CBS's "Early Show" and ABC's "Good Morning America" on Friday almost entirely ignored the embarrassing departure of yet another of Barack Obama's cabinet nominees, with only NBC's "Today" providing any real information on the event. GMA devoted a scant 15 seconds to the withdrawal of Republican Senator Judd Gregg as the President's second nominee for Commerce Secretary. (Previous choice Bill Richards dropped out for tax reasons.) Instead, the networks included segments on aphrodisiacs for Valentine's Day and how to make a flourless chocolate cake.
"Early Show" doubled ABC, managing a still insignificant 30 second anchor brief. NBC's "Today" actually featured a full report and had the most coverage, three minutes and 21 seconds. Out of a combined eight hours of programming, the total for all three came to only four minutes and six seconds. None of the coverage made any mention of Senator Gregg's opposition to the Obama administration's goal of moving the 2010 census count from the Commerce Department to the White House. (The census issue was mostly ignored on Thursday's evening news programs as well.)
On Thursday's edition of "Anderson Cooper 360," the host of the self titled show fretted that the withdrawal of Republican Senator Judd Gregg as commerce secretary nominee might indicate the Republican Party has declared "a war, an insurgency" against Barack Obama. Speaking to CNN analyst David Gergen, Cooper expanded on the theory. [audio excerpt here]
Referencing an embarrassing gaffe by Republican Congressman Pete Sessions that the House minority could consider the Taliban as an example of an insurgent force, the anchor seriously wondered, "So, David, though, you don't buy the idea that there is a war by Republicans against the President?" He continued, "Because, I mean, Pete Sessions, you know, who's head of the Republican Congressional Committee, was citing the Taliban as sort of an example of how to run an insurgent campaign against a larger force." Gergen didn't seem to go for the concept, asserting that there are "some hot heads in each party."
A few minutes earlier, Cooper theorized about the possible GOP threat, speculating, "But, do developments today also speak to something deeper, a war, an insurgency by Republicans against the President, against Democrats in the House and against their agenda?"
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," co-host Robin Roberts and reporter Claire Shipman eagerly touted a theory, recently highlighted by a liberal New York Times columnist, that the problems on Wall Street could have been avoided if women were in charge. As video of bank executives who testified Wednesday in front of Congress appeared onscreen, Roberts mused, "As we saw, the nation's top bankers were grilled on Capitol Hill. Take a look...What do they all have in common? Well, for one thing, they're all men."
Making the point clear, Roberts wondered, "Which raises a question, would things have turned out differently if there had been women in the mix?" Shipman then lectured, "Greed and glory and then risk and disaster on Wall Street. Could testosterone be to blame?" The segment featured New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof (never identified as a liberal), who wrote a February 7 piece on the subject. Both Kristof and Shipman mentioned a British study which found that testosterone went up for male bank traders as they made more money.
"Nightline" co-anchor Terry Moran on Tuesday interviewed Barack Obama and pressed him from the left, wondering why he didn't simply fire the executives who the journalist blamed for "wreck[ing] these banks in the first place." The two were discussing the stimulus bill and the current economic problems on Wall Street. As the MRC's Brent Baker already noted in a previous blog, Moran also seriously wondered, "Why not just nationalize the banks?"
After the President suggested that such an idea was unworkable and didn't make sense, the host persisted. Moran challenged, "People are angry." Going further, the ABC journalist queried, "Why shouldn't you just fire the executives who wrecked these banks in the first place and tanked the world's financial system in the process?"
Journalist George Stephanopoulos appeared on Monday's "Nightline" to offer high grades for Barack Obama's first primetime press conference. He awarded the President an A for overall performance at the event and a B for Obama's bipartisan efforts. During the presidential campaign, Stephanopoulos was consistent in giving high marks to the then-Democratic candidate, announcing that Obama won all his debates against Republican John McCain and that Joe Biden bested Sarah Palin.
