"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."
ABC senior legal correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg on Thursday examined a controversial decision judge and Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor made on racial discrimination, while, at the same time, repeatedly declaring that it would be "almost impossible" for Senate Republicans to derail her promotion to the high court. Talking with "Good Morning America" host Robin Roberts, Greenburg asserted, "She's qualified. She's experienced. It's going to be almost impossible for Republicans to do anything to stop her."
Later, after recounting the large Democratic majority, she again proclaimed, "And it's going to be almost impossible, like I said." Now, considering the unfolding revelations about Sotomayor's comments on legislating from the bench, her assertion that a "wise Latina woman" would often reach a better conclusion than a white male, wouldn't it make more sense to not portray the federal judge's nomination as inevitable and as a self fulfilling prophecy?
On balance, however, Greenburg should be commended for filing a report that actually examined the 2003 case of a white, New Haven, Connecticut firefighter who filed a discrimination lawsuit after being denied a promotion, despite obtaining the highest score in a exam. Greenburg pointedly explained the involvement of the nominee: "Sotomayor and two fellow judges dismissed the white firefighters claims and 2000 pages of court papers and filings in one paragraph."
"Good Morning America" on Friday featured something that has become rare on morning shows, an actual philosophical debate between a strong conservative and a vocal liberal. Liz Cheney, daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, engaged in a shoot-out with MSNBC analyst and former Senate Democratic chief of staff Lawrence O'Donnell over the issue of torture, Guantanamo Bay and keeping America safe. (On MSNBC, Thursday, O'Donnell called Dick Cheney's speech an "abomination.") [Audio available for download here.]
Cuomo did offer this softball to O'Donnell in relation to Barack Obama and the former Vice President's dueling speeches on Thursday: "Enhanced interrogation. Is that just another word for torture and is that the game America should be in?"He then asked O'Donnell, "Is this just another term for torture? Is that what you think is going on here?"But, Cuomo mostly conducted a fair interview, playing traffic cop as the two guests argued their points. He pointedly queried O'Donnell, "Mr. O'Donnell, is the President's instinct to play nice putting us at risk?"
George Soros is a superhero along the lines of Batman and Superman? That's the comparison correspondent John Berman made on Thursday's "Good Morning America." The ABC journalist was reporting on a closed door meeting of billionaires that included liberals such as Soros, Ted Turner and Oprah Winfrey. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss charitable giving, leading ABC to feature a graphic with Turner as Superman and Winfrey as Wonder Woman. [audio for download here]
And while well known arch-liberal Soros, financier of groups such as Moveon.org, wasn't featured in the silly illustration, he was discussed in the piece, with no mention of his hard-left positions. (Billionaire/Mayor Michael Bloomberg was relegated to being portrayed as a lesser hero, Aquaman.) Soros, who once compared the Bush administration to Nazis, was simply referred to this way: "Together with others in the meeting, including George Soros, Ted Turner, David Rockefeller, they're worth more than $125 billion."
"Today" reporter Chuck Todd on Thursday spun the dueling speeches of President Barack Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney as not "a fair fight." Speaking of the two May 21 addresses on the subject of terrorism, the NBC correspondent proclaimed, "Our latest poll indicates it's the most popular member of the Democratic Party facing off against one of the most unpopular members of the Republican Party."
In a follow-up interview with Republican strategist Nicolle Wallace and Democratic strategist Bob Shrum, host Matt Lauer asserted that with regards to issues like closing Guantanamo Bay and the use of enhanced interrogation, "this debate has been settled." He added, "It was settled back in November during the last election, when Americans chose to elect Barack Obama and move away from the legacy of the Bush administration." He mused, "So what does Dick Cheney have to gain or lose today?"
MSNBC host Contessa Brewer derided Republicans for using the word socialist in reference to Barack Obama's economic policies on Wednesday, complaining, "Well, maybe they think Americans are a bunch of idiots." Speaking of an upcoming vote by the Republican National Committee over whether or not to label the current Democratic leadership as socialist-leaning, the "MSNBC News Live Host" worried, "Have we reverted to a bunch of junior high schoolers, 12-year-olds with the name calling?"
