Monday's CBS This Morning played up the domestic critics of Margaret Thatcher as they covered the breaking news of her death. Mark Phillips, reporting from London, spotlighted how Thatcher was once called "Plunder-woman" by a British union leader, and how she was "contentious here, famous for breaking the back of the very strong labor movement in Britain." Phillips also noted how the former prime minister was "a figure both reviled and revered."
During a retrospective on the "Iron Lady", correspondent Elizabeth Palmer ballyhooed how Thatcher's "trademark helmet hair, cut-glass accent, and bullying style became a staple of British satire".
Sunday's CBS Evening News refreshingly spotlighted the continuing persecution of the Coptic Christians in Egypt, an ongoing story that the Big Three networks have largely ignored for months. Correspondent Elizabeth Palmer zeroed in on the uncertain future for the religious minority as the country gears for a rare election: "[Egypt's] Christians are deeply worried....Two of the frontrunners in the race with a realistic chance of winning are deeply devout Islamists."
The last time CBS reported on the anti-Christian violence in Egypt was a news brief on the October 9, 2011 edition of Evening News, according to a Nexis search. Since January 2011, ABC, NBC, and CBS's morning and evening newscasts have only mentioned the issue six times.
Taking advantage of the east coast hurricane displacing all political news this weekend, a chance for me to catch up with something from July 4 when, as part of the Ronald Reagan Centennial celebrations, a ten-foot tall bronze statue of Reagan was unveiled in London.
Only CBS’s Early Show aired a full story on the event, and video of that is below, in which reporter Elizabeth Palmer concluded that in Britain he’ll be remembered “for a rare combination of skill, luck and courage that gave him a giant’s role in modern history.”
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reported on Conservative Party leader David Cameron becoming the new British prime minister, but downplayed the political shift: "Cameron is a conservative in the British sense. In favor of gay rights, a green agenda, and the welfare state."
While in American conservative terms Cameron would certainly be considered a moderate, for Britain, the swing from 13 years of rule by the liberal Labour Party to a Conservative becoming head of state was quite significant.
Palmer cited more evidence of Cameron's supposed liberalism: "In fact, in his victory speech, addressing the huge challenges facing debt-ridden Britain, he even paraphrased John F. Kennedy." A clip was played of Cameron declaring: "One where we don't just ask, what are my entitlements? But what are my responsibilities? When we don't ask where, what am I just owed, but more, what can I give?" Calling on people to not simply rely on government entitlements hardly sounds like a liberal tenet.
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Elizabeth Palmer proclaimed: “Climate scientists say the ice has helped keep the planet cool by reflecting the Sun’s rays. Once it’s largely gone, though, the sea will absorb heat more rapidly and global warming will speed up.” However, an October 6 New York Times article declared: “Over the Summer, a Spread of Thicker Arctic Ice.”
Co-host Russ Mitchell introduced Palmer’s report by fretting: “Scientists report today that the Arctic is melting so fast, the North Pole could be ice free during the summer within the next decade or two.” Meanwhile, in the New York Times story, Andrew Revkin explained: “The National Snow and Ice Data Center released its summary of summer sea-ice conditions in the Arctic on Tuesday, noting a substantial expansion of the extent of “second-year ice” — floes thick enough to have persisted through two summers of melting. The result could be a reprieve, at least for a while, from the recent stretch of remarkable summer meltdowns.” The CBS report failed to cite such evidence.
In the 8:00AM EST hour of Tuesday’s CBS Early Show correspondent Elizabeth Palmer gave a gushing report on Barack and Michelle Obama’s upcoming trip to Europe, particularly focusing on the popularity of the new First Lady: "In 1961 when Jacqueline Kennedy came to Europe, she enchanted even the crustiest of world leaders. And she's remained a tough act to follow for every First Lady since. But Michelle Obama looks more than equal to the task of impressing and delighting even the grandest of them...To be honest, most Europeans were going to like whoever replaced President Bush. But there's no doubt Michelle and her husband have an extra je ne sais quoi."
