Networks Still Boosting Wendy Davis' 'Epic' Pro-Abortion Filibuster Almost A Week Later

The Big Three networks still can't get enough of Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, nearly a week after her extended filibuster against pro-life legislation on June 25, 2013. All three brought on Davis during their Sunday morning talk programs, and continued hyping the supportive response on social media that Davis received in response to her "epic eleven-hour filibuster", as NBC' s Janet Shamlian sympathetically labeled it on Monday's Today.

ABC's Jeff Zeleny conducted a beyond softball interview of the liberal politician on This Week, and was awed when the liberal politician showed off the pink running shoes that she wore during the filibuster [audio available here; video below the jump]. Bob Schieffer touted Davis' "wonderful biography" on Face the Nation, and added that "few outside Texas knew of her until last week when she became an overnight sensation." NBC and CBS each devoted another full report to Davis on their Monday morning newscasts.

Zeleny's ultra-deferential treatment of the Texas legislation began not with a question, but with the very location that he conducted the interview: the "dinner theater [in Fort Worth] where Davis once waited tables", as host George Stephanopoulos pointed out in his introduction to the segment. He led by echoing Schieffer's superlative description of Davis: "A week ago, no one knew State Senator Wendy Davis outside of Fort Worth. Now, you've become a national and international name."

The ABC correspondent continued by raising the issue of the state senator's footwear, and was literally wowed when Davis took the shoes out of a bag:

JEFF ZELENY: Why did you decide to wear your running shoes? And let's take a look at those. They kind of have been rocketing around the – the Internet.

STATE SEN WENDY DAVIS, (D), TEXAS: They've gained a fame all their own-

ZELENY: Wow-

Zeleny then picked up where the Big Three left off on Friday by playing up the social media hysteria over Davis: "As the filibuster was going on, you were receiving a lot of support from places and people far away from Texas – you know, from movie stars, from the President." An on-screen graphic spotlighted the "something special is happening in Austin" Tweet from Mr. Obama, along with a Twitter post from the notoriously left-wing actress Lena Dunham.

Later in the segment, the journalist also forwarded the networks' "very personal" labeling of Texas Governor Rick Perry's critique of Davis, and merely asked, "Is that offensive?" Zeleny concluded the interview with another shoe question: "Will you have to filibuster again? Are you going to put these shoes on again?" NBC's Shamlian picked up where her ABC colleague left off by trumpeting how 'Davis, in her pink sneakers, became an Internet sensation" during her report on Today.

Despite his gushing introduction, Schieffer, along with NBC's David Gregory on Meet the Press, brought up a key polling number on abortion from the State of Texas – that "sixty percent of Texans support banning abortions after twenty weeks, which is one of the things that this bill would do." CBS's Manuel Bojorquez also highlighted this figure during his report about Davis on Monday's CBS This Morning.

The full transcript of Jeff Zeleny's interview of Texas State Senator Wendy Davis from Sunday's This Week on ABC:


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And in 'This Week's' Sunday Spotlight, Wendy Davis, the single mom state senator from Texas, rocketed into America's conversation this week, when her 11-hour filibuster blocked legislation to restrict abortions in Texas.

ABC's Jeff Zeleny spoke with her in Fort Worth at the dinner theater where she once waited tables.

[ABC News Graphic: "Sunday Spotlight: Texas Filibuster Showdown"]

JEFF ZELENY: A week ago, no one knew State Senator Wendy Davis outside of Fort Worth. Now, you've become a national and international name.

STATE SEN WENDY DAVIS, (D), TEXAS (from speech on Texas State Senate floor): Members, I'm rising on the floor today to humbly give voice.

DAVIS: I never could have predicted the enthusiasm, the energy, the courage of people in Texas, who showed up at the capitol.

ZELENY: Why did you decide to wear your running shoes? And let's take a look at those. They kind of have been rocketing around the – the Internet.

[ABC News Graphic: "Sunday Spotlight: Standoff In Sneakers"]

DAVIS: They've gained a fame all their own-

ZELENY: Wow-

DAVIS: At the last minute, I was running out of my apartment, and I thought, maybe I might need something with a little more support. So, I grabbed these on the way out the door. These are actually my running shoes.

DAVIS (from speech on Texas State Senate floor): Women need timely access.

ZELENY: As the filibuster was going on, you were receiving a lot of support from places and people far away from Texas – you know, from movie stars, from the President.

DAVIS: I was completely blown away. I truly think the most profound thing that I received were the – the Tweet messages that were coming from everyday Texans and women across the country.

ZELENY: The front page of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram is featuring the back and forth with Governor Perry and you. He has made this very personal against you.

GOV. RICK PERRY, (R), TEXAS (from speech at National Right To Life convention): She was the daughter of a single woman. She was a teenage mother herself. It's just unfortunate that she hasn't learned from her own example.

ZELENY: Is that offensive?

DAVIS: You know, what's offensive to me, is that he's made this very personal to Texans overall. He's awfully fond of talking the talk of small government, but this is big government intrusion. And it's very unfortunate and sad that people's personal health and safety are at risk for his political purposes.

ZELENY: Do you believe that S.B. 5 will become law?

DAVIS: I just refuse to say I believe it will happen. I'm an eternal optimist. I believe in people. I believe in the power of democracy. And I'm going to fight with every fiber I have to keep it from passing.

ZELENY: Will you have to filibuster again?

DAVIS: I don't know that we'll have that opportunity again. But I can tell you this: we are up for the fight.

ZELENY: Are you going to put these shoes on again or-

DAVIS: If I have to, I will – most certainly.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center