On Tuesday, "Good Morning America" reporter Bianna Golodryga hyperventilated about high gas prices and highlighted a man who alleged that the cost of fuel is keeping him from going to church and that it could ruin Christmas. Golodryga piled on, suggesting that some Americans would be forced to eat "cheaper foods" such as pasta and peanut butter instead of fruits and vegetables.
Only a few days later, Golodryga, who covers business and economic issues for GMA, proved her journalistic independence by gushing over liberal billionaire Warren Buffet, or "Robin Hood," as she called him. While Golodryga lobbied for holding on to the death tax (or, as she called it, the estate tax), co-host Diane Sawyer rhapsodized over how Buffet is battling "on behalf of fairness in taxes." (The leftist billionaire has claimed recently that he pays less taxes, percentage-wise, than his receptionist.)
Liberal journalists George Stephanopoulos and Kate Snow spun ABC's coverage of Thursday's Democratic debate as a roaring comeback for Hillary Clinton and charitably described the 2008 contender's shifting position on the issue of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. Reporting on Friday's "Good Morning America," Snow slyly claimed that Clinton has "simplified her opinion" on the matter and now opposes licenses.
"Simplified" is one way to describe the senator's change of heart. A less friendly variation, one that might be handed to a Republican, is that she flip-flopped. On November 1, the Boston Globe reported, "Hillary Clinton came out yesterday in support of a plan by Governor Eliot Spitzer of New York to offer limited driver's licenses to illegal immigrants..." So, on November 1, she was for the program. She's now against it and that's simplifying a position? "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos, a former Bill Clinton operative, appeared on GMA to gush that the headline from the debate is "Hillary's back." He enthused, "And the subhead, I guess, would be 'no more Madam Nice Guy.'"
ABC's "Good Morning America" devolved into outright advocacy on Thursday as the morning program openly lobbied for more taxes, misled viewers about how much the wealthy pay and passed off an economic advisor to Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign as an impartial observer. Correspondent Bianna Golodryga filed a report on liberal billionaire Warren Buffett and his assertion that he pays a lower percentage in taxes than his receptionist. GMA co-host Diane Sawyer turned the story into a class warfare campaign as she promised that the show would be battling "on behalf of fairnessin taxes." The host lauded Buffett for taking "your side over taxes and fairness." Additionally, Golodryga fawned over the billionaire for advocating that Congress should retain the estate tax, another leftist position.
At no point in the misleading report did any GMA host or reporter mention a fundamental fact: The wealthy already pay a disproportionately high amount of taxes. According to information just released by the IRS, the top one percent of earners paid 39.4 percent of all federal income taxes. The top five percent pay almost 60 percent of federal taxes. Golodryga did, however, make time to compare Buffett to Robin Hood, complete with an onscreen graphic, and harass other billionaires over the salaries of their receptionists. Sawyer claimed that most of these wealthy individuals were "hiding" and that GMA would call them on "[Buffett's] behalf."
It's probably not surprising to learn that when ABC correspondent Claire Shipman convened a panel of women voters to discuss Bill Clinton defending his candidate wife, the ladies mostly gushed over the political couple. Shipman, who reported on the segment for Tuesday's "Good Morning America," found one voter who lauded, "As a strong woman, like, there's a part of her that appeals to me, even though I don't agree...even though I'm, I'm a Republican." Not one of the females selected by ABC harshly criticized the '08 contender.
Shipman also spun Bill Clinton's comments in the wake of the last presidential debate, in which he accused fellow Democrats of swift boating Hillary, in the most generous terms. The GMA reporter fretted that "[Bill Clinton's] support could muddle her so far successful image of independent strength." Shipman recited the usual talking points that Bill Clinton is "obviously" a "brilliant strategist for her campaign." (The media always ignore pesky facts that would contradict the notion of Bill Clinton's brilliance, such as the fact that he never received 50 percent of the popular vote or that he was impeached.)
On Sunday's "Good Morning America," ABC co-host Kate Snow reported on the growing controversy over the Clinton campaign's planting of friendly questions at political events. At the same time, she ignored her own network's role in creating a similar cozy setting for the 2008 Democrat. In March of this year, GMA hosted a town hall event where Doctor Steve Eckstat, who was on Hillary Clinton's 1993 health care task force, just happened to be in the audience for the ABC event.