Speaking to "Nightline" anchor Terry Moran, the "This Week" host enthused, "Well, I think he got an A on this, Terry...He had the long answers, five-minute mini-essays or speeches all about the economy, able to explain from his perspective how bad the situation is, how we got into this mess and how his stimulus package will fix it." On the subject of reaching out to Republicans, Stephanopoulos asserted, "I think on that you give him a B." After allowing that the President hasn't been able to obtain GOP support for the stimulus bill, he spun, "He was able to make his points tonight, how, basically, that isn't his fault. That's what he was trying to say tonight. He has reached out, he hasn't had a response from the Republican side."
On Tuesday's "Good Morning America," financial correspondent Bianna Golodryga promoted the efforts of a radical housing group run by CEO Bruce Marks, a self proclaimed "bank terrorist." Of course, Golodryga skipped that description and glossed over the extreme actions of the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America [NACA]. Instead, she simply asserted that the organization tries "to help keep people in their homes."
Golodryga neglected important information, such as the fact that NACA has picketed outside the schools of children whose parents work for banks that are not acquiescing to the group's demands, which include insisting that mortgages be given to high risk individuals. In an April 2, 2008 column, Michelle Malkin quoted Marks as saying, "We will go to their neighborhood, we will educate their children on what their parents do. They should be ashamed." A December 2007 article by The Globe (featured on NACA's web site) unabashedly touted Marks as "a controversial character who once infamously called himself a 'bank terrorist.'"
Golodryga ignored this when she talked to the CEO. Instead, she highlighted non-confrontational quotes such as this one from Marks: "The thing that is so important is to say to the American people, don't give up. There's help on the way." The ABC financial correspondent did admit, "The group is also protesting the banks they feel are not helping struggling homeowners refinance their mortgages," while video of such a protest appeared onscreen. However, she grossly minimized the radical nature of NACA.
On Sunday's "Good Morning America," journalist George Stephanopoulos asserted that "some White House officials I've talked to concede" that Barack Obama has placed too much emphasis on gathering Republican support for the stimulus bill now before Congress. Now, considering that the Politico claimed on January 27 that Stephanopoulos has been participating in daily phone calls with White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, one wonders if Emanuel was the aforementioned "White House official." If so, was this a criticism by Emanuel of his boss?
In the original Politico article, John Harris wrote about daily strategy sessions between Stephanopoulos and the White House chief of staff, as well as Democratic pundits/strategists James Carville and Paul Begala. Harris explained, "And in any given news cycle, it is quite likely that Washington’s prevailing political and media interpretation — at least on the Democratic side — is being hatched on these calls."
On Monday's "MSNBC News Live," the cable network featured yet another critical segment on Rush Limbaugh and his role as a leader of the GOP. The segment, hosted by David Shuster, featured a confrontational graphic which screamed, "Who Elected Rush Limbaugh?" Shuster brought on syndicated talk show host Armstrong Williams to bash Limbaugh over the issue of how much power the radio star has within the GOP.
According to Williams, Limbaugh is "self-anointed." "Let's make sure we're clear on that," the commentator added. Continuing the attack, Williams repeated, "He has not been appointed to anything. He's self-appointed, self-anointed and self-selling." Deriding Limbaugh's import, the usually conservative Williams concluded, "He's an entertainer. He's a self-promoter. He wants to make himself out to be important. That's okay."
Williams has been a somewhat less prominent figure since an incident in 2005 in which it was revealed that he had been paid $240,000 to promote President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" act on his syndicated television show. According to a January 5, 2005 USA Today article, the host said he didn't recall mentioning the agreement on air.
On a day when Barack Obama was struggling to push through a stimulus bill in Congress, journalists on Friday's "Today" show decided to fawn over the branding of the new President, even referring to the Commander in Chief as the "messiah of Madison Avenue." NBC correspondent Jamie Gangel highlighted a batch of new Obama merchandise and enthused, "And the whole world is apparently going Obama."
