On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," Diane Sawyer interviewed Hillary Clinton about health care and recycled campaign talking points that her fellow 2008 Democrat, John Edwards, has been peddling. According to Sawyer, upon his election, Edwards will "cut off health care for Congress so that they don't have health care while the rest of America doesn’t." The ABC anchor earnestly followed up by wondering, "Would you do that or is that a gimmick?" Clinton responded by observing the implausibility of the concept. She patiently explained to Sawyer that Edwards would "have to get Congress to vote for that, of course."
The Sawyer interview did contain some surprises, however. The GMA host featured two clips from the 2008 Republican hopefuls challenging Mrs. Clinton. But the eight minute and 19 second segment also continued GMA’s habit of offering generous amounts of time to the New York senator. In March, the ABC program featured Hillary for over 30 minutes during a town hall style infomercial. During Sawyer’s interview on Tuesday, she also asked Clinton emotional, softball queries. Over video of Clinton at a ‘93 health care event, the morning show host wondered, "What do you wish this woman we're looking at now on the screen had known then that you now know, since it went down in flames?"
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," liberal weatherman Sam Champion featured actor/activist Ed Begley Jr. to promote the concept of carbon offsets. The ABC meteorologist gushed over the emotional benefits of this environmental program. He exclaimed, "And you, kind of, pay into them and they fund projects that are doing good work. So you feel better about your energy use by helping create greener energy, basically."
The segment featured no skepticism as to the validity of these offsets. Rather, the tone was set by Champion’s introduction. He lectured, "We just can't help it. But every time we flip on a light switch, we're making pollution..." Later, Mr. Begley excitedly asserted that if enough people purchase carbon offsets, "...Guess what? They're going to shut down power plants."
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," token conservative reporter John Stossel told portly filmmaker Michael Moore, "Forgive me. More of us look like you"and that obesity explains whyCanadians live longer than Americans, not universal health care. Stossel appeared on the morning show to promote his program debunking the myth of "free," government-run health care. His "20/20" special, which will air September 14 on ABC, includes a quarrel with the left-wing director.
Stossel’s appearance on GMA, and his conservative take, also strongly contrasts with the morning show’s own coverage of government controlled health care. In June, Moore appeared on the program to promote "Sicko," his movie bashing the United States system of private care. Back then, GMA co-host Chris Cuomo mildly questioned the filmmaker’s trip to Cuba to lavish praise on the communist country’s health system. After the director noisily objected to this offense, Cuomo backed down, saying, "Look, I like the stunt."
Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, as the New York Times revealed Tuesday, may be concerned about how much evening news program coverage fugitive donor/fundraiser Norman Hsu attracts, but they had nothing to worry about Tuesday night. ABC didn't utter a word about the campaign's decision to refund the largest amount ever, $850,000 solicited by Hsu, yet anchor Charles Gibson found time to note how the New England Patriots broke an NFL rule by videotaping New York Jets coaches giving signals, while CBS's Katie Couric gave Hsu barely 20 seconds -- about half the time she devoted to the death of “Alex the Parrot” -- and NBC allocated 25 seconds, but only after a three-minute piece framed around how Rudy Giuliani's 9/11 image “stirs angry resentment.”
The morning shows on CBS and NBC both ignored the embarrassment and discomfort that a new MoveOn.org ad, which vilifies General David Petraeus, is causing Democrats running for the White House. While "The Early Show" and "Today" failed to cover the print advertisement from the liberal group, ABC’s "Good Morning America" at least briefly addressed the subject. The ad in question wondered if four-star general David Petraeus would "betray" the U.S. and also accused him of "cooking the books for the White House."
GMA co-host Robin Roberts took pains to discuss the advertisement, which appeared in the New York Times on Monday, in neutral terms. She claimed it simply "caught everybody’s" attention and caused "a lot of reaction." Explaining the political ramifications, ABC's George Stephanopoulos went further. He asserted the MoveOn ad puts "Democrats on the defensive" and "in a bit of a bind." The "This Week" anchor also provided a reason as to why Democratic '08 contenders haven’t rejected the advertisement. He explained, "They want the support of MoveOn.org, so you saw the presidential candidates saying, ‘Well, we don’t like what they said,’ but they wouldn’t repudiate it."
