"Good Morning America" news anchor Chris Cuomo on Thursday aggressively told top Hillary Clinton aide Howard Wolfson that it's time for the senator to get out of the race and allow Barack Obama to begin his general election campaign. At one point, after the communication director suggested that Clinton would do better than Obama in states such as West Virginia, an irritated Cuomo sputtered, "If you're going out there, as communication director of your campaign, telling super delegates Barack can't win against McCain, how is that helping the Democrats?"
When Wolfson repeated his argument that Hillary could capture West Virginia, Cuomo helpfully suggested, "And what a great contribution that might be for a vice presidential candidate." Earlier in the segment, the ABC anchor, who is the son of former New York Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo and brother to the state's current Democratic attorney general, insisted, " Why isn't this the time to get out?" An ABC graphic, just below Cuomo, reiterated, "Clinton Hangs On: How Can She Remain in Race?"
"I am not responsible" says Barbara Walters on Rosie O’Donnell’s extremist remarks on "The View." Appearing on the May 7 "O’Reilly Factor," host Bill O’Reilly brought up Rosie’s most controversial remarks, notably comparing "radical Christianity" to radical Islam and her famous 9-11 conspiracy theories editorializing it hurt Barbara as the founder and co-executive producer of the show.
Although Walters did not defend Rosie’s ravings, she refused to take responsibility asserting Rosie did not hurt her, "The View," or ABC. Additionally, the veteran journalist felt Rosie regrets some of those remarks. O’Reilly sharply disagreed and alluded to Rosie’s comments this week praising Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
Wednesday’s broadcast network morning shows sounded eager to drum Hillary Clinton out of the Democratic presidential race and turn all critical eyes on John McCain. NBC was most emphatic. Today ran MSNBC midnight footage of Tim Russert declaring Barack Obama the winner: "We now know who the Democratic nominee is gonna be and no one is gonna dispute it." Russert added live: "I cannot find an objective Democrat who does not think this race is over." On ABC, George Stephanopoulos endorsed the New York tabloid newspaper headlines: "Toast. Hil Needs a Miracle. That's exactly right....this nomination fight is over." On CBS, co-host Harry Smith suggested to Bob Schieffer: "Bob, this party needs a nominee and fast. What do you think? Will Hillary Clinton get out, and when?" Schieffer declared "This race is over."
The same message came through in the screen graphics. For example, ABC pictured Mrs. Clinton with the words "End of the Road?" as co-host Robin Roberts began the show: "This morning, is it over?" NBC’s Matt Lauer also asked "Is it over?" and so did the NBC screen. The segments to follow answered the question with an emphatic yes.
A funny friend e-mailed me this joke about the ABC special tonight selling the new Barbara Walters boudoir-opening memoir: "Just a few hours now until the most eagerly awaited program of the May sweeps, 'Barbara Walters: Skanky In the Seventies.' I can't wait."
From Us Magazine through TV Newser: Star Jones lets her old "View" boss Barbara Walters have it on how she's using her tale of adultery with black Republican Sen. Edward Brooke in the Seventies to sell books: "It is a sad day when an icon like Barbara Walters in the sunset of her life is reduced to publicly branding herself as an adulterer, humiliating an innocent family with accounts of her illicit affair and speaking negatively against me all for the sake of selling a book. It speaks to her true character."
Aside from the never-ending controversy over how Star Jones dramatically lost weight, it's amazing to see how everyone from Oprah to Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post today see Barbara's tale of being a mistress as a fascinating life story, and not a tale of sleazy immorality. It also raises the obvious point of how Barbara's bed-hopping affected her coverage of the Clintons and the famous Monica Lewinsky interview in 1999. It might have helped viewers process that interview with some on-screen graphics that said "Barbara Walters has been a mistress just like her interviewee."
See Bonus Coverage at foot: Morning Joe Mocks Whopper-Telling Wolfson
What kind of night is one on which Hillary Clinton, in the eyes of many, lost her shot at the nomination? "A great night"—according to Diane Sawyer.
