If Britney Spears wants to launch her grand return with a trite and tacky rough-sex pantomime, I suppose that's her business. She's not known as a pop tart for nothing. What I do find noteworthy is the way GMA celebrated that bit of rough stuff, featuring it in its opening minutes. Even there, it's not ABC's descent into schlock that jumps out so much as the double standard. Can you imagine the dutifully feminist ABC applauding such junk if the gender tables had been turned? Me neither.
Diane Sawyer, uh, teased things during the show opening.
Over the course of two segments and seven minutes, "Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer on Monday completely ignored the party affiliation of a Kansas City mayor embroiled in a lawsuit over racist remarks and charges of nepotism, at no point identifying Mayor Mark Funkhouser as a Democrat. The only designation of Funkhouser came in the form of a bland, onscreen graphic: "Mayor Mark Funkhouser (Kansas City, Missouri)."
Funkhouser has been battling his own city council since they passed a law barring his wife from working at city hall. Additionally, as Sawyer explained, a former city employee has filed a lawsuit "accusing the mayor and his wife of making racist remarks," such as referring to the African American woman as "mammy." A November 21 Wall Street Journal article, from which the GMA segment is based, managed to label Funkhouser a Democrat in the second sentence.
Barbara Walters invites Great Leader to "give" Thanksgiving message to "the people." Great Leader obliges: be inspired by . . . me.
Check out the clip of Barbara Walters's interview of the Obamas, aired on GMA today, and tell me whether you find something off-putting in the way Walters poses what is, after all, a very banal question. And then there's the President-elect's self-centered answer . . .
ABC’s Barbara Walters couldn’t contain herself as she previewed her upcoming interview with Barack and Michelle Obama on Wednesday’s Good Morning America: “[T]hey’re very -- I don’t know how to put it. I don’t want to gush. They’re very cute, and very -- and very funny in this interview together.” Walters played two clip of the interview, which is set to air on ABC’s 20/20 on Wednesday night, in which she asked the president-elect softball questions such as, “How did you feel when you read about the three heads of the auto companies taking private planes to Washington?”
Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts interviewed Walters just after the top of the 7 am Eastern hour of the ABC program, as “The View” co-host played the two clips from her time with the Obamas. During the first clip, after asking how the outgoing Illinois senator felt about the auto executives and their private planes, Walters brought up another group of business leaders: “Should bank executives -- it’s almost Christmastime -- forego their bonuses?” Once Mr. Obama gave his answer, she posed a question about a much less serious matter: “How are you going to get along without your Blackberry?” Roberts broke in after he answered, and remarked how it was “so tough to give up that Blackberry.”
ABC correspondent Claire Shipman lauded President-Elect Barack Obama’s Treasury Secretary-Designate Tim Geithner on Tuesday’s Good Morning America: “It might not be immediately obvious, but insiders say the President-Elect and his pick for the top economic spot could have been separated at birth.” She later quoted The Economist’s line about the future top bureaucrat, that both Obama and Geithner “have a hipster, wonky cool about them,” and that both “like to relax by shooting hoops.” Shipman even played up the “hipster” label by stating how “[t]he new Treasury Secretary is also known to surf and skateboard.”
Shipman began her report by describing what Obama admired about Geithner, along with a personal anecdote about the federal bureaucrat: “Well, his smarts and his style -- that's what aides say appeal to Barack Obama, and here’s another clue about his character -- he’s an avid amateur photographer, and friends say that very much explains the way he likes to work. He likes to watch, observe, and then act.” She then gave her “separated at birth” line.
Later, the ABC correspondent played three clips of a close friend of Geithner, Professor Justin Rudelson of Dartmouth, who unsurprisingly spoke well of the Treasury Secretary-designate. Then, as Shipman gave some details about how Geithner “married his college sweetheart” and how “his father was his best man,” sweet piano music played in the background, as you might expect in a gushy biography.
Paul Krugman has been making the rounds of the network morning shows, urging the government to "go big" in spending to revive the economy. His only concern is that Obama might not be planning to spend enough. Heck, even FDR wasn't a big enough spender in his book. View Krugman's weekend GMA appearance in which he says that here, the episode in which, as discussed here, Krugman of all people had to talk Kate Snow down from her fantasy of Obama "forcing" the Bush administration to adopt his policies.
