Debates

By Tom Johnson | May 17, 2015 | 5:22 PM EDT

In the wake of the furor over his gifts to the Clinton Foundation, George Stephanopoulos has taken himself out of the running to moderate a Republican presidential debate set to air on ABC next February. That development gave Salon’s Jim Newell a peg for his Friday argument that GOPers are off-base in their recent push for conservatives (or at least non-liberals) to moderate their party’s debates.

“The mainstream media moderator serves a useful function in Republican presidential debates,” wrote Newell. “If [he or she] asks a difficult or uncomfortable question, the Republican candidate can simply badger the moderator for pursuing a stealth liberal agenda. Whenever the candidate is on the verge of embarrassing him or herself, he or she can lash out at the moderator for trying to embarrass the cause of conservatism as a whole. All of the Republican voters in the audience are conditioned to hoot and holler with approval whenever this happens.” Newell added that if the moderator is a bona fide righty, however, “it eliminates [the candidates’] escape hatch. It’s much harder to yell at a Fox News host or a Hugh Hewitt about how they’re protecting Democrats.”

By Clay Waters | May 15, 2015 | 11:34 AM EDT

ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos, who helped President Bill Clinton juggle various scandals during the 1992 campaign and as White House communication director, has apologized for failing to disclose a total of $75,000 in donations to the controversial Clinton Foundation, even before grilling Peter Schweizer, the author of Clinton Cash. The New York Times ran a surprising front-page story , "Stephanopoulos Gifts Reinforce G.O.P. Doubts," which actually touched on examples of Stephanopoulos bias against the GOP, though claiming that such bias had previously been only "circumstantial." Oh really?

By Matthew Balan | May 14, 2015 | 5:46 PM EDT

On Thursday's CNN Newsroom, Brian Stelter asserted that George Stephanopoulos is "one of the biggest stars on all of television," as he reported on the ABC anchor's $75,000 in donations to the Clinton Foundation. Stelter later claimed that Stephanopoulos has "done a lot to earn people's respect and trust. He's one of the most well-respected anchors at ABC." During his report, the correspondent never mentioned the recently-revealed issues surrounding the Clinton Foundation.

By Matthew Balan | May 14, 2015 | 2:53 PM EDT

ABC's George Stephanopoulos acknowledged his tens of thousands of dollars of donations to the Clinton Foundation in a Thursday interview with Politico's Dylan Byers. Byers reported that "Stephanopoulos...said that, contrary to earlier reports, he has given a total of $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation." The Good Morning America anchor also announced that "he will not moderate the ABC News-sponsored Republican primary debate in February after failing to disclose those contributions."

By Mark Finkelstein | April 6, 2015 | 9:21 AM EDT

Last week, NewsBusters brought you "Stumped," as April Ryan struggled to cite a single foreign policy success by her super-fave, President Obama. In the best Hollywood tradition, this morning we bring you a sequel--Stumped II: Syria!

On today's Morning Joe, lugubrious lefty Eric Alterman of The Nation mag was stumped when Joe Scarborough asked him what the US should do about Syria. After humming, hawing and a couple of false starts, Alterman asked how much time they had.  Right, as if if only he had more time.  Shades of that SNL skit in which President George H.W. Bush tries to skate away from a question only to be informed by the moderator that he had plenty more time. 

By Kyle Drennen | November 20, 2014 | 3:18 PM EST

During the Republican Governor's Association conference on Wednesday, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd spent more than half of an hour-long panel discussion grilling several GOP governors on illegal immigration and President Obama's upcoming executive order to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. The Republicans pushed back hard against the NBC host.  
 

By Tom Blumer | October 22, 2014 | 8:40 PM EDT

At their debate Tuesday night, former Florida governor (2007-2010), former Republican (1974-2010), former independent (2010-2012) and current Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist got out the crying towel over why the Sunshine State's economy was so bad on his watch. He also refused to acknowledge that incumbent Republican Governor Rick Scott deserves any credit for the state economy's overachievement during the past 45 months.

At the debate, Crist tried to explain away the economic disaster which occurred during his term in office by claiming that — quoting from the debate transcript — "I was serving during the global economic meltdown. And we did the very best we could to get Florida through it and we did." As seen after the jump, the "best we could do" for Crist was far, far worse than the rest of nation's "best" could do. As would be expected, I haven't found any establishment press coverage which has made the comparisons which follow.

By Tom Blumer | October 21, 2014 | 11:40 PM EDT

The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, appears determined that there not be any more reported embarrassments of Democrats who refuse to directly that they support President Barack Obama.

One such embarrassing moment occurred in tonight's debate in New Hampshire between Republican Scott Brown and incumbent Democrat Jean Shaheen, who has reportedly voted as Obama would prefer 99 percent of the time. In her coverage, AP reporter Holly Ramer acted as if the following exchange between a debate moderater and Shaheen — and the audience laughter which accompanied it — never happened:

By Tom Blumer | October 19, 2014 | 11:16 PM EDT

To the relief of sex offenders throughout the state, Arizona Democratic gubernatorial candidate Fred DuVal, during a Tuesday forum at Redemption Church in Gilbert, said that, in the words of an unbylined Washington Free Beacon story, "he is opposed to mandating parental consent for a girl as young as 14 years old to get an abortion."

This is a non-story in the establishment press, which made it a mission to take out two GOP U.S. Senate candidates two years ago over abortion-related remarks with far less real-world impact. Based on a search on "DuVal parental consent" (not in quotes) at the Arizona Republic, the paper hasn't done a story specifically noting DuVal's outrageous position — even though it did manage to notice that DuVal, like Ed FitzGerald, the Democrat who is running for Governor in Ohio, has been known to drive without a valid driver's license, though far less often or brazenly.

By Tom Blumer | October 13, 2014 | 10:58 PM EDT

Apparently the folks at Vocativ, who took a look at over 600 presidential speeches going all the way back to George Washington, were a little reluctant to document what their "scientific" analysis of those speeches told them about this nation's two most recent chief executives.

After finding that there is very little difference between the "sophistication" of speeches made by President Obama and former President George W. Bush, the former Clinton speechwriter the firm enlisted to comment on the results couldn't resist taking a gratuitous and I believe false swipe at Bush 43, one which I daresay most readers here will find absolutely hysterical.

By Tom Blumer | October 11, 2014 | 2:26 PM EDT

In covering the latest debate between incumbent Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Mary Burke, the Politico's James Hohmann significantly understated the number of jobs added in the Badger State during Walker's tenure.

Hohmann wrote that "Burke attacked Walker for his 'broken promise' to create 250,000 private sector jobs during his first term. He’s now at a little over 100,000." That's only true if you think that 126,000 is only "a little over" 100,000:

By Tom Blumer | September 23, 2014 | 9:18 PM EDT

This morning (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis's awful performance in Friday's debate with Republican aspirant Greg Abbott was predictably ignored by the Politico, the New York Times, and the Associated Press's national site.

The AP did have a story it apparently limited to distribution within Texas. As I also noted this morning, though it's probably not the case, it would not surprise anyone if we learned the wire service's Paul Weber wrote his story in advance and stayed in his hotel room during the event. That's because his Saturday dispatch was so divorced from reality that it's hard to imagine that he could really have written it based on what he and other viewers actually saw.