A mass shooting couldn't halt Good Morning America's continuing disintegration from a news program to a tabloid-obsessed entertainment show. On Tuesday, the show devoted more time to Britney Spears's new Las Vegas show and Dancing With the Stars than to the slaughter of 12 people in Washington D.C. The journalists at GMA allowed nine minutes and 24 seconds to the massacre at the Navy Yard. However, an interview with Spears and a full report on dissecting Dancing With the Stars (another ABC program) amounted to 11 minutes and 54 seconds.
At 7am, before even launching into a recounting of the attack near the nation's Capitol building, anchor George Stephanopoulos teased, "We do have a packed show this morning. There is Sam [Champion], right in the middle of the Nevada desert. Right there. We're going to get to him in a little bit for the Britney Spears live event." He then awkwardly shifted topics: "But right now, that major story in Washington, the massacre at the Navy Yard..." [See a video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
According to the reporters on Monday's Good Morning America, Barack Obama's "potentially groundbreaking" plan for Syria faces "heat" from critics who think it's a "bad deal." In a shift from last week, ABC allowed more skepticism for the President's handling of the ongoing situation. Yet, Jon Karl still touted, "John Kerry accomplished a big first step. Getting [Russia] to agree that Syria must give a comprehensive accounting of all its chemical weapons within one week."
George Stephanopoulos wondered if "this weekend's potentially groundbreaking deal will really eliminate Assad's chemical weapons." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The GMA/This Week anchor touted his "exclusive interview" with the President from Sunday, but noted that Obama's "critics say he made a bad deal on Syria."
Imagine a major news network anchor, in 1985, telling President Reagan that five years into his presidency rising income inequality wasn’t his fault. Ludicrous, given how the media used the term Reaganomics to denigrate his policies, policies far more successful than President Obama’s in turning around an inherited poor economy.
Yet in a sit-down with Barack Obama for ABC’s This Week, George Stephanopoulos compliantly excused Obama’s failure: “Do you look at that four and a half years in and say, maybe a President can’t stop this accelerating inequality?”
Friday in Russia, President Obama let slip that putting Congress on the hook, or in a political bind, was part of his calculus in asking for their approval for an attack on Syria, but twice on Sunday morning ABC’s George Stephanopoulos misquoted Obama’s admission. Obama maintained: “I did not put this before Congress, you know, just as a political ploy or as symbolism.”
Yet on Sunday’s Good Morning America, Stephanopoulos quoted Obama: “Listen to what he said Friday night in Russia: ‘I did not put this’ – this resolution – ‘before Congress as a political ploy or symbolism.’” Later, on This Week, he again left off the very relevant “just” as he mis-characterized Obama back to White House Chief-of-Staff Denis McDonough: “He said his call to Congress was not a political ploy or symbolism.”
It's becoming apparent the Obama-loving media are displeased with the President's decision to seek Congress's approval to strike Syria.
On This Week Sunday, ABC News chief foreign correspondent Terry Moran said, "Obama's leadership image in the Syrian opposition is probably at an all-time low right now" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan had some harsh words for Barack Obama Sunday.
Appearing on ABC's This Week, Noonan said of the White House's surprising announcement Saturday that it was going to ask Congress for approval to strike Syria, "I think everybody pretty much views it as the president blinked."
ABC provided immediate and enthusiastic praise for Barack Obama's speech, Wednesday, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" address. Anchoring live coverage, he praised, "President Barack Obama, playing the role of teacher and preacher and president today."
Stephanopoulos then began to link Obama and King. He allowed that Obama insisted in his speech, "No one can match the brilliance of Martin Luther King." The ABC host then connected, "But it does seem on the relatively rare occasions where the President chooses to speak about race directly, he rises to the occasion." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Good Morning America on Wednesday conceded that school districts across the country are dropping a new government-imposed lunch program because, as one student put it, "the food is just nasty." However, no one on GMA pointed out that the plan had been heavily promoted by Michelle Obama. In contrast, back in February, the journalists featured the First Lady for an eight and a half minute segment, including time to promote her Let's Move initiative.
Anchor George Stephanopoulos allowed, "Schools across the country are dropping out of a federal program to curb childhood obesity because the kids just won't eat what they're served." Reporter David Kerley asserted that the "national school lunch program rolled just last fall to great fanfare." According to a student in Kentucky, the new lunches "taste like vomit."
Good Morning America devoted a segment on Tuesday to the "White House response" on the growing crisis in Egypt without ever mentioning Barack Obama's name. George Stephanopoulos simply informed viewers that "members of Congress continue to debate whether to cut off U.S. aid to Egypt."
