CBS’s Early Show and NBC’s Today on Monday morning touted, without offering specifics, what CBS reporter Dean Reynolds called Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden’s “wealth of experience” and “long record of accomplishment” on foreign policy; NBC’s David Gregory asserted that Biden had “deep foreign policy experience.” On Sunday’s Good Morning America, reporter John Berman also declared “Biden’s foreign policy expertise fills some holes in Obama’s resume.”
But CNN’s American Morning asked their Iraq reporter, Michael Ware, to rate Biden’s major contribution to recent foreign policy debates, his plan to partition Iraq into three separate regions. “Madness,” Ware declared, adding: “No one is for partition unless of course you're an Iranian-backed political party because they'd love to have a self-governing zone in the south that effectively would become an extension of Iran.”
Appearing later in the same show, Ware again scoffed at Biden’s proposal: “No one supports it. It ain't going anywhere.”
The most important news event in the universe, according to Friday’s Good Morning America, was John McCain’s gaffe about not knowing how many houses he and his wife own, as ABC led off its morning newscast with the story. ABC’s Jake Tapper devoted nearly two minutes to recounting John McCain’s property holdings after snarkily pointing out that he and his wife own just one house — “well, actually the banks owns it, we pay a mortgage.”
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," the ABC morning show provided a detailed account of an 85-year old great grandmother who thwarted a burglar by pulling a gun on him and then kept the criminal at bay while waiting for police. CBS's "Early Show," however, has thus far ignored the story. On NBC, "Today" provided a scant 15 second news brief on Wednesday.
GMA co-host Robin Roberts appeared impressed with Pennsylvania resident Leda Smith. She interviewed the grandmother and listened as the senior citizen recounted arriving home to find someone inside her house: "...I had my gun under a cushion on a chair. I picked up the gun. I turned around and I snapped it shut and I cocked it and when I did that, he turned around and his eyes were kind of big and he said, 'I didn't do it! I didn't do it!'"
Generally, the three network morning shows have shown an aversion to positive gun news. In late June, when the Supreme Court historically declared that the Second Amendment is an individual right, "Good Morning America," "Today" and "The Early Show" devoted a combined three minutes and 33 seconds of coverage. Back on June 27, the day after the decision came down, "Early Show," which skipped any reporting of the armed grandmother, featured a mere 30 seconds on the Supreme Court's ruling, a total that came nowhere near the four minutes they used to discuss how to Feng Shui your house for pets.
While ABC’s Good Morning America suspended its coverage of the John Edwards scandal following reporting on Monday, the CBS Early Show continued to cover the affair for a third consecutive day on Wednesday. Even NBC’s Today, covering the Olympics in Beijing, managed stories on Edwards on both Monday and Wednesday. Considering it was during an interview on ABC’s Nigthline on Friday that Edwards confessed to cheating on his wife, it is interesting that GMA was outdone in covering the story.
On Wednesday, the Early Show looked at the money trail leading from Edwards to his mistress, Rielle Hunter, as co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "We will also talk about new bombshell revelations in the John Edwards affair, including claims that he did know his mistress was being paid and that he rekindled the affair after confessing to his wife." The segment began with a report by correspondent Bianca Solorzano: "According to the National Enquirer, the publication that first broke the story of John Edwards' extramarital affair, Edwards was aware of payments being made to his former mistress Rielle Hunter, something he denied on Friday...The allegations could not only have legal ramifications, it would shed considerable doubt on Edwards' other denial, that he fathered Miss Hunter's child."
John McCain implies Obama is the anti-Christ as ABC’s Kate Snow reports. On the August 13 edition of "Good Morning America," Snow followed "Time" magazine’s cue, featuring a Democratic hack, Obama supporter Eric Sapp, finding the "anti-Christ" message in McCain’s "The One" ad.
On a story on subliminal message in advertising, Snow did not feature McCain supporters responding to the ludicrous charge. She did, however, play sound bites of "Left Behind" fans who did not see any "Anti-Christ" message.
Additionally, Snow suggested racial overtones existed in McCain’s "Fan Club" ad, observing all of the women praising Obama were white.
