Bozell Column: Meredith Vieira, Anchor/Protester
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.”
In a sense, they had every reason to find Green’s suspension bizarre.
It comes from the same network that hired George Stephanopoulos fresh out of the infamous Clinton White House spin machine, where he earned a living telling Americans how they should be sick of the other President Bush, and for his efforts, he was soon guest-hosting “GMA” and “Nightline.” Now he’s not only ABC’s king of Sunday morning, he’s been dubbed “Chief Washington Correspondent,” which may mean more than it sounds: his online biography says he “oversees the network’s coverage of Congress and reports on political and policy stories for all ABC News platforms.”
The same odd pattern happened for Meredith Vieira. Acting as what Barbara Walters called the “glue” that united the all-female panel on ABC’s midday chat show “The View,” Vieira came on the air on August 30, 2004, the Monday of the Republican convention, and declared – no, boasted – she had marched in an anti-Bush, anti-war protest in New York, a protest designed to ruin any political benefit for the GOP.
NBC News is now hiring her to replace Katie Couric as co-host of “Today,” and NBC’s going to hand her an eight-figure salary each year to bring her leftist biases along with her, replacing Katie in more ways than one. But John Green was suspended.
On this episode, Vieira insisted, "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 even showed a photo of herself marching with her pre-teen daughter Lily and her husband, Richard Cohen, 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.
But like a bad Ginsu knife commercial, there’s more.
Earlier in 2004, Vieira rained fire on 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."
She also opposed the execution of Saddam Hussein. When Barbara Walters said Saddam should be spared so we could “show the regard for life that this man didn't have,” Vieira protested, “How can you say that? We have the death penalty here." Another panelist on the show, Star Jones, said she wouldn’t lose one night’s sleep if they executed Saddam, and panelist Joy Behar echoed, “No one’s gonna care!” While the audience cheered that, Vieira disagreed, “I do! I don't believe in it, I don't believe in it.” She is so intensely against the death penalty she wouldn’t use it on mass-murdering tyrants.
It used to be that marching in protests was a serious obstacle to job security in the so-called “objective” media. In the fall of 1997, Whoopi Goldberg declared in an interview with Katie Couric that the two of them had marched together in a pro-abortion march. Couric protested, “Nooo. I’m not allowed to do that,” as she giggled nervously. Goldberg, stared upward and said, tongue in cheek, “Oh no, that’s right. We have not marched together. It was somebody that looked like you.” Couric called me personally to assure me she had never done so. Today, she’s being replaced by someone who puts her left-wing protest pictures up on screen for the public to see.
Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post was virtually the only major reporter to note Vieira’s very recent protesting past. The other reports, from AP to USA Today to the New York Times to the Los Angeles Times and beyond (most of them kind enough to mention, vaguely, conservative objections to Vieira’s hiring), noted Vieira made on-air statements on Iraq -- but airbrushed out the attempted GOP-convention-spoiling march.
Conservatives ought not forgive or forget what this so-called “objective” anchor was trying to accomplish. As The New York Times lyrically reported, “the Republican convention's calculated claims to patriotism and the presidency met elaborately planned and heavily Democratic street protests…the demonstrators doused a good bit of Mr. Bush's intended message with television images of dissent.”
NBC’s claims to objectivity have been doused by the appointment of Meredith Vieira, leftist anchor/protester – again.