I wonder how the media will pretend this is bad news? The latest employment numbers are in and not only are they solid, but last month wasn't the catastrophe first reported.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced 110,000 jobs were created in September and 89,000 were created in August. The August number replaces the 4,000 jobs lost that were first reported. If you flash back to last month, you'll remember how much the media screamed about this. ABC was declaring the August numbers a sign of "new fears this morning about the state of our economy," said Bill Weir on September 8. That's how he lead off a downbeat "Good Morning America" story entitled "Road to Recession? Bleak Signals from Job Report."
It only got worse. "And now many are asking whether the disappointing employment figures, coupled with the housing crisis, may head us, have us headed for a serious economic downturn or even recession," worried Weir.
Assume for a moment that a new study by NASA proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that manmade global warming was indeed responsible for the recent ice melts in the Arctic. Think media would have reported it?
In reality, that's a bit of a trick question, for in the past several weeks, television newscasts, papers, and magazines have been filled with hysterical assertions about decreasing Arctic ice levels destined to cause imminent flooding to coastal regions around the world.
As such, it certainly was no surprise when NASA released a report Monday claiming "the rapid decline in winter perennial ice the past two years was caused by unusual winds," virtually no media outlets shared the information with the citizenry, and those that did still blamed the melting ice on - you guessed it - global warming.
The largely boycotted announcement out of NASA stated no such thing (emphasis added):
On Wednesday’s "Good Morning America," co-host Robin Roberts, for the second day in a row, intimated that Clarence Thomas was guilty of sexually harassing Anita Hill. Interviewing Anucha Brown-Sanders about her successful harassment lawsuit against New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas, Roberts gratuitously segued, "Yesterday, sitting where you are right now, Anita Hill, who was here to talk about what happened 16 years ago when she was brought before the Judiciary Committee, with Clarence Thomas being a nominee for the Supreme Court..." Roberts then asked Browne-Sanders, "Do you think your decision in your court case can have a similar impact?"
Implicit in this question is the idea that Hill’s claims against the now-Supreme Court justice are true. Would Roberts use Clinton-accuser Paula Jones as a similar comparison to a modern case? On Tuesday’s GMA, the ABC host employed the same tactic in the interview with Anita Hill. Roberts sympathetically questioned, "Is it better now in the workplace for women?" Again, this leaves the assumption that for things to be "better," Thomas must have been guilty of making them worse for Hill.
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," ABC host Robin Roberts sympathetically interviewed Anita Hill and asserted that her 1991 testimony in front of the Senate resulted in the law professor enduring "withering scrutiny from the press." Roberts also pointedly noted that Hill "passed a polygraph test. Clarence Thomas refused to take one. You passed one." An ABC graphic defiantly observed, "Anita Hill: ‘I Stand by my Testimony’"
The segment on GMA stood in stark contrast to the mostly positive and fair coverage Thomas received on Monday’s "Good Morning America" and "Nightline." (The Supreme Court justice has been promoting his new autobiography.) Reporter Jan Crawford Greenburg allowed Thomas to tell his side of the story and attack accusers, such as when Greenburg noted, "Thomas says he faced more racism in the confirmation fight than he did as a child in the segregated south."
As the MRC’s Tim Graham wrote on Monday, Hill, who accused then Supreme Court nominee Thomas of sexual harassment, hardly suffered through "withering scrutiny" from many media outlets, especially in the wake of the hearings. In early 1992, "60 Minutes" reporter Ed Bradley gingerly asked Hill, "When someone looks at you and sees Anita Hill, what do you want that to mean?"
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," ABC reporter Kate Snow rose to the defense of Hillary Clinton and the fact that she’s been seen manically giggling in many interviews. Referencing the mocking that the Democratic presidential candidate has taken on "The Daily Show" and other places, Snow asserted that either Hillary Clinton is either "having a really good time out on the campaign trail, or she's the master of a shrewd political skill, disarming her critics with a gleam in her eye and a roar straight from the belly." So, the former First Lady is vibrant and fun-loving or brilliant in a good natured way? Those are the only two options?
During the segment, only Democratic operatives or Clinton campaign officials were asked to explain the candidate’s recent outburst of giggles (except for a brief "Daily Show" clip). According to Snow, "Her inner circle insists her laugh is not calculated. It's natural." Clinton operative Capricia Marshall found Hillary’s laughter to be "contagious." Democratic strategist Chris Lehane glowingly described the cackling as "smart and pretty adroit." What else would ABC and Kate Snow expect them to say?
ABC may have set a loathsome new MSM low in insulting traditional Christians. On today's "Good Morning America," the network lumped the "Christan right" with the 9-11 Islamic terrorists as driving people to atheism.
Keying off an atheists convention being held this weekend, GMA ran a segment on the "Rise in Atheism." Seeking to explain the phenomenon, as images rolled first of the WTC in flames and then of a man placidly holding a sign that simply read "One Nation Under God" and of a display at a demonstration of the Ten Commandments, ABC's Liz Marlantes stated:
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," ABC host Diane Sawyer interviewed actress Sally Field and again indicated that the TV star's edited anti-war tirade at the September 16 Emmys was simply no big deal. The GMA anchor dismissively observed, "Again, we were saying at the time, everybody in Canada heard the whole thing, sat at home and watched it." Agreeing with the implication of American provincialism, the "Brothers and Sisters" star fragmentedly noted, "And in London. A friend of mine in London." Sawyer added that the cultured British must have been "thinking probably nothing much of it."
Field also furthered the idea that Fox censored her as part of some pro-war agenda. According to the "Flying Nun" star, "...When it has to do with war at all on Fox, I think they all ran around like a bunch of chickens and started pulling wires, you know, ‘Get her off the air!’" Of course, the actual reason her comments were edited was because Fox feared being fined by the FCC. Other edits that night included a profanity and a Ray Romano’s use of the word "screwing." In fact, Fox allowed several conservative-slamming, non-vulgar jokes to air unimpeded.
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," for the fourth time this year, the ABC program skewered America for not being generous with paid leave and openly lobbied viewers to support a Democratic, big government initiative. After lumping the U.S. in with countries such as Liberia and Lesotho, as being one of only five countries that don’t provide paid maternity leave, GMA contributor Tory Johnson appeared with Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd to promote his legislation.
"First and most important is to make your voice heard, Johnson exclaimed. Openly advocating this government expansion, she added, "On the GMA website, we have links to all the senators’ and congressmen’s offices. Call them. E-mail them. Let them know where you stand." Would GMA promote legislation for family friendly television that a Republican presidential candidate was sponsoring? Also, there was almost no mention of the expensive cost of providing eight weeks of paid maternity leave and how that would effect the U.S. taxpayer. Instead, co-host Robin Roberts mentioned that unpaid leave is already available and wondered, "What's stopping the government from making the law truly family friendly?" Johnson alternatively described paid leave as "government’s relief" and "great benefits" without much consideration of where these "benefits" are coming from.
On Thursday’s "Good Morning America," ABC host George Stephanopoulos provided another example of the close relationship that the "This Week" host has with Bill and Hillary Clinton. After playing a debate clip of the New York Senator publicly disagreeing with her husband over a question about torture, Stephanopoulos revealed to co-host Robin Roberts, "My e-mail started going off the minute after that exchange happened. All the Clinton people."
Stephanopoulos, a former top aide to Bill Clinton, explained that Mrs. Clinton’s operatives "were thrilled" with the retort and "they like any moment where she can show that, actually, she's the one in charge. He's not pulling the strings." In other words, the Clinton camp e-mailed the ABC anchor, told him the debate moment they most appreciated and Stephanopoulos dutifully highlighted it the next day on "Good Morning America." This isn’t the first time the veteran journalist has touted his continuing ties to the Clintons. In March of 2005, he boasted to (then) MSNBC host Don Imus that he talked with liberal political operative James Carville "every day."
