"Good Morning America" reporter Claire Shipman continued a time honored media bias tradition on Friday when she mislabeled Congressman Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama's newly selected chief of staff, as "centrist." Emanuel, who was elected to Congress in 2002, has a lifetime American Conservative Union score of 13.
In 2006, his rank was only four. In contrast, the House member's average from the liberal group Americans for Democratic Action is a very high 96. And yet, Shipman erroneously asserted, "More than anything, the 48-year-old Illinois representative is a pragmatic, centrist politician who likes to get things done. Clearly, Obama wants the same thing." So, can Americans expect Obama to be the same type of "centrist" that Emanuel has been?
Shipman is not the first journalist to try and spin the aggressive Illinois congressman as a moderate. On Wednesday's "American Morning," CNN special correspondent Frank Sesno described Emanuel as someone who is seen to be "on the center to center-right."
"Nightline" reporter Terry Moran extolled Barack Obama's victory celebration on Wednesday's program and insisted that "so many people greeted this election as a human rights milestone and a repudiation of the deeply unpopular President George W. Bush." Reporting from Chicago, the site of Obama's victory celebration, Moran reflected on "the echoes of this moment when America astonished itself and the world again."
Musing about the night, the journalist cooed, "No one who was in Grant Park in Chicago last night will ever forget it. The jubilation. The emotion. The pride." Moran, who has been fawning over Obama for two years, described the election as "a political earthquake, and a moment in American history that millions of people around the world celebrated." He later glowingly elaborated, "People across the world joined the party, seeing in the triumph of Barack Obama, the American capacity to achieve the unthinkable."
According to "Good Morning America" reporter Dan Harris, "No matter how you voted, it's hard to deny that we're having something of a national moment right now" over the election of Barack Obama to the presidency. The ABC correspondent appeared on Thursday's show to explain how the national and international celebration for the Democrat's victory was continuing.
In a tease for the piece at the top of the show, co-host Robin Roberts bubbled that the president-elect "woke up to a chorus of worldwide approval." (At no point did any of the journalists question whether foreign approval over an American president was a good thing or not.) Harris did allow that Obama wouldn't receive a "permanent honeymoon," but co-host Diane Sawyer closed the segment by cooing, "I was saying, my sister in France has people coming up to her and saying, American? Obama!"
"Good Morning America" foreign correspondent Jim Sciutto rhapsodized about international reaction to Barack Obama's victory on Wednesday and described the president-elect as "the winner who's capturing the world's heart." Sciutto described much of the foreign response with the phrase "only in America."
Then, taking a shot at President Bush, he then added, "That's what we keep hearing in so many places around the world, a sense that Barack Obama embodies the American dream, a dream that, frankly, has been tarnished overseas in recent years by a very unpopular war in Iraq, a very unpopular president in President Bush."
"Good Morning America" reporter Bill Weir gushed on Wednesday morning about the "transcendent" reaction to Senator Barack Obama's presidential victory. Discussing Tuesday night's jubilant crowds in New York City, where the ABC program is produced, Weir described the "melting pot of communal joy."
Weir enthused that the celebration was "the kind not seen on New Year's Eve or championship parades. At the crossroads of the world, voices from around the world shouted of the greatness of America." He added, "When the announcement was made, literal dancing in the streets...And people were locking in embraces, watching the speech there as well."
The journalist even recounted how he attempted to remind an African American mother of America's history with slavery. After this woman and her daughter saw a graphic on a jumbotron of all the presidents, one that included Obama as the nation's 44th commander in chief, Weir went over to the pair and attempted to invoke a negative reaction. He explained, "And I leaned over and said, you know, 12 of those men owned slaves. And the mother turned to me and said, 'That stain is washed.'"
Fox News political commentator Juan Williams appeared on a panel for Tuesday's "Good Morning America" to predict that a decrease of Republicans in the Senate could actually make the legislative body more contentious and that a "hard right" minority might be reined in by a defeated John McCain.
