Al Gore’s new book "The Assault on Reason" has definitively established one fact: Al Gore is still the sorest loser in American politics. Even liberal book reviewers are wincing at the tone of his jeremiad against the Bush administration. The book should have been titled "They Should Have Elected Me Instead: How Much Better America Would Fare With President Gore."
Like many liberals with the itch to micromanage our lives, Gore clearly believes the American people are ignorant to the point of endangerment. So he’s become a media scholar, and unloaded his communications theories in a book excerpt hyped by his friends at Time magazine.
On Wednesday’s "Good Morning America," the ABC program attempted to justify and explain away the booing that Miss USA, Rachel Smith, received in Mexico City during Monday night’s Miss Universe pageant. In a tease for the segment, GMA anchor Diane Sawyer even wondered aloud, "Was it fair?"
Based on its own ABC poll, "Good Morning America" could have run a segment this morning on the theme "support for universal coverage slipping as Americans express increased concern for keeping taxes down." But that wouldn't have fit ABC's big-government paradigm. So instead, GMA used this prescription for pushing universal health care:
Cherry-pick results from a poll you've conducted; ignoring inconvenient findings.
Bring in a spokesman from a left-wing group that pushes universal care.
Uncritically rely on a clip from, yes, Michael Moore's latest propa-mentary, "Sicko."
Today's "Good Morning America" took Barack Obama's announcement yesterday of his health care proposal as a jumping-off point for a segment on the broader issue. Co-host Diane Sawyer flashed a graphic showing that according to an ABC News poll, 56% of Americans favor Universal health coverage. What Diane didn't tell you: the number of people backing universal coverage has dipped since ABC last conducted such a poll, when support was at 62%.
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," the ABC program promised to investigate the "final straw" that pushed Rosie O’Donnell to leave "The View." Yet, somehow, neither anchor Chris Cuomo, nor reporter John Berman managed to mention the comedienne’s obsessive promotion of bizarre 9/11 conspiracy theories.
The segment also sympathetically portrayed O’Donnell. Co-anchor Cuomo even blurted out that Rosie "has to come here," meaning GMA. But first, reporter Berman tenderly noted that a video blog on her website features a picture of Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the show’s token conservative and frequent brunt of O’Donnell’s aggression:
John Berman: "As for Rosie O’Donnell, it does seem like she has at least a touch of nostalgia. On her blog, a new music video montage, pictures of her time at ‘The View,’ including one of Elisabeth Hasselbeck."
Is Barack Obama really running for president, or is he not-so-subtly positioning himself to be Hillary's running mate? I seemed to sense that 'subliminable' message on 'Today' this morning. At about 7:10 am EDT, the NBC show kicked off its "Today on the Trail" series, which will join the leading presidential contenders out on the campaign trail, with a feature on Obama. Meredith Vieira spent time with Obama in New Hampshire over the weekend.
Most of the exchanges were predictable: Obama countered suggestions of a lack of experience by positioning himself as an outside-the-beltway candidate. He claimed that "retail" politicking -- talking with voters one-on-one -- was the most enjoyable aspect of the campaign. He let people at one campaign stop know that in deciding whether to run, he "prayed on it," then asked his wife.
But there was one moment that deviated from the typical script of someone considered to have a realistic shot at winning a nomination.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA [D-IL]: It may be at the end of this thing people conclude 'you know, it's not Barack,' and that's OK.
Katie Couric may be many things (don’t call her perky), but she’s not subtle. The "CBS Evening News" anchor touted a new special on Walter Cronkite, a journalist who "stood up to the Commander in Chief" during an "unpopular war."
Former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos, now the anchor of ABC’s "This Week," took time out of his interview with House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi to muse with the Democrat over what it would be like to stand at the House podium behind the first female President. Hmm, who might that be?
In case you somehow missed it elsewhere, NewsBusters has the complete transcript (and video) of the O’Donnell/Hasselbeck dust-up. Thrill as Rosie, who says the media portrays her as a "fat," "loud lesbian," faced off against the feisty token conservative. On Friday, the MRC's Justin McCarthy reported that O'Donnell will not be returning for her contract's final three weeks.
