CBS Sounds Like Broken Record in Touting "Domestic Spying" Scandal

January 24th, 2006 5:38 PM

It’s been apparent since the story broke about President Bush’s terrorism surveilance program that the media wanted to frame the debate as "domestic spying" and warrantless wiretaps, and nowhere has this been more clear than on CBS’s "The Early Show" this morning. In the span of 9 minutes, there were two stories regarding the subject, and four mentions of or references to this topic.

7:00 Story Tease:

Good morning, I'm Julie Chen. Despite questions about its legality, President Bush is vigorously defending his domestic spying program saying it's necessary to fight terrorists. We'll hear what the President had to say and talk to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.


Chen: "First we want to get right to our top story this morning, domestic spying. President Bush is vigorously defending the controversial eavesdropping plan. He insists it's legal and vital to the war on terrorism. CBS Senior White House Correspondent Bill Plante has the very latest. Good morning to you, Bill."


Plante: "Good morning to you Julie. That's right it is an in your face campaign to defend the eavesdropping. Today the Attorney General speaks out; yesterday it was the President insisting that his critics are wrong and that spying without warrants is legal."


Harry Smith: "President Bush says there is a big difference between domestic spying and terrorist surveillance and that monitoring calls and emails of Americans without a warrant is not only legal, it is in fact necessary. Alberto Gonzales is the United States Attorney General and he joins us this morning. Good morning, Judge."

What CBS failed to mention in any of it’s stories this morning is the fact that one of the parties to calls that the NSA listens in on is always outside the United States. General Michael Hayden, the former director of the NSA, put it best yesterday when he said, "Let me emphasize one more thing that this program is not -- and, look, I know how hard it is to write a headline that's accurate and short and grabbing. But we really should shoot for all three -- accurate, short and grabbing. I don't think 'domestic spying' makes it. One end of any call targeted under this program is always outside the United States. I've flown a lot in this country, and I've taken literally hundreds of domestic flights. I have never boarded a domestic flight in the United States of America and landed in Waziristan."