From the first words out of anchor Scott Pelley on Thursday’s CBS Evening News, one had to know what kind of newscast it’d be. Throughout the newscast’s A-block, every segment involved almost exclusive criticism of the Trump administration on issues ranging from the border to the media to Syrian refugees to trade agreements.
“It's become a chaotic first week for the Trump administration. Late today, the President's press secretary told reporters that Mr. Trump never said that the Mexican government would pay for the wall. Earlier, he announced a 20 percent tax on Mexican goods, and then the White House arranged hasty news conference to knock that down,” Pelley began.
Chiding Trump for having “insulted” Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Pelley added White House chief strategist Steve Bannon told the media to “keep their mouth shut” seeing as how they “zero integrity and zero intelligence.”
“It was that kind of day,” Pelley quipped.
After White House correspondent Margaret Brennan’s lead report, Pelley returned to hype that, on President Trump’s proposed border wall, “some who live along the Rio Grande, the natural border with Mexico, don't want a wall.”
Correspondent Manuel Bojorquez’s story spotlighted only opponents of the border, including Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar and even a major Trump donor. Such behavior was replicated by senior national correspondent Jim Axelrod, who fretted about the future of Middle Eastern refugees both here in the U.S. and hoping to visit here.
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“The Khatibs are one of two families, the first of 110 refugees set to be relocated to Rutland, but it's a process now in jeopardy by the President's promise, which would halt the rest of the families from arriving,” explained Axelrod.
Axelrod’s segment lasted two minutes and 20 seconds, but only 18 seconds of that were dedicated to the viewpoint that refugees should be more thoroughly vetted or have a temporary ban on those coming from certain countries.
Providing the only network coverage of Bannon’s comments to The New York Times, Pelley set aside an extended news brief for it:
We rarely hear from President Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, but he talked about the media today with The New York Times. Bannon, who used to run the right-wing Breitbart news, said mainstream news organizations were humiliated by the Trump win and should keep their mouths shut and just listen for a while. Bannon added, “the media has zero integrity, zero intelligence, and no hard work. You're the opposition party,” he said. “Not the Democratic Party. You're the opposition party. The media is the opposition party.”
For the last story before a commercial break, Pelley and correspondent Dean Reynolds informed viewers that the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership has caused “some unease about this deep in Trump country.” Reynolds reported:
There is a mid-winter tranquility to the 2,500 acres of Bob Hemesath's farm in Decorah, Iowa. But across the snowy landscape, you can hear some early misgivings about the president's decision to renegotiate or withdraw from big trade deals. That's because one of every three acres of corn he grows is exported. One out of every five jobs in his state is depend on trade. So when the president talks of renegotiating trade deals or dropping out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership entirely, as he did this week...Iowa farmers get worried.
Reynolds only highlighted at the end that Hemesath still supports the President while he completely ignored how Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders opposed TPP during the campaign. But, then again, facts are stubborn things.