On Monday’s CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric teased an upcoming segment remembering controversial comedian George Carlin: "...he was a comedy legend who made us laugh and think." During the segment, correspondent Jim Axelrod followed the same theme: "George Carlin made lots of us laugh...But his genius was making us think." Immediately following that observation a clip was played of Carlin declaring: "This country was founded by a group of slave owners who told us that all men are created equal. That is what's known as being stunningly, stunningly full of [expletive]."
Later in the segment, Axelrod again praised Carlin: " But what Carlin loved best was using irreverence to force us to re-exam what we'd long stopped thinking about." That statement was followed by Carlin ranting: "Here's another question I have: How come when it's us it's an abortion and when it's a chicken it's an omelet? Are we so much better than chickens all of a sudden?" One wonders, when Couric and Axelrod say Carlin "made us think," who exactly is "us"?
On June 17, my colleague Kyle Drennen reported a CBS "Evening News" segment wherein "correspondent Lara Logan touted what was essentially a press release from a key terrorist leader in Afghanistan."
CBS News.com headlined the article on this segment as (emphasis added) "Exclusive: Afghan Warlord Talks Resistance; Notorious Terrorist Tells CBS News' Lara Logan About Evading Capture and What He Thinks Of George Bush."
This aroused the curiosity of the good folks at ERS News, who promptly identified that Logan never interviewed this terrorist:
On Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show, " co-host Julie Chen lead the show with a depressing segment on the economy: "...with the economic woes hitting the nation, we have your complete guide to surviving the big squeeze." Chen proceeded to highlight high gas prices, then explain how "...the crisis in the housing market is also a drag on the economy," and finally, "Completing this perfect storm of economic woes, the devastating floods in the Midwest and how they will directly impact food prices."
When discussing the housing crisis with correspondent Thalia Assuras, Chen asked in desperation: "Thalia can you tell us anything good? Is there any relief in sight?" Assuras then offered a small glimmer of hope: "Well, the Senate toady is actually going to consider a foreclosure prevention plan or rescue plan of looking at the numbers here. It's going to provide $300 billion in new cheaper mortgages for high risk homeowners." However she then made it clear that Bush Administration would soon crush such hope: "But you know Julie, there's going to be a lot of squabbling and the White House has threatened a veto."
Following Chen’s report, co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to financial advisor Dave Ramsey and took the same pessimistic tone: "So with all this economic volatility, what are we supposed to do?...if there was ever a time to panic, is this it? It sounds pretty gloomy." In contrast, Ramsey was having none of it: "Absolutely not. I'm sorry I'm not with Chicken Little and we're not handing out helmets. There -- it is not a time to panic, there's lots of good things going on in our economy and for most people this may represent opportunity."
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show," correspondent Jeff Glor did a report on "five things you should know about John McCain" and highlighted details such as: "Number four, a maverick even back in high school, John McCain was nicknamed ‘the punk’...A reputation that followed him to the naval academy." During the segment, USA Today columnist Walter Shapiro added: "John McCain graduated five slots from the bottom of the Annapolis class of 1958."
Contrast those bits of information with the hard-hitting facts revealed about Barack Obama during a similar segment on last Wednesday’s show: "Number four -- in addition to enjoying basketball and cycling during down time, Obama loves to play Scrabble...Obama's job as a teenager was at a Baskin Robbins and to this day he does not like ice cream." The segment on Obama also described how he and Michelle met and where he buys his suits.
Meanwhile, on Monday’s show, Glor also focused on McCain being born in Panama: "Number five, McCain was not born in any of the 50 United States...His father had been stationed there by the Navy, creating an eventual source of controversy." Shapiro added: "The Constitution says a president has to be a natural born citizen." Glor also questioned McCain’s skill as a pilot: "Number three, when McCain was not down in Vietnam, it was not his first. It was not his second. But his third plane crash as a pilot." Finally, Glor got to number one: "...when he first ran for Congress he was charged with being a carpet bagger."