Stephanopoulos later told reporter Martha Raddatz that "the United States [is] saying that for now, at least, they will not be suspending military aid to the government in Egypt." Yet, despite the ABC graphic declaring, "White House Response on Egypt Crisis," no GMA journalist in that segment actually mentioned the President who works in the "White House."
Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos on Sunday parroted Barack Obama's talking points, insisting that a shutdown of the government would wound a "weak" Republican Party for a "generation." On Good Morning America, Stephanopoulos touted the President for "cutting his vacation short" due to unrest in Egypt.
After allowing that Obama has "little leverage" over House Republicans, he narrated that the White House believes "the Republican Party is in an even weaker position, that if they shut down the government, say, over their calls to defund Obamacare, they will relegate themselves to minority status for a generation." Playing the role of administration cheerleader, the journalist pointed out that Obama has a big autumn coming up, "which is why he cut his vacation short. He only went eight days this year instead of the normal two weeks." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In recent months, the liberal media have depicted Texas’s decision to ban non-medically necessitated abortions after 20 weeks as extreme as well as additional evidence of a Republican “war on women.”
On ABC’s This Week Sunday, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina refuted this claim pointing out that only four countries in the world allow abortions that late – Canada, China, North Korea, and the United States (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Last year NewsBusters repeatedly made the case that members of the press – in particular ABC’s George Stephanopoulos – aided and abetted President Obama’s claim that the Republicans were engaging in a so-called War on Women.
In a radio interview with Geraldo Rivera Wednesday, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said this might have been the case (video follows with transcript and commentary):
ABC and NBC on Thursday continued to fret over the implications the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal will have on Hillary Clinton. Today's Matt Lauer worried, "By association, does this do damage to Hillary Clinton?" Over on Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton campaign operative, pointed out that Weiner refused to leave the race "even as another supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton come forward, urging him to drop out."
Who was the "supporter" that Stephanopoulos mentioned? The host's friend and fellow Clinton aide, James Carville. In a clip, Carville lectured, "If I were working [the Weiner] campaign, would I probably say, 'look, I just can't take this anymore and resign?' Yes." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The fact that Stephanopoulos and Carville defended Clinton through multiple sex scandals went unmentioned.
Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew, who oversees the IRS, made the rounds of four Sunday morning TV talk shows (all but CBS’s Face the Nation) to promote President Obama’s latest “pivot” to the economy, but ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and CNN’s Candy Crowley failed to take advantage of the opportunity to press him on the IRS scandal.
NBC’s David Gregory squeezed a question in at the very end of their session, but then didn’t follow up on Lew’s insistence “there’s no evidence of any political involvement.” Gregory: “Mr. Secretary, I’ll leave it there. Thank you as always.”
George Will made an observation on ABC's This Week Sunday that shouldn't have evoked laughter from his fellow panelists and host.
"If these two people, [Mayor Bob] Filner in San Diego and [Anthony] Weiner here, were Republicans, this would be a part of a lot of somber sociology in the media about the Republican war on women" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
ABC This Week viewers on Sunday were treated to a classic socio-economic debate between liberals and a lone conservative.
With the issue at hand being Detroit's announced bankruptcy and whether the federal government should bail it out, the liberal view was championed by the Nation's Katrina Vanden Heuvel and MSNBC's Steve Rattner. On the right was George Will who clearly won the scrum despite being tag-teamed (video follows with transcript and commentary):
"I think every president in the intense media environment we have now, certainly every two-term president, gets to a point where the American people stop listening, stop leaning forward hungrily for information. I think this president got there earlier than most presidents. And I think he's in that time now."
So said the Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan on ABC's This Week Sunday.
As NewsBusters has been reporting, the liberal media are out in force Sunday expressing their disgust with the George Zimmerman verdict.
On ABC's This Week, PBS's Tavis Smiley had the nerve to say, "I think this for many Americans, George, just another piece of evidence of the incontrovertible contempt that this nation often shows and displays for black men" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The Big Three networks still can't get enough of Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, nearly a week after her extended filibuster against pro-life legislation on June 25, 2013. All three brought on Davis during their Sunday morning talk programs, and continued hyping the supportive response on social media that Davis received in response to her "epic eleven-hour filibuster", as NBC' s Janet Shamlian sympathetically labeled it on Monday's Today.
ABC's Jeff Zeleny conducted a beyond softball interview of the liberal politician on This Week, and was awed when the liberal politician showed off the pink running shoes that she wore during the filibuster [audio available here; video below the jump]. Bob Schieffer touted Davis' "wonderful biography" on Face the Nation, and added that "few outside Texas knew of her until last week when she became an overnight sensation." NBC and CBS each devoted another full report to Davis on their Monday morning newscasts.
