CBS ‘Early Show’ Focuses on Palin ‘Trooper-gate,’ Leaves Out Key Facts

Chip Reid, CBS At the top of the 8am hour of Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez teased an upcoming segment on an ethics investigation into Sarah Palin’s firing of an Alaska public safety official: "Sarah Palin and troopergate – why the Alaska governor makes an about-face on this issue and why it could haunt her on the campaign trail." Later, correspondent Chip Reid remarked: "Palin may be back here in Ohio campaigning, but she's still being hounded by the so-called troopergate controversy back in Alaska."

Reid went on to describe the case: "Last July, Palin fired Alaska's public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan. He says he was fired because he refused to fire Palin's former brother-in-law, Mike Wooten, a state trooper who went through an ugly divorce with Palin's sister...At first, Palin said she welcomed the investigation, but now the McCain-Palin campaign claims it's being exploited by Democrats for political reasons and says it's now unlikely she will cooperate. And the campaign says Monegan's firing had nothing to do with Palin's brother-in-law." However, Reid never went further to explain that new email evidence corroborates Palin’s reason for firing Monegan or to describe the political motivations of those leading the investigation.

Meanwhile, at the beginning of the Wednesday 10am hour of FNC’s America’s Newsroom, co-anchor Megyn Kelly cited the new evidence: "...now we learn this morning that e-mails actually back up Palin's claim that Monegan was fired because of insubordination over budget issues and not having anything to do with that trooper issue." In a report that followed, correspondent Dan Springer explained: "Those e-mails are between the Palin budget director and her top cop, Walt Monegan. And they do seem to suggest that there were some problems brewing in this administration before Monegan was fired. Now the McCain-Palin camp is releasing those e-mails and making the case that Monegan was fired for insubordination, not because he refused to fire Palin's ex-brother-in-law."

In addition to leaving out the newly released emails, the Early Show segment also failed to describe any of the allegations against trooper Mike Wooten. On America’s Newsroom, Springer quoted McCain-Palin spokesperson Meg Stapleton: "This is a man who was out there, who has tasered his son, who's killed a moose illegally. Who's threatened to kill her father, who's abused her sister. She had the right to say, ‘I have concerns about a guy who still patrols my neighborhood.’" Reid did quote Stapleton in his report, but only a brief statement regarding Monegan’s firing.

Reid also failed to mention that one of the lead investigators in the case, Democratic State Senator Hollis French, remarked on the McCain campaign’s vetting of Palin: "If they had done their job they never would have picked her...Now they may have to deal with an October surprise."

Reid concluded his report by proclaiming: "An investigation 4,000 miles away that could turn out to be a minor irritant or a serious challenge to Sarah Palin's reputation as a reformer."

Here is the full transcript of the Early Show segment:

8:00AM TEASER:

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Sarah Palin and troopergate – why the Alaska governor makes an about-face on this issue and why it could haunt her on the campaign trail.

8:02AM SEGMENT:

RUSS MITCHELL: There's new development in that investigation over whether vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin abused her power as governor of Alaska. Yesterday, the attorney general there said state employees will refuse to honor subpoenas in the case. CBS News Capitol Hill correspondent Chip Reid reports.

CHIP REID: After a few days home in Alaska, Governor Sarah Palin was back with John McCain in Ohio Tuesday, where they promised to clean up Wall Street and Washington.

SARAH PALIN: That's the reason we're going to D.C., we want to shake things up.

REID: Palin may be back here in Ohio campaigning, but she's still being hounded by the so-called troopergate controversy back in Alaska. Last July, Palin fired Alaska's public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan. He says he was fired because he refused to fire Palin's former brother-in-law, Mike Wooten, a state trooper who went through an ugly divorce with Palin's sister. The Alaska legislature launched a bi-partisan investigation to determine whether Palin acted improperly, using her office to settle a personal grudge. At first, Palin said she welcomed the investigation, but now the McCain-Palin campaign claims it's being exploited by Democrats for political reasons and says it's now unlikely she will cooperate. And the campaign says Monegan's firing had nothing to do with Palin's brother-in-law.

MEG STAPLETON: And everything to do with Commissioner Monegan's adamant refusal to join in Governor Palin's fiscal responsibility reform.

REID: Palin's husband, Todd, has also been subpoenaed in the case. So what does this all mean for her?

KEN VOGEL: Troopergate is a fairly small-time scandal, as far as scandals go, but has the potential to really seriously undercut the premise of Sarah Palin's candidacy. That is, that she is a reformer, who's looking to rid government of corruption.

REID: An investigation 4,000 miles away that could turn out to be a minor irritant or a serious challenge to Sarah Palin's reputation as a reformer. Chip reid, CBS News, Vienna, Ohio.

 

Here is the full transcript of the America’s Newsroom segment:

10:02AM SEGMENT:

MEGYN KELLY: Well, new evidence emerging in this story involving Governor Sarah Palin and this state trooper in Alaska. Some refer to this as 'trooper-gate,' others say it's not any sort of 'gate.' Well, Palin, here's the deal, she fired this man shown here. He's the head of the state police, his name is Walt Monegan. And she said that this guy got fired because of budget concerns, not because he refused to fire the state trooper who was once married to Sarah Palin's sister, if you can follow that. In any event, now we learn this morning that e-mails actually back up Palin's claim that Monegan was fired because of insubordination over budget issues and not having anything to do with that trooper issue. Dan Springer live in Anchorage, Alaska to explain it all for us. Hi, Dan.

DAN SPRINGER: Yeah Megyn, it is an ongoing saga here in Anchorage. Those e-mails are between the Palin budget director and her top cop, Walt Monegan. And they do seem to suggest that there were some problems brewing in this administration before Monegan was fired. Now the McCain-Palin camp is releasing those e-mails and making the case that Monegan was fired for insubordination, not because he refused to fire Palin's ex-brother-in-law. Palin has signaled this week through her campaign that she will not cooperate with the legislative investigation, after initially saying that she welcomed the scrutiny. But in the legal motion filed this week to the state personnel board, which is also investigating this is as an ethics complaint, Palin says she fired Monegan for going around her back, lobbying for pet projects that she had already vetoed. Publicly, Palin seemed very supportive of Monegan, praising him for his program fighting domestic violence, but McCain staffers say it was a different picture behind the scenes.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Commissioner Monegan fought the Governor at every single opportunity that he had to try to fight her on budget matters. That's why he was removed from his position.

SPRINGER: Also in the motion, Palin's lawyer makes the argument that Palin had every right and duty to share her concerns about trooper Mike Wooten, who had divorced her sister. Wooten had already been suspended five days, but the governor clearly felt that was too lenient.

MEG STAPLETON: This is a man who was out there, who has tasered his son, who's killed a moose illegally. Who's threatened to kill her father, who's abused her sister. She had the right to say, 'I have concerns about a guy who still patrols my neighborhood.'

SPRINGER: And this whole investigation took another strange turn yesterday when five Republicans in the state legislature filed a lawsuit, trying to get this legislative investigation stopped until the entire legislature could vote on it. In Alaska, they have a part-time legislature and they set up this legislative council, which makes a lot of decisions when the full session is not happening. And so now these five lawmakers want to stop this entire process until the entire state legislature can have a vote as to whether they should move forward, Megyn.

KELLY: Dan Springer, thanks so much.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC