ABC reporter David Wright, a well known fan of Barack Obama, filed a report on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" in which he urged viewers to sympathize with how difficult it must have been for the senator to finally break with his controversial pastor. The journalist mournfully announced, "For Obama, whose own father abandoned him as a child, this must have been another painful break."
Rather than wonder why Obama repeatedly stood by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, a man who absurdly claimed that the United States created the AIDS virus, (reporter) Wright lobbied for Americans to realize what a "big deal" the break was for the Obama campaign. He justified, "Imagine having to publicly denounce the minister who married you, who baptized your kids, who prayed with you the day you announced your candidacy for president."
Religion and the military shouldn't mix. That's the take away message that both CBS and ABC touted when their Sunday morning news programs publicized the plight of an atheist who is suing the Army for religious discrimination.
On April 27th CBS's Sunday Morning and ABC's Good Morning America Sunday each featured the story of Jeremy Hall, an Army specialist who claims he was denied promotion and persecuted because of his atheism. Both interviewed Hall and Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a co-plaintiff in Hall's lawsuit.
Weinstein was described as a loyal patriot (by CBS) and a defender of the religiously oppressed (ABC). Neither network bothered to mention that on the Military Religious Freedom Foundation's Web site American military members are compared directly to Islamic jihadists. A video runs on the homepage of the site which juxtaposes a suicide bomber holding a rifle and Koran with a group of American soldiers holding rifles and Bibles.
With Barack Obama drowning in Rev. Wright's waves, all Hillary really needs to do is keep her head down and show up on time to be endorsed today by NC Gov. Mike Easley. The last thing Clinton needs is to make a gaffe of her own.
Now let's grant that the one we're about to discuss ranks rather low on the Gaffe-o-meter. If Sniper-gate was a 6.2, this might be a 2.1. But this particular misstep does have the demerit of undercutting a major Clinton campaign theme. Hillary's strategy nowadays consists of appealing to middle- and lower-income voters. Call it the Beer-and-a-shot Shtick. She's a Gal of the People. Not snobby like those Obamas. You know, like Michelle, who complained to a group of women in a struggling area of Ohio about her difficulties in spending $10,000 a year for various lessons for her kids while paying off student loans for her sojourns at Princeton and Harvard.
But that's exactly the kind of mistake Hillary has made. Today's Good Morning America played a clip [date and place unidentified, but presumably from the IN or NC campaign trail] of Hillary saying this to a crowd:
HILLARY CLINTON: Some people say, "oh she is tough." Well, if you'd had my life, you'd be tough too.
Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz filed one of those hurray-I-got-access puff pieces on the networks today, in this case ABC morning news anchor Chris Cuomo, son of ultraliberal former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo (and brother of current New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo). Kurtz mentioned that Cuomo drew controversy for suggesting Britain’s Prince Harry was allowed to serve in the military in Afghanistan because he was "expendable" (a gaffe first highlighted by Scott Whitlock at NewsBusters), but at the article’s end, ABC tells Kurtz how much they like young Cuomo as an advocacy journalist:
Cuomo describes himself as an advocacy journalist, and his bosses like that. "He's had a real yearning to seek out the untold stories, particularly of the disadvantaged," Westin says. "He's almost a crusader. It's a form of old-fashioned, muckraking journalism."
What would be the proper response to the tragic story of a father killed by a great white shark? For "Good Morning America" guest host Barbara Walters, apparently, it was to quote from the trailer of the 1978 film "Jaws 2." Reporter Miguel Marquez recounted the story of Dave Martin, the San Diego man killed by a shark off of the California coast last Friday. He explained, "Dave Martin's family is defiant. They say the shark attack hasn't ended their love of the sea."
When the segment cut back to Walters, she observed, "But perhaps that family should remember that line 'Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.'" Maybe journalists should be told that they don't need to have a pithy quote to end every segment. Perhaps viewers should be glad that she didn't choose other famous "Jaws" quotes, such as "This was no boat accident!" or "You're going to need a bigger boat."