None of the network shows had anyone on to debate Krugman. But the Early Show did invite Jim Rogers in today to give very much the other side. The legendary investor's take: let the banks fail. The massive bailout underway will put our country in hock for decades. Almost 20 years later, Japan has still been unable to get out of the hole it dug when it, like the US now, decided certain institutions were too big to fail.
The "Good Morning America" "hot seat" series concluded on Monday with co-host Diane Sawyer answering silly viewer questions, such as "Which of the seven deadly sins do you do most?" But the segment, which was designed as a way for the ABC morning show hosts to be forced to answer tough queries, never featured any questions related to media bias or other difficult topics. Most of the "hardballs" were closer to this audience e-mail: "What color do you use for your hair? I love your shade of blond."
At one point, co-host Robin Roberts wondered, "Okay, Jill from New Jersey wants to know what is your favorite quote and why?" She then proceeded to play a montage of Sawyer citing various sayings or poems during her GMA segments. One quote that somehow missed being repeated was when the anchor seemingly compared Senator Clinton to Jesus on June 4, 2008: "This woman, as we said, forged into determination and purpose her whole life. As someone said, 'no thorns, no throne. No gall, no glory. No cross, no crown.'"
In an MSM eager for the advent of the Age of Obama, Kate Snow may have taken the cake. The weekend GMA co-host almost sounded as if she were calling for some kind of coup d'etat, musing whether Obama should be urgently "forcing" change before he takes office. How over the top was Snow? She had to be talked down from her fin de regime fantasy but none other than . . . Paul Krugman.
ABC reporter John Hendren set the tone for the notion that time is dangerously a-wasting.
JOHN HENDREN: As with Hoover and FDR, the ideological gap between Bush and Obama could be too broad to bridge, leaving us with two more months of costly economic drift.
A little later, interviewing Krugman, Snow made her startling suggstion.
Day three of "Good Morning America's" "hot seat" series featured softball viewer questions for co-host Robin Roberts, including subjects such as her iPod and whether she'd ever consider appearing on "Dancing With the Stars." The purpose of the daily segment, which concludes on Monday, is to have the tables turned on the GMA hosts and force the journalists to ask tough questions. More typical were the type of queries that people like Regina from Arkansas posed. Via video, she offered this expose: "Your jewelry is so pretty. I would like to know where you get it."
Just as with past "hot seat" segments, there was one truly interesting question. Meteorologist Sam Champion read a viewer e-mail that probed, "With all of the interviews you have done, is there one you wish you could do over?" Roberts responded by claiming, "There are times I wished I had asked different questions...especially this past political season." Perhaps one such example would be on March 26, 2007. That's when the GMA journalist conducted an episode-long "town hall" meeting with (then) presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in which she allowed the New York senator to talk, uninterrupted or unchallenged, for 18 of 26 minutes.
In an odd, non-sequitur of a segment, co-host Diane Sawyer kicked off the 8:30 hour of Friday's "Good Morning America" by reading aloud from an essay that President-elect Barack Obama wrote about Abraham Lincoln for a 2005 issue of Time magazine. Stopping the show cold for a minute and 22 seconds, she solemnly began, "...There was something that made us all stop and think. And you know, it's 60 days now. 60 days until the inauguration of a new president." [audio available here]
Then, Sawyer gravely announced that Obama had, in fact, written an essay: "And we saw that President-elect Obama has a favorite photograph, which he looks at. And here are the words that he wrote in Time magazine. An essay." To music that seemed reminiscent of the Ken Burns "Civil War" documentary, with images of Lincoln appearing on screen, the GMA host recited the words of the President-elect's Time article.
For the second day in a row, ABC's "hot seat" segment on "Good Morning America" turned into a cringe-inducing display of gushing questions, including a query about Chris Cuomo's underwear habits. The network promoted the series, which kicked off on Wednesday, as a time when GMA's hard-charging hosts would be forced to ask tough viewer questions. An ad touted how weatherman Sam Champion "bravely" went first and exclaimed, "Every morning, they ask the tough questions...So, who will go next and what will they reveal?"
Apparently, the answer is they will reveal things that few want to know. Cuomo received this video question from twenty-something Tara of Pennsylvania: "So, Chris, boxers or briefs?" She then proceeded to suggestively wink. An apparently-not-too embarrassed Cuomo began, "Assuming I have anything on-" before being stopped by co-host Diane Sawyer. [Audio available here.]
On Wednesday's "Good Morning America," ABC weatherman and global warming alarmist Sam Champion went on the "hot seat," a week-long segment on the show designed to force the hosts to answer supposedly tough questions sent from viewer e-mail. However, he ended up fielding softballs such as "Sam, are you really a morning person?" Co-host Diane Sawyer did read one challenging question: "We know you're Mr. Eco-Friendly and you do everything right in the green way. But Anita from upstate New York wants to know what's your biggest offense? Anti-green offense?"
After denying being an eco-elitist and asserting, "There's no perfect," Champion admitted, "My biggest offense?...I'm trying to quit using the plastic water bottle. But I don't always have that reusable water bottle with me." Of course, considering that the segment was designed as a "secrets revealed" piece, there were a number of tough questions that Sam Champion could have been asked, but wasn't. For instance, on January 31, 2007, the liberal meteorologist hyperventilated about global warming next to a graphic that screamed, "Will Billions Die from Global Warming? New Details on Thirst and Hunger." Maybe someone could have suggested that was a slight exaggeration?
Since March 26, 2008, the ABC network has devoted nine segments or 64 minutes and 48 seconds to the "pregnant man" Thomas Beatie, including three stories in the last four days on either "20/20" or "Good Morning America." On Monday, GMA weekend anchor Kate Snow invited Beatie, who was born a woman but kept her reproductive organs after having transgender surgery, to discuss the autobiography "Labor of Love," which recounts the author's first pregnancy and now another. Snow announced that Beatie would be appearing "to tell us what his definition of family and fatherhood is all about."
Since GMA first discussed the story on March 26, the program has gone back to the subject again and again. Despite hyping the transgendered birth, most stories acted as though there was nothing at all controversial about the topic. News anchor Chris Cuomo told a doctor in March, "Oddity aside, biology aside, it is all about love of this child and as long as that's present, everything else is really going to be normal."
Victoria's Secret, the well-known lingerie retailer, is being sued by a woman who claims the company's bra had formaldehyde in it and made her "utterly sick." ABC's "Good Morning America" ran a segment Nov. 11 focusing on that 37-year-old Ohio woman, Roberta Ritter.
"Victoria's Secret - certainly one of the world's most recognizable brands," anchor Diane Sawyer said. "And this morning, though, there are questions about what some of the bras might have in them. And did they cause a reaction?"
ABC's Andrea Canning warned viewers "some women say they've experienced very uncomfortable symptoms from the bras like rashes and hives, even permanent scarring ... but the bras are still on the shelves."
In part two of "Good Morning America's" Friday interview with former bomber William Ayers, news anchor Chris Cuomo did challenge the ex-'60s radical on whether or not he was a terrorist. But after Ayers contended, "It's not terrorism because it doesn't target people. It doesn't target people to either kill or injure," the journalist failed to offer specifics that would refute that point. Cuomo could have easily cited the example of John Murtagh. He was a child in 1970 when the Weather Underground, founded by Mr. Ayers, placed multiple bombs, one underneath the gas tank of the family car, at the home of his New York judge father.
In a New York Daily News op-ed on April 30, 2008, Murtagh wrote, "I was only 9 then, the year Ayers' Weathermen tried to murder me." However, while not pressing Ayers on specific victims, he did skeptically wonder, "How can a sophisticated academic like yourself believe that the inherent recklessness of exploding bombs that you know too well killed three of your own- you know the potential for deadliness there."
"Good Morning America" news anchor Chris Cuomo on Friday conducted an interview with former bomber William Ayers that qualified as neither a softball or a grilling of the ex-domestic terrorist. Although he did challenge Ayers, he didn't interrupt when the Chicago professor insisted that America fought a "violent terrorist war" or when the '60s radical characterized the U.S. government as murdering thousands "every month" during Vietnam.
