On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: “Washington’s largest gay rights rally in a decade puts pressure on President Obama.” Co-host Harry Smith later introduced the story: “An issue that was on the back burner for President Obama suddenly got turned up to high over the weekend. Thanks to a group that is normally supportive of the President, gay rights activists.”
The Early Show coverage failed to label the protestors as being liberal or part of the left-wing base of the Democratic Party. Instead, they were simply referred to as “gay rights supporters.” White House correspondent Bill Plante explained: “The President has yet to deliver on the promises that he made to the gay community and members of that community are concerned. They’ve gathered here in Washington to remind him of those campaign pledges.”
Meanwhile, NBC’s Today and ABC’s Good Morning America downplayed the march, only offering perfunctory news briefs. At the top of Today, co-host Ann Curry reported: “Tens of thousands of gay rights supporters took to the streets of Washington DC on Sunday and demanded that the President keep his promise to allow gays to serve openly in the military. They also want the President to work to end discrimination against gays.” She later repeated the exact same brief in the 9:00AM hour.
Early on Good Morning America, co-host Kate Snow similarly mentioned: “Tens of thousands of people marched on Washington on Sunday demanding President Obama keep his promise to end discrimination against gays. The President has pledged to discontinue the military's “don't ask/don't tell policy.” But he says he can't promise when that will happen.”
Like the Early Show, both Today and Good Morning America failed to use any liberal or Democratic Party labels to describe the protestors.
Here is a full transcript of the Early Show report:
MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Washington’s largest gay rights rally in a decade puts pressure on President Obama.
CYNTHIA NIXON: He says all the right things, but it’s time for him to really put his money were his mouth is.
HARRY SMITH: An issue that was on the back burner for President Obama suddenly got turned up to high over the weekend. Thanks to a group that is normally supportive of the President, gay rights activists – advocates. CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante has the very latest on that. Good morning, Bill.
BILL PLANTE: Good morning to you, Harry. The President has yet to deliver on the promises that he made to the gay community and members of that community are concerned. They’ve gathered here in Washington to remind him of those campaign pledges. Thousands of gay rights supporters marched from the White House to the nation’s capital Sunday, demanding more effort to end discrimination. They want repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Pressure on the President; Gay Rights Groups Push Obama to Take Action]
CYNTHIA NIXON [ACTRESS, SEX AND THE CITY]: He says all the right things, but it’s time for him to really put his money where his mouth is.
PLANTE: President Obama did repeat his promises Saturday night to a dinner audience of gay civil rights advocates.
BARACK OBAMA: While progress may be taking longer than you’d like as a result of all that we face, and that’s the truth, do not doubt the direction we are heading and the destination we will reach.
PLANTE: But with health care to pass and a still vulnerable economy, the gay community may have to wait, which some understand.
GAVIN CREEL [GAY RIGHTS SUPPORTER]: Our community has gotten a little too tunnel vision ‘okay, you said you were going to do it, why haven’t you done it?’ I believe in him.
PLANTE: Most of those promises are not going to be easy to make good on. Both members of Congress and many in the military oppose repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and allowing gays to serve openly. As for the same-sex marriage, well, states like California have banned it. There’s also a lot of opposition to that in Congress. Harry.
HARRY SMITH: Bill Plante at the White House this morning. Thank you.