How Did '60 Minutes' Miss Reid's Bombshell In New Book?

Another page of history was added to the bizarre fascination CBS News has with criticizing former Republican vice-presidential nominee and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Sunday night during the network’s “60 Minutes” broadcast.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper, acting as a special correspondent for “60 Minutes,” delivered the latest in his occasional forays into long-form journalism by taking an in-depth look at New York magazine’s John Heilemann and Time magazine’s Mark Halperin book “Game Change.”

However, what ensued was Cooper’s report reverting to an attempt to exploit Palin and the perceived flaws that former John McCain campaign strategist Steve Schmidt had been touting. What was overlooked and perhaps ignored was what has turned out to be a much larger revelation also included in the book -- that Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid describing President Barack Obama as “light-skinned” and lacking a “negro dialect.”

A closer analysis of Cooper’s “60 Minutes” segment shows that not only was the Reid controversy ignored, but 10 minutes of the entire 13 minute segment were dedicated to the role the former Alaska governor played in the campaign. The remaining time in the segment was split between Hillary Clinton’s failed bid for the Democratic nomination and how Sen. Bill Nelson, (D-Fla.), encourage Obama to run for the presidency.

This seems to be run-of-the-mill behavior for CBS News, an organization that possibly played a role in the outcome of the 2008 presidential election. During the campaign, in an interview with Palin “CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric rattled off a series of bizarre questions, including asking the Alaska governor what newspapers she read, and then treated Palin's conservative views as alien and thus in need of an explanation.

Cooper, through Schmidt dismissed Palin’s criticism of the Couric ambush interview and blamed Palin for being ill-prepared.

“In her book, Palin accuses CBS News of editing the interview to make her look bad,” Cooper said. “But Steve Schmidt told us Palin did poorly because she didn’t do her homework.”

As far as ignoring Reid’s comments, CBS News did a fair job making sure former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott had his remarks thoroughly examined on their network. Between Dec. 11, 2002 and Dec. 23, 2002, a Nexis search indicates the news organization dissected Lott’s remarks 30 times when he said if former South Carolina Republican Sen. Strom Thurmond had been elected president, “we wouldn't have had all of these problems over all these years either.”

Of course, as we know, Lott was chastised and eventually forced to resign his post following making those remarks.

Jeff Poor works for the Media Research Center's Business and Culture Institute.