On Sunday evening, ABC and CBS presented opposite views on whether racism by white voters will hurt Barack Obama on election day, as each network cited its own polling data. On ABC's World News Sunday, referring to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, anchor Dan Harris reported that "race does not appear to be a major factor," although he qualified that contention by pausing and adding, "right now." But on the CBS Evening News, correspondent Randall Pinkston more pessimistically referred to the "Bradley Effect," the theory that white voters sometimes lie to pollsters about their willingness to vote for a black candidate. Pinkston also found: "In a recent CBS News poll, for white voters who say race is a factor in their presidential choice, McCain leads Obama by nearly 20 points. It's a major problem for Obama with no easy solution." But it is also notable that while both reports focused on the possibility that racism by some white voters might hurt Obama, neither report examined black voters who might choose not to vote for a white candidate out of racism toward whites. (Transcripts follow)
Friday's NBC Nightly News and Saturday's CBS Evening News relayed comments by IAEA Director General Mohamed El Baradei as the UN official warned against an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, in response to a recent military exercise by the Israeli military. CBS anchor Kelly Wallace quoted El Baradei as contending that an attack on Iran "could turn the Mideast into a, quote, 'ball of fire.'" NBC substitute anchor Ann Curry spoke of "dire warnings of the consequences" as she introduced a report by Jim Miklaszewski which focused on possible retaliations by Iran, and which also mentioned El Baradei's "ball of fire" comments and the UN official's threat to resign if Iran is attacked.
In Miklaszewski's report, after relaying Iran's threat to give Israelis "a serious blow to the face," he cited U.S. military's officials who argue that "airstrikes on Iran could have devastating consequences in the Middle East and here at home. Iran could step up attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq, unleash a wave of terrorism through the radical group Hezbollah, and wreak havoc on the world economy by disrupting the flow of oil out of the Persian Gulf."
While print media and cable news channels are all over the "sweetheart" mortgage deals given to two Democratic U.S. senators, network news shows on ABC, CBS and NBC are keeping mum even though the scandal involves one of their favorite targets: Countrywide.
"This is a huge story ever since Portfolio magazine broke with this story. Print media outlets have covered it, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, the cable networks are there," Business & Media Institute Vice President Dan Gainor told "Fox & Friends" June 20. "And then you look at the evening news shows: they're non-existent."
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez described the Catholic Church’s refusal to allow filming on Church property of a movie prequel to "The DaVinci Code," starring Tom Hanks, this way: "...the battle between Tom Hanks and the Vatican. You know he's in Rome filming the prequel to 'The Da Vinci Code,' 'Angels and Demons,' and the Church there is up in arms, they're barring them from filming in churches. They believe the film, like the book, is sacrilegious."
On Wednesday, ABC’s "Good Morning America" featured a story on the controversy in which correspondent Nick Watt declared: "When the might of Rome clashes with a literary behemoth, expect some colorful language. 'An offense against God,' is what a diocese of Rome spokesman just called this book." Watt then later proclaimed: "The Dan Brown express will not be stopped," to which GMA co-host Diane Sawyer replied: "Yes, Nick, I mean that's the irony, isn't it? The more the Church complains, probably the better it is for the business."
Meanwhile, on Thursday’s "Early Show," correspondent Allen Pizzey explained: "Fans of the book, 'Angels and Demons,' keep streaming into the churches in Rome where the plot unfolds. But the film crew turning it into a movie has been banned from them and any other Church property. The plot is not overly anti-Church, but some of the most graphic scenes are not something with which the Church wants to be associated."
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Julie Chen teased an upcoming segment on Michelle Obama appearing on ABC’s "The View": "Also this morning, like Cindy McCain did this past spring, Michelle Obama co-hosted 'The View' yesterday. We're going to see how comfortable she was with the women of 'The View' and what she had to say on everything from sexism in politics to who does the housework in the Obama home."
Later, correspondent Tracy Smith reported: "Perhaps hoping she'd give her husband a bump in the polls, Michelle Obama played co-host on 'The View' yesterday. Tackling topics from panty hose...to political attacks." A clip was then played of "View" co-host Joy Behar asking Obama: "Do you feel there was any sexism in the media?," with Obama replying: "I -- there is -- yes, there's always a level of -- people aren't used to strong women."
