All three broadcast morning shows hailed Hillary Clinton’s convention speech on Wednesday, as ABC’s Diane Sawyer saw Clinton “bringing down the house,” while George Stephanopoulos declared that “she aced it. I think she's gone farther than any losing candidate has ever gone in a convention like this.”
Sawyer gushed: “If her candidacy put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, her speech probably punched a hole in it.”
Over on NBC, Andrea Mitchell fawned that Clinton’s “words were perfect. I don’t see how she could have found a better way of expressing herself and coming out strongly for Barack Obama.” On CBS, Early Show co-host Harry Smith was also enthusiastic: “Hillary Clinton stands and delivers....What a speech last night....If you appreciate stagecraft at any level you had to say she did a good job with that.”
Speaking to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith asked: "But standing in this building...feeling the enthusiasm, don't you think Republicans have something to worry about?" Giuliani, who has been attending the Democratic convention and will give the keynote address at the Republican convention next week, replied: "No, I think Republicans are very heartened by this convention. Everything seems to have not gone the way they have planned it."
Giuliani went to describe Bill Clinton’s recent anonymous comparison of Hillary and Obama, suggesting Obama was not ready to be president: "...the fact is yesterday, Bill Clinton set up this equation that only Bill Clinton could do, about candidate 'Y' and candidate 'X.' I don't know if you heard that. He said candidate 'Y' is somebody you agree with completely, but don't think is prepared to be president. And candidate 'X' is somebody you agree with half the time but is prepared. Who would you vote for?" Apparently, Smith had not heard about the comment as he reacted with a surprised: "Wow."
Later, Smith asked about Giuliani’s upcoming speech at the Republican convention and managed to remark on how much he liked one of Hillary Clinton’s one-liners from her Tuesday night speech: "Let me ask you this question because, as your convention comes up next week in the twin cities, and I have to say, Hillary Clinton had a very funny line about that. You can't tell them apart, George Bush and John McCain, twins just like the twin cities. What do you think your most important job is next week? Because this election is as close as can be in terms of the polls."
The ratings for the Democratic National Convention for ABC, CBS and NBC fell by a million viewers compared to the opener for the 2004 convention with headliner Bill Clinton TVWeek is reporting. On the other hand, the cable newsers saw a ratings jump from their 2004 convention ratings. This reveals the further decline in the old paradigm with the big three networks steadily losing their news influence bit by bit to cable outlets.
ABC, CBS and NBC brought in 12.1 million viewers in the 10 p.m. hour, down one million from 2004, according to preliminary, fast-national data from Nielsen Media Research. NBC scored the largest audience.
Most prevalent theme during Tuesday night's coverage of the Democratic National Convention, after speculation over healing the Clinton-Obama feud: TV journalists worrying about how the Democrats are not adequately aggressive in their attacks against John McCain as reporters, especially on CBS, repeatedly pressed for more “red meat” and wondered if the speakers are being “hard enough” or “tough enough” on McCain?
CBS's Bob Schieffer rued to keynoter Mark Warner that “normally keynote speeches” deliver “a lot of red meat,” but “I didn't hear a lot of that.” Over on NBC, Brian Williams pushed Warner: “You know there's some in the party who feel that this gathering isn't tough enough against a John McCain who, after all, hasn't let up for a day against this party.” Back to CBS, Jeff Greenfield asserted Barack Obama needs Hillary Clinton “to wake up this hall after a speech that was not only not red meat by former Governor Warner, but more like tofu with sprouts.” Couric even asked Michael Dukakis “if he thought the Democrats were hitting John McCain hard enough?” Clinton's speech left Couric unfulfilled: “We expected a lot of red meat from Senator Clinton tonight...Are you surprised she didn't sort of attack him more vociferously?”
Previewing Ed Rendell early in the evening, CNN's Wolf Blitzer wondered: “Let's see if he has some red meat.” On MSNBC, Chris Matthews was “amazed why they don’t have more fun with the man who calls himself Dick Cheney,” as he lamented: “It seems like they’re pulling their punches.” Analyst Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post yearned:
I am waiting for someone to take the podium and say the word “torture.” I'm waiting for someone to take the podium, say the word “Iraq.” I'm waiting for someone to take, to take the podium and talk about domestic surveillance...
