The Big Three networks unequivocally celebrated the end of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy as a "historic moment" on their Tuesday morning programs. CBS's "Early Show" turned to a discharged Air Force major who pushed for further recognition of same-sex couples by the military. NBC's "Today" brought on a homosexual playwright to promote his one-man movie on the policy. ABC's "GMA" only had a news brief on the development, but still highlighted how a magazine is "publishing photos of more than 100 active duty gay and lesbian troops who served in silence until now." None of the programs brought on dissenting voices to advocate the continuation of the policy.
"The Early Show" devoted the most amount of air time to the expiration of the policy, and led the 7 am Eastern hour with a slanted report from correspondent David Martin. Martin played sound bites from President Obama and outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, both opponents of the ban on open homosexuals from serving in the military, but none from supporters:
On Saturday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Nancy Cordes seemed to put the burden on Republicans of causing U.S. troops to wonder if they will be paid on time during the budget battle, as a clip of her was shown asked House Speaker John Boehner, "How can you even allow these soldiers to wonder whether they're going to get paid?"
Dana Milbank of The Washington Post couldn't contain his glee over Joint Chief of Staffs chairman Admiral Mike Mullen's Feb. 2 testimony in favor of overturning "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
"Mike Mullen's 42 years in the military earned him a chest full of ribbons, but never did he do something braver that what he did on Capitol Hill on Tuesday," began Milbank's Feb. 3 ode to the admiral. "In a packed committee room, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff looked hostile Republican senators in the eye and told them unwelcome news: He thinks gays should be allowed to serve openly in the armed forces he commands."
"If they awarded decorations for congressional testimony, Mullen would have himself a Medal of Honor," concluded the columnist.
Mullen explained his "personal belief" to the Senate Armed Services "that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do."
"No matter how I look at the issues, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens," he elaborated. "For me personally, it comes down to integrity - theirs as individuals and ours as an institution."
Milbank's praise of Mullen's testimony is a complete 180 from how he characterized the testimony of Elaine Donnelly at a House Armed Services personnel subcommittee hearing about the same topic in 2008.