ABC stubbornly stuck to its talking points on Friday, portraying the furloughs of Federal Aviation Administration employees as "airport armageddon." Despite the fact that even liberal outlets such as Politico spun the ending of the furloughs as a loss for the Democrats, Good Morning America's David Kerley failed to do so. A network graphic trumpeted, "Airport Armageddon Ending? Congress Acting to End Delays." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Kerley adopted an everybody-is-to-blame tone, lecturing, "We say Washington is dysfunctional. But when members hear complaints and it's going to affect them, it's amazing how fast they can act." Yet, Politico announced, "Democrats blink first on aviation cuts." Writers Kathryn A. Wolfe and Burgess Everett concluded, "Democrats caved in and agreed to allow the Federal Aviation Administration to keep air traffic control towers running at close to full capacity." This type of analysis didn't make it to ABC.
World News anchor Diane Sawyer scored an exclusive interview with George W. Bush for Wednesday's program. Sawyer used the opportunity to pester the former president about gay marriage, prompting, "One of the issues in the party in which there seems to be some shift taking place among senators is gay marriage."
After playing a clip of Laura Bush endorsing same sex marriage, the anchor pressed as to whether Mr. Bush was "ready to weigh in." The ex-President demurred and the reporter pushed, "Not going to say if you've changed your position too?" (How often do journalists push Democrats to move to the right on an issue?) Earlier in the segment, Bush took a shot at journalists. [For that, see video below. MP3 audio here.]
Nightline co-anchor Bill Weir on Tuesday belatedly celebrated Earth Day by touting a left-wing environmentalist who is pushing for new carbon taxes and opposing the construction of the Keystone oil pipeline. Weir failed to label Bill McKibben as a liberal. Instead, the journalist simply referred to him as an "organizer," an "agitator" and a "lobbyist."
Weir lectured his audience, "So, how does [McKibben] convince a nation of oiloholics to dry out?Well, he organizes and agitates and lobbies for a tax on carbon. He gets arrested for protesting that big new pipeline from Canada and tries to convince colleges to dump their oil company stock." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Unlike Weir, McKibben's own website has no problem with ideological labels. One post begins, "So you’re a progressive and you’ve been sitting on the sidelines of the Keystone XL fight. Sure, you’ve heard about the pipeline but you haven’t yet drawn your sword and taken up the struggle."
NBC and ABC completely skipped a scathing new report that singles out Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for blame after the September 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. CBS, in contrast, offered full reports on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Evening News anchor Scott Pelley announced, "House Republicans fired off a blistering report today criticizing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell trumpeted, "House Republicans issued a scathing report on the Benghazi attack. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed last September." Yet, the ABC programs World News, Nightline and Good Morning America ignored the development. GMA, however, found time to promote important topics, such as "dancing babies" and the "secrets" behind America's favorite game shows. NBC's Nightly News and the Today show also avoided the subject.
ABC managed to take a book full of juicy gossip about the morning show wars and ignore all the interesting information. Good Morning America's Dan Harris on Tuesday talked to Brian Stelter, author of Top of the Morning. Yet, Harris spent more time talking about the rise of Stelter, offering such dull questions of the author as "Do you ever sleep?" and "What made you pick this subject for your book?"
Perhaps Harris didn't want to talk about how Stelter quoted an NBC executive deriding the "the crap on ‘G.M.A.'" In the book, the writer condescendingly described the ABC program: "The cast was more bubbly and the stories more gossip-laden. And short: If you didn't like what they were covering, you could just wait 45 seconds and the cast would be on to a Chihuahua playing pool." Harris made no mention of the upheaval at NBC after Ann Curry's removal from the Today show.
ABC won't let reality get in the way of good hype. Good Morning America on Tuesday doubled down on the "airline apocalypse" allegedly caused by sequester. Reporter Matt Guttman actually lumped in weather delays with a shortage of Federal Aviation Association (FAA) air traffic controllers. On Monday, George Stephanopoulos warned of an "airport armageddon." The next day, Gutman seemed to contradict this, admitting, "[We] didn't really find an airline apocalypse." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
However, using a slight of hand, he quickly moved on: "But all those little delays, either caused by a shortage of FAA controllers or by the weather, started to snowball into delays of four and five hours." Using hyperbole almost identical to Stephanopoulos, Gutman hyperventilated, "But Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood warns ABC News, we might yet see an airplane apocalypse." Airport armageddon? Airplane apocalypse? The GMA journalists offered such over-the-top alliteration, despite this concession from Gutman: "So far, several hundred flights delayed. Far less than the agency's prediction of 6,700 daily flight delays."
