"Nightline" co-host Terry Moran spent the day with Barack Obama on Tuesday and continued his habit of spouting talking points for Democratic candidates. This included telling viewers that Obama's campaign revolved around "connections" and then elaborating, "That's what is at the heart of Obama's politics, the notion that divisions are artificial and can be overcome by an act of will and of imagination."
It should be pointed out that fellow "Nightline" anchor Martin Bashir promised viewers at the top of the show that Moran, who interviewed Obama in a restaurant in Kansas, would obtain "tough chili and tough questions." One might think that would include asking about the senator's connection with indicted political operative and former supporter Tony Rezko. It didn't. Instead, Moran repeated campaign bio about how Obama's grandfather was born in Kansas and offered queries such as "So, you're home?" He told Obama, in what can't really be described as an actual question, "It always seems that the biggest applause lines are those where you tell people, let's come together."
Previewing George Bush's State of the Union speech on Sunday's "Good Morning America," ABC correspondent John Donvan delivered a condescending, dismissive look at the President's past SOTU addresses. After showing a 2005 clip of Bush touting tax cuts for everyone, Donvan derided the cuts, saying they "came true, most of all, for wealthier Americans..." He also added that "out went balanced budgets and surpluses."
While inter-cutting clips of Bush talking about Saddam Hussein, Donvan snidely observed, "And the weapons he said justified going to war-- [State of the Union clip] --well, they were never found." Donvan also willfully ignored the successful troop surge in Iraq and stuck to the pessimistic outlook of the war. In between a clip of Bush talking about how Iraq's success would inspire democracy in the region, the ABC journalist spun, "And the great hopes for the sacrifice made--[State of the Union clip] --those were disappointed hopes."
On Tuesday's "Good Morning America," reporter Dan Harris covered the growing sex scandal of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and, at the same time, skipped the fact that he is a Democrat. The story, which has, thus far, been ignored by both NBC and CBS's morning shows, relates to testimony Kilpatrick gave in the summer of 2007 when he denied having an affair with his chief of staff, Christine Beatty, and of using security to cover up the relationship. (14,000 just discovered text messages between the mayor and Beatty tend to refute the Mayor's statement.)
During Harris's segment, the GMA correspondent described the embattled politician who, prior to the scandal, was "considered a talented politician with a very bright future" in apolitical terms. Other than a brief, onscreen graphic, he didn't verbally mention Kilpatrick's Democratic Party affiliation. Harris also brought up related examples of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and San Francisco's Gavin Newsom, both of whom are Democrats. (Those facts also went unspoken.) In contrast, a 2006 Media Research Center study found that the three networks of ABC, CBS and NBC filed 150 stories in less than a two week period about Republican Mark Foley and his sex scandal.
"Good Morning America" correspondent John Berman couldn't restrain himself on Tuesday from making snide comments about Mitt Romney campaigning heavily on economic issues in Florida. Speaking of the presidential contender and his tendency to tout business success as a CEO, Berman sarcastically claimed, "Here in Florida, sometimes it seems Mitt Romney isn't running so much to be president, as the chairman of the economics department."
Reporting live from Florida on the day of that state's primary, Berman actually appeared somewhat perturbed that the former Massachusetts governor has been touting an issue he considers to be a strength. He complained, "In case you missed the point that Mitt Romney really wants to talk about the economy, it would be hard to miss 'cause he brings it up so much." In a brief interview with the governor, he reiterated, "You really want to keep the focus on the economy." Later in the segment, Berman even admitted that, according to an ABC News poll, the economy is the top issue with many voters. That would seem to make his snide comments even more out of place.
While spending the day in South Carolina, "Nightline" co-host Terry Moran could barely contain his awe over Bill Clinton and his political skills. The reporter lauded the former president as "the man often called the most gifted politician of his generation." While describing the ex-commander in chief's campaigning for Hillary Clinton in Saturday's primary, Moran rhapsodized, "He lectures and jokes around and feels your pain and implores you to believe."
