There are credit cards out there for subprime borrowers, too - it's not just mortgages. That means a new class of supposed victims for reporters like ABC's Chris Cuomo to defend.
Cuomo's segment on the March 27 "Good Morning America" hammered away at the credit card industry, claiming consumers were "getting sucked in by attractive offers" and being "trapped" by "fee-laden cards." He said to him, the whole thing seemed "wrong" and that companies were "squeeeezing" (he drew out the word) cardholders.
"But with these fees - account management, and all these clever names you have for them - that's not about borrowing," Cuomo accused. "That's about squeezing it out of them before the game even begins. Isn't that unfair? Isn't that past the line?" Cuomo pressed Chris Stinebert, president and CEO of the American Financial Services Association.
The story centered on 19-year-old Celina Alvarez, who got a credit card to pay her college tuition but then discovered her purchase wasn't the only charge.
"I didn't understand it to begin with," Alvarez said. "But then when I saw all those little small charges, I was like, that's ridiculous." According to the ABC story, the card included an "$100 origination fee" and a $10.95 charge that Cuomo called a "monthly maintenance fee."
"How much of a surprise is it that they can actually get inside the embassy? How fortified is that?" -- Diane Sawyer, 3-27-08, commenting on reports mortars and rockets had fallen inside Green Zone.
Someone get Diane Sawyer a crash course in indirect fire. Discussing this morning the recent flurry of rocket and mortar attacks landing inside the Green Zone in Baghdad, Sawyer supposed that the insurgents had somehow breached the perimeter themselves and fired from inside the US embassy compound!
"Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo offered "practical" advice on how a man, who used to be a woman and is now pregnant, could safely bring a pregnancy to term. After recounting the story of Thomas Beatie, formally Tracy LaGondino, the medical procedures he's undergone and his artificial insemination, Cuomo segued into an interview with obstetrician Lisa Masterson.
The GMA co-host asked, "All right, so, let's go from the bizarre to the practical here." In a story that could be filed under "news you can't use," Cuomo asked about the risks that hormone therapy could pose to such an individual. This "practical" discussion led to medical warnings unusual for morning television:
LISA MASTERSON: Well, a lot of times, the transgenders will take testosterone injections and especially since Thomas has a female baby right now, that can cause male type characteristics in the female fetus' sexual organs. So, the clitoris can get larger. Actually, the vaginal folds can come in and sort of mimic the scrotum or the male genitalia. So, it's really important that he doesn't take any testosterone, especially early on in the pregnancy, but even later on in the pregnancy when it can cause the clitoris to enlarge.
Time to lace up the skates and cut some rhetorical figure-eights. GMA has quoted a Dem official as saying that in her desperate quest for the nomination, Hillary Clinton is down to "the Tonya Harding option." ABC senior political correspondent Jake Tapper cited the skating simile in his Good Morning America segment this morning.
JAKE TAPPER: It is mathematically possible, improbable yes, but possible for Senator Hillary Clinton to win the Democratic nomination. What concerns Democratic officials in Washington is what Clinton will have to do to Senator Barack Obama in order for that to happen. One Democratic official told ABC News it is “the Tonya Harding option.”
Cut to clip of Harding, skating at the 1994 Olympics, as Tapper continued.
In all the brouhaha last week over the incendiary comments made by Barack Obama's pastor the media seemed to forget to partake in their traditional Holy Week Christian-bashing excercise. There were a few entries in the "Easter Hit Parade," like the Comedy Central show "Root of All Evil" which my boss, Brent Bozell, wrote about in a column recently, and an episode of "Law and Order" which featured another Christian-stones-someone storyline.
I suppose it's good news that there was less faith flagellation courtesy of the liberal media, and yet at the same time it's sad that I was expecting to find it at Easter time. But the fact remains that Christmas and Easter are generally times when the media attacks on Christians are more pronounced.
Barack Obama came to Philadelphia on March 18 not so much to address his poisonous pastor, Jeremiah Wright, but to talk vaguely of race relations. The news media swooned. No one was giddier than MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who rhapsodized that Obama’s speech was one of the greatest speeches in American history, worthy of Abraham Lincoln, and should be read by school children like "The Great Gatsby" and "Huckleberry Finn." This, after all, is the Chris Matthews who said he "felt this thrill going up my leg" over Obama.
