ABC medical expert Dr. Tim Johnson, a fervent fan of universal health care, actually talked to the other side on Wednesday, featuring Newt Gingrich for what an onscreen graphic labeled a "debate" on the merits of a government-run program. It might seem odd for the network to tag a segment of a conservative talking to one of its journalists as a debate, but Johnson is certainly a partisan on this issue.
On June 24, he participated in ABC's White House-based, primetime town hall forum on the subject. Responding to criticism of the event from the Republican National Committee, ABC News President David Westin defended Johnson. Writing in a June 23 press release, he complained, "...I entirely reject your attack on my colleague, Dr. Timothy Johnson...His knowledge about health care reform is surpassed only by his commitment to the truth and to fairness."
However, although Johnson was civil and allowed Gingrich to make his points, a "debate" would be a good description for Wednesday's segment. Parroting White House talking points, he challenged, "Now, the President says, what he wants is a system or a field where there's level playing opportunities. The same rules and regulations would apply to the public option, as to the private insurance companies."
MSNBC's Carlos Watson on Monday provided a friendly forum for New York Times opinion writer Charles Blow to link red states and social conservatism with the hypocrisy of sex scandal-ridden politicians like South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. In his June 26 column, Blow attacked right-leaning voters, "And this kind of hypocrisy isn’t confined to the politicians. It permeates the electorate."
Talking with Blow on MSNBC Live, Watson cited a questionable study finding the highest rates of online pornography correlate with Republican states. The cable host highlighted this connection and Census data finding that eight of the ten states with the highest divorce voted GOP in 2008. He asked the columnist to explain how one could be pro-family values in light of "seeing these other statistics." Blow attacked, "Well, I mean, I think you have to put Republicans to the side for a minute. It is social conservatism. And that is highly correlated to religiosity. The more religious people are, the more socially conservative they are, particularly on these sexual issues."
The three network morning shows on Thursday devoted a staggering 18 segments to the revelation that South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford was having an affair with a woman from Argentina, adding up to over 54 minutes of coverage. NBC's Today show spent the most time on the subject, highlighting the infidelity with six segments and 25 minutes of air time.
Co-host Matt Lauer even talked to disgraced former Governor Jim McGreevey to get his thoughts on the matter. (However, while NBC made sure to label Sanford a Republican, the Today anchors failed to do so for the Democratic ex-New Jersey governor who resigned under a cloud of scandal.)
ABC's Good Morning America touted the sex scandal for 17 minutes and 26 seconds, featuring seven stories on Sanford. (It should also be pointed out that GMA came within seven minutes of Today's total, despite the fact that the NBC program is four hours, double the time of ABC's show.) During one such segment, Sam Donaldson insisted that it's hard to forgive Republicans who get involved in sex scandals: "They thump the Bible. They condemn everyone else, and when they- human- they don’t have much credit in the bank for forgiveness."
ABC's Sam Donaldson appeared on Thursday's Good Morning America to talk about the developing Mark Sanford scandal and loudly assert that it's hard to forgive Bible-thumping Republicans for their sexual transgressions. He began by deriding, "The problem Republicans have, so many of them are sanctimonious." [audio available here]
The longtime contributor continued his attack on members of the GOP who get caught up in sex scandals: "They thump the Bible. They condemn everyone else, and when they- human- they don’t have much credit in the bank for forgiveness."
Former Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos appeared on Thursday's Good Morning America to bizarrely assert that Democrats have a harder times surviving sex scandals than Republicans. While discussing South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, he breathlessly claimed, "We've never seen anything like this before"and never mentioned his former boss, Bill Clinton, who escaped impeachment conviction after being caught in a sex scandal with Monica Lewinsky.
GMA co-host Diane Sawyer informed viewers that Stephanopoulos had been "looking back at this roll call of apologies for indiscretions, Republicans and Democrats." The "This Week" host spun, "Democrats have had a harder time holding on to office after scandals, recently, than Republicans." Stephanopoulos also appeared on Wednesday night's "World News" and told anchor Charlie Gibson virtually the same thing. And, once again, he failed to cite Bill Clinton, certainly one of the most famous examples of a Democrat retaining office after a sex scandal.
