In what may rank as one of the oddest non sequiturs of the year, "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams appeared on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" to proclaim "some conservative local newspapers" won't report a cause of death when it's cancer. [audio available here]
Williams stopped by, along with CBS and ABC anchors Katie Couric and Charles Gibson, as part of a new anti-cancer initiative. Williams preceded his bizarre claim by instructing, "Think of the obituaries, just in our adult lifetimes, that didn't mention the 'C' word." Just what is Williams implying? It would help to have some sort of evidence that "conservative local newspapers" are suppressing information on cancer deaths. By "conservative," does Williams mean backwards or superstitious? Whatever the explanation, it certainly seems like another example of a journalist using "conservative" as a synonym for "bad."
On Wednesday's "Good Morning America," co-host Diane Sawyer appeared worried about the upcoming presidential election and repeatedly grilled Democratic strategist and Clinton supporter James Carville about whether Barack Obama will be able to overcome a tough primary and defeat John McCain in November. Asking a question she would ultimately repeat four times, Sawyer fretted, "Should he be the nominee, will Senator Obama beat John McCain? Is there any doubt in your mind that he'll beat John McCain?"
Apparently Carville's prediction of a victory for the Illinois senator wasn't enough. Sawyer doggedly reiterated, "But you're saying he will win?" After the longtime Clinton strategist stated that Obama will win, but Clinton could be victorious by more, Sawyer quickly rebutted, "So, that's not an argument, really. You do think he would win?" While discussing the Democratic National Committee and its upcoming meeting to decide what will be done with the delegates from Florida and Michigan, the ABC anchor anxiously wondered, "If the decision on Saturday means [Clinton] doesn't have the popular vote on June 3rd, must it be over?"
On Wednesday’s CBS "Early Show" evening news anchors, ABC’S Charles Gibson, NBC’s Brian Williams, and CBS’s Katie Couric, were all on to promote an upcoming cancer research telethon, but near the end of segment, co-host Harry Smith asked about former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan’s new book in which McClellan claims the media did not ask tough questions leading up to the Iraq war and Couric agreed:
I think it's a very legitimate allegation. I think it's one of the most embarrassing chapters in American journalism. And I think there was a sense of pressure from corporations who own where we work and from the government itself to really squash any kinds of dissent or any kind of questioning of it. I think it was extremely subtle but very, very effective. And I think Scott McClellan has a really good point.
Perhaps a better example of "one of the most embarrassing chapters in American journalism" would be Couric’s predecessor, Dan Rather, using fraudulent National Guard memos to attempt to smear President Bush just prior to the 2004 election.
On tonight's broadcast of ABC's "World News with Charles Gibson" reporter Ron Clairborne reiterated a popular term that liberal blogs often use to refer to Sen. John McCain (R- Ariz). The news story was on the fundraiser President Bush held for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee tonight. Clairborne stated in his report, "At every opportunity the Democrats label McCain "McSame," a virtual clone of George Bush. The strategy makes sense. Bush's approval ratings are at an all time low."
The only Democrats known for constantly calling Sen. McCain "McSame" are those who write in the progressive blogosphere. View video here.
The day after it was revealed that former ABC News Capitol Hill correspondent Linda Douglass was going to be joining Barack Obama's presidential campaign, "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace said this was a perfect example of how liberal and biased the mainstream media are.
As my colleague Brad Wilmouth reported Wednesday, The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder wrote at his blog that Douglass was going to be leaving her position at National Journal to "join Barack Obama's presidential campaign as a senior strategist and as a senior campaign spokesperson on the roadshow."
The following day, Wallace was interview by WOR radio's Steve Malzberg, and was asked, "Do you have a problem with media people, you know, switching to go to work for political campaigns like that?
On Friday's "Good Morning America," co-host Diane Sawyer and guest George Stephanopoulos continued the ABC tradition of referring to an Obama/Hillary Clinton match-up as a "dream ticket." In an intro to the piece, Sawyer asked, "Will there be a Obama/Clinton dream ticket?" A few seconds later, she reiterated, "So, dream ticket?" Back on March 6, 2008, Sawyer giddily wondered about the "dream solution" of Clinton and Obama running together on a Democratic ticket. On February 1, GMA correspondent Kate Snow also mused about the possibility of a "dream ticket."
Also, after giving prominent play to a story on Thursday that accused John McCain of close ties to a reverend harshly critical of Islam, "Good Morning America" on Friday allowed only 50 seconds for the senator's rejection of those charges. The Republican presidential candidate has distanced himself from Reverend Rod Parsley and his comments about the Muslim faith. However, GMA featured only a brief discussion between Sawyer and Stephanopoulos on Friday.