Veteran actor Ernest Borgnine, still acting at age 91, does not represent the mainstream ideology of the Hollywood elite, or even a potential first lady named Michelle. Borgnine, unlike most of his fellow Hollywood elitists, believes America is "an amazing country" and that one has to "prove" one is "a good American by being an American."
Appearing on the August 12 edition of "Good Morning America," Borgnine promoted his new autobiography. When given the opportunity, Borgnine, the son of Italian immigrants, offered praise to America.
"It hit me when I was given the Medal of Honor over at the Ellis Island thing, you know, because my parents came over from Italy although I was born here in New Haven, Connecticut. But, you know, I took it upon myself to speak that day about the people that were around me, generals, admirals, police chiefs, everything that you could possibly imagine, all from different parts of the world who have come to this country to make this great country.
Is one who conspires to conceal a husband’s affair really "an icon of strength"? ABC’s Deborah Roberts seems to think so. In a story about women who fell victim to a cheating husband, Roberts segued into the segment with the news of John Edwards’ admission.
Failing to mention that Mrs. Edwards participated in her husband’s lie throughout his entire 2008 presidential run, Roberts portrayed the first lady contender as choosing "to weather yet another storm with her husband," comparing it to their experience of their son’s death. Roberts even glowed over Mrs. Edwards’ liberal activism as she continued "championing causes like universal healthcare, America’s war on poverty, and cancer research."
Digging back to the past Roberts played an archived 1992 sound bite of Hillary Clinton defending her husband. Deborah Roberts underscored "how hard it was for Hillary Clinton when her husband was running for president." Of course, there was no mention of Senator Clinton’s famous 1998 "vast right wing conspiracy" interview.
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," anchors Robin Roberts and Diane Sawyer touted the marital relationship between Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and his wife. Co-host Robin Roberts recounted the often repeated story of how the Edwards couple spend their wedding anniversary, including their recent 30th, at the restaurant Wendy’s.
Roberts, perhaps in a Freudian slip, even referred to the former North Carolina Senator as "presidential nominee John Edwards." Sawyer gushed that the candidate and his wife "are going to renew their vows." "Happy anniversary," she added.
Yet, this is the same morning show that has vastly underplayed stories that aren’t quite so cute and endearing for the '08 contender. For instance, during a recent GMA town hall with John Edwards on the subject of poverty, Ms. Sawyer only managed to mention the trial lawyer’s 28,000 square-foot mansion once.
The Big Three networks continued to ignore the party affiliation of the now-incarcerated Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on Friday morning, just as they had done in their evening news programs the previous night. The Early Show on CBS chose to ignore the story of Kilpatrick’s arrest on a bail violation entirely, while ABC’s Good Morning America devoted one 16-second news brief to the story near the beginning of its 7 am Eastern hour.
Ironically, NBC’s Today show, which is devoting most of its programming to the Summer Olympics in Beijing, spent the most time on the subject. It first aired a 12-second news brief just after the top of 7 am Eastern hour, and devoted an entire segment to the story at the beginning of the 8 am Eastern hour. The report by correspondent Ron Allen was just shy of 2 minutes long, but still ignored Kilpatrick’s Democratic affiliation.
ABC's Robin Roberts treated Michelle Obama to a thoroughly positive (and at times gushing) interview on Thursday's "Good Morning America," sympathizing with Mrs. Obama about negative ads against her husband and "The New Yorker" cover which cast her as a black militant. Roberts also touted how Michelle Obama "has turned her attention to...improving the lives of military families," and asked about "Obama family vacation traditions," such as heated games of Scrabble.
Throughout the nearly 6 minute session, Roberts posed no questions about the controversies that have dogged Mrs. Obama on the campaign trail, such as her statement that this year -- as her husband runs for President -- is the first time she has been proud of this country.
ABC’s “Good Morning America” hosted Fox Business anchor/managing editor Neil Cavuto on Wednesday morning — by himself with no liberal counterpart! While co-host Diane Sawyer peppered Cavuto with questions based on the idea that the economy was a disaster and Barack Obama was being unfairly attacked by John McCain, Cavuto offered a healthy alternative not typically seen on ABC.
