In an interview with Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour on Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith was already predicting failure if the GOP won control of Congress: "1994 was an important year for Republicans....Some people would say that didn't end so well for the Republicans, especially with the stalemated government. Have you any concerns that that might happen again?"
Barbour, who is also head of the Republican Governors Association, shot back: "It's going to be up to the President. I think the Republicans are going to hear the people very plainly, 'cut out all this spending, don't raise our taxes. Focus on job creation, economic growth.' What's the President going to hear? And I can't answer that."
On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith got into the Halloween spirit by dressing up as Sue Sylvester, the cheerleading coach from the show 'Glee,' and on NBC's Today, correspondent Tamron Hall showed up as President Obama. For Smith, it was the second consecutive Halloween he chose a female persona, going as celebrity chef Julia Child in 2009.
All three morning shows on Thursday covered Barack Obama's appearance on The Daily Show Wednesday night, but only Good Morning America's Jake Tapper stressed that comedian Jon Stewart's complaints represented the unhappy left.
Tapper recounted of Stewart: "One of America's foremost political humorists, who seems to root for the President, demonstrated one of the major problems Mr. Obama is facing in the run-up to the midterm elections, a disappointed base."
The ABC journalist played previous clips of previous Daily Show appearances to highlight the comic's past enthusiasm for Obama. In a montage, Stewart gushed, "You definitely also have a little bit of that Hollywood flair. You've certainly run a remarkable and historic race. "
[Update: New video Shows Lauren Valle shoving sign into Rand Paul's face.]
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith interviewed MoveOn.org protestor Lauran Valle, who was stepped on during a protest outside of the Kentucky senate debate on Monday: "Less than a week before election day, the races are heating up, some even turn ugly. We'll speak exclusively with a woman who was stomped on the head during a campaign melee."
While CBS was eager to talk to Ms. Valle, in September 2009the network failed to give any coverage to a man having his finger bitten off by a MoveOn.org supporter at a California ObamaCare rally. At the September 2 event, 65-year-old William Rice, an ObamaCare opponent, got into an altercation with an unidentified MoveOn protestor, who proceeded to bite off the tip of Rice's left pinky finger. Not only did CBS not interview Rice about the violent attack, but it offered no mention of the incident at all.
Appearing on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, Arizona Senator John McCain spoke of his admiration for Sarah Palin and criticized continued media efforts to go after his former running mate: "I continue to hold her in the highest regard and continue to be entertained by the attacks of the liberal media against her. It's very entertaining to watch."
McCain made the comment as part of his response to co-host Harry Smith asking about a possible Palin presidential run in 2012: "There's still speculation about her running two years from now. If she runs, will she have your support?" McCain's initial reply was this: "Sarah would be an outstanding candidate. But neither she nor I would want to say I would endorse her at this time. I'm proud of her. I'm very grateful for all the things she's done to invigorate our party....she will continue to play a major role in the American political scene."
On Friday morning, after airing a full report on the Democratic strategy of painting Republican candidates as "dangerous" and "extreme," CBS’s The Early Show co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez seemed surprised when Republican guest Eric Cantor disagreed with her view that "there is no question these Tea Party Republicans are outside the Republican mainstream," and her suggestion that next year Republican congressional leaders may be in the "tricky position" of "feeling indebted to these candidates while trying to keep them in line."
And, picking up on Republican accusations of Democrats being extreme, the CBS anchor also wondered, "If these Tea Party-backed candidates win the election, wouldn't we just be going from one extreme to another?"
Meanwhile, over on the Today show, NBC’s David Gregory repeated the theory of some Democrats that Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell and other Tea Party-backed candidates are hurting Republicans in neighboring Pennsylvania. And, while he at least conceded that the Tea Party is a "legitimate movement," he described Nevada Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle – in addition to O’Donnell – as "outliers." He did not acknowledge the role the mainstream media may be playing in turning swing voters against Tea Party candidates.
