On Thursday's CBS Early Show, news reader Jeff Glor declared: "President Obama is ready for March Madness, it appears. He broke out the brackets at the White House yesterday and made his picks in the NCAA basketball tournament." However, he lamented how the commander in chief "Didn't exactly go out on a limb....For his Final Four he chose all number one seeds."
Only moments earlier, Glor received a report from correspondent Mark Phillips in Libya, who described the losing battle rebels were fighting against dictator Moammar Qadhafi. While Glor noted the United Nations was still debating the creation of a no-fly zone to aid the democratic forces, he said nothing of President Obama's unwillingness to "go out on a limb" and lead on the crisis.
In fact, has CBS has consistently dismissed criticism of Obama on Lybia. On the February 24 Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge applauded Obama's supposedly "very strong words" on the crisis. On February 28, correspondent Harry Smith graded poor U.S. evacuation efforts in the war-torn country and concluded the response deserved an 'A+.' After finally mentioning some criticism of Obama during that segment, on March 4, the broadcast defended the administration's refusal to establish a no-fly zone.
On Thursday, co-host Chris Wragge joked about Obama's NCAA picks: "What is the President thinking?...We need to get on the phone to the White House and talk to the President and say he should have really gone out on a limb there." Fellow co-host Erica Hill added that she would "make the phone call."
Here is a transcript of the March 17 exchange:
JEFF GLOR: President Obama is ready for March Madness, it appears. He broke out the brackets at the White House yesterday and made his picks in the NCAA basketball tournament. Didn't exactly go out on a limb, though. For his Final Four he chose all number one seeds: Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Duke, and Kansas, who he thinks will win it all. And a reminder, you can watch action of March Madness in the NCAA tournament beginning at noon today, including right here on CBS. What a brilliant time of year it is.
ERICA HILL: It is.
GLOR: When you can hear that music.
[CBS NCAA BASKETBALL MUSIC PLAYING]
HILL: He picked Kansas, huh?
GLOR: He did pick Kansas.
HILL: You know, Kansas is a number one seed playing a 16 seed, Boston University.
MARYSOL CASTRO: Go Terriers!
HILL: Go Terriers!
GLOR: And Erica – Erica Hill-
CHRIS WRAGGE: What is the President thinking?
GLOR: Erica Hill has BU over KU in the first round.
HILL: That's right.
GLOR: A stunning first round upset.
HILL: You know, some day, history needs to be made with a 16 seed beating a number one seed. I say why not on Friday at 6:50 p.m.
WRAGGE: We need to get on the phone to the White House and talk to the President and say he should have really gone out on a limb there and just picked BU.
HILL: I've got an idea. Marysol Castro is here with another check of the weather. You take care of the weather, I'll go make the phone call.
— Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.