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," the ABC program once again demonstrated the template for GOP figures to receive air time: Trash your fellow Republicans. GMA featured former Congressman J.C. Watts questioning whether top 2008 GOP presidential candidates are racist for skipping a PBS debate on minority issues. Continuing the theme, co-host Robin Roberts asked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, "...Why are Republicans so reluctant to talk to minorities?"
In a piece setting up the Gingrich interview, Roberts intoned that the absence of Republican front-runners at the event is "raising questions about the message it sends to some voters." GMA co-host Diane Sawyer teased the segment by not-so-subtlety asking, "...Are the Republican candidates snubbing minority events?" Roberts and Sawyer never bothered to mention that Thursday’s PBS debate will be moderated by liberal host Tavis Smiley who, for instance, wondered in May, "Why shouldn’t we be outraged" at George Bush. Perhaps the Republican front-runners simply don’t want to go into a hostile, left-wing event. Would "Good Morning America" insist that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton attend a forum hosted by the NRA?
CORRECTION: 2007-09-25 14:20:00 -0400 [An earlier version misidentified Jake Tapper as saying the event is "raising questions about the message it sends to some voters." This was actually said by co-host Robin Roberts.]
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," co-anchor Chris Cuomo conducted a mostly softball interview with Columbia University President Lee Bollinger about his decision to host Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the prestigious school. Rather than grill the University president about the unpopular decision, Cuomo offered friendly questions, such as when he wondered, "What value do you think Ahmadinejad's comments will add to the debate in this country?"
The ABC host also appeared to have left an actually compelling question on the cutting room floor. At the end of what was apparently a pre-taped piece, Cuomo observed to co-host Diane Sawyer that Bollinger would consider inviting Osama bin Laden. He claimed, "Even when we brought up Osama bin Laden for an invitation, it wasn't dismissed. No one was dismissed." And yet, that query isn’t actually in the segment at all. Wouldn’t such a shocking answer be big news? At the very least, one would assume, that quote would be included in the interview. It should also be noted that Sawyer responded defensively to Cuomo even referencing the missing bin Laden question. She quickly added, "Yes, but [Bollinger] says the invitation has not gone to Osama bin Laden."
Sometimes, the truth is obvious to everyone. During a discussion with fellow MSNBC host Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann wondered why Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards found it necessary to buy commercial time following a speech by President Bush. Marveling at Edwards’s actions, he revealed, "I don't think I'm saying anything unknown to the audience, I don't think he would have gotten a hard time from this particular network."
Speaking of Chris Matthews, one has to admire the host’s creativity. On Tuesday, while discussing the tasering of a University of Florida student, the cable news anchor blamed it on, you guessed it, Iraq. Matthews also decried the "fascistic notion" of American troops "forcing" democracy on Iraqis. Only a day earlier, the MSNBC host wondered, "Should we put Exxon signs up over Arlington Cemetery and Mobil signs up there, like they have at baseball stadiums?"
On Thursday’s morning shows and Wednesday’s evening newscasts, CBS and ABC discussed a possible visit to Ground Zero by Iran’s President and, at the same time, ignored Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s connections to terror and also his statements about wiping out Israel. On "Good Morning America," Chris Cuomo briefly mentioned the upcoming U.S. trip and only cited construction at New York’s Ground Zero and "security concerns" as reasons to deny the man a visit. On CBS's "Early Show," reporter Russ Mitchell filed a similarly bland report. Neither mentioned that the Iranian leader in 2005 called for Israel to be wiped from the map and Iran is a state supporter of terrorism.
