CNN correspondent Jessica Yellin reversed course concerning her take on President-Elect Barack Obama’s “transparency” on the issue of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and the appointment of his successor in the U.S. Senate. During a segment on Wednesday’s Situation Room, Yellin criticized the outgoing Illinois senator for “not starting off on the foot he promised he’d start off on, which is more transparency and more candor than we’ve seen before.” Just under 17 hour later, minutes after Obama stated that he was “absolutely certain” that no one in his camp was involved in the governor’s alleged scheme to sell his senate seat, the CNN correspondent praised the president-elect: “I should also highlight...that he’s also set down a marker for transparency. He promised a transparent government...and he has revealed now much more than we usually hear in these kind of investigations scandals from a politician.”
During an interview on CNN’s “No Bias, No Bull” program on Tuesday, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman expressed his confidence in President-Elect Obama’s “vision” for environmental policy and urged that the future executive be given “means...that are as radical as its ends” to carry out this policy: “...[I]t’s great to say we’re going to have green jobs and green homes and green-collared jobs to re-insulate people’s homes, install solar panels. Those jobs won’t get taken up unless you change building codes around the country. So...I think, the challenge for President-elect Obama will be to have the standards, regulations, the means that are as radical as its ends so we can really achieve those ends.”
Host Campbell Brown devoted two segments to her interview of Friedman. During the second segment, Brown brought up “Obama’s attempt to take on the enormous environmental challenges facing the country and the world.” She first asked the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist if the president-elect’s plan for creating green jobs was “visionary” enough and if he has “the leadership ability to get this done.”
At first glance, it's hard to figure out who is the bigger buffoon:
Is it Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, for suggesting that Arizona Governor and Obama Homeland Security Secretary-Designate Janet Napolitano is perfect for her presumptive position because she's single and can therefore "have no life"?
Or is it CNN's Campbell Brown, for criticizing Rendell's sexism and bias against employees who don't have families -- after Brown herself suggested in September that Sarah Palin shouldn't have accepted John McCain's vice-presidential nomination because of her daughter's pregnancy?
During his regular “Political Daily Briefing’ feature on CNN’s “No Bias, No Bull” program on Tuesday evening, Dana Milbank of the Washington Post used Hillary Clinton’s famous descriptive about her conservative opponents in describing one group’s latest effort against the outgoing New York senator: “A group called Judicial Watch, charter members of the vast right-wing conspiracy -- they were on to Hillary back during the commodity trading days -- now, they say because of Article One in the Constitution says you cannot serve in the position where you got a -- voted for a pay raise while you were in Congress, they’re saying she is constitutionally ineligible.” He then opined that “the only thing for Hillary to do is just give her $191,000 salary as Secretary of State to Judicial Watch for their extraordinary creativity -- just save everybody the court costs.”
On Monday’s “No Bias, No Bull” program, CNN’s Campbell Brown lashed out at President-Elect Barack Obama for his flippant response to a reporter’s question: “Mr. President-Elect, reporters, we hope, are going to ask you a lot of annoying questions over the next four years. Get used to it. That is the job of the media, to hold you accountable. But this isn’t just about the media. It’s about the American people, many of whom voted for you because of what you said during the campaign, and they have a right to know which of those things you meant and which you didn’t. Apparently, as you made clear today, you didn't mean what you said about Hillary Clinton. So, what else didn’t you mean?”
During the press conference where Obama unveiled his national security team, Peter Baker of the New York Times brought up the tough primary fight between the President-Elect and Mrs Clinton: “...[Y]ou were asked and talked about the qualifications of the -- your now, your nominee for Secretary of State, and you belittled her travels around the world, equating it to having teas with foreign leaders. And your new White House counsel said that her resume was grossly exaggerated when it came to foreign policy. I’m wondering whether you can talk about the evolution of your views of her credentials since the spring.” The outgoing Illinois senator replied, “I mean, I think -- this is fun for the press to try to stir up whatever quotes were generated during the course of the campaign. No, I understand, and you’re having fun.”