Tuesday’s CBS Early Show praised Michelle Obama for meeting and surpassing high expectations with her Monday night speech at the Democratic convention, as co-host Julie Chen asked co-host Harry Smith: “...do you get the feeling that Michelle Obama accomplished what she set out to do? Because I definitely -- I definitely do, after watching from television -- you know, on television last night.” Smith replied: “Yeah, I think the bar was set pretty high and I think she went over that bar and probably then some.”
At the top of the show, Chen and co-host Maggie Rodriguez fawned over the speech, using the terms “compelling,” “impressive,” and “inspiring.” After Smith established that Obama had exceeded a “high bar,” Rodriguez mentioned Ted Kennedy’s speech as well and concluded that overall, “It was a special night for them. I think the Democrats should be very happy.”
Later, Smith discussed Obama’s speech with political analyst Jeff Greenfield and asked: “Talk about a bar set high for her to get over in terms of reintroducing herself to the American public.” Greenfield gave a glowing review of the speech: “So all of those stories -- this was a speech, that, if it were a painting, Norman Rockwell would have painted it. This is the American dream. This is what the American spirit is all about.”
While the national media fret over whether or not there will be unity in the Democratic Party and gush over Monday night’s speeches by Senator Ted Kennedy and Michelle Obama, pro-lifers are out in Denver, Colorado, protesting and working hard to get their message across. Of course, it would be easier to get their message out if the national media paid attention to their protests.
None of the big three broadcast network morning shows -- ABC’s "Good Morning America," NBC’s "Today" and CBS’s "Early Show" -- reported on these protests. Of course, this should come as no surprise. The broadcast networks also ignored this year’s March for Life as well as the 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling.
In contrast, all three of the network evening news broadcasts reported on the anti-war protests on the fifth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq. Moreover, these reports all aired within the first ten minutes of each program.
All three broadcast morning shows were thrilled with the opening night of the Democratic convention in Denver. CBS co-anchors Maggie Rodriguez and Julie Chen were the most effusive, with Rodriguez gushing that it “couldn’t have been a more compelling first night” and Chen describing Michelle Obama as “so impressive, so, just inspiring to watch her speak.”
Over on ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host Diane Sawyer was also swept away, calling it first “an incredible night” and then “a night to remember for all ages.” NBC’s David Gregory called Michelle Obama’s speech “moving” and “heartfelt,” but that “the emotional highlight of the night belonged to Ted Kennedy” for speaking on Obama’s behalf despite his battle against a cancerous brain tumor.
After Michelle Obama's Monday night speech at the Democratic National Convention, ABC and NBC mentioned her “for the first time in my adult lifetime I'm proud of my country” previous slap at the United States, but in the context of how she resolved any doubts. ABC's George Stephanopoulos declared:
“Tonight, there was no doubt. The money line in this speech was that line when she said, 'that is why I love this country,' and she lingered.” Noting how “we heard the word 'America' or 'American' or 'Americans' 12 times,” NBC's Chuck Todd decided “this is definitely a response in some ways to that whole kerfuffle that she created for herself, six or eight months ago, about being proud to be an American.”
CBS didn't touch on the topic during its prime time hour, though during an interview with Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, Katie Couric described Mrs. Obama not as controversial, but as “slightly controversial.” In a taped session later with Craig Robinson, Michelle's older brother, Couric wondered: “What one word would you like viewers all across the country to use to describe your sister?” When he suggested “sincere,” Couric agreed: “That's a good word.”
On the ideological labeling front, Ted Kennedy's appearance the hour before, highlights of which led all three broadcast networks at 10 PM EDT, failed to prompt a single liberal label on ABC or CBS, but NBC applied the tag three times, two of those to describe Kennedy as a “liberal lion.” (CNN and MSNBC provided scattered liberal labeling.)
File this one under "too much information." On Sunday’s Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer got very personal as he reminisced about attending the 1968 Democratic convention, the first convention he ever attended: “I have to say the first one for me was the most memorable -- not for political but for personal reasons. My first daughter was born nine months to the day after that one. As she later remarked, Chicago in '68 wasn't all fighting in the streets.”
In his 2003 memoir, This Just In, the longtime CBS News correspondent painted a grim picture of the 1968 Democratic convention. Schieffer wasn’t with CBS at the time, but he was able to attend the convention because his wife “had always been active in local Democratic politics and as a member of the state Democratic executive committee, she was invited as a guest.”
"Hillary has fought for universal health-care for all her life. The McCain plan is respectfully a joke. Sen. Obama has a real good plan to bring health care to every American," Rendell told CBS "The Early Show" co-host Harry Smith on August 25. "She cares about that. If she didn't she'd be a bad person and she's a very good person."
