During "Good Morning America's" respectful coverage of Ted Kennedy and the sad announcement of his cancer on Wednesday, ABC's medical expert, Dr. Tim Johnson, used the occasion to laud Kennedy's very liberal goals for reforming health care. After stating his admiration for the Massachusetts senator, Johnson fawned, "He is a true giant in the field of those of us who care about health care reform. And we want his leadership to continue."
Johnson may be a doctor, but his rigid liberalism fits right in at ABC. He has a long history of using network airwaves to back Kennedy and other liberal Democrats and their policies. On September 24 1993, he rhapsodized, "...The Clintons are almost heroes in my mind for finally facing up to the terrible problems we have with our current health care system..." On July 19, 1994, he extolled then-First Lady Hillary Clinton's plans for universal health care in an interview, saying, "So at least from the physicians represented here, you get a 100 percent vote, including mine, for universal coverage."
According to Marc Ambinder of theatlantic.com, former ABC News Capitol Hill correspondent Linda Douglass, also a former correspondent for CBS and NBC News, will be leaving her position at National Journal to join the Barack Obama presidential campaign as a senior strategist. Ambinder quotes Douglass: "I see this as a moment of transformational change in the country and I have spent my lifetime sitting on the sidelines watching people attempt to make change. I just decided that I can't sit on the sidelines anymore."
Ambinder's article, which can be seen here, further describes Douglass as having grown "disillusioned with the partisanship she saw first hand" during her journalistic career.
ABC reporter Kate Snow, who has repeatedly gushed over the Hillary Clinton campaign in the past, appeared to be edging away from the Democratic candidate on Tuesday's "Good Morning America." Discussing the long odds the New York senator now faces to the nomination, Snow gratuitously offered this comparison: "And here's a metaphor. Last month, supporters gave Clinton an inflatable doll. The other day, it was spotted all shriveled up, deflated."
The GMA correspondent also made sure to point out that "[Clinton's] biggest Kentucky crowds are closer to a thousand and Obama just pulled 75,000 in Oregon." She also explained, "An event in Oregon in a dimly lit room had more reporters than voters. Clinton was somber." This type of downbeat reporting is quite a change from Snow's cheery, pro-Hillary journalism. On January 7, 2008, she marveled at the senator's knowledge and enthused, "No subject is too small. No issue too dense." On October 1, 2007, Snow rhapsodized at Clinton's ability to disarm "her critics with a gleam in her eye and a roar straight from the belly."
On Friday's "Nightline," ABC reporter Bianna Golodryga filed a segment on the "super rich" who are untainted by the tough economic times and once again highlighted left-wing investor Warren Buffett's calls for more taxation. Without ever labeling Buffett as liberal (he has endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president), Golodryga cheerfully proclaimed that the billionaire is "concerned about the burgeoning wealth gap." The ABC reporter then parroted Buffett's claim that his cleaning lady is paying more in payroll taxes then he does on capital gains. "She doesn't have a lobbyist," the investor complained
Of course, neither Buffett nor Golodryga pointed out that the top one percent of earners pay 39.4 percent of all federal income taxes. In fact, Golodryga has touted Buffett's liberal economic policies before. On November 15, 2007, on "Good Morning America," she lauded the investor for coming out "on behalf of fairness in taxes," in relation to his calls to retain the estate tax and (liberally) reform capital gains tax policy. She rhapsodized to viewers that Buffett was on "your side over taxes and fairness."
"Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts conducted a syrupy, softball interview with Michelle and Barack Obama on Monday's program, mostly free from any discussion of substantive policy issues. Instead, Roberts played a clip from a Tennessee State Republican Party ad that attacked Michelle Obama for saying the '08 campaign marked the first time she's been proud of America.
The GMA host empathetically wondered, "Should you get through this process and you have the general election ahead of you, that this is what you can expect more and more of. Are you prepared for that?" Now, readers will remember that liberals (many in the media) were outraged over ABC's April 16 Democratic debate for focusing on allegedly unimportant topics and not "the issues." But Roberts did the exact same thing during her interview, discussing political "horse-race" subjects such as Hillary Clinton for VP and an extensive debate on whether the Obama family will be getting a dog. As an example of the not-so tough queries the candidate's wife faced, the ABC host at one point cooed, "What have you learned about yourself since that night in Iowa?" [audio available here]
On Friday's "Good Morning America," various ABC reporters fretted about the political implications of Barack Obama referring to a female reporter as "sweetie." GMA co-host Diane Sawyer nervously asked, "When do 'honey,' 'sweetie,' cross the line?" Guest host David Muir introduced an investigation into "the debate over what words we can use and can't use when we're talking to members of opposite sex."