Obama said he could no more disown Wright than his own white grandmother, whom he disparaged as mired in racial stereotypes. ABC’s George Stephanopoulos deemed that part of the speech an "act of honor" -- even if it publicly humiliated Grandma, and even if Wright’s record of paranoid ranting and raving about racism is anything but honorable.
Jack Kevorkian, AKA Dr. Death, has a celebrity in his fan club, "View" co-host Whoopi Goldberg.
Discussing the notorious suicide assisting doctor’s run for Congress on the March 25 edition, Goldberg said she’s a "big fan" of Kevorkian "because he believed that he could help people who were in, in a place where no one was helping them." Joy Behar wondered: "Why is he a bad guy? I don’t understand it...it’s over my head somewhere." [Audio available here.]
Elisabeth Hasselbeck expressed concern about a "gray area" and "lines blurring," if for example the one responsible for a suffering person’s care has financial motives for that person’s death. Sherri Shepherd, besides a few jokes, did not contribute much to the conversation. Transcript follows:
Only white people can be racist according to ‘View’ co-host Joy Behar. Also on the March 24 broadcast, both Behar and Whoopi Goldberg justified Barack Obama’s connection to Jeremiah Wright by pointing to Bush’s association with Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and their many controversial remarks. It could be a valid point if Falwell or Robertson were Bush’s pastor for 20 years. Neither of them ever were.
After Elisabeth Hasselbeck labeled Reverend Wright "racist," Whoopi Goldberg jumped in and alluded to the late Reverend Jerry Falwell’s suggestion that God allowed the September 11 attacks because of secular forces in America. Whoopi asked Elisabeth if she should leave the Republican party because of that. Elisabeth noted that Falwell is not her spiritual adviser. Joy Behar then claimed that Robertson and Falwell are "spiritual advisers" to the Republican party.
Behar then essentially stated it is impossible for those in the "oppressed minority" (African Americans) to be racist. This is according to her college sociology professor.
The Big Three Networks and Their Plan to Protect Obama (PPO)Why did it take until Thursday March 13, 2008, for the nation to begin to learn about Barack Obama's pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright? The man whose Trinity United Church of Christ Obama has attended and generously funded for seventeen years? Whom he had publicly and repeatedly cited as his mentor and had named as a campaign advisor? Whom he chose to perform his wedding and baptize his two daughters?
Because, until then, we were in the midst of Phase I -- preventative medicine -- of the media's version of campaign health care for the Senator's Presidential bid. Call it the Plan to Protect Obama (PPO).
The Reverend Wright story had been percolating beneath the surface for several years. It finally broke through to widespread dissemination last week. A picture is worth a thousand words -- moving pictures with audio of Wright's anti-American, paranoid rantings from the pulpit have finally inspired many more than that.
"Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo somehow managed to make it through an entire segment on Kwame Kilpatrick, the scandal-ridden Democratic mayor of Detroit, without mentioning his political affiliation (other than a brief, non-verbal video graphic). Cuomo described Kilpatrick as the "beleaguered mayor," a "prominent politician," and, simply, "the mayor."
In contrast, while GMA's report on Kilpatrick was a rather straight forward recitation of the facts, the morning program wondered in August of 2007 if Senator Larry Craig's bathroom scandal could spell doom for the Republican Party. On August 28, 2007, guest co-host Bill Weir gravely wondered, "Is the GOP losing its grip?"
As media continue to report current economic conditions as being almost Depression-like, they conveniently forget which political party has controlled both chambers of Congress since January 2007 as well as who was in the White House when key financial services deregulation was enacted.
Such a well-timed amnesia hit ABC's Claire Shipman Sunday when during the panel discussion segment of "This Week," she blamed the current financial crisis on Republicans.
Color me unsurprised.
After host George Stephanopoulos asked Shipman's husband, Time magazine's Jay Carney, "How does John McCain fix his problem on the economy," the following ensued:
With Eliot Spitzer gone, Chuck Schumer moves to the head of the list of smugly self-righteous New York pols. So it was particularly satisfying to see Sen. Jon Kyl [R-AZ] put Schumer is his place on This Week with George Stephanopoulos today.
