ABC Gushes: Clintons Are 'Masters at Turning Bad News Into Good'

In early October, ABC reporter Kate Snow sprang to the defense of Senator Hillary Clinton's much maligned laugh. On Thursday's "Good Morning America," the correspondent marveled over Bill Clinton's successes and also how his wife is able to make turning 60-years-old a good thing. While an ABC graphic wondered if the Democratic power couple are "masters of spin," Snow gushed, "The Clintons have always been masters at turning bad news into good..."

Snow's piece focused on the Clintons' ability to, essentially, spin the American public. The GMA reporter featured comments exclusively from liberals such as Gail Sheehy (author of the sympathetic book "Hillary's Choice") and the Washington Post's Sally Quinn. Quinn asserted that the Clintons ability to "pretend to have a wonderful marriage" "works" for them, as well as other political couples. Snow continued this theme by credulously repeating, "...On the eve of this birthday, Hillary is trumpeting the strength of their marriage." The correspondent rhapsodized over a money-raising birthday party the senator is throwing and marveled that "instead of facing gray hair and retirement, for Hillary Clinton, being a member of AARP is fund-raising gold."

The MRC's Tim Graham noted that the London Daily Mail featured a slightly less masterful spin-job from the New York senator about her marriage. In an odd contrast to the age issue, while ABC's segment touted Hillary Clinton's ability to overcome being 60, Harry Smith referred to the Clintons on Tuesday's "Early Show" as a "still-young couple."

The media's crowning of the Clintons as kings of spin seems to be a self fulfilling prophecy. Reporters constantly gush over the their ability to "turn bad news into good," just as these journalists play no small role in helping the couple do exactly that. However, it's important to remember that for all the media fawning, Bill Clinton never received more than 50 percent of the vote in 1992 or 1996 and he was also impeached.

A transcript of the October 25 segment, which aired at 7:15am, follows:

DIANE SAWYER: Now, the race for '08. Believe it or not, ten weeks, just ten weeks until you cast your first vote in the election, the Iowa primary. And the candidates are being watched more closely than ever, especially Hillary Clinton. Firing up the after-burners, holding a big bash for her 60th birthday party tonight, which is a political party and a political party. To explain, ABC's Kate Snow's here. Kate?

ABC GRAPHIC: The Clinton Image Machine: Masters of Spin?

KATE SNOW: Good morning, Diane. The Clintons have always been masters at turning bad news into good, if you will. And all week they've been capitalizing on a milestone that makes a lot of women cringe. We're talking about the big six-o. But, instead of facing gray hair and retirement, for Hillary Clinton, being a member of AARP is fund-raising gold. Bill Clinton set the pace last year, raising money hand over fist for his foundation when he turned 60. So tonight, Hillary Clinton takes a page from her husband's play book. Billy Crystal is back to introduce British rocker Elvis Costello and the Wallflowers to a sold-out crowd at New York's famed Beacon Theater.

SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON: It's hard to sneak by a certain birthday when everybody seems to know about it.

SNOW: Call it cashing in on being a baby boomer. Tonight, Clinton will raise more than $1 million.

FILE FOOTAGE OF BILL CLINTON FROM '92: We're going to organize ourselves to compete and win.

SNOW: When Bill ran in 1992, he was just 45. At 60, Hillary is about the average age for presidential wannabes.

BILL CLINTON [CAMPAIGN AD CLIP]: What's your birthday wish for Hillary?

Snow: Bill is asking people to sign a birthday card and maybe drop a little change too. And on the eve of this birthday, Hillary is trumpeting the strength of their marriage.

GAIL SHEEHY (AUTHOR, "HILLARY'S CHOICE): Well, I think everything that Hillary Clinton says is quite calculated and -- bring up the idea of romance in connection with her husband and look happy and assured about it, it goes a long way to reducing some of the suspicions that people still hold about will we go back into the old soap opera?

SNOW: In an interview with Essence magazine, Clinton said she never doubted her decision so stay in her marriage and she says Bill is romantic, buying impromptu gifts like a gift of a wooden giraffe from this shop in Africa over the summer.

SALLY QUINN (REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST): In the same way you have to talk about religion when you're running for office, you have to pretend to have a wonderful marriage even if you're not speaking to each other. Is it real? I don't know. But the fact is that it works. And I'm not just talking about the Clintons either. It work for every couple who runs for office or who's in politics.

SNOW: A new poll finds only 16 percent of registered voters think she made the wrong choice staying married. No word on what Bill is giving Hillary for her birthday. But, this, Diane, is the Chanel watch that he apparently recently gave her. She said that he gave it to her because it looks like teeth and she was having dental surgery. $4,200 bucks by the way for this watch.

SAWYER: Boy-- Doesn't get more romantic.

SNOW: Doesn't get more romantic than that.

SAWYER: So you think it's bad news, turning 60?

ROBIN ROBERTS: Easy, easy.

SNOW: No, no, no.

SAWYER: You want to elaborate on that?

SNOW: [LAUGHS] I think 60 is gorgeous and beautiful.

SAWYER: Oh, grow up.

ROBERTS: Nice save there, Kate. Nice save.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org