Monday’s 'Good Morning America' highlighted anti-GOP sentiments from the American heartland during a report in the 7am half hour. Reporting from a diner in Columbus, Ohio, ABC’s Jake Tapper had assembled a group of five "real-life actual voters" to discuss the upcoming midterm elections. Amongst the group of voters in Tapper’s panel: a Republican voter voting Democratic this year; a Democratic Navy veteran who had been against the war; a conservative Christian eager to express "I'm not pro-war"; a new U.S. citizen who believes that illegal immigrants are being treated unfairly; and a cynic who believes that the whole political system is corrupt. Not one of the voters expressed support for the President or Republicans. Furthermore, none of the panel members, except for the cynic, expressed any reservations about a potential Democratic takeover of Congress.
Some highlights from the panel discussion:
Tapper: "You're a Republican voter, but the war in Iraq, among other issues, has you thinking that you might vote Democratic this year. Why?"
Larry [no last name given; Republican voter]: "...I think we're in the wrong place, and I just think it's time for a change, someone who can help us and get out of the quagmire we have."
Tapper: "Now, Kenny, you disapproved of the war from the beginning and you're, you're a Navy veteran...But, you have an issue with the fact that you think that those who have questioned the war, their patriotism has been challenged, right...You're an independent voter. But what struck me was that you said that you don't think, even though you think that there's a lot of corruption amongst the Republicans controlling Congress, you don't think that it's necessarily going to be any different if the Democrats take control. Why is that?"
"I'll see your disgruntled Republican and raise you an anti-war veteran, a pro-illegal-immigrant naturalized American and a Christian conservative who knows others planning to stay home."
That's how you might describe the bidding in the ABC/NBC game of Texas Talk 'Em Down. You might recall that last week I reported here on how NBC's David Gregory unearthed an Ohio bookstore owner, described as a "life-long Republican," who was thinking of voting Democrat.
That all you got, Today? Bookstore-owner high? Good Morning America beat that handily this morning with a full house!
Jake Tapper conducted the folks-in-the-Middle-American-diner segment, an obligatory bit of MSM pre-election shtick. ABC's chief DC political correspondent found himself out at Tommy's Diner in Columbus, Ohio, the same town in which Gregory disinterred his disillusioned Republican. Place must be a hotbed of disgruntled GOPers!
A welcome ray of reason amidst all the MSM gloom. Good Morning America ran a segment about the proposal by NYC busybodies to ban trans-fats. The city's Health Department is holding hearings today on a proposed citywide trans-fat ban at restaurants.
At the end of the piece, which reported on various restaurant chains that have switched to other fats or are considering the move, the story was tossed back to the hosts. That's when Robin Roberts struck a blow for reason and individual freedom:
"Many people feel 'give us the information but allow us to make the decision.'"
When I first tuned to ABC this morning, I thought there might have been some schedule snafu owing to the switch to Standard Time. But no; I eventually realized I was indeed watching Good Morning America and not a late-night DNC infomercial.
You could forgive me for being confused, because the first half-hour amounted to little more than a love-letter to the party of Pelosi.
First up, GMA staged an "Election Pre-Game" panel, complete with that catchy NFL theme music. Nifty game plan, perhaps, but then ABC fielded an unbalanced team. Liberal lion Sam Donaldson, Cokie Roberts - voice of the center-left DC media establishment - and political reporter Jake Tapper. No George Will or other conservative to dilute Donaldson. To strain the pigskin metaphor, GMA host Kate Snow, whose anti-tax cut antics I noted here back in May, served as coach/referee.
Friday's morning shows offered more of the same election coverage. On ABC, Kate Snow highlighted how everyone Republican is running from Bush (with Rick Santorum touting his work with Hillary, God forbid) and gave Michael J. Fox another huge soundbite. On NBC, David Gregory explored how Democrats would rule. The first rule: hike the minimum wage.
ABC's Megan McCormack took down the Snow report, which is true enough, but has to play to a regular news viewer like the same old news in heavy rotation:
Chris Cuomo: "It's less than two weeks now until the congressional elections and we're seeing a new trend among GOP candidates: putting some distance between themselves and the White House. Here's ABC's Kate Snow."
With less then two weeks to go before the midterm elections, two separate programs, on two different networks, speculated that the Republicans are colluding with big oil to lower gas prices. The "Today" show wondered if this indicated "a vast right-wing conspiracy."
Fox’s Geraldo Rivera speculated that America was seeing a case of "gas pump pimping."
