At the end of Sunday’s This Week this morning, George Stephanopoulos announced it was his last broadcast as the host (“That’s our show for today. It is also my last regular Sunday here at This Week. Thanks to all of you for watching so faithfully for all these years and thanks to the outstanding crew and staff here at This Week for making it the special program it will always be”) and an item in Sunday’s Boston Herald revealed that ABC had to purchase a special chair for Stephanopoulos, in his new job as co-host of Good Morning America, so Robin Roberts would no longer “tower over” the “diminutive talking head.”
The Herald's “Inside Track” disclosed: “All it took was a new chair from Staples.com!” Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa relayed that “when Stephanopoulos began his early-morning gig last month, the anchor desk appeared out of sync -- with Roberts, who is 5-foot, 10-inches tall, and George, who is soooo not.”
(The accompanying top screen shot is from December 14, Stephanopoulos’s first day as the new permanent co-host and the image below is from this past Thursday’s program. Judge for yourself, but Stephanopoulos is certainly lower in both.)
On Sunday’s This Week, fill-in host Terry Moran, along with Ron Brownstein and Cynthia Tucker, took swipes at Rush Limbaugh for his contention that his good experience at a Honolulu hospital demonstrated the U.S. health system doesn’t need repair. (Friday night NB item “Rush Limbaugh Leaves Hospital ‘Feeling Strong and Rested’”)
After running a clip of Limbaugh from Friday saying “based on what happened to me here, I don't think there's one thing wrong with the American health care system. It is working just fine, just dandy,” Moran couldn’t resist pointing out “the delightful irony” that “Hawaii mandates that employers provide health insurance to their employees,” a fact which in no way contradicts Limbaugh’s assessment of the treatment he received.
“What Rush was saying, Limbaugh was saying was great, except for the 47 million people who don't have health insurance and don't have access,” former Los Angeles Times reporter Ron Brownstein, now with National Journal, snidely insisted. As he spoke, Washington-based Atlanta Constitution columnist Cynthia Tucker chimed in: “And are not as wealthy as he is.”
“There's a lot in” the health care bill as it now stands -- even without the “public option” or expanded Medicare -- “that people are going to like” and a “lot of people are going to like a whole lot once they see what's in it,” ABC News veteran Cokie Roberts contended on Sunday's This Week as she blamed Democratic messaging, not the substance, for declining support: “I think the Democrats lost control of the argument – the message – and that's why the polls are as they are.”
If the public just understood all the great things in it, she scolded, they'd realize the Christmas gift they're getting from those Democrats: “It's just a question of understanding it and the Democrats should have been getting that out there more.” As if hey haven't had the news media on their side. Amongst the wonderful benefits: “For he first time” there will be “totally paid-for long term care insurance.” Totally paid for by whom?
Roberts soon praised Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's deal-making and payoffs: “The person that I have really new-found respect for is Harry Reid, who just has this Senate in session relentlessly until they do this.”
Sam Donaldson said Sunday that if the Democrats pass the current version of the Senate's healthcare reform bill, it probably would be a terrible mistake.
Such was surprisingly said during the Roundtable segment of Sunday's "This Week."
After George Will shared polling numbers indicating how few people are actually in favor of what's currently on the table in Congress, Donaldson agreed saying, "[Y]ou're right, if, in fact, the bill that I conceive is going to come out of the conference committee -- and I think will pass -- is in stone, and that is the healthcare bill from here on."
When George Stephanopoulos asked, "Which part is he right about," Donaldson's response elicited a somewhat startled gasp from the host (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, relevant section at 18:40):
The official announcement will apparently come tomorrow morning (NewsBusters’ Scott Whitlock reported on the early leaks last week): former Clinton campaign operative George Stephanopoulos will start Monday as co-anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America. He’ll also keep his job as the host of ABC’s This Week, at least for the time being.
Here’s one yardstick for measuring the media’s response: Back in 1997, CBS announced that ex-GOP Representative Susan Molinari (pictured at right) would take over as co-host of Saturday Morning. Journalists quickly howled at the breaching of the sacred “barricade that is supposed to exist in journalism between the political people and the officials on the one hand, and the reporters on the other.” NPR’s Mara Liasson said it was “disturbing” of CBS to hire a Republican; Nina Totenberg exclaimed: “This really makes me want to puke.”
