CNN Conveniently Omits Eliot Spitzer from List of Recent Political Sex Scandals

CNN continued its rehabilitation of Eliot Spitzer's political career in leaving his name out of a lengthy list of recent political sex scandals Tuesday. As MediaBistro and my colleague Tom Blumer reported yesterday, the network shied away from disclosing the checkered past of one of its prime-time anchors.

In the wake of former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's revelations that he fathered a child with a mistress, CNN ran a segment during the 2 p.m. EDT hour covering recent political sex scandals. Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux mentioned six by name and CNN ran old news clips of even more - but failed to disclose that the current host of a CNN prime-time show was once embroiled in an infamous scandal.

Eliot Spitzer hosts the network's 8 p.m. EDT prime time show, In the Arena, and previously served as New York's governor from 2007 until March of 2008. Spitzer aburptly resigned from office when his involvement in a high-end prostitution ring became public.

CNN brought him on last fall to co-host the ill-fated prime time show Parker-Spitzer with columnist Kathleen Parker. When Parker left the network in February, Spitzer continued as the host of the 8 p.m. EDT hour, now re-named In the Arena.

During the afternoon segment, Malveaux mentioned the "rumored affairs" of President Kennedy and named the scandals of Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and former President Bill Clinton. CNN also featured old news footage in the background of other scandals, from former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to former Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho).

CNN, however, did feature Spitzer's fall from grace as one of 17 recent political sex scandals on its blog CNNPolitics.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on May 17 at 2:29 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

RANDI KAYE, CNN anchor: We now know why Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver split. The former California governor admits he fathered a child outside of his marriage more than 10 years ago. The mother was a longtime member of his household staff, it turns out. It seems that we are hearing these types of stories more and more in politics. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux takes a look back at some of the scandals.

(Begin Videotape)

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN correspondent (voice-over): It's become one of the oldest cliches in politics, whether it's the rumored affairs of President John F. Kennedy, or the painful story of John and Elizabeth Edwards, infidelity, lies, and the inevitable apologies are almost a given in the world in high-power politics. And it is the politicians' wives who generally endure the deepest agony, forced to face the cameras when a sex scandal hits.

MARK SANFORD, former governor of South Carolina: The bottom line is this: I have been unfaithful to my wife.

JENNY SANFORD, former wife of Mark Sanford: Am I okay? You know what? I have great faith and I have great friends and great family.

MALVEAUX: And with all of the news swirling around the Schwarzenegger and Shriver scandal, we know it is not the first time that the former first lady of California has had to endure the limelight for her husband.

MARIA SHRIVER, clip from 2003: And you can listen to people who have never met Arnold, or who met him for five seconds 30 years ago. Or you can listen to me.

MALVEAUX: There are those who try to help their spouses recover from their fall from grace, like Calista Gingrich, Newt Gingrich's third wife. Gingrich was House speaker at the time and she was on his staff. This was during the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

NEWT GINGRICH, presidential candidate: There were times in my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and that things happened in my life that were not appropriate.

MALVEAUX: The affair could have crippled his political ambitions. She's now a visible presence by his side as he gears up for his run for the White House. And then there are those who are at the podium when their powerful husbands are forced out of politics.

HILLARY CLINTON, former first lady of the United States: You know, I am not sitting here, some little woman standing by my man.

MALVEAUX: So why, after all the betrayals and all of the sex scandals, are these storyies still relevant? Some argue because if you'd lie to the ones you love, you'd also lie to others. Namely, the ones that you're supposed to serve.

Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, Atlanta.

- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.