During an appearance on Friday's "Morning Joe," MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews certainly didn't parrot the liberal line while discussing Fidel Castro and Cuban policy. In the midst of a an interview with host Joe Scarborough about the relaxing of certain rules towards the communist country, Matthews growled, "...I just am not a Castro fan. You know, he bought the wrong ticket. He bet on communism. He bet on the Soviet Union." Just getting warmed up, the "Hardball" host derided, "He made the wrong decision, morally, historically, whatever. He's on the wrong side of history. He ought to pay for it." [Audio available here.]
Making himself very clear, Matthews summed up, "I hope he dies a communist, ends up that way. I don't want to lift a finger to help that guy or his brother." In perhaps a sad commentary on the state of the left, both Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski seemed surprised at their colleague's fervent anti-communism. Responding to the whole riff, Scarborough joked about a conservative analyst for the network: "Have you been talking to [Pat] Buchanan this morning?" Brzezinski retorted, "I know. Is Pat in the Washington bureau?"
Has "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough had enough of MSNBC's mocking, sexually-laced taunts about "teabagging?" Several anchors on the liberal cable network, including David Shuster and Rachel Maddow, have used crude references and language to deride the tax day protests that occurred on Wednesday. On Thursday, Scarborough complained, "You look at these huge rallies, and I'm not going to mention names of people on networks that made sexual jokes, childish sexual jokes, about tens of thousands of Americans who went out and wanted to get involved in their government."
The MSNBC host continued, "I mean, it was really middle school jokes being made. I didn't hear those jokes being made when people on the left protested over the past eight years." Earlier in the 6am hour, he offered criticism that, one might assume, would have to be directed at his own network: "But, if a media outlet wants to expose its bias, they can mock tea parties, if they like."
Continuing the unnamed critique, Scarborough asserted that he would expect such juvenile actions from liberal bloggers, however, "I would expect more...from news outlets. And it happened on several networks yesterday." (The last part is certainly true. CNN has also engaged in such talk.)
"Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer interviewed Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Thursday and skipped any mention of a controversial report by the agency warning of right-wing extremist activity and disgruntled returning war veterans. In separate interviews, both the CBS "Early Show" and NBC's "Today" discussed the hot-topic issue with the top government official. Instead, Sawyer pressed Napolitano with incorrect numbers about gun violence and Mexico. "95 percent of the guns used were out of the United States. What is the U.S. going to do to stop the guns from getting there," she asked.
In fact, the number of guns traced to the U.S. is only about 17 percent. (MRC intern Mike Sargent wrote about this on April 2.) Even the Homeland Security secretary seemed to be uncomfortable with the statistic. Before answering the question, Napolitano prefaced, "And I won't quibble about numbers. That's not the point." On the issue of terrorism, the GMA host posed this not-exactly pressing question: "Do you see, in your reports that you're now reading in great detail, do you see an increase in the threat to the U.S. homeland? Or do you have them on the run?"
[UPDATED: 2009-04-16 15:01:00] "MSNBC News Live" host Contessa Brewer on Wednesday reported four times on the possible threat of right-wing violence against the government. And for several of those segments there was a graphic in the background that featured the elephant logo of the GOP and the words, "New Right-Wing Threat?" Speaking to Democratic strategist Bob Shrum, Brewer asked about a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report warning of "right-wing extremists." In a bewildered tone, she wondered, "...Is it just a leap to think that they're talking about Republicans? They didn't even mention conservatives in the report."
If the DHS report didn't mention conservatives or Republicans, why did MSNBC feature a graphic that included an elephant, clearly a symbol for the GOP? In an earlier segment, NBC correspondent Pete Williams explained, "Now, we're not talking about [the] political right here. We're talking about extremist groups. Neo-Nazi groups, white supremacist groups, anti-government groups, hate groups." Brewer promptly responded, "So to be clear here, not just extreme conservatives." Not just extreme conservatives?