Of course, Brewer is on the same network that repeatedly, and gleefully, used the juvenile "tea bag" humor to describe Republican protests over taxes. So, this argument is somewhat hollow. Washington Post political reporter Perry Bacon talked to the host and tried to explain the GOP's anger towards the massive spending that has been going on in Washington. After Brewer played a clip of RNC Chairman Michael Steele on Tuesday slamming Democrats, such as "Barney Frank, who nobody understands," the journalist could barely contain herself. She fretted, "Class and dignity. Was that it?"
Who did MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell feature to respond to Michael Steele's Tuesday speech about the future of the Republican Party? Chris Shays, the liberal, former Republican congressman with a lifetime American Conservative Union score of 44, appeared on "Andrea Mitchell Reports" to critique the chairman of the Republican National Committee.
After Shays insisted that Dick Cheney shouldn't be deciding who is and isn't a solid member of the GOP, Mitchell complimented, "Chris Shays, a good Republican." Responding to the Steele speech, Mitchell pontificated, "No mention of Dick Cheney. No mention of Rush Limbaugh. Is he [Steele] trying to move the party to a broader party, one that would include you? You were the last standing moderate from the northeast."
"Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer on Tuesday aggressively lobbied for the Obama administration to install a European-style gas tax on the United States. Talking to Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, about Obama's plans for increased fuel standards, she began, "Why not just go to a gas tax, for instance, which would accomplish a reduction in the use of gasoline, dependence on foreign oil right away?" Sawyer would proceed to ask variations on this question six times.
Citing calls for a gas tax by New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, she pressed, "If you really want to change the fuel patterns of this country, and if you want to reduce dependence on foreign oil, not by 2015 or 2016, but right now, there is one way to do it. It's the way Europe has been doing it. And that is a gasoline tax." Browner mostly dodged the question and focused on new fuel and environmental standards. Sawyer, however, would not be deterred. She fretted, "Do you think the gas tax approach is right or wrong? Or just politically unacceptable?" Not liking the non-answers, the ABC host argued, "So, no gas tax ever, as far as you're concerned?"
After promoting the controversial, religion-baiting film "Angels & Demons" for a combined 19 minutes last week on "Good Morning America," ABC finally featured a Catholic priest to object to the movie. Unfortunately, the interview was relegated only to the network's website, not the ABC morning show. (Considering the four days of fawning coverage to the film's stars last week, this hardly seems fair.) Father Edward Beck appeared on the internet-based "Focus on Faith" to talk to Chris Cuomo and point out the inaccuracies.
Beck critiqued the filmmakers behind "Angels & Demons," which falsely features the Catholic Church participating in a brutal massacre of a secret society, asserting that they should be more responsible for "doing their homework, even with a work of fiction." Cuomo bizarrely responded by claiming Beck needed to consider "the atheistic [position], which is, 'It's all fiction.' So, the church doesn't have any right to hold its own truth when it is a fiction in and of itself." He reiterated the disbelievers take, stating, "Anything you say you believe in is based on a fiction, because God is a fiction. So, what's wrong with having a fiction about fiction?"
Beck quickly retorted, "No. Whether or not the church kills people is not fiction. Either they do or they don't." Beck went on to note other offensive elements of the movie, such as the fact that the deceased Pope in the movie turns out to have fathered a child through artificial insemination. The New York-based priest complained, "Now, I mean, how unrealistic do we really want to make this?" Appearing to miss the point, Cuomo replied, "You taking yourself too seriously in the organized church?" (It should be pointed out that some of the tone was light-hearted as Cuomo and Beck are apparently friends.)
"Good Morning America" on Thursday capped off four days and nearly 20 minutes of fawning coverage of "Angels & Demons," the just-released film that features the Catholic Church participating in a brutal massacre. On Thursday, co-star Ayelet Zurer appeared to promote the movie, whose main villain turns out to be a priest who murdered the previous Pope and is also his son. And just like with the interviews of director Ron Howard and stars Tom Hanks and Ewan McGregor, the film's controversial, anti-Christian elements were completely ignored.
