On the eve of the Iowa caucuses, NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd disclosed thatthe media was poised to take a third-place McCain finish there and use it to catapult him to victory in New Hampshire. McCain actually finished fourth in Iowa, but on Good Morning America today we saw a perfect example of the phenomenon Todd predicted.
ABC declared that McCain is "surging," "rising in the polls," may have "the most momentum," used "The Mac Is Back" as its screen graphic, and portrayed Mitt Romney in a highly unflattering light. There was only one small problem with ABC's depiction of a McCain surge: the latest poll numbers from the organization that nailed the Iowa results . . . reveal that McCain slipped in the polls overnight and lost ground to Mitt Romney.
"Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts used the label "fundamentalist Christians" to describe the Iowa supporters of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. During an interview on Friday's program, she also noted that America "saw, there, in your offices in Iowa, right before the caucuses, people praying there in your, in your office."
The ABC journalist also grilled the '08 contender, fresh from his caucus victory, on the subject of creationism and evolution. Citing a new National Academy of Sciences report, Roberts asked, "Do you agree with that, that creationism should be kept out of our classrooms?" After Huckabee stated that, as governor, he never dealt with the question, the host repeated her question: "Should creationism be banned from the classroom. Yes or no?"
"Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo, while discussing politics with Iowa voters on Thursday, spun foes of illegal immigrants as fans of simplistic solutions to a complicated issue. Maligning them, he complained, "Everybody wants to put up a big wall and then find who's not supposed to be here and throw them over that wall."
Cuomo, while speaking to a voter who favored allowing illegals to stay in the country, seemed to morph into a parody of an enforcement conservative. Attempting to channel that mind set, he derided, "But for a politician, you want that red meat. You want to be able to be strong and we want them out!"
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," reporter Chris Cuomo saw dark motives in Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's attacks on Democrat John Edwards and his "Two Americas" rhetoric. The GMA host conducted a combative interview with the 2008 contender and even alleged that Romney's comments could even be construed as an example of "ignorance."
After playing a clip of the former governor dismissing Edwards's contention that there is a rich and poor America, Cuomo argumentatively asserted, "When you say, 'This is one America,' that could be a unity statement or it could be one of, perhaps, ignorance to the fact that in this country you have the rich growing at ten times the rate as the working class. Do you deny that is the situation in this country?" The ABC journalist then helpfully added, "You trying to make a different point?"
For the second day in a row, and the sixth time in less than a year and a half, a "Good Morning America" anchor speculated on whether Senator Barack Obama can overcome racism in his presidential bid. During a particularly fawning interview on Thursday's program, host Diane Sawyer referenced a quote from the senator on the subject and hypothesized that, in a white state like Iowa, "people have shown they are willing to look beyond race in this country. Has that victory been won, whatever happens tonight?"
On Wednesday, GMA co-host Chris Cuomo posed the same question to fellow Democrat John Edwards. He asked the presidential aspirant about the nature of Iowa voters, theorizing, "When you think people get into the room, do you think race or gender may play an unspoken role in the caucus voting?" Cuomo, back on December 20, 2007, fretted over whether Obama could overcome "America's inherent...racism." Sawyer herself once asked the Illinois senator if America is "secretly...more racist or more sexist"
As you’ve already been told a thousand times, with only a day to go before the Iowa caucuses, the polls are showing a statistical three-way tie between Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards atop the Democratic field, and a similarly close two-way race between Republicans Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney.
But the polls are probably wrong. Or maybe they’re right -- we won’t really know until Thursday night when the actual results are announced. And that’s the problem -- the media have given the polls so much emphasis that the actual results will only matter to the extent that they differ from the media’s pre-election expectations, i.e., only to the extent that this week’s polls are inaccurate.
In just the last month, RealClearPolitics has posted the results of 55 pre-Iowa caucus polls (27 for the Republicans, 28 for the Democrats). These are mostly media-generated polls, with a few conducted by universities. It’s because of these polls that reporters think they know who is and is not a frontrunner, who is and is not rising and/or falling, and who is and is not hopelessly behind.
For the second time in less than a month, "Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo asked a Democratic presidential candidate to speculate about the inherent racism of American voters. Talking with John Edwards on Wednesday's edition of the program, the ABC journalist wondered about Thursday's Iowa caucus. He inquired, "When you think people get into the room, do you think race or gender may play an unspoken role in the caucus voting?"
Clearly, this is a topic that weighs heavily on Cuomo. On December 20, he spoke to Senator Barack Obama and asked, "What do you think the bigger obstacle is for you in becoming president, the Clinton campaign machine or America's inherent racists, racism?" In fact, GMA has a long history of harping on how bigoted America is. Since November 13, 2006, "Good Morning America" has featured the question, in some form or another, a total of five times.
