By John Romano
(YBH) – Last week Mark Knoller of CBS broke a seemingly big story. He released partial audio of President Obama talking to donors on a mic that was inadvertently “hot”. The tidbits CBS released were great. Chief among them was Mr. Obama calling some Federal employees “slugs” and his taking a much nastier tone with the GOP than he does in front of the cameras. The most famous, Obama asking his donors if the GOP thinks “we’re stupid”, was choice.
However, CBS has not released the entire tape to the public or other media outlets. After several tweets by Yes, But, However! to Mr. Knoller as to why the full tape hasn’t been made public, he responded: “My editors decided against it.” Mr. Knoller offered to further explanation.
Given the type of coverage he is tasked with delivering for CBS, I’m not surprised. Mark Knoller covers Obama the way Now magazine cover Justin Bieber. A sample of his latest tweets about the President include:
Obama slams GOP deficit plan that would cut clean energy investments by 70%. He says it would be a mistake at time of $4/gal gasoline.
Obama vows to “comb budget for savings” – to find every dime of waste & misspent money. Says he’ll check under the cushions.
Andrew Marcus over at Big Journalism sums his search for the unedited audio this way:
We certainly concede that we might simply be looking in the wrong place, or that we are ignorant as to when the recording ended and the first hand reports began, but we would sure like to know where the FULL UNEDITED RECORDING of His Presidency’s comments can be found.
Well Andrew, now you know the answer.
The question becomes: Why has CBS chosen not to release the tape? The likely answer is obvious: something on the tape makes Mr. Obama look bad or will bring a measure of embarrassment to him or the Democratic party. If the networks are going to go retro and treat Obama like the smiling outsider they did in 2008, it wouldn’t be prudent to release a tape of the President acting like a kneejerk partisan insider. Likewise, if there is something embarrassing on the tape that the White House doesn’t want public, CBS may be loathe to lose access to the President over it.
By refusing to release the tape, CBS plays into the narrative that the network is chock full of Obama-biased hacks. Without clarification, I’d have to agree with that narrative.
NOTE: This article has been updated to reflect Mark Knoller’s comments.
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