Sawyer made her remark at the opening of today's GMA. She started with some shtick with co-anchor Robin Roberts, displaying a series of cards explaining she was losing her voice, then managed to get out these words:
DIANE SAWYER: It was a great night last night. What a night, huh?
If there was ambiguity as to what made last night "great," it was largely resolved when the duo immediately moved to a discussion of last night's primary election results, culminating in Roberts displaying the front pages of today's New York Post and Daily News, which respectively proclaimed "Toast!" and "Hil Needs a Miracle." George Stephanopoulos came on and confirmed the tabloids' grim prognosis, saying the Dem race "is over."
Absent from "The View" on May 6, Barbara Walters opted for "Oprah" to promote her new book "Audition." Inevitably the conversation included the tumultuous Rosie O’Donnell 2006-07 season. Barbara very carefully critiqued Rosie seeking to balance her criticisms with a compliments.
In describing Rosie’s sometimes obviousdominance, Barbara claimed Rosie "from day one took over the show" comparing Rosie to Diana Ross and the other co-hosts to the Supremes. Barbara also added Rosie "made some wonderful changes, but it was also very, very difficult."
Of course the famous on air fight between Rosie and Elisabeth Hasselbeck surfaced. The fight stemmed from those accusing Rosie of calling troops terrorists and Elisabeth refusing to defend Rosie. Barbara and Oprah agreed "she never said that." Although Rosie did not explicitly say "the troops are terrorists," her question "who are the terrorists?" certainly suggested it.
The conversation did not involve Rosie raising the possibility that 9-11 was in inside job and "fire can’t melt steel."
Good Morning America” on Tuesday continued the morning show drive of busting taboos by touting the romantic relationship between a half-brother and sister. GMA reporter Nick Watt informed viewers of the Scottish couple Danielle Heaney and Nick Cameron, now charged with incest, and rather neutrally explained, “Danielle and Nick are in love. But their love is taboo. They're half-brother and sister.” [audio available here]
At no time during the segment did Watt talk to anyone who might have expressed the argument that having a physical relationship between half-siblings could be a bad idea. After explaining how Danielle and Nick had the same mother, but lived apart as children, Watt simply observed “And one day they hope to move to France, where their love is legal.” Instead, Watt just dug for private details, such as this query to Heaney: “So, something made you kiss him?” Co-host Robin Roberts labeled the relationship "forbidden love." The network morning shows clearly enjoy promoting any type of relationship that can be seen as edgy, daring or somehow outside of the norm. And these segments are almost always delivered with a complete lack of judgment.
For the rest of the campaign, the Media Research Center will each Tuesday announce its picks for the “Worst of the Week,” meaning the most egregious, horrendous and stupefying liberal bias of Campaign 2008. This week, the spotlight shines on those journalists who rushed to the side of Barack Obama after his minister’s radical comments, and NBC’s ridiculous effort to hype bad economic news [audio/video links below fold]:
Feeling Obama’s Pain. After Barack Obama’s former pastor’s radical remarks at the National Press Club, liberal journalists rallied around the Democratic candidate. Hours after Jeremiah Wright spoke on April 28, NBC’s Brian Williams emphasized those who deemed it a "circus" and a "sideshow," as his NBC Nightly News highlighted the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart: "Unfortunately, the victim in all of this is going to be Senator Obama’s campaign."
In 2007, ABC reporter Claire Shipman enthused that the race between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton was one of "fluid poetry" versus "hot factor." On Tuesday's "Good Morning America, she rhapsodized about the spouses of these two Democratic candidates. According to Shipman, "...I think it says it all that [Michelle Obama's] Secret Service code name is renaissance."
