During a report on Thursday’s American Morning, CNN correspondent Alina Cho used personal anecdotes in attempt to show how Barack Obama’s Chief-of-Staff-designate Rahm Emanuel has “softened over the years.” Cho cited the outgoing Illinois congressman’s unnamed rabbi, who said he is “really just a nice guy, intensely spiritual, even polite.” She also stated how despite being labeled a “street fighter with a killer instinct,” Emanuel also has more of sensitive side: “His congressional colleagues say he’s the kind of guy who will chew you out then send you a cheesecake.”
A clip of comedian Andy Samberg doing an impression of Emanuel on Saturday Night Live preceded Cho’s report, which began 18 minutes into the 6 am Eastern hour of the CNN program. The correspondent began by bringing up Emanuel’s notorious use of “colorful language,” which Samberg parodied in his sketch. She also contrasted the “street fighter with a killer instinct” imagery with his rabbi’s “nice guy” label.
Beware the tendency for media liberals to paint the new Team Obama as a surplus of centrists. Just after 8:30 on CNN's American Morning, Frank Sesno declared that Rep. Rahm Emanuel, projected as Obama's chief of staff, is seen as "on the center to center-right." But that's not what his congressional voting records suggest.
During a special post-election edition of American Morning on early Wednesday morning, CNN correspondent Carol Costello seemed to be confused as to what California’s proposed Proposition 8 would do and hinted that she was opposed to the effort. The initiative would amend the state’s constitution to ban same-sex "marriage." Costello first stumbled as she tried to explain the proposition: "These are the results that we have -- voting yes means you -- you would overturn -- voting yes means there would be a ban on same-sex marriage -- that's 52%. The no votes have 48%." She then continued as to when the results would be certain, and gave a hint as to where she stood on the issue: "We probably won't be able to call that until much later this afternoon, although we do remain hopeful." [audio excerpt here]
Co-anchor John Roberts introduced Costello’s segment, which began 23 minutes into the 4 am Eastern hour of the CNN program, and stated how, besides the presidential race, "from same-sex marriage to abortion, there were some hot-button issues on state ballots across the country, and our Carol Costello has been tracking the results of those." Costello actually focused on the same-sex "marriage" ballot questions during her report and didn’t mention anything of the other issues.
On Friday’s American Morning program, CNN correspondent Carol Costello referred to the liberal organization ACORN as merely "a group committed to registering minority voters," and highlighted how it’s "trying to quiet what it calls ‘hysteria,’ coming from conservative circles" who "charge it’s... guilty of voter fraud." The on-screen graphic accompanying her report, which was the last full segment during the 6 am Eastern hour of the CNN program, exclaimed that "ACORN Fight Back: Says Conservatives Creating ‘Hysteria.’"
Despite playing two clips from Republican presidential candidate John McCain and conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who both criticized ACORN, Costello played three clips from two individuals who sympathized with the organization. The first two clips came from former U.S. attorney David Iglesias, who was one of eight U.S. attorneys who were controversially fired by the Justice Department in 2006. He compared the GOP’s focus on the liberal group to the "Red Scare of the 1950s." During the third clip, Michael Waldman, a former speechwriter for President Clinton who now directs the Brennan Center at NYU’s School of Law, emphasized that "voters should know is that when someone registers under a fake name, that doesn’t mean they can vote under a fake name." Costello identified Waldman as merely as an "elections expert," and repeated his talking point twice at the end of her report.
CNN anchor Kiran Chetry referred to John McCain’s warning of Democratic Party rule in both the White House and the Congress if Barack Obama is elected president as "scare tactics" during a preview of a report on Thursday’s American Morning: "Five more days -- the scare tactics continue. Should you be afraid of one party rule?" A clip of McCain naming Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a possible "dangerous threesome" played after Chetry’s line.