ABC stole the Left's mojo on a McCain-slamming "pastor problem" story.
Why am I not surprised?
Here's the complaint of David Corn at Mother Jones magazine's MoJo blog yesterday (h/t Romenesko):
I'm glad that Good Morning America covered the connection between John McCain and Rod Parsley, the Ohio megachurch pastor who has said it is the United States' historic mission to see the "false religion" of Islam "destroyed."
But did ABC News' top investigative reporter, Brian Ross, have to swipe the story from us?
Despite ABC News's concerns about Republican presidential candidate John McCain's health, 1,173 pages of medical records just released to the press show the Arizona senator "appears cancer-free, has a strong heart and is in otherwise general good health."
This is in stark contrast to a segment on Thursday's "World News with Charles Gibson" (reported by my colleague Brent Baker) which addressed concerns about McCain having suffered "physical" and "psychological damage" while "he was in captivity in North Vietnam," and him having "about a 30 percent chance of developing serious memory loss or even dementia."
Makes you wonder if Gibson will do a follow-up report Friday evening to address the medical information just analyzed by the Associated Press (emphasis added):
"Good Morning America" on Thursday picked up an attack on John McCain that has grown popular in left-wing media outlets and turned it into a Brian Ross investigation of the senator's "pastor problem." In a preview, co-host Diane Sawyer solemnly intoned, "This morning, John McCain's pastor problem. Is the preacher McCain calls a spiritual guide fueling the fire of Muslim hatred in America?" Investigative reporter Ross then preceded to warn how the Arizona senator's appearance with a pastor who loudly attacked Islam has "badly complicated" McCain's attempts to reach out to the Muslim world. [audio available here]
Where did Ross find the various clips of the Reverend Rod Parsley condemning Islam and standing on a podium with John McCain? The story has already been touted in liberal outlets such as Mother Jones magazine and heavily featured on the website Brave New Films,a creation of Robert Greenwald, best known for documentaries bashing Fox News and Wal Mart. (Despite this, Sawyer touted the "exclusive" nature of the investigation.) Additionally, the web version of Ross's story featured a misleading attempt to more closely associate McCain and Parsley. The ABC News headline asserted: "McCain Pastor: Islam Is a 'Conspiracy of Spiritual Evil.'" McCain's pastor? The Republican presidential candidate sought the reverend's support in February 2008. McCain is not a member of Parsley's World Harvest Church in Columbus, Ohio.
As noted earlier by Brad Wilmouth, Marc Ambinder revealed today, on his blog for The Atlantic, that his colleague at National Journal, Linda Douglass, a long-time CBS News and then ABC News Washington bureau reporter until 2006, “will join Barack Obama's presidential campaign as a senior strategist and as a senior campaign spokesperson on the roadshow, a newly created position.” Ambinder, a colleague at National Journal, reported:
Douglass confirmed her new position when I walked up to the ninth floor, knocked on her door, and asked her about it. She informed National Journal President Suzanne Clark this morning of her impending departure. "I see this as a moment of transformational change in the country and I have spent my lifetime sitting on the sidelines watching people attempt to make change. I just decided that I can't sit on the sidelines anymore."
“Over 34 years in journalism,” Douglass told Ambinder, “she grew disillusioned with the partisanship she saw first-hand.” So, now she's joining a partisan campaign?
During "Good Morning America's" respectful coverage of Ted Kennedy and the sad announcement of his cancer on Wednesday, ABC's medical expert, Dr. Tim Johnson, used the occasion to laud Kennedy's very liberal goals for reforming health care. After stating his admiration for the Massachusetts senator, Johnson fawned, "He is a true giant in the field of those of us who care about health care reform. And we want his leadership to continue."
Johnson may be a doctor, but his rigid liberalism fits right in at ABC. He has a long history of using network airwaves to back Kennedy and other liberal Democrats and their policies. On September 24 1993, he rhapsodized, "...The Clintons are almost heroes in my mind for finally facing up to the terrible problems we have with our current health care system..." On July 19, 1994, he extolled then-First Lady Hillary Clinton's plans for universal health care in an interview, saying, "So at least from the physicians represented here, you get a 100 percent vote, including mine, for universal coverage."
According to Marc Ambinder of theatlantic.com, former ABC News Capitol Hill correspondent Linda Douglass, also a former correspondent for CBS and NBC News, will be leaving her position at National Journal to join the Barack Obama presidential campaign as a senior strategist. Ambinder quotes Douglass: "I see this as a moment of transformational change in the country and I have spent my lifetime sitting on the sidelines watching people attempt to make change. I just decided that I can't sit on the sidelines anymore."
