As noted in NewsBusters on Monday, NBC’s "Today" show breathlessly reported the claims, articulated by filmmaker James Cameron in a new Discovery Channel documentary, that the tomb of Jesus, with Christ buried inside, has been located. Co-anchor Matt Lauer hyped the network’s exclusive interview with Cameron by credulously repeating the documentary’s assertions and stating the film could "rock Christianity to its core."
In contrast, the other networks provided a more skeptical interpretation. On the February 26 edition of ABC’s "Nightline," anchor Terry Moran repeatedly noted that many archaeologists are skeptical of the claims that the tomb of Jesus and a reported family have been found. On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," reporter Dan Harris prefaced a segment on the subject by observing, "If the claims in this new documentary are true, and many people doubt that they are, they would challenge some of Christianity's central articles of faith..." Over on CBS, "Early Show" anchor Hannah Storm peppered the film’s director, Simcha Jacobovici, with a number of tough questions:
Hannah Storm: "Simcha, are you attacking the basic tenets of Christianity that Jesus indeed rose from the dead?"
Hannah Storm: "What about people who say this is nothing more than a publicity stunt, Simcha?"
For the third time since the 2006 midterm elections, CNN’s "Situation Room" has highlighted liberal Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as a role model for the national GOP. On the Monday edition of the cable program, reporter Jeff Greenfield discussed the California leader’s visit to Washington to give a speech and he also described Schwarzenegger’s "centrism." Additionally, Greenfield highlighted the former movie star's liberal initiatives:
Jeff Greenfield: " In 2005, frustrated by a Democratic legislature, Schwarzenegger went to war, promoting ballot measures to curb the power of unions, to cap the budget, to change redistricting. All of those measures went down to defeat."
Arnold Schwarzenegger: "I just made terrible mistakes."
Greenfield: "So, in a remarkable 180 degree turn, Schwarzenegger began cutting deals with the legislature on education spending, on expanding health care to all children, on dealing with the budget deficit and roads through bond measures, that’s borrowing. He’s joined Senator John McCain, embracing a massive effort to cut greenhouse gasses, something the conservative GOP base is not exactly crazy about. And he’s even defended the Republicans’ public enemy number one, Hillary Clinton, over her Iraq War vote."
Are the "Clinton haters" mellowing? That’s the not-so-benign question NBC reporter David Gregory asked on the subject of whether conservative ire for Hillary Clinton has lessened. (Can you imagine a segment on "Bush haters?")
Fellow NBC alum Chris Matthews, perhaps offering an explanation for the media’s fawning over Barack Obama, explained that the Illinois Senator appeals to the "young at heart."
This week, CNN provided yet another example as to why "fair and balanced" wouldn’t be a good promotional phrase for them. Correspondent Bill Schneider asserted that African Americans don’t vote for the GOP because of a "perception of racism."
"Good Morning America" weatherman Sam Champion continued his promotion of left-wing environmental causes on Thursday. Champion, who has previously hosted a segment on whether "billions" will die from global warming, reported from Los Angeles to preview the upcoming Oscars.
He also highlighted a party being held by the climate change organization Global Green USA a group founded by the former Russian General Secretary, and noted Communist, Mikhail Gorbachev. And this isn’t the first time Champion has touted Global Green:
Sam Champion: "We are, again, inside the Academy headquarters, right where it all happens in Hollywood. And we wanted to tell you that it’s not just gold and red, the colors of Oscar this week, but there's another big color, and that's green. It’s eco-friendly green, environmental friendly green that's highlighted this week. Some celebrities are driving eco-friendly cars to the Oscars instead of limos, and by the way, there’s also a green carpet at the environmental group Global Green’s party last night. A lot of celebrities were there, and so were we."
Penelope Cruz: "It's something that where everyone can contribute."
Champion: "Oscar nominee Penelope Cruz is just one of the stars trading in the Oscar gold for a little green, to highlight one of Hollywood's hottest issues, global warming."
Celebrity #1 (not identified): "If there's no nature, there's no us."