Additionally, the online version of the ABC story referred to Ayers as a "campaign boogeyman," while co-host Diane Sawyer in an introduction for the piece defensively explained, "The name of Bill Ayers, William Ayers, was used as kind of a political weapon by the Republicans." During the segment, Cuomo even editorialized that Ayers is now a "respected professor" at the University of Illinois. Respected, perhaps, by leftists and radicals, but many Americans still hold great anger towards Ayers and his terrorist group the Weather Underground. Cuomo also failed to delve into the issue of Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC), a liberal organization that Barack Obama served on the board of and was the brainchild of Ayers.
On the other hand, Cuomo did not let Ayers get away with his insinuation that he had no real connection to the now-President-elect. Referring to the often repeated story that Obama began his campaign for the state senate in the living room of Ayers, Cuomo challenged, "You can't say that somebody's a family friend, have them in your house, trying to launch their political career and then say this is nothing." Later, after Ayers tried to minimize the extent of his relationship with the Illinois Democrat, Cuomo retorted, "But, then you have to come clean about saying, 'And I'm one of those people. Barack Obama either sought me out or I sought him out to discuss my ideas, my radical ideas and then he made his own decisions.'" The journalist added, "If that's true, okay. But, it can't be that and, 'We never discussed any of this.'"
Isn't this convenient? Finally, more than a week after Election Day, Chris Cuomo of ABC News' "Good Morning America" puts together a fairly hard-hitting look at terrorist William Ayers, the would-be mass murderer, who helped to launch the career of then-Illinois state senate candidate Barack Obama.
Now that it hardly matters anymore politically, now that Obama has secured at least 365 of the 538 votes in the Electoral College, Cuomo finally decides it's time to be a journalist and asks Bill Ayers hard questions over and over again. It's not a bad interview, but wouldn't it have had more news value a few weeks ago when Americans were weighing the content of now-President-elect Obama's character? (Article on GMA website here summarizes the interview.)
Perhaps the unrepentant domestic terrorist friend of Barack Obama did his part avoiding the media, but most of the media certainly lacked in pursuing him. Suddenly, now that that Barack Obama has been elected, the media are interested in extending this America hater’s fifteen minutes of fame. Good Morning America is promoting their exclusive interview with Bill Ayers, which will most likely be a puff-piece interview touting how he is really a harmless professor who lives in Obama’s neighborhood. Maybe they will let him promote his newly reissued book on the Weather Underground too! If so, perhaps they will ask him about this interesting quote in the book’s new afterword:
We had served together on the board of a foundation, knew one another as neighbors and family friends, held an initial fund-raiser at my house, where I’d made a small donation to his earliest political campaign,” he writes.
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," ABC hosts touted the show's exclusive interview on Friday with bomber William Ayers. During the presidential campaign, the program (and network) largely downplayed or sympathetically reported on the connection between the domestic terrorist and (then) Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. So, it will be interesting to see if GMA co-host Chris Cuomo grills Ayers or tosses softballs.
An ad for the piece promised "Tough questions asked and answered." Yet, at the end of Thursday's program, Sawyer more sympathetically teased, "And also tomorrow, the man who's name became such a political football during the campaign." On April 17, 2008, "Good Morning America" reporter David Wright minimized the relationship and asserted that candidate Obama was facing questions "about a neighbor of his who was once a member of the violent Weather Underground." (Of course, considering that an Obama staffer described the two men as "friendly" and since Obama accepted a campaign donation from Ayers in 2001, describing Ayers as simply a "neighbor" is rather inaccurate, to say the least.)
In a story about what private school President-elect Barack Obama will send his children to, "Good Morning America" reporter Claire Shipman on Wednesday mostly glossed over the obvious point that the Democrat likely won't be putting his daughters through the D.C. public educational system and also ignored his opposition to vouchers. Instead, she fawned that "the D.C. social world is obsessed with where these new, coolest kids on the block will wind up."
