On the April 27 "World News Tonight," anchor Elizabeth Vargas coined President Bush's call for more regulation of fuel standards a "bold" move:
We turn, now, to ABC's chief Washington correspondent, George
Stephanopoulos. And George, we had a bold move by the President a short time
ago. He wants the ability to change the miles per gallon standards, the so
called CAFÉ standards, on his own, something he currently does not have the
authority to do.
So let's see, the President's move to wiretap incoming phone calls from terror suspects has been roundly criticized as illegal and in reckless disregard to civil liberties. The call to drill for oil in ANWR to increase oil supply and lower gasoline prices has been called "controversial," but seldom if ever bold. But the call to put more regulatory power over industry in the hands of the President, and grow the scope and size of government, that's "bold."
I heard first on Olbermann's "Countdown" (without Olbermann) tonight, and AP confirms: ABC will name the formerly comedic lesbian activist/former daytime host Rosie O'Donnell as Meredith Vieira's replacement on The View:
O'Donnell's appointment was reported Thursday by the newsmagazine Extra. It was confirmed by a person close to the show who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because The View wanted to make the announcement on Friday's show.
The circle of liberalism is complete. Liberal Katie Couric, replaced by liberal Meredith Vieira, replaced by liberal (to put it mildly) Rosie O'Donnell. That's quite a jump from Vieira, a news anchor-type who was said to be "the glue."
Video/audio: Links below to video and/or audio of three O'Donnell outbursts.
All three network morning shows played the envy card Thursday morning, as they hyped the “record high profits” and “corporate greed” of American oil companies. High on their agenda: ExxonMobil’s announcement of $8.4 billion in profits, which the networks implied was scandalous given the high price of oil.
But unstated in the network coverage was the fact that the U.S. government took in more than $7 billion from ExxonMobil during the first quarter of 2006, a jump of more than $2 billion from the same time period in 2005. And that doesn’t count the more than $7.6 billion in excise taxes — the gas tax — that ExxonMobil collected for the government during the same quarter. Plus another $11 billion in "other taxes" and ExxonMobil sent the government more than $25 billion in the first quarter of 2006 -- three times more than the amount network reporters seem to feel is obscene.
Big Government is making more off of high gas prices than Big Oil.
Meredith Vieira just can’t help herself. The View co-host will soon be taking over for Katie Couric on the Today show. One would think that she would try and reign in her bias. Apparently not, as she opened the April 26 edition of The View with another attack on President Bush:
Vieira: "...I’m a little peeved when I hear the President say there’s not much we can do about this, folks. According to the President, the American people have got to understand that what happens elsewhere in the world affects the price of gasoline that you pay here, but where is his responsibility in all this? Five and a half years and we’re dealing with these gas prices? It’s ridiculous."
Gas price rage has blended with executive pay rage recently, since the media have been bashing ExxonMobil’s departing CEO, Lee Raymond, for his pay and pension package.
“Runaway pay,” said NBC’s Brian Williams on April 20, calling executive salaries and benefits “stratospheric” and “staggering.” CBS’s Bob Schieffer compared Raymond’s “golden” retirement to the “average American” on April 13. “How much is too much?” asked NBC’s Matt Lauer on April 11. And ABC’s “Good Morning America” said, “You Must Be Kidding!” referring to Raymond’s package as “stunning” on April 14.
Criticizing highly-paid executives has been in vogue at the news networks lately, but there’s something the anchors aren’t telling you: their colleagues’ top wages could soon be disclosed to the world, and Big Media are fighting it.
Large media companies have been doing everything within their power to hide the compensation plans of their own highest-paid employees from public disclosure. As reported by the Associated Press on April 11:
All three broadcast morning shows this morning noted President Bush’s choice of Tony Snow as new White House press secretary, but only ABC’s Good Morning America saw the need to parrot from the thin list of anti-Bush quotes from Snow’s columns being passed around by the liberal Center for American Progress (although reporter Jessica Yellin presented the quotes as if they were the result of her own research, hiding the fact they came from Democratic partisans).
