ABC Gushes Over Spat Between ‘Popular’ Elizabeth Edwards and Tough Hillary

On Wednesday’s "Good Morning America," the ABC program actually reported on Elizabeth Edwards’s attack that ‘08 contender Hillary Clinton may not be a strong advocate for women. However, correspondent Claire Shipman managed the feat of somehow turning the story into a positive for both women. She also engaged in the standard media practice of identification bias.

Shipman gushed that the spouse of former Senator John Edwards is "popular" and then later referred to her as "very popular." Before playing a clip of Hillary Clinton sounding tough on terrorism, the ABC reporter asserted, "...There is striking gender role reversal on the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton by far the toughest politically and stylistically."

Additionally, Shipman cited Emily’s List, an aggressively pro-abortion organization, without identifying its leftist affiliations. The GMA correspondent labeled liberal blogger Arianna Huffington as simply one of many "political watchers" that "argue the voters are ready to move beyond gender cliches."

A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:15am on July 18, follows:

7am tease

Diane Sawyer: "And also, Elizabeth Edwards continues to make news this morning. This time weighing in on Senator Clinton and asking the question, who is really better for women, Senator Clinton or Senator Edwards? And we’ll take you inside that debate."

7:15am

Robin Roberts: "And we move to the race to ‘08. This morning, tough talk from Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards. She's weighing in on Hillary Clinton and questioning how good the senator would be for women. Senior national correspondent Claire Shipman joins us with that story from Washington. Good morning, Claire."

Claire Shipman: "Good morning, Robin. Some of the sharpest words these days on the campaign trail are coming from the popular Mrs. Edwards. She's often suggested voters shouldn't support Hillary Clinton simply because she's a woman. This time, the critique was more pointed. The hottest question on the campaign trail these days, who is woman enough for the job? Not Hillary Clinton, according to Elizabeth Edwards, who told Salon.com she's not convinced she'd be as good an advocate for women as her husband. Ouch! And why the broadside from the very popular Mrs. Edwards?"

Ellen Moran (President, Emily’s List): "All Democratic campaigns know how important the female vote is. And that is why you're seeing campaigns try to talk specifically to the women voters."

Shipman: "Senator Edwards defended his wife's critique."

John Edwards: "Her point was, on these big, substantive issues that directly affect women's lives, I've been aggressive in leading them."

Shipman: "But right now, Hillary Clinton has an enormous edge in the Venus vote. According to a recent ABC News poll, she has 51 percent of the women polled compared to Barack Obama at 24 percent and John Edwards at 11. And there is striking gender role reversal on the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton by far the toughest politically and stylistically."

Senator Hillary Clinton: "Let's focus on those who have attacked us and do everything we can to destroy them."

Shipman: "Obama and Edwards, meanwhile, are emoting like crazy."

John Edwards [To an elderly woman]: "Your hair is being fixed. You already look very pretty."

Obama [Standing next to his kids]: "There is nothing more difficult than me being on the phone, hearing about their soccer game."

Shipman: "Some political watchers argue the voters are ready to move beyond gender cliches."

Arianna Huffington (Editor-in-Chief, Huffington Post): "We as a culture don't need to be buying the stereotype that men are tough, women are emotional. In a way, she's giving in to the cultural stereotype if she does that."

Shipman: "The Clinton campaign was uncharacteristically quiet on all of this. But the two women are quickly developing an acrimonious history. Last year, Elizabeth Edwards suggested, comments that she thought were off the record, that she has more joy in her life than Hillary Clinton. She later apologized. Diane?"

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org