CBS Boosts Obama's MLK Anniversary Speech With Highlight Reel From Past Speeches

Wednesday's CBS This Morning shamelessly promoted President Obama's upcoming address commemorating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's 1963 "I have a dream" speech by featuring nothing but race-related clips from the President's past speeches. Jeff Pegues hyped the "big names" set to speak at the anniversary celebration, but underlined "the headliner: the nation's first black president, delivering a speech and standing where Dr. King did half a century ago."

Pegues also hyped how the President's July 2013 remarks about Trayvon Martin were "surprisingly revealing", and played up how the Democratic executive has "walked a fine line addressing the issue of race and equality, trying to voice the concerns of African-Americans while attempting to avoid alienating whites." [audio clips available here; video below the jump]

Anchor Gayle King introduced the correspondent's report by noting the results of a new CBS News poll – that "57 percent of people now describe race relations as generally good. In 2009, that number was 66 percent – nearly ten points higher. When asked if they've ever felt discriminated against because of race, 62 percent of blacks says (sic) yes, compared to only 29 percent of whites. "

Pegues wasted little time before using his hyperbolic language about the "big names" and "headliner" line about the 50th anniversary event. He continued by playing his first of five soundbites from the President, noting that "Obama told a group of college students the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lives on."

The CBS journalist would gone on to highlight two clips from the incumbent's 2011 speech to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, where he berated his black critics to "stop complaining; stop grumbling; stop crying." Pegues also zeroed in on the President's second inaugural address, outlining that "kicked off his second term by calling for an expansion of the civil rights movement to include women, gays, and lesbians."

Near the end of the segment, the correspondent played up how "he's [Obama] been more willing to talk about the state of race relations. On the heels of the George Zimmerman acquittal, his comments about Trayvon Martin were surprisingly revealing."

Just over a month earlier, the CBS morning show gushed over the same comments about Trayvon Martin. Substitute anchors Maurice DuBois and Vinita Nair heralded the President's comments: "This was really a historic speech, in the sense that he also got very personal and said, this could have been me 35 years ago." DuBois and Nair also brought on liberal historian Douglas Brinkley to praise the liberal politician.


[Update, Wednesday, 4:15 pm Eastern: The full transcript of Jeff Pegues' report from Wednesday's CBS This Morning is available at MRC.org.]

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center