CBS's Byron Pitts Concedes He's 'Excited' by Obama's Nomination

On Sunday's Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz played a clip of CBS reporter Byron Pitts on Wednesday's CBS Evening News hailing Barack Obama's Democratic nomination victory as proof “one of America's oldest and ugliest color lines has been broken, and there is a new bridge for a new generation,” then proposed: “You obviously are paid to be an objective journalist, but some part of you must be excited that Barack Obama won this nomination.” Pitts confirmed his excitement:

Well, certainly. I mean, as an African-American man, this is significant. I mean, look, for my entire life I've been able to, as a man, dream of doing great things. But a dream I could never have was being President of the United States. Now, for instance, my sons, my nephew, they can have that dream. And I think those kinds of images are important.

Pitts continued with a quip about getting a cab in Manhattan: “For instance, one reason why I'm a journalist today was because I saw Ed Bradley on television in the 1970s, and that told me that was possible. So I think -- I mean, look, the reality is it's still going to be hard for a black man to get a cab in New York. There is still going to be problems with race in this country. But having Barack Obama as the nominee is significant.”

The record, however, shows it may not be African-American candidates who enamor Pitts, but all liberal Democrats, black or white. Pitts earned a couple of entries in the “Bedazzled in Beantown Award (for Democratic Convention Coverage)” in the MRC's “Best Notable Quotables of 2004: The Seventeenth Annual Awards for the Year’s Worst Reporting.”

Pitts during live coverage of John Kerry’s speech to the Democratic convention, July 29 (Real video, 900 Kb):

“It was four years ago during the Democratic convention, not far from where we stand tonight, that John Kerry stood near his father on his deathbed. Earlier, as the family was preparing to leave John Kerry’s home in Boston, I’m told he whispered to his sister, ‘Remember the words of our mother on her deathbed when she said, ‘John,’ knowing he would run for President some day, ‘remember, John, integrity, that’s what matters.’ Tonight, John Kerry tried to show that integrity.”

Pitts on CBS’s The Early Show, July 29, morning of Kerry's acceptance (Real video, 1.7 MB):

“For Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, tonight’s acceptance of the Democratic nomination is more than merely a day, it’s his destiny....A gifted athlete and captain of the debate team at Yale, Kerry followed his idol’s [John F. Kennedy’s] lead and enlisted in the Navy in 1966. In Vietnam, Lieutenant John F. Kerry rescued a comrade in combat, killed an enemy soldier, won three Purple Hearts and one Bronze Star....The day before his speech, Kerry crossed Boston Harbor with some of his crewmates from Vietnam, his band of brothers. They have one battle left. But tonight the loner will stand alone here in his hometown one more time and look to do what John F. Kerry has nearly always done — and a way to win.”
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center