Adultery did not fare well during a September 24 "Nightline" broadcast about the issue, but that didn't keep ABC's Cynthia McFadden from asking an evangelical pastor if he felt "a little intolerant" for his conservative views on the subject.
McFadden moderated a debate that tried to answer the question, "Are we born to cheat?" but appeared to mock Pastor Ed Young's responses whenever she could.
The proponents of adultery who appeared on the panel included Jenny Block, an author and participant in an open marriage, and Noel Biderman, the president and CEO of Ashley Madison, a Web site designed to help people begin extra-marital affairs. To be fair, Block and Biderman did face some tough questioning about their views, but they did not receive the same derision McFadden levied at Young.
The Associated Press on Thursday released a fact check of Micahel Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story, the director’s socialistic new movie. And while writer Rachel Beck asserted "some of [Moore's] arguments...fall apart on closer inspection," ABC managed no such scrutiny when it offered 13 minutes to the filmmaker on Tuesday and Wednesday.
For instance, while talking to Nightline host Terry Moran on Tuesday, Moore attacked, "I believe this [Wall Street] is a crime scene. I believe that millions of Americans have had their pensions robbed from them, their jobs stolen from them." The ABC co anchor offered no real response and excitedly enthused that Moore is an "American populist in the grand tradition, a provocateur, a comic, a rhetorical bomb thrower." However, the AP’s Beck critiqued this hyperbolic assertion about robbery:
In less than 24 hours, ABC devoted 13 minutes to rhapsodizing over liberal Michael Moore’s new, "deeply Christian" film, Capitalism: A Love Story. Featuring the director first on Tuesday’s Nightline, co-anchor Terry Moran took his socialistic agenda seriously and opened the show by teasing, "Is capitalism evil?" (In 2007, the network contributed 21 minutes to Sicko, totaling 34 minutes of promotion for the two films.)
On Wednesday’s Good Morning America, co-host Chris Cuomo cooed, "Many critics are calling the documentary Moore's best ever." He also raved, "You demonstrate the [capitalism] question very well in the new movie. And you do it lots of different ways. People will get where you’re coming from."
On Nightline, Moran offered a few tough questions to the filmmaker, but made no effort to hide his admiration. He extolled, "He's an American populist in the grand tradition, a provocateur, a comic, a rhetorical bomb thrower." The ABC host marveled that Moore hates capitalism "with a savagely funny...and surprisingly religious passion."
ABC’s Terry Moran on Wednesday hyperbolically spun Barack Obama’s congressional speech as a "bold call to action" and theatrically visualized, "There was another ghost in the chamber tonight, the spirit of Senator Ted Kennedy, who fought for decades for universal care."
Earlier in the Nightline segment, which recapped the President’s health care address, the co-anchor introduced his political revision of A Christmas Carol: "Yes, there were ghosts in that chamber tonight. The other Presidents who tried to reform the health care system and failed."
After discussing the outburst by South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson, who accused the President of being a liar, Moran declared, "The President simply moved on. Focusing on his message. Trying to take the high road. Leaving Wilson and others behind."
Nightline correspondent Vicki Mabrey profiled self-described "financial terrorist" Bruce Marks on Friday, painting his actions in a religious light as a "revival of spirits" and "hopes." Co-host Cynthia McFadden began the show by rhapsodizing, "The financial terrorist. He’s on the front lines of the foreclosure front using guerrilla tactics on a crusade to restore the American dream."
She continued, "And he's taking dead aim at the big banks. Is there anything he could do for you?" Mabrey did offer Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) CEO Marks a few tough questions, noting that his organization, which tries to help homeowners restructure their loans, also uses extreme tactics, such as protesting outside the homes and schools of the children of financial executives.
