The Big Three networks enthusiastically paid tribute to leftist author Gore Vidal on their Wednesday morning newscasts, but not one mentioned his political ideology. NBC's Today devoted two briefs to the "sardonically witty" Vidal, who died late Tuesday. The morning show also labeled him a "cultural icon." ABC's Good Morning America played up his "outsized personality and scathing wit."
However, CBS This Morning surpassed its competitors, with anchor Charlie Rose's retrospective on the "brilliant essayist and a commentator on America."
The closest the veteran journalist came to referencing Vidal's liberal orientation was when he noted how "as a commentator, he mocked religion, opposed all wars, and picked apart politicians." After playing a clip from a 2009 interview Rose did with the author, co-anchor Gayle King asked her colleague, "What stands out for you about him?"
Rose waxed ecstatic about the deceased writer:
ROSE: Well, the fact that he was always combative, number one; that he was enormously self-confident. You know, he had a famous feud with Norman Mailer, which was, in part, on television. And, after that, he sent something to Norman Mailer. Norman Mailer thought, well, maybe, he's going to apologize. And he opened the package and it was a book....And so, immediately, Mailer went -- looked for an inscription. There was no inscription. And then, he went to the back of the book, where we always do, to see if our name is mentioned, and he found the word -- name 'Mailer', and Gore had written on that, 'Hi, Norman.' (laughs)
KING: (laughs) Sense of humor, too.
ROSE: But also, known more than the historical novels - Gore and 'Lincoln' - he was, really, a brilliant essayist and a commentator on America, and basically thought he was writing about, what he thought, was the end of the American civilization.
Earlier in 2012, Rose and King gushed over "legend" Walter Cronkite during an interview of left-leaning historian Douglas Brinkley.
The transcripts of the news briefs on the death of Gore Vidal from Wednesday's Good Morning America on ABC and NBC's Today:
Good Morning America
07:13 am EDT
PAULA FERRIS: And a literary celebrity who influenced a generation has passed away. Author and playwright Gore Vidal's works include the novels Lincoln and Myra Breckinridge and his Tony nominated play the Best Man was just revived on Broadway. But Vidal was also known for his outsized personality and scathing wit. He was a star on the talk show circuit. He even ran for office. He died in Los Angeles from complications of pneumonia. Gore Vidal was 86 years old.
07:16 am EDT
NATALIE MORALES: Celebrated writer and cultural icon Gore Vidal has died. The sardonically witty Vidal was famous for his best-selling novels Burr and Myra Breckenridge, as well as for his appearances on TV and film. Vidal died Tuesday evening at his home in Los Angeles of complications from pneumonia. He was 86 years old.
NATALIE MORALES: Author and playwright Gore Vidal died Tuesday at his home in southern California of complications from pneumonia. Known for his influential and witty style, he wrote such bestsellers as Lincoln, Burr, and Myra Breckenridge, as well as essays and plays. Gore Vidal was 86.