Palmer cited French journalist Agnes Poirier, who declared: "Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are a very alluring and very sophisticated couple, and that plays well with the French. They like seeing, you know, sophistication at the helm of power." Palmer concluded her report by adding: "And this sophisticated lady hand in hand with power looks poised to do wonders for America's image abroad."
Monday’s CBS Early Show promoted embryonic stem cell research as co-host Julie Chen declared: "And blood shortages at hospitals could become a thing of the past. We're going to tell you how stem cells could hold the key to creating artificial blood." She later teased the story: "Up next, a doctor's dream, an unlimited supply of blood. We're going to tell you how one researcher thinks it can happen soon."
In a later report on the research, correspondent Elizabeth Palmer explained: "Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. In surgery, on cancer wards, and on America's battlefields, blood transfusions save lives...And elsewhere, especially in the developing world, there's a real chance the blood could be contaminated with diseases like AIDS or Hepatitis C. Enter Dr. Marc Turner, a cell biologist from Scotland who's received a multimillion-dollar research grant to make blood in his lab from human stem cells."
During a news brief on Monday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reported on the 30th Anniversary of the 1979 Iranian Revolution: "At a musical gala, a choir sang revolutionary songs. Beneath a full-scale replica of the plane that brought Ayatollah Khomeini back to Iran from exile in 1979. On a video screen, 30-year-old scenes of jubilant crowds." Palmer continued to describe the celebration: "Nearby in the Ayatollah's tomb, the faithful shout ‘Death to America.’ But to millions, this is just ritual now. They would like to see improved relations with the United States." Maybe not wishing America’s death would be a good start.
Palmer followed up by explaining: "Iran's leaders are still committed to the revolutionary ideals." Even Barack Obama has not been able to weaken Iranian principles: "And so far there's little sign they're in a hurry to accept the direct negotiations proposed by Obama's administration."
At the top of Tuesday’s CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith offered this witty line teasing a story on the Iraq journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush: "Sock and awe. How the Iraqi shoe-thrower is now being hailed as a hero and drawing thousands of supporters." Later, Smith introduced a report about the shoe-thrower: "It's being referred to as the 'toss heard around the world.' In fact, many Iraqis are showering accolades on the journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush." The report, by correspondent Elizabeth Palmer, declared: "As demonstrators across the Arab world called for Muntathar al-Zaidi's release, his stature as a folk hero was growing...al-Zaidi using his shoes to disrespect America's president has thrilled the Arab world."
Palmer, who offered a similar report during Monday’s CBS Evening News, went on to describe al-Zaidi’s global popularity: "The internet is brimming with shoe jokes and a Saudi businessman has offered a million dollars for Zaidi's shoe...al-Zaidi's TV station announced today that not only are they going to give his family a house, but that his support extends beyond the Arab world. Another fierce critic of America, Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, has offered Al Zaidi permission to settle there, whenever, that is, he gets out of jail." Palmer also featured testimony from Shibley Telhami, a Middle East expert from the liberal Brookings Institution: "It's a reminder, and a reminder that we shouldn't forget that the vast majority of people, in the Middle East and around the world, still think Iraq is a huge failure and that the Iraq war was a big mistake."
Usually rude protesters who disrupt events by throwing objects at state leaders don't earn media celebrations, but instead of being embarrassed by their Iraqi media colleague who, as he spewed venomous hatreds, dangerously threw his shoes at President Bush on Sunday in Baghdad, ABC and CBS on Monday night championed his popularity amongst Iraqis. ABC put “Folk Hero?” on screen as fill-in anchor Elizabeth Vargas trumpeted how Muntathar al-Zaidi has “become an instant celebrity to many of his countrymen” while CBS anchor Katie Couric hailed how “many Iraqis are calling him a hero” before reporter Elizabeth Palmer snidely concluded: “Al-Zaidi should do jail time, said the Iraqi bloggers, because he missed.”
