On Monday's inaugural edition of the "NBC Nightly News," well known Obama fan Lee Cowan made no effort to restrain his fawning over the new president, likening the experience of watching the Democrat's speech to being in a "political cathedral." After featuring clips of people viewing the address all over the country, Cowan cooed, "In the end, though, it really didn't matter where you were as long as you weren't alone." (audio excerpt available here)
He added, "Just ordinary street corners like this one here in Chicago fell silent, almost becoming a political cathedral of sorts." Cowan, the man who once announced that covering Barack Obama made his "knees quake," closed the segment by rhapsodizing, "And almost everyone was making that mental scrapbook, noting the time and place where they were on this day and, perhaps, shared a collective tear." It was, he said, "An event meant to be remembered and one meant to be shared."
"Nightline" anchor Terry Moran, who has been gushing over Barack Obama from the very start, filed an enthusiastic report on Monday's show and asserted that "confidence is what President-elect Obama is all about." Over video of the train ride that took the Democrat to Washington, the veteran ABC correspondent cooed, "It has been a grand journey all the way to the great moment tomorrow."
During the segment, which recounted how Obama was preparing to assume the presidency, Moran only talked to advisors and fans of the (then) President-elect. After one supporter, who accompanied Obama on his train ride, declared that they were all one big family, the "Nightline" anchor dutifully recited, "That's the spirit his advisers say he wants to summon in the nation when he speaks for the first time as president tomorrow."
"Good Morning America" kicked off its inauguration coverage on Tuesday with an anonymous announcer enthusiastically repeating the talking points of Barack Obama. During a 7am tease, this voice trumpeted, "Barack Obama sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. A new face from a new generation. Driven by an audacity to hope." (audio clip here)
The male announcer continued his introduction of the ABC show: "The nation's capital, filled to capacity. A journey of millions, fueled by hope and the shared dreams of a renewed America...And a call to overcome challenges not seen in generations." While discussing the throng of visitors descending on Washington D.C. a few minutes later, GMA host Diane Sawyer announced, "We saw a silent pilgrimage proceeding through this city."
Updated: 2009-01-20 18:30:39
As a comparison, how did "Good Morning America" begin its coverage of President Bush's second inaugural on January 20, 2005? For that show, an announcer narrated: "This is a special edition of 'Good Morning America.' The second inauguration of George W. Bush. Live from the Library of Congress, in Washington D.C., Charles Gibson, Diane Sawyer and Peter Jennings." There was no flowery introduction, no repeating of campaign talking points, just a simple opening accompanied by pictures and videos of past inaugurations.
On Monday's "Good Morning America," co-host Robin Roberts chose to tout only Democratic politicians in a piece honoring the civil rights movement and those "warriors" who made Barack Obama's election as president possible. Not a single Republican was mentioned or featured in the segment. Roberts began by announcing, "And on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we thought it would be appropriate to look back at all the warriors, black and white, who made this moment where we are today possible."
All the warriors? The piece went on to feature clips from eight Democratic politicians: Harry Truman, Hubert Humphrey, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Robert Kennedy, Barbara Jordan and Barack Obama, in addition to a number of non-political civil rights pioneers. Republican Abraham Lincoln went unmentioned, so did New York Governor Thomas Dewey who signed one of the nation's earliest civil rights laws in 1944 and President Ronald Reagan who made Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a federal holiday in 1983.
The piece also ignored the inconvenient fact that a higher percentage of Congressional Republicans voted for the historic 1964 Civil Rights Act than did Democrats. Another point left unmentioned was the heroic effort by the conservative GOP minority leader in the Senate, Everett Dirksen, in supporting that legislation:
During Monday's "Good Morning America," the show's anchors and reporters did not hold back on the hyperbole while discussing Barack Obama's inauguration. While co-host Diane Sawyer discussed those Americans who drove across country to see the inauguration of the 44th president, an ABC graphic trumpeted, "Inauguration of Barack Obama: The American Pilgrimage."
