CNN correspondent Joe Johns included a seeming lament in his report on Friday’s Situation Room about the inclusion of an amendment to the so-called credit card reform bill which expands gun owners’ rights in national parks: “How in the world did the credit card bill get so hijacked?” He also only included one pro-gun rights sound bite in his report, as opposed to three from proponents of gun control [audio clips from the report are available here].
Johns introduced his report by juxtaposing beautiful imagery of Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Mount Rushmore with a picture of a handgun on a rack: “Just imagine: along with the sweeping views of natural beauty at Yellowstone and Yosemite, mixed in with history at Mount Rushmore, that some of the tourists toting diaper bags and binoculars might also be packing heat.” He continued by labeling this juxtaposition, and outlining how congressional opponents of the provision felt about its inclusion and passage: “Extreme perhaps, but absurd is in fact how it looks to some congressional Democrats -- they’re almost apoplectic about how the gun lobby slipped a provision into, of all things, the credit card reform bill, a provision that really has nothing to do with the rights of credit card holders, and a lot to do with the right to bear arms.”
Anchor Anderson Cooper grilled Dick Cheney’s daughter Liz Cheney on his CNN program on Thursday evening about her father’s defense of the Bush administration’s anti-terror tactics. At one point, he asked, “Is it appropriate, though, for your father, who has had access to high-level intelligence for -- for eight years, to be very publicly waving a flag, saying, we’re much weaker now than ever before? Isn’t that, in fact, emboldening our enemies? Couldn’t you make that argument?”
Cooper later asked the former State Department official, “If a Democrat was doing this in a Republican administration, wouldn’t be the Republicans be saying, this is traitorous?” The anchor also questioned whether the CIA actually took care in implementing its enhanced interrogations: “But -- more than 100 people are known to have died in U.S. custody. Twenty -- I think about 20 of those have been ruled a homicide. I mean, if -- if these were just tightly-controlled things, how come so many people are being murdered in U.S. custody?”
While discussing Thursday’s opposing national security speeches by President Obama and former Vice President Cheney, on Friday’s CBS Early Show, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer acknowledged: "...the fact that the President of the United States had to make this speech, the fact that Congress had turned him down in giving him the money to close Guantanamo, I have to say that on points, I give it to -- to the Vice President on this...Right now I think the Vice President has made his case. And at this point I'd have to say he's winning."
Meanwhile, co-host Harry Smih at least admitted a draw: "I think it behooves everybody who cares a whit about this issue at all, that they go on Youtube, or go online, and read the transcripts of every single word that was uttered. Because both speeches were breathtaking, I think, in their scope, in their pointedness."
While both Smith and Schieffer recognized Cheney’s success at countering Obama on issues like closing Guantanamo Bay, near the end of the segment Schieffer still declared: "I think most people think that Guantanamo is an open sore. That it in many ways it's a recruiting tool for these terrorists." At the same, he acknowledged the newfound difficulty in closing the facility: "But, getting it closed, what do you do with these people? Because, I mean, let's face it, there's some bad dudes down there. And no congressman wants those people brought back in to his home district, even to be put into prison. The President has got to come up with a detailed plan on how he plans to do this."
Immediately following a speech by former Vice President Dick Cheney on Thursday, MSNBC assembled its usual panel of left-wing pundits to tear him down, including political analyst Lawrence O’Donnell, who proclaimed: "Well, he came today to -- obviously to do nothing much other than defend torture, which he calls 'tough questioning.' This was as sleazy a presentation by a vice president as we've had since Spiro Agnew. This was an absolute abomination."
Chris Matthews anchored the coverage and had just asked O’Donnell: "Lawrence, can he get away with this? Giving a speech that's -- well, it was 16 pages long -- and never mention the main foreign policy initiative of the administration just passed, which is the war in Iraq." After O’Donnell denounced Cheney’s sleaziness, he went on this diatribe:
He [Cheney] cannot, ever, frame the other side's position honestly. What you saw with Obama earlier was Obama describes the other side's position fairly. He then goes on to advance his position. Cheney comes out and lies about the other side, it's the only way he can talk. He says that Obama will not use the word 'terrorist,' when Obama does indeed use that word. He pretends that all we did was tough questioning. He says that 9/11 -- he says that 9/11 made everyone take a second look at the threat. That is a lie. Dick Cheney and the President were in possession of memos that said this threat was present, this particular methodology was going to come, that they were going to use airliners. He and the President failed in their first nine months in office to pay any attention to the A.Q. Khan network, who he now wants to take credit for dismantling. What did Cheney do before 9/11? He denies, in this speech, that 9/11 changed him and then describes his very specific activities on 9/11, which were frightening for the Vice President. Then he goes on to say that he thinks about it every day. This guy just has to lie from beginning to end through his setup of his opposition's position in order to advance any of his ideas at all, none of which have any proof to them at all.