During live coverage, minutes after the Supreme Court struck down a key portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act on Tuesday, a hyperbolic Terry Moran on ABC inaccurately spun the whole law as being invalidated. It was left to former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos to correct his colleague.
Moran insisted, "Right now there is no voting rights act operative in the United States." Actually, the Court struck down section four of act, saying that the formula for which state and federal localitiesdecide pre-clearance for their voting laws must be rewritten. Trying to clarify Moran's remarks, Stephanopoulos summarized, "They did not strike down the heart of the act, section five of the Voting Rights Act. And they didn't find the entire law unconstitutional." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In a continuing attempt to humanize George Stephanopoulos, ABC is now running lighthearted new promos for the host of This Week. In the spots, the former Democratic campaign operative barges into the kitchen of a couple to ask, "You guys got any milk?"
The admiring woman coos, "It's George Stephanopoulos. He's also on Sunday mornings." In another commercial, a second woman praises, "George on Sunday mornings. Now, that's good." One odd moment in the ad has Stephanopoulos, who is five foot, six inches tall, towering over a refrigerator by a good five inches. (Just how short is that fridge? See picture below.)
Acting as though he were Barack Obama's lawyer, George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday's Good Morning America repeatedly pressed John Boehner as to why he doesn't believe the President's explanation about the IRS scandal. After the Speaker of the House marveled, "How can your chief of staff, your general counsel know and you not know," the GMA co-host lectured, "That's a pretty serious charge."
Stephanopoulos continued, "Have you seen any evidence or has Chairman [Darrell] Issa produced any evidence that this was led by the White House in any way, shape or form?" The former Democratic operative turned journalist complained, "What information do you want that they haven't provided?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Since last week’s revelations concerning the National Security Agency looking at American phone records, it’s been fascinating to watch Obama-loving media members take issue with what the White House is doing.
Include New York Times columnist Paul Krugman who on ABC’s This Week Sunday said that America is now “kind of” an “authoritarian surveillance state” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, on Sunday had harsh words for the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald revealing last week that the National Security Agency is looking at phone records of virtually all Americans.
Appearing on ABC’s This Week, Rogers said, “I know your reporter that you interviewed, Greenwald, says that he’s got it all and now is an expert on the program. He doesn't have a clue how this thing works” (video follows with transcript):
Both NBC and CBS led their Thursday morning shows with news that the Obama administration has secretly obtained the phone records of millions of Americans, but ABC's Good Morning America started its show reporting on Tropical Storm Andrea in Florida instead.
Overall, Thursday's two hour-long GMA spent less than three minutes total on the phone tracking story, giving over five times more coverage to the attempted suicide of Michael Jackson's daughter Paris. Back in 2006, however, ABC showed far more scrutiny to a similar story of the Bush administration tracking phone calls.
After President Obama appointed U.N. ambassador Susan Rice to be his national security adviser, ABC's Good Morning America lauded Rice on Wednesday as "hard-nosed" and "no-nonsense."
Rice's biggest knock against her nomination for Secretary of State was giving false information on the Benghazi attacks to no less than five different Sunday talk shows just days after the attacks. ABC, though, was sympathetic to her nomination last fall, describing the GOP opposition as a "buzz saw" and glossing over the fact that what she said was, actually, false.
Arianna Huffington got a much-needed education about 501(c)(4)s Sunday.
When she claimed during an ABC This Week discussion about the Internal Revenue Service scandal that Crossroads GPS shouldn't have qualified because "it was all about politics," former George W. Bush senior advisor Karl Rove struck back (video follows with transcript and commentary):
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer seized on Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's decision not to seek re-election in 2014: "Breaking news. A bombshell announcement from Michele Bachmann. The Tea Party favorite says she won't seek another term in Congress....But with a swirl of controversy surrounding her, will that future include politics?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos responded to the news by fretting that Bachmann not being in Congress "takes away a big target for Democrats." Correspondent Jon Karl agreed: "Oh, that's right, George. For some Democrats, Michele Bachmann was, really, target number one. She was the most high-profile and controversial leader of the Tea Party in the Congress."
As the Obama scandals surround the White House, some conservatives are suggesting that -- finally -- the media are "getting tough” on Obama. Don't count on it. All our modern experience suggests tough reporting on a Democratic president is more of a temporary sensation than an ongoing trend.
The news media honestly believe they were tough on Team Clinton. It is simply not true. There was a seemingly endless supply of Clinton administration (and Clinton pre-administration) scandals, yet can you name one that was resolved? The floating FBI files. The illegal fundraising. Whitewater. On and on they went, and the media response was predictable: two or three days of tough coverage -- if at all -- and then, inevitably, political spin overtaking the hunt for facts. The search for truth became a discussion about “Republican overreach.”