During Tuesday evening’s “No Bias, No Bull” program, Washington Post national political correspondent and CNN contributor Dana Milbank implied, perhaps inadvertently, that the incoming Obama adminstration was like the North Vietnamese advancing on Saigon in 1975. Host Campbell Brown asked Milbank about the “backlog of at least 2,000 pardon applications” to the Bush administration before the president leaves office early next year, and he replied, “Yeah -- it sort of has the feeling of the last helicopter off the embassy roof in Saigon.” [audio available here]
Milibank made the remark during his regular “Political Daily Briefing” feature, which aired at the bottom half of the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. Earlier in the segment, the Post correspondent, as well as Brown, commented on Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman keeping his chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Brown stated that “despite supporting John McCain, despite saying some pretty nasty things about Barack Obama on the campaign trail, Senator Joe Lieberman is going to keep his coveted chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee.” Milbank agreed with this labeling of some of Lieberman’s past statements about Obama in his reply: “It’s amazing -- looks like a full amnesty for Joe Lieberman. He said some awful things about President-Elect Obama, and now he gets -- I don’t think you could even really call it a slap on the wrist there...”
Perhaps some in the mainstream media are starting to acquire a few of the Superman qualities enjoyed by The One. Yesterday on the 3:00 PM edition of CNN Newsroom, anchor Rick Sanchez demonstrated his impressive mind-reading abilities. He had shown a clip of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaking. Discussing her presentation with a panel of guests, he - as anchors are wont to do - moved the conversation into a direction he preferred:
SANCHEZ: Well, let's talk about this, too, because I think this is important. You know, a lot of people are watching at home and they listen to her speak and they're thinking, why don't I understand what she's saying? Is there a syntax problem here?
In fact, we've got one now. This is MySpace, right? Yes. This is a MySpace comment that just came in moments ago. Have you got that, Robert?
"Oh, my God. She did not talk about Joe -- not the plumber. I get confused trying to listen and understand what she's talking about." She says, "I feel dumber and dumber by the second."
On Thursday, CNN aired "Escape from Jonestown," presented by CNN special investigations unit corespondent Soledad O'Brien. This week marks thirty years since the horrific deaths of more than 900 people, roughly a third of them children, at Jonestown. The massacre was orchestrated by "Reverend" Jim Jones. What CNN barely referenced was Jones's connection to several leading Democratic politicians of the time. O'Brien did identify Jones as a believer in socialism and, with a survivor, passingly alluded to his influence in the Democratic Party:
O'BRIEN: In 1975, Jones moved his church headquarters from Redwood Valley down to San Francis, to a larger stage, where he became a political force and a face in photo-ops.
GOSNEY: Roslyn (sic) Carter was campaigning for Jimmy Carter. I believe that was 1976. And there was going to be a rally downtown. Literally, we stuffed the building. We were -- we were the rally.
Wednesday evening's dour Associated Press report by Tom Krisher and Ken Thomas on the proposed bailouts of General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler acted as if their fates will determine the viability of the entire US auto industry, and waited until the 15th paragraph to name the primary reason why the companies are where they are financially. Beyond that, the AP report did not mention that United Auto Workers has flatly ruled out union contract concessions.
Here is how the AP's report began, followed by selected other paragraphs, including the one (of over 30) that mentioned labor costs (bolds after headline are mine):
On Wednesday’s Newsroom program, a report by CNN correspondent Joe Johns, along with a subsequent interview by anchor Rick Sanchez, raised the implication that anti-illegal immigration rhetoric, particularly from conservatives, might be partially to blame for a spike in so-called hate crimes against Latinos. During a clip in Johns’ report, which was about the recent murder of an immigrant from Ecuador by teenagers, columnist Ruben Navarrette speculated that "[w]hen people go out on the airwaves or in print or at the stump as a politician, and they beat that drum, they shouldn’t be surprised. At the end of the day, many people out there, and particularly young people, who are very impressionable, think, ‘Hey, you know what? This is one group we can do this to.’" At the end of his report, Johns added that "[t]he question that’s already being raised by activist groups in the newspapers is whether anti-immigrant rhetoric has created a climate for this kind of thing."
After the report, Sanchez interviewed Mark Potok of the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center, who added that "really, racist conspiracy theories and false propaganda....have made their way out into the larger anti-immigration movement -- the Minutemen groups and so on. And before you know it, they are on talk radio, they are on some cable news talk shows." Strangely, the CNN anchor then went on a bit of a tangent by bringing how Newsweek recently reported that "the Secret Service has now confirmed that threats against Barack Obama spiked when Sarah Palin began impugning his patriotism."
