called for him to go. And, also, one Senator, Maria Cantwell of Washington."
NBC’s Today featured a Ann Curry news brief on the topic:
ANN CURRY: The White House is defending Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who came under some heavy fire on Thursday for how he's handling the economic crisis. Some Republicans on Capitol Hill called for his resignation, and at least one Democrat agreed that he should step down. Geithner was criticized for the nation's 10.2 percent unemployment rate and for the slow recovery but the White House later said, that Geithner has helped bring the economy back from the brink.
Then, in a later segment, Meet the Press host David Gregory appeared and briefly touched on the issue. He dismissed the attack on Geithner as a "perception problem," saying, "You've got Wall Street doing better than most American workers in this country, you've got 10.2 percent unemployment and a ballooning federal debt. Those are the problems for Secretary Geithner, and he's just the proxy, because those are really the problems for the President. Overall, it's a perception problem that the administration has to deal with."
A transcript of the Bianna Golodryga segment, which aired at 7:10am EST on November 20, follows:
ROBIN ROBERTS: Now, to the political revolt under way over Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, the man hand-picked by President Obama to turn around the economy. A handful of Republicans and one Democrat are calling for his resignation. This morning, the White House firing back. And our financial correspondent Bianna Golodryga has more on that.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: Rough day, yesterday. It was anything but your typical Capitol Hill hearing. The Treasury Secretary spent the yesterday defending how the administration is handling the economic recovery. The normally reserved Geithner could not hide his frustrations, however, at accusations that became rather personal. And that's when things got heated.
REP. MICHAEL BURGESS (R-TX, Joint Economic Cmte.): I don't think you should be fired. I thought you never should have been hired.
REP. KEVIN BRADY (R-TX, Ranking member, joint economic Cmte.): For the sake of our jobs, will you step down from your post?
GOLODRYGA: The Treasury Secretary took issue with the notion that the Obama administration is to blame for the economic crisis.
TIM GEITHNER (Secretary of the Treasury): You gave this President an economy falling off the cliff. Values of American savings cut almost in half. -I can't take responsibility is, is for the legacy of crisis you bequeathed this country!
BRADY: This is your budget. This is your bailout. This is your stimulus. This is your act. It is time to take responsibility.
GEITHNER: I take full responsibility for those.
BURGESS: My constituents, they're not just anxious. They are mad. They are fighting mad about what has happened in the economy.
BRADY: It's appropriate for the American people to assess how well this administration's economic policies are working. They are not. They have failed.
GEITHNER: I agree with almost nothing in what you said. And I think almost nothing of what you said represents a fair and accurate perception of where this economy is today. If you look at any measure of confidence in the financial system, it is substantially stronger today than when the President of the United States took office.
GOLODRYGA: And it's not just Republicans who are calling for his head. A Democratic congressman started it all on cable TV.
ED SHULTZ: Should he stay in his job, Congressman?
REP. PETER DEFAZIO (D-Oregon): No.
SHULTZ: You think Tim Geithner should be gone as Treasury Secretary?
DEFAZIO: I do.
GOLODRYGA: So, let's look at the facts. One year ago, the stock market was on a nose-dive. Major banks were going under. And the economy suffered its biggest quarterly contraction in seven years. Now, all of that has significantly improved today, except for when it comes to jobs. The unemployment rate back then was 6.6 percent. Today, that's nearly doubled. And that's become the administration's Achilles' heel now.