The morning after CBS News White House reporter Mark Knoller, in a tweet, slurred anti-ObamaCare protesters with the vulgar “tea bagger” sexual terminology, Bob Schieffer began Sunday’s Face the Nation with how the health care reform debate “that's been rancorous and mean from the start turned even nastier yesterday” with protesters “shouting ‘kill the bill!’ and ‘made in the USSR”’ as they supposedly “hurled racial epithets, even at civil rights icon John Lewis of Georgia, and sexual slurs at Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank. Other legislators said the protesters spit on them and one lawmaker said it was like a page out of a time machine.”

In what way is “kill the bill” nasty?

Though the despicable actions, if true, were committed by a handful out of thousands, Saturday’s World News also used the incidents to discredit the cause of those rallying against ObamaCare: “Protesters against the plan gathered on the streets of the capital where late today we learned words shouted turned very ugly, reports of racial and homophobic slurs, one protester actually spitting on a Congressman,” ABC anchor David Muir announced, repeating: “Late word from Washington tonight about just how ugly the crowds gathered outside the Longworth office building have become.”

[Update, 10:21 am Eastern on Monday: Knoller responded on Sunday on Twitter to the criticism he was receiving online, stating that 'I wasn't aware there was any slur or pejorative associated with that term. The moment it was pointed out, I stopped using it." (H/t: Clay Waters of TimesWatch, Stephen Gutowski of NewsBusters).]

CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller revived the use of a vulgar sexual term to refer to Tea Party protesters on Saturday afternoon via Twitter: "Obama's motorcade arrives at Capitol Hill. Boos and jeers passing tea bagger protests."








On Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric and White House reporter Chip Reid cast President Obama’s push for “bipartisanship” in a favorable light, with Obama “working hard,” “following through on a promise” and “open to ideas from Republicans.” But in an item posted on, Reid’s fellow CBS White House correspondent, Mark Knoller – who has covered every President since Gerald Ford in the mid-1970s – was far more skeptical: “When a sitting President calls for bipartisanship by the opposition – he really means surrender.”

Knoller’s blog, with the jaundiced headline: “Obama Says Bipartisanshp, But What He Wants Is GOP Surrender,” was posted at roughly the same time the CBS Evening News was airing on the East Coast. [Here in Washington, D.C., the CBS affiliate WUSA-TV pre-empted the Evening News in favor of local weather coverage, but I was able to view the entire February 9 broadcast at]

Knoller painted the President as motivated by frustration: “His top legislative priorities are going nowhere and he’s searching for a way to get them out of lockup.” After recounting past Presidents’ tactical demands for bipartisanship, Knoller outlined the political motive:

This wouldn't be particularly important if not for the fact that the press made a point of criticizing our previous president for overindulging in exercise and recreation and supposedly "vacationing" too often at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

But they did, so a Tweet from CBS White House correspondent Mark Knoller is worth noting:


Politico's Click blog picked up the story and put this twist on the tweet: "President Obama Ties George W. Bush on Golf."

Meanwhile, an unbylined Associated Press piece gave Obama backhanded props for finally including a woman in his golf foursome, but failed to mention the new First Linkster's fore-play frequency Knoller had cited earlier in the day:

No bias here, just some fun at White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs's expense.

"White House Press Secretary began his daily briefing, even though Pres. Obama was speaking at the U.Conn event. Considered a no-no," CBS News correspondent Mark Knoller noted via his Twitter account just shortly after 2:30 p.m. EDT.

Education journalist Dakarai I. Aarons asked Knoller:

President Barack Obama burned roughly 9,000 of jet fuel yesterday, Earth Day, and that only to deliver one speech in Iowa, reports CBS News's Mark Knoller in an April 22 Political Hotsheet blog post.

As if that weren't amusing enough, Knoller notes that the Air Force and the White House wouldn't disclose to Knoller how much fuel the president's plane burns on an average flight, so he had to consult with the manufacturer of the 747, Boeing:

In flying to and from Iowa today, President Obama took two flights on Air Force One and four on Marine One.

The press office at Andrews AFB wouldn’t give me the fuel consumption numbers for the 747 that serves as Air Force One without the approval of the White House Press Office, which as I write this has yet to be given.

But Boeing says its 747 burns about 5 gallons of fuel per mile. It’s 895 miles from Washington to Des Moines, so a round trip brings the fuel consumption for the fixed-wing portion of the President’s trip to 8,950 gallons. 

Veteran CBS Radio White House correspondent Mark Knoller reports that President Obama is relaxing more than the dress code at the presidential mansion.

Here's a story you may not have heard as the media have all but ignored outgoing President Bush during the Obama transition.

The Air Force pilot who flew President Bush on 9/11 and ferried the commander-in-chief on secret flights to visit troops in Iraq hails the outgoing president as "definitely a great man" for whom "it's been an honor to fly."

As CBS Radio's Mark Knoller noted in a January 17 story, Air Force Colonel Mark Tillman, commander of the Presidential Airlift Group, is retiring from military service after flying President Bush back home to Texas.:

President Bush is holding a press conference on the U.S. economy. I'll be blogging the questions to the president below.

Video of Bush/Raddatz clash here (audio available here).

Video of Stolberg and Ryan on recession here (audio here)

My bottom line analysis (11:25): The two R's of bias from this Rose Garden presser: Martha Raddatz on Syria and numerous reporters on the dreaded R-word, recession. Of course a recession is two consecutive quarters of NEGATIVE economic growth, and we've yet to see one quarter of negative growth, much less two. But all the same, NY Times's Stolberg made it sound like Q1 numbers on GDP tomorrow will show a recession.

The questions below will be posted in reverse chronological order:

In an Andy Rooneyesque rant about how his latest movie-going experience "left much to be desired," CBS White House correspondent Mark Knoller hinted he wouldn't mind seeing liberal consumers groups tackle hefty snack prices at the nation's movie theaters. He even suggested the short titles for two bills Congress could draft on that front.

From Knoller's November 12 Couric & Co. blog post (emphasis mine):

The fact is, most movie theaters are glorified snack bars. On average, they keep only 50% or less of the ticket price, far less for blockbusters in their opening weeks. Much of a theater’s profit comes from the concession stand.

Regal, one of the nation’s largest multiplex chains, reported the 3rd quarter profit margin at its snack bars exceeded 86%.

And the markup – especially on popcorn – is eye-popping. The Los Angeles Times last year calculated that just $30 of raw popcorn can translate into as much as $3,000 in sales at the snack bar.

That sounds like a markup that would make the oil industry blush.