At the top of Wednesday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Erica Hill fretted over Republicans pledging to focus solely on economic issues in the lame duck session of Congress: "Gridlock alert. Just one day after promising to work together while meeting with President Obama, GOP leaders may now put a halt on cooperating with Democrats on Capitol Hill. So will Washington find itself at a standstill?"
Moments later, co-host Harry Smith lamented how "the spirit of cooperation between Republicans and Democrats after yesterday's White House summit seemed to fade quickly." In the report that followed, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante solely blamed the GOP for the division: "There are new questions this morning about just how sincere the spirit of cooperation in Washington really is. CBS News has confirmed that Senate Republicans have collected signatures on a letter which pledges to block everything unrelated to tax cuts and spending during the lame duck congress."
Of the three morning shows on Thursday, only CBS left out any mention of Barack Obama or Attorney General Eric Holder while reporting on the nearly complete acquittal of a former Guantanamo Bay detainee.
Early Show news anchor Erica Hill asserted that "the verdict is in for the first Guantanamo detainee to be tried in a civilian court and it is being seen by some as a serious setback for the government." Ahmed Ghailani was acquitted on 284 out of 285 charges against him. The President's name never came up on CBS.
Over on NBC's Today, the four hour morning program devoted a scant 40 seconds to the topic. But even in that short amount of time, reporter Ann Curry was more definitive than CBS. She at least allowed, "But, the decision could undermine President Obama's plan to put other Guantanamo Bay detainees on trial in civilian courts."
On Thursday's CBS Early Show, news reader Erica Hill used loaded liberal terms to describe a Texas pro-life event that Sarah Palin attended on Wednesday: "Palin shared the stage in an anti-abortion rights rally with Texas Governor Rick Perry."
Hill touted how despite making no announcement to make a 2012 presidential run, Palin "was looking an awful lot like a candidate," adding that the appearance with Governor Perry represented "a dream ticket for some tea party supporters." However, after playing a brief clip of Palin, Hill noted how "A just-released Associated Press poll finds of all the potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates, Sarah Palin is the most polarizing."
On Friday's CBS Early Show, after news reader Erica Hill reported on Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's heated Thursday appearance on ABC's 'The View,' co-host Harry Smith proclaimed O'Reilly to be "the bloviater-in-chief" and that "he was in full bloviation mode yesterday."
Hill began her report by declaring: "When Barbara Walters introduced the conservative talk show host on 'The View' Thursday, she ignited a major fuse, turning daytime TV into dynamite." Hill described how O'Reilly's statement that "Muslims killed us on 9/11" caused left-wing hosts Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg to walk off the set. Once she concluded her piece, Smith said of O'Reilly: "He loves all this attention." Hill replied "he thrives on it." Smith added: "He was so happy to see their reactions to him."
At the top of the 8PM ET hour on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante touted President Obama's comments about the midterm elections in a recent interview: "[He] told Rolling Stone magazine that for those people not to come out, those so-called 'surge voters,' would be 'inexcusable and irresponsible'....'people need to shake off this lethargy and buck up.'"
News reader Erica Hill then brought up another part of the interview: "Also in that Rolling Stone article, on a little bit lighter note, I understand the President is perhaps expanding his musical library a little bit?" Plante responded: "...there are 2,000 tunes on his iPod. We got a look inside, it's Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan....He's got Nas, Lil' Wayne, some of the hip-hop artists. And his daughters are getting into the act, too. Sharing their musical tastes with him." Hill remarked: "Ah, I imagine that could include the Jonas Brothers, from everything we've heard about the Obama girls."
What was missing in the discussion of the President's Rolling Stone interview were his attacks on the tea party movement and Fox News. Of the tea party, Obama declared: "...there are probably some aspects of the Tea Party that are a little darker, that have to do with anti-immigrant sentiment or are troubled by what I represent as the president." As NewBusters' Lachlan Markay pointed out, Obama also proclaimed that Fox News has a "point of view" that is "ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country." Neither Plante nor Hill made any mention of those controversial comments.
At the top of Thursday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Erica Hill teased a report on Pope Benedict's visit to Scotland: "...it's a rather controversial visit for a number of reasons." Later, correspondent Richard Roth proclaimed the state visit "has more pomp and potentially more problems" and would "bound to be shadowed by controversy along with ceremony."
