"Good Morning America" on Thursday picked up an attack on John McCain that has grown popular in left-wing media outlets and turned it into a Brian Ross investigation of the senator's "pastor problem." In a preview, co-host Diane Sawyer solemnly intoned, "This morning, John McCain's pastor problem. Is the preacher McCain calls a spiritual guide fueling the fire of Muslim hatred in America?" Investigative reporter Ross then preceded to warn how the Arizona senator's appearance with a pastor who loudly attacked Islam has "badly complicated" McCain's attempts to reach out to the Muslim world. [audio available here]
Where did Ross find the various clips of the Reverend Rod Parsley condemning Islam and standing on a podium with John McCain? The story has already been touted in liberal outlets such as Mother Jones magazine and heavily featured on the website Brave New Films,a creation of Robert Greenwald, best known for documentaries bashing Fox News and Wal Mart. (Despite this, Sawyer touted the "exclusive" nature of the investigation.) Additionally, the web version of Ross's story featured a misleading attempt to more closely associate McCain and Parsley. The ABC News headline asserted: "McCain Pastor: Islam Is a 'Conspiracy of Spiritual Evil.'" McCain's pastor? The Republican presidential candidate sought the reverend's support in February 2008. McCain is not a member of Parsley's World Harvest Church in Columbus, Ohio.
During "Good Morning America's" respectful coverage of Ted Kennedy and the sad announcement of his cancer on Wednesday, ABC's medical expert, Dr. Tim Johnson, used the occasion to laud Kennedy's very liberal goals for reforming health care. After stating his admiration for the Massachusetts senator, Johnson fawned, "He is a true giant in the field of those of us who care about health care reform. And we want his leadership to continue."
Johnson may be a doctor, but his rigid liberalism fits right in at ABC. He has a long history of using network airwaves to back Kennedy and other liberal Democrats and their policies. On September 24 1993, he rhapsodized, "...The Clintons are almost heroes in my mind for finally facing up to the terrible problems we have with our current health care system..." On July 19, 1994, he extolled then-First Lady Hillary Clinton's plans for universal health care in an interview, saying, "So at least from the physicians represented here, you get a 100 percent vote, including mine, for universal coverage."
According to Marc Ambinder of theatlantic.com, former ABC News Capitol Hill correspondent Linda Douglass, also a former correspondent for CBS and NBC News, will be leaving her position at National Journal to join the Barack Obama presidential campaign as a senior strategist. Ambinder quotes Douglass: "I see this as a moment of transformational change in the country and I have spent my lifetime sitting on the sidelines watching people attempt to make change. I just decided that I can't sit on the sidelines anymore."
Ambinder's article, which can be seen here, further describes Douglass as having grown "disillusioned with the partisanship she saw first hand" during her journalistic career.
ABC reporter Kate Snow, who has repeatedly gushed over the Hillary Clinton campaign in the past, appeared to be edging away from the Democratic candidate on Tuesday's "Good Morning America." Discussing the long odds the New York senator now faces to the nomination, Snow gratuitously offered this comparison: "And here's a metaphor. Last month, supporters gave Clinton an inflatable doll. The other day, it was spotted all shriveled up, deflated."
The GMA correspondent also made sure to point out that "[Clinton's] biggest Kentucky crowds are closer to a thousand and Obama just pulled 75,000 in Oregon." She also explained, "An event in Oregon in a dimly lit room had more reporters than voters. Clinton was somber." This type of downbeat reporting is quite a change from Snow's cheery, pro-Hillary journalism. On January 7, 2008, she marveled at the senator's knowledge and enthused, "No subject is too small. No issue too dense." On October 1, 2007, Snow rhapsodized at Clinton's ability to disarm "her critics with a gleam in her eye and a roar straight from the belly."
"Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts conducted a syrupy, softball interview with Michelle and Barack Obama on Monday's program, mostly free from any discussion of substantive policy issues. Instead, Roberts played a clip from a Tennessee State Republican Party ad that attacked Michelle Obama for saying the '08 campaign marked the first time she's been proud of America.
