ABC’s Chris Cuomo kicked off Democratic Convention week with a very positive portrayal of Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. On the August 25 edition of "Good Morning America," Cuomo asked such hard hitting questions as to Michelle Obama’s fashion choice the night of her speech.
Cuomo portrayed Jarrett as a friendly house wife neighbor of the Obamas', Cuomo declared Jarrett has "been called as close to [Obama] as a sister." What Cuomo neglected to note that, according to David Freddoso, Valerie Jarrett "was the chief executive of a company that managed a housing complex that became so run-down it was seized by the federal government."
The morning host could not be bothered with such inconvenient facts, instead asked the staunch Obama supporter "what don’t they know that you know?" "is he ready?" and "what is your greatest fear for Barack and Michell?"
Chris Cuomo only asked mildly tough questions about why Obama did not pick Hillary Clinton as his running mate and the recent tightening in the polls.
ABC's George Stephanopoulos clearly had John McCain's houses on his mind Sunday, for during the latest installment of "This Week," the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's real estate holdings were discussed with every guest.
What Stephanopoulos may not have expected was Time's Mark Halperin claiming that "this is going to end up being one of the worst moments in the entire campaign for one of the candidates, but it's Barack Obama."
Adding delicious insult to injury, much to Democrat strategist Donna Brazile's dismay, Halperin saw the Obama campaign's attack on McCain not knowing how many houses he owns as opening the door for the Arizona senator to bring up the Illinois senator's connections to Tony Rezko, Reverend Wright, and William Ayers (video embedded right, partial transcript follows):
When Sen. John Kerry arrived in Boston for the last Democratic convention, the TV news stars thought they’d died and gone to political heaven. Dan Rather said Kerry’s speech drove the crowd in Boston into “a three-thousand-gallon attack about every three minutes,” and Newsweek’s Jon Meacham was comparing Kerry to Abraham Lincoln on MSNBC. If media liberals can get that excited over Kerry, viewers may have to worry about the anchors lapsing into diabetic comas over Barack Obama’s ascension convention in Denver.
It’s easy to forget just how “tick tight,” as Rather once put it, the primary race was between Obama and Hillary Clinton. It ended up with a vote gap of just one tenth of a percentage point. The real difference-maker in the 2008 race was the Obama favoritism of the national media, led by the television networks. It was his margin of victory.
The most important news event in the universe, according to Friday’s Good Morning America, was John McCain’s gaffe about not knowing how many houses he and his wife own, as ABC led off its morning newscast with the story. ABC’s Jake Tapper devoted nearly two minutes to recounting John McCain’s property holdings after snarkily pointing out that he and his wife own just one house — “well, actually the banks owns it, we pay a mortgage.”
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," the ABC morning show provided a detailed account of an 85-year old great grandmother who thwarted a burglar by pulling a gun on him and then kept the criminal at bay while waiting for police. CBS's "Early Show," however, has thus far ignored the story. On NBC, "Today" provided a scant 15 second news brief on Wednesday.
GMA co-host Robin Roberts appeared impressed with Pennsylvania resident Leda Smith. She interviewed the grandmother and listened as the senior citizen recounted arriving home to find someone inside her house: "...I had my gun under a cushion on a chair. I picked up the gun. I turned around and I snapped it shut and I cocked it and when I did that, he turned around and his eyes were kind of big and he said, 'I didn't do it! I didn't do it!'"
Generally, the three network morning shows have shown an aversion to positive gun news. In late June, when the Supreme Court historically declared that the Second Amendment is an individual right, "Good Morning America," "Today" and "The Early Show" devoted a combined three minutes and 33 seconds of coverage. Back on June 27, the day after the decision came down, "Early Show," which skipped any reporting of the armed grandmother, featured a mere 30 seconds on the Supreme Court's ruling, a total that came nowhere near the four minutes they used to discuss how to Feng Shui your house for pets.
