Last week saw the dawning of the new Democratic majority and members of the media seemed to be charmed by the event. ABC reporter Cokie Roberts described a photo-op of new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holding her grandchild as "fun" and "completely natural." CBS’s Bob Schieffer interviewed Pelosi and pressed her to raise taxes. And "60 Minutes" commentator Andy Rooney became nostalgic for Democrats of old, saying it’s "hard to dislike Jimmy Carter."
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann continued his fevered attack on all things Republican and conservative. He’s now accused White House Press Secretary Tony Snow of "bald-faced lying" about a Bush speech. Olbermann’s cohort in liberalism, Chris Matthews, described the Vice President of the United States as someone "who always wants to kill." Later in the week, he told his "Hardball" audience that he was "terrified" of the President’s plans for Iran. Chris, calm down!
As NewsBuster Warner Todd Huston has noted, Sen. Barbara Boxer took an unseemly jab at Condi Rice yesterday.
Of all the members of the Senate, the one you might expect to be least likely to call attention to a woman's single, childless status for purposes of scoring political points would be Boxer. And yet it was the oh-so-broadminded senator from the Bay Area who did just that when Condi Rice appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday to defend President Bush's newly-announced Iraq plans.
In a segment narrated by ABC senior national correspondent Jake Tapper, today's Good Morning America highlighted Boxer's questionable comment, running a good-sized clip of the exchange.
The day after his "America on fire" map, Good Morning America weather man Sam Champion continued his series "It’s Cool to be Green" with some of the most credible experts in the field of science, Hollywood celebrities. Metro Los Angeles’s second largest polluter is now among those that "acknowledge the very real issue of global warming."
Champion featured left wing celebrities such as Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Cameron Diaz, and Leonardo DiCaprio. ABC even hired DiCaprio in 2000 to interview former President Clinton on the subject for an Earth Day special. Champion featured Will Dana, the editor-at-large for the far-left publication Rolling Stone. After the report, co-host Diane Sawyer, thrilled about all of the celebrity activism, exclaimed, "They say, why not turn [publicity] into some good purpose if we can?" The entire transcript is below.
ABC and CBS (not NBC) featured interviews Wednesday morning with White House communications director Dan Bartlett. Both networks were fairly harsh in their questioning. ABC’s Diane Sawyer read a long list of eminent people who opposed a surge, and pressed, "What don’t they get?" She even used soundbites of soldiers saying it was a hopeless civil war and "I don’t think we need to be here." CBS’s Harry Smith aimed his barbs at Bartlett more from the right, questioning whether 20,000 troops would be enough, and insisting that the Iraqis weren’t up to the "blood and guts" job of security. He also hammered on the president’s low approval ratings and asked "Why should the American people have faith in the president at this moment?"
MRC’s Justin McCarthy reported that Sawyer opened Good Morning America with the spin that the President was going exactly against public opinion: "Amid calls in this country for a withdrawal of American troops, the president is going to be sending more troops to Iraq."
ABC continued its global warming hype with, quite appropriately, the weather man. Wednesday’s Good Morning America started its weather forecast with, as he put it, "big, big, big news" that 2006 was the warmest year in 112 years of recording weather. Weatherman Sam Champion asserted the politically correct belief of global warming and then sought to clarify the distinction between individual weather patterns and long term trends. But check out the map: America is apparently on fire, and with an average temperature of 55 degrees.
Then in an unintentionally comical moment, Champion turned to the weather map and discussed a big snowstorm in the northwestern United States. "This is a big system that brings winter to a lot of locations." The transcript is below.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger seems to be campaigning to be the liberal media’s favorite Republican office-holder. On Tuesday, ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today publicized his "bold" new plan to offer billions in new state government subsidies to provide "universal" health coverage, even to millions of illegal immigrants. ABC co-host Robin Roberts openly endorsed it: "there is definitely a crisis, and it's good to see at least trying something, something, especially to help those that are uninsured." While ABC seemed to offer no opposition, except to frame it briefly as a potential "budget buster," NBC at least noted critics in small business and opponents of subsidizing (and attracting) illegal immigrants.
MRC’s Justin McCarthy reported that ABC promoted the California health plan as a challenge to President Bush and the new Democratic Congress to follow up and do something similar nationwide:
George W. Bush is less overtly religious in his public pronouncements than many of his presidential predecessors. Yet the MSM often portrays him as a zealot who sees himself on a mission from God.