The GMA host empathetically wondered, "Should you get through this process and you have the general election ahead of you, that this is what you can expect more and more of. Are you prepared for that?" Now, readers will remember that liberals (many in the media) were outraged over ABC's April 16 Democratic debate for focusing on allegedly unimportant topics and not "the issues." But Roberts did the exact same thing during her interview, discussing political "horse-race" subjects such as Hillary Clinton for VP and an extensive debate on whether the Obama family will be getting a dog. As an example of the not-so tough queries the candidate's wife faced, the ABC host at one point cooed, "What have you learned about yourself since that night in Iowa?" [audio available here]
On Friday's "Good Morning America," various ABC reporters fretted about the political implications of Barack Obama referring to a female reporter as "sweetie." GMA co-host Diane Sawyer nervously asked, "When do 'honey,' 'sweetie,' cross the line?" Guest host David Muir introduced an investigation into "the debate over what words we can use and can't use when we're talking to members of opposite sex."
To further examine the issue, GMA even dug up previous clips of the presidential candidate using what has become the other S-word. So, only two days after "Sweetie-Gate" broke, the morning show had already provided detail and background on the case. This stands in stark contrast to how GMA (and ABC in general) covered a much more serious subject, Obama's relationship with indicted political operative Tony Rezko, a man that raised money for the senator and was also involved in a questionable land deal related to the purchase of Obama's home in Chicago. In 2006 and 2007, ABC only mentioned Rezko once. Apparently Rezko and the senator's dealings don't measure up to the sweetie story.
Hillary Clinton won among white voters in West Virginia by a 67-26% margin. Pretty lopsided. Then again, that's nearly an even split compared to the 90+ percent of black votes Barack Obama's been racking up in state after state.
So who does Diane Sawyer suggest should reject race-based votes? Senator 90+? Nope. James Carville was Sawyer's guest during the GMA's opening half-hour today.
DIANE SAWYER: I want to talk about the fact that 20% of the voters coming out of the West Virginia race said race was in fact a factor in their vote, and of those Senator Clinton won 84%. Here's my question: should Senator Clinton say she is rejecting the votes of anyone who votes based in any way on color of skin?
"So far some 730 tornadoes have touched down this year, more than double the number for all of last year."—ABC's Bill Weir, GMA 05-10-08, as this graphic was displayed in a segment blaming global warming for increased tornado incidence.
Dispatch from the Department of Glass Houses . . .
The Good Morning America crew had a bunch of yucks today at the expense of the Sparks, NV streets department employee who spelled "scool" on the asphalt. But within minutes, two ABCers made math mistakes of their own, one of a political sort, the other climate-related.
RON CLAIBORNE: In Sparks, Nevada, someone in the streets department could use a spelling lesson. A sign painted on the street announces a nearby facility is a "s-c-o-o-l" [sound of Claiborne chuckle]. The city plans to fix the sign as soon as possible. That's a first look at the headlines, back to Bill and Kate. Everybody knows school is spelled with a "k."
"Good Morning America" news anchor Chris Cuomo on Thursday aggressively told top Hillary Clinton aide Howard Wolfson that it's time for the senator to get out of the race and allow Barack Obama to begin his general election campaign. At one point, after the communication director suggested that Clinton would do better than Obama in states such as West Virginia, an irritated Cuomo sputtered, "If you're going out there, as communication director of your campaign, telling super delegates Barack can't win against McCain, how is that helping the Democrats?"
When Wolfson repeated his argument that Hillary could capture West Virginia, Cuomo helpfully suggested, "And what a great contribution that might be for a vice presidential candidate." Earlier in the segment, the ABC anchor, who is the son of former New York Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo and brother to the state's current Democratic attorney general, insisted, " Why isn't this the time to get out?" An ABC graphic, just below Cuomo, reiterated, "Clinton Hangs On: How Can She Remain in Race?"
