ABC Shuns Hateful Signs at Jon Stewart Rally, Highlights 'Sermon' by Comedy Central Star

Good Morning America on Sunday skipped the hateful signs at Jon Stewart's rally in Washington D.C., Saturday. Reporter David Kerley instead played a clip of the comedian and hyped, "Comedy on the mall, a little Daily Show with its star offering a bit of a sermon."

Although journalists were quite eager to play up extreme signs at Tea Party rallies, Kerley did not show a sign featuring Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and others with Hitler mustaches.

He did not feature this picture, taken by the Media Research Center's Kevin Eder (@Keder). It read, "Death to right-wing extremists. (But in a nice way.)"  For more extreme signs, go here. Instead, Kerley reverently parroted, "You know, one last thing that Stewart said, most of his barbs were headed right toward the media. He said when everything gets amplified too much, nothing gets heard."

(Would an example of this moderate tone be when Stewart attacked Dick Cheney as "evil"?)

On Saturday, reporter Claire Shipman previewed the rally and actually noted the Democrat tilt of attendees: "But a lot of local Democratic groups have sent people here and they're certainly hoping they'll be able to make a small dent in that enthusiasm gap especially among young voters." Kerley did not repeat this information on Sunday.

At times, the hosts and reporters seemed to contradict each other. On Sunday, GMA's Bianna Golodryga announced, "The hosts say the rally wasn't about politics." Shipman on Saturday suggested, "But for the people here, Dan, this is no joke. They're coming to rally. They think this is a political event."

Now, obviously, there's a difference between attendees and organizers. But there still appeared to be a disconnect between Shipman and Kerley.

A transcript of the October 31 David Kerley segment, which aired at 8:09am EDT, follows:

GOLODRYGA: And only a couple of days left before the key midterm elections. Campaign rallies all over the country were held over the weekend and President Obama is among the big guns trying to get out the vote. He's trying to do everything he can for struggling Democrats. In a new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that Democrats have narrowed the gap but voters still prefer GOP candidates over Democrats in the House by four percent. David Kerley has been following it all and he has more from Washington this morning. Good morning, David.

DAVID KERLEY: Morning, Bianna. A lot of references to two years ago. The President still on the campaign trail today. He's in Ohio, and he told groups yesterday that if they turn out like they did two years ago, they can turn back the Republican tide. They were enthusiastic and there were a lot of them. For President Obama's homecoming last night, a crowd estimated at 30,000 packing Chicago's Hyde Park, the same place he celebrated his presidential win. This came after rallies in Pennsylvania.

BARACK OBAMA: Hello, Philadelphia.

KERLEY: And Connecticut. The President is trying to rally Democrats at the last minute, trying to hold back a Republican tidal wave.

OBAMA: What I need this weekend is 20,000 doors knocked on by all the volunteers here today.

KERLEY: But the biggest rally by far here on the Washington Mall and not one politician involved but plenty of political performance.

JON STEWART: Hello, and are you ready to restore sanity?

[Cheers and applause ]

KERLEY: Satire as sanity as Jon. As Jon Stewart brought his comedy troupe and colleague Stephen Colbert who appeared from a mine rescue capsule to Washington. Tens of thousands packing the mall without a politician's name. Why?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are sick of extremist voices drowning out the voices of the normal people in this country.

KERLEY: It was star studded with plenty of comedy. Mashing up train songs from the former Cat Stevens

[Clip of Cat Stevens singing.]

KERLEY: To Ozzy Osbourne.

[Clip of Ozzy Osbourne singing.]

KERLEY: To the O'Jays

[Clip of The O'Jays singing.]

KERLEY: Comedy on the mall, a little Daily Show with its star offering a bit of a sermon.

STEWART: Sanity will always be, and has always been, in the eye of the beholder. And to see you here today has restored mine.

KERLEY: Stewart the fake newsman joked about the size of the rally but a company that's actually hired to estimate crowds put Glenn Beck's rally a couple months ago at less than 100,000. They say this was more than 200,000. You know, one last thing that Stewart said, most of his barbs were headed right toward the media. He said when everything gets amplified too much, nothing gets heard. Bianna?

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