All three networks on Wednesday morning skipped a gaffe by a possible 2016 Democratic presidential candidate. In an interview with National Journal, former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer asserted that Republican Congressman Eric Cantor set off his "gaydar" and that southern men are "effeminate." The silence contrasts greatly to how the networks pounced on a gaffe by Todd Akin in 2012.
Only CBS This Morning offered the story any attention. Co-host Norah O'Donnell noted that Schweitzer may have "put his foot in his mouth." She explained, "The former Montana governor lashes out at California Senator Dianne Feinstein for criticizing the CIA. Schweitzer accuses her of being, quote, 'a nun' when it comes to spying." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The slams against southerners and the GOP majority leader went unmentioned. CBS's entire story lasted 15 seconds.
According to the National Journal, Schweitzer rambled:
BRIAN SCHWEITZER: Don't hold this against me, but I'm going to blurt it out. How do I say this ... men in the South, they are a little effeminate...They just have effeminate mannerisms. If you were just a regular person, you turned on the TV, and you saw Eric Cantor talking, I would say—and I'm fine with gay people, that's all right—but my gaydar is 60-70 percent. But he's not, I think, so I don't know. Again, I couldn't care less. I'm accepting.
Regarding Feinstein, the only gaffe that bothered CBS, the Democrat suggested that she "was a streetwalker for the U.S. intelligence community," according to National Journal:
SCHWEITZER: She was the woman who was standing under the streetlight with her dress pulled all the way up over her knees...And now she says, 'I'm a nun,' when it comes to this spying I mean, maybe that's the wrong metaphor—but she was all in!
NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America ignored the story. GMA, however, found time to spend six and a half minutes on how a Jennifer Lopez song managed to reunite a couple.
On August 21, 2012, the networks devoted an enormous 21 minutes to obsessing over a gaffe by then-senatorial candidate Akin. GMA co-host George Stephanopoulos breathlessly wondered, "We saw the President pounce in the White House briefing room yesterday. How are the Democrats going to try to capitalize on this today?"
A transcript of the June 19 CBS This Morning segment is below:
NORAH O'DONNELL: The National Journal interviewed potential Democratic candidate Brian Schweitzer and he may have put his foot in his mouth. The former Montana governor lashes out at California Senator Dianne Feinstein for criticizing the CIA. Schweitzer accuses her of being, quote, "a nun" when it comes to spying