Roth went on to tout a gaffe made by a Papal aide prior to the trip and noted how the Pope "courts criticism on a range of issues, from the visit's cost – figured at around $20 million – to the cover-up of sex abuse among Catholic clergyman." He also highlighted predictions of low turnouts at Papal events during the visit: "[Benedict's] welcome will be measured, in part, by the size of his crowds. Some Church officials this morning were already lowering expectations, saying seats were still unsold for several outdoor events." In fact, about 125,00 people lined the streets of Edinburgh to see the Pope's motorcade, with 65,000 attending a later outdoor mass.
The only positive comment about the Papal visit was a sound bite of Queen Elizabeth welcoming the Pontiff: "On behalf of the people of the United Kingdom, I wish you a most fruitful and memorable visit." Roth concluded his report this way: "This is a country with a strong anti-clerical streak and a critical press. But, one leading paper's comment here that Benedict's 'entering the lion's den,' may also reflect a flare for dramatic overstatement."
While acknowledging bad news for Democrats in the latest CBS News/New York Times poll on Thursday's CBS Early Show, White House correspondent Bill Plante worked to find a silver lining: "But when it comes to who's at fault for the rotten economy there's a disconnect. 37% say the Bush administration is most to blame. Only 5% blame the Obama administration."
Following Plante's report, fill-in co-host Erica Hill spoke with political analyst John Dickerson and wondered: "37% of those in the poll said that fault for the bad economy lays with the Bush administration. 5% said it lays with the Obama administration. Does that mean that this Democratic message is getting through?"
Dickerson explained: "People don't blame the Obama administration and they also, in our poll, believe the Democrats have the better policies to deal with the economy and, also, they believe the Democratic position on tax cuts. Nevertheless, they want to throw out the people who are in power and the problem is there are just more Democrats in power."
In a report on the Republican senate primary in Delaware on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes portrayed tea party favorite Christine O'Donnell's conservative social views as being on the fringe: "[She] has crusaded for abstinence and against porn. Writing once that 'when a married person uses pornography, it compromises the spouse's purity.'"
Cordes noted O'Donnell's position on those issues following a sound bite of primary opponent Mike Castle declaring: "I think she's too extreme for Delaware." In another sound bite after Cordes's comment, editor-in-chief of The Hotline, Reid Wilson, explained: "If Christine O'Donnell wins the primary election she's going to have a very difficult time winning in what is still a very blue, very Democratic state."
In concluding the report, Cordes observed: "...until recently this seat in Delaware seemed like it was in the bag." Fill-in co-host Erica Hill replied: "Ah, but no longer."
Following the report, Hill interviewed O'Donnell, focusing on the candidate's position in the polls and financial issues being raised in the campaign. Throughout the interview, the headline on screen read: "Primary Day; Controversial Tea Party Candidate Takes On Establishment."
The Labor Department announced the unemployment rate rose a tenth of a point, to 9.6 percent in August so, as the AP noted, it “has exceeded 9 percent for 16 straight months,” while the economy lost 54,000 jobs. Yet, without avoiding the dire numbers, ABC, CBS and NBC managed to find a “mixed picture,” “mixed bag” or even a “silver lining” for President Obama and Democrats two months before election day.
“It's a mixed picture here, but it's giving some encouragement to those who are out there looking, some who are hanging onto their jobs and their businesses by a thread,” Brian Williams insisted on Friday's NBC Nightly News. On the CBS Evening News, fill-on anchor Erica Hill saw “a bit of a mixed bag” before Anthony Mason asserted that “weak as the job numbers were, they were better than Wall Street expected” and he touted: “With American businesses creating 67,000 jobs in August, the private sector has now added jobs for eight straight months.”
Over on ABC, fill-in anchor David Muir elevated Obama's spin, teasing World News: “More jobs lost and the President, just today, taking the Republicans on. Are they standing in the way?” He introduced the subsequent story: “This country lost another 54,000 jobs in August, and the President today took on the Republicans, saying they're the ones blocking help for small business.”