Molinari’s Saturday CBS show avoided politics, so she spent most mornings talking about movies and toys and vacation ideas. But according to the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz, “Stephanopoulos, now ABC's chief Washington correspondent, had told network executives he wanted to inject GMA with a harder-news focus as a condition of taking the job.”
The Washington Post on Thursday reported that ABC has offered the position of Good Morning America co-host to former top Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos. According to the Post’s Howard Kurtz, Stephanopoulos, should he take the job, wants more politics in the morning program: "...Stephanopoulos has pushed for a role reshaped to spotlight his interest in politics and hard news rather than feature segments."
Would this mean a greater infusion of liberal bias from the ex-Democratic operative? If his track record on This Week, and guest appearances on GMA are any indication, the answer is yes. The MRC’s Profile in Bias has documented Stephanopoulos’ left-wing spin. For instance, he declared Barack Obama and Joe Biden the winner of all four presidential debates in 2008.
On the May 13, 2007 This Week, Stephanopoulos tarred Republicans as racist and unlikely to vote for Obama: "Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m naive...I guess I think that anyone who’s not going to vote for Barack Obama because he is black isn’t going to vote for a Democrat anyway."
ABC's George Stephanopoulos actually brought up the ClimateGate scandal as a topic for discussion during the Roundtable segment on Sunday's "This Week."
As NewsBusters has been reporting since this story broke more than a week ago, television news outlets have been quite disinterested in the controversy now growing with each passing day.
Breaking this trend, Stephanopoulos aggressively waded into this seemingly verboten subject by mentioning how it complicates President Obama's trip to "Copenhagen to deal with climate change."
George Will of course agreed saying that the release of these e-mail messages raises a serious question about why America should "wager trillions of dollars and substantially curtail freedom on climate models that are imperfect and unproven."
Not surprisingly, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman found "not a single smoking gun" in those e-mail messages (video in two parts embedded below the fold with transcript and commentary by myself and others involved in this debate):
Throughout the history of this country playing the role of a global power, the United States has faced down threats of fascism and communism. The country is now in the throes of a war against terrorism.
However, on ABC's Nov. 22 "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," a panel consisting of Washington Post columnist George Will, Liz Cheney of Keep America Safe, University of California, Berkeley professor Robert Reich and Walter Isaacson is the President and CEO of The Aspen Institute, warned the next ideological battle facing the country is that which China practices - an authoritarian market society or authoritarian capitalism.
"For 37 years, every administration has bet, since Nixon went to China, on a theory, and the theory was that capitalism, market economy, which requires a judicial system to enforce promises, which are called contracts, needs a vast dissemination of information and decision-making that capitalism by its mores and working would subvert the regime, that you could not have an authoritarian market society," Will said. "It's the Starbucks fallacy. It turns out to be a fallacy, that if the Chinese have a choice of coffees, they'll want a -- they'll demand a choice of political candidates. We may be wrong. It could be you can have an authoritarian system."
The roundtable members on Sunday's This Week derided or dismissed Sarah Palin, with David Brooks, the putative conservative columnist for the New York Times, declaring “she's a joke” and insisting “Republican primary voters just are not going to elect a talk show host” -- leaving it to PBS's Gwen Ifill, of all people, to come to her defense as a fellow woman.[MP3 audio available here]
Left-winger David Corn yearned for how she will damage Republicans while the Washington Post's Bob Woodward agreed with Brooks and George Will wondered: “Some conservatives think they have found in Sarah Palin a Republican William Jennings. Why they would want somebody who lost the presidency three times I do not know.”
The derogatory take from David Books on the November 15 This Week with George Stephanopoulos on ABC:
Yeah, she's a joke. I mean, I just can't take her seriously. We've got serious problems in the country. Barack Obama's trying to handle war. We just had a guy elected Virginia Governor who's probably the model for the future of the Republican Party, Bob McDonnell. Pretty serious guy, pragmatic, calm, kind of boring. The idea that this potential talk show host is considered seriously for the Republican nomination, believe me, it will never happen. Republican primary voters just are not going to elect a talk show host.