Discussing the campaigning being done by the senator's wife in Indiana and North Carolina, the correspondent enthused, " More, more, more. Michelle Obama's straight style has always been an asset." (Shipman made no mention as to whether Mrs. Obama's claim that the 2008 campaign marked the first time she was proud of America was an example of this "straight style" or if that comment was an asset to the campaign.) As for Bill Clinton, Shipman declared that all had been forgiven for previous verbal gaffes: "And what's most interesting is this campaign has gone on for so long, we've seen one spouse go from asset to liability, to asset again." Marveling at the ex-president's exuberance, she applauded, "No event is too early, no schedule too full, no front porch too small."
Over a three day stretch, ABC devoted almost 15 minutes of air-time to a documentary filmmaker who asserts in his movie "Bloodline" that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was a massive hoax perpetrated on humanity. Additionally, on Friday's "Nightline," reporter Elizabeth Vargas left out any mention of the bizarre interests of the film's director, Bruce Burgess. He's directed and written documentaries on Bigfoot, the Bermuda Triangle, Area 51 and a secretive look at a U.S. government's supposed cover-up of the alien landings at Roswell.
Wouldn't it be relevant to know that Burgess seems to be fascinated with every weird conspiracy imaginable? (And hasn't the mainstream media mocked bloggers for not being restrained journalists? How serious is Bigfoot and the the subject of the Bermuda Triangle?) On Sunday's "Good Morning America," Burgess's second stop on his ABC tour, co-host Bill Weir at least asked about his extravagant interests: "I do have to point out the fact that some of your other documentary work includes the Bermuda Triangle, Area 51, looking for Bigfoot in Oklahoma." (NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein blogged this appearance.)
Last Wednesday, ABC's "World News with Charles Gibson" exposed a serious flaw in a television advertisement Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is running in Indiana (video embedded right, h/t Gateway Pundit).
In fact, Indiana newspapers began pointing out the former first lady's mistake almost three weeks ago after she spoke at a school in that state.
Yet, according to LexisNexis, no other television network felt this issue deserved any coverage, nor did many major newspapers outside of Indiana.
My two cents say George Stephanopoulos gave Hillary a harder time than Tim Russert did Obama during their respective appearances on This Week and Meet the Press today. Russert never pinned Obama down on exactly what he knew of Rev. Wright's most controversial assertions and when he knew it.
Over on ABC, Stephanopoulos twice challenged Hillary to name a single economist who supported her proposal for a gas-tax holiday, and threw in her face the fact that even her big admirer in economist ranks, Paul Krugman of the NY Times, has criticized her over it. In exposing her inability to name a single practitioner of the dismal science who supported her plan [McCain, who's also called for a gas-tax holiday would presumably be similarly hard-pressed], Stephanopoulos left Clinton looking like a panderer. Stephanopoulos raised the issue right out of the box.
Imagine that a "documentary" film-maker—whose most notable former credit was a work advancing the notion that extra-terrestrials did indeed visit Area 51—brought forth a new work suggesting that key elements of the Prophet Mohammed's story had been fabricated. What are the odds ABC would devote a segment of Good Morning America to a respectful interview of the filmmaker and discussion of his work?
But that's exactly what ABC did regarding someone who has produced a documentary ["Bloodline"] calling into question key aspects of the story of Jesus Christ. Here's how GMA weekend co-anchor Bill Weir introduced the segment this morning:
Well, here's a question, was Jesus married with children? Was the Resurrection a trick pulled off by his widow? The possibility, the world's greatest cover-up, was the basis of the smash novel and movie The Da Vinci Code. And though those ideas have been largely dismissed by academics as fiction, documentary film-maker Bruce Burgess believes he has now found evidence to advance that theory. Here's a clip from his new film.
ABC’s Nightline featured yet another Cynthia McFadden trip with Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail Thursday, but it wasn’t all sympathetic questions about how hard it is to be a feminist pioneer. (There was one about how all the criticism must be hard on her mother.) Instead, on the trail in Indiana, McFadden pushed hard from the left on how Barack Obama thought her gas-tax holiday proposal was "phony" and "pandering," and how columnist Thomas Friedman of the New York Times thought it was "ridiculous," and how Iran thought her remarks about them were irresponsible. She also wondered if the Reverend Wright issue was "guilt by association...Does it worry you a little bit about the taint of association? Because, you know, you’ve been tarred by the same brush over the years."