Speaking of the various products and worldwide commercials featuring the first family, Gangel raved, "Everyone wants to be like Barack. He's being called the messiah of Madison Avenue." As video of the Obama children appeared onscreen, the reporter continued, "They're the 'It girls.' Together, welcome brand Obama." After discussing the new brand of Obama-flavored ice cream ("Yes Pecan") and Michelle Obama-inspired fashion, Gangel extolled, "America has embraced the Obama family and a new sense of chic."
On Friday's "Good Morning America," George Stephanopoulos turned a statement that Barack Obama made about corrupt Islamic dictatorships and made it into a metaphor on congressional Republican opposition to the President's stimulus bill. Speaking of the difficulty Obama has had with passing his multi-billion dollar spending bill, Stephanopoulos instructed, "And to borrow a metaphor from the President's inaugural address, he might have to replace his open hand with a clenched fist." [audio excerpt available here]
In comparison, during the President's inaugural address on January 20, Obama spoke to the Muslim world and asserted, "To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." GMA news anchor Chris Cuomo seemed to understand Stephanopoulos' linkage. He complained, "Who knew that the clenched fist would be about Congress? We thought he was talking about foreign people, foreign countries, then."
"Good Morning America's" Diane Sawyer on Wednesday interviewed a man who helped both his parents kill themselves. While talking to John West, the author of "The Last Goodnights," the GMA co-host mostly ignored the right to life angle of assisted suicide, instead focusing on West's actions in aiding, on seperate occasions, the deaths of his cancer-ridden father and Alzheimer's-suffering mother. Many of Sawyer's questions were mild, including vaguely asking, "So, what do you say to everyone out there about whether they, too, should feel that they have a right to do it and should do it?"
She also sympathetically cooed, "In your head, as you fall asleep at night, what do you hear your parents saying to you?" To be fair, Sawyer did wonder if West's mother was capable, mentally, of making the choice to die. But, she didn't follow up when, after saying yes, the author seemed to indicate that society's rules didn't apply to him "And some things are more important than following the rules that are meant for the greater crowd," he asserted.
Extreme environmentalist and "Good Morning America" weatherman Sam Champion on Thursday admiringly recounted the story of a Los Angeles resident, Dave Chameides, who has been living with his garbage for the last year. The liberal meteorologist also extoled the benefits of Chameides' unorthodox methods of disposing waste, including the worm composting program he has set up in the basement of his home. At the same time, Champion, who in 2007 highlighted a toilet paper-shunning environmentalist, attacked the "throwaway society of America. He complained, "We're the most wasteful [society] in the world." [audio excerpt here]
Chameides decided that for 365 days, no trash would be thrown away. In order to keep paper from piling up, he began worm composting. The Los Angeles man explained to Champion, who was taking a tour of his garbage-filled basement, "This is an in-home worm composting bin. All of my food scraps and paper and things like that go in here and the worms eat 'em up." Champion replied, "The worms are not for the squeamish," but enthused that they "do the trick."
Appearing on Wednesday's "Good Morning America," former top Democratic aide-turned journalist George Stephanopoulos assured viewers that Barack Obama can now move on from his multiple failed cabinet officials. Referring to individuals such the (now) former Health and Human Services nominee Tom Daschle, who resigned on Tuesday due to tax problems, Stephanopoulos asserted that "the good news is, even though the President was forced to apologize so many times yesterday, is that these nominees now are gone. They've chosen to withdraw. So, the President can move on."
He added, "This was running the possibility of really hurting his reformist image. He can move on from that." Of course, just three days ago, on Sunday's GMA, Stephanopoulos touted a different message. He allowed that Daschle's nomination might be slowed down, but also predicted, "I don't think it's going to imperil it, though." He also forecasted, "The key is going to be those Republicans and, of course, is this the last of the bad news for Senator Daschle? If he gets some Republican support, this is the last of the bad news, I believe he will be confirmed."