Smith later explained appearances by both Cindy McCain and Michelle Obama on "The View" by touting a CBS News poll from April: "58% of voters were undecided on how they felt about Michelle Obama. 75% were undecided about Cindy McCain." Smith then credited Bill Clinton with beginning the trend of presidential candidates, and their wives, making guest appearances on popular shows: "In 1992, then candidate Bill Clinton got attention by playing the sax on Arsenio...Since then, guest spots on entertainment shows have become a political rite of passage." Smith remarked how: "McCain traded barbs with Letterman. And Obama got his groove on with Elllen."
As we've noted at NewsBusters, there's been scant coverage of a new scandal involving Sens. Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Kent Conrad (N.D.). Both senators chair committees with oversight of the financial industry and Dodd is behind a bailout package for mortgage lender Countrywide. Both senators got "VIP" treatment from Countrywide Financial for refinancing agreements on their respective mortgages.
So today I thought I'd check our internal records at the MRC and the transcripts at Nexis to see what sort of coverage the three broadcast networks have devoted to this story.
What I found was a big fat zero.
Countrywide did, however, pop up three times on NBC newscasts between the beginning of June and today. All three stories were about celebrity Ed McMahon's foreclosure woes.
Chief foreign correspondent for CBS News Lara Logan appeared on Tuesday's "Daily Show With Jon Stewart" to declare that she doesn't watch American news (that would presumably include her own network). She also decried, "If I were to watch the news that you're hearing in the United States, I'd just blow my brains out. 'Cause it would drive me nuts." (How does CBS feel about this?)
What became apparent in the segment was the journalist's distaste for both American journalism, which she is a part of, and her belief that Americans don't really care about Iraq. In addition to answering "no" when asked if she watches the news, host Jon Stewart proceeded to question her about Iraqi violence not getting enough media coverage. The Comedy Central anchor queried, "Have we lost our humanity with this entire situation?" "Yeah, we have," Logan agreed.
On Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Julie Chen teased an upcoming segment on Barack Obama: "...during the long primary season, we all learned a lot about Barack Obama. He is a Senator. He's a Harvard grad. He's a husband. And he is a father. But this morning, you're going to learn five things you probably don't know about Barack Obama." Later, in David Letterman style, correspondent Jeff Glor introduced the story: "...here are the top five things you likely don't know about Barack Obama."
Among those things, were important facts such as "Number four -- in addition to enjoying basketball and cycling during down time, Obama loves to play Scrabble." In addition to the top five, Glor later added: "Now one more thing we learned that didn't quite make our list, Julie. Obama's job as a teenager was at a Baskin Robbins and to this day he does not like ice cream." Chen responded: "So rocky road is like his Kyrptonite?" While Glor and Chen focused on Obama trivia, earlier in the show, co-host Russ Mitchell offered a mere one sentence news brief on the Illinois Senator’s opposition to a Republican plan to allow offshore oil drilling.
In his report, Glor also described how: "...many people know Obama made history at Harvard by becoming the first African-American president of the Law Review. But did you know it was the conservative students who gave him the victory?" Glor then played a clip of Obama’s communications director, Robert Gibbs, explaining that: "I think it would be a surprise for some people today that the conservative faction, along with another group, threw its support to Barack Obamabecause he believed they'd give him -- he'd give everyone a fair shake."
Best-selling author Tom Wolfe made some statements about American journalism last week that would raise a lot of eyebrows in newsrooms around the country if anyone cared to notice.
For instance, he believes "newspapers are declining rapidly," that when a television news outlet does "a big story it`s always wrong," and that Dan Rather and his "60 Minutes" crew were "idiots" for airing the totally erroneous piece in August 2004 about George W. Bush and the National Guard:
They should have looked at the piece of paper. Obviously not written by a typewriter.
