ABC’s Jonathan Karl on Friday attacked wasteful government spending of stimulus money, even going to the John Murtha Airport in Western Pennsylvania, which he derided as a "ghost town." Providing some refreshing journalistic skepticism about the Obama legislation, Karl described the airport as a "monument to powerful Democratic Congressman John Murtha."
The House member’s portrait could be seen in the background as Karl reported for Good Morning America on the $17 million that the tiny airport has received. (Politico puts the total number at $150 million.) The reporter conducted a tour of the empty, quiet building: "When we visited Murtha Airport earlier this year, the place looked like a ghost town. We have rented a car. But the Hertz counter is as deserted as the rest of the airport." (Karl also traveled to other small town airports that recieved money.)
The Politico’s Mike Allen appeared on Wednesday’s Morning Joe to both defend the mainstream media’s decision to ignore the ACORN controversy and agree that a double standard is at work. Commenting on a piece he wrote about the subject, the former New York Times reporter spun, "And what we heard was news executives saying that there's so much out there. Two wars, health care, a President who's struggling, that they didn't have time to focus on this."
Asserting that, somehow, Americans should appreciate the media’s efforts to spike coverage of ACORN, He cheered, "I think we should be grateful for that filter so that you go to places- NBC News, Politico, others- that you can trust and you’ll know that what is there is accurate and not speculation." Grateful? How can viewers be expected to trust a source when that outlet ignores certain inconvenient stories?
Weatherman/global warming alarmist Sam Champion on Tuesday again promoted the cause of toilet paper-avoiding environmentalist Colin Beavan. In his brief "Just One Thing" segment, Champion touted books made on recycled paper and cheered that the tome No Impact Man is made on 100 percent recycled paper.
The weather man marveled, "And when [Beavan] was with us, he kind of shared the idea that not only did he do an entire year of living, trying to make no impact on the environment, but he thought he would carry it through with his book." Champion has aggressively promoted Beavan, who went a year without toilet paper, cars and electricity in an attempt to be carbon neutral.
The environmentalist has made three appearances on GMA in the last two years to promote his experiment, which eventually became a book and a movie. And in this segment, as when Beavan last appeared on September 3, 2009, Champion made no mention of the bizarre decision to forgo bathroom amenities.
Good Morning America co-host Diane Sawyer on Tuesday conducted a surprisingly tough interview with Tim Geithner, grilling the Treasury Secretary on tax increases, spending and highlighting the 9/12 rally in Washington D.C. Speaking of the American people, she asserted, "They don't see a possible way out without tax raises."
After Geithner tried to squirm out of responding, Sawyer, who will leave GMA in January to become the anchor of ABC’s World News, reiterated, "Are you still guaranteeing that no one in America will have their taxes raised unless they make more than $250,000 a year?" Geithner noted how this was a "commitment" for the President, prompting Sawyer to again attempt to nail down a firm answer: "That's your promise? It will not happen?"
Over the weekend, ABC provided hyperbolic, worried reporting on the 9/12 protest in Washington D.C. And while the other networks had mixed results, Good Morning America co-host Bill Weir opened the program on Saturday by fretting, "This morning, outrage. Protesters descend on Washington to rally against the President's health care plan. As civility gives way to shouting, what's fueling all this anger?"
On Sunday’s GMA, Weir spun that the protesters were "rail[ing]" against higher taxes, government run health care and spending. Reporter Yunji de Nies highlighted a marcher who labeled Barack Obama a "communist." She then pounced, "Do you really believe the President is a communist?" Right after this exchange, de Nies told viewers that those rallying "insist they're not extremists."
Former Clinton operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos appeared on Thursday’s O’Reilly Factor and received a declaration from Bill O'Reilly that, while obvious, probably wasn’t very welcome: "...You're a Democrat. I'm an Independent." This assertion resulted in no audible or visual protestations from Stephanopoulos.
And although the comment is demonstrably true, one might think that a supposedly independent, neutral journalist would fight back or claim to have put such partisan beliefs aside when he became a journalist. Stephanopoulos didn’t. The This Week host was appearing to discuss Barack Obama’s speech to Congress about health care and how the President has handled the issue.
ABC’s Terry Moran on Wednesday hyperbolically spun Barack Obama’s congressional speech as a "bold call to action" and theatrically visualized, "There was another ghost in the chamber tonight, the spirit of Senator Ted Kennedy, who fought for decades for universal care."