On Thursday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Erica Hill interviewed Vanity Fair reporter Michael Joseph Gross about his article slamming Sarah Palin with outlandish accusations: "...we've watched Sarah Palin go from a small town hockey mom and the mayor to international celebrity....it certainly changed her, that's according to a rather unflattering new article in Vanity Fair magazine. "
Talking to Gross, Hill noted how he "had a tough time...getting to people who are close to Sarah Palin," but wondered: "...tell us about the people you did speak to who are around her....What kind of an impression did they give you of Sarah Palin?" Gross detailed some of the wild claims made by his questionable sources: "They'd tell stories about screaming fits, about throwing things....where Sarah and Todd will empty the pantry of canned goods, throwing them at each other until the front of the refrigerator looks like it's been shot up by a shot gun." Taken in by the story, Hill simply replied: "Wow."
Gross continued, alleging that Palin "tortured" former assistants, one of whom "had to quit the job, seek psychiatric counseling, and leave the state to escape Palin's influence." He asserted: "...[Palin] exacts retribution on people after they leave. They're afraid that she's going to get them fired from their job, try to ruin their reputations. That's the modus operandi." Earlier in the interview, he described Palin's current political activity as an effort to exact "a kind of vengeance on the country for rejecting her" in the 2008 election.
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith served as an apologist for President Obama, who failed to credit President George W. Bush with the Iraq troop surge in an Oval Office address Tuesday night: "...while he [Obama] did not acknowledge...President Bush's support for the surge....he at least gave it tacit agreement – approval. And he has certainly approved a surge in Afghanistan."
Smith made the defense during an interview with Arizona Senator John McCain, who took the President to task for opposing the 2007 troop surge: "...it was President Bush who made the decision – over the vociferous option of the President of the United States, then Senator Obama – to do the surge. And if we had done what President Obama wanted, we would have failed in Iraq because he even voted against the funding for it." After Smith claimed that Obama "had a year and a half to rescind" his opposition to the surge and eventually gave "tacit agreement" to it, McCain replied: "...if we had done what he wanted to do, we would have left and we would have lost and had a horrendous setback to America's national security."
Smith moved on to Afghanistan, still skeptical of the success of the Iraq surge strategy: "If, in fact, the surge was successful in Iraq, is that – is there a lesson from that to be applied to Afghanistan now that we've – there are more than 320 kids have been killed in Afghanistan this year. Are the lessons of Iraq applicable to Afghanistan?"
Just as they did in the morning, on Friday night the broadcast network stories on Glenn Beck's “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington, DC were pegged to left-wing complaints his event is scheduled for the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King's “I Have a Dream” speech, except the reporters refused to identify the ideology of Beck's critics while showing no such reluctance to tag him and/or his allies.
“The rally in Washington. Followers of conservative radio and TV host Glenn Beck already gathering in the capital,” fill-in anchor Erica Hill teased at the top of the CBS Evening News. “In Washington,” she introduced the subsequent story, “followers of conservative talk show host Glenn Beck are already gathering on the Washington mall for tomorrow's rally...” Reporter Wyatt Andrews, however, refrained from labeling: “Critics, like the Reverend Al Sharpton, say that Beck, who has described the President as [Beck: “a racist”] and who has railed against government programs for the poor, has no business invoking Dr. King.”
Over on ABC's World News, Claire Shipman warned: “While the comedians poke gleefully at the 'Beckapalooza,' as [Jon] Stewart calls it, civil right leaders worry the day will be tarnished.” Yet seconds later she found it necessary to apply a label: “Martin Luther King's niece, a conservative activist, will appear supporting Beck tomorrow, as will Sarah Palin.”
Continuing their obsession with the credibility-challenged Levi Johnston, whose sole claim to fame is his continuing ability to exploit his relationship with Sarah Palin’s daughter, Bristol, CBS’s The Early Show on Friday devoted more than four minutes to an “exclusive” interview with the “reality star” and how he now recants his apology for lying about the Palins in previous interviews.
To her credit, correspondent Betty Nguyen challenged Johnston’s openly frivolous approach to running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska (a stunt concocted for a reality show) and whether his temporary apology was “honest” (he said it was “something I did to make my fiancee happy”).
But CBS has shown a particular fetish for publicizing Johnston’s antics, especially his slams of Sarah Palin. Back in July, NewsBusters’ Kyle Drennen documented five lengthy Early Show features of Johnston, including two “exclusive” interviews, one of which aired over two days. Always, CBS touted the anti-Sarah Palin angle, as they did again today with the on-screen headline: “Levi’s Regrets; Johnston Sorry He Made Palin Apology.”