Back on November 24, 2008, Stephanopoulos enthused over the greatness of Obama's unfolding cabinet. Talking to GMA co-host Robin Roberts, he raved, "We have not seen this kind of combination of star power and brain power and political muscle this early in a cabinet in our lifetimes." (The MRC has been heavily covering the controversy, first revealed last week by Politico, that Stephanopoulos has been having daily phone conversations with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. See an MRC press release for more.)
On last Friday's "Today" show, Ann Curry interviewed two magazine editors on the subject of Michelle and Barack Obama and rhapsodized over the effect the power couple could have on America. Speaking to the creative director of Ebony magazine, she fawned, "The question I think, really, ultimately, is who are we going to be because of them? Who are we going to be as a nation?"
In a set-up piece to the segment, NBC reporter Norah O'Donnell described how the first lady, during ceremonies in the days after the inauguration, personally greeted Americans at the White House. She extolled, "In fact, Michelle Obama is slowly reinventing the traditional role of the President's wife, bringing her own version of change to the White House." O'Donnell also seemed impressed with the reports that Barack Obama no longer requires a tie and coat in the Oval Office. She touted, "And things just seemed more casual around the White House. The President without a jacket in the Oval Office. The first lady sporting J. Crew."
During MSNBC's live coverage on Tuesday of the sudden resignation of Health and Human Services nominee Tom Daschle, reporter Andrea Mitchell suggested to Republican Senator Jim DeMint that the American public will see this as the GOP having "brought him [Daschle] down." The Democratic nominee resigned over a growing controversy which revealed that the former Senate majority leader owed $140,000 in back taxes. (He has since paid them.) Mitchell sympathetically described talking to the ex-senator: "I just got off the phone with Tom Daschle. And it was an emotional conversation. He was clearly- it sounded as though he were tearful, overwrought." [audio excerpt here]
Later, while speaking to DeMint, Mitchell bristled at the South Carolina senator's contention that Democrats were also skeptical of Daschle's nomination. The journalist chided, "Well, Senator DeMint, you can say that the Democrats were uncomfortable as well, but they were all supporting him publicly." She then lectured, "So, this does read to the public as though the Republicans went after this man, someone that the President very much wanted, and brought him down."
"Good Morning America" host Diane Sawyer on Monday repeatedly pressed Senator John McCain to attack Rush Limbaugh's assertion that he hopes Barack Obama's liberal policies fail. After playing a selectively edited clip that implied racial overtones and left out all context of what the radio host meant, Sawyer challenged, "Are you offended by what he said?"
A few seconds earlier, editing together two separate clips of Limbaugh, the GMA host played a misleading sound bite of the conservative star: "[From January 16 on radio] I don't need 400 words. I need four. I hope he fails. [From Fox News January 21 interview.] We are being told that we have to hope he succeeds. Because his father was black. Because this is the first black president. We've got to accept this." (For more on this, see CNSNews.com)
Sawyer then challenged the former GOP presidential nominee. "So, he says he hopes the Obama presidency fails. What do you say to Rush Limbaugh," she wondered. McCain refused to take the bait and simply asserted that all Americans hope the President can get the economy moving. Not getting the answer Sawyer was looking for, the journalist followed up: "One more try here. But, do you hope the president succeeds?"The GMA host closed out the line of questioning by pressing McCain as to whether he was "offended" by Limbaugh. The Arizona senator also appeared on CBS's "The Early Show" and was asked no such question.
[See update below] Appearing on a panel for Wednesday's edition of "Hannity," "Good Morning America" news anchor Chris Cuomo once again fretted about a lack of support for Barack Obama's massive new spending bill. After mentioning an earlier interview he conducted with House Minority Leader John Boener, Cuomo complained, "He [Boehner] said that he was impressed by President Obama, that they thought there would be compromise, that they would get away from the politics as usual."