Earlier in the Nightline segment, which recapped the President’s health care address, the co-anchor introduced his political revision of A Christmas Carol: "Yes, there were ghosts in that chamber tonight. The other Presidents who tried to reform the health care system and failed."
After discussing the outburst by South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson, who accused the President of being a liar, Moran declared, "The President simply moved on. Focusing on his message. Trying to take the high road. Leaving Wilson and others behind."
ABC correspondent Jake Tapper on Thursday condescendingly described Barack Obama’s address to Congress this way: "At times, it was almost like the President were a principal and Congress a bunch of unruly school kids." The usually restrained reporter announced, "He [Obama] made outreach to his conservative opponents, while also refuting many of their ideas."
Refuted? Wouldn’t challenged or attacked have been the neutral description? Tapper also repeated that Obama "blames misinformation for why many Americans are nervous about reform." Good Morning America on Thursday ignored the AP’s fact check from the previous night that debunked some of the things the President supposedly "refuted:"
The Washington Post on Wednesday expanded its attack on Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, branching out beyond the Republican’s 1989 master’s thesis to a hit piece on the removal of a 2003 judge and whether or not it was because of homophobia on the part of the then-state delegate. The story centered around Verbena M. Askew, a Virginia judge who had been accused of sexually harassing a female colleague.
Post reporter Amy Gardner, who has written or co-written four of the Post’s 12 anti-McDonnell articles that have run over the last 11 days, stated that the 2003 removal of Askew "led to questions about whether the future Republican gubernatorial candidate thought gays were fit to serve on the bench." In the piece, Gardner left out any mention of the fact that two State House Democrats also voted to deny Askew reappointment. Gardner belatedly admitted this point in a blog on WashingtonPost.com:
The Weekly Standard’s September 14 issue parodied the Washington Post for its biased, obsessive coverage of Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, wryly featuring a mock headline that read: "Post Runs Another Story About Its McDonnell Story: Stories to run until ‘controversy’ takes on life of its own, sources say." [Emphasis added]
The Washington Post has published 12 pieces in 11 days highlighting a 1989 Regent University thesis by the Republican about the traditional family structure. The spot-on Weekly Standard parody spoofed, "Three days after publishing a story in hopes of generating a controversy over a master’s thesis written 20 years ago by GOP gubernatorial hopeful Bob McDonnell, The Washington Post will publish another story today about the reaction to its original story, the Washington Post has learned."
ABC’s Robin Roberts conducted a fawning interview with Barack Obama on Wednesday’s Good Morning America, downplaying controversy and instead offering fawning softballs such as "How difficult is it to stay on message?" The GMA host previewed Obama’s big health care speech to Congress and only gently broached the difficulties that the President has had with the legislation.
Earlier in the segment, Roberts vaguely wondered, "Is there a new approach that you're taking to getting your message across?" The ABC co-host mentioned controversial (now former) green czar Van Jones, but managed to not actually ask a question about him: "You talk about talk radio and the things that are being said. Glenn Beck, for instance, really going after Van Jones. Forced to resign. Controversial things that he said about 9/11 and Columbine. How difficult is it to stay on message?"
Former Democratic strategist turned journalist George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday suggested that it might be a good idea for the Barack Obama, during his address to Congress on Wednesday, to tell Americans to "calm down." Appearing on Good Morning America, the This Week host also lobbied the President to claim that his health care plan would not increase the deficit.
Stephanopoulos bizarrely enthused to co-host Robin Roberts: "...He's got assure people that this is not going to increase the deficit. I think that is one place where the President will say, ‘I can't sign a bill if it increased the deficit by even one dime.’" Of course, the Congressional Budget Office asserted that House Democratic legislation would add $230 billion to the deficit.
Nightline correspondent Vicki Mabrey profiled self-described "financial terrorist" Bruce Marks on Friday, painting his actions in a religious light as a "revival of spirits" and "hopes." Co-host Cynthia McFadden began the show by rhapsodizing, "The financial terrorist. He’s on the front lines of the foreclosure front using guerrilla tactics on a crusade to restore the American dream."
