According to ABC reporter Elizabeth Vargas, "Americans are the most wasteful people on the planet. We use more than any other people on the planet." The network correspondent's America bashing came as she appeared on Friday's "Good Morning America" to promote a new "20/20" special on how United States citizens haphazardly abuse such amenities as showers and diapers. [Audio available here]
While appearing in front of hundreds of prop-diapers, Vargas lectured, "Well, if everybody lived like [the United States], we would need four, at least four, planet Earths to meet our resource demand and our dumping ground demand." Now, while Vargas did claim that the diapers she used would be given to a hospital, throughout the segment many more diapers, bottles and cut-down trees appeared as props. The question needs to be asked, did "20/20" and the National Geographic network, who co-produced a companion program, waste products, while at the same time haranguing the United States for doing the same thing?
Our news analysts at the MRC have combed through the April 9 editions of ABC's "Good Morning America," CBS's "The Early Show," and NBC's "Today," and found zero mentions of the comments that Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) made smearing McCain and military pilots past and present.
Yesterday I noted how news agencies were slow to cover the story, and certainly were not blowing up the incident into a major gaffe for Sen. Barack Obama, whom Rockefeller supports for president, to publicly and personally denounce.
During an interview with Elizabeth Edwards, "Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts spun the wife of the former Democratic presidential candidate as a non-partisan advocate for change on the issue of health care. She lauded her fellow cancer survivor as a "passionate voice in the debate" over the subject.
Roberts also nonchalantly explained that a new chapter in Edwards's life includes "working at the Center for American Progress [CAP]." Of course, the GMA host didn't bother explaining that CAP is a left-wing organization founded by Clinton operative John Podesta. Instead, Roberts described Edwards's advocacy for a major government take-over of the health care industry in personal and emotional terms. The ABC journalist extolled, "The idea that's become Edwards's passion: Health care reform, inspired by her own cancer and Americans she met during the campaign." Would Roberts ever characterize a pro-lifer's advocacy in terms that divorce the issue from its political context?
"Good Morning America's" Diane Sawyer featured 9/11 conspiracy theorist Rosie O'Donnell for over 15 minutes on Tuesday and failed to ask about any of her numerous controversial statements. Despite this, Sawyer did find the time to laud the former talk show host's "singular take on the world" and to make crafts with the hard core leftist who once asserted that "radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America."
Sawyer glossed over the controversial statements O'Donnell made during her tenure as a co-host of the ABC program "The View." At one point, the GMA co-anchor even admitted, "So, I don't want to go back and rehash all of 'The View' stuff again." Some of the "stuff" Sawyer might have been referring to, included telling the lone conservative voice on "The View," Elisabeth Hasselbeck, on November 9, 2006, "Don't fear the terrorists. They’re mothers and fathers." During her GMA appearance to promote a new book on crafts, O'Donnell stated that one factor in her quitting "The View" was control. For her earlier program, "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," "...There was no one with a conflicting point of view." In her role as an interviewer, Sawyer certainly offered no conflicting point of view and failed to ask tough questions.
Like characters in a Currier & Ives scene, a gentle snow has covered the Clintons. Make that a gentle Snow . . .
On yesterday's Hardball, Chris Matthews, smelling a rat, was livid when he learned that the Clintons had failed to file or release their 2007 tax return. But on today's Good Morning America, Kate Snow managed to make a silk purse out of the sow's ear of the Clinton's delay. Far from depicting it as a means to evade the promulgation of inconvenient facts, Snow painted the procrastination as proof of the Clintons' humanity. Compare and contrast . . .
HARDBALL APRIL 4TH
DAVID SHUSTER: As far as the details we do not have the details from last year. We don't have those specific consulting fees for last year.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I was predicting [that] . . . now Joan [Walsh of Salon.com], it seems to me everybody wanted to know where the Clintons got their income. Is there any sticky income? We're not getting that information. The one thing we were promised to get.
