Charlie Rose Gets Hammered by Norah O’Donnell and Gayle King

No network went harder at the accused TV host and interviewer than his own, with his ‘CBS This Morning’ co-hosts ‘reeling’ the morning after an exposé about his alleged misconduct.

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All three network morning shows led their Tuesday broadcasts with the disturbing sexual-harassment and -assault allegations against Charlie Rose, but no report on Rose’s misconduct was more complete and compelling than on CBS This Morning, where the 75-year-old television-news icon has been a co-host for the past five years.

“I have to say, Norah, I really am still reeling,” the CBS News program’s co-anchor Gayle King told colleague Norah O’Donnell after news reader Bianna Golodryga anchored a lengthy report on The Washington Post’s Monday exposé in which eight former female employees of Rose’s eponymous PBS interview show recounted behaviors ranging from groping to lewd late-night phone calls to parading naked in front of them.

“I got an hour and 42 minutes of sleep last night,” King went on. “Both my son and my daughter called me. Oprah called me and said, ‘Are you OK?’ I am not OK.”

CBS News’ response to the scandal in their midst—a model of aggressive self-reporting, without fear or favor—was in stark contrast to how Fox News and the Fox Business Network largely have given short shrift to the various sexual-misconduct scandals that resulted in the abrupt departures of Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, among others.

Indeed, the CBS This Morning presentation of Rose’s alleged misdeeds—which involved women who worked for the PBS show he owns, according to the Post—was arguably tougher and more thorough than the reports of its competitors on NBC’s Today show and ABC’s Good Morning America.

The Washington Post article “was deeply disturbing, troubling and painful for me to read,” King said, adding that she hopes more women will go public with their accounts of Rose’s misconduct. “You know, I’ve enjoyed a friendship and a partnership with Charlie for the last five years. I have held him in such high regard and I’m really struggling because… what do you say when someone that you deeply care about has done something that is so horrible? How do you wrap your brain around that? I’m really grappling with that.

“That said, Charlie does not get a pass here. He doesn’t get a pass from anyone in this room. We are all deeply affected, we are all rocked by this. I really applaud the women that speak up, despite the friendship.”

King said she planned to speak with Rose later Tuesday.

O’Donnell, in a terse statement she read off the teleprompter, also condemned her colleague and praised his accusers.

“It takes a lot of courage for these women to come forward,” she said. “Let me be very clear. There is no excuse for this alleged behavior. This I know: Women cannot achieve equality in the workplace and in society until there is a reckoning… This has to end.”

King, for her part, spoke extemporaneously. “You can grapple with things and I—to be very honest with you—I’m still trying to process all of this,” she said. “I’m still trying to sort it out because this is not the man I know, but I’m also clearly on the side of the women who have been very hurt and very damaged by this.”

CBS management suspended Rose promptly after the Post’s report was published online, while PBS and Bloomberg Television, both of which have broadcast Rose’s nightly interview show, quickly took it off the air. Rose has also been suspended by 60 Minutes, where he has been a contributor for several years.