Although the ABC journalist offered a few token questions about whether or not Bill Clinton is overshadowing his wife's run for the White House, Moran repeatedly slipped into the sort of fawning coverage that one would expect on "Access Hollywood." While intercutting clips of the impeached ex-president's stump speech, Moran asserted, "If you close your eyes while he talks...you could almost imagine it's 1992 all over again--[clip from '92 speech] --and a brilliant young governor is charming his way to the White House."
"Good Morning America" host Robin Roberts conducted a gushing interview with Hillary Clinton on Friday's show in which she essentially wondered if the Democrat plans on crying again. Roberts also blithely accepted the New York senator's claim to be focusing her campaign what can be done for America. She extolled, "I'm sure your tone will be well received this morning."
Overall, Roberts failed to challenge Clinton on pressing issues such as the economy or Iraq. Instead, after stating that the ex-first lady's campaign has been centered around experience, the GMA host offered this extraordinary softball: "Do you believe that your strategy of emphasizing your experience is paying off?" On the subject of the New York Times endorsing Clinton, Roberts seemed to accept the '08 contender's contention that she can "restore America and our leadership." To that comment, the ABC journalist replied, "And that's what you are saying was part of it. It was a ringing endorsement." But, Robert's query about Clinton's emotional state was the most over-the-top question:
"Good Morning America" correspondent John Berman filed a snide report on Thursday's show that mocked the "not-so-big time," occasionally C-list, celebrities backing Republican presidential candidates. Berman framed the segment as a "bizarro awards show" (see picture at right) and it played out like a bad "Saturday Night live" sketch. The ABC correspondent sarcastically mused, "Best portly retiree with a big mustache? Backing John McCain, Wilford Brimley."
Clearly, Berman's point was that the "cool kids" are behind the Democrats. Of another nominee, he added, "Best estranged relative of Angelina Jolie? The winner? Jon Voight, backing Rudy Giuliani." Mentioning Chuck Norris's support for Mike Huckabee and the action star's explanation of why he didn't choose McCain, Berman derided, "[Norris] also prevailed in the category of most creative math skills, trying to say John McCain is old."
Time online editor Ana Marie Cox apparently believes a dated quip by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney should be considered a "macaca moment." During a Florida event on Monday, Romney, joking with a group of young people, quoted a rather lame song by the Baha Men. After asking who had a camera, he blurted, "Who let the dogs out? Who? Who?"
Now, most people would simply smile or appreciate Romney's friendly, if somewhat dorky, sense of humor. Cox, however, at Time's "Swampland" blog, wondered, "Shouldn't it be a 'macaca moment'? I suspect he's not being pilloried for it because the moment [sic] less offensive than it is cringe-inducing..." She also described the candidate's comments, which occurred at a Martin Luther King day event, as "jive talking." (Hat tip to Hot Air, who also remembered that Cox previously went after Romney for not taking proper care of the family dog.) Is Time's online editor simply looking for a scandal, any scandal, to hit Mitt Romney with?
"Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer used an interview with Senator Barack Obama on Wednesday to repeatedly plead for a truce between the Democratic presidential contender and his chief opponent, Hillary Clinton. Discussing the verbal battle that took place during Monday's debate, Sawyer implored, "We have heard a lot of people say they are exhausted by this charge, counter charge."
Later in the segment, the GMA co-host reiterated the need for calm, saying, "So, is this done? Is it a truce for future debates? No more of that kind of back and forth?" Clearly, a contentious conflict between the two liberal heavyweights bothered Sawyer. (This is, it should be restated, the same show that in early 2007 featured a reporter sizing up the Obama/Clinton battle as one between the Illinois senator's "fluid poetry" and the former first lady's "hot factor.") She closed the segment by, yet again, repeating the same question. After Obama speculated that further debates would relate to issues and not personal attacks, the ABC journalist hopefully queried, "Sounds as if you're really declaring a truce this morning. Different tone?"
ABC correspondent Nick Watt conducted a softball interview with the son of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden on Tuesday's "Good Morning America" and he credulously repeated Omar bin Laden's goals of being an "ambassador for peace." Host Diane Sawyer called the idea a "very curious proposal," while Watt announced that the younger bin Laden "wants to meet with President George W. Bush" and labeled the idea "astounding."
