Former Vanity Fair and New Yorker editor Tina Brown appeared on Friday's "Morning Joe" to lament that a new liberal ad featuring Rush Limbaugh would only elevate the status of the "blow-hard bullfrog" conservative host. The liberal group Americans United for Change has a spot running that slams Republicans as a party of no and features a clip of Limbaugh's now famous comment that he wants Obama's liberal policies to fail.
After "Morning Joe" co-host Willie Geist played the ad, Brown asserted of the commercial, "I adore the 'party of no.' I think it is wonderful." She then complained, "The only thing I do regret though is that this giant, you know, blow-hard bullfrog, you know, Rush Limbaugh is being turned into this big icon."
Washington Post staff writer Paul Farhi penned a nasty little critique of Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher in Thursday's paper, deriding the conservative critic of Barack Obama as "a leftover artifact from a forgotten time." Grouping Wurzelbacher in with other "campaign distractions," Farhi panned, "He's Clara Peller, Willie Horton or Gennifer Flowers -- names that are the questions in a 'Jeopardy!' category called 'Presidential Campaign Distractions.'" (Of course, Wurzelbacher's "distraction" was to challenge the economic policy of Obama.)
The Washington Post writer gleefully recounted how only 11 people showed up to a Joe the Plumber book signing event in Washington D.C. Farhi added odd asides, such as noting Wurzelbacher's "shiny bullet head." Even the headline, which read "Joe the Author, Plumbing New Lows in Interest," adopted a condescending tone.
"1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" host David Shuster on Wednesday delighted in a comparison of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to the MTV characters Beavis and Butt-head. Shuster singled out the Republican, who gave the GOP response to Barack Obama's February 24 congressional address, for his "hypocrisy watch" segment.
The MSNBC host slammed "Jindal's hypocrisy" for criticizing what he called wasteful spending, including volcano monitoring. (According to Shuster, Jindal is a hypocrite because, while the governor attacked volcano monitoring, he's also asked for comprehensive flood and hurricane funds for his own state.) The anchor gleefully recounted an attack by liberal New York Times writer Paul Krugman: Reading from Krugman's column, he recited, "The intellectual incoherence is stunning. The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butt-head." Agreeing with the juvenile insult, Shuster added, "Beavis and Butthead? Well, Krugman didn't say which one Jindal is. Nonetheless, all of us at '1600' agree with the larger point."
Despite calling for massive new spending on education, universal health care and more money for bailing out banks, no ABC anchor on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning used the word liberal in describing Barack Obama's February 24 address to Congress. In contrast, ABC host Terry Moran on February 27, 2001 anticipated that a similar speech by President George W. Bush would be "conservative."Following that address, he spun it as "hard core conservatism: fiscal restraint; deep, across-the-board spending and tax cuts; the privatization of part of Social Security."
And yet, on Tuesday's post-speech coverage, on that evening's "Nightline" and on Wednesday's "Good Morning America," no anchor applied the liberal label to Obama's address. The same Moran who saw "hard core conservatism" in Bush's appearance before Congress, described a "big and bold speech" from the current President. He also enthused that "President Barack Obama didn't sugarcoat it, he found bad guys on Wall Street and in Washington." Regarding the President's obviously liberal plans on the economy and health care, Moran reiterated, "The answer, the President argued, go big, big plans, big changes."
Former top Democratic aide-turned journalist George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday applauded Barack Obama's address to Congress, lauding it for making "a start at inspiring hope out in the country."The "This Week" host appeared on "Good Morning America" and affirmed co-host Robin Roberts' question about whether Obama "hit his marks last night."
Stephanopoulos asserted that the President needed to show that he had a strong plan to fix the economy. He then complimented, "And I think he made a good start last night." He singled out the section of Obama's speech on bailing out the banks and cooed, "And I think that was the single-most effective passage in the speech." And while Stephanopoulos noted that this plan will cost "billions of more dollars," at no time did he discuss how the country would pay for all the programs and reforms the President wants to enact.
Co-host Roberts, on the other hand, should be commended for actually raising that question when she interviewed Joe Biden in a separate segment. Speaking of those who bought houses they couldn't afford, she pressed the Vice President: "And now, billions of dollars are going to help both. Isn't that rewarding bad behavior? Folks are still outraged about this."