On Wednesday’s "Situation Room," reporter Bill Schneider, in a piece on minorities in America, very casually alleged that African Americans don’t vote for Republicans because of "the perception of racism."
He also claimed that blacks have no reason to distrust the federal government because, after all, that institution rescued them from slavery. (Apparently conservatives just don’t appreciate this point.) After noting the losses by several African American GOP candidates in 2006, Schneider made his point about racism:
Bill Schneider: "President Bush appointed two African-American secretaries of state. Republicans nominated three African-Americans for important statewide offices last year. None of them came close to carrying black voters, which suggests it's not just the perception of racism that drives most black voters away from the Republican Party. There's something else. Distrust of the federal government is a core issue for Republicans."
On the Wednesday edition of "Good Morning America," ABC correspondent Jake Tapper reported on the power of Hollywood in presidential politics and the pitfalls of accepting celebrity support. However, while GMA found the time to gush over Barack Obama’s celebrity status, going so far as to include a graphic of an Oscar statue with Obama’s head on it, Tapper didn’t mention that Hollywood’s fund-raising is almost exclusively for liberals and Democrats:
Chris Cuomo: "Now, to the power of Hollywood on presidential politics. Candidate Barack Obama raked in $1.3 million by going Hollywood. It's a deep pocket that more and more are trying to reach into. Here's senior national correspondent Jake Tapper."
Jake Tapper: "Last night, at the Beverly Hills Hilton, the stars came out for another million dollar affair, honoring a thin, statuesque idol of color. No, not Oscar, Obama. Barack Obama."
Actor George Clooney: "He's the most charismatic person I've been in a room with in a long time."
On February 8, in the midst of Diane Sawyer’s Dictator ‘07 Tour, a whirlwind trip that saw her offer softball questions to both the dictators of Iran and Syria, the "Good Morning America" anchor sat down to speak with a group of Syrian women. As already noted on NewsBusters, Sawyer portrayed the brutal Syrian regime as a family friendly paradise. An onscreen ABC graphic identified one female, Bouthaina Shaaban, simply as a "top ranking female in President’s cabinet." Sawyer afforded Shaaban a platform to bash America for its failure to help women balance home and career:
Diane Sawyer: "What do [Syrian females] think of American women? They say we have so many opportunities, yet they'd give us something from Syria, safety on the streets, family to help with children, and the government helping too."
Bouthaina Shaaban (Top ranking female in President’s cabinet): "They could be a lot better, family and professionally-wise in making family life in balance with the profession. I feel the U.S., as a very rich and strong country, could have offered a lot more for working women."
As it turns out, slamming the U.S. is a common action for Shaaban. She’s actually a fierce propagandist, as well as virulently anti-American and anti-Israel. Last year on CNN, she likened the actions of Israel in Lebanon to those of the Nazis in World War II, an outburst that drew no response from Wolf Blitzer. And in February of 2005, Shaaban hinted that the United States and Israel were behind the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
On the Tuesday edition of “Good Morning America,” host Robin Roberts slammed the insurance industry for daring to make a profit in the years since Hurricane Katrina. She also used the segment as a vehicle to call for more government regulations. The piece, combatively titled “GMA Gets It Done: Getting Answers” suggested the subjective, advocacy oriented slant that the program would take. (Additionally, last week, Diane Sawyer previewed the multi-day story, describing it as “a call to arms.”)
Roberts repeatedly took insurance company representative Bob Hartwig to task for the industry’s “record profits.” A sampling of Roberts’ hostile questioning can be found below:
Robin Roberts: “When people who have lost everything, who are in dispute with various insurance companies and they see the amount of money that-- the profit that is being made in such a year, these home owners scratch their heads a little bit. Do you understand?”
Roberts: “Though people find it hard to believe during such a devastating year, you still make a significant increase in your profit. And they’re saying, ‘Good grief, we trusted you.’”
Roberts: “You know that rings hollow, what you just said, to so many people. They don't believe that anymore.”
"Nightline" host Terry Moran recently blogged about the dustup over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her request for a larger plane to fly back to her San Francisco district. In the February 8 entry, the ABC host criticized the Bush administration for leaking the story to "The Washington Times," whom he referred to as "a kind of house organ for conservatives." "The Washington Times" certainly leans right, but has Mr. Moran ever labeled "The New York Times" a mouth piece for liberals?
