When ABC's George Stephanopoulos, along with three-fourths of his panel, pile on a Democrat with the cameras rolling, you know said liberal elected official made a blunder of epic proportions.
Such was the case on Sunday's "This Week" when with the exception of Democrat pol Donna Brazile, it was virtually unanimous that Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama's decision to go back on his campaign promise to accept public funds was "a big, big deal and a big, big flip-flop."
Readers should brace themselves for an alternate reality, as in a strange moment in television news history, George Stephanopoulos, Cokie Roberts, Sam Donaldson, and Matt Dowd actually agreed that the Obamessiah made a serious boo boo (video available here, Brazile's sycophancy removed for what should be obvious reasons, picture courtesy ABC News):
Who says there's no humor in politics? Obama communications director Robert Gibbs went on ABC's This Week today, and in one of the better deadpan bits since Buster Keaton actually said that Barack Obama's decision to quit the Trinity United Church of Christ was "not political."
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: In Philadelphia, just in April, Senator Obama said of Reverend Wright "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community." Now he's cut all ties to Reverend Wright, and left his church. What is it a mistake to wait this long?
ROBERT GIBBS: No, George. I think obviously what Barack Obama made in the past few days is a deeply personal, not a political decision. And as you heard the reasoning, he made that decision for two reasons. One, even guest speakers that were at Trinity, their views were ascribed to him even though he didn't hold those views, and secondly, the members of Trinity couldn't do what members of a church do, and that is, sit in quiet reflection and worship God.
Four days after NBC centered a story around an elderly couple forced to move “into their van, sleeping on a mattress in the back” while “high food costs have meant” they've “gone hungry,” ABC's World News caught up Tuesday night with a nearly as silly anecdotal report on how families in Minnesota can no longer afford electricity. In the first of two families she showcased, reporter Gigi Stone relayed Julie Tkachuk's plight: “After paying for more expensive gas and groceries, Julie had no money for the heating bills left over from the winter.” Then Stone described the predicament of a family whose father “says business at his moving company is down 35 percent this year. There just wasn't enough money for the power bill.”
Referring to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Stone acknowledged that “there's federal assistance for people who can't afford their utility bills,” but she ominously intoned, “the number of applicants reached the highest point in 16 years.” ABC then aired a soundbite from Mark Wolfe of the National Energy Assistance Director's Association, an advocacy group for LIHEAP spending. The group's April 25 press release (PDF) hyping “the number of households receiving LIHEAP funds this year is the highest in 16 years” also, however, disclosed a fact ABC didn't mention -- that increase is merely 3.8 percent over fiscal year 2007 with the number of households on the dole in Minnesota rising from 120,765 to 126,500, hardly a huge jump.
Mystery is in the eyes of the borrower–and the MSM. The term "variable rate" in a mortgage might seem straightforward enough to George Will and our erudite NB readers, but to a college-educated homeowner–and ABC's Kate Snow–it's apparently a real brain twister.
Snow hosted a segment on this morning's GMA dedicated to determining how the various presidential candidates' proposals would address the problems of sub-prime borrowers. As is the MSM's wont, ABC focused on a single sympathetic case, that of the Cruz-Rivera family in Philly.
If the anger from the left over Wednesday night's debate on ABC continues to manifest itself this way, an old phrase concerning women will have to be altered to "Hell hath no fury like a liberal scorned."
For those not getting the so-called joke, "In Memoriam" is a segment near the end of each installment of "This Week" when folks that have died the previous week, including military members serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, are memorialized.
In this video (embedded upper right), it is Stephanopoulos himself being so "honored," as the text rolls across the screen:
Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos actually asked some tough questions of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama during Wednesday's Democrat presidential debate on ABC.
Yet, the Washington Post's television critic Tom Shales wasn't happy about this, and actually felt the event represented "another step downward for network news" wherein the moderators "turned in shoddy, despicable performances."
What follows are some of Shales' key criticisms (emphasis added throughout, picture courtesy NYT):
Challenged by George Will during This Week of March 30th, liberal economics professsor Paul Krugman looks nervously to liberal economics professor Robert Reich. Krugman was one of four liberals at the round-table versus the sole conservative, Will.