Chris Matthews got into a heated exchange with MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on Wednesday, accusing them of "pussyfooting" the issue of health care and its cost. He also attacked conservatives in general, deriding, "You know, it seems to me that the right-wing will fight any war and say, 'Don't look at the cost,' because they want to fight the war."
The Hardball host fretted, "And this pussyfooting around and looking at the costs....We could have avoided World War II if we went through the cost factors ahead of time. We wouldn't have won World War II if we looked only at the costs." Firmly declaring for universal health care, Matthews asserted people "should have health care" and smeared Morning Joe host Scarborough: "That's a value judgment that I've made and the American people have made. And you have not made. You have not made that value judgment." [audio available here]
Scarborough struck back, decrying wasteful spending and saying that he did support a health care plan, so long as it was affordable and did not bankrupt the country. He sarcastically questioned Matthews, "Chris, would you like us to play 'Just As I Am' and have me walk down to the front of the church and recommit my life to nationalized health care?" Co-host Brzezinski defended her colleague and clearly resented a jibe that Matthews threw her way.
ABC's Diane Sawyer on Wednesday hit Barack Obama with some refreshingly tough questions about his plans for health care reform, quizzing the President on potential rationing, reduction of services and whether Americans would really be able to keep their current plan. However, the program also devoted 13 minutes and two segments to Obama, neither of which featured any Republican opposition.
Sawyer, who reported live from the White House and will be co-hosting ABC's June 24 primetime special on health care, focused on a possible reduction of benefits as a result of government-run health care. After an ABC graphic appeared onscreen asserting that eight in ten Americans worry about such a result, Sawyer queried, "They're very concerned that there's going to be a reduction in treatment at some place in all of this. Will [your plan] have the weight of law? Will it have the weight of regulation?"
The GMA host brought up Obama's often-repeated pledge that Americans who like their current health plan will not have to change. However, she observed, "...I thought today [June 23] in the press conference, I heard you amend it to say, if your employer decides to change it, we don't have control over that." Obama justified, "Well, but, of course- that's the case whether we pass health care or not. I can't pass a law that says, 'I'm sorry, employers, you can never make changes to the health care plans you provide your employees.'"
During the June 23 White House press conference, ABC News reporter Jake Tapper sparred with Barack Obama over the details of the President's universal health care plan, bluntly observing, "...If the government is offering a cheaper health care plan, then lots of employers will want to have their employees covered by that cheaper plan, which will not have to be for-profit, unlike private plans."
Although there was laughter in the press conference, the exchanges became pointed. At one point, Tapper sarcastically observed that he appreciated Obama's "Spock-like language about the logic of the health care plan." Tapper's question, about whether the so-called "public choice" option would actually allow employees to keep the current insurance plans they have now, was a follow-up to a similar one offered by USA Today's David Jackson. After the President failed to answer that query, Tapper began by challenging, "I wonder if you could actually answer David's? Is the public plan non- negotiable?" A testy Obama retorted, "All right, if that's your question."
ABC's Robin Roberts conducted two fawning interviews with Michelle Obama on Tuesday and repeatedly reminded viewers that the First Lady would be tending to the White House garden as soon as the segment was completed. Roberts breathlessly explained, "I caught up with Michelle Obama for an exclusive interview as she was heading outside to work in the White House garden..."
In a second Good Morning America piece, Roberts reiterated, "Again, I talked to her right before she was about to tend to the White House Garden." After discussing healthy living and childhood obesity, the GMA co-host cheered, "And she was casually dressed because she was literally heading out to the garden there at the White House that she planted with kids from a local elementary school..."
Good Morning America's Diane Sawyer popped up on Sunday's Reliable Sources and swore that ABC's much-scrutinized health care special with President Obama "won't be an infomercial." She also seriously touted the objectivity of the network, cheering, "I know that our network has worked very, very hard to be completely- completely responsible and fair and serious about big issues." [Audio available here]
After host Howard Kurtz played a clip of FNC's Sean Hannity attacking the June 24 special as an infomercial, Sawyer, who will be co-hosting the program with Charlie Gibson from inside the White House, promised, "We will be there, and these people in this room are going to be able to ask questions from every single vantage point. And they are going to challenge the President, many of them."