With less than two weeks before Election Day, the media elite continue to disparage the GOP’s Tea Party candidates while saluting the greatness of the über-unpopular Democratic Congress and its leader, Nancy Pelosi.
On This Week, ABC’s Christiane Amanpour — apparently oblivious to the decades of liberal mockery hurled at Ronald Reagan and William Buckley — cited those leaders as exemplifying “a long and venerable tradition” of “intellectual conservatism.” Her goal was to insult today’s conservatives: “People are looking at the Tea Party and saying this is not conservatism as we knew it, but it’s extreme.” Conservative George F. Will educated Amanpour: “Which is exactly what they said about Bill Buckley...”
In the wake of Virginia Thomas requesting an apology from Anita Hill, on Thursday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Chris Wragge used the story to raise questions about Thomas's political involvement: "That phone call is bringing up new scrutiny upon Virginia Thomas, who is not just an angry spouse but also a long-time advocate of conservative causes."
In the report that followed, CBS chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford implied that since Virginia Thomas is the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas her conservative activism in a conflict of interest: "She has long advocated for conservative causes....she formed a grassroots conservative group called Liberty Central and has spoken at tea party conventions....Critics have raised questions about her role in the group as the wife of a sitting Justice, and Mrs. Thomas, not one to suppress her opinions, has felt the heat."
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith noted how President Obama was on the campaign trail "in hopes of avoiding a Democratic washout," but added, "he may be getting some help from Republicans....unintentional help." Congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes exclaimed: "...we've been seeing a spate of strange claims from tea party candidates in recent weeks."
As supposed evidence of those "strange claims," Cordes pointed to Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell accurately noting that the phrase "separation of church and state" appears nowhere in the Constitution. Cordes remarked that O'Donnell's comment "actually drew gasps from her audience yesterday," and later concluded: "O'Donnell – who calls herself a strict constitutionalist – appeared unaware of one of the Constitution's most basic tenets."
On Friday's CBS Early Show, after news reader Erica Hill reported on Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's heated Thursday appearance on ABC's 'The View,' co-host Harry Smith proclaimed O'Reilly to be "the bloviater-in-chief" and that "he was in full bloviation mode yesterday."
Hill began her report by declaring: "When Barbara Walters introduced the conservative talk show host on 'The View' Thursday, she ignited a major fuse, turning daytime TV into dynamite." Hill described how O'Reilly's statement that "Muslims killed us on 9/11" caused left-wing hosts Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg to walk off the set. Once she concluded her piece, Smith said of O'Reilly: "He loves all this attention." Hill replied "he thrives on it." Smith added: "He was so happy to see their reactions to him."
When mainstream media folks like Harry Smith dismiss the Tea Party movement as merely voters venting their anger, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell is reminded of the dismissive reaction of journalists back when Republicans won control of Congress 16 years ago.
Here's what he told viewers of the October 15 "Fox & Friends":
At the top of Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared that vicious gossip monger Perez Hilton "makes nice....with so much bullying going on he doesn't want to be a bully himself anymore." While the report that followed cheered Hilton's efforts to reform himself, the morning show has been happy to promote his bullying tactics in the past.
Correspondent Ben Tracy noted how Hilton "controversially outed gay performers like Lance Bass and Neil Patrick Harris." However, on the September 25, 2008 Early Show, correspondent Michelle Gillen seemed to have no problem with it as she reported on Hollywood's acceptance of gay celebrities: "Neal Patrick Harris...remains a high profile star since he was outed by celebrity blogger Perez Hilton." A clip was played of Hilton claiming such outing was "par for the course" and Gillen concluded: "Now that 'out' is apparently 'in.'"
At the top of Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez teased an upcoming report on Wednesday's Delaware Senate debate by proclaiming: "U.S. Senate candidate and tea party favorite Christine O'Donnell is grilled in her first highly-anticipated debate, where she addresses everything from witches, to China, to late-night TV jokes."