An excerpt of Mr. Moran’s blog is below:
After the 9/11 attacks, Speaker Hastert was, for security reasons, given ‘shuttle service’ by military transport to and from his congressional district in Illinois. This year, citing the same security concerns, the Sergeant at Arms of the House of Representatives asked the Department of Defense to provide a plane that could get Speaker Pelosi to and from her district in California--which would require a bigger and costlier plane than Hastert used.
What did the Bush administration do? Leak the story--to The Washington Times, a kind of house organ for conservatives in the capital. And sit back and watch the flap.
On the Friday edition of "The Situation Room," CNN political analyst Donna Brazile slammed 2008 presidential candidate John McCain as "cowardly" for his decision to skip the Senate’s non-binding vote on President Bush’s troop surge plan in Iraq. Brazile, who discussed the issue with host Wolf Blitzer and conservative commentator William Bennett, described the Arizona Senator’s decision as "an insult." She then proceeded to label the Vietnam veteran, who spent five and a half years in the "Hanoi Hilton" prison camp, as "cowardly" for not returning to Washington on Saturday for the vote:
Donna Brazile: "I think it's an insult not to come and show up for a vote. This is a very important debate. And, for Senator McCain, who has been a staunch supporter of the President's plan, he should come and put up or shut up. But to -- to run away from the debate, and to say that this is meaningless is -- is -- is, in my judgment, cowardly."
As already reported on NewsBusters, Friday’s "Good Morning America" used the pretext of the 2008 presidential election to wonder just how bigoted America is. In a segment that aired in the 7:30 hour, Diane Sawyer talked to former NBA star John Amaechi about his new book, the revelation that he’s a homosexual, and an anti-gay diatribe delivered by ex-Miami Heat star Tim Hardaway.
This is the second time in five days that the ABC program has promoted Amaechi’s book. And just as with the piece on Senator Obama and his candidacy, Sawyer used isolated incidents to draw conclusions about all of America:
Diane Sawyer: "All right, as we said now, we're going to give you a story that wades right into this country's secret prejudice against gays in America. The former pro basketball player who revealed he is gay is with us. His name is John Amaechi. He has been the target of an anti- gay tirade by a former NBA all-star, Tim Hardaway."
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," Diane Sawyer, who has previously asked Senator Barack Obama if America is secretly ‘more racist or sexist,’ introduced a story on the issue of the 2008 presidential election and race. The ABC co-host prefaced the issue by mentioning that some African American leaders are not supporting the Illinois politician because they think the U.S. isn’t ready to vote for a black candidate.
According to Sawyer, this is creating a spotlight on questions about race and "what Americans really feel inside." Correspondent Jake Tapper continued this "Is America racist?" theme by citing a vague statistic, which was given no attribution, that 15 percent of white voters say they’d vote for a black person, but, in truth, "never, ever would":
Diane Sawyer: "Well, the 2008 presidential race turns out to be turning a spotlight on questions about race and what Americans really feel inside. Senator Barack Obama is watching black political leaders throw support to Hillary Clinton. And why? They have said publicly, they don't think America is ready to elect a black candidate. ABC's senior political correspondent Jake Tapper has more on this counter-intuitive event. Jake?"
Jake Tapper: "Good morning, Diane. Well, 84 percent of Americans say a candidate being black would not effect their vote one way or the other. But, the dirty little secret, what some experts call the 15 percent lie, the 15 percent of white voters who tell pollsters they'd be willing to vote for a black candidate, but in the privacy of the polling place, never, ever actually would."
What happens when a noted politician announces he’s running for President? Well, in the case of conservative Republican Mitt Romney, CBS’ "Early Show" gives the story a scant ten seconds. But what if that candidate is Democrat Barack Obama? Well, then the same program devotes over nine minutes of coverage! (For those keeping count: A 54: 1 advantage for the Democrat.)