MSNBC featured the Republican Party's elephant logo in a segment on Wednesday's "MSNBC News Live" about the possible rise of right-wing hate groups. Anchor Contessa Brewer introduced the piece by asserting, "The White House is warning that a bad economy, combined with the election of the nation's first black President, could draw new extremist right-wing members, especially war veterans, to a dangerous cause." An onscreen graphic behind her featured a red and blue Republican elephant and fretted, "New Right-Wing Threat?" Even if one were to believe the report, how fair is it for MSNBC to link one of America's two major parties to such violence?
A second graphic for the remainder of the segment hyperbolically wondered, "Rise of the Radical Right?" Brewer interviewed Washington Times correspondent Eli Lake, who broke the story of the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report on Tuesday. After Lake pointed out that a footnote in the DHS analysis defines right-wing extremists as both hate groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, and also those concerned with state rights, Brewer inquired, "Are there any of these groups that have shown violent tendencies, trying to organize, overthrow the government or anything along those lines?" Lake chuckled and mused, "I mean, other than, I guess, you know, people in the Revolutionary War in 1776?"
"Nightline" co-anchor Terry Moran appeared on the Media Bistro's "Morning Media Menu" podcast on Friday and simultaneously defended an ABC colleague and attacked Rush Limbaugh. While telling host Steve Krakauer that White House correspondent Jake Tapper has been unfairly criticized by liberals for being tough on the Obama administration, he noted conservative praise for the journalist. Moran (see file photo above) complained, "If Tapper was covering Bush, Limbaugh would call him a traitor. And that's just the way it is."
Moran did add, "And it's not just Limbaugh, it's the other side too." But that is still a rather harsh charge to level against the radio talk show host. He also trotted out the standard journalist talking point that "no matter what you do, one side or the other is going to detest you." It's hard to imagine many liberals being too upset with Moran, however. He has developed quite a habit of fawning over Barack Obama. In another Media Bistro podcast, on February 20, he compared the President to George Washington and said that the White House was a "step down" for the new Commander in Chief:
"Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer previewed her ABC special "If I Only Had a Gun" on Friday's edition of the morning show. No voices from the NRA or any pro-Second Amendment group were featured in the clips shown. Instead, there was generous footage of a previous special in which ABC producers hid empty (but real) guns in toy chests and showed video of young children playing with the weapons. (Who would put a gun in a toy box?) The ABC graphic for the segment hyperbolically read, "'If I Only Had a Gun': Children's Obsessions With Guns." [audio available here]
The segment also showcased a faux-school massacre situation in which Joey, a college student, was given a Glock with plastic bullets as a fake "killer" stormed the classroom. The young man got his weapon entangled in his shirt and was "killed." Sawyer narrated, "Joey struggles to get his gun out. But it's stuck in his shirt. He can't even get it out to aim it. Had this event been real, Joey would have been killed in the first five seconds." She added, "Or there's a chance the bad guy would simply have taken his gun from him."
In the brief "Closing Arguments" segment on Wednesday's "Nightline," ABC's Terry Moran credulously repeated the White House contention that Barack Obama didn't bow to the King of Saudi Arabia last week at the G-20 summit. As video of the incident played, Moran narrated, "He sees King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Goes in for the hello. There's a hand shake. Obama bends at the waist. But was it a bow?" [Audio available here.]
He then recited, "The White House called it a lean, pointing out the King's shorter than the President." Inviting people to respond on his Twitter page, Moran wondered, "So, tonight, we ask you, was it a bow and do you care?" A search of @TerryMoran responses on Twitter shows a healthy number of people somewhat incredulous at the host's lack of skepticism. DesigningDi instructed, "Are you blind? Of course he's bowing. Don't play stupid!"
Will the upcoming ABC special "If I Only Had a Gun" dismiss and deride the concept of using firearms to defend oneself and stop a potential massacre? A promo that aired during Wednesday's "Good Morning America" seemed to suggest yes. As ominous music played in the background, an announcer intoned, "Friday night on ABC, when it comes to protecting yourself, you may think, 'If I only had a gun.'" Video then played of an experiment in which a female college student attempted to pull out what looked like a pellet gun to stop a faux Virginia Tech-style massacre.