On Friday's "Good Morning America," for the second day in a row, and the third time in a little over a week, the ABC program promoted the story of a transgendered man who is having a baby via artificial insemination. At no time did GMA feature any guest to challenge or question the psychological ramifications for a child who was born from a pregnant "father."
During the April 4 segment on the subject, GMA guest news anchor David Muir described Thomas Beatie's decision as "very controversial." One would assume that a controversial decision would have two sides to it. But over the course of three segments, totaling ten minutes and 16 seconds, the closest the network program got was on April 3, when psychologist Jeffrey Gardere mildly advised, "It really is incumbent upon this individual, his wife, to try to give this as much dignity as possible, to not make it a joke, to not make it that something that's cheap[sic]."
"Good Morning America" reporter Nick Watt smeared Dutch filmmaker Geert Wilders as a racist on Saturday's edition of the ABC program. Watt, who interviewed the director over his new movie about radical Islam's incompatibility with Dutch culture, sneered, "You believe the Western Judeo Christian culture is superior. You believe immigration should be stopped. I mean, you're a racist, no?"
Wilders is under fire from Islamic protests in much of the Middle East and has been criticized by the Netherlands prime minister. GMA co-host Kate Snow seemed skeptical as well. Speaking of Wilders's movie, she derided, "So, is this hate speech or free speech?" Snow failed to explain how, exactly "hate speech" is not also free speech. At one point, after Wilders touted the superiority of western culture, Watt incredulously replied, "What do you mean, better?" Leaving no doubt as to what his opinion is, Watt closed the segment by asserting, "Wilders calls this freedom of speech. Others call it fanning the flames."
Men don't have babies. Period. Yet in covering the ‘pregnant man' story this morning both the "Early Show" and "Good Morning America" neither outlet dealt with this fact. Rather, both were completely focused on the fact that Thomas Beatie was speaking publicly for the first time and would be shown on today's "Oprah" show. Both outlets also reported that Beatie's story would appear in this week's issue of People, due on news stands tomorrow.
So really, the media were reporting on the media reporting on the pregnant man. Which really amounts to a public relations boon for Oprah, People and of course the Beaties.
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," investigative reporter Brian Ross provided a refreshingly thorough look into the failure of Bill and Hillary Clinton to release their tax records and to the fact that, despite Hillary Clinton's railing against how the wealthy misuse the tax code, the power couple have investments in off shore locations such as the Cayman Islands.
Unsurprisingly, "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos, a former top Clinton operative, appeared after the segment to perform his old duty of defending his ex-employers. As though he was back on the podium talking to the White House press corps, Stephanopoulos first acknowledged that this could be a "distraction" for Hillary Clinton's campaign. He then went into defense mode and regurgitated that the Democratic presidential candidatedoesn't think this is "going to be a bombshell." Without providing any specifics, he spun, "...The bottom line will show that the Clintons did pay their fair share of taxes. They didn't try to evade taxation in any way and that they also gave a fair amount to charity." Of course, no one, certainly not Ross in his report, had mentioned charitable giving. Apparently, Stephanopoulos just felt the need to mention something positive.
Of the three morning shows, only ABC's “Good Morning America” highlighted the implications of a new report on pork barrel spending by the group Citizens Against Government Waste [CAGW]. GMA was the sole network morning program to mention that Democrats broke their campaign promise to cut such pork projects in half. On Wednesday, NBC's “Today” show skipped the subject completely and although CBS's “Early Show” covered the report, correspondent Sharyl Attkisson ignored the $296 and $97 million, respectively, in pork spending that Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are responsible for.
GMA reporter Jake Tapper, while discussing the just released Pig Book, a CAGW compendium of wasteful government spending, announced, “Congress stuffed into the fiscal year 2008 spending bills 11,610 pork barrel projects, the second highest total ever.” Tapper alone highlighted this salient point about the differences between Clinton, Obama and Republican Senator John McCain: “Senator Hillary Clinton is the biggest porker of the three. 281 earmarks worth $296 million. Senator Obama is next. 53 earmarks worth $97 million. Senator John McCain has never requested an earmark.”