Ambinder's article, which can be seen here, further describes Douglass as having grown "disillusioned with the partisanship she saw first hand" during her journalistic career.
ABC reporter Kate Snow, who has repeatedly gushed over the Hillary Clinton campaign in the past, appeared to be edging away from the Democratic candidate on Tuesday's "Good Morning America." Discussing the long odds the New York senator now faces to the nomination, Snow gratuitously offered this comparison: "And here's a metaphor. Last month, supporters gave Clinton an inflatable doll. The other day, it was spotted all shriveled up, deflated."
The GMA correspondent also made sure to point out that "[Clinton's] biggest Kentucky crowds are closer to a thousand and Obama just pulled 75,000 in Oregon." She also explained, "An event in Oregon in a dimly lit room had more reporters than voters. Clinton was somber." This type of downbeat reporting is quite a change from Snow's cheery, pro-Hillary journalism. On January 7, 2008, she marveled at the senator's knowledge and enthused, "No subject is too small. No issue too dense." On October 1, 2007, Snow rhapsodized at Clinton's ability to disarm "her critics with a gleam in her eye and a roar straight from the belly."
On Friday's "Nightline," ABC reporter Bianna Golodryga filed a segment on the "super rich" who are untainted by the tough economic times and once again highlighted left-wing investor Warren Buffett's calls for more taxation. Without ever labeling Buffett as liberal (he has endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president), Golodryga cheerfully proclaimed that the billionaire is "concerned about the burgeoning wealth gap." The ABC reporter then parroted Buffett's claim that his cleaning lady is paying more in payroll taxes then he does on capital gains. "She doesn't have a lobbyist," the investor complained
Of course, neither Buffett nor Golodryga pointed out that the top one percent of earners pay 39.4 percent of all federal income taxes. In fact, Golodryga has touted Buffett's liberal economic policies before. On November 15, 2007, on "Good Morning America," she lauded the investor for coming out "on behalf of fairness in taxes," in relation to his calls to retain the estate tax and (liberally) reform capital gains tax policy. She rhapsodized to viewers that Buffett was on "your side over taxes and fairness."
"Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts conducted a syrupy, softball interview with Michelle and Barack Obama on Monday's program, mostly free from any discussion of substantive policy issues. Instead, Roberts played a clip from a Tennessee State Republican Party ad that attacked Michelle Obama for saying the '08 campaign marked the first time she's been proud of America.
The GMA host empathetically wondered, "Should you get through this process and you have the general election ahead of you, that this is what you can expect more and more of. Are you prepared for that?" Now, readers will remember that liberals (many in the media) were outraged over ABC's April 16 Democratic debate for focusing on allegedly unimportant topics and not "the issues." But Roberts did the exact same thing during her interview, discussing political "horse-race" subjects such as Hillary Clinton for VP and an extensive debate on whether the Obama family will be getting a dog. As an example of the not-so tough queries the candidate's wife faced, the ABC host at one point cooed, "What have you learned about yourself since that night in Iowa?" [audio available here]
On Friday's "Good Morning America," various ABC reporters fretted about the political implications of Barack Obama referring to a female reporter as "sweetie." GMA co-host Diane Sawyer nervously asked, "When do 'honey,' 'sweetie,' cross the line?" Guest host David Muir introduced an investigation into "the debate over what words we can use and can't use when we're talking to members of opposite sex."
To further examine the issue, GMA even dug up previous clips of the presidential candidate using what has become the other S-word. So, only two days after "Sweetie-Gate" broke, the morning show had already provided detail and background on the case. This stands in stark contrast to how GMA (and ABC in general) covered a much more serious subject, Obama's relationship with indicted political operative Tony Rezko, a man that raised money for the senator and was also involved in a questionable land deal related to the purchase of Obama's home in Chicago. In 2006 and 2007, ABC only mentioned Rezko once. Apparently Rezko and the senator's dealings don't measure up to the sweetie story.
A practical joke on last night's "Boston Legal" had mad cow disease-afflicted lawyer Denny Crane (played by William Shatner) believing the RNC wanted him as the presidential nominee.
And it left "Boston Legal" writers with plenty of opportunities to slam Republicans, like this exchange that suggests former Republican President Ronald Reagan had mad cow disease instead of Alzheimer's:
ALAN SHORE: Do they know you have mad cow?
DENNY CRANE: They're looking for the next Ronald Reagan, and he had it at the very end.