Co-anchor Robin Roberts, who hosted the March 26 event, spun it this way: "Somebody that was there, and wants to ask you what is different now, between what happened then, and he is Dr. Steve Eckstat. He is, he works at the free clinic of Iowa. Doctor?" Eckstat's challenging question to the Democratic front-runner? He wanted to know if the former First Lady would be "willing to try again to provide universal health care coverage for all Americans and make that at priority for your administration?"
In one of the more hyperbolic segments to air on "Good Morning America," ABC reporter Bianna Golodryga fretted that November's unusually high gas prices could lead to poor health, less church and no Christmas. On Monday's program, Golodryga warned viewers that unnamed "reports" allege that "some people are foregoing routine visits to the doctor and are opting for cheaper foods, like pasta and peanut butter, as opposed to protein, fruits and vegetables, in order that they can save as much money as possible" at the pump.
The ABC reporter also managed to find an extreme example and introduced America to Juan Martinez of Phoenix, Arizona. According to Golodryga, the spike in prices has taken "a toll on the family's relationship with God." It seems as though the Martinez clan is cutting back on religious attendance due to the 40 mile journey trek to their church. (Are there no closer places to worship in the Phoenix area?) Additionally, GMA featured footage of Golodryga shopping with Martinez as she lamented, "...Even holiday gift shopping won't be the same." Apparently, there will be less Christmas presents this year.
It's getting hard to exaggerate the left-wing rantings of MSNBC host Keith Olbermann. This week, he railed against the "criminal conspiracy to cover the ass" of the "fascist" Bush administration. It probably won't be long before he's dropping the F-word on-air. Olbermann also attacked the "nightmare presidency" of the current commander in chief and mocked Bush's "cynical exploitation" of 9/11. It's really a shame this guy won't have Rosie O'Donnell to follow him on MSNBC, huh?
Speaking of liberal MSNBC hosts (sorry for being redundant), Chris Matthews on Tuesday took credit for a line that Hillary Clinton recently used about leadership. Last week Mathews offered her some free advice and seemed pleased that she took it. "Well done," he enthused.
In the past six years, any time someone wrote a tell-all book about George W. Bush or a member of his administration, they were given the royal treatment by the press with lavish interviews offering them the perfect platform to market their work as well as their politically charged opinions.
Consider for example all the attention given to Valerie Plame Wilson just recently when her book "Fair Game" was released, or the focus on George Tenet and his "At the Center of the Storm" exposé back in April.
With this in mind, if a former female White House aide published a new book implicating a former president -- whose wife just so happens to be the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination in 2008 -- in rape and other possible crimes, shouldn't she be welcomed with open arms by evening television magazines like "60 Minutes" and morning shows like "Today?"
After all, given Kathleen Willey's shocking statements about her new book "Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton" to WOR radio's Steve Malzberg Thursday, one would think such programs would be all over this like white on rice, assuming of course their goal was journalism and not political activism (audio in two parts available here and here, highlights of the interview follow):
"Good Morning America" viewers may have been surprised to see someone wearing a "Fred '08" t-shirt on Wednesday's show. No, it wasn't liberal co-host Diane Sawyer or Chris Cuomo, the brother of New York's Democratic Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo.
Rather, it was John Rich, a singer/songwriter for the band "Big & Rich" and a Tennessee native. He performed on the program sporting a big grin and a shirt that promoted Fred Thompson's 2008 presidential bid. Here he can be seen standing next to Sam Champion, GMA weatherman and a supporter of Al Gore's liberal climate change policies.
Over a span of three days, "Good Morning America" has devoted almost 19 minutes of air time to promoting "Lions For Lambs," the left-wing, anti-war drama starring and directed by Robert Redford. The promotional push continued on Thursday's show as one of the film's other stars, Meryl Streep, attacked Bill O'Reilly for what she apparently saw as questioning the patriotism of liberals. After co-host Diane Sawyer played a clip of O'Reilly wondering if Democrats really want to win in Iraq, the actress sarcastically stated, "It was my favorite thing that I ever saw Bill O'Reilly do. And so I lifted it out of his show and put it in the movie."
