ABC’s John Stossel is well known for his libertarian views and for challenging liberal conventional wisdom. On Wednesday’s Good Morning America, Stossel was at it again as he debunked the widely held perception that liberals are more generous in their charitable contributions than conservatives. As part of a 20/20 special airing Wednesday night, Stossel interviewed Syracuse University professor Arthur Brooks, who conducted a study which found that conservatives, while making slightly less money than liberals, actually contribute more:
John Stossel: "But it turns out that this idea that liberals give more is a myth. These are the twenty-five states where people give an above average percent of their income, twenty-four were red states in the last presidential election."
Arthur Brooks, Who Really Cares, author: "When you look at the data, it turns out the conservatives give about thirty percent more per conservative-headed family than per liberal-headed family. And incidentally, conservative-headed families make slightly less money."
I actually have a soft spot for Good Morning America's Robin Roberts, finding her among the most even-keeled of the morning news show hosts. But again this morning she evinced a tendency to get star-struck in the presence of a big name, and wound up lavishing praise on Jimmy Carter and his book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, which depicts Israel as a second-rate South Africa from the bad old days.
Roberts actually began with what amounted to a DNC disclaimer:
"Now to your book, which many people find surprising, that you come down a little hard on Israel and that there have been key Democrats who have distanced themselves a little bit from your view on Israel. In fact, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi [jumping the gun there just a tad, Robin] said it is wrong to suggest that the Jewish people would support a government in Israel or anywhere else that institutionizes ethnically-based oppression and Democrats reject that allegation vigorously. What is your response to that?"
The network morning shows noticed Indonesian Muslims protesting President Bush, but sadly, once again, they tended to sanitize out the extremists. In this case, protest leaders called for the execution of Bush, but the networks mostly offered Americans quotes from protesters saying they loved America, just hated the president. They left out what Agence France-Presse reported: a protest leader declared through a loudspeaker: "Kill him, kill him...the blood of George Bush is halal," meaning it was not a sin under Islam to kill him. "Not only is it halal, it is obligatory to kill him."
The networks seem to want the American audience to bite on the Democratic line that conservative policies make us unpopular around the world, when people would be much more agreeable under the sorry-we-didn’t-mean-to-be-a-superpower poses of a Gore, Kerry, or Hillary Clinton. Showing protesters who want to execute our president tend to ruin the line of the day. On NBC’s Today on Monday, Matt Lauer led off the show with a plug for their "Hello, Go Home" segment on Bush's visit. MRC’s Justin McCarthy found reporter Kelly O’Donnell’s selected protesters who stressed their love for America, and their hatred for Bush:
The Friday broadcast network evening newscasts, seemingly with no self-awareness of the role of the traveling press corps, all focused on how in Vietnam President Bush was pressed about comparisons of the Iraq war to the Vietnam war -- a topic he commented on only when asked by a U.S. reporter. CBS was the most adamant in raising parallels, Bush's avoidance of service in Vietnam and how he is now “creating another” Vietnam. Katie Couric declared that Bush “couldn't get away from the inevitable comparisons between Iraq and the war America lost in Vietnam.” Over vintage video of the Vietnam war, Jim Axelrod asserted that the Iraq war “is starting to look more and more like this war. The parallels are plain.” Axelrod contended that “Mr. Bush's trip here was bound to fuel his critics who've never bought his explanation about how he managed to avoid military service in Vietnam. But Iraq raises the stakes and changes the focus from what he did during the Vietnam War to whether he's creating another one. On a just-released audiotape, President Johnson in 1966 shared his goals for Vietnam." Following audio of LBJ promising the U.S. would leave Vietnam “just as soon as you can have anybody that will guarantee stability," Axelrod intoned: "Mr. Bush's remarks today had an eerie echo as he spoke about Iraq."
