As NewsBusters reported here, on the December 20, 2006 edition of The View, co-host Rosie O’Donnell sparked a war of words and the threat of a lawsuit over comments she made about real estate mogul Donald Trump. Her statement that he had been bankrupt "many times" was particularly infuriating to the billionaire. On the January 3 show, Barbara Walters, who noted O’Donnell’s absence from today’s show was due to a "long-planned vacation," was left to clean up the mess, and delivered this statement from ABC:
Barbara Walters: "Okay, guys, as I said earlier, Rosie is on a long-planned vacation with Kelli and the kids, and not, I can promise you, with Donald Trump. Now, speaking of which, ABC has asked me to say this, just to clarify things and I will quote, ‘Donald Trump has never filed for personal bankruptcy. Several of his casino companies have filed for business bankruptcies. They are out of bankruptcy now.’"
Walters then denied Trump’s charge that she regrets her decision to hire O’Donnell to replace Meredith Vieira:
In their first broadcast of 2007, ABC’s Nightline devoted the entire program to re-airing portions of stories from 2006 dealing with "power," including the shift in political power in the United States. The final segment of the newscast, entitled ‘Here Come the Democrats,’ featured three friendly profiles of prominent Democrats, including Cynthia McFadden’s tea with Senator Hillary Clinton and Terry Moran’s ‘Oba-mania’ during his interview with Illinois Senator Barack Obama. Here are some examples of the softball questions to Clinton and Obama re-broadcast Monday night:
Cynthia McFadden: "Do you actually like it? Do you actually like campaigning?...So, an association game, if you'll--if you will, a word or two about the following political folks, okay? President George Bush?
Senator Hillary Clinton: "Disappointing."
McFadden: "....So George Bush is disappointing....Is America ready for a female president? What do you think?"
Terry Moran: "Right now you're on a roll. You're--people, 'Oba-mania, they, they call it. The rock star. You get a big cheer when you get up there....It seems sometimes that much of your politics is about bridging divides....Republican-Democrat, black-white, red-blue. Is your politics about your biography?"
Not surprisingly, all three morning shows featured the Bob Woodward interview with recently deceased former President Gerald Ford, in which Ford criticized the Bush administration for its decision to go to war with Iraq. Good Morning America and the Today show were the most eager to showcase Ford’s critique of the administration, broadcasting full reports and featuring audio clips from the interview during the 7am half hour, while CBS’ Early Show relegated the story to a brief anchor-read at 7:35 am.
On ABC, anchor Robin Roberts, substitute co-host George Stephanopoulos, and reporter Claire Shipman seemed disappointed that the former president had not come forward publicly with his criticism prior to his death, saying that it could have made a difference in the U.S.’s decision to go to war:
New York Senator Hillary Clinton appeared on Wednesday’s The View to discuss politics and the re-release of her book, It Takes a Village. While there was some cheerleading for the 2008 Democratic presidential frontrunner by co-hosts Joy Behar and Rosie O’Donnell, for the most part, there seemed to be a great deal of restraint on all sides during Clinton’s two segments. Asked about a potential run for the White House, Clinton again said she was thinking about it "trying to sort all this out." On the war in Iraq, Clinton only got one challenging question in regards to her support of a "phased redeployment," from co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck:
Senator Hillary Clinton: "....So, if it's not going to change the mission, if it's not going to be a different strategy, I don't see where putting more troops will make a difference."
Elisabeth Hasselbeck: "Do you think pulling them out too early will–would equate to–sometimes I think of it as, you know, not finishing all of your antibiotics. Okay, there’s a problem there."
Hasselbeck: "So if you pull out too early, will that create more chaos?"
It has been widely speculated that President Bush will call for an increase in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq as part of his new war strategy. Though no changes have been officially announced, ABC's Dan Harris on Good Morning America Monday predicted gloom and doom in terms of public support for the war. Introducing a live report from reporter Jonathan Karl at the Pentagon, Harris prognosticated that this new policy would be 'very unpopular':
Dan Harris: "And now to the expected surge of U.S. troops in Iraq. As Robert Gates is sworn in today as the new defense secretary, thousands more Americans may soon be headed into the war zone. This could be a very unpopular policy, and ABC's Jonathan Karl is standing by at the Pentagon this morning. Jonathan?"
