Despite billing his interview with Barack Obama as "no holds barred," Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday skipped several tough questions and only gently quizzed the President on others. On the issue of the closing of White House tours due to sequester cuts, the former Democratic operative delicately wondered, "Was canceling them really necessary?...So, no reconsideration?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Other than this brief query, Stephanopoulos showed no interest in whether the administration hyped the sequester cuts to an over-the-top level. (Perhaps, this could be because ABC did the same thing. GMA's Josh Elliott on March 1 pronounced that "armageddon" had arrived, leading to the "vaporizing" of jobs and criminals walking free.) Instead, Stephanopoulos ridiculously requested Obama to weigh in on the dangers of an American pope: "...There seems to be some concern among Catholics there shouldn't be an American pope because that pope would be too tied to the U.S. government. What do think of that?"
George Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic operative turned journalist, has scored an "exclusive" interview with Barack Obama. According to TV Newser, the taped conversation will appear on Tuesday's World News, Wednesday's Good Morning America and Nightline. If it's anything like Stephanopoulos's past interviews, it will contain a number of softball questions. [See a video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
On September 09, 2010, Stephanopoulos worried about how the job was impacting the President's family life: "You know, when you're going through these hard times, how much of it bleeds through to them? And how do you protect them from it?" He also highlighted a pastor in Florida who threatened to burn copies of the Koran. The anchor sympathized, "You're President of the United States. You have to deal with the fallout. And here's a pastor who's got 30 followers in his church. Does it make you feel helpless or angry?" In total, Stephanopoulos devoted 16 minutes to Obama.
For weeks, ABC hyped sequestration spending cuts as a threat that could "vaporize" America and "cripple" travel in the country. On Sunday's Good Morning America, however, George Stephanopoulos admitted that the President's plan isn't "working." Perhaps helping Obama shift strategies, the GMA segment focused on the Democrat "reaching out" to the Republican Party.
Talking with Dan Harris and Bianna Golodryga about the President's dinner meeting with members of the GOP, Stephanopoulos conceded, "...The outside game at least in the short term wasn't working for the President. It was trying to raise all these alarms about the sequester but it didn't seem to be taking hold because people haven't felt it yet." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] This is quite a contrast to the March 1 GMA. As sequester was about to hit, news reader Josh Elliott warned of the coming doom: "Jobs vaporizing, flights delayed, even criminals walking free." A graphic warned of "armageddon."
After hyping a "fiscal emergency" that could "vaporize" America, the journalists at Good Morning America seemed slightly puzzled that daily life has continued. GMA anchor George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday talked to reporter Bianna Golodryga and marveled, "...Investors seem to be shrugging off any economic impact from the stalemate in Washington, those across the board spending cuts."
Golodryga lamented the lack of panic, complaining, "Yeah, isn't that kind of sad? It was basically anticipated that we were going to have these spending cuts." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Isn't that kind of sad? Golodryga admitted, "You're not seeing a huge effect on the economy. Economists are saying that we could have some sort of impact. It could slow growth but not really bring us into another recession." Just last week, on the same program, news reader Josh Elliott opened the show by panicking: "Jobs vaporizing, flights delayed, even criminals walking free."
CNN's Dana Bash fact-checked President Obama's falsehood about the sequester on Friday, but the major networks didn't exactly follow CNN's lead in reporting the distortion that Capitol Hill janitors and police would receive a pay cut because of the sequester.
In his Friday press conference, Obama claimed, "They're going to have less pay, the [Capitol Hill] janitors, the security guards. They just got a pay cut." Shortly after that, CNN's Bash obtained from the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms that the workers would not receive a pay cut, just a limit on overtime pay. NBC ignored the distortion on its weekend newscasts, while CBS and ABC reported it one time each.
Ping-pong diplomacy worked with China, so why not b-ball diplomacy with North Korea? Mika Brzezinski is clearly not buying that line of logic. On today's Morning Joe, Brzezinski confessed to being "angry" with George Stephanopoulos for having the extraterrestrial otherwise known as Dennis Rodman on This Week to discuss his recent trip to North Korea, which included meeting with its new leader, Kim Jong Un.
Mika didn't spare her fellow MJ panelists, calling them "idiots" when they persisted in discussing Rodman's trip and TW appearance. View the video after the jump.
Last week, ABC scored an exclusive "get." Barack and Michelle Obama appeared on Good Morning America to welcome back co-host Robin Roberts from a serious illness. On Tuesday, Roberts paid the White House back, fawning over the "trend-setting" First Lady and her "hot" bangs. The anchor asked not a single tough question during the two part, eight and a half minute segment.
Co-anchor George Stephanopoulos compared Mrs. Obama's appearance at the Oscars, Sunday, to the real mission in the movie Argo: Rescuing American hostages from Iran. He thrilled over the secretive appearance: "Producers go undercover to the White House in a move straight out of Argo." Elizabeth Vargas echoed, "It was like something out of Argo." The hostages in Iran faced death, not the revelation of a TV appearance. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday welcomed Robin Roberts back from sick leave by surprising the co-host with her biggest fans, Barack and Michelle Obama. Within two minutes of the show's open, George Stephanopoulos kicked off the celebration by cutting to the Obamas. He hyped, "We have a lot of surprises for you this morning. We're going to start with one from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue."
After Barack Obama touted the journalist as an "inspiration," Michelle Obama teased, "And personally, I am looking forward to our interview together in a couple of days." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] How, exactly, is Roberts supposed to conduct tough interviews after that kind of praise? The ABC reporter has long been a favorite of the White House and her fawning coverage has to be part of the reason. After the President flipped his position on gay marriage, Roberts got the first interview. On May 10, 2012, she gushed, "I'm getting chills" just thinking about Obama's new stance.
ABC journalist Jon Karl continued his role as White House stenographer, Tuesday, repeating Barack Obama's talking points on the upcoming sequester cuts. Karl insisted that the President is "really trying to shame Congress into doing something to replace these cuts." Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos asserted that Obama is going to "ratchet up the pressure on Congress." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The Good Morning America segment featured Karl uncritically hyping the impact of the sequester cuts: "And the White House says that would mean hundreds of thousands of middle class jobs potentially at risk." Considering that the tiny cuts amount to $85 billion in a $16 trillion debt, some skepticism might have been warranted.
George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday's Good Morning America delighted over Barack Obama's "dramatic," "emotional" and "ambitious" speech. During live coverage of last night's Republican response, however, the former top Clinton aide lectured viewers that Marco Rubio's speech was "hard-edged."
On Wednesday, Stephanopoulos introduced a segment on the State of the Union by praising, "The speech was ambitious and aggressive on the economy, dramatic and emotional on the need to end gun violence." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Not once in the Jon Karl story that followed did anyone label the President's address liberal." Instead, Karl hyped that Obama "made it clear, he will resist efforts to cut Medicare and insist on more tax increases on the wealthy."
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.]