Rodriguez's declaration was later followed by a completely one-sided report from congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes, who focused exclusively on O'Donnell being interrogated over past statements: "Well, this debate involved two candidates, but the spotlight was really on one of them, Christine O'Donnell, and her history of controversial comments."
After playing clips of moderators, CNN anchor Wolf Blizter and Delaware First Media's Nancy Karibjanian, grilling O'Donnell, Cordes mockingly remarked: "Outside the auditorium, several witches milled about, some for O'Donnell, some against." She then noted how O'Donnell's "now infamous ad came up more than once."
On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith interviewed former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and questioned the ability of tea party candidates to be effective in office: "...when it's time to govern, can anger govern? Or better yet, how about this one, if a tug-of-war starts between the tea party folk and the mainstream Republicans, who's going to win that tug-of-war?" [Audio available here]
Smith played up potential division in the GOP in a previous question: "...a very interesting conundrum for the Republicans....tea party supporters themselves...84% say there is a lot or some difference between them and Republicans. This is not going to be an easy thing to fold in these folks once they get in office."
In response to Smith's "anger" question, Huckabee observed: "Political parties are to serve people, not to lord over them. The Democrats are in trouble because they just went ahead and did what they wanted to do and recklessly and irresponsibly disregarded their bosses."
Near the end of Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith interviewed actress Naomi Watts about her latest role as former CIA agent Valerie Plame in the movie 'Fair Game': "...a ripped from the headlines true story of espionage and betrayal. Naomi Watts plays former CIA officer Valerie Plame, whose life was torn apart when her cover was blown by the U.S. government."
After playing a clip from the new film, Smith briefly summarized the controversy this way: "Joe Wilson was sent by the CIA to Niger to determine whether or not yellow-cake uranium was being exported to Iraq....when [he] said no, the Bush administration said somebody's got to pay and that was Valerie Plame." Smith went on to proclaim: "...it is not only this very public story but it is also sort of the private anguish of this family....That is almost torn asunder by this."
Grilling Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell on Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez questioned President Obama attacking Republicans over unproven claims of accepting foreign campaign donations: "Why did he spend so much time talking about the Republicans trying to steal the election? Offering no evidence of that. Isn't it a bit undignified for the President to resort to that?"
The Democratic governor attempted to defend the President: "Well, the President's got dual roles, he's the commander-in-chief...but he's also the campaigner-in-chief....[talking] about what's to be afraid of....the unreported money that's coming into this campaign through groups that we'll never know who contributed to, that's something our citizens should be worried about." Rodriguez pressed him: "If you gave them evidence to support that claim, it would be one thing. But, to make claims like this without backing them up, seems not right."
On Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith interrogated New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino over comments he made in opposition to gay marriage: "But by making a statement like that, 'brain-washed into thinking homosexuality is acceptable.' You must think it's not normal....Do you think it's – that people are gay by choice or by birth?"
Paladino explained his position: "I have of no reservations about gay people at all, none, except for one thing, their desire to get married. I just feel – I'm a Catholic, and I feel – there's 7.5 million Catholics in New York State. I feel that marriage is only between a man and a woman." Smith continued to grill Paladino, implying the candidate was contributing to violence against homosexuals: "...this statement comes from, at a time when New Yorkers just learn about this horrendous attack by this gang on these young gay men in the Bronx, where they were tortured and sodomized....You don't feel like you've added any fuel to the fire of gay hatred by saying what you said?"
In a report on Friday's CBS Early Show, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante noted that President Obama hitting the campaign trail for Democrats didn't seem to be helping: "...more than half of the voters say that the President's support for any one candidate would have no impact on their decision." However, he then declared: "Not all Republicans are coasting to victory in 2010."