Over on ABC, "Good Morning America’s" Diane Sawyer continued her Dictator ‘07 tour. She portrayed the authoritarian Syria as a pro family, welfare paradise.
Later in the week, Sawyer asked Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, noted Holocaust denier, how often he cries.
On the Thursday edition of "Good Morning America," co-host Diane Sawyer responded to critics of her recent visits to Syria and Iran. After reading some viewer e-mails about the interviews she conducted with leaders of those countries, including a question on why ABC allowed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad so much time to spew his propaganda, Sawyer informed her audience, "People all over the world, whatever their governments are doing, people all over the world really do have a yearning to live at peace on this planet, I believe."
Perhaps the GMA host was taking the words of the Iranian President to heart. During one interview, he told her that mass rallies containing "death to America" chants shouldn’t be taken personally by U.S. citizens.
Earlier in the segment, which aired at 7:48am on February 15, Sawyer defended the necessity of such trips by citing the need for greater understanding:
On the Tuesday edition of "Good Morning America," Diane Sawyer, on the last leg of her Dictator ‘07 tour, asked Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad her silliest questions yet. Sawyer mused about Iranian environmental problems and also wondered how often the Holocaust-denying leader cries. The ABC program featured several segments with the President of Iran. After a piece where she only lightly pressed Ahmadinejad on his calls for the destruction of Israel, the GMA anchor asked if Iran’s President, who is seeking a nuclear bomb, is "sentimental and sympathetic" This question allowed Americans to see a softer side of the unpredictable leader:
Diane Sawyer: "Well, in a minute we're going to talk and I'm going to get the questions you have from e-mails. But a number of people have already said is there anything surprising, personal about President Ahmadinejad that we didn't know? Well, it turns out, someone told me he cries a lot. That he is dramatically sentimental and sympathetic if someone comes up and expresses a personal plight. So I just asked him, are you often in tears?"
As already reported on NewsBusters, ABC’s Diane Sawyer continued her Dictator ‘07 Tour on Tuesday with a stop in Iran to interview President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Although the "Good Morning America" host did press the Iranian leader, it’s hard not ask some difficult questions to a man who repeatedly calls for the destruction of Israel.
However, the questions were nowhere near as tough as in November 1998 when she interrogated special prosecutor Kenneth Starr. In that case, Sawyer told the Clinton investigator that "There is something about certainty that scares a lot of people" and wondered if he "went too far." In comparison, while the veteran journalist did challenge Ahmadinejad, she frequently let absurd statements go without a follow-up. When Iran’s President insisted that "death to America" chants shouldn’t be taken personally by United States citizens, Sawyer didn’t call him on it:
Diane Sawyer: "So now, the nuclear questions. What about those 3,000 centrifuges and the gaps in reporting to the watchdog IAEA? And the Bush administration contention if it walks like a duck and it talks like a duck, it's a desire for a nuclear weapon. If you could have a nuclear weapon today, tomorrow, would you want one?"
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: "Well, our position is clear: We are opposed to any proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and nuclear weapons. We believe that the time is now over for nuclear weapons. It is a time for logic, for rationality and for civilization. Instead of thinking of finding new weapons, we are trying to find new ways to love people. And if talked about ‘Death to America’ slogan, I think you know it yourself, it is not related in any way to American public. Our people have no problem with American public, and we have a very friendly relationship."
During the Monday edition of the "Situation Room," Jack Cafferty discussed U.S. allegations that Iraqi militants are killing American soldiers with weapons provided by Iran. At the conclusion of the "Cafferty File" segment, the CNN host engaged in the always reliable media tradition of moral equivalence, comparing Iran’s action to U.S. support of Afghan rebels in the 1980s. Apparently, the fact that America was opposing the brutal Russian regime, whereas, in this case, Iran is the oppressive entity, makes no difference. Cafferty and "Situation Room" host Wolf Blitzer also exhibited skepticism about the United State’s timing in making these accusations:
Jack Cafferty: "So here is the question: ‘When it comes to Iran’s alleged involvement in Iraq, who do you believe?’ E-mail your thoughts to CaffertyFile@CNN.com or go to CNN.com/Caffertyfile. Reminiscent, Wolf, of the war in Afghanistan, when Russia invaded. It seems to me we were– The United States was supplying weapons and intelligence and things like that to the Afghan rebels."
