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.”
ABC, CBS, and NBC touted President Obama's Sunday commencement address at Morehouse College in Atlanta on their Sunday evening and Monday morning newscasts, devoting a total of five minutes and 14 seconds to the "powerful speech", as NBC's Tamron Hall labeled it on Monday's Today. On Monday's CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell gushed, "I think it's one of those speeches that will be looked at over the years."
Lester Holt played up the President's apparent "voice of experience" on Sunday's NBC Nightly News, and asserted that "the President is sharing in a way we rarely hear him."
The reporters at Good Morning America on Friday continued White House damage control efforts on the growing scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative groups. Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos insisted that Barack Obama is "trying to turn the corner after a tough week fending off controversy."
Talking to Jon Karl, he wondered, "Are some of [the GOP] leaders worried that some of the Republicans may be overplaying their hand?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Karl lectured, "There's real concern about this." The journalist added that certain Republicans are talking about "impeachment." Instead of focusing on political rhetoric, Karl could have mentioned that the IRS official in charge during the Tea Party targeting is now running Obama's health care office. He skipped this development.
While sparring with Bill O'Reilly on Tuesday, George Stephanopoulos channeled his inner Hillary Clinton on the issue of the terrorist attack in Benghazi. On the subject of who, specifically, told United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice to use faulty talking points, the Good Morning America co-anchor asserted, "Well, what difference will that make if the White House has already put out the talking points and said that they were written by the CIA with the input of other agencies? " [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In comparison, on January 23, 2013, while testifying in front of Congress about Libya, Hillary Clinton said of the details of the attack: "Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?" Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic operative, attempted to turn the President into the victim.
Good Morning America's Jon Karl on Monday exposed new details about the growing scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservatives. The correspondent revealed, "I've obtained a soon-to-be released investigative report that shows the IRS started targeting Tea Party groups more than three years ago." He added that this was "despite [the IRS] publicly claiming otherwise."
According to the journalist, phrases such as "limiting government," "educating on the Bill of Rights" and "criticizing how the country is being run" were enough to have the IRS start tracking them. However, Karl steered clear of culpability when it came to the Obama administration. He explained, "The White House said it had no idea that the IRS was targeting Tea Party groups." [MP3 audio here. See video below.]
The journalists at Good Morning America gushed over Barack Obama's performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday. On Sunday and Monday's program, the reporters enthused over the "hilarious" "comedian-in-chief" who was "on fire."
On Monday's program, former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos fawned over a mock video that Obama participated in: "He did this film, a take-off on Lincoln, where he plays Daniel Day Lewis playing Obama...which was hilarious." Correspondent Lara Spencer hyped, "[Obama] was on fire." Jon Karl lauded, "He's always been pretty good at this. I think he's gotten better."
On Tuesday's World News and Wednesday's Good Morning Ameica, ABC's George Stephanopoulos and Jim Avila ballyhooed far-left magazine Mother Jones's secretly-recorded audio recording of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's strategy meeting with political advisers about potential opponent Ashley Judd. Stephanopoulos touted the "startling secret tape revealing how the Senate's top Republican was planning to go after...Judd if she ran against him."
Avila played up McConnell's apparent "cutthroat attack on a Hollywood opponent" and the Republican's "private and politically-embarrassing strategy session", all the while omitting left-of-center ideology of the publication that released the audio clip and minimizing the possible illegality of its recording.
All three network newscasts on Monday and the morning shows on Tuesday promoted Barack Obama's "urgent plea" for gun control. These programs pushed the emotional angles, focusing on the Newtown families. Opposition to new restrictions on the Second Amendment was mostly ignored. On World News, guest host George Stephanopoulos hyped, "Tonight, urgent plea. The President goes all out in the fight over guns in America. Calling in the families of the children slain in Newtown." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Reporter Jon Karl parroted administration talking points: "The President portrayed his gun plan as a moral imperative." The ABC reporter then played two clips of Obama, including one where he lectured, "This is not about me. This is not about politics." (How can journalists allow a politician promoting legislation to get away with saying something "isn't about politics"?) Karl also highlighted Gabby Giffords's husband arguing for more restrictions, but no pro-Second Amendment voices. On the CBS Evening News, anchor Scott Pelley introduced three segments on gun control.