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez actually complimented NewsBusters on Wednesday afternoon for monitoring his Newsroom program: "...[T]he NewsBusters website, which constantly monitors this show -- and we're glad that they do -- questioned my conversation -- criticized it with Neal Boortz. In particular, our suggestion that the GOP needs to remain adamantly anti-abortion, to try and keep the Southern vote" He later thanked the MRC’s blog for watching.
The short segment, which began 23 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, examined "the critics and compliment" of his newscast, as the on-screen graphic put it. Sanchez mentioned how "once the show concludes, I start getting all these Google alerts about what's being written about us, and every day, people are writing after they watch our newscast. We're giving them plenty of material."
During a segment on Tuesday’s Newsroom program, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez asked South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford if the Republican needed to abandon its social conservative principles in order to be successful again:
"Do you have to be anti-abortion, because that's a very important, big topic in the South..?" Sanchez later asked the Republican governor, as well as talk show host Neal Boortz, "Can you be a fiscal Republican and a social conservative Republican at the same time without making one side mad..?"
Sanchez had both Sanford and Boortz on to discuss the upcoming Republican Governors’ Association meeting in Florida. The CNN anchor first brought up a recent New York Times article, with its accompanying exaggerated map, about conclusions that the Democratic Party might draw from the recent election: "You know, as you look at this map and you start to look at the South, there was some suggestion in that New York Times article, for example, that maybe Democrats are going to get from this that you know what, they can win in the future without the South."
On Friday’s Newsroom program, as CNN awaited Barack Obama’s first press conference as president-elect, correspondent Joe Johns outlined how Rush Limbaugh was apparently "back on the radio breathing fire, taking Obama and his now-named Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to the woodshed." He then played a clip of Limbaugh labeling Emanuel a "good old-fashioned Chicago thug, just like Obama is a good old-fashioned Chicago thug."
Limbaugh actually might not be the first to use the "Chicago thug" label for Obama. The Politico, in an August 27, 2008 article by John F. Harris, cited a "longtime associate" of a certain former Democratic president: "Bill Clinton believes the Democratic nominee, far from practicing a unifying, transformational brand of politics, has the political instincts of ‘a Chicago thug.’" CNN apparently was unaware of this report, since it wasn’t mentioned during the segment.
CNN anchor Campbell Brown introduced a segment on Thursday’s Election Center program by contrasting the "[p]eople all over the world dancing in the streets" over the election of Barack Obama to the "really, really angry" reaction of conservatives, which she then labeled "right-wing rage." A graphic with the same label flashed on-screen, accompanied by a picture of Obama smiling.
During the segment, which aired just after the bottom-half of the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, CNN correspondent Joe Johns played an audio clip of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh as an example of such "rage." Limbaugh, who reacting to the appointment of liberal Illinois Representative Rahm Emanuel as Obama’s White House Chief of Staff, called Emanuel a "good old-fashioned Chicago thug, just like Obama is a good old-fashioned Chicago thug," and gave an anecdote about how Emanuel used a steak knife to demonstrate his own anger towards Bill Clinton’s enemies after the 1992 election. Johns’ reply after the clip: "So if you were thinking the country is now unified, think again. There are still deep divisions."
During a roundtable discussion on Monday’s Newsroom program with conservative talk show host Martha Zoller and her left-wing colleague Mike Malloy, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez strangely differentiated between "intellectual" conservatives who are "not so crazy" about Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and social conservatives who "love" her. Sanchez then described Zoller as a "mix" of the two. Later in the segment, Malloy opined that Sarah Palin "brought out the crazy people. That's what the Republican base is. The Republican base are people who don't want the queers to get married. They don't want a woman to have a right to privacy. They want to do away with capital gains taxes, which has nothing whatsoever to do with their life. What Sarah Palin did was bring out the knuckle-draggers, the mouth-breathers..."
CNN practiced a more subtle form of bias during two reports in October by using its on-screen graphics. On October 14th's Newsroom program, a graphic accompanying a segment on Sarah and Todd Palin's connections to the Alaskan Independence Party proclaimed “The Palins and the Fringe.” On the other hand, a chyron from a report on Tuesday's Situation Room about Barack Obama making campaign stops in bad weather raved, “Braving Rain & Attacks: Obama in PA. and Virginia.”