Former Newsweek editor Howard Fineman on Monday predictably worried that Republican "nativism" in the wake of the Boston bombing will imperil the chances of immigration reform passing. While discussing the issue on Hardball, the political director of the Huffington Post complained, "I think that's sort of the impulse behind Chuck Grassley. It's the impulse behind Rand Paul, who is one of the renegades who says 'let's stop immigration reform.'"
Connecting Boston to the immigration debate, Fineman fretted, "And what proponents of reform here have to worry about is this sort of notion of nativism coming up again and people just saying, 'No, let's stop.'" Incredibly, the liberal Fineman tried to give advice to the Republican Party: "But Rand Paul doesn't have the interests of the Republican Party at heart...People like Rand Paul are not interested in the future of the Republican Party." Who believes that Fineman cares about the future of the GOP?
In years past, Good Morning America weatherman Sam Champion would aggressively hype odd environmental protests, such as a man who decided to live in his own filth for a year or another individual who opted to forgo toilet paper. But, as a Democratic president settled into office and the ABC morning show surged in the ratings, the program subsequently lost interest in climate change and other green issues.
On Monday, Earth Day, Champion was reduced to celebrating the holiday by interviewing cook Mario Batali. He blandly asked, "What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day in your restaurants?" On Earth Day 2011, Champion toiled for his corporate bosses and hyped a Disney movie: "DisneyNature is marking the opening day of its newest film, 'African Cats' here on Earth Day." This is a far cry from the Bush years. Back then, every day was Earth Day. On January 31, 2007, he anchored a segment on climate change with an on-screen graphic that read, "Will Billions Die from Global Warming? New Details on Thirst and Hunger."
The journalists at ABC News on Monday renewed their push to promote sequester fears. Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos hyped, "Breaking this morning: Airport armageddon.Almost seven thousand flights could be delayed, today and every day, up to three hours." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The ABC morning show featured only liberal Democrat Chuck Schumer and no Republican voices.
Over on CBS This Morning, however, reporter Sharyl Attkisson explained the GOP position, featuring Republican Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania. The congressman described the automatic spending cuts that are causing furloughs of Federal Aviation Administration employees this way: "I believe [Obama is] instructing his agencies to – to do the things that inflict the most pain on the American people." ABC ignored that perspective.
ABC on Wednesday and Thursday parroted Barack Obama's anger over the failure of his gun control bill, touting the President's rage over this "shameful day." On World News and Good Morning America, reporter Jon Karl featured no pro-Second Amendment voices. Diane Sawyer trumpeted, "Tonight, outrage from the families of the victims of gun violence."
On Thursday, Good Morning America's Amy Robach reminded, "[Obama] called it a shameful day in Washington and vowed to keep fighting." Karl even misrepresented the legislation: "It would have expand background checks to all purchases at gun shows and online. They're now only required for guns bought at gun dealers." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] But most guns bought at a gun show are from dealers– dealers who require a background check. Additionally, the notion promoted by liberals that 40 percent of gun purchases are done privately is based on a 1997 phone survey. It's a "grossly exaggerated statistic," according to the Heritage Foundation.
In the days leading up to Margaret Thatcher's funeral on Wednesday, the three networks repeatedly hyped hateful, ugly attacks on the former Prime Minister of Britain, describing her as a "polarizing," "divisive" figure. On Rock Center, his low-rated Friday night show, Brian Williams explained that it was "sad, but necessary to report" that, while Americans may like Thatcher, "It's been a harsh couple of days ...Tonight, the number one song on iTunes in Great Britain is the Wizard of Oz classic [Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead], in this case celebrating the death of the Iron Lady."[See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Sunday's Today, Lester Holt began by insisting, "Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is proving to be as polarizing in death as she was in life." He, too, highlighted angry liberals in Britain gleefully playing the mocking song. Leftist journalist Martin Bashir appeared on the program to bemoan the "controversial" Thatcher. He touted, "An online campaign has pushed the song Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead up towards the top of the British music charts."
MSNBC featured author Adam Lankford on Tuesday to wonder about the "message" of the Boston bomber. Was it to "complain about abortion, about taxes?" The guest, labeled a "MSNBC analyst," guessed, "This did happen on tax day in Boston, the place of the Tea Party." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
He continued the reckless speculation: "Or are they trying to protest, you know, foreign wars or something?" Lankford, a professor at the University of Alabama, has written a book on what makes suicide bombers and rampage shooters do what do. He theorized, "The interesting thing is, this is someone on a stage trying to make a statement and that statement has been lost."