The PC guy finally wins one! No, we're not cheering for political correctness here. I'm talking about those ads for Macintosh computers where the cool Mac guy always gets the better of the frumpy PC fellow.
When two college political leaders out in Iowa appeared on the Good Morning America screen today, I immediately suspected a set-up. I couldn't help but think that ABC had intentionally staged the political equivalent of the Mac ads, with the Dem as the Apple dude and the Republican cast as PC guy.
In the screencap, that's Atul Nakhasi, head of the U. of Iowa Dems, on the left and Greg Baker, Chairman of the U. of Iowa Republicans, on the right. Now, Nakhasi acquitted himself perfectly well, but as the segment unfolded it soon became clear that Baker was the star of this show.
View the video here, and enjoy Baker's good-humor and easy articulation.
On Monday's "The Early Show," CBS anchor Harry Smith charged that the leading Republican presidential candidates are "mudslinging," contending that their campaigns have "turned nasty," but then suggested that Democrats are "playing nice." While the ABC and NBC morning shows portrayed candidates in both parties as "going negative," CBS's Smith hinted that Democrats were "playing nice" even after CBS correspondents had just referred to Obama as "attacking" other Democrats, and to John Edwards as portraying "corporate powers and Washington lobbyists" as "enemies of ordinary people." (Transcript follows)
Smith teased Monday's "The Early Show": "Pick me: It's a dead heat in the Iowa polls as Democrats fall into a virtual tie, and Republican leaders sling more mud."
According to MasterCard SpendingPulse, retail sales were up 3.6 percent during the holiday season - 2.4 percent excluding gas prices. But because it's not as big an increase as recent years have produced, the media reported it as bad news.
On NBC's "Nightly News," reporter Savannah Guthrie announced a "dramatic" 2.4 percent decrease in women's clothing sales. She didn't think the same percentage increase was "dramatic," however. Instead, she referred to the overall sales increase as "disappointing."
Other media labeled the figures "dismal," "small," "weak," "bleak" and "a clear sign that the economy is slowing down." Most made sure to point out, like "Good Morning America's" Ryan Owens, that the increase is "the smallest in four years."
Business & Media Institute Director Dan Gainor appeared on the Fox Business Network December 21, 2007, to discuss the media's coverage of the economy. Full of Christmas spirit, Gainor had kind words for two mainstream reporters.
"Even in the mainstream media there are people who get it. Looking back this year one of the big stars whose improvement was surprising is CNN's Ali Velshi who delivers a much calmer look," Gainor said.
"It's nice to see somebody out there saying, ‘Oh, actually the markets aren't really doing that bad," he said, praising ABC's Bianna Golodryga. The "Good Morning America" reporter received high marks for balanced coverage of the stock market.
Hillary Clinton has no right to complain that her friends and flatterers in the media are rough on her. But when Clintons hit rough passages on the road to victory, this is what Clintons do: complain. That’s too meek. They whine.
But she obviously feels wronged by the news media when her polls begin to slip and she looks at her Barack Obama’s worshipful press clips. In fairy-tale terms, Obama is Snow White, and Hillary is the vain and wicked queen peering into the mirror and demanding to know "who is the fairest of them all?"
Nothing is deadlier to a campaign than a rumor that a candidate might be dropping out. But NBC has seen fit to suggest that Rudy Giuliani might be withdrawing from the presidential race based on what it itself calls "speculation" in the blogosphere.
NBC Nightly News weekend anchor Lester Holt interviewed John Harwood on this evening's edition.
LESTER HOLT: Let's turn to Rudy Giuliani. He's had a health scare, he's had a drop in the polls. You've seen it in the blogosphere: a lot of speculation as to whether he'll stay in this race. What do you think?
"Millions of older Americans are facing an important decision right now," anchor Charles Gibson said. "And some hard sell insurance agents see them as easy targets. Every December, seniors choose between Medicare or any of dozens of private plans that compete with the government. This year, almost 9 million opted for the private plans. And as ABC's David Muir reports, some now have serious regrets."
On the news of Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani’s hospitalization and release, ABC’s Jake Tapper spun it as a case of secrecy. On the December 21 edition of "Good Morning America," Tapper reported that after Giuliani and his wife claimed to be in "good health," his lack of details may harm him. "Experts on political crises say Giuliani is handling this the exact wrong way," Tapper suggested.
Tapper also stated, according to former Clinton aide Lanny Davis, 2000 long shot Democratic hopeful Bill Bradley’s lack of health disclosure was the "turning point"of his campaign.