In the early hours of Wednesday, reporter John Donvan narrated a tough, comprehensive look at the life of Ted Kennedy, one that went so far as to assert that the Senator was sometimes "a let down, an embarrassment to his family, to his party, to himself." However, this eight and a half minute segment, which looked into Chappaquiddick, Kennedy’s cheating at Harvard and other scandals, aired at 2:30 (11:30 on the west coast) in the morning, during a special, late night edition of Nightline.
A much shorter, sanitized version of the piece was replayed on the August 26 edition of World News With Charles Gibson. It left out the harsh words about being a "failure," the accounts of public intoxication and affairs, all of which were featured in the Nightline segment.
ABC’s Terry Moran on Wednesday spun Ted Kennedy’s political career as one of a "happy warrior" who should be looked to for direction in "these bitter times." However, it’s hard to square this description of Kennedy with the vitriolic speech the Senator made in 1987 condemning Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
Reporting on Kennedy’s death soon after it was announced, Moran noted that Kennedy was a liberal and rhapsodized, "He was in many of those battles a divisive figure because of his beliefs, but never because of his heart. He was a happy warrior." The Nightline anchor closed out his report by cooing, "And in these bitter times when anger and contempt seem to become the language of our politics, maybe it’s the old fashion joy Ted Kennedy brought to politics that we miss the most and need now."
Old fashioned joy? Kennedy certainly sounded bitter and angry when he took to the Senate floor on July 01, 1987 and trashed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork’s America as a place were "blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters" and "rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids."
ABC’s "Nightline" on Thursday celebrated Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation to the Supreme Court as a "Jackie Robinson moment" and also highlighted cheering crowds at an event put on by the left-wing Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund (PRLDF). Correspondent John Donvan failed to identify the liberal bent of the organization, which has vociferously lobbied for abortion rights, though he did note that Sotomayor served on the group’s board.
In addition to comparing Sotomayor’s confirmation to Jackie Robinson’s entry into baseball, Donvan actually brought on Democratic operative-turned-ABC journalist George Stephanopoulos to reference what it was like for Greek Americans when Michael Dukakis ran for President in 1988. Stephanopoulos enthused, "There was something that trumped the politics, the partisanship. I knew a lot of Republican Greeks who were supporting a Democrat for first time just because he was one of them."
Donvan described the Greek American Stephanopoulos as "somebody who should know" what it felt like. But he failed to specifically mention that the ABC host also worked for the Dukakis campaign at the time. Earlier in the piece, Donvan raved, "And while this is definitely a Latino thing, it is also, we should say, an American thing....Call it a Jackie Robinson moment, to borrow a lesson from sports."
UPDATED: 2009-07-31 10:30:18 -0400 ABC’s Pierre Thomas landed an exclusive interview with Eric Holder on Wednesday’s Nightline, quizzing the Attorney General on race relations in America. Somehow, however, the reporter managed to completely ignore Holder’s incendiary remark from February that America is a "nation of cowards" when dealing with race relations.
One would assume such a statement might be relevant to Thomas’ questions about the ongoing controversy involving the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Gates by a police officer in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Instead, the correspondent ignored the context, even as he explained, "[Holder] said the controversy in Cambridge proves more needs to be done in race relations." Thomas queried, "Have we reached the point where law enforcement is color blind?"
Youngsters' curiosity about sex used to be sated by late night, soft-core flicks on premium cable channels. Now, they simply have to tune into ABC.
ABC news programs have featured 76 segments about sexual activity in the last six months. The majority of these reports were related to political sex scandals or crime cases that contained a sexual element, but 11 promoted alternative sexual arrangements such as men who become women, Web sites dedicated to helping married people cheat on their spouses and even people who carry on romantic relationships with objects like F-15 fighter jets and the Eiffel Tower.
ABC’s Nightline on Monday didn’t allow Sarah Palin’s resignation as governor of Alaska to pass without airing yet another dismissive segment, reminiscing about the "madcap" politician. Co-anchor Martin Bashir derided her exit as a "real-life Northern Exposure." Reporter Neal Karlinsky proceeded to drag out every cliched Tina Fey clip and supposed gaffe from the 2008 election.
