If you watched the news in the last 24 hours, you'd think women's clothing sales were the barometer for the economy. All three major networks reported a 6-percent decrease in women's apparel sales this holiday season, calling the figure "ominous," "worrisome" and "a big deal."
The only problem is that the corporation reporting the figures, Mastercard, didn't say it was that big of a deal. In fact Mastercard's SpendingPulse showed a "modest increase" in holiday sales overall, and "extraordinary growth" for eCommerce sales.
But for the MSM, good news is no news, so they zeroed in on one negative to suggest Christmas 2007 is a retail failure. And since Christmas is all about shopping, we might as well declare the whole season over before it started!
On the "CBS Evening News" Dec. 17, Anthony Mason reported "an ominous sign:
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."
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."
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."
ABC host Diane Sawyer used an exclusive interview with Oprah Winfrey and actor Denzel Washington to gossip about liberal politics, to ask whether the talk show host would support Hillary Clinton as a backup to Senator Barack Obama and also to prompt Washington on the subject of which Democrat he's supporting.
In the interview, which aired during Wednesday's edition of "Good Morning America," Sawyer demanded to know, "Have you heard from the Clintons? Have you talked to the Clintons?" "What would you say to Hillary," she asked.After Winfrey simply reiterated her support for Obama, Sawyer pressed on and asked if the talk show host had decided "if Senator Clinton is nominated whether you'll show up for her or not?"
In the battle of Democratic "superstar campaigners," the reporters of "Good Morning America" couldn't decide whether they prefer Hillary Clinton's exciting surrogates or Barack Obama's. On Monday's edition of the ABC program, correspondent David Wright parroted talking points about Oprah Winfrey supporting Obama and the inspiring nature of the talk show host. He glowingly asserted, "She's urging her fans to vote the dream, not just to settle for the inevitable." Wright didn't bother to explain what, exactly, that means.
The GMA reporter also gushed that "...When it comes to connecting a crowd over shared hardships and shared hopes, nobody beats Oprah." According to Wright, she's "kind of like everybody's big sister." Kate Snow, filing a piece on the Clinton campaign, explained that operatives at "Hillaryland" sent Bill and Chelsea Clinton to Iowa in order to manipulate media coverage away from Obama. Snow shamelessly confessed, "And it worked. We're not just talking about Oprah this morning, are we?"
The mainstream media have been fawning over the atheist inspired film "The Goldan Compass" and ignoring the fact that the author (upon which the movie is based), Phillip Pullman, has bragged about killing God in his novels. Well, according to CNN, the real focus should be on the fact that the film raises "awareness" about the plight of polar bears. No, really.
In 2007, ABC's investigative reporter Brian Ross has provided hard-hitting looks at Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani. He's focused only one such segment on a Democrat, Hillary Clinton. And, unsurprisingly, each of his investigations into a GOP candidate has been accompanied by snarky, sarcastic comments.
Does Mitt Romney believe atheists should enjoy freedom? "Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer apparently isn't too sure. On Friday's edition of the ABC program, the co-host discussed the 2008 presidential candidate's speech on his Mormon faith and wondered about Romney's comment that "freedom requires religion." "Is there going to be a question whether humanists or even atheists, agnostics deserve freedom," she asked "This Week" host, and former Clinton operative, George Stephanopoulos. (This is the same Diane Sawyer who has repeatedly objected to '08 contender Mike Huckabee using the phrase "Christian leader" in a campaign spot. She derided that as "heavy handed" and possibly crossing a line.)
In response to the loaded question, Stephanopoulos simply replied, "I think that's a fight that Romney is willing to pick." In a segment setting up the interview, reporter Dan reiterated the same themes and fretted, "What about non-believers?" He then negatively spun the speech: "Did Romney go too far in blurring the line between church and state?"
Diane Sawyer and other "Good Morning America" journalists offered a surprisingly substantive look into religion on Thursday's edition of the ABC program. The show featured a three part, 12 minute-plus series of segments on Mitt Romney, Mormonism and his faith's relationship with evangelical voters.
The discussion wasn't perfect, certainly. GMA co-host Diane Sawyer simply couldn't let go of her discomfort in regards to Mike Huckabee's use of the phrase "Christian leader" in a recent Iowa campaign ad. On November 27, she wondered if the spot might have "crossed a line" and called it "heavy-handed." On Thursday's program, while talking to the Southern Baptist Convention's Dr. Richard Land, Sawyer pointedly noted that "many people thought [the ad's point] was unmistakable, what he was doing. Do you think that was fair?"