To further examine the issue, GMA even dug up previous clips of the presidential candidate using what has become the other S-word. So, only two days after "Sweetie-Gate" broke, the morning show had already provided detail and background on the case. This stands in stark contrast to how GMA (and ABC in general) covered a much more serious subject, Obama's relationship with indicted political operative Tony Rezko, a man that raised money for the senator and was also involved in a questionable land deal related to the purchase of Obama's home in Chicago. In 2006 and 2007, ABC only mentioned Rezko once. Apparently Rezko and the senator's dealings don't measure up to the sweetie story.
A practical joke on last night's "Boston Legal" had mad cow disease-afflicted lawyer Denny Crane (played by William Shatner) believing the RNC wanted him as the presidential nominee.
And it left "Boston Legal" writers with plenty of opportunities to slam Republicans, like this exchange that suggests former Republican President Ronald Reagan had mad cow disease instead of Alzheimer's:
ALAN SHORE: Do they know you have mad cow?
DENNY CRANE: They're looking for the next Ronald Reagan, and he had it at the very end.
ABC's "Nightline" on Monday continued the network's trend of hyperbolically, and in this case, apocalyptically, fretting over high gas prices in America. Anchor Martin Bashir introduced a segment by wondering if $4 a gallon gas might result in some people stealing gasoline, or, as he put it, "taking some drastic measures." Speaking to a car security expert who claimed that such theft would be a misdemeanor because the total cost would be below $1000, reporter John Donvan lost all perspective and replied, "But we may soon be paying more than $1,000 for a tank of gas." [audio available here]
Donvan, in a snarky tone, even cited the plot of the futuristic thriller "The Road Warrior" to support his argument. He speculated, "And in the future, of course, they will be stealing gas and fighting over it. We know that because of the 1981 Mad Max classic 'The Road Warrior.'"
On the May 14 edition of "The View" co-host Sherri Shepherd revealed her family once lived in West Virginia, but not in singing "take me home." Apparently West Virginians are racist. Why? Because Barack Obama lost of course. The noted historian and geographer added she knows "why [her family] moved" and "overwhelming white" West Virginia "voted for Clinton."
Shepherd also implied Clinton voters who say they will vote for McCain if Obama is the nominee are motivated by race. Sherri Shepherd previously chided Elisabeth Hasselbeck for raising concerns about those who vote for Obama because of his race. On the April 24 edition, Shepherd proclaimed that she is "a black woman" and "so proud of [Obama]."
Elisabeth Hasselbeck then jumped in and asked "is it always because of racism or because of politics too?" Whoopi Goldberg opined "it’s hard to tell."
Hillary Clinton won among white voters in West Virginia by a 67-26% margin. Pretty lopsided. Then again, that's nearly an even split compared to the 90+ percent of black votes Barack Obama's been racking up in state after state.
So who does Diane Sawyer suggest should reject race-based votes? Senator 90+? Nope. James Carville was Sawyer's guest during the GMA's opening half-hour today.
DIANE SAWYER: I want to talk about the fact that 20% of the voters coming out of the West Virginia race said race was in fact a factor in their vote, and of those Senator Clinton won 84%. Here's my question: should Senator Clinton say she is rejecting the votes of anyone who votes based in any way on color of skin?
At the close of her interview on CNN’s "Larry King Live" on Monday evening, host Larry King asked ABC’s Barbara Walters "Have you had a major disappointing interview?... Someone you had looked forward to, didn't work out right." Walters named a few notables, and gave the following anecdote: "I have said, I'm very mellow. I'm not auditioning anymore. I'm not out to get the great get. And then one reporter said to me, and what if Osama bin Laden called? I said I'll pack." King, in agreement, replied, "You’re not kidding. Who wouldn't?" So, these two media celebrities would jump at the opportunity to interview the terrorist guru, despite any possible propaganda coup that may result, thus putting the advancement of their career over the national interest.
Almost immediately before this, a viewer asked Walters, "I was just wondering, who's your candidate for president this year?" Walters responded, "Well, you see, part of being in the news department, because I'm part of ABC News, is we do not give opinions. I don't mind writing in the book about my own life, but I don't give my opinions about political candidates." Walters must have forgotten about her colleague at ABC, David Wright, who is a well-known Obama cheerleader, as well as her own endorsement of Al Gore’s "An Inconvenient Truth" and Michael Moore’s "Sicko."
Joy Behar should remove the blinding plank in front of her own eye before removing the splint in front of others. Expressing her outrage that a West Virginia Hillary Clinton voter erroneously labeled Barack Obama a Muslim, Behar opined on May 13's "View" that some people "refuse to accept the reality." "The View" co-host did not mention that some of these reality deniers include Behar herself.
In the past, the daytime chat diva has spouted off many false remarks, putting her leftist ideology before the facts. Joy fed her viewers false information about the vice president’s record on the Marriage Amendment and falsely charged the Bush administration with airing the "swift boat" ads. Behar has also, without evidence, smeared Republican presidential candidates of ties with the Ku Klux Klan and accused Republicans of giving Senator Tim Johnson a stroke.