Tuesday's "Good Morning America" ignored the liberal leanings of a Florida attorney who is instructing people on how to stall home foreclosures. In the segment, reporter Jim Avila showcased individuals who have drawn out the process by demanding that banks produce the original note to their home (which has often been sold in loan packages that are then traded on Wall Street). At no time did he ever question if the homeowners in question had any responsibility for their current situation.
Avila talked to lawyer Chris Hoyer who runs the Consumer Warning Network [CWN], a group whose stated purpose is to investigate fraud by large companies. The CWN website features an interview conducted by Hoyer in summer 2008 of former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. In that video, Hoyer can be seen telling Dean that he hopes the coming White House "will be a Democratic administration in tune with consumers." Of course, at no time in Avila's piece did he identify the partisan leanings of the Florida lawyer.
"Nightline" co-anchor Terry Moran gave an interview on Friday to the Media Bistro's "Morning Media Menu" podcast and compared Barack Obama to George Washington. Talking to host and editor Steve Krakauer, Moran gushed, "I like to say that, in some ways, Barack Obama is the first President since George Washington to be taking a step down into the Oval Office." (For those who have forgotten, George Washington defeated the strongest military power in the world. Barack Obama was a community organizer.) [Full interview audio available here.]
Moran continued, "I mean, from visionary leader of a giant movement, now he's got an executive position that he has to perform in, in a way." [MP3 audio of just this answer, 26 seconds]
On his Twitter page later, the ABC journalist attempted to explain his over-the-top comparison. Moran, who can be seen in the above file photo, contended, "I said like only Washington, Obama came to office as more than a politician, a visionary leader for many. Now's he's got a job."
"Good Morning America" news anchor Chris Cuomo interviewed Bill Clinton on Friday and skipped any questions as to what role his administration might have had in creating the current economic scandals that are now plaguing America. Cuomo, whose Democratic brother Andrew was the former Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Clinton, and whose father was the former Democratic governor of New York, instead offered a summery defense of the ex-President.
After the interview, he concluded the piece by asserting, "President Clinton has been brushed with blame about this [the banking collapse]. These toxic assets we're talking about, those securities, they took root during his administration. He says he now regrets that he deregulated derivatives, those assets." Cuomo continued, "But, he says, don't say he's to blame. He regulated banks more. That the banks he believed in didn't get us in this trouble. That was about the next administration."
"CBS Evening News" Anchor Katie Couric asserted in a Daily Beast interview on Thursday that former President George W. Bush "felt a lot more relaxed and was a lot more facile with information and details and policy than I think probably the American people gave him credit for and were exposed to." (The journalist was referring to lunches that she attended prior to Bush announcing the troop surge in Iraq.)
It's possible that Couric meant "facile" as a compliment. In the introduction to the piece, columnist Lloyd Grove referenced the issues the anchor would be discussing, including "why George W. Bush is smarter than you think." However, facile, which means superficial or simplistic, is generally not used in a positive manner. In the wide ranging interview, which appeared on Tina Brown's new website, the CBS journalist also described Barack Obama as making an effort to be the "anti-Bush" with his apology over the resignation of Health and Human Services nominee Tom Daschle.
In a lighter moment, Grove asked the former "Today" host if she could tell when someone is lying to her. "Apparently not," said the laughing Couric, in a reference to the fact that baseball player Alex Rodriguez denied using steroids to her, only to admit it later.
"Good Morning America" reporter David Wright on Thursday worried that a comic strip appearing in yesterday's New York Post could harm the "post racial glow" that America has been enjoying since Barack Obama's inauguration. Wright recounted the outrage expressed by the Reverend Al Sharpton and others over an editorial cartoon depicting a chimp shot by police and connecting it to the just passed economic stimulus bill. (Host Diane Sawyer, above, introduced the segment.)
Wright derided, "Ever since the inauguration, America has seemed to bask in a post-racial glow. But not so fast. Yesterday, the New York Post published a cartoon likening President Obama to a violent monkey shot by police." The GMA journalist chose to accept the most sinister view of the comic, that the dead ape was intended to represent the President. (Of course, since the comic refers to the chimpanzee as the writer of the stimulus bill and Obama didn't author the legislation, that argument doesn't seem to make the most sense.)