The journalists of Good Morning America on Tuesday pointed a speculative finger in the wake of the Boston bombing. An ABC graphic wondered, "Could this be homegrown terror?" In a segment full of guesses, reporter Pierre Thomas featured leftist Mark Potok, the man who labeled the Family Research Council (FRC) a "hate group."
Regarding the date that the explosion occurred on, Potok linked, "The real Patriots Day is April 19th. That is the date that counts for people on the extreme right in the United States." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Other than Potok, no other expert voices were featured in the segment. News anchor Josh Elliott backed up Potok's assertions, theorizing, "One big clue could be Monday's date, April 15th. The anniversaries of some of the most harrowing incidents in domestic terror are coming this week." Thomas then went on to highlight David Koresh and the Oklahoma City bombing. The justification? They also happened in April.
Just hours after explosions rocked the Boston Marathon on Monday, Chris Matthews speculated, "Normally domestic terrorists, people, tend to be on the far right." He then reconsidered and suggested, "...That’s not a good category, just extremists, let’s call them that." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
During live coverage, the Hardball host highlighted a possible explosion at John F. Kennedy's presidential library and thought this could be a personal attack on the Democratic Party: "...But going after the Kennedy Library, not something at Bunker Hill, not something from the Freedom Trail or anything that kind of historic, but a modern political figure of the Democratic Party. Does that tell you something?" (Police are now considering the incident at the JFK library to be fire-related.) One can only guess what it tells Chris.
Never let a tragedy go to waste. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof on Monday quickly used the explosions in Boston for political gain, linking the Republican Party to the horrific act. At 4:10pm, Kristof tweeted, "explosion is a reminder that ATF needs a director. Shame on Senate Republicans for blocking apptment." [UPDATE: Kristof has "taken back" the comment and deleted the tweet. See below for screen shot of the tweet.]
Kristof then tweeted a link to a Washington Post story about Senator Charles Grassley questioning the fitness of Obama's Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms nominee. Kristof's comments earned a rebuke from the liberal Politico. Dylan Byers reported, "Kristof's tweet earned a number of responses expressing either anger or bafflement." [SECOND UPDATE: More journalists are politicizing the tragedy. See below.]
ABC has aggressively pushed Barack Obama's gun control scheme in recent weeks. But on Sunday and Monday, the network resorted to playing clips of a rival channel's comedy show, Saturday Night Live. Sunday's World News and Monday's Good Morning America both touted Democratic talking points, lamenting how hard it is to get such legislation passed. On Monday morning, Jon Karl hyped, "Congress is just not eager to enact new gun laws. A fact lampooned on Saturday Night Live."
He then featured a clip of comedian Jay Pharoah impersonating Obama. Pharoah mocked, "This week, the Senate voted 68-31 to begin debating the idea of discussing gun control. Let me say that again. They have agreed to think about talking about gun control." On Sunday's World News, reporter Rena Ninan didn't even bother coming up with much of a justification. She simply introduced, "SaturdayNight Live, overnight."
Journalists have been almost entirely silent on the gruesome trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell. The networks have ignored the story. Into this vacuum came Terry Moran, the anchor of ABC's Nightline. On Friday, he provocatively tweeted, "Kermit Gosnell is probably the most successful serial killer in the history of the world."
One assumes that his program from the previous night would have been all over this "serial killer," right? Moran offered a complete expose of the stomach-twisting horrors allegedly perpetrated by Gosnell? No. This is how the journalist opened the April 11 program: "Hot Moms Inc. From Gisele to Gwyneth. New celebrity moms are losing the baby weight faster than ever. But can anyone do it? Tonight, how their workout secrets are becoming a big business." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Clearly, Moran doesn't have time for Gosnell when there are "hot moms" to cover.
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.
Hardball's Chris Matthews on Thursday again smeared pro-Second Amendment Senators, this time comparing them to "Jim Crow" racists. While talking about GOP politicians who threatened to filibuster the current gun control bill, Matthews spewed, "But you remember when they fought in the early '60s about, about Jim Crow and getting rid of all those racial things down south where it says white only at the gas station, men's room and everything?"