During an earlier segment, referring to a star-studded concert for the President-elect, Sawyer gushed, "They are calling it Obama-Stock because the performances were unbelievable." In a third piece, former Clinton aide-turned journalist George Stephanopoulos breathlessly narrated how Obama has been handling final preparations for his speech: "...The President-elect is a real writer...He's in the tinkering stage, which means, like, he's even looking at each word and saying, 'Wait, do I need two syllables and not one?'"
The three network morning shows on Friday almost totally skipped any coverage of President Bush's farewell address to the country on Thursday. Despite having a combined eight hours of air time, NBC's "Today," CBS's "Early Show" and ABC's "Good Morning America" devoted only 55 seconds total to reporting on Bush's speech. Instead, important topics such as "Obama thongs" and cheddar biscuits were highlighted.
Over a period of two hours, "The Early Show" ignored the speech entirely. "Good Morning America," which has a similar running time, allowed a mere 17 seconds. The "Today" show, which now encompasses four hours of broadcast time, provided the most, with 38 seconds of information about the address. None of the three programs featured any clips of Bush's farewell. (In contrast, on March 19, 2008, the day after then-presidential candidate Barack Obama's speech on race, these same shows allowed nine and a half minutes of sound bites of the Democrat.)
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," weatherman and global warming alarmist Sam Champion slipped some reassuring words about the validity of climate change into his report on the bone chilling temperatures hitting much of the country. After admitting that NASA had declared 2008 to be the coldest year since 2000, he added, "But they [NASA] caution this was caused in part by a cooling La Nina in the pacific and warn global warming is still playing an important part in our changing climate."
Champion then played a clip of a NASA climate scientist and global warming proponent Gavin Schmidt admonishing, "And, so, it's a little bit difficult to talk about global warming when you're going to have the coldest day of the year. But you have to realize that weather isn't abolished just because there's a long-term trend in the climate."
Fox News on Wednesday continued to be one of the very few media outlets covering the fact that Barack Obama's new "global warming czar" has ties to socialist groups. While all three network morning shows ignored the story, "Fox News Live" host Megyn Kelly interviewed climate change skeptic Senator James Inhofe on the subject.
After noting that appointee Carol Browner was a member of the Socialist group Commission for a Sustainable World Society, Kelly seemed puzzled as to how such a person could be given a prominent position in the Obama administration. "And she's pretty openly committed to these socialist policies....How does that happen? Is there going to be an uproar about it," the Fox News host wondered.
"Good Morning America" news anchor Chris Cuomo conducted a surprisingly tough interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, grilling her on the lack of accountability for how 2008's financial bailout money has been spent. He told the powerful Democrat, "...I think there are a few issues that unite Americans like this. Don't waste our money, especially right now."
Regarding the news that Congress doesn't know how much of the $350 billion T.A.R.P has been spent, Cuomo challenged, "Why didn't savvy lawmakers like yourself, like Barney Frank, say, 'We're not going to just release this money with no strings. We'll build it in the law. We'll build in accountability?' Why didn't you do that?"
On Tuesday's edition of "The View," co-host Barbara Walters dismissed a series of interviews Sarah Palin gave to a conservative filmmaker as "disturbing." The veteran journalist stiffly claimed that "one is not sure why she keeps doing these interviews." The comment occurred while the women of the ABC program were debating an assertion by Palin that the media may treat possible New York Senator Caroline Kennedy in a more favorable light.
Responding to a clip of the former Republican vice presidential candidate arguing that there might be a class issue in how reporters will treat Kennedy, Walters complained, "...Why she still makes it a class issue is something that, especially right now, and when we all want to work together, I found disturbing."
During a contentious interview with filmmaker John Ziegler on Friday's "MSNBC News Live," host David Shuster attacked former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin as "clearly unqualified" and asserted that the Alaska governor "wasn't prepared to run for vice president." An incredulous Ziegler, who was appearing to promote his new documentary on the liberal media's role in the election of Barack Obama, quickly retorted, "So, is that your opinion, David? Is that your opinion, David, as an alleged news person?"
