ABC Spins; Morning Show Skips Party ID of Kwame Kilpatrick

"Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo somehow managed to make it through an entire segment on Kwame Kilpatrick, the scandal-ridden Democratic mayor of Detroit, without mentioning his political affiliation (other than a brief, non-verbal video graphic). Cuomo described Kilpatrick as the "beleaguered mayor," a "prominent politician," and, simply, "the mayor."

In contrast, while GMA's report on Kilpatrick was a rather straight forward recitation of the facts, the morning program wondered in August of 2007 if Senator Larry Craig's bathroom scandal could spell doom for the Republican Party. On August 28, 2007, guest co-host Bill Weir gravely wondered, "Is the GOP losing its grip?"

Of course, ABC hasn't been the only network ignoring the fact that Kilpatrick is a Democrat. On March 21, the MRC's Brent Baker observed that NBC's "Nightly News" followed the exact same tactic while covering Kilpatrick, who was charged on Monday morning with felony perjury charges for covering up an affair with a staffer. This is also the same news program that waited four days to inform viewers that disgraced ex-Governor Eliot Spitzer was also a Democrat.

Continuing the pattern, an AP story that appeared on Monday, shortly after Kilpatrick was charged, also failed to ID the mayor as a Democrat.

A transcript of the March 24 segment, which aired at 7:17am, follows:

ROBIN ROBERTS: We're going to turn now to the mayor of Detroit who could be facing some very serious criminal charges later today. He is the latest politician to be hit by a sex scandal but this time it isn't the scandal itself that could undo him, it's what he has said about it. Chris has been following it for us. 'Cause it is a little confusing.

CUOMO: Absolutely. You have it right. I mean, there is an expression that seems to be becoming a big part of our political culture, it's not the crime that gets you, it's the cover-up. So, once again we hear about a prominent politician under fire for sexual indiscretion and, once again, efforts to deny the situation have drawn attention.

KWAME KILPATRICK: I want to make a public apology to my wife Carlita.

CUOMO: In January, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick apologized to both his constituents and his family while remaining defiant.

KWAME KILPATRICK (D-Detroit, Michigan): There has also been a lot of speculation about me resigning from office. Let me be clear tonight: I would never quit on you, ever.

CUOMO: This morning, the beleaguered mayor's resolve to stay in office may be shaken if a prosecutor decides to indict him for crimes including lying under oath about an affair with his former chief of staff Christine Beatty.

UNIDENTIFIED VOICE (Prosecutor?): Did you ever receive messages from the mayor of a personal nature?

CHRISTINE BEATTY: No.

CUOMO: Kilpatrick and Beatty's denials rang hollow when the Detroit Free Press discovered these intimate text messages. In one, Kilpatrick says "I need you so bad." In another, Beatty asks, "Did you miss me sexually?" Now Kilpatrick may be facing a slew of charges.

DAVID ANGER (Editor/Vice President, Detroit Free Press): Possible perjury charges, possible obstruction of justice, possible conspiracy, possible misuse of office.

CUOMO: Allegations he's denied while blaming the media for death threats he's received.

KILPATRICK: I don't believe that a Nielsen rating is worth the life of my children.

CUOMO: We'll find out today about [sic] if there are any charges, potential arraignment. And, also, the mayor said he wouldn't quit. He won't have to. If he's convicted of anything, the city's charter says he has to be removed as mayor

ROBERTS: It's like you said, it's not the crime, it's the cover up that keeps going on.

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