Catching up on a short item I noticed over the weekend, conservative columnist George Will has finally found a bright spot to the media's wall-to-wall coverage of Michael Jackson over the past couple of weeks: at least it's time not spent pushing a liberal big government agenda. Will pointed out on ABC's This Week: "When the mainstream media is preoccupied with this, it's probably doing, on margin, less damage than when it's dealing with public policy."
At that, longtime ABC newsman Sam Donaldson interjected, "Oh, thanks a lot!"
During the July 12 roundtable, host George Stephanopoulos opened a segment on the media's coverage of Jackson (under the graphic headline "Michael Jackson: Media Overkill") with a clip of Republican Congressman Peter King decrying the lavish coverage given over to Jackson, who faced trial four years ago over charges he molested a young boy. Here's the full exchange:
In light of recent reports that Vice President Cheney had ordered the CIA to withhold information about a counterrorism program that was being planned during the Bush administration, on Sunday ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on both Good Morning America and on This Week suggested that the revelations may be "vindication" for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, or that they at least "bolster" her claims about the CIA lying to her. Stephanopoulos even seemed to be pushing Pelosi to claim "vindication" even while the Speaker’s office was reluctant to do so. Stephanopoulos, from Good Morning America: "I spoke with Speaker Pelosi's office about that, and they don't want to use the word "vindication," but, clearly, it does bolster their case that on several occasions, they were either misled or not given relevant information that the Congress was supposed to have."
During the roundtable discussion on This Week, after conservative columnist George Will brought up the danger of leaks by members of Congress, since congressional members leaked the current story, Stephanopoulos again suggested the story helps Pelosi: "And part of the reason they wrote those letters was in defense of the Speaker, Nancy Pelosi ... they said that they had been misled, and, of course, the Speaker had said the CIA has lied to us on many occasions. I think she said they lie all the time. So this is a measure of vindication, I suppose, for the Speaker, even though she doesn't want to claim it."
During the roundtable discussion, it was left to Will to point out not only that the program "remained in the planning stages," but that the law Democrats are alleging may have been broken has a loophole, suggesting that withholding information on the program may have been legal. Will:
Sarah Palin hasn't had it as tough as Hillary Clinton and at her Friday announcement Palin “came across as petty and vindictive. Richard Nixon without the policy knowledge or the experience,”Washington, DC-based Atlanta Journal-Constitution political columnist Cynthia Tucker contended during the roundtable on Sunday's This Week on ABC. Both George Stephanopoulos and George Will pointed out, that after Nixon said “you won't have Richard Nixon to kick around anymore,” he came back and won the presidency twice.
Tucker, who oversaw the paper's editorial page from the early 1990s through last month and won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2007, charged: “If Sarah Palin thinks that she's had it tougher than anybody else, she's been more harshly criticized, I have for two words for her: Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton was savaged for eight years.”
ABC's This Week roundtable took up the media's favoritism toward President Obama. George Stephanopoulos marveled at “how obsessed the President and White House are with Fox News,” prompting George Will to observe that's because “it's the discordant note in an otherwise harmonious chorus.” New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller, however, cautioned “don't confuse attention with love” as he maintained of Obama's coverage: “I don't think...it's been unskeptical or uncritical.” Indeed, Keller insisted, “he's getting examined pretty microscopically.”
Sam Donaldson cracked up the panel with a back-handed slap at the White House press corps. Asked how they are doing, Donaldson proposed before being drowned out by guffaws led by Stephanopoulos: “I think it's doing okay. I mean, they're going to come to life as the public gets more skeptical-”
(Fox News Sunday also had a segment on the media's love affair with Obama. Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard saw “a clear ideological affinity for Barack Obama and his programs” as well as “a huge do-something bias” for government action to solve perceived problems. NPR's Mara Liasson predicted: “I think the honeymoon is probably going to wind down sometime this fall.”)
"I’ve always been struck by how -- and it’s not too strong a word -- how obsessed the President and the White House are with Fox News."
