On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen took an unusually critical tone toward President Obama’s first press conference on Monday night: "President Obama takes to prime time to pitch his nearly trillion-dollar rescue plan...But does the president have his facts straight? And what does a trillion dollars really buy you? We'll tell you."
In a later report on the press conference correspondent Bill Plante challenged some of the president’s assertions, including: "Most economists, almost unanimously, recognize government is an important element of introducing some additional demand into the economy." Plante countered: "In fact, several hundred economists argued for more tax cuts, rather than more spending." Plante also questioned Obama’s denial of any earmarks in the so-called "stimulus" bill: "Even so, the bill does call for some specifics that sound a lot like earmarks. $2 billion for a clean coal power plant. $2 billion for hybrid car batteries. $255 million for a Coast Guard icebreaker."
While discussing Rush Limbaugh’s opposition to the Obama administration’s massive spending bill on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked author Ann Coulter: "But don't you think that right now is not -- it behooves the Republicans to be a little bit more in the middle? I mean, what are -- they're not -- their voices aren't going to be heard anyway, as we saw with this economic stimulus plan...So doesn't it behoove them to be more bipartisan and meet in the middle?" Coulter did not feel "behooved": "I think it's just the reverse. I mean, we just ran John McCain, we are so sick of being in the middle."
The segment actually began with co-host Harry Smith trying to offer a fair assessment of Limbaugh’s comments about wanting President Obama to "fail": "I think if you listen to what Rush Limbaugh has said, 'I want him to fail,' he wants big government to fail...He wants certain things that are especially involved in this stimulus package to fail. I don't think he's sitting there saying 'as an American citizen, I want the presidency and the country to fail.’" Coulter agreed: "That's exactly right. In fact, I put it sort of the reverse way. I said, yes, of course, I want him to succeed, but that means he'll govern as a conservative...I sort of admire Rush's verve for switching it around that way." However, co-host Julie Chen wondered: "Oh, you admire that he put it that way? Don't you think it's a little bit irresponsible for him to put it that way?"
On Tuesday’s CBS ‘Early Show,’ embattled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was interviewed over the course of two segments, totaling 10 minutes, and was never described as a Democrat. Co-hosts Maggie Rodriguez, Harry Smith and Julie Chen all spoke with the governor at some point and none mentioned his political party. The only acknowledgment of the governor’s party affiliation was in an on-screen graphic that featured a ‘(D) Illinois’ label. A mention of Blagojevich’s political party was similarly lacking on Thursday’s Good Morning America on ABC.
In addition to Early Show hosts failing to note that Blagojevich was a Democrat, none of them asked the governor about any discussions he had with President Obama or other administration officials about filling Obama’s vacant Senate seat. In the second segment in the 7:30AM half hour, Blagojevich declared: "I want to bring Congressman Rahm -- president's chief of staff, my congressman, Rahm Emanuel...I want to bring Valerie Jarrett, who's a high-ranking official in the Obama administration." However, there was no follow-up question to clarify the connection those Obama administration officials had with Blagojevich. Despite such a lack of journalist curiosity, Julie Chen exclaimed at the top of the show: "Blago live. He's faced Larry and Barbara, but his toughest interview is ahead this morning."
Thursday’s CBS Early Show focused on an important aspect of the Obama Administration as co-host Julie Chen declared: "...in a meeting yesterday with senior White House staffers, President Obama showed a lot of love. That's right. The president is a man hugger. We counted nine man-to-man hugs." Co-host Maggie Rodriguez added: "Nothing wrong with that."
Chen then asked co-host Harry Smith: "Man of the show, Harry, how do you feel about the man hug?" Smith replied: "I think it's real." Rodriguez asked Smith: "Did he [Obama] ever man hug you?" Smith then recounted: "You know, I got one about a year ago in Wilmington, North Carolina. We were waiting for an interview, we had, you know, really great access. And he came in -- I have never told this story on the air before -- he came in, and he gives me one of these [Smith grasped Rodriguez’s hand and place his other hand on top]...and he says, ‘Harry Smith, how you doing, my brother?’" Rodriguez was touched: "Awww...He had you."
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen reacted to a recent interview Sarah Palin gave to film maker John Ziegler for his new documentary about media bias in the 2008 election: "Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is lashing out at the media. She says she was treated unfairly on the campaign trail, and as part of a documentary called ‘Media Malpractice.’"