Talking to journalist Chuck Todd, Matthews continued, "And that was the old states of the confederacy were against any of those changes. But now is there that large a body of Republicans out there that are truly being represented by the don't-even-vote crowd?" Apparently, Matthews has again forgotten that it was the Democratic Party that represented the segregationist south. [UPDATED with video below. MP3 audio here.]
World News reporter David Muir on Wednesday aggressively pushed gun control with a recycled, one-sided report on the ease of buying weapons. Muir also failed to identify Omar Samaha, featured prominently in the segment, as the grassroots coordinator for Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Muir replayed a four-year-old segment of Samaha going to a gun show to purchase weapons from private sellers. The journalist labeled the young man as someone who lost his sister at the Virginia Tech massacre. The correspondent didn't explain, however, that Samaha is employed professionally with a gun control organization and has worked with Michael Bloomberg to restrict the Second Amendment. Muir has a history of misleading viewers. On April 6, 2009, he promoted another gun control activist without identifying his political stance or affiliation.
ABC is really proud of its hoax "exclusive." Tuesday's Nightline and Wednesday's Good Morning America hyped an interview with the man who allegedly perpetrated an elaborate fiction, smearing Pastor Joel Osteen as renouncing his Christian faith. GMA's Elizabeth Vargas touted, "...The hoaxer is explaining why he did it in an exclusive interview with ABC's David Wright." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
George Stephanopoulos trumpeted, "Revealing overnight, why he went after Joel Osteen. An ABC news exclusive." The odd, sometimes bizarre answers of alleged hoaxer, Justin Tribble, didn't stop the network from airing the story. After David Wright wondered how "we know you're Justin and how do we know this is not a hoax," Tribble weirdly responded, "Well, you don't. No, I'm kidding. You do."
The journalists at Good Morning America on Wednesday could barely contain themselves, hailing the compromise over gun control legislation as a "major," "big, significant breakthrough." Guest host Elizabeth Vargas marveled, "Boy, is that big news."
Yet, the reporters on NBC offered less effusive coverage. Today's Kristen Welker conceded, "Democrats had been hoping for background checks to be universal. They didn't get that. This is going to be a pared down, watered down version of background checks." She asserted, "The deal is far less than the President was hoping for." In contrast, ABC's Jon Karl promoted, "And it is a big, significant breakthrough. It doesn't get you all the way there, but it gets you a long way there." Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos trumpeted, "Looks like a major breakthrough."
Lapdog journalist Josh Elliott on Tuesday offered no skepticism about a controversial trip Beyonce and Jay-Z took to Cuba. The Good Morning America news reader insisted that there was nothing troubling about the fact that the music power couple, who raised over $4 million dollars for Barack Obama's reelection, received special permission to visit the communist country of Cuba. (American tourists are barred from traveling there.)
Elliott reassured, "Meanwhile, an uproar over Beyonce and Jay-Z's trip to Cuba may be much ado about nothing." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] After noting that the visit drew "criticism," he insisted that no laws were violated and added, "The trip was reportedly approved by the Treasury Department as a cultural visit." Elliott never mentioned the financial help Beyonce and Jay Z provided Obama, nor did he ask why the vacation was approved. In contrast, Hoda Kotb on NBC's Today deemed the trip "controversial." NBC reporter Natalie Morales offered far more skepticism: "New questions and outrage from lawmakers this morning following Beyonce and Jay-Z's trip to Cuba."
All three network newscasts on Monday and the morning shows on Tuesday promoted Barack Obama's "urgent plea" for gun control. These programs pushed the emotional angles, focusing on the Newtown families. Opposition to new restrictions on the Second Amendment was mostly ignored. On World News, guest host George Stephanopoulos hyped, "Tonight, urgent plea. The President goes all out in the fight over guns in America. Calling in the families of the children slain in Newtown." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Reporter Jon Karl parroted administration talking points: "The President portrayed his gun plan as a moral imperative." The ABC reporter then played two clips of Obama, including one where he lectured, "This is not about me. This is not about politics." (How can journalists allow a politician promoting legislation to get away with saying something "isn't about politics"?) Karl also highlighted Gabby Giffords's husband arguing for more restrictions, but no pro-Second Amendment voices. On the CBS Evening News, anchor Scott Pelley introduced three segments on gun control.
MSNBC continued the bashing of Margaret Thatcher on Monday. Richard Wolffe, a British journalist and editor of the network's website, smeared the late prime minister as "the antithesis of freedom" when it came to how she dealt with her domestic enemies. The liberal reporter sneered that the Conservative politician "hurt working families and working people." Now host Alex Wagner even went so far as to quote arch-socialist Ken Livingstone while attacking Thatcher.