Streep derided O'Reilly's comments as the "wife beating question" and, in an annoyed tone, asked, "Are you still beating your wife? There's no way to answer it." Sawyer's interview came after a segment on Wednesday with the actress, director Redford and fellow star Tom Cruise. That followed yet another piece on Tuesday solely with Redford. On Thursday, Sawyer continued to laud what she saw as a brave film. The co-host gushed that "Lions For Lambs" wonders how "you strengthen the muscles of your convictions?" She fawned over the film, which involves a journalist lobbying other reporters to oppose the government's plans for war, by describing Streep's character as "a middle-aged reporter, facing the question of her job or her convictions. What does it take to be brave?"
A Pew Research Center poll released late last month found that while four out of five American adults (81%) could name one of the Democratic presidential candidates, far fewer (just 59%) could recall any of the GOP candidates. Even among self-described Republican voters, Pew found “Clinton and Obama are much more visible than Giuliani or any other GOP presidential candidate.”
One reason may be that the big broadcast networks have treated the Democratic frontrunners like celebrities worthy of intense coverage, while the Republican candidates have received far less TV time. A new Media Research Center study of the ABC, CBS and NBC morning news shows has found that in the first 10 months of 2007, the networks spent more time covering the Democratic race and spent far more time interviewing the Democratic candidates than the Republicans. And those interviews were much friendlier to the Democrats, with the morning show anchors emphasizing a predominantly liberal agenda.
Al Gore. Michael Moore. Robert Redford. On Wednesday, the actor/director became the third prominent left-winger to appear on "Good Morning America" this year and berate journalists for not being liberal enough. Redford, in his second GMA interview this week, Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep stopped by to promote "Lions For Lambs," their new anti-war drama. During the interview, co-host Diane Sawyer played a minute-long clip of the movie in which Cruise's character berates a journalist for being a "windsock" to the Bush administration during the Iraq War. The clip featured Cruise haughtily complaining, "Your network led every report about the invasion of Iraq with the digital screen-sized flag to the square-jawed saluting Marine and the bald eagle soaring to Aaron Copland."
Sawyer then sycophantically begged, "Speaking as your resident windsock, what would you have us do?What would this film have us do?" Being a tough journalist, Sawyer then allowed Redford to get away with responding that when "we found out the cause behind the war was a lie, that's when I think everybody should have stood up, wakened up, and moved forward." At no point did the GMA host point out that, in regards to Iraq, Bill Clinton said the same thing about WMDs as President Bush.
According to Robert Redford and ABC co-host Diane Sawyer, you're either a liberal activist or you are apathetic. Those are the two options. The famous left-wing actor/director appeared on Tuesday's "Good Morning America" to promote his new anti-war film, "Lions For Lambs." After playing a clip of the movie that shows Redford's character, a college professor, deriding a student for not opposing his government, Sawyer breathlessly asked the star, "You've been touring colleges. Is it true? Are they not awake out there? Are they waking up? What's the difference? What's it going to take?"
Redford, who also directed the film, asserted that "the pendulum is beginning to swing back" and repeated the cliched liberal claim that young people aren't aggressively opposing the war because "the fact that there wasn't a draft...let a lot of people off the hook and they didn't get involved." So, essentially, young people either support a liberal agenda or they simply don't care?
ABC's "Good Morning America," which aired two gushing profiles this summer on the 30th wedding anniversary of John and Elizabeth Edwards, has found no time to air a similar story on the 30th anniversary of George and Laura Bush. The presidential couple celebrated three decades together on November 5, 2007, but GMA made no mention of it on Monday or Tuesday.
In contrast, on July 31, 2007, the ABC program fawned over the well known story of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and his wife celebrating their 30th anniversary at the restaurant Wendy's. As pictures of the couple at the fast food outlet appeared onscreen, "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer lauded, "And they are going to renew their vows. Happy anniversary."Less then two weeks later, GMA reported on the story again. Sawyer crowed over the fact ABC would be showing photos of the vows ceremony, what she called, "the very first pictures of a very personal backyard ceremony." Reporter David Muir described the pictures, which also appeared in People magazine, as "incredibly personal." Again, there was no such gushing, or even a mention, of the Bush's anniversary on Monday or Tuesday's show.
