Good Morning America

By Scott Whitlock | February 1, 2013 | 12:43 PM EST

ABC on Thursday and Friday either downplayed or outright ignored the "bruising day" Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel endured in Washington. Friday's Good Morning America skipped the topic entirely, thus avoiding the tough questions by Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain. Nightline, which now airs after midnight, didn't get to the story until 1:05am.

Thursday's World News did cover the contentious hearings, but Diane Sawyer minimized Hagel's poor performance, which even liberal writer Peter Beinart mocked as "making Biden look rhetorically sure-footed." Sawyer solemnly opened the show: "...One man entered the arena. Chuck Hagel, the purple heart recipient from the Vietnam War, the former senator nominated to be Secretary of Defense. His former colleagues met him with a fuselage of critical questions..." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

By Scott Whitlock | January 31, 2013 | 5:06 PM EST

ABC's Diane Sawyer on Wednesday pushed the pro-gun control angle as she highlighted the debate in Congress over a "nation awash in guns." After World News reporter Jon Karl recapped the testimony by the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre and Gabby Giffords, Sawyer lectured, "...There are two facts driving those hearings today. Thirty Americans die from gun violence in this country every single day. And nearly 23,000 have died in the past two years alone."

The anchor then mentioned "Hadiya Pendleton, an honor student and majorette" who was recently gunned down in Chicago by a gang member. This was Sawyer's only example of "gun violence." Of course, she didn't mention the case of a Texas mother who fended off three armed intruders, shooting one. Erin (her last name was withheld) explained, "Protecting ourselves goes into, you know, our Second Amendment right to bear arms and thousands of people died to give me the very right that saved my life." [See  local news video of her story below.]

By Scott Whitlock | January 31, 2013 | 1:01 PM EST

ABC on Wednesday and Thursday continued to ignore the developing prostitution scandal surrounding Democratic Senator Robert Menendez. NBC highlighted the story on the Today show. CBS covered the story, but reporter Jan Crawford suggested the allegations have "all the earmarks of an orchestrated smear campaign."

ABC's World News on Wednesday and Good Morning America on Thursday skipped the news that federal agents are removing evidence from the office of Solomon Melgen, a Florida doctor who flew Menendez on trips to the Dominican Republic. There, the New Jersey senator allegedly engaged prostitutes. On CBS This Morning, Crawford charitably explained, "Now, on the one hand, they've got all the earmarks of an orchestrated smear campaign. But the question is, are they true?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

By Scott Whitlock | January 29, 2013 | 12:06 PM EST

The three networks on Monday night and Tuesday morning hailed a "historic" potential change by the Boy Scouts that would lift the ban on gays in their organization. ABC compared the move to a famous Norman Rockwell painting. NBC featured voices complaining that the decision doesn't go far enough.

On Monday's World News, Diane Sawyer trumpted that change is "afoot in an iconic American institution." She lamented, " For generations, becoming a Boy Scout was an American tradition. But not for all." Regarding the move to allow gays in, Sawyer prompted her colleague, reporter David Muir, "But we were talking earlier about the Norman Rockwell painting, the classic painting of the Cub Scout dreaming one day of becoming a real Boy Scout. And you were saying, the caption to that painting is?" "Can't wait," he solemnly responded. "Can't wait," Sawyer marveled. [See video below MP3 audio here.]

By Scott Whitlock | January 28, 2013 | 12:10 PM EST

The journalists at Good Morning America on Monday could barely restrain the hype as they gushed over the "lovefest" joint interview between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. An ABC graphic even used an exclamation point, as in "lovefest!" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

Recounting the 60 Minutes segment, a credulous Martha Raddatz lauded, "From the moment they sat down to talk with CBS' News 60 Minutes, President Obama and Secretary Clinton seemed like they've been the best of friends for decades." Guest co-host Elizabeth Vargas insisted that the "revealing and rare joint interview has everyone reading the tea leaves." The terrorist attack in Libya never came up in the ABC piece. 

By Scott Whitlock | January 24, 2013 | 12:32 PM EST

ABC's Martha Raddatz on Thursday swooned over Hillary Clinton's Senate testimony on Benghazi, lauding the outgoing Secretary of State as "combative, charming, disarming and clearly ready for a fight." The Good Morning America correspondent seemed to enjoy the day as theater, hyping, " It was truly a riveting day on Capitol Hill...with Secretary Clinton as some have never seen her before."