After mentioning the possible losses of Senators Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, John Sununu of New Hampshire and Gordon Smith of Oregon, Williams asserted, "Those are moderate Republicans. And if they're gone, then, suddenly, you have a much more politicized and sort of, you know, antagonistic politics taking place in the Senate when people think, oh, this is an election where we have people coming to the middle."It's not clear who Williams is speaking of when he calls this an election about "coming to the middle." After all, Senator Barack Obama was the third most liberal senator in 2007. Secondly, John Sununu and Elizabeth Dole are not moderates. (The two have lifetime American Conservative Union Scores of 92 and 91, respectively.)
Liberal ABC reporter David Wright grilled John McCain on election day about whether the Arizona senator is genuine in his predictions of an electoral win. Wright probed, "But some straight talk. Do you really expect to win?" He then followed up, "Have you given any thought to what happens if you don't win?"
The ABC journalist, who previously slammed McCain on the October 23 "Nightline" for dispensing an "angry rant" about taxes, quizzed the presidential candidate: "Looking back over the campaign, is it the kind of campaign you wanted to run?" He then skeptically added, "Any regrets whatsoever?" Throughout the 2008 campaign, Wright developed a habit of making snarky attacks on the Republican presidential ticket. During an October 31 appearance on GMA, he derided Joe Wurzelbacher (AKA "Joe the Plumber") as McCain's "mascot."
"Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer prompted Barack Obama supporter Caroline Kennedy to gush about just how excited she was over the senator's possible victory. Sawyer also probed for scintillating details, such as wondering, "Where are you going to watch [the election returns]?" Regarding the Kennedy daughter's endorsement of the Democratic presidential candidate, Sawyer gushed, "So, do you feel that what you wrote has been fulfilled? And that you do have a sense of excitement that people told you they felt with your father [John F. Kennedy]?"
Looking for celebrity gossip, Sawyer reflected on Kennedy's glitzy February appearance with Obama: "You, Maria Shriver, Oprah, standing there for that morning of endorsement. Have you talked to each other? Did you talk to each other this weekend? What are you saying?"The ABC journalist even excitedly referenced the possibility of a position for her in the Obama administration. She bubbled, "So, the speculation game is already begun. And this morning, it is Caroline Kennedy ambassador to name-your-country."
Liberal ABC reporter David Wright derided Joe Wurzelbacher (AKA "Joe the Plumber") as John McCain's "campaign mascot" during Friday's edition of "Good Morning America." Wright, who has developed quite a track record in the 2008 campaign of boosting Barack Obama and bashing Senator McCain, also sneeringly compared Wurzelbacher's appearance with the Republican to Obama's Ohio campaign rally featuring Bill Clinton.
He sniffed, "Barack Obama turned to a celebrity with a bit more history and stature. Former President Bill Clinton hit the stump for Obama right here in Ohio." On the October 23 "Nightline," Wright attacked the "angry rant" McCain delivered during a speech on taxes. During the October 22 GMA, he insisted that Governor Sarah Palin's attacks on Senator Joe Biden might not be that valid because the vice presidential contender lives in a "glass house."
"Good Morning America" reporter Claire Shipman on Friday asked the author of a new biography on Michelle Obama how the candidate's wife deals with her husband being "lusted after by all of these women out there" on the campaign trail. While talking to "Michelle" author Liz Mundy, Shipman cooed, "And, of course, it's wonderful, but not always easy when your husband becomes a political rock star overnight."
As though the ABC correspondent were reading from a press release, she opened the segment by fawning: "And over the years, Michelle Obama in her personal journey has achieved a remarkable feat. She's carved a role for herself a path that both embraces and transcends race." Later, Shipman insisted, "An incredible journey that even more than her husband's is emblematic of the country's racial transformation." At no point, did Shipman, who once rhapsodized about the "fluid poetry" of the presidential candidate, discuss any of Michelle Obama's gaffes during the 2008 campaign, such as her famous comment in February that "for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country."
While interviewing three generations of voters in one Florida family, "Good Morning America" host Diane Sawyer on Thursday pushed back when the mother of the household assailed Senator Joe Biden's claim that paying higher taxes is patriotic. After Marylee Gizzi described the "great offense" she took at Biden's remarks, Sawyer parroted Obama talking points and retorted, "He argues, you know, he's just going back to the Reagan tax cuts. It's not a penalty."