Pundit Norm Ornstein perpetuated the stereotype on this morning's "Good Morning America". ABC senior national correspondent Jake Tapper narrated a segment on Pres. Bush's impending announcement of a surge of troops into Iraq. The thrust was that W is making his decision despite bi-partisan opposition. Not only are virtually all Dems opposed, but, as Tapper put it, "even some Republicans are expressing serious doubts about the proposed surge." To that effect, an excerpt was played of Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell's appearance on yesterday's Fox News Sunday stating: "I think there will be some who will and some who won't [support the surge]."
ABC, once again, tries to have it both ways on global climate change. As Noel Sheppard blogged back in November, Good Morning America hyped heat waves last summer as symptomatic of global warming. When reports came out that October was unusually cool, and the hurricane season was unusually quiet, the same reporter blogged on the ABC News website that "weather is not climate." Are you following this? Weather is climate, then it’s not. Now, with an unusually mild winter, weather is now climate again in the ABC News world.
On Friday’s Good Morning America, Diane Sawyer questioned again whether the mild winter in the eastern half of the United States is a result of global warming. Sawyer started her global warming hype stating, "And [climate change] can make a warm winter even warmer and more repetitively warm as we face the years coming up."
Allergies? The warm weather makes it tough on people with fall allergies? Is that really the best GMA can do when it comes to wringing its hands over the warm winter weather people in the Northeast have been enjoying?
Except for fleeting references to January bouquets and falling oil prices, GMA's segment this morning was one long whine-a-thon about the mild winter. I do mean long. GMA led with the segment and devoted over six of its precious first-half hour minutes to the subject, more than it spent on the historic takeover of Congress by the Dems.
Robin Roberts kicked things off by fretting: "Animals are not hibernating; people are still suffering from fall allergies."
ABC reporter John Berman took it from there, repeating that "the warm air is bad news for people with allergies" and bringing in a doctor to explain: "there's still plenty of mold in the air left over from the fall because it hasn't been cold enough, long enough, for that mold to go away."
On Thursday’s Good Morning America, correspondent Claire Shipman offered a very positive, Obama-like portrayal of newly elected Congressman and Muslim Keith Ellison. Because Ellison’s use of the Koran in his swearing in was once owned by Thomas Jefferson, it has "impeccable American credentials" and it is "a politically savvy move" by Congressman Ellison. Shipman continued her glowing report calling him "affable" and states that he "charms almost every crowd."
Despite the historic first, Shipman failed to report that Ellison was associated with the racist and anti-semitic organization, the Nation of Islam. Although Keith Ellison has since distanced himself from that organization, he retains strong ties with the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) which has connections to the Palestinian terrorist organization, Hamas. CAIR grew to be so controversial that even ultra liberal Senator Barbara Boxer disassociated herself from them.
The passing of President Gerald Ford drew a dignified, even warm farewell from the national press. There was near-consensus that he would be remembered for his decency and the risk he took, pardoning Richard Nixon from Watergate prosecutions in an effort to heal the nation. It is proper that the press is kind today. It ought to be remembered, however, that the press was not of this opinion when Ford took office.
For example, Time magazine’s cover story on the pardon in September 1974 declared that "Ford's first major decision raised disturbing questions about his judgment and his leadership capabilities, and called into question his competence." The cover carried suggestive sub-headlines like "Squandered Trust" and "Premature and Unwise." Such was the media’s mood toward this man’s actions in office.
sic: thus; so. Used to indicate that a quoted passage, especially one containing an error or unconventional spelling, has been retained in its original form or written intentionally. - Answers.com definition
Adding religious insult to mortal injury in its coverage of the 3000th US service-person to die in Iraq, ABC seemed to suggest that there was something odd or erroneous in the expression of a traditional belief in the afterlife.
Today's "Good Morning America" focused on the death of Army Specialist Dustin Donica of Texas, believed to be that 3000th serviceman lost in Iraq. Narrating the segment, ABC's Jonathan Karl stated: "The MySpace page he left behind bears the tributes of those whose lives he touched." The screen then displayed the message [shown larger-than-normal here for clarity's sake] from one of those friends:
"You were one of my best friends and I'll never forget you. All my prayers go to your family and I'll see you again." (sic)
Former Senator and Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards announced on Thursday that he will once again be a candidate for president in 2008, and he appeared on all three network morning programs to discuss his aspirations. Given the treatment he received on NBC’s "Today" and ABC’s "Good Morning America," it is clear he is not the darling of the media for this campaign cycle as ABC highlighted a potential campaign by Barack Obama, and NBC portrayed Hillary Clinton as the inevitable Democratic nominee.