On a day when Senator Barack Obama's controversial pastor would be speaking to the National Press Club in Washington, "Good Morning America" guest host Barbara Walters chose to question DNC Chairman Howard exclusively on how soon the Democratic presidential contest can be ended. At one point during Monday's segment, she even hectored Dean about his responsibility to bring unity to the Democrats. [audio available here]
Walters lectured, "But that's also your job, Dr. Dean, to get one of them to say in order to fight John McCain, in order to really win this election, one of you has got to back down and be gracious. Is that a big part of your job?" To get an idea of the overriding subject that appeared to be occupying the ABC journalist's mind, here is a sampling of her worried questions to the Democratic National Committee chairman:
In an attempt to rehabilitate Jeremiah Wright and, by extension, Senator Barack Obama's connection to the man, Friday's "Good Morning America" featured two segments on the "soft-spoken," patriotic pastor, a man who urged God to damn America. Reporter David Wright, a well-known Obama partisan, described an appearance Pastor Wright made with liberal PBS journalist Bill Moyers. Wright cooed, "But the soft-spoken man who sits down with Bill Moyers couldn't seem more different from that fire-brand preacher we've all seen in those sound bites."
During his segment, the ABC reporter seemed to accept Reverend Wright's contention that he had been smeared by the media. Journalist Wright, no relation to the pastor, asserted, "In the interview, Pastor Wright expresses his horror that the media has made him a bogeyman." As though he were a PR representative, (reporter) Wrightmentioned the reverend's military service and spun, "There's plenty in Wright's background that speaks to his patriotism." He argued that some of the pastor's comments were taken out of context, citing the background of Wright's "chickens are coming home to roost" remark. However, the ABC journalist skipped over the incendiary preacher's contention that "the government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color." Was that "soft spoken" falsehood taken "out of context?"
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," correspondent Claire Shipman discussed race and Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary and managed to skip two key reasons as to why white voters may have chosen Senator Clinton over Barack Obama. Shipman never mentioned Jeremiah Wright, Obama's incendiary reverend and a man who made controversial comments about white people, among other groups.
She also glossed over and minimized Obama's comments about small town Americans being "bitter" and clinging to guns, God and xenophobic sentiment. Now, considering that many of these rural voters were white, this would seem to be an important component to a discussion of the issue. During the segment, however, racism was the only explanation Shipman explored. She intoned, "And some new data does suggest what nobody really wants to think, that race may be an issue." The correspondent later added, "Are some Democratic voters pulling the lever for Hillary Clinton because they don't want to vote for a black man?"
Tuesday's "Good Morning America" went into hyperbole meltdown over high gas prices. According to various anchors and reporters, Americans are foregoing church, prescription drugs and breakfast in order to cope. In a tease at the show's open, Co-host Diane Sawyer fretted, "As gas prices balloon, 12 cents in just one week, some Americans tell you how they skip breakfast and drugs just to drive." News anchor Chris Cuomo solemnly informed viewers of the "tough choice" many Americans face: "Food or fuel?"
Cuomo then introduced reporter Bianna Golodryga to explain "the sacrifices people are now making." Included in those sacrifices was one Juan Martinez who told Golodryga "Our church is approximately 35, 40 miles away. We've really cut down on the amount of times that we've come into service since the price has gone up." Now, as Golodryga admitted, this clip was actually from November of 2007, during a previous GMA segment about gas prices causing people to skip church and possibly cancel Christmas. So, ABC has resorted to recycling gas horror stories? Could that mean, perhaps, there's not enough of them to go around?
Mystery is in the eyes of the borrower–and the MSM. The term "variable rate" in a mortgage might seem straightforward enough to George Will and our erudite NB readers, but to a college-educated homeowner–and ABC's Kate Snow–it's apparently a real brain twister.
Snow hosted a segment on this morning's GMA dedicated to determining how the various presidential candidates' proposals would address the problems of sub-prime borrowers. As is the MSM's wont, ABC focused on a single sympathetic case, that of the Cruz-Rivera family in Philly.
Left wing environmentalist Sam Champion continued to push his eco-agenda on Friday's edition of "Good Morning America." The liberal weatherman enlisted the help of IdealBite.com, a web page devoted to "green living." One of the site's founders, Heather Stephenson, lectured a family interested in going green about the evils of buying new toys for their children. She explained, "'Cause the best thing that you can do for the environment, actually, is not buy more stuff."
The goal was to help the couple "get their green on." And while some of the suggestions were sensible, others sounded rather socialist. After encouraging a neighborhood "toy swap" as an alternative to new toys, the other founder of Ideal Bite, Jennifer Boulden, touted old jewelry. "And that's the best thing you do, in terms of eco, is not have to buy new. People don't think about the fact that when they're wearing new jewelry, it is from the Earth. It has to be mined," she hectored. Isn't this more than a little hypocritical on the part of GMA? After the segment ended, commercials appeared advertising a new Disney movie, Amtrak, the newest cars from Hyundai and Honda. Wouldn't it be best to watch an old Disney movie and not encourage the making of new ones? Shouldn't eco-Americans simply buy used cars and not patronize Honda and Hyundai?