The ad's announcer quizzed, "But if you had a gun, could you defend yourself in a crisis?" After an unidentified voice asked the young woman where she would be if this had been real, she responded, "Probably on the floor. Hopefully in an ambulance." More video showed young children pointing real guns at each other and themselves. The announcer solemnly wondered, "What about the irresistible pull of guns on kids and how easy can you get them? Diane Sawyer investigates with David Muir. 'If I Only Had a Gun.' One stunning hour."
ABC reporter Bill Weir didn't exactly grill "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane when he interviewed him for "Nightline's" ongoing "Seriously Funny" segment on Monday. The journalist failed to bring up some of the most egregious examples of MacFarlane's cartoon vulgarity, including a March 8 episode that featured bestiality jokes, a gay-hating Jesus Christ and an 11-way gay orgy.
Instead, Weir only vaguely alluded to such instances and asserted, "But, like those other cartoons, his shows raise the most ire with religious and parental watchdog groups. If there is a taboo line, chances are MacFarlane has leaped over it." He did read off a list of topics the show has skewered and then wondered, "Where is the line for you? Is there a line or is that the point?" Once again, however, Weir had no specifics to follow-up. Did he ask about the October 19, 2008 episode in which the program's baby character, Stewie Griffin dressed up as a Nazi and wore a McCain/Palin button? No. MacFarlane, a Barack Obama supporter and liberal Democrat, wasn't forced to talk about that particular low blow.
Interviewing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday, "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts challenged the Democratic politician from the left on guns. After bringing up the tragic shootings that occurred last week in New York and Pittsburgh, Roberts quizzed, "Under the Bush administration, you pretty much said the ball was in their court when it came to reinstating the [assault weapons] ban. Now, it's a Democratic President, a Democratic House. So, is the ball in your court where this is concerned?"
After noting that the shooter in Pennsylvania feared that President Obama would reinstate the assault weapons ban, Roberts wondered, "And how do you reconcile that with the work that you have to do in trying to stem these types of surges in gun purchases?"
For over two and a half months, MSNBC host David Shuster featured a segment called "Hypocrisy Watch" on his program "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" that overwhelmingly singled out conservatives and Republicans as hypocrites, while ignoring Democratic offenders. An analysis by the Media Research Center finds that of the 48 "Hypocrisy Watch" segments, 34 went after conservatives or Republicans. Only four (or just under nine percent) attacked liberals or Democrats. (Only two editions could be described as bipartisan. Another wasn't political. The remaining seven segments all hit business and corporate-related targets.)
Amazingly, despite the fact that Republicans are completely out of power in Washington, 20 (or 40 percent) of the "Hypocrisy Watch" designations were given to congressional Republicans, either individually or to the GOP minority in general. The daily feature began on January 14 and Shuster asserted on that day, "...We will focus on an organization or person who clearly seems to be doing something that makes the term appropriate." Liberal hypocrisies, such as President Barack Obama signing a $410 billion spending bill loaded with thousands of earmarks despite decrying them during the campaign, have gone unnoticed. More often, the targets are conservatives such as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Karl Rove or Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.
On Monday's "Good Morning America," reporter David Muir highlighted a rabidly pro-gun control group as an expert on weapons, without referencing the organization's political stance. The journalist also promoted "If I Only Had a Gun," an ABC special to air Friday night that seems to argue for tighter restrictions on firearms. During a segment on the tragic shootings in Pittsburgh and New York, Muir featured a clip from Michael Wolkowitz, who is a member of the board of trustees for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
No mention was made of his organization's anti-Second Amendment position and the only identification vaguely read, "Board of Trustees, Brady Center." Wolkowitz complained, "We have 32 people being murdered by guns every day in this country. If peanut butter or pistachio nuts or spinach killed that number of people once in one day, they'd be pulled by the FDA." Now, while ABC tried to conceal the group's goals, the Brady Center's campaign website does not. It currently (as of April 6) shows a picture Wolkowitz's appearance on ABC and a pitch to "pass common sense gun laws that require Brady criminal background checks on all gun sales, including those at gun shows." (Readers are then urged to contact Congress.)