When asked whether ABC should include guests from the health care industry, Sawyer, who appeared via phone, said such voices would be featured and again swore, "And I think a lot of people haven't understand fully that this is going to be a room full of widely diverse ideas in which people who actually experience the reality of front-line health care are going to get a chance to pose their challenging questions to the President." However, Kurtz didn't quiz the host as to why the ABC network has refused to air ads from the health care industry during the special. And when Sawyer noted that ABC "has done town hall forums before," he didn't point out that many of them have been severely slanted.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews appeared on Montel Williams' Air America radio show on Wednesday to slam John McCain: "I think McCain put his finger on the idiot button." The Hardball host fumed about McCain's criticism of how Barack Obama has handled the response to Iran's disputed election. He also unflatteringly compared the Senator to Sarah Palin.
After getting a laugh from the Montel Across America host, Matthews reiterated, "I'm telling you, the idiot button." He complained, "That's my new term for when you start putting your finger on the button that's got Sarah Palin's fingerprints on it." Matthews broke off his attack and then explained that McCain is a "very smart, patriotic American."
Good Morning America on Thursday unearthed archival footage that featured Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor on the show in 1986 complaining about discrimination against women. The clips highlighted her fretting, "There are different styles. And because of those styles, I think that's what affects the ability of women to get ahead in the workplace."
In the video, Sotomayor can be seen talking to then-GMA host Joan Lunden and asserting that men inadvertently discriminate against women: "Well, I found in my experiences that it's not that men are consciously discriminating against promoting women. But, I do believe that as people, we have self-images of what's good. And if you're a male that grew up professionally in a male-dominated profession, then your image of what a good lawyer is a male image."
ABC and CBS's morning shows on Wednesday both provided surprisingly tough questioning to Christina Romer, one of Barack Obama's economic advisors. On the issue of health care, Good Morning America co-host Diane Sawyer compared the costs of Medicare to the new health care plan and pointed out past government inaccuracies when it came to accessing cost.
She grilled, "You know, in 1965, everyone was told that over 25 years, the cost of Medicare would be $12 billion. The actual cost, $107 billion." Sawyer added, "Ten-times what the estimate was. Can you know this cost? And can you guarantee it's not going to be more than the administration believes?" Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez quizzed Romer, the Chairwoman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors, on Obama's repeated insistence that he has no interest in meddling in the private sector. She wondered, "He sounds like he's being forced to do these things. If he believes that big government is actually a bad thing, why doesn't he at least try less intrusive options, which are certainly be offered up?"
On Tuesday's Good Morning America, Diane Sawyer complained about America's maternity leave policies for women, and for the fourth time in slightly more than two years, the show connected them to such struggling countries as Swaziland and Papua New Guinea. The host solemnly observed that only three countries "have policies equal to the United States. Swaziland, Liberia and Papua New Guinea."
Sawyer, who was introducing a segment on how women are afraid to take much maternity leave during the recession, derided, "Even in Iraq, women get one year of leave, six months at full pay, and six months of half pay." Linking the U.S. to such poor countries was, perhaps, intended to horrify viewers. However, the ABC anchor left out some key stats, such as the fact that nations mandating paid maternity leave, such as Germany, often also have high unemployment rates.
As for the countries Sawyer mentioned, Swaziland also has an unemployment rate of 40 percent, an infant mortality rate of 70 percent and a life expectancy of 32. Papua New Guinea's unemployment rate is up to 80 percent in some urban areas. So, there seems to be some differences between America and these countries.
MSNBC host David Shuster on Monday assailed independent Senator Joe Lieberman as a hypocrite for daring to compliment Barack Obama after opposing some of the President's policies. Shuster sneered, "Showering praise on the Obama administration and then opposing most of what the administration is doing, its critical policies, it's politically slick, but it's also hypocrisy and it's wrong."
He prefaced this critique by playing a clip of Lieberman asserting that Obama is off to a "very, very good start" on issues such as foreign policy. Shuster then whined that the senator "publicly opposed most of the President's most crucial policies." (These issues include Israeli settlements and not supporting a public option in the health care debate.) But, even Shuster had to concede that Lieberman "supported the budget bill, the credit card bill, S-chip."
ABC News announced on Monday that Dr. Tim Johnson, a longtime advocate for government-run health care, will be participating in a primetime special on the subject, airing on June 24 and being broadcast from the White House. The doctor, who has aggressively lobbied in support of universal health care for over 15 years, will also appear on that day's Good Morning America, a show that will feature Diane Sawyer's interview with Barack Obama.
