'Early Show' Predictably Skeptical on Card Resignation

March 29th, 2006 10:33 AM
CBS's The Early Show dealt with the resignation of White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card this morning, and, in the process, demonstrated again their lack of interest in presenting anything that might be beneficial to the President in a positive, or even a neutral, fashion. This attitude showed itself more, however, in the way that things were said, rather than in what exactly was said. There were the typical offhand accusations of insincerity, but most of the reporting was fairly straightforward. And the questions that Harry Smith asked of Mary Matalin were, for the most part, appropriate. But the tone and attitude that Smith displayed were not. (Windows Media video available here.)

The first piece was the news report on the resignation, from CBS' White House Correspondent Bill Plante. Of course Plante's report started, as most CBS reports on the President do, with emphasis on negatives.

The president is trying to turn the page on the last three months of bad luck and bad news.
After a clip from a Presidential speech, they went back to Plante, who gave the news that Card had resigned. And then immediately made the aforementioned accusations of insincerity.
With the President's poll numbers sagging, his friends have been vocal about the need for new blood on the staff. But the White House portrayed this as Card's decision.
"Portrayed this as Card's decision." Is there a possibility that it actually was Card's decision? Apparently not. At least that's what Plante is clearly implying. Maybe he's right, but "portrayed" is clearly, in this context, a synonym for "lied," when "said" or "stated" might be more appropriate.

There was also the obligatory criticism of the move.

But the new chief of staff is an insider, not exactly new blood.
(Maybe Plante could have followed that up with a list of Presidential chiefs-of-staff who were not "insiders." I don't think that would have taken very long...)

The real bias in the broadcast, however, showed in Harry Smith's interview with Mary Matalin. First, we start with the standard media template on the quoteworthiness of Republican Senators - they're newsworthy only when saying things that are either controversial or critical of the President. Rather than directly criticize the Bolten appointment, as Plante did earlier, Smith let Trent Lott do it.

Bolten, is a White Wouse insider. Head of Office Management and Budget. Been with the president since the beginning. There are people on the Hill, Trent Lott says this is no change at all.
Later, as Matalin was outlining Bolten's qualifications, Smith made the comment "that's a wonderful resume." It looks fine written down, but watching, he was interrupting, and the tone was extremely sarcastic. And the next time that she spoke, he interrupted her again, still sarcastic: "now you are giving an argument for why Andy Card should still be in his job. As I said, the questions were not necessarily inappropriate, but the tone certainly was. The tone was sarcastic and contemptuous, both of the White House and of Matalin.

In other words, a fairly typical morning on The Early Show...

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