Wright featured no one who offered a different interpretation of the cartoon. He simply stated, "The paper refused to apologize for the cartoon, calling it a clear parody of a current news event." Instead, Wright used the controversy as an opportunity to uncritically repeat Attorney General Eric Holder's comments on Wednesday that America is a "nation of cowards." Wright lectured, "Despite evident progress on race, America still has a long way to go, according to the nation's first black attorney general who spoke yesterday at a separate black history month event."
New Yorker senior editor Hendrik Hertzberg appeared on Wednesday's "Morning Joe" and compared Rush Limbaugh to 1960s segregationist and Ku Klux Klan member Bull Connor. He also linked Barack Obama to Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King. According to Hertzberg, "And I'm not saying that Obama is Martin Luther King or that Rush Limbaugh, the leader of the opposition, is Bull Connor. But the dynamic is very similar." [Audio available here.]
Hertzberg, who once wrote for Newsweek, was on the MSNBC program to promote his new article that touts President Obama for embracing "Gandhian hardball" in the mold of the civil rights movement.Specifically, the New Yorker editor asserted that Obama used this strategy in the way that he fought congressional Republicans over the stimulus bill. Hertzberg told "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough, "You know, when, when [Martin Luther] King offered non-violence, when the civil rights movement came out and was non-violent and then the other side greeted it with fire hoses and clubs, nobody said, 'Oh, King has failed in his effort to have non violence.'"
"Nightline" reporter David Wright on Monday inserted a gratuitous slam of Sarah Palin into a seemingly innocuous segment covering the 50th anniversary of the Barbie doll. Recounting the various versions of the Mattel toy, he set up the attack: "[Barbie's] been an astronaut and a rock star. Pop icons Beyonce and Shakira. She's won 'American Idol' too." Right after footage of the "President Barbie" doll appeared onscreen, the segment cut to various clips of a stylish-looking Palin. Wright derided, "Some would argue she also ran for vice president in 2008."
During the 2008 presidential election, Wright would occasionally throw in a out-of-left field shot at Palin or the Republican ticket. Reporting for "Good Morning America" on October 22, he discussed the Republican vice presidential candidate's attacks on Barack Obama and editorialized, "Her own glass house notwithstanding, Sarah Palin has thrown some stones on the issue, too, even though she's not above making gaffes of her own."
ABC reporter Jake Tapper on Tuesday's "Good Morning America" recited several times the not-exactly breaking news from the White House that Barack Obama admires Franklin Roosevelt. During a piece on the stimulus package, he informed, "Obama is said to admire FDR's fireside chats for the President's ability to explain problems so the average American could understand them and feel confident a solution was coming."
The segment then featured a clip of an Obama speech which cut to FDR and then back to Obama. (Each time, the audio of one would fade into the other.) After Tapper explained just how Roosevelt wrote economic speeches while imagining everyday working Americans, the ABC correspondent continued making the connection between the two Democrats. Tapper announced, "Now, President Obama does not do anything like that. But he does read some of the e-mails and letters that struggling families write to the White House." According to "White House aides," this "helps him focus on the nature of the problem."
Earlier in the segment, Tapper did hedge, "But, Mr. Obama may have a ways to go in his pitch before he can credibly claim the oratorical mantle of FDR." Regarding the President's predictions of an economic "catastrophe" if the stimulus isn't passed, Tapper noted, "And that's been a fine line for the President to walk, between alarm and hope."
Veteran Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein appeared on Monday's "Morning Joe" to highlight the "masterful" leadership of Barack Obama in passing a stimulus bill and also to laud Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her dedication to service. Challenged by MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan over how much impact Hillary Clinton would actually have as secretary of state, Bernstein, author of the Hillary bio "A Woman in Charge," enthused, "You know, she is somebody who really believes in service. Both Clintons do. Whatever cynicism we might have about the Clintons, she believes in service."