So said ABC's George Stephanopoulos during the Roundtable segment of Sunday's "This Week."
I kid you not.
With an on-screen chyron shockingly asking, "Free Media Ride For Obama?" the former member of the administration exceedingly paranoid of what it declared was a vast right-wing conspiracy actually discussed with his guests the fawning coverage the current White House resident is getting from the press.
As President Obama tours the country advancing his universal healthcare initiative, there are some dirty little secrets that he and his minions in the media don't want Americans to know.
On Sunday, George Will during the panel discussion on ABC's "This Week," exposed some inconvenient truths about this controverial subject that would likely change much of the public's view if they were regularly made aware of them.
After host George Stephanopoulos opened the roundtable segment, Will marvelously cut to the chase (video available here):
On Sunday’s This Week roundtable, ABC national correspondent Claire Shipman tried to argue that it would be “very hard” for Republicans to label Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a liberal. “When you look at Sotomayor's record and look at the cases, it's very hard for people to make the case that she's a typical, you know, elite liberal judicial philosopher,” Shipman declared.
That was too much even for liberal columnist Cynthia Tucker, who is currently the editorial page editor of the Atlantic Journal-Constitution but will this summer move to Washington as the paper’s D.C.-based political columnist. “She is certainly liberal, she’s called herself liberal,” Tucker informed Shipman, but agreed that Sotomayor is “nobody’s knee-jerk radical.”
For the past three weeks, controversy has swirled around Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has called for a “truth commission” to expose the supposed war crimes of the Bush administration but who herself was briefed years ago on the use of waterboarding and the other enhanced interrogation techniques that are now drawing howls of outrage.
ABC, CBS and NBC have said nothing about the Speaker’s shifting stories, or the potential hypocrisy of her once supporting (or at least not objecting to) policies that she would later condemn as illegal “torture.”
The current round of stories began April 22, after the Obama administration released selected memos from the Bush administration on the legal limits to interrogation. That night, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell offered a brief mention of how Pelosi was one of those who had been told: “Members of Congress were briefed at the time and reportedly didn’t dissent, including intelligence committee leaders Nancy Pelosi, Porter Goss, Bob Graham and Richard Shelby.” ABC and CBS said nothing about Pelosi that night.
Asked by George Stephanopoulos to name the “most important thing we've learned” about President Barack Obama during his first one hundred days in office (which is still three days away), David Sanger, a Washington correspondent for the New York Times, asserted: “I think we've learned that he's more moderate than we had expected.” That says a lot about the mindset of New York Times reporters and prompted George Will to retort, during the roundtable segment on ABC's This Week: “He's less moderate than I thought. He's going to design our cars. He's going to design our light bulbs. He's going to tell us where our house shall be built. This is supervisory liberalism in the most nagging, annoying sort.”
Bob Schieffer brought aboard CBS's Face the Nation the Washington Post's Bob Woodward and Tina Brown, Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Beast site, to assess Obama. Brown could barely contain herself, trumpeting “what a force-multiplier Michelle Obama has turned out to be” as she and her husband work in “flawless concert,” so while “the world is talking about torture and the Bush administration, then we have Michelle with her vegetable garden. Talk about Spring time in America!”
Those who “devised” what ABC called “torture memos” and the “methods” they defined, retired ABC News correspondent Sam Donaldson contended on Sunday's This Week, “should be held responsible” and so “should be held accountable in the court of law.” Donaldson allowed that “people who thought they were following the law as outlined” should not be punished, but:
The people who devised these methods and devised these memos, if, in fact, they knew that they were just trying to find cover, just trying to find a way to get around American values and American law and the American Constitution, I think they should be held responsible. I think they should be brought in and if President Obama wants to pardon them as one President pardoned a former President, then let him do so, but they should be held accountable in the court of law.
ABC's Sam Donaldson let a little of his inner-conspiracy theorist out this morning on This Week with George Stephanopoulos.
