Despite the fact that John McCain officially clinched the GOP nomination on Tuesday, the three network morning shows on Wednesday devoted almost a full hour of air time to covering the Democratic presidential race and barely nine minutes for the Republicans. Additionally, the Arizona senator did not appear on NBC's "Today" show, ABC's "Good Morning America" or the CBS "Early Show." Democratic Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, however, showed up on all three programs.
The network morning shows featured the Democratic presidential candidates for a grand total of 59 minutes and 12 seconds. McCain and his remaining rival, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, received a mere nine minutes and ten seconds of coverage. Now, obviously, the Democratic race is a close, hard fought contest. So, it's natural that it would receive more attention. However, McCain's very act of winning the nomination should be a well covered event, especially considering the candidate's remarkable rise from the political dead. The networks, apparently, saw it a different way.
"Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo joked on Monday's show that Britain's Prince Harry "has been over in Afghanistan fighting because he's expendable." Fellow host Robin Roberts appeared somewhat shocked by the comment and sputtered, "What did you say?" Cuomo, who was previewing an ABC special on the royals, didn't back off his assertion and reiterated, "It's true. The reason that Harry is allowed to be in Afghanistan is because he's not the heir to the throne. William's not allowed to be there."
While Harry may not be next in line to be king, it's in very poor taste for a professional journalist to make such a snide remark. After all, Prince Harry went to Afghanistan to bravely serve his country, not because he's "expendable." And perhaps it should be pointed out that it was Chris Cuomo's brother, Andrew, who entered politics and carried on the legacy of father and former New York Governor Mario Cuomo. Is Chris Cuomo's career in journalism, by extension, a reflection of the fact that he's "expendable?"
"Nightline" host Terry Moran appeared on Monday's "Good Morning America" with a segment in which he repeatedly quizzed Senator Barack Obama on the subject of his relationship to indicted political operative Tony Rezko, now facing corruption charges. Moran persistently asked the Democratic presidential candidate if he would release all information relating to the role Rezko played in a house purchase by Obama.
After several evasive answers, Moran scolded, "...You call yourself a reformer?You talk about your judgment?" He then bluntly followed-up by wondering, "And yet, how could you enter into this transaction with a long-term contributor who, at that time, was known to be under investigation for corruption? What does that say about your judgment?" This is quite a change for the anchor, who, in 2006, skipped Rezko and gushed over Obama as "an American political phenomenon" and someone who might be "the savior of the Democratic Party."
"Nightline" correspondent Cynthia McFadden filed another fawning profile on "rock star" Hillary Clinton for Thursday's program. The journalist, who has developed a long history of gushing over the former first lady, recited lines that read like Clinton press releases. Discussing the presidential candidate's Ohio campaign, she asserted, "...Clinton relishes the chance to talk concretely about the real problems in real people's lives."
Describing Clinton's appearance at a fast food diner, McFadden enthused, "Clinton is greeted like a rock star by patrons at the Bob Evans restaurant." During the interview, the ABC journalist asked penetrating questions such as inquiring, "So, how are you?" In an attempt to gingerly address Clinton's string of 11 straight primary losses to Senator Barack Obama, McFadden seemed to echo a famous Beatles song. "Can you really let go of yesterday," she queried.
Thursday's "Good Morning America" featured a group of liberals talking about whether the press favored one liberal over another liberal and several leftist journalists were cited as proof. Specifically, co-host Diane Sawyer continued the program's self flagellation over whether the media is biased in favor of Barack Obama and against Hillary Clinton.
The ABC anchor discussed the issue with Arianna Huffington, editor of the extremely liberal Huffington Post web page. But, in a perfect example of actual bias, the GMA host never mentioned either Ms. Huffington or her site's leftist affiliation. Instead, Sawyer breathlessly worried about the Clinton campaign's charges that the media have been unfair. In an intro, she fretted, "And we turn the tables on ourselves. Have all of us in the media used boxing gloves on Clinton and kid gloves on Obama? Have we been unfair?" Co-host Robin Roberts also teased the segment as a brave example of self examination: "The media. Too tough on Clinton? Not tough enough on Obama? We'll take up that debate."
According to "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts, Chelsea Clinton is so impressive, she just might be able mount a comeback for her presidential candidate-mother. On Wednesday's program, Roberts gushed over the first daughter and asserted, "[Hillary Clinton is]leaning more and more on Chelsea, who has taken on a new role as Clinton's biggest campaigner and, some say, her last, best hope for a comeback."