After airing a brief report on the documentary, in which correspondent Thalia Assuras focused on Palin’s criticism of CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric, Chen spoke to political analysts Bay Buchanan and Joe Lockhart. Near the end of the segment, Chen asked Buchanan: "After she did part one of her interview with Katie Couric, she said in this documentary she knew it did not go well. I mean, whose fault is that?"
Buchanan replied: "Oh, there -- and I think it was her fault. But number one, she should never have been on with Katie Couric...A good campaign manager, a good media person, starts them in easy, puts them in with friendly people, gets them to get a little used to that." Chen vigorously defended Couric and attacked Palin: "If she can't -- wait, but if she can't hold her own against a TV journalist, how should the American people expect her to hold her own against world leaders, or terrorists, or anyone else who might have an impact on the lives of Americans?"
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen came to the defense of would-be New York Senator Caroline Kennedy, who has faced criticism for her lack of experience: "This is so unfair. I mean, look, the system is set up the way it's set up and Governor Paterson decides and that's it. Leave her alone, everyone." That comment followed a report by correspondent Meg Oliver, in which Kennedy avoided tough questions from the press: "She quickly got a taste of the pressure that comes with seeking a high-profile political office...questions mostly went unanswered."
Chen was not so quick to defend Sarah Palin from critics during the campaign. When Tina Fey began impersonating Palin on Saturday Night Live in September, Chen remarked: "Tina Fey has just so much material to work with, this is like, probably a dream come true for her." Earlier in September, Chen wondered about Palin’s foreign policy experience: "The education of Sarah Palin. The Alaska governor has her first meetings with world leaders as they gather at the U.N. How will she do?"
According to CBS correspondent Richard Roth, in a report on Monday’s CBS Early about an Iraqi journalist throwing a shoe at President Bush during a Baghdad press conference, the incident was reminiscent of the toppling of a statue of Saddam Hussein five years earlier: "Mr. Bush's message of progress was eclipsed in Baghdad by a sign of his unpopularity...The symbolism wouldn't have been lost on Iraqis, for whom shoes can be used to show extreme contempt, as with the footwear beaten against the statue of Saddam Hussein toppled by Marines five years ago."
At the top of the show, co-host Harry Smith teased the story: "So the tabloids in New York are having a field day with the shoe attack on President Bush in Iraq. The Daily News calls it a ‘Shoe-icide Attack.’ And then the Post calls it ‘Lame Duck’." After Roth’s report, Smith looked at the video of Bush’s reaction and observed: "I mean, look at the president's face, look at the look on his face...He's amused almost by this." Co-host Julie Chen then chimed in: "He looked more embarrassed. I mean, he turned a little bit beet red afterwards."
Chen later remarked: "And he did kind of shoo off the Secret Service agent who came up-" Co-host Maggie Rodriguez interjected: "No pun intended." Chen didn’t understand the pun at first, but then added: "I didn't mean that! Hey, I'm wittier than I think this morning." In May, Chen thought Hawaii was in the Atlantic Ocean.
At the top of Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen declared: "...it may be the hottest ticket in the country right now, a ticket to Barack Obama's inauguration in January. Millions are expected to try and watch the swearing in. But we're going to show you why tickets are almost impossible to get." The 2008 April Fool’s edition of the Media Research Center’s Media Reality Check featured a fictional quote from Early Show co-host Harry Smith: "CBS's Harry Smith sounded like a teenage groupie on the April 1 Early Show: ‘Obama's rock star status is reaching historic levels. His rallies attract more fans than a Hannah Montana concert and seats are impossible to get. Believe me I've tried.’"
Chen later introduced a report on the Obama inauguration by proclaiming: "Inauguration fever is sweeping Washington. The city's mayor believes 3-5 million people may turn out to witness President-elect Obama's swearing-in." However, in the report, correspondent Thalia Assuras talked to Howard Gantman of the Joint Congressional Committee for Inauguration, who predicted a much smaller turnout: "We've printed 240,000 tickets. So that's a minimum, we expect at least that many people. For this event, we could see half a million, some projections have come in for a million or more."
At the top of Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen declared: "Breaking news. A new CBS poll out this morning shows the change in mood in America after Barack Obama's election." Co-host Maggie Rodriguez later touted the poll results: "A changing of the guard in Washington is changing American attitudes. A CBS News poll out this morning shows that most Americans have good feelings about Barack Obama. 71% say they're optimistic about the next four years with him as president."
