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."
While interviewing three generations of voters in one Florida family, "Good Morning America" host Diane Sawyer on Thursday pushed back when the mother of the household assailed Senator Joe Biden's claim that paying higher taxes is patriotic. After Marylee Gizzi described the "great offense" she took at Biden's remarks, Sawyer parroted Obama talking points and retorted, "He argues, you know, he's just going back to the Reagan tax cuts. It's not a penalty."
Continuing to defend the Democratic ticket's economic plan, she haltingly added, "He would argue disproportionately advantaged, the wealthy in this country, who have increased their share, more than the middle class has increased its share." After Gizzi lauded the "incredible" accomplishments of Sarah Palin, Sawyer looked for some kind of negative assessment: "There were a lot of people who brought a lot to the table. You must have a sense of whether you'd like her to be president, should something happen to him [McCain]." At no point did Sawyer attempt to grill the Obama-supporting daughter into saying something negative about her choice for president.
ABC reporter Elizabeth Vargas grilled Sarah Palin on Thursday's "Good Morning America" over the issues of competence and whether or not Palin believes that Senator Barack Obama is "un-American" and "dangerous." Vargas chided Palin on her remarks about the Democratic candidate: "But, when you used words like socialism or say he's palling around with terrorists or hanging around with a Palestinian professor...you seem to be saying that he's un-American somehow or might be dangerous somehow."
When Palin assured the journalist that she was not insinuating any such thing, Vargas skeptically followed-up: "Do you think Senator Obama is as patriotic, as American, as honorable as John McCain?" She then proceeded to repeatedly ask, four times in total, questions related to competence and why less women now support Palin. "Today, polls show that 60 percent of women have an unfavorable opinion of you. Why do you think you've lost that connection," she wondered. Referring to conservatives such as Peggy Noonan and Republicans like Colin Powell, Vargas insisted that a "a chorus of voices from the Republican Party, stalwart Republicans" don't believe she's qualified.
On Wednesday's "Good Morning America," reporter Claire Shipman used a test designed by a liberal professor to interrogate the supposedly unconscious racist views of a group of undecided voters. After taking the complicated quiz, which involved linking words with colors, Shipman grilled the men and women about whether negative advertising had changed their view of Senator Barack Obama. "Anyone here have a sense that he is arrogant," she challenged." Shipman followed up, "Anybody think he's uppity?"
The ABC correspondent, who once cooed over the "fluid poetry" of Obama, wasn't dissuaded by the instance that none of voters thought of the Democrat that way. She solemnly intoned, "But in fact, although 'ready' and 'calm' were in the top five [test results], 'uppity,' that classic southern expression drenched in racial overtones, was the number one word subconsciously associated with Barack Obama." And at no point did Shipman mention that Professor Drew Weston of Emory University, the co-designer of this test, is a liberal who bashed Senator John McCain and asserted the Republican's only chance to victory was "the low road."
Is it any wonder that polls revealed a 17 percent increase in Palin's unfavorability ratings in just one month?
After examining the TV news coverage of Palin from September 29 to October 12, CMI found that ABC, NBC and CBS news shows ran 69 stories about Palin. 2 stories were positive, 37 were negative and 30 were neutral. The 2 positive stories were a two-part interview with Palin's parents on the CBS Early Show. Not one of the major network evening news programs - ABC's World News, NBC's Nightly News, and CBS's Evening News - ran a single positive story about Palin.
ABC was hardest on Palin, as 60 percent of its stories on Palin were negative. NBC came in second, as 54 percent of its stories were negative. CBS also ran 54 percent negative stories, but also ran the only two positive stories (8 percent).
CMI found that the networks promoted three major narratives about Palin:
ABC's "Good Morning America" and CBS's "Early Show" on Tuesday avoided any mention of the newly found 2001 audiotape in which then-state Senator Barack Obama lamented to a radio interviewer that "the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth." Only NBC's "Today" show played any of the tape.
GMA and "Early Show" hinted around the subject, but simply in terms of describing it as an attack on Obama. ABC co-host Robin Roberts vaguely asserted, "John McCain claiming Barack Obamais a socialist. Obama countering that McCain is a Bush Republican." On CBS, reporter Jeff Glor continued the equivalence. He derided, "Meanwhile, the campaigns were making their closing arguments, with special emphasis on the arguing part."
