On Friday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes reported on leaked excerpts of Sarah Palin's new book, 'America By Heart,' claiming, "some of the topics she tackles may be surprising." One such topic was Palin's criticism of the media for promoting Levi Johnston: "It was disgusting to watch as his 15 minutes of fame were exploited by supposed adults taking advantage of a lost kid."
While Cordes found that comment "surprising," CBS, and the Early Show in particular, were chief among those who exploited Levi Johnston and his attacks on the Palin family. As has been detailed on NewsBusters, throughout 2009 and 2010, the CBS Early Show has featured six lengthy stories on Johnston, including three "exclusive" interviews.
At the top of Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith cheered the public trading of General Motors stock as evidence that Obama administration's bailout of the auto industry had worked: "GM's big comeback. In a stunning turnaround, General Motors begins to sell it's stock less than 18 months after the government's massive $50 billion bailout."
Smith even went so far as to ask: "Will American taxpayers make a profit on the investment?" Moments later, fellow co-host Maggie Rodriguez praised the companies "amazing turnaround" and observed: "What a difference a year and a half makes....here we are17 months after a bailout GM is trading publicly again." Later in the show, Rodriguez remarked that she hoped the cost to British taxpayers for the upcoming royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton "ends the way GM's is ending, with the taxpayers getting paid back."
On Thursday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes reported on Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski declaring victory in her write-in bid for reelection and portrayed her as a victim of the GOP: "[She's] in a very unique position, not beholden to the Republican leaders who turned their backs on her when she decided to run and not beholden to the tea party, which did everything it could to defeat her."
In reality, it was Murkowski who turned her back on the Republican Party after losing the primary and continuing to run against GOP nominee Joe Miller. Cordes sympathetically declared: "This was a huge uphill battle for Lisa Murkowski, who was urged by Republican leaders not to wage this campaign after she lost her primary bid....It was a risky bid and the risk paid off."
Contrasting a “contrite” President Obama with a “less conciliatory” Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, CBS reporter Nancy Cordes on Thursday night conveyed Democratic concern about likely House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's pledge to hold oversight hearings as she recalled “a barrage of damaging probes, one of which ended in impeachment hearings.”
Cantor, Cordes asserted, has called “for more investigations into the administration, with quote 'one major oversight hearing each week.' That worries Democrats, who remember what happened the last time Republicans controlled the House during a Democratic presidency.” She then challenged Darrell Issa, now the ranking minority member on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: “Democrats have said that you're going to start a witch-hunt against the President if Republicans take control.”
On Friday morning, after airing a full report on the Democratic strategy of painting Republican candidates as "dangerous" and "extreme," CBS’s The Early Show co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez seemed surprised when Republican guest Eric Cantor disagreed with her view that "there is no question these Tea Party Republicans are outside the Republican mainstream," and her suggestion that next year Republican congressional leaders may be in the "tricky position" of "feeling indebted to these candidates while trying to keep them in line."
And, picking up on Republican accusations of Democrats being extreme, the CBS anchor also wondered, "If these Tea Party-backed candidates win the election, wouldn't we just be going from one extreme to another?"
Meanwhile, over on the Today show, NBC’s David Gregory repeated the theory of some Democrats that Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell and other Tea Party-backed candidates are hurting Republicans in neighboring Pennsylvania. And, while he at least conceded that the Tea Party is a "legitimate movement," he described Nevada Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle – in addition to O’Donnell – as "outliers." He did not acknowledge the role the mainstream media may be playing in turning swing voters against Tea Party candidates.
With less than two weeks before Election Day, the media elite continue to disparage the GOP’s Tea Party candidates while saluting the greatness of the über-unpopular Democratic Congress and its leader, Nancy Pelosi.
On This Week, ABC’s Christiane Amanpour — apparently oblivious to the decades of liberal mockery hurled at Ronald Reagan and William Buckley — cited those leaders as exemplifying “a long and venerable tradition” of “intellectual conservatism.” Her goal was to insult today’s conservatives: “People are looking at the Tea Party and saying this is not conservatism as we knew it, but it’s extreme.” Conservative George F. Will educated Amanpour: “Which is exactly what they said about Bill Buckley...”
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith noted how President Obama was on the campaign trail "in hopes of avoiding a Democratic washout," but added, "he may be getting some help from Republicans....unintentional help." Congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes exclaimed: "...we've been seeing a spate of strange claims from tea party candidates in recent weeks."