Wolf Blitzer: "The Mujahideen, a lot. Through the CIA, through the Saudis, Those shoulder-fired missiles which brought down a lot of Soviet helicopters."
Cafferty: "So, that was okay but it's not okay if Iran-- I'm, I’m confused, Wolf."
Blitzer: "Well, you know, later we will talk to Michael Ware about the timing, why the U.S. is releasing all this information right now since it's been out there at least for a year, maybe two."
"Good Morning America’s" Diane Sawyer, who is now reporting from Iran, last Thursday finished her trip to Syria by interviewing women of that country and portraying the brutal dictatorship as a pro-family paradise. Included in this group of females was the top woman in Syrian President Bashar Assad’s cabinet. Rather then ask her about the country’s repression of human rights, "Parade Magazine" recently ranked Assad the world’s tenth worst dictator, Sawyer chose to highlight the country’s low pregnancy rate and "safety on the streets."
During the February 8 segment, the veteran ABC journalist repeatedly found America lacking in comparison to what seems to be a socialist paradise. Sawyer began by asking the collected group of Syrian females about their opinion of American women:
Diane Sawyer: "What do they think of American women? They say we have so many opportunities, yet they'd give us something from Syria, safety on the streets, family to help with children, and the government helping too."
This week, Chris Matthews' anti-Bush bigotry spilled over into a profanity laden rant. The "Hardball" host dropped the F-bomb during a live interview with Don Imus.
Meanwhile, CNN’s Paula Zahn connected opposition of illegal immigration to, you guessed it, the Ku Klux Klan. This is the same network, however, that tried to downplay proven religious bigotry by a blogger for the John Edwards campaign.
Over on ABC, "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer spent the week in Syria. She let the despotism of President Bashar Assad go mostly unchallenged.
During other segments, Sawyer chose to ask him about video games and whether he uses an iPod.
On Wednesday, Ralph Nader continued his media adulation tour, this time stopping by "The Daily Show." Just as with his appearance on "Late Edition," the only tough questioning Nader received was on the issue of the 2000 election and whether he placed George Bush in the White House. Stewart once again made clear exactly why conservatives view him as a not a political humorist, but a partisan, liberal comic. At one point, he told the consumer advocate that he was always right. And when Nader attacked President Ronald Reagan, the Comedy Central host joined right in:
Jon Stewart: "Please welcome back to the program, Ralph Nader! Ralph! Come on! Nice to see you again. Thanks for joining us. So they say they’re going to make a film about you, ‘An Unreasonable Man,’ and they come to you, and you say, ‘I'm in.’"
Ralph Nader: "What are you going to do? ( Laughter ) Everything– You know, you want air bags in cars and seat belts in cars so you lose the freedom to go through a windshield. Reagan didn't like that. He liked the freedom to go through a windshield."
Stewart:: "Exactly. So he was considering you an anti-liberty–."
Nader: "Yeah. Right."
Stewart: "Exactly. Ralph Nader. Tear down that belt. That sort of thing?"
After more than a week of ignoring the controversy over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s request for access to an extravagant plane, the three network morning shows finally covered the subject on Thursday, albeit briefly. CBS and ABC both offered full reports during the 7AM hour of the February 8 shows, while only CBS included a quote from a Republican lawmaker who criticized the possible ethical issues raised by having the opportunity to fly friends home in a posh C-32 jet. NBC’s "Today" show mentioned the story only in a news brief and then co-host Matt Lauer briefly asked correspondent David Gregory about the plane controversy.
All three networks included snarky reports on this "hot controversy." Lauer wondered if the incident would make Pelosi "look bad from a PR standpoint," while Cuomo used the pithy term, "turbulence." One wonders why it took a week for the media to jump on such a "hot controversy." At 7:06am, "Good Morning America’s" Cuomo introduced Jake Tapper with a few quips about "plane envy:"
Chris Cuomo: "We begin with the turbulence over Speaker Nancy Pelosi request for a new plane. A request that has been quickly turned down. Senior national correspondent Jake Tapper has the latest on the controversy from Capitol Hill. Jake, is this about security or ego? Sounds like a case of jet envy."
