By Scott Whitlock | December 15, 2010 | 2:33 PM EST

While NBC on Tuesday focused on the "funny" and "intelligent" side of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Nightline's Brian Ross conducted a tough, hard-hitting investigation into the questionable finances of the man attacked by colleagues as a "dictator."

Ross used the December 14 ABC program to raise questions about "what's happened to the group's money" and to highlight former colleagues who say Assange "has turned the website into a cult of personality."

While many of the individuals Ross talked to were just as committed to Assange's leftist cause of leaking military documents, they did raise serious accusations about the organization's finances. [MP3 audio here.]

Video after the jump.

By Scott Whitlock | December 1, 2010 | 4:09 PM EST

Asking a wife if she loves her husband isn't exactly the most insightful question, but that's one of the softballs that Barbara Walters tossed to Michelle and Barack Obama during an hour long edition of 20/20 on Friday. She also asked the President if he curses and what Lincoln means to him.

At one point, the journalist lauded Michelle Obama as "comfortable" and "outspoken." Walters then cooed, "You love him very much, don't you?" (The First Lady's unsurprising answer? "Yes, I do.")

Digging for answers, the reporter investigated Mr. Obama, "Do you ever curse?...You pray?" Walters also allowed the President the chance to attack the internet, bringing up insinuations that he's a Muslim: "Why do you think it is that so many people think you're a Muslim and why is that confusion?"

Video below the break

By Brad Wilmouth | November 16, 2010 | 12:21 AM EST

 On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his latest "Special Comment" to respond to former ABC anchor Ted Koppel’s inclusion of him and MSNBC in his recent Washington Post op-ed criticizing the modern news industry. After praising former news man Edward R. Murrow for taking a stand on Senator Joseph McCarthy and Walter Cronkite for doing the same on the Vietnam War and Watergate, Olbermann complained that, unlike himself, Koppel had "worshiped before the false god of utter objectivity" instead of going after the Bush administration over the Iraq war, and claimed that last week he criticized President Obama more than Fox News primetime did President Bush in eight years. Olbermann:

Moreover, while Fox may be such, we are not doctrinaire. I cannot prove it, so I'll have to estimate it here, and if I'm proved wrong I'll happily correct it, but my intuition tells me I criticized President Obama more in the last week than Fox's primetime hosts criticized President Bush in eight years.

And, even though Olbermann has a history of distorting the words of conservatives to portray them in the worst possible light, and of passing on incorrect information without retraction, Olbermann congratulated himself for recently deciding not to include misinformation about President Bush on his show, and suggested that FNC or CNN would not have made sure not to include such incorrect information. Olbermann:

By Scott Whitlock | November 8, 2010 | 4:33 PM EST

During four days of coverage, ABC skipped the conservative perspective while reporting on Keith Olbermann's suspension. The network also used the liberal label only once. Good Morning America covered the story on Saturday and Monday and never used the word.

Friday's Nightline briefly highlighted the story. Anchor Bill Weir referred to Olbermann as MSNBC's "liberal star" and someone who has "leftward leanings." On Monday's GMA, co-host Robin Roberts pontificated on the cable host, suspended because he made political donations to three Democrats.

She fretted, "It's a move that raises questions about the changing role of journalism and whether cable news networks and others are abandoning the goal of impartial reporting." (Conservatives would probably argue that MSNBC long ago stopped caring about such things.)

By Scott Whitlock | October 2, 2010 | 5:05 PM EDT

It seems that Dan Rather-style journalism, putting forth fake information to promote the supposed greater good, extends to animal documentaries as well. On Tuesday's Nightline, reporter John Donvan exposed this dishonesty in a lengthy segment. But he also partially defended the practice of   falsifying scenes of animals in the wild in order to promote conservation. He even featured a participant who justified the practice as "worth it to have told the lie." [MP3 audio here.]

After showing completely manipulated scenes of wolves and whales, of rented, captive animals being portrayed as wild, Donvan spun, "Some argue that using captive animals actually spares truly wild animals the trauma, disruption and danger that comes with human contact."

The ABC correspondent interviewed Chris Palmer, a whistle blower who worked on several of these documentaries and exposed the fraud in his new book Shooting the Wild. Yet, Palmer, who is an environmental professor at American University, excused the practice: "I think you could make the argument that this is okay, because the film is going to do a lot of good...Maybe it's worth it to have told the lie."

By Scott Whitlock | September 23, 2010 | 4:47 PM EDT

ABC's John Berman on Wednesday sarcastically narrated a brief history of Tea Party movement. Interestingly, the Nightline reporter (see file photo at right) skipped the media's role in suggesting that the Tea Party movement is filled with racists. He only vaguely recounted, "Tea Party called fringe, called racist, called a fad."

Hinting these protesters are extreme should be familiar to Berman. On the February 5, 2010 World News, he chided the first Tea Party convention: "But barely scratch the surface, and there’s a tone of anger and confrontation."

Berman added, "One of the goals of this convention is to turn this movement into a political force. The question is, does the harsh rhetoric keep them on the fringe?"

By Scott Whitlock | August 10, 2010 | 1:18 PM EDT
ABC's Bill Weir, the former co-host of weekend Good Morning America, debuted on Monday as the new co-anchor of Nightline. ABC President David Westin lauded Weir in July for conducting "some of our most innovative reporting." But, he may be better known for standard liberal bias, such as hyperbolically asserting during Barack Obama's inauguration: "From above, even the seagulls must have been awed by the blanket of humanity."