On ABC's World News, fill-in anchor Elizabeth Vargas insisted "the war in Iraq shadowed President Bush today during his visit to Vietnam” as the Vietnam war “has drawn comparisons to America's experience in Iraq.” From Vietnam, Martha Raddatz echoed Couric: “For President Bush, the comparisons to his own war in Iraq were inevitable.” NBC anchor Brian Williams announced that “the topic of the current war followed” Bush “all the way” to Vietnam. David Gregory, in Vietnam, also used the “inevitable” characterization of the comparison made by journalists: “The White House tried to avoid reflecting on the war in Vietnam because of the inevitable comparisons to the Iraq war.” Gregory asserted that “the obvious parallel between Vietnam and Iraq is the American public's desire to find a way out,” and though the Vietnamese are still oppressed in a communist state, Gregory suggested the U.S. won: “But if there is a hopeful sign in the Vietnam of today, prosperous and western-looking, it is this -- that it is possible to lose the war but win the peace." (Transcripts, and a little bit on the morning shows, follows)
This past week saw The Washington Post ask a classically liberal question: Is America more racist or sexist?
Following the lead of this major paper, ABC’s Diane Sawyer asked the same question, adding a surreptitious angle. She wondered, "Is the nation, secretly, I guess, more racist or more sexist?"
The "Good Morning America" host wasn’t through, however. On Tuesday, she offered the query again. This time, Sawyer added a new spin, "secret genderism." The recipient of the question, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, readily agreed. America is guilty, she asserted, it just isn’t "very secret."
Speaking of The Washington Post, ever wonder how many times the paper mentioned "macaca?" According to MRC President Brent Bozell, the paper featured the phrase no less then 112 times!
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann absurdly linked domestic terrorism to "right-wing blogs."
While Olbermann slimed conservatives, CNN labeled the current low gas prices "a recovery." Why, just a few weeks ago, the falling costs represented a link between "Big Oil" and the GOP. What a difference an election makes!
The global warming debate got even funnier on Thursday. When we last spoke, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration had released data indicating that 2006 likely wouldn’t be the warmest year on record, and no media outlets had yet covered the story. Well, much to my surprise, ABCNews.com did report this announcement, but did so by doing their darnedest to inform readers that this recent two-month cold snap is irrelevant in the grand scheme of the global warming discussion. Stick with this, because it’s really hysterical.
In an article titled (I’m not kidding!) “Weather Is Not Climate; Cooler Weather and Fewer Hurricanes Do Not Lessen Global Warming Trends, Say Scientists,” authors Clayton Sandell and Bill Blakemore began (emphasis mine throughout):
For the second day in a row, ABC’s Diane Sawyer questioned a guest as to whether the American voters are either secretly "more racist" or "more sexist" when they cast their ballots. During an interview with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd on Tuesday’s Good Morning America, Sawyer inquired:
Sawyer: "...Ninety percent of Americans say race and gender make absolutely no difference in their vote in the polls. I asked Senator Obama yesterday if he believes it, and he thinks it's case by case. Let me ask you, do you think that there is secret sexism, secret, secret genderism in this country?"
Of course, the liberal columnist agreed with Sawyer’s premise that American society is sexist, but asserted that it is not, in fact, a secret:
Maureen Dowd: "Oh, I don't think it's, I don't think it's very secret. I'm not sure we've gotten so much farther along than with Ferraro, where she didn't get any guys in the south...I do think there is obviously racism and sexism, but I think that these are both two extraordinary candidates [Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama] who, you know, might be able to triumph over some of that, but we'll see."
Sawyer: "More sexism than racism, racism than sexism?"
For the third time in as many weeks, ABC continued to showcase Democratic Senator Barack Obama. Anchor Diane Sawyer interviewed the first-term senator from Illinois on Monday's Good Morning America, and asked him about a range of topics, from the war in Iraq and a potential Obama run for the White House in 2008, to the groundbreaking of the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial on the National Mall. The most eyebrow-raising moment of the interview, however, occurred when Sawyer asked Obama about Sunday’s Washington Post article which questioned whether racism and sexism plays a role in the decision-making of American voters:
Diane Sawyer: "We have seen new polls this morning about you and Senator Hillary Clinton. Here's my question. Do you think that residual resistance is greater for race or for gender? Is the nation secretly, I guess, more racist or more sexist?"