Compare those poll results with those reported on the CBS Evening News on December 17, 2000 by then-anchor John Roberts, shortly after George W. Bush was elected: "A new CBS News poll out tonight shows that the majority of Americans are satisfied with the outcome of the election, though there were only five points separating them from those who weren't. When asked if Bush legitimately won the election, 53 percent said yes, compared to 40 percent who said no." Roberts also looked at one of President Bush’s first policy proposals: "A narrow majority of Americans also believe that Bush has enough public support to pass is $ 1.3 trillion tax cut...But on Capitol Hill, opinions run from lukewarm to dead set against it."
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen praised Barack Obama’s election as the first African-American president but lamented the passage of California’s Proposition 8, preventing gay marriage: "One barrier falls, another returns. Married gays in legal limbo protest through the night as California voters ban same-sex unions." At the top of the 8AM hour, correspondent John Blackstone reported: "In disappointment, supporters of same-sex marriage gathered in Los Angeles last night, after the hard-fought campaign over California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage, they were on the losing side, but not ready to give up."
Blackstone went on to describe the fight that lay ahead: "This may, however, be just one more battle in California's long war over same-sex marriage. Gay rights advocates have already filed a lawsuit claiming Proposition 8 improperly writes discrimination into the state constitution." A clip was then played of the left-wing mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom: "Never before has our constitution been used to strip rights away." Blackstone did not offer the voice of a single person who supported the proposition.
The co-hosts of Wednesday’s "CBS Early Show" used as many glowing adjectives as they could think of in reporting Barack Obama’s election to the presidency, with Harry Smith leading the way:
"America votes for change. Barack Obama elected the 44th President of the United States after a decisive victory over John McCain. The nation opens a new era, a powerful moment in history."
Maggie Rodriguez described what it was like to be at Obama’s victory speech in Chicago: "I have to say that to be here last night for that moment was to live history, it was a privilege...the sea of waving American flags and feeling the euphoria and the emotion that was emanating from that crowd here last night...a chilling victory speech, it -- it left people here just speechless, it was breath-taking."
My NewsBusters colleagues, and conservatives across the blogosphere, are sure to be vying to document the most outrageous examples of the MSM's fawning reaction to the Obama victory.
Hopefully I'll have the honor of at least a brief clubhouse lead with my entry, the words of CBS Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen during this morning's opening segment.
JULIE CHEN: Yeah, it was so moving, um, last night. You couldn't help but feel so emotional, and I agree with you [Maggie Rodriguez], I think John McCain did a really classy job in his speech [he did, but MSM loves Republicans best as losers] in acknowledging Barack's [Julie on first-name basis] big win. And what was most inspiring to me was when Barack Obama was addressing that huge crowd, was watching such a diverse group of faces, all with so much hope in their eyes. That made me feel really good.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen introduced a new campaign segment: "...throughout this morning, we're bringing you the voices of Americans and what they're thinking as they prepare to vote." In the brief video clip that followed, Colorado Springs City Council member Jan Martin Described herself as a "lifelong Republican" explained: "I think we are at a place and a point in time where hope and unity are two things that this country needs more than anything."
The only problem is that Jan Martin was similarly touted by the New York Times in early October, at which point, NewsBusters’ P.J. Gladnick discovered that she was a member of the Colorado Springs chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and Colorado’s Gay and Lesbian Fund. In the Early Show segment Martin worried: " There's an uncertainty of what it will mean to my future political career, but I really believe that this election was too important not to -- not to take a stand."
In the 8AM half hour, co-host Maggie Rodriguez introduced a video clip of a McCain supporter: "We heard from a voter who supports Barack Obama. Now how a McCain supporter feels about this election." However, voter Amy Myers did not exactly give McCain unequivocal support: "We checked into both candidates’ tax plans and had realized that we would be saving three times as much in Obama's versus the McCain tax plan. The difference in the tax plans is not enough to change my vote. I feel that McCain, for me, is the proper candidate."
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked exclusively to two Canadian comedians, Marc-Antoine Audette and Sebastien Trudel, who prank called Sarah Palin: "Pranksters pulled a fast one, over the weekend, on vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Comedians from Canada posed as French President Nicolas Sarkozy." Smith later asked them: "Did you get the sense when you were on the phone with her, did she have any idea what was going on?" Trudel replied: "No...She was as gullible as Britney Spears. She -- there are only two people that we pranked that never caught on that it was a joke and that we had to explain it to them at the end. Sarah Palin and Britney Spears. And Britney Spears could not ever be President of the United States but Sarah Palin could." Audette added: "But they're both good looking...at least." Smith agreed: "That accounts -- that does account for something."