ABC's Good Morning America on Monday broke into live coverage to report that the "controversial" "titan" Margaret Thatcher had died. The morning show's reporters highlighted both her conservative beliefs, for which she was "vilified," and compared her to Winston Churchill.
Guest co-host Elizabeth Vargas announced that the late Prime Minister's "belief in herself and her policies" led to her being "both adored and vilified even to this day in Great Britain. A very controversial, but very, very important figure, undoubtedly." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Later in the show, George Stephanopoulos returned to announce: "A titan has fallen."
There was a lousy jobs report from the Labor Department last Friday that has led some people to fear the already soft economic recovery might be slowing down.
Despite this, ABC's George Stephanopoulos, during a lengthy This Week interview with Barack Obama senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer Sunday, didn't ask one single question about that report or the state of the economy.
The liberal media have been gushing and fawning for weeks about Hillary Clinton beginning her obvious campaign for president.
Don’t count Arianna Huffington among them, for on ABC’s This Week Sunday, the founder of the Huffington Post actually said that Clinton not taking some time off to recharge herself is “sending a bad message to women that the only way to succeed, the only way to run is to drive yourself into the ground” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
ABC is pushing hard for a Hillary Clinton presidential run in 2016. Earlier this week, as NewsBusters reported, Good Morning America reporter Claire Shipman launched “Hillary Watch” amid a gushing report that featured a Clinton supporter outside a rally saying that Hillary’s “got to save the country.” On Thursday, George Stephanopoulos fanned the flames of speculation with a post on ABC’s Power Players blog. [Read the full post here.]
The former Clinton White House aide -- although that was NOT mentioned for full disclosure for the benefit of the readers -- began his post in a brash manner: “Whether you like it or not, the speculation about the 2016 presidential campaign has already begun, and there’s been a whole lot of discussion about whether or not Hillary Clinton will run for president again.”
George Stephanopoulos was so enthusiastic towards Robert Redford and his sympathetic new film about an ex-1960s radical that the actor enthused, "You ought to get on the marketing team!" The aging actor/director appeared on Tuesday's Good Morning America and endorsed the violent actions of protest groups. Reminiscing on his own past, the liberal Hollywood star recounted, "When I was younger, I was very much aware of the movement. I was more than sympathetic, I was probably empathetic because I believed it was time for a change."
After Stephanopoulos wondered, "Even when you read about bombings," Redford responded, "All of it. I knew that it was extreme and I guess movements have to be extreme to some degree." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Remarkably, after this well known actor endorsed violence and terrorism as a political tool, Stephanopoulos did not question the remark. Instead, he tossed a softball: "Do you come out of the experience with the same kinds of empathy that you had going in?"
As religious people are bludgeoned with secular views by America's media practically 24/7, it would be nice if they could be given a break on their holiest days.
George Stephanopoulos clearly doesn't feel that way for on Easter Sunday he invited an atheist on ABC's This Week to join a panel discussion about - wait for it! - religion (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Thursday, George Stephanopoulos touted how legalizing same-sex "marriage" would supposedly bring in additional revenue into the federal government's coffers. The former Clinton administration official claimed that "the Treasury would actually take in more money if gays and lesbians were allowed to get married and get federal benefits."
Stephanopoulos cited an eight-plus year old study from the Congressional Budget Office that found that redefining marriage to include homosexual couples "could bring in up to $1 billion a year – so, a net benefit for the Treasury from gay marriage."
Former President Bush adviser Karl Rove said something Sunday that is guaranteed to raise a lot of eyebrows on both sides of the aisle.
When asked by ABC This Week host George Stephanopoulos if he could imagine a Republican candidate in the next presidential cycle coming out for gay marriage, Rove answered, "I could" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
ABC News really knows how to cause a coffee spit-take. All you have to do is introduce George Stephanopoulos talking to President Obama and put these hyperbolic words on screen: “No Holds Barred.”
Someone should tell the geniuses at ABC that’s a term suited for competitive wrestling. It doesn’t describe Democrat chit-chat that demonstrates about as much as dramatic confrontation as other morning TV fare, such as “Bubble Guppies” and “Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends.”
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.