It's one thing for the liberal media to hail more liberal Hillary clones coming to Capitol Hill. But it's another thing to insist that women are a superior breed of politician, a much more caring, empathetic, and ethical breed. Driving home on Tuesday night, I heard this "women are seen as more ethical" line at least twice on the live coverage on National Public Radio. (No cattle-futures memories in the middle of Pom-Pom Night.) They even had a syrupy interview with Robin Gerber, author of "Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way," to cheer blatantly on the taxpayer-funded radio for incoming feminists like Senator McCaskill. On ABC Tuesday morning, Cokie Roberts opened up the latest can of Uterus-Empowered Superiority:
"But Nancy Pelosi will bring a style that is different to the speakership. Let me just tell you one little tidbit. Her daughter, Alexandra, is due to have a baby any minute and everybody knew that if that baby came, that Nancy Pelosi, regardless of the fact that she was about to take over the House and have the great night of her life, was ready to leave and just go to her daughter. I think you wouldn't necessarily see that with a male speaker."
In the second half-hour of Wednesday's Good Morning America, ABC financial expert Mellody Hobson insisted Democratic majorities in Congress are "probably going to be very good for the economy," since it will lead to "gridlock," which means "it's not easy to spend money."
Co-host Robin Roberts introduced Hobson: "She is president, also, of Ariel Capital Management. Let's start money first, Mellody. The first time in twelve years that the Democrats have control of the House, not sure what's going to happen in the Senate right now. What does that mean for the economy?"
On Monday night’s edition of Nightline, just hours before the polls opened for Tuesday’s midterm election, ABC’s Terry Moran prematurely promoted a potential 2008 Democratic presidential contender. Moran went along with Illinois Senator Barack Obama as he campaigned for Democrats across the country. Moran’s piece was full of praise for the "American political phenomenon," whom, according to Moran, millions see as "the savior of the Democratic Party."
Terry Moran: "You can see it in the crowds. The thrill, the hope. How they surge toward him. You're looking at an American political phenomenon. In state after state, in the furious final days of this crucial campaign, Illinois Senator Barack Obama has been the Democrat's not-so-secret get-out-the-vote weapon. He inspires the party faithful and many others, like no one else on the scene today...And the question you can sense on everyone's mind, as they listen so intently to him, is he the one? Is Barack Obama the man, the black man, who could lead the Democrats back to the White House and maybe even unite the country?"
With less then a week before Election Day, members of the mainstream media are doing everything they can to elect Democrats. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann has stepped up his fevered attacks, referring to President Bush as both "stupid" and a liar. Later on in the week, he included Media Research Center President Brent Bozell in the November 2 "Worst Person in the World" segment.
Speaking of cable networks, an analysis of the CNN "Broken Government" special shows that Lynne Cheney was right in denouncing it as nothing more then left-wing Daily Kos-style propaganda.
Over on CBS, "The Evening News" featured a laudatory segment on "trend setting" California. Not so coincidentally, all the trends were liberal. On the subject of morning bias, "Today’s" David Gregory turned over a segment to Michael J. Fox and his promotion of Democratic candidates.
Completing the network trilogy, ABC’s "Good Morning America" talked to a group of "real-life actual voters"in a Ohio diner. Oddly enough, none of these hungry citizens seemed to like Republicans very much. Perhaps this was a Democratic diner.
ABC's "Good Morning America" picked up a new complaint by union organizers against Wal-Mart. The company actually wants its employees to show up on time for work.
GMA stacked the deck against the company with 3 of 4 man-on-the-street interviewees scoffing at the company's policy. Employees are allowed three late arrivals before being assigned a "demerit" and risk being fired for racking up demerits in a short period of time.
Why was ABC’s George Stephanopoulos smiling during his segment on Tuesday's Good Morning America? About ten minutes into the 7am half hour, following a report on Karl Rove’s optimistic outlook for the Republicans in the upcoming midterm election, and an interview with Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Rahm Emanuel, Stephanopoulos grinned during this exchange with Diane Sawyer:
Diane Sawyer: "We just heard Rahm Emanuel say that the American public is going to turn over the tabletop for the Democrats. We also heard that Karl Rove is smiling. I think it's time to bring in ABC's chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos for a reality check this morning. Which way is it trending--"
George Stephanopoulos: "I'm smiling too, Diane."
It seems safe to assume Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton White House aide, was not smiling in agreement with Rove’s positive assessment of the GOP’s chances for maintaining their majorities in Congress. Perhaps Stephanopoulos' cheery disposition came from the good news he had to report for his Democratic friends and former colleagues:
Rahm Emanuel missed his calling in life. Rather than heading the Dem congressional campaign committee, he should have become a professional in the sport of freediving - holding your breath and diving without any breathing apparatus. Judging by his performance on today's Good Morning America, there's no doubt Rahm would have been a world champion.
In the closely-controlled world of the first half-hour [really 22 minutes] of the morning news shows, hosts keep a tight rein on their guests. Even notorious gabbers like Joe Biden are lucky to get in 15 seconds in before being cut short. Katie Couric, for all her liberal leanings, was a master of the technique.
Monday’s 'Good Morning America' highlighted anti-GOP sentiments from the American heartland during a report in the 7am half hour. Reporting from a diner in Columbus, Ohio, ABC’s Jake Tapper had assembled a group of five "real-life actual voters" to discuss the upcoming midterm elections. Amongst the group of voters in Tapper’s panel: a Republican voter voting Democratic this year; a Democratic Navy veteran who had been against the war; a conservative Christian eager to express "I'm not pro-war"; a new U.S. citizen who believes that illegal immigrants are being treated unfairly; and a cynic who believes that the whole political system is corrupt. Not one of the voters expressed support for the President or Republicans. Furthermore, none of the panel members, except for the cynic, expressed any reservations about a potential Democratic takeover of Congress.
Some highlights from the panel discussion:
Tapper: "You're a Republican voter, but the war in Iraq, among other issues, has you thinking that you might vote Democratic this year. Why?"
Larry [no last name given; Republican voter]: "...I think we're in the wrong place, and I just think it's time for a change, someone who can help us and get out of the quagmire we have."
Tapper: "Now, Kenny, you disapproved of the war from the beginning and you're, you're a Navy veteran...But, you have an issue with the fact that you think that those who have questioned the war, their patriotism has been challenged, right...You're an independent voter. But what struck me was that you said that you don't think, even though you think that there's a lot of corruption amongst the Republicans controlling Congress, you don't think that it's necessarily going to be any different if the Democrats take control. Why is that?"
"I'll see your disgruntled Republican and raise you an anti-war veteran, a pro-illegal-immigrant naturalized American and a Christian conservative who knows others planning to stay home."
That's how you might describe the bidding in the ABC/NBC game of Texas Talk 'Em Down. You might recall that last week I reported here on how NBC's David Gregory unearthed an Ohio bookstore owner, described as a "life-long Republican," who was thinking of voting Democrat.
That all you got, Today? Bookstore-owner high? Good Morning America beat that handily this morning with a full house!
Jake Tapper conducted the folks-in-the-Middle-American-diner segment, an obligatory bit of MSM pre-election shtick. ABC's chief DC political correspondent found himself out at Tommy's Diner in Columbus, Ohio, the same town in which Gregory disinterred his disillusioned Republican. Place must be a hotbed of disgruntled GOPers!
A welcome ray of reason amidst all the MSM gloom. Good Morning America ran a segment about the proposal by NYC busybodies to ban trans-fats. The city's Health Department is holding hearings today on a proposed citywide trans-fat ban at restaurants.
At the end of the piece, which reported on various restaurant chains that have switched to other fats or are considering the move, the story was tossed back to the hosts. That's when Robin Roberts struck a blow for reason and individual freedom:
"Many people feel 'give us the information but allow us to make the decision.'"
When I first tuned to ABC this morning, I thought there might have been some schedule snafu owing to the switch to Standard Time. But no; I eventually realized I was indeed watching Good Morning America and not a late-night DNC infomercial.
You could forgive me for being confused, because the first half-hour amounted to little more than a love-letter to the party of Pelosi.
First up, GMA staged an "Election Pre-Game" panel, complete with that catchy NFL theme music. Nifty game plan, perhaps, but then ABC fielded an unbalanced team. Liberal lion Sam Donaldson, Cokie Roberts - voice of the center-left DC media establishment - and political reporter Jake Tapper. No George Will or other conservative to dilute Donaldson. To strain the pigskin metaphor, GMA host Kate Snow, whose anti-tax cut antics I noted here back in May, served as coach/referee.
Friday's morning shows offered more of the same election coverage. On ABC, Kate Snow highlighted how everyone Republican is running from Bush (with Rick Santorum touting his work with Hillary, God forbid) and gave Michael J. Fox another huge soundbite. On NBC, David Gregory explored how Democrats would rule. The first rule: hike the minimum wage.
ABC's Megan McCormack took down the Snow report, which is true enough, but has to play to a regular news viewer like the same old news in heavy rotation:
Chris Cuomo: "It's less than two weeks now until the congressional elections and we're seeing a new trend among GOP candidates: putting some distance between themselves and the White House. Here's ABC's Kate Snow."
With less then two weeks to go before the midterm elections, two separate programs, on two different networks, speculated that the Republicans are colluding with big oil to lower gas prices. The "Today" show wondered if this indicated "a vast right-wing conspiracy."
Fox’s Geraldo Rivera speculated that America was seeing a case of "gas pump pimping."
Meanwhile, ABC’s "Nightline" weighed in on political commercials and lamented GOP "mudslinging." They also characterized Rush Limbaugh’s comments about Michael J. Fox as a "vicious attack." (They apparently didn’t find any mudslinging or vicious attacks done by the Democrats)
CNN had their own take on Limbaugh’s comments. They wondered: "Could it be a new low?"
Speaking of the cable network, CNN also previewed a new Bush special by noting that "many say" the President has "stretched" and "trampled" the Constitution.
In an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer on Wednesday’s 'Good Morning America,' Sean Hannity defended fellow talk radio host Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh has taken a lot of heat in the press for his criticism of Michael J. Fox’s campaign ads in favor of embryonic stem cell research and Democratic Senate candidates. Hannity fought the notion that Fox, who has injected himself through these ads into the political arena, is "immune" from critics, a view Sawyer seemed to express:
Sawyer: "Rush Limbaugh. What, what is going on here? Attacking Michael J. Fox?...Rush Limbaugh, even in his apology, said that Mike Fox was allowing his illness to be exploited, shilling for a Democratic candidate. If you have Parkinson’s disease, and you believe embryonic stem cell research is the, is the answer, a possible answer, a possible cure, don't you have a right to speak up?"
On the heels of last week’s glowing reports on NBC’s ‘Today’ and CNN’s ‘American Morning,’ ABC couldn’t resist jumping on the Obama-for-president bandwagon. During the 7am half hour of Monday’s ‘Good Morning America,’ correspondent Claire Shipman reported on comments from Democratic Senator Barack Obama in which he expressed interest in pursing his party’s nomination for president in 2008. In her introduction to Shipman’s piece, GMA co-anchor Robin Roberts referred to the "red hot buzz" (generated by the mainstream media) surrounding Obama as proof that the senator is "already a major political player." Shipman promoted Obama as the new "it" candidate among Democrats. She also highlighted flattering statements from talk show host Oprah Winfrey, who described Obama as her "favorite senator," and political analyst Larry Sabato, who predicted that Obama has the "charisma to skyrocket" to become the preferred Democratic candidate for president:
Claire Shipman: "Barack Obama has become, in a matter of weeks, the new 'it' candidate for the Democrats...A recent ‘Time’ magazine poll shows [Hillary] Clinton well ahead of Obama in a potential presidential race, 43 percent to 30. But the comparatively unknown Obama has shown this week, if he decides to run, he can generate a lot of buzz in a hurry."
Larry Sabato: "Obama has the charisma to skyrocket right to the head of the pack."
The full transcript of Shipman’s report is behind the cut:
Tapper now patrols the political beat for ABC. But his lopsided report on congressional scandals on this morning's GMA reveals that he has lost none of his partisan edge. While Washington University prof Steven Smith was shown stating that 20 members of Congress are currently caught up in sex or money scandals, Tapper focused on seven: six Republicans and only one Democrat.
In Tapper's Republican Hall of Shame were:
George Allen, for 'macaca' and other allegations of racial insensitivity.
Don Sherwood, whose apolgetic TV ad Tapper described as standing for the proposition: "yes I had a mistress but I did not try to strangle her."