During the actual report, correspondent Jim Acosta highlighted such "scare tactics" from both presidential candidates. First, he described how McCain "is telling voters to be afraid, very afraid of Democratic dominance in Washington." He later stated how Obama "has his own boogieman, as in the man who has controlled the White House for the last eight years," meaning President Bush. Note that while Acosta gave examples of both candidates playing the so-called fear card, Chetry’s preview only referred specifically to McCain.
But Hostin said there was a case, not for decriminalized prostitution - which reportedly will save $11 million in municipal police spending - but for legalization, which she claimed would "boost the economy in these economic times."
"I think the more valid argument would be legalizing it because I've spoken to a couple of people in San Francisco about this - a couple of voters and what they're saying is, ‘Why not legalize prostitution because then brothels will be taxed, prostitutes will be taxed and that will boost the economy,'" Hostin said. "And in these economic times, this is the one time I think this sort of proposition in San Francisco could, could be passed."
CNN correspondent Carol Costello’s report on Monday’s American Morning program unquestioningly repeated a claim by Democrats in Michigan that Republicans in the state would disqualify voters affected by home foreclosures. She began her report by phrasing the accusation this way: "Lost your house to foreclosure? Democrats in Macomb County, Michigan, say beware -- Republicans, they say, want to make sure you lose your vote, too."
Costello’s report, which began 40 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour of the CNN program, is the first in a week-long series of reports by the network called "Count the Vote," which aims at "investigating potential problems in key battleground states" with the voting process, as co-host Kiran Chetry put it in her introduction to Costello’s report. Both Chetry and Costello iterated the Michigan Democrats’ contention in three slightly different ways at the beginning of the report. It’s based on a supposed quote by Macomb County, Michigan Republican chairman James Carabelli in the Michigan Messenger, a liberal website (Costello actually described it as such).
CNN anchor John Roberts complained in an October 15 interview to Media Life magazine about the "Media Research Council" (he meant Media Research Center) giving him an award in 2001 for being one of the most liberally biased journalists during George W. Bush's first 100 days in office.
In the interview, Roberts labeled himself an "equal opportunity holder of feet to the fire," and lamented that "within the first 100 days [of the Bush administration], the Media Research Council [sic] named me the worst White House correspondent because I was so unswervingly tough on the new administration."
Roberts, who hosts CNN's "American Morning," crowed about his network's "intense desire" to provide "nonpartisan, non-biased information." He argued that he proved his independence during the 2000 campaign: "President Bush later shook my hand, I think saying thanks for being so tough on the Al Gore campaign."
Today on CNN's American Morning, Cook County sheriff Tom Dart was interviewed by anchor John Roberts. Dart has announced his office will quit carrying out evictions stemming from mortgage foreclosures until lenders start exercising "due diligence." During the interview, Dart made the point that some evictions involve people who have not defaulted on their mortgages, but have simply been paying rent to landlords who did. Roberts's comments at the end of the interview are telling:
ROBERTS: So the Illinois Bankers Association is accusing you of "vigilantism" and, quote, "at the highest level of an elected official." What do you say to that?
DART: I think the outrage is on my part with them. That they would so cavalierly issue documents and have me throw people out of homes who have done absolutely nothing wrong. They played by all the rules. And because of their ignorance and their lack of diligence and going out to their own property and finding out who is out there, innocent people are being set out.
On Thursday’s American Morning program on CNN, co-anchor Kiran Chetry failed to mention ACORN’s name during a news brief about the law enforcement raid on the liberal organization’s local headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada, as part of an investigation into allegations of voter fraud. Chetry called ACORN a “non-profit group” that was “disputing claims it committed voter registration fraud.” She also referred to the group, which is linked to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, as a “community organization that helps organize voter outreach.” The only indication that the brief was about ACORN was a file video that was displayed for 5 seconds that showed the organization’s name written on a form.
During the 28-second brief, which aired at the bottom-half of the 6 am Eastern hour of the CNN program, Chetry also stated how the raid occurred after authorities in Sin City noticed “some names did not match addresses” with some of the voter registration forms submitted by ACORN. She then continued that “[t]hey [local authorities] also say some of the forms included names of Dallas Cowboys players. The group's regional director claims they were the ones who tipped off election officials about fake or duplicate forms.”
