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:
During Monday's "Good Morning America," the show's anchors and reporters did not hold back on the hyperbole while discussing Barack Obama's inauguration. While co-host Diane Sawyer discussed those Americans who drove across country to see the inauguration of the 44th president, an ABC graphic trumpeted, "Inauguration of Barack Obama: The American Pilgrimage."
During an earlier segment, referring to a star-studded concert for the President-elect, Sawyer gushed, "They are calling it Obama-Stock because the performances were unbelievable." In a third piece, former Clinton aide-turned journalist George Stephanopoulos breathlessly narrated how Obama has been handling final preparations for his speech: "...The President-elect is a real writer...He's in the tinkering stage, which means, like, he's even looking at each word and saying, 'Wait, do I need two syllables and not one?'"
The three network morning shows on Friday almost totally skipped any coverage of President Bush's farewell address to the country on Thursday. Despite having a combined eight hours of air time, NBC's "Today," CBS's "Early Show" and ABC's "Good Morning America" devoted only 55 seconds total to reporting on Bush's speech. Instead, important topics such as "Obama thongs" and cheddar biscuits were highlighted.
Over a period of two hours, "The Early Show" ignored the speech entirely. "Good Morning America," which has a similar running time, allowed a mere 17 seconds. The "Today" show, which now encompasses four hours of broadcast time, provided the most, with 38 seconds of information about the address. None of the three programs featured any clips of Bush's farewell. (In contrast, on March 19, 2008, the day after then-presidential candidate Barack Obama's speech on race, these same shows allowed nine and a half minutes of sound bites of the Democrat.)
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," weatherman and global warming alarmist Sam Champion slipped some reassuring words about the validity of climate change into his report on the bone chilling temperatures hitting much of the country. After admitting that NASA had declared 2008 to be the coldest year since 2000, he added, "But they [NASA] caution this was caused in part by a cooling La Nina in the pacific and warn global warming is still playing an important part in our changing climate."
Champion then played a clip of a NASA climate scientist and global warming proponent Gavin Schmidt admonishing, "And, so, it's a little bit difficult to talk about global warming when you're going to have the coldest day of the year. But you have to realize that weather isn't abolished just because there's a long-term trend in the climate."
Fox News on Wednesday continued to be one of the very few media outlets covering the fact that Barack Obama's new "global warming czar" has ties to socialist groups. While all three network morning shows ignored the story, "Fox News Live" host Megyn Kelly interviewed climate change skeptic Senator James Inhofe on the subject.
After noting that appointee Carol Browner was a member of the Socialist group Commission for a Sustainable World Society, Kelly seemed puzzled as to how such a person could be given a prominent position in the Obama administration. "And she's pretty openly committed to these socialist policies....How does that happen? Is there going to be an uproar about it," the Fox News host wondered.
"Good Morning America" news anchor Chris Cuomo conducted a surprisingly tough interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, grilling her on the lack of accountability for how 2008's financial bailout money has been spent. He told the powerful Democrat, "...I think there are a few issues that unite Americans like this. Don't waste our money, especially right now."
Regarding the news that Congress doesn't know how much of the $350 billion T.A.R.P has been spent, Cuomo challenged, "Why didn't savvy lawmakers like yourself, like Barney Frank, say, 'We're not going to just release this money with no strings. We'll build it in the law. We'll build in accountability?' Why didn't you do that?"
On Tuesday's edition of "The View," co-host Barbara Walters dismissed a series of interviews Sarah Palin gave to a conservative filmmaker as "disturbing." The veteran journalist stiffly claimed that "one is not sure why she keeps doing these interviews." The comment occurred while the women of the ABC program were debating an assertion by Palin that the media may treat possible New York Senator Caroline Kennedy in a more favorable light.
Responding to a clip of the former Republican vice presidential candidate arguing that there might be a class issue in how reporters will treat Kennedy, Walters complained, "...Why she still makes it a class issue is something that, especially right now, and when we all want to work together, I found disturbing."
During a contentious interview with filmmaker John Ziegler on Friday's "MSNBC News Live," host David Shuster attacked former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin as "clearly unqualified" and asserted that the Alaska governor "wasn't prepared to run for vice president." An incredulous Ziegler, who was appearing to promote his new documentary on the liberal media's role in the election of Barack Obama, quickly retorted, "So, is that your opinion, David? Is that your opinion, David, as an alleged news person?"
