Barney-Bashing: GMA Kicks W's Dog

On a day when GMA ran two warm-'n-fuzzy items about Barack Obama, the ABC show found yet another way to hit President Bush—literally and figuratively stooping to bash Barney, the presidential pooch.  Relying on some ambiguous remarks by an aide to Pres. Bush, weekend co-anchor Bill Weir declared that "Barney's a jerk" and "everyone hates him."

View video here.

Weir teased the segment in the show's opening roll, then couldn't contain himself in his initial chit-chat with Kate Snow:

KATE SNOW: It's been one of the best-kept secrets of the Bush White House. But we have the scoop this morning on Barney.

BILL WEIR: Turns out everyone hates him.

SNOW: Hey-y-y-y! Giving it right away there; right off the top!

After being treated along the way to a report about the Obama family visiting the Lincoln Memorial, and a segment about African-American high school students in Connecticut expressing their feelings about the impending Obama presidency [surprise: they're hopeful!], GMA, after much intervening teasing of the story, gave its big scoop on Barney.

The revelation came in the course of John Berman's segment on Gordon Johndroe, the youthful presidential aide who has been with George W. Bush for 12 years, going back to his days as Texas Governor.

JOHN BERMAN: In the revolving administration door, his tenure is extremely rare.  How has he lasted while others haven't?

GORDON JOHNDROE: I don't know: maybe they're smarter than I am. I don't know, I've been very lucky; blessed in many ways.

BERMAN: It might be that, or it could be that he knows how to keep a secret. One of the best-protected until now: the true nature of Barney the dog.  The subject of rosy propaganda films with Barney-cam.

JOHNDROE: Barney is, um, he's fickle.

BERMAN: "Fickle" is one way to put it: Barney recently bit a reporter. [To Johndroe] Do you think America appreciates the real Barney?

JOHNDROE: I think America has been shielded from Barney somewhat.

BERMAN: But Gordon kept his feelings quiet, because of the president. [To Johndroe] Does he understand that Barney has flaws?

JOHNDROE: Um, you know, I think he shows Barney unconditional love.

BERMAN: Does Barney deserve unconditional love?

JOHNDROE: That's for the president to decide.

BERMAN: Always the diplomat.
Berman and Johndroe conducted their exchange with a nice, light touch. But back in the studio, Weir painted things in a nastier light.  He and Snow also speculated whether Johndroe might spill the White House beans à la Scott McClellan.
WEIR: Do you get the sense this is the guy who pens the tell-all?

BERMAN: He, honest-to-God, I covered the campaign in 2000 and he was there for every second.  This guy knows everything, he has seen everything.  He really says it's been an honor to serve, but he's ready to go at this point.

SNOW: A lot of other former—Scott McClellan for example—wrote these big tell-all books. I wonder what Gordon will do-o-o-o?

BERMAN: He doesn't know what he'll do next.  He says he wants to take at least three months off and do absolutely nothing.  He's sick of waking up at 5 AM.  It's not early for you guys, but for a lot of people that's early. And eight years of it is tough.

SNOW: And he's worked long, long days.
Weir couldn't resist directing one last kick at the canine.
WEIR: And Barney's a jerk.
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.