CNN’s so-called Truth Squad, in two reports on Sunday and Monday by two different correspondents, labeled Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin "false" for stating that Barack Obama "sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country." The Squad, in their "fact-checking" of the Alaska governor, who was making a reference to left-wing terrorist William Ayers, obfuscated Obama’s past connections to the former leader of the Weather Underground. The Squad’s reports, which aired on CNN’s Sunday Morning program and on Monday’s American Morning, also left out key details about the Democratic presidential candidate’s past with Ayers.
The network first made an attempt at "fact-checking" Palin’s statement, which she made at a campaign rally in Carson, California, near the beginning of the 7 am hour of their Sunday Morning program. Anchor T.J. Holmes, after a report by Don Lemon on the Alaska governor’s claim, gave a brief look at the Obama/Ayers connection. "Well, nobody's exactly sure how well Bill Ayers and Barack Obama know each other. The New York Times, CNN, other news organizations have looked into this, found that they apparently did not have a very close relationship, it appears." Well, that’s about as clear as Mississippi River mud, and one might guess that Holmes was asking his audience to take the word of two liberal media outlets.
Today on CNN's American Morning, network correspondent Alina Cho conducted yet another "truth squad" check of a claim made by a presidential candidate. In this instance, it's the claim Barack Obama makes that he was a leader in ethics reform when he served in the Illinois state senate. Anchor Kiran Chetry led off the segment:
CHETRY: Welcome back to the "Most News in the Morning." Time again to check in with the "Truth Squad." Alina Cho looking at some statements that Barack Obama is making about taking on lobbyists. "Lobbyist," the dirty word in presidential politics.
ALINA CHO, CNN GENERAL ASSIGNMENT CORRESPONDENT: Big, bad dirty word, Kiran. Good morning. Good morning, everybody. It's something that Barack Obama talks about often on the campaign trail. No surprise how he's taken on lobbyists and he says as president, he'll do it again to reform health care and take on Wall Street. Here he is on Tuesday in Reno, Nevada.
Wednesday’s American Morning program ran a report by correspondent Abbie Boudreau that desperately tried to criticize vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin for a "Road to Nowhere" that was part of the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere" project. Boudreau interviewed Bob Weinstein, the Democratic mayor of Ketchikan, Alaska, who claimed that the Alaska governor "spent $26 million out of a federal earmark for the Gravina access, a.k.a. 'Bridge to Nowhere' project, on this road that will not go to a bridge." Boudreau also interviewed a toll booth operator and a former Palin campaign coordinator to agree it was a regrettable boondoggle. Throughout the report, the on-screen graphic proclaimed, "Road to Nowhere: Another Sarah Palin Project." CNN was implying to its viewers that both the infamous Bridge and the road from it were "Palin projects," as if she originated them, instead of appearing on the scene halfway into the story.
CNN’s Ed Henry introduced a new and odd adage about Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s trip to the United Nations on Tuesday’s American Morning. Instead of trying something similar to the "education" line that CBS’s Julie Chen used, the White House correspondent focused on how the McCain campaign was "trying to cram a lot in for Sarah Palin over the next two days in New York:" "It's like speed dating with world leaders. In the span of just 30 hours in New York, Sarah Palin will meet with nine major international players during the U.N.'s General Assembly meetings, from the presidents of Iraq and Afghanistan, to Henry Kissinger and the rock star Bono -- all aimed at beefing up Palin's thin foreign policy chops" [see video at right].
Without going into the grouping of a mega-rock star like U2 front-man Bono with Hamid Karzai, Henry’s "speed dating" line might raise some eyebrows over possible sexism in the media, given how the female Alaska governor is meeting with these nine world leaders, all of whom are men. Katie Couric could be consulted with this matter, given what she said about the coverage Hillary Clinton received during the Democratic primaries.