Former Democratic political operative-turned journalist George Stephanopoulos appeared on Friday's "Good Morning America" to tout what a "star" Michelle Obama became during the trip to the G-20 summit in London. After being asked by co-host Chris Cuomo about the decision by the President to take his wife, the "This Week" host effusively responded, "That turned out to be a no-brainer, didn't it, Chris? I mean, Michelle is a star."
Comparing the First Lady to another family much-loved by the liberal media, he continued, "Again, much like Jackie Kennedy on her first trips overseas with President Kennedy, she is doing so well for the President, for the country right here." Speaking of how the President did at the summit, he opined, "But the President did a good job of managing expectations going into the summit. So, that what they came out with seemed like a victory." Isn't that essentially saying that journalists allowed themselves to be spun by the President and his team?
"Good Morning America" reporter Yunji de Nies continued to fawn over Michelle Obama on Friday, lauding how the First Lady shared her "Cinderella story" with a girls school in London. An ABC graphic for the segment opined, "Michelle Wows Europe: First Trip Big Hit." Recounting the positive reception the speech received, de Nies cooed, "But it was her personal touch that made the biggest impact."
Tina Brown, liberal commentator and former editor of the New Yorker, was featured to rhapsodize, "I don't see any misstep from Michelle Obama on this trip. She really excited everybody. She's done it right." Of course, de Nies made no mention of Brown's left wing political views. Sounding more like a PR representative, the GMA correspondent asserted, "She [Michelle Obama] leaves the U.K., no longer a stranger, but, now, a friend."
"Good Morning America" reporter Yunji de Nies on Thursday gushed over Michelle Obama's appearance in London for the G-20 summit, thrilling about the First Lady's fashion and the fact that "Mrs. Obama hasn't lost touch with her sensible chic American roots." In contrast, GMA ignored the controversy over Mrs. Obama touching the Queen of England during her visit, which many consider a breach of protocol. Similarly, the show's hosts and reporters downplayed the fact that the Obamas gave Queen Elizabeth II an iPod loaded with Barack Obama's speeches.
This is despite the fact that the very same de Nies filed a report on Tuesday on the history of overseas presidential trips. She insisted, "But one unlucky misstep and everyone remembers." She then proceeded to feature supposed gaffes from Republican Presidents George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Two days later, however, de Nies ignored the missteps of the Obamas and filed an absolutely laudatory segment on the First Lady. She rhapsodized, "The First Lady showcased her signature sleeveless style, her bare arms reminiscent of Jackie Kennedy, the last First Lady to cause such a stir across the pond."
"Good Morning America" correspondent Jake Tapper zinged news anchor Chris Cuomo on Wednesday, referencing the GMA host's past as the son of Mario Cuomo, former Democratic governor of New York. On yesterday's show, Tapper inadvertently mixed up his snacks and suggested that during Barack Obama's visit to England, the Queen would be serving Krimpets, rather then crumpets.
On Wednesday, when asked by co-host Diane Sawyer to defend himself about the goof, Tapper quipped, "I'm not one of your fancy boys, Diane. I didn't grow up in a governor's mansion. I'm from the streets of Philadelphia." After an audible "oooh" could be heard in the studio, Tapper concluded, "In Philly, we eat Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets. So, frankly, I was thinking that was what the Queen was going to serve the President."
On Wednesday's "Morning Joe," MSNBC co-host Mika Brzezinski twice made it very clear that she has no interest in the revelation that Kathleen Sebelius, Barack Obama's nominee for Health and Human Services, is just the latest pick for the President's cabinet to have tax problems. During a news brief in the 6am hour, Brzezinski related the story and that Sebelius just paid over $7000 in back taxes. She then editorialized to her co-hosts, "Around the table, does anyone care?" [Audio available here.]
