ABC's 'Nightline' Gleefully Investigates 'the Palin Problem'

Terry Moran, ABC, "Nightline" anchors Martin Bashir and Terry Moran sarcastically investigated "the Palin problem" on Wednesday's edition of the program. And while Moran did offer Sarah Palin some positive analysis, he often mixed that with snarky, condescending remarks about her falling poll numbers. At one point, the ABC journalist asserted, "The hockey mom, a woman dubbed the killa' from Wasilla, and then the blunda [sic] from the tundra, she just might be here to stay." After playing a clip of General Colin Powell claiming the Republican vice presidential nominee isn't qualified, Moran opined, "Ouch!"

Moran, who just last week asked Senator Joe Biden if Palin's rhetoric made him concerned about his safety, pronounced the candidate's downfall: "When McCain nominated her, she was just incandescent and it looked for a while like it was one of the most brilliant and daring political moves in recent times. Now, well, not so much."

To be fair, Moran did talk to some Palin supporters and at one point he suggested, "But don't count Sarah Palin out, yet." He also instructed, "Out on the campaign trail, Palin ignores her critics and in these crowds, her crowds, you won't find any critics. All you'll find are adoring fans."

Of course, one might say that Moran knows something about adoring crowds and not being a critic. On November 6, 2006, he famously delivered this glowing assessment of Senator Barack Obama:

TERRY MORAN: You can see it in the crowds. The thrill, the hope. How they surge toward him. You're looking at an American political phenomenon. In state after state, in the furious final days of this crucial campaign, Illinois Senator Barack Obama has been the Democrat's not-so-secret get-out-the-vote weapon. He inspires the party faithful and many others, like no one else on the scene today...And the question you can sense on everyone's mind, as they listen so intently to him, is he the one? Is Barack Obama the man, the black man, who could lead the Democrats back to the White House and maybe even unite the country?

On January 29, 2008, he enthused, "That's what is at the heart of Obama's politics, the notion that divisions are artificial and can be overcome by an act of will and of imagination."

A partial transcript of the October 22 segment, which aired at 11:35pm, follows:

11:35pm tease

MARTIN BASHIR: Tonight on "Nightline," the Palin problem. As controversy swirls around Sarah Palin's $150,000 campaign wardrobe, new poll numbers show she's hurting McCain's chance at the presidency. So what's going on? We take to the trail with Sarah Palin  to find out.

11:36pm

BASHIR: Good evening. There are now just 13 days until the election, and Barack Obama continues to have momentum on his side. While anything could happen between now and then, there's no doubt that John McCain is fighting an uphill battle. And it's become increasingly apparent that choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate may have something to do with it. My co-anchor Terry Moran was on the campaign trail today in Ohio and he joins us now. Good evening, Terry.

...

MORAN: It's a cruel trend but unmistakable. Polls show Palin is now a drag on the Republican ticket. An ABC News poll this month found that 60 percent of Americans now doubt her qualifications for office. Plus, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll this week found that for first time more voters have a negative opinion of Palin than a positive one. 47 percent negative, 38 percent positive. That's a huge shift from early September when she had a 47 percent to 27 percent positive rating. And then, this weekend, came this.

GENERAL COLIN POWELL: Now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States which is the job of the vice president. And so, that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made.

MORAN: Ouch!

PALIN: Thank you so much. Thank you.

MORAN: But don't count Sarah Palin out, yet. She's had kind of a rough ride over the past few weeks.

...

MORAN: Win or lose, Sarah Palin has become a player in national politics. So get used to her, America. The hockey mom, a woman dubbed the killa' from Wasilla, and then the blunda [sic] from the tundra, she just might be here to stay. Well, about Sarah Palin's wardrobe. The McCain/Palin campaign says it was always the intention to donate those clothes to charity after the election and they say there are more important issues. There sure are. Her supporters just brushed off that story. One woman told me, I like her because she's a lot like me. And I'd need new clothes to, to run for vice president. Martin?

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