On "Good Morning America," George Stephanopoulos accused Senator Edwards of exploiting hurricane Katrina by announcing his candidacy in New Orleans and wondered why Democrats should nominate him over "someone who was against the war from the start, like Barack Obama?" On NBC, "Today" co-host Matt Lauer inquired on whether Edwards can truly connect with the "have-nots" in America, given that he lives a luxurious lifestyle, and would he once again accept a nomination to be vice president, this time with Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket, "So down the road, would you consider a vice-presidential slot for Hillary Clinton?" However, on CBS’s "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith gave Senator Edwards a softball interview. He asked simple questions that did not challenge Mr. Edwards record or current positions such as what advice Edwards would give President Bush on Iraq.
Not surprisingly, all three morning shows featured the Bob Woodward interview with recently deceased former President Gerald Ford, in which Ford criticized the Bush administration for its decision to go to war with Iraq. Good Morning America and the Today show were the most eager to showcase Ford’s critique of the administration, broadcasting full reports and featuring audio clips from the interview during the 7am half hour, while CBS’ Early Show relegated the story to a brief anchor-read at 7:35 am.
On ABC, anchor Robin Roberts, substitute co-host George Stephanopoulos, and reporter Claire Shipman seemed disappointed that the former president had not come forward publicly with his criticism prior to his death, saying that it could have made a difference in the U.S.’s decision to go to war:
Catspawing for another candidate, or just solid journalistic probing? In either case, ABC's George Stephanopoulos gave John Edwards a rough go when the former NC senator appeared on Good Morning America today to announce his candidacy for president.
Steph was on the offense from the get-go: "Back in 2004, you criticized President Bush for exploiting the tragedy of 9/11 by having his convention in New York City. Aren't you exploiting Katrina by announcing your candidacy in New Orleans?"
Edwards didn't respond directly to the exploitation allegation, asserting only that he was seeking to draw attention to New Orleans's plight. And not to himself? At the risk of reading too much into every jot and tittle, I'd say that Steph's formulation "aren't you exploiting?" is considerably more accusatory than would have been "are you exploiting?"
Kudos to "Fox and Friends" as they were the only morning news program on Thursday to extensively cover the Sandy Berger story. Mr. Berger, former National Security Adviser to President Clinton, pled guilty in federal court for stealing classified documents from the National Archives, but a Wednesday AP story revealed that the details of Mr. Berger's offense were far more damning then we had previously known including that he hid the documents in a construction site before destroying them. CNN’s "American Morning" and ABC’s "Good Morning America" both offered brief news reads on the subject. CNN’s coverage totaled 24 seconds while ABC’s totaled 23 seconds. CBS’s "Early Show" and NBC’s "Today" both ignored the story completely.
It has been widely speculated that President Bush will call for an increase in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq as part of his new war strategy. Though no changes have been officially announced, ABC's Dan Harris on Good Morning America Monday predicted gloom and doom in terms of public support for the war. Introducing a live report from reporter Jonathan Karl at the Pentagon, Harris prognosticated that this new policy would be 'very unpopular':
Dan Harris: "And now to the expected surge of U.S. troops in Iraq. As Robert Gates is sworn in today as the new defense secretary, thousands more Americans may soon be headed into the war zone. This could be a very unpopular policy, and ABC's Jonathan Karl is standing by at the Pentagon this morning. Jonathan?"
A bloody civil conflict between distinct Muslim factions that has left thousands dead and many more displaced. Should America be involved? For the MSM, the obvious answer is 'no' if you're talking about Iraq. None of our business. A quagmire. We can't referee a civil war. Get out now.
But Darfur, another bloody conflict between warring Muslim groups? Well, that's different. Not only can and should we be involved, but, we're blithely informed, "this is one we can fix."
What's the difference? As more than one commentator has observed, liberals are all in favor of American intervention - so long as we have no national security interest at stake.
...but my colleague Julia Seymour has got the Airing of Grievances part down for those of us at the MRC's Business & Media Institute.
The camera pans across a sparkling Christmas tree, then zooms in on singer Clay Aiken, who begins to sing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”: “... and ransom captive Israel … that mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear …”
So which holiday is that about?
ABC’s Kate Snow tiptoed around that question on the November 26 “Good Morning America.”
“We have a special treat for you this morning to get you warmed up for the holiday season,” she said, touting Aiken’s new “holiday” record (title: “All is Well: Songs for Christmas”).
In a new Business & Media Institute analysis, “Good Morning America” was the least likely of the network morning shows to refer to Christmas, mentioning it only about 31 percent of the time.
Julia Roberts to Diane Sawyer on why she avoids killing spiders:
"You think, that’s a person, or somebody’s Mom or somebody’s best pal.”Good Morning America, 12-13-06
I trace the beginning of my evolution from pro-choice to pro-life to a comment I heard on the radio a decade or so ago. It might have been Rush Limbaugh who made the point that many of the people moved to tears at the thought of the killing of baby seals are the same ones who "celebrate" a woman's right to have an abortion.