Watt expressed no skepticism over the proposed meeting. This, despite the fact that bin Laden lauded his father, responsible for countless thousands of deaths, as a "very kind man" and stated that he would not turn his dad over to American authorities, were he to know the location. Apparently, it didn't occur to Watt that this might not be the kind of person who would be best qualified to be an ambassador for peace or someone that President Bush would meet with. However, the GMA correspondent did find time to notice bin Laden's "glamorous, English wife."
Half a decade after observing the fifth anniversary of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, "Good Morning America" correspondent Claire Shipman filed a report on Monday's show that commemorated ten years since the event. Shipman used the January 21 piece to take a swipe at Lewinsky-gate figure Linda Tripp, snidely labeling her "that questionable, tape-recording friend" and pointing out that she "has remade her face and her life." After observing that Tripp has since opened a store selling Christmas trinkets in Virginia, Shipman mused, "Atonement? Simply irony? Who knows?"
During the fifth anniversary segment, on January 16, 2003, this same GMA reporter appeared dismissive of the Lewinsky scandal. She claimed, perhaps hopefully, "It may be, especially in this newly-sobered world, that the Lewinsky episode, as riveting as it seemed at the time, will have little lasting impact, will be little more than a memorable footnote in our political life." A similar tone pervaded Shipman's report on Monday when she described the event as the "national political episode that a decade later, and in a post-September 11th, Iraq-dominated world, seems surreal."
ABC reporter Kate Snow continued her long history of delivering generous Clinton spin during a segment on Friday's "Good Morning America." The GMA correspondent followed Chelsea Clinton as the former first daughter campaigned for her mother, repeating talking points along the way. Snow announced, "To be honest, [Chelsea] doesn't like cameras much. She let us tag along, but takes no questions." Later Snow repeated, "She doesn't want to be in the spotlight." The ABC reporter, who often covers the Clintons, didn't ask the obvious question: If Chelsea doesn't like the spotlight or cameras, why, exactly, did she allow ABC to follow her around with a camera crew?
GMA did balance the piece on the Clinton daughter with a sympathetic take on Mike Huckabee's wife, Janet. (At one point, reporter Claire Shipman asked about Mike Hucakbee's "legendary guitar playing.") However, Snow has developed a pattern of vigorously lauding the actions of various Clintons. On January 7th of 2008, she praised Hillary Clinton for seemingly ordinary actions. "No subject is too small. No issue too dense," Snow raved.
ABC weatherman and liberal environmentalist Sam Champion touted "fair trade" products on Thursday's "Good Morning America," as well as recycled razors that he encouraged viewers to purchase of with this enticing visual: "Consider this to be old yogurt cups."
Champion opened the "Just One Thing" segment, an occasional part of GMA that allows the weatherman to push his environmental agenda, by enthusing, "And this morning, green your morning routine with some toiletries that actually work on fair trade issues and are made from sustainable materials." Champion never bothered to define fair trade or mention that it's a liberal economic policy that encourages inefficiency and the adoption of socialist-style economic policies.
"Freakonomics" co-author Stephen Dubner appeared on Thursday's "Good Morning America" to talk about crime and also to repeat his unsubstantiated argument that legalized abortions have resulted in less crime. The journalist and author asserted, "What happened when Roe V. Wade was handed down was that unwanted children are basically at a much greater risk for being born into the circumstances where they're more likely to lead a criminal life. Not every unwanted child by a long stretch, but typically."
In other words, 35 years after the Roe V. Wade Supreme Court decision, "the generation of people around then included fewer unwanted children and therefore fewer criminals." At no point did Roberts question this assertion or mention that it has been repeatedly challenged since Dubner and his economist co-author Steven Levitt made it in their book. In fact, a study by another economist, John Lott, found that legalized abortion actually increased the murder rate by seven percent. However, unimpeded by contradictory arguments, Dubner simply told Roberts, "It's good to know what forces work in society, if for no other reason than to keep doing the right thing." The right thing, one presumes he means, is to keep aborting children.
