ABC Ignores Its Own Reporter, Yawns as Jon Karl Grills White House on First Lady's Birthday Bash

 

ABC reporter Jon Karl on Wednesday broke from the official journalistic fawning over Michelle Obama's birthday, asking White House Press Secretary Jay Carney about the cost and whether the American taxpayer would pay the bill. Yet, his own network totally ignored the exchange and kept it off Wednesday's World News, Nightline and Thursday's Good Morning America.

In the briefing, Karl pushed, "The First Lady had her 50th birthday party and I believe you said that the President picks up the cost for that party." Carney dodged, "I think we put out information. I don't have it here. I would refer you to the east wing." The ABC journalist followed-up, "I was just wondering if you had an estimate on what the cost was?" Again, the White House spokesman spun, "I don't. But I would refer you to the east wing." The "east wing" is a reference to Michelle Obama's office. [For C-SPAN video of the exchange, see below.]

ABC reporters have repeatedly fawned over the First Lady's "extended vacation," showing no interest in the cost. On January 6, Fox News's Ed Henry quizzed, "The First Lady stayed behind and the White House said that was an early birthday present from the President. Does that mean he's paying for the flight back or taxpayers?"

Instead of investigating that line of questioning, Good Morning America's Lara Spencer enthused on January 7: "This morning, there are reports that Mrs. Obama is spending the rest of her stay with her good friend Oprah Winfrey at her estate on the island of Maui. Winfrey will also be celebrating a milestone birthday."

A Media Research Center study found that the networks gave twice as much coverage to Mrs. Obama's birthday than they did to the latest Benghazi report. 

A transcript of the brief exchange is below:


WH briefing

1/22/14

JON KARL: One last thing, the First Lady had her 50th birthday party and I believe you said that the President picks up the cost for that party.

JAY CARNEY: I think we put out information. I don't have it here. I would refer you to the east wing.

KARL: I was just wondering if you had an estimate on what the cost was.

CARNEY: I don't. But I would refer you to the east wing.

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