On Thursday’s edition of The View, the ladies, along with guest co-host Dari Alexander of Fox News, discussed Democratic Senator Tim Johnson’s emergency brain surgery and the potential political fallout. Alexander explained to the audience that if Johnson had to resign from the Senate, the Republican governor of South Dakota would pick an interim senator to fulfill the remainder of Johnson’s term, thereby creating the potential for an even split in the Senate between Democrats and Republicans. Joy Behar chimed in and put forth another tin foil hat worthy conspiracy theory:
Joy Behar: "Is there such a thing as a man-made stroke? In other words, did someone do this to him?" Video Clip: Real Player (2MB) or Windows Media (2.45MB) Plus MP3 (383KB)
Liberal New York Times columnist Frank Rich was among friends during his appearance on Wednesday’s edition of The View. While co-hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Rosie O’Donnell were nowhere to be found during the segment, Joy Behar and Barbara Walters allowed Rich to promote his book, which Walters herself said "tears the Bush White House apart." While Walters did pose one challenge to the writer’s assertion that the Iraq war cannot be won, most of the questions directed to the columnist would not be considered so tough.
Walters began the interview with the Times columnist with this glowing introduction:
Barbara Walters: "Every Sunday, millions of people turn to New York Times columnist Frank Rich to hear his views on everything from politics to pop culture. That's how important his opinions are. Not everybody loves his opinions, and in his new book, The Greatest Story Ever Sold, he absolutely tears the Bush White House apart. This is a book that is such fascinating reading."
It was an all-Obama Monday as each of the three network morning shows highlighted the Illinois Senator’s weekend trip to New Hampshire. NBC, ABC and CBS all hyped the prospect of a potential Barack Obama presidential campaign as the senator made his rounds through the state, host of the first presidential primary. The trip was hailed as a successful venture by all the networks. ABC’s Jake Tapper on Good Morning America declared Obama’s appearance to be "very successful", while Norah O’Donnell over on Today, as the MRC’s Geoff Dickens noted, stated that Obama was "mobbed by supporters" and "ignited excitement," among New Hampshire Democrats. CBS’ Harry Smith on The Early Show went further, calling the buzz surrounding Obama’s trip a "sensation," during a question to political analyst Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report:
Harry Smith: "Front page USA Today, Barack Obama right there, front page, Washington Post, Barack Obama right there. I could go on and on and on and on and on. Why is this single appearance causing such a sensation?"
On Wednesday morning, the highly anticipated report from the Iraq Study Group [ISG] was released to the public. The ISG’s report contained seventy-nine recommendations for the United States in its effort to lessen the violence in Iraq and protect American forces. One of the major recommendations of the panel was a call for the withdrawal of most U.S. combat troops by early 2008.
During an 11am press conference Wednesday, Jonathan Karl, ABC’s senior national security correspondent asked the panel pointedly why their recommendations should outweigh the advice President Bush receives from military commanders on the ground:
Jonathan Karl, ABC News: "You're certainly a group of distinguished elder statesmen, but tell me why should the President give more weight to what you all have said, given that, as I understand, you went to Iraq once–with the exception of Senator Robb, none of you made it out of the Green Zone–why should he give your recommendations any more weight than what he’s hearing from his commanders on the ground in Iraq?"
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman declared that the insurgency in Iraq has been defeating the U.S. military for the past four years during an interview Wednesday with Good Morning America’s Diane Sawyer. While making the argument that there is no "two to three year" solution for the violence occuring in Iraq, Friedman declared victory for the insurgents:
Thomas Friedman: "...I don't believe myself that there's a two to three year solution where we just train a few more troops. The issue isn't training, Diane. After all, who's training the insurgents? Nobody. They're doing just fine. They've basically been defeating the U.S. military for the last four years."
ABC’s John Stossel is well known for his libertarian views and for challenging liberal conventional wisdom. On Wednesday’s Good Morning America, Stossel was at it again as he debunked the widely held perception that liberals are more generous in their charitable contributions than conservatives. As part of a 20/20 special airing Wednesday night, Stossel interviewed Syracuse University professor Arthur Brooks, who conducted a study which found that conservatives, while making slightly less money than liberals, actually contribute more:
John Stossel: "But it turns out that this idea that liberals give more is a myth. These are the twenty-five states where people give an above average percent of their income, twenty-four were red states in the last presidential election."
Arthur Brooks, Who Really Cares, author: "When you look at the data, it turns out the conservatives give about thirty percent more per conservative-headed family than per liberal-headed family. And incidentally, conservative-headed families make slightly less money."
