Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos was in full Obama talking points mode, Wednesday, grilling Marco Rubio on why he won't support the President's agenda. Every question the host offered echoed the White House's State of the Union agenda. Stephanopoulos lectured, "The President last night asked the members of Congress to promise not to shut down the government, not to do anything that would undermine the full faith and credit of the United States. Can you take that pledge?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Rubio wouldn't be cornered, however. On the issue of sequestration, he shot back: "And as far as these automatic cuts are concerned, George, those are [Barack Obama's] ideas. He insisted on that. He's the one that asked for that in the deal that passed last year." Stephanopoulos spun, "Those were signed on by Democrats, Republicans and the President alike." (The former Democratic operative turned journalist offered this exact talking point to George Will on Tuesday night.) Rubio scoffed, "Yeah, well, I didn't vote for it."
George Stephanopoulos allowed Barck Obama to have it both ways on Tuesday. The Good Morning America co-host explained what the State of the Union address would really be about. First, he parroted that the White House "promises a focus on the economy." He then added, "The audience will be packed with victims of gun violence and advocates of gun rights...This has set up an interesting dynamic. Most of the words will be about jobs. But most of the emotion will be around guns." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Reporter Jon Karl agreed this was a "good way to look at" the speech. He explained that "there will be victims of gun violence throughout the visitors' gallery, including in the First Lady's box. You will have somebody tied to the Newtown massacre." Karl went on to highlight that "many" members of Congress will be giving their one visitor ticket to "the victims of gun violence." Like Stephanopoulos, he assured, "But the message here is all about the economy. The White House says that that is the message here." Left unmentioned was any discussion of the fact that unemployment was 7.8 percent in January 2009 and 7.9 percent in January 2013.
Allegations of shady campaign contributors and procurement of prostitutes are usually the ingredients of a political scandal that send the media into a feeding frenzy – unless, of course, the figure involved is a Democrat.
When news broke that the FBI opened an inquiry into New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez’s jaunts (that may have included solicitation of prostitutes) to the Dominican Republic with a longtime campaign contributor, the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) networks responded with barely a murmur.
ABC on Tuesday ignored the ongoing prostitution scandal of Robert Menendez. The network's morning and evening newscasts have skipped the news that federal agents raided the office of a Florida doctor connected to the Democratic senator and his flights to the Dominican Republic. (There, Menendez allegedly engaged prostitutes.) The Senate Ethics Committee is also investigating. ABC avoided the story last fall when it was broke by the Daily Caller.
The New Jersey senator took several flights with Salomon Melgen, using the doctor's plane to leave the country. Last week, both CBS and NBC covered the latest details. ABC, alone, ignored it. Menendez actually appeared on the January 27 edition of ABC's This Week. But guest host Martha Raddatz failed to ask about the controversy. George Stephanopoulos mentioned Menendez on the February 3 program. Finally, the scandal came up, but only vaguely and for one minute in the hour-long program.
The journalists at Good Morning America on Monday could barely restrain the hype as they gushed over the "lovefest" joint interview between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. An ABC graphic even used an exclamation point, as in "lovefest!" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Recounting the 60 Minutes segment, a credulous Martha Raddatz lauded, "From the moment they sat down to talk with CBS' News 60 Minutes, President Obama and Secretary Clinton seemed like they've been the best of friends for decades." Guest co-host Elizabeth Vargas insisted that the "revealing and rare joint interview has everyone reading the tea leaves." The terrorist attack in Libya never came up in the ABC piece.
Previewing Hillary Clinton's testimony on the terrorist incident in Benghazi, George Stephanopoulos scoffed at the idea that members of Congress would dare grill the outgoing Secretary of State. Talking to Martha Raddatz on Tuesday, the Good Morning America co-host predicted, "But she's very well practiced at [testifying] and I can't imagine they're really going to beat her up on her last few days as Secretary of State."
In fact, Senator Rand Paul did aggressively question Senator Clinton, telling her, "Had I been President at the time and I found out you had not read the cables… I would have relieved you of your post." Additionally, since when has someone leaving been an excuse not to press them on important issues?
Good Morning America co-anchor George Stephanopoulos appeared on Tuesday's O'Reilly Factor to openly lobby for more gun control and reflect on his previous career as a Democratic operative for Bill Clinton. O'Reilly played a clip of Tom Brokaw comparing not speaking out about guns to allowing racism to flourish in the south.
Responding to this, Stephanopoulos hedged, "It's not the analogy I would use, but I think what he was talking about there is the kind of passion that people feel right now." Later, the reporter opened up about his own liberal take on guns: "Look, I have been a long-time supporter of gun control measures that, you know, I think are in accord with the Second Amendment." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
After years of downplaying ideological labels for Barack Obama, ABC has seemingly accepted the idea that the President is a "progressive" and a "liberal." While recapping the inauguration, Good Morning America's journalists used the terms four times in just two minutes and 45 seconds. Yet, when Obama was a Democratic primary candidate in 2007, the networks deployed the L-word just twice– in the entire year.