"Nightline" co-anchor Cynthia McFadden interviewed Pastor Rick Warren on Monday about the presidential forum he held with Senators Barack Obama and John McCain and pestered him to just admit that he's a Republican. At one point, she goaded, "You know, there are some people who feel that this is kind of a sham operation. That really, we know you, as an evangelical, are a Republican, a John McCain supporter."
Warren responded by asserting he's a registered independent, but the ABC correspondent kept trying to pin the pastor and author down as a GOP supporter. Speaking of Warren's parishioners and his own preference, she queried, "But do you feel like at some point, Rick, you owe the people who look to you for guidance more than that? I mean at some point before this election are you going to get up--" After Warren interrupted and replied that he wouldn't be telling anyone who to vote for, McFadden followed-up: "So if someone were to come to you and say, you know what, forget character, I'm going to vote for the guy who is opposed to abortion, would you say they need to go back and think a little harder?"
Cynthia McFadden didn't exactly say John McCain had no character, but she certainly implied it. In an interview with Pastor Rick Warren on ABC's "Nightline," McFadden was trying to get Warren to indicate if he would counsel his flock on who to vote for, and what he would say to people who say "forget character," pick the pro-lifer.
The feature on Warren came after the pastor's Civic Forum on the Presidency held over the weekend at his 22,000-member church in southern California. McFadden asked Warren if he "owed" it to "people who look up to you" to tell them for whom he was voting .
On Sunday’s This Week on ABC, host George Stephanopoulos seemed to buy into the idea that Georgia provoked war with Russia as he asked guest Mitt Romney, "Didn’t President Saakashvili of Georgia bring some of this on himself by going into South Ossetia?" After Romney informed viewers that Georgian troops were deployed in response to violent attacks by South Ossetians, the ABC host followed up by asking Romney to respond to charges that the push, presumably by the United States, to expand NATO and build a missile defense system was perceived by Vladimir Putin as "belligerent and aggressive." Stephanopoulos: "How do you respond to the argument that by pushing for Georgia to be in NATO, by pushing for Ukraine to be in NATO, by putting a missile defense system in Czechoslovakia, this was seen as belligerent and aggressive by Putin and kind of brought him in?"
While ABC’s Good Morning America suspended its coverage of the John Edwards scandal following reporting on Monday, the CBS Early Show continued to cover the affair for a third consecutive day on Wednesday. Even NBC’s Today, covering the Olympics in Beijing, managed stories on Edwards on both Monday and Wednesday. Considering it was during an interview on ABC’s Nigthline on Friday that Edwards confessed to cheating on his wife, it is interesting that GMA was outdone in covering the story.
On Wednesday, the Early Show looked at the money trail leading from Edwards to his mistress, Rielle Hunter, as co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "We will also talk about new bombshell revelations in the John Edwards affair, including claims that he did know his mistress was being paid and that he rekindled the affair after confessing to his wife." The segment began with a report by correspondent Bianca Solorzano: "According to the National Enquirer, the publication that first broke the story of John Edwards' extramarital affair, Edwards was aware of payments being made to his former mistress Rielle Hunter, something he denied on Friday...The allegations could not only have legal ramifications, it would shed considerable doubt on Edwards' other denial, that he fathered Miss Hunter's child."
John McCain implies Obama is the anti-Christ as ABC’s Kate Snow reports. On the August 13 edition of "Good Morning America," Snow followed "Time" magazine’s cue, featuring a Democratic hack, Obama supporter Eric Sapp, finding the "anti-Christ" message in McCain’s "The One" ad.
On a story on subliminal message in advertising, Snow did not feature McCain supporters responding to the ludicrous charge. She did, however, play sound bites of "Left Behind" fans who did not see any "Anti-Christ" message.
Additionally, Snow suggested racial overtones existed in McCain’s "Fan Club" ad, observing all of the women praising Obama were white.
Veteran actor Ernest Borgnine, still acting at age 91, does not represent the mainstream ideology of the Hollywood elite, or even a potential first lady named Michelle. Borgnine, unlike most of his fellow Hollywood elitists, believes America is "an amazing country" and that one has to "prove" one is "a good American by being an American."