For the second day in a row, ABC’s Diane Sawyer questioned a guest as to whether the American voters are either secretly "more racist" or "more sexist" when they cast their ballots. During an interview with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd on Tuesday’s Good Morning America, Sawyer inquired:
Sawyer: "...Ninety percent of Americans say race and gender make absolutely no difference in their vote in the polls. I asked Senator Obama yesterday if he believes it, and he thinks it's case by case. Let me ask you, do you think that there is secret sexism, secret, secret genderism in this country?"
Of course, the liberal columnist agreed with Sawyer’s premise that American society is sexist, but asserted that it is not, in fact, a secret:
Maureen Dowd: "Oh, I don't think it's, I don't think it's very secret. I'm not sure we've gotten so much farther along than with Ferraro, where she didn't get any guys in the south...I do think there is obviously racism and sexism, but I think that these are both two extraordinary candidates [Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama] who, you know, might be able to triumph over some of that, but we'll see."
Sawyer: "More sexism than racism, racism than sexism?"
For the third time in as many weeks, ABC continued to showcase Democratic Senator Barack Obama. Anchor Diane Sawyer interviewed the first-term senator from Illinois on Monday's Good Morning America, and asked him about a range of topics, from the war in Iraq and a potential Obama run for the White House in 2008, to the groundbreaking of the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial on the National Mall. The most eyebrow-raising moment of the interview, however, occurred when Sawyer asked Obama about Sunday’s Washington Post article which questioned whether racism and sexism plays a role in the decision-making of American voters:
Diane Sawyer: "We have seen new polls this morning about you and Senator Hillary Clinton. Here's my question. Do you think that residual resistance is greater for race or for gender? Is the nation secretly, I guess, more racist or more sexist?"
One would have thought that the Democratic takeover of Congress and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation would have preseted plenty of fodder for the women of ‘The View’ to debate on Thursday’s show. However, it was a discussion on Iraq and the war on terror that dominated today's 'Hot Topics' segment. Not surprisingly, co-host Rosie O’Donnell equated the post-September 11th America to the "McCarthy era" and claimed people were "blacklisted" and labeled "unpatriotic" if they expressed any dissent from the Bush administration. O’Donnell also defended the United Nations as a "world voice" and took a shot at Iraq war ally Britain for being "on our side and in our pocket." The liberal O’Donnell then went on to tell conservative co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck to not be afraid of terrorists:
Rosie O’Donnell: "Faith or fear, that's your choice. You can walk through life believing in the goodness of the world, or walk through life afraid of anyone who thinks different than you and trying to convert them to your way of thinking. And I think that this country–"
Elisabeth Hasselbeck: "Well, I'm a person of faith, so I, but I also believe–"
O’Donnell: "Well, then, get away from the fear. Don't fear the terrorists. They’re mothers and fathers."
On Monday night’s edition of Nightline, just hours before the polls opened for Tuesday’s midterm election, ABC’s Terry Moran prematurely promoted a potential 2008 Democratic presidential contender. Moran went along with Illinois Senator Barack Obama as he campaigned for Democrats across the country. Moran’s piece was full of praise for the "American political phenomenon," whom, according to Moran, millions see as "the savior of the Democratic Party."
Terry Moran: "You can see it in the crowds. The thrill, the hope. How they surge toward him. You're looking at an American political phenomenon. In state after state, in the furious final days of this crucial campaign, Illinois Senator Barack Obama has been the Democrat's not-so-secret get-out-the-vote weapon. He inspires the party faithful and many others, like no one else on the scene today...And the question you can sense on everyone's mind, as they listen so intently to him, is he the one? Is Barack Obama the man, the black man, who could lead the Democrats back to the White House and maybe even unite the country?"
ABC World News anchor Charles Gibson visited the ladies of The View Wednesday morning to discuss a range of topics, from next week’s midterm election and John Kerry’s controversial remark to liberal media bias. Gibson argued that the controversy surrounding Senator Kerry’s recent statement that those who fail to make use of their education will end up "stuck in Iraq," was in reference to President Bush and that Republicans "grabbed" onto the statement to energize the GOP base. When asked by Elisabeth Hasselbeck about a perceived liberal bias in the media, fellow co-host Rosie O’Donnell laughed off the notion, while Gibson stated that balance is something he strives for:
Elisabeth Hasselbeck: "What do you think about the, the fact that a lot of people are talking about a media bias? You know, that they can see seventy-some odd percent of the news stories that come out have a liberal slant versus maybe twelve that, that have a more conservative slant? How do you respond to that?"