Speaking of Palin's selection as John McCain’s vice presidential running mate, he allowed that the politician was a "rock star" at GOP events. Karlinsky then chided, "But once she veered off script and was forced to answer questions, her image began to shift."
The Nightline correspondent attempted to frame unwanted coverage of Palin as publicity stunts. "From the Levi Johnston scandal...to a seemingly endless series of ethics complaints, to a feud with David Letterman, controversy was Palin's constant companion." A feud with David Letterman? It’s not as though the governor preemptively picked a fight with the late night comedian. (The CBS host made crude jokes about Palin’s teenage daughter on his program, prompting a response.)
Host Martin Bashir raised the question, “And with 1 in 3 adults now clinically obese, it seems the message of eating less and exercising more is still struggling to get through. But is there something in the food we eat that may be adding to the problem?”
Correspondent Juju Chang thought so. “Greg Wells is a recovering addict. But his vice wasn’t heroin or meth. It was something available over the counter,” she said. “… the grocery store counter.”
Wells was not alone. Former FDA head David Kessler explained that “he too was a conditioned hypereater.” Chang stated that according to Kessler, “for roughly 70 million people, their brains are wired in such a way that they are literally hooked on food.”
Wrapping up a preview of his day with President Barack Obama for Thursday's Nightline, live from Cleveland ABC's Terry Moran informed World News anchor Charles Gibson:
I also took the opportunity at this juncture to ask Mr. Obama about how the presidency is affecting and shaping his spiritual life, and he said, Charlie, that before he was elected, he had a habit of praying every night, but that now he prays all the time.
TERRY MORAN: As you know there's a lot of curiosity about you and what you do, what you wear, all these things. And where you worship. If I may ask, how has -- how have the responsibilities of the presidency affected your spiritual life, if at all?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I had a habit of praying every night before I go to bed. I pray all the time now (laughter)...
Call this a teachable moment, but even with ABC's best-laid plans to kickstart the debate about health care reform and not allow the "Prescription for America" special to become an "infomercial," as many have complained - the president spent more than twice as much time as his questioners vaguely answering or not answering the questions asked of him. But the network consistently presented the event as part of the need to fix a "broken system." When asked, every one of the 164 hand-picked audience members said they felt that health care needed to be changed.
President Barack Obama appeared on the ABC network in a town hall format broadcasted from the White House on two separate programs on June 24 - an hour-long primetime special during the 10 p.m. Eastern Time hour and later on the "Nightline" program that aired during the 11:30 p.m. Eastern Time hour.
What was the highest-grossing independent film of 2008?
"Milk?" "Slumdog Millionaire?" Woody Allen's "Vicky Christina Barcelona?"
How about a Christian-themed movie called "Fireproof?"
If you're surprised, the idea that ABC's "Nightline" would not only point this out, but also do a segment on Friday evening dealing with the rise in faith-based films from what they referred to as "Godlywood" might be even more shocking (quotes from article at ABCNews.com follow, video of segment available here):
ABC reporter Yunji de Nies filed a gushing profile piece on Tuesday's "Nightline" for the first 100 days of Michelle Obama, showering praise on the President's wife. De Nies rhapsodized, “From her inaugural debut, Michelle Obama has been the belle of the ball.” Playing a clip of Mrs. Obama unveiling a statue for abolitionist Sojourner Truth, the ABC journalist described the First Lady as “perhaps the most powerful woman of the moment.” (If that's so, shouldn't reporters such as de Nies try to be slightly less fawning in their coverage?)
De Nies used the type of descriptions that have become typical from reporters who discuss the Obamas. She informed, “Her European tour solidified her rock star status," then added, “She held her own in a fashion face-off with model turned singer turned First Lady of France, Carla Bruni Sarkozy.”