"Morning Joe" regulars Mike Barnicle and Willie Geist both replied no. Geist then added, "Get over it." Despite expressing how much she didn't care, Brzezinski repeated the story in the 7am hour and also the same stunt. After briefly explaining the particulars, she complained, "Again, around the table, does anyone care?"
"Good Morning America" reporter Yunji de Nies on Tuesday touted supposed gaffes of past Republican presidents in a segment on Barack Obama's trip abroad. De Nies intoned, "But one unlucky misstep and everyone remembers." As she said this, video of George W. Bush's 2005 trip to Beijing appeared onscreen. (In the footage, the then-President can be seen trying to go out the wrong door.) More Republican footage followed.
First, 1992 video of George H.W. Bush throwing up in Japan was highlighted and then a 2006 picture of George W. Bush rubbing the neck of German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared. De Nies described these two events as "the upset stomach of a President" and an "awkward moment between two world leaders." Introducing a clip of veteran ABC correspondent Sam Donaldson, she continued, "Sam Donaldson remembers watching Ronald Reagan fight to stay awake at the G7 summit in Venice."
In a rather amusing moment that one might say was symptomatic of MSNBC, "News Live" host Contessa Brewer on Tuesday featured a segment on a truck that the Democratic National Committee would be bringing to different parts of the country. On the vehicle's side was a illustration of radio host Rush Limbaugh smoking a cigar with the words "Americans didn't vote for a Rush to failure" in big letters. MSNBC showcased a photo of the parked truck.
In the upper left corner, a notation reads, "Courtesy: Democratic National Committee." So, the network of Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow and David Shuster is now airing promotional pictures directly from the DNC? This comes just a day after Shuster, on his "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" program, railed against "nutty," "offensive" quotes from Limbaugh.
Considering that MSNBC also has a habit of picking up reports directly from the liberal Media Matters, as Shuster did in a March 24 segment on Newt Gingrich, this shouldn't be too surprising.
"1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" host David Shuster escalated his attack on Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives on Monday's show. In a tease for a segment on "GOP all stars," Shuster complained, "Plus, the nutty rhetoric continues from Rush Limbaugh, Michael Steele and Sarah Palin." In a later tease, he fretted, "Up next, how offensive can Rush Limbaugh be?"
The attack on Limbaugh was taken straight from a clip posted on the liberal Media Matters website on Friday. Limbaugh was discussing the flooding in North Dakota and made a joke about PC language and also a sly comment on how the Obama administration is dropping phrases such as the "war on terror." However, Shuster raged to guests Matt Lewis and Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis, "Rush Limbaugh referred- used the word dike when talking about flooding in North Dakota. But, that was not the context that he was using it. He was talking about Democratic female politicians. That kind of stuff, where does that- why do people listen to Rush Limbaugh?"
During the 10am hour of "MSNBC News Live" on Monday, host Tamron Hall completely skipped the ideology of a left-wing documentarian as she talked with him about his new movie "Rethink Afghanistan," which claims that "troops are not the answer" in that country. Hall never identified Director Robert Greenwald, who has made documentaries such as "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism," and "WAL-MART: The High Cost of Low Price," as a liberal. Instead, she simply described him as a "documentary filmmaker."
Additionally, Hall offered almost no tough questions, instead tossing softballs such as "What is your observation, having been [to Afghanistan] recently, regarding the Obama administration's plans?" Uninterrupted, Greenwald was allowed to later assert, "Well, again, remember that many people there believe that troops are not the answer. Troops contribute to the problem." He also instructed that the U.S. should send 17,000 teachers instead of soldiers. At the close of the interview, he complained, "But, I think we all get trapped in, as one of my friends in Afghanistan said, 'Shoot first. Think later.'"
In contrast, on January 9, when MSNBC host David Shuster interviewed John Ziegler about his movie on the media's treatment of Sarah Palin, the anchor got into a heated argument with the filmmaker, repeatedly challenging the "conservative documentary's" thesis and deriding, "John, you and Sarah Palin can't take any responsibility for the fact that she wasn't prepared to run for vice president."