Only on NBC’s "Today," did Ahmadinejad’s extreme statements and actions warrant a reference. Reporter Andrea Mitchell labeled the attempted visit to Ground Zero a "PR stunt" and pointedly observed, "[Bush] Administration officials called it appalling. Presidential candidates condemned the visit and one 9/11 widow said it's like letting Osama Bin Laden visit Ground Zero." With a series of anchor briefs, Wednesday night’s news broadcasts featured a similar pattern. NBC’s "Nightly News" host Brian Williams proclaimed that the request had been rejected because of security and the fact that "Iran is, as the U.S. said today, among the world’s leading sponsors of terrorism." However, "World News" host Charles Gibson provided no reason at all. In a news brief, he simply asserted, "[Ahmadinejad] told New York police he’d like to visit Ground Zero. The New York City police department has said no." "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric didn’t cover the subject at all.
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," ABC anchors and reporters spun the editing of Sally Field’s profanity laced anti-war rant at Sunday’s Emmys as an example of political censorship by Fox, a right-wing network. Reporter Dan Harris ominously observed, "Some saythe Fox network, owned by well known conservative Rupert Murdoch, was engaged in political censorship."
However, during the ceremony, "Sopranos" creator David Chase, extolled the values of gangsters. In a halting speech, he asserted, "And hell, let’s face it, if the world and this nation was run by gangsters-- [Pause] Maybe it is." Mr. Chase’s political statement was not censored, nor were any of the numerous anti-Bush and Republican-slamming jokes that aired on the awards show. But rather than accept the explanation that Field’s comments were cut because she used an expletive, Harris claimed, "...It’s the Sally Field case that is provoking the real cries of political censorship because Fox cut off not only her expletive but also her entire thought." The argument is somewhat self defeating because, as Harris noted, Fox also censored comedian Ray Romano’s off-color joke. In fact, the ACLU is attacking the edit on the grounds of vulgarity, not politics.
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," Diane Sawyer interviewed Hillary Clinton about health care and recycled campaign talking points that her fellow 2008 Democrat, John Edwards, has been peddling. According to Sawyer, upon his election, Edwards will "cut off health care for Congress so that they don't have health care while the rest of America doesn’t." The ABC anchor earnestly followed up by wondering, "Would you do that or is that a gimmick?" Clinton responded by observing the implausibility of the concept. She patiently explained to Sawyer that Edwards would "have to get Congress to vote for that, of course."
The Sawyer interview did contain some surprises, however. The GMA host featured two clips from the 2008 Republican hopefuls challenging Mrs. Clinton. But the eight minute and 19 second segment also continued GMA’s habit of offering generous amounts of time to the New York senator. In March, the ABC program featured Hillary for over 30 minutes during a town hall style infomercial. During Sawyer’s interview on Tuesday, she also asked Clinton emotional, softball queries. Over video of Clinton at a ‘93 health care event, the morning show host wondered, "What do you wish this woman we're looking at now on the screen had known then that you now know, since it went down in flames?"
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," liberal weatherman Sam Champion featured actor/activist Ed Begley Jr. to promote the concept of carbon offsets. The ABC meteorologist gushed over the emotional benefits of this environmental program. He exclaimed, "And you, kind of, pay into them and they fund projects that are doing good work. So you feel better about your energy use by helping create greener energy, basically."
The segment featured no skepticism as to the validity of these offsets. Rather, the tone was set by Champion’s introduction. He lectured, "We just can't help it. But every time we flip on a light switch, we're making pollution..." Later, Mr. Begley excitedly asserted that if enough people purchase carbon offsets, "...Guess what? They're going to shut down power plants."
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," token conservative reporter John Stossel told portly filmmaker Michael Moore, "Forgive me. More of us look like you"and that obesity explains whyCanadians live longer than Americans, not universal health care. Stossel appeared on the morning show to promote his program debunking the myth of "free," government-run health care. His "20/20" special, which will air September 14 on ABC, includes a quarrel with the left-wing director.