On Wednesday's "Good Morning America," reporter Brian Ross's story on Mike Huckabee featured a misleading onscreen graphic that claimed the then-Arkansas governor pardoned a rapist who went on to murder two women in Missouri. In fact, Huckabee didn't pardon Wayne Dumond, the man in question. The ABC graphic read, "Huckabee's Pardon: Rapist Struck Again After Release." The inaccurate information appeared beneath the December 5 segment for two minutes and 50 seconds of a three minute plus segment. (Hat tip to NewsBusters reader TE.)
On "Fox and Friends," which got the story right, co-host Steve Doocy explained that the governor lobbied the Arkansas parole board to release Dumond. They did so. He then played a clip of Huckabee on FNC in November in which the governor pointed out, "I did originally support parole, but governors don't parole anybody." "The Early Show" on CBS also refrained from using the term "pardon." NBC's "Today" ignored the story completely.
ABC investigative reporter Brian Ross on Wednesday continued his habit of offering up critical takes on Republican front-runners and ignoring Democratic scandals. So far this year, the correspondent has featured four hard-hitting segments on GOP candidates and only one on a Democrat.
During a piece on "Good Morning America," Ross investigated a developing story of whether then-Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee used his influence to secure the release of a convicted rapist who went on murder two women. The story has received major play on the left-wing blog site Huffington Post, a point Ross mentioned, but he left out any attribution of the web page's very liberal leanings.
While interviewing the young Clinton staffers who suffered through a hostage situation in New Hampshire last week, "Good Morning America" co-anchor Chris Cuomo used an interview on Tuesday's program to gush over their zeal for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Almost unable to contain himself, the ABC journalist extolled, "They come out of this experience lucky to have their lives, more dedicated than ever to Senator Hillary Clinton."
Now, most Americans would freely admire the calm and collected manner in which Graham, Katherine and Morgan (GMA provided no last names) handled the obviously stressful situation of having to deal with a disturbed man claiming to have a bomb. However, some of Cuomo's comments seemed to go over the top. He approvingly explained to co-host Diane Sawyer, "They said they want to campaign harder then ever, because of this experience. If she wins, they should go right into the cabinet."
Did the New Hampshire man who took several Hillary Clinton staffers hostage on Friday do so because of a lack of health insurance? That's what "Good Morning America" reporter David Kerley seemed to imply during a segment on Monday's show. First, he pointed out that the individual, Leeland Eisenberg, was turned away from a mental health support due to a lack of "money or insurance."
Then, after playing a clip of a Clinton campaign ad in which a man lauds the New York senator for helping to save his son's life by absorbing medical costs, Kerley revealed that Eisenberg targeted Clinton "because he saw this Clinton ad in which a New Hampshire supporter says the candidate helped him get health insurance." Kerley closed the segment by observing that the hostage-taker stormed the office and demanded to see Senator Clinton. The GMA correspondent intoned, "That didn't happen, but he may finally get the help he was pleading for."
From CNN's perspective, what would be the perfect addition to its YouTube Republican debate? Why, someone who is on a steering committee for the Hillary Clinton campaign! Keith Kerr, a retired, gay general was in the audience for the November 28 debate and grilled the Republican candidates over the issue of homosexuals in the military. Somehow, CNN forgot to mention his connection to "LGBT Americans For Hillary Steering Committee." The next day, network anchors even tried to cover up their knowledge that the general was an "activist."
CNN's audience, however, probably shouldn't be surprised at the network's actions. Prior to the debate, anchor Anderson Cooper defended the usage of such plants by asserting, "Well, campaign operatives are people, too. We don’t investigate the background of people asking questions…that’s not our job..." The cable channel's tricky tactics marred an otherwise commendable debate. As noted on NewsBusters, a majority of the YouTube questions aired by CNN were from a conservative perspective.
On Friday's "Good Morning America," reporter Kate Snow continued her habit of happily spinning Hillary Clinton's campaign maneuvering as nothing less than brilliant politics by the presidential candidate. She parroted talking points from the '08 contender's campaign about how smart it would be to target South Carolina voters who frequent hair salons. Sitting in a sylist booth, a smiling Snow gushed, "It makes a lot of sense, actually. Because women, when you think about it, we talk about everything in the hair salon from family to politics."