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," correspondent David Wright highlighted an ABC poll which claims a "stunning" 100 percent of Iraqis in Baghdad and Anbar Province view the troop surge negatively. Wright offered this rather amazing statistic during a dour preview of the Iraq progress report that General Petraeus will give to Congress this week. In October of 2002, the veteran journalist highlighted another nearly unanimous poll. Showing extreme naivete, he famously observed on "World News Tonight that in a 1995 Iraqi election, "... Saddam Hussein won 99.96 percent of the vote. Of course, it is impossible to say whether that's a true measure of the Iraqi people's feelings."
While discussing the ABC survey of Iraqi households, Wright didn’t question the fact that not one person could be found who viewed the troop surge positively. After comparing Petraeus’s testimony to that of General William Westmoreland at the height of the Vietnam War, Wright went on to discuss how the poll indicates that Iraqis believe the prospects for the future are "grim at best." He then closed the report by stating the obvious: Unlike ABC, General Petraeus will actually mention signs of progress, in addition to discussing the struggles. "And no doubt we're going to be hearing a starkly different assessment today from this chair by General Petraeus," he concluded.
Stop the presses! ABC's got a scoop: the situation in Iraq isn't ideal.
Trying to pave the way for the rejection of the Petraeus report, today's "Good Morning America" took the tack that the lack of complete calm is proof of the surge's failure.
Co-anchor Kate Snow set the negative tone by displaying a poll finding to the effect a majority of Americans believe the Petraeus report "will try to make things look better" in Iraq rather than portraying the situation "honestly."
Then it was on to a report from Iraq by ABC's Terry McCarthy. Don't miss the video of Snow and co-anchor Bill Weir walking in unison across the GMA stage, crossing a floor-map of Iraq to a video screen displaying McCarthy's report. Their studied maneuver reminded me of a bridesmaid and groom attendant doing their earnest best at a wedding rehearsal.
The leitmotif of McCarthy's report: yeah, things might be better in Iraq, but darn it, they're not perfect.
Two days before Oprah Winfrey is to host a celebrity-packed fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, NBC's Andrea Mitchell championed her potential ability to “turn her magic into votes for Barack Obama” and ABC's David Wright marveled: “Imagine the power of Oprah in an Obama campaign ad.” In a soundbite, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile gushed that “O plus O equals opportunity for Barack Obama to win in 2008.”
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams justified his show's story by asserting that Winfrey's “support for him [Obama] is getting new attention” -- attention NBC decided to give the topic. Mitchell admired how Winfrey “can turn a first-time author into an instant best-seller, single-handedly reviving an industry,” leading her to wonder: “Can the billionaire entertainer, and richest woman in America, turn her magic into votes for Barack Obama?”
For the third time in less than a week, ABC anchor and former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos appeared on "Good Morning America" to dourly assess Republican Fred Thompson’s 2008 chances. On the Thursday edition of GMA, the host of "This Week" attempted to set an impossible bar for the former senator. "...He can't make a mistake,"Stephanopoulos breathlessly claimed.
Earlier in the segment, the ABC host negatively spun Thompson’s standings in the polls. Some might compliment the performance of a candidate who, upon entering the 2008 race, is only narrowly trailing the front-runner. Not Stephanopoulos. After claiming that many thought the former actor would surge into first place early in the summer, he critiqued, "That hasn't happened. Most of the latest polls show that he's in second place behind Rudy Giuliani....He hasn't quite rocketed out the way he expected."
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," anchor Chris Cuomo talked to the authors of a new book about how liberals in the media allowed their politically correct biases to color coverage of the accused students in the Duke lacrosse rape case. Critiquing the media, Cuomo acknowledged, "It was difficult to report on this story fairly because there was so much pressure about pushing the angle that something had to happen. Something had to happen. It couldn't be nothing." He even proclaimed a lesson of the case to be "what people have always suspected, which is be careful what you hear from the media."