MRC news analyst Brian Boyd caught Yellin’s piece on Snow, which aired at about 7:05 EDT this morning (Wednesday), with the snarky headline "SNOW JOB" on the screen: “Snow knows both politics and the media. He was the director of speechwriting for George Bush, Sr., and has clocked a decade as a conservative commentator for Fox News,” Yellin began.
Snow has been a conservative commentator for Fox News, of course. But after Joe Lockhart became Bill Clinton’s White House press secretary in 1998, no one at ABC described him as a “former liberal producer for ABC News.”
Reuters reports that ABC's "Commander in Chief," its presidential series featuring a woman chief executive, is on the rocks, but the network is still reluctant to pull the plug.
ABC's "Commander in Chief," starring Oscar winner Geena Davis as the first woman to occupy the Oval Office, is in danger of prime-time impeachment after failing to reverse a steady ratings slide this season.
Despite a renewed promotional push by the Walt Disney Co.-owned network, and a shift to a less competitive time slot, "Commander" has continued to lose viewers since returning this month from an 11-week winter hiatus.
People close to the series acknowledge that the chances of bringing it back for a second season are doubtful unless the program makes some headway in the Nielsens this spring.
Dontcha just love it when a high-profile Democrat goes on ABC’s “This Week” largely to get softball questions thrown at him or her by one of President Clinton’s former advisers? Well, this Sunday, it wasn’t just a function of softballs. Instead, it was the obvious question that George Stephanopoulos chose to not ask Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) that was so confounding and disturbing (video link to follow).
Stephanopoulos addressed recent revelations of a CIA agent named Mary McCarthy who was fired this week for leaking information about secret terrorist detention centers to The Washington Post’s Dana Priest. When Kerry seemingly praised McCarthy for doing what she did – “So I'm glad she told the truth” – Stephanopoulos didn’t bother asking the senator whether his feelings on this matter related to yesterday’s revelations by The New York Times that “Public records show that Ms. McCarthy contributed $2,000 in 2004 to the presidential campaign of John Kerry.” (In reality, donations to Kerry and other Democrats by McCarthy and a man believed to be her husband likely totaled $7,500 in 2004 as described by NewsBuster Christopher Fotos and the JustOneMinute blog.) Yet, for some reason, Stephanopoulos never broached this possible conflict with Kerry during his interview.
The woman who has given hope to a thousand journalists was invited to the annual White House Correspondents dinner. News organizations with reporters covering the White House may invite anyone they wish.
Will Valerie Plame be the talk of this year's White House Correspondents Dinner? E&P has confirmed that she is slated to attend this year's gala, along with her husband Joseph Wilson and several other notable non-journalist guests, such as Alex Trebek and Ben Rothlisberger, according to organizers.
As in the past, attendees at the annual black-tie affair, to be held on April 29 this year, often look for a controversial visitor who might spark extended gossip around the open bar. When outsiders such as Donna Rice, Michael Moore, Fawn Hall or Ozzie Osborne were escorted to the gathering, they sometimes drew nearly as much attention as the president during his remarks.
On April 10, left-wing organizations held a massive rally in Washington and other cities, demanding rights (and taxpayer benefits) for illegal aliens, and the liberal media couldn’t have been more excited. The networks had multiple stories, going from city to city, and breathless phrase to breathless phrase. CBS anchor Bob Schieffer played the worn cliche card: “Not since the protests of the Vietnam era has there been anything quite like it.” Bet ten bucks that CBS has said that about just about every large liberal protest they’ve covered. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, CBS also used on-screen graphics with earth-shaking metaphors like “Awakening Giant” to describe the protesters.
Hollywood Reporter says ABC's matriarchal presidential drama "Commander in Chief" has come back with less-than-impressive numbers.
