"Good Morning America" host Diane Sawyer found an astoundingly gentle way to ask Hillary Clinton about the possibility of not being the Democratic nominee. On Friday's program, the ABC journalist wondered if such a victory was even necessary. She soothingly suggested, "The question is, are you in a new place about winning? Have you decided that you can accomplish what you want to accomplish, even if you don't win the presidency?"
Sawyer's question, in reference to a comment made at the debate in which Clinton claimed she would be "fine," whatever happens in the election, led to more softballs. The GMA host lauded the Democratic presidential contender for something as simple as having her daughter at the debate. "...We noticed that Chelsea came up and immediately slipped your hand into yours, last night. What was that about? What was going on between the two of you?"
On Friday, ABC correspondent David Wright continued to make it clear that his affection lies with Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton. Covering Thursday's Democratic debate for "Good Morning America," Wright slammed the New York senator for "an absolute clunker of an attack line." And, at one point, the journalist completely misstated a comment by Clinton about American military troops.
Discussing a question from CNN debate host Campbell Brown about overcoming crises, Wright asserted, "Clinton went on to compare her suffering to soldiers wounded in Iraq." In fact, she said quite the opposite. Wright only played a brief snippet of the former first lady's answer, in which she observed, "The hits I've taken in my life are nothing compared to what goes on every single day in the lives of people across our country." But even that makes it clear that Clinton was not drawing a parallel between her life and wounded veterans. For context, here is Clinton's response to the query:
The New York Times "scoop" strongly suggesting a romantic relationship between John McCain and a lobbyist drew heavy coverage from all three morning shows Thursday. All three featured interviews with McCain staff members on the defensive. Critical scrutiny of the Times story was mostly left to the McCain aides, as the networks presented the tone of a real crisis for McCain, not for the newspaper.
On NBC’s Today, at least its opening allowed the idea that an outrage had taken place: "Good morning, bombshell or hatchet job? A New York Times report out this morning raises questions about John McCain's relationship with a female lobbyist eight years ago. He is outraged and he is fighting back. Will it turn the presidential campaign upside down?"
There has been significant speculation in the MSM that an upshot of the NYT's McCain piece could be to rally support for McCain from conservatives like Rush Limbaugh who heretofore have been, shall we say, less than enthusiastic about the Arizona senator.
Typical was this exchange from today's Good Morning America, which followed an appearance by McCain campaign advisor Charlie Black.
While covering the breaking story on Tuesday of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro's decision to step down from power, various "Good Morning America" anchors and reporters soft peddled the communist leader's crimes. In a profile piece that narrated a brief history of his life, co-host Diane sawyer enthused, "Castro knew life is a stage and played the part of the dashing revolutionary coming to New York, getting rock star treatment."
Now, she did add that many people overlooked the "ferocity of his communism, even as he bankrupted his country and history passed him by." But over the course of five segments, GMA managed to completely ignore Castro's record of firing squads, jailing dissidents, imprisoning AIDS patients and other crimes. Instead, Sawyer found time to romantically state, "The world'slongest-serving political leaderis leaving on his own terms, having survived efforts by ten different U.S. presidents to bring him down..." Note the use of the term "political leader" rather than dictator.
Bill Clinton’s yelling at pro-life protesters in Steubenville, Ohio didn’t get processed by the networks as a sign of bad temper, or of sour and hyperbolic attacks on pro-lifers. On Monday’s Good Morning America, reporter Jake Tapper’s quick summary of what was going on with the top presidential candidates only noted he "took on some anti-abortion protesters" and ran this soundbite: "We disagree with you. You want to criminalize women and their doctors and we disagree!"
That is clearly a sentiment that media liberals support, but it’s only a fraction of what he yelled. ABC’s Political Radar blog carried more detail, but in neither report did ABC seem to ponder the the political oddity of Clinton’s angry retort: that he and Hillary were in effect more pro-life than the pro-lifers – not to mention it’s always odd to hear Clinton yelling at others to "Tell the truth! Tell the truth!" Over a cheering liberal crowd, Clinton said:
"Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo presented a decidedly one-sided segment on Monday about the "gender discrimination" expressed by a private religious school in Kansas that refused to allow a female basketball referee the chance to call a boy's varsity game. Cuomo announced, "many" think that "religious belief does not give the school the right to discriminate."
The ABC host offered almost no consideration to the argument, made by St. Mary's Academy, that men are best equipped to guide boys and prepare them for future life endeavors. (The referee in question, Michelle Campbell, asserted that she was not allowed to call the game because the school believes women shouldn't have authority over men.) Instead, he offered loaded questions to Campbell, who appeared on the show: "Gender discrimination is not something new. We know about it. But were you surprised that something this obvious still confronted you today....Were you surprised?"