As the Obama administration’s “Recovery Summer” crumbles, CBS’s Early Show on Thursday noted how the poor economic data has made many Americans deeply pessimistic about the future, with 37% saying that the economy “is in permanent decline.”
So does that mean Obama's $862 billion stimulus is a failure? Not according to economist Mark Zandi, who was interviewed by co-host Erica Hill. Zandi asserted that “the recession ended about a year ago, in large part because of the stimulus efforts,” and the current sluggishness was because “the stimulus is now fading,” and thus “the benefit to growth is winding down.”
Of course, Zandi has been a consistent enthusiast for the stimulus, as far back as early 2009, a fact which was not disclosed today. “We need stimulus,” Zandi championed on the January 28, 2009 Early Show. “It’s about preserving jobs.”
Speaking to conservative commentator Ann Coulter on Thursday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Erica Hill seemed to hope the Ground Zero mosque controversy had run its course: "Does it go away or does this continue through November?"
Hill's question to Coulter followed fellow guest, Democratic strategist Tanya Acker, ranting: "...the notion that in the United States of America we would deny people the right to have a religious edifice is simply – like, that's just not – it's unconscionable....I think that smart Republicans, fair Republicans, fair people of all political persuasions need to look – are looking at this really as a constitutional issue and really as a freedom issue. It should not be this political question that it's become." Picking up on Acker's argument, Hill turned to Coulter: "So, it shouldn't be a political issue. Though is it going to continue to be one as we head to November?"
In her response, Coulter fired back at Acker: "I will say Tanya's absolutely giving the Democratic position. America, you want a mosque at Ground Zero, you vote for the Democrats." Acker angrily replied: "No. No, I'm giving – I'm giving the American position, Ann. I'm giving the American position because my constitution says that-" Hill then interrupted, notifying both guests that they were out of time.
While teasing an upcoming report on President Obama campaigning for Democrats on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Chris Wragge touted: "...plunging poll numbers haven't stopped the President from raking in millions at fund raisers across the country."
Later, White House correspondent Chip Reid observed: "You know, the President's approval rating is only 44%, but he is still quite popular with the party's base and he's using that clout to raise millions of dollars for fellow Democrats." Reid went on to declare: "President Obama and the Democratic Party are managing to raise big bucks in the hope of retaining control of Congress. The Democratic National Committee is committing $50 million to help candidates in 2010, $20 million in cash, and $30 million to get out the vote."
A campaign sound bite was played of the President attacking Republicans: "We do not fear the future. We shape the future. That's part of what this election's about. The other side wants you to be afraid of the future." Reid concluded: "President Obama is doing six fund-raisers over three days in five states. By week's end, he'll have raised over $56 million this campaign season."
Only at the end of his report did Reid briefly notice the money raised by the GOP: "Now, Republicans are also raking in the cash this campaign season. The Republican Governors Association, for example, has brought in $58 million since President Obama came into office."
Appearing on Monday's CBS Early Show to discuss President Obama showing support for a controversial mosque being built near Ground Zero, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer agreed with the President's sentiment but lamented the political fallout: "The President said and made the right intellectual argument, but I'm not sure that it was great politics for him to say it at this particular time."
Schieffer began by outlining White House talking points on the issue to substitute co-host Erica Hill: "The story they tell is the President thought this Ramadan dinner – these were dinners that were started after 9/11 by President Bush as an outreach to demonstrate that our problems are with terrorists, not with people who are Muslims – he thought this was an appropriate place to say what all Americans believe, in that everyone has a right to practice their religion in this country." Schieffer later added: "I would agree with the White House."
At the same time, both Hill and Schieffer fretted over the political fallout, particularly Republican criticism. Hill teased the segment at the top of show by declaring that Obama's "apparent defense of the proposed mosque at Ground Zero has Republicans howling." Schieffer remarked: "Republicans are trying to take every advantage of this they can."
During a discussion of the upcoming midterm elections on Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Erica Hill asked Republican strategist Kevin Madden: "...when you look at this from the Republican perspective...there is some competition from the Tea Party, from those perhaps to the extreme right...is this race Republicans to lose, and if so, what do they have to do to hold on to it?"
