It's not often that media outlets ignore their own scoops, but that's what ABC is doing. The network has (thus far) relegated to its website the latest details on the decision by the Obama Defense Department to deny Purple Hearts to the victims of the Fort Hood massacre. The rest of the networks have also skipped this story. ABC "obtained" a Pentagon position paper on the subject, but still failed to give it network coverage.
It was ABC alone that highlighted the story back in February. On February 12, Brian Ross explained the impact of the decision to deny Purple Hearts: "...Former Staff Sgt. Shawn Manning, who still has bullets lodged in his body, says he has lost almost $70,000 in benefits otherwise available to those with combat-related injuries." So far, World News, Nightline and Good Morning America (as well as NBC and CBS) have failed to cover the newest details of the story. In fact, ABC has done nothing since February.
George Stephanopoulos was so enthusiastic towards Robert Redford and his sympathetic new film about an ex-1960s radical that the actor enthused, "You ought to get on the marketing team!" The aging actor/director appeared on Tuesday's Good Morning America and endorsed the violent actions of protest groups. Reminiscing on his own past, the liberal Hollywood star recounted, "When I was younger, I was very much aware of the movement. I was more than sympathetic, I was probably empathetic because I believed it was time for a change."
After Stephanopoulos wondered, "Even when you read about bombings," Redford responded, "All of it. I knew that it was extreme and I guess movements have to be extreme to some degree." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Remarkably, after this well known actor endorsed violence and terrorism as a political tool, Stephanopoulos did not question the remark. Instead, he tossed a softball: "Do you come out of the experience with the same kinds of empathy that you had going in?"
Does Chris Matthews have a new Democrat to give him a "thrill" up his leg? On Monday, the Hardball anchor praised Hillary Clinton's stature leading up to a hypothetical 2016 run as the most impressive since General Eisenhower in 1952. Dwight Eisenhower was the Supreme Allied Commander in World War II, oversaw D-Day and defeated the world-wide threat of the Nazis. Clinton, on the other hand, has been a politician and the Secretary of State during the disaster in Benghazi.
The 67-year-old Matthews reminisced about seeing a newsreel of Eisenhower at a movie theater. His dad informed him that Ike would be president at some point. The MSNBC host compared, "Well, nobody outside of incumbent presidents, and not even some of them, has in all the years since enjoyed such a commanding position going into a presidential cycle as Hillary Clinton." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC political analyst Matt Dowd on Sunday continued his evolution to the left, complaining about how disconnected the Supreme Court is from public opinion on gay marriage. Dowd, who worked for the Bush administration, appeared on This Week and chided, "To me, it's actually surprising that the Supreme Court is that actually far out of tune where the country is."
He pushed, "So, the country is way ahead on this. So, that's what I don't understand why the Supreme Court seems reluctant to weigh in an issue where the country is already moved on." Dowd, who is often billed as a down-the-line analyst for ABC, mocked the concept of traditional marriage in the past: "...If you want to go to traditional marriage, it wasn't monogamous, races couldn't marry. Women were property and they couldn't give consent."
The reporters and hosts of Good Morning America really want you to know something: Don Young is a Republican. The ABC morning show on Saturday featured 11 mentions of the Congressman's party affiliation in a span of just two minutes. Young referred to "wetbacks" in an interview last week. An ABC graphic blared, "Congressman uses racist term."
Co-host Bianna Golodryga insisted that "this comment has created quite the headache for Republicans." Reporter Jeff Zeleny lectured, "The Republican Party's effort to rebuild and rebrand its image is colliding this morning with the party's old guard." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] To make sure everyone was clear on what party Young belonged to, the journalist added, "Republican advisers tell ABC News that they worry that the racial slur from Congressman Young comes at precisely the wrong time, just as the Republicans are trying to expand their appeal to Latino voters." In contrast, when Joe Biden smeared Indian Americans as mostly working at 7-11, ABC ignored the story.
In 2006, Joe Biden, then a powerful U.S. senator and future vice president, smeared Indian Americans as mostly working at the convenience store 7-11. At the time, NBC (and the other networks) completely ignored the story. This week, when obscure Republican Congressman Don Young referred to Hispanic migrant workers as "wetbacks," NBC's Today show devoted a full segment to the story.