As supposed evidence of those "strange claims," Cordes pointed to Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell accurately noting that the phrase "separation of church and state" appears nowhere in the Constitution. Cordes remarked that O'Donnell's comment "actually drew gasps from her audience yesterday," and later concluded: "O'Donnell – who calls herself a strict constitutionalist – appeared unaware of one of the Constitution's most basic tenets."
Airing rare stories on a U.S. Senate debate, ABC, CBS and NBC all ran full reports Thursday night on the only race they repeatedly find newsworthy, one in which the Republican is behind by double-digits, as ABC and CBS exploited the Delaware debate to regurgitate ridicule for Sarah Palin.
“[Christine] O'Donnell's toughest moment came when she was asked to name a recent Supreme Court decision with which she disagreed,” asserted CBS's Nancy Cordes, “a question that also tripped up her mentor, Sarah Palin,” back in 2008. On ABC, Jonathan Karl echoed how “O'Donnell got tripped up when asked to name a Supreme Court decision she disagrees with,” which Karl called “a flashback to 2008 when another candidate got asked the same question.”
At the top of Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez teased an upcoming report on Wednesday's Delaware Senate debate by proclaiming: "U.S. Senate candidate and tea party favorite Christine O'Donnell is grilled in her first highly-anticipated debate, where she addresses everything from witches, to China, to late-night TV jokes."
Rodriguez's declaration was later followed by a completely one-sided report from congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes, who focused exclusively on O'Donnell being interrogated over past statements: "Well, this debate involved two candidates, but the spotlight was really on one of them, Christine O'Donnell, and her history of controversial comments."
After playing clips of moderators, CNN anchor Wolf Blizter and Delaware First Media's Nancy Karibjanian, grilling O'Donnell, Cordes mockingly remarked: "Outside the auditorium, several witches milled about, some for O'Donnell, some against." She then noted how O'Donnell's "now infamous ad came up more than once."
On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith interviewed former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and questioned the ability of tea party candidates to be effective in office: "...when it's time to govern, can anger govern? Or better yet, how about this one, if a tug-of-war starts between the tea party folk and the mainstream Republicans, who's going to win that tug-of-war?" [Audio available here]
Smith played up potential division in the GOP in a previous question: "...a very interesting conundrum for the Republicans....tea party supporters themselves...84% say there is a lot or some difference between them and Republicans. This is not going to be an easy thing to fold in these folks once they get in office."
In response to Smith's "anger" question, Huckabee observed: "Political parties are to serve people, not to lord over them. The Democrats are in trouble because they just went ahead and did what they wanted to do and recklessly and irresponsibly disregarded their bosses."
If Democrats are going to stem their losses, CBS’s Jeff Greenfield opined on Monday’s Evening News, they need to “convince the voters that this election is a choice” and “Republicans are just too extreme.” Greenfield’s probably right about this strategy being Democrats’ best hope — and his fellow reporters are already hard at work fulfilling their role in painting Republicans as “extreme.”
On Monday’s Good Morning America, Jonathan Karl characterized as astonishing how “Alaska’s Joe Miller talked about rolling back the power of the federal government further than Republicans have talked about for more than 70 years.” Even more jaw-dropping to ABC: “Miller and other Tea Party candidates also favor eliminating the Department of Education.” How is that more radical than Democrats’ takeover of private-sector health care?
It’s okay for the news media to attack a candidate, but not for citizens to join together to buy TV ads criticizing one – especially if more of those ads attack Democrats than Republicans. “Earlier this year, in a very controversial decision, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that outside groups may spend unlimited amounts of money attacking candidates for office,” Katie Couric intoned Tuesday night. Reporter Nancy Cordes noted that as candidates “unleash their most devastating attacks, they're bolstered this year by record expenditures from outside groups, who are often even less constrained by facts than the politicians they support.” But are they less constrained than the MSM?
Presuming it’s a bad development, Cordes highlighted: “So far, outside groups have spent $69 million on these elections, compared to the $16 million they spent on all of the 2006 midterm elections.” But it soon became clear what drove CBS’s despair: “Republican groups are raising the lion's share of that money, outspending Democratic groups 5-1 in the past month and a half.” She then asserted to the head of the Republican-oriented American Crossroads: “Most of your money is coming from millionaires,” before painting a far-left, union-backed, Democrat as a victim: “Double-teamed by his opponent and outside groups, Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold is trying to take them both on.”