ABC has served warning: use the Rev. Wright against Barack Obama at your peril. Be prepared to be accused of "raising the race issue" to hit "below the belt."
ABC's David Wright, a certified Obama fan/Hillary critic based on this past performance, issued his edict on today's Good Morning America.
Riffing off Hillary having compared herself to Rocky Balboa running all the way up those steps in the first movie, Wright first fairly pointed out the irony of the analogy: Rocky wound up losing the fight. Pushing the boxing metaphor, Wright then landed his haymaker:
DAVID WRIGHT: In its approach to superdelegates, the Clinton campaign may be close to hitting below the belt. Clinton's top delegate hunter Harold Ickes told an interviewer he's raising the race issue with superdelegates, arguing that Obama's controversial former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, makes him unelectable.
On ABC's April 1 "Good Morning America," which headlined one of its segments "April Fuel's Day," Chris Cuomo questioned why oil companies aren't taxed more while they're posting higher profits.
"Congress is calling all the oil companies on the carpet today," Cuomo said. "Lawmakers want to know why big oil needs billions in tax breaks while posting record profits of $123 billion. Consumers want answers too. Gas now runs $3.29 a gallon, up three cents from last week and 58 percent higher than last year. Oil executives argue they need tax breaks to expand production."
The following was adapted from the Media Research Center's April Fools Day Media "Reality" Check. The quotes are all fabrications written by the imaginative News Analysts at the MRC.
Panicked by the success of Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" — urging conservatives to vote for Hillary Clinton in upcoming primaries to keep the Democrats in disarray — liberal reporters are becoming even more outspoken in praising the man they regard as the all-but-certain Democratic nominee, Barack Obama.
CBS's Harry Smith sounded like a teenage groupie on the April 1 Early Show: "Obama's rock star status is reaching historic levels. His rallies attract more fans than a Hannah Montana concert and seats are impossible to get. Believe me I've tried." Over on ABC's Good Morning America, correspondent Claire Shipman didn't want either liberal to lose: "Think of the race as a pro wrestling match between Martin Luther King and Eleanor Roosevelt. Whoever loses, it will be America that winds up feeling bruised."
When This Week assembled a round-table of four liberals versus one conservative yesterday, I kvetched. Maybe I should have cheered. ABC's idea of balance looks good compared to that of CBS. This morning's Early Show preview of the Bush admin's plan, to be announced later today, to regulate the financial industry was essentially conservative-free. OK, to be absolutely accurate, there was a brief clip of Treasury Secretary Paulson saying the plan would protect the Fed's balance sheet and US taxpayers.
But in her set-up piece, CBS's Kimberly Dozier emphasized the negative: "critics say it's win-win for banks, not the consumer. Less regulation, but no new legal limits to stop questionable lending practices or to stop the shell-game financial structures that led to the current mortgage debacle." The only expert she aired was University of Maryland economist Peter Morici who griped that under the plan: "[banks] can still engage in sharp practices that got them in trouble. There's no reason to believe that this regulatory format will keep the kind of crisis we just had from happening again. Nor will it get us out of this recession."
Co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez took the baton from there. She first interviewed Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), who claimed Congress had already given the Fed "massive" regulatory authority. Dodd predictably blamed the current situation on "a failure of leadership." Then it was on to Rodriguez's in-studio chat with CBS News biz correspondent Anthony Mason who--surprise!-- was also a critic of the plan.
"Good Morning America's" liberal meteorologist Sam Champion continued his crusade of turning the weather report into an environmental lecture on Friday. Champion, the man who once hosted a segment that warned "billions" could die from global warming, devoted over eight minutes of the program to climate change. Reporting live from Colorado, he promoted the Aspen Institute's conference on the environment.