Hill picked up the "extreme right" label from her other guest, Democratic strategist Tanya Acker, who had just ranted: "I think that it's very evident that we're running against a group of Republican candidates, in large part, who've really positioned themselves at an extreme end of the right – of the right wing, which is really where not most of the country is....what Democrats have to do is talk about what it is they're standing for and why it is the country doesn't want to go back to a time when, frankly, a lot of us were much worse off."
Madden responded to Hill by pointing to the left-wing agenda of the Democrats: "...independent voters...they've abandoned Democrats, in large part because of the spending, because of the deficits, because of a very left of center agenda....it is a very good place to be right now when you're the alternative to a Democrat agenda."
Instead of challenging Acker on the Democrats "very left of center agenda," Hill gently wondered: "What about the President? He's doing a lot of fundraising, does he need to, though, work on a little bit different message or is he doing the right thing?" Acker reasserted her previous point: "...the real competition here is for the moderates, is for independents. And in order for Democrats to successfully get them back on board, they're going to have to explain why the alternatives are far too extreme."
Teasing an upcoming story in the 7:30AM ET half hour on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith cheerfully promoted Levi Johnston's pitch for a reality show in Alaska: "He's going to star in a new reality show and it's all about him running for mayor of Wasilla. That's right, he's gunning for his would-have-been mother-in-law's old job."
Later, Smith further teased: "Johnston's quest to follow in Sarah Palin's foot steps and hold political office." Introducing the report, fill-in co-host Erica Hill remarked how Johnston would "be chasing Sarah Palin's legacy." Correspondent Priya David-Clemens discussed the show as if it was about to go on the air: "He's inked a reality show deal that will be all Levi and no Bristol. The new show, called 'Loving Levi: The Road to the Mayor's Office,' will follow the young father as he campaigns for the top job in his hometown of Wasilla, Alaska." In fact, as the New York Times reported, the show is simply an idea being pitched by Johnston and producers but has not been picked up any network yet.
David-Clemens touted a description of the proposed show: "In a statement to 'Us Weekly,' the show's executive producer said, quote, 'he'll give us a real inside look into who he is as a father, a skilled hunter, an avid dirt biker, and, of course, his journey down the road of small town politics, right after he gets his high school diploma.'"
Playing Stevie Wonder's version of 'Happy Birthday' at the end of Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Erica Hill reported: "The Obamas, of course, big Stevie Wonder fans. And President Obama, 49 years old today." After she observed that Obama looked a little grayer, co-host Harry Smith, who interviewed the President on Friday, chimed in: "He came bounding into the interview area full of energy."
Smith went on to note how "in terms of energy and sort of lines on the face or any of that other kind of stuff....looks like [Obama's] still got it together." Hill wondered: "He doesn't look tired or drawn or stressed?" Smith replied, "No, no. Nope," and started to joke about his own age: "[Obama] was probably very happy to see me....Because Lord knows, everybody likes it when they see the old- "
At that point, weatherman Dave Price interjected: "But keep in mind, you really never notice it until you see those pictures." He added: "...the only one who really came out looking just like he did was Reagan....left looking great." Smith couldn't resist getting in a quick shot at the late president: "...they insisted till the end that he never dyed his hair."
Appearing on Friday's CBS Early Show to discuss the Shirley Sherrod controversy, Ann Coulter pointed out the network's own faulty reporting on tea partiers protesting the passage of ObamaCare: "CBS News itself has reported that John Lewis was called the 'N' word 15 times. That is a lie, that is a despicable lie, that never happened. Why doesn't CBS News apologize for that?" [Audio available here]
Earlier in the discussion, fill-in co-host Erica Hill described how "things happen on both sides," like the inaccurate claims made against Sherrod. Coulter agreed and cited some examples:
Hill reiterated her initial point: "But Ann, Ann, things like this happen on both sides." She then went after Fox: "On Fox News we saw footage that was ran months ago, purportedly showing certain crowds at rallies, and they were from a different event. This happens across the board." At that point, Coulter noted the poor reporting done by CBS News.
On Thursday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Erica Hill discussed the firing of Shirley Sherrod with left-wing Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson, who used the opportunity to slam conservatives: "...there's unfair pressure on the Obama administration, Mr. Obama himself, from, I think, the far right wing, which perceives black gain at the expense of white security."
