Networks Welcome Rahm Emanuel, Skip Blood-Soaked Violence Gripping Chicago

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared on all three morning shows, Wednesday, but faced no questions about the city's skyrocketing murder rate. Instead, NBC, CBS and ABC treated the former chief of staff to Barack Obama as a political pundit and not someone responsible for dealing with the 350-plus slayings in his city. (August was the deadliest month yet in 2012.)

Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos did note that Emanuel would be leaving the Democratic National Convention in Chicago after Wednesday. He cited "real, real problems" in the city." However, the host and friend of Emanuel didn't mean murder. Stephanopoulos, who worked with the now-Mayor back in the Clinton White House, quizzed, "Potentially the first teacher's strike in 20 years. You going to be able to prevent it?"

Stephanopoulos previously ignored Chicago's murder rate on August 24th and when he interviewed him for This Week on July 15.

On NBC's Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie grilled Emanuel on the President's job performance, but ignored his city's murder rate.

She treated Emanuel as a political prognosticator, wondering, "You talk about those visions, we've heard an array of speeches, yours included. Many of them were a backward-looking defense of what the President did his first term in office."

Later, the journalist queried as to whether Hillary Clinton will run for president in 2016. Meanwhile, two people were gunned down last night on the south side of Chicago.    

On CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell asked a similar style of questions: "So tell me what you think the Democrats have to do -- have to do -- and the message coming out of this convention, to win this election?"    

A transcript of the September 5 GMA segment, which aired at 7:09am EDT, follows:


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And for more on Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the man who knows both men, who has worked for both men, the current mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel. Thanks for coming in this morning.

RAHM EMANUEL: Thank you, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, let's start out with Michelle Obama. Clearly electrified the crowd here in the room last night. But coming in, the President was facing some poll numbers, some tough poll numbers. ABC News/Washington Post, the first incumbent president in modern times to come in under water, more unfavorable than favorable, according to the voters. How big a worry is that and how do you turn it around? Do you need to lay out more of a specific plan?

EMANUEL: Well, there's no doubt that the president needs to talk about his vision for a second term. What it will mean for America. There's just- That's a requirement. I wouldn't call it a State of the Union. But I would call it about a clear choice and the direction he wants to take the country. He owes the country, because if he gets elected, that type of clarity. It's not a State of the Union. You talk about this and talk about that as a sense of policy.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Why has it taken so long to get that?

EMANUEL: I think this is the appropriate time to do that. And I think it's continuing throughout the campaign, right now, through the debates all the way to election day. This is a choice. I try to say this in not-- in so many words, which is, you have one individual who literally said, "let Detroit go bankrupt." And another, the president, said "no, I've got your back." That's a clear choice. Another- I didn't even mention this. Mitt Romney said in Vegas, when it came to housing, "let it hit rock-bottom." The President said, let's figure out how you can refinance to hold on to it. Clear policy choices. Clear implications for the American people. Different directions and this is a choice. That's what it's going to take. And to finish that conversation, the President will lay out his vision, not just for the next four years, but their consequences for America going forward.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The President facing some criticism this morning from Mitt Romney. It's over the Democratic platform. This issue, the Democrats took out words in the Democratic platform that said Jerusalem is and shall remain the capital of Israel. Mitt Romney called it shameful. Why was that taken out?

EMANUEL: This is a red herring if I've ever seen one. The fact is, Jerusalem has always been bipartisan, clearly, by all presidents, that it's going to be part of the discussion between the Israelis and Palestinians. And regardless of what-- look at George Bush's platform. I don't know– Look– George– I'm a mayor of the city of Chicago. I don't write the platform, but I know what the President's policy has been for four years. And I know a red herring when I see one.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about Bill Clinton. Newt Gingrich, a former nemesis of Bill Clinton, but then a partner, a negotiating partner of him, as well. Said that it's an enormous risk for President Obama to have Bill Clinton speak tonight.

EMANUEL: Oh, please. That's ridiculous. A former president who is very popular, who will talk and explain about the policies and the parallel tracks that the two presidents have had in the sense of investing in education, investing in research development, alternative energy and green energy, and a responsible way of balancing the budget. I think he can do nothing but help. And the notion that Newt's going to give our party strategic advice? No thank you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, the Republicans say be careful what you wish for, it sounds like that's your message to them.

EMANUEL: No, I just- Let me say this, my only advice to them, not that they would take it, is I would not have Paul Ryan's fact-checker looking over Mitt Romney's tax returns.

STEPHANOPOULOS: [Laughs] Your line of the morning. You're going to be leaving this convention right after President Clinton's speech tonight. Facing real, real problems in Chicago. Potentially the first teacher's strike in 20 years. You going to be able to prevent it?

EMANUEL: Well, I think I opened up before I came here, the school day. Went to three different schools. Number one, number two, we've added for the first time in a decade, an hour and a half and two weeks to the school year. We've also added five new science and technology schools. 6000 more kids in magnet schools. The kids belong in that classroom. The negotiators belong at the table.

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