Rendell, who supported Clinton in the primary, said Obama's proposal to offer a government-run health insurance program should persuade Clinton supporters to back Obama.
There are plenty of female opponents of Obama's plan who might not appreciate being called "bad."
"I think that a lot of women, when they think about moving towards government run system of health care, which is really what Sen. Obama is talking about, they're going to be a little bit cautious," Carrie Lukas, Vice President for Policy and Economics at the Independent Women's Forum, said to the Business & Media Institute.
In preparation for Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic convention, Monday’s CBS Early Show continued it’s fawning over the wife of the presidential candidate as co-host Harry Smith declared: "Michelle Obama steps out tonight to address the nation. Is she Barack's best asset?" The show featured three segments on Michelle Obama, two of which were complete fluff.
In the first segment, Bianca Solorzano looked at five things that people might not know about Michelle Obama: "Michelle Obama is known for her fashion-forward style, but when it comes to her style of eating, she likes good old-fashioned comfort food. We asked close friend and family confidant Valerie Jarrett to give us the inside scoop, beginning with Michelle's favorite food." Jarrett replied: "Oh, that's easy, French fries." Jarrett is of course an Obama campaign worker, in addition to being a "family confidant." It was also revealed that Michelle Obama exercises daily, her favorite singer is Stevie Wonder, and she watched the ‘Dick Van Dyke Show’ as a child. In June, the Early Show did a similar segment on Barack Obama and informed viewers that he "loves to play scrabble" but "does not like ice cream."
Solorzano went on to highlight how outspoken Michelle Obama is: "Another thing close to Michelle's heart -- honest views." A clip was played of Obama appearing on ABC’s The View claiming that: "People aren't used to strong women."
When Sen. John Kerry arrived in Boston for the last Democratic convention, the TV news stars thought they’d died and gone to political heaven. Dan Rather said Kerry’s speech drove the crowd in Boston into “a three-thousand-gallon attack about every three minutes,” and Newsweek’s Jon Meacham was comparing Kerry to Abraham Lincoln on MSNBC. If media liberals can get that excited over Kerry, viewers may have to worry about the anchors lapsing into diabetic comas over Barack Obama’s ascension convention in Denver.
It’s easy to forget just how “tick tight,” as Rather once put it, the primary race was between Obama and Hillary Clinton. It ended up with a vote gap of just one tenth of a percentage point. The real difference-maker in the 2008 race was the Obama favoritism of the national media, led by the television networks. It was his margin of victory.
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Dean Reynolds reported on Barack Obama’s upcoming announcement of a running mate and also highlighted John McCain’s criticism of Obama’s foreign policy: "But McCain is seen by most voters as better on foreign policy and much more likely to be an effective commander-in-chief. That may explain why he's been hammering Obama on the Iraq war, all the while denying that he's calling Obama's patriotism into question."
On Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, Reynolds declared: "Obama is pivoting toward a more combative style, rebuking the Republicans for habitually turning differences over policy into questions about patriotism, a habit he said John McCain has readily embraced." Similar to Thursday’s Early Show comment, on Wednesday’s Evening News, Reynolds was skeptical of McCain denying to question Obama’s patriotism: "Yet the McCain campaign continues to run ads attacking Obama on a personal level, belittling him as a shallow celebrity and describing him as fussy, hysterical, or testy."
On Thursday’s Early Show, in addition to reporting on Obama being "on the verge of making his running mate announcement," Reynolds also described how McCain "keeps getting worried questions about his selection...fielding persistent questions about whether he or his running mate will be conservative enough." Reynolds went on to tout new poll numbers: "...according to our poll, McCain's supporters are less fervent than those who support Obama, who is also seen as better able to deal with domestic issues like the economy."
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," the ABC morning show provided a detailed account of an 85-year old great grandmother who thwarted a burglar by pulling a gun on him and then kept the criminal at bay while waiting for police. CBS's "Early Show," however, has thus far ignored the story. On NBC, "Today" provided a scant 15 second news brief on Wednesday.
GMA co-host Robin Roberts appeared impressed with Pennsylvania resident Leda Smith. She interviewed the grandmother and listened as the senior citizen recounted arriving home to find someone inside her house: "...I had my gun under a cushion on a chair. I picked up the gun. I turned around and I snapped it shut and I cocked it and when I did that, he turned around and his eyes were kind of big and he said, 'I didn't do it! I didn't do it!'"