Stuart Taylor, co-author of "Until Proven Innocent," indicted liberal journalists who hold an obsession with race and sex. He derided the media’s gleeful handing of the case, saying, "The New York Times loved it, or a lot of people at the New York Times loved it. USA Today loved it. Nancy Grace on CNN loved it." However, while Cuomo did engage Taylor and his co-author K.C. Johnson on the subject of the media’s failing, the GMA anchor ignored an example from his own network. In April of 2007, ABC reporter Terry Moran blogged on the network’s official site that Americans shouldn’t feel too bad for the Duke students because of their wealth. He also claimed that the women of Rutgers basketball team suffered more from Don Imus:
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," George Stephanopoulos showcased a "quirky" poll indicating that Americans would like Hillary Clinton next to them for a multi-hour, cross country drive. Additionally, according to anchor Diane Sawyer, the poll also found a majority of citizens would choose the New York senator to run the company that employs them. Stephanopoulos, host of "This Week" and former top aide to Bill Clinton, spun the good news for Hillary as getting "at what people are looking for in a president."
The two ABC anchors also discussed Senator Clinton’s attempts to increase her likability ratings. Stephanopoulos repeated a talking point by parroting the former First Lady’s claim to be "the most famous person in the world that people don't know." Then, he helpfully played clips of Mrs. Clinton demonstrating warmth and humor on such venues as "The Late Show" and Ellen Degeneres’s program." Finally, what little time was left for the Republicans was spent bashing former Senator Fred Thompson for "fritter[ing]" the summer away and not exciting crowds.
Several media outlets used the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina as an excuse to promote the 2008 Democratic candidates. On CNN, right after running a glowing piece on Democrats such as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, anchor Soledad O’Brien sermonized that "no event has damaged the Bush White House more than Katrina." Over on ABC, "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts claimed that candidates from "both parties" would travel to New Orleans to "point out the Bush administration's shortcomings in fixing many problems that still exist, like those being forced to still live in trailers."
"Hardball" regular David Shuster managed to combine both the Katrina coverage with the scandal over Senator Larry Craig. He bizarrely claimed that the Craig incident "adds moral insult to the injuries being suffered today by the victims of Hurricane Katrina."
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," ABC’s anchors and reporters reacted to Fred Thompson’s entry in the 2008 race with negativity and sarcasm. Co-host George Stephanopoulos asserted that the former senator’s campaign is "never going to catch up on organization." Rattling off Thompson’s problems, the former Clinton aide critiqued, "But he didn't raise as much money as he’d hoped to over the summer. His speeches were a little bit flat. He had a lot of staff shake-ups."
Earlier in the segment, reporter Dan Harris pointedly mentioned the "consternation over the very active role of his wife, Jeri Thompson, a former political consultant 24 years his junior." Both Harris and Stephanopoulos speculated over whether Thompson’s entry into the race is "coming too late."
Additionally, the journalists on GMA treated the former actor’s announcement as a relatively boring, expected event. Harris jokingly asked, "Big surprise, right?" He then went on to deride Thompson’s entry into the 2008 race as "blazingly obvious."
Associated Press reporter David Bauder wrote a story on the new MRC study on the wide and deep disparity of morning TV news coverage of the presidential candidates in 2007. It's fair and balanced. But for us, obviously, the most entertaining part was hearing the network producers respond to the charges. They said it's all the Republicans' fault for being so shy with interview requests, and declared the Democratic race was so stuffed with historic firsts, it just demands blockbuster coverage:
You've got a former first lady and a black senator fighting for the nomination," said Jim Bell, executive producer of NBC's "Today" show. "That's historic. We're not going to make apologies for covering that."
Stories about the cancer relapse of Democrat John Edwards' wife Elizabeth were also counted in the total. It's unfair to count a personal story like that in a tally that suggests bias, said Jim Murphy, executive producer of ABC's "Good Morning America."