George Soros is a superhero along the lines of Batman and Superman? That's the comparison correspondent John Berman made on Thursday's "Good Morning America." The ABC journalist was reporting on a closed door meeting of billionaires that included liberals such as Soros, Ted Turner and Oprah Winfrey. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss charitable giving, leading ABC to feature a graphic with Turner as Superman and Winfrey as Wonder Woman. [audio for download here]
And while well known arch-liberal Soros, financier of groups such as Moveon.org, wasn't featured in the silly illustration, he was discussed in the piece, with no mention of his hard-left positions. (Billionaire/Mayor Michael Bloomberg was relegated to being portrayed as a lesser hero, Aquaman.) Soros, who once compared the Bush administration to Nazis, was simply referred to this way: "Together with others in the meeting, including George Soros, Ted Turner, David Rockefeller, they're worth more than $125 billion."
Time magazine’s senior editor Amy Sullivan, who, like most of her peers in the mainstream media, is an amateur when it comes to religion, twice implied in May that the pro-life Catholics in the U.S. who are upset about President Obama’s recent commencement address at Notre Dame are more Catholic than Pope Benedict XVI. In a May 16, 2009 article on Time.com, Sullivan, the former aide to Democrat Tom Daschle, and the author of an entire book on how Democrats could appeal to Christians, snarked that the Pope “may find his next trip to the U.S. dogged by airplanes overhead trailing banners with images of aborted fetuses,” due to his purported silence on the matter.
Less than a week later on May 21, after outlining on Time’s “Swampland” blog that the semi-official Vatican news has been “calm” and “fairly positive” towards the Democratic president, “in stark contrast to the furious reaction of many conservative Catholics here,” the editor quipped, “Uh, oh. It sounds like the Vatican newspaper ‘doesn’t understand what it means to be Catholic.’” Sullivan, like the rest of the media, was also selective in the articles she chose to emphasize from the newspaper.
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez reported breaking news of a terror plot in New York foiled by the FBI: "The FBI busts a home-grown terror plot, arresting four men who planned to bomb synagogues and shoot down aircraft." Later, Rodriguez spoke with terrorism expert and former Bush aide, Juan Zarate, about the failed attack: "There's no question these guys were serious. When they were captured they were planting what they thought were three real bombs inside cars. My question is, how common is this? Are these guys just the minority? Or is this type of thing rampant?"
Zarate responded by specifically citing similar domestic terror plots that were prevented under the Bush administration: "I don't think this is unusual. The FBI has taken down other cells like this in the past. Recall the Fort Dix plot in New Jersey, recall a plot in Chicago to go after malls and civilians walking around malls. So we've seen this kind of home-grown terrorist cell and activity before." In May of 2007, the CBS Evening News actually downplayed the arrest of six suspects in the Fort Dix case, with correspondent Armen Keteyian declaring: "...more than 400,000 names have come under one form of government surveillance or another -- from watch lists to wiretaps. But only a handful of terrorists have been convicted in cases with concrete ties to al-Qaeda."
Reacting to a speech by Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele during Tuesday’s 3:00 EST hour on MSNBC, anchor Norah O’Donnell declared: "In case you missed it, we compiled the greatest and the best of Michael Steele. Some people said that a lot of the cliches he used in his speech you could string them together and it would make a bad Hallmark card." An edited clip of Steele’s speech was played, highlighting his calls for Republicans to turn the corner.
A laughing O’Donnell turned to Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons and Republican strategist Phil Musser to discuss the future of the GOP: "Alright, Phil, did you get the point that the honeymoon is over, the navel-gazing is done? There was a lot of this emphasis on turning the page, which is all well and good, but there was no prescription for change in what the Republican Party's going to do. Isn't that a problem?" Musser shot back: "Well, I think Michael Steele is making an important point that you can only be on defense for so long, and with all due respect to your setup, which keeps us on defense, you know, that I think that the Republican Party has acknowledged their sin, certainly paid the measure of price for it and are now in the process of moving forward with proactive ideas."