He also asserted that celebrity is important on the world stage and cooed, "And nobody is more celebrated. Nobody is more famous than Hillary Clinton. Nobody can have more effect abroad." Earlier in the segment, the former Washington Post journalist applauded Barack Obama for passing his stimulus bill in a way that maneuvered around a "dysfunctional" Congress. "...The reason Barack Obama is showing such masterful- and I think we can use that word- leadership so far is that he's in the process of solving the problem of the U.S. Congress, the fact that it is a largely dysfunctional institution," he explained.
CBS's "Early Show" and ABC's "Good Morning America" on Friday almost entirely ignored the embarrassing departure of yet another of Barack Obama's cabinet nominees, with only NBC's "Today" providing any real information on the event. GMA devoted a scant 15 seconds to the withdrawal of Republican Senator Judd Gregg as the President's second nominee for Commerce Secretary. (Previous choice Bill Richards dropped out for tax reasons.) Instead, the networks included segments on aphrodisiacs for Valentine's Day and how to make a flourless chocolate cake.
"Early Show" doubled ABC, managing a still insignificant 30 second anchor brief. NBC's "Today" actually featured a full report and had the most coverage, three minutes and 21 seconds. Out of a combined eight hours of programming, the total for all three came to only four minutes and six seconds. None of the coverage made any mention of Senator Gregg's opposition to the Obama administration's goal of moving the 2010 census count from the Commerce Department to the White House. (The census issue was mostly ignored on Thursday's evening news programs as well.)
On Thursday's edition of "Anderson Cooper 360," the host of the self titled show fretted that the withdrawal of Republican Senator Judd Gregg as commerce secretary nominee might indicate the Republican Party has declared "a war, an insurgency" against Barack Obama. Speaking to CNN analyst David Gergen, Cooper expanded on the theory. [audio excerpt here]
Referencing an embarrassing gaffe by Republican Congressman Pete Sessions that the House minority could consider the Taliban as an example of an insurgent force, the anchor seriously wondered, "So, David, though, you don't buy the idea that there is a war by Republicans against the President?" He continued, "Because, I mean, Pete Sessions, you know, who's head of the Republican Congressional Committee, was citing the Taliban as sort of an example of how to run an insurgent campaign against a larger force." Gergen didn't seem to go for the concept, asserting that there are "some hot heads in each party."
A few minutes earlier, Cooper theorized about the possible GOP threat, speculating, "But, do developments today also speak to something deeper, a war, an insurgency by Republicans against the President, against Democrats in the House and against their agenda?"
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," co-host Robin Roberts and reporter Claire Shipman eagerly touted a theory, recently highlighted by a liberal New York Times columnist, that the problems on Wall Street could have been avoided if women were in charge. As video of bank executives who testified Wednesday in front of Congress appeared onscreen, Roberts mused, "As we saw, the nation's top bankers were grilled on Capitol Hill. Take a look...What do they all have in common? Well, for one thing, they're all men."
Making the point clear, Roberts wondered, "Which raises a question, would things have turned out differently if there had been women in the mix?" Shipman then lectured, "Greed and glory and then risk and disaster on Wall Street. Could testosterone be to blame?" The segment featured New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof (never identified as a liberal), who wrote a February 7 piece on the subject. Both Kristof and Shipman mentioned a British study which found that testosterone went up for male bank traders as they made more money.
"Nightline" co-anchor Terry Moran on Tuesday interviewed Barack Obama and pressed him from the left, wondering why he didn't simply fire the executives who the journalist blamed for "wreck[ing] these banks in the first place." The two were discussing the stimulus bill and the current economic problems on Wall Street. As the MRC's Brent Baker already noted in a previous blog, Moran also seriously wondered, "Why not just nationalize the banks?"
After the President suggested that such an idea was unworkable and didn't make sense, the host persisted. Moran challenged, "People are angry." Going further, the ABC journalist queried, "Why shouldn't you just fire the executives who wrecked these banks in the first place and tanked the world's financial system in the process?"
Journalist George Stephanopoulos appeared on Monday's "Nightline" to offer high grades for Barack Obama's first primetime press conference. He awarded the President an A for overall performance at the event and a B for Obama's bipartisan efforts. During the presidential campaign, Stephanopoulos was consistent in giving high marks to the then-Democratic candidate, announcing that Obama won all his debates against Republican John McCain and that Joe Biden bested Sarah Palin.
