CNN identified Bennett only as "CNN contributor" as he praised Rove, bashed Democrats

››› ››› BRIAN LEVY

On the 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. ET hours of the March 19 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, a report by correspondent Brian Todd identified conservative radio host Bill Bennett, who served in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations as Education secretary and "drug czar," only as a "CNN contributor" as Bennett praised White House senior adviser Karl Rove and asserted that congressional Democrats were taking political revenge by probing Rove's role in the dismissals of eight U.S. attorneys.

Introducing Bennett's quote, Todd said that "CNN contributor William Bennett says this effort to get Rove in front of Congress" to discuss the firing of the U.S. attorneys "is part of a Democratic obsession with the man who is credited with engineering Republican victories in two controversial presidential elections and one midterm." On March 16, The Washington Post reported that "three emails" released by the Justice Department show that Rove "asked the White House counsel's office in early January 2005 whether it planned to proceed with a proposal to fire all 93 federal prosecutors." The on-screen graphic similarly identified Bennett as a "CNN contributor":

On March 15, Bennett appeared on CNN's The Situation Room opposite Democratic strategist Paul Begala. Host Wolf Blitzer introduced him as "the host of Morning in America, the radio show, Bill Bennett." On-screen graphics identified Bennett as "Host, 'Morning in America,' " "Former U.S. Education Secretary," and "The Claremont Institute."

On the March 14 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, Blitzer called Bennett a "conservative critic," a "CNN contributor," and "the host of the radio program Morning in America." On-screen graphics identified Bennett as a "CNN contributor," and "Host, 'Morning in America.' "

From the 4 p.m. ET hour of the March 14 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

BLITZER: Coming up, the scandal over fired federal prosecutors -- should the attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, resign? I'll ask conservative critic Bill Bennett. He's standing by live.

[...]

BLITZER: Coming up, are conservatives desperately seeking more options in the presidential race? Our CNN contributor, Bill Bennett, standing by to tell us who's generating buzz, who's causing a case of the blahs on the right.

[...]

BLITZER: Joining us now, our CNN contributor, Bill Bennett. He's the host of the radio program Morning in America.

From the 4 p.m. ET hour of the March 15 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

BLITZER: Joining us in today's "Strategy Session," Democratic strategist Paul Begala, and the host of Morning in America, the radio show, Bill Bennett. Guys, thanks very much for coming in.

From the 5 p.m. ET hour of the March 19 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

TODD: That sound Karl Rove hears from up the street could be the political knives being unsheathed for him yet again.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D-NY): Karl Rove was in the middle of this mess from the beginning.

TODD: Emails linking the president's top political adviser to the firings of U.S. attorneys have some Democrats believing they've got him this time. But do they?

None of the email puts the firings squarely at Rove's feet. And CNN contributor William Bennett says this effort to get Rove in front of Congress is part of a Democratic obsession with the man who is credited with engineering Republican victories in two controversial presidential elections and one midterm.

BENNETT: I know him. I've worked with him. He's a very smart guy. I can tell you, not everything originates with him.

TODD: But Rove was involved in the CIA leak scandal, acknowledged by journalist Robert Novak as one of his sources for the identity of former operative Valerie Plame Wilson.

Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Bill Bennett
Show/Publication
The Situation Room
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