Rush Limbaugh read the first two paras of this item during his first half-hour today, citing "our buddies at NewsBusters." Thanks, Rush! Audio here.
If a supremely prominent Republican who was John McCain's chief surrogate had gotten into an angry confrontation at a campaign event, do you think the broadcast networks would have promptly let us know his interlocutor was African-American?
I do. But none of the broadcast network's morning news shows, at least during this morning's crucial first half-hour, disclosed the African-American identity of the man with whom Bill Clinton got into just such an argument yesterday in Ohio.
Not a word of any incident whatsoever at GMA or the Early Show, at least during the first half-hour. Today did mention that Clinton "showed his temper . . . after an Obama supporter tried to disrupt his speech in Canton," but nothing about the man's identity.
This is too perfect! Barely an hour after Pat Buchanan proclaimed on NBC that the MSM is full of "out-of-the-closet Obamacans," ABC's David Wright provided a perfect illustration of the genre.
In fact, I'm nominating the GMA segment Wright narrated this morning as the single most slanted episode of the MSM primary season. The screen graphic "On the Attack," set the theme: Hillary is unfairly attacking Obama, and to the extent Barack's gone negative, it's only to rebut Clinton's unfair criticism. Oh, and Hillary's demographic is crumbling. And by the way, Bill's dissing Obama supporters.
ABC's "Good Morning America" should be commended for a segment on Thursday's show that actually turned attention to the face of radical Islamic fundamentalism on Arab television. GMA correspondent Lama Hasan reported on a Hamas children's program entitled "Tomorrow's Pioneers" that routinely "murders" cartoon look-alikes of Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse and blames their deaths on Jews.
Co-host Robin Roberts introduced the subject of "using cartoons to teach children to hate" and Hasan explained how the show features a vile-spewing Bugs Bunny character that threatening to kill Jews. She also noted that a previous episode featured a bumblebee who the series asserted "couldn't get to the hospital because it was blocked by the Israelis." This particular episode followed one in which a Mickey Mouse look-alike is stabbed to death by a Jew trying to buy his land. Hasan didn't mince words, labeling "Tomorrow's Pioneers" "Hamas's latest attempt to brainwash kids."
Three voices of the Clinton campaign, three distinctly different takes on its fortunes. James Carville is candid about the pickle Hillary's in. Hillary, true to form, utterly evades the question. Ah, but there's always Terry McAuliffe. The proud graduate of the Baghdad Bob School of Flackery this morning declared that he's "more confident than he's ever been" about winning the nomination.
Carville, appearing on last night's Larry King, couldn't have been more succinct.
LARRY KING: If Hillary loses Texas or Ohio, is it over?
The media loves campaign metaphors. Yesterday, some MSM wag delighted in pointing out that Mike Huckabee's campaign van had twice run out of gas. Today, it was Hillary Clinton's turn. In the wake of her devastating defeats in the Potomac primaries, Good Morning America rolled an extended clip of her struggling up an airplane stairway.
Speaking with Diane Sawyer, George Stephanopoulos had just finished opining that if in Texas Obama cuts into Hillary's coalition of women and Hispanics the way he did last night, he will be the nominee.
Putting all those things together, it does seem to suggest that your industry is looking to make more money off its credit card holders. Do you deny that? -- Chris Cuomo to banking industry representative, GMA, Feb. 12, 2008.
This year's Media Research Center DisHonor Awards haven't been distributed yet, but we might already have a candidate for next year's competition . . .
Give banking industry representative Nessa Feddis, um, credit for not bursting out in laughter in response to Chris Cuomo's question. Yes, Chris, businesses are, well, in business. And the people from whom they make their money do tend to be their customers.
One home supposedly burned because Sheryl Christman, a 38-year-old Michigan woman, was three days short of foreclosure. She pleaded no contest after the Sept. 1, 2007 arson. The other case was a Colorado arson where a man "may have" committed arson before an "imminent foreclosure."
In light of recent high-profile shootings, Friday's World News with Charles Gibson featured a report that seemed to lament the absence of public calls for additional gun control. While not directly advocating new gun laws, the report cited statistics often used by those who support gun control. Before correspondent Pierre Thomas cited a poll showing 60 percent of Americans "favor stricter gun control laws," Gibson introduced the piece: "Well, there are 230 million guns in America. There are more guns than there are adults. In the past incidents, like the one in Kirkwood, would rekindle debate over gun control. But as ABC's Pierre Thomas reports, gun control advocates are now mostly silent." (Transcript follows)
"Good Morning America" weatherman and resident environmental alarmist Sam Champion wondered on Friday if global warming could cause "the ultimate climate disaster" and force humanity to abandon Earth and live in space. (Throughout the day's themed program, various GMA hosts filed reports on space and astronauts.)
So, as a transition to a piece on liberal environmental issues, Champion segued, "And now to our series 'Global Warming: Global Warning.' Could global warming one day force us into space to live?" (The ABC weatherman appeared in a pool as part of a previous space segment on weightlessness.) Champion used the segment to preview a new documentary called "Six Degrees" that will air on the National Geographic Channel on Sunday. He failed to inform viewers that the author upon which the special is based on, Mark Lynas, is a hard-left environmentalist who once threw a pie in the face of Bjorn Lomborg at a reading of Lomborg's book, "The Skeptical Environmentalist."
I'm not talking about endorsing Hillary. I'm talking about raising money for her because apparently the Republican 'strategery' is relying on fear and loathing of Hillary to unite everybody.-- Rush Limbaugh, Feb. 7, 2008
There's nothing the MSM loves more than Republican in-fighting. And of late, conservatives have concededly given the liberal media plenty to gloat about in that regard. Well-founded concerns about John McCain's unconservative positions on a host of issues have famously led to much heartburn in conservative circles. And yes, Rush Limbaugh has been leading the charge in raising the red flag about McCain.
But that doesn't justify Diane Sawyer's utter, complete, 180-degrees-wrong distortion and misrepresentation of what Rush said yesterday about possibly raising funds for Hillary. Sawyer portrayed Rush's comments as evidence of continuing conservative discontent. In fact, they were precisely the opposite. Here are the facts.
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," ABC reporter Cynthia McFadden suggested that the aging, liberal singer Cher might want to think about running for office. After discussing the performer's new Las Vegas show, McFadden asked Cher about politics.
Explaining why she's pro-Hillary Clinton and not supporting Barack Obama, the performer segued into discussing the "saint" known as Jimmy Carter and how "all he talked about was what he wanted to do for this country. And because of his inexperience, they cut him off at the knees." McFadden's response to this glowing assessment of the one term president was to assert, "Maybe you should run for office."
Continuing the trend of focusing on Democrats and issues important to Democratic voters, "Good Morning America" reporter Claire Shipman delved into the psyche of women voters on Wednesday. Of course, this meant exclusively examining female voters who are choosing between liberal presidential candidates.
Describing the dilemma of a group of women in California, she enthused, "For many of these Democratic women, it was a struggle between two extremely appealing candidates." Such flowery language about two liberals White House contenders shouldn't be surprising. In January of 2007, Shipman famously depicted the battle between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as a contest of "fluid poetry" versus "hot factor."
Mike Huckabee won five races last night. Mitt Romney won seven. Mike Huckabee has 190 delegates. Mitt Romney has 269 [see results here]. The only closed Deep South state left on the primary calendar is Mississippi. Romney has the message and money to compete across the USA.
So when Huckabee claims it's now a two-man race between McCain and himself, a journalist would surely challenge him on it, no? No. Not Robin Roberts, at least. To the contrary, she bought into his logic to the extent of asking only about his strategy going forward.
There were also some intriguing comments from Huckabee about allegations of backroom West Virginia deals and the importance of politesse . . .
Standing outside "Good Morning America's" New York studio on Tuesday, Democratic supporters waved signs backing Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and, fittingly, weatherman Sam Champion. GMA viewers have long known that the ABC forecaster is an avid promoter of left-wing environmental causes, but to celebrate "National Weatherman's Day," Champion got a boost from fans of two other liberals.
Taking a break from chanting slogans for Obama and Clinton, the crowd momentarily held signs, given to them by ABC, reading "In Sam We Trust" and "Sam's Our Man." Co-host Diane Sawyer couldn't have been more pleased at the synergy. She extolled, "It's the Sam surge, taking over the race to '08!"
Is it just me, or was there a defiant tone in George Stephanopoulos's voice this morning as he declared that Rush Limbaugh can't stop John McCain? The "This Week" host was a guest commentator on today's Good Morning America, and co-anchor Robin Roberts began by playing a clip of a recent Rush comment.
ROBIN ROBERTS: Let's start with the Republicans. Of course John McCain, the big lead over Romney, but not everyone is rallying around McCain. Let's listen to this for a moment.
ABC reporter Deborah Roberts interviewed Michelle Obama on Monday's "Good Morning America" and glossed over some of the more controversial statements of this "fascinating," "straight-talking," "charming" woman.
Roberts appeared comfortable repeating talking points from "the spouse of politics' newest star" and didn't challenge Mrs. Obama on her assertion, from November 2007, that it will be America's fault if her husband isn't elected. Instead, Roberts simply recited, "I asked her about race in this campaign....She and her husband refuse to dwell on it." Continuing the spin, she added, "They genuinely believe that people want to move beyond that, talk about something else."