On Monday’s American Morning, CNN correspondent Jim Acosta tried to throw a bit of cold water on the news that tens of thousands showed up in central Florida for a Sarah Palin camapign rally on Sunday. When co-host John Roberts asked about the high turnout, Acosta replied, "[T]his was an enormous crowd out here in Florida. She is still very much on script, John -- still very much on that teleprompter, talking mainly in generalities."
Roberts, besides asking about the Palin rally, asked if the Alaska governor had mentioned the proposed financial bailout during her speech, since the two of them had discussed Barack Obama and John McCain’s responses to the proposal and how it may affect how the two will campaign on the issue of the economy. Besides mentioning the "enormous crowd," he referenced how the campaign stop was located in "that central Florida -- critical I-4 corridor area," and how Palin played up McCain’s credentials with economic issues.
Friday on CNN's American Morning, network correspondent Alina Cho conducted a "reality check" of a John McCain ad that labels Barack Obama the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate. These "fact checks" are increasingly popular in the mainstream media this presidential year. Cho started:
ALINA CHO, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. And a whole team of researchers, John, the truth squad as you're calling it, and we're starting today with a charge that the McCain campaign has been making against Barack Obama's voting record. Out on the campaign trail, John McCain has been calling Obama's record the most liberal in the Senate. Many people have heard that. The charge was also leveled early this month at an ad comparing Sarah Palin to Obama. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The "Journal" says Governor Palin's credentials as an agent of reform exceed Barack Obama's. They are right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has a record of bipartisan reform.
On The Situation Room today, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer made a surprising admission to, of all people, real estate entrepreneur Donald Trump:
BLITZER: What do you think of his (Obama's) decision to pick Joe Biden as his running mate?
TRUMP: I really don't know Senator Biden but I know one thing. He's run a number of times for president. He's gotten less than 1 percent of the vote each time. And that's a pretty tough thing. You know, he's also been involved in pretty big controversy like plagiarism in college and various other things. That's a pretty big statement. So perhaps you change over a period of time. But when you plagiarize, that's a very bad statement. That hasn't been brought up yet, but I'm sure at some point it will. I'm sure that Sarah Palin will bring it up in a debate or somebody's going to bring it up.
BLITZER: Are you talking about plagiarism when he was running for president?
TRUMP: No, I'm talking about when he was a college student as I understand it, and this was a big issue originally but he supposedly plagiarized as a college student. That's a pretty serious charge.
BLITZER: I don't remember that. We'll check it out. But maybe you obviously have a better memory about that.
CNN pressed Senators John McCain and Joe Biden about their campaigns’ respective tax plans on Tuesday’s American Morning during back-to-back interviews. Co-host Kiran Chetry questioned McCain from the left, citing the supposedly "non-partisan" Tax Policy Center run by two liberal organizations, the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, while her colleague John Roberts asked Biden about the "income redistribution" that is part of the Obama/Biden campaign’s tax proposal.
Chetry interviewed McCain first, starting 24 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour of the CNN program, and first asked the Arizona senator to explain what he meant by saying that "the fundamentals of the economy are strong" and about regulation of businesses. She then brought up the issue of taxes: "I want to ask you about this, though, when it comes to tax policy -- the non-partisan Tax Policy Center calculated the middle class would actually save significantly more under Barack Obama's tax plan than yours. How will your tax cuts, as it breaks down on income level, benefit the working class and the middle class?"
CNN anchor Rich Sanchez, as part of his continuing interviews of first-time young voters, featured a Georgia Tech student on Monday’s American Morning who made a liberal statement on race that was nearly identical to one made by George Stephanopoulos over a year ago. Ben Porter, who was identified on-screen as an Obama supporter, stated that "[t]he people that can't accept a black man in the White House aren't the people who will vote for a liberal anyway in general. This is an almost-identical statement to one made by Stephanopoulos on May 13, 2007 on ABC's This Week program: "I guess I think that anyone who's not going to vote for Barack Obama because he is black isn't going to vote for a Democrat anyway."