On Tuesday, George Stephanopoulos hyped the ideological content of Obama's second inaugural: "The speech, a call to action, an uncompromising enunciation of liberal principles." Seconds later, the former Democratic operative turned journalist reiterated, insisting that "liberals were cheering yesterday." Jon Karl trumpeted, "He went big. He went lofty. He went ambitious. And he went unmistakably liberal." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
[See Update at bottom on how they caught up with reality the next night]
“Analysts on the left and the right are calling President Obama’s second inaugural address the most liberal speech he has delivered in office,” FNC’s Bret Baier announced at the top of Monday’s Special Report. Those on the left and right may, but that didn’t include the reporters on the ABC and CBS evening newscasts who scrupulous avoided applying a liberal description to Obama’s address.
On ABC’s World News, Bill Weir innocuously cited how Obana’s speech delivered “a theme of moving forward together,” before George Stephanopoulos asserted: “What you saw today, is the President gave a meditation on freedom and equality, was a President who also felt free.”
Barack Obama's second inaugural met with much praise from the journalists at ABC. World News anchor Diane Sawyer hyped the President's mentions of gays as a recognition of the "modern American family." Jon Karl touted the "Democratic Reagan."
After Stephanopoulos asserted that Obama made the "first explicit mention...in an inaugural of gay Americans," Sawyer seemingly worked in a subtle plug for her network's primetime line-up: "He is talking about a modern American family. He's talking about gay and straight, rich and poor, everyone together." Stephanopoulos made the speech all about Obama: "The President, perhaps thinking of himself as he said 'Americans are made for this moment and we will seize it.' You could almost hear him talking to himself in that moment." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appeared on all three network morning shows on Wednesday and was greeted in each interview by the host seizing on his harsh words for congressional Republicans over a delayed vote on Hurricane Sandy relief. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On NBC's Today, co-host Matt Lauer proclaimed: "You're not happy, it seems, with the course of the Republican Party right now. You blasted some Republicans in Congress last week after their inaction over Hurricane Sandy. You said they showed 'callous indifference, selfishness, duplicity,' they were, 'practicing toxic politics.' Strong letter to follow. Those aren't the words of a guy who's happy with his party."
ABC on Tuesday began a multi-show push to promote the gun control crusade of Gabby Giffords and her husband. Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos kicked off the program by trumpeting, "The most famous face affected by gun violence fights back. Gabby Giffords announcing direct action against gun warfare in America." (Gun warfare? As of 2012, crime is at a 20 year low in America. The murder rate has dropped by almost half.)
More of Diane Sawyer's interview with Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly will air on the January 8 World News and January 9 Nightline. Giffords, who was grievously injured in a 2011 shooting in Arizona, only uttered two words during the morning segment. Stephanopoulos narrated, explaining that the couple is starting a "campaign for responsible changes to gun laws." He added that they will be "working with politicians to take high-powered gun lobbyists head-on." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC News repeatedly celebrated weatherman Sam Champion's gay "marriage" to Rubem Robierb from Friday through Monday. On Monday's "Good Morning America," entertainment reporter Lara Spencer relayed: "We have so many stories to tell you this morning, including the surprising story of this woman. She is accused of being, we're not making this up, too sexy for her job. Her boss said she was too distracting and was actually threatening his marriage. But that's where the outrage begins -- because she's the one who lost her job, not him."
Then she turned to Champion: "Yeah, it's controversial, indeed, but this isn't. We have such great news to share with everybody, the best news of all. Sam Champion, everybody, getting married over the weekend." No one in America opposes gay marriage, apparently.
With 11 days until the United States goes over the fiscal cliff, ABC's Good Morning America focused squarely on Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Republicans for the failure to reach a negotiation with President Obama.
On Thursday, newly-appointed Chief White House Correspondent Jon Karl began his first story hyping Boehner's "crushing" loss when his "Plan B" was aborted for lack of GOP votes: [See video below jump. MP3 audio here.]
Republican strategist Mary Matalin on Sunday asked New York Times columnist Paul Krugman an absolutely marvelous question.
As Krugman spewed typical Democrat talking points about the fiscal cliff negotiations on ABC's This Week, Matalin interjected, "Are you an economist or a polemicist? Just make up your mind" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Good Morning America on Thursday allowed a scant 23 seconds to the latest on Susan Rice's possible Secretary of State nomination and her troubled role in providing false information on the Libya. Yet, the same program devoted over two minutes of the precious 7am half hour, supposedly the time for hard news, to the claim that Bigfoot is "real." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Guest co-host Amy Robach opened the show by enthusing, "Part-human, part-primate. Is Bigfoot real, after all?" Co-anchor George Stephanopoulos hyped "a prominent veterinarian who says she can prove Bigfoot exists and that he's related to all of us." Reporter Nick Watt could barely contain himself: "Oh my goodness, I want to believe. Can you imagine if Bigfoot is actually real?" Contributor Laura Spencer declared, "Yeah, I believe. I totally believe."