Rosie O’Donnell: "I would say that’s a Fox poll and I don’t think it’s accurate..."
Charles Gibson: "...There is no such thing as objectivity, there is just lesser degrees of subjectivity...And you have to, all the time, say to yourself, are we being fair? Are we being down the middle, as we can? And I simply can tell you that is something which, which I try to implant on everybody at World News."
The real fireworks on today’s chat fest, however, occurred prior to the segment with Gibson, between Hasselbeck, the View's token conservative, and liberal Joy Behar:
Why was ABC’s George Stephanopoulos smiling during his segment on Tuesday's Good Morning America? About ten minutes into the 7am half hour, following a report on Karl Rove’s optimistic outlook for the Republicans in the upcoming midterm election, and an interview with Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Rahm Emanuel, Stephanopoulos grinned during this exchange with Diane Sawyer:
Diane Sawyer: "We just heard Rahm Emanuel say that the American public is going to turn over the tabletop for the Democrats. We also heard that Karl Rove is smiling. I think it's time to bring in ABC's chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos for a reality check this morning. Which way is it trending--"
George Stephanopoulos: "I'm smiling too, Diane."
It seems safe to assume Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton White House aide, was not smiling in agreement with Rove’s positive assessment of the GOP’s chances for maintaining their majorities in Congress. Perhaps Stephanopoulos' cheery disposition came from the good news he had to report for his Democratic friends and former colleagues:
Monday’s 'Good Morning America' highlighted anti-GOP sentiments from the American heartland during a report in the 7am half hour. Reporting from a diner in Columbus, Ohio, ABC’s Jake Tapper had assembled a group of five "real-life actual voters" to discuss the upcoming midterm elections. Amongst the group of voters in Tapper’s panel: a Republican voter voting Democratic this year; a Democratic Navy veteran who had been against the war; a conservative Christian eager to express "I'm not pro-war"; a new U.S. citizen who believes that illegal immigrants are being treated unfairly; and a cynic who believes that the whole political system is corrupt. Not one of the voters expressed support for the President or Republicans. Furthermore, none of the panel members, except for the cynic, expressed any reservations about a potential Democratic takeover of Congress.
Some highlights from the panel discussion:
Tapper: "You're a Republican voter, but the war in Iraq, among other issues, has you thinking that you might vote Democratic this year. Why?"
Larry [no last name given; Republican voter]: "...I think we're in the wrong place, and I just think it's time for a change, someone who can help us and get out of the quagmire we have."
Tapper: "Now, Kenny, you disapproved of the war from the beginning and you're, you're a Navy veteran...But, you have an issue with the fact that you think that those who have questioned the war, their patriotism has been challenged, right...You're an independent voter. But what struck me was that you said that you don't think, even though you think that there's a lot of corruption amongst the Republicans controlling Congress, you don't think that it's necessarily going to be any different if the Democrats take control. Why is that?"
ABC’s Terry Moran featured three Republican campaign ads as examples of "mudslinging" in the run-up to November’s mid-term elections. On Thursday’s edition of "Nightline", Moran slammed Rush Limbaugh’s criticism of "beloved" actor Michael J. Fox and his Democratic pro-stem cell research campaign spots as a "vicious attack." On a GOP ad attacking Tennessee Democratic Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr. for attending a party hosted by Playboy magazine, Moran stated the ad used a white actress to "smear him." Moran’s point of view on these ads was easily discernable from this introduction:
Moran: "Tonight, on Nightline, mudslinging. Michael J. Fox's dramatic campaign commercials, Rush Limbaugh's vicious attack. With less than two weeks to go before the election, how low can they go? Hardball politics, where the stakes are high."
In an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer on Wednesday’s 'Good Morning America,' Sean Hannity defended fellow talk radio host Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh has taken a lot of heat in the press for his criticism of Michael J. Fox’s campaign ads in favor of embryonic stem cell research and Democratic Senate candidates. Hannity fought the notion that Fox, who has injected himself through these ads into the political arena, is "immune" from critics, a view Sawyer seemed to express:
Sawyer: "Rush Limbaugh. What, what is going on here? Attacking Michael J. Fox?...Rush Limbaugh, even in his apology, said that Mike Fox was allowing his illness to be exploited, shilling for a Democratic candidate. If you have Parkinson’s disease, and you believe embryonic stem cell research is the, is the answer, a possible answer, a possible cure, don't you have a right to speak up?"
Rosie O’Donnell took another vicious swipe at the Bush administration and its efforts to combat terrorism during Tuesday’s ‘The View.’ Liberal actor Tim Robbins appeared on the program to promote his latest film ‘Catch a Fire,’ set in apartheid-era South Africa. In the film, Robbins portrays a white police officer who tortures a black South African man, wrongfully accused of sabotage of an oil refinery. While discussing the film and his character, co-host Rosie O’Donnell equated the brutal tactics used against the people of South Africa by its own government with the Bush administration’s Patriot Act.:
Rosie O’Donnell: "They were seeking out terrorists, which is what they called the people in South Africa who actually lived there, who were the majority. The blacks in South Africa, who were trying to fight for their own civil rights, were called terrorists and the government was allowed to arrest them at will and interrogate them, no matter what they did, just on the suspicion. Very similar today to what we have in the United States, thanks to the Patriot Act."
On the heels of last week’s glowing reports on NBC’s ‘Today’ and CNN’s ‘American Morning,’ ABC couldn’t resist jumping on the Obama-for-president bandwagon. During the 7am half hour of Monday’s ‘Good Morning America,’ correspondent Claire Shipman reported on comments from Democratic Senator Barack Obama in which he expressed interest in pursing his party’s nomination for president in 2008. In her introduction to Shipman’s piece, GMA co-anchor Robin Roberts referred to the "red hot buzz" (generated by the mainstream media) surrounding Obama as proof that the senator is "already a major political player." Shipman promoted Obama as the new "it" candidate among Democrats. She also highlighted flattering statements from talk show host Oprah Winfrey, who described Obama as her "favorite senator," and political analyst Larry Sabato, who predicted that Obama has the "charisma to skyrocket" to become the preferred Democratic candidate for president:
Claire Shipman: "Barack Obama has become, in a matter of weeks, the new 'it' candidate for the Democrats...A recent ‘Time’ magazine poll shows [Hillary] Clinton well ahead of Obama in a potential presidential race, 43 percent to 30. But the comparatively unknown Obama has shown this week, if he decides to run, he can generate a lot of buzz in a hurry."
Larry Sabato: "Obama has the charisma to skyrocket right to the head of the pack."
The full transcript of Shipman’s report is behind the cut:
Viewers of Thursday’s edition of ‘The View’ were granted another glimpse into the liberal world view of co-host Rosie O’Donnell. Today, O’Donnell recounted her teary phone conversation with former President Bill Clinton, in which he apologized for the Monica Lewinsky affair. Later in the program, during an interview with Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former vice-presidential candidate John Edwards, O’Donnell slammed John Kerry, the Democratic nominee for President, for conceding the 2004 election before all the votes were counted and accused the Republicans of "cheating" by tinkering with the voting machines.
During the "Hot Topics" segment of the show, the ‘View’ women were discussing congressional sex scandals, which led Rosie to recount her phone call with the former president:
O’Donnell: "And I said to him, you know, to tell you the truth, sir, you broke my heart. I said, you know, I loved you like my mom loved Kennedy and, you know, I had faith in you, one of the few men I had real faith and hope in."
Rosie’s full tale of her presidential phone call behind the cut:
As reported earlier here on Newsbusters, Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly appeared on Wednesday’s edition of 'The View' to promote his new book Culture Warrior. As one would expect, O’Reilly and liberal 'View' co-host Rosie O’Donnell clashed at several points during the segment, particularly in their discussion of the war in Iraq. O’Donnell would go on in the interview to praise the ACLU as a "fantastic organization" and express her appreciation for liberal Phil Donahue:
Barbara Walters: "Name some well-known secular progressives."
Bill O’Reilly: "All right. George Soros is the money man...The ACLU is the vanguard–"
Rosie O’Donnell: "The American Civil Liberties Union, a fantastic organization."
There was more bad news for the White House on ABC Monday morning. Three weeks before the mid-term congressional elections, 'Good Morning America' chose to highlight the claims of a former White House staffer that Bush administration officials had "mocked" evangelical Christian leaders. Former deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, David Kuo, wrote a book, released today, in which he asserts that administration officials have referred to evangelical leaders as "nuts" and that his office was used to curry favor with "Republican base voters," evangelical Christians, rather than to help the poor.
Co-anchor Robin Roberts and substitute host Chris Cuomo teased the 7:40AM segment, which included a report from Jake Tapper and an interview with Kuo:
Chris Cuomo: "Also this half hour, we have new questions about the White House and the religious right. The faithful helped put Bush in the White House, but did the administration mock evangelicals behind their backs?"
Robin Roberts: "Coming up next, a White House insider blows the whistle, accusing the Bush administration of taking advantage of Christian conservatives."
The media’s vigorous effort to portray the Mark Foley scandal as a vicious blow to the Republican Party’s chances in the November elections continued on ABC's "Nightline" Thursday evening. Reporter Chris Bury’s segment focused on the competitive House race between Democrat Patty Wetterling and Republican Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th District. There was a noticeable difference in how the two candidates were described. While Bury hyped Wetterling as a woman who "has made child protection her life’s mission" with no mention of her ideological positions on any other issue, GOP candidate Bachmann was described as a "staunch" opponent to abortion and gay marriage.
Bury implied Republicans should be worried about their electoral prospects because the race in the "reliably Republican" seat is so closely contested. However, it should be noted that while Minnesota’s 6th district did elect President George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, it also has a history of competitive House races, with Democrats being elected to the seat from 1975-1981; 1983-1993; and 1995-2003.
The feminist spirit was alive and well on Friday’s edition of "The View." The women were shocked by the concept of women with concealed weapons, and positively giddy over Ted Turner’s recent remarks that men should be banned from public office for a hundred years:
Barbara Walters: "We particularly like this quote, because we have this remarkable woman on with us today...Ted Turner, when he was talking about the United Nations, said, quote, ‘Men should be barred from public office for a hundred years in every part of the world. It would be a much kinder, gentler, more intelligently-run world. Men have had millions of years and we’ve screwed it up hopelessly. Let's give it to the women.’"
Rosie O’Donnell: "Yeah! I say bravo! Go, Ted."
The "remarkable" woman Walters was hyping was socialist Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, the first female in that country to be elected to that office. During their "Hot Topics" segment, the co-hosts marveled at how an agnostic woman could win the presidency in a "macho, Latin American country" while the United States had yet to elect a female president:
As Mark Finkelstein reported earlier today, former Vice President Al Gore and billionaire CEO Richard Branson appeared together on Friday’s "Good Morning America" to discuss Branson’s decision to devote all the profits from his airline to combating global warming. Absent from the interview with Diane Sawyer was any mention of the scientific debate taking place over the cause of climate change, or whether, in fact, it actually exists.
While ABC ignored skeptics views of global warming, Fox’s "Special Report with Brit Hume" on Thursday highlighted one such doubter:
Brit Hume: "A leading climate expert from Colorado State University says the idea that humans are responsible for global warming is a fear perpetuated by the media, and by scientists trying to get grant money. Dr. William Gray is a noted global warming skeptic who says the current heating of the earth is part of a natural cycle."
Reaction against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’ remarks to the United Nations, in which he referred to President George W. Bush as "the devil," has been strong. Liberal Democrat Charlie Rangel forcefully argued that the attack on the President was an attack on all Americans, while House minority leader Nancy Pelosi denounced Chavez as "an everyday thug." It’s interesting, though not surprising, that Rosie O’Donnell and Joy Behar of ABC’s "The View," were not able to do the same.
Rather than criticize Chavez for his outrageous comments, Behar and O’Donnell did what they do best: blame President Bush:
Behar: "Well, don't you think Bush threw in the gauntlet when he called people the 'axis of evil'?...What else did they -- they called -- there was another name, I can’t think of it, that they–"
O’Donnell: "Well, he, he would, he, President Bush is very fond of calling people who have different opinions than he 'evildoers.'"
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," anchor Diane Sawyer spoke with "Newsweek" managing editor Jon Meacham about the controversy over a centuries-old quote employed by Pope Benedict XVI in a speech on faith and reason.
Protests, violence and threats against the Vatican and representatives of the Catholic Church have erupted since the Pope’s speech, where he used a quote from a Byzantine emperor, Manuel II. The Pope has since clarified his remarks, saying that it is not his own view that the prophet Muhammad’s contribution to the world has been “things only evil and inhuman.”
Sawyer found the use the quote “baffling,” and wondered if the Pope’s decision to insert it into his speech was “an attempt at provocation” with Muslims. Meacham, for his part, found the Pope’s speech to be a “heavy-handed” and “clumsy” attempt at starting a dialogue with the Islamic community. Meacham then brought up Pope Benedict’s reputation among some as “God’s Rottweiler” as head of the Vatican office charged with enforcing of Catholic doctrine during the papacy of John Paul. (ABCNews.com carried a story with the headline "'God's Rottweiler's' First Crisis.")