MSNBC host Contessa Brewer derided Republicans for using the word socialist in reference to Barack Obama's economic policies on Wednesday, complaining, "Well, maybe they think Americans are a bunch of idiots." Speaking of an upcoming vote by the Republican National Committee over whether or not to label the current Democratic leadership as socialist-leaning, the "MSNBC News Live Host" worried, "Have we reverted to a bunch of junior high schoolers, 12-year-olds with the name calling?"
Of course, Brewer is on the same network that repeatedly, and gleefully, used the juvenile "tea bag" humor to describe Republican protests over taxes. So, this argument is somewhat hollow. Washington Post political reporter Perry Bacon talked to the host and tried to explain the GOP's anger towards the massive spending that has been going on in Washington. After Brewer played a clip of RNC Chairman Michael Steele on Tuesday slamming Democrats, such as "Barney Frank, who nobody understands," the journalist could barely contain herself. She fretted, "Class and dignity. Was that it?"
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez and Dallas Morning News political writer Wayne Slater agreed on Tuesday’s Newsroom program that former President George W. Bush appeared to be “controlled by a bunch of bullies,” or that he was “presiding over a reign of bullies, with [Dick] Cheney and [Donald] Rumsfeld and Karl Rove pushing a partisan agenda.” Later, as President Obama was getting ready to speak at a meeting with small business owners, Slater sought to correct the conservative critics of the administration’s economic policy: “You have the right wing pounding on him day after day for the...bail-outs...a liberal, a socialist -- and yet, here you have a guy who really is tracking a fairly moderate line.”
Sanchez first had the Dallas Morning News writer on just after the bottom half of the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program to discuss a recent article in GQ magazine which alleged that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld “held up military aid to New Orleans in the days after Hurricane Katrina.” The CNN anchor first asked, “Why would Donald Rumsfeld not want to help the people of New Orleans in this situation, given that he had his finger on the military relief?”
At the top of Tuesday’s 2:00PM EST hour on MSNBC, co-anchors Contessa Brewer and Melissa Francis spoke with Reuters correspondent Jon Decker about a speech by Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele on the future of the GOP, with Brewer citing Democratic reaction: "Here's the Democratic National Committee's response to Steele: ‘The test of the sincerity of the Chairman's words will be if he and otherGOP leaders stand up to the fringe elements of their party and whether they tell the polarizing faces of the past, including Cheney, Gingrich, and Limbaugh, to stand aside. Unfortunately, they have shown no willingness to do so.’"
In response to the DNC talking points, Decker argued that Steele would have to turn to moderate Republicans: "Michael Steele will have to recruit candidates thatmay not be the typical type of Republican that we've seen in the past few election cycles, the hard right social conservative Republicans. He's going to have to perhaps look to some moderate Republicans, some of the people who have left the party, who have been defeated over the past few election cycles, if he wants to try to be a majority party once again."
At that point, Francis wondered if the GOP should allow the more conservative members of the party to be "crushed" by Obama: "...but in some sense, doesn't it make sense to put a lot of the old faces out there right now? Because almost anybody is going to get crushed in the undertow of President Obama's popularity. So why not make the sacrificial lamb, you know, some of the people that, you know, are part of the old Republican Party, and just let them get crushed for now. Can you see that strategy at all?"
Minutes after she praised President Obama for his “courageous” decision to accept the invitation to speak at Notre Dame, CNN anchor Fredricka Whitfield played the role of liberal advocate for the president’s commencement address, grilling one Catholic guest who questioned the university’s decision, while going easy on her other guest who was happy to see Obama speak there. Just as MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell had done on May 14, Whitfield equivocated between the issues of abortion and the death penalty, along with war, in her question to Raymond Arroyo of the Catholic television network EWTN: “So does the death penalty fall into that and also wars...does that fall into that as well?”
Later, when Arroyo brought up how the Catholic teaching on abortion wouldn’t change, even if most of the Notre Dame graduates agreed with the decision to bring the president to campus, the CNN anchor replied, “Well, might it suggest something else, that perhaps the Catholic majority has evolved in its opinion of certain things....Perhaps, it means that there’s a greater understanding in some of the areas that you say...once upon a time there wasn’t.” [Due to the large amount of transcript, the entire text of both segments of the two segments can be read here. Audio clips from both segments are available here.]