Champion interviewed the executive vice president for the think tank, Elliot Gerson. (The Aspen Institute hosts seminars on various subjects, including environmental and economic.) And while Gerson promised a "diversity of opinions" at the conference, no such diversity appeared on "Good Morning America." Champion touted the conference throughout the show's entire two hours, but never once featured anyone skeptical of global warming's dire effects.
"How much of a surprise is it that they can actually get inside the embassy? How fortified is that?" -- Diane Sawyer, 3-27-08, commenting on reports mortars and rockets had fallen inside Green Zone.
Someone get Diane Sawyer a crash course in indirect fire. Discussing this morning the recent flurry of rocket and mortar attacks landing inside the Green Zone in Baghdad, Sawyer supposed that the insurgents had somehow breached the perimeter themselves and fired from inside the US embassy compound!
"Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo offered "practical" advice on how a man, who used to be a woman and is now pregnant, could safely bring a pregnancy to term. After recounting the story of Thomas Beatie, formally Tracy LaGondino, the medical procedures he's undergone and his artificial insemination, Cuomo segued into an interview with obstetrician Lisa Masterson.
The GMA co-host asked, "All right, so, let's go from the bizarre to the practical here." In a story that could be filed under "news you can't use," Cuomo asked about the risks that hormone therapy could pose to such an individual. This "practical" discussion led to medical warnings unusual for morning television:
LISA MASTERSON: Well, a lot of times, the transgenders will take testosterone injections and especially since Thomas has a female baby right now, that can cause male type characteristics in the female fetus' sexual organs. So, the clitoris can get larger. Actually, the vaginal folds can come in and sort of mimic the scrotum or the male genitalia. So, it's really important that he doesn't take any testosterone, especially early on in the pregnancy, but even later on in the pregnancy when it can cause the clitoris to enlarge.
Time to lace up the skates and cut some rhetorical figure-eights. GMA has quoted a Dem official as saying that in her desperate quest for the nomination, Hillary Clinton is down to "the Tonya Harding option." ABC senior political correspondent Jake Tapper cited the skating simile in his Good Morning America segment this morning.
JAKE TAPPER: It is mathematically possible, improbable yes, but possible for Senator Hillary Clinton to win the Democratic nomination. What concerns Democratic officials in Washington is what Clinton will have to do to Senator Barack Obama in order for that to happen. One Democratic official told ABC News it is “the Tonya Harding option.”
Cut to clip of Harding, skating at the 1994 Olympics, as Tapper continued.
In all the brouhaha last week over the incendiary comments made by Barack Obama's pastor the media seemed to forget to partake in their traditional Holy Week Christian-bashing excercise. There were a few entries in the "Easter Hit Parade," like the Comedy Central show "Root of All Evil" which my boss, Brent Bozell, wrote about in a column recently, and an episode of "Law and Order" which featured another Christian-stones-someone storyline.
I suppose it's good news that there was less faith flagellation courtesy of the liberal media, and yet at the same time it's sad that I was expecting to find it at Easter time. But the fact remains that Christmas and Easter are generally times when the media attacks on Christians are more pronounced.
One week after Hillary Clinton claimed that she faced sniper fire on a trip to Bosnia — and six days after NewsBusters posted contemporaneous news footage from CBS showing that she did not — the big broadcast networks have finally jumped on the story of Hillary’s big fib. Last night, as NewsBuster’s Noel Sheppard has already noted, the CBS Evening News featured a Clinton-busting report by Sharyl Attkisson, one of the journalists who accompanied Clinton on her trip 12 years ago and who narrated the video we posted last week.
Also last night, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, who was also on the 1996 trip, filed her own report on the obvious discrepancies, and this morning all three morning shows led with how the Clinton campaign now admits her claim, “I remember landing under sniper fire...There was no greeting ceremony and we basically were told to run to her cars. Now, that is what happened,” was an accidental misstatement.