Reporter Kelly O'Donnell on Friday explained how the Alaska Representative gave an interview to a local radio station and "used an offensive slur to describe" some Latinos. She then took this as an excuse to highlight the GOP as out of touch: "Young's comments come at a time when the Republican Party is struggling to connect with minorities after failing to do that in the 2012 presidential election where 71 percent of Latinos voted for President Obama." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
[UPDATED: See below.] Chris Matthews on Thursday took a break from comparing conservatives to Nazis and instead compared them to movie Nazis. The Hardball anchor opened the program by referencing the classic movie Casablanca. In this example, Barack Obama is the good guy and the Second Amendment supporters are the Nazis.
Matthews spewed, "You know that scene in Casablanca when the French police captain shoots the Nazi, Major Strasser, and Humphrey Bogart does the right thing by Ingrid Bergman, and the anti-Nazi hero Victor Laszlo says 'Welcome back to the fight, Rick'?" In case anyone was unclear on the comparison, the liberal journalist added, "Well, I felt that way today watching President Obama get back to the front in the historic battle for gun safety." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Wednesday and Thursday, the journalists at ABC continued to treat the gay marriage issue as though there was only one acceptable side. Diane Sawyer and Terry Moran framed the case before the Supreme Court as simply "one American seeking justice" and gave almost no time to the opposition. On the March 27 World News, Sawyer used loaded language as she hyped, "Edith Windsor received a hero's welcome when she emerged from the Supreme Court, saying it's time to take a stand for marriage equality."
Windsor is an 83-year-old lesbian who is petitioning the high court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Journalist Moran seemed to dismiss principled opposition to gay marriage as he insisted, "Sometimes, the big cases come to the Supreme Court out of conflicts between the states or battles between the branches of government and sometimes one American walks up these steps seeking justice." He added, "That's what's happening today." Sawyer could barely contain herself as she enthused, "Tonight, the fighter...Her case challenges the justices and rallies the crowd on marriage in America." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Nazis are fast becoming the favorite slur of the hosts on MSNBC. Chris Matthews last Friday compared the "aggressive" push for war in Iraq to what lead to the prosecution of war criminals at the Nuremberg trials. Matthews appeared with Chris Hayes, Alex Wagner and other MSNBC regulars to discuss a new cable documentary on the tenth anniversary of the Iraq war.
After reading a congratulatory reading of a column he wrote prior to the war, Matthews lashed out: "I was really embarrassed by my country, how a President of such limited ability, limited rhetorical ability, mental ability, historic ability, could talk us into a war." Making one of his favorite comparisons, the Hardball anchor sneered, "You know, the Nuremberg trials were primarily, before the Holocaust and all those other issues, was against people who launched an aggressive war. And this was an aggressive war." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] So, in this example, George W. Bush is one of the Nazis?
ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday again offered the most biased coverage on the gay marriage case before the Supreme Court. All three network morning shows skipped specific mention of the multiple thousands who marched for traditional marriage on Tuesday. ABC, however, used loaded terms such as "marriage equality" rather than gay marriage. Reporter Terry Moran gushed over the liberal position: "This is a social movement, a 21st century social movement that arrived with astonishing speed at this court, driven by activists, by Hollywood in part and by young people, especially on social media." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In contrast, he portrayed a skeptical Supreme Court as old and out of touch: "The wave of increasing support for gay marriage in America, especially among the young, is crashing on the Supreme Court and the justices, average age 67, seem downright perplexed." Moran highlighted the case of Edie Windsor, an 83-year-old lesbian whose case is before the Supreme Court. He sympathetically related, "when Thea died in 2009, Edie got hit with almost $400,000 in federal estate taxes, a penalty she would not have had to pay if she were married to a man."
Good Morning America's historical coverage is mostly non-existent. Yet, there's one thing the ABC program finds time for every year: Kennedy worship. On Tuesday's GMA, the same program that ignored Harry Reid linking Marine deaths to sequester cuts featured the latest on Kennedy family poetry.
