ABC Devotes 19 Minutes to Liberal Film; Streep Bashes Bill O'Reilly

Over a span of three days, "Good Morning America" has devoted almost 19 minutes of air time to promoting "Lions For Lambs," the left-wing, anti-war drama starring and directed by Robert Redford. The promotional push continued on Thursday's show as one of the film's other stars, Meryl Streep, attacked Bill O'Reilly for what she apparently saw as questioning the patriotism of liberals. After co-host Diane Sawyer played a clip of O'Reilly wondering if Democrats really want to win in Iraq, the actress sarcastically stated, "It was my favorite thing that I ever saw Bill O'Reilly do. And so I lifted it out of his show and put it in the movie."

Streep derided O'Reilly's comments as the "wife beating question" and, in an annoyed tone, asked, "Are you still beating your wife? There's no way to answer it." Sawyer's interview came after a segment on Wednesday with the actress, director Redford and fellow star Tom Cruise. That followed yet another piece on Tuesday solely with Redford. On Thursday, Sawyer continued to laud what she saw as a brave film. The co-host gushed that "Lions For Lambs" wonders how "you strengthen the muscles of your convictions?" She fawned over the film, which involves a journalist lobbying other reporters to oppose the government's plans for war, by describing Streep's character as "a middle-aged reporter, facing the question of her job or her convictions. What does it take to be brave?"

It should be pointed out that "Good Morning America" has stood alone in its excessive push for this film. While GMA devoted 18 minutes and 45 seconds to the movie, CBS's "Early Show" and NBC's "Today" have, thus far, featured no interviews with the film's stars. In addition to the massive amount of coverage ABC has given and the gushing tone of Sawyer's questions, the morning show has also featured a generous amount of clips from the movie. Over three days, "Good Morning America" has played two minutes and 33 seconds worth of the film. In contrast, the "Lions For Lambs" trailer is only two minutes and 30 seconds long.

Sawyer's appearance on Thursday featured some bizarre suggestions. There was this "good idea" that the actress appropriated from her mother:

MERYL STREEP: [Mother] had a lot of good ideas. One of her ideas was that everybody should have to vote. You have to vote. And if you don't, you're fined. And after three times that you're fined, then you don't get to be a citizen anymore. You can still stay here, you just have to go line up at the INS. And get your green card renewed and stand in that line. And then the great 62 percent would don't vote who are eligible to vote would motivate themselves. I think it's a really good idea.

Streep also asserted that most Americans aren't sacrificing. She lectured, "I think we'll do things if we think our children are in danger. And for 99 percent of us, our children are not." Even if you buy the argument, wouldn't the global threat of radical Islam mean that, at some point, all of "our children" would be in danger?

Finally, as noted by Sawyer, the actress believes that "just blogging to your friends is not enough" if you want to express your opinions. Streep complained that the problem with blogging is "it just sort of goes out and corroborates with all the other people who agree with you and then you're done." So, blogs don't work because they are only read by like-minded people? As opposed to a more diverse environment like Hollywood?

A transcript of the segment, which aired at 8:16am on November 8, follows:

DIANE SAWYER: And now, a chance this morning to have coffee with Meryl Streep. She is one of the stars of the new movie "Lions for Lambs" with Robert Redford and Tom Cruise. It is a movie about a professor, a student, a senator and a journalist and the question, how do you strengthen the muscles of your convictions? Streep and Cruise.

[Clip from "Lions For Lambs"]

TOM CRUISE'S CHARACTER: You've already sold the war, now I'm asking you to help sell the solution.

[Clip ends]

SAWYER: A dialogue, a duel, ripped from the headlines and the air waves.

BILL O'REILLY: Do you Democrats really want to win the war in Iraq? We'll take a look at it as we continue.

STREEP: It was my favorite thing that I ever saw Bill O'Reilly do. And so I lifted it out of his show and put it in the movie.

[Clip from "Lions For Lambs"]

CRUISE'S CHARACTER: Do you want to win the war on terror? Yes or no?

STREEP'S CHARACTER: It's a broad --

CRUISE: Okay, you see this? This is the quintessential yes or no question of our time.

[Clip ends]

STREEP: The question completely [sic] without an answer. I mean, it's the wife beating question. Are you still beating your wife? There's no way to answer it.

SAWYER: Streep, a middle-aged reporter, facing the question of her job or her convictions. What does it take to be brave?

[Clip from "Lions For Lambs"]

STREEP: You can't leave me hanging out here by myself. You just can't do that.

UNIDENTIFIED CHARACTER: Wrong. I just can't do this. You turn in some loony, speculative, what-if story based on what, a woman's intuition?

STREEP: If we don't do this, Howard, who's going to do it? This is the job. These politicians, these journalists, everybody that says, "Oh, well, if we'd known then what we know now." It was all right there. We knew it. If we had bothered to connect the dots. But we didn't, did we? We just rolled over.

[Clip ends]

STREEP: What are you willing to give? I think we'll do things if we think our children are in danger. And for 99 percent of us, our children are not.

SAWYER: Streep says just blogging to your friends is not enough.

STREEP: If you feel like your voice isn't heard, then you damn well get out and make it heard. But now we have so many outlets for venting. People blog and they go to sites and you feel like you've done something by sending out, tapping out this thing and it just sort of goes out and corroborates with all the other people who agree with you and then you're done.

7:19am

SAWYER: Her mother is here in these home movies.

STREEP: Yeah, I miss her a lot. She had a lot of good ideas. One of her ideas was that everybody should have to vote. You have to vote. And if you don't, you're fined. And after three times that you're fined, then you don't get to be a citizen anymore. You can still stay here, you just have to go line up at the INS. And get your green card renewed and stand in that line. And then the great 62 percent would don't vote who are eligible to vote would motivate themselves. I think it's a really good idea.

SAWYER: You can also see in the home movies a young Meryl who seems to be testing their [sic] acting chops, not to mention singing. You did take singing lessons?

STREEP: Oh, I love to sing, but I'm not that good. I'm humble, believe it or not, I know the limits. But I do love it. I really do love it.

SAWYER: In that case, let's pull out from 1981 Alice at the palace.

[CLIP OF STREEP SINGING]

STREEP: She means crazy not angry.

SAWYER: And the woman who put the devil in Prada surprised us by confessing something about the pressure of the red carpet. What's the most frustrating thing about being you right now?

STREEP: Fashion. You know? For people-- And I'm always in a dilemma. Do I take the free dress or do I buy the dress? I feel better in myself if I buy the dress. Then I think, "My god, these clothes are expensive." And they're sickening. And you can't wear them twice. No one will let you wear a dress twice.

SAWYER: No, no, no, or you'll be up there.

STREEP: Oh, and I'm going to start doing it, by the way. That's my pledge to you today.

SAWYER: To wear your dresses twice?

STREEP: To wear these dresses, like, to everything.

SAWYER: I think you have made -- I think you've made a very courageous decision for that.

STREEP: Thank you.

SAWYER: And lastly, what's the best thing about being you right now in the world?

STREEP: Well, there's a lot of things. And Kinohora (sp?) We don't talk about them.

SAWYER: Kinohora, of course an old Yiddish saying that means may the evil eye stay away. A lesson in Yiddish from Meryl Streep who is in "Lions for Lambs" opening in theaters tomorrow.

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