Touting "faint signs of hope" for Democrats in November, on Monday's CBS Evening News, political correspondent Jeff Greenfield outlined a strategy the DNC could use to stave off major Republican gains in Congress: "So how could Democrats prevent, or at least minimize, their losses? There are three keys."
Greenfield began by encouraging efforts to re-energize the left: "First, turn out the base....That's why President Obama is out trying to persuade his core backers – blacks, Hispanics, the young – not to stay home in November." He then urged marginalizing the GOP: "Second, convince the voters that this election is a choice. With ads that argue the Republicans are just too extreme." Finally, Greenfield recommended that vulnerable Democrats run from their liberal records: "Third, declare your independence. Across the country, many incumbent Democrats are stressing how they oppose the President and House Speakier Nancy Pelosi."
Greenfield did acknowledge problems with some of his advice. On the suggestion that Democrats paint the GOP as "too extreme," he brought in Republican strategist David Winston, who explained: "Ultimately, when you're talking about your opponent, it's because you don't have anything to say about yourself, and the electorate gets that."
Wrapping up the segment, Greenfield admitted: "But it is still uphill for Democrats. Independents were the key to the Republican takeover of Congress in '94 and the Democratic takeover in '06. Right now they are leaning heavily Republican....in this climate, less bad seems to be about the best Democrats can hope for."
All three broadcast evening newscasts on Thursday covered the formal unveiling of the Republican ‘Pledge to America,’ a campaign document calling for the repeal of ObamaCare, no tax hikes and balanced budgets. CBS’s Nancy Cordes cast it as pro-Tea Party, “littered with references to the Constitution and promises to reduce the federal debt,” and Tea Party members as “grateful” for its policy prescriptions.
But ABC’s Jonathan Karl said the Pledge was “hardly a Tea Party manifesto. The 45-page document includes more photographs than specifics on spending cuts. No mention of controlling Social Security or Medicare. No mention of eliminating any federal departments. Not even a promise to eliminate earmarks or pork barrel spending.”
Karl even hit GOP Representative Mike Pence from the right: “There aren’t enough cuts in this thing that I see to get anywhere near a balanced budget.”
ABC, CBS and NBC all ran full stories Monday night on how an old video clip showed Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell talking about how, as a high-schooler, she had “dabbled into witchcraft.” CBS, however, used O’Donnell to pivot to marveling at how other Tea Party-affiliated Senate candidates remain viable despite what CBS considers exotic views.
“Christine O'Donnell's witchcraft comments may have spooked some Republican leaders,” Nancy Cordes related on the CBS Evening News, “but her fellow Tea Party Senate candidates are living prove that unusual assertions are not necessarily campaign killers.” Cordes elaborated with some contestable summaries of positions expressed:
Take Kentucky's Rand Paul who questioned the historic civil rights act, but is still tied with the Democrat in a recent poll. Nevada's Sharron Angle is neck and neck with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, even after she advocated an armed insurrection against the government. And Utah attorney Mike Lee is crushing his Democratic rival even though Lee favors dismantling Social Security and eliminating unemployment benefits. Priorities he shares with Alaska's Joe Miller.
Following a report on Monday's CBS Early Show that slammed Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell for comments she made on Bill Maher's 'Politically Incorrect' in the 1990s, co-host Maggie Rodriguez suggested O'Donnell's response: "Well, she could do what Sarah Palin has done and which has worked so beautifully for Sarah Palin, and that is to play media victim." [Audio available here]
Rodriguez made the comment to political analyst John Dickerson, who added: "That's right. And the victim card is one that Sarah Palin has played, Rand Paul has done the same thing. It's a bit of a time-honored technique and it works with your supporters, who are apt to believe the things you say..." He then warned: "...but if you're trying to get to voters in the middle or independents....they're not just going to take it at face value that you are a victim and rally to your side." Neither Rodriguez nor Dickerson questioned whether media coverage of Palin and O'Donnell had been fair.
In the prior report, correspondent Nancy Cordes touted how "O'Donnell says she's a devout Catholic, but in the video she describes her experimentation with witchcraft. And the man who released the clip says there's a lot more where that came from." Later, Cordes mentioned how "The 1999 clip was released by comedian Bill Maher," without noting his left-wing ideology.
