CBS News Sunday Morning “contributor” Nancy Giles, in the only commentary aired on the show on Sunday, delivered a blistering diatribe in which she charged that racism was behind the slow response to the hurricane victims in New Orleans, rationalized looting, claimed the real war is the one on poverty that’s being lost thanks to tax cuts, and mocked President Bush for visiting Iraq but skipping the Superdome -- thus showing he doesn’t give “a damn” about black people.
Giles asserted that “if the majority of the hardest hit victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans were white people, they would not have gone for days without food and water” and insisted that “the real war is not in Iraq, but right here in America. It's the War on Poverty, and it's a war that's been ignored and lost.” She complained that “we've repeatedly given tax cuts to the wealthiest and left our most vulnerable American citizens to basically fend for themselves." Giles scolded Bush for finding photo-ops with some “black folks to hug” while he skipped “the messy parts of New Orleans.” She castigated Bush for how he “has put himself at risk by visiting the troops in Iraq, but didn't venture anywhere near the Superdome or the convention center, where thousands of victims, mostly black and poor, needed to see that he gave a damn."
Full transcript of her September 4 commentary follows, as well as a look back at her 2003 commentary charging Rush Limbaugh with racism.
For the CBSNews.com posting of the text of the commentary by Giles, which the MRC's Brad Wilmouth checked against what aired.
Substitute host Harry Smith introduced Giles’ taped piece, which aired about 55 minutes into the 90-minute news program: "That many of those suffering most in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina are poor and black has outraged a lot of people. Justifiably so, in the opinion of contributor Nancy Giles."
Giles asserted, at times over matching video: "After meeting with Louisiana officials last week, Rev. Jesse Jackson said, quote, 'Many black people feel that their race, their property conditions and their voting patterns have been a factor in the response.' He continued, quote, 'I'm not saying that myself.' Then I'll say it. If the majority of the hardest hit victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans were white people, they would not have gone for days without food and water, forcing many to steal for mere survival. Their bodies would not have been left to float in putrid water. They would have been rescued and relocated a hell of a lot faster than this. Period. I mean, reporters and crews are getting to stranded people, and government and military agencies can't? Why don't the networks run FEMA? When I saw pictures of black people taking things from stores, my first thought was: 'How are those Nikes necessary for your survival?' And then it hit me: People need shoes and clothing. Some escaped the floods with just the clothing on their backs. We have American citizens, not 'refugees' from an underdeveloped country, waiting for food, water, shelter, and electricity for four, five, six days."
Black man holding up a baby: "They don't have no formula, no water-"
Giles: "Waiting. Waiting. What would you do if your family was starving and you saw people dying in the streets? 'Love thy neighbor.' Didn't I read that somewhere? The real war is not in Iraq, but right here in America. It's the War on Poverty, and it's a war that's been ignored and lost. An estimated 37 million Americans are living in poverty. New Orleans is one of the poorest cities in the country, with 40 percent of its children living in poverty. Mississippi has the highest poverty rate of any state. We've repeatedly given tax cuts to the wealthiest and left our most vulnerable American citizens to basically fend for themselves."
George W. Bush, at the airport in Kenner on Friday: "This is a storm that's going to require immediate action now."
Giles: "Once again, a day late and a dollar short, words of wisdom from our President. And once again, Bush finds the photo op [matching pictures shown]: Some black folks to hug, some white men to bond with. He flies over the messy parts of New Orleans, waves and leaves. The President has put himself at risk by visiting the troops in Iraq, but didn't venture anywhere near the Superdome or the convention center, where thousands of victims, mostly black and poor, needed to see that he gave a damn."
Giles was a runner-up, for the “I Hate You #!*#! Conservatives Award” in the MRC’s “DisHonors Awards of 2004: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2003,” for this bombast on the October 5, 2003 Sunday Morning, in the wake of Limbaugh’s prediction that the sports media would do what it could to prevent a black quarterback from failing:
“What must it be like to live in Rush Limbaugh's world? A world where when anyone other than conservative, white men attempts to do anything or enter any profession, be it business, politics, art or sports, the only reason they're allowed entry or, incredibly, attain excellence is because the standard was lowered. Be they liberals, people of color, women, the poor or anyone with an accent. So as Rush's world has steadily crumbled, it's no wonder he allegedly had to turn to prescription pain killers....Edgy, controversial, brilliant. What a way to shake up intelligent sports commentary. Hitler would have killed in talk radio. He was edgy, too."
To watch RealPlayer video of that.