At 7:16 this morning on Good Morning America, Dan Harris reported on the upcoming Papal Mass from Nationals Park in Washington. "This is a brand new ballpark opened just two and a half weeks ago and this morning it's been transformed into a giant outdoor church. Behind me, in the outfield, there is a 75-foot-high altar."
A 75-foot-high altar? Does that mean the Pope would have to say Mass on 75-foot-high stilts? Clearly, there was a 75-foot-high stage, but the altar was its usual human-friendly height. (Photo by MRC's Michelle Humphrey.) It's frightening that ABC is putting Dan Harris on the religion beat, and he doesn't know whan an "altar" is.
Webster's defines it: "In the Christian church, a construction of stone, wood, or other material for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist; the communion table." This is a massive blooper to anyone who attends a church with an altar.
Isn't there a minor league that ABC can demote Dan Harris to, so he can devote a few weeks to his game, learn a little research, do a little reporter rehab?
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," noted Barack Obama sympathizer David Wright spun the senator's connection with William Ayers, a former member of the terrorist Weather Underground, as nothing more than a "neighbor" relationship. The ABC reporter, covering the highlights of Wednesday's Democratic debate, asserted that Obama faced questions "about a neighbor of his who was once a member of the violent Weather Underground."
Of course, Obama's campaign has previously described the Ayers/Obama relationship as "friendly." Additionally, in 2001, Obama accepted a $200 donation from him and has also appeared jointly on academic panels with Ayers. During the debate, co-host George Stephanopoulos claimed, "An early organizing meeting for [Obama's] state senate campaign was held at his house." It would seem as though describing the relationship simply as neighborly is a minimization at best.
ABC correspondent Cokie Roberts appeared on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" to tout Pope Benedict's views on illegal immigration and rail against the illegals who are "discriminated" against. Roberts, who rode with President Bush as he drove to meet the Pope and kick off the pontiff's American tour, played up the Pope's supposed opposition to U.S. immigration policy. She asserted, "These, you know, the people who are being discriminated against-- And the Pope has said that he's fearful that there's a xenophobia going on in America."
Continuing to blithely frame the issue as one of bigotry against illegals, Roberts continued, "And the people who are being discriminated against, the President says he doesn't think it's because they're Catholic, but they are Catholic and they're being discriminated against." Earlier in the segment, GMA news anchor Chris Cuomo continued the theme and told viewers, "More frank talk is expected from Il Papa regarding immigration. He thinks the U.S. needs to be more immigration friendly." Of course, Cuomo and Roberts actually left out a key part of the Pope's message on immigration.
"Good Morning America" reporter John Berman turned a Tuesday segment that was supposed to be about Senator John McCain's age, and how much it concerns voters, and instead filled it with clip after clip of comedians mocking the Republican presidential candidate for being "crazy old." Berman featured no less than six snippets of comics such as Jay Leno, David Letterman, Jon Stewart and others mercilessly hammering the senator as too elderly to be president.
In an introduction to the piece, Berman asserted, "...His age is a non-stop punch line for the late night comedians" and then added, "It's safe to say his age may be an issue that McCain will never outgrow." You could argue that one way to make that claim come true is by highlighting comics who mock McCain for something he has no control over. If it some how became politically correct to joke about Barack Obama's race or Hillary Clinton's gender, would "Good Morning America" so gleefully feature the punch lines?
On Tuesday's "Good Morning America," news anchor Chris Cuomo used the upcoming visit of Pope Benedict XVI to label the pontiff as uncompromising and assert that the Catholic Church sees the visit as "an opportunity for the Pope to come here and reinforce hard-line doctrine." Earlier in the segment, Cuomo described Benedict as "a hard-liner charged with protecting Catholic orthodoxy."
Cuomo also went on to claim that the Pope's goal is to strike a balance "between placating conservative followers and giving hope to liberals who seek social reform." The ABC journalist went on to mention the pontiff's background and note, "Born in Germany, Benedict's seminary studies were interrupted by World War II when, reluctantly, he says, he became a member of the Hitler youth and the Nazi army..." Cuomo provided no elaboration on that statement, but, as a New York Times AP report stated in April of 2005, then-Joseph Ratzinger was indeed reluctant about Germany's war:
A: Since it can be used to take a shot at the woman who would deprive his guy of the Dem nomination.