While Plante acknowledged that "Republicans [are] far more energized than Democrats this campaign season," he spent the second half of his report focused on two GOP candidates behind in the polls: "New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, who recently got into a fight with a New York Post reporter, is way behind his opponent, Andrew Cuomo....Also running behind in the polls, Delaware's tea party Senate candidate, Christine O'Donnell." Plante went on to proclaim that O'Donnell "made headlines earlier this week with her infamous 'I am not a witch' commercial."
California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown was caught on tape in a conversation with an aide, in which that aide called his Republican opponent Meg Whitman a "whore" and CBS's Early Show, on Friday, didn't find that gaffe worthy to report, even though Brown was forced to apologize. ABC's Good Morning America, didn't do much better, as while they did report on the sexist phrased being hurled at Whitman they didn't get around to it, until the second hour of their show. ABC's Juju Chang, in a news brief, noted "Some salty language in the race for California governor. It's difficult to hear, but it's a voice mail recording that captures Democrat Jerry Brown" and an aide, "who used a not-so flattering word to describe" Whitman. Chang went on to play a clip of the aide saying of Whitman "She's a whore."
NBC's Today show, for some reason, bleeped out the offending word, but did offer the most extensive report of the controversy and unlike their morning competitors highlighted the story in the first hour of their program with Vieira teasing at the top of the show: "And caught on tape. A private conversation between California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown and an aide recorded on a voice mail and derogatory word is used to describe rival Meg Whitman. The Brown camp is apologizing but Whitman's camp is calling it unforgivable, today." Vieira's colleague, Natalie Morales, then offered a full story, six minutes into the show.
Despite a new CBS poll showing low approval numbers for President Obama, at the top of Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith emphasized weak numbers for the tea party: "...most Americans think President Obama is not living up to their expectations. But, they don't know if the tea party is an answer to the problem."
Smith later declared: "...less than a month before the midterm elections, there's a lot of voter uncertainty about the tea party movement." Correspondent Ben Tracy then reported: "...most Americans haven't made up their minds about the growing tea party movement. The rest are nearly evenly split in their views." A headline on-screen read: "Voter Frustration; CBS News Poll: Not Good News for Obama or Tea Party."
In concluding his report, Tracy remarked on how according to another poll finding, Sarah Palin "hasn't won over the country." He touted that "When asked if Palin would make an effective president, only 22% say yes. 64%, no, including nearly half [45%] of Republicans." Only then did Tracy finally mention the numbers for Obama: "66% Of Americans view him as an average or poor president, while another 31% say his backing of a candidate running for office will actually be a detriment." Tracy observed: "...the two biggest names in the respective parties may actually be something to avoid come election day."
Following Tracy's report, Smith talked to St. Louis conservative talk radio host Dana Loesch about the poll and proclaimed: "...while people are certainly aware of the tea party, the vast middle in America is not exactly running toward it. They certainly seem to be moving away from the President, but they're not running toward the tea party. They're still sitting on the fence."
If Democrats are going to stem their losses, CBS’s Jeff Greenfield opined on Monday’s Evening News, they need to “convince the voters that this election is a choice” and “Republicans are just too extreme.” Greenfield’s probably right about this strategy being Democrats’ best hope — and his fellow reporters are already hard at work fulfilling their role in painting Republicans as “extreme.”
On Monday’s Good Morning America, Jonathan Karl characterized as astonishing how “Alaska’s Joe Miller talked about rolling back the power of the federal government further than Republicans have talked about for more than 70 years.” Even more jaw-dropping to ABC: “Miller and other Tea Party candidates also favor eliminating the Department of Education.” How is that more radical than Democrats’ takeover of private-sector health care?
Appearing on Wednesday's CBS Early Show, business correspondent Rebecca Jarvis expressed disappointment in the lack of a new stimulus package, but hoped for other government action: "...while the government doesn't necessarily have the political will or the motivation to put a new stimulus into effect here in the United States, the Federal Reserve is prepared to step in and do that."