GMA reporter Kate Snow, who filed a segment on the topic, has a long history of rhapsodizing over the entire Clinton family. She marveled at Chelsea for being "there with a smile and hug" and also acting as "her mother's fiercest defender." Using fawning language, Snow commented, "Gone is the shy girl with frizzy hair and braces....Now she's spouting policy details, standing her ground against hecklers." It was only slightly more than a month ago that Snow narrated another piece about Chelsea's impressive campaigning. On January 18, she expounded on the "spotlight" shy Clinton. The ABC journalist claimed then, "To be honest, [Chelsea] doesn't like cameras much...She doesn't want to be in the spotlight."
"Good Morning America" host Diane Sawyer and ABC's George Stephanopoulos, a former top aide to Bill Clinton, discussed media bias on Wednesday's show. The topic, however, wasn't liberal spin. Instead, Sawyer wondered if "the media is, in general, easier on Barack Obama than they are on [Hillary Clinton]?"
After playing a clip of a February 23 "Saturday Night Live" sketch that mocked reporters for gushing over Senator Obama, Stephanopoulos came to the aid of the wife of his former boss, "I do think, though, Senator Clinton has a point. She's being treated like the front-runner, even though she's... the underdog in this race right now." Of course, while Sawyer and Stephanopoulos worried about unfairness to the former first lady, it should be pointed out, this is the same program that in early 2007 described the Clinton/Obama race as one between "hot factor" and "fluid poetry."
"Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo used an interview with Geraldo Rivera on Tuesday to once again showcase his liberal views on illegal immigration. Touting the Fox News host's new book "His Panic," Cuomo gushed over the "beautiful" title and immediately accepted the premise of the book by stating, "But it is about why Americans fear Hispanics in the U.S.--You believe to be the case."
Later in the segment, he again dropped any objectivity and opined, "There is a lot of history, a lot of fact in this book. Interesting in a discussion that's usually fueled by passion--" In comparison, the host offered no such accolades to Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo, a foe of illegal immigration. During a June 2007 interview with the then-presidential candidate, Cuomo asked if Tancredo, who fought for tough border security bills, was "driving anti-immigrant sentiment?" He also chided Tancredo for using "scary" words in regard to the contentious subject.
"Good Morning America" host Diane Sawyer found an astoundingly gentle way to ask Hillary Clinton about the possibility of not being the Democratic nominee. On Friday's program, the ABC journalist wondered if such a victory was even necessary. She soothingly suggested, "The question is, are you in a new place about winning? Have you decided that you can accomplish what you want to accomplish, even if you don't win the presidency?"
Sawyer's question, in reference to a comment made at the debate in which Clinton claimed she would be "fine," whatever happens in the election, led to more softballs. The GMA host lauded the Democratic presidential contender for something as simple as having her daughter at the debate. "...We noticed that Chelsea came up and immediately slipped your hand into yours, last night. What was that about? What was going on between the two of you?"
On Friday, ABC correspondent David Wright continued to make it clear that his affection lies with Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton. Covering Thursday's Democratic debate for "Good Morning America," Wright slammed the New York senator for "an absolute clunker of an attack line." And, at one point, the journalist completely misstated a comment by Clinton about American military troops.
Discussing a question from CNN debate host Campbell Brown about overcoming crises, Wright asserted, "Clinton went on to compare her suffering to soldiers wounded in Iraq." In fact, she said quite the opposite. Wright only played a brief snippet of the former first lady's answer, in which she observed, "The hits I've taken in my life are nothing compared to what goes on every single day in the lives of people across our country." But even that makes it clear that Clinton was not drawing a parallel between her life and wounded veterans. For context, here is Clinton's response to the query:
Appearing on Thursday's 1pm hour of MSNBC News Live, "Hardball" host Chris Matthews couldn't resist taking a few swipes at Rush Limbaugh. After anchor Peter Alexander played a clip of the conservative talk show host discussing the New York Times story on Senator John McCain, Matthews irritably claimed, "Rush Limbaugh is irrelevant here. Irrelevant. He doesn't know anything more than what he read in the New York Times."
The radio clip, which was from Thursday's edition of Limbaugh's program, featured the host urging the GOP presidential candidate to learn a lesson from the front-page New York Times story speculating about a improper relationship with a D.C. lobbyist. Matthews's apparent annoyance at Limbaugh might have something to do with being mentioned in the clip. At one point during the monologue, Limbaugh asserted, "[McCain] has thought Chris Matthews and these other people in the drive-by media are his friends. They aren't."