Speaking to "Nightline" anchor Terry Moran, the "This Week" host enthused, "Well, I think he got an A on this, Terry...He had the long answers, five-minute mini-essays or speeches all about the economy, able to explain from his perspective how bad the situation is, how we got into this mess and how his stimulus package will fix it." On the subject of reaching out to Republicans, Stephanopoulos asserted, "I think on that you give him a B." After allowing that the President hasn't been able to obtain GOP support for the stimulus bill, he spun, "He was able to make his points tonight, how, basically, that isn't his fault. That's what he was trying to say tonight. He has reached out, he hasn't had a response from the Republican side."
On Tuesday's "Good Morning America," financial correspondent Bianna Golodryga promoted the efforts of a radical housing group run by CEO Bruce Marks, a self proclaimed "bank terrorist." Of course, Golodryga skipped that description and glossed over the extreme actions of the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America [NACA]. Instead, she simply asserted that the organization tries "to help keep people in their homes."
Golodryga neglected important information, such as the fact that NACA has picketed outside the schools of children whose parents work for banks that are not acquiescing to the group's demands, which include insisting that mortgages be given to high risk individuals. In an April 2, 2008 column, Michelle Malkin quoted Marks as saying, "We will go to their neighborhood, we will educate their children on what their parents do. They should be ashamed." A December 2007 article by The Globe (featured on NACA's web site) unabashedly touted Marks as "a controversial character who once infamously called himself a 'bank terrorist.'"
Golodryga ignored this when she talked to the CEO. Instead, she highlighted non-confrontational quotes such as this one from Marks: "The thing that is so important is to say to the American people, don't give up. There's help on the way." The ABC financial correspondent did admit, "The group is also protesting the banks they feel are not helping struggling homeowners refinance their mortgages," while video of such a protest appeared onscreen. However, she grossly minimized the radical nature of NACA.
On Sunday's "Good Morning America," journalist George Stephanopoulos asserted that "some White House officials I've talked to concede" that Barack Obama has placed too much emphasis on gathering Republican support for the stimulus bill now before Congress. Now, considering that the Politico claimed on January 27 that Stephanopoulos has been participating in daily phone calls with White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, one wonders if Emanuel was the aforementioned "White House official." If so, was this a criticism by Emanuel of his boss?
In the original Politico article, John Harris wrote about daily strategy sessions between Stephanopoulos and the White House chief of staff, as well as Democratic pundits/strategists James Carville and Paul Begala. Harris explained, "And in any given news cycle, it is quite likely that Washington’s prevailing political and media interpretation — at least on the Democratic side — is being hatched on these calls."
On Monday's "MSNBC News Live," the cable network featured yet another critical segment on Rush Limbaugh and his role as a leader of the GOP. The segment, hosted by David Shuster, featured a confrontational graphic which screamed, "Who Elected Rush Limbaugh?" Shuster brought on syndicated talk show host Armstrong Williams to bash Limbaugh over the issue of how much power the radio star has within the GOP.
According to Williams, Limbaugh is "self-anointed." "Let's make sure we're clear on that," the commentator added. Continuing the attack, Williams repeated, "He has not been appointed to anything. He's self-appointed, self-anointed and self-selling." Deriding Limbaugh's import, the usually conservative Williams concluded, "He's an entertainer. He's a self-promoter. He wants to make himself out to be important. That's okay."
Williams has been a somewhat less prominent figure since an incident in 2005 in which it was revealed that he had been paid $240,000 to promote President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" act on his syndicated television show. According to a January 5, 2005 USA Today article, the host said he didn't recall mentioning the agreement on air.
On a day when Barack Obama was struggling to push through a stimulus bill in Congress, journalists on Friday's "Today" show decided to fawn over the branding of the new President, even referring to the Commander in Chief as the "messiah of Madison Avenue." NBC correspondent Jamie Gangel highlighted a batch of new Obama merchandise and enthused, "And the whole world is apparently going Obama."