Have you noticed that when a Federal Election Commission complaint against a Republican presidential candidate is made, the press jump on it like a child on presents beneath a tree on Christmas morning?
Yet, when someone files an FEC complaint against Hillary Clinton, you're more likely to see a news item featuring a global warming skeptic talking about how Al Gore is lying to the public about climate change than anything related to the former first lady's seemingly incessant campaign finance indiscretions.
For example, did you hear about this complaint filed on Halloween against she who will be President if the press have their way:
In his "Final Word" on Sunday’s "Face the Nation" on CBS, host Bob Schieffer denounced a fake news conference held by FEMA officials in the wake of the California wildfires. Not content to just say the staged conference was a bad mistake, Schieffer decided to be as arrogant and condescending as possible:
The last time I was at Disney World, they had sticks of a certain height stuck in the ground with signs that said something like, `You must be this tall to ride this ride.' Well, FEMA, the disaster relief agency, must use a variation of that to hire its public relations staff. Somewhere on their employment application there must be a clause that says, `Your IQ must be below a certain level to work here.'
ABC's Good Morning America didn't sugarcoat the Democratic debate in favor of Hillary Clinton on Wednesday morning. Reporter David Wright sounded a little weak: "At times Clinton gave answers so carefully calibrated, she seemed to contradict herself." Seemed? But news anchor Chris Cuomo did attempt one lame pro-Hillary spin -- that Barack Obama didn't look presidential by dancing on the Ellen DeGeneres talk show. Even George Stephanopoulos wasn't biting on that spin.
ABC's George Stephanopoulos highlighted adversarial quotes and characterizations for an interview with 2008 Republican candidate Mike Huckabee on Tuesday's "Good Morning America." The former Clinton operative quoted conservative Phyllis Schlafly as saying, "[Huckabee] destroyed the conservative movement in Arkansas" and Betsy Hagen of the Eagle Forum who compared the GOP contender to Bill Clinton and labeled him a liberal. In a previous piece, ABC reporter Jake Tapper highlighted an American Spectator article that derided Huckabee as "a guy with a thin skin, a nasty vindictive streak and a long history of imbroglios about questionable ethics."
Now, one could argue that Stephanopoulos's critique hit Huckabee from the right and, by quoting Schlafly, questioned whether the former governor is conservative enough to be the GOP nominee. However, just two weeks ago ABC medical expert Dr. Tim Johnson conducted a fawning interview with Hillary Clinton over her health care plan. He lauded the Democrat for knowing "health care better, I think, than any other candidate" and gushed over how impressed he was with the New York senator's "knowledge base." She certainly didn't face any adversarial quotes about temperament and "questionable ethics."
Two weeks after seeming to take the side of a "sexual educator" who advocated giving birth control to middle school children, "Good Morning America" co-anchor Diane Sawyer exhorted the same position on Monday's show. Sawyer discussed the case of a Maine school system voting to allow contraceptives to be given to children as young as 11 with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly. The GMA journalist operated from the assumption that such activity can't be stopped. She asked O'Reilly, "Yes, but if they're sexually active anyway, at some point, don't you have to address the reality of what is going on in the schools?"
The ABC co-host tried to minimize the fact that parents won't be told specifically when birth control is given by claiming, "Well, but they've told the parents birth control pills may be given as part as the overall health." O'Reilly mocked that justification as "insane." On October 17, Sawyer discussed the issue with conservative commentator Glenn Beck and lectured, "You may not like it. You may want parents to go in and take care of their own children and make sure that they're not sexually active that young, but it's happening. It's happening."
According to the media website TV Week, "most TV news operations" deemed Arnold Schwarzenegger's grabbing of "Good Morning America" reporter Claire Shipman's hands during an interview to be "inappropriate." The exchange, which was first reported last Wednesday on NewsBusters, occurred after Shipman repeatedly tried to get the California governor to admit that some efforts to combat the state's wildfires were going poorly. At that point, the former actor seized the journalist's hands and proclaimed, "...You're looking for a mistake and you won't find it because it's all good news, as much as you maybe hate it, but it's good news." Apparently, Shipman found Schwarzenegger's actions "bizarre and amusing."