The reporters at ABC's "Nightline" continued to outdo themselves in their glowing adoration for Senator Barack Obama. Correspondent David Wright, filing a story on Tuesday about the swelling crowds at the Democratic presidential contender's rallies, advised viewers to think of the events as "Springsteen concerts, but the tickets are free."
Describing those who waited outside in the cold for such a rally, he bubbled, "...Everyone waited patiently, because inside...they felt the warm glow of hope." Wrighteven wondered if the candidate can "redeem politics from mere partisanship."
While covering the breaking story on Tuesday of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro's decision to step down from power, various "Good Morning America" anchors and reporters soft peddled the communist leader's crimes. In a profile piece that narrated a brief history of his life, co-host Diane sawyer enthused, "Castro knew life is a stage and played the part of the dashing revolutionary coming to New York, getting rock star treatment."
Now, she did add that many people overlooked the "ferocity of his communism, even as he bankrupted his country and history passed him by." But over the course of five segments, GMA managed to completely ignore Castro's record of firing squads, jailing dissidents, imprisoning AIDS patients and other crimes. Instead, Sawyer found time to romantically state, "The world'slongest-serving political leaderis leaving on his own terms, having survived efforts by ten different U.S. presidents to bring him down..." Note the use of the term "political leader" rather than dictator.
"Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo presented a decidedly one-sided segment on Monday about the "gender discrimination" expressed by a private religious school in Kansas that refused to allow a female basketball referee the chance to call a boy's varsity game. Cuomo announced, "many" think that "religious belief does not give the school the right to discriminate."
The ABC host offered almost no consideration to the argument, made by St. Mary's Academy, that men are best equipped to guide boys and prepare them for future life endeavors. (The referee in question, Michelle Campbell, asserted that she was not allowed to call the game because the school believes women shouldn't have authority over men.) Instead, he offered loaded questions to Campbell, who appeared on the show: "Gender discrimination is not something new. We know about it. But were you surprised that something this obvious still confronted you today....Were you surprised?"
ABC's "Good Morning America" should be commended for a segment on Thursday's show that actually turned attention to the face of radical Islamic fundamentalism on Arab television. GMA correspondent Lama Hasan reported on a Hamas children's program entitled "Tomorrow's Pioneers" that routinely "murders" cartoon look-alikes of Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse and blames their deaths on Jews.
Co-host Robin Roberts introduced the subject of "using cartoons to teach children to hate" and Hasan explained how the show features a vile-spewing Bugs Bunny character that threatening to kill Jews. She also noted that a previous episode featured a bumblebee who the series asserted "couldn't get to the hospital because it was blocked by the Israelis." This particular episode followed one in which a Mickey Mouse look-alike is stabbed to death by a Jew trying to buy his land. Hasan didn't mince words, labeling "Tomorrow's Pioneers" "Hamas's latest attempt to brainwash kids."
"Good Morning America" weatherman and resident environmental alarmist Sam Champion wondered on Friday if global warming could cause "the ultimate climate disaster" and force humanity to abandon Earth and live in space. (Throughout the day's themed program, various GMA hosts filed reports on space and astronauts.)
So, as a transition to a piece on liberal environmental issues, Champion segued, "And now to our series 'Global Warming: Global Warning.' Could global warming one day force us into space to live?" (The ABC weatherman appeared in a pool as part of a previous space segment on weightlessness.) Champion used the segment to preview a new documentary called "Six Degrees" that will air on the National Geographic Channel on Sunday. He failed to inform viewers that the author upon which the special is based on, Mark Lynas, is a hard-left environmentalist who once threw a pie in the face of Bjorn Lomborg at a reading of Lomborg's book, "The Skeptical Environmentalist."
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," ABC reporter Cynthia McFadden suggested that the aging, liberal singer Cher might want to think about running for office. After discussing the performer's new Las Vegas show, McFadden asked Cher about politics.
Explaining why she's pro-Hillary Clinton and not supporting Barack Obama, the performer segued into discussing the "saint" known as Jimmy Carter and how "all he talked about was what he wanted to do for this country. And because of his inexperience, they cut him off at the knees." McFadden's response to this glowing assessment of the one term president was to assert, "Maybe you should run for office."