Actress Diane Keaton appeared live on Tuesday's "Good Morning America" and dropped the F-bomb while attempting to compliment GMA co-host Diane Sawyer's looks. After gushing over how much better her life would be with "those lips," the movie star blurted, "I'd like to have lips like that. Then I wouldn't have worked on my fucking personality or my-- excuse me. My personality."
Sawyer, who had been attempting to get the actress to talk about "Mad Money," Keaton's new film, appeared momentarily shocked and then started laughing. She retorted, "My mother is going to work on your personality with soap in your mouth, is what she's going to do."
On Saturday's "Good Morning America," Kate Snow chatted with a woman who once wished death on Clarence Thomas and highlighted her as an expert on racial politics in America. The weekend GMA co-host interviewed Julianne Malveaux on the subject of racial overtones in the conflict between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
On November 4, 1994, Malveaux famously stated of Supreme Court Justice Thomas: "I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease....He is an absolutely reprehensible person." (Video in the MRC's 20th anniversary Notable Quotables, scroll down to "Damn Those Conservatives Award.") Of course, Snow made no mention of this. She simply introduced the well known liberal as "a noted commentator on American politics." Snow also skipped over the fact that Malveaux is a former talk show host for the leftist Pacifica Radio network.
ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos derided GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson as a "hit man" on Friday's "Good Morning America." Appearing on the program to discuss the previous night's Republican presidential debate, he alleged, "Well, [Fred Thompson has] never played a hit man, I think, in the movies or television. But he's taken on that role in the last two debates."
Stephanopoulos then promoted a conspiracy theory to GMA co-host Diane Sawyer. According to the former Clinton aide, Thompson vigorously attacked fellow Republican contender Mike Huckabee during the debate as a way to secretly help Senator John McCain's candidacy. Stephanopoulos speculated, "Before Fred Thompson got into this race, he's a close friend of John McCain. He was chairman of John McCain's campaign...So, I think what he's calculating is, 'Listen, if this can help me, great. If not, I'm going to go out helping John McCain.'"
After completely ignoring the story, ABC investigative correspondent Brian Ross finally featured a segment on a questionable real estate deal by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. On Thursday's "Good Morning America," the reporter looked at the Illinois senator's relationship with Tony Rezko, a political operator who raised cash for candidates. Rezko, who will go on trial in February for charges related to bribes and extortion, played a role in a house purchase by Obama.
Although local Illinois media outlets, such as the Chicago Sun Times, have been covering the story for much of 2006 and 2007, a Nexis search finds only one mention on ABC, prior to the Ross report on Thursday. (On May 13, 2007, "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos briefly quizzed Obama on the subject.) Ross's investigations of Republicans often include a sneering, sarcastic tone that was lacking in his segment on Obama. In October of '07, he claimed that after listening to 1973 Watergate tapes of '08 Republican candidate Fred Thompson, a "much different, less valiant picture of Thompson emerges."
Former Bill Clinton aide, and current ABC anchor, George Stephanopoulos appeared on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" to gush over Hillary Clinton's mastery of the relatively simple task of stage management. Discussing the New York senator's win in New Hampshire with GMA co-host Diane Sawyer, he fawned over the placement of individuals at the victory speech: "Hillary Clinton alone at the podium. Young people, faces of hope, behind her. Where is Bill Clinton? Where is Chelsea Clinton? They are not there yet."
The segment seemed to be a cross between a football game and a campaign spot. Stephanopoulos, using a telestrator, circled the various individuals as they appeared onscreen. At the same time, he narrated what sounded like an ad for the '08 White House contender: "Hillary Clinton actually has to motion them up to the stage. Yes, they're reluctant. They don't want to come up. There's Chelsea. There's Bill Clinton, coming up, a little hang dog." The ABC anchor rhapsodized about how Bill Clinton mouthed the words "I'm so proud of you" to his wife. He ended the video replay by describing the New York Senator as "all alone at the podium, the sole victor." Sawyer solemnly added, "Taking charge."
On Tuesday's "Good Morning America," reporter Claire Shipman appeared touched by Hillary Clinton's emotional display at a New Hampshire diner on Monday. She exhibited no skepticism about the outpouring, describing it as "unexpected, spontaneous emotion." Not surprisingly, Shipman also speculated that Clinton could benefit in the polls from the event.
The ABC reporter rhapsodized, "From this woman in particular, who remains stoic publicly even as her emotional world caved in, who has cultivated such an image of strength and invulnerability, it was a surprise that just might pay off." Much of the segment related to crying in politics and whether it's now thought to be acceptable. However, Shipman clearly appeared to be fascinated with the New York senator's display of emotion in response to a question from a voter. She added, "And it's so fascinating when you are the first woman to make a serious stab at the presidency, every move, every emotion is fraught and scrutinized."
For the second day in a row, "Good Morning America" provided a gushing forum for Hillary Clinton's spin. On Tuesday's program, co-host Diane Sawyer asked the presidential candidate about her emotional display at a New Hampshire diner on Monday. The ABC journalist sympathetically wondered, "Is it different when a woman shows that kind of emotion and (sic) a man does?"
Sawyer certainly never broached the subject of whether Clinton contrived the wavering voice. Instead, she gingerly questioned, "Are you surprised so much is being made this morning?" Regarding the '08 candidate's recent defeat in Iowa, the GMA host carefully asked, "With those numbers coming in, what does President Clinton say to you at night or first thing in the morning? Is there a pep talk?" Sawyer followed up by speculating, "Does Chelsea write you notes and leave them under the door?"
Are the two major political parties hosting primaries this winter? Or is it just the Democrats? Viewers who saw Monday's edition of "Good Morning America" might assume the latter. The ABC program devoted a lopsided 14 minutes and 56 seconds to breaking down the race between Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. A scant 31 seconds were given to the competitive Republican race.
Over the course of the two hour program, GMA featured four segments on the Democrats and only a solitary (and brief) piece on the GOP contest. This included co-host Diane Sawyer interviewing Barack Obama twice. ABC anchor and former Bill Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos talked to Senator Hillary Clinton. Kate Snow discussed the state of the New York senator's White House bid. Aside from mentioning the latest GOP polls in the show's intro, the only analysis of the Republicans resulted from Sawyer asking Stephanopoulos this banal question: "And what about the Republicans?" The conversation that followed lasted 31 seconds.
ABC journalist Kate Snow continued her habit on Monday of parroting Hillary Clinton's campaign spin. Filing a report for "Good Morning America," she gushed over just how hard the senator is working for a resurgence in the polls. Snow raved, "No subject is too small. No issue too dense. Hillary Clinton is taking question after question from voters, from reporters."
Spinning seemingly ordinary tasks, Snow continued, "She's pounding the pavement, literally going door to door for votes." The GMA contributor also explained that "the new Hillary critiques Barack Obama for putting a lobbyist at the top of his New Hampshire campaign." Later in the segment, she repeated the phrase: "The new Hillary confronts Obama saying he's changed his positions." Snow has a long history of history of portraying Senator Clinton's every move as brilliant:
"Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts used the label "fundamentalist Christians" to describe the Iowa supporters of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. During an interview on Friday's program, she also noted that America "saw, there, in your offices in Iowa, right before the caucuses, people praying there in your, in your office."
The ABC journalist also grilled the '08 contender, fresh from his caucus victory, on the subject of creationism and evolution. Citing a new National Academy of Sciences report, Roberts asked, "Do you agree with that, that creationism should be kept out of our classrooms?" After Huckabee stated that, as governor, he never dealt with the question, the host repeated her question: "Should creationism be banned from the classroom. Yes or no?"
"Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo, while discussing politics with Iowa voters on Thursday, spun foes of illegal immigrants as fans of simplistic solutions to a complicated issue. Maligning them, he complained, "Everybody wants to put up a big wall and then find who's not supposed to be here and throw them over that wall."
