After completely ignoring the story, ABC investigative correspondent Brian Ross finally featured a segment on a questionable real estate deal by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. On Thursday's "Good Morning America," the reporter looked at the Illinois senator's relationship with Tony Rezko, a political operator who raised cash for candidates. Rezko, who will go on trial in February for charges related to bribes and extortion, played a role in a house purchase by Obama.
Although local Illinois media outlets, such as the Chicago Sun Times, have been covering the story for much of 2006 and 2007, a Nexis search finds only one mention on ABC, prior to the Ross report on Thursday. (On May 13, 2007, "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos briefly quizzed Obama on the subject.) Ross's investigations of Republicans often include a sneering, sarcastic tone that was lacking in his segment on Obama. In October of '07, he claimed that after listening to 1973 Watergate tapes of '08 Republican candidate Fred Thompson, a "much different, less valiant picture of Thompson emerges."
Former Bill Clinton aide, and current ABC anchor, George Stephanopoulos appeared on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" to gush over Hillary Clinton's mastery of the relatively simple task of stage management. Discussing the New York senator's win in New Hampshire with GMA co-host Diane Sawyer, he fawned over the placement of individuals at the victory speech: "Hillary Clinton alone at the podium. Young people, faces of hope, behind her. Where is Bill Clinton? Where is Chelsea Clinton? They are not there yet."
The segment seemed to be a cross between a football game and a campaign spot. Stephanopoulos, using a telestrator, circled the various individuals as they appeared onscreen. At the same time, he narrated what sounded like an ad for the '08 White House contender: "Hillary Clinton actually has to motion them up to the stage. Yes, they're reluctant. They don't want to come up. There's Chelsea. There's Bill Clinton, coming up, a little hang dog." The ABC anchor rhapsodized about how Bill Clinton mouthed the words "I'm so proud of you" to his wife. He ended the video replay by describing the New York Senator as "all alone at the podium, the sole victor." Sawyer solemnly added, "Taking charge."
The Clinton and McCain victories in New Hampshire were topic A on the network morning shows today, so I thought we'd compile a montage video of the teases that the "Early Show," "Good Morning America," and "Today" ran.
On Tuesday's "Good Morning America," reporter Claire Shipman appeared touched by Hillary Clinton's emotional display at a New Hampshire diner on Monday. She exhibited no skepticism about the outpouring, describing it as "unexpected, spontaneous emotion." Not surprisingly, Shipman also speculated that Clinton could benefit in the polls from the event.
The ABC reporter rhapsodized, "From this woman in particular, who remains stoic publicly even as her emotional world caved in, who has cultivated such an image of strength and invulnerability, it was a surprise that just might pay off." Much of the segment related to crying in politics and whether it's now thought to be acceptable. However, Shipman clearly appeared to be fascinated with the New York senator's display of emotion in response to a question from a voter. She added, "And it's so fascinating when you are the first woman to make a serious stab at the presidency, every move, every emotion is fraught and scrutinized."
For the second day in a row, "Good Morning America" provided a gushing forum for Hillary Clinton's spin. On Tuesday's program, co-host Diane Sawyer asked the presidential candidate about her emotional display at a New Hampshire diner on Monday. The ABC journalist sympathetically wondered, "Is it different when a woman shows that kind of emotion and (sic) a man does?"
Sawyer certainly never broached the subject of whether Clinton contrived the wavering voice. Instead, she gingerly questioned, "Are you surprised so much is being made this morning?" Regarding the '08 candidate's recent defeat in Iowa, the GMA host carefully asked, "With those numbers coming in, what does President Clinton say to you at night or first thing in the morning? Is there a pep talk?" Sawyer followed up by speculating, "Does Chelsea write you notes and leave them under the door?"
Hillary Clinton secured interviews on all three network morning shows on Monday, but as CBS’s Harry Smith emphasized the New York Post "PANIC" headline and NBC’s Matt Lauer wondered if Hillary thought the voters were being charmed (but weren't doing their homework) about Obama, ABC gave her the softest interview of the day – with her former employee George Stephanopoulos. Which shameless producer makes the decision to let them play Patty-Cake?