This is the same Johnson, who, on July 19, 1994, talked to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton about a similar health care plan. He gushed, "So at least from the physicians represented here, you get a 100 percent vote, including mine, for universal coverage." On October 19, 2007, he spoke to Clinton again and noted that she considered the issue a moral one. "Do you think the Republicans who are against it are immoral," he wondered. A selection of some of Johnson's more biased health care-related comments can be found below:
"Good Morning America's" Claire Shipman on Wednesday conducted a fawning, mostly content-free interview with Supreme Court pick Sonia Sotomayor's brother about his sister's love for Salsa dancing, among other light topics. The ABC reporter asked Juan Sotomayor only one question on the substance of the nominee's comments that a "wise Latina" judge would come to a better conclusion than a white man.
After Shipman prompted, "I read somewhere she says she likes to party," the judge's sibling informed viewers, "She loves to party. She loves dancing. Had her 50th birthday party and she learned how to Salsa." Americans were also instructed on such pertinent information as the fact that, as a young girl, Sotomayor "loved reading Archie, and Casper and Richie Rich." Shipman, however, dwelled on Juan Sotomayor's anger towards criticism of his sister. She related, "And when we asked Juan what he thought about some conservative critics suggesting his sister is a racist, I thought he might jump out of his seat."
VH1 comedian Chuck Nice appeared on Tuesday's "Today" show and compared Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to the sexually transmitted disease herpes. He mocked, "But, Sarah Palin to the GOP, this is what I've got to say, she is very much like herpes, she's not going away." [Audio available here]
The "Best Week Ever" contributor amazingly preceded his comments by instructing the show's hosts and his fellow guests, who were there to discuss news events in the 10am hour of the show, "...Please don't take it the way it sounds." Amazingly, no one on the program really challenged Nice on his ugly remark. NBC News chief legal analyst Dan Abrams mildly observed, "That's the advantage of being Chuck Nice. You can say that and there's no repercussions." Nia-Malika Henderson, the White House reporter for Politico, said nothing.
Defiant, Nice continued, "Everybody's laughing. I don't care. The band is cracking up." Anchors Hoda Kotb and Kathy Lee Gifford quickly moved onto other topics. Would such a comment about Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton have gone unquestioned on "Today?"
Continuing his obsession with Dick Cheney, Hardball host Chris Matthews on Monday compared the former Vice President to movie monster Freddy Krueger, a child-murdering serial killer. After Republican strategist Michelle Laxalt suggested that Matthews missed Cheney, the host retorted, "Well, he keeps coming back...Freddy Krueger comes back in every movie and this guy is back every day."
Interestingly, while Matthews linked the ex-VP to the deformed murderer, it was the MSNBC anchor himself who wore a Freddy Krueger-esque sweater on the December 18, 2007 edition of Hardball. (See file photo above.) On Monday, Matthews, Laxalt and businessman Fred Malek were discussing the "troll-like" Cheney and his public comments about Colin Powell and the new Obama administration.
Newsweek editor-at-large Evan Thomas appeared on this weekend's edition of Inside Washington and lauded President Obama as a "brave," "great teacher" who "stands above everybody." These comments were only slightly less hyperbolic than a gushing assertion on Friday's Hardball. On that program, the journalist cooed, "I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God."
Moderator Gordon Peterson prompted Thomas to expound on Obama after asking him and other panelists for their critiques of Obama's speech last week in Cairo, Egypt. Thomas extolled, "We're understanding what Obama is. He is the great teacher. He is this guy that stands above everybody." He did allow that "there's some condescension" in this attitude. However, the Newsweek editor continued, "But, he stands above everybody and says, 'Now, listen. You people have to stop blaming each other unreasonably. You have to get along here and I am going to show you the way.'"
Cokie Roberts appeared on Friday's "Good Morning America" and agreed with Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's 1994 comment that a wise woman would come to a better conclusion than a man. Roberts, cheered, "Of course, I would agree with her that they're better." Fellow ABC journalist Sam Donaldson empathized that if the judge made a mistake, "it was a Joe Biden problem. She blurted out the truth." [Audio available here]
Throughout two segments on the program, various reporters and guests justified Sotomayor's comments. Roberts attempted to explain away the comments, which are in addition to the now famous 2001 "wise Latina" quote. She sympathized to co-host Diane Sawyer, "You go before these big women's groups. And, Diane, I'm sure you've done it. I've certainly done it many times." With no hint of controversy, Roberts added, "And you do say things that kind of rev up the crowd and get women excited. And one of those things that you do say is that women are better than men."