On Sunday’s "Late Edition," CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer conducted a syrupy interview with consumer advocate and frequent presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Blitzer allowed the former Green Party standard-bearer to once again promote left-wing PBS host Bill Moyers for President in 2008. The CNN anchor also gushed over Nader’s new work of non-fiction, "The 17 Traditions," a liberal tome about rasing families. Blitzer described it as a "beautiful book with a lot of emotion." But first, he prompted Nader to plug the Moyers for President campaign:
Wolf Blitzer: "Here's what you wrote back in October on Bill Moyers, the PBS commentator: ‘Moyers brings impressive credentials beyond his knowledge of the White House, congressional complexes. As millions of viewers and readers over the decades know, Bill Moyers is unusually articulate and authentic in evaluating the unmet necessities and framing the ignored solutions in our country.’ You'd like him to run for president?"
Ralph Nader: "Very much. I got a great response to that column."
Blitzer: "What -- What response did you get from Bill Moyers?"
Sometimes media bias can be found in what the networks don’t say. On Tuesday, Wal-Mart suffered a major blow when the liberal 9th Circuit Court in California ruled that a class action lawsuit claiming sex discrimination could proceed against the company. All three evening newscasts reported the story, with ABC and CBS noting that a "federal appeals court" had sided with the female plaintiffs. Over on NBC, "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams simply used the phrase "federal court."
However, the 9th circuit isn’t just any court. This is the group of judges that ruled the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional. And, according to a report by the Center for Individual Freedoms, 32 percent of the reversals by the United States Supreme Court in 2003 came from the 9th Circuit. And yet, none of the network anchors thought this a pertinent point. "World News" anchor Charlie Gibson instead chose to hype the enormity of the case:
Charles Gibson: "It is a lawsuit so large in scope and size, that it staggers the imagination.A federal appeals court ruled today that a gender bias suit against Wal-Mart can proceed in what is known as a class-action suit. That means a million and a half to two million women would-be plaintiffs arguing, as a group or class, that Wal-Mart discriminated against them in providing promotions and in paying them less than male employees. Here's our senior law and justice correspondent, Jim Avila."
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," anchor Diane Sawyer continued to gush over the dictator of Syria. As already noted on NewsBusters, the ABC anchor gingerly questioned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over the country’s political and cultural repression. But she also defended him, reminding American viewers that "change must come slowly."
A second segment focused on Assad’s wife, Asma. In this piece, Sawyer’s most laudatory yet, she profiled the Mideast power couple and a viewer could be forgiven for assuming that this was a look at the wife of a 2008 presidential contender and not the spouse of a dictator.
Sawyer informed her audience on just what an amazing couple they make and closed the segment with a direct appeal for more understanding of the Syrian dictatorship:
Diane Sawyer: "So, while the world debates the intentions of her husband on the world stage, the two of them are clearly symbols of a new generation in the Middle East. The former doctor, the former banker, schooled in England, steeped in Syria. And she might say, asking the West for a new conversation about a new day."
As already noted on NewsBusters, ABC’s Diane Sawyer threw softballs to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in an interview for Monday's "Good Morning America." However, GMA featured a section segment that was, amazingly, even worse. In the piece, the hard-hitting journalist probed the dictator about pertinent issues such as his favorite movies ("Pursuit of Happyness"), music (Shania Twain and Faith Hill), and whether he enjoys video games (no). Rather then press Assad over points such as the fact that Freedom House recently gave the country its worst scores (7 out of 7) for both political and civil liberties and ranked it "not free," Mrs. Sawyer allowed the Syrian leader to play film critic:
Diane Sawyer: "And American movies?"
Bashar Assad: "Sometimes. Not– Not– Not very much to movies in general. I don’t have time actually."
Sawyer: "But you like true stories?"
Assad: "True stories and historical stories. Want to know the names?"
Assad: "Yeah. ‘The Pursuit of Happyness.’"
