Q. How do you know a presidential candidate has thin national-security credentials?
A. When he has to cite his undergraduate major as evidence of his experience.
Barack Obama made the morning show rounds today. The amiable Robin Roberts interviewed him on ABC's Good Morning America. Inevitably, talk turned to his presidential prospects.
Roberts: "You're calling for a slight withdrawal of troops and I need to ask you this -- are you concerned that your lack of experience, when it comes to foreign policy, may hurt your chances in the run for the White House?" [Note Robin's apologetic "I need to ask you."]
Obama: "Well, actually, my experience in foreign policy is probably more diverse than most others in the field. I'm somebody who has actually lived overseas, somebody who has studied overseas. I majored in international relations.
Tuesday’s "Good Morning America" attempted to simultaneously trash George Bush while also building up the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, who, according to anchor Robin Roberts, is "electrifying" the presidential race. Meanwhile, the ABC program chose to allow political columnist Mary Ann Akers to assert President Bush will be delivering his 2007 State of the Union address "from the gutter." GMA correspondent Claire Shipman set up the nasty quote by remarking on how little applause is expected during the speech:
Claire Shipman: "And we’re also told that the speech will run about an hour, that’s taking into account anticipated applause. But, of course, they can't be counting on an overwhelming amount of that this year. The State of the Union address is normally an occasion marked by steady applause, lawmakers scrambling over each other to glad-hand the President. This year’s address, Bush's first in front of a Democratic Congress, may have an entirely different tone."
Mary Ann Akers (Columnist, Washington Post website) "Essentially, President Bush is going to be delivering his State of the Union address from the gutter. His approval ratings are dismal. The American people, according to the latest polls, are relying more on Congress than they are on the President to resolve the Iraq war."
Akers has delivered snarky, liberal-pleasing comments in the past. She previously wrote the "Heard on the Hill" column for Roll Call. And in 2006, as a Huffington Post columnist , Akers sarcastically wrote about George Allen’s campaign troubles, noting that the Senator’s newly found Jewish heritage had resulted in a nickname: "Macacawitz."
If Hillary isn't quite getting out the long knives, let's just say she's oiling the scabbard. As we noted earlier, on this morning's "Today" Clinton drew an invidious comparison between herself and John Edwards, referring to him as "on the sidelines" while she's in "the arena."
And after some persistent questioning by Diane Sawyer on today's Good Morning America, Hillary took a little swipe at her other major opponent, Barack Obama.
Sawyer: "Yesterday, talking about Senator Barack Obama, when asked specifically if he is qualified to be commander-in-chief, to be president, you didn't answer, you said 'I'm going to let the American people decide.' You know the office, you know him. Why not say?"
Documentary filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has directed a new film that takes a look at the evangelical movement in America. Appearing on Monday’s "Good Morning America," she discussed the now disgraced Reverend Ted Haggard who served as a guide for her film crew’s tour of Red State America. Pelosi told host Diane Sawyer that most people think of evangelical Christians as "holy roller Jesus freaks," and seemed surprised that Haggard didn’t fall into that category. During the discussion, both the ABC anchor and the filmmaker appeared to be trying to treat evangelicals with respect. However, each succumbed to the occasional condescending sounding slip-up. Sawyer asked Pelosi whether the trip to conservative parts of America left her feeling as though "you had to get a visa to a foreign country." And later, Pelosi described the journey "as sort of a sociological field trip." It was the "Jesus freak" comment, however, that appeared too much for even Diane Sawyer:
Alexandra Pelosi: [On the Ted Haggard scandal] "I was heartbroken. Because pastor Ted was my tour guide. And he was so good to me. He took me under his wing and said, ‘Let me explain the red states to you’. And it was hard for me to understand, most people think of evangelicals as being these holy roller Jesus freaks, and Ted wasn't like that. And so, it was interesting for me to understand and say, these are good people. He was reasonable. He was reasonable. He was a normal, every day man. And so, it was hard to stomach, what had happened."
Sawyer: "Yes, and I'm going to have everybody write you who wants to write about ‘holy roller Jesus freaks,’ okay?"
On January 4, 2007, Consumer Reports released what the media considered a damning report that found that many infant car seats are unsafe at 38 mph side-impact crashes. In other words, small children were a car crash away from a grave injury or fatality.
The next morning, ABC, NBC, and CBS's morning programs played up the report, featuring the story prominently. CBS's Hannah Storm even used a newborn baby in a car seat as a prop during an interview.