"Commander in Chief" wasn‘t able to muster the troops in its return to primetime Thursday.
The ABC drama, which stars Geena Davis as the nation‘s first female president, averaged 8.2 million viewers and a 2.4 rating/7 share in the adults 18-49 demographic, according to preliminary ratings data from Nielsen Media Research.
In its new 10 p.m. slot, "Commander" was defeated handily by CBS‘s "Without a Trace" (18.6 million, 5.7/16). It had a couple million more viewers than a repeat of NBC‘s "ER" (6 million, 2.6/7) but the repeat did better in the demo.
Hard-left anti-war reporter Seymour Hersh, who tried so hard in 2004 to get President Bush defeated with the Abu Ghraib scandal, and was given many media opportunities to make his case, had another great week in the media this week with his New Yorker article suggesting Bush wanted to drop bunker-busting nukes on Iranian nuclear sites. As usual, the article was larded with anonymous sources that no one can check or evaluate for political motives.
In interviews on network morning TV this week, no challenge to Hersh’s reporting genius emerged. Both hyped his Pulitzer (is that required before he accepts the invite?) On CBS Monday, MRC's Mike Rule found co-host Hannah Storm didn't challenge Hersh's methods or conclusions, just asking instead for wisdom from the oracle. Notice how many times she promotes him by saying "You say" and repeating his publicity points:
MRC's Brian Boyd found this morning that like NBC, ABC's Good Morning America also leaped on the chance to interview Rumsfeld-bashing Gen. John Batiste. Co-host Diane Sawyer said in the show's first secondsRevolt of the generals. As of this morning, six retired generals call for Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to resign. One of them, a top battlefield commander, joins us live."
At 7:12, Sawyer returned to "that drumbeat of calls for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to step down. Six prominent retired generals say it is time for a change of leadership at the Pentagon. And this morning joining us to tell us about the seismic rumble and also the reaction is ABC senior national correspondent Claire Shipman leading things off, Claire."
Shipman underlined: "Diane, this is extraordinarily unusual. Military officers almost always keep political opinions quiet. Now, six retired generals, 15 stars all together, aligned against Donald Rumsfeld and his prosecution of this war. Secretary Rumsfeld in the crosshairs and each day seems to bring reinforcements in this revolt of retired generals. Just last night retired Major General Charles Swannack, commander of the 82nd Airborne in Iraq, joined the calls for Rumsfeld's resignation. This week retired Marine Lieutenant General Gregory Newbold, who held a key position in war planning, suggested 'replacing Rumsfeld and many others unwilling to fundamentally change their approach.' And retired Army Major General John Batiste, who served in Iraq leading the Army's 1st Infantry Division in 2004 and 2005, also suggested Rumsfeld should resign. Last month another top officer who commanded the training of Iraqi security forces, retired Major General Paul Eaton, wrote 'Mr. Rumsfeld must step down.' Calling him 'incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically.'"
Matt Drudge reports that ABC will likely pull the plug on "Commander in Chief," a show already on life support. Of course, to keep things interesting, the president's husband is going to grope an intern. They figure it kept Clinton in office, so why not them?
ABC is preparing to dismiss the first female president of The United States -- after less than a year on the job!
While it is not clear if the country is ready for a woman to take the title of COMMANDER IN CHIEF, TV executives at ABC have all but decided to pull the plug on the breakthrough drama, top sources tell the DRUDGE REPORT.
Has Meredith Vieira started her stint on the Today show early? The future NBC anchor already knows how to ask combative, loaded questions to conservatives. On the April 12 edition of The View, she posed this query to the Vice President:
Vieira: "You know what, I’ve got a question for Vice President Dick Cheney. Given your low approval ratings these days, why would you want to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Washington Nationals games yesterday?...He got cheered and he got booed."