ABC's "Nightline" on Monday continued the network's trend of hyperbolically, and in this case, apocalyptically, fretting over high gas prices in America. Anchor Martin Bashir introduced a segment by wondering if $4 a gallon gas might result in some people stealing gasoline, or, as he put it, "taking some drastic measures." Speaking to a car security expert who claimed that such theft would be a misdemeanor because the total cost would be below $1000, reporter John Donvan lost all perspective and replied, "But we may soon be paying more than $1,000 for a tank of gas." [audio available here]
Donvan, in a snarky tone, even cited the plot of the futuristic thriller "The Road Warrior" to support his argument. He speculated, "And in the future, of course, they will be stealing gas and fighting over it. We know that because of the 1981 Mad Max classic 'The Road Warrior.'"
On the May 14 edition of "The View" co-host Sherri Shepherd revealed her family once lived in West Virginia, but not in singing "take me home." Apparently West Virginians are racist. Why? Because Barack Obama lost of course. The noted historian and geographer added she knows "why [her family] moved" and "overwhelming white" West Virginia "voted for Clinton."
Shepherd also implied Clinton voters who say they will vote for McCain if Obama is the nominee are motivated by race. Sherri Shepherd previously chided Elisabeth Hasselbeck for raising concerns about those who vote for Obama because of his race. On the April 24 edition, Shepherd proclaimed that she is "a black woman" and "so proud of [Obama]."
Elisabeth Hasselbeck then jumped in and asked "is it always because of racism or because of politics too?" Whoopi Goldberg opined "it’s hard to tell."
Hillary Clinton won among white voters in West Virginia by a 67-26% margin. Pretty lopsided. Then again, that's nearly an even split compared to the 90+ percent of black votes Barack Obama's been racking up in state after state.
So who does Diane Sawyer suggest should reject race-based votes? Senator 90+? Nope. James Carville was Sawyer's guest during the GMA's opening half-hour today.
DIANE SAWYER: I want to talk about the fact that 20% of the voters coming out of the West Virginia race said race was in fact a factor in their vote, and of those Senator Clinton won 84%. Here's my question: should Senator Clinton say she is rejecting the votes of anyone who votes based in any way on color of skin?
At the close of her interview on CNN’s "Larry King Live" on Monday evening, host Larry King asked ABC’s Barbara Walters "Have you had a major disappointing interview?... Someone you had looked forward to, didn't work out right." Walters named a few notables, and gave the following anecdote: "I have said, I'm very mellow. I'm not auditioning anymore. I'm not out to get the great get. And then one reporter said to me, and what if Osama bin Laden called? I said I'll pack." King, in agreement, replied, "You’re not kidding. Who wouldn't?" So, these two media celebrities would jump at the opportunity to interview the terrorist guru, despite any possible propaganda coup that may result, thus putting the advancement of their career over the national interest.
Almost immediately before this, a viewer asked Walters, "I was just wondering, who's your candidate for president this year?" Walters responded, "Well, you see, part of being in the news department, because I'm part of ABC News, is we do not give opinions. I don't mind writing in the book about my own life, but I don't give my opinions about political candidates." Walters must have forgotten about her colleague at ABC, David Wright, who is a well-known Obama cheerleader, as well as her own endorsement of Al Gore’s "An Inconvenient Truth" and Michael Moore’s "Sicko."
Joy Behar should remove the blinding plank in front of her own eye before removing the splint in front of others. Expressing her outrage that a West Virginia Hillary Clinton voter erroneously labeled Barack Obama a Muslim, Behar opined on May 13's "View" that some people "refuse to accept the reality." "The View" co-host did not mention that some of these reality deniers include Behar herself.
In the past, the daytime chat diva has spouted off many false remarks, putting her leftist ideology before the facts. Joy fed her viewers false information about the vice president’s record on the Marriage Amendment and falsely charged the Bush administration with airing the "swift boat" ads. Behar has also, without evidence, smeared Republican presidential candidates of ties with the Ku Klux Klan and accused Republicans of giving Senator Tim Johnson a stroke.
On World News Saturday, during a story about young Israelis seeking to enjoy life in Tel Aviv to forget about the constant danger of terrorism, ABC's David Muir seemed to suggest that most Israeli cities could be described as relatively "militant" as he compared Tel Aviv to other cities: "Some have called it the 'Tel Aviv Bubble.' But not in a bad way. Other Israeli cities are more religious and more militant."