The Situation Room led its 4 pm Eastern hour on Tuesday with reports on the day's campaign stops by John McCain, Sarah Palin, and Barack Obama. Host Wolf Blitzer introduced these reports by highlighting how “[a]ll three began the day in Pennsylvania, braving some pretty nasty weather and some bitter attacks.” Correspondent Dana Bash then detailed the Republican candidates' push in Pennsylvania, including how McCain had to cancel a rally due to rain. The graphic which accompanied Bash's report made no mention of the weather, but focused instead on the McCain campaign's emphasis on the tax issue: “McCain-Palin One-Two Punch: Hitting Obama On Taxes.”
On Tuesday's Election Center program, CNN anchor Campbell Brown criticized Barack Obama's decision earlier this year to break his November 2007 pledge to accept public financing of his presidential campaign: “For this last week, Senator Obama will be rolling in dough. His commercials, his get-out-the-vote effort, will, as the pundits have said, dwarf the McCain campaign's final push. But, in fairness, you have to admit, he is getting there, in part, on a broken promise.”
Brown's attack, which she made in her regular “Cutting Through the Bull” commentary at the beginning of her program, came 24 hours before Obama is scheduled to run a 30-minute infomercial on five television networks. She began her commentary by describing how “Barack Obama is loaded, way more loaded than any presidential candidate has ever been before at this stage in the campaign. Just to throw a number out, he's raised well over $600 million since the start of the campaign, close to what George Bush and John Kerry raised combined in 2004.”
CNN anchor Campbell Brown criticized the sexism of the "diva" comment about Sarah Palin from a supposed anonymous McCain campaign adviser on Monday’s Election Center program, despite how it was her own network that highlighted this remark. After describing how "it was big news when this story broke over the weekend -- a shocking quote from an adviser to John McCain calling Sarah Palin a ‘diva.’ (correspondents Dana Bash, Peter Hamby, and John King first reported on the anonymous "diva" remark in an October 25 report on CNN.com), Brown decried how it is "a sexist slight, a term that is only applied to women, almost always in a derogatory way."
At the end of her commentary, which led the Election Center program, the CNN anchor attacked the supposed hypocrisy of the McCain campaign and criticized the unnamed McCain campaign official for using the "diva" term: "So, now, for the McCain campaign to be attacking its own candidate in the most overtly sexist way, calling her a ‘diva,’ -- it is beyond ridiculous. Whoever this anonymous adviser is should be ashamed, or, at the very least, have the courage to say it on the record." Since Brown didn’t say anything critical about how her network ran with the comment during her commentary, despite its anonymous nature, one would guess that she isn’t ashamed of CNN’s action in this matter. Isn’t that a bit hypocritical?
On Monday’s Newsroom program, CNN ran a report from its San Francisco affiliate which sympathized with parents in California who are upset that video of their first grade children, whom they allowed to go on a field trip to their lesbian teacher’s civil marriage, is being used in an anti-gay marriage political ad in the state. The report, by KGO/ABC7 reporter Tomas Roman, also failed to identify California Assemblyman Mark Leno as an openly gay man. The Democratic politician blasted the conservative sponsors of the ad, accusing them of "abuse [against] young children" [see video at right; audio available here].
During the report, the KGO correspondent also played two clips from William May of the "Yes on Prop 8" campaign, who defended the use of the video of the children in the ad, compared to the five total clips from those who object to its use.
CNN investigative correspondent Drew Griffin appeared on Thursday’s Newsroom and Situation Room programs to explain how "in no way did I intend to misquote" from a recent article by National Review’s Byron York: "This exchange aired just once in the 6 pm hour, and as soon as the National Review brought it to our attention at 7:05, we immediately realized the context could be misconstrued. We cut that portion of the interview. It never aired again." Griffin also mentioned how he had "since called Byron York and his editor Rich Lowry, explained what happened, and told them both that I regret any harm this may have brought."
In an interview excerpt aired on Tuesday's Situation Room (NB post with video), Griffin had told Sarah Palin: “The National Review had a story saying that, you know, 'I can't tell if Sarah Palin is incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt, or all of the above.'” In fact, York was mocking media coverage of Palin: “Watching press coverage of the Republican candidate for Vice President, it's sometimes hard to decide whether Sarah Palin is incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt, backward or -- well, all of the above."
Griffin first appeared seven minutes into the 2 pm Eastern hour of Newsroom. Anchor Kyra Phillips asked the correspondent about the criticism he had received over the misquotation. He played a clip of the question, and explained the impression he had of the interview overall. He then played the initial exchange he had with Governor Palin over the "botched" quote, and most of her answer.