Filling in for Bob Schieffer on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, host Harry Smith helped finish the sentences of ACLU executive director Anthony Romero, while grilling New York Republican Congressman Peter King during a discussion on recent national security decisions by the Obama administration.
Smith began by asking Romero about the Obama administration’s decision to reinstate military tribunals for terror suspects: "The headlines from this -- no evidence admitted gained from harsh interrogation techniques. Hearsay, some hearsay will be admissible in court. To you, Anthony Romero, is there any good news in this?" Romero replied: "First, by continuing with the Bush military commissions, we are going to delay justice. It will take years before we see justice in these commissions." Smith helped to bolster the point: "Because, one, there’s -- already they said at least hundred and twenty days before this can go on."
On Monday’s CBS Early Show White House correspondent Chip Reid reported on President Obama’s controversial commencement address at Notre Dame University over the weekend, but dismissed pro-life protesters as interlopers from outside groups: "The President did come under fire, but mostly from university outsiders, anti-abortion activists. But inside that graduation ceremony, his reception was much warmer than some had expected...But the vast majority here welcomed the President with open arms."
Reid briefly described some of the protest efforts: "There were hundreds of protesters waiting for the President when he arrived at Notre Dame. Hecklers who interrupted his commencement speech several times." Reid then declared: "And some who saw an opportunity to re-ignite the national debate on abortion." A clip was then played of Obama’s former Senate race opponent, Republican Alan Keyes: "Barack Obama's deeply committed to what [Pope] John Paul [II] called the culture of death and the murder of innocent children."
Reid’s report did not feature any members of the Notre Dame faculty or student body opposed to Obama speaking or mention a separate commencement ceremony that several pro-life students attended on campus. In addition, Reid failed to acknowledge a recent Gallup poll that showed a majority of Americans consider themselves pro-life.
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen read some viewer email, including a question from one woman who asked: "Would you be willing to jeopardize your job to report something your bosses or the government wanted to keep hidden?" Co-host Harry Smith used the question as an opportunity to voice his opposition to the Iraq war:
You know, I remember being in Iraq before the war started, we were there just a couple of -- a couple of weeks before the war started and it came, it was really, really clear to me on the ground that this didn't make any sense. And I remember coming back, but there was all this sort of preponderance of opinion that this -- this thing should go on. And I kept thinking to myself, 'this doesn't -- there's -- I'm not connecting the dots everybody else is connecting.' And if I have a regret in my reporting life that I didn't stand up then and say, 'this doesn't make any sense.'
CNN anchor John Roberts failed to catch former Vice President Al Gore make a significant exaggeration about his criticism of the Bush administration in its early years during an interview on Friday’s American Morning. When asked about former Vice President Dick Cheney’s recent criticism of the Obama administration, Gore claimed that he had “waited two years after I left office to make statements that were critical, and then of the policy.” In reality, he made a significant policy speech denouncing the Bush administration’s pre-war policy towards Iraq in September 2002. CNN itself reported on the speech, which was made in San Francisco in front of the Commonwealth Club. Later, when Gore said that he didn’t “want to get dragged into an argument with Dick Cheney about what he’s getting into,” Roberts joked sarcastically, “Oh, Mr. Vice President, you know I would never try to do that with you.”
Roberts’s taped interview of Gore aired in three parts, and his questions to Gore about Cheney came during the second part, which began at the bottom half of the 7 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. The anchor asked the former vice president, “You were a big critic of the previous administration, particularly in the run-up to the war and thereafter. What do you think of Vice President Cheney’s statements that the Obama administration’s policies are leaving this country less safe?”
On Friday’s American Morning, CNN anchor Kiran Chetry used the liberal talking points about Wanda Sykes and Rush Limbaugh, the two “Wingnuts of the Week,” according to John Avlon of The Daily Beast, Tina Brown’s Huffington Post knock-off site. After playing clips from Sykes’ now-infamous routine which bashed the talk show host and wished him dead, Chetry replied, “So, some would say, wait, she’s just a comedian, and she was trying to get laughs at the correspondents’ dinner. So what’s the harm in her joke, and why do her comments qualify her for wingnut of the week?” Later, the anchor asked Avlon concerning Limbaugh, “He’s certainly really dominated the voice of the GOP for -- for the past several months, and, you know, the left has been saying he’s the new voice of the Republican Party. Why did you pick him as the wingnut of the week?” [audio excerpt available here]
The CNN program began the “Wingnut of the Week” last week with Avlon, as a proposed regular segment on Fridays targeting, in his words, “the professional polarizers, the unhinged activists, the folks who are trying to always hijack our debates and divide us.” His picks last week were Representative Michelle Bachmann, for her recent anti-Jimmy Carter remark, and former Representative Cynthia McKinney, for comparing herself to Rosa Parks and referring to Washington, DC as a “Zionist-occupied government.”