Tapper finally played a sound bite of Giuliani promising a more open government. The ABC correspondent sniped back "apparently that pledge of transparency not applying to his current health crisis."
Do all those attacks against Hillary Clinton reduce the candidate to cowering in bed? "Nightline" co-anchor Cynthia McFadden posed this question to the former First Lady on Wednesday's program. She sympathetically asked, "There's never a night when you go back to whatever hotel room, whatever city you're in that night, and crawl in a ball and say, 'I just, this just hurts too much?"
As previously noted on NewsBusters, the ABC program also featured McFadden gushing that the presidential candidate's new campaign web site is "terribly sweet in so many ways" and yet it also shows the double standard that female politicians have to put up with. McFadden, who spent a day with Clinton in Iowa, protectively spun most of her questions. She observed that Barack Obama has been successful with "some people" at painting Clinton as an opportunist and then queried simply, "How do you fight back against that?"
Does "Good Morning America" mean "good morning all you racists"? Co-host Chris Cuomo seemed to suggest that on December 20. (Hat tip: Howard Mortman) Upon interviewing presidential candidate Barack Obama Cuomo inquired about Obama’s biggest obstacles.
"What do you think the bigger obstacle is for you in becoming president, the Clinton campaign machine or America's inherent racists, racism?"
Obama, though conceding he does not think "race has played a significant role in this campaign," went on to add that many people may vote for or against him because of his race.
I've noted previously that Old Media has developed a squeamishness towards describing this time of year in business stories as the "Christmas shopping season."
In the midst of media criticism of Mike Huckabee's Christmas ad, including the Whoopi Goldberg-Joy Behar exchange on "The View" noted earlier today by NewsBusters' Justin McCarthy, how interesting it is that one of Hillary Clinton's latest ads in Iowa joins in the C-word sqeamishness (HT Hot Air, whose Bryan Preston calls it "Hillary's Unintentionally Revealing Christmas Ad").
The ad shows Mrs. Clinton wrapping presents for the American people, including "Universal Health Care," "Alternative Energy," "Bring Troops Home," and "Middle Class Tax Breaks" (where have we heard that undelivered promise before?). In search of the final present to wrap, she asks, "Where's Universal Pre-K?" Finding it, she says, "Ah, there it is."
(Three of these "presents" to the American people would have to be paid for with money coming from the American people in the form of taxes -- but that's for another time.)
"The View"co-hosts discussed the Mike Huckabee Christmas ad when Joy Behar moved to quote Ron Paul, ideologically libertarian, whom Behar calls "a very staunch Republican," who quoted Sinclair Lewis: "When Fascism comes to the country, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross."When they played the advertisement, Behar moaned "we don’t have to listen to him do we?"
Whoopi Goldberg, who previously defended Georgia Governor Perdue for holding a prayer service, defended Huckabee’s ad claiming "if he wasn’t a Christian, I don’t think people would be as freaked out by it." Whoopi also defended those who wish to proclaim Merry Christmas.
KEYS: Do you think it matters? Well, well, do you think it matters?
Imagine for a moment that the FBI raided televangelist Pat Robertson's office for any reason whatsoever, much less say his 1988 presidential campaign. It'd be a story in the broadcast evening news programs, right?
So why the utter lack of interest in the December 12 federal probe into Al Sharpton's 2004 campaign? A review of Nexis for ABC, NBC, and CBS network news stories for December 12-18 yielded nothing on a December 13 FBI raid.
Here's an excerpt from the AP's reporting from December 13:
It is and it was showcased on the December 16 "World News Sunday" in a disturbing human interest segment about freeganism - a radical-left anti-capitalist movement.
Madeline Nelson, an executive-turned-freegan, was featured on "World News." The segment showed Nelson serving a four-course meal, which included a mixed green salad, stuffed peppers, and a tofu cheesecake with strawberries.
"The grocery bill for such an elaborate feast? Zero," said ABC correspondent Ryan Owens. "That's because this food doesn't come from inside a store, but outside of it."
According to ABC’s Kate Snow, support for the Iraq War automatically makes one a conservative, even if that individual is liberal on most other issues. In reporting on the increasingly tight race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, Snow briefly mentioned at the end that Joseph Lieberman endorsed John McCain. She dismissively referred to Lieberman as a "conservative Democrat."
"And he won over long-time Democrat, all be it a conservative one, Senator Joe Lieberman, who ran with Al Gore, will endorse McCain later today."
It's been a rough day for Hillary. First, as noted here, she was drummed from pillar to post on ABC's "This Week." NewsBuster Noel Sheppard then detailed here how Chris Matthews' crew raked her over the coals. Now, completing Hillary's troika of tribulation, the CBS Evening News has gotten into the act.
