Bill Plante forwarded the Obama administration's spin on Tuesday's CBS
This Morning concerning Vice President Joe Biden's support for same-sex
"marriage." Plante omitted any clips for conservatives or even moderate
Democrats during his report, and mentioned social conservatives'
opposition only in passing. While Obama officials expressed support for
same-sex "marriage" in the piece, no leftist critics of Obama's apparent
opposition were included.
The CBS program was the only Big Three morning newscast on Tuesday that reported on the controversy over the Vice President's recent statement on the issue, as well as the ballot initiative in North Carolina that would codify marriage as between one man and one woman in the state.
Anchor Charlie Rose noted that "President Obama hasn't said anything
yet about comments from the Vice President and a member of his Cabinet
supporting same-sex marriage" in his introduction for Plante's report.
Co-anchor Erica Hill then spotlighted how "a new Gallup poll shows half
of Americans think same-sex marriages should be legal," and turned to
the White House correspondent: "Bill Plante is at the White House with a
look at the President's delicate political dance."
Plante led the segment by stating that "if the Vice President hadn't brought it up, the White House would just have soon have ignored this." He continued by contrasting Biden and Education Secretary Arne Duncan's support for same-sex "marriage" with Obama's apparently "evolving" viewpoint on the controversial issue:
(voice-over): The White House played defense Monday, insisting that
nothing has changed in the President's view of same-sex marriage. While
he opposes it, his position is still evolving.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY (from White House press conference): I don't have an update to provide you on the President's position. It is what it was.
PLANTE: But in the last 48 hours, the Vice President has suggested that he supports the right of gay couples to marry, only to see the administration pull that back and say that he was simply supporting equal rights for all.
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN (from NBC's "Meet The Press"): I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that- men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying- are entitled to same, exact rights.
PLANTE: But Education Secretary Arne Duncan was explicit when asked if he supported same-sex marriage.
ARNE DUNCAN, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION (from interview on MSNBC): Yes, I do.
PLANTE: It's an important position to many of the President's supporters on the left, and though the President endorses civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, he has maintained that he does not support marriage for them, at least not yet. Here's what he said in 2010.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA (from December 2010 press conference): My feelings about this are constantly evolving. I struggle with this.
Later, the CBS journalist acknowledged that "the issue of same-sex marriage is politically potent. It was one element in the 2004 reelection of George W. Bush. It helped to drive social conservatives to the polls." However, instead of playing a soundbite from such a conservative, Plante continued by highlighting the increase in support for the left-wing cause, according to the Gallup poll, while forwarding more of the White House's talking points:
PLANTE: ...[P]ublic opinion on the issue is shifting. 2011 was the first year in history that a majority of Americans supported gay marriage, according to a Gallup poll.
The White House stresses it has taken steps to guarantee rights for same-sex couples. It ended the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy in the military, and has ordered the Justice Department to stop enforcing the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
PLANTE (on-camera): Now, later this week, the President is headed to Hollywood; of course, a bastion of liberal support; and he is likely to be asked at a big dollar fundraiser at the home of George Clooney if he's still evolving in his views.
Plante has a record of such one-sided reports. During a report in May 2011, the correspondent highlighted the President's recent mockery of Republicans on border security, but failed to include an opposing clip from a GOP politician. Four months later, Plante filed report on Obama's "jobs bill" that consisted largely of soundbites from the Democrat. Earlier in 2012, the CBS journalist spent more time talking about the wines that were served at a White House state dinner than the presence of some of the President's top fundraisers.
— Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.