She continued, "And he's taking dead aim at the big banks. Is there anything he could do for you?" Mabrey did offer Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) CEO Marks a few tough questions, noting that his organization, which tries to help homeowners restructure their loans, also uses extreme tactics, such as protesting outside the homes and schools of the children of financial executives.
MSNBC Political Director Chuck Todd and his First Read co-writers on Friday whined both about complaints against the "knee-jerk liberal media bias" and conservatives who are uncomfortable with Barack Obama’s address to school children next week. National Review Online’s Mark Hemingway noted Todd’s post in which the MSNBC personality complained, "The ability of the conservative media machine to generate a controversy for this White House is amazing."
The posting, which was co-written by Mark Murray, Domenico Montanaro, and Ali Weinberg, lamented right-wing opposition to the speech: "In fact, this is an example of a story that percolates where it becomes harder and harder for some to claim there's some knee-jerk liberal media bias."
All three morning shows on Friday skipped any reference to the developing controversy over Obama administration Green Jobs Czar Van Jones and his connection to the 9/11 Truther movement. CBS’s Early Show, NBC’s Today and ABC’s Good Morning America totally ignored the story, although ABC’s Jake Tapper did file an online report over the subject.
And although Fox News on Thursday covered the revelation that Jones signed a 911truth.org statement in 2004 urging an investigation into whether or not George W. Bush had prior knowledge about 9/11 ("people within the current administration may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war"), none of nightly news programs highlighted this potential problem for the Obama administration.
So, while Good Morning America found no time for this incendiary topic, co-anchor Robin Roberts did host a segment on testing name brand versus store brand pizza. Early Show’s Harry Smith explained to viewers how to keep your lawn in top condition this autumn. And Today’s co-hosts thrilled over the must-have fashions for the fall season.
Former Democratic strategist turned journalist George Stephanopoulos appeared on Thursday’s Good Morning America to declare that President Obama’s address to Congress on September 9 must "intimidate Republicans a little bit." Stephanopoulos, who was a top aide to Bill Clinton, added that the White House should force the GOP to "make sure they understand the consequences of failure."
The This Week host, who also worked on Michael Dukakis' 1988 presidential campaign, didn’t explain why it's the Republicans, in a Democrat-dominated Congress, who would suffer "the consequences of failure." And the President "has to" intimidate the GOP? Is that the official advice of ABC analyst George Stephanopoulos? Or is that the opinion of liberal Democrat George Stephanopoulos?
The Washington Post continued to attack Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell on Thursday, highlighting the Republican’s 1989 thesis three times and bringing the paper’s grand total to nine articles in five days. The Post, which recycled George Allen’s "macaca" moment 112 times in the 2006 campaign, featured this headline in the Metro section: "McDonnell's Thesis Is Relevant, Deeds Says: 1989 Paper Highlights Candidates' Differences, Senator Says." [Emphasis added.]
So, the Democratic candidate for governor wants to hype a 20-year-old master’s thesis on the family structure and that automatically makes it news for the Post? Staff reporters Rosalind S. Helderman and Anita Kumar used the Metro section article to parrot comments from the Creigh Deeds campaign on the importance of the thesis:
On Thursday’s Good Morning America, for the third time in two years, Sam Champion interviewed an extreme environmentalist who shunned toilet paper for a year as part of a project to be carbon neutral. Colin Beavan, also known as "No Impact Man," appeared on the show to promote a new documentary and book on his experience. This time, however, Champion downplayed the bizarre elements of Beavan’s life.
The host made no mention of the fact that, in addition to not using amenities such as elevators, cars and electricity, Beavan also stopped partaking in the practice of using toilet paper. (This aspect was noted on ABCNews.com.) Champion did refer to the project as a "year-long experiment in living extreme green."But, the ABC weatherman skipped any discussion of the left-wing nature of Beavan's life. The full title of the environmentalist’s book is "No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process." [Emphasis added] (The book title did appear briefly as an on-screen graphic.)
Of the three morning shows, only ABC’s Good Morning America on Wednesday highlighted just how quickly and severely Barack Obama’s approval ratings have fallen. In a report on the subject, correspondent Jake Tapper bluntly explained, "Since taking office, President Obama's approval ratings have fallen more steeply than any other newly-elected president in modern history."