"Nightline" co-host Terry Moran on Wednesday committed an act of snide and unnecessary moral equivalence, connecting video of torture occurring in the Middle East and the political debate over how to handle enemy combatants captured by the U.S. ABC correspondent Brian Ross filed a report on video of a member of the United Arab Emirates' royal family filming himself as he brutalized a man, accused of stealing grain, with a cattle prod, hit him with a nail and then proceeded to drive over the victim with his Mercedes.[audio available here]
As the segment ended, Moran drew a comparison, "Brian, that is a shocking investigation on so many levels, especially as our own country is engaged in a wrenching debate on torture." Now, whatever one thinks of waterboarding, sleep depravation and putting an insect in with someone afraid of bugs, such tactics certainly don't equal this barbaric act, described by Ross: "The tape ends with what appears to be attempted murder. The victim is left semi-conscious as Sheik Issa drives over him back and forth with his Mercedes SUV."
Conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh says the mainstream media attitude on President Barack Obama is that he is too big to fail. What CNN has planned for the night of April 29 is one of several signs that could be the case.
"CNN is marking President Barack Obama's 100th day in office with prime-time coverage that will recall last year's primary and general election nights, right down to John King's magic wall," the AP article said. "The network says it will compile a national report card of Obama's performance, using opinion polls and a series of viewer surveys. The big night is April 29, a week from this Wednesday, pre-empting regular programming."
Our cosmopolitan elites have embraced the smutty Fox cartoon "Family Guy." A month ago, oh-so-sophisticated National Public Radio used their parody song "Everybody Poops" to report on Julius Genachowski, the incoming chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Perhaps it was NPR’s way of welcoming in an Obama appointee who everyone expects will "lighten up" at the FCC and let Hollywood go wild with its "poetic license."
Now it’s ABC’s "Nightline" paying homage to "Family Guy," and in the process, telling us a lot more about "Nightline" than about this stupid show. They presented the show’s lame-brained "mastermind" Seth MacFarlane as a man of incredible talent, even a genius. At the top of their April 6 show, anchor Martin Bashir cooed: "Funny Guy. No topic is too taboo, no subject off limits for this critically acclaimed cartoonist."
In a surprising turn for the network, ABC’s “Nightline” included a strong pro-abstinence message on April 6 when it featured comedian and radio host Steve Harvey.
Harvey is the author of the New York Times bestseller “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” which is all about love and relationships and includes advice on waiting to “give up the cookie.”
Sharyn Alfonsi’s insightful interview with Harvey who has found success with his down-to-earth advice found in his book. “A guy that’s really serious about you, he’s gotta be talking to you,” Harvey told Alfonsi. “He’s gotta wanna have one-on-one, in your face interaction. That’s how we are! The guy that’s just texting you, that’s no effort. He doesn’t have to get in the car, he doesn’t have to remember your number, he can just text you. And you sit there and you see all these wonderful things he's texting you. Well, guess what, he could be ccing that same text to six other women. And you think you're special? … Please.”
In the brief "Closing Arguments" segment on Wednesday's "Nightline," ABC's Terry Moran credulously repeated the White House contention that Barack Obama didn't bow to the King of Saudi Arabia last week at the G-20 summit. As video of the incident played, Moran narrated, "He sees King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Goes in for the hello. There's a hand shake. Obama bends at the waist. But was it a bow?" [Audio available here.]
He then recited, "The White House called it a lean, pointing out the King's shorter than the President." Inviting people to respond on his Twitter page, Moran wondered, "So, tonight, we ask you, was it a bow and do you care?" A search of @TerryMoran responses on Twitter shows a healthy number of people somewhat incredulous at the host's lack of skepticism. DesigningDi instructed, "Are you blind? Of course he's bowing. Don't play stupid!"