With Barack Obama losing his lead in a variety of polls, CNN anchor John Roberts on American Morning today decided to look elsewhere for encouragement. He and CNN London correspondent Becky Anderson, with the bottom of the screen announcing, "The world wants Obama," looked at a BBC poll showing that, at least among foreigners, Obama is still a superstar:
ROBERTS: It has been said that politics is a popularity contest. And according to a new BBC Poll, Barack Obama is more popular among people overseas. CNN's Becky Anderson is looking at the poll results for us this morning. She is live right there by Carnaby Street in London.
Good morning to you, Becky.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John.
You're absolutely right. An overwhelming majority of the 22,000 people who are polled across 22 countries around the world favor an Obama presidency. Now, let's be honest. Obama did have an advantage going into this campaign as far as the rest of the world is, was and will be concerned, John. It's anybody but Bush. And by dent of association, therefore, anyone but John McCain.
On CNN's American Morning today, White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reported on Barack Obama's campaigning in Virginia. Afterwards, anchor Kiran Chetry had a question:
CHETRY: All right. And Suzanne, what's on tap for the campaign today? And please tell me it's not lipstick again.
MALVEAUX: Let's hope not. He's going to be in Norfolk, Virginia. That is in southeast Virginia, and it's home to the world's largest Naval base. It's one of the most competitive areas that the Democrats and Republicans are fighting over. It's a critical piece of property, piece of land there with folks in Virginia, and they want those voters.
As Michael M. Bates earlier detailed, CNN’s Jessica Yellin filed a report from Anchorage, Alaska on Wednesday’s American Morning which cites a "non-partisan" organization whose official policy stance includes a pro-abortion position, and whose president used to work for NARAL. She also included a sound bite from a Palin critic who donated hundreds of dollars to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Yellin’s report examined how the Alaska governor balances her government work with her family life. She included sound bites from Meg Stapleton, a former aide to Palin who was labeled on-screen as a "Palin campaign advisor" and Kristan Cole, a childhood friend of the governor. After a positive and short depiction of Palin’s life, Yellin cited how "Palin supporters insist her experience as a working mother means she'll represent American women."
The CNN correspondent then went to the critics of the governor’s record: "But some women's groups are critical. The non-partisan National Partnership for Women and Families gives Alaska a D-minus when it comes to its parental leave policy. For example, there's no guarantee of paid leave for new parents." Yellin followed this with a sound bite from Dr. Vicki Lovell of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, who thought there's a contradiction there between Governor Palin's professed values about supporting families and then what we actually see in the state of Alaska, where there aren't adequate supports for families who are welcoming new infants."
A favorite tactic of the mainstream media is to cite supposedly nonpartisan organizations to advance the point they're trying to make. An example of that was shown on CNN's American Morning today. Anchor John Roberts set up the segment:
ROBERTS: Coming up now at 18 minutes after the hour. Sarah Palin returns to Alaska today. But her homecoming bittersweet as her eldest son, Track, deploys for Iraq tomorrow. And since Palin was nominated for vice president, her career and her personal life have been under the microscope.
CNN's Jessica Yellin joins us live this morning from Anchorage, Alaska.
Yellin, the network's Capitol Hill correspondent, spoke of how Palin juggles family responsibilities with her career. She wrapped up the piece:
[Update, 3:05 pm: Transcript of Toobin's remarks added below.]
For two straight days, CNN repeated liberal rumors about Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s political record – rumors that had already been debunked by their own correspondents, as well as the respected FactCheck.org, a group led by former CNN reporter Brooks Jackson.