Sawyer suggested Obama’s claim that motorists inflating their tires could create an oil savings equal to the amount that might be obtained by offshore drilling was “factually true” while McCain’s mocking of Obama was a “stunt,” and dourly observed that consumer confidence was at “almost a 22-year low.” But Cavuto rejected Sawyer’s pessimism:
If people have a feeling that things are so miserable, why are they buying $300, $400 IPhones with very expensive contracts. Why are they spending so much at the movie theaters? Why are they still going out in record numbers to restaurants?...When people are surveyed Diane on this stuff, it's very important to distinguish between someone saying we think things are lousy but when they're asked about how are you doing, they say, well, you know, not that bad, not that bad. There is a difference.
On Monday's "Good Morning America," weekend host Kate Snow interviewed Bill Clinton in Rwanda and at one point told him he didn't have to answer a quasi-tough question. Towards the end of her interview, she prefaced this query by almost apologizing: "Pretty simple question. And maybe you don't want to answer it right now and I respect that fully. But, if you want to answer it, do you personally have any regrets about what you did campaigning for your wife?"
She also allowed the ex-president, who is touring Africa in support of his charity, to get away with a total non-answer about Barack Obama's competency. After Snow asked if the Illinois senator is ready to be president, Clinton spun, "You could argue that no one is ever ready to be president." He went on to discuss how he learned things on the job, how the presidency is full of pressure. Clinton finished his evasive response by admitting that Obama can "inspire" and by observing in a a tone that sounded slightly condescending, "And he's smart as a whip, so there's nothing he can't learn."
Now, you would think that Snow would realize that she just asked Bill Clinton if Obama was qualified and the ex-commander in chief declined to say yes. But, there was no follow-up.
On Friday's "Good Morning America," news anchor Chris Cuomo derided John McCain's campaign manager for a "frivolous, childish" ad comparing Barack Obama to a celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. Cuomo, who is the son of former New York Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo and the brother of the state's current Democratic attorney general, even tried to goad Davis into pledging to not run any similar ads in the future.
He prompted, "...Your candidate started by saying he wanted to run a different type of campaign. Do you want to put out a pledge? No more ads like this? Let's leave the personal alone. Let's talk about what we'll do for America." He also played a clip of McCain pledging to run a respectful campaign and then complained, "So that's what we expected from John McCain...What's going on here?"
The hosts and correspondents on Thursday's "Good Morning America" did not hold back in expressing their displeasure over a new John McCain ad that depicts Barack Obama as a celebrity and compares him to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Co-host Diane Sawyer hyperbolically derided the spot as a "political nuclear attack" and asserted that the campaign is taking "a strange new turn."
GMA news anchor Chris Cuomo seemed equally flummoxed. He opened the show by asserting, "Some odd campaign news today. There's a round of new campaign commercials that really have us scratching our heads here." A bewildered Sawyer agreed: "What sort of committee meeting do you have where you say, 'Let's use Britney!' 'Let's use Paris!' Yes, that'll be a blow!" In a second segment, former Clinton aide-turned journalist George Stephanopoulos claimed the commercial could be seen as "angry, cranky, too negative" and McCain himself might be viewed as "a bit of a whiner given the fact that most polls that he is behind."
During a segment on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" about the selection of vice presidents and what goes into the choice, reporter Claire Shipman gushingly introduced a clip of Al Gore's wisdom on the subject. She fawned, "But the man who is often named as the best choice in modern history, and who orchestrated a great choice himself, has some key advice."
Shipman didn't say who, exactly, considers Gore the best selection in history. She also failed to point out that Joe Lieberman, the Democrat tapped by Gore in 2000, wasn't elected vice president. So, how would one qualify that as a "great choice?" Earlier in the piece, the GMA correspondent lauded the "emotional history of picking the first Jewish running mate [Lieberman]," the "bold move of two young southerners [Bill Clinton and Gore] and blandly noted George W. Bush's selection of Dick Cheney as a "surprise."