Co-host Maggie Rodriguez had asked Jarvis about possible reasons for why the stock market "sky-rocketed" on Tuesday. Jarvis touted possible intervention by the Fed as a reason for the stock "surge": "...many are anticipating that the Federal Reserve will take its own tools and do stimulative action."
Rodriguez then wondered: "Yeah, the Fed has been indicating that's it's going to step in and prop up the economy. But there's a lot of speculation about what exactly Ben Bernanke will do. What are the options?" Jarvis replied: "...one particular thing, and that is to start printing more money, put more money into circulation." While she acknowledged that such an action "decreases the value of the money in your pocket," Jarvis rosily predicted: "...it also can increase the value of things around you, like your home."
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith highlighted supposed division between Sarah Palin and Alaska senate candidate Joe Miller: "...a controversial e-mail, reportedly from Sarah Palin's husband, Todd, that is burning up the internet, it was leaked by a left-leaning website called The Mudflats and is causing quite a stir in political circles."
Smith explained that Todd Palin was upset that Miller had not endorsed Sarah Palin when asked about her possible 2012 candidacy in television interviews. Smith then quoted from the email in question: "Todd reportedly sent it to Republican senate nominee Joe Miller, who Sarah Palin endorsed, and it says, quote, 'Sarah put her blank [a**] on the line for Joe and yet he can't answer a simple question, is Sarah Palin qualified to be president? I don't know if she is. Joe, please explain how this endorsement stuff works. Is it to be completely one sided?'"
Turning to CBS political analyst and Republican strategist Dan Bartlett, Smith said of Miller, "he's gone on Fox a couple of times and he hasn't really been able to say how much, you know – profess his fealty to Sarah Palin." In response, Bartlett remarked that, "you can kind of feel for Todd Palin and what he's doing," but then added: "Sarah Palin and her camp are extremely thin-skinned and if she does plan to run for president, she's going to have to get used to people like this doing things that they don't appreciate." Smith replied: "A thicker hide in order, perhaps."
Neither Smith nor Bartlett raised the ethical issue of a private email being publicized or the fact that Palin had been a victim of email-hacking in the past.
Touting "faint signs of hope" for Democrats in November, on Monday's CBS Evening News, political correspondent Jeff Greenfield outlined a strategy the DNC could use to stave off major Republican gains in Congress: "So how could Democrats prevent, or at least minimize, their losses? There are three keys."
Greenfield began by encouraging efforts to re-energize the left: "First, turn out the base....That's why President Obama is out trying to persuade his core backers – blacks, Hispanics, the young – not to stay home in November." He then urged marginalizing the GOP: "Second, convince the voters that this election is a choice. With ads that argue the Republicans are just too extreme." Finally, Greenfield recommended that vulnerable Democrats run from their liberal records: "Third, declare your independence. Across the country, many incumbent Democrats are stressing how they oppose the President and House Speakier Nancy Pelosi."
Greenfield did acknowledge problems with some of his advice. On the suggestion that Democrats paint the GOP as "too extreme," he brought in Republican strategist David Winston, who explained: "Ultimately, when you're talking about your opponent, it's because you don't have anything to say about yourself, and the electorate gets that."
Wrapping up the segment, Greenfield admitted: "But it is still uphill for Democrats. Independents were the key to the Republican takeover of Congress in '94 and the Democratic takeover in '06. Right now they are leaning heavily Republican....in this climate, less bad seems to be about the best Democrats can hope for."
During Monday's CBS Early Show, a promo ran for the network's new daytime show, 'The Talk,' based on ABC's 'The View.' The show features former Early Show co-host Julie Chen and five other well-known women chattering about topics of the day.
At one point in the ad, fellow host and actress Leah Remini declares of Chen: "Julie, very smart. Makes me feel stupid." On the May 22, 2008 Early Show, Chen mistakenly placed Hawaii in the Atlantic Ocean.