“There are calls for a criminal investigation of another rising GOP star,” Katie Couric teased at the top of the CBS Evening News, after citing Sarah Palin's speaking appearance in Iowa, as she elevated a publicity gimmick from a left-wing organization staffed by veterans of Democratic congressional offices. Though O'Donnell “took the spotlight today at a conservative summit in Washington,” Couric warned: “There may be trouble ahead for her. A watchdog group intends to call Monday for a criminal investigation of what it says is her chronic abuse of campaign funds.”
Reporter Nancy Cordes painted O'Donnell as a hypocrite, charging that “even as she preached a return to fiscal conservatism, O'Donnell's own unorthodox spending habits were starting to come under heavy scrutiny,” asserting “the unemployed O'Donnell used campaign funds to pay for meals, gas, bowling trips, and personal rent, even long after the campaign had ended.”
Cordes legitimized CREW by misleadingly describing the obviously liberal outfit as “the non-partisan watchdog group” which “is urging the U.S. attorney in Delaware to open a criminal investigation.” Sloan got a second soundbite to declare: “It's not sloppiness, it's out-and-out theft.”
Dubbed as "ultra right wing extremist" and "crazy," Republican candidate Christine O'Donnell and her Tea Party supporters have been smeared by every major broadcast and cable network since she won the Delaware primary against GOP establishment candidate on Tuesday night.
This is mudsliging at its ugliest. Pure character assassination. These networks have never treated a viable Democratic candidate with this level of contempt. How dare they lecture anyone on manners or decency ever again.
The MRC demands the media Tell The Truth! about the Tea Party, its momentum and the revolution of people whose votes are proving America is fed up with Washington.
Here are just some of the latest smears by the liberal media:
The night after a Tea Party candidate in Delaware stunned the GOP establishment, the CBS Evening News blamed voter “anger,” tried to marginalize Christine O'Donnell as an “ultra-conservative,” relayed the contention of establishment Republicans that Tea Party wins will lead to a re-run of the GOP's 1964 debacle, and highlighted how more Americans blame George W. Bush over President Barack Obama for the economy followed by how most side with Obama on not extending the current tax rates for those earning $250,000 or more.
All in a day's work for Katie Couric.
She led by declaring “American voters are in one angry mood” as “nearly three out of four registered voters say they're dissatisfied with or angry about what's going on in Washington,” though the new CBS News/New York Times poll actually found just as many “satisfied” as angry and twice as many “dissatisfied but not angry” over “angry.”
In the lead story, Nancy Cordes described how Christine O'Donnell “beat a veteran moderate Congressman who was considered a general election shoo-in” while “polls show O'Donnell's ultra-conservative social views make her a decided underdog in this blue-leaning state.” Her proof of O'Donnell's “ultra-conservative” views: a vintage video clip in which O'Donnell sounded eerily like Jimmy Carter: “Lust in your heart is committing adultery.” Following a soundbite of a Delaware Republican saying he'll vote for the Democrat, Cordes identified O'Donnell's November opponent sans any ideological tag: “And that's giving new life to the Democrat in the race, Chris Coons.”
Talking to Republican strategist Dan Bartlett on Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith wondered if the electoral success of the tea party could harm the GOP: "Are all of these tea party victories good for the Republican Party?...I wonder if you're making a miscalculation at your own peril at, you know, this perceived enthusiasm gap, these people are literally changing the face of a party."
Bartlett admitted difficultly in electing Christine O'Donnell, the winner of Tuesday's Republican Senate primary in Delaware, but staunchly defended the overall impact of the movement: "...the intensity gap that we're seeing between the two parties this election cycle is mainly being fed by the tea party movement on the Republican side....The prospect of taking over the House of Representatives would not happen without this vibrant activity within the tea party."
Smith turned to his other guest, Democratic strategist Tanya Acker, and continued to stress Republican difficulties: "...as Democrats are watching this all unfold, with the rancor and derision within the Republican Party, with the tea party really catching fire out there, how – how do you view it?" Acker ranted: "...I think that more Democrats are going to be motivated to go to the polls when you hear what some of these tea party candidates are saying. I don't think most of the country wants to repeal the Civil Rights Act."
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."
