The journalists on Good Morning America, Wednesday, again ignored the fact that San Diego's mayor, accused of sexually harassing 18 women, is a Democrat. Yet, on the very same program, reporter John Muller made sure to highlight Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst's scandal, chiding the "rising national Republican star." Dewhurst is under fire for intervening after his step-niece was arrested for shoplifting.
Guest co-host Josh Elliott hyped, "Caught on tape, the rising political star pressing police to let his niece out of jail." Lara Spencer hyperbolically introduced the story as a "stunning 911 call." Underlining the point, Muller informed, "David Dewhurst is one of the most powerful people in Texas politics and a rising national Republican star." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Regarding a prominent Democrat embroiled in a scandal, however, correspondent Amy Robach only noted, "Well, the embattled mayor of San Diego has reached a settlement in the sexual harassment lawsuit against him."
She added, "It's not clear if the deal will lead to Bob Filner's resignation." At no time did Robach (or anyone on GMA) identify Filner as a Democrat. Since the Filner scandal broke, GMA has repeatedly followed this pattern. On July 31, Josh Elliott only described him as "San Diego's mayor."
The same thing happened on August 16. On July 27, the morning show noted the mayor's party affiliation, but only in an on-screen graphic.
On Wednesday, Muller's segment included a clip of liberal political writer Wayne Slater railing against Dewhurst, slamming the politician for "trying to get a niece released in a way that regular citizens simply could not do. It looks terrible to Texans, to voters, to anyone who watched."
Slater isn't just a liberal columnist, he's gone so far as to lump the Tea Party in with a man who went on a shooting spree a the Holocaust Museum in Washington. Of course, the GMA journalists made no mention of Slater's partisan slant.
A transcript of the two August 22 GMA segments can be found below:
DAVID DEWHURST: What do I do in order to not circumvent anything? Follow the law? Because this is, this is ridiculous.
JOSH ELLIOTT: Caught on tape, the rising political star pressing police to let his niece out of jail. He says he was just helping out a relative in trouble. The surprising reaction from the cops. Was his call for freedom an abuse of power?
LARA SPENCER: And now we turn to that stunning 911 call from a rising political star. In the newly released tape, Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst calls a local police department, asking how to tries to get a relative out of jail after she was arrested for what he calls a mistaken charge. ABC's John Muller has the story, raising questions about whether this call was an abuse of power?
DAVID DEWHURST: This is David Dewhurst. I'm lieutenant governor of the state of Texas.
JOHN MULLER: David Dewhurst is one of the most powerful people in Texas politics and a rising national Republican star, which might explain why he seemed a little miffed earlier this month when the officer on this 911 call didn't seem to know who he was.
DEWHURST: You don't know me. But I am, every year, the number one pick of all of the law enforcement agencies within Texas.
MULLER: Dewhurst was calling the Allen County police, to help get his step niece out of jail, saying she had been unfairly detained for shoplifting at a grocery store.
DEWHURST: Apparently a bag involving $57 worth of groceries wasn't scanned.
MULLER: During the call, Dewhurst, who is running for re-election, was asked how he can keep his relative out of jail. Asking to speak to a sheriff or a local judge.
DEWHURST: Can you give me the telephone number of the county judge there? What do I need to do in order to not circumvent anything, follow the law? Because this is, this is ridiculous.
WAYNE SLATER (Sr. Political writer, Dallas Morning News): This was a politician calling the local police operation, trying to get a niece released in a way that regular citizens simply could not do. It looks terrible to Texans, to voters, to anyone who watched.
MULLER: Overnight, Allen County Police said Dewhurst, quote, "did not ask for anything out of line." His spokesman saying the lieutenant governor told police to follow normal protocols and procedures.
DEWHURST: I intend to jump into this and see what can be done to prevent this very nice lady, through a miscarriage of justice, spend a night in jail.
MULLER: This morning, dewhurst's rivals are pouncing. Saying his attempt to avoid a miscarriage of justice sounds like a, quote, "blatant abuse of power." For Good Morning America, John Muller, ABC News, New York.
SPENCER: All right, John. We thank you. And it certainly does raise some questions.
JOSH ELLIOTT: It does.
ABC GRAPHIC: Deal in Sex Harassment Suit: City Council Must Approve It
AMY ROBACH: Well, the embattled mayor of San Diego has reached a settlement in the sexual harassment lawsuit against him. It's not clear if the deal will lead to Bob Filner's resignation. But he was seen packing boxes into his car outside city hall last night. Eighteen women have accused the mayor of improper behavior.