In addition to portraying Sarah Palin as stupid, the comedians and Smith also described how bad her staff was. Smith asked: "...how long did it take you and how did you start?" Trudel replied: "We started Tuesday, last Tuesday, it took four days. It's our fastest one except Britney Spears, so you can put that in the same category, her staff." Audette added: "It was pretty quick, actually. Because when we pranked Paul McCartney it took us about two months...Bill Gates, a month, Britney Spears, two days, and Sarah Palin about four or five days." Trudel later observed: "Yeah, and it's pretty disturbing to see that idiot's like us can go through to a vice presidential candidate that could be eventually the most influential and the most powerful person in the world...Too stupid comedians...with a bad French accent...and go through her staff." Smith concluded: "I think you said it all."
I want to put up two graphics that show how much prices have increased in the last year. To fly from New York to Miami the current average fare is $363 round-trip ... Now last year the same trip cost on average $321, that's 13 percent higher than last year. And to fly from Los Angeles to Dallas, Fort Worth airport, the current average is $391 round-trip. Last year that same trip cost on average $341, that's 15 percent higher than last year. Do you see any signs of airfare prices changing direction?
Amy Ziff, the editor-at-large of Travelocity, qualified Chen's numbers by saying those figure only tracked Thanksgiving specific airfare and opposed Chen's assumption that airfares were unusually high:
Monday’s CBS ‘Early Show’ made Sarah Palin’s clothes shopping habits headline news as co-host Harry Smith declared: "Sarah Palin defends her shopping spree...We'll take you to the consignment store where she says she really shops." Only minutes later, Smith seemed to lament the distraction of the issue: "So much time and attention has been spent talking about John McCain's running mate in this -- in this case and, now it's -- they're defending themselves about clothes and all of these other things. Ones wonders if there's a presidential campaign going on here." Apparently Smith forgot that he shares responsibility for making it an issue in the first place.
At the top of the show, correspondent Jeff Glor reported that McCain: "...defended the woman he's running with. Following reports of rising tensions inside Sarah Palin's inner circle and the flap over those high-end designer clothes she wore at the convention." Glor added: "Palin, campaigning with the View's Elizabeth Hasselbeck, also addressed the $150,000 shopping spree." He played a clip of Hasselbeck: "Let me tell you, this is deliberately sexist." However, Glor never explained that Hasselbeck was talking about media coverage of Palin, instead he concluded: "The Alaskan governor said her wedding ring only cost $35 and that she usually buys her clothes from a consignment shop in Alaska."
In the 7:30AM half hour, co-host Julie Chen investigated that Alaska consignment shop: "On the campaign trail yesterday, Governor Sarah Palin again addressed the criticism she has received over the $150,000 that the Republican National Committee spent to dress her and her family. She said she likes to shop in a consignment store called Out of the Closet. The owner is Ellen Arv -- Arvold and she joins us now."
In case viewers did not understand the concept of a domino effect caused by the financial crisis, on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen offered a visual representation as she declared: "What happens on Wall Street affects all of us on Main Street. It's the classic domino effect." At that point, six giant dominos where displayed in the studio, each one labeled with a different phase of the economic crisis (see video).
Chen went through each phase, and domino, with financial expert Vera Gibbons. At the end of the segment, Gibbons explained: "It's a domino effect, it all works together." Gibbons then knocked over the giant dominos and declared: "Voila!" Chen replied: "That's depressing." Prior to offering such a dumbed-down explanation of the financial crisis, on Monday, Chen referred to all the comedic material Sarah Palin provided to Saturday Night Live: "Tina Fey has just so much material to work with, this is like, probably a dream come true for her."
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith aired the second half of his interview with the parents of Sarah Palin, Chuck and Sally Heath, and described how: "From mayor of Wasilla to governor of Alaska, and now a vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin's sudden appearance on the national scene has been celebrated, and increasingly criticized." Palin’s father responded: "They're digging and digging for the bad side, yeah. And there is no real bad side. They're fabricating a lot of things, which I don't want to go into, yeah."