The Daily Beast on Friday reported that former Democratic aide turned journalist George Stephanopoulos has now pulled ahead of ex-Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo’s son, Chris Cuomo, in the race to become the new co-host of Good Morning America. Correspondent Rebecca Dana quoted an ABC source as saying, "It’s George’s now to lose."
Dana added, "That both contenders are associated with prominent Democrats has helped to add a campaign vibe to the contest for Sawyer’s anchor chair." She then gossiped, "There is a rumor floating around ABC that Mario Cuomo has placed some calls on his son’s behalf..." (Chris Cuomo is also the brother of New York state’s current Democratic attorney general.)
If Stephanopoulos does become the new host of GMA, there would potentially be an opening at his old show, This Week. The Daily Beast asserted that the contenders are Jake Tapper and Nightline co-host Terry Moran, a well known liberal. On February 20, 2009, Moran famously provided this over-the-top comparison between Barack Obama and George Washington: "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."
With the unemployment rate soaring in 10.2 percent in Friday's report on October, two old hands in the Washington press corps appeared on Sunday morning shows where they asserted that means we need another stimulus bill and/or the problem is the current “stimulus” bill wasn't big enough. On This Week, ABC News vet Sam Donaldson maintained “we're going to have to have more stimulus, more spending.”
Over on NBC's Meet the Press, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, a former Washington correspondent for the New York Times before covering politics for the Post, complained: “The problem is the stimulus was too small, and they compromised it down and so you had less effect. I mean, the fact is these numbers would be a lot worse without the stimulus.”
"If the Republican Party follows the course of Palin and Beck and Company it's doomed."
So said Sam Donaldson on ABC's "This Week" Sunday.
Democrat Bill Owens victory Tuesday in the 23rd Congressional district of New York.
Readers are strongly advised to stow all fluids, combustibles, and sharp objects for the ignorance on display here might produce uncontrollable fits of anger (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele accidentally referred to House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) as "Speaker Boehner" during Sunday's "This Week," and host George Stephanopoulos surprisingly didn't disagree.
Quite the contrary, he found this so compelling he gave great attention to it at ABC News's website:
Republican Chairman Michael Steele had a Freudian slip this morning on 'This Week' when he referred to Minority Leader John Boehner as "Speaker Boehner."...And Steele stuck by his slip: predicting a Speaker Boehner if Dems continue to push health care.
During the broadcast, Stephanopoulos not only didn't disagree with Steele, but instead used exit poll numbers from Tuesday's elections to show just how much trouble Democrats might be in 2010 (videos embedded below the fold with partial transcript, file photo):
In the wake of liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava suspending her congressional campaign after polls put her behind the Democrat and New York's Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman who has earned support from many conservatives, Los Angeles Times veteran Ron Brownstein fretted over how it's “a sign that the leash that the base is holding on the party is tightening and that the Palins, the talk radio, Rush Limbaughs, the Fox, the definition of what is acceptable as a Republican I think is narrowing.”
Brownstein, who joined National Journal in 2007 after nearly two decades at the LA Times and three years as “chief staff writer” for Ralph Nader, conceded that “in the short run there's clear energy here in the small government/anti–government argument, but in the long run,” he warned, “I do wonder about whether Republicans are going to have the freedom to maneuver they'll need to recover in some of those blue states where they've significantly eroded?”
Undermining his credibility, Brownstein painted Senator Arlen Specter as another victim of the awful right-wingers, claiming “Specter essentially was forced to leave the party after voting for the stimulus.”
A year after Barack Obama was elected President, one thing has become perfectly clear: George Will is THE mainstream media member who seems completely comfortable pointing out the new White House resident's shortcomings.
Such happened again on the latest installment of ABC's "This Week" when host George Stephanopoulos began the Roundtable segment:
George, let me just begin with a threshold question. We're about a year out from the election. Has the President delivered on that promise of change?
Rather than the typical sycophantic response one normally gets from media figures when such questions are asked about Obama, Will marvelously whacked the ball right out of the park (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
Conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham on Sunday ridiculed ABC's Charles Gibson for his ignorance concerning last month's ACORN controversy.