On last Friday's "Countdown With Keith Olbermann," the liberal host of the self-titled show complained about a fake Twitter page and told his listeners that "I'm not on Twitter." He also hinted that this faux social networking account may have been some sort of Fox News plot. However, Media Bistro is reporting that the Twitter page Olbermann may have been referring to was run by MSNBC and had been for "several months." (In fact, there was a second Twitter site operated by the cable network.) On the March 20 show, Olbermann explained that he didn't use the website and mentioned the junk e-mail he received about the page.
He then elaborated on a possible dark conspiracy: "The subject line [of the e-mail] read 'Dan Cooper Media, local Tweet request.' And the e-mail began, 'Hi, Dan Cooper Media.' Who is Dan Cooper and why would he be getting spam e-mail about my fake Twitter account?" Olbermann proceeded to reveal the diabolical connection: "He [Dan Cooper] is one of the five architects of Fox News." Media Bistro discussed how, in actuality, MSNBC ran the Twitter page:
"1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" host David Shuster on Thursday intensified his obsession with former top Bush aide Karl Rove and made, for the fourth time, the political operative the subject of his "Hypocrisy Watch" segment. He also continued his habit of pointing out that Rove is now a paid contributor of Fox News. After noting that the ex-White House aide attacked Barack Obama in an op-ed for the "extremely conservative" Wall Street Journal, the MSNBC host attacked, "Karl, I appreciate that it may be difficult for you to wake up each day, given what you and your Bush administration colleagues did to this country." (Rove earned Shuster's ire for suggesting in the WSJ piece that Obama has been disingenuous in how he's argued for his economic policies. The MSNBC host mostly ignored the context of Rove's article.)
Shuster once was a serious, supposedly straight journalist who, from 2002 through 2008, reported for the "NBC Nightly News" and "Today," among other programs. However, since taking over hosting duties for "1600" in December, his tone has morphed into that of almost every other extremely liberal host on MSNBC. On March 6, he lashed out at Rove for criticizing the Obama administration over the Rush Limbaugh controversy. Placing Rove in the "Hypocrisy Watch," a segment supposedly designed to go after any hypocritical politician or public figure, Shuster derided, "Karl, you've spent your entire career putting politics ahead of everything else. When you now complain about the Obama White House playing politics with the GOP, your whining is hypocrisy and it's wrong."
CNN's Jack Cafferty gave an interview to the Media Bistro's "Media Morning Menu" podcast on Thursday and rhapsodized about the "bright" and "terrific" Barack Obama. Talking to hosts Steve Krakauer and Glynnis MacNicol, the "Situation Room" contributor cheered on the new President. He enthused, "...I'm pulling for the guy. I like him. I think he's terrific."
After being asked by Krakauer if it's too early for journalists to start complaining about Obama's ability to change the country quickly, the host of CNN's "Cafferty File" segment agreed and then acknowledged, "Well, you know, I haven't been critical of the Obama administration." In contrast, Cafferty (see file photo above) was very critical of George W. Bush and his administration. Indeed, he attacked the ex-President during the podcast, claiming America "was badly damaged following the eight years of George W. Bush and that collection of morons that he had around him running this country into a ditch."
Cafferty seemed more interested in praising Obama, however. Asked whether he thought the President could turn things around, the CNN host described himself as "hopeful" and gushed, "I like him a lot. I think he's a bright guy. I like the fact that he's visible and that, you know, he's attempting to bring some transparency and some legitimacy and honesty to the office, which has been missing for a while."
"Countdown With Keith Olbermann" guest host David Shuster slipped an incredible claim into Monday's program when he highlighted "independent reports" showing that presidential candidate Barack Obama received harsher media scrutiny than did John McCain during the 2008 election.
