ABC Lovingly Looks Back at Diane Sawyer, Skips Fawning North Korea Moment

On Monday’s Good Morning America, the ABC show began a week’s worth of nostalgic segments on the legacy of host Diane Sawyer, who will leave the program on Friday to become the new anchor of World News. Chris Cuomo gushed over Sawyer’s 2006 trip to North Korea, lauding her "pivotal" interview: "It really matters to people and it makes us all proud, when you hear something like that. You ask that question that we were all so worried about."

Cuomo was referring to Sawyer’s questioning of a North Korean general, but didn’t mention her superficial tour of a school in that country, also from the same visit. (See above video.) On the October 19, 2006 GMA, while being escorted by officials of the state, she touted, "It is a world away from the unruly individualism of any American school."

Seemingly ignoring the concept of propaganda and brainwashing, Sawyer intoned, "Ask [the students] about their country, and they can’t say enough." One North Korean girl brightly chirped, "We are the happiest children in the world."

Speaking of the trip on Monday, Cuomo extolled, "This one really knocked my socks off." Sadly, that incident was not an isolated occasion. Two more examples of Sawyer conducting softball interviews with dictators can be found below:

Co-host Diane Sawyer: "A number of people have already said, ‘Is there anything surprising, personal about [Iranian] President [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad that we didn’t know?’ Well, it turns out, someone told me he cries a lot. That he is dramatically sentimental and sympathetic if someone comes up and expresses a personal plight. So I just asked him, are you often in tears?"

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: "Yes, that’s true. Not only for Iranians, of course, they are very close to me and I love all Iranians. And anywhere, when I see people suffering, I have the same reaction....Even when I see on TV that, for example, some Americans, because of tornadoes or a hurricane, they have lost their homes, I become sad."

— ABC’s Good Morning America, February 13, 2007.

"There may not be any other man in history who better embodies the saying that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter....For most Israelis, many Jews, he was a bloody terrorist and nothing more. Yet elsewhere in the world, even among Arabs who questioned his leadership, he was treated as a hero, freedom fighter, revolutionary. A diminutive man who became a larger than life symbol of the Palestinian dream."

— Sawyer reporting Yasser Arafat’s death, Good Morning America, November 11, 2004.

The ABC host will begin anchoring World News on December 21. For more examples of Sawyer’s ten years of bias at Good Morning America, see the MRC’s Profile in Bias.

A transcript of the December 7 segment, which aired at 7:48am EST, follows:

7am tease

DIANE SAWYER: And we wanted you to know that all of us at the desk have a kind of team announcement this morning. Because, we wanted you to know that this is going to be my last week after ten years here at Good Morning America, side by side.

ROBIN ROBERTS: You really are giving up your day job, finally, after all this time. It is so difficult. I just keep staring at you. That’s why I wasn’t even looking at the camera. You know, thank you. And we're going to do all things just like you this week. We're going to have fun. We're going to look back.

SAWYER: Yes, I’ve calculated: 2,281 shows, roughly.

7:44

ROBERTS: Coming up, Diane’s greatest hits. The moments we’ll always remember. We count down to her final show here on GMA.

7:48

CHRIS CUOMO: [The Beatles "In My Life" is playing in the background. Shots of Sawyer in action can be seen onscreen.] The many faces and hairdos of Diane Sawyer. It is not easy, but it is necessary. This week, around the water cooler, we are starting the march to no more Diane. We heard the news. Now, the moments that each of us remember. I get to go first. An exclusive privilege in and of itself. For me, I want to focus on the real and the journalism. It is amazing, I think, to all of us what we've been able to see you do for people on this show, here at home, but maybe more impressively, abroad. World leaders, Diane Sawyer, getting to sit down and talk to them about very impressive things. This one really knocked my socks off. You're not supposed to go to North Korea. That’s what they tell us. And I think Diane has been there ten times. Who knows how many times the right way? Anyway, let's listen to this. A pivotal time.

[Clip of Sawyer from North Korea visit.]

SAWYER: I asked him could his nuclear be loaded on nuclear missiles. He would not say whether they could nuclearize their missile. But he said, "Just be assured, we do have the facilities to deliver nuclear weapons. We are ready."

CUOMO: So, there he is. That was General Lee Chan?

SAWYER: That's right. And he was in charge of the watch facility, the forward watch facilities there. Yes, you're right. The hairdo with those glasses. I appreciate all the sentiments, but of course, you sort of see yourself go by and try to imagine.

CUOMO: But, it matters. It really matters to people and it makes us all proud, when you hear something like that. You ask that question that we were all so worried about.

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