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Sunday fought back against attempts by George Stephanopoulos to cover for the Obama administration's handling of the terrorist attack in Libya. The This Week anchor and former aide to Bill Clinton pushed Graham, a vocal critic of the President, to retreat on opposing the elevation of UN Ambassador Susan Rice's elevation to Secretary of State.
Stephanopoulos pushed, "All of the evidence is that Ambassador Rice was using the information given to her by the intelligence community." After playing a clip of Rice insisting she was only repeating intelligence information, Stephanopoulos cajoled, "Do you accept the explanation of Ambassador Rice?" Graham aggressively fought back against's Stephanopoulos' spin: "There was an al Qaeda storm brewing for months. I blame the President above all others! And we'll get to the bottom of this." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
America has created almost six trillion dollars in new debt in the past four years and Time magazine's Joe Klein wants to "bring back earmarks."
On ABC's This Week Sunday, Klein also said, "I think John McCain did a tremendous disservice to this country by making such a huge campaign about earmarks" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The cast of Good Morning America on Friday treated the bankruptcy of Hostess and the loss of 18,500 jobs as a hilarious joke. Josh Elliott, George Stephanopoulos and others guffawed as they handed out Twinkies and ate them on set. [See video below. MP3 audio here.] This is the same program that repeatedly spun Republican Mitt Romney as out of touch with the average American.
News anchor Josh Elliott highlighted the report for his final update of the 8am hour, a segment usually saved for humorous stories about puppies or funny videos. After referring to the mass firing as "troubling," the crew handed out treats. Elliott joked, "You know, I'm just going to save mine for 12 years when it will still be good." Co-host George Stephanopoulos mused, "So this is, like, one of our final Twinkies." Amy Robach mocked, "A toast to Twinkies."
Greta Van Susteren on ABC's This Week Sunday took exception with a cheap shot at Fox News from Nation magazine's Katrina vanden Heuvel.
This came after vanden Heuvel said of former CIA director David Petraeus, "Don't forget that over at your network at Fox, he was your candidate for a while" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In the aftermath of Barack Obama's reelection, the lecturing and advice from the liberal media began on Wednesday's Good Morning America. ABC analyst Matt Dowd mocked the GOP as a "Mad Men party in a Modern Family America." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] (The Mad Men reference is to the AMC series set in the 1960s. Modern Family is a gay-friendly sitcom on ABC.)
According to Dowd, "And it doesn't work anymore. And it just doesn't fit anymore." Host George Stephanopoulos insisted the results indicate that "this is a changing America, which makes it a changing electorate." In a follow-up segment on females, Stephanopoulos asserted Republicans have "got to be thinking, what are we going to do in the future?"
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos and analyst Matt Dowd on Tuesday offered one more day of doom and gloom for the Republican presidential ticket. Discussing the prospect of Mitt Romney winning Virginia, Stephanopoulos insisted, "But it's not even enough. He really has to sweep the whole east coast." (Of course, the east coast includes states such as Maine and Massachusetts, areas he doesn't need to win.)
Dowd, who has worked for both Democrats and Republicans, piled on: "[Romney has] a very narrow path to an electoral college victory...It's as if he has to draw an inside straight in this campaign today in order to win this tonight." For emphasis, he added, "He has got to do all those things and the path is still narrow for him to win this."
Good Morning America's Matt Dowd, who is often billed as a down-the-line analyst, again predicted doom for Mitt Romney, agreeing with George Stephanopoulos's question that the presidential race is "breaking for [Barack] Obama." Appearing on Friday's program, Dowd touted, "I think the trajectory of this race has now slowly moved to the President over the last few days, especially how he's handled [Hurricane] Sandy." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
According to a November 1 Rasmussen national poll, however, the race is deadlocked at 48-48. The political operative, who has worked for Democrats and Republicans, also dismissed Romney's push into Pennsylvania, oddly suggesting it was a "Hail Mary pass for him, because he knows the map has shrunk." Despite a Rasmussen poll showing the former governor up two in Ohio, Dowd deemed it "very difficult" for Romney to win the state.
ABC’s World News on Thursday continued its week-plus blackout of any of the new revelations about the Obama administration’s dissembling on what occurred before and after the Benghazi terrorist attacks, yet made time to tout Michael Bloomberg’s endorsement of President Obama and for an excerpt of Diane Sawyer’s gauzy “Portrait of a Candidate” interview with Obama from early October.
“Our brand new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows” Obama “with a one-point edge,” Sawyer announced, leading into touting: “He also got a big helpful endorsement today.”
NBC’s David Gregory isn’t always a news reporter. As we're seeing with increasing frequency on that network, he's squashing stories. Call him an unreporter. On Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” he showed the extent to which he'll vaporize any suggestion that Team Obama failed to offer adequate protection from terrorists at our consulate in Benghazi.
Businesswoman Carly Fiorina slammed Obama’s Libya response: “That attack went on for seven hours…[with the] Secretary of Defense saying he denied requests for help over that seven hours.” Gregory cut her off: “We’ll get to Libya a little bit later.” Surprise: It never came up again.