ABC's Claire Shipman Uses No Liberal Label for Stewart Rally, Worried About 'Right-Wing' Beck's Protest

Good Morning America's Claire Shipman on Friday used no liberal labels in a friendly piece to promote Jon Stewart's rally in Washington, Saturday. Yet, on August 28, she warned viewers about the "right-wing" Glenn Beck and his protest in the nation's capital.

Shipman credulously asserted of Stewart and fellow comedian Stephen Colbert: "But what are we to make of a couple of comedians who say they have no political agenda drawing huge crowds to Washington a few days before elections?"

The ABC journalist simply parroted Stewart's claims: "[Stewart] insists he's not the answer to Glenn Beck. He's been talking about a different message." Even though Shipman reported that liberals such as singer Sheryl Crow and actor Sam Waterston will be attending, she never used ideological labels.

The only sources cited were White House spokesman Robert Gibbs and media critic Howard Kurtz, who noted how "strongly" Stewart feels about bipartisanship. No mention was made by Shipman of the fact that Arianna Huffington and other liberals will be paying to bus in liberals.

Yet, on August 28, when Beck was leading a protest of hundreds of thousands in Washington, Shipman worried that it was on the same date as Martin Luther King's famous 1963 rally. She informed, "The right-wing radio show host insists the timing was an oversight. But he seized on the King legacy as compatible with his message." The reporter even dug up an old quote of Beck calling Barack Obama a racist.

In contrast to the talking heads featured on Friday, Shipman in August included Al Sharpton to complain, "They're having an anti-government march on a day that King came to appeal to government. You can't have it both ways."

Apparently, Glenn Beck is a "right-winger," but Jon Stewart "has no political agenda"?

A transcript of the October 29 segment, which aired at 8:02am EDT, follows:

 GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Fresh off his interview with President Obama, Jon Stewart is heading to Washington with his Comedy Central sidekick Stephen Colbert for tomorrow's Rally to Restore Sanity and Fear. So far, the Daily Show's Facebook page shows 200,000 people saying they will come but Stewart and Colbert put a tight lid on what those fans can expect to see until now. Claire Shipman is on the case starting to crack that open. Claire?

ABC GRAPHIC: Comedy or Sanity? Stewart and Colbert Rally in D.C.

SHIPMAN: George, they have been secretive but leaking out Sheryl Crow, Sam Waterston, part of the country band Wilco will be here. But is this a political rally or big piece of performance art? Unclear.

JON STEWART: We are going to do this! The forms have been filled out! The checks have been written!

STEPHEN COLBERT: People, people can definitely book their hotel rooms now!

SHIPMAN: Whatever it is, it's clearly going to be big.

STEWART: For tonight I announce the rally to restore sanity. It is happening, people!

SHIPMAN: But what are we to make of a couple of comedians who say they have no political agenda drawing huge crowds to Washington a few days before elections? One of them able to snag a coveted pre-election interview with the president.

BARACK OBAMA: Jon, I love your show, but-

ROBERT GIBBS: I think Jon Stewart is about as good an interviewer as there is in the public domain right now.

SHIPMAN: He insists he's not the answer to Glenn Beck. He's been talking about a different message.

STEWART: A million moderate march where we take to the streets to send a message to our leaders and our national media that says we are here. We're only here. We're only here, though, until 6:00 because we have a sitter.

HOWARD KURTZ (Media critic, Daily Beast): He is looking for a bigger megaphone. I mean, this message that the country is not really convulsed by partisanship, it's just the extremes we see reflected in the media, is one that he feels so strongly about.

SHIPMAN: But Jon Stewart the comedian will never admit it.

STEWART: What we are doing is we are using the rally format to do the same thing we do with our shows.

SHIPMAN: Now, look, a lot of people coming we talked with, George, think this is much more than satire and looking at that Facebook page it will be a big under 30 crowd.

STEPHANOPOULOS: If those 200,000, if show up.

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