As a way of introducing a discussion on why the President didn't attend the 2009 Gridiron dinner (a longstanding occasion for journalists and politicians) on Saturday, the MSNBC anchor oddly suggested, "Even though independent reports have shown the media was more critical of Barack Obama than John McCain during the presidential contest, there is still a fantasy that the press is gaga over now-President Obama." What independent reports? He didn't say. It's possible that Shuster was referring to a Center for Media and Public Affairs report from August of 2008. They claimed that, through the first six weeks of the general election, McCain received more favorable coverage. [Updated 2009-03-25 15:32:49 to reflect CMPA study.]
ABC's George Stephanopoulos appeared on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" to laud Barack Obama's "confident" Tuesday night press conference as reminiscent of a "law seminar." The "This Week" host then cooed, "The President used to be a law professor." He enthused, "I would say overall, though, a good performance, about an A-." (As noted by the MRC's Brent Baker, Stephanopoulos also appeared on Tuesday's "Nightline" and offered the A- grade to both the President and the press coverage of the event.)
On Wednesday's GMA, he spoke to co-host Robin Roberts and praised, "Well, I thought the President was confident as he always is, Robin, and very straight. You didn't see a lot of laughter that we saw on Jay Leno."
The former Democratic aide-turned journalist has developed a pattern of giving Obama top marks. Appearing on the February 9 "Nightline" to offer a "report card" for the President's first prime time press conference, he awarded Obama "an A for overall performance at the event and a B for Obama's bipartisan efforts." During the presidential campaign, Stephanopoulos declared the then-candidate the winner over John McCain in every debate between the two.
MSNBC host David Shuster, who usually touts the liberal line on "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," filled in on Monday's "Countdown With Keith Olbermann" and came to Barack Obama's defense against comments made by Dick Cheney. Shuster played a "60 Minutes" clip of the President responding to allegations by the former Vice President that he is making the country less safe. The cable host asked guest and Huffington Post blogger Lawrence O'Donnell, "Basically, Obama is saying Cheney claims the founding fathers and American principles that were forged during wartime are failures. Is the President flirting here with calling Cheney un-American?"
Earlier in the segment, the liberal anchor editorialized about Bush: "If the absurdity of the administration that let down its guard on 9/11 lecturing anyone about safety was not enough for you, in our number three story tonight, Mr. Obama hits back." After O'Donnell summarized Obama's argument, that institutions such as Guantanamo Bay have made America less safe, Shuster followed up with a "quick hypothetical." If Cheney keeps up his attack, the host mused, "At what point does President Obama say, 'Okay, you want to debate your tactics? I'll send my attorney general over with a subpoena'?"
On Saturday's "Good Morning America," co-anchor Bill Weir and reporter Gigi Stone actually took a look at whether or not it's a good idea to tax CEO bonuses and what effect it could have on Wall Street. While much of the mainstream media have been playing off populist anger over bonuses, Weir teased the segment by wondering, "With tempers flaring over executive payouts, Congress considers cutting off bonuses at all institutions receiving taxpayer money. But without incentives, why would any smart banker work to fix Wall Street's mess?"
He followed up by querying, "But, could the corporate crackdown, all this righteous anger, actually backfire and make it even harder to rescue our system?" (Of course, "righteous anger" is certainly editorializing on Weir's part.) Reporter Stone talked with several financial experts who posed the same question. Scott Talbott, senior vice president for the Financial Services Roundtable, insisted, "By taking away bonuses, you remove incentive for employees to work harder." Stone added, "So, if taxpayers want their money back, they want the best and brightest working."
On Friday's "Good Morning America," co-host Diane Sawyer actually provided some skepticism about the actions of the Obama administration over the last week and wondered if the White House has "been knocked off its stride this week." This piece was GMA's third segment of the day on the controversy the President created on Thursday when he told "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno that his bowling skills were on the level of "Special Olympics or something." (Obama has since apologized.)
An ABC onscreen graphic challenged, "Obama on the Defense: Should President be on Late Night?" Sawyer talked to liberal political operative James Carville and former Bush White House Press Secretary Dana Perino. She pressed Carville, "Even Democrats are saying the combination of the TV time spent on the NCAA brackets, also Jay Leno and the apology this morning about the Special Olympics means the White House off its stride. Mixing messages. What do you say?"