On his show yesterday, MSNBC's Tucker Carlson congratulated Diane Sawyer of ABC for leaving the comforts of home to report from North Korea. Judging by her report this morning, you'd have to say the rigors have been worth it. Sawyer has been on a week-long stay in Dear-Leader Land, and this morning she scored an important story. A top N. Korean general flatly told her that his country has the means to deliver a nuclear weapon.
Sawyer: "We asked him what the words of North Korea meant when they said there would be a 'merciless blow' in response to any sanctions? He said he couldn't say specifically but pointed out they have short- and long-range missiles. He said 'President Bush wants us to kneel down. We cannot agree on that. If it continues, I think it will be natural to have war.'"
If you're looking for some fair-and-balanced commentary on the situation in Iraq, there's nothing like relying exclusively on a scholar with two degrees from Berkeley - particularly if that same person is a frequent NPR guest.
That was Good Morning America's approach this morning. The only expert invited to comment on the situation in Iraq was Shibley Telhami of the Brookings Institution. Predictably, he painted matters in the bleakest possible light:
"I believe that the United States has lost the ability to control events in Iraq. And it lost them long ago."
A quick Googling reveals that Telhami has both a doctorate and masters from Berkeley. He was an undergrad at Queens College in NYC, another liberal hotbed. According to his Wikipedia entry, Telhami was born into an Arab family in Israel and is a regular guest on NPR.
Never play poker against Claire Shipman. Anyone who can keep a straight face while claiming that 'Women's Voices. Women Vote' is "non-partisan" could surely bluff you out of a pot while sitting on a busted flush.
On this morning's Good Morning America, Shipman [or shall we call her 'DC Slim'?] narrated a segment spotlighting WVWV's efforts to get single women voters to the polls. Since it is obvious that single women lean heavily Dem, voting for Democrats by a more than 2/3 margin as Dem pollster Celinda Lake acknowledged, my BS-detector started screeching when I saw a straight-faced Shipman slip in her claim that WVWB is "non-partisan."
There was more bad news for the White House on ABC Monday morning. Three weeks before the mid-term congressional elections, 'Good Morning America' chose to highlight the claims of a former White House staffer that Bush administration officials had "mocked" evangelical Christian leaders. Former deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, David Kuo, wrote a book, released today, in which he asserts that administration officials have referred to evangelical leaders as "nuts" and that his office was used to curry favor with "Republican base voters," evangelical Christians, rather than to help the poor.
Co-anchor Robin Roberts and substitute host Chris Cuomo teased the 7:40AM segment, which included a report from Jake Tapper and an interview with Kuo:
Chris Cuomo: "Also this half hour, we have new questions about the White House and the religious right. The faithful helped put Bush in the White House, but did the administration mock evangelicals behind their backs?"
Robin Roberts: "Coming up next, a White House insider blows the whistle, accusing the Bush administration of taking advantage of Christian conservatives."
This past week, the media made a very clear distinction between how they view a Republican scandal and one involving a powerful Democrat. MRC analysts found that, over a period of 12 days, the big three networks aired 150 stories on the Mark Foley scandal.
How did those same networks cover an investigation into Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and a very questionable land deal? They generally ignored the story. In the case of CNN, the October 12 "American Morning" aired almost 20 minutes of Foley coverage and devoted 35 seconds to Reid
Not to be outdone, print media also glossed over the emerging Reid scandal. "The New York Times" prefaced a story about Reid earning $1.1 million on a property that he hasn’t owned in three years with this headline: "Senator Offers to Amend Financial Forms." The "Times" is certainly generous in offering the benefit of the doubt...as long as you’re a Democrat.
The Disney movie ‘102 Dalmatians’ should be R-rated instead of G, two anti-smoking activists insist. Not because they antagonist was a demented woman bent on turning cute puppies into a fur coat. Nope. Cruella De Vil’s real crime was smoking.
“Movies that depict smoking are the single greatest media threat to children say two prominent doctors,” ABC’s Heather Nauert warned her “Good Morning America” audience.
Nauert’s October 10 story focused on two activists who call for the Motion Picture Association of America to automatically assign an R-rating to movies with any smoking in it. Yet in her story, Nauert left out how biased her sources were as well as failed to balance her story with any criticism of the doctors’ claims.