Wednesday’s broadcast network morning shows sounded eager to drum Hillary Clinton out of the Democratic presidential race and turn all critical eyes on John McCain. NBC was most emphatic. Today ran MSNBC midnight footage of Tim Russert declaring Barack Obama the winner: "We now know who the Democratic nominee is gonna be and no one is gonna dispute it." Russert added live: "I cannot find an objective Democrat who does not think this race is over." On ABC, George Stephanopoulos endorsed the New York tabloid newspaper headlines: "Toast. Hil Needs a Miracle. That's exactly right....this nomination fight is over." On CBS, co-host Harry Smith suggested to Bob Schieffer: "Bob, this party needs a nominee and fast. What do you think? Will Hillary Clinton get out, and when?" Schieffer declared "This race is over."
The same message came through in the screen graphics. For example, ABC pictured Mrs. Clinton with the words "End of the Road?" as co-host Robin Roberts began the show: "This morning, is it over?" NBC’s Matt Lauer also asked "Is it over?" and so did the NBC screen. The segments to follow answered the question with an emphatic yes.
Another celebrity has seen Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" and found green religion.
Supermodel-turned-mommy Cindy Crawford, now a blogger for Vanity Fair's Web site, appeared on ABC's May 7 "Good Morning America" to tell viewers they can save the environment by buying a $20 water bottle.
"But my kids go to a school in Malibu and it's super-environmentally conscious," Crawford said. "We do beach clean ups, try to use less plastic as a school. And so, that kind of made me think what can I do? And, I teamed up with PUR, which is a water filtration company. They do the things you can attach to your faucets, as well as those pitchers and we came up with a reusable water bottle."
See Bonus Coverage at foot: Morning Joe Mocks Whopper-Telling Wolfson
What kind of night is one on which Hillary Clinton, in the eyes of many, lost her shot at the nomination? "A great night"—according to Diane Sawyer.
Sawyer made her remark at the opening of today's GMA. She started with some shtick with co-anchor Robin Roberts, displaying a series of cards explaining she was losing her voice, then managed to get out these words:
DIANE SAWYER: It was a great night last night. What a night, huh?
If there was ambiguity as to what made last night "great," it was largely resolved when the duo immediately moved to a discussion of last night's primary election results, culminating in Roberts displaying the front pages of today's New York Post and Daily News, which respectively proclaimed "Toast!" and "Hil Needs a Miracle." George Stephanopoulos came on and confirmed the tabloids' grim prognosis, saying the Dem race "is over."
Good Morning America” on Tuesday continued the morning show drive of busting taboos by touting the romantic relationship between a half-brother and sister. GMA reporter Nick Watt informed viewers of the Scottish couple Danielle Heaney and Nick Cameron, now charged with incest, and rather neutrally explained, “Danielle and Nick are in love. But their love is taboo. They're half-brother and sister.” [audio available here]
At no time during the segment did Watt talk to anyone who might have expressed the argument that having a physical relationship between half-siblings could be a bad idea. After explaining how Danielle and Nick had the same mother, but lived apart as children, Watt simply observed “And one day they hope to move to France, where their love is legal.” Instead, Watt just dug for private details, such as this query to Heaney: “So, something made you kiss him?” Co-host Robin Roberts labeled the relationship "forbidden love." The network morning shows clearly enjoy promoting any type of relationship that can be seen as edgy, daring or somehow outside of the norm. And these segments are almost always delivered with a complete lack of judgment.
For the rest of the campaign, the Media Research Center will each Tuesday announce its picks for the “Worst of the Week,” meaning the most egregious, horrendous and stupefying liberal bias of Campaign 2008. This week, the spotlight shines on those journalists who rushed to the side of Barack Obama after his minister’s radical comments, and NBC’s ridiculous effort to hype bad economic news [audio/video links below fold]:
Feeling Obama’s Pain. After Barack Obama’s former pastor’s radical remarks at the National Press Club, liberal journalists rallied around the Democratic candidate. Hours after Jeremiah Wright spoke on April 28, NBC’s Brian Williams emphasized those who deemed it a "circus" and a "sideshow," as his NBC Nightly News highlighted the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart: "Unfortunately, the victim in all of this is going to be Senator Obama’s campaign."