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith took a critical tone against the Obama administration’s decision to reinstate military tribunals for terror suspects: "President Obama will resume the controversial military tribunals for some terror suspects." Smith later discussed the decision with John Dickerson from Slate.com and wondered what the hard left would think: "Let's talk about this decision by the Obama administration to go ahead and have tribunals for some of these terror suspects. The whole part of the -- a huge part of Obama's campaign was repudiation of this Bush policy in Guantanamo. What are Obama's supporters going to think of this decision this morning?"
Dickerson responded by attempting to explain that the decision was not a reversal by Obama: "Well, they have a lot of reason to be upset with him for a variety of decisions he's made recently. But Obama always said that he would take a look at these tribunals...He never said he would do away with them completely...So they will probably be upset. They would like the President to do away with the tribunals altogether. But in terms of matching what he's done now with his previous statements, he's still in line with what he said before."
Instead of performing as an anchor, MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell became a liberal sparring partner to the Cardinal Newman Society’s Patrick Reilly on the network’s Thursday afternoon programming over President Obama’s upcoming commencement address at the University of Notre Dame. Invoking her Catholic upbringing, she used the common left-wing tactic to equate the Church’s unequivocal teaching against abortion with its skepticism of the death penalty, and asked if former presidents George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan shouldn’t have addressed prior commencements for their support of capital punishment. O’Donnell also inquired as to why Reilly was “advocating a Catholic Church that advocates division” [audio clips from the segment available here].
Before introducing Reilly, the MSNBC anchor began the segment, which started 20 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour, by reading recent poll numbers from Quinnipiac University which found that 60% of Catholic voters answered negatively when asked if Notre Dame should disinvite President Obama. She then turned to her guest and asked, “What’s your point? Why are you organizing this protest?” Reilly answered, “The protest has nothing to do with the president in particular. This is a concern that Catholics have had for decades now, that many of our Catholic institutions have lost a sense of Catholic identity, and Catholics are drawing a line in the sand, saying that the Catholic University of Notre Dame ought to be choosing those who it honors based on its Catholic principles and values.”
While appearing on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show comedian Joan Rivers shared her thoughts on the Miss California controversy: "It's all so stupid and she's taking it so seriously and so well coached...My advice is oh, relax. God wants you to shut up...You know, you've done enough already." Co-hosts Harry Smith, Maggie Rodriguez, and Julie Chen all laughed in response and shared in mocking Carrie Prejean.
Just prior to Rivers’ comment, Chen asked about the comedian’s recent appearance on NBC’s ‘Celebrity Apprentice’: "Joan, I have a quick question. You know, now that you won 'Celebrity Apprentice,' the public holds you to a certain standard...But for the record, Joan, do semi-nude or nude photos exist of you? I mean, state it right now so, you know, Donald Trump knows if he has to think about firing you or not." Rivers replied: "If Donald had seen the cover of my latest book, I wouldn't have made it. And that was taken during a storm. It blew that way."
At that point, Rivers held up a copy of book, entitled: "Men Are Stupid...And They Like Big Boobs: A Woman's Guide to Beauty Through Plastic Surgery." The book’s cover featured a picture of Rivers with photo-shopped Dolly Parton-sized breasts. Rodriguez referred to her earlier interview with Prejean: "So, Miss California won't talk about her implants. Can you talk about yours?" Smith pointed to the book and added: "Maybe if Miss California had implants like that she would've won."
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez interrogated Miss California Carrie Prejean, wondering if the beauty queen was a hypocrite for standing up for Christian values: "I know that you are a devout Christian, and some people have said that it's hypocritical, and a little bit of a double standard, for you to be preaching Christianity, yet posing topless...And you don't feel it interferes in any way with your faith or what you preach publicly?"
Prejean defended herself, explaining: "Absolutely not. And my message to my, you know, church and to the young girls that attend the church is, 'you know, I am a very strong woman today.' And the decisions I made when I was 16 and 17 years old, I was very naive, trying to get into the modeling, you know, industry. And I definitely would not make those decisions today."