The Big Three Networks and Their Plan to Protect Obama (PPO)Why did it take until Thursday March 13, 2008, for the nation to begin to learn about Barack Obama's pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright? The man whose Trinity United Church of Christ Obama has attended and generously funded for seventeen years? Whom he had publicly and repeatedly cited as his mentor and had named as a campaign advisor? Whom he chose to perform his wedding and baptize his two daughters?
Because, until then, we were in the midst of Phase I -- preventative medicine -- of the media's version of campaign health care for the Senator's Presidential bid. Call it the Plan to Protect Obama (PPO).
The Reverend Wright story had been percolating beneath the surface for several years. It finally broke through to widespread dissemination last week. A picture is worth a thousand words -- moving pictures with audio of Wright's anti-American, paranoid rantings from the pulpit have finally inspired many more than that.
"Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo somehow managed to make it through an entire segment on Kwame Kilpatrick, the scandal-ridden Democratic mayor of Detroit, without mentioning his political affiliation (other than a brief, non-verbal video graphic). Cuomo described Kilpatrick as the "beleaguered mayor," a "prominent politician," and, simply, "the mayor."
In contrast, while GMA's report on Kilpatrick was a rather straight forward recitation of the facts, the morning program wondered in August of 2007 if Senator Larry Craig's bathroom scandal could spell doom for the Republican Party. On August 28, 2007, guest co-host Bill Weir gravely wondered, "Is the GOP losing its grip?"
On Wednesday's "Good Morning America," various hosts and reporters could barely restrain their glee and admiration for Senator Barack Obama's Tuesday speech about race and the incendiary comments of his pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Co-host Robin Roberts hyperbolically claimed that "some" believe "his speech was not only important for his campaign but also for the future of the country." In a tease for the program, she put the onus on America and asserted, "Barack Obama challenges voters and the country..."
Fellow co-host Chris Cuomo set up an "exclusive" interview with the presidential candidate by labeling the speech "historic." "Nightline" co-host Terry Moran, who talked to Obama, prefaced his segment by bubbling, "Well, as you know, one of the hardest things to do in American politics, in American society, is to talk honestly about race. And it's clear that's what Barack Obama was trying to do in that remarkable speech."
"Good Morning America" economic reporter Bianna Golodryga narrated a segment on Tuesday's show that featured grainy black and white footage from the 1930s and two references to the Great Depression. The ABC journalist also featured clips from Democratic presidential contenders Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to amplify the warnings of impending economic doom.
While discussing the collapse of investment bank Bear Stearns, grainy footage of panicked '30s bankers appeared onscreen as Golodryga intoned, "The problems are so massive that the Fed is taking measures not seen since the Great Depression..." And while President Bush was briefly highlighted, assuring Americans that the United States will rebound, Paul McCulley, the managing director of the investment company Pimco, continued the comparison to the worst economic crisis the United States ever faced. Referencing impending action by the Federal Reserve, he asserted, "...You could have the Fed with great intentions but still a downward spiral in property prices that would give you a modern day depression." For comparison's sake, during the Great Depression, almost 25 percent of Americans were unemployed.
While investigating legal brothels in Nevada, including the famous Moonlite Bunny Ranch, "Good Morning America" host Diane Sawyer received a bathrobe, the same one that the prostitutes wear. It was embroidered, "Diane: Trainee," this according to a report in Monday's New York Daily News.
Sawyer will host a two hour "20/20" special onMarch 21 that examines the world of prostitution. The Daily News quoted Bunny Ranch head Dennis Hof, who gave Sawyer the bathrobe, as saying the GMA host "really hit it off with all my girls." The article went on to note that the project languished for two years before finally being scheduled to air. Apparently, disgraced ex-Governor Elliot Spitzer's call girl controversy prompted ABC to finally broadcast this investigation.