Speaking of the various products and worldwide commercials featuring the first family, Gangel raved, "Everyone wants to be like Barack. He's being called the messiah of Madison Avenue." As video of the Obama children appeared onscreen, the reporter continued, "They're the 'It girls.' Together, welcome brand Obama." After discussing the new brand of Obama-flavored ice cream ("Yes Pecan") and Michelle Obama-inspired fashion, Gangel extolled, "America has embraced the Obama family and a new sense of chic."
On Friday's "Good Morning America," George Stephanopoulos turned a statement that Barack Obama made about corrupt Islamic dictatorships and made it into a metaphor on congressional Republican opposition to the President's stimulus bill. Speaking of the difficulty Obama has had with passing his multi-billion dollar spending bill, Stephanopoulos instructed, "And to borrow a metaphor from the President's inaugural address, he might have to replace his open hand with a clenched fist." [audio excerpt available here]
In comparison, during the President's inaugural address on January 20, Obama spoke to the Muslim world and asserted, "To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." GMA news anchor Chris Cuomo seemed to understand Stephanopoulos' linkage. He complained, "Who knew that the clenched fist would be about Congress? We thought he was talking about foreign people, foreign countries, then."
"Good Morning America's" Diane Sawyer on Wednesday interviewed a man who helped both his parents kill themselves. While talking to John West, the author of "The Last Goodnights," the GMA co-host mostly ignored the right to life angle of assisted suicide, instead focusing on West's actions in aiding, on seperate occasions, the deaths of his cancer-ridden father and Alzheimer's-suffering mother. Many of Sawyer's questions were mild, including vaguely asking, "So, what do you say to everyone out there about whether they, too, should feel that they have a right to do it and should do it?"
She also sympathetically cooed, "In your head, as you fall asleep at night, what do you hear your parents saying to you?" To be fair, Sawyer did wonder if West's mother was capable, mentally, of making the choice to die. But, she didn't follow up when, after saying yes, the author seemed to indicate that society's rules didn't apply to him "And some things are more important than following the rules that are meant for the greater crowd," he asserted.
Extreme environmentalist and "Good Morning America" weatherman Sam Champion on Thursday admiringly recounted the story of a Los Angeles resident, Dave Chameides, who has been living with his garbage for the last year. The liberal meteorologist also extoled the benefits of Chameides' unorthodox methods of disposing waste, including the worm composting program he has set up in the basement of his home. At the same time, Champion, who in 2007 highlighted a toilet paper-shunning environmentalist, attacked the "throwaway society of America. He complained, "We're the most wasteful [society] in the world." [audio excerpt here]
Chameides decided that for 365 days, no trash would be thrown away. In order to keep paper from piling up, he began worm composting. The Los Angeles man explained to Champion, who was taking a tour of his garbage-filled basement, "This is an in-home worm composting bin. All of my food scraps and paper and things like that go in here and the worms eat 'em up." Champion replied, "The worms are not for the squeamish," but enthused that they "do the trick."
Appearing on Wednesday's "Good Morning America," former top Democratic aide-turned journalist George Stephanopoulos assured viewers that Barack Obama can now move on from his multiple failed cabinet officials. Referring to individuals such the (now) former Health and Human Services nominee Tom Daschle, who resigned on Tuesday due to tax problems, Stephanopoulos asserted that "the good news is, even though the President was forced to apologize so many times yesterday, is that these nominees now are gone. They've chosen to withdraw. So, the President can move on."
He added, "This was running the possibility of really hurting his reformist image. He can move on from that." Of course, just three days ago, on Sunday's GMA, Stephanopoulos touted a different message. He allowed that Daschle's nomination might be slowed down, but also predicted, "I don't think it's going to imperil it, though." He also forecasted, "The key is going to be those Republicans and, of course, is this the last of the bad news for Senator Daschle? If he gets some Republican support, this is the last of the bad news, I believe he will be confirmed."
Back on November 24, 2008, Stephanopoulos enthused over the greatness of Obama's unfolding cabinet. Talking to GMA co-host Robin Roberts, he raved, "We have not seen this kind of combination of star power and brain power and political muscle this early in a cabinet in our lifetimes." (The MRC has been heavily covering the controversy, first revealed last week by Politico, that Stephanopoulos has been having daily phone conversations with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. See an MRC press release for more.)
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.