CNN anchor Campbell Brown led her Election Center program on Wednesday with a critique of the “double standard” concerning the recent attention on the $150,000 that the Republican National Committee spent on vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin: “My issue: there is an incredible double standard here, and we're ignoring a very simple reality. Women are judged based on their appearance far, far more than men. This is a statement of fact. There has been plenty of talk and plenty written about Sarah Palin’s jackets, her hair, her looks....Compare that to the attention given to Barack Obama’s $1,500 suits or John McCain’s $520 Ferragamo shoes. There is no comparison.”
Brown spent more than 2 minutes on the matter, in which she related her own experience of how women “get scrutinized based on appearance” much more than men do: “...I speak from experience here. When I wear a bad outfit on the air, I get viewer e-mail complaining about it, a lot of e-mail, seriously. When Wolf Blitzer wears a not-so-great tie, how much e-mail do you think he gets? My point is, for women, unfortunately, appearance is part of the job. If Wolf or Anderson shows up on the air without makeup, do you think you would even notice? I show up on the air without makeup, trust me, you’ll notice.” The CNN anchor then defended the RNC’s efforts to help Palin appear visually good: “All women in the public eye deal with this issue, and it’s for this reason that I think the RNC should help Palin pay for hair, clothes, and makeup. It is part of the job.” She concluded her commentary by labeling the attention on Palin’s clothing a “peripheral issue” in the presidential campaign.
CNN contributor Roland Martin used an unoriginal line to attack Rush Limbaugh on Monday’s Election Center program. Host Campbell Brown wanted Martin, a Barack Obama supporter, to comment on something the talk radio host had said about Colin Powell’s endorsement of the Democratic presidential candidate: "Rush Limbaugh said today, this is about race. That's all it's about." Martin’s response: "I think I will quote Al Franken when talking about Rush Limbaugh -- is a stupid, fat idiot."
Martin made the comment during a panel discussion with Brown, CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger, and Kevin Madden, the former spokesman for the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, in which the four of them discussed the Powell endorsement of Obama. After his cliched attack, the CNN contributor accused Limbaugh, as well as Pat Buchanan and George Will, of disregarding Powell’s record and simplifying his endorsement to a matter of skin color: "Colin Powell gave one of the most thoughtful, meticulous endorsements of any candidate, and laid it all out very methodically, and it is an insult for people like Rush Limbaugh and Buchanan and Will and others to somehow say, oh, it's only because he's black."
On CNN’s post-debate coverage on Wednesday night, special correspondent Soledad O’Brien misinterpreted the dial-tester reaction from a focus group of 30 Ohioans. When she played a clip of the dial test line graph flat-lining then rising up again slightly when John McCain spoke about the issue of Bill Ayers during the presidential debate, she overemphasized the results: “You see the dive. I mean, literally, it goes off the cliff. You can watch that right on the screen” [see video at right].
Just before this, she played the positive reaction of the focus group to McCain’s “I am not President Bush” remark: “Take a look at the squiggles -- immediately, when he said you should have run four years ago, those -- those squiggles go up sharply because really, people here found that to really resonate with them.”
During Wednesday’s Newsroom program, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez tried to portray that there were many so-called conservatives who were "defecting," in his words, from John McCain over his selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. His list of conservatives, which he read prior to an interview of National Review senior editor Ramesh Ponnuru, included homosexual activist Andrew Sullivan, New York Times columnist David Brooks, and satirist Christopher Buckley, who recently left National Review over his endorsement of Barack Obama. Sanchez later backtracked from this labeling after Ponnuru pointed out that "a lot of those people who are critical of Palin are not defecting from McCain:" "I'll take it back. Let's take out the word ‘defection,’ and just say Republicans who have been critical of John McCain. Is that more fair?"
On Monday’s Newsroom program, CNN European political editor Robin Oakley pontificated to Senators McCain and Obama on how the U.S. can be more liked by people in Europe. The U.K. native’s advice -- change the country’s policies, especially its conservative ones, so it’s more like the European Union. The best example of this came when Oakley brought up the issue of guns: "While we're on the symbolism, let me remind you how many Europeans see U.S. voters -- as a trigger-happy bunch with a Bible in one hand and a rifle in the other.... Does either of you senators have any serious plans to reduce the number of guns available in the U.S. or even dare to suggest it? That really would impress the Europeans, that you stand for change." The editor played video of Americans shooting off firearms, especially automatic weapons, at ranges and shoot-offs, playing further on a common European stereotype of Americans.
