CBS Buys Into Oprah 2020 Mania, Leads Evening Broadcast With Hype

On Monday night, CBS News journalists seemed eager to start their 2020 presidential campaign coverage as they led CBS Evening News with a segment hyping a theoretical campaign run by Oprah Winfrey. “‘We welcome the challenge. Whether it's Oprah Winfrey or anybody else.’ That was the reaction from the White House today after a widely discussed speech at the Golden Globes last night,” touted anchor Jeff Glor. An absurd start to a newscast that wasn’t repeated on any other network.

Winfrey did nothing to dissuade presidential talk. In fact, her long-time partner seemed to encourage it. With more on this potential matchup in 2020,” Glor continued before handing the segment off to political Correspondent Nancy Cordes. The fact that they had a political correspondent and not an entertainment reporter do the segment shows they wanted to give the story more legitimacy.

Cordes began her report by highlighting Winfrey’s speech at the Golden Globe Awards were she apparently sounded like a presidential candidate. “To the casual observer, the speech was vintage Winfrey, an emotional commentary on sexual harassment,” she opined. “But fans thought they heard something more, the crescendo of a campaign address.

Before noting that Winfrey had denied having presidential ambitions on CBS once already, Cordes touted how “the internet lit up, and her long-time partner, Stedman Graham, added fuel to the fire, telling the L.A. Times Winfrey would ‘absolutely run for president’ if the people want her to.

 

 

But the Democratic field in 2020 is wide open, which could prove enticing for a well-known, well-funded media mogul,” Cordes noted. She played up Winfrey’s credentials by noting how back in 1999 Donald Trump told CNN’s Larry King that she would be his first choice for vice president if he were to run. “Detractors say what she lacks is political experience, but so did Mr. Trump, and he began mulling a bid back in the 1980s, even talking it over with, who else, Oprah,” she added.

Cordes wrapped up her fawning report by noting reactions from Democratic Party insiders: “Here on Capitol Hill, Democratic reaction ranged from cautiously optimistic to downright jubilant. A poll last year pegged Winfrey's approval rating well above Donald Trump's…

In contrast, CBS’s network competitors, ABC and NBC seemed to recognize the novelty of the idea of Winfrey running in 2020. None of them led their newscasts with it and seemed to spend more time on her denials of wanting to run when compared to CBS. ABC actually noted how Winfrey told Bloomberg News she didn’t plan to run when she was backstage after her speech at the Golden Globes.

While the other networks did pull back slightly on a Winfrey 2020, they were infatuated with it during their morning broadcasts. And it was complete 180 from their handling of President Trump’s campaign announcement back in 2015.

As the Media Research Center’s Rich Noyes recapped before Trump’s inauguration:

Trump’s candidacy was cast as more entertaining than important. NBC relegated it to the third slot on the June 16, 2015 Nightly News, after stories about a fatal balcony collapse and tropical storm. CBS pushed it down to the sixth slot, while ABC’s World News Tonight made it the ninth item of the night, 13 minutes into the 30-minute broadcast.

Transcript below:

CBS Evening News
January 8, 2018
6:31:14 – 6:33:57 PM Eastern [2 minutes 42 seconds]

JEFF GLOR: Good evening. “We welcome the challenge. Whether it's Oprah Winfrey or anybody else.” That was the reaction from the White House today after a widely discussed speech at the Golden Globes last night. Winfrey did nothing to dissuade presidential talk. In fact, her long-time partner seemed to encourage it. With more on this potential matchup in 2020, we begin tonight with Nancy Cordes.

[Cuts to video]

NANCY CORDES: To the casual observer, the speech was vintage Winfrey, an emotional commentary on sexual harassment.

OPRAH WINFREY: For too long women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men. But their time is up.

CORDES: But fans thought they heard something more, the crescendo of a campaign address.

WINFREY: So I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon!

CORDES: The internet lit up, and her long-time partner, Stedman Graham, added fuel to the fire, telling the L.A. Times Winfrey would “absolutely run for president” if the people want her to. A notable shift from last fall.

(…)

CORDES: When Winfrey, who is a special correspondent for 60 minutes, laughed off the notion of a bid on CBS This Morning.

WINFREY: There will be no running for office of any kind for me.

CORDES: But the Democratic field in 2020 is wide open. Which could prove enticing for a well-known, well-funded media mogul.

(…)

CORDES: In fact, her fellow billionaire, Donald Trump told Larry King in 1999 that Winfrey would be his first choice for V.P.

(…)

CORDES: Detractors say what she lacks is political experience, but so did Mr. Trump, and he began mulling a bid back in the 1980s, even talking it over with, who else, Oprah.

(…)

CORDES: Here on Capitol Hill, Democratic reaction ranged from cautiously optimistic to downright jubilant. A poll last year pegged Winfrey's approval rating well above Donald Trump's, but, Jeff, 70 percent of those respondents said they didn't want her to run for president either.

GLOR: Nancy Cordes, thank you very much.


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NBDaily Campaigns & Elections Double Standards Broadcast Television CBS CBS Evening News Video Oprah Jeff Glor Nancy Cordes Donald Trump Oprah Winfrey