McFadden began somewhat sympathetically, although it wasn’t good news, about how Indiana superdelegate Joe Andrew switched sides to Obama, despite President Clinton making him DNC chairman in the late 1990s. Then she switched to arguing against any gas-tax relief:
ABC reporter Claire Shipman filed a report from Rome on Friday in which she breathlessly informed viewers that "many Catholics are rethinking their views of [Pope] Benedict XVI." According to Shipman, "most [U.S.] Catholics" thought, at the time of his selection, that Benedict "might clash with American values." Throughout the segment, which aired on "Good Morning America," Shipman appeared shocked at how well the pontiff's April trip to the United States went. [audio available here]
Shipman even trotted out the media's favorite insulting epithet for the Pope. She derided, "Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as the pontiff used to be known, was considered a stern hard-liner, nicknamed 'God's rottweiler.'" After mentioning Benedict's visit to a U.S. synagogue, his meeting with victims of sexual abuse by priests, the journalist marveled, "Could this Pope so many had written off as a tough guy be a teddy bear in disguise?" Wouldn't it be more honest to admit that the "many" and "most" Shipman kept referring to are actually members of the media? After all, most Catholics hadn't heard of Joseph Ratzinger when he was chosen to be pope in April of 2005. ABC reporters, on the other hand, quickly made their thoughts on the selection clear.
Scott Whitlock mentioned that ABC allowed Arianna Huffington to plug her book Thursday on GMA. But Charlie Gibson failed to perform any self-defense on Huffington’s frontal attack on what she calls in her book "The Pontius Pilate Press." (Is Obama the Christ in this scenario? Conservatives are the crucifiers?) Scott noted Gibson merely began: "You think they've taken on the media as well or taken over the media as well. But, basically, you feel that this country has been captured by the more extreme wing of the Republican Party?" So, ABC’s morning show hasn't interviewed Brent Bozell in this century about liberal bias, but they’re putting up no defense to the charge that ABC is an extreme-right-wing GOP subsidiary.
Huffington is making a very bold claim right now, that the media are addicted to fairness and balance, which is wrong, since liberals are right and the "discredited" Right is wrong, so conservatives should be left on the cutting-room floor. They need to engineer conservative "disappearance from the stage":
Joy Behar claims Bill O’Reilly’s concerns over the enormous financial cost of Hillary Clinton’s universal healthcare plan is "untrue" and "he just keeps saying it over and over as if it’s true," implying that O’Reilly is lying. This from the same woman who frequently airs falseinformation.
Discussing Senator Clinton’s interview with Bill O’Reilly on the May 1 edition of "The View," Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar sought to counter O’Reilly’s claim noting the national debt was much smaller at the end of the Clinton presidency than it is now. What they failed to note was that the Clinton administration failed to pass a universal healthcare plan. Had they succeeded the national debt may have been higher.
After citing other alleged failures of the Bush administration, such as high gas prices, "objective" journalist Barbara Walters commented "oh and by the way, there’s a war" and soon added in a facetious tone "we never give our opinions."
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," guest host Charles Gibson featured far-left author and creator of the Huffington Post Web site Arianna Huffington to promote her angry new book about "lunatic fringe" conservatives. Gibson, who was a moderator in the April ABC debate that liberals have decried as unfair to Barack Obama, brought up some of the issues mentioned in the debate, such as the senator's refusal to wear an American flag lapel pin.