Continuing to defend the Democratic ticket's economic plan, she haltingly added, "He would argue disproportionately advantaged, the wealthy in this country, who have increased their share, more than the middle class has increased its share." After Gizzi lauded the "incredible" accomplishments of Sarah Palin, Sawyer looked for some kind of negative assessment: "There were a lot of people who brought a lot to the table. You must have a sense of whether you'd like her to be president, should something happen to him [McCain]." At no point did Sawyer attempt to grill the Obama-supporting daughter into saying something negative about her choice for president.
ABC reporter Elizabeth Vargas grilled Sarah Palin on Thursday's "Good Morning America" over the issues of competence and whether or not Palin believes that Senator Barack Obama is "un-American" and "dangerous." Vargas chided Palin on her remarks about the Democratic candidate: "But, when you used words like socialism or say he's palling around with terrorists or hanging around with a Palestinian professor...you seem to be saying that he's un-American somehow or might be dangerous somehow."
When Palin assured the journalist that she was not insinuating any such thing, Vargas skeptically followed-up: "Do you think Senator Obama is as patriotic, as American, as honorable as John McCain?" She then proceeded to repeatedly ask, four times in total, questions related to competence and why less women now support Palin. "Today, polls show that 60 percent of women have an unfavorable opinion of you. Why do you think you've lost that connection," she wondered. Referring to conservatives such as Peggy Noonan and Republicans like Colin Powell, Vargas insisted that a "a chorus of voices from the Republican Party, stalwart Republicans" don't believe she's qualified.
On Wednesday's "Good Morning America," reporter Claire Shipman used a test designed by a liberal professor to interrogate the supposedly unconscious racist views of a group of undecided voters. After taking the complicated quiz, which involved linking words with colors, Shipman grilled the men and women about whether negative advertising had changed their view of Senator Barack Obama. "Anyone here have a sense that he is arrogant," she challenged." Shipman followed up, "Anybody think he's uppity?"
The ABC correspondent, who once cooed over the "fluid poetry" of Obama, wasn't dissuaded by the instance that none of voters thought of the Democrat that way. She solemnly intoned, "But in fact, although 'ready' and 'calm' were in the top five [test results], 'uppity,' that classic southern expression drenched in racial overtones, was the number one word subconsciously associated with Barack Obama." And at no point did Shipman mention that Professor Drew Weston of Emory University, the co-designer of this test, is a liberal who bashed Senator John McCain and asserted the Republican's only chance to victory was "the low road."
Editor at large of Time magazine Mark Halperin appeared on Tuesday's edition of "Morning Joe" and admitted "mistakes have been made" in regards to the media's coverage of Barack Obama and that "people will regret it." Analyzing the fawning press that the Democratic presidential candidate has received, he added, "If Obama wins and goes on to become a hugely successful president, I think, still, people will look back and say it just wasn't done the right way."
Joe Scarborough, host of "Morning Joe," prompted the brief discussion when he opened the MSNBC program by declaring, "But I got to say this, the media, the media has been really, really biased this campaign, I think." He then asked Halperin if journalists are "just in love with history?" Halperin candidly responded, "History and the story is just- it's great for us. It's been great for us. He's a great story." He went on to make his "mistakes have been made" quip, prompting Scarborough to burst out laughing.
ABC's "Good Morning America" and CBS's "Early Show" on Tuesday avoided any mention of the newly found 2001 audiotape in which then-state Senator Barack Obama lamented to a radio interviewer that "the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth." Only NBC's "Today" show played any of the tape.
GMA and "Early Show" hinted around the subject, but simply in terms of describing it as an attack on Obama. ABC co-host Robin Roberts vaguely asserted, "John McCain claiming Barack Obamais a socialist. Obama countering that McCain is a Bush Republican." On CBS, reporter Jeff Glor continued the equivalence. He derided, "Meanwhile, the campaigns were making their closing arguments, with special emphasis on the arguing part."
Both morning shows replayed McCain's critique in a Pennsylvania speech: "Senator Obama is running to be redistributionist [sic] in chief. I'm running to be commander in chief." But without the context of the audiotape, GMA and "Early Show" portrayed it as just more negative campaigning.