Rodriguez also tried to portray Prejean as being forced to back down: "The pageant has said that you can continue wearing your crown, but that they will have to monitor the statements that you make. You're such an advocate of free speech, how do feel about their control over your statements?" Rodriguez then asked: "Will you officially come out in support of any particular organization or as a spokesperson for any organization?" Prejean replied: "I don't plan on doing that, no." Rodriguez wondered: "Is that because pageant officials say that you can't?"
During a segment on Tuesday’s Situation Room program, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer characterized the ongoing post-election identity struggle in the Republican Party as being between moderates who are “more tolerant on fiscal and social issues” and “staunch” conservatives “who don’t want the party to become more moderate.” Later in the same segment, Gloria Borger, one of the network’s senior political analysts, labeled some of the moderate Republicans being considered for 2010 congressional races as being “very pragmatic choices.”
Blitzer introduced Borger’s analysis by highlighting the “serious battle...brewing in the Republican party....On the one side, moderates more tolerant on fiscal and social issues -- on the other side, staunch conservatives who don’t want the party to become more moderate.” The analyst herself focused on how this struggle was affecting statewide races, specifically in the northeastern states of Connecticut and Delaware. She argued that Republicans in Connecticut “need to put up a moderate candidate in that state to go against Chris Dodd.” She also cited unnamed conservative recruiters in the GOP who were supposedly saying, “we need moderates in the state of Connecticut.”
Three CNN personalities and one regular commentator on Monday’s No Bias, No Bull program all tried to get Republicans Bay Buchanan and Kevin Madden to disown former Vice President Dick Cheney, and agree with some unnamed Republicans who call for him to “just shut up.” Host Roland Martin characterized Cheney’s multiple media appearances recently as “turning into a big problem for the family of Republicans” and that “some Republicans wish the former V.P. would just shut up.”
Correspondent Jessica Yellin and Drew Griffin saw no good in the politician’s media tour, with Yellin labeling Cheney “one of the least popular figures in the Republican Party, aside from Rush Limbaugh.” She asked Buchanan, “Why is it good for him to speak out as such an unpopular guy?” TruTV’s Lisa Bloom agreed with the unnamed Republicans: “I think a lot of Republicans probably wish Cheney was secured in an undisclosed location right about now.”
Leo Penn, the father of famous actor Sean Penn, was hauled before the House Committee on Un-American Activities during the 1950s and harassed, spied upon and ultimately blacklisted for his political views (he attended a pro-union meeting called to support other black- listees.)
He refused to accuse others, and lost his livelihood for a period of time, but went on to direct many TV shows including Star Trek, The Law and Mr. Jones, and I Spy.
So where are the free-speech warriors? How about Sean Penn and the rest of the Hollywood elitists who think the First Amendment was written solely for their benefit? Penn has made millions playing everything from a stoner in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” to gay Supervisor Harvey Milk, who was slain in a horrific attack in San Francisco that also resulted in the death of San Francisco mayor George Moscone.
At the top of Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith declared: "Oops, she did it again. More semi-nude photos of Miss California surface. So will Donald Trump be forced to say, 'you're fired'?" Later, co-host Julie Chen teased the upcoming segment by exclaiming: "Well, up next, more semi-nude photos of Miss California leak onto the internet. So will Donald Trump end her reign today?"
Correspondent Bianca Solorzano reported on Trump’s awaited decision: "Even more semi-nude photos of Carrie Prejean surfaced overnight, adding fuel to a fire that's been building for days. The controversy kicked off when Prejean opposed gay marriage at the Miss USA pageant. In a radio interview, Prejean said the question tested her faith...But there were other temptations. Breast implants paid for by the pageant. And racy photos. Still, Prejean remains the poster girl for conservative causes." A clip was played of an TV ad from the National Organization for Marriage that featured Prejean.
Solorzano went on to explain: "Monday, the directors of the state pageant were clearly angry with Prejean." A clip was played of Miss California USA Co-executive Director Keith Lewis taking a shot at Prejean and the "conservative causes" she has been a part of: "Up until now, we have just been riding along pretty much a passenger on this runaway train. But as of today, that ends...Shame, shame, shame. Shame for taking this young woman and exploiting her to further your own agenda."