CBS and the rest of the MSM have decided the Tea Party movement is racist and hostile to non-whites, and it’s a mantra they’re going to illustrate whenever they see an opportunity. Reporter Nancy Cordes saw a “nearly all-white crowd” at Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington, DC, as she (at least an off-camera female voice) demanded of two black women who weren't afraid to attend: “I'm noticing that there aren't a lot of minorities here today. Why do you think that is?” One of the women shot back: “They're probably over there with Al Sharpton.” (MP3 audio)
In her story for Saturday’s CBS Evening News, Cordes had a very specific attendee number: “According to a tally commissioned by CBS News, roughly 87,000 people gathered here at this event today, thronging both sides of the reflecting pool, stretching all the way to the World War II memorial. That's the largest gathering here on the mall since President Obama was inaugurated.”
NBC anchor Lester Holt was more generous with his crowd guesstimate (“tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands”) before he described the Beck rally as “steeped in patriotism, rooted in the nation's cultural divide and greeted by suspicion.”
A night after ABC and NBC championed the supposed “growing national backlash” against Arizona’s new anti-illegal alien law, the CBS Evening News caught up as anchor Katie Couric teased her Wednesday newscast by trumpeting a move by a far-left enclave: “The backlash against Arizona's new immigration law. San Francisco bans official travel to that state as pressure grows for a national immigration reform law.”
After Couric noted “a new travel warning today. This time it's Mexico warning its citizens to be careful if they visit Arizona,” reporter Nancy Cordes saw controversy “spreading to all corners of the country” as evidenced by how “San Francisco's Mayor just banned official travel to Arizona. City councils in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles are considering similar measures.”
Cordes pivoted to Democratic maneuvers on immigration – “Today, a group of House Democrats called on Senate leaders to revive languishing immigration legislation” – but just like ABC and NBC the night before, she played more soundbites hostile to Arizona’s law than in favor of it. In her case, by 4-to1, including a “Nazi” comparison from U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky: “The words ‘show me your papers,’ we've known from movies of World War II coming out of the mouth of a Nazi.”
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith lamented Republican opposition to the Democrats' financial reform legislation: "The Senate is expected to vote for a third time on financial reform.Republicans blocked the previous two attempts. President Obama says he can't understand why, and plans to make his case once again later today."
In the report that followed, White House correspondent Chip Reid described the Democratic strategy against Republicans:
Of course, both parties have accepted millions of dollars in political contributions from Wall Street over the years. But now Democrats are doing everything in their power to portray Republicans as the party of Wall Street. It's an argument the President believes is especially effective here in the heartland. President Obama was back where it all started, Iowa, this time denouncing Senate Republicans for blocking debate on financial reform.
A headline on screen read: "Presidential Push; Obama Takes on GOP on Financial Reform."
Hitting from the left in an interview with Republican Senator John McCain on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith worried about the ability of financial reform legislation to expand government control over Wall Street: "How are you going to dis – how does any of this dismantle these giant financial institutions?"
On April 22, ABC Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos asked Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner a similar question: "Why shouldn't those big banks be broken up?"
At the top of Tuesday's Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez put the GOP on the defensive: "Democrats continue to push for Wall Street reform. But are Republicans on board?" Smith later introduced the segment by portraying Democrats as fighting for reform: "Democrats refuse to give up on reforming Wall Street. Yesterday Republicans put the brakes on, but another vote could happen today."
In a report that followed, correspondent Nancy Cordes declared: "Senate Republicans voted last night against moving forward with debate on the massive financial reform bill. That drew angry recriminations from Democrats." A clip was played of Democratic Virginia Senator Mark Warner slamming Republican opposition: "I never got the memo that said our job wasn't actually to get stuff done."
At the top of Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith referenced a possible Senate vote on the Democrats' financial reform bill and proclaimed: "Showdown in the Senate. Democrats are scrambling to get enough votes. Will anyone in the GOP break ranks?" It was just the latest example of a week of CBS coverage pressuring Republicans to sign on to the controversial legislation.
In a later report, correspondent Nancy Cordes explained: "both parties say they are for reform and they are deep in negotiations over it....But without a deal, many, if not all, Senate Republicans plan to vote 'no' today, blocking a floor debate on the bill." That was followed by a clip of Democratic Senator Chris Dodd declaring: "Here we are 17 months after someone broke into our house, in effect, robbed us, and we still haven't even changed the locks on the doors." A headline on screen read: "Financial Reform Showdown; Will Anyone in GOP Break Ranks?"