Shuster caught himself as he seemed on the verge of suggesting everyone believed Palin to be unqualified: "John, it's every- John, it's the opinion of 65 percent of the American people." As Noel Sheppard noted in a previous blog, Ziegler also derided Shuster as a "joke" and publicly called out MSNBC as "clearly the pet network of Barack Obama." At one point, when the bias got too much for the filmmaker, he quipped "I feel like this is O.J. Simpson interviewing the cops about the murders. I'm the cop and you're O.J. Simpson here."
"Good Morning America" on Thursday highlighted 1982 as the year Chris Cuomo, the future news anchor of the program, would see his Democratic dad become governor of New York. The segment was part of a new series on the years that most changed the lives its ABC's hosts. The piece never mentioned the fact that Mario Cuomo was a liberal or a Democrat. (And while older viewers might likely know that, some younger Americans wouldn't.)
At the same time, the segment vaguely reveled in the accomplishments of the governor. "My father would expose all of us to remarkable history," the news anchor explained before a clip of Mario Cuomo at the 1984 Democratic National Convention played. After recounting the difficulties of being the son of a governor, Cuomo added, "...My father, my family, had been given an amazing opportunity to do what he told us mattered most, to help others."
Proving that no Barack Obama imagery is too embarrassing, the hosts of "Good Morning America" on Thursday highlighted a sculpture of the President-elect made entirely out of crayons. After mentioning artist Herb Williams, news anchor Chris Cuomo enthused, "He does something amazing. He created a statue of Obama out of all crayons."
The GMA crew then proceeded to talk about all the details of how one makes crayon statues of Obama. As pictures and video appeared onscreen, Cuomo explained, "He took the crayons. And glues them in there. Look, there's his process. This is what he does."
ABC aired an incredibly insulting and condescending hidden camera news special on Tuesday that purported to probe the hidden racism of Americans. It also featured actors hired by the network to go to France and portray "ugly Americans," complete with a "Bush '08" t-shirt that was derided by one German woman as similar to saying "I like Hitler."
The "What Would You Do?" special attempted to see how real people would react to racism or over-the-top behavior. As part of the experiment, host John Quinones introduced "Bob" and "Bonnie," actors sent to Paris to represent obnoxious U.S. citizens. Quinones began the segment by cheerfully explaining, "They're the ugly Americans. And for more than a century, they've been fixtures in American literature and film."
"Good Morning America" hosts and reporters on Wednesday bewilderingly touted a total non-scandal, the "brewing brouhaha" over the new set of presidential dinnerware that President Bush and the first lady have ordered. Despite the fact that a private organization is paying the $485,000 bill, a salient point not revealed until late in the story, co-host Robin Roberts fretted, "So, why wait to give such an expensive gift right before they leave?" (If the plates are not taxpayer funded, what's the basis for the story?)
Veteran ABC reporter Ann Compton worried, "So, why is Laura Bush introducing new Bush china two weeks before they move out?" Compton even featured the Washington Post's Sally Quinn, not identified as a liberal in the report, to bash former President Ronald Reagan's china incident. Compton explained, "Washington veteran Sally Quinn recalls the furor when President Reagan was slashing the federal budget and his wife, Nancy, ordered $200,000 of scarlet china with the presidential seal in gold."
"Good Morning America" news anchor Chris Cuomo on Tuesday actually challenged liberal House member Barney Frank over how Congress has spent the bailout money. At one point, after the host implored Frank to think of the American taxpayers, the irritated congressman commanded, "I'm sorry, sir, but- I'm sorry, if you keep interrupting we cannot have a coherent conversation." Frank would later rage over Cuomo's "distortions."
The ABC News anchor kicked off the interview by observing, "You Democrats say you're gung ho, talking numbers in this stimulus plan." He then skeptically queried, "But, in light of all the spending that's been done already with the questionable results, what gives you the confidence that you can pass this?" Now, it should be pointed out that Cuomo often seemed to be pressing the Democratic congressman from the left. Regarding those Americans who took out loans for more than they could pay back, he asked, "Why didn't you look out for the little guy and make sure that first package, instead of $270 billion to financial institutions, went to the people holding those mortgages?" The host continued, "Went to the working men and women? Why didn't you do that first?"