ABC reporter Bill Weir didn't exactly grill "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane when he interviewed him for "Nightline's" ongoing "Seriously Funny" segment on Monday. The journalist failed to bring up some of the most egregious examples of MacFarlane's cartoon vulgarity, including a March 8 episode that featured bestiality jokes, a gay-hating Jesus Christ and an 11-way gay orgy.
Instead, Weir only vaguely alluded to such instances and asserted, "But, like those other cartoons, his shows raise the most ire with religious and parental watchdog groups. If there is a taboo line, chances are MacFarlane has leaped over it." He did read off a list of topics the show has skewered and then wondered, "Where is the line for you? Is there a line or is that the point?" Once again, however, Weir had no specifics to follow-up. Did he ask about the October 19, 2008 episode in which the program's baby character, Stewie Griffin dressed up as a Nazi and wore a McCain/Palin button? No. MacFarlane, a Barack Obama supporter and liberal Democrat, wasn't forced to talk about that particular low blow.
ABC explored the existence of Satan during the March 26 "Nightline" but stacked the deck in favor of those who do not believe the devil exists.
Harris invited internationally known, and in some circles, renowned, New Age guru Deepak Chopra to argue that Satan does not exist. Bishop Carlton Pearson, hailed as a "former fundamentalist preacher who says he used to cast demons out his followers," joined Chopra.
Mark Driscoll, labeled a "hip yet hard-line preacher," and Annie Lobert, a former prostitute and leader of the "Hookers for Jesus" outreach program in Las Vegas, represented the view that the devil does exist. Lobert herself noted her lack of intellectual credentials, "I don't have a theologian background, but I have 16 years of experience of walking with the Devil so I know he's real for sure."
Put a liberal President together in the same room with a liberal press corps and ABC's George Stephanopoulos, who has gone through the revolving door from liberal political operative to liberal DC journalist, sees a wondrous success for both. “I think both the President and the press hit their marks tonight” at the presidential press conference, Stephanopoulos gushed on Tuesday's Nightline in assigning an “A-minus for the President, A-minus for the press.”
President Barack Obama didn't have to do much to earn the A-minus grade: “He had a very clear strategy and that was to tell the country that he has a strategy. He has an economic strategy, that it's starting to work -- though we're not out of the woods yet by any means, but that with persistence it's going to pay off and we're going to make progress on those four big issues he kept talking about: health care, education, energy and reducing the deficit.”
And the reporters just had to pose questions about the economy: “The press also did do their job tonight, pressing the President on issues that people back home really care about and most of the questions about the economy, about the economic crisis we're facing right now.”
In a respectful and compassionate manner, Nightline’s March 12 broadcast of the “Faith Matters” series brought to light a group of reformed prostitutes who have turned to religion and who are helping other women leave the destructive life of a Vegas prostitute.
Hookers for Jesus is a group started by former prostitute Annie Lobert who hit rock bottom with a cocaine overdose, and decided to leave the prostitute lifestyle when, as she put it, God changed her life. ABC reporter Neal Karlinsky graciously told her story and the story of other women who have found hope through Lobert’s ministry and the church of Pastor Benny Perez.
“Along with a pair of volunteers from a nearby church, [the women are] on the streets looking for prostitutes with one goal in mind: to save them,” Karlinsky said. “We keep our cameras at a distance as they hand out gift bags filled with bibles.” Karlinsky interviewed Lobert about her former life as a hooker. “But Annie Lobert isn't exactly your average missionary,” he said. “Before she was a so called ‘hooker for Jesus,’ Lobert was to put delicately, a hooker. Starting as a teenager, she sold her body through escort services, websites and on the streets of Las Vegas for 11 years.”
On Tuesday's "Nightline," ABC gushed over Michelle Obama with the enthusiasm and objectivity usually reserved for "Access Hollywood" reporters. Correspondent Yunji de Nies lauded the "rock star" first lady for her fashion sense and for speaking openly about balancing work and family. "Nightline" co-anchor Cynthia McFadden asserted that "with her muscular arms and outfits, she's become, well, a model first lady."