Speaking of Republicans, he asserted, "They owned, have owned, the, quote, 'issue of patriotism' for some time now." Taking Gibson's cue, and, at the same time, launching an attack on media outlets that supposedly are unfair to liberals, Huffington used the same qualifier: "But the media have helped them own the, quote, issue of patriotism." And although Gibson did occasionally challenge the conservative-turned liberal, he also let her get away with contradictions. As already noted, Huffington chided the media for focusing on alleged distractions, such as flag pins and Reverend Jeremiah Wright's controversial statements. However, in the same segment she frothed over the "lunatic fringe" who "basically, don't believe in evolution but believe in torture."
Jeremiah Wright is on the Republican "payroll" according to View co-host Joy Behar. Discussing the Reverend Wright controversy, Behar offered her conspiracy theory of a Republican dirty trick: "I think Reverend Wright might be being paid by the Republicans. That's what I think." She emphasized: "He's on the payroll!" This is not the first time Behar has hypothesized on the evil genius of the right. The daytime diva accused Republicans of causing Democratic Senator Tim Johnson's stroke and wondered if the "right-wing" planted the bogus McCain/Iseman story. [audio excerpt available here]
Whoopi then chastised Hasselbeck and those who criticize Obama for his Wright connection: "To sabotage the first black president is outrageous." Behar expressed no such concern over her own smear of African-American Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
ABC reporter David Wright, a well known fan of Barack Obama, filed a report on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" in which he urged viewers to sympathize with how difficult it must have been for the senator to finally break with his controversial pastor. The journalist mournfully announced, "For Obama, whose own father abandoned him as a child, this must have been another painful break."
Rather than wonder why Obama repeatedly stood by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, a man who absurdly claimed that the United States created the AIDS virus, (reporter) Wright lobbied for Americans to realize what a "big deal" the break was for the Obama campaign. He justified, "Imagine having to publicly denounce the minister who married you, who baptized your kids, who prayed with you the day you announced your candidacy for president."
ABC reporter Nick Watt on Monday imagined the world as a better place without men, who he jokingly dismissed as war-hungry criminals only good for making pop music. The segment, which aired on "Nightline," featured the views of an Oxford professor, Bryan Sykes, who believes that the Y chromosome will disappear in about 125,000 years.
Apparently not seeing a downside, Watt mused, "But would the absence of men make the world a better place? There would be far fewer wars without men on the planet. The U.S. prison population would drop a colossal 97 percent. Road deaths in the U.S. would fall 70 percent." The ABC journalist flippantly discussed the subject in a way that would never be done if the professor had longed for a world without woman. At one point, Mr. Sykes derided, "To be frank, we're not really all that necessary." Watt helpfully added, "Our only hope, that women decide to keep us alive for their own amusement. For the pop music, perhaps." Can anyone imagine a mainstream journalist joking about keeping women around for the entertainment of men?
Appearing on the April 29 edition of "The View," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich proved his intellectual superiority to Joy Behar punching holes in her very shallow debate points. Also, in discussing the ongoing Reverend Wright controversy, Whoopi Goldberg placed Billy Graham in league with Wright and Louis Farrakhan. [audio version of embedded video available here]
In challenging Newt Gingrich’s assertion that there’s a sympathy on the far left for America haters such as William Ayers, Behar inquired, "there’s no romance going on between the hard right of this country and Saudi Arabia let’s say?" Gingrich swiftly answered "the hard right in this country deeply dislikes Saudi Arabia as the source of Wahabbist funding."
Religion and the military shouldn't mix. That's the take away message that both CBS and ABC touted when their Sunday morning news programs publicized the plight of an atheist who is suing the Army for religious discrimination.
On April 27th CBS's Sunday Morning and ABC's Good Morning America Sunday each featured the story of Jeremy Hall, an Army specialist who claims he was denied promotion and persecuted because of his atheism. Both interviewed Hall and Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a co-plaintiff in Hall's lawsuit.
Weinstein was described as a loyal patriot (by CBS) and a defender of the religiously oppressed (ABC). Neither network bothered to mention that on the Military Religious Freedom Foundation's Web site American military members are compared directly to Islamic jihadists. A video runs on the homepage of the site which juxtaposes a suicide bomber holding a rifle and Koran with a group of American soldiers holding rifles and Bibles.