As NewsBuster Tom Blumer reported September 15, when Gibson was asked that morning by a Chicago radio host about the Senate's decision to cut ACORN's funding over the organization's growing scandal, the ABC "World News" anchor didn't have a clue.
With this in mind, as the Roundtable discussion on Sunday's "This Week" turned to recent White House attacks on FNC, Ingraham used the Gibson incident as an example of how "of all the networks, Fox was going to hold the administration the most accountable...That's why they don't like Fox News" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
George Will on Sunday accused the media of manufacturing the return of government mandated healthcare to the current reform debate.
Discussing the subject on the recent installment of ABC's "This Week," Will said it was highly unlikely Democrats actually have the votes for what they call a "public option," but the media are assisting them in "cleverly and skillfully manufacturing a sense of inevitability that they hope will be self-fulfilling."
In effect, although it is quite doubtful the votes are currently there for any form of government run healthcare, the press are doing their darnedest to change that (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
Earlier today, my NewsBusters colleague Noel Sheppard posted the disparaging words White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had for the Fox News Channel, a sentiment that Obama Senior Advisor David Axelrod echoed on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."
"Your colleague Anita Dunn told The New York Times this week that Fox News was undertaking a war against the White House, and said the White House would treat Fox the way we would an opponent," Stephanopoulos said.
"Sentences that begin 'The president says' are not as impressive as they used to be."
So marvelously stated ABC's George Will on Sunday's installment of "This Week."
But Will wasn't the only "Roundtable" panelist to utter something clever and/or revealing.
Quite the contrary, host George Stephanopoulos, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, and the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne also made statements on Sunday guaranteed to raise some eyebrows.
First up was Stephanopoulos who made a rather startling admission concerning exactly why the White House decided to give every senior citizen $250 (video embedded below the fold with transcribed highlights, relevant section at 19:12):
A marvelous thing happened on Sunday's "This Week": Donna Brazile said Barack Obama being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize was "well-deserved," and host George Stephanopoulos couldn't restrain his laughter.
Such deliciously happened moments after George Will said, "[T]he Nobel Prize committee would with this decision have forfeited its reputation for seriousness if it had a reputation for seriousness."
Quite comically, Brazile was as serious as the Nobel committee (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, video available here for Internet Explorer users):
Longtime ABC journalist Cokie Roberts on Sunday harshly criticized fugitive director Roman Polanski, going so far as to joke, "As far as I’m concerned, just take him out and shoot him." Appearing on the internet-only segment of This Week, she bluntly stated, "But, Roman Polanski is a criminal. You know, he raped and drugged and raped and sodomized a child. And then was a fugitive from justice." She followed up with her "shoot him" quip.
Roberts’ comments were in stark contrast to the cautious remarks coming from many other journalists. On Monday’s Good Morning America, host Diane Sawyer referred to the director's arrest for the 1977 rape of a 13-year old as an "international incident." On Tuesday, Sawyer described the capture of Polanski in Switzerland as the culmination of "a 31 year-old prosecutorial obsession."
On Sunday, ABC's George Will uttered an inconvenient truth about Barack Obama that his adoring media have been ignoring since he first threw his hat into the presidential ring in February 2007: his rhetoric is filled with constant references to himself.
To prove the point on the most recent installment of "This Week," Will counted the number of times Mr. and Mrs. Obama used the words "I" and "me" during their speeches in Copenhagen Friday.
The numbers are shocking making it likely in Will's view that the word "vain" is going to eventually attach itself to Obama (video embedded below the fold with transcript):
In the series of network interviews recorded Friday at the White House for airing on the ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC Sunday morning interview shows, all highlighted Jimmy Carter's charge that racism is fueling the anti-Obamacare protests – with CNN's John King and NBC's David Gregory following up with Nancy Pelosi's claim the heated rhetoric may incite violence – and CBS's Bob Schieffer asserted the “meanness that has settled over our political dialogue” had “started this summer at these town hall meetings.”
