There's some curious merchandise for sale in CBS News' online store.*
Alongside a travel mug, tote bag and T-shirt that all bear the CBS News logo, the store also includes the following:
- "Dreams From My Father," by Barack Obama
- "Dreams From My Father," by Barack Obama (hardcover)
- "Change We Can Believe In: Barack Obama's Plan to Renew America's Promise"
- "The American Journey of Barack Obama," by Life Magazine
- "Obama: The Historic Campaign in Photographs"
- "The Official Inauguration Celebration DVD"
In fact, out of the 13 items for sale, seven are Obama-related, in addition to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's memoir, "True Compass." The only CBS-related item is a DVD copy of "60 Minutes Presents -- Obama: All Access - The Road to the White House."
There is so much merchandise that a side bar on the site even has a separate "Barack Obama" tab for quick browsing:
Here's a closer look at all of the Obama merchandise:
All of this raises a simple question: Why is CBS selling it?
A note at the bottom of the site says the merchandise has "national importance:"
CBS News t-shirts and CBS News hoodies will show you're a true newshound. And don't forget all the latest DVDs and books with historical significance. Choose from 60 Minutes Barack Obama DVDs, Barack Obama books and other timely tales with national importance.
Again, in addition to the five Obama books, the only other "timely tale" is Kennedy's memoir.
When The Blaze reached out to CBS for comment, no one initially knew who was in charge of the store, or indeed, that one existed. One woman even asked, "There's a CBS News online store?"
After several hours being bounced around through various departments, CBS directed The Blaze to a spokesman for CBS Interactive, the arm that manages the network's online content.
So what's the reason for the items?
In a statement, the spokesman said the merchandise posted for sale was a mistake by the store's third-party provider and would be taken down:
"It has come to our attention that merchandise unrelated to CBS News was inadvertently made available by our third-party provider on the webpage that is located in the CBS Interactive online store. The items will be removed. We'd like to thank The Blaze for their vigilance in this important matter."
*UPDATE: Minutes after publication, CBS removed the items from the website. Note that "Change We Can Believe In" is still visible in the lower-left corner under "recently viewed."
UPDATE II: The merchandise is still visible if you type "obama" into the search bar. (h/t Blaze reader Aaron)