On Thursday’s "Good Morning America," guest host George Stephanopoulos’s close ties to the Clinton administration were again on display. The ABC anchor interviewed the ex-boyfriend of Chelsea Clinton about his new book on the subject of teaching American history in Iraq. Just last month, Stephanopoulos, a former top aide to Bill Clinton, gave a softball interview to Kristin Gore, the daughter of former Vice President Al Gore.
In that segment, the GMA substitute host misleadingly characterized the drug arrest of Albert Gore III as getting "in trouble speeding." The Vice President’s daughter also joked that she modeled a character in her new novel about Washington politics after Stephanopoulos. During the August 30 piece, the network anchor introduced author Ian Klaus by glowingly announcing, "...Some people might be watching today and saying, 'You know, I've seen him somewhere before. I've heard his name before.' And that's because you were actually dating Chelsea Clinton when you went to Iraq."
Watching network morning show anchors interview the Democratic presidential candidates often makes you wonder if you’ve seen tougher interviews on overnight acne-care infomercials. Their questions are often so simple and promotional that you wish they’d just go ahead and wear their "Hillary!" or "Obama ‘08" buttons on the set.
There is no pretense of political balance. They are actively rooting for a Democratic victory next year, and they have the power to make a real difference. Notwithstanding their overall loss of audience in the last decade, ABC, CBS, and NBC morning shows draw nine times the audience of their cable-news competitors and are geared toward the mostly apolitical mainstream, which makes them an important free-media showcase for presidential hopefuls. A new study shows that if this year’s campaign coverage on the TV morning shows were a primary election, the Democrats would win in a landslide of attention and hyperbole.
Rich Noyes of the Media Research Center assessed all morning-show coverage on the Big Three from January 1 through July 31.
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," weatherman and liberal global warming activist Sam Champion featured tennis star Billie Jean King in his latest attempt to hype the danger of climate change. In a new segment entitled, "Just One Person," King vaguely described her new environmental charity, GreenSlam, in such a way that it appeared to confuse GMA audience members standing behind her. At Champion’s prompting, she bemoaned all the "green noise," a term she never explained, in today’s society. Equally confusing were her constant references to "green collar studies."
Most bizarre, however, was when the tennis star appeared to be distracted, much in the way a five-year old would be upon seeing a butterfly. King noticed a tennis ball wedged in an adjacent camera and fixated on it as an example of recycling (as seen above). Apparently bewildering even Champion, she rambled, "We want to use things again. Okay? You see this tennis ball? You have one on your camera over there so that you don't whack somebody. It’s protection. There’s one at the end of, there’s one at the end of the camera there. That’s reusable. [Points to GMA camera.] All these little things we can do. I’m taking shorter showers. I’m worrying about the plastic bags now."
Tuesday’s "Good Morning America" used the arrest of Senator Larry Craig in a men’s bathroom as an excuse to again herald the end of the Republican Party. Guest co-host Bill Weir teased a story on the Idaho legislator by wondering, "Is the GOP losing its grip?" Reporter David Kerley saw this as a case of Republican hypocrisy. He pointedly observed that "Craig is a conservative who lists among his goals to defend and strengthen the traditional values of the American family."
In early summer, the ABC morning show found another reason to predict doom for the GOP. Co-host Chris Cuomo, introduced a June 25 story on new polling data by claiming that the Republican candidates were "hitting some serious bumps in the road." He then ominously added, "So now the question is, can any of them beat the eventual Democratic nominee?"
Much like tasty snacks, the networks can never stop their addiction to “food police” groups like the Center for Science in the Public Interest.Yesterday morning it was Good Morning America that was shilling for them, saying, “Did you realize you were paying more for less food?”
What was the target this time? The 100 calorie “snack packs,” that CSPI themselves have fought for. CSPI is upset about the cost, even though companies have gone out of their way to create less fattening snacks, (in smaller portions, and with some new recipes).
GMA reporter Elisabeth Leamy starts off the segment like this:
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," co-host Robin Roberts interviewed Barack Obama in New Orleans and asserted that politicians from "both parties" would be coming to the formerly hurricane ravaged region to "point out the Bush administration's shortcomings in fixing many problems that still exist, like those being forced to still live in trailers." While the ABC co-host didn’t explain who was forcing the residents to live in trailers, she did offer the 2008 Democratic candidate a softball interview where the only tough questions came from the left.
