CBS Glosses Over Reid's 'Dictatorship' Smear of Boehner In Democrat-Heavy Report

With four days until the "fiscal cliff," CBS This Morning peppered its report on the Congressional negotiations with four Democratic sound bites compared to just one from Republicans.

Chief White House correspondent Major Garrett quoted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) three times and simply relayed his smear of Rep. John Boehner's Speakership as a "dictatorship." Both ABC and NBC called out Reid's rhetoric, however.  [See video after jump.  MP3 audio here.]

Garrett even included this hat-tip to Reid before playing the Majority Leaders complaint of no deal: "Whether he meant to or not, the Senate Majority Leader may have spoken for a nation exhausted by seemingly endless fiscal cliff negotiations."

Meanwhile on Good Morning America, ABC's Josh Elliot acknowledged that Reid's "dictatorship" moment crossed the line: "Yeah, calling your other guy a dictator is not usually a good way to start."

NBC's Kelly O'Donnell called Reid's words "harsh" on Today: "The deadline is so close, outgoing members have already packed up their offices and need to move out, while the harsh tone is going nowhere."

The lone Republican statement, from Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), was sandwiched between two Reid comments. Garrett threw in another Democratic comment from House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Mary.).

During the 8 a.m. hour, Garrett did briefly mention some controversy surrounding Reid’s "dictator" comments, “Now it will take some doing for Boehner and Reid to get along. After all, it was only yesterday on the Senate floor that Harry Reid called John Boehner a dictator.”


See relevant transcript below. 


CBS This Morning

December 28, 2012

7:03 a.m. EST

JEFF GLOR: There are many predictions but little progress in Washington with a deadline for the fiscal cliff is now just four days away.

REBECCA JARVIS: President Obama meets later today with Congressional leaders in one last effort to make a deal before the deadline. Major Garrett is at The White House. Major, good morning.

MAJOR GARRETT: Good morning, Rebecca and Jeff. President Obama meets this afternoon here at The White House with the four top Congressional leaders.  That’s Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner.  No deal can be reached impasse without their full cooperation.  So with a meeting comes a glimmer of hope.  But up until now the least productive fiscal cliff talks have been when all four of these leaders have been present.  Whether he meant to or not, the Senate Majority Leader may have spoken for a nation exhausted by seemingly endless fiscal cliff negotiations.

HARRY REID: I mean what's going on here?

GARRETT: What indeed. President Obama returned to The White House in a grim mood. He met with no Congressional leaders and said nothing about his efforts to avert the fiscal cliff. Talks continue between senior White House and Congressional staff, but that's been true throughout this entire saga. With the deadline looming there were dire predictions.

REID: Come the first of this year, Americans will have less income than they have today.

GARRETT: And recriminations.

MITCH MCCONNELL: Now Republicans have bent over backwards. We've stepped way, way out of our comfort zone. We wanted an agreement, but we had no takers.

GARRETT: The Senate's top Democrat said the problem has nothing to do with phone calls but House Republican obstruction.

REID: The House of Representatives is operating without the House of Representatives. It's being operated with a dictatorship of the Speaker, not allowing the vast majority of the House of Representatives to get what they want.

GARRETT: House Speaker John Boehner ordered Republicans back to the Capitol for a rare Sunday night session. Republicans expect to vote then on whatever fiscal cliff bill the Senate passes. All this one day before the deadline and the warnings of a recession that have rattled Wall Street and consumer confidence.

STENY HOYER: They know it will have a negative impact on the economy and they know it will have a negative impact on them and their families and they are expecting us to be here and work and we're not.

GARRETT: Deadlines are approaching. 2 million Americans who have been out of work for more than 6 months will start losing their unemployment benefits tomorrow and the nation runs out of borrowing authority to finance our $16 trillion debt on Monday.  Now Treasury officials say they can use extraordinary measures until February to avoid a default.  Extraordinary.  That might be a word that could apply to this entire situation.  Jeff and Rebecca. 

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer was a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.