Raddatz allowed that Clinton didn't convince "some Republicans," but returned to a style discussion. She continued, "But this was certainly a memorable way to close out her tenure." Focusing on the emotion of the Senate appearance, the journalist empathized that "when Clinton spoke of her four fallen colleagues, the pain, the memories were still raw." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

By Scott Whitlock | January 23, 2013 | 3:33 PM EST

Previewing Hillary Clinton's testimony on the terrorist incident in Benghazi, George Stephanopoulos scoffed at the idea that members of Congress would dare grill the outgoing Secretary of State. Talking to Martha Raddatz on Tuesday, the Good Morning America co-host predicted, "But she's very well practiced at [testifying] and I can't imagine they're really going to beat her up on her last few days as Secretary of State."

In fact, Senator Rand Paul did aggressively question Senator Clinton, telling her, "Had I been President at the time and I found out you had not read the cables… I would have relieved you of your post." Additionally, since when has someone leaving been an excuse not to press them on important issues?

By Scott Whitlock | January 23, 2013 | 12:40 PM EST

Good Morning America co-anchor George Stephanopoulos appeared on Tuesday's O'Reilly Factor to openly lobby for more gun control and reflect on his previous career as a Democratic operative for Bill Clinton. O'Reilly played a clip of Tom Brokaw comparing not speaking out about guns to allowing racism to flourish in the south.

Responding to this, Stephanopoulos hedged, "It's not the analogy I would use, but I think what he was talking about there is the kind of passion that people feel right now." Later, the reporter opened up about his own liberal take on guns: "Look, I have been a long-time supporter of gun control measures that, you know, I think are in accord with the Second Amendment." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

By Scott Whitlock | January 22, 2013 | 11:57 AM EST

After years of downplaying ideological labels for Barack Obama, ABC has seemingly accepted the idea that the President is a "progressive" and a "liberal." While recapping the inauguration, Good Morning America's journalists used the terms four times in just two minutes and 45 seconds. Yet, when Obama was a Democratic primary candidate in 2007, the networks deployed the L-word just twice– in the entire year.

On Tuesday, George Stephanopoulos hyped the ideological content of Obama's second inaugural: "The speech, a call to action, an uncompromising enunciation of liberal principles." Seconds later, the former Democratic operative turned journalist reiterated, insisting that "liberals were cheering yesterday." Jon Karl trumpeted, "He went big. He went lofty. He went ambitious. And he went unmistakably liberal." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

By Scott Whitlock | January 21, 2013 | 11:23 AM EST

Four years ago, ABC journalist Bill Weir swooned that "national pride" made the cold of Inauguration Day seem warmer and that even the seagulls were "awed." On Monday, the reporter was at it again, hyping "history" is "keeping [inauguration-goers] warm." On Good Morning America, the morning show crew gushed over every detail.

News reader Josh Elliott referred to the First Lady's new haircut as the "bangs that thrilled the nation...[Obama's] dear wife and the hair." Later, during live coverage, Weir talked to a 16-year-old in pajamas, visiting Washington for the inauguration. He wondered, "History is keeping you warm, right?" "Outstanding," enthused the journalist. World News anchor Diane Sawyer liked the line so much she repeated it later: "And I heard you say earlier, Bill, people are counting on history to keep them warm."

By Noel Sheppard | January 20, 2013 | 1:05 PM EST

Four years ago, ABC's Bill Weir gushed during coverage of Barack Obama's first inauguration, "Even the seagulls must have been awed by the blanket of humanity.”

On Sunday, Diane Sawyer said of Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Eve, "The whole city has a smile on its face" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Mark Finkelstein | January 19, 2013 | 7:51 AM EST

When in 2008 Senator Ted Stevens was indicted on corruption-related charges, the very first word in ABC News's headline was "Republican."  And the R-word was mentioned four more times in the story.  

But when ABC's Good Morning America ran a segment this morning on the indictment on charges of corruption of Ray Nagin, former Mayor of New Orleans, it never revealed—either by spoken word or screen graphic—that Nagin is a Democrat.  Note that this was not some short news blip: GMA took a full minute-and-a-half to tell the story, but couldn't find a few seconds to mention Nagin's party affiliation.  View the video after the jump.