Hell hath no fury like an infotainment show duped. On Oct. 19, ABC's "Good Morning America" started the week by picking up where it left off the previous Friday. On Monday, GMA wasted over 14 minutes whining about the bogus balloon boy story and his family's lack of "remorse."
On Oct 16, GMA spent 25 minutes hyping balloon boy, covering every angle by talking to the family, the sheriff, and a former co-worker. Now that it's apparent that the boy had taken them "for a ride," the morning show wants an apology.
"If you are among those who feel deceived and are waiting for a public apology from the family," said reporter Ryan Owens, "you may be waiting for a while."
When a UFO shaped helium balloon took off from Colorado, possibly harboring a 6-year-old boy, the broadcast and cable news organizations were transfixed. But when it turned out to be a possible "publicity stunt" the networks continued to give it enormous amounts of coverage.
That's exactly the opposite of the way the networks covered made-up quotes attributed to conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh that had portrayed him as racist.
ABC's "Good Morning America," CBS's "The Early Show," and NBC's "Today" devoted 80 minutes and 55 seconds to the story of "balloon boy" Falcon Heene on Oct. 16, when it was clear the boy had not been in the balloon and even after the boy told CNN's Larry King that he was hiding because "we did this for the show."
But since the fictional Limbaugh quotes were exposed, the networks spent only 47 seconds discussing it. Only ABC addressed it at all - on "World News with Charles Gibson" Oct. 12 and re-airing David Muir's brief on "Good Morning America," the next day.
That included a comment from Limbaugh defending himself saying, "They have to go somewhere to find concocted quotes, which are now bordering on slander, libel, whatever it is."