Appearing on the August 12 edition of "Good Morning America," Borgnine promoted his new autobiography. When given the opportunity, Borgnine, the son of Italian immigrants, offered praise to America.
"It hit me when I was given the Medal of Honor over at the Ellis Island thing, you know, because my parents came over from Italy although I was born here in New Haven, Connecticut. But, you know, I took it upon myself to speak that day about the people that were around me, generals, admirals, police chiefs, everything that you could possibly imagine, all from different parts of the world who have come to this country to make this great country.
But those poll numbers gave way to more media spin in an ABC "World News Saturday" report August 9.
"After years of debate over the reality of global warming, 80 percent of those polled now say they accept it as fact," anchor Bill Weir reported. "Seventy-three percent say it is a threat to today's children and 63 percent believe people and industry are to blame.
Is one who conspires to conceal a husband’s affair really "an icon of strength"? ABC’s Deborah Roberts seems to think so. In a story about women who fell victim to a cheating husband, Roberts segued into the segment with the news of John Edwards’ admission.
Failing to mention that Mrs. Edwards participated in her husband’s lie throughout his entire 2008 presidential run, Roberts portrayed the first lady contender as choosing "to weather yet another storm with her husband," comparing it to their experience of their son’s death. Roberts even glowed over Mrs. Edwards’ liberal activism as she continued "championing causes like universal healthcare, America’s war on poverty, and cancer research."
Digging back to the past Roberts played an archived 1992 sound bite of Hillary Clinton defending her husband. Deborah Roberts underscored "how hard it was for Hillary Clinton when her husband was running for president." Of course, there was no mention of Senator Clinton’s famous 1998 "vast right wing conspiracy" interview.
ABC correspondent Gigi Stone’s report on Friday’s World News lined up two liberal women against a pro-life pharmacist in a segment on the controversy over whether pharmacists have the right to refuse to fill prescriptions for contraception. She later reported in a condescending tone about how the family of the pharmacist has nine children [see video at right; audio available here].
Stone introduced the first woman, Megan Kelly, as a "married mother." Several years ago, as Stone described, Kelly "tried to fill her monthly birth control pills [when] a pharmacist refused."
In her sound bite, Kelly explained her reaction to this refusal: "It's very, very shocking and very unsettling and one of those moments where, you know, as like a female, you're not sure if you want to cry, if you want to get really mad."
So, why did the Old Media seem to miss the John Edwards Love Affair story? Well, maybe it was because the Old Media hadn't deigned to decide for us that it was "news" until after the New Media had chewed up and spit out the story for days and days? Apparently, that is what David Carr of The New York Times thinks, anyway. In an interview with CNN he alludes to the fact that he is used to the Old Media deciding when something is officially "news" and that maybe he and his contemporary journalists have lost that level of control they were used to enjoying. This fall from grace is being seen most readily in the Edwards story that the New Media had digested for a week before the Old Media got to it
The CNN piece cites many factors from the fact that the Old Media has a disdain for National Enquirer stories to a claim that the Old Media is reticent to exploit sex stories. The former is a sensible precaution and the later an outright laugher. After all, the Old Media had no problem whatsoever in exploiting the rumors of George H.W. Bush's affair, Newt Gingrich's affair, Newt's successor to be Bob Livingston’s affair, the John McCain affair story, Larry Craig's restroom stall story, or Mark Foley's Page Scandal... but then again, THOSE are Republican sex scandals. The same delicacy the Old Media handles sex stories with as claimed by CNN does not exist for those sorts of stories.
Yesterday, in a stinging indictment of his Old Media colleagues' la-la-la treatment of the story of John Edwards's affair with Rielle Hunter, Los Angeles Times columnist Tim Rutten asserted that Edwards "may have ended his public life but he certainly ratified an end to the era in which traditional media set the agenda for national political journalism."
I'll get to Rutten's mostly perceptive points in a bit.
That's because recent developments indicate that Edwards may still be believe he can eventually re-enter public life, and they are relevant to Rutten's assertion:
"As a party we have to remember we are the big tent and have to make room for people with diverse views on this issue," said Kristen Day, the executive director of Democrats for Life in America, a group that opposes capital punishment and euthanasia in addition to abortion.