Reporter David Muir gushed, "The indelible images of Caroline Kennedy's childhood: The little girl in the White House hiding under her father's desk, sitting beside her mother in bed. And if you look closely, there is often something else, books." The purpose of the segment was to promote Poems to Learn By Heart, a compilation collected by JFK's daughter. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The reporters of ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday offered a one-sided take on the Supreme Court's "historic hearing on marriage equality." The morning show featured four voices in support of the high court affirming gay marriage and just one against. Correspondent Terry Moran framed the issue in emotional terms: "Outside the Supreme Court overnight a candlelight vigil for proponents of same-sex marriage. It's a debate that touches countless American families." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Moran included a snippet of plaintiff Paul Katami: "Anyone who has ever fallen in love out there knows you don't choose who you fall in love with. You just fall in love." He highlighted a crowd chanting, "No more hate! No more hate!" Same sex marriage supporter Kris Perry insisted, "We're expected to contribute and pay taxes, parent, live up to all the other expectations of everybody else but we're missing this one key fundamental right which is just to be married."
Good Morning America on Monday hyped Michael Bloomberg using his "personal fortune" to promote gun control with new ads. Reporter Jim Avila used three clips of either Bloomberg or the commercials he's now running in 13 states. Just one pro-Second Amendment voice was featured in the segment. In contrast, when the Koch brothers supported the Tea Party with commercials, GMA's journalists warned of the "billionaire boosters."
On Monday, Avila approvingly explained, "Mayor Michael Bloomberg has something many other big city mayors don't, a personal fortune he is willing to spend." Avila then played a clip of Bloomberg's new commercial featuring a man sitting on a pickup truck, holding a shotgun. He insisted, "I believe in the Second Amendment and I'll fight to protect it. But with rights come responsibilities. That's why I support comprehensive background checks."
Over the winter, the three networks eagerly compared Barack Obama's push for more gun control to "defeating the Nazis," hyping his "dramatic," "emotional" effort. Yet, when the President suffered a serious setback, Tuesday, ABC, CBS and NBC failed to portray it as a defeat for the Commander in Chief. Harry Reid announced on March 19 that Senate Democrats were dropping an effort to ban so-called assault weapons.
Tuesday's World News and Nightline and Wednesday's Good Morning America totally skipped the development. Yet, in the minutes following the State of the Union, George Stephanopoulos praised the President's "dramatic and emotional" plea for an assault weapons ban. On January 16, CBS's Bob Schieffer compared, "Surely, finding Osama bin Laden; surely, passing civil rights legislation...defeating the Nazis, was a much more formidable task than taking on the gun lobby." However, on Tuesday's Evening News, in the wake of the defeat in the Senate, the long-time journalist offered no similar hyperbolic lament.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday linked the accidental deaths of seven U.S. Marines to sequester spending cuts. All three networks have, thus far, skipped the story. After highlighting the details of the botched training event in Hawthorne, Nevada, the Democrat manipulated the tragedy: "But one of the things in sequester is we cut back in training and maintenance."
He added, "This sequester should go away...These men and women, our Marines were training there in Hawthorne. And with this sequester, it's going to cut back this stuff." These comments came on the floor of the U.S. Senate, yet ABC's World News and Good Morning America, NBC's Nightly News and Today, the CBS Evening News and the CBS This Morning all ignored Reid's remarks (though they discussed the accident itself). ABCNews.com covered the story, but acquitted Reid of bad motives: "Harry Reid Commemorates Dead Marines, Calls for End to Sequester."
Just how superficial is ABC? On Monday and Tuesday, the network allowed a mere 20 seconds to "outrage" over a plan by the European Union that would have seized ten percent of the money Cyprus residents had in their bank accounts. ABC's World News skipped the story entirely, as did Monday's Nightline. Good Morning America on Tuesday offered 20 seconds. In contrast, the program devoted over five minutes to important topics, such as the newest season of Dancing With the Stars.
NBC and CBS both showcased more coverage. On Monday, Nightly News's Brian Williams featured the story in a full report. Describing the potential default of Cyprus as a "banking crisis," he explained, "European leaders decided to take a chunk of that bailout money directly out of the bank accounts of everyone in the country." Displaying interest not seen on ABC, Williams added, "It was a shocking move heard around the globe today and the fear on the Mediterranean island rippled through world financial markets today."
The media backlash against Pope Francis may be beginning. After relatively positive coverage last week, ABC and NBC on Monday both highlighted the Argentinean President denouncing his "medieval" views on social issues. World News's Ron Claiborne offered no ideological label for the country's left-wing leader, praising, "Cristina Kirchner stands for a new view of a changing world-- embracing gay marriage, sex education in schools, free contraceptives in hospitals." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
He added, "But when [the now-pope] was a cardinal in Argentina, Kirchner described his social views as medieval." Yet, while Claiborne didn't call Kirchner a liberal, he made sure to point out that although Francis is "enormously popular," "what the world is just beginning to learn is how conservative he is on social issues."