Both morning shows replayed McCain's critique in a Pennsylvania speech: "Senator Obama is running to be redistributionist [sic] in chief. I'm running to be commander in chief." But without the context of the audiotape, GMA and "Early Show" portrayed it as just more negative campaigning.
On Monday's "Good Morning America," former Democratic aide-turned journalist George Stephanopoulos downplayed the idea that both Sarah Palin and Joe Biden might be a drag on their respective presidential tickets. Responding to a question by co-host Robin Roberts about the two taking attention away from Senators Obama and McCain, Stephanopoulos opined, "But I think the bottom line here is that across all voters, across the last couple of months, Senator Biden has made voters more comfortable with Barack Obama."He added, "Governor Palin has made voters, overall, less comfortable with John McCain."
While it's true that Governor Palin's numbers have fallen in the last few weeks, it's also apparent that the ABC network has contributed to that situation by aggressively criticizing Governor Palin, while downplaying gaffes by Democratic running mate Biden. Last Monday, ABC's "Political Radar" blog broke the story of the Delaware senator suggesting that Obama would be tested by an international crisis within the first six months of his (potential) presidency. The ABC network ignored the scoop for almost 24 hours.
ABC reporter Jake Tapper contended on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" that John McCain can still win the presidential election and observed to co-host Diane Sawyer, "...If there's one thing the American people like doing, it's having the media say that this is all over, that one guy's going to win, especially a Democrat." [audio excerpt here]
He added, "And then they say, well, not so fast. Not so fast, media. We have a say on this on Election Day." Tapper also argued, "I would never count John McCain out. It is a very, very big hole he's in. But he can get out." Earlier this week, Tapper was one of the few journalists to highlight a false claim by the Barack Obama campaign that John McCain would "cut" $882 billion in Medicare benefits.
Liberal reporter David Wright took a swipe at Sarah Palin on Wednesday's edition of "Good Morning America." Discussing Senator Joe Biden's comments over the weekend that Barack Obama will face an international incident within the first six months of his (potential) presidency, the ABC journalist editorialized, "Her own glass house notwithstanding, Sarah Palin has thrown some stones on the issue, too, even though she's not above making gaffes of her own."
He then introduced a clip of Palin speaking to a Denver NBC affiliate and asserted that the Republican vice presidential nominee "didn't seem to understand the job description of the position she's running for."Palin was featured observing that the vice president is "in charge of the United States Senate. So, if they want to, they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes." Taking issue with Palin's comments, Wright retorted, "Technically, the vice president does preside over the Senate. But the most they usually contribute is a tie breaking vote when required."
Over the past few days, the Obama campaign has been claiming — both in ads and in statements by Barack Obama himself — that John McCain would “cut” Medicare benefits by “$882 billion,” a charge that the Associated Press called “shaky” and that FactCheck.org bluntly dismissed as “bogus” and “false.”
Yet of the three broadcast networks, only ABC News has thus far joined the condemnation of Obama’s deceptive ad. NBC on Monday would only go so far as to say “McCain’s advisors say that’s not true...” — implying that it’s merely a partisan difference of opinion — while CBS has thus far refrained from questioning Obama’s truthfulness on this issue.
For weeks now, the networks have complained about the McCain campaign’s supposed nasty and unfair campaign attacks against Obama, so when will NBC and CBS join ABC in punishing this nasty and unfair charge from the Democrats?
Despite featuring the story on its "Political Radar" blog on Monday morning, the ABC network ignored for almost 24 hours the claim by Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden that Barack Obama will be tested by a major international crisis in the first (potential) six months of his presidency. Monday's "Good Morning America" skipped the story, as did that evening's "World News With Charles Gibson" and "Nightline."
In fact, "Nightline" co-anchor Cynthia McFadden actually conducted an interview with Senator Obama after a campaign rally in Florida. Despite the fact that she had nabbed the first joint interview with Obama and Clinton since the Illinois senator won the nomination, she didn't address the issue. Rather than ask what his running mate meant when he said, "Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy," McFadden chose to limit her questions to how the relationship between Obama and Clinton had changed.
On Monday’s Good Morning America, in a fact check of John McCain’s statement that Barack Obama “gives away your tax dollars to those who don’t pay taxes,” reporter Jake Tapper cited the Tax Policy Center’s analysis of the McCain and Obama tax cuts to stamp McCain’s charge “false.”