Could this photo be a first? It shows a card-carrying member of the MSM shooting a handgun. That's Jan Crawford Greenburg, an ABC News legal correspondent. The clip, pun intended, of Greenburg on the firing range was part of a segment she narrated on today's Good Morning America on a case to be argued before the Supreme Court today. At issue is the District of Columbia's law banning handguns. The case comes before the Supreme Court after the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. invalidated the law. The decision could be a landmark, potentially the first time the Supreme Court rules squarely on the issue of whether the Second Amendment establishes an individual right to bear arms.
The segment was surprisingly respectful of the right to bear arms. Beyond Greenburg's personal marksmanship demonstration, the segment began with a sympathetic depiction of the plight of Shelly Parker, the DC resident who started the case by suing the city over its gun ban.
"Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts interviewed Bill Clinton for nine minutes over two segments on Monday and somehow managed to avoid discussing the disgraced Eliot Spitzer and controversial Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Instead, GMA again featured another positive look at the Clinton Global initiative and its plan to fight poverty and get young people involved. Roberts gushed, "It's got to warm your heart 'cause this is something that's very-- has always been very dear to you about getting them involved."
Roberts found no time to ask the ex-president, who was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice in relation to a sex scandal, for his thoughts on former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's entanglement with a prostitution ring and his eventual resignation. The segment, which was highly edited, featured the ABC journalist making only a glancing reference to Wright, Senator Barack Obama's incendiary former preacher and the man responsible for racially charged statements. She mildly added, "...Geraldine Ferraro, Reverend Wright. I mean, both sides-- things that are being said by surrogates." Roberts then shifted the conversation back to a much older topic, Clinton's South Carolina comments linking Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama.
David Petraeus was diplomatic in his language and careful to honor the primacy of civilian authority over the military. But the commanding general of multi-lateral forces in Iraq has left little doubt that if a new president wanted to withdraw from Iraq faster than would reflect Petraeus's considered military opinion, his family would be happy to have him home.
ABC's Bill Weir interviewed the Gen. Petraeus as part of a Good Morning America special today marking the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq. The opening segment focused almost exclusively on the costs of the war. Some producer had apparently calculated that the war has cost 19 times the annual budget of Los Angeles. Who knew? But a subsequent segment did highlight some of the progress that has been made, notably in terms of former insurgents now come over to the multi-lateral side. Then came the Petraeus interview, which ended with this exchange.
BILL WEIR: You serve at the pleasure of the president. If our new president, a year from now, says general, I want out of here in a year. What do you say? Is that even feasible?
My colleague Brent Baker has painstakingly documented how the big three broadcast networks have gone out of their way to avoid labeling scandal-scarred New York Governor Eliot Spitzer as a “Democrat.” An examination of the fifteen ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows through Wednesday night finds Spitzer was called a Democrat just 20% of the time — twice on CBS, once on ABC, and never on NBC.
So how do the networks treat Republicans involved in sex scandals? Always, always as Republicans, and as problems for their party.
Last July, Louisiana Senator David Vitter’s name surfaced in the phone records of the “DC Madam,” Deborah Jean Palfrey. Over the next week, ABC talked about Vitter twice on World News and twice on Good Morning America, labeling him as a “Republican” or “conservative Republican” all four times.
At the end of a Good Morning America segment today about Barack Obama's pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., an Obama campaign representative complained that John McCain's pastor had not been similarly "vetted." If that's true, then ABC or some other media outlet surely should and will do so.
Let's imagine that upon vetting, McCain's pastor is found to have made statements that were the mirror-image of those that Rev. Wright has made. How long would McCain remain a viable candidate? Judge for yourself, based on Rev. Wright's statements as exposed in the GMA segment that was the result of work by ABC's chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross. GMA aired a number of clips from sermons Rev. Wright gave at his Trinity United Church of Christ.
JEREMIAH WRIGHT: "The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law, and then wants us to sing God Bless America? No, no, no! Not God bless America. God damn America! It's in the Bible, for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating its citizens as less than human!"