My bottom line analysis (11:25): The two R's of bias from this Rose Garden presser: Martha Raddatz on Syria and numerous reporters on the dreaded R-word, recession. Of course a recession is two consecutive quarters of NEGATIVE economic growth, and we've yet to see one quarter of negative growth, much less two. But all the same, NY Times's Stolberg made it sound like Q1 numbers on GDP tomorrow will show a recession.
The questions below will be posted in reverse chronological order:
With Barack Obama drowning in Rev. Wright's waves, all Hillary really needs to do is keep her head down and show up on time to be endorsed today by NC Gov. Mike Easley. The last thing Clinton needs is to make a gaffe of her own.
Now let's grant that the one we're about to discuss ranks rather low on the Gaffe-o-meter. If Sniper-gate was a 6.2, this might be a 2.1. But this particular misstep does have the demerit of undercutting a major Clinton campaign theme. Hillary's strategy nowadays consists of appealing to middle- and lower-income voters. Call it the Beer-and-a-shot Shtick. She's a Gal of the People. Not snobby like those Obamas. You know, like Michelle, who complained to a group of women in a struggling area of Ohio about her difficulties in spending $10,000 a year for various lessons for her kids while paying off student loans for her sojourns at Princeton and Harvard.
But that's exactly the kind of mistake Hillary has made. Today's Good Morning America played a clip [date and place unidentified, but presumably from the IN or NC campaign trail] of Hillary saying this to a crowd:
HILLARY CLINTON: Some people say, "oh she is tough." Well, if you'd had my life, you'd be tough too.
Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz filed one of those hurray-I-got-access puff pieces on the networks today, in this case ABC morning news anchor Chris Cuomo, son of ultraliberal former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo (and brother of current New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo). Kurtz mentioned that Cuomo drew controversy for suggesting Britain’s Prince Harry was allowed to serve in the military in Afghanistan because he was "expendable" (a gaffe first highlighted by Scott Whitlock at NewsBusters), but at the article’s end, ABC tells Kurtz how much they like young Cuomo as an advocacy journalist:
Cuomo describes himself as an advocacy journalist, and his bosses like that. "He's had a real yearning to seek out the untold stories, particularly of the disadvantaged," Westin says. "He's almost a crusader. It's a form of old-fashioned, muckraking journalism."
What would be the proper response to the tragic story of a father killed by a great white shark? For "Good Morning America" guest host Barbara Walters, apparently, it was to quote from the trailer of the 1978 film "Jaws 2." Reporter Miguel Marquez recounted the story of Dave Martin, the San Diego man killed by a shark off of the California coast last Friday. He explained, "Dave Martin's family is defiant. They say the shark attack hasn't ended their love of the sea."
When the segment cut back to Walters, she observed, "But perhaps that family should remember that line 'Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.'" Maybe journalists should be told that they don't need to have a pithy quote to end every segment. Perhaps viewers should be glad that she didn't choose other famous "Jaws" quotes, such as "This was no boat accident!" or "You're going to need a bigger boat."
Are Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s comments shouting "God damn America" comparable to Rosa Parks famous refusal to give up her seat? According to "The View’s" Sherri Shepherd it is. Discussing Wright on the April 28 edition, Shepherd, with Joy Behar’s backing, called Wright’s anger "righteous" and compared it to Rosa Parks’ famous protest.
SHEPHERD: And I remember, I remember you said, not going back, but you said "when can we go to the place where they say ‘forgive them they know not what they do’?" Anger is sometimes a very good thing, because I’m thinking of Rosa Parks. Had she not been angry and said "no I’m not going to get up. I’m tired my feet hurt."
BEHAR: Yes, righteous rage.
SHEPHERD: It’s righteous and that’s what Jeremiah has.
HASSELBECK: Enlighten me.
SHEPHERD: No, but I’m saying he had a righteous anger. Martin Luther King was angry, he was very angry.