On Tuesday's "Good Morning America," an ABC reporter once again attempted to probe and examine the secret racism of American citizens. Correspondent John Quinones, the host of a series of ABC hidden camera specials designed to test how people react to ethical situations, appeared to preview a new edition that featured a cashier in a New Jersey deli yelling at a Hispanic customer.
The ABC crew had the pretend employee scream at a confused day laborer, saying things such as "We're building walls to keep you guys out of the country! You don't speak English, you don't get service! We don't serve your kind here!" Quinones then theatrically lectured, "...On this day, the only thing they [the customers] are being served is prejudice." He later observed that the experiment "uncovered some of the dark impulses many of us share."
ABC reporter David Wright on Tuesday appeared on "Good Morning America" and charitably compared Illinois Senator-designate Roland Burris to the title character of Frank Capra's classic film "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." At the same time, Wright suggested that the Senate leadership, which plans on blocking the entry of Burris, might unfavorably be linked to Ronald Reagan's former Secretary of State, Al Haig.
After asserting that the potential senator, appointed by scandal-ridden Governor Rod Blagojevich, "is being treated like a tourist," Wright made his movie analogy. He explained, "Not since Mr. Smith came to Washington in that old Frank Capra film has an idealistic senator appointed by a corrupt party boss been so unwelcome at the capitol. But at least Mr. Smith got his seat." He added that "the leadership clearly hopes Burris will come off as presumptuous, as Secretary of State Al Haig did after Ronald Reagan was shot."
Various "Good Morning America" hosts and reporters on Monday glowingly commented on the first day of school for young Sasha and Malia Obama at posh private institution Sidwell Friends. At the same time, they ignored the contradiction of President-elect Barack Obama opposing vouchers which would allow poor inner-city children in Washington D.C. to do the same thing.
Instead, reporter Claire Shipman cooed over Sidwell Friends and the exciting opportunities awaiting the Obama children. Speaking of ten-year old Malia and the school, she enthused, "It's an award winning, entirely green building, complete with organic lunches, one of the many things that appealed to her and her family." Regarding Sidwell Friends, which costs over $30,000 a year to attend, Shipman touted, "Seven-year-old Sasha has a 25-minute trip to the lower school campus in Bethesda, Maryland where the emphasis is on Quaker values." At no time did Shipman, or any other host in the three segments that followed, mention Obama's opposition to school choice programs and vouchers.
On Wednesday's "Good Morning America," fill-in host Bill Weir and reporter Dan Harris touted the benefits of New York's proposed 18 percent obesity tax on soft drinks. Weir teased the segment by enthusing, "One official says making you pay more could actually save your life later." Harris repeatedly played clips from New York's state health commissioner, Dr. Richard Daines, who created a YouTube video to promote the tax.
After one such snippet, the reporter parroted, "No one likes taxes, he says. But this one, he argues, is actually good for you." At another point, Harris touted how this tax would "save" New Yorkers money and noted the nanny state advantages such extra cash would create: "But Dr. Daines insists this new tax will save people money. Not only on overall obesity-related health care costs, but he also says if everyone in a family of four drank one can less of soda a week, they would save $100 a year."
While appearing on Tuesday's edition of "MSNBC News Live" to comment on Caroline Kennedy's bid to be appointed the United States Senate, Washington Post news editor Vincent Bzdek hyperbolically lauded Caroline's uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy, as "one of the greatest legislators in the history of the country."
Anchor Norah O'Donnell also read from a New York Daily News column harshly attacking Caroline Kennedy as unqualified. She then defended, "Is that really fair? Is that a little bit tough?" In a follow-up question to Bzdek, O'Donnell gushed at the legacy of the Kennedy family: "The Kennedys have long been known for their eloquence. Of course, Ted Kennedy, the lion of the U.S. Senate, a great speechmaker, in terms of delivering on policy." Wondering if Caroline could live up to such standards, she queried the Washington Post editor, "Is she being compared unfairly to her uncle?"