Generally, the three network morning shows have shown an aversion to positive gun news. In late June, when the Supreme Court historically declared that the Second Amendment is an individual right, "Good Morning America," "Today" and "The Early Show" devoted a combined three minutes and 33 seconds of coverage. Back on June 27, the day after the decision came down, "Early Show," which skipped any reporting of the armed grandmother, featured a mere 30 seconds on the Supreme Court's ruling, a total that came nowhere near the four minutes they used to discuss how to Feng Shui your house for pets.
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked with former vice presidential candidate, and Hillary Clinton supporter, Geraldine Ferraro about Barack Obama’s VP pick: "And we have a special guest in the studio with us this morning. Geraldine Ferraro was the vice presidential running mate...for Walter Mondale just a couple of years ago...We'll see if Geraldine has some insight for us this morning." While Smith referred to Ferraro as a "special guest," on March 13 he described her "dark side," her "Archie Bunker side," after she suggested part of Obama’s popularity was due to him being black.
Despite those past insinuations of Ferraro being racist, Smith went on to get her predictions of possible VP picks for Obama, mentioning Joe Biden, Evan Bayh, and Kathleen Sebelius as contenders. Toward the end of the segment, Smith brought up Clinton, holding up a picture of the New York Senator: "Here's the one. Here's your pal." Ferraro confessed: "I love Hillary." Smith added: "Right. And here's the thing, among registered Democrats and among people going to the convention, she polls higher than anybody by a ton." Ferraro replied: "She does. You do recall that she got 18 million votes in the primary...I mean, there's a real reason. Because people feel very strongly that she would be an incredible leader. Now whether or not she would want something like that. I think she'd do whatever he wanted her to do."
While co-host Harry Smith described a Texas school allowing teachers to carry guns as "a controversial decision" on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, he teased an upcoming segment on Ellen DeGeneres marrying actress Portia de Rossi as simply exciting celebrity gossip: "And we have the wedding pictures from the marriage of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi. That happened over the weekend."
The Early Show covered the DeGeneres-de Rossi wedding on Friday and Monday as well, with no suggestion of it being controversial at all. On Monday, Chen declared: "And wedding bells. Comedian and talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres, ties the knot with her long-time partner. We'll have details about the wedding." Correspondent Michelle Gillen then reported: "The DeGeneres-de Rossi wedding is perhaps the highest profile same-sex marriage since California legalized such unions just over three months ago... In 1997, Degeneres became the first television star to come out publicly on her sitcom ‘The Ellen Show.’" At the end of Monday’s segment, Smith wondered: "The thing I'm curious about, she's been so public about it. Then why would you keep the ceremony so private?" Chen replied: "So you can sell it to People magazine for $4 million."
If your child's school were invaded by Columbine-style killers, methodically murdering students in cold blood, would you want teachers to shoot to stop them? Gayle Fallon wouldn't. For that matter, Fallon doesn't think teachers "have it in them" to even try to save their students' lives. Fallon, the president of a teachers union in Houston, TX, made her views known during an Early Show segment this morning conducted by Harry Smith.
The topic was a decision adopted by a rural north Texas school district to permit teachers to carry guns in the classroom. Harrold, TX School Superintendent David Thweatt explained that the decision was prompted by the school's close proximity to an interstate and its remoteness—thirty minutes away from law enforcement—factors presumably making it a tempting target. Thweatt made clear that all guns have to be approved by the school board and teachers have to undergo extensive safety and related training. None of that mattered to Fallon.
HARRY SMITH: Gayle, when you first heard about this, what was your reaction?
GAYLE FALLON: Initially I thought it was a joke. However, after a couple of media calls, we realized it wasn't and we were asked whether our district would consider it, and it was absolutely no way would we consider it. One of the things that hit me is, you know, Columbine and the other incidents were generally initiated by students. Now, I've been around teachers a long time. They don't have it in them to aim at a student and kill him. They'll freeze. Nor would I want them to.
For the second time in a month the CBS Early Show featured Mike Crowley, the editor of the liberal magazine New Republic, as a political analyst to speculate on vice presidential nominees for John McCain and Barack Obama. On Monday’s CBS Early Show, the focus was on Obama as co-host Harry Smith declared: "There's speculation that Barack Obama might choose his running mate sometime this week, before the Democratic Convention begins." On July 24, Smith and Crowley looked at McCain’s potential choices. One wonders when pundits from the Weekly Standard or National Review will be on to analyze the race.
