GMA Labels Anti-Hillary Spot ‘Drive-by Ad-ing’; Suspects GOP Plot
As already noted on NewsBusters, Tuesday’s "Good Morning America" defensively investigated an anonymous new attack ad against presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Co-host Diane Sawyer even referred to the commercial as "drive-by ad-ing." The spot plugs fellow Democrat Barack Obama’s ‘08 bid at it’s conclusion, but ABC wasn’t buying the Illinois Senator as the culprit.
Reporter Claire Shipman helpfully observed that since the commercial puts both Clinton and Obama in a bad light, "some Democrats think a Republican operative" is responsible:
Claire Shipman: "Now, there still are no real clues about the author, but, Robin, the ultimate conspiracy theory? Some Democrats think a Republican operative could be responsible because it not only makes Hillary Clinton look bad, but Barack Obama look bad since it’s an attack ad."
This type of conspiracy theory shouldn’t be particularly surprising. In 2004, ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos appeared on GMA to speculate that perhaps Republicans, in some sort of set-up, were responsible for the forged documents about President Bush’s military record.
At the top of Thursday's Good Morning America, Charles Gibson trumpeted: "New questions about President Bush's military record. Did family friends pull strings? Did he get special treatment? And did he disobey orders?" Terry Moran drew attention to how "the most disturbing new document...raises the possibility that Mr. Bush's military records were falsified." And Gibson devoted a discussion with George Stephanopoulos to the revelations in the memos -- and Stephanopoulos tagged the falsified records suggestion the "real killer" against Bush.
But on Friday morning, while GMA gave more time than CBS and NBC combined to the forgery possibility as they brought Stephanopoulos aboard again to explain the questions about whether the typography was available in 1972, he also relayed how "a lot of Democrats suspect this was a set up, something set up by Republicans."
At the top of the 7am hour, GMA anchor Diane Sawyer teased the March 20 segment, which eventually aired at 7:15am, by speculating about the responsible party behind this "drive-by ad-ing." The complete transcript follows:
Diane Sawyer: "And also, we’re going to be putting on our detective hats this morning over this ad which takes a swipe at Hillary Clinton. It’s being called the most stunning and creative ad attack yet. But it’s sort of drive-by ad-ing, if you will. No one knows who put it on the net. Who did this? Who paid for it? We’re trying to get to the bottom of it this morning."
Co-host Robin Roberts: "It’s kind of like a modern day whodunit."
Roberts: "We’re going to turn now to a political mystery. A presidential campaign ad that is creating a lot of buzz. It's a modern-day, as we said, whodunit of sorts because no one can figure it where it came from. Who made it? It just appeared online anonymously. So, is this the future of campaigns, the political warfare? Is this the future? GMA senior national correspondent Claire Shipman has more in Washington following this for us. Good morning, Claire."
Claire Shipman: "Good morning, Robin. It is a real puzzle. Look, if, if 2004 was all about the novelty of internet fund-raising, 2008 is shaping up to be all about the ability of anybody, not just a political campaign, to get a message out in a big way. It's a slick and mysterious attack ad."
[Brief clip of ad]
Shipman: "A remake of the seminal 1984 TV commercial for Apple Computers. This time, YouTube is the venue of choice and Hillary Clinton stars as Big Brother. Silly, candid moments are nothing new on the internet in Youtube, where candidates can never escape their past. Yes, that's Rudy Giuliani. [Video clip of Rudy in drag.] But this is a polished, sophisticated take. Barack Obama metaphorically the athlete rescuing the mindless public from the evil establishment, I.E. Hillary Clinton. The Obama campaign says it had nothing to do with it. Nobody knows who made it. But it quickly spawned this copycat anti-Obama counter punch. Experts say it could be a groundbreaking moment in the brave new world of internet campaigning."
Joe Trippi (Democratic consultant): "The days of being in total control of your message are over. I believe we'll see, in this cycle, one of these internet video actually help make a candidate and also help take one down."
Shipman: "All the candidates are trying to harness the power of, and simply keep up with, the internet campaign."
Howard Mortman (Director, New Media Strategies): "It’s happening on the web and it’s immediate. And it’s being fought in blogs, and it’s being fought in, in Myspace, and in YouTube and the candidates who are recognizing that are the ones who have a leg up."
Shipman: "Most have even opened up on Myspace, for example, where popularity is measured in the number of friends you have. Obama has the most right now. It's hard to measure the internet's political impact. But, three million more young people voted in 2004 than in 2000. And think about these finances. 65 million people saw this internet video in 2004. It would cost as much as $3 million to buy TV time for those eyeballs. So, this time around, the proverbial two kids in a garage could have an enormous impact. Now, there still are no real clues about the author, but, Robin, the ultimate conspiracy theory? Some Democrats think a Republican operative could be responsible because it not only makes Hillary Clinton look bad, but Barack Obama look bad since it’s an attack ad."
Roberts: "Something to think about. All right, Claire. Thank you."