Only NBC's Gregory chastised Obama for not taking on the left on malpractice reform and only ABC's George Stephanopoulos brought up ACORN, but painted Obama as a victim: “Have some of your allies made it easier for, handed your opponents some ammunition, like ACORN, for example?” Schieffer and King, but not Stephanopoulos or Gregory, pressed Obama on how seven former CIA directors urged him to drop the criminal probe of interrogations of terror suspects.
I watched them all so you didn't have to and here are some notes about what the four anchors chose to pursue in their allocated 15 minutes with President Barack Obama (should also note that all devoted time to Afghanistan and the likely request for more troops):
They say you shouldn't bite the hand that feeds you. But the 44th President of the United States doesn't seem to be worried about that.
President Barack Obama, still with no fear of being overexposed, made the rounds on five Sunday morning talk shows on Sept. 20 to make another attempt at winning the hearts and minds over on his vague health care proposal.
According to Obama, alleging he wasn't doing any "media-bashing," mentioned the three major cable news networks by name, and said they were the ones enabling the "rude" behavior that some of their on-air voices have decried by giving it so much attention.
Leave it to George Will to perfectly explain in just two words all the recent accusations by Democrats and their media minions that anti-government sentiment sweeping the nation is caused by racism.
Fortunately for those not understanding the reference, Will explained further when the Roundtable discussion on Sunday's "This Week" turned to all the recent pronouncements of racism directed at anyone having the nerve to challenge President Obama's agenda (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
It took Van Jones' resignation, around midnight Saturday night on a holiday weekend, for ABC and NBC to mention him for the first time in Sunday morning news shows which broached, but failed to quote, the insidious “911truth” petition he signed, while ABC's George Stephanopoulos, seemingly trying to rationalize ABC's spiking of the subject, came aboard Good Morning America to dismiss the matter as “a summer squall.” Stephanopoulos was impressed by how the White House handled it: “The fact they got it out of the way before the end of the Labor Day weekend, before his spokespeople like Robert Gibbs, who's appearing on This Week come on this morning, I think will contain any kind of damage.”
That, and a compliant news media. As Bill Kristol observed on Fox News Sunday: “The mainstream media did not cover this story.”
Mike Viqueira reported on NBC's Today: “Van Jones, that's the President's 'green gobs' czar, has resigned overnight after it became known that before joining the administration he signed a petition put forward by those who believe that the government had a hand in 9/11.” Later, Viqueira relayed how “Jones says he is the victim of a 'vicious smear campaign' from the right, but he says he's resigning because he doesn't want to draw attention from the fights to come this fall over health care and energy and climate change legislation.”
As NewsBusters reported Tuesday, syndicated columnist and ABC News contributor George Will created quite a firestorm last week with his call for American troops to be pulled out of Afghanistan.
Readers are encouraged to review the article in question as well as the criticisms here.
On Sunday, at the beginning of the panel segment of ABC's "This Week," Will took on his critics by reading a letter he received from Marine Commandant General Charles Krulak (video embedded below the fold):
Liz Cheney fans got to see quite a faceoff between her and Sam Donaldson on Sunday's "This Week."
As the panel discussion turned to Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to investigate the terrorist interrogation procedures of the CIA, Cheney and Donaldson predictably shared opposing views.
Despite both parties being guilty of interrupting and stepping on one another, television critic Tom Shales, in a column published by the Washington Post Tuesday, felt Cheney was "intentionally rude" while employing "guerrilla rhetoric."
Not surprisingly, Shales had nothing negative to say about Donaldson's behavior (highlights below the fold with video of the exchange, h/t Jennifer Rubin):
During an interview with John McCain on Sunday’s This Week, George Stephanopoulos practically begged with the Arizona senator to repudiate "death panel" claims by former Governor Sarah Palin. Speaking of the health care bill, Stephanopoulos attacked euthanasia worries and lobbied, "[Obama] called that an extraordinary lie. And he is right about that, isn't he?"
The former top Clinton aide turned journalist reworked the same query four more times. After McCain referred to the fact that a Senate panel dropped a provision on end-of-life counseling, Stephanopoulos interrupted, "I don't think that's correct, Senator. The bill, all it said was that if a patient wanted to have a Medicare consultation about end of life issues, they could have it, at their request. And the doctor would get reimbursed for it. No panel."