CBS announced on Friday its plans for a "special town hall meeting on the economy" featuring President Obama. Network personalities Bob Schieffer and Erica Hill will host the event. This announcement comes just over a month after the Democrat officially started his reelection campaign, and on the same week that the President's approval ratings on the economy reached a new low according to a CBS News poll.
The network's release also noted that "CBS News is making preparations for a Town Hall next month with leading Republicans about the economy," but didn't reveal whether these were going to be some of the GOP presidential contenders or any of the various members of Congress or governors in the party.
CBS's Bob Schieffer made some headlines Wednesday when he said Donald Trump was a racist for wanting to see President Obama's college grades.
The "Face the Nation" host pushed this matter further Sunday when he asked Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), "Do you think [Trump's] trying to play a race card here, suggesting we ought to check Barack Obama’s college grades, that maybe he got into Harvard because he was black?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
“Why do these rich people need another tax cut?” Bob Schieffer demanded of his guest on Sunday morning’s Face the Nation, Republican Congressman Paul Ryan. Conveying his no-so-profound economic reasoning, Schieffer saw a pot of money to be absconded: “I mean, they're already rich. They seem to be doing pretty well as it is now. Why cut their taxes some more?” After Ryan explained his proposal would maintain current tax revenue levels while eliminating deductions and loopholes used by the wealthy, a baffled Schiefier ruminated:
I guess the part that I don't quite understand – and I take your proposal to be a serious one – but the part I don't understand is if the country is going bankrupt, if the country needs to borrow 40 cents of every dollar that it spends, how do you help that by reducing the amount of taxes that the richest people in the country pay? It would be seem to me that's where you get revenue. How do you justify that?
In the next segment, with Senator Mark Warner, Schieffer also hit the Democrat from the left on hiking taxes, after describing him as a “conservative” from “a very conservative state,” even though Virginia voted for Obama: “Senator, you are a Democrat, you are a conservative Democrat from a very conservative state, Virginia. Do you think that we can solve the deficit problem without raising taxes in some way?”
Appearing on Sunday's Face the Nation on CBS, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dismissed the idea of U.S. military action in Syria, claiming that unlike Libya's Qadhafi, Syria's Bashir Assad was considered to be a "reformer" by "many of the members of Congress." Schieffer failed to challenge the assertion. In the days since, CBS, ABC, and NBC have ignored the comment.
In contrast to Clinton's remark, a 2009 State Department review of human rights in Syria, released in a March 2010 report, found: "During the year the government and members of the security forces committed numerous serious human rights abuses, and the human rights situation worsened. The government systematically repressed citizens' abilities to change their government. In a climate of impunity, there were instances of arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life. Members of the security forces tortured and physically abused prisoners and detainees."
On Sunday's Face the Nation, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman denounced the proposed White House plan to use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to curb rising gas prices: "That would rank in my top five worst ideas of 2011 so far....one thing we should finally be doing is using this opportunity to have a credible energy policy that begins to reduce our addiction to oil."
Friedman's idea of "credible energy policy" was to force Americans to continue to pay higher gas prices: "Gasoline is almost $4 a gallon. We know that's a red line where people really start to change their behavior. At a minimum, I'd be talking about a tax that basically says we're going to keep it at $4. If it goes below we'll true it up, if it goes above that we're not going to touch it."
CBS’s Bob Schieffer hit Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie from the left on Sunday’s Face the Nation, claiming he has “demonized” teachers and urging him to give some “straight talk” about the necessity to raise taxes.
After asking if he thinks “Governor Walker out there in Wisconsin has gone too far?” in trying to end collective bargaining, Schieffer ludicrously asserted “everybody in this country on all sides of this thinks we need education reform,” but he wanted to know if Christie realized his stance has “demonized teachers and will raise questions in young people's minds as to whether they want to go into the profession?”
“Banal Bob” soon implored Christie with his standard plea: “You have a reputation as a straight talker, I think. Do you believe that the budgetary problems across this country can be resolved without raising taxes?”
On CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday, host Bob Schieffer interviewed Wisconsin Republican Congressman Paul Ryan and compared union protests in that state to the democracy movements spreading across the Middle East: "There are also reports that this could spread to at least nine other states....Is Madison, Wisconsin, Congressman, the Tunisia of American politics now?"