"Good Morning America" correspondent Claire Shipman on Tuesday actually suggested that Americans "pitch in" $2000 to help pay off the deficit or even give up their lattes. Reporting on the news that the U.S. federal deficit is projected to rise to $482 billion in 2009, Shipman seriously proposed: "Now, we came up with a few GMA solutions to try to put this in perspective. If every American were to pitch in $2,000, we could pay off this year's deficit."
Continuing the absurd "solutions," Shipman elaborated, "Or, if we handed over, each of us, 500 gallons of gasoline or, in terms we could all really understand, if every American gave up 666 lattes for a year, we could pay off this year's deficit." Leaving aside the slightly demonic 666 suggestion, there was one piece of advice left out of the ABC reporter's piece: At no point did she talk about wasteful government spending or the possibility of cutting back on entitlement programs. Shipman also took a shot at President Bush, calling the deficit "a parting gift from one president to the next of the most unwelcome sort." Conservatives may have complained about some of Bush's spending, but he certainly didn't act without the help of many Democrats in Congress.
According to ABC reporter Jan Crawford Greenburg, the co-chair of Barack Obama's vice presidential search committee, Caroline Kennedy, is a "a reluctant media star, stepping into the spotlight to back a man she says reminds her of her father [President John F. Kennedy]." Appearing on Monday's "Good Morning America" to discuss Kennedy's role in the selection process, Greenburg gushed, "Caroline Kennedy was, for a brief moment, the princess of Camelot."
The ABC correspondent even closed the segment by eagerly speculating as to whether the Illinois senator would take a cue from George Bush's 2000 choice: "Now, think about this: Eight years ago George Bush ended up choosing the head of his VP search team Dick Cheney to be his running mate. So, if Obama took a page out of that playbook, imagine this ticket, Obama/Kennedy."
Former Bill Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos firmly declared Barack Obama's trip a "clean success" on Friday's "Good Morning America." "You just cannot take that away from him," the "This Week" anchorproclaimed. Responding to a question by co-host Diane Sawyer about the visit's elaborate pageantry, Stephanopoulos asserted, "I don't think there's much risk of a backlash here."
Despite the accolades of success, Sawyer, in a worried tone, pointed out: "...Because you have this disconnect between what we see overseasand the fact that some polls are softening here at home in some key states." (She then cited new polls showing McCain leading in Colorado and pulling to within two in Minnesota.) In a previous segment, correspondent Jake Tapper continued his contrarian reporting on Obama's European tour. After highlighting the large crowds for the Democrat's speech in Berlin, he discussed John McCain's campaign back in the U.S. and, in a snarky jab at the Illinois senator, pointed out: "McCain supporters were fewer in number but they're actually able to vote in America."
On Wednesday, "Nightline" co-host Cynthia McFadden and correspondent David Wright condescendingly reported on the disparity in the media's coverage of Barack Obama and John McCain. McFadden began a segment on the Arizona senator by snidely asserting, "Now, if you have a younger sibling, you can probably relate to what Senator John McCain has been going through this week. Whatever he does, everybody seems to be talking about the new kid in town."
Expanding on a report he filed for the July 23 "World News," Wright, in an almost embarrassed tone, remarked, "Pity the poor Straight Talk Express. While, Barack Obama is off globe-trotting, grabbing all that high profile, high octane attention, we're here on the tarmac in Allentown, Pennsylvania." He also described the media's obsession with Obama in a passive tone, asking McCain, "Do you kind of feel like you're going to be stuck playing defense from now until November?" and stating, "...It seems like the narrative of this campaign is being driven by whatever Senator Obama does and you're left to kind of react to that." Wright confidently predicted that in the next few days, "What can you almost guarantee he [McCain] will be talking about? Obama." Something, one assumes, people like David Wright will make happen.
Not every reporter covering Barack Obama's world tour is entranced by the words and imagery of the Democratic candidate. On Thursday's "Good Morning America," political correspondent Jake Tapper jabbed at Obama's overconfidence, describing the senator's July 24 speech in Berlin as "one the Obama campaign is billing at almost presidential. Even though he is not the president."
Reporting from inside the Obama plane, Tapper complained in a snarky tone, "Inside, the plane has been redesigned to separate the senator and his staff from us lowly reporters." He added that Obama officials told journalists that they could brief reporters as anonymous officials. Tapper grumbled, "One of them said that's what we did at the White House during the Clinton years. We pointed out they don't work at the White House." Regarding the Obama plane, the ABC journalist also pointed out: "The American flag on the tail wing has been replaced by an enormous Obama O."
Breaking ABC news: things get hot in the sun. "Good Morning America's" Elisabeth Leamy reported on July 24 that playground equipment gets so hot in the sun, it could harm your children.
ABC's Diane Sawyer grabbed the attention of parents saying, "Well as the temperatures rise for the summer, we decided to go out and test some of the equipment in playgrounds. It's a safety alert for all parents out there because some of it is truly scalding."
That enlightening news was followed by Leamy's suggestion of government regulations of playground equipment. "Diane, this is one of those stories that pits people who want the government to do more to make the playground safe against people who say parents should know better," said Leamy.
"Good Morning America" news anchor Chris Cuomo launched an unlikely attack on liberal comedian Jon Stewart during Thursday's show. After discussing possible media bias against John McCain, and playing a clip of the "Daily Show" host mocking the senator, Cuomo warned, "I'll offer you the other side. You gotta be careful of friends like these with Stewart. Clearly a lefty. Clearly pro-Obama."
Referring, presumably, to McCain's nearly even status in many polls, Cuomo continued, "A lot of this country may not feel the same way. May be a little bit of a reflection. You know? Kind of trying to come to McCain's aide 'cause everyone else seems to be for the other guy." Co-host Diane Sawyer concurred, noting the tightness of the race. She also casually admitted to the media's obsession with Obama: "...They keep pointing out in the McCain camp that he's taken three foreign trips in the past four months and not one network anchor joined him and all three show up for Obama." Of course, the GMA anchor didn't continue that thought any further, examine the significance of her admission or even Cuomo's comment that "everyone else seems to be for the other guy."
"Good Morning America" on Wednesday continued to aggressively promote the story of the pregnant "man," featuring the show's sixth story since March 26. Once again, GMA co-host Chris Cuomo confusingly described the story of Thomas Beatie, a woman who took testosterone and had her breasts removed in a gender reassignment surgery in order to become a man.
On Wednesday, Cuomo explained, "The pregnant man, Thomas Beatie. He made headlines across the globe. Well, now, Beatie, who is biologically still a woman, has delivered a healthy baby." So, in other words, a woman gave birth to a baby? Perhaps describing the situation that way wouldn't have allowed GMA to devote six stories (thus far) to the topic. The segment was full of such puzzling statements. An ABC graphic screamed, "Pregnant Man's Baby: First Pictures of Susan Juliette." At one point, reporter Andrea Canning stated that Beatie, born Tracy LaGondino, had her breasts surgically removed and then, "...Still hoping to one day have a child, Thomas kept his female reproductive organs." His female reproductive organs?
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman appeared on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" to gush that the very act of Barack Obama going on his Middle East trip makes one think "he comes back a little wiser, a little smarter." Friedman also asserted that the candidate's middle name, Hussein, would be a plus for him as president. He opined, "I was in Cairo a few weeks ago. And one of things that was so striking is how impressed Egyptians were, simply with the prospect that after 9/11, Americans might actually elect a man whose middle name was Hussein."
(Of course, members of the media became apoplectic when radio talk show host Bill Cunningham used Obama's middle name at a campaign rally for John McCain. In this case, apparently, it's okay.) GMA co host Diane Sawyer set up the Friedman critique by very carefully offering qualifiers about how "we know [Obama] is absolutely American. Absolutely a Christian." She then offered up the new spin that Obama's heritage could be a presidential positive: " ...But in the greater Arab world, does his parental history, his father's history, mean he can move the Arabs more than someone else might be able to?"
Journalist George Stephanopoulos and ABC's Diane Sawyer rhapsodized over Barack Obama's Middle East trip on Tuesday's "Good Morning America." Stephanopoulos swooned that the visit to the region was going "better than they could have imagined in the Obama campaign." He then proceeded to narrate footage of the Democratic candidate.
