60 Minutes Has Pounded on Bush All Year

Tonight, 60 Minutes will feature a Dan Rather interview with a Texas Democrat named Ben Barnes, who says he helped George W. Bush get a slot in the Texas Air National Guard. (He's also a major fundraiser for John Kerry.) This is only the latest salvo in an undeniable trend of 60 Minutes leading the rest of the liberal media through wave after wave of Bush-bashing bias.

January 11: Lesley Stahl interviewed former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, whom Bush dumped after the 2002 elections, and his liberal co-author Ron Suskind, creating a media firestorm over O'Neill's sneer that Bush was "a blind man in a room full of deaf people."

March 21: 60 Minutes devoted two 13-minute segments to former Clinton and Bush anti-terror aide Richard Clarke's charges against Bush. Lesley Stahl didn't mention Clinton until nearly ten minutes into the first segment, recalling how unlike Bush before 9/11, Clinton boldly led his team into "battle stations" to prevent attacks around the millennium celebrations.

March 28: In their only nod to balance, Condi Rice was given a (smaller) chance to respond to Clarke, but Ed Bradley was much tougher on Rice than Stahl was with Clarke. He asked: "If you look at the 30 months since 9/11, there have been more attacks by al Qaeda than in the 30 months prior to 9/11. So what effect is this taking out two-thirds of their leadership?"

April 18: CBS's Mike Wallace mocked President Bush's smarts and his odd, even religious belief in freeing people from oppression in an interview with liberal author Bob Woodward. Wallace asked "how deep" is Bush? Woodward replied he is not a "deep thinker."

April 28, May 5, May 12. 60 Minutes II broke the story of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib and fanned the flames for three weeks, leading the networks to file hundreds of stories pounding on the Pentagon.

May 23. 60 Minutes devoted a segment to the Bush-bashing of retired Gen. Anthony Zinni, who claimed the current course in Iraq "is taking us over Niagara Falls."

June 27. Before a repeat of an older Michael Moore interview, CBS promoted Fahrenheit 9/11 by airing a 55-second excerpt of one of its most disparaging sequences about President Bush, showing him sitting in a Florida classroom on 9/11.

In a dramatic contrast, John Kerry has been helpfully boosted twice this year on 60 Minutes:

January 25. In a soft Kerry interview, Ed Bradley touted Kerry's medals and brushed over Kerry's wild and unsubstantiated 1971 Senate testimony by noting: "It's still emotional after all these years. Vietnam is something that just doesn't leave you." Kerry said: "It's young people dying young for the wrong reasons, because leaders don't do the things that they should do to protect them." Bradley replied: "Do you see a parallel with Iraq?"

July 11. Interviewing the Democratic ticket and their wives, CBS's Lesley Stahl giggled about how well everyone was getting along: "How do you think the honeymoon is going?" Stahl asked Kerry about Edwards: "You're looser. Do you think that his energy is rubbing off on you?"

Journalism students would be well-served by viewing tapes of 60 Minutes in class to illustrate how relentlessly slanted the "news" becomes when swaying voters is a more important goal than fairness and balance.

- Tim Graham