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After They Criticize Obama, CBS Calls Gay Groups 'Far Left'

Now that gay activists are unhappy with Barack Obama, CBS has dusted off the "far left" label and applied it to the President's critics. Co-host Harry Smith on Thursday: "President Obama gets some pressure from an unlikely source, the far left....On Wednesday, he signed an extension of health benefits for same sex couples who are federal employees, but that may not be enough for this increasingly frustrated community." The on-screen graphic throughout the segment championed: "Pressure from the Far-Left; Gay Community Frustrated with Obama."

A Nexis search reveals that was the first time a CBS correspondent used the "far left" term in nearly five months. On Inauguration Day, anchor Katie Couric mildly described unnamed "people on the far left or far right who don't want Barack Obama to succeed."

The last time the "far left" label was used by CBS to describe a particular person or group was more than two years ago. On the May 17, 2007 CBS Evening News, reporter Sharyl Attkisson was talking about an immigration reform bill: "It's a complete reform of US immigration law as we know it, worked out by a bipartisan group of negotiators, including Senator Ted Kennedy, politically on the far left, and Saxby Chambliss on the far right."

At least according to the data available from Nexis, CBS has never before referred to gay activists as "far left."

Reporting for the June 18 Early Show, correspondent Thalia Assuras ticked off the far-left's complaints about Obama's policies: "The gay and lesbian community has become increasingly disappointed with the administration, if not downright outraged. Some accuse Mr. Obama of failing to fulfill campaign promises...Six states are outpacing the government, having already approved same sex marriage, and there's been no action on Mr. Obama's pledge to repeal the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy."

Assuras quoted political analyst Stuart Rothenberg, who explained: "In his heart, the President is with the gay rights groups, but he's also a political pragmatist." Assuras concluded: "Still the gay community is determined not to be deterred."

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

7:13AM TEASE:

HARRY SMITH: Up next, President Obama gets some pressure from an unlikely source, the far left. We'll tell you who's upset with him.

7:16AM SEGMENT:

HARRY SMITH: President Obama is feeling the heat from a very unlikely group this morning. On Wednesday, he signed an extension of health benefits for same sex couples who are federal employees, but that may not be enough for this increasingly frustrated community. CBS News correspondent Thalia Assuras reports.

THALIA ASSURAS: It came in the form of a presidential memorandum.

BARACK OBAMA: I am proud to announce my support for the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act.

ASSURAS: An offer of limited benefits, such as sick leave in order to care for a domestic partner. Broader benefits like health insurance would require legislation.

JOE SOLMONESE [PRESIDENT, HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN]: It's a significant step, but it is the first step. I think the community is frustrated, absolutely.

ASSURAS: The gay and lesbian community has become increasingly disappointed with the administration, if not downright outraged. Some accuse Mr. Obama of failing to fulfill campaign promises.

OBAMA: I'm going to fight hard to make sure that those rights are available.

ASSURAS: Six states are outpacing the government, having already approved same sex marriage, and there's been no action on Mr. Obama's pledge to repeal the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy. But with the recent uprising in Iran and the ongoing efforts to solve the economic crisis, political observers say gay rights will have to wait.

STUART ROTHENBERG [POLITICAL ANALYST]: In his heart, the President is with the gay rights groups, but he's also a political pragmatist.

ASSURAS: Still the gay community is determined not to be deterred.

SOLMONESE: We have to keep the pressure on all the time.

ASSURAS: Thalia Assuras, CBS News, Washington.

-Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.