ABC obviously presumes everyone knows of their previous professional relationship, since it was not disclosed. Stephanopoulos began: "She has taken charge of her campaign, Diane, running her war room out of her hotel suite, giving orders and I begin my interview by asking her what those orders are."
Pardon the viewer for hearing: "I begin my interview by asking her what my orders are."
Are the two major political parties hosting primaries this winter? Or is it just the Democrats? Viewers who saw Monday's edition of "Good Morning America" might assume the latter. The ABC program devoted a lopsided 14 minutes and 56 seconds to breaking down the race between Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. A scant 31 seconds were given to the competitive Republican race.
Over the course of the two hour program, GMA featured four segments on the Democrats and only a solitary (and brief) piece on the GOP contest. This included co-host Diane Sawyer interviewing Barack Obama twice. ABC anchor and former Bill Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos talked to Senator Hillary Clinton. Kate Snow discussed the state of the New York senator's White House bid. Aside from mentioning the latest GOP polls in the show's intro, the only analysis of the Republicans resulted from Sawyer asking Stephanopoulos this banal question: "And what about the Republicans?" The conversation that followed lasted 31 seconds.
ABC journalist Kate Snow continued her habit on Monday of parroting Hillary Clinton's campaign spin. Filing a report for "Good Morning America," she gushed over just how hard the senator is working for a resurgence in the polls. Snow raved, "No subject is too small. No issue too dense. Hillary Clinton is taking question after question from voters, from reporters."
Spinning seemingly ordinary tasks, Snow continued, "She's pounding the pavement, literally going door to door for votes." The GMA contributor also explained that "the new Hillary critiques Barack Obama for putting a lobbyist at the top of his New Hampshire campaign." Later in the segment, she repeated the phrase: "The new Hillary confronts Obama saying he's changed his positions." Snow has a long history of history of portraying Senator Clinton's every move as brilliant:
Fred Thompson today blasted the media for propagating a false rumor about his impending withdrawal, while reinforcing the role he has created for himself as the candidate in this race who does not suffer unwelcome questions gladly.
Back in Iowa, Thompson famously refused to respond to the debate moderator/school marm's demand for a hand-show on global warming. On this morning's Today, he declined to engage in horse-race speculation about his own prospects, then took the media to task for its propagation of that false rumor about his impending withdrawal. Weekend anchor Lester Holt interviewed the former Tennessee senator.
On the eve of the Iowa caucuses, NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd disclosed thatthe media was poised to take a third-place McCain finish there and use it to catapult him to victory in New Hampshire. McCain actually finished fourth in Iowa, but on Good Morning America today we saw a perfect example of the phenomenon Todd predicted.
ABC declared that McCain is "surging," "rising in the polls," may have "the most momentum," used "The Mac Is Back" as its screen graphic, and portrayed Mitt Romney in a highly unflattering light. There was only one small problem with ABC's depiction of a McCain surge: the latest poll numbers from the organization that nailed the Iowa results . . . reveal that McCain slipped in the polls overnight and lost ground to Mitt Romney.
"Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts used the label "fundamentalist Christians" to describe the Iowa supporters of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. During an interview on Friday's program, she also noted that America "saw, there, in your offices in Iowa, right before the caucuses, people praying there in your, in your office."
The ABC journalist also grilled the '08 contender, fresh from his caucus victory, on the subject of creationism and evolution. Citing a new National Academy of Sciences report, Roberts asked, "Do you agree with that, that creationism should be kept out of our classrooms?" After Huckabee stated that, as governor, he never dealt with the question, the host repeated her question: "Should creationism be banned from the classroom. Yes or no?"
"Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo, while discussing politics with Iowa voters on Thursday, spun foes of illegal immigrants as fans of simplistic solutions to a complicated issue. Maligning them, he complained, "Everybody wants to put up a big wall and then find who's not supposed to be here and throw them over that wall."
Cuomo, while speaking to a voter who favored allowing illegals to stay in the country, seemed to morph into a parody of an enforcement conservative. Attempting to channel that mind set, he derided, "But for a politician, you want that red meat. You want to be able to be strong and we want them out!"