Vieira, in a segment that started at 11:05AM EDT, seemed honestly puzzled as to why someone would want to throw out the first pitch on opening day. She continued, "But this is a man we rarely see, so why do you think yesterday he made that decision to go out and throw that ball?"
Those at ABC News are certainly fans of leakers who give them scoops. But when the leaker is in their midst, the attitude is reversed. Someone leaked to Matt Drudge an email from John Green, an executive producer for the weekend "Good Morning America," in which he said Bush "makes me sick." He has since been suspended for a month without pay.
Rebecca Dana writes in the New York Observer that TV news divisions have "always been tough on leakers," and the individual whom ABC suspects of leaking the email is feeling the wrath of their legal department.
Television news divisions have always been tough on leakers. Two ABC sources said that an internal investigation into the leak is believed to be ongoing, though a network spokesperson declined to comment on how hotly executives may be pursuing it.
Early suspicions focused on what a number of blogs and The Washington Post called a “disgruntled former employee” of weekend Good Morning America—a man who had a well-known beef with Mr. Green and who was dismissed two weeks before the e-mails surfaced.
Poor John Green. The executive producer of ABC’s weekend “Good Morning America” broadcasts got a month-long involuntary vacation after his private e-mails were exposed saying “Bush makes me sick,” and that former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has “Jew shame.”
Once the e-mails were publicized, the people inside the media were agitated. How many of them are equally guilty? How many people inside the liberal media send snarky anti-Bush notes to each other every day? The New York Times lamented the “chilling effect.”
On the media beat Monday, New York Times reporter Lorne Manly (is that his real name?) wrote a story headlined "Before You Hit Send, Pause, Reflect," on the sad case of ABC weekend "Good Morning America" executive producer John Green, who was suspended for a month after the New York Post reported that he said former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had "Jew shame." He was not suspended immediately when the Drudge Report displayed an e-mail from the 2004 presidential debates where he declared "Bush makes me sick" for his attacks on Kerry.
Manly lamented that the Green mini-scandal has put a "chilling effect" on wild and woolly newsrooms. He began by noting that although newsrooms may be more sanitary and smoke-free than the kind portrayed in the old Cary Grant-Rosalind Russell movie "His Girl Friday," "their freewheeling nature has not been completely extinguished, with the banter and off-color humor about the day's events and personalities ricocheting among today's cubicle dwellers, at times through news organizations' e-mail systems." Manly's story completely exaggerates how the media supposedly bend over backwards to appear fair and balanced:
Here's a few more recent examples of impending "Today" co-host Meredith Vieira sounding liberal on ABC's "The View," courtesy of the MRC Cyber Alert archive:
June 9, 2005: Vieira insisted to Sean Hannity that Hillary’s no puppet of her husband, and whacks away at abstinence-only sex education: "Why does the federal government deny funding then in terms of [sex education] classes for kids if they don't preach anything other than abstinence?"
January 22, 2003: As "The View" crew ganged up on pro-life actress Jennifer O'Neill, Vieira argued: "But prior to abortion becoming legal that’s when things were really secret much more so than after it became legal, and very dangerous. So there is going to be abortion one way or the other."
Meredith Vieira, one of the hosts on ABC's daytime show The View, who announced on Thursday's program that she has agreed to replace Katie Couric as co-host of NBC's Today, marched in an anti-Iraq war protest back in August of 2004. On the Monday, August 30, 2004 edition of The View, the former CBS 60 Minutes reporter told viewers that she attended the anti-Bush protest held in New York City on the Sunday before the Republican convention opened, insisting: "I didn't go anti-Bush or pro-Kerry. I'm still so upset about this war and I'm so proud I live in a country where you can protest." She showed a photo of herself marching with her pre-teen daughter and her husband, Richard, who was the senior political producer at CBS News for most of the 1980s. Behind her in the photo: A protest sign featuring a “W,” for George W. Bush, with a slash through it.