On Sunday’s Reliable Sources, CNN host Howard Kurtz seemed to question whether the media are unfairly hyping inflammatory words from audience members at John McCain rallies that are of the kind one would expect to sometimes see at political rallies to make them fit into the narrative of the McCain campaign fueling anger at Barack Obama. Kurtz: "I've gone to a lot of rallies where a lot of crazy things have been said. Why are the media this week pumping up this story about McCain’s and Palin's crowds as if it is their fault if there's a bit of ugliness that breaks out?" Speaking to Politico.com’s Roger Simon, he later added: "It seems that the press has kind of adopted this theme that McCain and Palin are stoking the anger."
Simon responded with his view that McCain was indeed "stoking the anger." Simon: "Well, it may be that McCain and Palin are stoking the anger. It seems to me that John McCain is riding a tiger, and he's trying not to fall off that tiger and get eaten by it. When your vice presidential running mate goes around the country saying Barack Obama is ‘palling around with terrorists,’ and when you run ads that say, you know, he's a liar, he's not telling the truth about this unrepentant terrorist, and then you wonder why people in the crowd shout out ‘terrorist’ when you mention the name Barack Obama. This anger is coming from somewhere. It is being ginned up by a campaign, and it is logical, I think, to assume that these people are only responding to what they have heard from the candidate's mouth. And it's fair game, and it's, in fact, responsible for us to report how the crowds are reacting."
On Saturday's Ballot Bowl 2008, CNN anchor Ed Henry interviewed actor Jon Voight. Henry must have been surprised when Voight very quickly made an important point, one that it's impossible to deny: Much of the mainstream media has become unabashedly partisan. Henry asked Voight how he thought Sarah Palin did in the recent vice presidential candidate debate:
JON VOIGHT, ACTOR: She was wonderful in the debate. My deepest concern, you know. Let me just say -- can I say something honestly about the debate? The thing that concerned me about the debate, all these people, 70 to 80 million people watching this debate, and I found so many things that I found Joe Biden said that were - that I recognized as out-right lies. So I'm saying, isn't anybody on this? And of course, we're talking to CNN and I know where you guys stand. And I'm saying, guys, we've got to not have a partisan press. We've got to have real journalism here. And it's a sad event for me to witness this.
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.
On Thursday’s "Newsroom" program, CNN anchor Kyra Phillips treated senior Obama adviser/former ABC correspondent Linda Douglass more cordially than McCain supporter/Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, whom she pressed for an answer on the question of whether Sarah Palin is smarter than her opponent Joe Biden: "Is, is she deep enough? Is she smart enough? Is she experienced enough? Do you really think she is better than Joe Biden?"
Phillips had the two on for back-to-back interviews just after the bottom half of the 1 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. Phillips began her interview of Douglass by asking a softball question: "I just want what to know, as a strong female who's been very successful, is all this talk about, oh, Joe Biden needs to be a gentleman. He needs to watch his manners. He needs to treat Sarah Palin like a lady. Does that bother you in any way that that's even coming up?" Douglass initially responded by exclaiming, "What a good question! You are the first person who has asked that question today." After the Obama adviser completed her answer, Phillips followed-up with a light comment: "Good. But he'll still get the door for her, right?" The two of them shared a laugh over the quip.
CNN’s Iranian-born chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, during the network’s post-debate coverage, made fun of John McCain’s stumble during the debate concerning the pronunciation of Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s name [see video at right]: "On sort of a cosmetic level, I was quite -- I sort of giggled a little bit when I saw John McCain stumble over Ahmadinejad's name." Almost simultaneously, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann brought up the very same issue with his liberal counterpart Rachel Maddow, who went on to state that the flub "probably does hurt him [McCain] pretty badly."
Amanpour made her statement as she was giving her analysis of the debate during a round table discussion involving most of CNN’s regular political team. Co-host Anderson Cooper stopped her before she could continue on her "cosmetic" note and replied, "Yeah, it's not really fair though. I mean, people make mistakes all the time." Correspondent Michael Ware tried to interject, but Amanpour shot back and replied, "If it's fair for anybody, why not? I mean, if I stumbled, it would be [a] fair comment."
[For audio of the exchange between Amanpour and Cooper, click here.]