CBS Story on 'Fighter' Alan Grayson Ignores False Taliban Ad
Published: 10/18/2010 4:50 PM ET
In a story on Florida Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson's bid for reelection on Sunday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Michelle Miller described the left-wing bomb thrower this way: "Freshman Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson considers himself a fighter....Whether taking on the foreclosure mess or the Republican Party."
Miller briefly referred to Grayson's history of controversial comments: "...this lawyer, former businessman, and economist, has gained notoriety for his partisan remarks on the House floor." A clip was played of the Congressman proclaiming that Republicans wanted to people to "die quickly" because they opposed ObamaCare. However, missing from the report was any mention of Grayson accusing his opponent of being like the Taliban for having socially conservative views.
Grayson's outrageous ad has played a significant role in the Democratic incumbent sinking in the polls. The Cook Political Report actually moved the race into the "leans Republican" column, citing, in part, that ad: "...the preponderance of evidence suggests that Grayson's scorched earth 'Taliban Dan' attacks against GOP state Sen. Dan Webster are backfiring. Editorial boards have excoriated Grayson for taking Webster's words grossly out of context..."
One such editorial board was that of the Orlando Sentinel, which endorsed Webster over Grayson on Friday. The paper cited the ad in question as a factor in it's decision: "Independent fact-checking organizations have judged those ads as false. So have we." It went on to declare: "Mr. Grayson's antics are not merely an embarrassment to himself and his district. They deepen the partisan divide that has left Congress almost dysfunctional."
One would think that given the negative impact that ad has had on Grayson's campaign that CBS would have at least mentioned it. Instead, Miller noted how "Outside groups aligned with the Republican Party are spending millions on anti-Grayson ads." Anchor Russ Mitchell framed the story this way: "One race in particular has a Democratic incumbent facing a Republican who has a familiar name and supporters with big bank accounts."
Wrapping up her report, Miller announced: "The incumbent may be on the ropes, but makes no apology for being blunt." A clip was played of Grayson: "I'm just telling it like it is, how it honestly looks to me. This is not some kind of pose. This is not some kind of act." Miller concluded: "In two weeks, he'll know if he'll be back for another round."
Here is a full transcript of the October 17 segment:
6:06 ET PM-Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.
MITCHELL: And now to Florida, where several U.S. House seats could hold the key to just who will run Congress. One race in particular has a Democratic incumbent facing a Republican who has a familiar name and supporters with big bank accounts. Michelle Miller has more.
MICHELLE MILLER: Freshman Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson considers himself a fighter.
ALAN GRAYSON: We will show central Florida the power of the people!
MILLER: Whether taking on the foreclosure mess-
GRAYSON: Banks are taking homes that don't belong to them.
MILLER: -or the Republican Party.
GRAYSON: Their number one target in this election is me.
MILLER: That's because this lawyer, former businessman, and economist, has gained notoriety for his partisan remarks on the House floor.
GRAYSON: The Republicans' health care plan for America, don't get sick. And if you do get sick, their back-up plan is die quickly.
MILLER: Grayson won a swing district in Orlando two years ago, riding President Obama's coattails as he won Florida. Except for the troop surge in Afghanistan, the Congressman has supported the President on just about everything, from the economic stimulus to health care reform. Enter Daniel Webster. A conservative who backs balancing the budget and opposes all abortions, Webster says Grayson and the House Democrats are out of touch.
DAN WEBSTER: The process is broken. The policy broken. The way they campaign is broken. He's a part of that.
MILLER: A small business owner and a state legislator for 28 years, Webster says federal spending is out of control.
WEBSTER: The key is just turning off the spigot. It's like buying a car, and you borrow the money to buy the car, but then you borrow the money to make payments on the money you borrowed to pay the car. It's too much.
MILLER: This close campaign comes down to motivating the base door-to-door and on the air. Outside groups aligned with the Republican Party are spending millions on anti-Grayson ads.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When it comes to Nancy Pelosi, big barker Grayson turns into a lapdog.
MILLER: The incumbent may be on the ropes, but makes no apology for being blunt.
GRAYSON: I'm just telling it like it is, how it honestly looks to me. This is not some kind of pose. This is not some kind of act.
MILLER: In two weeks, he'll know if he'll be back-
WEBSTER: Go get it.
MILLER: -for another round. Michelle Miller, CBS News, New York.