John Dickerson downplayed most of the recent scandals surrounding the Obama administration on Thursday's CBS This Morning, asserting that the White House was "trying to get something done on immigration....they're trying to stay focused on the things that really matter to this presidency, and only trying to spend a small amount of time putting out these little fires."
This came mere moments after Dickerson acknowledged the potential for the scandals to affect the President's legacy: "At the worst end...you get a feeling it's a scandal a week related to the administration, and if that idea sets in – that there's a kind of, rot....that affects the President's legacy." [audio available here; video below the jump]
Norah O'Donnell unsurprisingly conducted a confrontational interview of Senator Rand Paul on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, pummeling the Kentucky Republican for his strong opposition to the National Security Agency's controversial PRISM surveillance program. The anchor played up how "all three branches of government have approved this surveillance" after Paul asserted that "we don't want the government looking at our entire life."
O'Donnell also hammered the senator for supposedly not speaking up earlier about his objections to this electronic monitoring: "There was an invitation in 2011 for...all lawmakers to view this classified report on what was going on....Did you go to that? Why not? Why only now raise these concerns? Congress was briefed on this." [audio available here; video below the jump]
Wednesday's CBS This Morning minimized Susan Rice's refuted claims about the terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi as they covered her appointment as national security adviser. Charlie Rose and John Dickerson dwelt more on outgoing national security adviser Tom Donilon's term, with Dickerson only vaguely mentioning how Rice was "the focus of so much controversy in the Senate."
The only time that a CBS News personality specifically mentioned Benghazi during the segment was when Gayle King wondered if President Obama's decision to choose the current U.N. ambassador to succeed Donilon was a "message to Republicans who came down hard on Susan Rice during the Benghazi hearings."
Friday's CBS This Morning touted Oprah Winfrey's recent Harvard commencement speech, airing over a minute of half of footage from the former daytime TV host's address. The morning newscast spotlighted how Winfrey took the opportunity to promote two liberal pet causes: gun control and "a clear path to citizenship" for illegal immigrants.
The show's three anchors all sang the billionaire's praises. Charlie Rose gushed over Winfrey's "remarkable speech". Norah O'Donnell trumpeted the TV star's "important message". Gayle King, who is Oprah's longtime friend, marveled over the address: "She did a great job yesterday." The three hosts didn't once mention King's close connection to Winfrey [audio clips available here; video below the jump].
Friday's CBS This Morning, unlike NBC's Today, briefly picked up on NBC journalist Michael Isikoff's significant reporting from Thursday that Attorney General Eric Holder's "signed off on a controversial search warrant" against Fox News' James Rosen and "authorized seizure of his private emails." However, unlike their strong "Obama's war on journalism" label of the scandal on Thursday, Gayle King and Bob Schieffer gave a more subdued response to this new detail.
King pointed out that "Holder signed off on allowing an investigation into some reporters' e-mails", but merely wondered if President Obama was in an "awkward position" as a result. Schieffer did assert that "there's no question in my mind this was an outrageous overreach", but didn't call for an investigation into the administration's surveillance of Rosen and the AP [audio available here; video below the jump].
On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, open Obama supporter Gayle King strongly hinted to Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn that he would face voter backlash for seeking cuts in the federal budget to pay for tornado disaster relief: "You voted against relief plans for Hurricane Sandy, and it sounds that you would do the same if it was raised in Oklahoma. Do you worry about alienating your constituents?"
The Republican politician shot back that he didn't want the next generation to foot the bill for the recovery from the EF-5 tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma on Monday, and then strongly criticized the multi-billion dollar Hurricane Sandy relief package audio available here; video below the jump]:
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell pressed Senator Joe Manchin about a possible new push for gun control in Congress. Rose wondered how Manchin and his allies could make legislation "more palatable to those people who may be afraid of it", while O'Donnell bluntly asked the Democrat, "Are you frustrated with the NRA?"
Manchin was their only guest on the gun issue. The CBS anchors had an opportunity to provide balance by asking Senator Bob Corker about his support for gun rights. Instead, Rose and Gayle King peppered the Republican with questions about his recent game of golf with President Obama: "Do you pull out all of the stops to beat him, or do you think, he's the President – I'm going to let him win this one?" [audio available here; video below the jump]
On Monday's CBS This Morning, open liberal Gayle King ballyhooed a guest's fear that Americans might target Muslims in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing. The news host thought it was "very important" to point out Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen's "concern about a backlash", and quoted Cullen's assertion that "these two don't speak for Muslims any more than I speak for overweight Irish-American guys who like to play hockey." [audio available here; video below the jump]
King didn't mention, however, that Cullen also took aim at the blame-America-first portion of the left in his Sunday column: "I was on an NPR show...and a caller...started talking about how we've got to look in the mirror and ask what we as Americans have done to create angry young men like this. I almost drove off the road. No one who lost their life or their limbs on Boylston Street last Monday did anything to create angry young men like this."
Norah O'Donnell shamelessly forwarded President Obama's gun control talking points on Tuesday's CBS This Morning as she interviewed Republican Senator Johnny Isakson: "Do you think your fellow Republicans owe the families of these Newtown victims a vote?" Mere hours earlier, at a pro-gun control rally in Connecticut, the President pointed out, "I said in my State of the Union address...that families of Newtown and Aurora and Tucson...all deserved a vote." [audio available here; video below the jump]
Gayle King also spotlighted how the massacre victims' relatives were meeting with Senator Isakson, and wondered, "What do you plan to say to them?"
ABC, CBS, and NBC's Friday morning shows all devoted air time to President Obama labeling California Attorney General Kamala Harris "the best-looking attorney general in the country" at a fundraiser on Thursday. Unsurprisingly, a panel on NBC's Today tried to explain away the remark. Willie Geist asserted, "I think he [Obama] was making a joke." CBS This Morning's Norah O'Donnell was tougher on the President: "Maybe, [it] was not the right thing to say."
However, the Big Three newscasts didn't report that Mrs. Obama also got caught in a verbal misstep on Thursday. ABCNews.com's Arlette Saenz devoted a Friday morning item to how Michelle Obama mistakenly referred to herself as a "single mother" during an interview with WCAX, a CBS affiliate in Vermont.
All three networks on Wednesday and Thursday parroted the exact same talking points from the White House, touting Barack Obama for expressing "solidarity" with struggling workers by taking a five percent pay cut. The President made the move, which amounts to a minuscule $1700 a month, in the wake of sequestration. On Good Morning America, Josh Elliott trumpeted, "[Obama] says he wants to show solidarity with government workers who face a furlough because of budget cuts." [See a video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
Over on NBC's Today, Natalie Morales touted, "In an attempt at solidarity with federal workers feeling the sequester spending cuts, President Obama is giving himself a five percent pay cut on his $400,000-a-year salary." Offering a remarkably similar thought, World News anchor Diane Sawyer rounded up the amount to a year's total: " That's $20,000, to show solidarity with government employees who will be furloughed." In an impressed tone, the host praised, "The White House says Obama will personally write a check to the Treasury."
Wednesday's CBS This Morning turned exclusively to David Boies, one of the main attorneys who argued against California's Proposition 8 at the Supreme Court on Tuesday. The morning newscast failed to bring on any of the prominent supporters of the voter-approved ban on same-sex "marriage" in the Golden State, and granted Boies over three and half minutes to promote his cause.
During the interview, Gayle King trumpeted how, supposedly, "many people were touched...by Justice [Anthony] Kennedy, who raised the welfare of the children in same-sex marriages."