Sawyer: "And you liked it?"
Assad: "Yeah. It tells you a story that you– Maybe there’s many beneficial things to learn from, about real life. Providing that it's accurate about the story. The real story."
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," reporter Elizabeth Vargas openly lobbied for the passage of legislation that would require employers to offer six weeks of paid time off to workers for maternity, illness, or the care of a loved one. In addition, the ABC correspondent bashed America for not having "flexible, family friendly polices." According to Vargas, a new Harvard University study places the United States near the bottom among countries that provide paid maternity leave. She also offered only token opposition to the idea that all employers should be forced to give six weeks, plus the standard sick time and vacation. For the most part, the segment came across as a stinging indictment of the U.S.:
Robin Roberts: "Now to a new study from Harvard about paid maternity leave all around the world. It ranks countries based on how generous or stingy their benefits were. And the bottom five countries may have you scratching your head and saying, 'You must be kidding.' ABC's Elizabeth Vargas is here with the details. And we did see this and we were like, no, no, no. This cannot be right."
Elizabeth Vargas: "Everybody has that reaction, Robin. 26 million mothers in this country work. The vast majority say to make ends meet, they must. With that many moms in the workforce, you'd think the U.S. would lead the way in flexible, family-friendly policies. Think again. For millions of working moms, those first weeks after giving birth are a time to take off, recover, and bond with your new baby. But increasingly, the question is who pays?"
When it comes to the subject of global warming, members of the media have lost all restraint. CNN’s Larry King nervously wondered if climate change might "really kill us all?" Could it "submerge cities like New York and Washington and San Francisco under floods from melting Arctic ice caps?" Not to be outdone, "Good Morning America’s" weatherman warned of the dire threat of global warming. The next day, an ABC graphic fretted, "Will billions diefrom global warming?"
For anyone that questioned whether "Newsweek" is biased, public appearances by the magazine’s top staffers should answer the question. Editor Jon Meacham suggested that President Bush is outside "reality." "Newsweek" columnist Anna Quindlen recently debunked the "myth" that Hillary Clinton is a liberal.
On Tuesday night, the ABC program "Nightline" devoted almost nine minutes of air time to a group of atheists who are encouraging teens to take the "blasphemy challenge" and videotape themselves denying the existence of God. Although reporter John Berman did ask some challenging questions to the creators of blasphemychallange.com, he also tossed softballs, such as "What’s wrong with God?" Additionally, the ABC correspondent first related how atheists are actually an oppressed minority and yet also the wave of the future:
John Berman: "Two of the best-selling books on Publishers Weekly religion lists are by atheists about atheism. There's a hard-hitting documentary questioning the very existence of Jesus. There's even an atheist lobby in Washington."
"Good Morning America" weatherman Sam Champion has accomplished the impressive feat of turning the morning show’s meteorology segment into an opinion piece. On Tuesday, he approvingly reported on a new study that blames humans for the effects of global warming. During a follow-up piece on Wednesday’s edition, ABC included one of the most alarming graphics to grace American television screens:
ABC Graphic: "Will Billions Die from Global Warming? New Details on Thirst and Hunger"
Proving that even the weatherman can be biased, "Good Morning America’s" Sam Champion used Tuesday’s edition of the ABC program to tout an apocalyptic study on global warming. In a report that featured no skepticism about the cause or genuine threat of climate change, Champion utilized dire language to discuss an impending report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It should be noted, as previously reported by NewsBusters, that this meteorologist has a committed agenda when it comes to global warming and environmental issues. He recently touted the "very sexy" group of actors and environmental activists/actors. Champion began Tuesday’s report by forshadowing the immediate future:
Sam Champion: "This morning, 500 of the top scientists in the world are meeting behind closed doors to finish up a landmark report on global warming. And the picture they're painting isn't pretty. We're talking about change that's not 100 years away, but within the next 10 years. This is not the future -- it's happening today."
The morning weatherman went on to cite the liberal position on global warming: A call for reducing carbon emissions and he also noted that the IPCC scientists cite humans as the cause: "No one’s really gotten together to blame it on humans--this big of a crowd."