At his blog Political Punch, ABC reporter Jake Tapper has been reading Al Gore's new book The Assault on Reason. He has an online analysis going through the "liberal red meat," and perhaps the knee-slapping funniest line -- coming from a man who stood silently in support of Bill Clinton every day of his scandalous presidency, except when he was honoring him as "one of our greatest presidents" minutes after he was impeached for lying in a sexual harassment lawsuit -- is his claim about the Bush administration: "I cannot remember any administration adopting this kind of persistent, systematic abuse of the truth and the institutionalization of dishonesty as a routine part of the policy process."
This could be the funny Who Are You To Talk? runner-up: "It is love of power for its own sake that is the original sin of this presidency."
But Tapper finds "For me the most surprising part of the book was Gore's implication that if a more competent person had been president during 9/11 -- like, say, him -- 9/11 might not have happened." He underlined:
“Critics say it is harmful to schoolchildren,” co-host Robin Roberts teased at the top of Friday's Good Morning America. “Mainstream scientists worry that because this museum is so sophisticated it will be more effective at giving children a distorted view of science,” ABC reporter Dan Harris argued.
Back in 1999, a New York City art museum showcased an exhibit featuring a portrait of the Virgin Mary surrounded by elephant dung and cutouts from pornographic magazines. But then the media only saw a threat to free speech if the artist or museum were deprived of public funds. The New York Times then argued: “One man’s blasphemy is another man’s faith."
Former Clinton spinner George Stephanopoulos, now ABC’s “chief Washington correspondent,” argued on Friday’s Good Morning America that Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s votes last night against funding U.S. troops was a smart move to “keep them in the game,” and speculated that by next year the vote could look “prescient” because “either American troops will be on their way home, or the war will be so unpopular, that everyone else will be coming along to their position.”
As Stephanopoulos repeated the logic of the Democratic campaign operatives, nowhere in his equation did he suggest the possibility that either the situation in Iraq may be significantly improved — making the Democrats urge to surrender now seem foolish — or that if the Democrats succeed in forcing American troops off the battlefield, they would be blamed if the bloodshed becomes far worse.
On Thursday’s morning shows, all three networks covered the dust-up between Rosie O’Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck on "The View," but only ABC’s "Good Morning America" framed the shouting match as "a debate that is playing out over kitchen tables across the country."
Really? Americans are having spirited discussions during supper over "who are the terrorists?" Because that’s what "The View" co-hosts were debating, Ms. O’Donnell’s insinuations that the U.S. is responsible for the deaths of Iraqi civilians and, therefore, an enabler of terrorism, at the very least.
GMA co-host Robin Roberts began the May 24 segment by asserting that O’Donnell’s over-the-top comments had larger implications:
In a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations on Wednesday, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards rejected the “metaphor” of the “war on terror” that America has been fighting since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
But appearing on ABC News on September 11, 2001, just a few hours after the attacks occurred, Edwards left no doubt how he felt the country should respond to al Qaeda’s terrorism, declaring “We should treat it as an act of war.” Video: Real (398 KB) or Windows (442 KB) plus MP3 (65 KB)
On Tuesday’s "World News," reporter Brian Ross exposed a CIA sponsored plan to enact covert action against Iran’s economic structure. On Wednesday’s "Good Morning America," the ABC program attempted to portray the plan in as hyperbolic a manner as possible. This is the graphic that accompanied Mr. Ross’ report for the May 23 GMA: "America’s Hidden War With Iran? CIA’s Secret Operation"
Include an introduction by co-host Chris Cuomo that described the operation as "covert actions aimed at destabilizing the regime," and one might think that some sort of military action was imminent. Finally, Ross described the specifics of the operation, some 30 seconds into the report:
On Tuesday, "Good Morning America" continued it’s week-long promotion of prominent Democrats with a profile of Barack Obama’s wife, Michelle. Co-anchor Robin Roberts, who in teases for the interview on Monday, glowingly referred to Mrs. Obama as "amazing," "very confident" and "professional," today added "strong" and "warm" to the list of adjectives used to describe the Democrat’s wife.
She also asked almost no tough questions of Michelle Obama. Will the spouses of Republican candidates, such as Ann Romney, be awarded such adulation?
Back in November, GMA’s Diane Sawyer queried Barack Obama as to whether Americans were "secretly" more racist or sexist. Ms. Roberts seemed to be posing the slightly less inflammatory version of that question to Michelle Obama:
Robin Roberts: "With a landmark run of both Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Obama for the 2008 presidential bid, many wonder who has a better shot at making history. Do you think the American public is ready for a woman more so than an African American or vice versa?"
For the second time in two days, "Good Morning America" co-anchor Diane Sawyer interviewed Al Gore about his thesis that the media are obsessed with celebrity, while "politicians are heard in sound bites." That point may be undercut by the fact that, by Tuesday, the ex Vice President has received 15 and a half minutes of air time to complain about the subject.
After prompting Gore to compare Americans to chickens on a farm, the co-host allowed herself to be interrogated and challenged over how the media operates. But first, Sawyer and GMA helped Gore along with his analogy that Americans are like frightened chickens in the way they allow themselves to be manipulated:
Sawyer: "You even talk about chickens when, when you were young and on the farm, that you could hypnotize chickens this way."
Clip of 50s instructional video: "It's no trick to keep a chicken from straying through the fence if you know how."
Back on April 23, as NewsBuster Scott Whitlock noted at the time, ABC’s Diane Sawyer fretted about the supposedly sky-high stock market. “Is this the thrill before the meltdown?” she panicked. “What should you do this morning to protect your money?” ABC's on-screen graphic ridiculously wondered: "Is Unstoppable Market Good or Bad?"
Today, an Investor’s Business Daily editorial mocks Sawyer’s Chicken Little approach. “We’re still waiting for the ‘meltdown’ that ‘Good Morning America’ stock guru Diane Sawyer was warning us about a month (and 600 Dow points) ago, when she devoted a segment to what we should do ‘to protect our money.’”
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," the ABC program extended its habit of offering copious amounts of time to Democratic political contenders. GMA devoted 10 and a half minutes of coverage to promote former Vice President Al Gore and his new book, "The Assault on Reason."
This is the same network that, in March, featured 30 minutes of softball questions with Senator Hillary Clinton in a "town hall" style meeting, a campaign gift that the network has yet to offer to a Republican presidential candidate.
The May 21 segment contained an odd disconnect as Gore proceeded to accuse the media of focusing on unserious, silly subjects and Diane Sawyer mostly accepted, or did not disagree with criticism of the medium. The ABC host prefaced a question about the former Vice President losing weight by saying, "But to dig not-very deep, once again, at my peril here-" Gore proceeded to interrupt and hector Ms. Sawyer over wondering about such things. "Well, listen to you. Listen to you," Gore began.He continued:
On Friday, both CBS and ABC skewed their coverage of the Senate’s immigration bill to the left. Neither network featured a conservative talking head that opposed the legislation, instead "The Early Show" and "Good Morning America" simply referred to the "critics" who believe the bill would amount to amnesty for those who came to the country illegally. However, while both networks also interviewed Senator Ted Kennedy, ABC anchor Diane Sawyer actually pressed the liberal legislator with several conservative points.
GMA used flowery language to discuss the Senate’s action, describing the legislation as "landmark." Co-host Sawyer asserted, "It was a historic day to see Republicans and Democrats coming forward on something together." ABC even queried illegal aliens as to what they think of the Senate’s action:
Diane Sawyer: "Everyone taking sides. [sic] But sometimes it’s good to hear the voices from the people who are at the center of the debate. And some of these illegal 12 million have been phoning in to Talk Back, which is our website. Here's one woman who partially hid her face."
Appearing on Good Morning America today, Geraldo Rivera claimed that illegal aliens in the United States are "law abiding." Is he right?
In a debate moderated by GMA co-host Diane Sawyer that began today at about 7:15 am EDT, Geraldo faced off against Glenn Beck. Rivera made a case for letting the estimated 12 million illegal aliens remain in the country.
GERALDO RIVERA: We have 12 million people who are gainfully employed; the vast majority of them are. I submit to you that these people are a vital part of the American economy. That they are doing jobs that essentially Americans don't want. Americans are fully employed. To lose these 12 million hard-working people, law-abiding, family people, socially-conservative people in many ways, I think would be a travesty.
When Beck challenged Geraldo's law-abiding claim, pointing to the three illegal aliens who were among the al Qaeda-inspired terrorists planning to attack Fort Dix, Rivera retorted that the fence Beck favors wouldn't have kept them out, since they came in through JFK airport.
What does it say when porn-peddler and sex-shop owner Larry Flynt treated Jerry Falwell’s death with more class than CNN? As Newsbusters reported yesterday, during “Anderson Cooper 360,” CNN used a still from an old protest video that had a large illustration of Jerry Falwell next to a large illustration of Hitler.
Despite being courtroom and media adversaries that was kicked into overdrive when Flynt ran a fake ad in “Hustler,” which claimed that Falwell’s first sexual experience was with his mother in an outhouse and resulted in a lawsuit producing a landmark First Amendment ruling by the US Supreme Court, allowing the parody of public figures, Flynt issued this surprisingly generous and thoughtful statement to "Access Hollywood" on May 15 (emphasis mine):
Those are not exactly words you'd expect to hear an American journalist use to refer to a Latin American dictator who has been seizing American-owned property this month. Yet Barbara Walters used all three to describe Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, in various ABC broadcasts on March 16.
Even though Chavez has recently assumed "control" of oil fields that were run by Chevron, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips, ABC, NBC and CBS haven't even reported it. Chavez also plans to takeover private Venezuelan media soon. That hasn't been reported either, let alone criticized.
Despite the fact that Chavez seized power and shut down his opposition in Venezuela, the media rarely portray him as a dictator, preferring kinder words like “controversial” and “populist.” Walters even talked about how "beloved" he is.
“President Hugo Chavez is so beloved by some of his supporters that they hang pictures of him in their living rooms in the poor barrios that ring the city,” Barbara Walters gushed on ABC’s “Nightline” March 16.
Sure, it's a basic Judeo-Christian tenet that we will be accountable to God for our actions on earth. But if a reverend from the religious left had died yesterday, do you think Diane Sawyer, immediately after reviewing controversial statements he had made in the course of his career, would conclude by archly observing that the reverend has "gone to answer to his Maker"?
Neither do I. But that is just what the Good Morning America co-host Diane Sawyer did today on the occasion of the death of Jerry Falwell. After a brief biographical review, Sawyer stated "as the years went by, even some believers saw intolerance buried inside his attacks." She highlighted three of his statements. First, a clip of Falwell stating "I happen to be a Bible-believing Christian. And the Old and New Testament both teach that homosexuality is sin." Sawyer and anyone else are free to reject that teaching. But in Sawyer's eyes, does stating what Scripture says amount to "intolerance"?
Webster’s tells us that an extremist is one who is "at the end or outermost point; farthest away; most remote." In politics, extremism is "the extreme right or the extreme left." Both sides have their respective ideological embarrassments, but with one striking difference: if you’re a left-wing environmental extremist you are treated as sensible, even praiseworthy, by ABC News.
Meet Colin Beavan, a man who touts himself as "No Impact Man," a walking Manhattan publicity stunt with a book deal and a documentary filmmaker to publicize his year of monastic self-denial. He sounds like a comic-book superhero, but the more you hear of his story, the more it’s simply comic. He describes himself whimsically on his own No Impact Man blog as a "guilty liberal" and a "tree-hugging lunatic," and that was good enough for ABC’s "Good Morning America," which on May 10 devoted eight and a half minutes to exploring Beavan’s World.
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," co-host Diane Sawyer and reporter Claire Shipman hyperbolically investigated "soaring" gas prices. After noting that oil companies have been publically presenting their explanations, she wondered, "But are they true? We put them to the truth test."
Apparently, it's ABC that needs the "truth test." Diane Sawyer’s intro included this comment from Gulf Oil President Joe Petrowski’s May 14 interview with CNN:
Discussing this week’s announcement that British Prime Minister Tony Blair will soon be resigning, all three morning shows managed to work in the insulting "Bush’s poodle" reference. "Good Morning America" was the most obnoxious, absurdly claiming that "Bill Clinton’s sidekick became Bush’s poodle."
Speaking of global warming, Diane Sawyer and "Good Morning America" have been promoting liberal environmentalism for quite some time. This week, however, GMA went even further and touted a New York liberal who wants to save the planet by not using toilet paper. Some things, you just can’t make up....
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," ABC anchors and reporters worried that the Pope may be "interfering in American politics." Correspondent Dan Harris discussed the Pope’s comments about pro-choice Catholic politicians and an ABC graphic offered this leading question, "Is Pope Pushing his Pulpit?"
Talking to conservative pollster Kellyanne Conway, Mr. Harris adopted a tone of surprise that the Pope, who lives way over in Europe, could have an impact on American politics:
Harris: "So even though he doesn't vote here, he doesn't live here, wasn't elected here, he can impact the race here?"
The three major networks covered news of British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s resignation with the left-wing "Bush’s poodle" line. On "Good Morning America," ABC’s David Wright demonstrated the most bias stating, "Bill Clinton’s sidekick became George Bush’s poodle, or so they see it here." On "Today" NBC’s Dawna Freisen noted, "he became, of course, America’s closest ally but that came at a price here at home. He was eventually derided here as America’s poodle."
The May 10 edition of "The Early Show" was no exception as CBS’s Sheila MacVicar stated: "But at home, Blair has been labeled Bush's poodle, at too willing ally who led his country into Iraq." In their generally negative story "The Early Show" relied on the expertise of Simon Hoggart of The Guardian, a left wing British publication and hardly an objective source.
"World News" anchor Charles Gibson promoted the costly green lifestyle, but ignored the hypocrisy of his cross-country flight to report on May 9.
Gibson traveled from New York, to San Francisco for the "Going Green" segment, which featured one man who has "no idea how much" carbon he emits; and another who drives a hybrid, uses solar panels and buys "squiggly" light bulbs.
The ABC anchor supported the choices of Peter Boyd (the one with the solar panels), but left out cost information about those lifestyle choices, and his own jet-setting behavior.
In fact, the solar energy situation in California is "a mess," according to the Los Angeles Times.
Imagine for a moment that one of the leading Republican presidential candidates said that 10,000 people had been killed by the recent tornado that destroyed Greensburg, Kansas, Saturday.
Do you think this would have been easy fodder for the broadcast television news divisions that always seem fascinated with gaffes made by folks on the right?
If your answer is an unequivocal “Yes,” then why did ABC, CBS, and NBC completely ignore Sen. Barack Obama’s statement Tuesday wherein he accidentally exaggerated the death toll from the Greensburg tornado by 9,988?
On Thursday’s "Good Morning America," the ABC program touted a liberal New Yorker who is so concerned about the environment that he refuses to use toilet paper. GMA devoted eight and a half minutes of the May 10 show to promoting the cause of Colin Beavan, a man who, in addition to his bathroom stance, refuses to buy anything in packaging, won’t use transportation, even elevators, and insists that all his food be grown within 250 miles.
According to liberal weatherman Sam Champion, who admiringly recounted Mr. Beavan’s story, "The rules may seem a little extreme."A little? Co-anchor Diane Sawyer talked to the environmentalist in a follow-up segment and gushed over Beavan’s bizarre, minimalist lifestyle:
Colin Beavan: "...A lot of the things you can do for the planet are also good for you."
Sawyer: "And so good for you. Yeah. What you were saying about the way it concentrates your mind to be free of concern about a lot of the things in your life. It really makes sense to me."