"Today" show host Matt Lauer on Thursday inadvertently mixed up the names of Osama bin Laden and Barack Obama, an error similar to one made by Dick Cheney and used by MSNBC's David Shuster on Tuesday to attack the former Vice President in his daily "Hypocrisy Watch segment. Will Shuster now take on his NBC colleague? Talking with journalist Richard Wolffe, Lauer mentioned a new bin Laden audiotape and jumbled, "In it he mentions Osama, he mentions Barack Obama..." [Audio available here]
On June 1, giving a speech to the National Press Cub, Cheney said of bin Laden, "I don't think he can have much impact now in terms of managing the organization because that link between Obama and the people under him is pretty fragile." During a June 2 "Hypocrisy Watch" segment on "MSNBC News Live," Shuster played the clip and then erupted, "Obama, Osama. Good grief!" He sarcastically added, "Now, I'm sure, I'm sure that was an innocent mistake." (The cable anchor also attacked the ex-VP for other reasons in the piece.)
"Good Morning America's" Chris Cuomo reported live from Egypt on Thursday and speculated to the son of Egypt's President that if Americans "understood the link to the Palestinian/Israeli situation, they might understand terrorism differently." Covering Barack Obama's speech to Muslims in the region, the ABC News anchor earlier labeled the address one "that is going to be talked about for a long time," "very comprehensive. And very thoughtful and historic."
During one of several segments throughout the morning, he talked with Gamal Mubarak, son of Hosni Mubarak and possible future President of Egypt. Cuomo prefaced the question of linking Israel and Palestine by fretting, "Many people in America believe that the reason there is terrorism is because extremists hate the way Americans live. It's never connected to the Palestinian/Israeli situation."
MSNBC host David Shuster on Wednesday criticized President Obama from the left, calling him hypocritical for leaving the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in place, despite a campaign pledge to end the ban on gays in the military. Shuster singled out Obama in his "Hypocrisy Watch" series, complaining, "But, here we are, more than four months into your administration and the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy remains in place." Referencing a gay soldier who was forced out, he derided, "To continue to kick out soldiers like Daniel Choi, to continue 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' four months into your presidency, that's hypocrisy and it's wrong."
Shuster's targets on "Hypocrisy Watch" are mostly conservatives and Republicans. But, going after a Democrat for not being liberal enough isn't balance. An April 6 MRC fax report found that the MSNBC host, on his now defunct program "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," singled out politicians on the right 71 percent of the time. When he did go after liberals, such as Barack Obama, it was usually from the left:
"Good Morning America's" Chris Cuomo reported live from Egypt on Wednesday and informed viewers that students at a university in Cairo are "given hope, just by the fact that a brown-skinned president named Barack Hussein Obama exists." The news anchor, who was in the region to cover the President's speech on Thursday, provided a decidedly different tone than that of many journalists who avoided using Obama's middle name during the 2008 campaign.
He later speculated that people in that area are excited "not just because of the color of his skin, or of his name, Barack Hussein Obama." This is the same Cuomo who, on the December 20, 2007 GMA, worried that American racism could derail the then-Democratic candidate's campaign. Speaking to Obama, he fretted, "What do you think the bigger obstacle is for you in becoming president, the Clinton campaign machine or America's inherent racists, racism?"
"MSNBC News Live" co-host David Shuster slammed Dick Cheney on Tuesday's program as a hypocrite, complaining, "Your Iraq war inflamed the Muslim world, bred a new generation of terrorists who hate America and cost the lives of over 4,000 U.S. soldiers." The broadside against the former Vice President occurred during day two of Shuster's newly resurrected "Hypocrisy Watch" segment, a feature that mostly goes after conservatives and Republicans.[audio available here]
Shuster complained about an appearance Cheney made at the National Press Club on Tuesday. The ex-VP decried the closing of Guantanamo Bay and defended the Iraq war, asserting that, in the end, it saved lives. The MSNBC host also lambasted the Republican for mistakenly using Barack Obama's name when he meant Osama bin Laden. "Obama, Osama. Good grief," he exclaimed, before sarcastically asserting, "I'm sure that was an innocent mistake." Now, of course, numerous politicians have made such an error, including Ted Kennedy in 2006. Shuster has never made any of them the subject of "Hypocrisy Watch."
