CBS Loses Track of Jeanne Shaheen


The CBS News Political Hotsheet has lost track of Jeanne Shaheen.
In a brief offered by CBS’ Michelle Levi on the shuffling that would take place if Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) became Secretary of Commerce, she wrote:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he is confident the expected appointment of Republican Senator Judd Gregg (R-NY) as Secretary of Commerce would “have no impact on the [Senate’s] balance of power,” on “Face the Nation” this morning.
“Senator Gregg has assured me that if this were to happen it would not change the make up of the Senate,” Mr. McConnell told Bob Schieffer. “Whoever is appointed to replace him would caucus with the Republicans.”
New Hampshire’s Democratic Governor Jeanne Shaheen, in this scenario, would have to appoint a Republican replacement. Pushed by Schieffer whether this will definitely be the case, McConnell reiterated that Senator Gregg told him his appointment would “not alter the make up of the Senate in terms of the majority and the minority.”

Only problem is that John Lynch is Governor of New Hampshire, and Jeanne Shaheen is now a US Senator.
Time for CBS to update that rolodex.
Just trying to help. . .
— Steve Clemons


18 comments on “CBS Loses Track of Jeanne Shaheen

  1. rich says:

    It would be interesting if Obama through Gregg had given Sen. McConnell assurances that the Senate makeup would not change–but then Obama turns around and has Lynch appoint a Democrat to the Senate anyway.
    It can’t quite work that way and I don’t think Obama operates that way, but it would be an interesting little power play. Reach 6o Dems, pull Judd Gregg onto your team, and then develop a package that’s irresistble to moderates like Nelson, Collins and Snowe.
    It’s raise some eyebrows, it’d have McConnell and Hatch huffin’ and puffin’, but the die would be cast and given the open recalcitrance of Republicans to even lift a finger to stimulate an economic recovery, they’d deserve it. President Obama would have the next 2 to 4 years to peel off individual Republicans by meeting specific non-pork projects important to their districts.
    Thing is, Obama really does have to get something done NOW. As Benen points out this is a national emergency. The more you delay, the longer it’ll take to pull out of the recession.
    If Obama hesitates, there’s a good chance he’ll suffer the political consequences of a not-yet recovered economy, if the full impacts of the recovery package still aren’t obvious. And the longer Republicans can delay and divide and drag out a process in which “compromise” means ‘giving in to whatever Republicans say’, the greater the risk to Obama’s policies, impact and legacy.
    I say he’s got nothing to lose by pulling a fast one. Also, I really want to see the look on the face of certain Republican legislators.


  2. Alex F says:

    >>Pushed by Schieffer whether this will definitely be the case,
    McConnell reiterated that Senator Gregg told him his appointment
    would “not alter the make up of the Senate in terms of the majority
    and the minority.”
    Well, considering that the Democrats will have 58/59 Senate seats
    even before a replacement is announced, I’d have to agree that it’s
    a pretty good bet that the appointment won’t alter the make-up of
    the Senate in terms of the majority and the minority.
    What it sounds like to me is a verbal dodge, suggesting possibly
    that McConnell hasn’t actually heard what Jeanne Sha — err, John
    Lynch is planning to do, and is just trying to ramp up the pressure
    to appoint a Republican by setting expectations.


  3. JohnH says:

    The Shaheen error is not nearly as bad as the flagrant misreporting about Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Only problem is, of course, that Abbas’ term in office expired on January 9.
    Why isn’t the press’ widespread “error” treated like the Shaheen error? Could it be that the foreign policy establishment wants to bury the fact that the Palestinians have no legitimately elected leadership other than Hamas?


  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Its pretty obvious some clueless journalist managed to get a clueless item past some clueless editor. So some people who could care less managed to get some info they could care less about. For anyone informed, or concerned, about these two politician’s positions would have caught the mistake immediately, as Steve did.
    This pales in comparison to a national audience that was deceived into believing that Saddam had something to do with 9/11, or more recently, that Hamas broke the cease fire, therefore Israel is justified in incinerating Palestinian children by the hundreds.
    Truth is, to my knowledge, Steve has never once penned a comment in regards to the “message force multipliers” that our government salted the media pool with.
    I “get” the levity Steve felt in finding this tidbit, and really do see the humor of such a stupid mistake being made by a national news organization. But there are far bigger fish to fry if one wants to bring up media distortion as a topic for discussion. Media distortion helped grease the skids for the murder of over one million Iraqi non-combatants, and has provided a cover for the egregious and deadly Israeli war crimes that are ongoing as we “speak”.
    As an American citizen, I understand that mistakes get made in any proffession, even journalism, and I accept that. But I don’t accept purposeful misrepresentation by our media, and find that issue a far more pressing topic for public discussion.


  5. paulo says:

    The newspapers don’t always get down to that there Washington place too quick.