“Obama's tax cuts only go to people who work, so by definition, it's not welfare. Some working people eligible for Obama's tax cut make so little, they do not pay income taxes. But they do pay payroll taxes and other taxes,” Tapper summarized.
In other words, McCain would have been accurate if he’d said “gives an income tax cut to those who don’t pay income taxes — and pays for it by raising income taxes on those who are already shouldering more than half of the nation’s income tax burden.”
But Monday’s piece illustrated the liberal media’s penchant for analyzing tax proposals according to a liberal yardstick — who gets how big a check from the government — rather than by analyzing how the rival tax policies will contribute to greater prosperity (by helping or hurting economic growth, rewarding or punishing job creation, etc.).
"Good Morning America" journalists celebrated the endorsement of Senator Barack Obama by former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Monday's program. An ABC graphic for reporter John Berman's segment did not hold back. It asked, "Obama's Best Weekend Ever? Powell and Donors Boost Obama." Co-host Diane Sawyer teased the story by announcing, "This morning, Senator Obama's banner weekend: Record breaking crowds, cash and the endorsement heard around the world." [audio excerpt here]
Introducing Berman, Sawyer called Powell's endorsement, which occurred on Sunday's "Meet the Press," a "booster rocket." Berman also highlighted the fact that Obama's campaign has a "bank account that swelled by a record-shattering $150 million." Of course there was no mention of the influence of money in politics or the Democratic presidential candidate's now broken pledge to take public financing.
Someone should explain to ABC: it ain't "dirty" if it's true. GMA got the collective vapors this morning over the robo-calls the RNC and McCain campaign are making, informing voters of Barack Obama's close association with unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers.
In GMA's book, there's no real difference between these calls—which Cokie Roberts alluded to as "dirtier" tactics—and the calls made against McCain during the 2000 South Carolina Republican primary.
Except there is a difference. A big, fundamental one: what's said in the current calls is true. Obama did work closely with Ayers. What was said in the 2000 calls against McCain in South Carolina was false: he didn't father a black child out of wedlock. He and wife Cindy adopted a Bangladeshi child.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Friday strongly challenged "Good Morning America" host Diane Sawyer about the media's lack of fairness towards the McCain/Palin presidential ticket. The exchange came after the ABC journalist followed up on negative Gingrich remarks about the Obama tax plan by asserting, "for fairness," Obama talking points on middle class tax cuts.
An irritated Gingrich refused to allow Sawyer to move on to another topic and retorted, "No, wait a second. I don't notice very often, reporters, for fairness, pointing out what Governor Palin said or pointing out what Senator McCain said." The GMA anchor, slightly taken aback, defended, "And let me just say, I do point out what Senator McCain says, Mr. Speaker. You know I do." [audio excerpt available here]
And yet, just a few minutes earlier, during a different segment, Sawyer seemed to prove Gingrich's point that the media often recite the left's talking points and attacks. She launched into an update on Joe "the plumber" Wurzelbacher, which was really a series of gratuitous attacks on the Ohio man who famously challenged Obama over his tax plan. She derided, "It turns out, even though he was arguing about taxes for plumbers who end up making $250,000 a year, it turns out that he doesn't have a plumbing license, though the company he works for does."
The latest Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP daily tracking poll finds Barack Obama leading John McCain by 3 percentage points, 45% to 42%. But there’s an interesting nugget inside the data: among those who display the American flag, McCain leads by 48% to 39%. Among those who do not display the flag, Obama has a more than two-to-one lead: 61% to 27%.
Why do I doubt that the ordinarily poll-hungry media will bother to mention this insight into who is supporting which candidate?
It was a year ago, you’ll recall, that Obama himself announced that he would not wear the American flag on his lapel, calling it “a substitute for true patriotism.” As NewsBusters recounted at the time, ABC reporter David Wright tried to bolster Obama by declaring of flag pins: “Ike didn't wear one. JFK either. Nixon did wear the flag....as he told the American people he had nothing to do with Watergate.”
"Good Morning America" correspondent Neal Karlinsky on Thursday passed off the statistics of a liberal, rabidly pro-gun control group during a story on the 2008 election and firearms. Reporting live from Wyoming, he talked to a family who owns a number of weapons and asserted, "Yet time and time again, statistics show that firearm death rates are significantly higher in places with relaxed gun laws."