Speaking of the woman who was instrumental in bringing about the end of the totalitarian threat of Soviet Communism, Wolffe, a former correspondent for Newsweek, excoriated, "She had an attitude to her domestic enemies that frankly was the antithesis of freedom." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The journalist summarized Thatcher as "someone who was a pioneer for women, who actually also hurt working families and working people and that includes teachers and women across the board."
ABC's Good Morning America on Monday broke into live coverage to report that the "controversial" "titan" Margaret Thatcher had died. The morning show's reporters highlighted both her conservative beliefs, for which she was "vilified," and compared her to Winston Churchill.
Guest co-host Elizabeth Vargas announced that the late Prime Minister's "belief in herself and her policies" led to her being "both adored and vilified even to this day in Great Britain. A very controversial, but very, very important figure, undoubtedly." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Later in the show, George Stephanopoulos returned to announce: "A titan has fallen."
Oops. Good Morning America on Friday preemptively announced "expected" job creation for the month of March totaling 190,000. In reality, 88,000 jobs were created. The ABC morning show was only off by 102,000 jobs. At 7:10am, about 75 minutes before the release of the actual numbers, reporter Linzie Janis insited, "The government's jobs report is out this morning. It's expected to show that 190,000 jobs were created last month." The accompanying graphic included the number and a tiny asterisk, presumably representing the tentative nature of the numbers. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
This is a monthly practice on the ABC morning show. The anchors will announce the hypothetical, possible results and then cover the real result later in the day on the network. Janis allowed that the new report might not be great. She added, "Why the slowdown? Well, those $85 billion in government spending cuts." Just a month ago, however, GMA's Bianna Golodryga lamented the fact that investors were shrugging off the sequester.
All three networks on Wednesday and Thursday parroted the exact same talking points from the White House, touting Barack Obama for expressing "solidarity" with struggling workers by taking a five percent pay cut. The President made the move, which amounts to a minuscule $1700 a month, in the wake of sequestration. On Good Morning America, Josh Elliott trumpeted, "[Obama] says he wants to show solidarity with government workers who face a furlough because of budget cuts." [See a video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
Over on NBC's Today, Natalie Morales touted, "In an attempt at solidarity with federal workers feeling the sequester spending cuts, President Obama is giving himself a five percent pay cut on his $400,000-a-year salary." Offering a remarkably similar thought, World News anchor Diane Sawyer rounded up the amount to a year's total: " That's $20,000, to show solidarity with government employees who will be furloughed." In an impressed tone, the host praised, "The White House says Obama will personally write a check to the Treasury."
An unhinged Chris Matthews exploited another tragedy on Wednesday, connecting the pro-Second Amendment views of Ted Cruz and other Republicans to the shootings of two prosecutors in Texas. The Hardball anchor began by dredging up failed Senate candidate Sharron Angle's three-year-old reference to "Second Amendment remedies." Matthews connected, "If that was frightening enough for you, how about what's happening in Colorado and Texas?...In Texas, two prosecutors were killed, a third has now pulled out of a case against the Aryan brotherhood of Texas for, quote, 'security reasons.'"
Matthews made his linkage totally clear: "We've got a Texas senator, Ted Cruz, who won't let the Senate hold a democratic vote on gun safety. So, no democracy. We've got people out there using guns to get even with public officials, intimidating those they don't kill." Skipping from Angle, to the murder of prosecutors, to Ted Cruz, he snarled, "This is where we are with guns in this country. Second Amendment remedies being executed on public officials. Refusal by some elected officials to let us have a democratic vote on what to do about it." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Longtime Hillary Clinton fan Claire Shipman isn't waiting for the 2016 push. The Good Morning America reporter on Wednesday launched "Hillary Watch" and regurgitated talking points about a potential presidential bid. She breathlessly related, "But with the launch of an independent super PAC, the question is everywhere. Is Hillary ready to run?"
Shipman also featured a Clinton supporter outside a rally. The man oddly enthused, " I think she'll run and she's got to save the country, right?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] She's got to save the country? From who? Fellow Democrat Barack Obama? The journalist added that it's "unrealistic" for the former Secretary of State to have a normal life. Shipman gushed, "Hillary Watch is officially under way. Just a few months into retirement, Hillary Clinton is back on stage." Despite the reporter's enthusiasm for the ex-First Lady, Shipman could not get her the nomination in 2008.