A guest with Kyl for purposes of discussing the economy, Schumer clearly came in with a game plan: to analogize President Bush to the man who presided over the beginning of the Great Depression: Herbert Hoover. After Schumer tried it twice, Kyl had had enough and unleashed a riposte as devastating as it was reasoned.
The "Big Three" networks’ evening newscasts, marking the fifth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq on Wednesday evening, all chose to air news briefs on the anti-war protests across the United States. The news briefs all aired within the first ten minutes of each program. CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric, as part of the first report on her program, used the protests as "evidence" of one of their recent poll results, that "more than half of Americans [59%] believe going to war in Iraq was a bad idea." "There are 155,000 troops in Iraq right now, and today, protesters in Washington and other U.S. cities reflected our poll. Nearly half the respondents [46%] said most U.S. troops should be pulled out within a year."
Five minutes into NBC "Nightly News," anchor Brian Williams chose to focus on the protests in Washington, DC. "There were anti-war protests today in several U.S. cities, including the nation's capital, where police arrested more than 30 people when they tried to block the entrance to the IRS, and they also tied up Connecticut Avenue, a major thoroughfare. There were also protests in New York's Times Square, downtown San Francisco, and in smaller towns as well, in places like Ohio and Vermont."
ABC’s "World News" anchor Charles Gibson, as part of his retrospective on the past five years of the Iraq war, mentioned the anti-war protests as well. "For some Americans, this is the fifth anniversary of a war they do not support. There were marches in California, and in the nation's capital, a dozen people were arrested for blocking the entrances of the Internal Revenue Service. The protesters oppose being taxed to help fund the war."
Are Reverend Wright’s anti-American sermons simply taken out of context? According to "View" co-hosts Sherri Shepherd and Barbara Walters they are. Sherri Shepherd first made excuses for Wright claiming "he suffered racism full force,"and then added viewers are not getting the full context and any of "The View" co-hosts could be tagged as racist with a sound bite.
Barbara Walters concurred noting that in Joy Behar calling Barack Obama "literate" could be taken as a racial slur. Elisabeth Hasselbeck struck back challenging the co-hosts to "put [Reverend Wright’s inflammatory remarks] in a context that sounds good. It doesn’t."
Joy Behar, who does not even know the Constitution and its history, took a shot at President Bush’s intelligence labeling him illiterate and claiming if he were to give a speech about race, "it would be about NASCAR."
On Wednesday's "Good Morning America," various hosts and reporters could barely restrain their glee and admiration for Senator Barack Obama's Tuesday speech about race and the incendiary comments of his pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Co-host Robin Roberts hyperbolically claimed that "some" believe "his speech was not only important for his campaign but also for the future of the country." In a tease for the program, she put the onus on America and asserted, "Barack Obama challenges voters and the country..."
Fellow co-host Chris Cuomo set up an "exclusive" interview with the presidential candidate by labeling the speech "historic." "Nightline" co-host Terry Moran, who talked to Obama, prefaced his segment by bubbling, "Well, as you know, one of the hardest things to do in American politics, in American society, is to talk honestly about race. And it's clear that's what Barack Obama was trying to do in that remarkable speech."
Exactly five years ago, an international coalition of troops led by the U.S. invaded Iraq, overthrowing Saddam Hussein's tyrannical dictatorship in just three weeks. Since then, Iraqis have voted in free democratic elections to seat a representative parliament; Saddam and several of his henchmen have been tried and convicted in public war crimes trials; and a bloody insurgency fomented by al Qaeda in Iraq is in retreat after a surge of U.S. troops and a shift to more aggressive counter-insurgency tactics.
Analysts at the Media Research Center have studied TV news coverage of the Iraq war from the beginning, even before the first bombs fell on Baghdad in March 2003. The record shows the networks have trumpeted bad news — setbacks for the U.S. coalition and allegations of misdeeds by American troops — while minimizing good news such as the success of the 2007 troop surge and acts of heroism by U.S. soldiers.
