ABC Offers Dismissive Analysis of Past State of the Unions

Previewing George Bush's State of the Union speech on Sunday's "Good Morning America," ABC correspondent John Donvan delivered a condescending, dismissive look at the President's past SOTU addresses. After showing a 2005 clip of Bush touting tax cuts for everyone, Donvan derided the cuts, saying they "came true, most of all, for wealthier Americans..." He also added that "out went balanced budgets and surpluses."

While inter-cutting clips of Bush talking about Saddam Hussein, Donvan snidely observed, "And the weapons he said justified going to war-- [State of the Union clip] --well, they were never found." Donvan also willfully ignored the successful troop surge in Iraq and stuck to the pessimistic outlook of the war. In between a clip of Bush talking about how Iraq's success would inspire democracy in the region, the ABC journalist spun, "And the great hopes for the sacrifice made--[State of the Union clip] --those were disappointed hopes."

Donvan did, however, offer one condescending, back-handed compliment. He seemed to indicate that the President accomplished very little in the past seven years and highlighted a familiar phrase. The segment featured a montage of Bush repeatedly saying, "The state of our union is strong," or some variation. Donvan patronizingly added, "But say this for this President, on this podium, on this occasion, despite disappointments, he always managed to say in a way that says he meant it--[montage of Bush claiming a strong State of the Union]" Donvan condescendingly closed by adding, "Listen this week, then, when despite all, surely, he will say it one last time."

A transcript of the segment, which aired at 8:13am on January 27, follows:

KATE SNOW: President Bush is set to make his final State of the Union Address tomorrow night. With less than a year left in his second term, the President goes into this one with a slowing economy, an ongoing war in Iraq, and an approval rating that has gone down to 32 percent. ABC's John Donvan takes a look back at President Bush's last seven years.

JOHN DONVAN: The State of the Union Address, last year's entry. But let's dial back in time, because you can do that in television. And what we see is not just a president reverse aging, but also if we start at his first address in this venue, it was 2001, how he defined America back then.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W BUSH: A balanced budget, big surpluses, a country at peace with its neighbors.

DONVAN: Less than one year later, however, this was the new reality.

BUSH: Our nation is at war.

DONVAN: And over time, the language would go to this.

BUSH: An axis of evil arming to threaten the peace of the world.

DONVAN: And out went balanced budgets and surpluses. Yet one thing that did not change, a promise.

BUSH: Everyone who pays income taxes will get relief.

DONVAN: Which came true, most of all for wealthier Americans, though his plan to privatize Social Security--

BUSH: And best of all, the money in the account is yours, and the government can never take it away.

DONVAN: Well, that never happened. And the weapons he said justified going to war--

BUSH: Saddam Hussein has gone to elaborate lengths, spent enormous sums, taken great risk to build and keep weapons of mass destruction.

DONVAN: Well, they were never found. And the great hopes for the sacrifice made--

BUSH: The victory of freedom in Iraq will strengthen a new ally in the war on terror, inspire democratic reformers from Damascus to Tehran--

DONVAN: --.those were disappointed hopes. But say this for this President on this podium on this occasion, despite disappointments, he always managed to say in a way that says he meant it--

BUSH [Montage of Bush saying the same phrase throughout various State of the Union addresses]: Our union is strong-- The state of our union is confident and strong-- It's confident and strong-- The state of our union is strong-- The state of our union is strong.

DONVAN: Listen this week then, when despite all, surely, he will say it one last time. For "Good Morning America," John Donvan.

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