ABC's David Wright is a devoted Obama fan, as NewsBusters has noted here, here and here. Discussing on today's GMA Hillary's foray into a working-class Indiana bar over the weekend, Wright not only faulted Hillary for her lack of decorum, but even managed to work some class warfare into the mix.
“[P]rices are rising across Africa, pushed up by the cost of oil and demand for biofuels,” ABC correspondent Jim Sciutto said.
“Those biofuels are in fact a large part of the equation,” ABC correspondent David Muir added. “Many farmers around the world, who once grew wheat and rice, now grow corn and sugar cane instead, to produce ethanol a more lucrative market.”
None of the April 11 editions of the network morning shows: ABC's "Good Morning America," CBS's "The Early Show," and NBC's "Today," noted the April 10 unanimous ruling of the California Supreme Court striking down a San Francisco handgun ban.
I mean, what other reasons could this possibly be newsworthy besides that:
According to ABC reporter Elizabeth Vargas, "Americans are the most wasteful people on the planet. We use more than any other people on the planet." The network correspondent's America bashing came as she appeared on Friday's "Good Morning America" to promote a new "20/20" special on how United States citizens haphazardly abuse such amenities as showers and diapers. [Audio available here]
While appearing in front of hundreds of prop-diapers, Vargas lectured, "Well, if everybody lived like [the United States], we would need four, at least four, planet Earths to meet our resource demand and our dumping ground demand." Now, while Vargas did claim that the diapers she used would be given to a hospital, throughout the segment many more diapers, bottles and cut-down trees appeared as props. The question needs to be asked, did "20/20" and the National Geographic network, who co-produced a companion program, waste products, while at the same time haranguing the United States for doing the same thing?
Our news analysts at the MRC have combed through the April 9 editions of ABC's "Good Morning America," CBS's "The Early Show," and NBC's "Today," and found zero mentions of the comments that Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) made smearing McCain and military pilots past and present.
Yesterday I noted how news agencies were slow to cover the story, and certainly were not blowing up the incident into a major gaffe for Sen. Barack Obama, whom Rockefeller supports for president, to publicly and personally denounce.
During an interview with Elizabeth Edwards, "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts spun the wife of the former Democratic presidential candidate as a non-partisan advocate for change on the issue of health care. She lauded her fellow cancer survivor as a "passionate voice in the debate" over the subject.
Roberts also nonchalantly explained that a new chapter in Edwards's life includes "working at the Center for American Progress [CAP]." Of course, the GMA host didn't bother explaining that CAP is a left-wing organization founded by Clinton operative John Podesta. Instead, Roberts described Edwards's advocacy for a major government take-over of the health care industry in personal and emotional terms. The ABC journalist extolled, "The idea that's become Edwards's passion: Health care reform, inspired by her own cancer and Americans she met during the campaign." Would Roberts ever characterize a pro-lifer's advocacy in terms that divorce the issue from its political context?
"Good Morning America's" Diane Sawyer featured 9/11 conspiracy theorist Rosie O'Donnell for over 15 minutes on Tuesday and failed to ask about any of her numerous controversial statements. Despite this, Sawyer did find the time to laud the former talk show host's "singular take on the world" and to make crafts with the hard core leftist who once asserted that "radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America."
Sawyer glossed over the controversial statements O'Donnell made during her tenure as a co-host of the ABC program "The View." At one point, the GMA co-anchor even admitted, "So, I don't want to go back and rehash all of 'The View' stuff again." Some of the "stuff" Sawyer might have been referring to, included telling the lone conservative voice on "The View," Elisabeth Hasselbeck, on November 9, 2006, "Don't fear the terrorists. They’re mothers and fathers." During her GMA appearance to promote a new book on crafts, O'Donnell stated that one factor in her quitting "The View" was control. For her earlier program, "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," "...There was no one with a conflicting point of view." In her role as an interviewer, Sawyer certainly offered no conflicting point of view and failed to ask tough questions.
Like characters in a Currier & Ives scene, a gentle snow has covered the Clintons. Make that a gentle Snow . . .
On yesterday's Hardball, Chris Matthews, smelling a rat, was livid when he learned that the Clintons had failed to file or release their 2007 tax return. But on today's Good Morning America, Kate Snow managed to make a silk purse out of the sow's ear of the Clinton's delay. Far from depicting it as a means to evade the promulgation of inconvenient facts, Snow painted the procrastination as proof of the Clintons' humanity. Compare and contrast . . .