In 2007, ABC reporter Claire Shipman enthused that the race between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton was one of "fluid poetry" versus "hot factor." On Tuesday's "Good Morning America, she rhapsodized about the spouses of these two Democratic candidates. According to Shipman, "...I think it says it all that [Michelle Obama's] Secret Service code name is renaissance."
Discussing the campaigning being done by the senator's wife in Indiana and North Carolina, the correspondent enthused, " More, more, more. Michelle Obama's straight style has always been an asset." (Shipman made no mention as to whether Mrs. Obama's claim that the 2008 campaign marked the first time she was proud of America was an example of this "straight style" or if that comment was an asset to the campaign.) As for Bill Clinton, Shipman declared that all had been forgiven for previous verbal gaffes: "And what's most interesting is this campaign has gone on for so long, we've seen one spouse go from asset to liability, to asset again." Marveling at the ex-president's exuberance, she applauded, "No event is too early, no schedule too full, no front porch too small."
"On a global basis, world sea ice in April 2008 reached levels that were ‘unprecedented' for the month of April in over 25 years," Steve McIntyre wrote on Climateaudit.org on May 4. "Levels are the third highest (for April) since the commencement of records in 1979, exceeded only by levels in 1979 and 1982."
That data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) suggests the effects of global warming aren't as dire as some media reports would have you believe. A segment on ABC's March 28 "Good Morning America" warned melting sea ice is endangering the global warming alarmists' favorite mascot, the polar bear.
My two cents say George Stephanopoulos gave Hillary a harder time than Tim Russert did Obama during their respective appearances on This Week and Meet the Press today. Russert never pinned Obama down on exactly what he knew of Rev. Wright's most controversial assertions and when he knew it.
Over on ABC, Stephanopoulos twice challenged Hillary to name a single economist who supported her proposal for a gas-tax holiday, and threw in her face the fact that even her big admirer in economist ranks, Paul Krugman of the NY Times, has criticized her over it. In exposing her inability to name a single practitioner of the dismal science who supported her plan [McCain, who's also called for a gas-tax holiday would presumably be similarly hard-pressed], Stephanopoulos left Clinton looking like a panderer. Stephanopoulos raised the issue right out of the box.
Imagine that a "documentary" film-maker—whose most notable former credit was a work advancing the notion that extra-terrestrials did indeed visit Area 51—brought forth a new work suggesting that key elements of the Prophet Mohammed's story had been fabricated. What are the odds ABC would devote a segment of Good Morning America to a respectful interview of the filmmaker and discussion of his work?
But that's exactly what ABC did regarding someone who has produced a documentary ["Bloodline"] calling into question key aspects of the story of Jesus Christ. Here's how GMA weekend co-anchor Bill Weir introduced the segment this morning:
Well, here's a question, was Jesus married with children? Was the Resurrection a trick pulled off by his widow? The possibility, the world's greatest cover-up, was the basis of the smash novel and movie The Da Vinci Code. And though those ideas have been largely dismissed by academics as fiction, documentary film-maker Bruce Burgess believes he has now found evidence to advance that theory. Here's a clip from his new film.
ABC reporter Claire Shipman filed a report from Rome on Friday in which she breathlessly informed viewers that "many Catholics are rethinking their views of [Pope] Benedict XVI." According to Shipman, "most [U.S.] Catholics" thought, at the time of his selection, that Benedict "might clash with American values." Throughout the segment, which aired on "Good Morning America," Shipman appeared shocked at how well the pontiff's April trip to the United States went. [audio available here]
Shipman even trotted out the media's favorite insulting epithet for the Pope. She derided, "Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as the pontiff used to be known, was considered a stern hard-liner, nicknamed 'God's rottweiler.'" After mentioning Benedict's visit to a U.S. synagogue, his meeting with victims of sexual abuse by priests, the journalist marveled, "Could this Pope so many had written off as a tough guy be a teddy bear in disguise?" Wouldn't it be more honest to admit that the "many" and "most" Shipman kept referring to are actually members of the media? After all, most Catholics hadn't heard of Joseph Ratzinger when he was chosen to be pope in April of 2005. ABC reporters, on the other hand, quickly made their thoughts on the selection clear.