In a discussion of President Barack Obama's lessening the sanctions on Fidel Castro's Cuba, Donaldson began his analysis with one of a number a Kennedy-Truther notions that have been knocking around ever since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963.
Ever since Lee Harvey Oswald first squeezed the trigger, there have been numerous others for whom he was the alleged fall guy. The Grassy Knoll, the Zapruder films, etc.
Then-Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson has been mentioned, as has the Mafia, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, Howard Hunt and the Eastern Bloc of Soviet States, or some cabal of some or all of the above.
Another wild card in this crazy deck was Cuba's El Presidente, Castro. The theory being that Castro was upset with JFK's woefully planned and executed Bay of Pigs attempt at ending his nascent dictatorship, and therefore exacted his revenge by executing the 35th President.
Donaldson's buy-in for this house-of-cards game is apparently the Castro connection.
She's been popping up in a lot of places lately to chime in on the economy.
This time Huffington Post editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington appeared on ABC's April 5 "This Week," where she voiced her disapproval of the March 30 decision by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) relaxing mark-to-market accounting rules.
"This week, we saw so many concessions to the banks," Huffington said. "We saw the suspension of mark-to-market, which is absolutely tragic. Japan, by not having mark-to-market, made it much harder for them to recover."
But as Brian Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Portfolios recently wrote for Forbes magazine, mark-to-market accounting reinstitution was reinstated only in recent years. The last time it was in effect - during the Great Depression - it caused many bank failures.
If you needed some good news to brighten your Saturday evening, this could be it: ABC's George Stephanopoulos believes Democrats have abandoned their goal of enacting a carbon cap and trade program this year.
For those unfamiliar, this is a scheme backed by global warming alarmists such as Nobel Laureate Al Gore designed to place prohibitive taxes on emitters of that dastardly carbon dioxide.
Most rational economists not under Gore's influence believe such a plan would have a devastating effect on our economy, and would likely force companies to continue exporting manufacturing jobs to countries like China and India which don't have such business unfriendly practices.
Fortunately, according to Stephanopoulos, this idea has been scrapped for the time being (h/t Hot Air):
In January, Politico's John F. Harris exposed a liberal cabal involving telephone calls between White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, ABC's George Stephanopoulos, and CNN's Paul Begala and James Carville.
Since then, Americans on both sides of the aisle have wondered just how far-reaching the political influence of these four is on the mainstream media.
More importantly, just how much is the Obama administration, via its press contacts that worked in the White House before, involved in controlling the message being disseminated?
Consider the following sequence of events involving Stephanopoulos that began with a March 13 press release by the Democratic National Committee:
CRITICAL UPDATE at end of post: AUC's founder and former president is now the communications director of the DNC.
On Sunday's "This Week," ABC's George Stephanopoulus played an advertisment created by a far-left political organization to bash the Republican Party and his guest Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Maybe even worse, the group responsible for this recent attack, Americans United for Change, targeted the Kentucky Senator for his position on the Iraq war back in March 2007.
As ABC's Chief Washington Correspondent, it seems hard to believe Stephanopoulos was ignorant of the political leanings of this group or its past opposition to his guest.
Regardless, after introducing McConnell, and allowing the Senate minority leader to offer his views concerning the 2010 budget recently proposed by President Obama, Stephanopoulos went on the attack himself:
I met up with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos at the National Capital chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals’ Annual Professional Night this evening and asked if he had strategy session conference calls with aides in the White House as reported by Politico’s John F. Harris.
Politico's Michael Calderone recently reported that Kerry Smith, ABC News Sr.VP for editorial quality, wrote that Stephanopoulos "speaks to Mr. Emanuel, a friend he has known for nearly two decades, as a source, just as he speaks to countless sources across the political spectrum each and every day. That is his job as an anchor and reporter and one that he does according to the highest standards."
The latest Stephanopoulos entry on ABC News needs a reality check, in a big way, and Erick Erickson of RedState hit it perfectly.