The segment, which focused on the battle between Obama and Hillary over the black vote, then cut to a quote from Kelly Adams, the South Carolina director of Clinton's campaign, who, unsurprisingly, expressed the same sentiment: "We talk politics....But, you know, there's a lot of conversations had in hair salon, serious political conversations and decisions are made there." The story, first reported over a month ago in the Washington Post, continued a template developed by Snow: Laud any action by the Clinton camp as political gold. On October 1, she reported on the former First Lady's laugh, which many found odd and off-putting. However, according to the GMA correspondent, the cackle is representative of someone either having a great time or "she's the master of a shrewd political skill, disarming her critics with a gleam in her eye and a roar straight from the belly." (A gallery of Snow, always smiling as she commits bias, can be found below.)
Laura Ingraham brought up Diane Sawyer’s umbrage at Mike Huckabee yesterday for his ad stressing he was a "Christian leader" as somehow crossing a line of decency (see Scott Whitlock's blog here), and how Sawyer pressed Newt Gingrich with Peggy Noonan’s quote that we’re looking for a leader, not a Bible study teacher. After noting that Sawyer doesn't usually find anyone crossing a line on the Angry Left, Ingraham wondered: how often does Sawyer cite Noonan? Is it usually just to prod and poke Republicans?
A quick review of the Nexis database shows that ABC’s Good Morning America has interviewed Noonan quite a bit on her expert subjects, first on her old job of presidential speechwriting, and more recently, on her biography of Pope John Paul II. But in the Bush era, on the few occasions when Noonan’s writing is quoted by ABC anchors or reporters, it’s almost always to prod the GOP.
Wednesday's editions of the CBS "Early Show" and NBC's "Today" show both ignored Bill Clinton's incredible assertion on Tuesday that he opposed the Iraq war from its inception. Only "Good Morning America" correspondent Jake Tapper pointed out the obvious fact that Clinton was no vocal critic of the military action. Filing a report on the subject, Tapper incredulously wondered, "Bill Clinton opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning?"
After acknowledging that the ex-President did call for the U.N. weapons inspectors to have more time, Tapper clarified the record: "...[Bill Clinton] was hardly, at least publicly, an opponent of going to war against Saddam Hussein." The ABC journalist then read from a 2003 speech on the Clinton Foundation's website that featured the former Commander in Chief asserting, "I supported the President when he asked the Congress for authority to stand up against weapons of mass destruction in Iraq." So, despite the fact that ample information exists calling into question the validity of Clinton's recent statement, only GMA covered the story.
"Good Morning America" host Diane Sawyer apparently has a significant problem with 2008 GOP contender Mike Huckabee's new ad that identifies the candidate as a "Christian leader." On Tuesday's program, Sawyer fretted over whether "we crossed a line here" and asked guest Newt Gingrich if the campaign spot is "just too heavy-handed about specific denominations?" The GMA host also speculated that Huckabee might be playing the "religion card."
Sawyer simply couldn't let go of the "Christian leader" phrase, which appeared in an onscreen graphic of a new ad for the Arkansas Governor. After playing a clip of the spot, Sawyer sputtered, "He put up there on the screen, Christian, Christian leader. Not spiritual leader, Christian leader." She then asked the former House Speaker, officially appearing to promote a pro-religion documentary he worked on, if Huckabee's usage of the term would "backfire" on him. After pointing out the political benefit that the 2008 candidate might receive, Gingrich dryly noted, "You know, he's not running in New York State." Not to be deterred, Sawyer pressed for specifics. "But do you approve of that 'Christian leader' on his ad," she wondered.
"[O]ne of the last parts of our travel survival guide, our Thanksgiving survival guide, of course, is the rising cost of the Thanksgiving dinner," "GMA" host Diane Sawyer said on the November 20 "GMA.". "As we said, the average price of a Thanksgiving dinner is up 11 percent from last year. So are there some ways to stretch the dollars and have no one know."
Also included in the segment was a story meant to tug at your heartstrings - a grandmother being forced to cut corners to make enough for her family's Thanksgiving feast.