GMA guest co-host Bill Weir teased the segment by optimistically spinning Obama’s "plan to bring New Orleans back." Roberts proceeded to ask the senator about friendly topics, such as his desire to "reach out to Republicans." In fact, the only time she challenged the candidate was with a query from the left. Responding to Obama’s goal of forcing insurance companies to pay into a national disaster reserve, Roberts complained, "A lot of people are going to say, ‘Senator Obama, the insurance company, they have laid many roadblocks, many people think, in this recovery role.’ Is it realistic to think that they would be a part of something like this?" The GMA co-anchor pressed with a follow-up, claiming, "But that's how it's been. How can you change that?"
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," reporter David Wright sought out a socialist, a liberal activist and a Democrat to bash President Bush for failing, thus far, to visit Vermont during his two terms in office. However, he didn’t discuss how President Clinton similarly neglected Nebraska for nearly eight years. Following up on a CNN report about Bush’s "snub," co-host Robin Roberts began the segment by asking why the Commander in Chief was giving the state a "cold shoulder." An ABC graphic continued the complaining, it read, "Vermont Feeling Left Out: Why Won’t The President Visit?
While Wright found time to note that the northern state is "eco-smart and gay-friendly," he managed to ignore the fact that Bill Clinton didn’t visit Nebraska until a little over a month before his term ended. (In its report, CNN did mention this point.) The ABC correspondent spent much of his segment discussing Bush’s absence with Vermont Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy, one a Democrat, the other a self-described socialist, and also Ben Cohen, a liberal activist and founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.
Washington State authorities and the FBI on Monday released photos, taken by the captain of a Pugent Sound ferry, of two men that passengers and crew saw acting suspiciously -- taking photos of doorways, for instance -- but Thursday's Good Morning America seemed more concerned about “ethnic profiling” than identifying the potential terrorists who had been seen on up to a half-dozen ferries. “The case is raising concerns about security. But it's also raising concerns about possible ethnic profiling,” declared news reader Kate Snow. Reporter Neal Karlinsky asked: “Are these two men terrorists casing the boats for attack?” or “are they totally innocent passengers, the victims of ethnic profiling?” After noting their suspicious behavior, Karlinsky characterized them as victims: “But the men are not accused of anything, leading the Muslim community to wonder, what if the two men did not appear to be of Middle Eastern descent?” Aziz Junejo, Seattle Muslim Community spokesman, asserted: “To point that person out because of the features of a Middle Easterner is just plain wrong.” Karlinsky concluded: “The FBI says the huge ferry system is among the most vulnerable maritime targets in America. The question is, are these men a threat, or just victims of a jittery public?”
On Wednesday’s "Good Morning America," anchor Chris Cuomo completely glossed over the health care implications of a Canadian mother giving birth to quadruplets in America and not her home country. According to Cuomo, Karen Jepp and her husband, the new parents of identical quadruplets, had to be flown 300 miles from Calgary to Montana on August 16, because "every neo-natal unit in their country was too crowded to handle four preemie births."
Apparently, it didn’t occur to Mr. Cuomo to wonder why all the hospitals in Canada, a nation with universal health care, were full. During a subsequent interview with Jepp and her husband J.P., the co-host continued with this unquestioning explanation. He elaborated, "...Towards the very end, it gets even more complicated....You know, they're not ready for them at the hospital. Your doctors have to make calls. You have to fly 300 miles to have [the children]." Considering that back in June, "Good Morning America" co-anchor Diane Sawyer announced "a commitment to take a hard look at the health insurance industry," it seems odd that unusual circumstances, which forced a very pregnant mother to fly to another country and give birth, would be of such little interest to Mr. Cuomo.
On Monday, "Good Morning America" reporter John Berman ignored any role that journalists might have in the developing scandal of anonymous individuals altering Wikipedia entries. On the ABC program, Berman alerted viewers to the fact that companies such as Wal-Mart and Starbucks have changed sections in their Wikipedia bios. However, he skipped the recent revelation that both the BBC and New York Times have been linked to derogatory, childish alterations in President Bush’s entry. (CNN covered the story on August 16.)
