ABC and NBC Grill Obama Official On Security Breach, CBS Takes A Pass
Published: 12/3/2009 5:32 PM ET
While ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today questioned Obama White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett on the breach of security at last week's state dinner, her appearance was conspicuously absent from the CBS Early Show on Thursday. The CBS morning show has made a consistent effort to downplay the administration's role in party crashing scandal.
On Good Morning America, co-host Robin Roberts wondered why White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers would not be testifying before Congress on the issue: "But, first, I want to ask you about the congressional hearing today. And ask you why isn't the social secretary, Desiree Rogers, testifying today before Congress?....you know that leaves people thinking, Valerie, that there's something more."
Similarly, on Today, co-host Meredith Vieira asked Jarrett: "White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers. She was the point person for that event. She is the one who failed to assign aides to vet guests at those checkpoints. She's the one who named herself a guest instead of a staffer, and yet, she is not being investigated. The Secret Service is, but not her. Do you think she should be investigated?"
However, the Early Show segment on the controversy did not feature an interview with Jarrett and put the main focus on the couple who snuck into the White House event, Michaele and Tareq Salahi, as co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "Surprise. The White House party crashers will not show up at another high profile event today. The congressional hearing where they were asked to testify. We'll hear why they are now so shy."
In the report that followed, correspondent Bill Plante explained: "...the Salahis are declining another 15 minutes of fame. They won't appear voluntarily before Congress. But the chairman of the Homeland Security committee says he may subpoena them." Plante did briefly mention Rogers refusal to testify near the end of the brief story: "Also not testifying today, White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers, administration lawyers say it's a separation of powers issue." Plante then acknowledged: "And in fact, that's a bit of a dodge, too. In the past, White House staff members have testified before Congress" he added, "The White House just wishes this whole thing would go away." Apparently CBS has a similar wish.
-Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.