ABC Fawns Over Obama's Pal Jay-Z as 'One of the Great Poets of Our Age,' Yawns at Cuba Trip
The journalist at Good Morning America once again showed how unserious they are when it comes to challenging Barack Obama. On Friday, the reporters covered the latest on rapper Jay-Z's trip to communist Cuba in an amused tone. Lifestyle anchor Lara Spencer featured no Republican critics of the international visit. Instead, she went to Rolling Stone's editor for comment on the entertainer's new song about the trip.
Simon Vozick-Levinson hyperbolically proclaimed, "[Jay-Z is] a brilliant lyricist. He's one of the great poets of our age." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] In the new song, the singer insists that he received "White House clearance" for the excursion to Cuba, a place American citizens aren't allowed to visit. Although Spencer admitted that Jay-Z and his wife Beyonce "supported" Obama's campaign in 2012, she didn't explain what that meant. The musician raised over $4 million for the Democrat's reelection bid.
The closest Spencer could get to featuring GOP criticism of the trip was this sentence: "But this morning, some Republicans are still questioning the trip."
Spencer closed the segment out by focusing on the "quick turnaround" from the trip to the release of the song. Guest co-host Elizabeth Vargas quoted one of the song's lyrics, "Turn Havana to Atlanta." She then laughed and did a little dance.
While covering the story on Tuesday, news reader Josh Elliott declared the vacation to be "much ado about nothing."
These are the tough, cynical reporters that speak truth to power?
A transcript of the April 12 segment is below:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay, so Jay-Z goes to Cuba. Now he's rapping about it.
LARA SPENCER: Yeah. He's firing back at critics of his trip to Cuba with his wife beyonce celebrating their wedding anniversary. He's doing it all in song. The White House immediately responding. Take a look.
ABC GRAPHIC: Music Titan Takes on White House: Jay-Z's "Open Letter" to Critics
JAY-Z RAPPHING: I'm in Cuba. I love Cubans.
SPENCER: The song's title is "Open Letter," but plays more like an open protest. Rapper Jay-Z firing back Thursday in song, launching a rhyming assault against congressional critics of his recent trip to Havana with wife Beyonce.
JAY-Z RAPPING: Wanna give me jail time and a fine. Fine let me commit a real crime.
SPENCER: The controversy blew up when last week when the two singers were granted a cultural license by the Treasury Department to travel to Cuba for their fifth anniversary, even though American tourists are normally not allowed to visit the communist country. But in the new song, Jay-Z suggests the President, who socializes with the couple and enjoyed their support during his campaign, somehow signed off on the trip himself. He raps "a boy from the hood, but has White House clearance."
JAY Z RAPPING: Obama says "Chill You gonna get me impeached. We don't need this [expletive deleted.] Chill with me on the beach."
SPENCER: On Thursday, the White House was quick to deny any presidential involvement.
JAY CARNEY: I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury. Because Treasury offers and gives licenses for travel, as you know. And the President has nothing to do with it. The President did not communicate with Jay-Z over this trip.
SIMON VOZICK-LEVINSON (Associate editor, Rolling Stone): Jay Z is, far and away, beyond anything else, he's a brilliant lyricist. He's one of the great poets of our age. So, music is obviously the forum he's going to choose when he wants to make a really important statement
SPENCER: But this morning, some Republicans are still questioning the trip.
JAY Z RAPPING: I done turned Havana to Atlanta.
SPENCER: Pretty quick turnaround, right? In a radio interview Jay-Z's producer Swizz Beatz said they started working on the song with a drum machine on Wednesday night in Jay Z's office and by the next morning, yesterday, [Snaps her fingers] Jay Z had all the verses done.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And Friday morning, GMA.
SPENCER: Here we are.
ELIZABETH VARGAS: "Turn Havana to Atlanta." [Laughs. Pretends to dance.]