The Democrat-turned-born-again-journalist posted the following story on his ABC News blog today, claiming that Eric Cantor had repudiated Rush Limbaugh's CPAC rhetoric:
“Defending his attacks against President Barack Obama's economic plans, Limbaugh said Saturday to the conservative conference, "What is so strange about being honest and saying I want Barack Obama to fail if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundations?"
Cantor today rejected Limbaugh's rhetoric.
"So the Rush Limbaugh approach of hoping the president fails is not the Eric Cantor, House Republican approach?" I asked.
How will major news organizations handle the challenge or conflict-of-interest problems when they have employees with spouses at high levels of the Obama administration? The newly named head of the White House Office of Health Reform, Nancy-Ann DeParle, is married to New York Times reporter Jason DeParle. The marriage was mentioned in the Times article on Mrs. DeParle’s appointment, but will the editor or the Public Editor of the Times explain how they’ll avoid a conflict?
Time magazine saluted Mrs. DeParle’s resume, including running Medicare at the end of the Clinton administration, but like the Times, they were more concerned with her private-sector conflicts: "Since then she has become a highly sought-after corporate, academic and foundation consultant, earning enough money with her husband, New York Times reporter Jason DeParle, to buy a $3 million house in the Washington suburbs in 2007."
Have you wondered why there have been so many hit pieces lately about Rush Limbaugh?
Well, new revelations suggest that Democrats began a smear campaign against the conservative talk radio host last October, and now it's really caught steam.
Apparently, the Left feared its message would be muted without having George W. Bush to blame for all the world's problems, and Limbaugh made a nice substitute as the object of their disaffection to distract the public from real issues.
Given White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's connections to key media figures such as ABC's George Stephanopoulos as well as CNN's Paul Begala and James Carville, disseminating the hate was a piece of cake.
ABC's Cokie Roberts denounced as “irresponsible” conservative opposition to the “stimulus” bill and suggested those who voted against it should be punished, declaring on Sunday's This Week: “I just think that when you're in a situation like this, to do nothing is so irresponsible that you can't, you can't get away with it.”
Earlier on the show, host George Stephanopoulos pressed Congresswoman Maxine Waters to agree banks must be nationalized: “A lot of economists now saying that what is really -- could be needed is bite the bullet nationalization.” Citing a professor's op-ed, “Nationalize the Banks! We're all Swedes Now,” Stephanopoulos recited the argument “we should just do what they did when they faced their crisis. They nationalized the banks and they came out of it okay.” When the far-left House member resisted -- “I don't think that we're ready to move to the point of a formalized, nationalized banking program yet” -- Stephanopoulos pleaded: “Even if it's the only thing that would work?”
Following the Media Research Center's ongoing call for an explanation of George Stephanopoulos's reported strategy conference calls with Democratic operatives Paul Begala and James Carville and White House Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel, the MRC has released a new Profile in Bias for the "This Week" host.
"[I]n his on-air role at ABC, Stephanopoulos has been a reliable mouthpiece for the Democratic spin of the day — using his perch as an analyst and correspondent to add an extra boost to liberals, undermine conservatives and push a liberal policy agenda," the profile notes before listing scores of examples, such this one from March 18, 2008, wherein Stephanopoulos lauded Obama for refusing to castigate his former pastor:
By refusing to renounce Reverend Wright, that was in many ways an act of honor for Senator Obama.
As we at NewsBusters have documented, ABC News executives have refused to directly confront the breach of journalistic ethics first reported in the January 27 Politico:
ABC's George Stephanopoulos was puzzled on Sunday's This Week when new Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele saw a difference between government-created temporary “make work” jobs and jobs created by the private sector: “I guess I don't really understand that distinction.” When Steele charged that “what this administration is talking about is making work,” Stephanopoulos interjected, “But that's a job,” leading Steele to explain: “No, it's not a job. A job is something that a business owner creates. It's going to be long term. What he's [Obama's] creating” are projects that “have an end point.”