Following a discussion of the fact that not one House Republican voted for the "stimulus" bill, Cuomo lamented, "They said they were thinking about us. They said that was the analysis, because they don't know how to deal with this situation. So there's no reason to cling to the normal partisan lines. They did just that." In an earlier interview with Boehner on Wednesday's "Good Morning America," Cuomo asserted that the pressure was on politicians to "get past the age-old battle over tax cuts versus spending." And although Cuomo did at least admit that there has been wasteful spending in last year's bailout bill, he also introduced the GMA piece on a lack of congressional action with horror stories about the awful economy.
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," reporter Claire Shipman touted legislation about to be signed into law by President Obama that "promises to level the playing field when it comes to pay discrimination." She enthused that the bill, which would give women more time to file salary discrimination lawsuits, "not only evokes change, but also the impression of a female-friendly administration." (Co-host Diane Sawyer, at right, introduced the segment.)
The GMA correspondent also noted Michelle Obama's support for the legislation and spun her as "a first lady that will champion the issues of working women." At no time in the piece did Shipman feature anyone who disagreed with the concept of the pay gap or offer any downside to its passage. Author Warren Farrell explained how women often earn less because of job choice in his 2005 book "Why Men Earn More." A May 20, 2005 review in National Review observed:
According to "Nightline" co-anchor Cynthia McFadden, during the 2008 presidential campaign "many in the media" saw Barack Obama as a "bright hope in the distance." The ABC journalist made that admission during a "Morning Media Menu" podcast interview with TV Newser editor Steve Krakauer on Tuesday. In a justifying tone, she quickly added, "It's also clear that a lot of Americans thought that." McFadden didn't explain if she felt it was the role of journalists to simply reflect public will. [click play button in embed at right for audio excerpt]
The discussion on Obama media bias was prompted by Krakauer's mention of the new Bernie Goldberg book on the same subject, "A Slobbering Love Affair." Defending fellow co-anchor Terry Moran, McFadden asserted, "Anyone who knows Terry and his work would say there's nothing slobbering about him. I mean, he's as tough as they come. I think he brought a very jaundiced eye to the campaign." In actuality, with a few notable exceptions, Moran frequently slobbered over Barack Obama.
On November 6, 2006, he famously gushed that Obama was "an American political phenomenon" and, perhaps hopefully, he wondered, "Is Barack Obama the man, the black man, who could lead the Democrats back to the White House and maybe even unite the country?"
Proving that four years can make quite a difference, ABC's “Good Morning America” featured an excited, hyperbolic open for the show's special edition on the inauguration of Barack Obama. As the program began last Tuesday, an ABC announcer trumpeted, “This morning, a new dawn: Barack Obama sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. A new face from a new generation. Driven by an audacity to hope.” [Audio available here.]
So, how did ABC begin “Good Morning America” on January 20, 2005, the day George W. Bush was sworn in for a second term? A voice simply announced, “This is a special edition of 'Good Morning America.' The second inauguration of George W. Bush.” That's it. In contrast, the Obama open heaped generous praise on the new Democratic president. “The nation's capital, filled to capacity. A journey of millions, fueled by hope and the shared dreams of a renewed America,” the unidentified person exclaimed.
On Monday's "Good Morning America," the ABC morning show featured four segments on scandal-ridden Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich. And over the course of 17 minutes and 38 seconds, not one host or reporter mentioned his party affiliation. Co-host Diane Sawyer interviewed Blagojevich for two segments and simply referred to him as the governor or Governor Blagojevich.
The Illinois politician, who is accused of attempting to sell the former Senate seat of now-President Barack Obama, was identified in an onscreen graphic only. It read "(D) Illinois." (A more effusive graphic, which appeared during the show's opening tease, screamed, "Illinois Governor, Live!") But neither Sawyer, nor reporter Chris Bury (who filed two additional segments on the topic), actually used the word Democrat. In fact, the only time it came up was during the second interview when Blagojevich himself referred to "my fellow Democrats."
