CBS Partisans Gush Over Obama Staffer’s ‘Real Talk’ Book

The partisan journalists at CBS This Morning on Monday gushed over a new Obama administration book, touting its “real talk” and encouraging ex-staffer Alyssa Mastromonaco to lash out at Donald Trump. In contrast, this same network questioned the loyalty of ex-Secretary of Defense Bob Gates after he wrote a book criticizing Barack Obama. 

Talking to the former director of scheduling for Obama, guest co-host Alex Wagner gushed, “...This is not your typical White House memoir. It is hashtag real talk.” Offering a softball that an Access Hollywood journalist would be embarrassed of, she wondered, “How hard was it to get to that layer of truth?”

 

Later, co-host Charlie Rose prompted Mastromonaco to slam Trump on the wiretapping claims: “How angry is the President, President Obama, about these allegations of wiretapping?” Unsurprisingly, she took the bait: “So I don't know how angry he is. I know the rest of us were pretty pissed.” 

She continued, “It's an insane accusation for a President to accuse another president of and also for anyone who knows Barack Obama.” Ex-Obama staffer defends Obama? That seemed to delight the CBS journalists. 

However, when Bob Gates had harsh words for his former boss in a 2014 book, CBS journalist Bob Schieffer questioned the loyalty of the former Secretary of Defense under Obama: 

I think there's a certain loyalty to the presidency. And I think when you make it harder for a president while he is still in office I think -- I have problems with that.

Strangely, Schieffer did not share that opinion when Scott McClellan wrote a book attacking his former boss, George W. Bush. 

A transcript of the segment is below: 

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CBS This Morning 
3/20/17
8:15 to 8:20:38

[Clip of old interview between Alyssa Mastromonaco and Charlie Rose.] 

CHARLIE ROSE: That was part of my conversation in 2014 with Alyssa Mastromonaco who was an aide to president Obama, more than an aide. At the time she was preparing to leave the White House. During the 2008 presidential campaign, she was the director of scheduling and advance. Mastromonaco went on to serve in the White House as the youngest woman to be deputy chief of staff of operations. Her new book is called “Who Thought This Was a Good Idea and Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House." Alyssa Mastromonaco joins us now. Welcome and good morning. 

ALYSSA MASTROMONACO: Hi. 

GAYLE KING: Before you start though, Charlie, you should know this. She writes about that interview in the book and says, “I mean, it was Charlie Rose. I hadn't done an interview in years. Charlie is an icon. I was worried about looking like a ditz in front of him. It was a great interview and after the first five minutes, it was like talking to an old friend.” 

ALEX WAGNER: Old friend! Magic! 

MASTROMONACO: Let's recreate the magic. 

ROSE: Well, you told me at the time it changed your life. 

MASTROMONACO: It did change my life. I had never been a person who was out there. I didn't think that my job was to be on camera. It was to be running things. And people —  there are people who should be out there and people running things and I decided to stay behind the scenes. 

ROSE: Being behind the scenes, one of the things she would do is arranging scheduling. She would say, general, you will do this and this and this. 

MASTROMONACO: Exactly. 

KING: You talk about being a woman in the old boys club and how at times it was intimidating, but other times you said, “oh, no, I'm going to show people how it's done here.” Not in an arrogant way, but you were very confident. 

MASTROMONACO: I was. Well, I think that being —  you know, I knew what I knew and I think that's one of my strengths. I know what I know and I know what I don't know. So if we were going to —  if we were talking about going on a foreign trip and the National Security Council wanted to put in an extra couple of stops, I was like, “No, we're not going to do that.” And when it came to the President was so wonderful about also understanding people's strengths and weaknesses and knowing that if I said that, you know,  Alyssa is probably right. 

KING: At one time he said “Remember your words have power.” 

MASTROMONACO: He did. 

KING: Which I thought was a very powerful part of the book. 

MASTROMONACO: That had never occurred to me, to be honest. And I was just very upset about something someone had said to a reporter and I wrote a sort of unhinged e-mail to the entire senior staff. 

WAGNER: Those e-mails go into permanent record. 

MASTROMONACO: I was, like, “We should have each other's backs” and, anyway, so I was very upset. I thought everyone would ignore it, but someone went to tell the President about it and he felt the need to talk to me about the strength of my words. 

WAGNER: Speaking of being blunt, this is not your typical White House memoir. It is hashtag real talk. 

MASTROMONACO: It is real talk. 

WAGNER: You talk about birth control, white wine after work. How hard was it to get to that layer of truth?

MASTROMONACO: So I actually had a much harder time trying to —  you know, you go through a book and you have so many iterations of what you think the book is going to be. When I was trying to be a little bit more lofty, it was, like, I struggled. I ended up on Zoloft trying to do it. And then actually a good friend, Mindy Kaling, who blurbed the book, I said, “Min, what do I do?” She said write one essay for every chapter and it will come. So I wrote an essay per chapter and I got a co-writer who understood me, Lauren, and she pulled the great stuff out of me and this is exactly the book we wanted to write. 

ROSE: Where does the title come from? 

MASTROMONACO: The title comes from Barack Obama himself because if he was on the road and you got an e-mail that said, “who thought this was a good idea,” which was not uncommon, you knew that he knew you thought it was a good idea and he wanted you to just own your —  you know, your decision, which I always did. I said it was my idea. 

KING: You said your goal is to get women more interested and excited about government in this bok. 

MASTROMONACO: Well, I think that this book hopefully makes government a little bit more relatable, a little bit less scary. Really if you have the passion and commitment, you can do it. You don't have to be, you know, Harvard educated with a dad who was a congressman to work in the White House. 

WAGNER: Just really quickly, when you look at this Trump White House, which has gone through its share of rocky roads, you've been on the inside. 

MASTROMONACO: I have. 

WAGNER: Is this uncommon or is this just par for the course? 

MASTROMONACO: This is pretty uncommon, I think. The first 100 days you're always trying to get your bearings and it seems anything that existed before them they're just shooting down for sport, whether it’s protocol or bill. 

ROSE: How angry is the President, President Obama, about these allegations of wiretapping? 

MASTROMONACO: So, I don't know how angry he is. I know the rest of us were pretty pissed. 

KING: Because why, Alyssa? 

MASTROMONACO: Because it's insane. Because it's an insane accusation. And it's an insane accusation for a President to accuse another president of and also for anyone who knows Barack Obama. Just wouldn't do that. 

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org site.