On Friday's "Good Morning America," anchors and reporters fretted about there being no room in Washington D.C. for Barack Obama. It seems that the President-elect's children start school on January 5 and Blair House, the presidential guest quarters, will not be available until the 15th of that month. News anchor Chris Cuomo worriedly insisted, "I mean, you know, he has got enough on his mind. He is worried about getting his kids situated, which is testament to the Obamas as parents."
Co-host Robin Roberts sympathetically wondered of Obama, "You know, he can't check in early?" An ABC graphic hyperbolically asked, "President-Elect Housing Crisis?" During a tease for the David Wright segment, Roberts labeled the Obamas as like "so many folks" who are "scrambling to find a hotel room."
On Wednesday's "Nightline," co-anchor Terry Moran could barely restrain his amusement over the shoe throwing incident on Sunday involving an Iraqi journalist and President Bush, asserting that it had become an "instant pop culture classic." He later touted the shoe attack, which occurred at a press conference in Baghdad, as "a dramatic act of contempt and disapproval." [audio available here]
Reporting on the story, correspondent David Wright smugly spun the event as some sort of final judgment on President Bush's Iraq policy. As video played of the 2003 toppling of the Saddam Hussein statue, Wright sneered, "Surely, President Bush must have wanted the most memorable image from Iraq to be this: When Iraqis beat the toppled statue of Saddam with their shoes." Then, to footage of Bush having shoes tossed at him, Wright opined, "Instead, the final image of his long Iraq journey is this. The shoe is on the other foot now."
"Nightline" anchor Cynthia McFadden and ABC reporter John Donvan on Monday gushed over the possibility that Caroline Kennedy could replace Hillary Clinton as the senator from New York. McFadden (see file photo at right) teased the segment by cooing, "So, is another chapter in the Camelot story about to be written?"
Donvan repeatedly mentioned that Caroline Kennedy wouldn't have much experience for such a post. But, he didn't seem bothered at all by this, at one point stating, "All she will have at first is that name. But, at least she has kept it the way it was remembered, as part of a story that so many wanted to believe in." Contrast this with the coverage vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin received over a perceived lack of experience. Certainly, the media were not as forgiving for a non-Kennedy such as the governor of Alaska.
Donvan contributed the requisite vapid reminiscing of the Kennedy years. The ABC journalist described Washington D.C. as a place "where, when her dad was the president, we first came to know the little girl, riding his shoulders, saddled up on ponies."
The December 14 edition of the "Mini Page," a weekly children's print supplement that appears in newspapers across the country, relied on tips from the left-wing National Resources Defense Council [NRDC] for a story entitled "Going Green for the Holidays." The four page publication, written by Mini Page editor Betty Debnam, regularly includes innocuous connect-the-dots puzzles and other games for kids. However, in a Christmas-themed edition, Debnam lectured on artificial trees: "If you already have a plastic tree, it is fine to keep using it. But don't buy a new one." [Emphasis added] And while adults may snicker at such admonishments, remember, this section is designed for impressionable children.
She added, "Making metal holiday trees does not cause as much pollution as making plastic trees. However, a live tree is still the best choice." Debnam offered seemingly impractical advice. "The best choice for the environment is a living Christmas tree that can be replanted. Keep the tree in a pot and bring it outside. Plant it outside after the holidays," she prompted. The Mini Page editor also told her young readers, "Buy or ask for gifts that are packaged in a green manner."
The NRDC, which Debnam credits for helping with the December 14 issue, is an aggressively left-wing organization. The group is currently lobbying for an expensive cap and trade program for carbon dioxide and has previously attacked the Bush administration while advocating for stronger nuclear arms control polices. Of course, nowhere in the story did Debnam mention the liberal agenda of the NRDC.
"Good Morning America" hosts and reporters on Monday breathlessly reported the incident of President Bush having a shoe thrown at him during a press conference in Iraq as a "deep insult," an "embarrassing incident" and a "huge insult." Parroting the comparisons made on CBS's "Early Show," GMA news anchor Chris Cuomo reminded viewers of the 2003 toppling of a statue of Saddam Hussein: "You remember when the statue of Saddam Hussein was brought down? When it happened, all of the people there started throwing shoes at it."
