There was some major whiplash on Tuesday’s CBS Evening News when it was reported President Biden would announce American’s withdrawal from Afghanistan after more than 20 years. The whiplash came from the network’s support for troop withdrawals being dependent on the party affiliation of the president behind it. They even discounted the peace deal President Trump struck to give America the opportunity, suggesting it was Biden’s idea.
“Breaking news: Leaving Afghanistan, President Biden to announce an end to America’s longest war, pulling all U.S. troops out by the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks,” anchor Norah O’Donnell cheerfully announced during the opening tease.
It was a happy tone that continued into the introduction of the full segment. “Now, here to Washington, a major announcement is coming from the President,” she touted. “Tomorrow, America’s longest war is coming to an end in a matter of months. A war that cost the U.S. more than 2,000 lives and taxpayers trillions of dollars.”
But almost six months ago to the day, on November 16, 2020, O’Donnell was appalled by President Trump’s decision to drawdown troops and bring them home:
Tonight, President Trump is expected to significantly reduce U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan and Iraq. Now, that’s despite warnings from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper that the move could lead to more violence in those countries.
CBS’s approval of McConnell’s criticism also changed with the political winds. While O’Donnell promoted him back then, on Tuesday, vindictive senior White House correspondent Weijia Jiang used him to suggest Republicans supported continuing the endless war. “Republicans slammed the decision,” she sniped before playing a sound bite of the minority leader.