At the top of the broadcast, Schieffer declared "protests at home and abroad" and moments later, he touted the size and duration of the demonstrations in Wisconsin: "For the fourth day in a row and in the largest turnout yet, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets again in Madison, Wisconsin as they marched to protest major cuts in state spending. The question is, will the protests spread to other states where similar proposals to cut spending are also being contemplated?"
Loud protests by Wisconsin public employee unions against a budget reform proposal from new Governor Scott Walker have drawn considerable national network news attention since Thursday, the day Democratic state senators fled the state in a last-ditch gambit to prevent the bill from becoming law. A story-by-story analysis by the Media Research Center shows the Wisconsin protests are a perfect case study in the media’s longstanding double standard favoring left-wing causes while demonstrating much more hostility to the Tea Party and conservative protest.
Last March, as thousands protested on Capitol Hill in the days before the passage of ObamaCare, CBS’s Nancy Cordes slammed it as “a weekend filled with incivility,” while World News anchor Diane Sawyer painted the Tea Party as a violent gang, with “protesters roaming Washington, some of them increasingly emotional, yelling slurs and epithets.” In August 2009, ABC anchor Charles Gibson complained how “protesters brought pictures of President Obama with a Hitler-style mustache to a town hall meeting,” failing to mention that the signs were produced by Lyndon LaRouche’s wacky fringe movement, not the Tea Party or conservatives.
Talking to New York Senator Chuck Schumer on Sunday's Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer said of a video statement released by President Obama on Saturday: "If I didn't know better and had my eyes closed I might have thought that was President Reagan talking." Schieffer specifically referred to Obama's call for spending cuts, noting: "It sounded very much like a speech that a Republican would make."
After Schumer promised his party was serious about deficit reduction, Schieffer proceeded to characterize Republican calls for spending cuts in much less flattering light: "Eric Cantor said this morning, under hard questioning I should add, that yes indeed cancer research would also be on the table when you talk about cutting spending. Can you envision cuts in cancer research?"
Two signs Sunday morning of how the Washington press corps are dismissive, disdainful and befuddled by the Tea Party.
On This Week, Christiane Amanpour fretted that though the New York Times has discredited the Tea Party’s rationale (“a new report today in the New York Times, they say that in fact TARP will cost maybe $28 billion to the taxpayer, instead of the $700 billion”), she told Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas “you yourself have been facing, even though you’re a reliable conservative, Tea Party competition in Texas. Are they outflanking you?” Amanpour empathized that Tea Party activists “said that you personally signify everything that the Tea Party is fighting.” A flummoxed Amanpour wondered: “What on earth do they mean by that?”
Over on CBS's Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer, echoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, asked Senator John McCain about a Senate vote to repeal ObamaCare: “Do you think...that that's a waste of time, that the time in the Senate could be better spent working on something that has a chance of passing?”
On Tuesday's Early Show, correspondent Ben Tracy acknowledged that the facts in the Tuscon shooting do not support media spin that the tragedy was incited by right-wing political rhetoric: "Authorities tell CBS News that Loughner's attack on Congresswoman Giffords' was not partisan, but more likely because he was anti-government in general and she was a symbol of it."
Minutes later, co-host Erica Hill reported on a new CBS News poll on the shooting: "The Sheriff [Clarence Dupnik] investigating the shootings in Arizona has publicly blamed the extreme political rhetoric across this country for the tragedy....A majority of Americans, however, don't necessarily agree that's the case....57% of respondents don't believe the harsh tone had anything to do with the shootings. Just 32% say it did." At the top of the 8:00AM ET hour, news reader Jeff Glor again touted the new poll: "...there's more debate over whether a heated political atmosphere played a role....most Americans reject that idea."
“The shooter’s motivation is still unknown,” Katie Couric announced as she anchored Saturday’s CBS Evening News, but that didn’t deter CBS, nor CNN, NBC and ABC on Saturday night and into Sunday morning from forwarding attempts to blame Sarah Palin and, by implication, the Tea Party, for the Tucson shooting.
“Giffords was one of 20 Democrats whose districts were lit up in cross hairs on a Sarah Palin campaign Web site last spring,” CBS’s Nancy Cordes declared in referring to a political map, adding that “Giffords and many others complained that someone unstable might act on that imagery.” Hours later on CNN, Jessica Yellin noted “we don't know the motive” before she proceeded to raise how “on Twitter and Facebook, there is a lot of talk, in particular, about Sarah Palin.” On Sunday’s Today, leading into a clip about Palin, NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell asserted: “Giffords, a conservative Democrat, was concerned about heated campaign rhetoric from the Tea Party.”