De Nies talked with liberal Washington Post journalist Sally Quinn, who has written for years about D.C. style. Asked about a recent Michelle Obama spread in Vogue magazine, Quinn enthused, "Well, for one thing, I think she's a sexual person. The pictures are attractive. They're womanly. They're sexy, but not in an overt way." She then went on to assert that Washington has often tried to force women to downplay their sexuality. This prompted de Nies to breathlessly wonder, "Is Washington and the world ready for such a modern first lady?"
Despite calling for massive new spending on education, universal health care and more money for bailing out banks, no ABC anchor on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning used the word liberal in describing Barack Obama's February 24 address to Congress. In contrast, ABC host Terry Moran on February 27, 2001 anticipated that a similar speech by President George W. Bush would be "conservative."Following that address, he spun it as "hard core conservatism: fiscal restraint; deep, across-the-board spending and tax cuts; the privatization of part of Social Security."
And yet, on Tuesday's post-speech coverage, on that evening's "Nightline" and on Wednesday's "Good Morning America," no anchor applied the liberal label to Obama's address. The same Moran who saw "hard core conservatism" in Bush's appearance before Congress, described a "big and bold speech" from the current President. He also enthused that "President Barack Obama didn't sugarcoat it, he found bad guys on Wall Street and in Washington." Regarding the President's obviously liberal plans on the economy and health care, Moran reiterated, "The answer, the President argued, go big, big plans, big changes."
"Nightline" co-anchor Terry Moran gave an interview on Friday to the Media Bistro's "Morning Media Menu" podcast and compared Barack Obama to George Washington. Talking to host and editor Steve Krakauer, Moran gushed, "I like to say that, in some ways, Barack Obama is the first President since George Washington to be taking a step down into the Oval Office." (For those who have forgotten, George Washington defeated the strongest military power in the world. Barack Obama was a community organizer.) [Full interview audio available here.]
Moran continued, "I mean, from visionary leader of a giant movement, now he's got an executive position that he has to perform in, in a way." [MP3 audio of just this answer, 26 seconds]
On his Twitter page later, the ABC journalist attempted to explain his over-the-top comparison. Moran, who can be seen in the above file photo, contended, "I said like only Washington, Obama came to office as more than a politician, a visionary leader for many. Now's he's got a job."
"Nightline" reporter David Wright on Monday inserted a gratuitous slam of Sarah Palin into a seemingly innocuous segment covering the 50th anniversary of the Barbie doll. Recounting the various versions of the Mattel toy, he set up the attack: "[Barbie's] been an astronaut and a rock star. Pop icons Beyonce and Shakira. She's won 'American Idol' too." Right after footage of the "President Barbie" doll appeared onscreen, the segment cut to various clips of a stylish-looking Palin. Wright derided, "Some would argue she also ran for vice president in 2008."
During the 2008 presidential election, Wright would occasionally throw in a out-of-left field shot at Palin or the Republican ticket. Reporting for "Good Morning America" on October 22, he discussed the Republican vice presidential candidate's attacks on Barack Obama and editorialized, "Her own glass house notwithstanding, Sarah Palin has thrown some stones on the issue, too, even though she's not above making gaffes of her own."
"Nightline" co-anchor Terry Moran on Tuesday interviewed Barack Obama and pressed him from the left, wondering why he didn't simply fire the executives who the journalist blamed for "wreck[ing] these banks in the first place." The two were discussing the stimulus bill and the current economic problems on Wall Street. As the MRC's Brent Baker already noted in a previous blog, Moran also seriously wondered, "Why not just nationalize the banks?"
After the President suggested that such an idea was unworkable and didn't make sense, the host persisted. Moran challenged, "People are angry." Going further, the ABC journalist queried, "Why shouldn't you just fire the executives who wrecked these banks in the first place and tanked the world's financial system in the process?"