Not the 'Hot Seat;' ABC Tosses Softballs to Liberal Sam Champion

On Wednesday's "Good Morning America," ABC weatherman and global warming alarmist Sam Champion went on the "hot seat," a week-long segment on the show designed to force the hosts to answer supposedly tough questions sent from viewer e-mail. However, he ended up fielding softballs such as "Sam, are you really a morning person?" Co-host Diane Sawyer did read one challenging question: "We know you're Mr. Eco-Friendly and you do everything right in the green way. But Anita from upstate New York wants to know what's your biggest offense? Anti-green offense?"

After denying being an eco-elitist and asserting, "There's no perfect," Champion admitted, "My biggest offense?...I'm trying to quit using the plastic water bottle. But I don't always have that reusable water bottle with me." Of course, considering that the segment was designed as a "secrets revealed" piece, there were a number of tough questions that Sam Champion could have been asked, but wasn't. For instance, on January 31, 2007, the liberal meteorologist hyperventilated about global warming next to a graphic that screamed, "Will Billions Die from Global Warming? New Details on Thirst and Hunger." Maybe someone could have suggested that was a slight exaggeration?

Instead of mercilessly grilling the weatherman with hardballs such as "Of all the wonderful places you've traveled, what's your absolute favorite," maybe Sawyer could have suggested it was bizarre to promote an extremist environmentalist who shuns toilet paper. Champion did this twice in 2007 and touted the "serious experiment" of activist Colin Beavan on May 10, 2007.

The ABC hosts might have queried their meteorologist about this quote from April 18, 2007:

SAM CHAMPION: For example, did you know that even with the flip of a switch, we all contribute to global warming? Well, I know it sounds a little intense. But there are some small things you can do to change that, like paying attention to your carbon footprint...If you think you have nothing to do with global warming, think again. From the car you drive, to the house you live in, it all contributes to the problem.

News anchor Chris Cuomo, who also participated in the "hot seat" segment, could have brought this up and wondered if it was hypocritical for Champion to have asked such a question while standing in front of a huge bank of energy-sucking televisions. Additionally, he might have noted that watching "Good Morning America" increases the energy use of Americans. Would Champion suggest that viewers stop?

Such questions would have provided more revealing answers then the e-mails that the show's hosts chose to read, queries that included this groan-inducing example: "If you were an animal, would you rather live on the ocean or on land?" It's impossible to believe that the network received no authentic tough questions.

Chris Cuomo will be on the "hot seat" on Thursday. To send him some serious queries, go to GMA's website.

A transcript of the one tough question, as well as some of the softballs from the November 19 segment, can be found below:

8:11am

DIANE SAWYER: I love this one because you makes us feel so guilty all the time.

SAM CHAMPION: What?

SAWYER: We know you're Mr. Eco-Friendly and you do everything right in the green way. But Anita from upstate New York wants to know what's your biggest offense? Anti-green offense?

CHAMPION: Okay, first of all, Anita, I'm not. I would tell you that, what we like to do is just kind of talk about "just one thing," so you can kind of work it into your life. There's no perfect. The world's not set up to be perfect.

CUOMO: Yeah, yeah, yeah. What do you do?

CHAMPION: My biggest offense? It's the water bottle. I still can't get off - I'm trying to- I'm trying to quit using the plastic water bottle. But I don't always have that reusable water bottle with me. Okay. There it is. Bad.

ROBERTS: Bad. Bad.

Other e-mail questions from the piece:

"Of all the wonderful places you've traveled, what's your absolute favorite?"

"Why do you call Chicago Chicago Land?"

"Whom do you trust most to keep a very serious secret?"

"If you were an animal, would you rather live on the ocean or on land?"

"Have you always been a weather forecaster?"

"Sam, are you really a morning person? You are always so chipper."

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