During Monday evening’s Election Center program, CNN’s senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin claimed that Palin "wants to ban all abortions," despite a September 2 report by his own network which included a quote from the Alaska governor that she is "pro-life... [w]ith the exception of a doctor's determination that the mother's life would end if the pregnancy continued." Toobin also claimed that Palin "wants to treat -- to have creationism taught in public schools." This isn’t the entire story. A FactCheck.org report released on Monday, which aimed to refute "dubious Internet postings and mass e-mail messages making claims about McCain's running mate," clarified that Palin "supports teaching creationism alongside evolution, though she has not actively pursued such a policy as governor."
CNN’s State Department correspondent Zain Verjee insisted that Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin "just won't be able to handle" foreign crises like the conflict between Russia and Georgia during an interview with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice which aired on Monday’s American Morning.
At the beginning of the short interview, Rice complimented the Alaska governor for her "terrific speech" at the Republican convention. Verjee then asked, "Does she have enough experience to handle the kind of things that you need to have?" When the Secretary brushed aside the question, Verjee pressed her on the experience question: "But, a lot of Republicans are also saying that she just lacks the experience. I mean, you can dispatch Vice President Cheney to deal with the Ukraine and Georgia. But Sarah Palin just won't be able to handle it."
Friday's "American Morning" featured a segment dedicated to fact checking Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's speech to the Republican National Convention. In introducing the reporter who did the fact checking, co-host Kiran Chetry claimed, "CNN's Deborah Feyerick is here to fact check Palin's speech and I'm sure whenever politics is involved we have to fact check these."
Apparently, though, "American Morning" only feels the need to fact check speeches given by Republican candidates because the morning show did not provide the same fact checking analysis of the Democratic National Convention speeches given by Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden or Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. They did, however, fact check former president Bill Clinton's speech to the Democratic National Convention and argued that some of his more conservative policies helped to usher in the "mortgage crisis."
Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden made the morning show rounds on Thursday to respond to Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s convention speech, and journalists at NBC, MSNBC, ABC and CNN all encouraged Biden to strongly confront his Republican counterpart, as if Palin has been enjoying some sort of honeymoon from criticism over the past few days.
CNN’s John Roberts pressed Biden: “Before her speech last night you said that you were not going to attack Governor Palin. Are you feeling a little differently this morning?”
NBC’s Matt Lauer similarly pleaded: “Sarah Palin made a speech last night...It was tough. It was direct, hard words for Senator Obama. I’m curious, has this taken away any concern you may have had about tone or words you choose in the coming weeks?”
Unlike the celebratory response to the opening nights of the Democratic convention a week ago, the three network morning shows offered restrained recaps of Tuesday night’s speeches at the Republican convention, and continued to portray Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as a liability for the GOP ticket.
On Wednesday’s Today, NBC’s David Gregory had the GOP taking “swipes at Senator Obama’s limited experience” and described Fred Thompson’s speech as a “hard-edged attack on Senator Obama.”
But a week earlier, Gregory described Hillary Clinton’s speech as “rousing” and “playful,” and offered no negative adjectives as he replayed soundbites of Clinton attacking John McCain:
CNN correspondent Kyra Phillips used a report on the "hometown reaction" to the news of Sarah Palin's pregnant teenaged daughter during today's "American Morning" to highlight the need for sex-education in schools. Phillips noted, "But to some, the 17-year-old's pregnancy is a political issue. Her mother supports strong family values and teaching abstinence, but not sex education in schools. Abortion rights activists say they won't comment on Bristol's case, but it does underscore the need for teaching teenagers about sex."
After a positive sound bite from Barack Obama and another from a Republican Alaskan state senator, Phillips allowed the anti-abstinence bias to shine through.
When asked by Phillips, "why not support abstinence-only?" Geran Tarr of the Alliance for Reproductive Justice stated, "It doesn't educate teenagers about how to prevent STD transmission." No proponents of abstinence-only education appeared during the segment to counter Tarr's claim and Phillips herself failed to challenge Tarr on his assertion. Instead, Phillips again stressed the need for sex education by stating, "Alaska has one of the highest teenage rates of sexually transmitted diseases in the country although the rate of teenage pregnancies has dropped sharply."