What follows is the relevant section of Wolfe's discussion with PBS's Charlie Rose last Wednesday (video available here, relevant section at 33:30, h/t and photo courtesy NY Post):
The day after Al Gore endorsed Barack Obama in Detroit, MSNBC kept repeating the allegedly big news with the on-air question "Will Gore Help or Hurt Obama?" Left out of that question: Who cares? Does Gore’s endorsement matter at all?
Pundits usually declare in today’s media-saturated world that endorsements from major politicians or movie stars just don’t have much impact. A Who’s Who of the Beautiful People in Hollywood endorsed and actively campaigned for John Kerry – and had no impact.
With Al Gore it’s the same thing. He doesn’t bring a single vote Obama doesn’t already have. He could have participated in the process but he waited until the primary challenge from Hillary was over. Now he supports Obama. Where in the world is the news there?
On Monday’s CBS "Evening News," correspondent Lara Logan touted what was essentially a press release from a key terrorist leader in Afghanistan: "Afghan warlord Gulbeddin Hekmatyar spoke exclusively to CBS News about the state of the insurgency in Afghanistan in this interview smuggled out of his secret hiding place." Logan went on to offer a translation of the video: "‘The resistance is spreading in all directions,’ he says. ‘It's becoming stronger and more powerful.’"
Logan went on to repeat more of Hekmatyar’s propaganda:
‘Although I'm confined to one bunker and a village which is under the threat of American warplanes all the time, I sleep very peacefully at night, while George Bush cannot sleep in the White House without the help of sleeping pills,’ he says.Hekmatyar mocks President Bush as a warmonger and blames him for Iran's meddling in Afghanistan. He says the Iranians are pouring money and weapons into the fight that's destroying his country.
On CBS’s "Sunday Morning," correspondent John Blackstone reported on the beginning of legal gay marriages in California starting Monday: "Even for people used to earthquakes, the California Supreme Court's decision last month to legalize same-sex marriage was a jolt. But even as gay couples make plans to wed this week...Opponents say tradition should and will be restored."
Blackstone went on to talk to one such opponent: "Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage is confident Californians will vote to again ban same sex marriage. On the ballot, in November...Brown says the state supreme court improperly overturned the will of the people. In 2000, California voters approved a measure declaring that only marriage between a man and woman is valid or recognized in California."
Out of a total of 8 minutes and 50 seconds of coverage during the show, 2 minutes and 14 seconds was given to highlight opponents of gay marriage. By Sunday’s "Evening News" the total coverage had shrunk to 2 minutes and 35 seconds with 27 seconds given to opponents. Total coverage on Monday’s "Early Show" was 5 minutes and 12 seconds, however, time given to opponents of gay marriage was only 41 seconds, with no mention of Brown or his organization.
(Editor's note: this column was syndicated on Friday.)
It’s axiomatic that people who’ve disgraced themselves are the last to realize it, or maybe the first to pretend they don’t know. Take longtime CBS anchorman Dan Rather, who shredded his own reputation by smearing President Bush’s military service with phony documents.
He’s still at it, still in shameless self-denial, raging against the world, still pontificating about that which he has no standing to speak about: Journalism ethics. On June 7, he mounted a soapbox at a far-left event in Minneapolis called the "National Conference for Media Reform," perhaps the last and perhaps the best forum interested in his opinion.
In front of this fervent group of leftists, Rather tried to put on Superman’s cape and pledge to push back against the evil forces "that imperil journalism…and impair democracy itself." In Rather’s vision, blatantly biased reporting is not only what passes for "journalism," it is the lifeblood of democracy. Dismiss Dan Rather for a lack of professionalism, and suddenly, you’re part of the corporate media vast right-wing conspiracy against Jeffersonian ideals.
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show," correspondent Jeff Glor praised the courage of Barack Obama for promoting fatherhood during a speech on Father’s Day while running for president: "A job that usually requires safe, focus-group tested messages. This one seemed like anything but." Obama’s speech, in which the Illinois Senator declared that many fathers, particularly in the African-American community, are "M.I.A.," "AWOL," and "...acting like boys instead of men," was described by co-host Maggie Rodriguez as "A blunt Father's Day message from Barack Obama to African-American men."