Meanwhile, ABC’s "Nightline" weighed in on political commercials and lamented GOP "mudslinging." They also characterized Rush Limbaugh’s comments about Michael J. Fox as a "vicious attack." (They apparently didn’t find any mudslinging or vicious attacks done by the Democrats)
CNN had their own take on Limbaugh’s comments. They wondered: "Could it be a new low?"
Speaking of the cable network, CNN also previewed a new Bush special by noting that "many say" the President has "stretched" and "trampled" the Constitution.
In an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer on Wednesday’s 'Good Morning America,' Sean Hannity defended fellow talk radio host Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh has taken a lot of heat in the press for his criticism of Michael J. Fox’s campaign ads in favor of embryonic stem cell research and Democratic Senate candidates. Hannity fought the notion that Fox, who has injected himself through these ads into the political arena, is "immune" from critics, a view Sawyer seemed to express:
Sawyer: "Rush Limbaugh. What, what is going on here? Attacking Michael J. Fox?...Rush Limbaugh, even in his apology, said that Mike Fox was allowing his illness to be exploited, shilling for a Democratic candidate. If you have Parkinson’s disease, and you believe embryonic stem cell research is the, is the answer, a possible answer, a possible cure, don't you have a right to speak up?"
On the heels of last week’s glowing reports on NBC’s ‘Today’ and CNN’s ‘American Morning,’ ABC couldn’t resist jumping on the Obama-for-president bandwagon. During the 7am half hour of Monday’s ‘Good Morning America,’ correspondent Claire Shipman reported on comments from Democratic Senator Barack Obama in which he expressed interest in pursing his party’s nomination for president in 2008. In her introduction to Shipman’s piece, GMA co-anchor Robin Roberts referred to the "red hot buzz" (generated by the mainstream media) surrounding Obama as proof that the senator is "already a major political player." Shipman promoted Obama as the new "it" candidate among Democrats. She also highlighted flattering statements from talk show host Oprah Winfrey, who described Obama as her "favorite senator," and political analyst Larry Sabato, who predicted that Obama has the "charisma to skyrocket" to become the preferred Democratic candidate for president:
Claire Shipman: "Barack Obama has become, in a matter of weeks, the new 'it' candidate for the Democrats...A recent ‘Time’ magazine poll shows [Hillary] Clinton well ahead of Obama in a potential presidential race, 43 percent to 30. But the comparatively unknown Obama has shown this week, if he decides to run, he can generate a lot of buzz in a hurry."
Larry Sabato: "Obama has the charisma to skyrocket right to the head of the pack."
The full transcript of Shipman’s report is behind the cut:
Tapper now patrols the political beat for ABC. But his lopsided report on congressional scandals on this morning's GMA reveals that he has lost none of his partisan edge. While Washington University prof Steven Smith was shown stating that 20 members of Congress are currently caught up in sex or money scandals, Tapper focused on seven: six Republicans and only one Democrat.
In Tapper's Republican Hall of Shame were:
George Allen, for 'macaca' and other allegations of racial insensitivity.
Don Sherwood, whose apolgetic TV ad Tapper described as standing for the proposition: "yes I had a mistress but I did not try to strangle her."
On his show yesterday, MSNBC's Tucker Carlson congratulated Diane Sawyer of ABC for leaving the comforts of home to report from North Korea. Judging by her report this morning, you'd have to say the rigors have been worth it. Sawyer has been on a week-long stay in Dear-Leader Land, and this morning she scored an important story. A top N. Korean general flatly told her that his country has the means to deliver a nuclear weapon.
Sawyer: "We asked him what the words of North Korea meant when they said there would be a 'merciless blow' in response to any sanctions? He said he couldn't say specifically but pointed out they have short- and long-range missiles. He said 'President Bush wants us to kneel down. We cannot agree on that. If it continues, I think it will be natural to have war.'"
If you're looking for some fair-and-balanced commentary on the situation in Iraq, there's nothing like relying exclusively on a scholar with two degrees from Berkeley - particularly if that same person is a frequent NPR guest.
That was Good Morning America's approach this morning. The only expert invited to comment on the situation in Iraq was Shibley Telhami of the Brookings Institution. Predictably, he painted matters in the bleakest possible light:
"I believe that the United States has lost the ability to control events in Iraq. And it lost them long ago."
A quick Googling reveals that Telhami has both a doctorate and masters from Berkeley. He was an undergrad at Queens College in NYC, another liberal hotbed. According to his Wikipedia entry, Telhami was born into an Arab family in Israel and is a regular guest on NPR.
Never play poker against Claire Shipman. Anyone who can keep a straight face while claiming that 'Women's Voices. Women Vote' is "non-partisan" could surely bluff you out of a pot while sitting on a busted flush.
On this morning's Good Morning America, Shipman [or shall we call her 'DC Slim'?] narrated a segment spotlighting WVWV's efforts to get single women voters to the polls. Since it is obvious that single women lean heavily Dem, voting for Democrats by a more than 2/3 margin as Dem pollster Celinda Lake acknowledged, my BS-detector started screeching when I saw a straight-faced Shipman slip in her claim that WVWB is "non-partisan."
There was more bad news for the White House on ABC Monday morning. Three weeks before the mid-term congressional elections, 'Good Morning America' chose to highlight the claims of a former White House staffer that Bush administration officials had "mocked" evangelical Christian leaders. Former deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, David Kuo, wrote a book, released today, in which he asserts that administration officials have referred to evangelical leaders as "nuts" and that his office was used to curry favor with "Republican base voters," evangelical Christians, rather than to help the poor.
Co-anchor Robin Roberts and substitute host Chris Cuomo teased the 7:40AM segment, which included a report from Jake Tapper and an interview with Kuo:
Chris Cuomo: "Also this half hour, we have new questions about the White House and the religious right. The faithful helped put Bush in the White House, but did the administration mock evangelicals behind their backs?"
Robin Roberts: "Coming up next, a White House insider blows the whistle, accusing the Bush administration of taking advantage of Christian conservatives."
This past week, the media made a very clear distinction between how they view a Republican scandal and one involving a powerful Democrat. MRC analysts found that, over a period of 12 days, the big three networks aired 150 stories on the Mark Foley scandal.
How did those same networks cover an investigation into Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and a very questionable land deal? They generally ignored the story. In the case of CNN, the October 12 "American Morning" aired almost 20 minutes of Foley coverage and devoted 35 seconds to Reid
Not to be outdone, print media also glossed over the emerging Reid scandal. "The New York Times" prefaced a story about Reid earning $1.1 million on a property that he hasn’t owned in three years with this headline: "Senator Offers to Amend Financial Forms." The "Times" is certainly generous in offering the benefit of the doubt...as long as you’re a Democrat.
The Disney movie ‘102 Dalmatians’ should be R-rated instead of G, two anti-smoking activists insist. Not because they antagonist was a demented woman bent on turning cute puppies into a fur coat. Nope. Cruella De Vil’s real crime was smoking.
“Movies that depict smoking are the single greatest media threat to children say two prominent doctors,” ABC’s Heather Nauert warned her “Good Morning America” audience.
Nauert’s October 10 story focused on two activists who call for the Motion Picture Association of America to automatically assign an R-rating to movies with any smoking in it. Yet in her story, Nauert left out how biased her sources were as well as failed to balance her story with any criticism of the doctors’ claims.
First, Katie Couric wondered who made America the "boss" of the world, now ABC’s Diane Sawyer wants to know if "the U.S. can tell other countries whether they can have nuclear weapons or not...." Sawyer asked the question on the October 9 edition of "Good Morning America." The GMA anchor talked with Donald Gregg, former ambassador to South Korea under the first President Bush, about North Korea’s apparent test of a nuclear weapon. Ms. Sawyer composed the following query to Gregg about whether America has the right to criticize such testing:
On the "Foley fallout" beat on Day 3, ABC's Good Morning America turned to their sex-scandal expert (and oh, the sex scandals he's spun for Bill Clinton!) George Stephanopoulos. MRC's Justin McCarthy reports the Foley story was still a major hurricane headed to blow away Republicans, and was coming to shore:
Roberts: For more on the fallout on this we go to ABC chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos who is also the host, of course, of 'This Week.' George, when I talked to you earlier this week when this story broke, you said it was a category three political hurricane for Republicans. Has it intensified since then?"
Network morning shows stayed on the Mark Foley scandal on Tuesday. ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN all harped on the "conservative" Washington Times editorial calling for Speaker Dennis Hastert to resign. (The Times is conservative, but no one expects the networks to describe the liberal newspapers -- or themselves -- with an ideological label.) ABC's Brian Ross came on strong, suggesting the Republican problem was "one of hypocrisy, talking tough about going after pedophiles on the Internet but not doing much about it when it comes to one of their own." CBS's Hannah Storm wondered if the scandal would "take down the Republican leadership in the House." NBC's Tim Russert used a rare P-word quoting a panicked Republican: "If there's a perception that we overlooked perversion in order to hold on to power we are finished." And CNN brought on a braying Paul Begala and found Democrats were "particularly enjoying the fact" that House campaign chairman Thomas Reynolds was ensnared in the controversy.
