ABC's Jon Karl Derides Christine O'Donnell's Witchcraft Comments as 'Infamous'

According to Good Morning America's Jon Karl, Christine O'Donnell's 1999 comments about dabbling in witchcraft are "infamous." The ABC political correspondent used the strong language, Wednesday, while reporting on an appearance the Republican senatorial candidate made on Fox News.

Describing O'Donnell's first week as a candidate, Karl opined, "First, liberal comedian Bill Maher released video of the infamous witchcraft comment and threatened to release more embarrassing clips."

Dictionary.com defines infamous as "deserving of or causing an evil reputation." Also: "shamefully malign; detestable."

ABC journalists and guests have repeatedly played up attacks against O'Donnell. On September 15, co-anchor George Stephanopoulos read quotes deriding her as a "mentally unhinged" "liar." On September 16, James Carville appeared to berate the Delaware candidate as a "deadbeat."

Karl used hyperbolic language on another topic on Wednesday. He reported that Republican leaders are moving to strip Senator Lisa Murkowski's Senate committee assignments, following the announcement that she would wage a write-in campaign to retain her seat.

Karl asserted that the party has "essentially excommunicated Senator Lisa Murkowski." Excommunicated? She lost a primary. Republicans are supporting the GOP nominee.

A transcript of the September 22 segment can be found below:

7:05

ROBIN ROBERTS: But, from the White House to the upcoming elections and the impact of the Tea Party. Controversial Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell is now responding to criticism about comments she made on witchcraft and sexual values. Senior political correspondent Jon Karl is on Capitol Hill. Good morning, Jon.

ABC GRAPHIC: Confronting Her Past: Christine O'Donnell Fights Back

JON KARL: Good morning, Robin. Tea Party long-shot Christine O'Donnell is in the spotlight again and firing back at her critics. In her first appearance since canceling two national television interviews, Christine O'Donnell went on Fox News, where she was asked about why she, quote, dabbled in witchcraft as a teenager.

SEAN HANNITY: What was that about?

CHRISTINE O'DONNELL: Well, teenage rebellion. You know? Some people dabble in drugs to rebel. That's how I rebelled.

KARL: O'Donnell, who has been hit on everything from her past statements on masturbation to her personal finances, said Democrats were trying to make the personal political.

O'DONNELL: Watch this. Watch how this campaign unfolds. They started their ads this week. And they're attacking me personally. They're not attacking where I stand on stimulus. They're not attacking me on where I stand on extending, if not making permanent, the Bush tax cuts.

KARL: It has been an eventful seven days since O'Donnell won the GOP nomination. First, liberal comedian Bill Maher released video of the infamous witchcraft comment and threatened to release more embarrassing clips. Now, conservative talk show host Bill O'Reilly is doing the same.

BILL O'REILLY: I'm trying to be fair to Christine O'Donnell. She's been on this program for a number of times. We have kind of crazy stuff she said. We're not going to play it yet. I don't think it's relevant yet.

KARL: One O'Reilly clip did emerge, however, from an old debate on genetic engineering.

O'DONNELL: Mice with fully-functioning human brains.

KARL: But O'Donnell's staunchest supporter, Sarah Palin, is standing by her. Palin's latest move is a web video, where she portrays herself as the heroine of the Tea Party movement.

SARAH PALIN: Government is supposed to be working for the people.

KARL: Palin appears 28 times in the one minute, 20 second video. She doesn't mention the word Republican even once. Meanwhile, here in Washington, Republican leaders have essentially excommunicated Senator Lisa Murkowski because she is waging a write-in campaign against Joe Miller, the Tea Party candidate that defeated her in Alaska. That's because, George, the republican establishment is now solidly behind the former tea partier, or I guess, current tea partier, Joe Miller.

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