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," reporter Chris Cuomo saw dark motives in Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's attacks on Democrat John Edwards and his "Two Americas" rhetoric. The GMA host conducted a combative interview with the 2008 contender and even alleged that Romney's comments could even be construed as an example of "ignorance."
After playing a clip of the former governor dismissing Edwards's contention that there is a rich and poor America, Cuomo argumentatively asserted, "When you say, 'This is one America,' that could be a unity statement or it could be one of, perhaps, ignorance to the fact that in this country you have the rich growing at ten times the rate as the working class. Do you deny that is the situation in this country?" The ABC journalist then helpfully added, "You trying to make a different point?"
For the second day in a row, and the sixth time in less than a year and a half, a "Good Morning America" anchor speculated on whether Senator Barack Obama can overcome racism in his presidential bid. During a particularly fawning interview on Thursday's program, host Diane Sawyer referenced a quote from the senator on the subject and hypothesized that, in a white state like Iowa, "people have shown they are willing to look beyond race in this country. Has that victory been won, whatever happens tonight?"
On Wednesday, GMA co-host Chris Cuomo posed the same question to fellow Democrat John Edwards. He asked the presidential aspirant about the nature of Iowa voters, theorizing, "When you think people get into the room, do you think race or gender may play an unspoken role in the caucus voting?" Cuomo, back on December 20, 2007, fretted over whether Obama could overcome "America's inherent...racism." Sawyer herself once asked the Illinois senator if America is "secretly...more racist or more sexist"
For the second time in less than a month, "Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo asked a Democratic presidential candidate to speculate about the inherent racism of American voters. Talking with John Edwards on Wednesday's edition of the program, the ABC journalist wondered about Thursday's Iowa caucus. He inquired, "When you think people get into the room, do you think race or gender may play an unspoken role in the caucus voting?"
Clearly, this is a topic that weighs heavily on Cuomo. On December 20, he spoke to Senator Barack Obama and asked, "What do you think the bigger obstacle is for you in becoming president, the Clinton campaign machine or America's inherent racists, racism?" In fact, GMA has a long history of harping on how bigoted America is. Since November 13, 2006, "Good Morning America" has featured the question, in some form or another, a total of five times.
The PC guy finally wins one! No, we're not cheering for political correctness here. I'm talking about those ads for Macintosh computers where the cool Mac guy always gets the better of the frumpy PC fellow.
When two college political leaders out in Iowa appeared on the Good Morning America screen today, I immediately suspected a set-up. I couldn't help but think that ABC had intentionally staged the political equivalent of the Mac ads, with the Dem as the Apple dude and the Republican cast as PC guy.
In the screencap, that's Atul Nakhasi, head of the U. of Iowa Dems, on the left and Greg Baker, Chairman of the U. of Iowa Republicans, on the right. Now, Nakhasi acquitted himself perfectly well, but as the segment unfolded it soon became clear that Baker was the star of this show.
View the video here, and enjoy Baker's good-humor and easy articulation.
On Monday's "The Early Show," CBS anchor Harry Smith charged that the leading Republican presidential candidates are "mudslinging," contending that their campaigns have "turned nasty," but then suggested that Democrats are "playing nice." While the ABC and NBC morning shows portrayed candidates in both parties as "going negative," CBS's Smith hinted that Democrats were "playing nice" even after CBS correspondents had just referred to Obama as "attacking" other Democrats, and to John Edwards as portraying "corporate powers and Washington lobbyists" as "enemies of ordinary people." (Transcript follows)
Smith teased Monday's "The Early Show": "Pick me: It's a dead heat in the Iowa polls as Democrats fall into a virtual tie, and Republican leaders sling more mud."
According to MasterCard SpendingPulse, retail sales were up 3.6 percent during the holiday season - 2.4 percent excluding gas prices. But because it's not as big an increase as recent years have produced, the media reported it as bad news.