  6. Steve Clemons says:

    Nici — with all due respect, that’s just silly. I noted a mistake in a CBS alert and had some fun with it. And I pointed out the error. But thanks for playing. And this blog has had the same basic style since the beginning….If you’d like to try your hand at your own, go for it and ask me to stop by to give it a review. best, Steve


  7. Nicl says:

    Steve, even the headline sounds like a tabloid.
    I first thought she was on some diplomatic mission and literally
    was lost.
    That is the gossip atmosphere you’ve created.
    Substitute Shaheen for Laura Logan and you’ll get my point.


  8. Lisa P. says:

    Update their rolodex, indeed. Yikes. This is slightly more than a wee mistake. The Shaheen-Sununu Senate race was all over the news, as were most Senate races, given the Democrats run for a 60 seat filibuster-proof majority. Wasn’t CBS watching…?
    And speaking of Sununu, might Lynch name him as Gregg’s replacement…?


  9. Steve Clemons says:

    Nick — I would go back again. And I’d have a great time and learn a lot. Be well, steve


  10. Dan Kervick says:

    One name that has been mentioned in the rumor mill as a caretaker replacement for Gregg is Warren Rudman. But Rudman is such a noted deficit hawk that I can’t imagine Obama would go through with this if he is going to get a guy like Rudman complaining loudly about the impact of the stimulus package on the deficit.
    McConnell’s careful statement that the Gregg appointment would “not alter the make up of the Senate in terms of the majority and the minority,” suggests to me that Lynch might name an independent. There are a lot of them here in New Hampshire.


  11. JohnH says:

    I am more than happy to see Steve pointing out blatant mistakes by the corporate media. Each one represents another chink in their aura of integrity and objectivity. A few more mistakes like this, and people will start to get it: most reporting is nothing more than cutting and pasting press releases, echoing the biases of rich and powerful owners and the advertisers and government they depend on.
    Then maybe people will begin to view the “news” with the same healthy skepticism with which they view the blogosphere.


  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    While sharing the disdain many of you have for Steve’s human surroundings, I don’t understand how you think he could gather information if he was to separate himself from these people.
    I wouldn’t want to drive an Andy Gump truck, but I’m damned grateful that there are those that are willing to get behind the wheel. Somebody’s gotta do it. Thank God it ain’t me.


  13. nick says:

    Yeah, but Steve had cocktails with Shaheen just yesterday at
    Dowd’s, and he would do it again in a minute.


  14. PissedOffAmerican says:
    February 1, 2009
    U.S. Gaza Coverage Echoed Government Support of Israel
    by Marina Litvinsky
    U.S. television coverage of the recent three-week conflict in the Gaza Strip failed to tell both sides of the story, according to a number of media analysts.
    The most recent conflict between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Palestinian faction Hamas garnered some media attention, with an unusually large spike in coverage, but that level sank as the fighting dragged on.
    During both the first and second weeks of the attack, including a massive aerial attack and a full-scale ground invasion of the tiny, densely-populated Gaza Strip, the conflict was the top story on the nightly newscasts of the three major U.S. networks (ABC, CBS and NBC), where it got 55 minutes of total airtime.
    But the first two weeks of fighting were “an aberration in terms of coverage by American broadcast networks,” said Andrew Tyndall, of the Tyndall Report, which monitors the weekday nightly newscasts from the three major U.S. broadcast networks. “It’s very rare for a foreign story to have that kind of status for two weeks.”
    U.S. foreign news coverage has been on the decline. In 2008 attention to international news was at its lowest since the Tyndall Report was first published in 1988.
    After the initial abnormal spike, however, coverage of Gaza fell significantly. In the week of Jan. 12, the last full week of fighting, the conflict was discussed for a total of 20 minutes by the three networks.
    The amount of play a news story gets on television is particularly important because of the centrality of the medium in U.S. news.
    In 2008, some 70 percent of the public relied on television as a main source of national and international news, according to the latest survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
    Network news has long been criticized as being too “soft”, providing more “infotainment” than actual news. However, an estimated 23 million U.S. residents watch the 22 minutes of evening news that each of the networks broadcast on an average weekday evening.
    Since the network news audience is 10 times larger than that of cable news networks, such as CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, it is no surprise that the views presented in the newscasts are often reflected in public opinion.
    According to a recent survey released by CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, 60 percent of those questioned say they sympathize with Israelis in the Gaza conflict, with 17 percent backing the Palestinians.
    Tyndall points out that while the number of sound bites of the conflict broadcast from the two sides was about equal, the use of quotes from official sources was not. For every quotation by a Palestinian official, the three networks quoted 10 Israelis.
    “Interviews with Israeli spokesmen and ambassadors were not juxtaposed with the voices of Palestinian leaders,” said Habib Battah, a freelance journalist writing for Al-Jazeera English.
    In addition to disproportionate official representation, the grave disparity in casualties between the two sides was usually played down or not mentioned at all by newscasters. Nearly 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed in the conflict, which ended tentatively with separate ceasefires on Jan. 18.
    “When the number of deaths did appear [in television news broadcasts] – sometimes as a graphic at the bottom of the screen – it was identified as the number of ‘people killed’ rather than being attributed specifically to Palestinians,” said Battah.
    The recent IDF incursion signaled the end of a tenuous Egypt-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, which has ruled the Gaza strip since 2006. In June, Hamas agreed to end attacks from Gaza on Israel. In return, Israel agreed to halt raids inside Gaza and ease its blockade of the territory.
    On Nov. 4, Israel launched an air strike just inside Gaza’s borders. When Hamas responded, Israel retaliated to that attack. The incident is regarded by some analysts, including a private Israeli intelligence group with apparent ties to its official counterpart, as the beginning of the end for the ceasefire.
    The 22-day war has garnered much attention from human rights groups. Israel has been accused of illegally using white phosphorus shells, which cause extreme burns to the skin, near civilians. It has denied this, saying an investigation found no evidence to support this claim.
    Given the U.S.’s long history of supporting Israel, the slanted media attention does not surprise many close followers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    “The coverage is what you would expect,” said Peter Hart, activism director at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). “There is a lot of pressure from pro-Israeli groups on media outlets.”
    “The root of the problem is not the media,” said Dan Hallin, professor and chair of the Department of Communication at the University of California, San Diego. “The problem is that politicians of both parties avoid any serious discussion of the issue. The media reflect that silence. It would be good if they tried to open up a little more space for debate, but this is not a role the media play by themselves very often.”
    With so much reaction from both sides, journalists are finding it difficult to cover the conflict impartially.
    Ethan Bronner, in a piece for the New York Times, writes, “Every time I write an article about the conflict that does not mirror [the story line of Israel as the victim] – if, for example, I focus on Palestinian suffering or alleged Israeli misdeeds or quote a human rights group like Amnesty International – I have proven myself to be a secret sharer with the views of the enemy.”
    “Every time I fail to allude to [the other side of] that story – when, for example, I examine Israel’s goals in its Gaza war without implicitly condemning it as a massacre, or write about Israel in ways that do not call into question its legitimacy – I have revealed my affiliation and can no longer be trusted as a reporter.”
    George J. Mitchell, the new U.S. envoy to the Middle East, met with Israeli leaders on Wednesday.
    He told the Los Angeles Times that the United States would “sustain an active commitment for reaching the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security.”
    Leaving no questions about where the U.S. stood on this issue, he said, “The United States is committed to Israel’s security and to its right to defend itself against legitimate threats.”