In mid-December, the Washington Post decided it would feature a special classifieds section on Inauguration Day in which readers could, for a fee, offer a special message to the new president. Buried within the announcement was this requirement: "All ads must be congratulatory in nature. The Washington Post reserves the right to reject any notice." However, bizarre and oddly stilted messages apparently made it through the screening process just fine.
In one ad, Callie (no last name) wrote, "Dear Malia and Sasha,-I need a babysitter....??" [Emphasis added] One Douglas F. Ryder oddly instructed, "I want to help allow people to create their own economy. I see results and would like to help others. My way of helping improve the economy. [sic]" Alex Barriger asked President Obama to keep an eye out for him on the big day: "I will be in the crowd in front of the Capitol today to witness this historic moment."
This person, who identified himself as a volunteer, continued: "You should have my resume on file...I figured this was the best way to get in touch with you." Considering the rather unusual poem that was recited by Elizabeth Alexander during the Inauguration, maybe President Obama should have gone with the one submitted by Ellen M. Overby.
On Friday's "Good Morning America," reporter John Berman spun Representative Kristen Gillibrand, the soon-to-be announced senator from New York, as a "conservative Democrat." Although she is only beginning her second term in the House, Gillibrand has been endorsed by the aggressively pro-abortion group NARAL. According to the New York Observer, she supports gay marriage.
Additionally, the American Conservative Union ranked her voting record as a meager eight. During the segment, Berman explained that the issue of gun rights prompted the label: "Now, the Gillibrand pick is not without controversy itself. She is a conservative Democrat, favoring gun rights. And the pick has upset some more liberal Democrats." Gillibrand also opposed the TARP bailout legislation.
"Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough on Thursday aggressively clashed with his liberal co-anchor Mika Brzezinski and Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart about Guantanamo Bay and the definitions of torture. After Capehart asserted, "I do think there's a way to protect America without violating everything that we stand for and everything that we are," a clearly agitated Scarborough shot back, "That is bull!"
The MSNBC host continued, "What you are doing and, Mika, what you are doing and the rabid left, not you all, but the rabid left has done for the past seven years, is just say, 'We are going to apply new standards to the Geneva Convention.'" An undeterred Capehart retorted, "How about following the Geneva Convention?" This prompted Scarborough to lecture, "Oh, guess what, Jonathan? We are! Al Qaeda terrorists that don't wear uniforms. How about reading the Geneva Convention! Because, terrorists that try and blow up civilians are not protected under the Geneva Convention."
"Good Morning America" on Wednesday featured video messages from young children to Barack Obama. GMA news anchor Chris Cuomo asserted that the kids, ranging in age from seven to 17, had "strong opinion[s]." Yet, every single one of these youths spouted the type of liberal propaganda usually reserved for people like Keith Olbermann and not one conservative voice was featured. One young boy sputtered, "Stop the wars. And- because more people die. And it's just- they don't want to die. They just die. But they don't want to die."
Another child, who couldn't have been older than seven, bizarrely informed, "All this time, I've been alive, I've been having white presidents. And I think now, it's- this is my chance to have a black president." One boy incorrectly wondered, "And how come people who earn millions of dollars pay less taxes than us middle-class people?" A regulation-minded girl pleaded, "I want you to make people stop littering because our Earth is dying." Of course, this pleased liberal weatherman Sam Champion, who sat next to Cuomo. After the segment, he approved, "You heard global warming and trees and recycling. That's great. That's great."
"This Week" host George Stephanopoulos appeared on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" to claim that the stock market's 330 point drop on Inauguration Day indicated the need for a swift confirmation of Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary. Stephanopoulos, a former top Democratic aide, asserted, "The reason they want to get Geithner confirmed and in place so quickly, they want to have a complete overhaul of this financial rescue package within days."