On NBC's "Nightly News," reporter Savannah Guthrie announced a "dramatic" 2.4 percent decrease in women's clothing sales. She didn't think the same percentage increase was "dramatic," however. Instead, she referred to the overall sales increase as "disappointing."
Other media labeled the figures "dismal," "small," "weak," "bleak" and "a clear sign that the economy is slowing down." Most made sure to point out, like "Good Morning America's" Ryan Owens, that the increase is "the smallest in four years."
Business & Media Institute Director Dan Gainor appeared on the Fox Business Network December 21, 2007, to discuss the media's coverage of the economy. Full of Christmas spirit, Gainor had kind words for two mainstream reporters.
"Even in the mainstream media there are people who get it. Looking back this year one of the big stars whose improvement was surprising is CNN's Ali Velshi who delivers a much calmer look," Gainor said.
"It's nice to see somebody out there saying, ‘Oh, actually the markets aren't really doing that bad," he said, praising ABC's Bianna Golodryga. The "Good Morning America" reporter received high marks for balanced coverage of the stock market.
Hillary Clinton has no right to complain that her friends and flatterers in the media are rough on her. But when Clintons hit rough passages on the road to victory, this is what Clintons do: complain. That’s too meek. They whine.
But she obviously feels wronged by the news media when her polls begin to slip and she looks at her Barack Obama’s worshipful press clips. In fairy-tale terms, Obama is Snow White, and Hillary is the vain and wicked queen peering into the mirror and demanding to know "who is the fairest of them all?"
On the news of Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani’s hospitalization and release, ABC’s Jake Tapper spun it as a case of secrecy. On the December 21 edition of "Good Morning America," Tapper reported that after Giuliani and his wife claimed to be in "good health," his lack of details may harm him. "Experts on political crises say Giuliani is handling this the exact wrong way," Tapper suggested.
Tapper also stated, according to former Clinton aide Lanny Davis, 2000 long shot Democratic hopeful Bill Bradley’s lack of health disclosure was the "turning point"of his campaign.
Tapper finally played a sound bite of Giuliani promising a more open government. The ABC correspondent sniped back "apparently that pledge of transparency not applying to his current health crisis."
Does "Good Morning America" mean "good morning all you racists"? Co-host Chris Cuomo seemed to suggest that on December 20. (Hat tip: Howard Mortman) Upon interviewing presidential candidate Barack Obama Cuomo inquired about Obama’s biggest obstacles.
"What do you think the bigger obstacle is for you in becoming president, the Clinton campaign machine or America's inherent racists, racism?"
Obama, though conceding he does not think "race has played a significant role in this campaign," went on to add that many people may vote for or against him because of his race.
If you watched the news in the last 24 hours, you'd think women's clothing sales were the barometer for the economy. All three major networks reported a 6-percent decrease in women's apparel sales this holiday season, calling the figure "ominous," "worrisome" and "a big deal."
The only problem is that the corporation reporting the figures, Mastercard, didn't say it was that big of a deal. In fact Mastercard's SpendingPulse showed a "modest increase" in holiday sales overall, and "extraordinary growth" for eCommerce sales.
But for the MSM, good news is no news, so they zeroed in on one negative to suggest Christmas 2007 is a retail failure. And since Christmas is all about shopping, we might as well declare the whole season over before it started!
On the "CBS Evening News" Dec. 17, Anthony Mason reported "an ominous sign:
According to ABC’s Kate Snow, support for the Iraq War automatically makes one a conservative, even if that individual is liberal on most other issues. In reporting on the increasingly tight race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, Snow briefly mentioned at the end that Joseph Lieberman endorsed John McCain. She dismissively referred to Lieberman as a "conservative Democrat."
"And he won over long-time Democrat, all be it a conservative one, Senator Joe Lieberman, who ran with Al Gore, will endorse McCain later today."
ABC’s Chris Cuomo, who previously tried to push John McCain to give a preference between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, asked Mike Huckabee, after citing Hillary Clinton, "can a woman be president?" Cuomo inquired this after mentioning that Huckabee signed an ad stating "a wife is to submit graciously to...her husband."