HARDBALL APRIL 4TH
DAVID SHUSTER: As far as the details we do not have the details from last year. We don't have those specific consulting fees for last year.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I was predicting [that] . . . now Joan [Walsh of Salon.com], it seems to me everybody wanted to know where the Clintons got their income. Is there any sticky income? We're not getting that information. The one thing we were promised to get.
On Friday's "Good Morning America," for the second day in a row, and the third time in a little over a week, the ABC program promoted the story of a transgendered man who is having a baby via artificial insemination. At no time did GMA feature any guest to challenge or question the psychological ramifications for a child who was born from a pregnant "father."
During the April 4 segment on the subject, GMA guest news anchor David Muir described Thomas Beatie's decision as "very controversial." One would assume that a controversial decision would have two sides to it. But over the course of three segments, totaling ten minutes and 16 seconds, the closest the network program got was on April 3, when psychologist Jeffrey Gardere mildly advised, "It really is incumbent upon this individual, his wife, to try to give this as much dignity as possible, to not make it a joke, to not make it that something that's cheap[sic]."
"Good Morning America" reporter Nick Watt smeared Dutch filmmaker Geert Wilders as a racist on Saturday's edition of the ABC program. Watt, who interviewed the director over his new movie about radical Islam's incompatibility with Dutch culture, sneered, "You believe the Western Judeo Christian culture is superior. You believe immigration should be stopped. I mean, you're a racist, no?"
Wilders is under fire from Islamic protests in much of the Middle East and has been criticized by the Netherlands prime minister. GMA co-host Kate Snow seemed skeptical as well. Speaking of Wilders's movie, she derided, "So, is this hate speech or free speech?" Snow failed to explain how, exactly "hate speech" is not also free speech. At one point, after Wilders touted the superiority of western culture, Watt incredulously replied, "What do you mean, better?" Leaving no doubt as to what his opinion is, Watt closed the segment by asserting, "Wilders calls this freedom of speech. Others call it fanning the flames."
Men don't have babies. Period. Yet in covering the ‘pregnant man' story this morning both the "Early Show" and "Good Morning America" neither outlet dealt with this fact. Rather, both were completely focused on the fact that Thomas Beatie was speaking publicly for the first time and would be shown on today's "Oprah" show. Both outlets also reported that Beatie's story would appear in this week's issue of People, due on news stands tomorrow.
So really, the media were reporting on the media reporting on the pregnant man. Which really amounts to a public relations boon for Oprah, People and of course the Beaties.
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," investigative reporter Brian Ross provided a refreshingly thorough look into the failure of Bill and Hillary Clinton to release their tax records and to the fact that, despite Hillary Clinton's railing against how the wealthy misuse the tax code, the power couple have investments in off shore locations such as the Cayman Islands.
Unsurprisingly, "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos, a former top Clinton operative, appeared after the segment to perform his old duty of defending his ex-employers. As though he was back on the podium talking to the White House press corps, Stephanopoulos first acknowledged that this could be a "distraction" for Hillary Clinton's campaign. He then went into defense mode and regurgitated that the Democratic presidential candidatedoesn't think this is "going to be a bombshell." Without providing any specifics, he spun, "...The bottom line will show that the Clintons did pay their fair share of taxes. They didn't try to evade taxation in any way and that they also gave a fair amount to charity." Of course, no one, certainly not Ross in his report, had mentioned charitable giving. Apparently, Stephanopoulos just felt the need to mention something positive.
Of the three morning shows, only ABC's “Good Morning America” highlighted the implications of a new report on pork barrel spending by the group Citizens Against Government Waste [CAGW]. GMA was the sole network morning program to mention that Democrats broke their campaign promise to cut such pork projects in half. On Wednesday, NBC's “Today” show skipped the subject completely and although CBS's “Early Show” covered the report, correspondent Sharyl Attkisson ignored the $296 and $97 million, respectively, in pork spending that Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are responsible for.
GMA reporter Jake Tapper, while discussing the just released Pig Book, a CAGW compendium of wasteful government spending, announced, “Congress stuffed into the fiscal year 2008 spending bills 11,610 pork barrel projects, the second highest total ever.” Tapper alone highlighted this salient point about the differences between Clinton, Obama and Republican Senator John McCain: “Senator Hillary Clinton is the biggest porker of the three. 281 earmarks worth $296 million. Senator Obama is next. 53 earmarks worth $97 million. Senator John McCain has never requested an earmark.”