When a Democrat pulls off an upset in California, it's a "win." If a disfavored Republican does the same, he's "stealing." Just ask George Stephanopoulos, appearing on today's Good Morning America.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS [pointing to map]: This is Barack Obama's targets tomorrow night, this is what I'm going to be watching. If he wins Massachussetts, where he's got the support of Ted Kennedy, he's going to have a good night. If he wins Missouri, right in the middle of the country, he's going to have a great night. If he wins California tomorrow night, it is going to be very hard to deny him the nomination.
ABC on Friday night decided to devote an entire story to speculating about what is supposedly “the talk of the town” -- a potential Democratic “Dream Ticket” of Clinton and Obama or Obama and Clinton. With “Dream Ticket?” on screen, anchor Charles Gibson set up the piece by pointing out how, during the debate on CNN the night before, Clinton and Obama “were asked if they might run together -- one for President, the other for Vice President.” Gibson insisted: “It has been on many people's minds.”
In the subsequent story, Jake Tapper asserted that with a black man or white woman “poised to make history,” there is “one way to top it.” He then played a clip of Wolf Blitzer asking during the debate: “Would you consider an Obama/Clinton or Clinton/Obama ticket going down the road?” Maintaining “the possibility is the talk of the town,” Tapper backed his supposition by highlighting the belief of his colleague, ex-Clintonista George Stephanopoulos, who predicted: “Because they're both fighting this out through Super Tuesday, I think the chances are better than ever before.” Challenged by Diane Sawyer to a bet in the clip Tapper played from Good Morning America, Stephanopoulos took her up: “Absolutely. I'll bet if she gets the nomination, she picks him.”
"Good Morning America" correspondent Kate Snow appeared ready to present Academy Award statues to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on Friday's show. The reporter gushed over the performance of the two Democrats at Thursday's Los Angeles-based Democratic debate. She rhapsodized, "So, the nominees for best performance in a televised debate go to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton..."
Snow, as well as GMA co-host Diane Sawyer and "This Week" anchor George Stephanopoulos, who appeared later on in the show, couldn't restrain themselves from mentioning the possibility of a Clinton/Obama or Obama/Clinton "dream ticket." Sawyer looked absolutely bubbly during GMA's opening. Lauding the friendly nature of the debate between the senators, she enthused, "And it's Friday, February 1st, 2008 and we all watched last night, right? What about that?!"
ABC reporters Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts acted as debate coaches for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on Thursday's "Good Morning America." Previewing the January 31 debate between the two, Donaldson suggested that Clinton be aggressive and "put [Obama] on the defensive."
The veteran journalist then casually asserted that it doesn't matter whether the New York senator's charges would be true or not. He spun, "Now, you say, what-- does she come up with something that really isn't accurate? In a sense, unfortunately, doesn't matter. If she can put him on the defensive, so that he has to try to answer something, I think that's what she should probably do." Cokie Roberts contributed more simple advice: Clinton should just let her genius shine through. She enthused, "I think Hillary Clinton should just wow everybody with all of her knowledge, you know, the New York Times editorial calling her brilliant. She should show us that brilliance and not get irritated by him and not go after him."
"For his part, Obama appears to view Hillary as a thug who will say anything to win." -- ABC's Dan Harris, GMA, 01-31-08.
Gangsta rappers for Hillary? Could be. After all, Barack Obama apparently sees her as a "thug." At least that's what ABC's Dan Harris said on today's Good Morning America.
ROBIN ROBERTS: And that brings us now to the Democrats. It's their turn tonight. Whatever your political feelings, it's an historic moment in American history. A woman, an African-American man, one will shatter 200 years of history and win the nomination. The stakes could not be any higher. Dan Harris is here with the story.
DAN HARRIS: High stakes, high tension, high drama. The showdown with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama has become increasingly acidic. And their positions on the issues are essentially identical but their personalities and personal philosophies are very different.
Previewing George Bush's State of the Union speech on Sunday's "Good Morning America," ABC correspondent John Donvan delivered a condescending, dismissive look at the President's past SOTU addresses. After showing a 2005 clip of Bush touting tax cuts for everyone, Donvan derided the cuts, saying they "came true, most of all, for wealthier Americans..." He also added that "out went balanced budgets and surpluses."
While inter-cutting clips of Bush talking about Saddam Hussein, Donvan snidely observed, "And the weapons he said justified going to war-- [State of the Union clip] --well, they were never found." Donvan also willfully ignored the successful troop surge in Iraq and stuck to the pessimistic outlook of the war. In between a clip of Bush talking about how Iraq's success would inspire democracy in the region, the ABC journalist spun, "And the great hopes for the sacrifice made--[State of the Union clip] --those were disappointed hopes."