Earlier in 2004, she declared of the Iraq war: "Everything's been built on lies. Everything! I mean the entire pretext for war." And, with war impending in March of 2003, Vieira argued that anti-war protests "should be consistent and repeated every day, I believe." On other episodes of The View Vieira has also made clear her opposition to the death penalty and when guest Ann Coulter charged that “liberals hate America,” Vieira called that “stupid" and became defensive: “But some people wrap themselves in the flag -- I mean, that's what some liberals are against.” Then she charged: "Just like McCarthy: 'I'm just being patriotic.'"
Video clip #1: Vieira talking about participating in the 2004 anti-Iraq war march (1:25). Real (2.5 MB) or Windows Media (2.9 MB), plus MP3 audio (425 KB).
Brian Stelter at TV Newser broke the story Friday that "Good Morning America Weekend executive producer John Green has been suspended for one month after his personal e-mails were leaked to the Drudge Report and Page Six, TVNewser has learned. Phyllis McGrady made the announcement at GMA's morning meeting today. A number of ABC News staffers are outraged that Green's personal messages have become a public embarrassment. Some have speculated that the messages were leaked by a disgruntled former employee."
Howard Kurtz picked up the story in Saturday's Washington Post:
ABC News suspended the executive producer of the weekend edition of "Good Morning America" yesterday over a pair of leaked e-mails in which he used inflammatory language to slam President Bush and Madeleine Albright.
When Hillary Clinton charged that the House Republican immigration bill would "criminalize...Jesus himself," there was national-media notice – if not criticism. Even Hillary’s "hometown" newspaper The New York Times reported on March 23 that Senator Clinton intensified her criticism of Republican immigration proposals, albeit on page B-5. But no one in the story criticized Hillary for her harsh attack. Instead, reporter Nina Bernstein noted only critics to Hillary’s left: "Mrs. Clinton had been criticized by some immigrant activists for saying little about the issue until March 8, and then speaking at an Irish-only rally, rather than at a forum more representative of immigrants. But yesterday all seemed forgiven." Bernstein’s story, headlined, "Mrs. Clinton Says GOP Immigration Plan Is At Odds With The Bible," began:
Caitlin Johnson on ABCNews.com thinks it's about time for a woman president and hopes that all the "presidential talk surrounding" Hillary Clinton means America is finally "ready to accept a woman president and ready to catch up with the rest of the world."
Washington, D.C., is buzzing about New York Sen. Hillary Clinton. Some have called her the future president, others, like Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, say she is too angry to be a viable candidate for the Democrats.
Perhaps the presidential talk surrounding Clinton indicates that the United States is ready to accept a woman president and ready to catch up with the rest of the world. Women are now heads of state in Germany, Liberia and Chile. Finland's president, Tarja Halonen, was just re-elected last week. But in the United States, shifting the balance of power between men and women has been a slow, and sometimes frustrating process.
TV Newser spotted an item from NBC anchor Brian Williams' Daily Nightly blog about his ABC colleague Bob Woodruff, who was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq and is still in the hospital.
I would only remind everyone that our colleague at ABC News, Bob Woodruff, is engaged in a personal and titanic struggle to fully recover from the wounds he received while trying to cover the "good news" in Iraq. That was exactly the mission he was on when his world was put on hold. Many of the journalists killed while covering this war were doing the exact same thing. The brave men and women who have volunteered for duty in our own NBC News Bureau in Baghdad put their own lives on the line each day. They will tell you -- as we have experienced for ourselves in Iraq -- that we'd like very much to beam home more stories of positive developments (especially the achievements of U.S. soldiers there, who I find are so mightily impressive when seen on the job) were it not for the palpable risk to life and limb that comes with each and every moment and movement on the streets.
ABC started off this week's focus on global warming by falsely presenting a liberal journalist and author as a Pulitzer Prize winner.