ABC connected Palin to the Wild West, as David Wright reported on This Week:
Congresswoman Gabby Giffords liked to joke that her district includes Tombstone and the OK Corral. Until yesterday morning, most people here would have said that rogue gunslingers were part of the distant past. On election night in November, 18 of the politicians in the crosshairs of Sarah Palin's political action committee lost, but not Gabby Giffords.
Audio:MP3 clip, matches 2:45 video below compilation of six soundbites.
24 hours after the senseless killings in Tucson, Arizona, liberal media members are still convinced Jared Lee Loughner was somehow motivated by inflammatory comments he recently heard or read.
Despite there still being absolutely no evidence that this is the case, CBS's Bob Schieffer concluded Sunday's "Face the Nation" making the same silly point (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Talking to Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer on Wednesday's Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge saw efforts to repeal ObamaCare as a political liability: "How risky a proposition is this for Republicans incoming now?" Schieffer dismissed it as, "a lot of shouting, hollering, and symbolic votes," adding, "we've got a couple of months before anything really serious is going to happen."
Wragge went on to cite liberal New York Times writer Matt Bai, who claimed Republicans had no real political mandate despite extensive victories in November: "Once you win, the human tendency is to credit the gravitational force of your own ideas, to assume that you made a more compelling and more substantive case than you actually did." Wragge asked Schieffer: "Is that what we may see in the early days from the Republican leadership here, do you think?"
Filling in for Bob Schieffer on Sunday's Face the Nation, CBS's Harry Smith grilled Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann on Republican efforts to repeal ObamaCare: "One of the things the Tea Party has talked about is dismantling health care. And we're wondering if, in the end of the day, that ends up being a fool's errand...it will face a certain veto. Is it worth the effort to try to do?"
Bachmann defended the move and pointed out popular support for repeal: "ObamaCare will bankrupt the country. And so you've seen that the more the people learn about ObamaCare the less they like it. It's very costly, it's unwieldy. So we will put forth a clean repeal bill of ObamaCare. And you'll continue to see us make that fight because that's what the American people want us to do."
Ending Sunday's "Face the Nation" in poetic fashion, CBS's Bob Schieffer gave a year-end commentary where he portrayed John Boehner as the flustered "orange-faced" leader of a divided House GOP. Schieffer also snidely criticized the Arizona immigration law.
"His face was bright orange, a sun-tan hall-of-famer. / I knew in a flash – it must be John Boehner," spoke Schieffer, painting the soon-to-be Majority Leader as the head of a herd of reindeer, the House Republicans. "He hollered, cajoled, oh how he did plead, / But the deer wouldn't listen, each wanted to lead."
Composing his end-of-show commentary to verse, Schieffer summarized the 2010 political scene and provided some insight of his own as to how the next two years in Washington will unfold. Though Democrats met a bitter fate this November, Schieffer implied a possible downfall for the GOP with a split between Tea Partiers and incumbent Republicans.
Nearly 80 percent of the $858 billion “cost” of the compromise tax bill signed Friday by President Barack Obama is, per a Congressional Research Service estimate, from the $675 billion over the next ten years the government would have received if income tax rates were raised, a perspective widely adopted by network reporters and hosts who assumed just keeping rates at their current levels should be counted as a “cost” to the national debt and annual deficits.
“The $858 billion price tag for this bill will be added to the already $14 trillion national debt,” ABC’s Jake Tapper concluded Friday night, “meaning we, our children and our children's children will likely be on the hook for the law that was passed today.”
The Sunday interview shows echoed Tapper’s spin. On CBS’s Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer lamented how the tax bill “is going to just add to the deficit.” David Gregory, interviewing Vice President Biden on Meet the Press, bemoaned how the tax compromise will “add a trillion dollars to the deficit.” Later in the program, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough also exaggerated the $858 billion to $1 trillion as he declared: “It straps us with another trillion dollars worth of debt.”
It only took three days, but someone at CBS News finally realized that at least one House Democrat on Thursday vulgarly referred to the President of the United States.
