Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King greeted “CBS This Morning” viewers side-by-side on November 21, with somber news that revered co-anchor, Charlie Rose, had been suspended and/or terminated by CBS, his own PBS broadcast, and Bloomberg. Just days earlier, the team had been celebrating another journalistic recognition for Rose, and yesterday began with the not-so-surprising announcement that Charlie was “off.” Then came the allegations, reported in the Washington Post, from eight women who either worked for or were seeking consideration from Rose between the late 90s-2011. All of the reported incidents took place before Charlie Rose, Norah O'Donnell, and Gayle King were selected as the morning co-anchors in 2012, but the consistent stories and patterns of behavior seemed to fit an all-too-familiar pattern of a man in power using that position and authority to be manipulative and abusive of women

Up close and personal

Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King sat shoulder to shoulder as the broadcast opened.

They, like most of their network, were reeling from revelations that cascaded within hours. Rose issued a statement yesterday, apologizing and accepting responsibility. Yet he deflected with the claim that he, “always felt I [he] was pursuing shared feelings,” with the 75-year-old broadcaster’s accusers, and that now he realizes that he was “mistaken.” There is still an avoidance here of full responsibility and accountability, no matter Rose’s “embarrassment.” He will have the time now to reflect more deeply on better behavior, and it's never too late to be a better man.

Norah O'Donnell has spent a career specializing in the “hard news” of the Washington beltway, but this morning’s gaze straight into the camera was certainly the hardest moment the veteran journalist of NBC and now CBS has ever faced.

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Her opening words called for “a frank and honest assessment of where we stand,” and that reference was clearly intended far beyond the scope of herself and her colleagues, reaching out to the entire current culture, in every workplace. She labeled sexual misconduct as, “systematic and pervasive,” and said that she has devoted much time to “listening” and will continue to listen. She emphasized that no equality can come to the workplace or in society until there is a “reckoning” and a genuine taking acceptance of responsibility. She then credited her network and the team of people who support her every day. She concluded with “This will be investigated. This has to end. This behavior is wrong. Period.

Gayle King has been known to have a genuine, relaxed, and humorous rapport with Charlie Rose, and she opened her remarks by saying that she was “reeling,” and coming on camera with just an hour and 42 minutes of sleep. Her inquisitive nature and playful teasing could bring a genuine belly laugh out of her colleague, Rose, but she detailed that Oprah and her two children were the ones inquiring now as to her well-being.

She openly responded, “I'm not okay,”

King confessed her struggle of grappling with, “someone you know,” on one level and held, “in such high regard,” against the allegations of, “something so horrible." She continued that this revelation “has to matter to women,” and that she could not stop thinking about the “anguish” of the victims, in what happened to their “dignity” and their bodies. Gayle King united with O'Donnell in saying that there can be no “pass” in this, for Rose, or any perpetrator. She concluded by saying that she was still “trying to process this,” while being supportive of the victims. These words were her own, beyond what any teleprompter could display

Neither Norah O'Donnell nor Gayle King have spoken to Charlie Rose since the reports. Gayle said she plans to speak to him today.

Power in numbers

As it happens, correspondent Alex Wagner had been working on a feature with five powerful women, who each had their own histories of dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace, for several weeks. Scheduling happened to have the piece up for today's broadcast on “CBS This Morning,” long before the Charlie Rose revelations came to light. The timing was providential, because the many women, from senior executives to a member of the USA Olympic gymnastics team, were each in very personal and different stages of dealing with their experiences

One thing agreed on by the entire group was that every incidence, and every woman, must be heard, and there must be an accounting, as both Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King echoed in their statements. Jane Rosenthal, Cofounder of the Tribeca Film Festival, bluntly put it “I don't know who said it [first], but Pandora is out-of-the-box, and Pandora is pissed.”

The horrors inside the box may only be just beginning to be seen, but at least now, everyone has eyes to see, and ears to hear.