Something clicked. What kind of moral compass is that?
It was an all-Obama Monday as each of the three network morning shows highlighted the Illinois Senator’s weekend trip to New Hampshire. NBC, ABC and CBS all hyped the prospect of a potential Barack Obama presidential campaign as the senator made his rounds through the state, host of the first presidential primary. The trip was hailed as a successful venture by all the networks. ABC’s Jake Tapper on Good Morning America declared Obama’s appearance to be "very successful", while Norah O’Donnell over on Today, as the MRC’s Geoff Dickens noted, stated that Obama was "mobbed by supporters" and "ignited excitement," among New Hampshire Democrats. CBS’ Harry Smith on The Early Show went further, calling the buzz surrounding Obama’s trip a "sensation," during a question to political analyst Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report:
Harry Smith: "Front page USA Today, Barack Obama right there, front page, Washington Post, Barack Obama right there. I could go on and on and on and on and on. Why is this single appearance causing such a sensation?"
What is it about leaving a network gig that makes news anchors even more biased? Ex-host Tom Brokaw told a "Harball" audience that Barack Obama is a "rock star," lavished praise on Jon Stewart, and claimed that Ronald Reagan neglected "Mother Earth."
Speaking of NBC stars who suck up to environmentalists, Matt Lauer recently encouraged Al Gore to run for president and "save the planet." Way to stay objective, Matt!
The "Today" anchor continued his global warming obsession in another segment, lauding actor Leonardo DiCaprio for "standing up to get people thinking" about the issue. (Funny, I don’t recall the "Today" host complimenting many pro-life activists for "standing up.")
Lobbying for global warming can be tiring work, as NewsBusters editor Matthew Sheffield noted when he pointed out that CNN host Miles O’Brien fell asleep during recent hearings on the subject.
This week, the "mainstream" media continued lobbying for a complete acknowledgment of total failure in Iraq. "Time" magazine likened the Iraq Study Report to a drug intervention. Discussing the same subject, "Hardball" guest host Mike Barnicle wondered if President Bush is "delusional," " isolated" or "stubborn." Those are certainly some great options to chose from!
On Wednesday morning, the highly anticipated report from the Iraq Study Group [ISG] was released to the public. The ISG’s report contained seventy-nine recommendations for the United States in its effort to lessen the violence in Iraq and protect American forces. One of the major recommendations of the panel was a call for the withdrawal of most U.S. combat troops by early 2008.
During an 11am press conference Wednesday, Jonathan Karl, ABC’s senior national security correspondent asked the panel pointedly why their recommendations should outweigh the advice President Bush receives from military commanders on the ground:
Jonathan Karl, ABC News: "You're certainly a group of distinguished elder statesmen, but tell me why should the President give more weight to what you all have said, given that, as I understand, you went to Iraq once–with the exception of Senator Robb, none of you made it out of the Green Zone–why should he give your recommendations any more weight than what he’s hearing from his commanders on the ground in Iraq?"
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman declared that the insurgency in Iraq has been defeating the U.S. military for the past four years during an interview Wednesday with Good Morning America’s Diane Sawyer. While making the argument that there is no "two to three year" solution for the violence occuring in Iraq, Friedman declared victory for the insurgents:
Thomas Friedman: "...I don't believe myself that there's a two to three year solution where we just train a few more troops. The issue isn't training, Diane. After all, who's training the insurgents? Nobody. They're doing just fine. They've basically been defeating the U.S. military for the last four years."
ABC's Kate Snow is apparently no fan of Larry David's HBO original series. On this morning's GMA Snow was unable to curb her enthusiasm at the prospect of a presidential run by Hillary Rodham. In to discuss an indication that Hillary might soon be announcing her candidacy, Snow, literally wriggling with excitement, gushed to Robin Roberts:
"It’s the latest sign that maybe, just maybe, we might have a woman trying to run for president of this country.”
Snow claimed that by the end of the week Hillary would be calling on all top New York Dems "not to tell them that she's running, but to get their advice and support, if she goes for it." Right. Shy, retiring Hillary, not telling her Dem minions anything. Just asking advice. Say, why not call it a "listening tour"? Video clip: Real (2MB) or Windows (1.3MB) Plus MP3 (204KB)
ABC’s John Stossel is well known for his libertarian views and for challenging liberal conventional wisdom. On Wednesday’s Good Morning America, Stossel was at it again as he debunked the widely held perception that liberals are more generous in their charitable contributions than conservatives. As part of a 20/20 special airing Wednesday night, Stossel interviewed Syracuse University professor Arthur Brooks, who conducted a study which found that conservatives, while making slightly less money than liberals, actually contribute more:
John Stossel: "But it turns out that this idea that liberals give more is a myth. These are the twenty-five states where people give an above average percent of their income, twenty-four were red states in the last presidential election."