As video of that famous footage played, Cuomo narrated, "You see them whacking their shoes against the statue? He's got a shoe. Bam! Bam! Why? Disrespect. It is a high form of insult. So, maybe a window into the mind set." Co-host Robin Roberts helpfully added, "And some of the highest form [sic] of insult in that part of the world."
Former top Democratic aide-turned journalist George Stephanopoulos appeared on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" to downplay the connection between Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, charged with trying to sell a U.S. Senate seat, and President-elect Barack Obama. He helpfully argued that the profane references to Obama on the FBI's tapes indicate that "Blagojevich himself is the President-elect's best character witness."
Stephanopoulos and co-host Diane Sawyer did discuss the apparent contradiction between Obama's claim on Tuesday that he had "no contact" with the governor and chief spokesman David Axelrod's comments on November 23 in which he asserted, "I know he's talked to the governor." A very credulous Stephanopoulos explained, "Well, first of all, David Axelrod put out a statement late yesterday, where he said he simply misspoke there...That is backed up by everyone else on the team, as well." So, while an ABC graphic read, "Political 'Crime Spree': Will Allegations Affect Obama," the former Clinton aide obviously didn't think so.
The mainstream media aggressively covered the controversies surrounding Republicans such as Mark Foley and Jack Abramoff and speculated about their connections to President Bush and other high profile members of the GOP. So, it will be interesting to see how tenaciously journalists investigate any linkage between President-elect Barack Obama and scandal ridden Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, now under arrest for allegedly trying to sell the selection of Obama's replacement to the Senate.
ABC Senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper [see file photo above] outlined the connections in a post on Political Punch. It seems that in addition to then-state senator Obama endorsing the Illinois governor in 2002 (Blagojevich returned the favor in 2004), Tapper noted that Obama's insistence on Tuesday afternoon that he "had no contact" with the governor's office on his replacement doesn't match previous comments from the incoming administration. According to senior advisor David Axelrod on November 23, 2008, "I know he's talked to the governor and there are a whole range of names many of which have surfaced, and I think he has a fondness for a lot of them." [Emphasis added.]
[UPDATE: During the 6:30pm ET feed of ABC's World News, Tapper appeared on screen and anchor Charles Gibson asked him about the contacts between Blagojevich and Obama's transition office. But the audio failed and, after two attempts to talk to Tapper, the newscast moved on. Maybe it will be corrected in the 7pm ET feed.]
On Saturday's "Good Morning America," various hosts and reporters gushed over the "exciting," "tantalizing" prospect that Caroline Kennedy could replace Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate, should the former first lady be confirmed as Barack Obama's secretary of state. ABC News political director David Chalian enthused that "on top of the new Obama administration that she was a huge proponent and supporter of, it [the appointment] would just rise to this moment of, sort of, a return to that age of Camelot."
Weekend GMA co-host Bill Weir began the segment by wondering, "And who could upstage a Clinton but a Kennedy?" Later, fellow co-host Kate Snow cooed, "So, tantalizing. Kennedys and Obamas and Clintons, all the talk." Clearly agreeing, Weir enthused, "Exciting to talk about."
Actress Meryl Streep, who plays an authoritarian nun battling a "passionate liberal priest" (according to Newsweek) in the new film "Doubt," told the Boston Herald on Sunday that the film is actually a metaphor for those who think the war on terror can be won with force. She argued, "It's about someone who thinks you can control evildoers with force and a firm hand and an unrelenting, 'We will not negotiate (with terrorists).'"
The liberal actress also added, "Or there's another approach, one with all these layers of humanity who think you have to have innocence so it doesn't go bad and get corrupted." Philip Seymour Hoffman, who co-stars in the film as a priest suspected of sex abuse, appeared on Monday's "Good Morning America" as part of a three day promotion that the ABC network is providing for the film. In the interview with news anchor Chris Cuomo, Hoffman somewhat cryptically said of the film, "...Certainty is usually connected to something positive. And doubt is usually connected to something negative. And what if you switch that and what would happen? And the film kind of is looking at those issues." (Reviews of the film suggest it comes down on the side of doubting.)