  15. Karen says:

    all histrionics aside, if that’s possible, an interesting slip up, but more interesting that Gregg has such singular value as Commerce such that a democratic governor would appoint a republican replacement for his senate seat. I’m all for bi-partisan discussion and understanding, but I don’t see that it buys the democrats any vowels to bend over in this manner.
    I understand, of course, that the opinion of the current senator should, out of deference, be heard, but it’s not his decision. Which brings me back to question the value of Gregg…


  16. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Well, Steve, I would hope that you have taken this issue up with both Maddow and Olberman. As both of them are seen as dissenting and progressive commentators, it is irresponsible and cowardly of them not to endeavor to enlighten their viewers about the true nature of the events and circumstances in Gaza. The American people, as a whole, are woefully uninformed, and depend on the likes of Olberman and Maddow to offer an honest alternative to the obvious horseshit peddled by Fox News, AIPAC, and our government’s own “message force multipliers”.
    And the guest post by Glassman, and Letitia King’s subsequent remark, was laughable. Does Obama, exposing himself on our government sponsored worldwide “media” propaganda outlets really serve the interests of “change” and “reaching out to the Muslim community”? Do Glassman and King think the world’s Muslim community is a swarm of gullible idiots?
    Sometime, somehow, the true nature of the Israeli/Palestinian “conflict” needs to be conveyed to the American people, and so too does the Muslim community need to see that the American media, (and Obama), are willing to address this issue from an honest and realistic assessment of the facts, rather than a fabricated distortion of reality designed to favor the Israeli agenda, and thusly ignoring all moral, ethical, and humane considerations.
    As an aside here, I was truly disheartened to see Mitchell remove Turkey from his itinerary. Just more of the same old shit. If you dare cross Israel, you are immediately demonized, sidelined, purposely isolated, and left out of the process. Disgusting. More and more, this promise of “change” is being revealed as just one more empty campaign slogan, empty, insincere, and meaningless.
    I wish you the best too, Steve, and hope all is well on your end. I sincerely hope you don’t drown in this stuff, or simply become assimilated, for you are swimming in a cesspool.


  17. Steve Clemons says:

    POA – I see your point and understand it. I thought Bob Simon’s 60 Minutes piece was fantastic — and I deal with media folks every day on their coverage of the Middle East trying hard as you know to get them to have much more fair and balanced coverage than is the norm.
    But there are other times when the slip-ups are small, still significant, and still worth mentioning. And sometimes they are funny.
    This falls into that category.
    Hope all is well, steve


  18. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Geez, Steve, is it really fair and balanced to point out a media mistake, while ignoring the plentiful examples of media distortions we are subjected to day after day ad nauseum?
    Is CBS’s failure to stay up to date on a coupla politician’s positions more notable than the complete departures from reality most media outlets have presented in regards to Israel, Gaza, or Iran?
    With all due respect, isn’t it a bit more constructive to outline the lies, rather than the mistakes?


Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *