"Good Morning America" reporter Yunji de Nies on Thursday gushed over Michelle Obama's appearance in London for the G-20 summit, thrilling about the First Lady's fashion and the fact that "Mrs. Obama hasn't lost touch with her sensible chic American roots." In contrast, GMA ignored the controversy over Mrs. Obama touching the Queen of England during her visit, which many consider a breach of protocol. Similarly, the show's hosts and reporters downplayed the fact that the Obamas gave Queen Elizabeth II an iPod loaded with Barack Obama's speeches.
This is despite the fact that the very same de Nies filed a report on Tuesday on the history of overseas presidential trips. She insisted, "But one unlucky misstep and everyone remembers." She then proceeded to feature supposed gaffes from Republican Presidents George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Two days later, however, de Nies ignored the missteps of the Obamas and filed an absolutely laudatory segment on the First Lady. She rhapsodized, "The First Lady showcased her signature sleeveless style, her bare arms reminiscent of Jackie Kennedy, the last First Lady to cause such a stir across the pond."
In a tease for the show, co-host Diane Sawyer enthused, "And we tell you how the first couple is taking London by storm." The piece featured a clip from Mariella Frostrup, the editor of British Vogue. She raved, "And I think she has got this new, redefined kind of glamour, which is not over-the-top, expensive, old guard glamour. But quite youthful, kind of attainable, fresh, feeling about her."
In the 7:30 hour, the morning show hosts did discuss the gift of an iPod to the Queen, but spun it as cute. As reported by Jake Tapper on ABC's Political Punch blog, the present contained video speeches by Barack Obama. Sawyer glossed over this and asserted, "And they also put on some videos of [the Queen's] visit to the U.S. and some speeches, various speeches of people she can watch." Various speeches of people? Would one of those individuals be the gift-giver himself? The GMA host didn't explain.
At the top of the segment, Sawyer did introduce de Nies as a "White House correspondent." Her ABC News bio doesn't mention this. If this is a promotion, viewers can probably expect more fawning Obama coverage from her.
A transcript of the April 2 segment and the later iPod exchange, follows:
DIANE SAWYER: And we tell you how the first couple is taking London by storm.
7:01 am tease
DIANE SAWYER: And then, on another front, amid all the high drama, Michelle Obama continues to be the woman in the spotlight.
ROBIN ROBERTS: Yes her wardrobe changes, to the gifts she gave the Queen, the First Lady is, indeed, making her mark.
ROBERTS: And the summit is, of course, First Lady Michelle Obama's first time stepping out on the world stage. And every step she's taken has been closely followed, from her night out at the opera to her audience with the Queen. White House correspondent Yunji de Nies has more from Buckingham Palace. Good morning.
YUNJI DE NIES: Good morning, Robin. Well, she's been here just over a day. But Michelle Obama has already had quite an impact. She visited a cancer center. Dined with Naomi Campbell. Even had an audience with the Queen right here at Buckingham Palace. In fact, it's the cover of several papers this morning, The U.K., even the Queen herself, is buzzing about America's First Lady. Last night, it was the ultimate girls get together, with Michelle Obama and her G-20 counterparts, sharing the spotlight, with celebrities like Naomi Campbell and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling This may be her husband's debut on the world stage, but Michelle Obama just might be stealing the show.
MARIELLA FROSTRUP (British cultural commentator): If he is, you know, an incredibly powerful president, she's the rock star, actually. She's the one who just looks amazing.
DE NIES: The First Lady showcased her signature sleeveless style, her bare arms reminiscent of Jackie Kennedy, the last First Lady to cause such a stir across the pond. London "Vogue" editor, Alexandra Shulman, says like her predecessor, Michelle Obama exudes glamour.
ALEXANDRA SHULMAN (Editor, British Vogue): There is a hunger for glamour. And I think she has got this new, redefined kind of glamour, which is not over-the-top, expensive, old guard glamour. But quite youthful, kind of attainable, fresh, feeling about her.
DE NIES: The new guard met the old guard at Buckingham Palace. The First Lady and the Queen became fast friends. [Video onscreen of Michelle Obama hugging Queen.] The royal matriarch even suggesting they stay in touch. But, Mrs. Obama hasn't lost touch with her sensible chic American roots. She wore double-stranded pearls combined with a J. Crew cardigan and pencil skirt. J. Crew tells "Good Morning America" the sparkling cardigan sold out by mid-morning. And they expect the skirt will also be gone soon.
SHULMAN: You never see a British politician's wife in something, so kind, of glam as that. But she's managed to make it glamorous. But it's inexpensive because it's J. Crew. So, she's got all those boxes ticked, hasn't he?
DE NIES: Now, we've seen Michelle Obama. Today, we're going to hear from her. She's speaking at a girls school. It's an event to empower young women. That's an issue she wants to champion around the world. Diane and Robin?
DIANE SAWYER: And they also put on some videos of her visit to the U.S. and some speeches, various speeches of people she can watch.
ROBERTS: On the iPod?
SAWYER: Yes. She can watch herself visiting the U.S. She was at Jamestown. She was went Richmond.
CHRIS CUOMO: Now, what do we think? What do we think? You think she's going to use the iPod? You think she's going to use it?
SAWYER: Well, she has an earlier one.