More recently, during the debate over Arizona's new immigration law, Weir fretted, "There is a fear-driven exodus going on in Arizona tonight." In April, he interrogated Sheriff Joe Apraio: "With this new law, will you ramp it up? Will you, will you grab people on street corner?" Examples of Weir's bias, with video and audio, can be found below:

By Alex Fitzsimmons | June 16, 2010 | 5:27 PM EDT
Despite widespread criticism of President Barack Obama's Oval Office address on the Gulf oil spill–including flak from MSNBC's left-wing posse of Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, and Howard Fineman–ABC's Terry Moran and George Stephanopoulos on the June 15 "Nightline" fawned over the president's speech and ignored its obvious shortcomings.

In recapping the address, Moran could not contain his adulation for Obama's ability to assert his presidential authority and inspire the nation:
  • "For the first time in the Oval Office, President Obama addressed the nation. A nation anxious and doubtful about his leadership on the environmental catastrophe that's unfolded in the Gulf for 57 days. So, the main goal tonight, show the country he's truly in charge."
  • "President Obama, who finished a two-day trip to the Gulf Coast this afternoon, clearly wanted to project power in his handling with the oil spill, and the most direct way to do that is to use the language of war of the commander-in-chief."
  • "As the cleanup efforts continue to grapple with the giant spill, residents all along the coast have grown more and more worried, more and more angry and the president spoke to that directly tonight, and he made a promise."
  • "At the end, like so many in the Oval Office before him, President Obama asked for prayers."

By Scott Whitlock | May 5, 2010 | 5:32 PM EDT

MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan on Wednesday gave "kudos" to the Phoenix Suns basketball team for protesting Arizona's tough new policy on illegal immigration. The host touted, "The team is set to wear Los Suns jerseys tonight on Cinco de Mayo in response to Arizona's controversial [law]."

Ratigan enthused that congratulations were in order and added, "Around here we call that a slam dunk." The cable anchor quoted the team's owner playing up the move as one to honor Hispanics.

Clearly, however, there is a political angle. The same Robert Sarver also derided the legislation as "a flawed state law." Suns point guard Steve Nash attacked the bill as "very misguided, and unfortunately, to the detriment of our society and our civil liberties."

By Scott Whitlock | April 23, 2010 | 3:51 PM EDT

ABC's Nightline on Thursday provided a welcome look at the significant number of meteorologists in America who are skeptical of man-made global warming. Instead of simply dismissing their views, reporter David Wright interviewed Accuweather's Joe Bastardi and allowed him to assert, "I think that the warming that we're having is cyclical in nature."

Such sentiments are not often seen on Nightline or other mainstream media programs. However, the program did put a more positive spin the agenda of climate scientists. Talking to Michael Mann, one of those involved in the ClimateGate scandal, Wright asserted, "Penn State's Michael Mann is one of the scientists who last year had his E-mails hacked and quoted worldwide by climate change skeptics as proof that scientists were cooking the books."

The journalist didn't explain what was in the hacked E-mails or even what the controversy was. (Mann and others discussed climate "tricks" and how to fudge and delete unfavorable data.) Instead, Wright sympathized, "You see this as a smear campaign?"

By Brent Baker | March 23, 2010 | 2:42 AM EDT
Looking at the state of both parties after President Obama’s health bill win in the House, ABC’s Terry Moran elevated the view of “prominent conservative” David Frum, author a year ago of Newsweek’s “Why Rush is Wrong” cover story, who blamed Rush Limbaugh and Fox News for what he’s dubbed the GOP’s “Waterloo.” On Nightline, Moran contended “anger, stoking it, expressing it, riding it...was the Republican strategy to defeat health care. And over the weekend all that anger got ugly, as some Democratic Members of Congress were called vile, racial and anti-gay slurs.”

But, he warned, “in the wake of the Democrats’ victory, some Republicans are not sure all that anger makes good politics,” as if Limbaugh and other conservative leaders advocated yelling the “slurs.” Moran relayed how “Frum says the real leadership of the Republican Party during the course of the health care battle was not to be found in the halls of Congress, but on the air waves” since “it was talk radio and Fox News, Frum argues, that drove the GOP strategy.” Moran paraphrased Frum’s take: 
It sounds like you're saying that the Glenn Becks, Rush Limbaughs, hijacked the Republican Party and drove it to a defeat?
By Brad Wilmouth | March 15, 2010 | 12:43 AM EDT

On ABC last Wednesday, both World News and Nightline featured a report filed by correspondent Dan Harris in which he linked the activities of some American evangelical Christian pastors with anti-gay hatred and attempts by Uganda’s parliament at passing death penalty legislation to punish homosexuals in the African nation. Each of the reports focused on the extreme views of American pastor Scott Lively and Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa, without including the views of more mainstream American evangelical leaders.

On World News, anchor Diane Sawyer teased: "Gay terror: Have some American evangelical ministers helped threaten the lives of homosexuals in Africa?" She later plugged the report again: "And still ahead on World News, a death threat for gays. It happened after American evangelicals delivered a potent message."

In the version of the report that ran on Nightline, Harris made a point of mentioning Pastor Rick Warren as being a "one-time friend" of Pastor  Ssempa. And, though Harris’s reference to Pastor Warren as a "one-time friend" perhaps implies a falling out between the two men, the ABC correspondent could have more directly informed viewers that Pastor Warren released a statement last October declaring that he had not associated with Pastor Ssempa since 2007.

Furthermore, last December, Pastor Warren released a video message for Christians in Uganda in which he attacked the proposed anti-gay law as legislation "I completely oppose and I vigorously condemn," as he went on to declare, "The potential law before your parliament is unjust, it’s extreme, and it’s un-Christian toward homosexuals, requiring death penalty even in some cases."