Well, two weeks and a federal government study later, Consumer Reports issued a retraction. Turns out the laboratory they hired basically performed crash tests that simulated a side impact at 70 mph, a speed at which you are very lucky to come out alive regardless of your age or whether or not you're restrained in a car seat.
Of course, industry insiders felt this was coming, and one even said so on the January 5 "American Morning." But you didn't hear any of that two weeks ago on "Today," "Good Morning America," or "The Early Show." [full story here]
As already noted on NewsBusters, "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer conducted a fawning interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on such issues as Iraq. However, the ABC journalist also opened and closed the segment by obsessing over how Pelosi picked up lint from the floor of the Capitol Rotunda. For many people, this would be a minor detail. Sawyer, however, saw it as a historic event and teased her colleagues about it prior to the interview:
Diane Sawyer: I’m going to tell you what she did, I’m willing to bet, no Speaker of the House has ever done in the entire history of the United States of America. You want to guess? Sam? David? Robin?"
Later on, Sawyer giddily recounted the exciting event:
Diane Sawyer: "We're walking along with the camera, she looks at the carpet. It has lint on it, little scraps of paper. She can't stand it. She gets down and cleans the carpet so we could walk. And she looks up at me and says, ‘It’s just the bonus of having a female Speaker of the House."
Robin Roberts: "Yeah. Don’t think any of the guys did that. All right, Diane. Have a safe trip back home"
Conservative fans of the right-leaning TV show 24 shouldn’t be surprised that liberals such as Keith Olbermann are now savaging the program. However, the leftist host also mentioned NewsBusters in his diatribe. "Newsweek" magazine went further and speculated that the show is a "neocon sex fantasy."
The recent announcement by Illinois Democratic Senator Barack Obama that he’s running for President resulted in media swooning over his "big step." "Good Morning America" wondered if Obama’s "fluid poetry" could overcome Hillary’s "hot factor." (Another example of hard hitting journalism?)
Diane Sawyer didn't go totally Katie Couric on Nancy Pelosi in her exclusive interview aired on GMA this morning. The ABC host stopped just short of any "you go, girls." But neither did Sawyer call Pelosi when, twice, the new Speaker washed her hands of responsibility for the most pressing issue of the day.
When Sawyer asked if the Dems would turn off funding for the surge, Pelosi responded:
"Democrats will never cut off funding for our troops when they are in harm's way. But we will hold the president accountable; he has to answer for his war. He has dug a hole so deep he can't even see the light on this; it's a tragedy, it's a historic blunder."
On Thursday’s "Good Morning America," reporter Claire Shipman effusively previewed the looming presidential battle between Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. How, Shipman wondered, would Obama’s "fluid poetry" stand up against Mrs. Clinton’s "hot factor?" The tone of the January 18 piece seemed to indicate that, although members of the media may think both candidates are terrific, Obama hasn’t lost his "flavor of the month" status. In the segment, Shipman noted the New York Senator’s flip-flops on Iraq and that, despite being a "devout Methodist," she rarely talks about religion. However, it was this over-the-top praise that really demonstrated who the current media darling is:
Claire Shipman: "Though the change in [Clinton’s] views also mirrors the nation’s and the increasingly grim situation in Iraq, she could appear politically calculating while Obama seems principled. And the side-by-side talent show? Next to Obama's fluid poetry, Hillary Clinton's delivery can seem overly cautious."
On Wednesday, "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer spoke with all 16 female members of the Senate. The January 17 interview, broken up into two segments, ranged from silly questions, such as whether more women leaders could result in less war, to queries about whether America is too prejudiced to accept a female president. One question that did go unasked is whether Senator Barbara Boxer, who didn’t appear on camera, should apologize for her recent insinuation that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is oblivious to the effects of war because she doesn’t have children. One would think that in a group of professional women this would be an important topic. Apparently not. Sawyer began by asking the assembled ladies whether or not more women presidents would lead to peace:
Sawyer: "Do you believe that if there were more women presidents in the world, there would be less war? How sure are you that there would be less war? Do you think, actually, war would be--"
On Tuesday, jury selection began in the trial of Lewis Libby. And "Good Morning America" reporter Claire Shipman couldn’t resist spinning this occasion into an attack against President Bush. Libby, the former Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice. He does not, however, face prosecution for publically outing Wilson's wife, CIA agent Valerie Plame. However, through sloppy phrasing and omission, Shipman encouraged the assumption that this is yet another example of the Bush administration’s misconduct. The most brazen example is the GMA reporter’s description of the "original crime":
Claire Shipman: "Prosecutors are trying to show that Libby lied to investigators about conversations he had with reporters regarding CIA officer Valerie Plame, the undercover agent who was outed. Libby blames a faulty memory. And in classic Washington style, Libby isn't in trouble for the original crime, outing Plame, but, rather, the, quote, ‘the cover up,’ according to the prosecutor."