In his introduction to the report, Smith described the Democratic effort as a "test vote." Cordes pointed out: "this vote that Democrats have called for today could very well fail." She later concluded: "Even if the vote fails today, negotiations will go on and Republicans and Democrats seem confident that a financial reform bill will pass sooner rather than later." However, neither her nor Smith questioned holding the vote or suggested it was political theater to force a deal.
On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared that when it comes to financial reform legislation, "Democrats have all the leverage right now." Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer appeared on the show and observed that "They think this is the time to picture Republicans as trying to protect fat cat bankers, as it were."
In her first question to Schieffer, Rodriguez wondered: "Do Democrats have anything to lose by going for a vote on Monday even though the Republicans have said they'd like a little bit more time to work on a compromise?" Schieffer replied: "No, they have absolutely nothing to lose. They want to get this out and get it on the table as quickly as possible."
Following his comment about the image of Republicans supporting "fat cat bankers," Schieffer added: "it's one thing to oppose health care reform, but on this case, I think most people would agree that doctors are more popular than bankers, especially at this particular time when you've had this lawsuit filed against Goldman Sachs." The headline on screen throughout the segment read: "Financial Reform Face-Off; Obama Takes on Wall Street, GOP."
ABC and NBC on Wednesday night managed to contain to a brief item their enthusiasm for First Lady Michelle Obama planting her garden for the season, but not CBS which dedicated a full story to how the hula-hooping First Lady “is enjoying the kind of popularity her husband would jump through hoops for.”
Employing some creative puns playing off the gardening theme, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric plugged the upcoming topic: “The First Lady planting a garden and harvesting a bumper crop of good will.” And on CBSNews.com: “Michelle Obama Blooms in the White House; Back in the White House Garden, the First Lady's Popularity is Already Growing by the Bushel.” On air, Couric set up the story:
It is spring and Michelle Obama was back in her White House garden today. Nancy Cordes tells us one thing that is already growing is the First Lady's popularity.
Cordes recounted how “her approval ratings stand at 78 percent, higher than her recent predecessors at similar points in their husband's presidencies. She has settled on a signature issue: childhood obesity,” used “her clout to chide grocery manufacturers” and even partook in “hula-hooping to show children how easy it is to get exercise.”
Introducing a report on passage of the ObamaCare reconciliation bill on Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez referred to a couple upcoming rescue stories on the show and cheerfully remarked: "And speaking of rescues, the Democrats have rescued health care reform, once on death's door, after putting the final touches, finally, on the sweeping legislation yesterday."
At the top of the show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "Health care reform is a done deal after Democrats in Congress make final changes to the historic legislation." In the later report by correspondent Nancy Cordes, an on-screen headline read: "Done Deal; Obama Health Care Plan Gets Final Approval From Congress."
Cordes played a clip of Democratic Congressman Robert Andrews giving a glowing description of the bill: "Tonight the underdogs won. The people who have been abused by their insurance companies, turned down because they had asthma, or had their policies canceled because they got cancer, they won." She framed the GOP as against helping such people: "Republican opposition in the House and Senate was unanimous."
An evening after all three broadcast network newscasts led by advancing the Democratic narrative of violent ObamaCare critics, a storyline intended to discredit conservatives as all gratuitously named Sarah Palin as a culprit, on Thursday night the same programs weren't so interested and only stumbled into the suddenly “bipartisan” victims – despite fresh revelations of threats and violence aimed at Republicans who voted no.
“It's getting ugly as anger over health care reform erupts into some over-the-top rhetoric,” Brian Williams announced at the top of Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, arguing “the debate over health care reform has gone too far. It's now veered into threats of violence,” citing “ten Democrats who have been threatened.” Incredibly, on Thursday night, Williams still portrayed opponents as the only ones with miscreants amongst their ranks:
While the White House continues to celebrate its largest-ever legislative victory, opponents of health care reform have reacted to the final vote with anger, a few of them with threats of violence.
Two stories later, only after reporter Kelly O'Donnell had noted that “just before the Senators cast their votes, they paused to honor the late Ted Kennedy,” did Williams arrive at the threats “reported by Democrats and Republicans.” Williams: