For CBS News viewers following the first week of the Israeli military’s war against Hamas in Gaza, which news shows began reporting the morning of Saturday, December 27, 2008, one could easily have gotten the impression that Israel was starving the people of Gaza by barring food entry as part of its blockade, as the network’s newscasts – The Early Show and the CBS Evening News – not only ignored news of aid shipments being allowed to cross Israel’s border into the Gaza Strip – which did receive a little attention from evening and morning newscasts on the other broadcast and news networks – but CBS also ran reports about the Israeli military blocking food and other aid into the territory. On the December 29 Evening News, correspondent Sheila MacVicar claimed: "But the violence was not one-sided. Israel carried out targeted killings, and more importantly, for the people of Gaza, imposed and tightened an economic blockade that cut off supplies of food, medicine and even electricity." During the second week of the war, on the January 7 The Early Show, correspondent Richard Roth even gave the impression that aid had not been allowed into Gaza in weeks as he reported on the humanitarian ceasefire: "Trucks full of food, water, medical supplies and fuel started moving after waiting for weeks on Israel's side of the Gaza border."
Network journalists who were quick to see racists, haters and extremists amongst the “tea party” protesters were oblivious on Saturday to communists in the “climate justice” march in Copenhagen whose cause they trumpeted -- even as the video they showed included brief shots of marchers waving red flags displaying the Soviet Union's hammer and sickle.
“The streets were filled today with tens of thousands of protesters from around the world, demanding action to stop global warming,” NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt announced before Anne Thompson marveled: “An extraordinary sight in front of Denmark's parliament building: 35,000 protesters filling the square, stepping off on a slow march with an urgent plea: Save the planet.”
On the CBS Evening News, anchor Jeff Glor touted how “around the world tonight, protesters are creating heat over climate change. In Copenhagen, where UN talks on global warming are under way, police estimate 40,000 activists marched, mostly peacefully, to demand an agreement that produces real change.” Reporter Sheila MacVicar began: “From India to Australia, from China to Copenhagen, tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets.”
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez speculated on the impact of President Obama’s personal appeal for the 2016 Olympics to be held in Chicago: “President Obama arrives in Copenhagen, carrying the torch for Chicago as the best candidate for the 2016 summer Olympics...Will he bring home the gold?” When the announcement came, Chicago was immediately eliminated from contention.
In the report that followed, correspondent Sheila MacVicar declared: “For this Olympic bid, it’s all about celebrity star power and supporters of Chicago’s bid hope President Obama will be the biggest star of all.” An on-screen headline read: “Chicago Hope; Obama Makes Case For 2016 Olympics. ” MacVicar fawned over the first couple’s emotional appeal: “ For Michelle Obama, a very personal story about her own father, who struggled with multiple sclerosis...And from the President, a heartfelt pitch for his adopted hometown.”
MacVicar concluded her report: “And that if Chicago does take it in a very tight race, analysts here say they’ll be calling it the ‘Obama effect.’” Apparently that effect was overrated.
The CBS Early Show continued its usual fawning over Michelle Obama as co-host Harry Smith declared: "They couldn't come from more diverse backgrounds. One grew up in Chicago. The other grew up with a silver spoon...this new royal odd couple, the First Lady and the Queen."
Correspondent Sheila MacVicar reported on the First Lady’s relationship with the Queen: "It’s a friendship that began in April with this encounter between Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and Mrs. Obama. A meeting so congenial that at a later reception, as they apparently compared their shoes, the two embraced. That meeting ended with a request from Her Majesty that the First Lady keep in touch. And apparently she has, by letter and phone."
MacVicar went on to describe Michelle Obama’s latest visit with the Queen while in Europe last week: "They spent three hours in the palace and its gardens, including the Queen's new vegetable patch. That's one interest both share. And that is forging a new friendship, helping to keep the trans-Atlantic relationship very warm indeed. In fact, a source with excellent royal connections tells CBS News that the Queen has told members of her family that she adores Michelle Obama and that she hopes she gets to see her again soon."
The Wednesday CBS Evening News story on Barack Obama's day in Israel presumed Jewish concerns about his commitment to Israel are unreasonable as reporter Sheila MacVicar empathized with Obama's plight while she fretted about how an Israeli newspaper columnist “referred to him by his full name: Barack Hussein Obama.” After noting that Obama “did spend an hour with the Palestinian President, something John McCain did not do on his trip here,” MacVicar stressed the “the focus of the day was to try to reassure Jewish voters who are suspicious of him.” From Jerusalem, she then held up a copy of the newspaper as she rued:
It's an uphill battle. An example? A commentator writing in this morning's Israeli Ha'aretz newspaper referred to him by his full name: Barack Hussein Obama, talked about his Muslim stepfather, his childhood in Indonesia, his openness to dialogue with Iran as real sources of anxiety for both the Israeli establishment and American Jewish voters.
MacVicar concluded by bemoaning: “However unfair it may be, it will take more than this trip to alter the very deeply held perception of some that on Israel the Senator is not to be trusted.”