Smith began Monday’s segment by wondering if Obama would pick Senator Joe Biden: "Joe Biden ascending." Crowley argued: "Joe Biden making a very interesting trip abroad to the country of Georgia, in the middle of this conflict with Russia right now. Really showing off his strong suit with his credentials, foreign policy, diplomacy. Knows a lot of foreign leaders." Smith also mentioned Senator Evan Bayh, to which Crowley added: "Straight out of central casting, Evan Bayh looks like, you know, if you could made a Hollywood movie about the guy who was going to be the vice president...he's a good politician." Both ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today also highlighted Biden and Bayh as leading VP contenders.
To his credit, Smith pointed out flaws in each as well. On Biden, he worried: "Too volatile? Too much of a wild card? He can stick his foot in his mouth." On Bayh, Smith asked: "Does anybody outside of Indiana know who he is?"
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to People magazine correspondent Sandra Westfall, who recently interviewed friends and family of Elizabeth Edwards who: "...wanted to put out there that she wasn't this wind-up doll that went on stage and let the campaign continue out of some sort of craven ambition, but that she really was going through a lot of anguish." That despite the fact that Elizabeth Edwards went along with the cover up of her husband’s affair throughout his presidential campaign.
Rodriguez described Westfall as someone "who has a close relationship with the Edwards’" and asked: "What was the most important thing they wanted to convey on her behalf?" Westfall explained: "I think that she had hoped that her statement on Friday night would be the end of it for her and was surprised and a little taken aback by how many questions already came up." Later, Westfall elaborated: "...she thought her forgiving him should be enough for everybody else and she was unprepared for the amount of disgust and how swiftly everything else he had done in his career would be wiped away. And that she's really reeling from that and afraid for what it will do to their legacy as a couple and what their children will inherit."
In response to Rodriguez asking: "when did she [Elizabeth Edwards] really find out?," Westfall explained: "The campaign had already gone through its official launch. They were in the middle of this tour. And she felt sort of trapped...He was a candidate. And then he drops this bombshell on her. And only in pieces. He told the truth slowly. So she, you know, didn't have all the information to make the decision right away and she was in shock."
Near the end of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked to film maker Rory Kennedy about her latest documentary on the career of left-wing White House reporter Helen Thomas: "We're going to talk to Rory Kennedy, director of a new documentary about the legendary journalist." Smith began the segment by declaring: "Veteran print journalist Helen Thomas has been covering the White House since 1961, when John F. Kennedy was president. And now there's a new documentary honoring her decades of extraordinary work, called, ‘Thank You, Mr. President.’"
Smith asked Kennedy, the daughter of Robert Kennedy, about her decision to do the documentary: "Why pick Helen Thomas?" Kennedy replied: "She's been covering nine administrations, she's been at the front row of the White House. And she has extraordinary insight into these presidents. And she's also an extraordinary journalist." Smith later commented: "Where she sits and what she does day after day after day, I'm not sure we value enough."
Some of Thomas’s "value" and "extraordinary work" can be seen by her comments in 2002 while speaking at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: "I censored myself for 50 years....Now I wake up and ask myself, ‘Who do I hate today?’...I have never covered a President who actually wanted to go to war. Bush’s policy of pre-emptive war is immoral – such a policy would legitimize Pearl Harbor. It’s as if they learned none of the lessons from Vietnam....Where is the outrage?" In 2003, Thomas remarked at a Society for Professional Journalism banquet that: "This is the worst President ever. He [George W. Bush] is the worst President in all of American history."
Following a segment on John Edwards possibly paying hush money to mistress Rielle Hunter, a later segment on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show previewed an interview with Hunter’s sister by Entertainment Tonight’s Thea Andrews: "I sat down with Rielle Hunter's sister, Roxanne Druck Marshall. Roxanne is older by 18 months and she says the two sisters were very close, practically raised as twins. But now Roxanne is hurt and embarrassed by her sister's behavior." Andrews went on to ask Marshall: "Having an affair with someone whose wife has cancer-" Marshall interjected: "-and knowing it, and know -- I mean. And not just knowing it, the whole world knows it. There's no way. I don't know what they were thinking."