According to ABC anchor Diane Sawyer, a new Oklahoma law making it a felony for U.S. citizens to knowingly provide shelter or transportation to illegal immigrants goes "across the line," "too far," and turns people into "vigilantes." Interviewing Lou Dobbs, CNN host and noted opponent of illegal immigration, on Tuesday's edition of "Good Morning America," Sawyer appeared to be aghast at what she considered "turning people in" for offering assistance to illegals.
The GMA host even quizzed Dobbs about whether his problem is with Hispanics in general. After noting a new Census Bureau report that found last names such as Garcia and Rodriguez are increasing in number, she guardedly wondered, "To Lou Dobbs, is this a good thing or a bad thing?" After Dobbs responded in favor of legal immigration, Sawyer plowed ahead with her question about the new Oklahoma law. She incredulously queried, "People are vigilantes about transportation and shelter? Isn't that going too far?"
Sam Champion hyperventilated about the threat of extreme weather on Monday's "Good Morning America" and, once again, ignored the leftist connections of two cited experts. Scientists Michael Oppenheimer and Daniel Schrag, both of whom have vigorously slammed Republicans in the past, appeared in the segment to warn that global warming would only continue to cause unusual weather patterns as long as greenhouse gases keep increasing.
GMA identified Oppenheimer simply by his connection as a scientist for Princeton University. However, he has previously slammed Republican disagreement about climate change as "uniformed rambling." In the piece, Schrag scarily warned, "It's hard to overstate how big a change [climate change] could be in the weather we experience every day." This is same man who, in a Boston Globe column from December 2006, smeared GOP Senator James Inhofe, then the Chair of a Senate environmental committee, for using skeptical witnesses that Schrag derided as "a gathering of liars and charlatans, sponsored by those industries who want to protect their profits." To further make the point, the article is entitled, "On a Swift Boat to a Warmer World."
If you don't buy into a Goresque view of global warming, you're not just wrong -- you're immoral. That was ABC's implication this morning.
The notion came from Good Morning America co-anchor Bill Weir at the end of his interview of Jim Gooch. The Dem state representative from Kentucky recently had the audacity to hold hearings with witnesses who cast doubt on global warming theories.
On Tuesday, "Good Morning America" reporter Bianna Golodryga hyperventilated about high gas prices and highlighted a man who alleged that the cost of fuel is keeping him from going to church and that it could ruin Christmas. Golodryga piled on, suggesting that some Americans would be forced to eat "cheaper foods" such as pasta and peanut butter instead of fruits and vegetables.
Only a few days later, Golodryga, who covers business and economic issues for GMA, proved her journalistic independence by gushing over liberal billionaire Warren Buffet, or "Robin Hood," as she called him. While Golodryga lobbied for holding on to the death tax (or, as she called it, the estate tax), co-host Diane Sawyer rhapsodized over how Buffet is battling "on behalf of fairness in taxes." (The leftist billionaire has claimed recently that he pays less taxes, percentage-wise, than his receptionist.)
Liberal journalists George Stephanopoulos and Kate Snow spun ABC's coverage of Thursday's Democratic debate as a roaring comeback for Hillary Clinton and charitably described the 2008 contender's shifting position on the issue of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. Reporting on Friday's "Good Morning America," Snow slyly claimed that Clinton has "simplified her opinion" on the matter and now opposes licenses.
"Simplified" is one way to describe the senator's change of heart. A less friendly variation, one that might be handed to a Republican, is that she flip-flopped. On November 1, the Boston Globe reported, "Hillary Clinton came out yesterday in support of a plan by Governor Eliot Spitzer of New York to offer limited driver's licenses to illegal immigrants..." So, on November 1, she was for the program. She's now against it and that's simplifying a position? "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos, a former Bill Clinton operative, appeared on GMA to gush that the headline from the debate is "Hillary's back." He enthused, "And the subhead, I guess, would be 'no more Madam Nice Guy.'"
ABC's "Good Morning America" devolved into outright advocacy on Thursday as the morning program openly lobbied for more taxes, misled viewers about how much the wealthy pay and passed off an economic advisor to Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign as an impartial observer. Correspondent Bianna Golodryga filed a report on liberal billionaire Warren Buffett and his assertion that he pays a lower percentage in taxes than his receptionist. GMA co-host Diane Sawyer turned the story into a class warfare campaign as she promised that the show would be battling "on behalf of fairnessin taxes." The host lauded Buffett for taking "your side over taxes and fairness." Additionally, Golodryga fawned over the billionaire for advocating that Congress should retain the estate tax, another leftist position.