"Good Morning America" economic reporter Bianna Golodryga narrated a segment on Tuesday's show that featured grainy black and white footage from the 1930s and two references to the Great Depression. The ABC journalist also featured clips from Democratic presidential contenders Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to amplify the warnings of impending economic doom.
While discussing the collapse of investment bank Bear Stearns, grainy footage of panicked '30s bankers appeared onscreen as Golodryga intoned, "The problems are so massive that the Fed is taking measures not seen since the Great Depression..." And while President Bush was briefly highlighted, assuring Americans that the United States will rebound, Paul McCulley, the managing director of the investment company Pimco, continued the comparison to the worst economic crisis the United States ever faced. Referencing impending action by the Federal Reserve, he asserted, "...You could have the Fed with great intentions but still a downward spiral in property prices that would give you a modern day depression." For comparison's sake, during the Great Depression, almost 25 percent of Americans were unemployed.
Barack Obama’s pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, made excuses for Obama’s association by comparing it to her family remaining loyal to the Catholic Church despite the sex abuse scandal. Barbara Walters called Obama a "uniter" and hopes the pastor’s words do not "taint" Obama’s presidential aspiration.
Joy Behar made an apples and oranges comparison that members of her family should not be "indicted" for continuing attendance at the Catholic Church after the sex abuse scandal. Behar excused Obama’s long time relationship with an anti-American minister, but scolded John McCain for a random supporter calling Hillary Clinton a "bitch." Does Behar grant more leeway for a Democrat than a Republican, or is she more offended by anti-Hillary comments than anti-American ones?
While investigating legal brothels in Nevada, including the famous Moonlite Bunny Ranch, "Good Morning America" host Diane Sawyer received a bathrobe, the same one that the prostitutes wear. It was embroidered, "Diane: Trainee," this according to a report in Monday's New York Daily News.
Sawyer will host a two hour "20/20" special onMarch 21 that examines the world of prostitution. The Daily News quoted Bunny Ranch head Dennis Hof, who gave Sawyer the bathrobe, as saying the GMA host "really hit it off with all my girls." The article went on to note that the project languished for two years before finally being scheduled to air. Apparently, disgraced ex-Governor Elliot Spitzer's call girl controversy prompted ABC to finally broadcast this investigation.
Could this photo be a first? It shows a card-carrying member of the MSM shooting a handgun. That's Jan Crawford Greenburg, an ABC News legal correspondent. The clip, pun intended, of Greenburg on the firing range was part of a segment she narrated on today's Good Morning America on a case to be argued before the Supreme Court today. At issue is the District of Columbia's law banning handguns. The case comes before the Supreme Court after the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. invalidated the law. The decision could be a landmark, potentially the first time the Supreme Court rules squarely on the issue of whether the Second Amendment establishes an individual right to bear arms.
The segment was surprisingly respectful of the right to bear arms. Beyond Greenburg's personal marksmanship demonstration, the segment began with a sympathetic depiction of the plight of Shelly Parker, the DC resident who started the case by suing the city over its gun ban.
"Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts interviewed Bill Clinton for nine minutes over two segments on Monday and somehow managed to avoid discussing the disgraced Eliot Spitzer and controversial Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Instead, GMA again featured another positive look at the Clinton Global initiative and its plan to fight poverty and get young people involved. Roberts gushed, "It's got to warm your heart 'cause this is something that's very-- has always been very dear to you about getting them involved."
Roberts found no time to ask the ex-president, who was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice in relation to a sex scandal, for his thoughts on former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's entanglement with a prostitution ring and his eventual resignation. The segment, which was highly edited, featured the ABC journalist making only a glancing reference to Wright, Senator Barack Obama's incendiary former preacher and the man responsible for racially charged statements. She mildly added, "...Geraldine Ferraro, Reverend Wright. I mean, both sides-- things that are being said by surrogates." Roberts then shifted the conversation back to a much older topic, Clinton's South Carolina comments linking Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama.