No government official has been charged with revealing the identity of Valerie Plame. So, how can there be an "original crime?"
Last week saw the dawning of the new Democratic majority and members of the media seemed to be charmed by the event. ABC reporter Cokie Roberts described a photo-op of new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holding her grandchild as "fun" and "completely natural." CBS’s Bob Schieffer interviewed Pelosi and pressed her to raise taxes. And "60 Minutes" commentator Andy Rooney became nostalgic for Democrats of old, saying it’s "hard to dislike Jimmy Carter."
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann continued his fevered attack on all things Republican and conservative. He’s now accused White House Press Secretary Tony Snow of "bald-faced lying" about a Bush speech. Olbermann’s cohort in liberalism, Chris Matthews, described the Vice President of the United States as someone "who always wants to kill." Later in the week, he told his "Hardball" audience that he was "terrified" of the President’s plans for Iran. Chris, calm down!
As NewsBuster Warner Todd Huston has noted, Sen. Barbara Boxer took an unseemly jab at Condi Rice yesterday.
Of all the members of the Senate, the one you might expect to be least likely to call attention to a woman's single, childless status for purposes of scoring political points would be Boxer. And yet it was the oh-so-broadminded senator from the Bay Area who did just that when Condi Rice appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday to defend President Bush's newly-announced Iraq plans.
In a segment narrated by ABC senior national correspondent Jake Tapper, today's Good Morning America highlighted Boxer's questionable comment, running a good-sized clip of the exchange.
The day after his "America on fire" map, Good Morning America weather man Sam Champion continued his series "It’s Cool to be Green" with some of the most credible experts in the field of science, Hollywood celebrities. Metro Los Angeles’s second largest polluter is now among those that "acknowledge the very real issue of global warming."
Champion featured left wing celebrities such as Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Cameron Diaz, and Leonardo DiCaprio. ABC even hired DiCaprio in 2000 to interview former President Clinton on the subject for an Earth Day special. Champion featured Will Dana, the editor-at-large for the far-left publication Rolling Stone. After the report, co-host Diane Sawyer, thrilled about all of the celebrity activism, exclaimed, "They say, why not turn [publicity] into some good purpose if we can?" The entire transcript is below.
ABC and CBS (not NBC) featured interviews Wednesday morning with White House communications director Dan Bartlett. Both networks were fairly harsh in their questioning. ABC’s Diane Sawyer read a long list of eminent people who opposed a surge, and pressed, "What don’t they get?" She even used soundbites of soldiers saying it was a hopeless civil war and "I don’t think we need to be here." CBS’s Harry Smith aimed his barbs at Bartlett more from the right, questioning whether 20,000 troops would be enough, and insisting that the Iraqis weren’t up to the "blood and guts" job of security. He also hammered on the president’s low approval ratings and asked "Why should the American people have faith in the president at this moment?"
MRC’s Justin McCarthy reported that Sawyer opened Good Morning America with the spin that the President was going exactly against public opinion: "Amid calls in this country for a withdrawal of American troops, the president is going to be sending more troops to Iraq."
ABC continued its global warming hype with, quite appropriately, the weather man. Wednesday’s Good Morning America started its weather forecast with, as he put it, "big, big, big news" that 2006 was the warmest year in 112 years of recording weather. Weatherman Sam Champion asserted the politically correct belief of global warming and then sought to clarify the distinction between individual weather patterns and long term trends. But check out the map: America is apparently on fire, and with an average temperature of 55 degrees.
Then in an unintentionally comical moment, Champion turned to the weather map and discussed a big snowstorm in the northwestern United States. "This is a big system that brings winter to a lot of locations." The transcript is below.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger seems to be campaigning to be the liberal media’s favorite Republican office-holder. On Tuesday, ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today publicized his "bold" new plan to offer billions in new state government subsidies to provide "universal" health coverage, even to millions of illegal immigrants. ABC co-host Robin Roberts openly endorsed it: "there is definitely a crisis, and it's good to see at least trying something, something, especially to help those that are uninsured." While ABC seemed to offer no opposition, except to frame it briefly as a potential "budget buster," NBC at least noted critics in small business and opponents of subsidizing (and attracting) illegal immigrants.
MRC’s Justin McCarthy reported that ABC promoted the California health plan as a challenge to President Bush and the new Democratic Congress to follow up and do something similar nationwide:
George W. Bush is less overtly religious in his public pronouncements than many of his presidential predecessors. Yet the MSM often portrays him as a zealot who sees himself on a mission from God.
Pundit Norm Ornstein perpetuated the stereotype on this morning's "Good Morning America". ABC senior national correspondent Jake Tapper narrated a segment on Pres. Bush's impending announcement of a surge of troops into Iraq. The thrust was that W is making his decision despite bi-partisan opposition. Not only are virtually all Dems opposed, but, as Tapper put it, "even some Republicans are expressing serious doubts about the proposed surge." To that effect, an excerpt was played of Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell's appearance on yesterday's Fox News Sunday stating: "I think there will be some who will and some who won't [support the surge]."
ABC, once again, tries to have it both ways on global climate change. As Noel Sheppard blogged back in November, Good Morning America hyped heat waves last summer as symptomatic of global warming. When reports came out that October was unusually cool, and the hurricane season was unusually quiet, the same reporter blogged on the ABC News website that "weather is not climate." Are you following this? Weather is climate, then it’s not. Now, with an unusually mild winter, weather is now climate again in the ABC News world.
On Friday’s Good Morning America, Diane Sawyer questioned again whether the mild winter in the eastern half of the United States is a result of global warming. Sawyer started her global warming hype stating, "And [climate change] can make a warm winter even warmer and more repetitively warm as we face the years coming up."
Allergies? The warm weather makes it tough on people with fall allergies? Is that really the best GMA can do when it comes to wringing its hands over the warm winter weather people in the Northeast have been enjoying?
Except for fleeting references to January bouquets and falling oil prices, GMA's segment this morning was one long whine-a-thon about the mild winter. I do mean long. GMA led with the segment and devoted over six of its precious first-half hour minutes to the subject, more than it spent on the historic takeover of Congress by the Dems.
Robin Roberts kicked things off by fretting: "Animals are not hibernating; people are still suffering from fall allergies."
ABC reporter John Berman took it from there, repeating that "the warm air is bad news for people with allergies" and bringing in a doctor to explain: "there's still plenty of mold in the air left over from the fall because it hasn't been cold enough, long enough, for that mold to go away."
On Thursday’s Good Morning America, correspondent Claire Shipman offered a very positive, Obama-like portrayal of newly elected Congressman and Muslim Keith Ellison. Because Ellison’s use of the Koran in his swearing in was once owned by Thomas Jefferson, it has "impeccable American credentials" and it is "a politically savvy move" by Congressman Ellison. Shipman continued her glowing report calling him "affable" and states that he "charms almost every crowd."
Despite the historic first, Shipman failed to report that Ellison was associated with the racist and anti-semitic organization, the Nation of Islam. Although Keith Ellison has since distanced himself from that organization, he retains strong ties with the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) which has connections to the Palestinian terrorist organization, Hamas. CAIR grew to be so controversial that even ultra liberal Senator Barbara Boxer disassociated herself from them.
The passing of President Gerald Ford drew a dignified, even warm farewell from the national press. There was near-consensus that he would be remembered for his decency and the risk he took, pardoning Richard Nixon from Watergate prosecutions in an effort to heal the nation. It is proper that the press is kind today. It ought to be remembered, however, that the press was not of this opinion when Ford took office.
For example, Time magazine’s cover story on the pardon in September 1974 declared that "Ford's first major decision raised disturbing questions about his judgment and his leadership capabilities, and called into question his competence." The cover carried suggestive sub-headlines like "Squandered Trust" and "Premature and Unwise." Such was the media’s mood toward this man’s actions in office.
sic: thus; so. Used to indicate that a quoted passage, especially one containing an error or unconventional spelling, has been retained in its original form or written intentionally. - Answers.com definition
Adding religious insult to mortal injury in its coverage of the 3000th US service-person to die in Iraq, ABC seemed to suggest that there was something odd or erroneous in the expression of a traditional belief in the afterlife.
Today's "Good Morning America" focused on the death of Army Specialist Dustin Donica of Texas, believed to be that 3000th serviceman lost in Iraq. Narrating the segment, ABC's Jonathan Karl stated: "The MySpace page he left behind bears the tributes of those whose lives he touched." The screen then displayed the message [shown larger-than-normal here for clarity's sake] from one of those friends:
"You were one of my best friends and I'll never forget you. All my prayers go to your family and I'll see you again." (sic)
Former Senator and Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards announced on Thursday that he will once again be a candidate for president in 2008, and he appeared on all three network morning programs to discuss his aspirations. Given the treatment he received on NBC’s "Today" and ABC’s "Good Morning America," it is clear he is not the darling of the media for this campaign cycle as ABC highlighted a potential campaign by Barack Obama, and NBC portrayed Hillary Clinton as the inevitable Democratic nominee.
On "Good Morning America," George Stephanopoulos accused Senator Edwards of exploiting hurricane Katrina by announcing his candidacy in New Orleans and wondered why Democrats should nominate him over "someone who was against the war from the start, like Barack Obama?" On NBC, "Today" co-host Matt Lauer inquired on whether Edwards can truly connect with the "have-nots" in America, given that he lives a luxurious lifestyle, and would he once again accept a nomination to be vice president, this time with Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket, "So down the road, would you consider a vice-presidential slot for Hillary Clinton?" However, on CBS’s "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith gave Senator Edwards a softball interview. He asked simple questions that did not challenge Mr. Edwards record or current positions such as what advice Edwards would give President Bush on Iraq.
Not surprisingly, all three morning shows featured the Bob Woodward interview with recently deceased former President Gerald Ford, in which Ford criticized the Bush administration for its decision to go to war with Iraq. Good Morning America and the Today show were the most eager to showcase Ford’s critique of the administration, broadcasting full reports and featuring audio clips from the interview during the 7am half hour, while CBS’ Early Show relegated the story to a brief anchor-read at 7:35 am.
On ABC, anchor Robin Roberts, substitute co-host George Stephanopoulos, and reporter Claire Shipman seemed disappointed that the former president had not come forward publicly with his criticism prior to his death, saying that it could have made a difference in the U.S.’s decision to go to war:
Catspawing for another candidate, or just solid journalistic probing? In either case, ABC's George Stephanopoulos gave John Edwards a rough go when the former NC senator appeared on Good Morning America today to announce his candidacy for president.
Steph was on the offense from the get-go: "Back in 2004, you criticized President Bush for exploiting the tragedy of 9/11 by having his convention in New York City. Aren't you exploiting Katrina by announcing your candidacy in New Orleans?"
Edwards didn't respond directly to the exploitation allegation, asserting only that he was seeking to draw attention to New Orleans's plight. And not to himself? At the risk of reading too much into every jot and tittle, I'd say that Steph's formulation "aren't you exploiting?" is considerably more accusatory than would have been "are you exploiting?"
Kudos to "Fox and Friends" as they were the only morning news program on Thursday to extensively cover the Sandy Berger story. Mr. Berger, former National Security Adviser to President Clinton, pled guilty in federal court for stealing classified documents from the National Archives, but a Wednesday AP story revealed that the details of Mr. Berger's offense were far more damning then we had previously known including that he hid the documents in a construction site before destroying them. CNN’s "American Morning" and ABC’s "Good Morning America" both offered brief news reads on the subject. CNN’s coverage totaled 24 seconds while ABC’s totaled 23 seconds. CBS’s "Early Show" and NBC’s "Today" both ignored the story completely.
It has been widely speculated that President Bush will call for an increase in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq as part of his new war strategy. Though no changes have been officially announced, ABC's Dan Harris on Good Morning America Monday predicted gloom and doom in terms of public support for the war. Introducing a live report from reporter Jonathan Karl at the Pentagon, Harris prognosticated that this new policy would be 'very unpopular':
Dan Harris: "And now to the expected surge of U.S. troops in Iraq. As Robert Gates is sworn in today as the new defense secretary, thousands more Americans may soon be headed into the war zone. This could be a very unpopular policy, and ABC's Jonathan Karl is standing by at the Pentagon this morning. Jonathan?"
A bloody civil conflict between distinct Muslim factions that has left thousands dead and many more displaced. Should America be involved? For the MSM, the obvious answer is 'no' if you're talking about Iraq. None of our business. A quagmire. We can't referee a civil war. Get out now.
But Darfur, another bloody conflict between warring Muslim groups? Well, that's different. Not only can and should we be involved, but, we're blithely informed, "this is one we can fix."
What's the difference? As more than one commentator has observed, liberals are all in favor of American intervention - so long as we have no national security interest at stake.