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ABC, NBC Punt on Alleged Obama Administration Leak of Classified Information to Hollywood

CBS This Morning stood out as the only Big Three network morning show on Thursday to cover a conservative group's allegation that the Obama administration gave a movie director and writer "special access to government officials involved in the commando operation that killed Osama bin Laden," as reported by Reuters on Wednesday. ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today ignored the story.

Correspondent Chip Reid outlined that "the documents...obtained by Judicial Watch, a conservative government watchdog group...reveal that director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal...met with top national security officials; gained access to Seal Team 6; and visited the CIA."

Anchor Charlie Rose pointed out in his introduction to Reid's report that there was "new information this morning on an alleged security leak by the Obama administration. Officials are accused of telling Hollywood filmmakers too much about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden." The CBS journalist continued that "it's no surprise that the Obama administration would enthusiastically welcome a movie about the killing of bin Laden. But some critics say what is surprising is how far the White House was willing to go to get that movie made."

Reid provided some corroboration to the Judicial Watch allegation during his report: "Sources tell CBS News the White House put the movie on the fast track, aggressively looking for ways to help." He also played a soundbite from Republican Congressman Peter King, who criticized the administration's catering of Hollywood: "I believe they could have compromised secrets. They could have put people's lives at risk."

Near the end of his report, the correspondent noted how "many officials, including former defense secretary Robert Gates in an interview with Charlie Rose, have expressed frustration over how much of the bin Laden mission has been leaked."

Mark Hosenball highlighted in his Wednesday report for Reuters that "neither the CIA nor the Pentagon disputed the authenticity of the documents" obtained by Judicial Watch. Even with this detail, it seems that ABC and NBC concluded that it wasn't newsworthy to cover for their morning newscasts on Thursday.

The full transcript of Chip Reid's report from Thursday's CBS This Morning, which aired 12 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour:

CHARLIE ROSE: We have new information this morning on an alleged security leak by the Obama administration. Officials are accused of telling Hollywood filmmakers too much about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

ERICA HILL: Chip Reid is in Washington this morning. Chip, good morning.

[CBS News Graphic: "Helping Hollywood: White House Under Fire Over Bin Laden Movie"]

CHIP REID: Well, good morning, Erica and Charlie. You know, it's no surprise that the Obama administration would enthusiastically welcome a movie about the killing of bin Laden. But some critics say what is surprising is how far the White House was willing to go to get that movie made.

REID (voice-over): The mission to kill Osama bin Laden is the stuff movies are made of. But newly obtained documents reveal the Obama administration went out of its way to give access to well-connected Hollywood filmmakers. While asking a CIA official to speak to one of the filmmakers, a public affairs officer wrote, 'I know this is a little outside what we typically do,' but 'we're trying to keep his visits a bit quiet.' Sources tell CBS News the White House put the movie on the fast track, aggressively looking for ways to help.

Republican Congressman Peter King says the administration crossed the line.

REP. PETER KING, (R), NEW YORK: I give the President full credit for this raid, but it seems as if the White House wasn't content to let that be enough. I believe they could have compromised secrets. They could have put people's lives at risk.

REID: The documents were obtained by Judicial Watch, a conservative government watchdog group. They reveal that director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal, who both won Oscars for the motion picture, 'The Hurt Locker,' met with top national security officials; gained access to Seal Team 6; and visited the CIA, where some of the planning took place. But administration officials say the meeting with Seal Team 6 never happened, and officials who did meet with the movie makers did so to make sure they got the facts straight. A Pentagon spokesman said, 'This is something we do every single day of the week, and this is not driven by politics.'

Even so, many officials, including former defense secretary Robert Gates in an interview with Charlie Rose, have expressed frustration over how much of the bin Laden mission has been leaked.

CHARLIE ROSE (from interview on CBS This Morning): The night of the bin Laden raid and the assassination and the killing-

ROBERT GATES, FMR. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: The one where we pledged to each other we would never go out public with operational-

ROSE: And how long did that last?

GATES: Five hours.

REID (on-camera): White House critics have said that what the White House was trying to do is get the movie made before Election Day. The White House denies that. The movie is now set for release some time in December, after Election Day. Charlie and Erica?

ROSE: Chip Reid, thanks.

— Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.