Chris Matthews on Monday offensively connected Senator Ted Cruz with the actions of disturbed conspiracy theorists who believe the Sandy Hook massacre was a government plot. Talking to Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy, the Hardball host lectured, "While the world has viewed last December's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary school as an unspeakable tragedy, some gun rights dead-enders have seen it more as an inconvenient truth."
Matthews began by asking Malloy, "What is it that springs it out of our country's culture that people won't even accept reality in fights like this?" Later in the segment, he played a clip of the "far-right" Cruz battling with Dianne Feinstein last week over gun rights. Matthews snarled, "Well, there you have it. This is the face of the new Republican right." What does the Republican senator from Texas have to do with "Sandy Hook Truthers?" Absolutely nothing. But Matthews wanted to smear Cruz with the association. Ironically, it was the cable anchor who, on February 14, mocked Cruz as the new "Joe McCarthy."
Good Morning America's Reena Ninan on Saturday let Barack Obama off easy. The ABC reporter allowed the President to escape blame for the sad story of a group of Iowa sixth graders who had their White House tour cancelled. Ninan blandly explained, "The tour canceled the result of automatic spending cuts brought on by the sequester."
Parroting Obama, she reminded, " In an interview with ABC News, the President said, don't blame him." Ninan then played a clip of the President swearing, "This was not a decision that went up to the White House." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] That comment is inaccurate and Obama was contradicted by his own White House Press Secretary on Wednesday. Good Morning America has yet to cover the discrepancy.
MSNBC "pushed out" Ed Schultz in order to "make way for new talent," according to Politico on Thursday. This would contradict Schultz, who insisted the decision was voluntary and a great step forward for his "brand." What is that brand, exactly? Sneering at "bastard," "slut," "dirthole" conservatives who want to see Barack Obama murdered. [See below for a video montage. Audio here.]
Schultz's show is being moved to weekends, home of MSNBC's prison specials and To Catch a Predator marathons. Schultz insisted this change will allow him to "produce and focus stories I care about and I know are terribly important to American families." Presumably, examples of this include when he asked his radio audience about Hadassah Lieberman: "Does the word 'whore' apply?" On May 24, 2011, he sneered at Laura Ingraham: "Like this right-wing slut, what’s her name, Laura Ingraham? Yeah, she’s a talk slut."
In an "exclusive" interview with ABC, Barack Obama on Tuesday dodged responsibility for the ending of White House tours, stating, "I have to say this was not a decision that went up to the White House." The President placed the responsibility on the Secret Service. Later in the day, press secretary Jay Carney contradicted Obama and admitted that the White House cancelled the tours. ABC's World News on Wednesday and Good Morning America on Thursday didn't bother to cover updates on Obama's denial.
Appearing on the Washington D.C. radio show Mornings on the Mall, former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino called this flat wrong: "Not only did [the decision] make it to the White House, it started in the White House. The conversation was initiated in the White House." He added, "The calculus to shut down the tours was never initiated at all by the Secret Service."
During live coverage, Wednesday, of the announcement that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio had been chosen the new pope, two of ABC's journalists insisted that the Argentinian would help "revive" the Catholic Church's interest in helping the poor. Nightline co-anchor Terry Moran didn't explain when such a desire went away.
Moran lectured, "...If he's a pope who makes a commitment to be close to the poor of Latin America and the poor of Africa, that can turn a corner for the church in someways, revive that mission, the original mission of Christ and the early Christians." (Could it be that Moran simply isn't aware of the work Catholics already do for the poor?) Later, Josh Elliott offered the same assessment of Pope Francis: "I know Terry and I have discussed the importance of whomever it is elected, reconnecting and taking the church back, to not just the grassroots, but connecting with the poor." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Despite billing his interview with Barack Obama as "no holds barred," Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday skipped several tough questions and only gently quizzed the President on others. On the issue of the closing of White House tours due to sequester cuts, the former Democratic operative delicately wondered, "Was canceling them really necessary?...So, no reconsideration?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Other than this brief query, Stephanopoulos showed no interest in whether the administration hyped the sequester cuts to an over-the-top level. (Perhaps, this could be because ABC did the same thing. GMA's Josh Elliott on March 1 pronounced that "armageddon" had arrived, leading to the "vaporizing" of jobs and criminals walking free.) Instead, Stephanopoulos ridiculously requested Obama to weigh in on the dangers of an American pope: "...There seems to be some concern among Catholics there shouldn't be an American pope because that pope would be too tied to the U.S. government. What do think of that?"
George Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic operative turned journalist, has scored an "exclusive" interview with Barack Obama. According to TV Newser, the taped conversation will appear on Tuesday's World News, Wednesday's Good Morning America and Nightline. If it's anything like Stephanopoulos's past interviews, it will contain a number of softball questions. [See a video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
On September 09, 2010, Stephanopoulos worried about how the job was impacting the President's family life: "You know, when you're going through these hard times, how much of it bleeds through to them? And how do you protect them from it?" He also highlighted a pastor in Florida who threatened to burn copies of the Koran. The anchor sympathized, "You're President of the United States. You have to deal with the fallout. And here's a pastor who's got 30 followers in his church. Does it make you feel helpless or angry?" In total, Stephanopoulos devoted 16 minutes to Obama.
On Sunday's Reliable Sources, the CNN panelists laughed at how "easily the press corps is manipulated" by White House spin over "reaching out" to congressional Republicans. On Tuesday's Good Morning America, the show's journalists fit this description perfectly. GMA co-host George Stephanopoulos enthused, "But we're going to turn to Washington where President Obama takes his charm offensive to Capitol Hill. Today, his latest personal diplomacy to get Republicans and Democrats to strike a deal on the budget." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
An ABC graphic promoted, "Obama's 'Charm' Showdown." Later in the show, fill-in news reader John Muller parroted, "We begin with President Obama's so-called charm offensive, the first of three trips this week to Capitol Hill."
Liberal news outlets will sometimes complain about conservative fear-mongering, but ABC sure understands the practice. On Friday night, the announcer for 20/20 teased, "Is there a sinkhole underneath your house?" Referring to a few incidents (and one tragic case in Florida), the program teased, "It's sinkhole season."
In a hyperbolic tone that sounded like parody, the 20/20 announcer hyperventilated, "Everything you need to know to make sure you don't get sunk. When houses that sell turn into houses from hell." It's probably worth remembering that this is the same network that hyped tiny sequester cuts as leading to the "vaporizing" of jobs and a "meat shortage." The subjects are different, but it's the same scary language.
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."
ABC's Good Morning America on Friday ignored new details of Barack Obama's pay-for-access scheme, the only morning show to skip the story. The President's campaign group, now renamed Organizing for Action (OFA), has promised quarterly meetings with the President for donations of $500,000. NBC's Today and CBS This Morning both covered the growing controversy. GMA, which did find time to focus on the latest Justin Bieber gossip, avoided it.
Today's Chuck Todd offered surprisingly hard-hitting criticism of Obama, lecturing, "When it comes to Barack Obama's views on money and politics, his actions have rarely matched his words...When it comes to big money in politics, President Obama has often talked the talk...But critics say he's rarely walked the walk." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Thursday worried that a future "right-wing" politician "like Dick Cheney" might one day use drone strikes against his political enemies. The Hardball host was discussing Senator Rand Paul's filibuster on Wednesday and the subject that prompted it: Whether the U.S. has the right to use drones on Americans in a non-war situation.
Matthews wondered if "there is a possibility somewhere out there on the edge that a tough-- not going to say he did it-- but somebody pretty far on the far right like Dick Cheney...will push this thing too far?" The host fumed, "Do you think it's possible that a Jane Fonda could be targeted even by the most right-wing American politician we can imagine?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
World News's Jonathan Karl on Wednesday turned a uniquely skeptical eye on Barack Obama's decision to end White House tours in the wake of sequester. Highlighting the President's claim that the decision was a financial necessity, he chided, "The President is having dinner tonight with Republicans at a restaurant just six blocks from here. He took a 20-car motorcade and, of course, lots of Secret Service agents." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Talking to anchor Diane Sawyer, Karl joked, "Maybe next time, Diane, [Obama] can save a little money by just ordering in." Karl questioned the White House's claim that $84 million in cuts, out of a $1.6 billion budget for the Secret Service, caused the end of the tours. The journalist did the math: "Tours are open 20 hours a week and use 30 uniformed Secret Service officers at about $30 an hour. Total saved? Approximately $18,000 a week."