Scott Whitlock mentioned that ABC allowed Arianna Huffington to plug her book Thursday on GMA. But Charlie Gibson failed to perform any self-defense on Huffington’s frontal attack on what she calls in her book "The Pontius Pilate Press." (Is Obama the Christ in this scenario? Conservatives are the crucifiers?) Scott noted Gibson merely began: "You think they've taken on the media as well or taken over the media as well. But, basically, you feel that this country has been captured by the more extreme wing of the Republican Party?" So, ABC’s morning show hasn't interviewed Brent Bozell in this century about liberal bias, but they’re putting up no defense to the charge that ABC is an extreme-right-wing GOP subsidiary.
Huffington is making a very bold claim right now, that the media are addicted to fairness and balance, which is wrong, since liberals are right and the "discredited" Right is wrong, so conservatives should be left on the cutting-room floor. They need to engineer conservative "disappearance from the stage":
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," guest host Charles Gibson featured far-left author and creator of the Huffington Post Web site Arianna Huffington to promote her angry new book about "lunatic fringe" conservatives. Gibson, who was a moderator in the April ABC debate that liberals have decried as unfair to Barack Obama, brought up some of the issues mentioned in the debate, such as the senator's refusal to wear an American flag lapel pin.
Speaking of Republicans, he asserted, "They owned, have owned, the, quote, 'issue of patriotism' for some time now." Taking Gibson's cue, and, at the same time, launching an attack on media outlets that supposedly are unfair to liberals, Huffington used the same qualifier: "But the media have helped them own the, quote, issue of patriotism." And although Gibson did occasionally challenge the conservative-turned liberal, he also let her get away with contradictions. As already noted, Huffington chided the media for focusing on alleged distractions, such as flag pins and Reverend Jeremiah Wright's controversial statements. However, in the same segment she frothed over the "lunatic fringe" who "basically, don't believe in evolution but believe in torture."
ABC reporter David Wright, a well known fan of Barack Obama, filed a report on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" in which he urged viewers to sympathize with how difficult it must have been for the senator to finally break with his controversial pastor. The journalist mournfully announced, "For Obama, whose own father abandoned him as a child, this must have been another painful break."
Rather than wonder why Obama repeatedly stood by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, a man who absurdly claimed that the United States created the AIDS virus, (reporter) Wright lobbied for Americans to realize what a "big deal" the break was for the Obama campaign. He justified, "Imagine having to publicly denounce the minister who married you, who baptized your kids, who prayed with you the day you announced your candidacy for president."
Religion and the military shouldn't mix. That's the take away message that both CBS and ABC touted when their Sunday morning news programs publicized the plight of an atheist who is suing the Army for religious discrimination.
On April 27th CBS's Sunday Morning and ABC's Good Morning America Sunday each featured the story of Jeremy Hall, an Army specialist who claims he was denied promotion and persecuted because of his atheism. Both interviewed Hall and Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a co-plaintiff in Hall's lawsuit.
Weinstein was described as a loyal patriot (by CBS) and a defender of the religiously oppressed (ABC). Neither network bothered to mention that on the Military Religious Freedom Foundation's Web site American military members are compared directly to Islamic jihadists. A video runs on the homepage of the site which juxtaposes a suicide bomber holding a rifle and Koran with a group of American soldiers holding rifles and Bibles.
With Barack Obama drowning in Rev. Wright's waves, all Hillary really needs to do is keep her head down and show up on time to be endorsed today by NC Gov. Mike Easley. The last thing Clinton needs is to make a gaffe of her own.