Smith then followed up: "Is that hurtful to you as parents?" Palin’s mother replied: "Very. Very. Mostly because you know how it affects the kids." After the clip of the interview was played, co-host Julie Chen asked Smith: "Did they talk about how difficult it is to hear their daughter be the butt of so many jokes ever since she stepped out onto the national spotlight?" Smith responded: "Well, you know, it's interesting, because we talked to Chuck about that. He saw the -- at least the first episode from 'Saturday Night Live' and he said that he thought Tina Fey did a good job. I'm not so sure they would have appreciated this past Saturday night's episode, though." Chen replied: "Yeah, I agree." On Monday, Chen remarked on that latest SNL skit, declaring: "Tina Fey has just so much material to work with, this is like, probably a dream come true for her."
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith played a clip of the latest Saturday Night Live skit mocking Sarah Palin and following the clip, co-host Julie Chen remarked: "Tina Fey has just so much material to work with, this is like, probably a dream come true for her."In May, Chen placed Hawaii in the Atlantic Ocean and it was not part of a comedy skit. Co-host Maggie Rodriguez chimed in: "Well that's why Lorne Michaels was able to lure her back after she left, and I have a feeling she's going to be coming back a lot." During the recent Emmy awards, Tina Fey remarked: "I want to be done playing this lady Nov. 5...So if anybody can help me be done playing this lady Nov. 5, that would be good for me."
Later, Smith played a clip of the first part of his interview with Sarah Palin’s parents, Chuck and Sally Heath. Chuck Heath said he thought Fey’s impersonation was funny: "They replayed that, and replayed that, and replayed that. I thought it was kind of cute, yeah, yeah. Yeah, Tina Fey did a good job." Smith began the interview by asking the Heaths: "What would you tell folks who would say 'I'm not -- I'm not so sure that Sarah Palin's ready to be vice president.' What would you tell them?" Chuck Heath replied: " She's ready to do anything she wants to be. And she's -- she perseveres, she works so hard. She learns so fast. Yeah. I worry about that at all. That's what I'll tell them, yeah. If you want some honesty, yeah, not a typical politician, get her, yeah." The second part of the interview will be aired on Tuesday and includes Palin’s parents reacting to media coverage of their daughter.
At the top of Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen declared: "Palin on the hot seat as she readies for her debate. Some conservatives want Sarah Palin off the Republican ticket." In the segment that followed, co-host Maggie Rodriguez similarly proclaimed: "...the question a lot of Americans are asking this morning, including some prominent Republicans, is whether Sarah Palin is ready." Correspondent Jeff Glor then explained: "Sarah Palin has mostly been kept away from reporters but the interviews she has done are raising eyebrows."
Glor went on to cite one conservative columnist calling for Palin to step down: "But even some conservatives are concerned, including syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker who said 'Palin is clearly out of her league' and called for the Alaska governor to leave the race." Based on that, Alex Burns from politico.com concluded: " I think there are a small number of people who will publically say that they're worried about her abilities as a candidate. I think there's a larger number of people who privately express kind of muted criticism and concern."
CNN’s Ed Henry introduced a new and odd adage about Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s trip to the United Nations on Tuesday’s American Morning. Instead of trying something similar to the "education" line that CBS’s Julie Chen used, the White House correspondent focused on how the McCain campaign was "trying to cram a lot in for Sarah Palin over the next two days in New York:" "It's like speed dating with world leaders. In the span of just 30 hours in New York, Sarah Palin will meet with nine major international players during the U.N.'s General Assembly meetings, from the presidents of Iraq and Afghanistan, to Henry Kissinger and the rock star Bono -- all aimed at beefing up Palin's thin foreign policy chops" [see video at right].
Without going into the grouping of a mega-rock star like U2 front-man Bono with Hamid Karzai, Henry’s "speed dating" line might raise some eyebrows over possible sexism in the media, given how the female Alaska governor is meeting with these nine world leaders, all of whom are men. Katie Couric could be consulted with this matter, given what she said about the coverage Hillary Clinton received during the Democratic primaries.
At the top of Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen teased an upcoming segment on Sarah Palin meeting with world leaders at the United Nations by declaring: "The education of Sarah Palin. The Alaska governor has her first meetings with world leaders as they gather at the U.N. How will she do?" While Chen wondered about Palin’s understanding of foreign policy, on May 22, she thought Hawaii was located in the Atlantic Ocean. [see embedded video of that after the page break]
In a later report correspondent Bill Plante proclaimed: "Palin, who got her first passport just last year, is here and will get a crash course in international affairs. The Alaska governor will be meeting with the leaders of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Georgia and Ukraine, as well as with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and U2's Bono."