Stossel’s appearance on GMA, and his conservative take, also strongly contrasts with the morning show’s own coverage of government controlled health care. In June, Moore appeared on the program to promote "Sicko," his movie bashing the United States system of private care. Back then, GMA co-host Chris Cuomo mildly questioned the filmmaker’s trip to Cuba to lavish praise on the communist country’s health system. After the director noisily objected to this offense, Cuomo backed down, saying, "Look, I like the stunt."
Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, as the New York Times revealed Tuesday, may be concerned about how much evening news program coverage fugitive donor/fundraiser Norman Hsu attracts, but they had nothing to worry about Tuesday night. ABC didn't utter a word about the campaign's decision to refund the largest amount ever, $850,000 solicited by Hsu, yet anchor Charles Gibson found time to note how the New England Patriots broke an NFL rule by videotaping New York Jets coaches giving signals, while CBS's Katie Couric gave Hsu barely 20 seconds -- about half the time she devoted to the death of “Alex the Parrot” -- and NBC allocated 25 seconds, but only after a three-minute piece framed around how Rudy Giuliani's 9/11 image “stirs angry resentment.”
The morning shows on CBS and NBC both ignored the embarrassment and discomfort that a new MoveOn.org ad, which vilifies General David Petraeus, is causing Democrats running for the White House. While "The Early Show" and "Today" failed to cover the print advertisement from the liberal group, ABC’s "Good Morning America" at least briefly addressed the subject. The ad in question wondered if four-star general David Petraeus would "betray" the U.S. and also accused him of "cooking the books for the White House."
GMA co-host Robin Roberts took pains to discuss the advertisement, which appeared in the New York Times on Monday, in neutral terms. She claimed it simply "caught everybody’s" attention and caused "a lot of reaction." Explaining the political ramifications, ABC's George Stephanopoulos went further. He asserted the MoveOn ad puts "Democrats on the defensive" and "in a bit of a bind." The "This Week" anchor also provided a reason as to why Democratic '08 contenders haven’t rejected the advertisement. He explained, "They want the support of MoveOn.org, so you saw the presidential candidates saying, ‘Well, we don’t like what they said,’ but they wouldn’t repudiate it."
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," correspondent David Wright highlighted an ABC poll which claims a "stunning" 100 percent of Iraqis in Baghdad and Anbar Province view the troop surge negatively. Wright offered this rather amazing statistic during a dour preview of the Iraq progress report that General Petraeus will give to Congress this week. In October of 2002, the veteran journalist highlighted another nearly unanimous poll. Showing extreme naivete, he famously observed on "World News Tonight that in a 1995 Iraqi election, "... Saddam Hussein won 99.96 percent of the vote. Of course, it is impossible to say whether that's a true measure of the Iraqi people's feelings."
While discussing the ABC survey of Iraqi households, Wright didn’t question the fact that not one person could be found who viewed the troop surge positively. After comparing Petraeus’s testimony to that of General William Westmoreland at the height of the Vietnam War, Wright went on to discuss how the poll indicates that Iraqis believe the prospects for the future are "grim at best." He then closed the report by stating the obvious: Unlike ABC, General Petraeus will actually mention signs of progress, in addition to discussing the struggles. "And no doubt we're going to be hearing a starkly different assessment today from this chair by General Petraeus," he concluded.
Stop the presses! ABC's got a scoop: the situation in Iraq isn't ideal.
Trying to pave the way for the rejection of the Petraeus report, today's "Good Morning America" took the tack that the lack of complete calm is proof of the surge's failure.
Co-anchor Kate Snow set the negative tone by displaying a poll finding to the effect a majority of Americans believe the Petraeus report "will try to make things look better" in Iraq rather than portraying the situation "honestly."
Then it was on to a report from Iraq by ABC's Terry McCarthy. Don't miss the video of Snow and co-anchor Bill Weir walking in unison across the GMA stage, crossing a floor-map of Iraq to a video screen displaying McCarthy's report. Their studied maneuver reminded me of a bridesmaid and groom attendant doing their earnest best at a wedding rehearsal.