In the wake of Rep. Mark Foley's sudden resignation over ABC finding his sexually charged electronic messages to teenage male House pages, Monday's broadcast network morning shows all began with Foley, and the networks presented doom-laden scenarios of a crumbling Republican majority and some demands for Speaker Dennis Hastert and other Republican House leaders to resign. "But this is more than just one man's downfall," insisted Matt Lauer on NBC. "It could be a major blow to the Republican Party, desperately trying to hold on to control of Congress in the coming midterm elections." ABC's Robin Roberts wondered, "this morning, newly revealed e-mails, the denials, dealings of a Congress in chaos. Could the Foley scandal cost the Republicans the House? "
ABC's Chris Cuomo and CBS's Julie Chen each pushed Tony Snow to suggest Hastert and others should resign. Chen also asked if Republican leaders should be questioned "under oath." ABC's George Stephanopoulos dramatically called the scandal "a Category Three hurricane and it's picking up steam." When CNN's Soledad O'Brien then tried to suggest she was "certainly not rushing for anybody's resignation," Snow protested: "Sure you are." None made historical comparisons with Democrats caught in sexual relationships with House pages or other teenagers.
Yesterday, Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma took to the floor of the United States Senate and gave a passionate and informed speech about Global Warming and the American media's coverage of it. He noted that
During the past year, the American people have been served up an unprecedented parade of environmental alarmism by the media and entertainment industry, which link every possible weather event to global warming. The year 2006 saw many major organs of the media dismiss any pretense of balance and objectivity on climate change coverage and instead crossed squarely into global warming advocacy.
Well, ABC's Good Morning America addressed the Global Warming issue this morning. One might think that the entire point of this morning's report was to prove Inhofe right.
Now that John McCain and his fellow “moderate” Republican Senators have made a deal with the White House allowing the CIA and U.S. military to go about the job of protecting America from terrorists, NBC’s Matt Lauer is distressed that the group didn’t “stand up” to the White House and insist on even softer treatment.
In an interview on Friday morning’s Today, Lauer confronted McCain: “Why didn’t you guys stand up and take a stand on specifics? Why didn’t you say look, OK, there’ve been reports, for example, with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed at the secret CIA centers that he was waterboarded, we will not let that stand, Mr. President?”
And Lauer held up Colin Powell as the arbiter of whether this was a good deal, asking McCain: “Do you think now that this moves in the direction where he’ll be satisfied?”
As Mark Finkelstein reported earlier today, former Vice President Al Gore and billionaire CEO Richard Branson appeared together on Friday’s "Good Morning America" to discuss Branson’s decision to devote all the profits from his airline to combating global warming. Absent from the interview with Diane Sawyer was any mention of the scientific debate taking place over the cause of climate change, or whether, in fact, it actually exists.
While ABC ignored skeptics views of global warming, Fox’s "Special Report with Brit Hume" on Thursday highlighted one such doubter:
Brit Hume: "A leading climate expert from Colorado State University says the idea that humans are responsible for global warming is a fear perpetuated by the media, and by scientists trying to get grant money. Dr. William Gray is a noted global warming skeptic who says the current heating of the earth is part of a natural cycle."
This is shaping up as a day for lefty unilateralism. As noted here, liberal LA Times columnist Rosa Brooks saw no nuance in her Bush-hatred fueled tirade against any expansion of permitted techniques in interrogating terrorists.
Later, Good Morning America staged a global warming love-in, in which nary a dissenting voice was heard and the only question was whether it was too late to implement Al Gore's costly nostrums.
Diane Sawyer's guests were Gore and British magnate Richard Branson. The proximate cause was the announcement that over a recent breakfast, Gore managed to convince Branson to devote 100% of the profits from Virgin Airlines to the effort against global warming [someone check the OJ for Grey Goose].
A couple of snippets from this morning's "news" segments on ABC and CBS...
On The Early Show, Rene Syler interviewed the President of the Council on Foreign Relations, and former Bush administration official, Richard Haass. After having played the video of Chavez calling Bush "the devil," of crossing himself and saying that he could still smell the sulfur in the air, Syler's first question for Haass, her first question on this head-of-state behaving that way on the world's primary diplomatic stage?
"Let's start with those comments by Hugo Chavez yesterday. He makes this personal attack on the president calls him the devil a number of times. Is that appropriate?"
What, Rene -- you couldn't figure that one out for yourself?
