All three major broadcast networks devoted stories to the opening of the World Cup today in Rio de Janeiro, but ABC's business interests arguably got in the way of objective reporting. ABC and her sister ESPN networks are, after all the exclusive "media rights licensees" to carry World Cup matches in the United States.
Reporting from Rio, ABC's Paula Faris devoted just one fleeting reference to the unrest in the streets (emphasis mine):
Twice in just 24 hours, Good Morning America on ABC hailed a graham cracker company for supporting gay rights in an ad and standing up against "hate" and "bigots" who called for a boycott. Yet, it was just last week that the same program touted the "game changing" firing of a tech company CEO who supported traditional marriage. The network even used video footage to compare the executive to the hateful Westboro Baptist Church.
On Monday, Paula Faris showcased a Honey Maid commercial featuring gay families. Reporter Paula Faris explained that "the right-wing conservative group One Million Moms calling the ad, quote, 'an attempt to normalize sin." She praised, "but this morning, the graham cracker company is refusing to crumble." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] According to Faris, the company is "rolling messages of hate into one of love." GMA Sunday anchor Bianna Golodryga lectured that "the graham cracker's clever statement against bigotry going viral."
Monday night’s edition of ABC World News was a double dose of advocacy as Diane Sawyer and her team essentially served as a mouthpiece for President Obama’s position on the government shutdown and his health care law.
Sawyer led the broadcast, of course, with the government shutdown, which was then only a few hours away. She stated President Obama’s perspective on the matter: “The president expressed outrage that one faction in one house of Congress is ready to bring the entire federal government to a halt.” But rather than follow that up with a Republican viewpoint, Sawyer threw to chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl for a report on the shutdown. He began his package by playing a clip of Obama warning us all about the economic impact of a shutdown. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Covering New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's secret weight loss surgery, Good Morning America's Paula Faris couldn't help but make fat jokes. The reporter on Wednesday began her segment by wryly asserting, "Chris Christie is wasting no time devouring his critics." She continued, "The no-holds-barred New Jersey Governor known for his healthy appetite...sounded off" at reporters. [See video below. MP3 audio below.]
Faris found clips of liberal comedians mocking the Republican governor. She included one of David Letterman joking, "Bring it, fat boy!" In another snippet, Jimmy Fallon sneered, "Christie hopes to visit the site of the Last Supper. You know, see if there's any leftovers." This isn't the first time the ABC morning show has joined in on fat jokes about Christie.
If you were a television news anchor reporting on falling gas prices, why would you say "the best news" was that a gallon of gasoline "might drop another 50 cents by Halloween, just in time for the election?"
Believe it or not, ABC's Paula Faris, appearing on Monday's Good Morning America, actually said exactly that (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Yesterday at 2:14 p.m. EDT, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on the Prenatal Non-discrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2012, which would impose "criminal penalties on anyone who knowingly or knowingly attempts to... perform an abortion knowing that the abortion is sought based on the sex, gender, color or race of the child, or the race of a parent," according to congressional watchdog site GovTrack.us. The bill well-surpassed a simple majority (246-168 with 17 abstentions) but failed to pass on to the Senate as it was brought up for passage under a suspension of the rules, which requires a 2/3rds vote (at least 290 votes).
Yet news of the vote was not delivered on either the May 31 broadcast network newscasts -- ABC's World News, CBS's Evening News and NBC's Nightly News -- nor on the June 1 morning news programs -- ABC's Good Morning America, CBS's This Morning and NBC's Today.