In very small font, an onscreen graphic cited his source as the Violence Policy Center (VPF). Karlinsky failed to mention that this group's web site describes itself as "the most aggressive group in the gun control movement" and proudly touted a quote from the National Rifle Association calling the organization "the most effective...anti-gun rabble rouser in Washington." The VPF even has an NRA bashing section on its web page, slurring "NRA family values" and going after the late Charlton Heston. Would Karlinsky cite the NRA as a neutral, independent source? It's not likely. So, why is it okay to pass off the VPF as one?
Joe the Plumber, aka Joe Wurzelbacher the Ohio man that has suddenly become the face of the presidential campaign, told ABC's Diane Sawyer Thursday that Barack Obama's tax plan to spread the wealth is "a very socialist view, and it's incredibly wrong."
Predictably, Sawyer defended Obama's position by saying it's only a three percent tax increase that people making over $250,000 would be required to pay.
Deliciously, the "Good Morning America" guest wasn't backing down (partial video embedded right):
For the second time in three days, a major network program has showcased the story of a 106-year-old nun in Rome who is voting for Senator Barack Obama. On Wednesday's "Good Morning America," reporter Jim Sciutto highlighted Sister Cecilia Gaudette, an elderly woman who has caught "election fever" for the Democrat. The journalist featured Gaudette gushing, "I think he's the man, really. I think so."
Although the story was touted on the October 12 edition of the "CBS Evening News," Sciutto acted as though there was some mystery as to who the women might vote for. "We didn't ask her to reveal who she chose, but she couldn't help telling us," he announced. (Would journalists trek all the way to Rome just to file a report on a nun voting for a conservative candidate, such as John McCain?) And just as with the CBS piece, there was no mention of any possible conflict over a Catholic nun supporting the pro-abortion Obama.
On Saturday’s Good Morning America, ABC ran an unusual report that placed some of the blame for the Great Depression’s length on government intervention by Franklin Delano Roosevelt as well as Herbert Hoover, and concluded by questioning whether the current plans could do harm. After an unidentified economist contended that "the government from Hoover to Roosevelt made it worse by intervening too much and too arbitrarily," correspondent Bill Blakemore concluded: "And now, is the Bush government intervening too much arbitrarily with its $700 billion bailout? That’s a million dollar question, so to speak, for those trying to guess when this crisis will end."
Blakemore’s attention to this often ignored take on government intervention came at the end of a report that looked back at the Great Depression. After giving Roosevelt credit for injecting America with a "can do" spirit, Blakemore noted that the Great Depression ended its 10-year run as a result of World War II. He then asked the question of why the Stock Market Crash of 1929 resulted in the Great Depression:
BLAKEMORE: So what made the crash of ‘29 lengthen into a depression?
WOMAN: Because the government from Hoover to Roosevelt made it worse by intervening too much and too arbitrarily.
"Good Morning America" weekend anchor Kate Snow conducted another one of her trademark friendly interviews with Senator Hillary Clinton on Monday's program and eagerly speculated, "Do you think Democrats will win this election in a landslide?" Asking no tough questions of the former presidential candidate, she instead gushed about minor things such as the just-passed wedding anniversary for Hillary and Bill Clinton.
Snow cooed, "And the gift that he [Clinton] gave her was a turquoise necklace. But the gift she gave him was time to watch football on television on Saturday." Snow also cited Democratic Congressman John Lewis and his incendiary comparison of the McCain campaign's tone to segregationist George Wallace. The ABC journalist did not question the parallel that Lewis made over the weekend. She didn't mention that the congressman implied McCain might be creating a climate that could lead to violence, just like Wallace "created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights."
All three morning shows on Friday skipped an exclusive Washington Times report which asserted that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama attempted to delay an agreement by the Bush administration to maintain a military presence in Iraq.
Writing in the October 10 edition of the Times, Barbara Slavin explained, "Iraqi leaders purported to The Times that Mr. Obama urged Baghdad to delay an agreement with Mr. Bush until next year when a new president will be in office - a charge the Democratic campaign denies." ABC's "Good Morning America," NBC's "Today" and CBS's "Early Show" all skipped any mention of this story.