According to TV Week, the physical touching amounted to applying "force to a female reporter" and an attempt to "muscle" her. TV Week's Michele Greppi cited the MRC for highlighting the story: "The Media Research Center, founded by Brent Bozell to wage a war against liberal bias in journalism, posted a transcript of the interview....The headline was 'Arnold Grabs ABC’s Shipman, Demands: Stop Spinning Fire Coverage.'" TV Week also explained how the elite media reacted to the governor's grabbing. Greppi wrote, "At most TV news operations, the Schwarzenegger move was regarded as inappropriate on his part and smoothly handled on hers."
On Wednesday's "Early Show," Harry Smith gushed over Bill and Hillary Clinton and how two "idealistic kids" transformed themselves into "political rock stars." Smith also took pains to point out that the Clintons are a "still-young couple." Over on ABC, Clinton-fan Kate Snow fawned over Bill and Hillary for being "masters at turning bad news into good." In general, she seemed to be impressed with the 2008 candidate's ability to spin the American public.
NBC, predictably, kicked off the media blame game and assigned the cause of the California fires to, you guessed it, global warming. "Nightly News" host Brian Williams wondered, "Are these fires somehow a result of climate change?" CBS echoed a similar theme on "60 Minutes." CNN also used the tragedy in California to speculate about global warming. A CNN special, "Planet in Peril," which aired this week, failed to mention that one of the climate change scientists featured also happened to be funded by George Soros.
According to former Bill Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos, one reason the United States wouldn't start a war with Iran is because the Bush administration doesn't possess the "troops or the allies or the credibility that it would take to launch a war right now." Stephanopoulos, who is now the host of ABC's "This Week," slipped that bit of bias into a discussion on Friday's "Good Morning America" of new sanctions the White House is imposing on Iran. Would the network journalist ever casually assert that his old boss is lacking in credibility? Perhaps if the issue was inappropriate relationships in the workplace? It seems unlikely.
A few minutes earlier, guest co-host Deborah Roberts could hardly refrain from gushing while she reported the details of Hillary Clinton's 60th birthday party on Thursday night. The ABC correspondent lauded, "And a lovely touch from former President Clinton who said at 60, his wife looks very beautiful. Isn't that nice?...Isn't that sweet?" Fellow guest co-host Elizabeth Vargas swooned over the "beautiful" birthday song that rocker Elvis Costello serenaded the 2008 candidate with. GMA regular Chris Cuomo enthused, "She definitely enjoyed it. I can guarantee you that."
In early October, ABC reporter Kate Snow sprang to the defense of Senator Hillary Clinton's much maligned laugh. On Thursday's "Good Morning America," the correspondent marveled over Bill Clinton's successes and also how his wife is able to make turning 60-years-old a good thing. While an ABC graphic wondered if the Democratic power couple are "masters of spin," Snow gushed, "The Clintons have always been masters at turning bad news into good..."
Snow's piece focused on the Clintons' ability to, essentially, spin the American public. The GMA reporter featured comments exclusively from liberals such as Gail Sheehy (author of the sympathetic book "Hillary's Choice") and the Washington Post's Sally Quinn. Quinn asserted that the Clintons ability to "pretend to have a wonderful marriage" "works" for them, as well as other political couples. Snow continued this theme by credulously repeating, "...On the eve of this birthday, Hillary is trumpeting the strength of their marriage." The correspondent rhapsodized over a money-raising birthday party the senator is throwing and marveled that "instead of facing gray hair and retirement, for Hillary Clinton, being a member of AARP is fund-raising gold."
As wildfires rage throughout Southern California, media have predictably begun to blame this awful natural disaster on President George W. Bush much as they did almost exactly two years ago when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.
On Tuesday evening, MSNBC's Dan Abrams set up an interview with California Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Cal.) thusly:
But the fire storms in California`s raising tough questions about what the National Guard is extended too much to handle emergencies at home. Back in May, before the fire started, "The San Francisco Chronicle" reported that the California National Guard was down a billion dollars worth of equipment. Two hundred and nine vehicles in Iraq, including 110 humvees and 63 military trucks. According to report the California guard should have had 39 diesel generators on hand. They say it had none. The Kansas governor raised similar concerns earlier this year when she said the deployment of National Guard troops to Iraq hurt the emergency response to a deadly tornado in her state. The question -- is this another unanticipated cost of a prolonged and expensive war effort?
