Good Morning America’s George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday became emotional over the passing of John Murtha, named by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington as one of Congress’ most corrupt politicians. He lauded the Democrat as "one of those guys who make the [House of Representatives] work." [Audio available here.]
Neither Stephanopoulos, nor Juju Chang, who filed a news brief on Murtha, mentioned his 2006 smear that U.S. Marines killed Iraqi civilians "in cold blood." Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic operative, reminisced as he tried to maintain control: "I’m going to get a little choked up. I miss him already. You know, I went to Capitol Hill as an aide almost 30 years ago."
He cooed, "And he did it with such a sense of joy and fun and he taught me an awful lot." Stephanopoulos skipped the following quote from Murtha in May of 2006 about a supposed massacre in Haditha, Iraq: "Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."
NBC’s Today also ignored this part of the Congressman’s history and the fact that the Marines involved have been acquitted.
Instead, Today’s Ann Curry referred to Murtha as a "tireless advocate for veterans." On GMA, Robin Roberts also lauded, "And he was such a tireless advocate for veterans." Murtha may have been a "tireless advocate" for some in the military, just not the soldiers he shamefully smeared.
(In the D.C. area, CBS’s Early Show was preempted for snow warnings. It’s unclear how they covered it. However, the CBS Evening News on Monday failed to highlight the comment.) ABC and NBC’s morning shows also failed to mention the 1980 Abscam bribery investigation that the Congressman was embroiled in.
A transcript of the February 9 segment, which aired at 7:17am EST
JUJU CHANG: And, finally, one of the most influential members of Congress has died. John Murtha was a decorated Marine. He was the first Vietnam combat veteran elected to Congress, a champion of the armed forces. He will perhaps be best remembered for calling for an immediate pull-out of Iraq in 2005. Murtha died from complications of gallbladder surgery. He was 77. And that’s the news at 7:17. George, I know you worked with him.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: I’m going to get a little choked up. I miss him already. You know, I went to Capitol Hill as an aide almost 30 years ago. He was one of those guys who make the place work. And he did it with such a sense of joy and fun and he taught me an awful lot. [Trying not to get chocked up.]
ROBIN ROBERTS: And he was such a tireless advocate for veterans.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Oh, man.
ROBERTS: And you are really- I can tell you are really touched by his moving [sic].