The only mention of public schools came when Shipman asserted, "Whenever there's a new first family with young children, the question always comes up, public or private? And with Washington, D.C. schools still struggling, it can be an especially difficult decision." She then played a clip of Washington Post reporter Jay Matthews explaining the woeful state of D.C.'s public schools. But, nowhere in the piece did Shipman mention the contradiction between Obama's opposition to school choice programs that allow low income students to use vouchers to attend private institutions and the fact that the President-elect and his wife have no intention to send their children to some of those very same schools in Washington.
"Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer on Friday uncritically highlighted an address given by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright on Thursday and parroted his talking points about being a scapegoat. In a tease for the segment, she recited, "Reverend Jeremiah Wright is now speaking out again. He says he was turned into a weapon of mass destruction."
Regarding his speech, given in a church in Milford, Connecticut, Sawyer blandly added that Senator Barack Obama "distanced himself from Reverend Wright during the campaign and labeled some of his sermons divisive." She then proceeded to play a 47 second long clip of Wright complaining that the media intended to use his sermons to destroy Obama. An ABC graphic almost apologetically read, "First Comments From Rev Wright: Media's 'Weapon on Mass Destruction'"
"Good Morning America" reporter Claire Shipman continued a time honored media bias tradition on Friday when she mislabeled Congressman Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama's newly selected chief of staff, as "centrist." Emanuel, who was elected to Congress in 2002, has a lifetime American Conservative Union score of 13.
In 2006, his rank was only four. In contrast, the House member's average from the liberal group Americans for Democratic Action is a very high 96. And yet, Shipman erroneously asserted, "More than anything, the 48-year-old Illinois representative is a pragmatic, centrist politician who likes to get things done. Clearly, Obama wants the same thing." So, can Americans expect Obama to be the same type of "centrist" that Emanuel has been?
Shipman is not the first journalist to try and spin the aggressive Illinois congressman as a moderate. On Wednesday's "American Morning," CNN special correspondent Frank Sesno described Emanuel as someone who is seen to be "on the center to center-right."
According to "Good Morning America" reporter Dan Harris, "No matter how you voted, it's hard to deny that we're having something of a national moment right now" over the election of Barack Obama to the presidency. The ABC correspondent appeared on Thursday's show to explain how the national and international celebration for the Democrat's victory was continuing.
In a tease for the piece at the top of the show, co-host Robin Roberts bubbled that the president-elect "woke up to a chorus of worldwide approval." (At no point did any of the journalists question whether foreign approval over an American president was a good thing or not.) Harris did allow that Obama wouldn't receive a "permanent honeymoon," but co-host Diane Sawyer closed the segment by cooing, "I was saying, my sister in France has people coming up to her and saying, American? Obama!"
The MSM have already begun circling the wagons around their guy. Like a secular priest, Chris Cuomo this morning absolved Barack Obama of any responsibility for yesterday's stock market nosedive, the largest post-election drop in history.
Cuomo offered his absolution while chatting about the economy with Good Morning America co-host Diane Sawyer today.
DIANE SAWYER: First we've got to start with the market. Market went way down. Why?
CHRIS CUOMO: Well, not because it was Obama that got elected. That had already been figured into the markets. It went down because the news about the economy is not good.
"Good Morning America" reporter Bill Weir gushed on Wednesday morning about the "transcendent" reaction to Senator Barack Obama's presidential victory. Discussing Tuesday night's jubilant crowds in New York City, where the ABC program is produced, Weir described the "melting pot of communal joy."
Weir enthused that the celebration was "the kind not seen on New Year's Eve or championship parades. At the crossroads of the world, voices from around the world shouted of the greatness of America." He added, "When the announcement was made, literal dancing in the streets...And people were locking in embraces, watching the speech there as well."
The journalist even recounted how he attempted to remind an African American mother of America's history with slavery. After this woman and her daughter saw a graphic on a jumbotron of all the presidents, one that included Obama as the nation's 44th commander in chief, Weir went over to the pair and attempted to invoke a negative reaction. He explained, "And I leaned over and said, you know, 12 of those men owned slaves. And the mother turned to me and said, 'That stain is washed.'"