The leitmotif of McCarthy's report: yeah, things might be better in Iraq, but darn it, they're not perfect.
Two days before Oprah Winfrey is to host a celebrity-packed fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, NBC's Andrea Mitchell championed her potential ability to “turn her magic into votes for Barack Obama” and ABC's David Wright marveled: “Imagine the power of Oprah in an Obama campaign ad.” In a soundbite, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile gushed that “O plus O equals opportunity for Barack Obama to win in 2008.”
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams justified his show's story by asserting that Winfrey's “support for him [Obama] is getting new attention” -- attention NBC decided to give the topic. Mitchell admired how Winfrey “can turn a first-time author into an instant best-seller, single-handedly reviving an industry,” leading her to wonder: “Can the billionaire entertainer, and richest woman in America, turn her magic into votes for Barack Obama?”
For the third time in less than a week, ABC anchor and former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos appeared on "Good Morning America" to dourly assess Republican Fred Thompson’s 2008 chances. On the Thursday edition of GMA, the host of "This Week" attempted to set an impossible bar for the former senator. "...He can't make a mistake,"Stephanopoulos breathlessly claimed.
Earlier in the segment, the ABC host negatively spun Thompson’s standings in the polls. Some might compliment the performance of a candidate who, upon entering the 2008 race, is only narrowly trailing the front-runner. Not Stephanopoulos. After claiming that many thought the former actor would surge into first place early in the summer, he critiqued, "That hasn't happened. Most of the latest polls show that he's in second place behind Rudy Giuliani....He hasn't quite rocketed out the way he expected."
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," anchor Chris Cuomo talked to the authors of a new book about how liberals in the media allowed their politically correct biases to color coverage of the accused students in the Duke lacrosse rape case. Critiquing the media, Cuomo acknowledged, "It was difficult to report on this story fairly because there was so much pressure about pushing the angle that something had to happen. Something had to happen. It couldn't be nothing." He even proclaimed a lesson of the case to be "what people have always suspected, which is be careful what you hear from the media."
Stuart Taylor, co-author of "Until Proven Innocent," indicted liberal journalists who hold an obsession with race and sex. He derided the media’s gleeful handing of the case, saying, "The New York Times loved it, or a lot of people at the New York Times loved it. USA Today loved it. Nancy Grace on CNN loved it." However, while Cuomo did engage Taylor and his co-author K.C. Johnson on the subject of the media’s failing, the GMA anchor ignored an example from his own network. In April of 2007, ABC reporter Terry Moran blogged on the network’s official site that Americans shouldn’t feel too bad for the Duke students because of their wealth. He also claimed that the women of Rutgers basketball team suffered more from Don Imus:
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," George Stephanopoulos showcased a "quirky" poll indicating that Americans would like Hillary Clinton next to them for a multi-hour, cross country drive. Additionally, according to anchor Diane Sawyer, the poll also found a majority of citizens would choose the New York senator to run the company that employs them. Stephanopoulos, host of "This Week" and former top aide to Bill Clinton, spun the good news for Hillary as getting "at what people are looking for in a president."
The two ABC anchors also discussed Senator Clinton’s attempts to increase her likability ratings. Stephanopoulos repeated a talking point by parroting the former First Lady’s claim to be "the most famous person in the world that people don't know." Then, he helpfully played clips of Mrs. Clinton demonstrating warmth and humor on such venues as "The Late Show" and Ellen Degeneres’s program." Finally, what little time was left for the Republicans was spent bashing former Senator Fred Thompson for "fritter[ing]" the summer away and not exciting crowds.