Far be it from ABC to take sides in the fight against nuclear terrorism. As depicted by Good Morning America today, yesterday's UN speeches by Pres. Bush and Iran's Ahmadinejad were simply a battle of equals. And if anything, the guy who wants to wipe Israel off the map came off looking better in ABC's portrayal.
Host Chris Cuomo [son of Mario, brother of current New York AG candidate Andrew] set the tone: "We begin with the showdown at the United Nations, pitting President Bush against Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The philosophical battlefield: Iran's nuclear program. Senior national correspondent Claire Shipman is in Washington with more on two leaders, sharply divided."
Friday's Good Morning America featured a segment with Robin Roberts in Memphis with three Southern women, identified as Republicans, who are all supposedly "having second thoughts about their party" and now plan to vote for Democrats. But a quick Internet search found that two of the three have backgrounds which raise questions about their fidelity to the GOP. Janna Herbison, identified on screen as "Former Republican turned Democrat," declared: "I used to consider myself to be a Republican." She scolded Republicans: "Don't say they're [Democrats] aligning themselves with the terrorists because they disagree with you. That's un-American." But while Herbison was Press Secretary to Republican Tennessee Governor Donald Sundquist, best known for a failed effort to enact a state income tax, she was also the Press Secretary for the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus. The other, Robin Rasmussen, who insisted that "I voted Republican in every election since I was 18," appears to be on the Board of Directors of Planned Parenthood for the Memphis area, which doesn't make it impossible for her to be a Republican, but certainly suggests she's long been politically active for a liberal social cause.
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," anchor Diane Sawyer spoke with "Newsweek" managing editor Jon Meacham about the controversy over a centuries-old quote employed by Pope Benedict XVI in a speech on faith and reason.
Protests, violence and threats against the Vatican and representatives of the Catholic Church have erupted since the Pope’s speech, where he used a quote from a Byzantine emperor, Manuel II. The Pope has since clarified his remarks, saying that it is not his own view that the prophet Muhammad’s contribution to the world has been “things only evil and inhuman.”
Sawyer found the use the quote “baffling,” and wondered if the Pope’s decision to insert it into his speech was “an attempt at provocation” with Muslims. Meacham, for his part, found the Pope’s speech to be a “heavy-handed” and “clumsy” attempt at starting a dialogue with the Islamic community. Meacham then brought up Pope Benedict’s reputation among some as “God’s Rottweiler” as head of the Vatican office charged with enforcing of Catholic doctrine during the papacy of John Paul. (ABCNews.com carried a story with the headline "'God's Rottweiler's' First Crisis.")
Over the last week, President Bush’s poll numbers have improved. While the media was quick to highlight poll results when the President’s numbers were declining, they have been less enthusiastic about noting his resurgence. Referring to the "New York Times," co-host of "Fox and Friends" Steve Doocy noted:
"...So, this is really big news for the White House and I'm sure it's going to be on page one. So anyway, with a –because I know that when the president's approval rating was falling, it was on page one..."
Mr. Doocy searched the entire front section of the "Times" on air and was unable to locate news of improving popularity for President Bush. However, it was not just the ‘New York Times" that has omitted improving poll numbers. NBC’s "Today" made no mention of an NBC poll just released yesterday showing President Bush’s approval climbing to 42%. Additionally, neither ABC’s "Good Morning America" nor CBS’s "Early Show" mentioned President Bush’s improved standing with American voters.
Friday’s "Good Morning America" broadcast yet another bad-news-for-Republicans story concerning the party’s chances in the upcoming mid-term elections. In a report from Robin Roberts, three southern women, all either former Republicans or Republicans considering voting for Democratic candidates, were given air time to express their disenchantment with the GOP:
Robin Rasmussen: "I voted Republican in every election since I was 18."
Robin Roberts: "But not this year. Robin Rasmussen is thinking of voting for a Democrat and she’s not alone."
Janna Herbison: "And I used to consider myself to be a Republican."
Tracy Quick Bradford: "...I think that the, the candidates that, that represent the Democratic party this year are most in line with my views."
Rosie O’Donnell, the newly installed co-host at "The View," observed the 9/11 anniversary by stating that America "squandered" world support and the next day she asserted that "radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam."
O’Donnell wasn’t the only media member to use September 11 as a pretext to bash America. CBS veteran Andy Rooney suggested in his "60 Minutes" commentary that America start acting in a way that "wouldn’t make so many people in the world want to kill us." MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann went further, accusing President Bush of "impeachable" offenses and "lies."
Appearing on another network, but continuing in the same vein, Sean Penn talked to CNN’s Larry King and mused about the President bringing fascism to the United States...