The development being reported was ostensibly positive for Hillary: the Des Moines Register today endorsed her. If CBS had stopped there, it would have been a plus for the Clinton campaign. But unfortunately for Hillary . . . the Evening News decided to play clips of Clinton on the stump in Iowa.
Worst job in America this morning: Clinton campaign staffer assigned to inform Hillary of her treatment at the hands of ABC's "This Week" panel.
From moderator George Stephanopoulos to former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile, to the husband-wife tandem of Jay Carney of Time and Claire Shipman of ABC, to conservative sage George Will, it was a decidedly downbeat take on Hillary's fortunes.
ABC’s Chris Cuomo, who previously tried to push John McCain to give a preference between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, asked Mike Huckabee, after citing Hillary Clinton, "can a woman be president?" Cuomo inquired this after mentioning that Huckabee signed an ad stating "a wife is to submit graciously to...her husband."
Huckabee appeared on the December 13 edition of "Good Morning America" to address his recent questioning of Mormon doctrine that "Jesus and the devil are brothers." Cuomo also asked Huckabee why he is "unwilling to say" that Mormons are Christians. Huckabee responded "it's not my place to start evaluating his faith, your faith, somebody else's."
It is also notable that GMA co-host Diane Sawyer previously attacked Huckabee for playing the "religion card."
ABC proved once again that they will use language to flavor reporting to promulgate their ideological position instead of just reporting the facts. After Wednesday's GOP debate in Iowa, ABC news posted a Political Radar blog entry calling attention to Fred Thompson's efforts to improve the depth of debate held that day. Calling Thompson's efforts a "Tantrum," ABC seeks to cast Thompson's sensible and adult desire to engage in real debate as a child's temper tantrum. Does ABC want real debate or do they want dumbed down, name calling or simple minded sound byte replies? I think you can easily decide which!
If you didn't see the debate and missed what it is that Thompson did, there is a video available that I'll post at the end of this piece so you can see for yourself. But, in essence, Thompson refused to do a "show of hands" answer to the question of whether or not the candidates agree with the theory of man-made global warming. He felt that this important issue needed an actual reply. The gall of him, eh?
As a global warming skeptic, when I saw the headline "The Pope Condemns the Climate Change Prophets of Doom," it goes without saying I was as pleased as a child on Christmas Day that had gotten everything he asked Santa for and then some.
My glee accelerated after reading the marvelous beginning of this Daily Mail article (paragraph break removed for space considerations):
Pope Benedict XVI has launched a surprise attack on climate change prophets of doom, warning them that any solutions to global warming must be based on firm evidence and not on dubious ideology. The leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics suggested that fears over man-made emissions melting the ice caps and causing a wave of unprecedented disasters were nothing more than scare-mongering.
See why I was so thrilled?
Unfortunately, as I reviewed the text of the Pontiff's message, defeat was stripped from the jaws of victory upon realizing the Mail's author had divined intent that might have been absent from the Pope's words:
According to ABC reporter Claire Shipman, dreary economic news and a slow Christmas could be a real plus for the Democrats. Filing a segment for Wednesday's "Good Morning America," Shipman lamented, "It may be that no amount of hall decking can convince Americans to be jolly about the economy this holiday season."
However, the GMA correspondent saw good news in this for the Democrats. She asserted, "Traditionally, of course, problems in the economy would help the Democrats." After allowing that GOP candidate Mike Huckabee's "populist message" could resonate, Shipman gushed, "Among the Democrats, John Edwards has the message that's most consistently appealing to people suffering from economic woes." Not wishing to leave any Democrat behind, she rhapsodized, "But at the same time, the Clinton brand has a strong economic reputation."
After speaking against the death tax last week, "View" co-host Whoopi Goldberg said "people are very annoyed" with her and reliably left Joy Behar attacked with her pro-tax liberal spin. The December 12 edition of "The View" featured country star and politically conservative guest co-host Sara Evans, who also spoke out against the death tax.
Similar to her previous statement on the issue, Goldberg said "I just feel like...I’ve worked very hard...this is something I want to give to my kid and she should be able to accept it." After Whoopi called it a "double tax" Sara Evans exclaimed "I totally agree with you!"
Joy Behar, in using the typical left wing class warfare propaganda claimed that "the very, very rich, not only don’t have to pay it, but get tax cuts." As she has donebefore, Behar gets her facts wrong. In 2005, the top one percent (those making $364,657 or more) paid 39.4 percent, but earned only 21.2 percent of the wealth.
Whoopi Goldberg did call out Joy Behar exclaiming that the wealthiest Americans are "pay ing 50 percent of their income. It’s not like they’re not paying."