On ABC’s "Good Morning America," correspondent Jake Tapper reported: "...it was a provocative speech, the first major party African-American presidential candidate in history took the opportunity of Father's Day to deliver some tough love to the African American community on the subject of the disintegration of the black family." The report also featured a clip of Obama’s speech that lasted a full1 minute and 12 seconds.
It seems not everyone in the liberal blogosphere is smitten with MSNBC's Keith Olbermann.
Take for example Huffington Post editor Rachel Sklar who on Thursday called out the insufferably arrogant and pompous "Countdown" host for naming CBS's Katie Couric his "Worst Person in the World" previously reported by NewsBuster Brad Wilmouth:
Olbermann accused Couric of taking out of "context" comments by NBC correspondent Lee Cowan, who, as he covers the Barack Obama campaign, has said he finds it "hard to be objective," as she, not naming him, suggested he "find another line of work." Olbermann, who has attacked Hillary Clinton on several occasions while being softer on Obama, declared Cowan's reporting to be "utterly objective and accurate," and castigated Couric for "her own promulgation of the nonsense that Senator Clinton was a victim of sexism."
On Wednesday's Countdown show, during the show's regular "Worst Person in the World" segment, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, who rarely hits liberals during the segment while he often targets conservatives, turned his ire toward CBS News anchor Katie Couric for her recent charges that some media figures were guilty of anti-Clinton, or pro-Obama bias. Olbermann accused Couric of taking out of "context" comments by NBC correspondent Lee Cowan, who, as he covers the Barack Obama campaign, has said he finds it "hard to be objective," as she, not naming him, suggested he "find another line of work." Olbermann, who has attacked Hillary Clinton on several occasions while being softer on Obama, declared Cowan's reporting to be "utterly objective and accurate," and castigated Couric for "her own promulgation of the nonsense that Senator Clinton was a victim of sexism." (Transcript follows)
As reported by FishBowl DC at mediabistro.com, CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric was honored at a luncheon held by Sewall-Belmont House and Museum in Washington DC on Wednesday and remarked: "However you feel about her politics, I feel that Senator Clinton received some of the most unfair, hostile coverage I’ve ever seen."
[UPDATE, 11 PM EDT, by Brent Baker: Katie Couric devoted her Wednesday “Katie Couric's Notebook” to making the same charge, echoing the views of Clinton-backers she featured on her June 3 newscast as recounted in an NB post: “Couric Provides Forum for Female Clinton Backers to Vent.” In the online video commentary posted Wednesday night, Couric argued (transcribed by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth):
One of the great lessons of that campaign is the continued and accepted role of sexism in American life, particularly in the media. Many women have made the point that if Senator Obama had to confront the racist equivalent of an "iron my shirt" poster at campaign rallies, or a Hillary nutcracker sold at airports, or mainstream pundits saying they instinctively cross their legs at the mention of her name, the outrage would not be a footnote. It would be front-page news.]
Feminism has been a very disgraced brand for decades. The final nail was placed in the coffin when feminists tried so athletically to see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil with Bill Clinton’s record of serial adultery, sexual harassment, and even a credible accusation of rape. But now that Hillary Clinton has finally conceded to Barack Obama, the media elites have suddenly discovered the glorious and militant cause of women.
Hillary Clinton’s failure wasn’t her fault. It was sexism that ruined her chances.
Feminists have blamed everyone for this crushing burden of sexism. It’s most fun watching them savage the press, the amazing thing being that the media just play along, as if they deserve it, with self-loathing males like CBS’s Harry Smith sitting in their studio chairs cheering them on. "Talk from your gut," Smith urged to ex-Congresswoman Patsy Schroeder, to which she responded as if afflicted by rhetorical rabies, as well as historical hysteria: "It was like they made a witch out of her, some people! You know, we thought the Salem witch trials were over!"