On Monday's "Good Morning America," former Democratic aide-turned journalist George Stephanopoulos downplayed the idea that both Sarah Palin and Joe Biden might be a drag on their respective presidential tickets. Responding to a question by co-host Robin Roberts about the two taking attention away from Senators Obama and McCain, Stephanopoulos opined, "But I think the bottom line here is that across all voters, across the last couple of months, Senator Biden has made voters more comfortable with Barack Obama."He added, "Governor Palin has made voters, overall, less comfortable with John McCain."
While it's true that Governor Palin's numbers have fallen in the last few weeks, it's also apparent that the ABC network has contributed to that situation by aggressively criticizing Governor Palin, while downplaying gaffes by Democratic running mate Biden. Last Monday, ABC's "Political Radar" blog broke the story of the Delaware senator suggesting that Obama would be tested by an international crisis within the first six months of his (potential) presidency. The ABC network ignored the scoop for almost 24 hours.
"Nightline" reporter David Wright on Thursday negatively spun John McCain campaigning in Florida as an "admission of weakness" and knocked the Arizona senator's "angry rant" on the issue of taxes. The liberal journalist gleefully attempted to portray the state as a lost cause for the Republican. He asserted that in the ad war in Florida, "Obama's message is drowning McCain out." He editorialized, "McCain can't seem to catch a break, especially here in Florida."
Wright visited a McCain campaign headquarters and described supporters as "trying to scrounge up more volunteers." He then appeared at the Miami Obama HQ, where "there were a lot more people and they were busier." Despite Wright's scenario of doom and gloom, the Real Clear Politics average for Florida is only a 2.2 percent lead, with an October 21 NBC poll gave the Republican a one point advantage.
"Nightline" anchors Martin Bashir and Terry Moran sarcastically investigated "the Palin problem" on Wednesday's edition of the program. And while Moran did offer Sarah Palin some positive analysis, he often mixed that with snarky, condescending remarks about her falling poll numbers. At one point, the ABC journalist asserted, "The hockey mom, a woman dubbed the killa' from Wasilla, and then the blunda [sic] from the tundra, she just might be here to stay." After playing a clip of General Colin Powell claiming the Republican vice presidential nominee isn't qualified, Moran opined, "Ouch!"
Moran, who just last week asked Senator Joe Biden if Palin's rhetoric made him concerned about his safety, pronounced the candidate's downfall: "When McCain nominated her, she was just incandescent and it looked for a while like it was one of the most brilliant and daring political moves in recent times. Now, well, not so much."
On Tuesday's "Nightline," co-anchor Cynthia McFadden conducted her second interview this week with Hillary Clinton and, once again, offered no policy questions and focused only on pushing the New York senator to bash Governor Sarah Palin. The liberal journalist repeatedly questioned, five times in total, variations on whether or not Palin is qualified or good for women. At one point she even asserted, "But it must rankle you, I mean, to be compared to Sarah Palin."
Below are McFadden's (unsuccessful) attempts to get Clinton to slam the Republican vice presidential nominee.
CYNTHIA MCFADDEN: Is Sarah Palin good for women?
MCFADDEN: I feel like you're bending over backwards. I mean, I feel in some ways as if a man with the qualifications that Sarah Palin brings to this role, you'd have no problem with taking the gloves off and saying, hold it just a second.
MCFADDEN:Is she ready to serve as commander in chief, senator?
MCFADDEN: Does she deserve, does she have the right to stand on your shoulders in this regard?
ABC reporter Jake Tapper contended on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" that John McCain can still win the presidential election and observed to co-host Diane Sawyer, "...If there's one thing the American people like doing, it's having the media say that this is all over, that one guy's going to win, especially a Democrat." [audio excerpt here]
He added, "And then they say, well, not so fast. Not so fast, media. We have a say on this on Election Day." Tapper also argued, "I would never count John McCain out. It is a very, very big hole he's in. But he can get out." Earlier this week, Tapper was one of the few journalists to highlight a false claim by the Barack Obama campaign that John McCain would "cut" $882 billion in Medicare benefits.
Liberal reporter David Wright took a swipe at Sarah Palin on Wednesday's edition of "Good Morning America." Discussing Senator Joe Biden's comments over the weekend that Barack Obama will face an international incident within the first six months of his (potential) presidency, the ABC journalist 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."