Andrews followed up by asking: "Do you think your sister thought about his wife Elizabeth?" Marshall replied: "Apparently not. She obviously didn't think or care enough to stop the relationship." Marshall later commented on the speculation of Edwards making payments to Hunter: "He's, you know, saying, 'oh, I'll take a paternity test.' And then the next day Rielle issues a statement, 'I'm never going to take a paternity test.' Well, isn't that a coincidence? That's very ironic, great coincidence. I just want John Edwards to come clean, tell the truth, and let's get it over with."
While ABC’s Good Morning America suspended its coverage of the John Edwards scandal following reporting on Monday, the CBS Early Show continued to cover the affair for a third consecutive day on Wednesday. Even NBC’s Today, covering the Olympics in Beijing, managed stories on Edwards on both Monday and Wednesday. Considering it was during an interview on ABC’s Nigthline on Friday that Edwards confessed to cheating on his wife, it is interesting that GMA was outdone in covering the story.
On Wednesday, the Early Show looked at the money trail leading from Edwards to his mistress, Rielle Hunter, as co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "We will also talk about new bombshell revelations in the John Edwards affair, including claims that he did know his mistress was being paid and that he rekindled the affair after confessing to his wife." The segment began with a report by correspondent Bianca Solorzano: "According to the National Enquirer, the publication that first broke the story of John Edwards' extramarital affair, Edwards was aware of payments being made to his former mistress Rielle Hunter, something he denied on Friday...The allegations could not only have legal ramifications, it would shed considerable doubt on Edwards' other denial, that he fathered Miss Hunter's child."
On Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer talked about John McCain’s latest campaign ads with Republican strategist Karl Rove and quoted previous guest Tim Kaine, the Democratic Governor of Virginia: "But what about John McCain? At this point, as Governor Kaine said, Obama's running positive ads and John McCain is running ads about...Paris Hilton and that sort of thing...What he called the same old Karl Rove ads...Can you get elected president that way?"
In response, Rove argued that Obama started the negative trend: "I would make the argument that part of the reason why Senator Obama is in the shape he is in today is because he's failed to run a positive campaign. He's run a negative campaign." Schieffer immediately brushed that charge aside: "What do you think John McCain ought to do -- I want to get back to my question, can you get elected when the thrust of your campaign seems to be comparing the other guy to sort of an empty suit, Paris Hilton-type celebrity? Doesn't it have to go beyond that?"
If any further evidence was needed to prove that the country is in a recession, the CBS Early Show found it, as co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "Coming up this morning, during hard times in some U.S. cities, they're as good as gold. Manhole covers being stolen and sold for scrap." Co-host Harry Smith later introduced the segment on this desperate trend: "Across the country thieves are stealing metal objects like manhole covers because the price of scrap metal has sky rocketed."
Correspondent Priya David reported on the problem: "That's right, thieves are literally stealing the street right out from under you. One area of the nation hardest hit by these thefts is Philadelphia. Typically they'd lose about a hundred manhole covers or grates a year to theft. But in the past year, 2,000 have gone missing." She went to describe how: "When you look at this street, you probably see a manhole cover. But to a thief, this looks like free money." As David later mentioned, that "free money" isn’t much: "Each cover nets a thief a grand total of about $10."
David detailed how the crime wave was starting to take it’s toll: "In Philadelphia, this girl is one of two children who suffered minor injuries from falling into open holes." She then turned to Democratic Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter: "That can be a very dangerous situation. But, you know, you can never be too surprised at the creativity and the lengths that people will go, you know, when facing, you know, a financial challenge, trying to take care of themselves."
Surprisingly, the CBS Early Show continued to report on the John Edwards scandal on Tuesday, as co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to a friend of Edwards’s mistress: "Edwards claims it was a brief liaison, but that's not how a friend of [Rielle] Hunter's remembers it." At one point in the interview, Rodriguez asked that friend, Pigeon O’Brien, about media characterizations of Hunter: "She's been portrayed as this Fatal Attraction-like woman who was semi-stalking him, madly in love, delusional, talking bad about his wife. The woman that you claim to know for 20 years, does that ring true?" Of course "semi-stalking" seemed to be how co-host Harry Smith described Hunter on Monday’s show: "This woman in question has a very interesting history...knowing her as this kind of bar fly who had this kind of crazy past... From reading everything I read it seemed to me that she targeted Edwards."
In response to Rodriguez’s question, O’Brien criticized those portraying Hunter in such a manner:
Not at all. It couldn't be further from the truth. It -- and that's one reason why I'm speaking to people like you. It really bothers me, what they're saying about her. It could not be further from the truth...It does not ring true that she would ever stalk somebody. They were very mutually engaged in this affair. I can't stress that enough. It was a mutual committed relationship and he persuaded her to believe so.