Huckabee appeared on the December 13 edition of "Good Morning America" to address his recent questioning of Mormon doctrine that "Jesus and the devil are brothers." Cuomo also asked Huckabee why he is "unwilling to say" that Mormons are Christians. Huckabee responded "it's not my place to start evaluating his faith, your faith, somebody else's."
It is also notable that GMA co-host Diane Sawyer previously attacked Huckabee for playing the "religion card."
According to ABC reporter Claire Shipman, dreary economic news and a slow Christmas could be a real plus for the Democrats. Filing a segment for Wednesday's "Good Morning America," Shipman lamented, "It may be that no amount of hall decking can convince Americans to be jolly about the economy this holiday season."
However, the GMA correspondent saw good news in this for the Democrats. She asserted, "Traditionally, of course, problems in the economy would help the Democrats." After allowing that GOP candidate Mike Huckabee's "populist message" could resonate, Shipman gushed, "Among the Democrats, John Edwards has the message that's most consistently appealing to people suffering from economic woes." Not wishing to leave any Democrat behind, she rhapsodized, "But at the same time, the Clinton brand has a strong economic reputation."
ABC host Diane Sawyer used an exclusive interview with Oprah Winfrey and actor Denzel Washington to gossip about liberal politics, to ask whether the talk show host would support Hillary Clinton as a backup to Senator Barack Obama and also to prompt Washington on the subject of which Democrat he's supporting.
In the interview, which aired during Wednesday's edition of "Good Morning America," Sawyer demanded to know, "Have you heard from the Clintons? Have you talked to the Clintons?" "What would you say to Hillary," she asked.After Winfrey simply reiterated her support for Obama, Sawyer pressed on and asked if the talk show host had decided "if Senator Clinton is nominated whether you'll show up for her or not?"
In the battle of Democratic "superstar campaigners," the reporters of "Good Morning America" couldn't decide whether they prefer Hillary Clinton's exciting surrogates or Barack Obama's. On Monday's edition of the ABC program, correspondent David Wright parroted talking points about Oprah Winfrey supporting Obama and the inspiring nature of the talk show host. He glowingly asserted, "She's urging her fans to vote the dream, not just to settle for the inevitable." Wright didn't bother to explain what, exactly, that means.
The GMA reporter also gushed that "...When it comes to connecting a crowd over shared hardships and shared hopes, nobody beats Oprah." According to Wright, she's "kind of like everybody's big sister." Kate Snow, filing a piece on the Clinton campaign, explained that operatives at "Hillaryland" sent Bill and Chelsea Clinton to Iowa in order to manipulate media coverage away from Obama. Snow shamelessly confessed, "And it worked. We're not just talking about Oprah this morning, are we?"
The mainstream media have been fawning over the atheist inspired film "The Goldan Compass" and ignoring the fact that the author (upon which the movie is based), Phillip Pullman, has bragged about killing God in his novels. Well, according to CNN, the real focus should be on the fact that the film raises "awareness" about the plight of polar bears. No, really.
In 2007, ABC's investigative reporter Brian Ross has provided hard-hitting looks at Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani. He's focused only one such segment on a Democrat, Hillary Clinton. And, unsurprisingly, each of his investigations into a GOP candidate has been accompanied by snarky, sarcastic comments.
Does Mitt Romney believe atheists should enjoy freedom? "Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer apparently isn't too sure. On Friday's edition of the ABC program, the co-host discussed the 2008 presidential candidate's speech on his Mormon faith and wondered about Romney's comment that "freedom requires religion." "Is there going to be a question whether humanists or even atheists, agnostics deserve freedom," she asked "This Week" host, and former Clinton operative, George Stephanopoulos. (This is the same Diane Sawyer who has repeatedly objected to '08 contender Mike Huckabee using the phrase "Christian leader" in a campaign spot. She derided that as "heavy handed" and possibly crossing a line.)
In response to the loaded question, Stephanopoulos simply replied, "I think that's a fight that Romney is willing to pick." In a segment setting up the interview, reporter Dan reiterated the same themes and fretted, "What about non-believers?" He then negatively spun the speech: "Did Romney go too far in blurring the line between church and state?"