Column: A Stunning Sunday with CBS News

April 5th, 2023 5:54 AM

CBS News offered a perfectly awful contrast on its Palm Sunday news shows. On Sunday Morning, Jane Pauley puffed and polished Democrat Sen. John Fetterman. In the evening on 60 Minutes, Lesley Stahl assaulted Trump-adoring Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.

The Pauley interview lasted almost ten minutes, and was perfectly pitched to re-launch Senator Fetterman (D-Pa.) as he left Walter Reed hospital after six weeks for depression. The choice of Pauley – who wrote a memoir in 2004 revealing she had bipolar disorder – was also completely aligned.

“I found Senator Fetterman hopeful, optimistic, ready to return to the United States Senate and his role as a dad,” Pauley began. “A towering mayor with a Harvard degree and a penchant for hoodies and shorts, he was becoming a rising political star and an unlikely darling of the fashion world.”

CBS piled liberal bias on top of liberal bias, touting how The New York Times celebrated his fashion sense, even though he dresses like an eighth-grade skateboarder. “Along with Beyonce and Brad Pitt, Fetterman was one of the paper's Most Stylish People of 2022. It was an edgy, modern look.”

The Fettermans added that that Obama-loving GQ magazine called Fetterman “nothing less than an American taste god.” There was no laugh track.    

The low point here came when Pauley pointed out that Fetterman needed to stare at words on a screen to understand her questions – which surely suggests a notable disability as a legislator. Then she made light of it. Fetterman suggested he heard voices like Charlie Brown’s teacher in the TV cartoons, and Pauley said “I should get my husband one of those because when I talk, he hears that same wa-wa-wa-wa-wa.”

Despite this current disability, Pauley concluded by suggesting Fetterman was presidential material: "Your trajectory from mayor to lieutenant governor, United States Senator, was still pointing up, at 53 in politics that's a young man," she swooned. "Can you have aspirations? Can you serve beyond the United States Senate?"

By contrast, the Stahl interview with Rep. Greene (R-Ga.) was roughly thirteen minutes of attack-doggerel. Stahl began, “We looked up some words that have been said about you. Crazy, Q-Clown, Looney Tune, unhinged, moron. Pretty ugly stuff.” Stahl kept up the ugly stuff, that she has “pretty radical views....outlandish, even thuggish.”

Stahl mostly underlined wild overstatements, like “The Democrats are a party of pedophiles.”  But Joe Biden suggested the Republicans make “Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle,” and CBS didn’t blink.

Half of America would laugh when Stahl asked “Can't you fight for what you believe in without all that name calling and without the personal attacks?” As if Democrats never do?

CBS grabbed old CNN opposition research that MTG’s Facebook page revealed she liked a statement about Nancy Pelosi getting a “bullet to the head,” and that the Parkland school shooting was a “false flag” operation. The congresswoman attempted to say some staffer did that, as if she wasn’t responsible.

It was comical that the Left was infuriated that Stahl gave the attention to MTG, who loves nothing more than attention. But it was viciously negative.

Four years ago, Anderson Cooper interviewed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for 60 Minutes. He challenged her from the ideological lodestar of Nancy Pelosi. Was she inexperienced? Was she too radical (in a way that hurts other Democrats)? But he wasn’t throwing “unhinged moron” at her. He wasn’t fact-checking her worst tweets.  

It remains amazing that liberals would say conservative news channels are far too reflexively partisan as they suggest CBS is, if anything, too accommodating to the right-wingers.