Dyson used the phrase "right wing" a total of eight times throughout the five-minute segment. He lamented how the White House "caved into duress and stress from the right wing" and later pushed the false claim that Fox News had pushed the Obama administration to fire Sherrod: "And it does show that Andrew Breitbart and other right-wing bloggers have an intense power, this is focused at Fox News, that then forces the mainstream media to pay attention and the White House itself got roped into this."
At one point, Dyson remarked: "...it's not just a matter of 'oh, those right wing guys over there are horrible,' there's liberal enlightened racism as well." Hill responded: "The NAACP initially jumped on this and said – and condemned – condemned Sherrod as well. So, I mean, this is coming from all sides. This is not just a right wing issue or a left wing issue." Dyson admitted that he thought the NAACP acted "dishonorably," but quickly moved back to conservatives: "...why do we take the word of a right-wing media on the issues and practices and behaviors of people in the broader mainstream? I think we have to be very careful here."
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Erica Hill cheered the passage of financial reform legislation as "another huge milestone for President Obama." Hill went on to explain: "The first was when he signed the historic health care bill back in March. Today he is set to sign a bill aimed at completely overhauling Wall Street."
White House correspondent Chip Reid began a report on the new bill by proclaiming: "It's being hailed as the biggest shakeup of Wall Street since the Great Depression." Reid enthusiastically touted provisions in the legislation: "The bill's centerpiece is the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection....charged with regulating financial products, including mortgages, credit cards, and student loans. The legislation also gives broad new powers to the federal government, allowing it to take control of and shut down large financial institutions..."
Reid pointed out criticism of the legislation: "But critics say the bill fails to reform mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, does not create a fund to help shut down big banks when they fail, and gives too much power to federal regulators to create reams of new rules." After noting GOP concern that bill "will curb growth and kill jobs," Reid turned to an analyst from the left-leaning Brookings Institution for reassurance: "Still, former investment banker Douglas Elliott believes the bill is better than doing nothing." Elliott argued: "The bill addresses most of the problems and makes a good start. It's not perfection, but in the real world, we don't get perfection."
While discussing President Obama's sinking approval ratings with Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer on Friday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Erica Hill did her best to make lemonade out of lemons for the Democratic Party: "But in the end, could losing the House ultimately be good for the President? Because it certainly helped Bill Clinton."
Schieffer was the rare voice of wisdom, replying: "You know, Erica, I don't think it is ever good to lose. I think you're always better off when you win." Though he did try to downplay the potential Democratic losses by suggesting both parties were in danger: "I think this is just a symptom of the greater problem, and that is until this economy gets better, everybody in elected office better look out because they could be in trouble." Hill agreed: "Be very careful, no one is safe at this point."
The majority of the segment touted Obama's supposed policy achievements and wondered why he wasn't more popular with the American people. At the top of the broadcast, co-host Harry Smith declared: "Congress approves sweeping changes in financial regulations as President Obama takes on Wall Street and wins. So, why are his poll numbers so bad?" Hill later proclaimed: "It's another legislative victory for the President. His poll numbers, however, are worse than ever."
CBS’s Early Show was eager to host Levi Johnston when he was trashing the Palin family last year – 5 segments totaling more than 24 minutes of airtime. But since admitting that some of his attacks were untrue, the morning show has barely noticed, making only two brief mentions of Johnston's reversal and apology in a July 6 People Magazine interview.
On Friday, fill-in co-host Erica Hill offered a scant 42 second discussion of Johnston's apology in the show's weekly 'Early Wrap' segment. She actually admitted that it had been "highly under-reported." On Wednesday, amidst 2 minutes and 32 seconds of coverage of Johnston's re-engagement to Bristol Palin, a total of 25 seconds was given to his apology.
During the Wednesday coverage, co-host Harry Smith remarked: "How many times was that young man on this show talking really horrible things about the Palins?" Later, Hill declared that Johnston "said some rather unflattering things," causing Smith to once again describe how "Levi was on this show a bunch, several times in that era, and did interviews with [fellow Early Show co-host] Maggie [Rodriguez]."