Berman began the segment by asking viewers how they would feel if they knew "the entry on Wal-Mart was edited by someone inside Wal-Mart? The Starbucks entry? By someone inside Starbucks." He also noted that the CIA has changed its section. However, the ABC reporter failed to explain that a new computer program, which can determine who alters Wikipedia information, traced the culprit behind the addition of the words "jerk, jerk, jerk" to President Bush’s Wikipedia profile. The source? A New York Times computer. There was also no discussion of a similar incident involving the insertion of the word "wanker" to Bush’s entry from a BBC computer.
Of the three morning shows, only ABC’s "Good Morning America" has reported the comment by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama that part of the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan is made up of "air-raiding villages and killing civilians." Both CBS’s "Early Show" and "Today" on NBC have ignored the August 14 comment. On Friday’s GMA, however, reporter David Wright filed a report on the statement and wondered if Obama is ready to be president. An ABC graphic pointedly asked, "Obama’s Foot in Mouth Disease? Too Inexperienced For Campaign?"
After playing a brief clip of the Illinois senator’s comment, which he made during a speech in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Wright mentioned previous impolitic statements by Obama, such as threatening to invade Pakistan. The ABC journalist noted that Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, raised the issue of civilian casualties with President Bush. He asserted, "...Presumably, Hamid Karzai used language that was more diplomatic, more presidential."
“But fundamentally it comes down to where you’re having the toys made. They’re being made in China, you don’t have oversight, there’s tremendous pressure for them to cut corners and keep costs down, because that’s how you make money. So allow me to ask you sir, how much money are you saving having these toys made in China?”
"Good Morning America" asked "What is going on?" with the stock market on August 16. Anchor Chris Cuomo asked Bianna Golodryga if the market drop is a correction or a recession.
"There seem to be two schools of thought here, those involved in all this sophisticated mortgage lending are saying this is the beginning of the end. But stock analysts are saying it is just a correction. Where are people's heads down there today?" said Cuomo
An on-screen graphic read, "Very Nervy Wall Street Correction Or Recession?"
According to ABC’s John Berman, one reason that crooks in Texas have been bilking hospitals out of money is because they’re "fed up" with the health care system. During a segment on Wednesday’s "Good Morning America," the correspondent filed a report on successful, financially stable individuals who pretend to be poor in order to avoid paying their health insurance related hospital fees. Berman couldn’t help but give their actions a political motive:
John Berman: "As egregious as this sounds, it may be another example of how fed up people are with the health care system. One survey found one in ten people believe it's okay to submit false claims or collect when you don't deserve it."
“Crashing” stock market? “Legalized gambling”? ABC’s “Good Morning America” berated the stock market for trampling on a supposed individual right to a mortgage.
Chris Cuomo’s August 13 story on a couple who had their mortgage pulled due the recent “drama on Wall Street” started like this:
“To a certain extent the stock market has always been a form of legalized gambling, where Wall Street tries to cash in on bets made on the right companies. But for many financial institutions, the chips were the mortgages of hard-working American families, in danger of losing their homes, or now never getting a chance to live the American dream.”
On Tuesday’s "Nightline," co-anchor Martin Bashir filed a report on businessman Tom Monaghan, founder of a Catholic university in Florida and a community that will attempt to embrace traditional Christian values. Bashir regurgitated a two-year-old criticism that the town has "been described as a Catholic Jonestown, a kind of Catholic Iran, where individual rights and liberties are curtailed."
The various network news shows have come to this shocking conclusion: It’s summer and it’s hot. Could global warming be to blame? Ann Curry, guest anchoring NBC’s "Nightly News" on Tuesday, speculated, "Record heat and drought in the United States and Europe. New fears tonight that it's all the result of global warming." Harry Smith, over on CBS’s "Early Show," had the same idea. The morning show anchor definitively asserted, "Before we do anything else, there is in fact, global climate change.