On CBS’s Sunday Morning, correspondent Tracy Smith reported on the news that John Edwards had cheated on his wife, but wondered: "I guess my question is, okay, sure, so it's going to be reported...But does America care at this point?" After political analyst Jeff Greenfield replied to her question with "sometimes," Smith cited poll numbers on the issue: "Yes, only sometimes. In a 2007 poll, 56 percent said it wouldn't matter to them if a presidential candidate had an extramarital affair."
Earlier in the discussion with Greenfield, Smith explained how "In a statement Friday, Edwards said that running for office made him feel special, egocentric; in effect, that the campaign made him do it." Greenfield then described: "If you're running for president, you get -- you get on a pedestal. You know, they -- motorcades happen for you and you get the adulation of crowds." However, he also asserted: "The one thing you probably can't do is to cheat."
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen introduced a segment on China hosting the Olympics: "Well, the Olympic games are more than a chance for the world's athletes to excel, they also give the host nation an opportunity to shine. For China and it's 1.3 billion people, the Beijing games are feeding a groundswell of pride." Chen then went to correspondent Barry Petersen who declared: "From designer clothes to new cars, China is getting rich. Democracies once bragged that theirs was the only way to economic success. China is doing it the communist way."
Petersen began his report by observing: "Well, China wants to throw a successful Olympics party and so far they're doing just fine. With plenty of enthusiasm spreading from Beijing pretty much around the world." Of course that ignored the heavy pollution in Beijing, constant protests, President Bush’s criticism of China’s human rights record, and the fatal stabbing of the father-in-law of a U.S. coach. Petersen went on to describe how: "Beijing has the welcome banners out to a half million visitors. More foreigners at one time than the country has seen since the Mongol invasion a thousand years ago." So Olympic visitors are like barbarian hordes?
Monday’s CBS Early Show, came up with a list of excuses for John Edwards cheating on his wife, including co-host Harry Smith suggesting that the woman Edwards had the affair with, Rielle Hunter, targeted the former Senator: "This woman in question has a very interesting history...knowing her as this kind of bar fly who had this kind of crazy past... From reading everything I read it seemed to me that she targeted Edwards."
The bashing of Hunter began during a segment in the 7am half hour of the show when co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to David Perel, the editor-in-chief of the National Enquirer, which broke the story, and asked: "...your impressions of this woman, Rielle Hunter, who's being trashed in New York papers today. On the cover of this one, it says 'Rielle Cruel,' saying that she trashed Elizabeth Edwards. Said she was a woman who had bad karma. What can you tell us about her?"
In the later segment, during the 7:30am half hour, Smith talked to psychologists Robi Ludwig, from Cookie magazine, and Frank Farley, from Temple University. Smith began by posing the question: "Why do politicians like John Edwards risk their careers by having extramarital affairs?" Ludwig decided to blame Elizabeth Edwards’s cancer: "What was the trigger? So I wonder if there was something about his wife's illness that somehow got him to cheat or contributed at least." When a skeptical Smith asked: "You're cutting him a break then it sounds like?" Ludwig replied: "Well, you know, I think that we get so caught up in good or bad, you know. Is somebody a good person or a bad person. Cheating is wrong...But I think that there are multiple factors. Was he doing it because he had a fear of losing his wife? I mean, there are lots of different reasons." Smith then conceded: "No, I hear that...there may be legitimacy to that."
It doesn't matter if they talk about it on the evening news or not according to Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana.
Pence, along with two of his Republican colleagues - Reps. Dan Burton. Ind., and Bob Goodlatte, Va., met with reporters about the protest they are waging against congressional Democratic leaders at the Capitol on Friday. Democrats, led by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, have prevented an up-or-down vote on expanding offshore oil exploration and drilling.
"We don't need to be on the mainstream media," Pence said. "I think the switchboard at the Capitol is melting. Quite frankly, you know, I went home to the state fair and went to the ham breakfast, which starts at 6 a.m. There were 300 farmers from all 92 counties of Indiana. There was no mention made from the podium about our protest, but I stood up and simply said, ‘It's an honor to be here with the governor and the lieutenant governor.' And I said, ‘Quite frankly, it's just nice to be speaking where the lights are on and it brought the house down - people from all 92 counties.'"