Fox News political commentator Juan Williams appeared on a panel for Tuesday's "Good Morning America" to predict that a decrease of Republicans in the Senate could actually make the legislative body more contentious and that a "hard right" minority might be reined in by a defeated John McCain.
After mentioning the possible losses of Senators Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, John Sununu of New Hampshire and Gordon Smith of Oregon, Williams asserted, "Those are moderate Republicans. And if they're gone, then, suddenly, you have a much more politicized and sort of, you know, antagonistic politics taking place in the Senate when people think, oh, this is an election where we have people coming to the middle."It's not clear who Williams is speaking of when he calls this an election about "coming to the middle." After all, Senator Barack Obama was the third most liberal senator in 2007. Secondly, John Sununu and Elizabeth Dole are not moderates. (The two have lifetime American Conservative Union Scores of 92 and 91, respectively.)
Liberal ABC reporter David Wright grilled John McCain on election day about whether the Arizona senator is genuine in his predictions of an electoral win. Wright probed, "But some straight talk. Do you really expect to win?" He then followed up, "Have you given any thought to what happens if you don't win?"
The ABC journalist, who previously slammed McCain on the October 23 "Nightline" for dispensing an "angry rant" about taxes, quizzed the presidential candidate: "Looking back over the campaign, is it the kind of campaign you wanted to run?" He then skeptically added, "Any regrets whatsoever?" Throughout the 2008 campaign, Wright developed a habit of making snarky attacks on the Republican presidential ticket. During an October 31 appearance on GMA, he derided Joe Wurzelbacher (AKA "Joe the Plumber") as McCain's "mascot."
"Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer prompted Barack Obama supporter Caroline Kennedy to gush about just how excited she was over the senator's possible victory. Sawyer also probed for scintillating details, such as wondering, "Where are you going to watch [the election returns]?" Regarding the Kennedy daughter's endorsement of the Democratic presidential candidate, Sawyer gushed, "So, do you feel that what you wrote has been fulfilled? And that you do have a sense of excitement that people told you they felt with your father [John F. Kennedy]?"
Looking for celebrity gossip, Sawyer reflected on Kennedy's glitzy February appearance with Obama: "You, Maria Shriver, Oprah, standing there for that morning of endorsement. Have you talked to each other? Did you talk to each other this weekend? What are you saying?"The ABC journalist even excitedly referenced the possibility of a position for her in the Obama administration. She bubbled, "So, the speculation game is already begun. And this morning, it is Caroline Kennedy ambassador to name-your-country."
Liberal ABC reporter David Wright derided Joe Wurzelbacher (AKA "Joe the Plumber") as John McCain's "campaign mascot" during Friday's edition of "Good Morning America." Wright, who has developed quite a track record in the 2008 campaign of boosting Barack Obama and bashing Senator McCain, also sneeringly compared Wurzelbacher's appearance with the Republican to Obama's Ohio campaign rally featuring Bill Clinton.
He sniffed, "Barack Obama turned to a celebrity with a bit more history and stature. Former President Bill Clinton hit the stump for Obama right here in Ohio." On the October 23 "Nightline," Wright attacked the "angry rant" McCain delivered during a speech on taxes. During the October 22 GMA, he insisted that Governor Sarah Palin's attacks on Senator Joe Biden might not be that valid because the vice presidential contender lives in a "glass house."
"Good Morning America" reporter Claire Shipman on Friday asked the author of a new biography on Michelle Obama how the candidate's wife deals with her husband being "lusted after by all of these women out there" on the campaign trail. While talking to "Michelle" author Liz Mundy, Shipman cooed, "And, of course, it's wonderful, but not always easy when your husband becomes a political rock star overnight."
As though the ABC correspondent were reading from a press release, she opened the segment by fawning: "And over the years, Michelle Obama in her personal journey has achieved a remarkable feat. She's carved a role for herself a path that both embraces and transcends race." Later, Shipman insisted, "An incredible journey that even more than her husband's is emblematic of the country's racial transformation." At no point, did Shipman, who once rhapsodized about the "fluid poetry" of the presidential candidate, discuss any of Michelle Obama's gaffes during the 2008 campaign, such as her famous comment in February that "for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country."