On World News Saturday, during a story about young Israelis seeking to enjoy life in Tel Aviv to forget about the constant danger of terrorism, ABC's David Muir seemed to suggest that most Israeli cities could be described as relatively "militant" as he compared Tel Aviv to other cities: "Some have called it the 'Tel Aviv Bubble.' But not in a bad way. Other Israeli cities are more religious and more militant."
Then came a soundbite of an Israeli woman who referred to "extremists on both sides," presumably referring to both Palestinians and Jews: "I think it has some kind of stabilizing effect in the country. If it didn't exist, all of the country would be swept by extremists from both sides." (Transcript follows)
"So far some 730 tornadoes have touched down this year, more than double the number for all of last year."—ABC's Bill Weir, GMA 05-10-08, as this graphic was displayed in a segment blaming global warming for increased tornado incidence.
While he told EW “he had to speculate” about dialogue, “Stone insist[ed] that every scene in 'W' will be rooted in truth.” Instead, the movie is a hodge podge of supposed eyewitness accounts, third-hand gossip and fantastical guesswork mixed with “awkward and goofy” caricatures. EW pointed out that “some accounts” “may have come from disgruntled former staffers.”
If the left frothed over ABC's “Path to 9/11” and the media criticized “its invented scenes, fabricated dialogue and unsubstantiated accounts,” then surely they'll immediately knock Stone for these scenes that could come directly from Will Farrell's old “Saturday Night Live” Bush skits (all bold mine):
There's a scene of 26-year-old Bush peeling his car to a stop on his parents' front lawn and drunkenly hurling insults at his father (''Thank you, Mr. Perfect. Mr. War Hero. Mr. F---ing-God-Almighty!''), while another scene set a few years later finds Bush nearly crashing a small plane while flying under the influence.
Michael Pollan, a long-time opponent of "agribusiness" - the food industry - was featured in a segment on his new book, "In Defense of Food: And Eater's Manifesto." Pollan advocates a return to an all-organic diet and offers tips for healthy eating.
Pollan praised "the authority of mom" and lamented that "the holders of culture when it comes to food (mothers) have been undermined by both the scientists and the food marketers."
Years before she admitted her own affairs with married men, ABC's Barbara Walters pressed Monica Lewinsky about her affair with a married Bill Clinton: "Did you ever think about what Hillary Clinton might be feeling?" [audio available here]
At the time, the public wasn’t yet aware of Walters’ own affairs. Now, more than nine years later, Barbara Walters has come forward with stories of her affair in her new book "Audition" something former "The View" co-star Star Jones has publicly denounced saying, "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 […] It speaks to her true character."
This new information on Walters sheds some interesting light on her 1999 "20/20" interview with Monica Lewinsky regarding her affair with President Clinton. As MRC Director of Media Analysis Tim Graham said, "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.'"
At some points in last night's interview with Barbara Walters, ABC's Charles Gibson forgot he was a hard hitting journalist and decided to simply engage in girl talk.
While discussing the beginning of Walters's career, Gibson revealed that she got her first job because of her legs and she slept with her first boss at NBC, which apparently was okay because she "already had the job." Gibson also showed the prevailing attitudes once taken toward women in newsrooms by highlighting a segment she did on the Playboy Club for "The Today Show."
Gibson could have easily asked Walters about the impact these experiences had on her life, but instead he settled for a gab session that could have been taken from a "Sex and the City" script (albeit the sanitized version airing on TBS). All that was missing were the Manolo Blahnik references and a table full of cosmos.
His follow up question to the "sleeping with the boss" revelation was, "why did you tell us that?" which Walters deflected by asking Gibson, "Why did I tell you half the things I told you in this book? I don't know."
"Sex sells" probably wouldn't have been a proper answer, even it if might contain a grain of truth.
John McCain’s anti-woman philosophy will guide him to appoint Supreme Court justices that will roll back civil rights, according to Joy Behar. Discussing the 2008 election on the May 8 edition of "The View," political pundit, Catholic theologian, and constitutional scholar Joy Behar offered her theory on why white women will vote for Obama, assuming he is the nominee, and even called Roe v. Wade "civil rights legislation."
"When these women, these white women that love Hillary so much, you know, there’s a lot of white, he gets the women vote. When they realize that McCain is going to load the Supreme Court up with more conservative justices who are going to probably roll back or try to roll back Roe v. Wade, civil rights legislation, you are going to see those white women go to the polls and vote for Obama."
Elisabeth Hasselbeck noted the absurdity of Behar’s point calling it "such a broad statement" and "an extreme prediction." Joy Behar proceeded to call McCain ideologically "off the wall" and repeated her recounting of labeling McCain "anti-woman" because he’ll allegedly appoint justices that will overturn Roe v. Wade.
"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.)