Cuomo, while speaking to a voter who favored allowing illegals to stay in the country, seemed to morph into a parody of an enforcement conservative. Attempting to channel that mind set, he derided, "But for a politician, you want that red meat. You want to be able to be strong and we want them out!"
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," reporter Chris Cuomo saw dark motives in Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's attacks on Democrat John Edwards and his "Two Americas" rhetoric. The GMA host conducted a combative interview with the 2008 contender and even alleged that Romney's comments could even be construed as an example of "ignorance."
After playing a clip of the former governor dismissing Edwards's contention that there is a rich and poor America, Cuomo argumentatively asserted, "When you say, 'This is one America,' that could be a unity statement or it could be one of, perhaps, ignorance to the fact that in this country you have the rich growing at ten times the rate as the working class. Do you deny that is the situation in this country?" The ABC journalist then helpfully added, "You trying to make a different point?"
For the second day in a row, and the sixth time in less than a year and a half, a "Good Morning America" anchor speculated on whether Senator Barack Obama can overcome racism in his presidential bid. During a particularly fawning interview on Thursday's program, host Diane Sawyer referenced a quote from the senator on the subject and hypothesized that, in a white state like Iowa, "people have shown they are willing to look beyond race in this country. Has that victory been won, whatever happens tonight?"
On Wednesday, GMA co-host Chris Cuomo posed the same question to fellow Democrat John Edwards. He asked the presidential aspirant about the nature of Iowa voters, theorizing, "When you think people get into the room, do you think race or gender may play an unspoken role in the caucus voting?" Cuomo, back on December 20, 2007, fretted over whether Obama could overcome "America's inherent...racism." Sawyer herself once asked the Illinois senator if America is "secretly...more racist or more sexist"
For the second time in less than a month, "Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo asked a Democratic presidential candidate to speculate about the inherent racism of American voters. Talking with John Edwards on Wednesday's edition of the program, the ABC journalist wondered about Thursday's Iowa caucus. He inquired, "When you think people get into the room, do you think race or gender may play an unspoken role in the caucus voting?"
Clearly, this is a topic that weighs heavily on Cuomo. On December 20, he spoke to Senator Barack Obama and asked, "What do you think the bigger obstacle is for you in becoming president, the Clinton campaign machine or America's inherent racists, racism?" In fact, GMA has a long history of harping on how bigoted America is. Since November 13, 2006, "Good Morning America" has featured the question, in some form or another, a total of five times.
Do all those attacks against Hillary Clinton reduce the candidate to cowering in bed? "Nightline" co-anchor Cynthia McFadden posed this question to the former First Lady on Wednesday's program. She sympathetically asked, "There's never a night when you go back to whatever hotel room, whatever city you're in that night, and crawl in a ball and say, 'I just, this just hurts too much?"
As previously noted on NewsBusters, the ABC program also featured McFadden gushing that the presidential candidate's new campaign web site is "terribly sweet in so many ways" and yet it also shows the double standard that female politicians have to put up with. McFadden, who spent a day with Clinton in Iowa, protectively spun most of her questions. She observed that Barack Obama has been successful with "some people" at painting Clinton as an opportunist and then queried simply, "How do you fight back against that?"
Time magazine has named liberal icon Al Gore runner-up for 2007's Person of the Year, second only to the winner, Russian President Vladimir Putin. Richard Stengel, the publication's managing editor, appeared on Wednesday's edition of the "Today" show to announce the decision. Stengel, the man responsible for the final decision, also showed up on Monday's program and toyed with the possibility of choosing Gore, saying he'd be a "superb choice."
[Updated with transcript: December 19, 2007- 10:53 -0500]
Today co-host Meredith Vieira seemed shocked at the decision. Upon hearing the news that Gore had not won Time's prize, she stumbled, "Oh! He wasn't -- oh, interesting." In 2007, Stengel's news magazine repeatedly gushed over Gore. In May, Time writer Eric Pooley lamented the 2000 candidate's decision not to enter the current presidential race and lovingly labeled him a "improbably charismatic, Academy Award–winning, Nobel Prize–nominated environmental prophet."