On Monday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked about Hillary Clinton dropping out of the presidential race with liberal blogger Arianna Huffington and former Democratic Congresswoman Pat Schroeder, who commented on sexism during the campaign: "It troubles me a lot what we saw. It was like they made a witch out of her [Hillary Clinton], some people. You know we thought the Salem witch trials were over. But some people, no matter what she said, it was 'don't believe it. She's really evil.' This is -- I've never seen anyone do that to a candidate." [audio available here]
That comment was sparked by Smith asking about Clinton: "Did she -- did she get a fair shake? Smith followed by telling Schroeder: "Talk to me from your gut." The former Congresswoman needed no encouragement:
I'm telling you I feel there's a tremendous amount of sexism still out there. And this is not a society that deals with sexism. You know, racism, we now recognize and we all stand up. Anti-Semitism, the same thing. Good for us. That's wonderful...But the sexism that we saw in some of the media really troubled me. And we didn't have party leaders standing up. You know, If you're the woman and you stand up and say, 'Wait a minute I believe that's sexist.'...Then everybody says, 'oh, there they go. They're whining, they can't take it.' And I really think we have a lot of ground to cover on sexism.
Since Barack Obama declared himself the Democrat presidential nominee Tuesday, supposedly impartial press members have been sycophantically gushing over the "fist bump" he and his wife shared that evening just prior to his victory speech (video embedded right).
Such has been reported by NewsBusters here and here.
On Sunday's "Reliable Sources," CNN's Howard Kurtz and guests discussed the media's fascination with the bump, and demonstrated just how separated from American society these folks really are.
After showing video clips of how various outlets reported the bump, Kurtz asked CBS National Correspondent Byron Pitts the following:
On Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez highlighted Barack Obama’s "fist bump" with his wife Michelle during his victory speech on Tuesday night: "A simple fist bump between Barack Obama and his wife Michelle the night that he secured the Democratic nomination is generating a lot of buzz." [audio available here]
Correspondent Priya David then reported: "It was a historic night for Barack and Michelle Obama, there was the hug, the kiss, and then this. You can call it a 'fist bump,' a 'fist pound,' a 'knuckle buckle,' a 'dep'..." However, David also acknowledged: "...but whichever phrase you use, some are using it to call Obama out" and quoted one woman who though it was Obama: "Trying to be a little too cool."
Then David moved on: "Others say it's a symbol of love." She quoted CBS political analyst Jeff Greenfield, among others, who said: "To me it was a kind of little light moment, maybe a moment of kind of intimacy. It certainly didn't reach the level of Al and Tipper Gore's record breaking kiss at the 2000 convention. And it is what it is. And you know, Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, said sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes a fist bump is just a fist bump." David then added: "It's not the first time Obama bumped with the younger generation. While bowling in Pennsylvania, this is how he congratulated an 8-year-old boy."
On Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez speculated on the reason for Barack Obama secretly meeting with Hillary Clinton late Thursday: "Breaking news overnight. Obama and Clinton sneak off for a secret meeting. Was the dream ticket on the agenda?" Co-hosts Harry Smith and Julie Chen then simulated what the meeting may have been like:
HARRY SMITH: I'm tired. You must be tired.
JULIE CHEN: Yeah, I'm tired too. You tired?
SMITH: You tired?
CHEN: No, I'm more tired. But you might be more tired. That's what they talked about.
SMITH: Maybe, probably.
Despite the fawning over a possible "dream ticket," correspondent Bill Plante did report on the media’s frustration at being out of the loop: "Last night's meeting at the home of California Senator Dianne Feinstein surprised reporters traveling with Obama. They were upset. They didn't find out he wasn't coming back to Chicago until just before takeoff." A clip of an unidentified reporter was featured talking to Obama communications director Robert Gibbs: "Is there a reason why we didn't go with him in the motorcade all the way. This is what we're out here for and now we're on this plane with no candidate."
Washington Post Style TV columnist Tom Shales blames the FCC because tonight's premiere of CBS's "Swingtown" doesn't show enough skin to suit him.
"Swingtown," a drama set in the free-loving, drug-hazed summer of 1976, lacks the "kind of intimacy and even eroticism that is common on HBO," Shales complains.