Tuesday's "Today" show completely ignored two facts about a man who murdered a soldier at an Army recruiting station in Arkansas: He had just converted to Islam and was being investigated by the FBI for a trip to Yemen. Instead, NBC's Ann Curry, in anchor briefs throughout the show, vaguely explained that Abdulhakim Muhammad was "upset with the military." Both ABC and CBS mentioned the conversion and the Yemen trip.
In the 8am hour, Curry confirmed, "Police say the suspect had political and religious motives." (What kind? She didn't say.) The reporter did note that the alleged shooter would be charged "with an act of terrorism," but the rest of her comments were so vague as to be confusing. (The network journalist also never used the individual's name.) "Good Morning America" reporter Pierre Thomas, however, very clearly defined the situation. He pointed out that police say Muhammad is "a Muslim convert" and "was specifically hunting U.S. soldiers." Thomas added, "Sources tell us Muhammad had traveled to Yemen and had been arrested for allegedly carrying a fake Somali passport. Both countries are considered hotbeds of al Qaeda-inspired radical Islam."
"MSNBC News Live" host David Shuster railed against conservative "hypocrite" Newt Gingrich on Monday, resurrecting a segment from his cancelled program "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue." The cable anchor slammed the former House Speaker for calling Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a racist on his Twitter page. Shuster noted that Gingrich supported Bush pick Sam Alito in 2006. He then played a clip of the then-nominee saying that when he has to rule on a discrimination case, Altio would think of people in his own family who have suffered bias.
Shuster derided, "Hey, Newt. When you embrace the empathy of a conservative judge, but call the empathy of a progressive judge racist, that's hypocrisy and it's wrong." Now, of course, the obvious difference is that Sotomayor didn't just acknowledge empathy, she asserted in a 2001 speech at the University of California, "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life."
The stated concept of "Hypocrisy Watch" is to call out hypocritical politicians. On MSNBC, however, that usually means Republicans. An April 6, 2009 fax report by the MRC found that before Shuster's "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" program was cancelled on April 2, the liberal anchor made conservatives/Republicans the target of "Hypocrisy Watch" 71 percent of the time. Liberals/Democrats accounted for only eight percent of those attacked. So, it's not particularly surprising that Shuster has returned to his old habits.
"Good Morning America's" coverage on Monday of the May 31 murder of abortionist George Tiller featured no examples of pro-life organizations condemning the killing. Additionally, co-anchor Diane Sawyer opened the program with an oddly worded tease. "The abortion debate turns deadly. A doctor known for performing late-term abortions gunned down at church." The abortion debate turns deadly? If the procedure is successfully performed, isn't abortion always fatal?
Reporter Kofman highlighted glee on the internet over the slaying of the Kansas-based doctor who carried out late-term abortions. He announced, "On Twitter, one person wrote, 'Oh, happy, day. Tiller the baby killer is dead.' Another wrote, 'God bless the gunman.'" Kofman added, "Clearly, the passions in this issue have not gone away." Of course, other than a bland observation that "many" on both sides of the debate have condemned the killing, Kofman offered no quotes from organizations, such as the Family Research Council [FRC], who denounced the murder. [Audio available here]
On Friday's "Good Morning America," ABC White House correspondent Jake Tapper provided a skeptical, challenging analysis of the Obama administration's claims about the economic stimulus bill. NBC's "Today" and CBS's "Early Show" on Thursday simply regurgitated White House statements that the "economy is looking much healthier these days" and that the President is "taking credit for writing the prescription." [Audio available here]
Tapper, in contrast, referenced a new administration report on the stimulus entitled "100 Days, 100 Projects" and wondered, "But, how much of this is real? And how much is hype?" He asserted, "Critics have long said the administration overstates the impact of the stimulus." After playing a clip of Obama claiming 150,000 jobs have been created by the stimulus bill, Tapper called that "a number based on theory, not fact." University of Maryland economist Peter Morici appeared briefly to point out, "It's simply an implausible statement to say that some 150,000 jobs were created by direct spending, indirect spending and so forth."