Answering Stephanopoulos' confusion, Steele elaborated: “Well, the difference, the distinction is this. If you got a government contract that's a fixed period of time it goes away. The work may go away. There's no guarantee that there's going to be more work when you're done that job.” To which, Stephanopoulos retorted: “But we've seen millions and millions of jobs going away in the private sector just in the last year.” Steele tried again: “Yes, but they come back though, George. That's the point. They've gone away before and they come back.”
With each passing day, ABC's failure to speak to and about this issue tarnishes further the network's reputation as a legitimate news entity. I've sent a personal letter to Mr. Westin, calling on him now as President of ABC News, to publicly address and resolve this issue. If the charges are false, provide the evidence. We will gladly accept it and consider the matter closed. If the charges are correct, then ABC News must address this publicly and comprehensively.
Last week, Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell issued a statement expressing displeasure with "This Week" anchor George Stephanopoulos, who, reported the January 27 edition of Politico, has daily message and strategy chats with Obama chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel and fellow Clinton administration alumni James Carville and Paul Begala. [click here]
The Media Research Center's MRCAction.org quickly took action, working with its grassroots members to present ABC News with a recusal petition (accessible here) and by informing members how they can call ABC News to complain about Stephanopoulos conflict of interest.
Below is an excerpt of Friday's MRCAction Alert, including information on how to call ABC News:
"What’s worse than the liberal media’s sycophantic coverage of President Barack Obama? ABC’s George Stephanopoulos actively helping design and deliver the Administration’s strategy and message - which he is then charged with reporting."
That was MRC President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell's reaction to Tuesday's report by Politico that the "This Week" anchor has daily strategy and message chats with former Clinton administration alumni: Rahm Emanuel -- Obama's White House chief of staff -- and CNN pundits Paul Begala and James Carville.
“For Stephanopoulos, the line between journalist and liberal strategist would be completely obliterated were it not for the fact that it apparently never existed at all. He didn’t fail in his attempt at transformation from liberal operative to journalist – he never made the effort," Bozell concluded.
That's one of the selling points used over and over again by pundits, as they are paraded out repeatedly on broadcast and cable network news programs - that so-called "shovel-ready" projects will challenge economic woes by revitalizing something we need to do anyway. But only 3 percent of the Obama stimulus plan is slated for such projects.
"The total size of the plan is about $750 to $800 billion - roughly $300 billion is for tax cuts for businesses and individuals," CBS correspondent Chip Reid said on CBS's Jan. 12 "The Early Show." "The rest will be spent on everything from roads and bridges to renewable energy to create three to 4 million jobs. Republicans are raising red flags about the amount of spending."
Interviewing President-elect Barack Obama for Sunday's This Week, ABC's George Stephanopoulos zeroed in on criticism of including tax cuts in the “stimulus bill” and repeatedly pressed Obama about naming a special prosecutor, a 9/11-like commission or at least getting “your Justice Department to investigate” what an e-mail Stephanopoulos showcased on screen described as “the gravest crimes of the Bush administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping.” On taxes, Stephanopoulos demanded: “Do you really believe those business tax cuts are going to work to create jobs?” He soon yearned: “But you might give up on some of the business tax cuts?”
Stephanopoulos put this e-mailed question up on the screen from “Bob Fertik of New York City,” failing to note he's a left-wing activist with “Prosecute Bush & Cheney!” at the top of his Web site: “Will you appoint a special prosecutor (ideally Patrick Fitzgerald) to independently investigate the gravest crimes of the Bush administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping.?” As Obama expressed reticence, Stephanopoulos pushed for alternatives to drag national security officials into the legal process: “So, no 9/11 commission with independent subpoena power?” Not giving up, he offered another way to go: “So, let me just press that one more time. You're not ruling out prosecution, but will you tell your Justice Department to investigate these cases and follow the evidence wherever it leads?”