How much trouble is Barack Obama in over the extremism of Jeremiah Wright? Enough that Dem strategist Donna Brazile has been reduced to arguing that as black preachers go, Wright is relatively moderate. Enough that the normally affable Brazile got a bit short with Time editor Mark Halperin, he of the infamous memo to his subordinates during the 2004 presidential campaign while serving as ABC News political director.
The comments came during the panel discussion on today's This Week with George Stephanopoulos on ABC.
David Petraeus was diplomatic in his language and careful to honor the primacy of civilian authority over the military. But the commanding general of multi-lateral forces in Iraq has left little doubt that if a new president wanted to withdraw from Iraq faster than would reflect Petraeus's considered military opinion, his family would be happy to have him home.
ABC's Bill Weir interviewed the Gen. Petraeus as part of a Good Morning America special today marking the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq. The opening segment focused almost exclusively on the costs of the war. Some producer had apparently calculated that the war has cost 19 times the annual budget of Los Angeles. Who knew? But a subsequent segment did highlight some of the progress that has been made, notably in terms of former insurgents now come over to the multi-lateral side. Then came the Petraeus interview, which ended with this exchange.
BILL WEIR: You serve at the pleasure of the president. If our new president, a year from now, says general, I want out of here in a year. What do you say? Is that even feasible?
Rev. Jeremiah Wright has been Obama's pastor for 20 years. Obama named his book, "Audacity of Hope" after a sermon of his, and he and his wife were married by the pastor. He is even a part of Obama's campaign.
“The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people,” he said in a 2003 sermon. “God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.”
My colleague Brent Baker has painstakingly documented how the big three broadcast networks have gone out of their way to avoid labeling scandal-scarred New York Governor Eliot Spitzer as a “Democrat.” An examination of the fifteen ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows through Wednesday night finds Spitzer was called a Democrat just 20% of the time — twice on CBS, once on ABC, and never on NBC.
So how do the networks treat Republicans involved in sex scandals? Always, always as Republicans, and as problems for their party.
Last July, Louisiana Senator David Vitter’s name surfaced in the phone records of the “DC Madam,” Deborah Jean Palfrey. Over the next week, ABC talked about Vitter twice on World News and twice on Good Morning America, labeling him as a “Republican” or “conservative Republican” all four times.
According to Media Life Magazine, the three big network evening news broadcasts have slipped badly in the key 18 to 34 age bracket. At the same time, though, the Cable news nets have picked up among that same demographic. All three network newscasts have lost numbers since last year, with Katie Couric having the worst slide of the three.
According to Media Life, the main reason the evening news shows have been losing so steadily is because the Internet and Cable can give news at any time the viewer is ready to take their news whereas the evening news must be specifically scheduled into the viewer's lives. Media Life claims that the 18 to 34 age group just "never got into the evening news habit" -- a pretty plausible point.
Everyone is a whore according to "View" panelist Joy Behar. Discussing the identity of Governor Eliot Spitzer’s call girl, Ashley Alexandra Dupre, Behar appeared sympathetic and portrayed the woman as a victim. Later in the show, in conversing about former "American Idol" contestant David Hernandez’s alleged background as a stripper, Behar hypothesized that "everybody is a whore, a little bit."
Crackpot theories are not new to daytime personality. Behar previously suggested that the saints of the past would be mental patients today. Joy Behar continued that "every time you say ‘yes’ when you want to say ‘no,’ you’re whoring yourself." Whoopi Goldberg opined "it depends what you think whoring is. You know, what’s whoring to one person is not whoring to another."
At the end of a Good Morning America segment today about Barack Obama's pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., an Obama campaign representative complained that John McCain's pastor had not been similarly "vetted." If that's true, then ABC or some other media outlet surely should and will do so.
Let's imagine that upon vetting, McCain's pastor is found to have made statements that were the mirror-image of those that Rev. Wright has made. How long would McCain remain a viable candidate? Judge for yourself, based on Rev. Wright's statements as exposed in the GMA segment that was the result of work by ABC's chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross. GMA aired a number of clips from sermons Rev. Wright gave at his Trinity United Church of Christ.
JEREMIAH WRIGHT: "The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law, and then wants us to sing God Bless America? No, no, no! Not God bless America. God damn America! It's in the Bible, for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating its citizens as less than human!"