Instead, Sawyer focused on the number of languages the Israeli Zurer could speak and how she prepared for the role. The GMA host never mentioned how the film's storyline, involving the Catholic Church wiping out a secret society called the Illuminati, is false. And, just as with fellow co-star McGregor, she ignored the fact that the movie's big surprise turns out to be that the priest (McGregor's character) is a murderer and the son of the late Pope. On Wednesday, McGregor absurdly claimed, "However, I would stress there is, really, no controversy. There's no anti-Catholicism or anti-Christianity in the movie at all." Sawyer didn't challenge the point.
"Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer worried on Thursday that Barack Obama backtracked "on his pledge to release pictures of U.S. soldiers allegedly torturing terror suspects," fretting that this might be a "cave-in to Dick Cheney and the political right."
Later in the show, former Democratic aide-turned journalist George Stephanopoulos appeared on the program to put the best possible spin on the Obama administration's decision to appeal a court decision ordering pictures of alleged abuse released. Talking to co-host Robin Roberts, he offered talking points that could have come straight from White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
Stephanopoulos generously theorized, "So, by appealing this case right now, even if the White House doesn't win down the line, they bought themselves some time. And the President has shown he's on the side of the troops." At no point did Sawyer, who teased the segment, Roberts or Stephanopoulos talk about the pressure the political left put on Obama to release the photos.Speaking of Dick Cheney, the "This Week" anchor did allow that the former Vice President's opposition against releasing the pictures "is starting to get some traction."
"Good Morning America" continued its seemingly endless promotion of "Angels & Demons" on Wednesday, highlighting the film for a third day and almost 17 minutes thus far this week. Once again, co-host Diane Sawyer completely ignored the anti-Christian story elements in the film, including members of the Catholic Church brutally slaughtering a secret society, while talking to star Ewan McGregor.
Even when McGregor, quite unprovoked, brought the subject up, Sawyer avoided the issue. "However, I would stress there is, really, no controversy. There's no anti-Catholicism or anti-Christianity in the movie at all. I wouldn't have wanted to do it if there had been," he explained. (See Townhall for video.) However, an impending twist in the film makes that claim quite ridiculous. [Spoilers below the fold]
Former New Yorker editor Tina Brown appeared on Tuesday's "Morning Joe" to rail against the "crazy jihad" and "one-man...hate-fest" of Dick Cheney. Brown, who is now the editor of the Daily Beast website, trashed the former Vice President for constantly appearing on cable news programs to attack the current administration and for claiming that Barack Obama is making America less safe. [Audio available here]
After asserting that Cheney is about as popular as Pakistan's President, Brown sneered, "In some ways, I kind of admire this kind of crazy jihad, this one man, kind of, hate-fest that he runs on cable shows. I mean, I guess he feels he has to defend what he did." Remarking on the Vice President's claim during Sunday's "Face the Nation" that he prefers Rush Limbaugh over Colin Powell, the liberal journalist mocked, "'Cause when he said on that show that Rush Limbaugh, rather than Colin Powell, was the face of the party, it was like once again, that huge, fat crazy frame fills the screen and becomes the face of the party."
"Good Morning America" continued its hyping of "Angels & Demons" on Tuesday, a film that accuses the Catholic Church of participating in a brutal massacre of a secret society. While talking to director Ron Howard, GMA co-host Diane Sawyer mostly glossed over the film's controversial elements and again referred to the movie as a "great, spiritual scavenger hunt."
She prompted the director to spin himself as not wanting a fight, saying, "And you're relieved. 'Cause I read somewhere you said, 'I don't like controversy.'" At no point did she mention Catholic League President William Donohue and his organization's opposition to the film or the nasty column Howard wrote on the Huffington Post where he attacked, "I guess Mr. Donohue and I do have one thing in common: we both like to create fictional tales, as he has done with his silly and mean-spirited work of propaganda" (referring to the group's criticism of the film).
"Angels & Demons" star Tom Hanks received zero critical questions or challenges when he appeared on Monday's "Good Morning America" to promote a movie that features the Catholic Church ordering a brutal massacre in order to silence a secret society. Instead, Sawyer referred to the film, a prequel to "The Da Vinci Code," as a "scary, spiritual scavenger hunt." After playing a clip of Hanks' character in the film asserting that he has no religious beliefs, she moved on to talking about how the movie star still gets nervous when he acts.