All three broadcast morning shows were thrilled with the opening night of the Democratic convention in Denver. CBS co-anchors Maggie Rodriguez and Julie Chen were the most effusive, with Rodriguez gushing that it “couldn’t have been a more compelling first night” and Chen describing Michelle Obama as “so impressive, so, just inspiring to watch her speak.”
Over on ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host Diane Sawyer was also swept away, calling it first “an incredible night” and then “a night to remember for all ages.” NBC’s David Gregory called Michelle Obama’s speech “moving” and “heartfelt,” but that “the emotional highlight of the night belonged to Ted Kennedy” for speaking on Obama’s behalf despite his battle against a cancerous brain tumor.
While co-host Harry Smith described a Texas school allowing teachers to carry guns as "a controversial decision" on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, he teased an upcoming segment on Ellen DeGeneres marrying actress Portia de Rossi as simply exciting celebrity gossip: "And we have the wedding pictures from the marriage of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi. That happened over the weekend."
The Early Show covered the DeGeneres-de Rossi wedding on Friday and Monday as well, with no suggestion of it being controversial at all. On Monday, Chen declared: "And wedding bells. Comedian and talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres, ties the knot with her long-time partner. We'll have details about the wedding." Correspondent Michelle Gillen then reported: "The DeGeneres-de Rossi wedding is perhaps the highest profile same-sex marriage since California legalized such unions just over three months ago... In 1997, Degeneres became the first television star to come out publicly on her sitcom ‘The Ellen Show.’" At the end of Monday’s segment, Smith wondered: "The thing I'm curious about, she's been so public about it. Then why would you keep the ceremony so private?" Chen replied: "So you can sell it to People magazine for $4 million."
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen introduced a segment on China hosting the Olympics: "Well, the Olympic games are more than a chance for the world's athletes to excel, they also give the host nation an opportunity to shine. For China and it's 1.3 billion people, the Beijing games are feeding a groundswell of pride." Chen then went to correspondent Barry Petersen who declared: "From designer clothes to new cars, China is getting rich. Democracies once bragged that theirs was the only way to economic success. China is doing it the communist way."
Petersen began his report by observing: "Well, China wants to throw a successful Olympics party and so far they're doing just fine. With plenty of enthusiasm spreading from Beijing pretty much around the world." Of course that ignored the heavy pollution in Beijing, constant protests, President Bush’s criticism of China’s human rights record, and the fatal stabbing of the father-in-law of a U.S. coach. Petersen went on to describe how: "Beijing has the welcome banners out to a half million visitors. More foreigners at one time than the country has seen since the Mongol invasion a thousand years ago." So Olympic visitors are like barbarian hordes?
Near the end of Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show" there was a taped segment of co-host Julie Chen talking to the executive producer of the CBS reality show "Big Brother," Allison Grodner, who previewed some of the contestants in the show’s new season: "Dan is a Catholic school teacher from Michigan. He really doesn't think women are equal. And he felt really strongly, especially, about the possibility that Hillary Clinton would have become president. He said he would have left the country. And he was dead serious about that."
After describing the stereotypical conservative white male, Grodner went on to describe an Obama supporter on the show, a young Afircan-American woman: "Libra is the rebel mom and strong opinions, very liberal. She's the Obama girl in Bush country." Just prior to that description of the "rebel Obama girl" a clip was played of the conservative Dan explaining his opposition to Obama: "My only concern is Barack Obama is wildy charismatic, has a huge aura around him. Which, if you're not very educated, you may vote for him just because, you know, he's more charismatic."
"Big Brother," which is hosted by Chen, seems to be taking a political angle this season. Watch video of cast preview here.
On Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Julie Chen teased an interview with actress Elizabeth Perkins from Showtime’s ‘Weeds’: "We're going to see what she thinks about weed. Not the show, the plant." Later, Chen offered yet another tease: "You know her from 'Weeds' on Showtime. Elizabeth Perkins. We're going to find out if she thinks marijuana should be legal."
Later during the segment Chen eagerly asked the question: "Since it is 'Weeds' it seems like a natural question. As a person...as Elizabeth Perkins, do you believe marijuana should be legalized?" Predictably, Perkins replied: "Oh, yeah, absolutely...Alcohol is legal. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me why marijuana's not. It just doesn't make a lot of sense to me." Chen’s only response was to laugh and declare: "In the name of the show."