Have a look at the screencap from today's This Week, then please answer this serious question: has ABC no shame? How does the network justify a round-table consisting of four liberals against one conservative?
Let's review the batting order:
Robert Reich: Clinton's former Labor Secretary comes from the leftward reaches of the Dem party. He's a co-founder of the liberal American Prospect magazine.
Paul Krugman: Like Reich, a very liberal professor of economics, and a NYT columnist.
Donna Brazile: Dem activist, Gore 2000 campaign manager.
George Stephanopoulos: The show host was a senior political adviser to Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign and later became Clinton's communications director.
George Will: conservative columnist and [since we're talking batter order and this is Opening Day after all] baseball aficionado.
The AP reported this afternoon: “Saddam Hussein's intelligence agency secretly financed a trip to Iraq for three U.S. lawmakers during the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. An indictment unsealed in Detroit accuses Muthanna Al-Hanooti, a member of a Michigan nonprofit group, of arranging for three members of Congress to travel to Iraq in October 2002 at the behest of Saddam's regime.”
When two of those Congressmen, Democrats Jim McDermott of Washington and David Bonior of Michigan, appeared from Baghdad on the September 29, 2002 This Week on ABC, George Stephanopoulos -- the MRC's Rich Noyes reminded me -- chastised a critic, not McDermott and Bonior, for daring to condemn the loaded charges against the U.S propagated by the two left-wingers. After McDermott blasted U.S. foreign policy from Baghdad, a shocked George Will remarked, "Why Saddam Hussein doesn’t pay commercial time for that advertisement for his policy, I do not know." Turns out, he did. [Video at right, audio available here.]
In all the brouhaha last week over the incendiary comments made by Barack Obama's pastor the media seemed to forget to partake in their traditional Holy Week Christian-bashing excercise. There were a few entries in the "Easter Hit Parade," like the Comedy Central show "Root of All Evil" which my boss, Brent Bozell, wrote about in a column recently, and an episode of "Law and Order" which featured another Christian-stones-someone storyline.
I suppose it's good news that there was less faith flagellation courtesy of the liberal media, and yet at the same time it's sad that I was expecting to find it at Easter time. But the fact remains that Christmas and Easter are generally times when the media attacks on Christians are more pronounced.
As media continue to report current economic conditions as being almost Depression-like, they conveniently forget which political party has controlled both chambers of Congress since January 2007 as well as who was in the White House when key financial services deregulation was enacted.
Such a well-timed amnesia hit ABC's Claire Shipman Sunday when during the panel discussion segment of "This Week," she blamed the current financial crisis on Republicans.
Color me unsurprised.
After host George Stephanopoulos asked Shipman's husband, Time magazine's Jay Carney, "How does John McCain fix his problem on the economy," the following ensued:
With Eliot Spitzer gone, Chuck Schumer moves to the head of the list of smugly self-righteous New York pols. So it was particularly satisfying to see Sen. Jon Kyl [R-AZ] put Schumer is his place on This Week with George Stephanopoulos today.
A guest with Kyl for purposes of discussing the economy, Schumer clearly came in with a game plan: to analogize President Bush to the man who presided over the beginning of the Great Depression: Herbert Hoover. After Schumer tried it twice, Kyl had had enough and unleashed a riposte as devastating as it was reasoned.
How much trouble is Barack Obama in over the extremism of Jeremiah Wright? Enough that Dem strategist Donna Brazile has been reduced to arguing that as black preachers go, Wright is relatively moderate. Enough that the normally affable Brazile got a bit short with Time editor Mark Halperin, he of the infamous memo to his subordinates during the 2004 presidential campaign while serving as ABC News political director.
The comments came during the panel discussion on today's This Week with George Stephanopoulos on ABC.
Media watchers have been asking themselves since Barack Obama became the front-runner to win the Democrat nomination for president when the press will turn against him and start treating the junior senator from Illinois like a candidate instead of a rock star.
The worm might have turned on Sunday's "This Week," when, as my colleague Brad Wilmouth reported, Cokie Roberts actually used the feminist card to trash Obama for Hillary's sake.
