According to Gayle King, the coronavirus pandemic has kept the media from covering a VERY serious story related to Joe Biden. The Tara Reade sexual assault allegation? No, of course not. Biden’s endorsements. That was the laughable claim made on Tuesday’s Late Show as Stephen Colbert asked King what stories were being ignored during the virus
The CBS This Morning co-host lamented, “I can't believe that we're not talking about a political campaign, campaign 2020. You know, we're sitting here in may heading into June. The conventions are supposed to be July, August.” King complained, “We are in the middle of a very important political campaign. And, you know, when Joe Biden gets major endorsements, it's not even the lead story anymore because everything is all things corona.”
That is her biggest concern? A lack of attention on Biden’s endorsements? For a solid month, CBS allowed just a scant 1 minute and 3 seconds to the allegations that then-Senator Biden forcibly penetrated Reade, a staffer in 1993. After the story became too big to ignore, CBS downplayed key points that corroborated the claims.
As for the contention that “everything is all things corona,” that’s not true. Wednesday was the one year anniversary of King, Anthony Mason and Tony Dokoupil being installed as the new This Morning co-hosts. The show devoted 5 minutes and 40 seconds to celebrating the occasion with a montage. Clearly, there’s room on the program for topics other than corona.
Also not accurate is the idea that CBS is avoiding big Biden endorsements. On April 14, Barack Obama endorsed his former Vice President. That night's CBS Evening News gave it 1 minute and 41 seconds. On Apri 15, CBS This Morning (King’s own show), added 1 minute and 55 seconds and previewed the news at the top of the program
Here's a screen shot of the April 15 CBS This Morning making a big deal of the endorsement.
Towards the end of the Colbert interview, King implored, “I really hope that people pay attention to the political campaign. This is very important. Regardless of your political affiliation, we all need to get out there and vote and make our voices heard.” A laudable sentiment, but hosts like King could help by actually covering important aspects of the campaign like Reade.
[Comment on this post. NewsBusters no longer has a comments section, but if you have a Twitter account you can share your take by adding a reply in the tweet below.]
A transcript of the exchange is below. Click "expand" to read more.
Late Show With Stephen Colbert
11:59 PM ET
STEPHEN COLBERT: Now, obviously, you've been in the news for years.
GAYLE KING: Yeah.
COLBERT: You're a news junky.
KING: Very much still.
COLBERT: While the coronavirus like, the all-encompassing global story, it affects everyone. What are the stories that you think that should be talked about right now that we're just not talking about enough?
KING: Stephen, I can't believe that we're not talking about a political campaign, campaign 2020. You know, we're sitting here in may heading into June. The conventions are supposed to be July, August. I still don't know what's going to be up with those, with them yet. But here we are in the middle of a very important political campaign. And, you know, when Joe Biden gets major endorsements, it's not even the lead story anymore because everything is all things Corona. I really hope that people pay attention to the political campaign. This is very important. Regardless of your political affiliation, we all need to get out there and vote and make our voices heard. So I worry that the political campaign is just sort of getting lost in the shuffle.
COLBERT: Yeah, I mean, normally speaking, I mean-- I'm not in the news, but we do jokes about the election.
KING: I know.
COLBERT: And I've been doing that since the 2000 election. This is 2004, 8, 12-- this is the sixth one.
COLBERT: And this is the first time I'm not constantly talking about the presidential campaign at this point.
KING: Is that hard for you? Is that hard for you?
COLBERT: No, we just do whatever-- we just talk about whatever the national conversation is right now. I don't set any agenda. It's whatever people are talking about. So, it's odd, strange, it's another thing in-- on the list of bizarre.