In his June 5 review he writes:
It's conceivable that ‘Swingtown' will prompt complaints to the FCC about its relatively explicit sexual depictions. But there's no nudity, and that seems to be the thing that gets those FCC commissioners' panties in a bunch. Perhaps soon, the bureaucratic busybodies will steal away into the night and television will be relieved of what has been an ineffective and hypocritical anti-smut crusade.
Apparently it never occurred to Shales that the reason there's no nudity on this show is because the FCC's "anti-smut campaign" has in fact, been effective in keeping at least that largely off the broadcast networks.
The same network newscasts that hyped the 2005 "alleged massacre" by U.S. soldiers in Haditha are so far ignoring the acquittal on all charges of Lieutenant Andrew Grayson on Thursday. Grayson was accused of attempting to cover up details of the events surrounding a raid that lead to the death of 15 Iraqis. However, Grayson's acquittal was skipped by ABC's "Good Morning America," CBS's "Early Show" and NBC's "Today" show. (CNN's "American Morning" covered the story only as a news brief.)
In contrast, the morning shows seemed much more interested in the subject back when dark allegations were made about the actions of U.S. solders in Haditha. On Memorial Day 2006, then-GMA host Charles Gibson intoned, "America honors its fallen war heroes, but troubling new information about Marine misconduct in Iraq. A new eyewitness on what could be a mass murder of civilians. Was there a cover-up?" On the March 20, 2006, "Nightly News," host Brian Williams touted the "disturbing new allegations" made by Congressman John Murtha about Haditha. (It should be noted that, so far, five of the eight originally charged with murder or cover-up have been acquitted.) On May 25, 2006, referencing the massacre of hundreds of Vietnamese civilians in 1968, "Nightline" host Terry Moran speculated, "Will Haditha be the My Lai of the Middle East?" On June 7 of that year, reporter Andrea Mitchell opined on "Today" that Haditha was a "black eye for American policy."
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked to Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn about what Hillary Clinton’s legacy will be after leaving the presidential race on Saturday and Quinn declared that: "I think that this is a tortured person who has run and run and run and gone for it and gone for it, and it's power, and it's this and it's that, and 'I've got to be there.' There's never a moment where you see her relaxing, where you see her really stopping to smell the roses."
Smith began the segment by asking: "What are we to take away? What did we see? What did we really witness?" Quinn responded:
...Hillary doesn't know what she wants. And she doesn't know who she really is...Remember when she first came into the White House and she had a different hairdo and a different outfit? She looked completely different. And people kept saying, 'Who is she?'...And even during the campaign this time...she was the strong one and the weak one. And, during this campaign, she -- she allowed him [Bill Clinton] to, on some levels, sabotage her. She was feisty at some point and even shrill, and then she would cry.
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Julie Chen teased an upcoming segment about CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric’s recent interview with Barack Obama: "And then Obama. The Katie interview.What he thinks of Hillary," a clip of Couric was played: "Do you think you're chemically compatible?" Co-host Maggie Rodriguez then teased an interview with Clinton supporter Congressman Charles Rangel to discuss Hillary getting out of the race: "Coming up in just a couple of minutes we'll talk to one of her key supporters." However, the cameraman mistakenly focused on Couric, who was sitting in the studio. Rodriguez quickly added: "We're also going to talk to Katie Couric about an interview that she did with Barack Obama." [download video here]
In the later segment with co-host Harry Smith, Couric played a longer clip of her interview with Obama, which began with her pushing Clinton for VP: " In our latest poll, 59% of Democratic primary voters, including 46% of your voters, think you should select Senator Clinton to be your running mate. So in the spirit of Kennedy picking Johnson and Reagan choosing Bush, why not pick Senator Clinton?" Couric then asked the chemistry question: "As you know, a lot of it is about chemistry. So just now sitting here talking about it, do you think you're chemically compatible?"
Obama dodged the question, but Couric was persistent: "But what about chemistry, Senator?" Later in the segment, Smith commented: "I love the chemistry question. I love the follow-up on the chemistry question."