Almost as tasty, about three minutes later, a discussion about how Obama is beatable as the Democrat candidate began with Cokie saying (video available here, relevant section begins at minute 12:30):
During the roundtable segment on Sunday's This Week, ABC's Cokie Roberts pointed out Barack Obama's rarely mentioned liberal voting record, calling him "squarely on the left of the Democratic party," and contended that the Illinois Senator, "oddly enough given the rhetoric, has not reached across the aisle and worked with people in the other party to get things done, which [Hillary Clinton] has done." Minutes earlier, sounding defensive of Clinton while raising the possibility that she could see a resurgence of support from white women a la New Hampshire, Roberts referred to Obama as "this cute young man" pushing Hillary aside with "sweet nothings" after all the New York Senator's years of hard work: "Here is this woman who's worked hard, she's done it all the way you're supposed to do it, and then this cute young man comes in and says a bunch of sweet, you know, nothings, and pushes you out of the way. And a lot of women are looking at that and saying, 'There goes my life.'" (Transcript follows)
It's not a very long run. It'll be over by February 5th. -- Hillary Clinton, 'This Week,' Dec. 30, 2007.
That was Hillary less than two months ago. Here she was on this morning's Today.
MEREDITH VIEIRA: So no matter what happens in Texas and Ohio, you will go on.
HILLARY CLINTON: Well Meredith, I don't make predictions. I never have, I never will. I just get up every day and, you know, do the best I can to, you know, let people know what I have done and what I am doing and what I will do.
If it's true, as Hillary Clinton claimed during last night's debate, that Barack Obama needs Xerox to copy other's rhetoric, maybe Clinton could use another piece of 20th-century technology: Memorex.
Have the recent race baiting antics of the Clintons left you wondering whether the former first couple has lost its collective mind, especially now that this tactic seems to be at least partially responsible for Barack Obama's landslide victory in Saturday's South Carolina primary?
Or, like most conservatives, do you believe that nothing this pair ever does is spontaneous and without advanced political calculus, and that South Carolina went exactly as Bill and Hill planned?
For those undecided, a conversation I had on Friday with a very liberal albeit astute friend of mine might shed some light.
As the subject of the current presidential race surfaced, my friend indicated that he was supporting Hillary. Knowing him to be very concerned about civil rights, I asked why he wasn't backing Obama.
It's quite a sight to behold when media "has-beens" start drinking the doom and gloom Kool-Aid offered up in the media.
Sam Donaldson, who covered the Reagan White House for ABC and who now is a contributor to the network's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," last night told a gathering in Georgetown that the U.S. economy is going "in the dumper" and criticized the Democratic presidential candidates for not capitalizing on it.
A truly extraordinary thing happened Sunday morning on ABC's "This Week": the panel and the host seemed to agree that former President Bill Clinton's antics on the campaign trail are hurting Hillary's chances of winning the Democrat presidential nomination.
Maybe even more surprising, the editor of the ultra-leftwing publication "The Nation," Katrina vanden Heuvel, quoted someone close to the Clinton campaign as having said, "People are looking at him like a little league dad who's having these temper tantrums in every state."
Making matters worse, George Will referred to the former president as "an Olympic-class whiner," while host George Stephanopoulos said, "Some people are concerned about this, even inside the Party," and fretted, "I have no indication at all though that President Clinton's going to stop."
I kid you not.
Without further ado, and for your entertainment pleasure, here's a partial transcript of this truly delicious panel segment (video available here, relevant section begins at minute 7:25):
Just how far to the left is ABC's George Stephanopoulos?
Well, on Sunday's "This Week," while discussing the presidential campaign with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the former Clinton aide actually cited the liberal website Daily Kos.
I guess we now know what George is reading while he's prepping for the show.
To set this up, Stephanopoulos and Gingrich were discussing how wide open the GOP presidential race looks, and the possibility of a brokered convention, when the host actually said with a smile on his face:
Move over, Bill Clinton. There's a new kid on the block when it comes to looking into the camera and not telling the truth to the American people . . . and his name is John Edwards. To his credit, George Stephanopoulos caught Edwards out today on a key tenet of Silky's candidacy . . . but then let things slide.
Edwards was a guest on This Week, and it didn't take him long to don his scourge-of-greedy-corporations mantle. Central to Edwards' pitch is the claim that you don't sit down with corporate interests, you fight them.