Arthur Brooks, Who Really Cares, author: "When you look at the data, it turns out the conservatives give about thirty percent more per conservative-headed family than per liberal-headed family. And incidentally, conservative-headed families make slightly less money."
I actually have a soft spot for Good Morning America's Robin Roberts, finding her among the most even-keeled of the morning news show hosts. But again this morning she evinced a tendency to get star-struck in the presence of a big name, and wound up lavishing praise on Jimmy Carter and his book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, which depicts Israel as a second-rate South Africa from the bad old days.
Roberts actually began with what amounted to a DNC disclaimer:
"Now to your book, which many people find surprising, that you come down a little hard on Israel and that there have been key Democrats who have distanced themselves a little bit from your view on Israel. In fact, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi [jumping the gun there just a tad, Robin] said it is wrong to suggest that the Jewish people would support a government in Israel or anywhere else that institutionizes ethnically-based oppression and Democrats reject that allegation vigorously. What is your response to that?"
The network morning shows noticed Indonesian Muslims protesting President Bush, but sadly, once again, they tended to sanitize out the extremists. In this case, protest leaders called for the execution of Bush, but the networks mostly offered Americans quotes from protesters saying they loved America, just hated the president. They left out what Agence France-Presse reported: a protest leader declared through a loudspeaker: "Kill him, kill him...the blood of George Bush is halal," meaning it was not a sin under Islam to kill him. "Not only is it halal, it is obligatory to kill him."
The networks seem to want the American audience to bite on the Democratic line that conservative policies make us unpopular around the world, when people would be much more agreeable under the sorry-we-didn’t-mean-to-be-a-superpower poses of a Gore, Kerry, or Hillary Clinton. Showing protesters who want to execute our president tend to ruin the line of the day. On NBC’s Today on Monday, Matt Lauer led off the show with a plug for their "Hello, Go Home" segment on Bush's visit. MRC’s Justin McCarthy found reporter Kelly O’Donnell’s selected protesters who stressed their love for America, and their hatred for Bush:
The Friday broadcast network evening newscasts, seemingly with no self-awareness of the role of the traveling press corps, all focused on how in Vietnam President Bush was pressed about comparisons of the Iraq war to the Vietnam war -- a topic he commented on only when asked by a U.S. reporter. CBS was the most adamant in raising parallels, Bush's avoidance of service in Vietnam and how he is now “creating another” Vietnam. Katie Couric declared that Bush “couldn't get away from the inevitable comparisons between Iraq and the war America lost in Vietnam.” Over vintage video of the Vietnam war, Jim Axelrod asserted that the Iraq war “is starting to look more and more like this war. The parallels are plain.” Axelrod contended that “Mr. Bush's trip here was bound to fuel his critics who've never bought his explanation about how he managed to avoid military service in Vietnam. But Iraq raises the stakes and changes the focus from what he did during the Vietnam War to whether he's creating another one. On a just-released audiotape, President Johnson in 1966 shared his goals for Vietnam." Following audio of LBJ promising the U.S. would leave Vietnam “just as soon as you can have anybody that will guarantee stability," Axelrod intoned: "Mr. Bush's remarks today had an eerie echo as he spoke about Iraq."
On ABC's World News, fill-in anchor Elizabeth Vargas insisted "the war in Iraq shadowed President Bush today during his visit to Vietnam” as the Vietnam war “has drawn comparisons to America's experience in Iraq.” From Vietnam, Martha Raddatz echoed Couric: “For President Bush, the comparisons to his own war in Iraq were inevitable.” NBC anchor Brian Williams announced that “the topic of the current war followed” Bush “all the way” to Vietnam. David Gregory, in Vietnam, also used the “inevitable” characterization of the comparison made by journalists: “The White House tried to avoid reflecting on the war in Vietnam because of the inevitable comparisons to the Iraq war.” Gregory asserted that “the obvious parallel between Vietnam and Iraq is the American public's desire to find a way out,” and though the Vietnamese are still oppressed in a communist state, Gregory suggested the U.S. won: “But if there is a hopeful sign in the Vietnam of today, prosperous and western-looking, it is this -- that it is possible to lose the war but win the peace." (Transcripts, and a little bit on the morning shows, follows)