The proposed new language mentions better care for pregnant women and newborns, the need for easier adoptions and an overall effort to reduce abortions.
"We're hopeful that some language will be included that will say pro-life Democrats welcome, but at the end of the day we're still Democrats and we're gonna work hard to work on things that we strongly believe in," Day said.
It doesn't matter if they talk about it on the evening news or not according to Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana.
Pence, along with two of his Republican colleagues - Reps. Dan Burton. Ind., and Bob Goodlatte, Va., met with reporters about the protest they are waging against congressional Democratic leaders at the Capitol on Friday. Democrats, led by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, have prevented an up-or-down vote on expanding offshore oil exploration and drilling.
"We don't need to be on the mainstream media," Pence said. "I think the switchboard at the Capitol is melting. Quite frankly, you know, I went home to the state fair and went to the ham breakfast, which starts at 6 a.m. There were 300 farmers from all 92 counties of Indiana. There was no mention made from the podium about our protest, but I stood up and simply said, ‘It's an honor to be here with the governor and the lieutenant governor.' And I said, ‘Quite frankly, it's just nice to be speaking where the lights are on and it brought the house down - people from all 92 counties.'"
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," anchors Robin Roberts and Diane Sawyer touted the marital relationship between Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and his wife. Co-host Robin Roberts recounted the often repeated story of how the Edwards couple spend their wedding anniversary, including their recent 30th, at the restaurant Wendy’s.
Roberts, perhaps in a Freudian slip, even referred to the former North Carolina Senator as "presidential nominee John Edwards." Sawyer gushed that the candidate and his wife "are going to renew their vows." "Happy anniversary," she added.
Yet, this is the same morning show that has vastly underplayed stories that aren’t quite so cute and endearing for the '08 contender. For instance, during a recent GMA town hall with John Edwards on the subject of poverty, Ms. Sawyer only managed to mention the trial lawyer’s 28,000 square-foot mansion once.
The Big Three networks continued to ignore the party affiliation of the now-incarcerated Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on Friday morning, just as they had done in their evening news programs the previous night. The Early Show on CBS chose to ignore the story of Kilpatrick’s arrest on a bail violation entirely, while ABC’s Good Morning America devoted one 16-second news brief to the story near the beginning of its 7 am Eastern hour.
Ironically, NBC’s Today show, which is devoting most of its programming to the Summer Olympics in Beijing, spent the most time on the subject. It first aired a 12-second news brief just after the top of 7 am Eastern hour, and devoted an entire segment to the story at the beginning of the 8 am Eastern hour. The report by correspondent Ron Allen was just shy of 2 minutes long, but still ignored Kilpatrick’s Democratic affiliation.
An August 4 Time magazine article by Michael Grunwald comes to Sen. Barack Obama’s defense against Republican claims that his energy policy of keeping tires properly inflated is a joke. The article, entitled "The Tire-Gauge Solution: No Joke," argues that if everyone were to keep their tires properly inflated and keep up with regular auto maintenance, demand for gasoline would immediately be reduced by several percentage points whereas offshore drilling would only meet one percent of America’s demand two decades from now:
The Bush Administration estimates that expanded offshore drilling could increase oil production by 200,000 bbl. per day by 2030. We use about 20 million bbl. per day, so that would meet about 1% of our demand two decades from now. Meanwhile, efficiency experts say that keeping tires inflated can improve gas mileage 3%, and regular maintenance can add another 4%. Many drivers already follow their advice, but if everyone did, we could immediately reduce demand several percentage points. In other words: Obama is right.
Grunwald also used this opportunity to promote energy conservation, claiming that:
Now that the government has signed off on a $25-billion bailout of home mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the obvious question is: What next?
Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine, thinks breaking up is hard to do, but necessary. "The Bush Administration should vigorously push to have Fannie and Freddie recapitalized and broken up into 10 to 12 companies, with their ties to the government completely severed," as he explained in the August 11 edition.
