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CBS Applies Multiple Ideological Tags to Ted Cruz But Refuses to Label Gore Vidal

“A conservative Republican was beaten by an even more conservative Tea Party candidate,” CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley announced Wednesday night in reporting Ted Cruz’s victory in the Texas Republican primary. Sharyl Attkisson relayed how the candidate Cruz defeated, David Dewhurst, “is considered a very conservative Republican,” yet “Cruz spent months tacking even further to the right.”

CBS, however, was unwilling to apply any ideological label in their obituary piece on hard-left writer Gore Vidal, though in that story Martha Teichner did issue one tag: She referred to the “televised confrontation between Gore Vidal and conservative commentator William Buckley.”

Pelley described Vidal as an “author” and hailed him as “a man of letters and words, wielding them as swords to cut down the powerful.”

Audio: MP3 clip

On NBC, Brian Williams refrained from any left-wing description as he recalled Vidal as a “prolific writer” who was “unquestionably brilliant and could also be a terrible bully.”

ABC’s Diane Sawyer saw him as “an intellectual flamethrower,” but she at least applied a “left wing” label. However, she ridiculously painted Buckley as the more extreme by calling him not just conservative but an “arch-conservative.” Sawyer played a clip of “the left wing Vidal in a famously nasty live exchange in the 1960s with arch-conservative William F. Buckley.”

(Neither ABC's World News nor the NBC Nightly News uttered a word about Cruz's win.)

Earlier: “Nets Sing Praises of ‘Brilliant’ and ‘Witty’ Gore Vidal; Omit His Left Wing Ideology

Pelley set up the August 1 story on the Texas primary:

Republicans are talking about the Tea Party’s big victory in Texas last night. There was a runoff for the GOP nomination for a U.S. Senate seat, and a conservative Republican was beaten by an even more conservative Tea Party candidate. Ted Cruz will head into the election in November as the virtual shoo-in to be the state’s next U.S. Senator.

Reporter Sharyl Attkisson asserted in the subsequent story:

By most any standard, [David] Dewhurst is considered a very conservative Republican – tough on taxes and social issues – and was endorsed by Texas Governor Rick Perry. Cruz spent months tacking even further to the right, chatting up prayer groups, party meetings, tapping into frustrations about Washington spending.

The newscast ended with an excerpt from a CBS Sunday Morning profile of Vidal in which Teichner played a snippet of the 1968 exchange in which Vidal slimed Buckley as a “crypto-Nazi.” Only finding one of them worth labeling, Teichner related: “Which brings us to the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago. The backdrop for the televised confrontation between Gore Vidal and conservative commentator William Buckley.”

-- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Brent Baker on Twitter.