He then introduced a clip of Palin speaking to a Denver NBC affiliate and asserted that the Republican vice presidential nominee "didn't seem to understand the job description of the position she's running for."Palin was featured observing that the vice president is "in charge of the United States Senate. So, if they want to, they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes." Taking issue with Palin's comments, Wright retorted, "Technically, the vice president does preside over the Senate. But the most they usually contribute is a tie breaking vote when required."
"Nightline" co-anchor Cynthia McFadden on Monday used the opportunity of the first dual interview with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to gush over the two Democrats and offer no challenging questions. Speaking to the senators after a campaign rally in Florida, she fawned, "You looked pretty good up there together." The co-anchor also excitedly tossed this softball to Clinton and Obama: "Are you going to win? Are you going to win down here?"
Fully embracing Democratic talking points that the two once-bitter rivals are now friendly, McFadden fawned, "...Two weeks before the presidential election, they genuinely seemed to have bonded over their singular mission to put a Democrat in the White House." (Is that McFadden's mission too?)
Offering amateur psychology, the ABC host wondered, "How does it feel today? Still a little awkward or have we gotten over the awkward period in the relationship?" McFadden presented no questions about Obama running mate Joe Biden's assertion on Sunday that the Illinois senator would be tested by a major international crisis in the first six months of his potential presidency. In addition, there were no questions about terrorist bomber William Ayers or any other serious issue.
Despite featuring the story on its "Political Radar" blog on Monday morning, the ABC network ignored for almost 24 hours the claim by Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden that Barack Obama will be tested by a major international crisis in the first (potential) six months of his presidency. Monday's "Good Morning America" skipped the story, as did that evening's "World News With Charles Gibson" and "Nightline."
In fact, "Nightline" co-anchor Cynthia McFadden actually conducted an interview with Senator Obama after a campaign rally in Florida. Despite the fact that she had nabbed the first joint interview with Obama and Clinton since the Illinois senator won the nomination, she didn't address the issue. Rather than ask what his running mate meant when he said, "Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy," McFadden chose to limit her questions to how the relationship between Obama and Clinton had changed.
"Good Morning America" journalists celebrated the endorsement of Senator Barack Obama by former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Monday's program. An ABC graphic for reporter John Berman's segment did not hold back. It asked, "Obama's Best Weekend Ever? Powell and Donors Boost Obama." Co-host Diane Sawyer teased the story by announcing, "This morning, Senator Obama's banner weekend: Record breaking crowds, cash and the endorsement heard around the world." [audio excerpt here]
Introducing Berman, Sawyer called Powell's endorsement, which occurred on Sunday's "Meet the Press," a "booster rocket." Berman also highlighted the fact that Obama's campaign has a "bank account that swelled by a record-shattering $150 million." Of course there was no mention of the influence of money in politics or the Democratic presidential candidate's now broken pledge to take public financing.
Continuing the mainstream media's dogged pursuit of the truth, Thursday's "Nightline" breathlessly asserted that Joe "the plumber" Wurzelbacher isn't really named Joe. In a segment on the Ohio man who quizzed Senator Barack Obama about his tax plan, co-anchor Martin Bashir derided, "But his name's not Joe and he's not a registered plumber. And those are only half his problems."
Of course, his middle name is Joseph. Continuing to harp on this subject, reporter Jake Tapper alerted, "And it turns out Joe the plumber is not even technically named Joe...His name is Sam, Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher." Now, although it took the media almost a year to report on Jeremiah Wright, Obama's radical preacher, Bashir announced that in the case of Wurzelbacher, "It wasn't long before the media pounced. But with the spotlight has come some scrutiny." Before launching into an investigation of Joe the plumber, Tapper chided, "The McCain campaign did not necessarily vet Joe, it seems." (Do voters need to be vetted before they're allowed to ask Obama a question?)
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Friday strongly challenged "Good Morning America" host Diane Sawyer about the media's lack of fairness towards the McCain/Palin presidential ticket. The exchange came after the ABC journalist followed up on negative Gingrich remarks about the Obama tax plan by asserting, "for fairness," Obama talking points on middle class tax cuts.