It's not as though Hanks didn't open himself up to questions about the film's validity. He admitted to Sawyer that in a few years, this movie, like every one he's made, will be subject to wondering "if moments are proper or authentic. Or if it actually, really, has some purpose in its reflection of, like, the human zeitgeist and that's where you find out whether or not you were telling the truth or not." Wouldn't this have been a good point to jump in and debate some of the assertions made in the book and movie? Sadly, Sawyer remained silent.
Contrast the gentle way that the ABC host treated Hanks with the grilling of Mel Gibson in a 2003 "Primetime" special on "The Passion of the Christ." Regarding accuracy and his film about Jesus Christ, Sawyer pressed for specifics: "What about the historians who say that the Gospels were written long after Jesus died, and are not merely fact, but political points of views and metaphors? Historians, you know, have argued that in fact it was not written at the time [of Christ]. These [gospel writers] were not eyewitnesses."
ABC's token contrarian John Stossel appeared on Friday's "Good Morning America" to promote his new "20/20" special on some very politically incorrect subjects. In the process, he got into a bit of a dust-up with GMA news anchor Chris Cuomo, telling the son of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, "And I know in law school and in your political family, you believe good things only happen because government passes laws." [Audio available here]
Stossel appeared on the morning show to discuss one of the topics on his special, airing Friday night at 10pm on ABC. Among other subjects, he will argue that it was wrong for the government to make it illegal for employers to fire a woman because she is pregnant. After showing a clip of the piece, Cuomo skeptically questioned, "...This law was created for a reason, that women were discriminated against. That's why they passed the law in the '60s." Cuomo, whose brother is currently the Democratic Attorney General of New York, challenged, "Why open the door to giving a corporation a way out?"
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," for the third time in less than a week, the morning show featured a sympathetic story on Elizabeth Edwards and how she is coping with the affair of husband John Edwards, this time touting a appearance on the May 7 "Oprah Winfrey Show." In total, GMA has devoted 12 minutes and 25 seconds to the subject, but still managed to skip a key development in the case. On Sunday, word leaked out that a federal probe is investigating whether or not then-presidential candidate Edwards improperly used campaign funds to pay off a staffer, Rielle Hunter, who he was having an affair with.
Yet, there was no mention of that in the May 6 story on GMA or on Thursday's program. (Another piece aired on May 1, prior to the allegations going public.) Instead, the May 7 interview with O magazine editor Gayle King mostly focused on gossipy details. Ms. King teased, "Can I tell you, the interview this afternoon, is not going to disappoint. It is not. I can't wait for people to see it and draw their own conclusions. It will not disappoint."
"Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer and ABC journalist George Stephanopoulos lauded Barack Obama for his handling of the banking crisis on Thursday. Sawyer even saw the government administered stress tests as a "mission accomplished" moment. On the news that many of the banks given billions in bailout money won't need more, the morning show anchor cooed, "So, George, is this the day that this administration can say, on the banking front, they've sailed through the eye of the needle? They've landed a Hail Mary pass?" [audio available for download here]
At this point, Sawyer engaged in some belated bashing of George W. Bush. In an allusion to the banner above President Bush during his 2003 visit to an aircraft carrier, the host held up a sign that read "mission accomplished." She joked, "And dare I say- I had this sign made just for you. Dare they say it?" Joining in, Stephanopoulos, the "This Week" host and former Clinton aide, quipped, "You're the last person who is ever going to hold up one of those signs. I think President Bush ruined it for everybody."
Despite running two segments in the last week on Elizabeth Edwards and how she has coped with the extramarital affair of former Senator John Edwards, ABC's "Good Morning America" has yet to feature a single story on the news that a federal probe has been launched into whether the then-presidential candidate paid off the woman he was having a relationship with. This is despite the fact that Edwards acknowledged on Sunday that such a investigation is under way (though he denied any guilt).
CBS's "Early Show" briefly noted the probe on Wednesday. "Today" featured a segment on Monday. NBC reporter John Yang explained that investigators were looking into whether or not campaign money was improperly paid to Rielle Hunter, a videographer for Edwards in 2006. And while GMA hasn't followed this latest development, the show highlighted Elizabeth Edwards' new book on Friday and, on Wednesday, her upcoming appearance on the "Oprah Winfrey Show."