From London, ABC's Jim Sciutto maintained: “Shoes have become a new symbol of anti-Americanism in the Arab world. And the Iraqi reporter who threw them, Muntathar al-Zaidi, a folk hero.” Sciutto touted how “more than 100 lawyers volunteered to defend him. It was a heroic way to say goodbye to Bush, said one Iraqi.” Though Sciutto at least noted how “some Iraqis are embarrassed,” he countered: “Still, in news coverage, on new fan Web sites, in Arabic text messages, the overwhelming sentiment: giddy satisfaction.”
As was pattern earlier this year and last, ABC's World News is much more willing -- than its CBS and NBC competitors -- to acknowledge good news in the Iraq war. On Tuesday night, ABC's Martha Raddatz cited “some really impressive gains” as she reported the plummeting number of attacks in Baghdad, falling from 1,278 in June of 2007 to 112 last month. The night before, only anchor Charlie Gibson highlighted the “upbeat assessment of security in Iraq today from Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen.”
Neither the CBS Evening News nor NBC Nightly News mentioned Mullen on Monday night while NBC's Jim Miklaszewski only noted less violence in Iraq in contrast to a “record number of Americans killed in Afghanistan last month,” so “if there's any bright side here...it's that the level of violence in Iraq has come down enough” to allow the military to move resources to Afghanistan.
Tuesday night, CBS anchor Katie Couric offered just a clause on violence in Iraq -- “Iraq's national security adviser called today for setting a timetable, a sign Baghdad is growing more confident as the violence decreases” -- before finding a away to deliver depressing news about Iraq: How though Iraqi oil profits “are on the rise,” the “money is not going to one place it's desperately needed.” That would be ill-equipped hospitals.
CBS's "Early Show" gave a fairly glowing report from the May Day celebration in Havana, Cuba, May 1, on changes Cuban President Raúl Castro has made in the country. Reporter Elizabeth Palmer called the leader's brother, Fidel Castro, a "revolutionary hero."
Fidel Castro handed provisional power to Raúl Castro, his younger brother, in July 2006. Raúl Castro officially took over the presidency in February 2008 after Fidel Castro fell ill.
Anchor Russ Mitchell said the May Day celebrations in Cuba signaled a "new era" for the country, and Palmer touted reforms like "cell phones," "text-messaging," opening of "resort hotels" to Cuban citizens and "shiny new Chinese buses."
Reports on Tuesday's broadcast network evening newscasts all highlighted concerns the new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which concluded Iran stopped working on its nuclear weapons program in 2003, will reduce international pressure on Iran. But just a couple of minutes after CBS's Jim Axelrod asserted that “maintaining an international coalition to confront Iran will no doubt be trickier now,” CBS's Elizabeth Palmer contended from London that pressure to impose sanctions, “led by the European leaders,” remains “huge” since “they've always said, 'look, the point is to stop Iran enriching uranium that could be one of the ingredients for a bomb.' And they believe that sanctions could be very effective in finally curbing that program which remains very active as we speak.”
Like Axelrod, NBC's David Gregory noted that “the President is making the case that the international community cannot let up on Iran,” but “the question is whether a skeptical public and skeptical international community will listen?” ABC's Martha Raddatz related how the White House is “concerned” and “I've been in touch with some diplomats. The ones who have to go overseas and say please join us with these sanctions. There is definite concern...”
With any weather related disaster, the mainstream media typically blames it on "global warming." This was no exception on the July 26 edition of "The Early Show." Upon reporting on the flooding in Britain, correspondent Elizabeth Palmer concluded her report blaming the disaster on global warming and predicting more to come.
"But most people think that with climate change, flooding like this, or even worse, could become common place here in Britain."
As if floods did not occur before the industrial age. CBS followed NBC's "Today" as correspondent Keith Miller blamed the disaster on "global warming."