Shuster caught himself as he seemed on the verge of suggesting everyone believed Palin to be unqualified: "John, it's every- John, it's the opinion of 65 percent of the American people." As Noel Sheppard noted in a previous blog, Ziegler also derided Shuster as a "joke" and publicly called out MSNBC as "clearly the pet network of Barack Obama." At one point, when the bias got too much for the filmmaker, he quipped "I feel like this is O.J. Simpson interviewing the cops about the murders. I'm the cop and you're O.J. Simpson here."
"Good Morning America" on Thursday highlighted 1982 as the year Chris Cuomo, the future news anchor of the program, would see his Democratic dad become governor of New York. The segment was part of a new series on the years that most changed the lives its ABC's hosts. The piece never mentioned the fact that Mario Cuomo was a liberal or a Democrat. (And while older viewers might likely know that, some younger Americans wouldn't.)
At the same time, the segment vaguely reveled in the accomplishments of the governor. "My father would expose all of us to remarkable history," the news anchor explained before a clip of Mario Cuomo at the 1984 Democratic National Convention played. After recounting the difficulties of being the son of a governor, Cuomo added, "...My father, my family, had been given an amazing opportunity to do what he told us mattered most, to help others."
Proving that no Barack Obama imagery is too embarrassing, the hosts of "Good Morning America" on Thursday highlighted a sculpture of the President-elect made entirely out of crayons. After mentioning artist Herb Williams, news anchor Chris Cuomo enthused, "He does something amazing. He created a statue of Obama out of all crayons."
The GMA crew then proceeded to talk about all the details of how one makes crayon statues of Obama. As pictures and video appeared onscreen, Cuomo explained, "He took the crayons. And glues them in there. Look, there's his process. This is what he does."
ABC aired an incredibly insulting and condescending hidden camera news special on Tuesday that purported to probe the hidden racism of Americans. It also featured actors hired by the network to go to France and portray "ugly Americans," complete with a "Bush '08" t-shirt that was derided by one German woman as similar to saying "I like Hitler."
The "What Would You Do?" special attempted to see how real people would react to racism or over-the-top behavior. As part of the experiment, host John Quinones introduced "Bob" and "Bonnie," actors sent to Paris to represent obnoxious U.S. citizens. Quinones began the segment by cheerfully explaining, "They're the ugly Americans. And for more than a century, they've been fixtures in American literature and film."
"Good Morning America" hosts and reporters on Wednesday bewilderingly touted a total non-scandal, the "brewing brouhaha" over the new set of presidential dinnerware that President Bush and the first lady have ordered. Despite the fact that a private organization is paying the $485,000 bill, a salient point not revealed until late in the story, co-host Robin Roberts fretted, "So, why wait to give such an expensive gift right before they leave?" (If the plates are not taxpayer funded, what's the basis for the story?)
Veteran ABC reporter Ann Compton worried, "So, why is Laura Bush introducing new Bush china two weeks before they move out?" Compton even featured the Washington Post's Sally Quinn, not identified as a liberal in the report, to bash former President Ronald Reagan's china incident. Compton explained, "Washington veteran Sally Quinn recalls the furor when President Reagan was slashing the federal budget and his wife, Nancy, ordered $200,000 of scarlet china with the presidential seal in gold."
"Good Morning America" news anchor Chris Cuomo on Tuesday actually challenged liberal House member Barney Frank over how Congress has spent the bailout money. At one point, after the host implored Frank to think of the American taxpayers, the irritated congressman commanded, "I'm sorry, sir, but- I'm sorry, if you keep interrupting we cannot have a coherent conversation." Frank would later rage over Cuomo's "distortions."
The ABC News anchor kicked off the interview by observing, "You Democrats say you're gung ho, talking numbers in this stimulus plan." He then skeptically queried, "But, in light of all the spending that's been done already with the questionable results, what gives you the confidence that you can pass this?" Now, it should be pointed out that Cuomo often seemed to be pressing the Democratic congressman from the left. Regarding those Americans who took out loans for more than they could pay back, he asked, "Why didn't you look out for the little guy and make sure that first package, instead of $270 billion to financial institutions, went to the people holding those mortgages?" The host continued, "Went to the working men and women? Why didn't you do that first?"
On Tuesday's "Good Morning America," an ABC reporter once again attempted to probe and examine the secret racism of American citizens. Correspondent John Quinones, the host of a series of ABC hidden camera specials designed to test how people react to ethical situations, appeared to preview a new edition that featured a cashier in a New Jersey deli yelling at a Hispanic customer.
The ABC crew had the pretend employee scream at a confused day laborer, saying things such as "We're building walls to keep you guys out of the country! You don't speak English, you don't get service! We don't serve your kind here!" Quinones then theatrically lectured, "...On this day, the only thing they [the customers] are being served is prejudice." He later observed that the experiment "uncovered some of the dark impulses many of us share."