Of the five 2009 segments about Johnston, three were exclusive interviews between him and Rodriguez. The first interview aired on April 8, while the second was aired in two parts on October 28 and 29. In addition, the show did September 3 segment on Johnston's anti-Palin Vanity Fair interview and a November 17 story previewing an interview with him on the CBS entertainment news program 'The Insider.'
Update: CBS earlier declined comment on Johnston apology.
On Friday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Erica Hill confessed Levi Johnston's apology for making false statements about the Palin family was "highly under-reported." During the 'Early Wrap' segment, Hill told a panel of media pundits: "My favorite story of the week, which was highly under-reported...is that Levi Johnston came out and said....Some things he said about the Palin family were not true."
It's interesting that Hill used the phrase "under-reported," when CBS did not cover Johnston's admission at all since he made the statement in a Tuesday interview with People Magazine. Meanwhile, the network, and the Early Show in particular, heavily promoted Johnston's claims about the Palins last year.
Update: In a Wednesday article entitled "Will Levi's apology lead to media corrections?," Michael Calderone of Yahoo News observed: "Johnston used to have a lot to say. And the media — whether they were news, politics or celebrity outlets — listened. He appeared on the 'CBS Early Show,' 'Entertainment Tonight' and 'The Tyra Banks Show.'" Calderone attempted to get a response from CBS on Johnston's apology but they "declined comment."
In response to Hill, panelist Joe Levy, editor-in-chief of Maxim Magazine, dismissed the revelation: "Wow. So, a teenager who breaks up with his girlfriend says untrue things about her and her family? That is a shocker. I don't think that's ever happened before." Fellow panelist, Daily Show correspondent Olivia Munn, chimed in: "I think he needs to apologize for his Playgirl spread first and then go to the Palins....Because America is hurt, first and foremost, and then some people in Alaska."
The morning programs of the Big Three networks all sang the praises of CNN host Larry King after he announced on Tuesday his upcoming retirement from his program, while overlooking his liberal bent at times. Both Willie Geist on NBC's Today show and CBS's Harry Smith labeled King "legendary," while ABC's George Stephanopoulos heralded how he was "on top of his game" for most of his career.
NBC correspondent Peter Alexander reused Geist's "legendary" label, and chronicled the CNN personality's "perch in prime time" during his 25 years on his Larry King Live program, spotlighting how he "has interviewed nearly 50,000 people over more than 50 years in broadcasting." Alexander underlined this with clips from King's interviews of Frank Sinatra, Ross Perot, and Paris Hilton, noting that "if you wanted the country to listen, you sat down with Larry King." The correspondent also included a clip from Ken Baker of E! News, who stated that "whoever is going to replace Larry King has obviously very big shoes to fill."
On Thursday's Today, the NBC program ignored the revelation that the Obama administration attempted to persuade a Democratic Senate candidate to drop out of a primary race. ABC's Good Morning America and CBS's Early Show both highlighted the story in full reports.
CBS's Erica Hill announced, "There are new allegations of back room politics by the White House. A Colorado politician says the Obama administration hinted at a job offer if he stayed out of the Senate race."
ABC's Jake Tapper pointed out the potential problems for the White House: "But this does look bad. It looks, again, like politics as usual. And Republicans, you can expect them to make a lot of hay about this today."
The White House may have to waterboard its congressional allies to compel enough Democrats to support the health care bill and Congress will definitely have to raise taxes if the bill passes, insisted Bob Schieffer, host of Face the Nation on CBS, this morning on The Early Show. [Audio available here.]
As liberals focus on extending coverage to millions of uninsured Americans, Schieffer departed from the liberal talking points by pointing out that the current bill would definitely force Congress to raise taxes.
“These Democrats don’t know yet how much this bill is going to cost, they don’t know exactly who’s going to pay the taxes—there is no question some taxes are going up on this,” he said.
A Mississippi high school cancelled its prom due to the controversy surrounding Constance McMillen, a lesbian student, who wanted to bring her younger girlfriend to the prom. On March 12, CBS’s “The Early Show” featured McMillen and her lawyer. The sympathetic segment didn’t include anyone from the high school.
CBS’ Mark Strassmann stated, “Proms and high school go together like boyfriends and girlfriends, at least in Fulton, Mississippi. But now charges of discrimination and violation of a teenager's rights have scrapped the big night.”