Former New Yorker editor Tina Brown appeared on Thursday's "Good Morning America" to plug her new website and asserted that "what people are really interested in" is whether Senator John McCain is losing in a dishonorable manner. While describing "The Daily Beast," a Huffington Post-style blog site, she whined that "what I feel strongly is a sense that people are regretting [sic] the old John McCain" and complained, "Like, what happened to this man who was such, a kind of, honorable, great American? The campaign doesn't seem to live up to his sense of honor in any way. And he's really changing."
Now, is that what "people" are really interested in or just people in New York City? Brown's chiding continued as she questioned, "...If McCain loses, will he feel a great regret that he didn't lose this time with as much honor as he lost last time?" Agreeing that the former Vanity Fair editor had hit on a hot topic, co-host Robin Roberts fretted, "That's what some people are talking about." On a blog for her site, Brown was even nastier. She mused that after McCain referred to Obama as "that one" during the presidential debate, the Democrat "watched him from his Frank Sinatra stool with the look of a family visitor marveling at the antics of the household’s resident crazy uncle."
ABC reporter David Wright continued to rail against John McCain's "full-bore attack on [Senator Barack] Obama's character" during Thursday's "Good Morning America." Speaking of the McCain/Palin campaign's references to Obama's relationship with unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers, the network journalist complained that the Republicans were suggesting Obama is "yellow, disloyal and doesn't belong." [audio excerpts here]
After asserting that the strategy of talking about an opponent's character has "been around more than 2,000 years" Wright darkly intoned, "But in the past couple of days, the Republicans have been laying it on thick. Chumming the waters. And, not surprisingly, ugly reactions are beginning to surface." Of course, no where in Wright's segment did he mention any of Obama's negative attacks, such as the nasty ad by the Illinois senator which implied that McCain is old and out of touch because he doesn't use the internet. (And Wright himself has made quite a habit of gushing over Obama, once comparing the candidate's rallies to "Springsteen concerts.")
Instead, Wright referenced "conservative" New York Times columnist David Brooks, someone who makes a habit out of bashing other right-wingers. Before playing a clip of Brooks calling Governor Sarah Palin a "cancer," Wright recited that the columnist is "troubled by Sarah Palin's anti-intellectualism, which he fears could embolden the know-nothing wing of his party."
All three morning shows on Wednesday skipped a startling claim by Senator Barack Obama during the previous night's presidential debate. During a discussion on spending, he bizarrely asserted, "Actually I'm cutting more than I'm spending so that it will be a net spending cut." However, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, that statement doesn't even close to being true.
Their numbers show an increase in spending of $425 billion over four years of an Obama administration and only a decrease of $144 billion. And this is factoring in Obama's tax increases as a way of "saving" money. And yet, ABC's "Good Morning America," CBS's "Early Show" and NBC's "Today" all failed to report on the discrepancy or the math oddity of including more taxes as a cut. GMA reporter John Berman even filed a "fact check" segment on the debate, but ignored the Obama claim, which was picked up the AP.
On Wednesday, all three network morning shows interviewed Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden and offered no Republican counterpoint, punishing the McCain campaign for Sarah Palin declining to make similar appearances. On ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host Diane Sawyer concluded her interview with Biden by declaring: "And we want you to know that we have asked Governor Palin to come on Good Morning America. And, of course, debate Senator Biden again here. And repeatedly, she has declined. Although, Senator Biden has said that he's willing to debate her again, if she wants."
On NBC’s Today, co-host Ann Curry made a similar declaration: "And we should also note that we invited Governor Sarah Palin to join us this morning, but she declined. The Governor has an open invitation to appear on Today, but so far she has not accepted our offers." On CBS’s Early Show co-host Harry Smith explained: "We also invited Governor Sarah Palin, John McCain's running mate, but the McCain campaign declined." Apparently, the mainstream media deems itself as John McCain’s communications director.
ABC's liberal medical editor, Dr. Tim Johnson, appeared on Wednesday's "Good Morning America to boost Barack Obama's universal health care plan and critique the more market oriented proposals of John McCain. Co-host Robin Roberts began the segment by seriously asserting, "We're not endorsing one plan over the other. We're just showing the differences between the two."
But after she mentioned Obama's assertion during Tuesday's presidential debate that health care is a right, Johnson marveled, "But, I'm struck by the language of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Without good health, and that usually means without good health care, it's hard to have those other rights." Johnson, despite being a doctor, adopts the standard, liberal positions of most journalists and has a 15 year-plus history of advocating universal health care, including once asking if Republicans who opposed the policy were "immoral."