The promo begins with Chen claiming another show co-host, Sharon Osbourne, wife of rocker Ozzy Osbourne, to be "the most real person I know."
Appearing on Monday's CBS Early Show, former President Jimmy Carter came up with his own version of history while remarking on Democratic chances in this year's midterm elections: "...when I was in office at this time, I had a 66% favorable rating and we had a very successful midterm election." In reality, Carter's approval stood at 49% in late October of 1978 and the Democrats lost seats in Congress.
Carter went on to blame Republican obstructionism for the Democrats' problems in 2010: "[Obama] is faced with an obstacle that I didn't have and that is almost complete polarization and absence of any cooperation from the Republican Party." The former president praised Obama: "He's gotten some very wonderful achievements so far." However, he lamented: "I don't think the Democrats are going to have a very good success in a couple of weeks."
Co-host Harry Smith earlier asked about the Middle East peace talks breaking down following the continuation of Israeli settlements. Carter replied: "Well, the key thing is for Israel to give up its ambition to occupy and control Palestine...they are still building Israeli homes in Palestine, against the wishes of the Palestinian people." Ironically, Carter was on to discuss his work for Habitat for Humanity just prior to condemning the construction of Israeli homes. He later called for "an assurance that Israel will get out of Palestine and let the Palestinians have their own viable and contiguous nation."
On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to gay rights activist Judy Shepard, mother of murdered gay student Matthew Shepard, about the suicide of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi, asking: "Do you think that our young people, that we, as a society, have learned anything since Matthew's death?"
In reply, Shepard ranted: "...we have such vicious rhetoric still floating around the country....All you have to do is go to the floor of the Congress, or media, the newspapers, about the discontent with 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and the marriage issue and it still seems like we're trying to relegate the gay community to a second-class citizen."
Rodriguez wondered: "What do you think that Congress or lawmakers should be doing differently?" Shepard used the opportunity to promote liberal agenda items: "Well, they should be granting basic civil rights to the gay community instead of continuing to try to deny them....To deny them service in the military or job security on a federal level or even the right to marry and receive all those benefits that are derived from that, it's just – it's just unfair, and, in my view, un-American."
Later, Rodriguez brought up the role of the internet in driving Clementi to suicide. Shepard declared: "...the blogosphere is particularly damaging, full of opinions that really have no accountability, that people take as the absolute truth. There's a real danger in what happens on the internet now."
In an interview with 'Obama's Wars' author Bob Woodward on Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith sought to defend the President's uncertainty on Afghanistan: "...when he takes over they're already in this war for seven years and what he was not going to do...was give the military a blank check in an open-ended deal, say, 'go do your best.'"
Moments before that comment, Smith spun severe division in the White House over the war this way: "...these folks are infused with ambition and intelligence and have lots of things at stake and there really is quite a lot of friction among them all, as they're theoretically trying to get to the same place." Woodward replied: "I mean, it's intense....so much is unsettled. The President's committed to 30,000 more troops into Afghanistan. But, in these secret meetings in the Situation Room in the White House, he repeatedly says, 'we need a plan to get out. There can be no wiggle room. I'm not going to do ten years.'"
The Washington Post reporter then observed: "[Obama] is out of Afghanistan psychologically and the question is, for a commander in chief, don't you have to be kind of the guy who's up there, 'Yes, we can. We're going to win.'?" At that point, Smith ran to Obama's defense with the "blank check" remark.
Both ABC and CBS on Wednesday played up Barack Obama's attempt to reignite his Democratic base and defeat surging Republicans. Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos labeled the President's trip to Madison, Wisconsin a "glory days tour."
On CBS's Early Show, Chip Reid used nearly identical language, claiming the President was "recalling his glory days on the 2008 campaign trail." The two networks played up the Democratic comeback storyline with little focus on the Republicans.
GMA and The Early Show also ignored what it meant for the President to be traveling to an extremely liberal city in order to excite his Democratic base.