Unlike most of his colleagues in the media, Bob Schieffer was so disturbed by this revelation that he asked two different Democrat guests about it on the most recent installment of "Face the Nation" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Sunday’s Face the Nation, Republican Senate whip Jon Kyl kept correcting host Bob Schieffer about how extending tax “rates,” not “cuts,” is what is being debated, leading Schieffer to conceded “I gotcha” and even prompted Schieffer to let Kyl fill in for him the correct term. Schieffer: “Are the votes there now in the Senate, in your opinion, to extend these tax ah-“ Kyl: “Rates.”
Schieffer had asked: “Is the Senate going to get down to business and resolve this whole business of the tax cuts?” Kyl chastised: “Nobody is talking about tax cuts. We're talking about extending the rates that have been in existence for the last decade.” Nonetheless, Schieffer stuck with his terminology: “Why is it so important to Republicans to extend the tax cuts for the upper-income people?”
Democratic Senate whip Dick Durbin matched Schieffer’s framing: “I'm not voting for any permanent tax cut for the people of the highest income categories” and Kyl felt compelled to again correct Schieffer and Durbin: “First of all we're not talking about tax cuts.” Schieffer interjected “I gotcha” as Kyl continued: “We're talking about extending, for another period of time, the rates that have been in existence for the last decade.”
Bob Woodward on Sunday tried to excuse Barack Obama's ineffectiveness by claiming his "day is crazy" with "so many meetings, so many outings, so many handshakes, and so many trips to Ohio and here."
Having previously scolded "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer for asking a "bulls--t question," Ronald Reagan biographer Edmund Morris countered, "Yeah, but presidents have plenty of spare time" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
A Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer on Sunday responded to a query from "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer by saying, "As the immortal Marisa Tomei said in 'My Cousin Vinny,' that's a bulls--t question."
Edmund Morris, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1980 for "The Rise of Teddy Roosevelt," apparently felt Schieffer was being too "presentist" with his questions that were trying to "pluck people out of the past and expect them to comment on what's happening today" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Bob Schieffer concluded Sunday's "Face the Nation" with a weather metaphor-filled comment about today's politics.
With his final observation, the viewer was left with the impression the long-time host feels everything that's happened to President Obama is just bad luck (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Christine Amanpour spent much of Sunday’s This Week arguing with her guests about how taxes must be raised -- a theme also echoed on Face the Nation and Meet the Press -- as she brought aboard the media’s newest hero, tax-hike advocate David Stockman, and also touted Warren Buffett’s quest to hike taxes and how even conservatives in Britain have agreed to do so: “They’re saying there for every $3 in spending cuts, $1 up in taxes.”
Advancing the media-Democratic line against the agenda of victorious conservatives, Amanpour asserted to Senator-elect Rand Paul: “There are many economists who simply say the math does not add up, if you’re not going to agree to raising taxes. Do you agree that taxes will have to be raised, as well?” Rand retorted: “I think it's not a revenue problem. It's a spending problem.” To which, Amanpour countered: “But it is a revenue problem according to so many economists.”
Amanpour soon repeated: “Without making strong entitlement and other cuts, and even if one does, most of the economists say the math does not add up to keep tax cuts on and on and on. Will you agree to some?”
At the top of her show, with “Tax Cut Mantra” derisively on screen, Amanpour touted Stockman: “Their hero may be Ronald Reagan, but his tax man says that [extending the current tax rates] will finish the economy off.”
Bob Schieffer attempted a nice little gotcha on Sunday when he asked former Bush adviser Karl Rove, "Have you come on 'Face the Nation' this morning and said for the record that Rush Limbaugh takes things out of context?"
The man commonly referred to as The Architect didn't take the bait (video follows with transcript and commentary):
When Bob Schieffer invited Liz Cheney and Howard Dean on "Face the Nation" to discuss a number of issues related to the upcoming midterm elections, he must have had a feeling sparks were going to fly.
But he certainly couldn't have known bringing up the Administration's claim the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is funneling foreign money into Republican campaigns would lead to Cheney exposing the former Vermont governor in a lie about who helped bankroll his 2004 run for the White House (video follows with transcript and commentary):
MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Monday took on CBS's Bob Schieffer for challenging unsubstantiated allegations that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is funneling foreign dollars into Republican campaigns.
As NewsBusters previously reported, the "Face the Nation" host mocked White House senior adviser David Axelrod Sunday for advancing this unfounded premise that even the New York Times has discredited.
Yet that didn't concern the "Hardball" host who rather than presenting the facts as Schieffer and the Times did exclusively offered the Democrat view as he scolded his colleague from another television network (video follows with transcript and commentary):
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."