An irritated Gingrich refused to allow Sawyer to move on to another topic and retorted, "No, wait a second. I don't notice very often, reporters, for fairness, pointing out what Governor Palin said or pointing out what Senator McCain said." The GMA anchor, slightly taken aback, defended, "And let me just say, I do point out what Senator McCain says, Mr. Speaker. You know I do." [audio excerpt available here]
And yet, just a few minutes earlier, during a different segment, Sawyer seemed to prove Gingrich's point that the media often recite the left's talking points and attacks. She launched into an update on Joe "the plumber" Wurzelbacher, which was really a series of gratuitous attacks on the Ohio man who famously challenged Obama over his tax plan. She derided, "It turns out, even though he was arguing about taxes for plumbers who end up making $250,000 a year, it turns out that he doesn't have a plumbing license, though the company he works for does."
"Good Morning America" correspondent Neal Karlinsky on Thursday passed off the statistics of a liberal, rabidly pro-gun control group during a story on the 2008 election and firearms. Reporting live from Wyoming, he talked to a family who owns a number of weapons and asserted, "Yet time and time again, statistics show that firearm death rates are significantly higher in places with relaxed gun laws."
In very small font, an onscreen graphic cited his source as the Violence Policy Center (VPF). Karlinsky failed to mention that this group's web site describes itself as "the most aggressive group in the gun control movement" and proudly touted a quote from the National Rifle Association calling the organization "the most effective...anti-gun rabble rouser in Washington." The VPF even has an NRA bashing section on its web page, slurring "NRA family values" and going after the late Charlton Heston. Would Karlinsky cite the NRA as a neutral, independent source? It's not likely. So, why is it okay to pass off the VPF as one?
CNN anchor John Roberts complained in an October 15 interview to Media Life magazine about the "Media Research Council" (he meant Media Research Center) giving him an award in 2001 for being one of the most liberally biased journalists during George W. Bush's first 100 days in office.
In the interview, Roberts labeled himself an "equal opportunity holder of feet to the fire," and lamented that "within the first 100 days [of the Bush administration], the Media Research Council [sic] named me the worst White House correspondent because I was so unswervingly tough on the new administration."
Roberts, who hosts CNN's "American Morning," crowed about his network's "intense desire" to provide "nonpartisan, non-biased information." He argued that he proved his independence during the 2000 campaign: "President Bush later shook my hand, I think saying thanks for being so tough on the Al Gore campaign."
All three morning shows on Wednesday failed to cover a front page Washington Times story asserting that Senator Joe Biden has paid over $2 million in campaign money to family members and their businesses. Washington Times reporter Jim McElhatton wrote in the October 15 edition of the paper that "the money largely flowed from the coffers of Mr. Biden's failed presidential campaign during the past two years to a company that employs his sister and longtime campaign manager and longtime campaign manager Valerie Biden Owens, according to campaign disclosure filings."
The current Democratic vice presidential candidate also "directed campaign legal work to a Washington lobbying and law firm founded by his son R. Hunter Biden, the disclosures show." CBS's "Early Show," NBC's "Today" and "Good Morning America" all skipped the report. And although GMA found no time to highlight Biden's activities (which are legal, but have been harshly criticized by groups such as Public Citizen), the program did manage to devote a full segment to a 106-year-old nun who will be voting for Senator Barack Obama.
For the second time in three days, a major network program has showcased the story of a 106-year-old nun in Rome who is voting for Senator Barack Obama. On Wednesday's "Good Morning America," reporter Jim Sciutto highlighted Sister Cecilia Gaudette, an elderly woman who has caught "election fever" for the Democrat. The journalist featured Gaudette gushing, "I think he's the man, really. I think so."
Although the story was touted on the October 12 edition of the "CBS Evening News," Sciutto acted as though there was some mystery as to who the women might vote for. "We didn't ask her to reveal who she chose, but she couldn't help telling us," he announced. (Would journalists trek all the way to Rome just to file a report on a nun voting for a conservative candidate, such as John McCain?) And just as with the CBS piece, there was no mention of any possible conflict over a Catholic nun supporting the pro-abortion Obama.