CNN Puffs Harry 'Pinky' Reid: Enjoys ‘People’ Magazine, Loves His Ipod

On Wednesday’s "American Morning," CNN reporter Dana Bash profiled incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and revealed some "startling" details: The Nevada Democrat’s childhood nickname was "Pinky." Additionally, Reid enjoys listening to his iPod and reading "People" magazine. Unsurprisingly, Ms. Bash didn’t find time to mention the various scandals swirling around Reid. (Judicial Watch recently named him the tenth most corrupt politician of 2006.) The CNN correspondent, who traveled to Reid’s home of Searchlight, Nevada, began her piece by promising surprising revelations. Apparently the Senator’s musical taste fall into this category:

Dana Bash: "The senator from Nevada fights for Sin City but doesn't gamble or drink. A square-looking guy who listens to hip songs on his iPod."

[On camera: Harry Reid plays a 'Cowboy Junkies' song on his stereo]

Bash: "Cowboy Junkies!"

Reid: "You know the Cowboy Junkies?"

Bash: "And how does he keep up with music? Get this: Did I read that you're a ‘People’ magazine reader?"

Reid: "Yeah. I love ‘People’ magazine."

After being introduced by "American Morning" co-host John Roberts, Bash offered a number of humanizing details about Reid, including the "Pinky" revelation:

Bash: "You know, since the election, John, much of the attention has been on the House, where the first woman is going to be Speaker. But for Democrats to turn their agenda into law, that's going to depend largely on the man who will run the Senate. And as you said, Harry Reid invited us to his home in Nevada. And what you'll learn about him may surprise you. Searchlight, Nevada, a dried-up mining town, a relic of the Wild West. A truck stop 55 miles from Las Vegas. Most of the 800 residents live in trailers."

Harry Reid: "Welcome to Searchlight."


Bash: "Thank you. The one house belongs to new Senate majority leader Harry Reid, shaped and scarred in Searchlight."

Reid: "I'm a pessimist about everything in life. That way I have fewer disappointments."

Bash: "In the distance of this vast property, a mine where his father worked. Pinky, young Harry's nickname, would keep dad company."
Reid: "It was hard to making a living. And the man that my dad worked for a lot of times wouldn't pay him or would give him bad checks that would bounce."

Bash: "The memories can hurt."

Reid: "My parents both drank a lot, and I was always so glad when they were broke because they couldn't afford stuff then."

The segment continued with several personal, often painful, stories from Reid’s childhood. (His father committed suicide.) These details may be informative and compelling, but doesn’t it seem odd to completely leave out any mention of Reid’s controversies? Bash closed the piece with some extended biographical information and co-host Roberts again brought up the Nevada Senator’s fondness for "People" magazine:

Bash: "Harry Reid sums himself up this way-"

Reid: "Isn't Kris Kristofferson-- His song, ‘He's a walking contradiction?’"

Bash: "A walking contradiction. And another thing many people don't realize about Harry Reid is that he's a Mormon. He and his Jewish-born wife converted to that religion after they got married right out of -- right out of high school. And he will be the highest-ranking Mormon in U.S. political history. He told us, John, that he's well aware of how controversial his religion is. He says people just need to understand it better." John Roberts: "Right. And a ‘People’ magazine reader as well."Bash: "Can you believe it? He says he gets five magazines. The first magazine he reads is ‘People.’"

Roberts: "Well, you know, as a Time Warner property, I guess we've got to salute that."

One has to ask, would a Republican’s fondness for celebrity gossip magazines be enough to engender such favorable coverage?

A transcript of the January 3 segment, which aired at 8:08am, follows:

(CNN graphic: Who is Harry Reid?)

John Roberts: "When the new Congress convenes tomorrow, the 110th Congress, Democratic senator Harry Reid of Nevada will assume his post as the most powerful man in the Senate. Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash is live now on Capitol Hill. And Dana, you went back with Reid in his hometown in Searchlight, Nevada."

Dana Bash: "That's right. You know, since the election, John, much of the attention has been on the House, where the first woman is going to be Speaker. But for Democrats to turn their agenda into law, that's going to depend largely on the man who will run the Senate.
And as you said, Harry Reid invited us to his home in Nevada. And what you'll learn about him may surprise you. Searchlight, Nevada, a dried-up mining town, a relic of the Wild West. A truck stop 55 miles from Las Vegas. Most of the 800 residents live in trailers."

Harry Reid: "Welcome to Searchlight."

Bash: "Thank you. The one house belongs to new Senate majority leader Harry Reid, shaped and scarred in Searchlight."

Reid: "I'm a pessimist in everything in life. That way I have fewer disappointments."

Bash: "In the distance of this vast property, a mine where his father worked. Pinky, young Harry's nickname, would keep dad company."
Reid: "It was hard to making a living. And the man that my dad worked for a lot of times wouldn't pay him or would give him bad checks that would bounce."

Bash: "The memories can hurt."

Reid: "My parents both drank a lot, and I was always so glad when they were broke because they couldn't afford stuff then."

Bash: "School ended in eighth grade, so Reid hitchhiked 42 miles for high school, went to college with a collection from the locals."

Reid: "Even though I was raised here, my mother always was able to instill in me that I was as good as anybody else."

Bash: "To tour Searchlight is to find scars, like where his 58-year-old father shot himself to death."

Reid: "This house right here, that last room is a bedroom. That's where he killed himself."

Bash: "The senator from Nevada fights for Sin City but doesn't gamble or drink. A square-looking guy who listens to hip songs on his iPod."

[On camera: Reid plays a song on his stereo]

Bash: "Cowboy Junkies!"

Reid: "You know the Cowboy Junkies?"

Bash: "And how does he keep up with music? Get this: Did I read that you're a ‘People’ magazine reader?"

Reid: "Yeah. I love ‘People’ magazine."

Bash: "Harry Reid sums himself up this way-"

Reid: "Isn't Kris Kristofferson -- his song, ‘He's a walking contradiction?’"

Bash: "A walking contradiction. And another thing many people don't realize about Harry Reid is that he's a Mormon. He and his Jewish-born wife converted to that religion after they got married right out of -- right out of high school. And he will be the highest-ranking Mormon in U.S. political history. He told us, John, that he's well aware of how controversial his religion is. He says people just need to understand it better."

Roberts: "Right. And a ‘People’ magazine reader as well."

Bash: "Can you believe it? He says he gets five magazines. The first magazine he reads is ‘People.’"

Roberts: "Well, you know, as a Time Warner property, I guess we've got to salute that.
Thanks very much, Dana."

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org