Several media outlets used the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina as an excuse to promote the 2008 Democratic candidates. On CNN, right after running a glowing piece on Democrats such as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, anchor Soledad O’Brien sermonized that "no event has damaged the Bush White House more than Katrina." Over on ABC, "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts claimed that candidates from "both parties" would travel to New Orleans to "point out the Bush administration's shortcomings in fixing many problems that still exist, like those being forced to still live in trailers."
"Hardball" regular David Shuster managed to combine both the Katrina coverage with the scandal over Senator Larry Craig. He bizarrely claimed that the Craig incident "adds moral insult to the injuries being suffered today by the victims of Hurricane Katrina."
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," ABC’s anchors and reporters reacted to Fred Thompson’s entry in the 2008 race with negativity and sarcasm. Co-host George Stephanopoulos asserted that the former senator’s campaign is "never going to catch up on organization." Rattling off Thompson’s problems, the former Clinton aide critiqued, "But he didn't raise as much money as he’d hoped to over the summer. His speeches were a little bit flat. He had a lot of staff shake-ups."
Earlier in the segment, reporter Dan Harris pointedly mentioned the "consternation over the very active role of his wife, Jeri Thompson, a former political consultant 24 years his junior." Both Harris and Stephanopoulos speculated over whether Thompson’s entry into the race is "coming too late."
Additionally, the journalists on GMA treated the former actor’s announcement as a relatively boring, expected event. Harris jokingly asked, "Big surprise, right?" He then went on to deride Thompson’s entry into the 2008 race as "blazingly obvious."
Associated Press reporter David Bauder wrote a story on the new MRC study on the wide and deep disparity of morning TV news coverage of the presidential candidates in 2007. It's fair and balanced. But for us, obviously, the most entertaining part was hearing the network producers respond to the charges. They said it's all the Republicans' fault for being so shy with interview requests, and declared the Democratic race was so stuffed with historic firsts, it just demands blockbuster coverage:
You've got a former first lady and a black senator fighting for the nomination," said Jim Bell, executive producer of NBC's "Today" show. "That's historic. We're not going to make apologies for covering that."
Stories about the cancer relapse of Democrat John Edwards' wife Elizabeth were also counted in the total. It's unfair to count a personal story like that in a tally that suggests bias, said Jim Murphy, executive producer of ABC's "Good Morning America."
On Thursday’s "Good Morning America," guest host George Stephanopoulos’s close ties to the Clinton administration were again on display. The ABC anchor interviewed the ex-boyfriend of Chelsea Clinton about his new book on the subject of teaching American history in Iraq. Just last month, Stephanopoulos, a former top aide to Bill Clinton, gave a softball interview to Kristin Gore, the daughter of former Vice President Al Gore.
In that segment, the GMA substitute host misleadingly characterized the drug arrest of Albert Gore III as getting "in trouble speeding." The Vice President’s daughter also joked that she modeled a character in her new novel about Washington politics after Stephanopoulos. During the August 30 piece, the network anchor introduced author Ian Klaus by glowingly announcing, "...Some people might be watching today and saying, 'You know, I've seen him somewhere before. I've heard his name before.' And that's because you were actually dating Chelsea Clinton when you went to Iraq."
Watching network morning show anchors interview the Democratic presidential candidates often makes you wonder if you’ve seen tougher interviews on overnight acne-care infomercials. Their questions are often so simple and promotional that you wish they’d just go ahead and wear their "Hillary!" or "Obama ‘08" buttons on the set.
There is no pretense of political balance. They are actively rooting for a Democratic victory next year, and they have the power to make a real difference. Notwithstanding their overall loss of audience in the last decade, ABC, CBS, and NBC morning shows draw nine times the audience of their cable-news competitors and are geared toward the mostly apolitical mainstream, which makes them an important free-media showcase for presidential hopefuls. A new study shows that if this year’s campaign coverage on the TV morning shows were a primary election, the Democrats would win in a landslide of attention and hyperbole.
Rich Noyes of the Media Research Center assessed all morning-show coverage on the Big Three from January 1 through July 31.