On Sunday's This Week, ABC's George Stephanopoulos pressed former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan to agree on the wisdom of raising taxes. Stephanopoulos wondered “what would be wrong with letting the tax cuts for the top one percent expire?” and suggested that to “shore up” Social Security and Medicate that Congress “limit the tax cuts.”
Citing a Congressional Budget Office study, “which was just stunning to me,” Stephanopoulos recounted how “it said that in the last two years -- from 2003 to 2005 -- the increase in income for the top one percent exceeded the total income of the bottom 20 percent. Given that, what would be wrong with letting the tax cuts for the top one percent expire and plowing that money into education?” Following up, Stephanopoulos proposed: “If you have long-term problems in Medicare and then also in Social Security, wouldn't it make sense to, in addition to limiting them as I know you would like to do, to limit the tax cuts and shore up the programs in that way?” Stephanopoulos started the interview by summarizing John Edwards' claim that “average Americans are not winning in this current economy and the policies that we've been following for a long time are part of the reason.” Greenspan retorted: “His remedies will make it worse.”
It's been a rough day for Hillary. First, as noted here, she was drummed from pillar to post on ABC's "This Week." NewsBuster Noel Sheppard then detailed here how Chris Matthews' crew raked her over the coals. Now, completing Hillary's troika of tribulation, the CBS Evening News has gotten into the act.
The development being reported was ostensibly positive for Hillary: the Des Moines Register today endorsed her. If CBS had stopped there, it would have been a plus for the Clinton campaign. But unfortunately for Hillary . . . the Evening News decided to play clips of Clinton on the stump in Iowa.
Worst job in America this morning: Clinton campaign staffer assigned to inform Hillary of her treatment at the hands of ABC's "This Week" panel.
From moderator George Stephanopoulos to former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile, to the husband-wife tandem of Jay Carney of Time and Claire Shipman of ABC, to conservative sage George Will, it was a decidedly downbeat take on Hillary's fortunes.
According to veteran ABC journalist Sam Donaldson, evangelical voters are longing for a "Christian theocracy" to rule the United States. Donaldson, appearing on the December 9 edition of "This Week," made the comment while discussing GOP candidate Mitt Romney's speech about religious faith. He also labeled the address "very, very frightening."
Responding to host George Stephanopoulos's assertion that the speech was an inversion of John Kennedy's famous 1960 address, Donaldson asserted, "That's right and that's far we've come. [Romney] talks about the public square. Now, he would say, 'I'm don't mean a Christian theocracy in the White House.' But it's getting much, much closer." Returning to the subject several minutes later, the former ABC anchor, in a slightly horrified tone, remarked, "...Talk about a Christian theocracy in this country, many evangelical Christians believe... that's what we should have, that government should favor people who have the right and understand what God wants us to do."
Reports on Tuesday's broadcast network evening newscasts all highlighted concerns the new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which concluded Iran stopped working on its nuclear weapons program in 2003, will reduce international pressure on Iran. But just a couple of minutes after CBS's Jim Axelrod asserted that “maintaining an international coalition to confront Iran will no doubt be trickier now,” CBS's Elizabeth Palmer contended from London that pressure to impose sanctions, “led by the European leaders,” remains “huge” since “they've always said, 'look, the point is to stop Iran enriching uranium that could be one of the ingredients for a bomb.' And they believe that sanctions could be very effective in finally curbing that program which remains very active as we speak.”
Like Axelrod, NBC's David Gregory noted that “the President is making the case that the international community cannot let up on Iran,” but “the question is whether a skeptical public and skeptical international community will listen?” ABC's Martha Raddatz related how the White House is “concerned” and “I've been in touch with some diplomats. The ones who have to go overseas and say please join us with these sanctions. There is definite concern...”
After discussing the British woman in Sudan charged for naming a class teddy bear Muhammad on Friday’s "View," with no outrage directed towards the Sudanese government, the ladies again discussed the topic. Barbara Walters inquired to the panel what would happen if someone named a teddy bear Jesus in the United States.
Unlike Rosie O’Donnell, who exclaimed "radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam," Joy Behar, to her credit, said "Christians in this country would not be as uptight about it." Later she added "in the Sudan is that it’s, it’s state sanctioned there. Here it would just be an uproar from certain people." [Video embedded below the fold, courtesy of user pundital on YouTube]