Now let's grant that the one we're about to discuss ranks rather low on the Gaffe-o-meter. If Sniper-gate was a 6.2, this might be a 2.1. But this particular misstep does have the demerit of undercutting a major Clinton campaign theme. Hillary's strategy nowadays consists of appealing to middle- and lower-income voters. Call it the Beer-and-a-shot Shtick. She's a Gal of the People. Not snobby like those Obamas. You know, like Michelle, who complained to a group of women in a struggling area of Ohio about her difficulties in spending $10,000 a year for various lessons for her kids while paying off student loans for her sojourns at Princeton and Harvard.
But that's exactly the kind of mistake Hillary has made. Today's Good Morning America played a clip [date and place unidentified, but presumably from the IN or NC campaign trail] of Hillary saying this to a crowd:
HILLARY CLINTON: Some people say, "oh she is tough." Well, if you'd had my life, you'd be tough too.
Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz filed one of those hurray-I-got-access puff pieces on the networks today, in this case ABC morning news anchor Chris Cuomo, son of ultraliberal former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo (and brother of current New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo). Kurtz mentioned that Cuomo drew controversy for suggesting Britain’s Prince Harry was allowed to serve in the military in Afghanistan because he was "expendable" (a gaffe first highlighted by Scott Whitlock at NewsBusters), but at the article’s end, ABC tells Kurtz how much they like young Cuomo as an advocacy journalist:
Cuomo describes himself as an advocacy journalist, and his bosses like that. "He's had a real yearning to seek out the untold stories, particularly of the disadvantaged," Westin says. "He's almost a crusader. It's a form of old-fashioned, muckraking journalism."
What would be the proper response to the tragic story of a father killed by a great white shark? For "Good Morning America" guest host Barbara Walters, apparently, it was to quote from the trailer of the 1978 film "Jaws 2." Reporter Miguel Marquez recounted the story of Dave Martin, the San Diego man killed by a shark off of the California coast last Friday. He explained, "Dave Martin's family is defiant. They say the shark attack hasn't ended their love of the sea."
When the segment cut back to Walters, she observed, "But perhaps that family should remember that line 'Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.'" Maybe journalists should be told that they don't need to have a pithy quote to end every segment. Perhaps viewers should be glad that she didn't choose other famous "Jaws" quotes, such as "This was no boat accident!" or "You're going to need a bigger boat."
On a day when Senator Barack Obama's controversial pastor would be speaking to the National Press Club in Washington, "Good Morning America" guest host Barbara Walters chose to question DNC Chairman Howard exclusively on how soon the Democratic presidential contest can be ended. At one point during Monday's segment, she even hectored Dean about his responsibility to bring unity to the Democrats. [audio available here]
Walters lectured, "But that's also your job, Dr. Dean, to get one of them to say in order to fight John McCain, in order to really win this election, one of you has got to back down and be gracious. Is that a big part of your job?" To get an idea of the overriding subject that appeared to be occupying the ABC journalist's mind, here is a sampling of her worried questions to the Democratic National Committee chairman:
In an attempt to rehabilitate Jeremiah Wright and, by extension, Senator Barack Obama's connection to the man, Friday's "Good Morning America" featured two segments on the "soft-spoken," patriotic pastor, a man who urged God to damn America. Reporter David Wright, a well-known Obama partisan, described an appearance Pastor Wright made with liberal PBS journalist Bill Moyers. Wright cooed, "But the soft-spoken man who sits down with Bill Moyers couldn't seem more different from that fire-brand preacher we've all seen in those sound bites."
During his segment, the ABC reporter seemed to accept Reverend Wright's contention that he had been smeared by the media. Journalist Wright, no relation to the pastor, asserted, "In the interview, Pastor Wright expresses his horror that the media has made him a bogeyman." As though he were a PR representative, (reporter) Wrightmentioned the reverend's military service and spun, "There's plenty in Wright's background that speaks to his patriotism." He argued that some of the pastor's comments were taken out of context, citing the background of Wright's "chickens are coming home to roost" remark. However, the ABC journalist skipped over the incendiary preacher's contention that "the government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color." Was that "soft spoken" falsehood taken "out of context?"