According to Stephanopoulos, Geithner, who faces questions for not paying $34,000 in taxes since 2001, has "run into a little bit of trouble" on the topic. GMA co-host Diane Sawyer prompted the ABC anchor to tout more Democratic spin when she asked, "But every president wants his first day to have a sentence, a headline. What is the sentence beneath the meetings [Obama is having on Wednesday]?" Stephanopoulos helpfully retorted, "Help is on the way, I think is the sentence."
On Monday's inaugural edition of the "NBC Nightly News," well known Obama fan Lee Cowan made no effort to restrain his fawning over the new president, likening the experience of watching the Democrat's speech to being in a "political cathedral." After featuring clips of people viewing the address all over the country, Cowan cooed, "In the end, though, it really didn't matter where you were as long as you weren't alone." (audio excerpt available here)
He added, "Just ordinary street corners like this one here in Chicago fell silent, almost becoming a political cathedral of sorts." Cowan, the man who once announced that covering Barack Obama made his "knees quake," closed the segment by rhapsodizing, "And almost everyone was making that mental scrapbook, noting the time and place where they were on this day and, perhaps, shared a collective tear." It was, he said, "An event meant to be remembered and one meant to be shared."
"Nightline" anchor Terry Moran, who has been gushing over Barack Obama from the very start, filed an enthusiastic report on Monday's show and asserted that "confidence is what President-elect Obama is all about." Over video of the train ride that took the Democrat to Washington, the veteran ABC correspondent cooed, "It has been a grand journey all the way to the great moment tomorrow."
During the segment, which recounted how Obama was preparing to assume the presidency, Moran only talked to advisors and fans of the (then) President-elect. After one supporter, who accompanied Obama on his train ride, declared that they were all one big family, the "Nightline" anchor dutifully recited, "That's the spirit his advisers say he wants to summon in the nation when he speaks for the first time as president tomorrow."
"Good Morning America" kicked off its inauguration coverage on Tuesday with an anonymous announcer enthusiastically repeating the talking points of Barack Obama. During a 7am tease, this voice trumpeted, "Barack Obama sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. A new face from a new generation. Driven by an audacity to hope." (audio clip here)
The male announcer continued his introduction of the ABC show: "The nation's capital, filled to capacity. A journey of millions, fueled by hope and the shared dreams of a renewed America...And a call to overcome challenges not seen in generations." While discussing the throng of visitors descending on Washington D.C. a few minutes later, GMA host Diane Sawyer announced, "We saw a silent pilgrimage proceeding through this city."
Updated: 2009-01-20 18:30:39
As a comparison, how did "Good Morning America" begin its coverage of President Bush's second inaugural on January 20, 2005? For that show, an announcer narrated: "This is a special edition of 'Good Morning America.' The second inauguration of George W. Bush. Live from the Library of Congress, in Washington D.C., Charles Gibson, Diane Sawyer and Peter Jennings." There was no flowery introduction, no repeating of campaign talking points, just a simple opening accompanied by pictures and videos of past inaugurations.
On Monday's "Good Morning America," co-host Robin Roberts chose to tout only Democratic politicians in a piece honoring the civil rights movement and those "warriors" who made Barack Obama's election as president possible. Not a single Republican was mentioned or featured in the segment. Roberts began by announcing, "And on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we thought it would be appropriate to look back at all the warriors, black and white, who made this moment where we are today possible."
All the warriors? The piece went on to feature clips from eight Democratic politicians: Harry Truman, Hubert Humphrey, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Robert Kennedy, Barbara Jordan and Barack Obama, in addition to a number of non-political civil rights pioneers. Republican Abraham Lincoln went unmentioned, so did New York Governor Thomas Dewey who signed one of the nation's earliest civil rights laws in 1944 and President Ronald Reagan who made Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a federal holiday in 1983.
The piece also ignored the inconvenient fact that a higher percentage of Congressional Republicans voted for the historic 1964 Civil Rights Act than did Democrats. Another point left unmentioned was the heroic effort by the conservative GOP minority leader in the Senate, Everett Dirksen, in supporting that legislation: