BET founder Bob Johnson, despite his consistent support of Hillary Clinton, placed an unequivocal importance on Barack Obama’s election as President during a segment on Wednesday’s "American Morning." "I believe that if Senator Obama leads this country the way he ran the primary, it will become a historic event for African-Americans, probably greater than the Emancipation Proclamation, which was signed in 1863."
This statement, which he made during an interview at the top of the 7 am hour of the CNN program, was a drastic change of tune for the media mogul. Earlier this year, Johnson hinted at Barack Obama’s drug use during a Clinton campaign rally. "Hillary and Bill Clinton, who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues -- when Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood that I won't say what he was doing, but he said it in his book." CNN contributor (and thinly-veiled Obama supporter) Roland Martin blasted both Johnson and Hillary Clinton for the remarks on "American Morning" itself at the time.
CNN’s Kyra Phillips and Suzanne Malveaux fretted over Barack Obama’s recent decision to leave his "controversial church" during a segment on Monday’s "American Morning." During her introduction to Malveaux’s report on the decision, Phillips lamented, "You know, he's getting criticized -- okay, he acting like a typical politician.... He's bailing out of the church. Well, he would have been accused of the same type of things if he stayed in the church. He can't win." Malveaux responded, "The things is, you know, Kyra, this was a personal decision. It was a political decision, but also a personal decision. When I interviewed Michelle Obama, they talked about the kind of pain that -- actually disassociating themselves from Reverend Wright...."
Both before and after her report, Malveaux guessed that the fact that the Obamas "had no control over the church" contributed to their decision to leave.
CNN correspondent Carol Costello, covering the reaction to McClellan’s new "tell-all" book about the Bush administration on Thursday’s "American Morning," added some liberal-leaning psychoanalysis to the obligatory quotes from current and former administration officials and a clip from Rush Limbaugh. "Unflattering kiss and tells about the Bush administration are a dime a dozen. Spilling the beans: former Treasury secretary Paul O'Neill, former Iraq Envoy Paul Bremer, and former Senior Economic Adviser Larry Lindsay. From a psychological standpoint, that's not surprising. Analysts say the Bush administration demanded loyalty and suppressed dissent -- a perfect recipe for rebellion."
Costello included a clip of Dr. Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist, who noted that McClellan’s book "appears to be an act of revenge" done "in a potentially very self-destructive way." Because of this, she concluded that "you have to wonder about the guilt that they feel," because "they're asking for punishment, in a sense."
CNN’s John Roberts wasted no time to herald Scott McClellan’s "revelation" on how the Bush administration supposedly used "propaganda" to push the Iraq war. After reading an excerpt from McClellan’s book on the issue, Roberts responded, "He finally articulates what we all came to believe... and further goes on to say that this war was unnecessary."
Roberts, who, during McClellan’s time as White House Press Secretary, was the White House Correspondent for CBS, made the comment during an interview of the Politico’s Mike Allen, who broke the McClellan story on Tuesday. Allen, like Roberts, was a White House correspondent during McClellan’s time as Press Secretary, first for the Washington Post, and then for Time magazine.
Allen, in reaction to Roberts’s commentary on McClellan, replied, "Well, John, I think that's right, that these aren't particularly novel observations." He continued that McClellan "has put on a new hat. He's put on a historian's hat. He's not an administration flack anymore...."
"American Morning" substitute co-host Kyra Phillips pressed former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on the Iraq war on Wednesday, asserting that her liberal talking point was a fact. When Giuliani defended President Bush’s legacy, that he "will go down as he has protected us against terrorism when nobody thought it could be done," Phillips retorted, "But the Iraq war is not about protecting us from terrorism. It's been the most unpopular and controversial war." When the former mayor challenged this statement as her opinion, Phillips became rather defensive. "Oh, I’m not saying that. No, no, no, I'm not voicing my opinion.... I'm voicing what's out there. I’m voicing the realities" [audio available here].
"Oh, he's so down to earth," Phillips said. "He just seems like a very genuine, real person you could have a great time with. And he's a Democrat, right? I'm curious. Did he talk to you about who he is backing?"
The “Worst of the Week” from the Media Research Center: On the May 16 American Morning, CNN permitted Clinton campaign advisor Jamie Rubin to slam Republican John McCain as a "flip-flopper" and a "hypocrite," all based on a tightly-edited 41-second video clip supplied by Rubin himself. After summarizing McCain's recent jabs at Democrat Barack Obama's Middle East policies, fill-in co-anchor Kyra Phillips touted: "But there's word this morning that McCain hasn't actually been consistent in his opposition to [the Palestinian terrorist group] Hamas."
CNN then showed the edited clip of Rubin's January 28, 2006 SkyNews interview with McCain, in which he seemed to suggest dealing with Hamas without preconditions. In a six-minute interview with Phillips, Rubin blasted McCain's supposed change in positions as "the ultimate flip-flop in American politics" and "the height of hypocrisy." No Republican appeared to balance Rubin, and Phillips never indicated whether CNN even sought a response from McCain. [Audio/video (1:56): Windows Media (7.14 MB) and MP3 audio (539 kB)]
CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, during a discussion of President Bush’s recent trip to the Middle East on Monday’s "American Morning," cited her discussion with unnamed "analysts and experts," and concluded " it's hard to discern any evidence of any success on this trip whatsoever." "American Morning" substitute co-host Kyra Phillips, following-up to Amanpour’s analysis, remarked, "Well, critics have come forward and said, okay, whether it's his policies in Iraq, Lebanon, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he's failed everywhere."
Twenty-four hours after CNN started giving covering fire for Barack Obama in response to President Bush’s "appeasement" remark, the network has now aided the Democratic spin machine in attacking John McCain as a hypocrite with regards to Hamas, based on a 2006 video clip provided by Clinton adviser James Rubin. In the excerpt, the Arizona Senator appeared to be endorsing negiotiations with the terror group. But CNN conducted its own interview of McCain at the same time, January 28, 2006, in which he insisted that Hamas "renounce this commitment to the extinction of the state of Israel. Then we can do business again." So CNN is trusting Rubin as the authority on what McCain’s stance was two years ago, instead of their own archival video [see video clip below]
UPDATE, 6:30PM ET: National Review's The Corner has a post up indicating that the full Rubin-McCain interview from 2006 also seriously undercuts Rubin's claims of hypocrisy.
White House Press Secretary Dana Perino has refuted assertions by CNN that President Bush, in a speech to the Israeli Knesset on Thursday, "[suggested] that Senator Barack Obama and other Democrats are in favor of appeasing terrorists in the same way that U.S. leaders appeased the Nazis in the run-up to World War II."
As my colleague Matthew Balan reported less than two hours ago, CNN's "American Morning" was quick to view statements made by the President as hostile to the junior senator from Illinois and other Democrats.
Yet, in a press gaggle following the President's speech, Perino flatly denied such assertions (file photo above right):
Minutes after President Bush began his speech to the Israeli Knesset, CNN quickly channeled outraged Democratic reaction to his "false comfort of appeasement" remark. "American Morning" co-host John Roberts, in a brief on the speech, claimed the President was "suggesting that Senator Barack Obama and other Democrats are in favor of appeasing terrorists in the same way that U.S. leaders appeased the Nazis in the run-up to World War II," though the President did not mention any Democratic official or the Democratic Party.
The graphic on the screen also reflected this belief that Democrats were being unfairly smeared: "Pres. Says Obama, Other Dems Want ‘Appeasement of Terrorists" and "Pres. Bush Compares Dems’ Stance on War to Appeasement of Nazis."
The general election has apparently begun. This week, the liberal media launched a pre-emptive attack on Republican campaign tactics even as TV interviewers slobbered all over Barack Obama. Here are the Media Research Center’s "Worst of the Week" (audio and video links below the fold):
# GOP: Merchants of Slime and Hate. It’s Hillary Clinton’s campaign, not the GOP, which has pummeled Barack Obama these past weeks, but journalists are nevertheless impugning Republicans as dirty campaigners. The May 19 Newsweek cover story channeled Democratic talking points to claim "the Republican Party has been successfully scaring voters since 1968." (Ever listen to Democratic rhetoric on Social Security?) Co-authors Richard Wolffe and Evan Thomas questioned whether John McCain really wanted to "rein in the merchants of slime and sellers of hate who populate the Internet...who exercise their freedom in ways that give a bad name to free speech."
CNN’s John Roberts apparently took David Gergen’s advice from last week, and during his interview of Barack Obama on Monday’s "American Morning," declared out of the gate that he wasn’t going to ask the Democrat from Illinois about his former pastor. "I want to just stipulate at the beginning of this interview, we are declaring a Reverend Wright-free zone today. So, no questions about Reverend Wright. Our viewers want us to move on, so this morning we're going to move on. Is that okay with you?" Obama reacted favorably to this declaration. "Fair enough. That sounds just fine."
CNN correspondent Jeanne Moos, who is known for her light and often humor-tinged reports on a variety of topics, profiled politically-active elderly women in a report which aired on Wednesday’s "American Morning" and "Newsroom" programs, devoting all but six seconds of her two-and-a-half plus minute report to "granny" supporters of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. While the Democratic supporters are seen dancing at rallies and posting YouTube videos, the only McCain supporter who appeared in the segment was McCain’s own 96-year-old mother, who merely stood in a background during a campaign stop.
Were they commenting on the same speech? Rev. Jeremiah Wright goes before the Detroit NAACP, claims that black and white children learn with different parts of their brain, and offers a simpering, unflattering imitation of the way white pastors speak. CNN's Soledad O'Brien gushes that the speech was a "home run" and "really funny." But over at Morning Joe, Wright's words prompted a panel member to rip the reverend as a "mediocrity" and a "buffoon."
Soledad O'Brien was in the hall when Wright spoke. She reported on the speech at the top of CNN's 6 AM ET hour.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: The whole thing, frankly, was really funny. I think a lot of people have seen Rev. Wright defined as controversial, defined as angry, defined as anti-American: not in that speech. Not in that speech at all. He was funny, he was witty. This is a guy who's got two masters and his doctorate in divinity. Here is a guy who speaks five languages, they took pains in his introduction to point out all his accomplishments.
CNN’s Rick Sanchez, who is interviewing apparent first-time voters as part of CNN’s series titled “The League of First Time Voters,” featured a group of young Muslim voters in a segment that aired on “American Morning” and CNN’s “Newsroom” program on Thursday, and asked them a series of questions that seemed tailored for the American Islamic community. In his first question, Sanchez asked, “When you hear the words 'War on Terror,' what do you think?” Later, he asked, “You think our policy in Iraq and our policy throughout the Middle East in the last six, seven years has actually helped Osama bin Laden?” [video available here]
After his “War on Terror” question, which was answered by a young man, Sanchez asked, “Raise your hand if you think the War in Iraq was a mistake. Every single one of you thinks the War in Iraq is a mistake. Why is it a mistake?” Two people, one man and one woman, answered, and they listed a variety of reasons. Sanchez then asked his “bin Laden” question. After woman answered affirmatively, he followed-up by asking, “We've given him what he wanted? Is that what you're saying?” Two others answered his question as well.
Liberal talk show host Ed Schultz, appearing on Monday’s "American Morning" on CNN, defended his labeling of John McCain as a "warmonger" at a recent Obama campaign fundraiser, despite the statement being repudiated by Obama’s campaign. Twice, Schultz stated that "the man [McCain] is a warmonger" and used the term a total of five times during the course of the interview. Not only did Schultz defend his remark, he also claimed that McCain mistreated his fellow veterans with his votes on veterans’ benefits. [Audio available here.]
Co-host John Roberts, who interviewed Schultz, compared the talk show host’s remark to Bill Cunningham’s use of Obama’s middle name "Hussein" at a February 2008 McCain rally and how the Republican candidate repudiated Cunningham. At the same time, Roberts didn’t press Schultz too hard on the "warmonger" labeling.
CNN's senior business correspondent Ali Velshi let viewers in on an underreported fact about rising commodities prices: the government mandate for ethanol production is making corn and other agricultural products more expensive-making inflation a top priority for Americans.
"Several years ago, we made some decisions about how corn is going to be used to make ethanol, which is added to our gasoline," said Velshi on "American Morning" April 4. "A number of people think that that was meant to reduce our dependency on crude oil. What is does is it takes what is fundamentally a food source and makes it into a gasoline source. That's caused corn to go up."
On October 22, 2005, my colleague Brent Baker reported Al Franken's disturbing joke to "Late Show" host David Letterman concerning Scooter Libby and Karl Rove being executed for their involvement in the Valerie Plame Wilson affair.
Almost two and a half years later, during an interview on CNN's "American Morning" Friday, Kiran Chetry asked the comedian turned Democrat senate candidate about this exchange.
When Franken had the gall to declare, "I didn't even say that in a joking manner," Chetry challenged him in a way that all media members should whenever a politician on either side of the aisle is so obviously disingenuous (video available here, h/t NBer Woody Boyd):
CNN’s Jon Klein, in an internal memo obtained by the TVNewser blog, bragged about the strong ratings the network won during its recent debates and primary coverage, and spun the reason for this success. "CNN is proving that with innovation, execution, and passion, the sky's the limit. Our deep-seated commitment to independent coverage that is unbiased — without an agenda — is more powerful and popular than the partisan rants that permeate the airwaves." Klein might have had Keith Olbermann in mind when he referred to "partisan rants," but one would only need to look at the past three months to disprove such an outrageous claim by Klein.
The same day CNN’s Allison Flexner, an one-time producer of Cuban stories, apparently issued a memo instructing how the "resignation" of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro was to be covered, CNN’s chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour neatly matched one of the points made in the memo during two segments on Tuesday’s "American Morning."
During the first segment, which was six minutes into 7 am Eastern hour, Amanpour heralded Cuba being "a leader in many things such as education, health care -- all of those things that it has been able to bring to its people, but not the fundamentals" such as "openness, freedom, the ability to have enough wherewithal, and, you know, the same kind of bread and butter issues that everybody all around the world wants."
On the Feb. 17 "American Morning," Veronica De La Cruz showed how two Web sites, operated by "the same owner," sold products to the shooters in both the Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University tragedies. She said it was "pretty shocking to figure this out." Anchor Kiran Chetry agreed, calling it an "eerie connection."
But De La Cruz was just getting started. She was even upset at the sympathy banners on the site because they were near banners that still advertised the company's business. "I want to show you the strange juxtaposition if you move down the page. Here's the NIU shooting and then ‘Save big on rifles and handguns' right underneath. You know, something that kind of turns your stomach, if you will," she added.
CNN has fired producer Chez Pazienza after the network brass realized he had been blogging at his own left-wing site and several others over a period of years:
In a phone interview this morning, Mr. Pazienza, 38, said he joined CNN as a senior producer in January 2004 and has consistently received positive performance evaluations of his work. He spent his first year at CNN at the network’s headquarters in Atlanta, then moved to New York to work on “CNN Daybreak,” which has since been canceled, then “American Morning,” which is shown Monday through Friday, from 6 to 9 a.m.
Mr. Pazienza said he started his blog in May 2006 as a way to keep his mind occupied while he was on a medical leave of several months after an operation to remove a brain tumor. He got noticed by blogs like Drew Curtis’s FARK, a popular news-aggregation site, and Pajiba, a left-wing blog of movie and book reviews. [...]
CNN’s John Roberts, in the course of two interviews of presidential candidates in the month of January, directed substantive questions to both candidates, but was tougher on the Republican candidate. On Tuesday’s "American Morning," Roberts questioned Rudy Giuliani on the decision during his tenure as mayor of New York City to locate the Big Apple’s primary emergency command center in the 7 World Trade Center, which was destroyed on 9/11, an issue that has turned up regularly in the course of Giuliani’s campaign. This contrasted with Roberts’ January 8 interview of Hillary Clinton, in which he didn’t press the former first lady on any controversial decisions from her past.
Roberts quoted from the New York Times as he asked Giuliani about the 7 World Trade Center issue.
Over the course of at least nine months, CNN’s John Roberts has regularly labeled the troop surge in Iraq, the amassing of 28,000 additional troops in the country, the "so-called surge." Liberals, such as George Lakoff, have objected to the term "surge" in the past, since using the term would "subscribe to Bush’s misleading frame." Roberts' latest use of the phrase took place on Monday’s "American Morning." He posed the following question to White House Press Secretary Dana Perino. "The President is also going to be talking about Iraq tonight, Dana. He'll be talking, I guess, about the so-called surge, progress that's been made in terms of security and safety there. But there still has been little political progress. What's the President's message to Nouri Al-Maliki and the people who are in charge there in Iraq going to be tonight?"
This isn’t the first time Roberts has used the "so-called surge" phrase in an interview with Perino. In an April 20, 2007 interview with then-Deputy White House Press Secretary, Roberts asked, "You say that this so-called surge is working, that things are getting better. There are 182 people killed the other day in Baghdad, is that really getting better?"
In a class-warfare driven media, where the "haves" are often pitted against "have-nots," you would think an outgoing CEO giving up $37.5 million in pay would be celebrated.
Not quite. CNN's "American Morning" didn't think it was quite good enough when Countrywide Financial's Angelo Mozilo forfeited $37.5 million in severance pay because he said he felt it was the "right thing to do."
During a live interview on Friday's American Morning, Fred Thompson lived up to his reputation as the GOP presidential candidate most willing to challenge the media, as the former Senator complained to CNN anchor John Roberts that the show used a clip of him joking about Fed Chair Ben Bernanke to make it appear Thompson was not interested in a stimulus package for the economy. Thompson: "You sit there and you take an hour's worth of tape, of course, and we have a little fun every once in a while, and sometimes you guys pick that out and have a little fun with it yourself..." When Roberts suggested he was being "dismissive" of a stimulus package, Thompson continued: "You know better than that. ... From time to time, things come up, and I poke fun at it... And you guys pick it out, you know, and leave it lying out there. We proceeded to talk about the economy and talk about a stimulus package, which I've been talking about for two or three days, but if this is your highlight event, it's your highlight event." (Transcript follows)
In a report on the upcoming Nevada caucus, CNN reporter Chris Lawrence highlighted Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s outreach to Latino voters, and while he did mention the issue of "immigration reform," he did not do the elementary thing a reporter should do: explore what the candidates are saying to Latinos about their immigration proposals.
The report, which aired 21 minutes into the 6 am Eastern hour of Thursday’s "American Morning," featured a committed Obama supporter who was once an "undocumented" immigrant (and is described as a "child of immigration reform"), and a Nevada talk radio host who claimed that Hillary Clinton’s experience made her more capable to handle the immigration issue than Obama. But did they talk about amnesty?
Roland Martin, a CNN contributor and talk radio host out of Chicago, blasted Hillary Clinton and some of her supporters on Monday’s "American Morning" over recent comments they made about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack Obama. Martin, responding to Clinton’s comment that MLK’s dream " began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964," countered by bringing up the former First Lady’s youth. "[H]ad Hillary Clinton's choice for president in '64 actually won, you never would have had civil rights bill, because she was a Goldwater girl." Throughout the segment, Martin sounded like an Obama supporter.