On Wednesday morning, CNN's John Roberts asked a similar question of FEMA Administrator David Paulison:
Reporter Claire Shipman did her level best to get California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to say the efforts to combat the state's wild fires were going poorly. Shipman interviewed the governor on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" and wondered about "the comparison to Katrina that everybody's making in the back of their mind..." At one point, Governor Schwarzenegger cut off Shipman's pleas for negative assessments of the effort by grabbing her arm. He bluntly scolded, "Trust me when I tell you, you're looking for a mistake and you won't find it because it's all good news, as much as you maybe hate it, but it's good news."
Earlier, the ABC correspondent attempted to deflate Schwarzenegger's sunny optimism by mentioning unnamed officials in Orange County who asserted the state doesn't have enough resources, including firefighting aircraft. The former actor simply wouldn't go along with this premise of victimization. He firmly retorted, "Anyone that is complaining about the planes, just wants to complain because it's a bunch of nonsense." Schwarzenegger then proceeded to point out that the state has 90 planes and only wind has hampered their use.
On Tuesday's "Good Morning America," reporter Brian Ross continued his critical series of investigations into Republican presidential candidates. Just two weeks after he slammed Fred Thompson for his role in the 1973 Watergate investigation, the ABC correspondent looked into the fact that Rudy Giuliani's consulting firm has employed a priest that has been accused of molesting children in the '70s.
Of course, neither Ross, nor "Good Morning America" have seen fit to investigate Hillary Clinton's hiring of Sandy Berger, a man who has been convicted of stealing documents from the National Archives and stuffing them down his pants. Ross has similarly ignored the growing scandal of poor Chinese workers donating large sums of money to the Hillary Clinton campaign
America should export generosity and hope instead of bombs and fear. Host Robin Roberts quoted these sentiments from Archbishop Desmond Tutu and columnist Thomas Friedman to Laura Bush on Monday's "Good Morning America." Roberts was traveling with the First Lady through the United Arab Emirates and other Middle Eastern countries as part of a tour to increase breast cancer awareness in that region. And while the ABC host mostly stuck to discussing the honorable nature of the trip, she couldn't resist a few pointed barbs.
The GMA anchor first cited New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman's suggestion that the U.S. "should export hope instead of fear."Roberts then regurgitated another bumper sticker slogan by mentioning a discussion with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. She recounted, "Desmond Tutu went even farther, saying the generosity of Americans, that's what we should export instead of our bombs." In a follow-up interview with Middle Eastern women who survived breast cancer, Roberts awkwardly asked, "Does it help with Mrs. Bush and the United States coming here?...Or is it seen as, 'Okay, the Americans are, again, trying to force something on us?'"
This week's column on entertainment and culture issues from Brent Bozell focused on how King Middle School in Portland has agreed to allow its health center to offer contraceptives -- even pills and the patch -- to middle-schoolers without parental knowledge or consent. Brent borrowed from the Good Morning America debate segment Scott Whitlock blogged where the anything-goes blond hottie favoring sex among children (Logan Levkoff) said she would draw no limits at grade-school contraceptive distribution. She said you had to buy "protection" for the kids when they're bombarded with sexual messages. (Like "Desperate Housewives"? Or even the Geico Caveman comedy?)
Glenn Beck was great in mocking the Permissives in that debate: "The library is outdated, why don't we have a copulation room for the kids?"
It would be quite the understatement to say that members of the media approved of Al Gore's Nobel Prize win. Sam Donaldson lauded Gore for doing something "very important." Cokie Roberts justified the former vice president's inaccuracies by claiming that even if it was propaganda, Gore made an important issue popular. Over on CNN, reporter Miles O'Brien, once again, declared that the debate over the subject is over.
Speaking of CNN, Margaret Carlson, a former panelist for the cable network, declared Gore's victory to be a "wonderful thing." The former Deputy Washington Bureau Chief for Time magazine also complimented the former VP for doing "a great thing" and referred to him as a "prophet." Just how do these journalists maintain such professional objectivity?