New video has surfaced of possible Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor remarking that the courts are the place "where policy is made." Sotomayor, who is a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, was giving a speech at Duke University in 2005 when the footage was shot. She quickly added, "And I know this is on tape and I should never say that, because we don't make law. I know." As the audience laughed, the judge, who is rumored to be a replacement for retiring justice David Souter, qualified, "I'm not promoting it and I'm not advocating it." More snickering from the crowd followed.
This is the same person that ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos touted on last Friday's "Good Morning America." The "This Week" host spun, "She would be not only a woman, but the first Hispanic on the court. She's built up a strong centrist record on the court." Noting that Sotomayor was nominated by President George H.W. Bush (who, it should be pointed out, also picked the liberal Souter), Stephanopoulos asserted, "So, she has got some bipartisan credentials."
ABC's "Good Morning America," which has yet to interview talk show host Mark Levin about his New York Times best selling book on conservatism, featured James Carville on Monday to promote "40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation." Co-host Diane Sawyer recited passages from the Democratic operative's tome, "Let me read what you write here. 'Republicans shouldn't be worried. They should be in agony. They should be throwing up.'"
Sawyer continued to read from Carville's book: "Republicans had better get a better policy on prescription drugs and quickly they're going to need a lot more Prozac." An onscreen graphic highlighted past one-party rule and speculated, "Democrats 1932-1968, Republicans 1968-2008, Democrats 2008-2048?"
Sawyer, to her credit, did challenge the thesis of the book, that Democrats will be in power for decades. She skeptically noted, "But, you know, there's people looking at this who say there's a big hole in this argument. And the big hole is the deficit that is building up, the debt that is building up." The GMA co-host added, "In fact, in ten years, per person in America, $2,700 will be spent just to pay the interest on the debt. Not to pay down the debt, but just to pay the interest." Later, she wondered if Democrats are becoming overly confident.
MSNBC anchor David Shuster appeared on Stephanie Miller's left-wing radio show on Thursday to praise the "brilliant," "informed," and "articulate" President Obama and trash the "atrocious" Fox News Channel. Shuster, who is on the same network as the extremely liberal Keith Olbermann, complained, "I mean, look, if Fox wants to consider themselves the GOP house organ, that's fine. They completely backed it up." [audio for download here]
Just getting warmed up, he continued, "When Fox starts describing themselves as journalists or a news organization, that’s where I think it’s appropriate to describe Fox as disgraceful." Shuster attacked the cable network, where he was a correspondent at from 1996 to 2002, for its "insanity." Getting around to the personalities on FNC, he derided, "The stuff that comes out of Sean Hannity's mouth has been infuriating. The stuff that Bill O'Reilly says has been illogical."
"Good Morning America" weekend anchor Kate Snow on Friday filed a report on Elizabeth Edwards' new book about her husband's infidelity. The ABC journalist ignored the media's role in creating a "myth" about the marriage between Elizabeth and John Edwards, the former senator. Snow noted that Mrs. Edwards knew of her husband's affair prior to his 2008 Democratic presidential campaign and discouraged him from running. She explained, "Last fall in a rare interview, Elizabeth Edwards told the Detroit Free Press the idea the Edwards were a perfect couple was a myth."
However, in 2007, as the Democratic primary race began to heat up, GMA hosts were only two happy to tout the happy marriage of the Edwards. On August 9, reporter David Muir cooed, "...We have the very first photos of a very personal backyard ceremony for John Edwards and his wife." He then proceeded to show pictures of the couple renewing their wedding vows. Muir was wowed by "an incredibly personal photograph" that somehow ended up in People magazine. On July 31, 2007, only nine days earlier, co-hosts Robin Roberts and Diane Sawyer featured pictures of the two as they celebrated their wedding anniversary at Wendy's. (The above photo is from the visit to the fast food restaurant.)
"Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts didn't bother to challenge Vice President Joe Biden when he asserted on Thursday that cheering crowds spontaneously appear wherever he goes. Paraphrasing a softball question given to Barack Obama at his Wednesday news conference, Roberts asked what had humbled the Vice President during his first 100 days in office. [Audio available here]
In a serious tone, Biden responded, "...Everywhere I go, crowds spontaneously assemble. They start to cheer, whether I go to a play on Broadway or I'm going home to Wilmington, Delaware. I walk on the train. People stand up and clap." Roberts didn't offer a follow-up, but she could have referenced a January 3 incident, when (then) Vice President-elect Biden went unnoticed while trying to see a movie in Delaware. According to a reprinted Deleware Online article, "Remarkably, none of the other moviegoers appeared to notice. Employees said nobody mobbed Biden or called his name or asked for an autograph." Movie theater employee Becky Gingrich explained, "It didn't seem many people recognized him."
Is "World News" anchor Charles Gibson already planning for Barack Obama's second term? The ABC journalist briefly wrapped up coverage from the President's prime-time press conference on Wednesday and signed off by asserting, "100 days in office. 1,362 days remaining in his first term." 1362 days left in his first term? Was that a bit of a Freudian slip?
Even Gibson, however, seemed to notice the incredible softball question from New Times reporter Jeff Zeleny about what had "enchanted" Obama the most during his first 100 days. Gibson asserted, "...I suspect the question that will get the most attention, what has surprised you about being President, what troubled you, what enchanted you and what has humbled you now that you've been in the White House?"
ABC reporter Yunji de Nies filed a gushing profile piece on Tuesday's "Nightline" for the first 100 days of Michelle Obama, showering praise on the President's wife. De Nies rhapsodized, “From her inaugural debut, Michelle Obama has been the belle of the ball.” Playing a clip of Mrs. Obama unveiling a statue for abolitionist Sojourner Truth, the ABC journalist described the First Lady as “perhaps the most powerful woman of the moment.” (If that's so, shouldn't reporters such as de Nies try to be slightly less fawning in their coverage?)
De Nies used the type of descriptions that have become typical from reporters who discuss the Obamas. She informed, “Her European tour solidified her rock star status," then added, “She held her own in a fashion face-off with model turned singer turned First Lady of France, Carla Bruni Sarkozy.”
CBS's "Early Show" on Wednesday completely skipped any follow-up on the gaffe of having Air Force One fly over New York City on Monday, terrifying residents. Instead, the program highlighted stories on Barack Obama's first 100 days and still found time for a piece on male celebrities and whether or not they are gaining too much weight. ABC's "Good Morning America" and NBC's "Today" both had segments on the developing story and the revelation that the exercise, designed as a photo op for the White House website, cost $328,000. ABC reporter Jake Tapper intoned, "Asked if the President thinks the costs in both money and stress were worth it, the White House said no."
He also explained to viewers that Senator John McCain had written a letter to the Defense Department, charging, that the flight "represents a fundamentally unsound exercise in military judgment and may have constituted an inappropriate use of the Department of Defense resources." Tapper labeled the debacle a "terrifying photo op." "Today" correspondent Lisa Myers covered similar ground and speculated, "And what about the cost to taxpayers during a financial crisis?" She featured a clip from Steve Ellis of the organization Taxpayers for Common Sense. He charged that the "government wasting money on a photo shoot really flies in the face of fiscal responsibility."
"MSNBC News Live" anchor Contessa Brewer on Tuesday speculated as to whether supposed obstructionism by congressional Republicans may end up hampering the response to the swine flu outbreak. Talking to Republican strategist Tucker Bounds and Democratic strategist Peter Mirijanian, she asserted, "Let me ask you, Health and Human Services secretary has not been confirmed. You have a missing director of the CDC. The surgeon general is not there."
Specifically addressing Bounds, Brewer quizzed, "Do you, Tucker, think that Republicans are in any way to blame for standing in the way of those important positions- when you're facing swine flu- from being filled?" Bounds, of course pointed out that Democrats control both the Senate and the House. As for the CDC, Obama has not even nominated a candidate. Regarding the position of surgeon general, Dr. Sanjay Gupta was considered, but took his name out of contention. No one has picked to fill the spot. So, how, exactly, would Republicans be to blame? Brewer didn't say.