In contrast, CBS’s Early Show charted the middle ground in a segment on the network’s new poll. Correspondent Bill Plante observed that Obama has lost some popularity over health care, but spun: "The latest CBS News poll shows that approval of the President’s handling of health care reform has slipped six points since July, even though his overall job rating for that period is down only slightly."
The Washington Post on Wednesday increased its frenzied attack on Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, featuring two stories in the paper’s Metro section, an op-ed and a cartoon. Including opinion pieces, the Post has delivered six articles in four days on the Republican's 1989 master’s thesis about families and government policy.
In an article with the loaded title "McDonnell Tries to Salvage Women’s Votes," Rosalind S. Helderman and Sandhya Somashekhar described how the candidate is trying to "help rebuild his relationship with the key voting bloc, damaged in recent days by the publication of his 1989 master's thesis." Helderman and Somashekhar highlighted that McDonnell "wrote in the thesis that working women and feminists had been ‘detrimental’ to the traditional family and criticized federal tax credits for child care because they made it easier for women to be employed outside the home."
Making sure to tout supposed growing outrage over the thesis, the Post reporters featured this liberal protestor:
On Saturday's Good Morning America, ABC touted a German city that has rid itself of all cars. Complimenting the citizens of Vauban, reporter Jim Sciutto cheered, "And residents don't mind one bit." GMA weekend co-host Bill Weir wistfully introduced the segment by musing, "What if you could start everything over? Making over, not just your home, but your entire town?"
Describing Vauban, which relies on bicycles, Weir enthused, "Getting rid of all the carbon emissions, the energy wasters, even the cars?Well, one town has found a way to do it." Neither journalist explained the potential downside to not having automobiles. (What is one to do in the event of a heart attack?) Instead, Sciutto tried to find lessons for America: "So, what can we learn from here that would actually be followed in the States?"
On Sunday’s "Good Morning America," weekend host Bill Weir highlighted the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and insisted that the storm "really tainted the Bush legacy." The GMA anchor talked to liberal author Jason Berry and asked if there was an intentional effort to not rebuild poor neighborhoods in New Orleans. "Is that a deliberate political move," he asked.
Attempting to draw a contrast between former President Bush and Barack Obama, Weir speculated, "But talk about the change in the presidential administration. You know, the response to Katrina really tainted the Bush legacy. But have you noticed any change in tone, any optimism under President Obama?" (Weir is the journalist who hyperbolically insisted during the President’s inauguration that "even the seagulls must have been awed" by the event.)
ABC correspondent Jonathan Karl on Sunday hyperbolically declared that the Kennedys are "America’s family." Reporting on the funeral of Ted Kennedy for Good Morning America, the reporter read a letter from the Senator to the Pope about his Catholic faith and how it sustained him in life. Karl opined, "...Kennedy did a better job summing up his own life than any of the other hundreds of eulogies we have heard over the last days."
Describing the assembled clan at the funeral, Karl boldly asserted, "In the front, the Kennedys, America's family. Four generations shaped by the man who bore the torch when his brothers fell." Certainly, there are many independents, Republicans and non-Democrats who would disagree with bestowing such a label on the liberal Kennedy family.
Newsweek columnist and editor Jonathan Alter appeared on Friday’s Hardball and slammed Rush Limbaugh as the "great blowhard of our time." Host Chris Matthews prompted the quote when he discussed how Limbaugh had criticized him on his radio show for calling Barack Obama the "last brother" of the Kennedy clan. Referring to Ted Kennedy's death, Matthews snarled, "What is the matter with these people? Can't they take a week off, Jonathan? Just take a week off. It's a funeral."
Responding to the Hardball anchor’s complaint, Alter attacked, "If Ted Kennedy is one of the great senators of our time, Rush Limbaugh takes the crown as the great blowhard of our time." The Newsweek editor derided, "There's nobody who would have criticized Rush Limbaugh if he had talked about a brother because there's so many other things to criticize him for, other outrageous things that he says almost every day on the radio."
MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Friday used an interview with former Vice President Dan Quayle to gratuitously highlight Lloyd Bentsen’s famous 1988 slam, "You're no Jack Kennedy." Although Quayle appeared on "Andrea Mitchell Reports" to share his reflections on the passing of Ted Kennedy, the cable anchor sniped, "One of your toughest moments was during the debate with Lloyd Benson when you compared yourself to John F. Kennedy..."