Continuing the trend of focusing on Democrats and issues important to Democratic voters, "Good Morning America" reporter Claire Shipman delved into the psyche of women voters on Wednesday. Of course, this meant exclusively examining female voters who are choosing between liberal presidential candidates.
Describing the dilemma of a group of women in California, she enthused, "For many of these Democratic women, it was a struggle between two extremely appealing candidates." Such flowery language about two liberals White House contenders shouldn't be surprising. In January of 2007, Shipman famously depicted the battle between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as a contest of "fluid poetry" versus "hot factor."
Standing outside "Good Morning America's" New York studio on Tuesday, Democratic supporters waved signs backing Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and, fittingly, weatherman Sam Champion. GMA viewers have long known that the ABC forecaster is an avid promoter of left-wing environmental causes, but to celebrate "National Weatherman's Day," Champion got a boost from fans of two other liberals.
Taking a break from chanting slogans for Obama and Clinton, the crowd momentarily held signs, given to them by ABC, reading "In Sam We Trust" and "Sam's Our Man." Co-host Diane Sawyer couldn't have been more pleased at the synergy. She extolled, "It's the Sam surge, taking over the race to '08!"
ABC reporter Deborah Roberts interviewed Michelle Obama on Monday's "Good Morning America" and glossed over some of the more controversial statements of this "fascinating," "straight-talking," "charming" woman.
Roberts appeared comfortable repeating talking points from "the spouse of politics' newest star" and didn't challenge Mrs. Obama on her assertion, from November 2007, that it will be America's fault if her husband isn't elected. Instead, Roberts simply recited, "I asked her about race in this campaign....She and her husband refuse to dwell on it." Continuing the spin, she added, "They genuinely believe that people want to move beyond that, talk about something else."
Interviewing Hillary Clinton for Wednesday's "Nightline," anchor Cynthia McFadden speculated that a Bill and Hillary co-presidency could be a "good idea" and wondered what the New York Senator thinks about late into the evening. She sympathetically asked, "When you lie awake at night...what worries you?" Following Clinton's long answer about how "to whom much is given, much is required," McFadden approvingly remarked, "Good Methodist girl." In turn, Clinton accepted the compliment and asserted, "It is, indeed, who I am."
Back in December, McFadden posed a similar query. For that interview, the ABC host 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?"
"Good Morning America" correspondent Kate Snow appeared ready to present Academy Award statues to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on Friday's show. The reporter gushed over the performance of the two Democrats at Thursday's Los Angeles-based Democratic debate. She rhapsodized, "So, the nominees for best performance in a televised debate go to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton..."
Snow, as well as GMA co-host Diane Sawyer and "This Week" anchor George Stephanopoulos, who appeared later on in the show, couldn't restrain themselves from mentioning the possibility of a Clinton/Obama or Obama/Clinton "dream ticket." Sawyer looked absolutely bubbly during GMA's opening. Lauding the friendly nature of the debate between the senators, she enthused, "And it's Friday, February 1st, 2008 and we all watched last night, right? What about that?!"
ABC investigative reporter Brian Ross attacked Hillary Clinton from the left on Thursday's "Good Morning America." The correspondent looked into the Democrat's ties to Wal Mart during the late '80s and early '90s. He found the image of a "very corporate Hillary Clinton" and someone who played "the loyal company woman" to the successful business.
However, the news wasn't all bad for Clinton. GMA co-host Robin Roberts led into the piece with an almost apologetic tone. She labeled the New York senator "probably one of the most investigated politicians in American history." Ross began his segment by informing viewers that Clinton "served for six years on the board of Wal-Mart, the huge retailer criticized by many for its treatment of workers and its strident opposition to unions."
ABC reporters Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts acted as debate coaches for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on Thursday's "Good Morning America." Previewing the January 31 debate between the two, Donaldson suggested that Clinton be aggressive and "put [Obama] on the defensive."
The veteran journalist then casually asserted that it doesn't matter whether the New York senator's charges would be true or not. He spun, "Now, you say, what-- does she come up with something that really isn't accurate? In a sense, unfortunately, doesn't matter. If she can put him on the defensive, so that he has to try to answer something, I think that's what she should probably do." Cokie Roberts contributed more simple advice: Clinton should just let her genius shine through. She enthused, "I think Hillary Clinton should just wow everybody with all of her knowledge, you know, the New York Times editorial calling her brilliant. She should show us that brilliance and not get irritated by him and not go after him."
"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: