In a story on American charitable giving on CBS’s Sunday Morning, correspondent Mark Strassmann cited liberal Princeton University bio-ethics professor Peter Singer on how much people should give: “[He’s] worked up a giving guide. The more you make, the more he believes you should give....He believes it’s within our power to virtually end world poverty.”

A clip was played of Singer arguing: “Well I think we should be giving something quite substantial....the right thing to do in this situation, where there are millions of children and adults, of course, dying from avoidable poverty related causes is to give something pretty significant. Something that makes a difference to how you live.”

While Strassmann simply introduced Singer as a bio-ethicist, in reality, the professor has a history of promoting radical ideas, such as justifying infanticide. In an excerpt of his 1993 book Practical Ethics, entitled “Taking Life: Humans,” Singer concluded: “Killing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Very often it is not wrong at all.” CBS certainly picked an odd person to lecture Americans on caring for those less fortunate.



File under: “Insular world of the news media.”

Chrysler announced plans to eliminate 789 Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep dealerships across the nation, yet on Thursday night ABC, CBS and NBC all showcased the very same upset Long Island dealer, Jim Anderer of Island Jeep in Lindenhurst, New York, while two other dealers also on the closing list were each featured on two of the three evening newscasts.

ABC's World News and the CBS Evening News both ran soundbites from Stanley Balzekas of Chicago's Balzekas Motor Sales; CBS and the NBC Nightly News gave airtime to Howard Sellz of Big Valley Dodge in the Van Nuys area of Los Angeles.

But only Anderer, who must have had a busy day in front of film crews from the national and local media, earned the triple play on the broadcast networks. Following a piece from Chris Bury in Chicago, ABC's World News ran a “1st Person” segment with Anderer railing against Chrysler. The CBS Evening News put two bites from Anderer in a piece narrated from Atlanta by Mark Strassmann and NBC slid a clip of Anderer into a Nightly News story from Lee Cowan in Los Angeles.



On this Good Friday, many churches will be offering screenings of Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ, now five years old. It's easy to forget how feverishly the liberal media insulted the film and its maker. Three days before the film came out on Ash Wednesday 2004, CBS "humorist" Andy Rooney railed on 60 Minutes:

“I heard from God just the other night. God always seems to call at night. ‘Andrew,’ God said to me. He always calls me ‘Andrew.’ I like that. ‘Andrew, you have the eyes and ears of a lot of people. I wish you’d tell your viewers that both Pat Robertson and Mel Gibson strike me as wackos. I believe that’s one of your current words. They’re crazy as bedbugs....Mel is a real nut case. What in the world was I thinking when I created him?’”

In our 2004 Special Report on religion coverage, Ken Shepherd and I reported on how the number of stories on religion increased, due in part to controversy over The Passion. But then we explored the tone of that coverage, a tone hostile to Christian orthodoxy:



At the end of Wednesday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric introduced a segment on Tysheoma Bethea, a 14-year-old girl who attended Obama’s address to Congress: "President Obama has said one of the biggest adjustments of his new job is living in a bubble. Now, to combat that problem, he started to read a handful of letters everyday from average Americans. One letter, written by an eighth grader from Dillon, South Carolina, caught his eye, and her story caught ours."

Correspondent Mark Strassmann then reported: "Thanks to Tysheoma Bethea, everyone at J.V. Martin Junior High now shares the audacity of hope...Last night, the 14-year-old watched President Obama read America her letter to Congress, a plea to build a new school for her small town." Strassmann described the situation at Bethea’s impoverished school and how Obama had instantly inspired them: "Too often at J.V. Martin Junior High dreams die early. 85% of students live below the poverty line. This school, built in 1896, is falling apart. For generations here, hope has been in shambles. The dropout rate is 60% and the daily fight is against a poverty of the spirit. But last night, this junior high reconnected to hope."



'Evening News' report points out that many peanut foods are still safe, other companies losing millions because of outbreak.



'Tale of Two Plants' segment details Hyundai's lower costs of production versus Big Three.



After spending much of the spring and summer hyping the dire consequences of rising gas prices, CBS on Thursday night decided the plummeting cost of gas at the pump is really bad news. Noting that “crude settled at about $58 a barrel today, that's about $90 less than it was in July,” fill-in CBS Evening News anchor Harry Smith warned “that comes as a mixed blessing.”

Reporter Mark Strassmann found an ecstatic man paying less than $2.00 a gallon, but Strassmann spoiled the mood: “Low gas prices are also bad news and the lower prices go, the worse the news gets.” An “oil analyst” explained: “This is just a reflection of the poor state of the economy and the oil market is reflecting this global slow down.” Strassmann soon fretted over how “it's also a grim time for alternative energy champions” and “sinking oil prices could” hurt “plans to develop alternative sources of energy or fund green developments.”



Segment views cheaper fuel as sign of economy in peril, obstacle to 'develop alternative sources of energy or fund green developments.'



Grocery inflation is increasing at an annual rate of 5.3 percent, but 'Evening News' reports on food items that have increased as much as 36 percent.



Although the economy is showing only a slow rate of growth, consumer spending actually showed an increase for the month of March. But, don't be fooled - that's a bad sign, according to "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric.

"[T]he government reported today that consumer spending in March shot up twice as much as economists were expecting, and it's not because we're buying more - it's because the prices are so much higher, especially food," Couric said on the May 1 broadcast.

However, crediting consumer spending growth, up 0.4 percent according to the Commerce Department, to food inflation is not accurate, according to economist Dr. John Lott.



Network news shows finally get on board with criticism of Federal Aviation Administration.



During a news brief at the top of the 7am hour on Friday’s CBS "Early Show," CBS Correspondent Mark Strassmann reported on a suicide bombing in Baghdad:

So these twin attacks are devastating here, and not just to the families of the killed and wounded. To many people here, this morning's a frightening reminder that Baghdad may feel safer but is still a long way from safe. Mayhem and misery are back in Baghdad after a pair of similar mid-morning attacks.

Strassmann later concluded his report by proclaiming:

The attacks are the deadliest here since last spring when thousands of U.S. troops began a security surge in Baghdad. The city grew much quieter and safer. But today, at least, the new Baghdad feels a lot like the old Baghdad. For today's attackers, this morning was perfect, a sunny Friday, the holy day here, lots of people out and about feeling confident. Apparently the attacks are back.