As though Quayle was unfamiliar with what happened 21 years ago at the vice presidential debate, Mitchell recounted, "And Lloyd Bentsen memorably said, you know, 'I knew John Kennedy. I served with John Kennedy and you are no John Kennedy.’ What happened after that?"
Finally getting to some sort of Kennedy-related query, she quizzed, "I know it was a big hiccup in the road for you. You ended up being elected in any case, but how did Ted Kennedy reach out to you?" Quayle, not surprisingly, didn’t seem to enjoy the question and talked about how nice the Senator was to him during the ‘88 campaign. The former Vice President asserted that people who knew him, understood that he was up to the job. He then zinged Mitchell: "And people that didn't [know me], would sort of parrot what those of you in the media said at the time."
In the early hours of Wednesday, reporter John Donvan narrated a tough, comprehensive look at the life of Ted Kennedy, one that went so far as to assert that the Senator was sometimes "a let down, an embarrassment to his family, to his party, to himself." However, this eight and a half minute segment, which looked into Chappaquiddick, Kennedy’s cheating at Harvard and other scandals, aired at 2:30 (11:30 on the west coast) in the morning, during a special, late night edition of Nightline.
A much shorter, sanitized version of the piece was replayed on the August 26 edition of World News With Charles Gibson. It left out the harsh words about being a "failure," the accounts of public intoxication and affairs, all of which were featured in the Nightline segment.
On Thursday’s Good Morning America, Diane Sawyer and other ABC journalists spun liberal legislation by Ted Kennedy as gifts to the whole country. While bills related to the senator appeared on-screen, Sawyer gushed, "Can you see this going by? It's a scroll. And it's going to continue. We will not finish it before we take a break, because it's Senator Kennedy's legacy."
Correspondent John Berman uncritically enthused, "If you're in a wheelchair, that ramp is thanks to Ted Kennedy. If you earn the minimum wage, you make more because of Ted Kennedy." Certainly he championed the legislation, but is Kennedy solely responsible for individuals making the minimum wage today?
ABC’s Terry Moran on Wednesday spun Ted Kennedy’s political career as one of a "happy warrior" who should be looked to for direction in "these bitter times." However, it’s hard to square this description of Kennedy with the vitriolic speech the Senator made in 1987 condemning Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
Reporting on Kennedy’s death soon after it was announced, Moran noted that Kennedy was a liberal and rhapsodized, "He was in many of those battles a divisive figure because of his beliefs, but never because of his heart. He was a happy warrior." The Nightline anchor closed out his report by cooing, "And in these bitter times when anger and contempt seem to become the language of our politics, maybe it’s the old fashion joy Ted Kennedy brought to politics that we miss the most and need now."
Old fashioned joy? Kennedy certainly sounded bitter and angry when he took to the Senate floor on July 01, 1987 and trashed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork’s America as a place were "blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters" and "rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids."
MSNBC News Live hosts David Shuster and Tamron Hall on Tuesday embraced a contrarian notion that the tide is shifting in favor of liberal health care reform. Interviewing a Democratic strategist-turned-left-wing columnist, whose political affiliations went unidentified, Shuster tried to be optimistic: "...If the anti, sort-of, reform crowd on the right owned the early part of August, you almost get the sense that things are starting to pick up on the left, as far as the last couple of weeks in this month."
Shuster talked to David Sirota, whom he identified simply as a "syndicated columnist." The cable anchor left out the fact that Sirota is a former Democratic/far-left operative who previously worked for, among others, socialist Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. One MSNBC graphic hopefully speculated that the country may be seeing a health care "momentum shift." Another touted, "Is Tide Beginning to Turn on Health Care Reform?"
During an interview with John McCain on Sunday’s This Week, George Stephanopoulos practically begged with the Arizona senator to repudiate "death panel" claims by former Governor Sarah Palin. Speaking of the health care bill, Stephanopoulos attacked euthanasia worries and lobbied, "[Obama] called that an extraordinary lie. And he is right about that, isn't he?"
The former top Clinton aide turned journalist reworked the same query four more times. After McCain referred to the fact that a Senate panel dropped a provision on end-of-life counseling, Stephanopoulos interrupted, "I don't think that's correct, Senator. The bill, all it said was that if a patient wanted to have a Medicare consultation about end of life issues, they could have it, at their request. And the doctor would get reimbursed for it. No panel."