According to Forbes, getting 10 to 12 smaller private companies involved in mortgages "will help revive and reinvigorate that sector."
On Monday's "Good Morning America," weekend host Kate Snow interviewed Bill Clinton in Rwanda and at one point told him he didn't have to answer a quasi-tough question. Towards the end of her interview, she prefaced this query by almost apologizing: "Pretty simple question. And maybe you don't want to answer it right now and I respect that fully. But, if you want to answer it, do you personally have any regrets about what you did campaigning for your wife?"
She also allowed the ex-president, who is touring Africa in support of his charity, to get away with a total non-answer about Barack Obama's competency. After Snow asked if the Illinois senator is ready to be president, Clinton spun, "You could argue that no one is ever ready to be president." He went on to discuss how he learned things on the job, how the presidency is full of pressure. Clinton finished his evasive response by admitting that Obama can "inspire" and by observing in a a tone that sounded slightly condescending, "And he's smart as a whip, so there's nothing he can't learn."
Now, you would think that Snow would realize that she just asked Bill Clinton if Obama was qualified and the ex-commander in chief declined to say yes. But, there was no follow-up.
It seems that even ABC's George Stephanopoulos is getting fed up with Congressional Democrats blocking efforts by Republicans to expand offshore oil drilling in order to bring down gas prices.
On Sunday's "This Week," Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Cali.) was asked repeatedly why she refuses to allow this issue to come to a vote.
The look of disgust on Stephanopoulos's face as Pelosi mumbled non sequitur after non sequitur was almost more telling of his sense of frustration than the number of times he asked virtually the same question: "Why won't you permit a straight up or down vote?"
Readers should prepare themselves for an alternate reality, for Madame Speaker was quizzed on Sunday like never before (video available here, rush transcript from closed captioning, photo courtesy ABC News):
On Friday, NewsBusters wondered how much attention media would pay to the Republican revolt that occurred after Speaker Pelosi adjourned the House for a five week vacation without allowing a vote on offshore oil drilling.
It turns out that if you rely on the evening news programs of the three broadcast networks, you didn't hear about this extraordinary event at all (photo courtesy AP).
And, if you're one of the few people that still reads newspapers, the one thrown on your driveway Saturday morning likely also ignored this story, or buried it well off the front page.
Conceivably the worst of the network offenders was the "NBC Nightly News" which actually addressed the fact that Congress adjourned without a vote on drilling, but completely ignored the GOP revolt that ensued afterwards (from closed captioning):
On Friday's "Good Morning America," news anchor Chris Cuomo derided John McCain's campaign manager for a "frivolous, childish" ad comparing Barack Obama to a celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. Cuomo, who is the son of former New York Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo and the brother of the state's current Democratic attorney general, even tried to goad Davis into pledging to not run any similar ads in the future.
He prompted, "...Your candidate started by saying he wanted to run a different type of campaign. Do you want to put out a pledge? No more ads like this? Let's leave the personal alone. Let's talk about what we'll do for America." He also played a clip of McCain pledging to run a respectful campaign and then complained, "So that's what we expected from John McCain...What's going on here?"
The hosts and correspondents on Thursday's "Good Morning America" did not hold back in expressing their displeasure over a new John McCain ad that depicts Barack Obama as a celebrity and compares him to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Co-host Diane Sawyer hyperbolically derided the spot as a "political nuclear attack" and asserted that the campaign is taking "a strange new turn."
GMA news anchor Chris Cuomo seemed equally flummoxed. He opened the show by asserting, "Some odd campaign news today. There's a round of new campaign commercials that really have us scratching our heads here." A bewildered Sawyer agreed: "What sort of committee meeting do you have where you say, 'Let's use Britney!' 'Let's use Paris!' Yes, that'll be a blow!" In a second segment, former Clinton aide-turned journalist George Stephanopoulos claimed the commercial could be seen as "angry, cranky, too negative" and McCain himself might be viewed as "a bit of a whiner given the fact that most polls that he is behind."