While video of Obama playing basketball with troops in Kuwait appeared onscreen, Stephanopoulos fawned as Obama made a shot, "...How much better can you get than that? Look at that. Right in the hoop on the first try." Agreeing, Sawyer cooed, "How sweet." With no apparent sense of irony, Sawyer, the GMA co-host, also brought up the complaints that the media have uncritically covered the trip. After playing a clip of a McCain appearance with George H.W. Bush, in which the former president joked that the candidate is "a little jealous" of all the attention Obama is getting, Stephanopoulos agreed: "[McCain] is a little jealous."
"Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer on Monday quizzed John McCain on whether the media is gushing too much over Barack Obama's Middle East trip. She then proceeded to cite Obama talking points on the visit. First, Sawyer wondered, "A quick question about the press coverage, if I can. [Obama's] there with a lot of reporters and it's been widely reported--" At this point, the Arizona senator started chuckling to himself.
A surprised Sawyer continued, "You're laughing. Do you think the press coverage is unfair?" McCain wryly responded, "That's up to the American people to decide, Diane. It is what it is." A few seconds earlier, Sawyer appeared to preemptively answer her query on media bias. The ABC journalist prompted, "You have criticized Senator Obama in the past for not going to Iraq and getting a fresh assessment. He is in Iraq as we speak this morning. Does this take care of it?" The subtext of the question sounded very much like "He went to Iraq. Will you leave him alone now?" Never mind the fact that McCain has been to the area eight times and Obama only two.
"Good Morning America," in what is surely a sign of things to come, prepped for Barack Obama's first Middle East trip by focusing three stories on the subject, including one in which George Stephanopoulos admitted that John McCain is "frustrated" by the media attention given to the foreign excursion. GMA co-host Robin Roberts and the ex-Clinton aide discussed the media coverage briefly, in a passive voice.
Referring to Obama's visit next week to Iraq and Afghanistan, Roberts casually wondered, "And finally, how does McCain counter all of this attention that Obama is going to be receiving on this trip?" Stephanopoulos candidly responded, "The McCain campaign is very frustrated by this. As you know, all three evening news anchors going over to -- on this foreign soil with Barack Obama. They know he's going to get a lot of attention." Notice it's "all of this attention that Obama is going to be receiving" rather than "all the coverage we're giving him." And if the McCain camp is "frustrated" by the coverage, isn't that a subject that Roberts and Stephanopoulos should have explored? They didn't.
[Updated] "Good Morning America" reporter Claire Shipman on Friday worried that Al Gore's occasional kind word about John McCain might result in the election of the Republican. Interviewing the former vice president about his new energy proposals, the ABC correspondent fretted, "...And some Democratic eyebrows have been raised at your praise of John McCain. Democrats worried that maybe you're, you're going to help him get elected."
That question, which hit Gore from the left, was one of the few, even slightly challenging queries. Instead, Shipman tossed softballs, such as asking, "Do you think that, right now, climate change is as much a threat to our country as terror?" The ex-VP asserted that "the climate crisis is by far the most serious threat we have ever faced" and Shipman offered no follow-up. She failed to ask Gore for some sort of evidence to back up this claim or to point out that terrorism killed 3000 people on 9/11 alone. (How many have died from the "climate crisis?)
In an amusing twist, the morning media have reported two completely contrasting stories in the span of one week. NBC reported an 18-percent drop off in divorce filings in one region thanks to the bad economy on July 11. Six days later on July 17, ABC reported a 20-percent increase in divorce filings thanks to the bad economy.
Perhaps you could the say the story was the same, the economy is bad. But can both be true?
“[T]he 1.5-million-acre tip of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is critical for the health of an ancient caribou herd,” weatherman Sam Champion said on the May 6 “Good Morning America.”
“It’s a safe haven for calving every spring. The same area is valuable for another reason. Underneath it lies billions of barrels of crude oil, as of yet untapped. Oil companies say drilling can be done without danger, but environmentalists disagree. They think drilling would devastate the land and its wildlife,” said Champion.
The Biz Flog, the video blog of the Business & Media Institute, for July 16 focused on what it would take to drill in ANWR and how long it would take the financial benefits to get back to consumers.