Lapdog ABC: Trip to Cuba By Obama Donors Beyonce and Jay-Z Is 'Much Ado About Nothing'

Lapdog journalist Josh Elliott on Tuesday offered no skepticism about a controversial trip Beyonce and Jay-Z took to Cuba. The Good Morning America news reader insisted that there was nothing troubling about the fact that the music power couple, who raised over $4 million dollars for Barack Obama's reelection, received special permission to visit the communist country of Cuba. (American tourists are barred from traveling there.)

Elliott reassured, "Meanwhile, an uproar over Beyonce and Jay-Z's trip to Cuba may be much ado about nothing." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] After noting that the visit drew "criticism," he insisted that no laws were violated and added, "The trip was reportedly approved by the Treasury Department as a cultural visit." Elliott never mentioned the financial help Beyonce and Jay Z provided Obama, nor did he ask why the vacation was approved. In contrast, Hoda Kotb on NBC's Today deemed the trip "controversial." NBC reporter Natalie Morales offered far more skepticism: "New questions and outrage from lawmakers this morning following Beyonce and Jay-Z's trip to Cuba."

Correspondent Kelly O'Donnell featured a clip from Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Of the vacation, the representative worried, "It trivializes the serious human rights violations that are still occurring daily."

Unlike Elliott and the journalists at ABC, O'Donnell showed actual journalistic skepticism. She noted that the entertainers's plane left from Miami. O'Donnell added, "And typically, a direct flight from the U.S. is not permitted into Cuba without the proper documentation."

The reporters at Good Morning America covered the story on Monday as well. Once again, no skeptical questions from GOP members of Congress were allowed. Correspondent Cecila Vega did feature one clip from ABC's Rick Klein. He trumpeted, "I think there will be a lot of questions for the administration to how these two very high profile, very well connected individuals got to spend their anniversary in Havana?"

Not on ABC, however. In the same segment, Vega defensively said of the two entertainers: "Could these vocal supporters of President Obama be caught in the cross-hairs of partisan politics?"

Rather than worry about Beyonce and Jay-Z being caught in the "cross-hairs of partisan politics," perhaps a real journalist would wonder about the connection between raising $4 million and then getting permission to travel to Cuba.

A transcript of the contrasting Good Morning America and Today segments can be found below:


GMA

04/09/13

8:02

JOSH ELLIOTT: Meanwhile, an uproar over Beyonce and Jay-Z's trip to Cuba may be much ado about nothing. The couple's visit for their fifth wedding anniversary drew big crowds in Havana, staunch criticism from Cuban Americans here at home. But it now looks like no laws were, in fact, violated. The trip was reportedly approved by the Treasury Department as a cultural visit.

Today

04/09/13

8:05

NATALIE MORALES: New questions and outrage from lawmakers this morning following Beyonce and Jay-Z's trip to Cuba. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell has the latest from Washington D.C.

KELLY O'DONNELL: Good morning, Natalie. The superstar couple isn't talking even after Reuters reports they did have a required license from the Treasury Department. U.S. officials aren't saying either if Beyonce and Jay-Z were given the authorization to visit Cuba. Was it really an island getaway for mega stars, or a cultural exchange licensed by the U.S. government?

REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN: It trivializes the serious human rights violations that are still occurring daily.

O'DONNELL: Beyonce and Jay-Z's four day visit was celebrated by the communist government of Cuba but has Cuban-American lawmakers fuming.

ROS LEHTINEN: It sends the wrong message to have such a high-profile entertainment couple get away with this, go on a vacation. Label it as a cultural exchange.

O'DONNELL: Monday, the Obama administration avoided questions.

JAY CARNEY: Decisions made about cultural travel and academic travel are made by the Treasury Department.

O'DONNELL: American tourists are banned from Cuba, but there are government approved educational and cultural exchanges. After reports the famous pair was granted a license, Florida Senator Marco Rubio demanded answers. "If true, the Obama administration should explain exactly how trips like these comply with U.S. law." Sources in Cuba tell NBC News there was some cultural exchange. The iconic couple did meet with artist, musicians and students. And sources in Havana also tell us the couple arrived by private plane from Miami. And typically a direct flight from the U.S. is not permitted into Cuba without the proper documentation. Another clue. Natalie?

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