For weeks, ABC hyped sequestration spending cuts as a threat that could "vaporize" America and "cripple" travel in the country. On Sunday's Good Morning America, however, George Stephanopoulos admitted that the President's plan isn't "working." Perhaps helping Obama shift strategies, the GMA segment focused on the Democrat "reaching out" to the Republican Party.
Talking with Dan Harris and Bianna Golodryga about the President's dinner meeting with members of the GOP, Stephanopoulos conceded, "...The outside game at least in the short term wasn't working for the President. It was trying to raise all these alarms about the sequester but it didn't seem to be taking hold because people haven't felt it yet." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] This is quite a contrast to the March 1 GMA. As sequester was about to hit, news reader Josh Elliott warned of the coming doom: "Jobs vaporizing, flights delayed, even criminals walking free." A graphic warned of "armageddon."
On February 22, ABC fretted that "air travel could be crippled."
On February 27, Jon Karl parroted, "...The White House's list of terrible things caused by the cuts grows longer, including flight delays, kids losing vaccines, and meat shortages."
After sequester went into effect, GMA reacted On March 4 with silence.
On March 5, Bianna Golodryga responded to Stephanopoulos's claim that investors are "shrugging off" the cuts by lamenting, "Yeah, isn't that kind of sad? It was basically anticipated that we were going to have these spending cuts."
An analysis by the Media Research Center found that 89 percent of ABC's sequester stories pushed budget panic.
A transcript of the March 10 segment is below:
DAN HARRIS: And back here at home this week, a conclave of a different sort, slightly less holy, the President willing lunching on Capitol Hill as part of a major charm offensive aimed at finding a resolution to those budget cuts that go by the weird name of sequester.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: But the big question is, will it work? Let's go to George Stephanopoulos, host of ABCs This Week for some answers.
ABC GRAPHIC: Obama Reaches Out to G.O.P.: Will It Make a Difference?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning, guys.
GOLODRYGA: So, George, what do you make of the change in strategy on the President's part going from not communicating with Republican leaders at all to wining and dining them. Will this get him the grand bargain he's wanted?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, we'll see. It'll take some time. I think it was motivated by two things. Number one, the outside game at least in the short term wasn't working for the President. It was trying to raise all these alarms about the sequester but it didn't seem to be taking hold because people haven't felt it yet. And, number two, now that the sequester actually has kicked in, there's no other option but to try to build these relationships and see what can come of it. But right now, you have the Republican leadership and the President at odds over the issue of whether taxes can be part of any grand bargain. That could possibly only change as we get through the summer, as we see the effects of these spending cuts and as they approach the next big deadline. There's always a deadline or cliff coming. This one is over the debt limit again, the nation runs out of its borrowing authorities sometime this summer. That could be the forcing mechanism.
HARRIS: Governments by cliff. Overnight, we got another report Ashley Judd, the movie star turned activist may actually jump into the race in Kentucky to take on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Do you think this is real? Is she really going to run and could she win?
STEPHANOPOULOS: She's definitely looking at it. There's no question about that. They're saying, the people around her, are saying, if she decides to run, she'll announce it around the date of the Kentucky Derby. Now, the difficulties for he right now are she doesn't live in Kentucky where she's going to run.
HARRIS: It's a small technicality.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But Republicans are taking this very seriously. They have already run ads against Ashley Judd in Kentucky pointing out that she doesn't live there, taking things she said in the past that might not appeal to Kentucky voters and they take her seriously and know any long-term incumbent right now faces the threat of defeat. She's an outsider. That's for sure, so she's taking a hard look at it. Republicans are taking a hard look at it too. We'll know in the next few weeks.