Chen followed up by referring to Perkins’ moralist anti-drug character on the show, Celia Hodes: "And Celia Hodes would say?," Perkins replied: "Oh, put them all in jail." Chen interjected: " I know...she's so self-righteous." Earlier in the segment, Chen explained that Perkins’ character on the show was an alcoholic "hypocrite." Perkins went on to explain that: "Well Celia's probably the only character on the show who's never smoked marijuana." Chen wondered: "Is she going to cave?" After Perkins said no, Chen pressed: "Oh, you never know, we still have a few episodes left-" At that point Perkins explained: "Never cave with marijuana because that's the 'evil drug,' according to her." Chen laughed.
On Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez teased an upcoming segment on global warming by fretting: "...are penguins sending us warning signs about global warming?" Later, correspondent Debbye Turner talked to biologist Dee Boersma, who claimed that "Well, penguins are the canaries in the coal mine. Penguins are telling us, as marine sentinels, that our southern oceans are changing."
Boersma, who according to newsmeat.com donated $1,000 to John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, went on to condemn a wide range of human activity that she felt was harming global penguin populations: "Penguins are affected not only by climate variation and climate change, but they're affected by lots of activities that we do from moving oil around, because we spill oil, from plastics that we dump into the oceans, to fishing that takes away their food."
Earlier in the segment, Turner lamented: "We've all seen pictures like these. Polar bears in danger because global warming is literally melting their habitat. But they are far from the only animal affected by climate change." She later discussed the dire situation facing penguins: "Academy award winning documentary March of the Penguins chronicled the Emperor Penguins amazing struggle to reproduce and survive. Experts say because of soaring temperatures and decreasing ice that the day could come that they make their final march."
On Tuesday’s CBS "Early Show, " co-host Julie Chen lead the show with a depressing segment on the economy: "...with the economic woes hitting the nation, we have your complete guide to surviving the big squeeze." Chen proceeded to highlight high gas prices, then explain how "...the crisis in the housing market is also a drag on the economy," and finally, "Completing this perfect storm of economic woes, the devastating floods in the Midwest and how they will directly impact food prices."
When discussing the housing crisis with correspondent Thalia Assuras, Chen asked in desperation: "Thalia can you tell us anything good? Is there any relief in sight?" Assuras then offered a small glimmer of hope: "Well, the Senate toady is actually going to consider a foreclosure prevention plan or rescue plan of looking at the numbers here. It's going to provide $300 billion in new cheaper mortgages for high risk homeowners." However she then made it clear that Bush Administration would soon crush such hope: "But you know Julie, there's going to be a lot of squabbling and the White House has threatened a veto."
Following Chen’s report, co-host Maggie Rodriguez talked to financial advisor Dave Ramsey and took the same pessimistic tone: "So with all this economic volatility, what are we supposed to do?...if there was ever a time to panic, is this it? It sounds pretty gloomy." In contrast, Ramsey was having none of it: "Absolutely not. I'm sorry I'm not with Chicken Little and we're not handing out helmets. There -- it is not a time to panic, there's lots of good things going on in our economy and for most people this may represent opportunity."
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Julie Chen teased an upcoming segment on Michelle Obama appearing on ABC’s "The View": "Also this morning, like Cindy McCain did this past spring, Michelle Obama co-hosted 'The View' yesterday. We're going to see how comfortable she was with the women of 'The View' and what she had to say on everything from sexism in politics to who does the housework in the Obama home."
Later, correspondent Tracy Smith reported: "Perhaps hoping she'd give her husband a bump in the polls, Michelle Obama played co-host on 'The View' yesterday. Tackling topics from panty hose...to political attacks." A clip was then played of "View" co-host Joy Behar asking Obama: "Do you feel there was any sexism in the media?," with Obama replying: "I -- there is -- yes, there's always a level of -- people aren't used to strong women."
Smith later explained appearances by both Cindy McCain and Michelle Obama on "The View" by touting a CBS News poll from April: "58% of voters were undecided on how they felt about Michelle Obama. 75% were undecided about Cindy McCain." Smith then credited Bill Clinton with beginning the trend of presidential candidates, and their wives, making guest appearances on popular shows: "In 1992, then candidate Bill Clinton got attention by playing the sax on Arsenio...Since then, guest spots on entertainment shows have become a political rite of passage." Smith remarked how: "McCain traded barbs with Letterman. And Obama got his groove on with Elllen."