At no point in the misleading report did any GMA host or reporter mention a fundamental fact: The wealthy already pay a disproportionately high amount of taxes. According to information just released by the IRS, the top one percent of earners paid 39.4 percent of all federal income taxes. The top five percent pay almost 60 percent of federal taxes. Golodryga did, however, make time to compare Buffett to Robin Hood, complete with an onscreen graphic, and harass other billionaires over the salaries of their receptionists. Sawyer claimed that most of these wealthy individuals were "hiding" and that GMA would call them on "[Buffett's] behalf."
It's probably not surprising to learn that when ABC correspondent Claire Shipman convened a panel of women voters to discuss Bill Clinton defending his candidate wife, the ladies mostly gushed over the political couple. Shipman, who reported on the segment for Tuesday's "Good Morning America," found one voter who lauded, "As a strong woman, like, there's a part of her that appeals to me, even though I don't agree...even though I'm, I'm a Republican." Not one of the females selected by ABC harshly criticized the '08 contender.
Shipman also spun Bill Clinton's comments in the wake of the last presidential debate, in which he accused fellow Democrats of swift boating Hillary, in the most generous terms. The GMA reporter fretted that "[Bill Clinton's] support could muddle her so far successful image of independent strength." Shipman recited the usual talking points that Bill Clinton is "obviously" a "brilliant strategist for her campaign." (The media always ignore pesky facts that would contradict the notion of Bill Clinton's brilliance, such as the fact that he never received 50 percent of the popular vote or that he was impeached.)
On Sunday's "Good Morning America," ABC co-host Kate Snow reported on the growing controversy over the Clinton campaign's planting of friendly questions at political events. At the same time, she ignored her own network's role in creating a similar cozy setting for the 2008 Democrat. In March of this year, GMA hosted a town hall event where Doctor Steve Eckstat, who was on Hillary Clinton's 1993 health care task force, just happened to be in the audience for the ABC event.
Co-anchor Robin Roberts, who hosted the March 26 event, spun it this way: "Somebody that was there, and wants to ask you what is different now, between what happened then, and he is Dr. Steve Eckstat. He is, he works at the free clinic of Iowa. Doctor?" Eckstat's challenging question to the Democratic front-runner? He wanted to know if the former First Lady would be "willing to try again to provide universal health care coverage for all Americans and make that at priority for your administration?"
In one of the more hyperbolic segments to air on "Good Morning America," ABC reporter Bianna Golodryga fretted that November's unusually high gas prices could lead to poor health, less church and no Christmas. On Monday's program, Golodryga warned viewers that unnamed "reports" allege that "some people are foregoing routine visits to the doctor and are opting for cheaper foods, like pasta and peanut butter, as opposed to protein, fruits and vegetables, in order that they can save as much money as possible" at the pump.
The ABC reporter also managed to find an extreme example and introduced America to Juan Martinez of Phoenix, Arizona. According to Golodryga, the spike in prices has taken "a toll on the family's relationship with God." It seems as though the Martinez clan is cutting back on religious attendance due to the 40 mile journey trek to their church. (Are there no closer places to worship in the Phoenix area?) Additionally, GMA featured footage of Golodryga shopping with Martinez as she lamented, "...Even holiday gift shopping won't be the same." Apparently, there will be less Christmas presents this year.
It's getting hard to exaggerate the left-wing rantings of MSNBC host Keith Olbermann. This week, he railed against the "criminal conspiracy to cover the ass" of the "fascist" Bush administration. It probably won't be long before he's dropping the F-word on-air. Olbermann also attacked the "nightmare presidency" of the current commander in chief and mocked Bush's "cynical exploitation" of 9/11. It's really a shame this guy won't have Rosie O'Donnell to follow him on MSNBC, huh?
Speaking of liberal MSNBC hosts (sorry for being redundant), Chris Matthews on Tuesday took credit for a line that Hillary Clinton recently used about leadership. Last week Mathews offered her some free advice and seemed pleased that she took it. "Well done," he enthused.