Then came a soundbite of an Israeli woman who referred to "extremists on both sides," presumably referring to both Palestinians and Jews: "I think it has some kind of stabilizing effect in the country. If it didn't exist, all of the country would be swept by extremists from both sides." (Transcript follows)
"So far some 730 tornadoes have touched down this year, more than double the number for all of last year."—ABC's Bill Weir, GMA 05-10-08, as this graphic was displayed in a segment blaming global warming for increased tornado incidence.
While he told EW “he had to speculate” about dialogue, “Stone insist[ed] that every scene in 'W' will be rooted in truth.” Instead, the movie is a hodge podge of supposed eyewitness accounts, third-hand gossip and fantastical guesswork mixed with “awkward and goofy” caricatures. EW pointed out that “some accounts” “may have come from disgruntled former staffers.”
If the left frothed over ABC's “Path to 9/11” and the media criticized “its invented scenes, fabricated dialogue and unsubstantiated accounts,” then surely they'll immediately knock Stone for these scenes that could come directly from Will Farrell's old “Saturday Night Live” Bush skits (all bold mine):
There's a scene of 26-year-old Bush peeling his car to a stop on his parents' front lawn and drunkenly hurling insults at his father (''Thank you, Mr. Perfect. Mr. War Hero. Mr. F---ing-God-Almighty!''), while another scene set a few years later finds Bush nearly crashing a small plane while flying under the influence.
Michael Pollan, a long-time opponent of "agribusiness" - the food industry - was featured in a segment on his new book, "In Defense of Food: And Eater's Manifesto." Pollan advocates a return to an all-organic diet and offers tips for healthy eating.
Pollan praised "the authority of mom" and lamented that "the holders of culture when it comes to food (mothers) have been undermined by both the scientists and the food marketers."
Years before she admitted her own affairs with married men, ABC's Barbara Walters pressed Monica Lewinsky about her affair with a married Bill Clinton: "Did you ever think about what Hillary Clinton might be feeling?" [audio available here]
At the time, the public wasn’t yet aware of Walters’ own affairs. Now, more than nine years later, Barbara Walters has come forward with stories of her affair in her new book "Audition" something former "The View" co-star Star Jones has publicly denounced saying, "It is a sad day when an icon like Barbara Walters in the sunset of her life is reduced to publicly branding herself as an adulterer, humiliating an innocent family with accounts of her illicit affair […] It speaks to her true character."
This new information on Walters sheds some interesting light on her 1999 "20/20" interview with Monica Lewinsky regarding her affair with President Clinton. As MRC Director of Media Analysis Tim Graham said, "It might have helped viewers process that interview with some on-screen graphics that said 'Barbara Walters has been a mistress just like her interviewee.'"
At some points in last night's interview with Barbara Walters, ABC's Charles Gibson forgot he was a hard hitting journalist and decided to simply engage in girl talk.
While discussing the beginning of Walters's career, Gibson revealed that she got her first job because of her legs and she slept with her first boss at NBC, which apparently was okay because she "already had the job." Gibson also showed the prevailing attitudes once taken toward women in newsrooms by highlighting a segment she did on the Playboy Club for "The Today Show."
Gibson could have easily asked Walters about the impact these experiences had on her life, but instead he settled for a gab session that could have been taken from a "Sex and the City" script (albeit the sanitized version airing on TBS). All that was missing were the Manolo Blahnik references and a table full of cosmos.
His follow up question to the "sleeping with the boss" revelation was, "why did you tell us that?" which Walters deflected by asking Gibson, "Why did I tell you half the things I told you in this book? I don't know."
"Sex sells" probably wouldn't have been a proper answer, even it if might contain a grain of truth.
John McCain’s anti-woman philosophy will guide him to appoint Supreme Court justices that will roll back civil rights, according to Joy Behar. Discussing the 2008 election on the May 8 edition of "The View," political pundit, Catholic theologian, and constitutional scholar Joy Behar offered her theory on why white women will vote for Obama, assuming he is the nominee, and even called Roe v. Wade "civil rights legislation."
"When these women, these white women that love Hillary so much, you know, there’s a lot of white, he gets the women vote. When they realize that McCain is going to load the Supreme Court up with more conservative justices who are going to probably roll back or try to roll back Roe v. Wade, civil rights legislation, you are going to see those white women go to the polls and vote for Obama."
Elisabeth Hasselbeck noted the absurdity of Behar’s point calling it "such a broad statement" and "an extreme prediction." Joy Behar proceeded to call McCain ideologically "off the wall" and repeated her recounting of labeling McCain "anti-woman" because he’ll allegedly appoint justices that will overturn Roe v. Wade.