Second Lady, Second-Guessing
Upon arriving at the office today, this writer came upon a blog post about "CBS Sunday Morning" correspondent Rita Braver's conversation with Lynne Cheney. The post began:
CBS News correspondent Rita Braver's brown-nose interview with Lynne Cheney on Sunday was reason number 1,342 why I am cynical toward and very distrustful of the mainstream corporate media.The author of the post, Micheal Petrelis, took issue with two main points:
I began a conversation with Braver about this issue early today, before finding out the conversation had widened to a couple of letters on Jim Romenesko's MediaNews – the go-to site for a daily climate check of MediaLand. (It's so "go-to," we direct you to go to it in the list to the right ----->.)
There I found a letter from David Fluhrer, a self-described "public relations consultant with a healthy respect for journalism," raising the same points as Petrelis -- where he called the interview "fawning." And another from Lee Rood at the Des Moines Register.
In order to get a sense of the decision-making process, I got in touch with Rand Morrison, the Executive Producer of "CBS Sunday Morning" and shared with him the concerns out there in the blogosphere.
Here is his response:
Rita Braver is our Sunday Morning Washington-based correspondent. In that role, she regularly talks with political figures of all persuasions -- from Laura Bush to former Attorney General John Ashcroft to presidential hopeful John Edwards to, yes, Lynne Cheney. Similarly, her husband, Bob Barnett, represents a number of prominent Washington personalities -- Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals.
Ms. Braver – who over the years has served CBS News as Chief White House correspondent and Law correspondent – disclosed her husband's role with the Cheney book on the air during her story for all of our viewers to know. And despite the fact that Ms. Cheney's book is an autobiography devoted to a recounting of her young years growing up in Wyoming, Braver asked a variety of questions pertaining to the current political climate. Among them – quoting directly:
And on the matter of the conduct of the Iraq war…
Given the above queries, it seems harsh, to put it mildly, to characterize the Sunday Morning interview as "fawning."