It looks like Miss California Carrie Prejean's title is in jeopardy, as Miss California officials appointed first alternate Tami Farrell to attend all events on May 11 and Donald Trump set to announce the fate of Prejean Tuesday, May 12. The ostensible reason is the emergence of revealing pictures of her. But the publication of those photos was a clear attempt to smear Miss California for her defense of traditional marriage at the Miss USA competition in April.
After weeks of controversy, CBS' "The Early Show" finally interviewed a guest on May 11 that defended Prejean and provided another view point.
Current Miss Rhode Island Alysha Castonguay told anchor Maggie Rodriguez that she too had had an incident in which a revealing photo - more risqué than Prejean's - was published in Maxim. Castonguay told the pageant about it and was allowed to remain in the competition.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith and weatherman Dave Price described attending Saturday’s White House Correspondents Dinner and Smith commented on the controversial joke about Rush Limbaugh made by comedian Wanda Sykes: "She told a joke about Rush Limbaugh as being one of the -- one of the hijackers and the reason he didn't make the flight was because he was, you know, on drugs or whatever...And the whole place -- yeah -- so the whole place groaned, and I ran into Keith Olbermann afterwards...And he said 'I'm not sure, I think that was probably -- probably in bad taste.' I said 'what do you think her job is?’"
In one of many jokes attacking conservatives, Sykes remarked: "I think maybe Rush Limbaugh was the 20th hijacker, but he was just so strung out on oxycontin he missed his flight." Apparently, while even left-wing bomber thrower Keith Olbermann thought that was over the line, Smith defended Sykes: "Well, you know what, any comedian, anybody who does that job, their job is to push the envelope...You can't go home -- you can't go home to the community of comedians unless you've gone too far."
Co-host Julie Chen later wondered: "But how did the room react, you guys, who was there?" Smith replied: "They groaned, serious groan...And Michelle Obama, in particular, was very uncomfortable with some of Wanda Sykes." Dave Price explained: "It was pretty much the only groan. I mean, there were a couple of other small ones. But she was -- she was pretty much en fuego [on fire]."
On CNN’s Sunday Morning program, anchor John King revealed that he thought comedian Wanda Sykes’ barb at Rush Limbaugh at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner was in poor taste: “You know, I don’t give personal opinions that often, but I give you one here. I think that one was probably a tad over the taste line, and you could sense that around the room. Even Democrats, who are no fan [sic] of Rush Limbaugh -- a lot of them had a little bit of a cringe at that moment.” King later brought up the issue with Republican operative Mary Matalin and the Huffington Post’s Hilary Rosen on his own State of the Union program, where Rosen defended Sykes’ off-color joke.
King brought up Sykes during a segment with anchors T.J. Holmes and Betty Nguyen just before the bottom half of the 8 am Eastern hour. After briefly mentioning some of President Obama’s act at the dinner, King mentioned how the comedian “did cause some groans and some -- some uncomfortable moments in the room.” Nguyen replied that “we’ve gotten a lot of traffic on our Twitter and Facebook pages” about Sykes’ attack on Limbaugh, and asked how her act went over. The State of the Union anchor answered:
KING: Some people were laughing because most of the jokes leading up to it were very funny, and people were laughing, and then you could sort of sense a little bit of the oxygen come out of the room -- people start to cringe a little bit. You know, I don’t give personal opinions that often, but I give you one here. I think that one was probably a tad over the taste line, and you could sense that around the room. Even Democrats, who are no fan [sic] of Rush Limbaugh -- a lot of them had a little bit of a cringe at that moment.
As he appeared as a guest on Thursday’s Countdown show on MSNBC to discuss Joe the Plumber’s recent criticism of the Republican party, Newsweek’s Richard Wolffe started off by suggesting that Republicans had "lost their heart" in the 1980s and had "lost their mind" in the 1990s. Wolffe: "You know, if they lost their heart in the 1980s, and they lost their mind in the 1990s, what we've seen in the 2000s is Republicans losing their image, and they lost it on national security."
Wolffe later demeaned the intelligence of participants in the recent Tax Day Tea Parties, whom he referred to as "tea baggers," and charged that they want to "have their cake and eat it." Wolffe:
The NewsBusters publisher appeared on the May 8 "Fox & Friends" to address how the media consider Hasselbeck "controversial" for teaching her kids to believe the Bible's creation account rather than labeling liberal co-host Behar "controversial" for suggesting that teaching children creationism is "child abuse."
STEVE DOOCY, "Fox & Friends" co-host: So they label Elisabeth as controversial or as the conservative but Joy Behar is always labeled the comedian!