Former Boston Globe editor and reporter Ross Gelbspan was the centerpiece of Geoff Morrell's March 26 World News Tonight report. Morrell labeled Gelbspan a "Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist." But Gelbspan never won the award, which was given to seven reporters in 1984 for a social issue -- series on race relations in Boston -- not a scientific dispute like climate change.
Over at Opinion Journal, James Taranto adds his two cents and research to the question of ABC executive producer John Green's e-rant against Bush making him sick for hitting a "mixed messages" talking point in the first presidential debate on September 30, 2004:
We went back and reviewed the debate transcript, and it turns out that Kerry was the first to talk of "mixed messages." Here are all the times the phrase appeared during the debate
Kerry: Jim, let me tell you exactly what I'll do. And there are a long list of thing. First of all, what kind of mixed message does it send when you have $500 million going over to Iraq to put police officers in the streets of Iraq, and the president is cutting the COPS program in America? . . .
The Drudge-revealed e-mail of ABC weekend executive producer John R. Green has not yet been put in context. It's dated September 30, 2004 and Green is saying "Are you watching this? Bush makes me sick. If he uses the 'mixed messages' line one more time, I'm going to puke."
September 30, 2004 was the night of the first presidential debate between Bush and Kerry. (That puts "Are you watching this?" in context.) Looking at the transcript, Green had plenty of occasions to get sick of Bush's message that Kerry couldn't decide on a position. First, this line early in the debate from Bush:
I had the honor of visiting with Prime Minister Allawi. He's a strong, courageous leader. He believes in the freedom of the Iraqi people. He doesn't want U.S. leadership, however, to send mixed signals, to not stand with the Iraqi people.
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann charged on Thursday night's Countdown that the e-mail, in which ABC News producer John Green complained that “Bush makes me sick,” was “leaked to the infamous, deplorable Matt Drudge” by a desperate White House. His evidence? “I'm not even going to put the 'if that came from the White House somehow' thing in there because the timing's too good.”
Olbermann proposed to Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank: “Does this not smack of desperation on the part of the White House, to let something like that leak out right now?" Olbermann had gone too far even for Milbank, who came to Drudge's defense: "I, first of all, am never going to call Matt Drudge deplorable. Every time he links to one of my stories, I get an extra 50,000 hits." On Green, Milbank indicted his colleagues as he called for condemnation of the ABCer: “We have to say it is unacceptable for a journalist to be doing this, in part because, look, you and I and other journalists go out all the time and say things critical of Bush, but this fellow, I don't know him, is obviously very personally invested.”
National Review Online was kind enough today to publish a little piece I composed, titled "Role Reversal: David Gregory finds out what it's like to be Scott McClellan." It briefly chronicles how Laura Ingraham started a wave of defensive media coverage with her fiery soundbites in favor of the liberal media getting off the balcony if-it-bleeds-it-leads beat. Here are some additional notes I took as I was putting this together...
Reporters were shaking their heads at the thought that a few speeches by President Bush could undo their handiwork in lowering Americans’ approval of the war and its commander.
One particularly absurd sentence came out of ABC White House reporter Jessica Yellin: "Even the President’s aides acknowledge this speech on its own won’t reverse falling American support for a war that increasingly defines the Bush presidency." No one on Earth expects one daytime speech in Cleveland to completely reverse public opinion. But it was almost a taunting sentence: the White House must admit that they can’t turn around public opinion if the TV news crews oppose them tooth and nail.
According to today's Drudge Report, the executive producer of the weekend edition of "Good Morning America," John Green, sent an email in which he flatly states, "Bush makes me sick."
The producer went on to write, "If he uses the 'mixed messages' line one more time, I'm going to puke."
Drudge cites the comment of a Green friend: "John feels so badly about this email. He is a straight shooter and great producer who is always fair. That said, he deeply regrets the sentiment expressed in the email and the embarrassment it causes ABC News."
No doubt Green deeply regrets the embarrassment to ABC News. Once again, here's evidence of the bias permeating much of the mainstream media.