Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Early Show finds one side to Rumsfeld debate

Syler and MurthaThe CBS Early Show this morning continued its tradition of "fair and balanced" reporting, as they addressed the interminable firestorm that has surrounded Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, seemingly since he was first appointed 5 1/2 years ago. They addressed the Rumsfeld issue twice in the first hour, and both times the focus was on the critics and criticism. There were no defenders of Rumsfeld in evidence, save for short clips from the President and the SecDef himself, and their comments were immediately followed by critics explaining how they're lying.

The first segment was the "straight news" report from CBS White House correspondent Bill Plante. This segment did include short clips from Bush and Rumsfeld, but immediately followed by "balancing" their comments with those of critics.

Plante: And Rumsfeld, who made it clear that he's not thinking of leaving either, portrayed the complaints against him by retired commanders as the result of his drive to make fundamental structural changes in the armed forces.

Rumsfeld: When you make a decision, you make a choice, somebody's not going to like it.

Plante: One of Rumsfeld's critics, retired Lieutenant General John Batiste, said that wasn't the secretary's problem.

Batiste: With all due respect this has nothing to do with change. Military's been changing for a very long time. The issue, again, is accountability for very poor strategic decisions that have essentially put us where we are today.

So, after calling Rumsfeld a liar, they went on to other important things (like the birth of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' baby) for a few minutes, before coming back to Rumsfeld. This time, it was a one-on-one interview between Rene Syler and Rumsfeld critic US Rep. John Murtha, D-PA. There was, of course, no Rumsfeld supporter to be found, but we could at least expect a sharp grilling of Congressman Murtha, right?

That is, of course, a question that is both rhetorical and facetious. The "grilling" of Murtha included questions such as "was that a mistake, do you think?" and "is he just making an excuse?" If Murtha was a hired spokesman for an organized "get Rumsfeld" coalition, he couldn't have scripted questions better suited to letting him make his argument. (Video of the segment here...)



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