In Tuesday night's episode of ABC'sNightline, host Cynthia McFadden introduced a story about a "normal" community of polygamist families that live in Centennial Park, Arizona. She also went on to plug for the new National Geographic show Polygamy, USA:
To some, having more than one wife might sound like heaven on earth. But just imagine the communication skills required the potential for jealousy. And all those family logistics well they might just seem overwhelming. No one knows exactly how many polygamous live in this country. Most live in secret. There's been a lot of news about the followers of Warren Jeffs and alleged forced marriages of underage girls. But tonight we meet a community with a twist the women choose their husbands, not the other way around.
As if comparing Hillary Clinton to Thomas Jefferson wasn't hyperbolic enough, ABC's Cynthia McFadden on Wednesday practically begged the Secretary of State to run for president. The Nightline co-anchor lobbied Clinton, lecturing her about the "obligation" she has to "break through that glass ceiling." Yet, the reporter could only manage the most gentle probing into the issue of the terrorist attack in Libya.
McFadden pressed the Democrat to run in 2016, asking the question no less than four times. If it appeared, the journalist wondered, "that you might be the person who could actually break through that glass ceiling and become the first female president of this country, would you feel a certain obligation to seize that mantle?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Any answer other than yes seemed not good enough.
Over three programs and two days, ABC devoted 15 minutes to a fawning profile of Hillary Clinton. On Wednesday's Nightline, Cynthia McFadden even compared the outgoing Secretary of State to Thomas Jefferson, hinting that Clinton could follow his footsteps to the White House.
McFadden lauded, "There was a time not so very long ago when Hillary Clinton was seen as one of the most divisive figures in American politics." Noting Clinton's high approval rating, she announced this view was "changing." In an interview that, just coincidentally occurred in front of a statue of Jefferson, the reporter embarrassingly hyped, "As Jefferson looks over our shoulder, who I would only point out, was Secretary of State who went on to become president." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In the fourth and final part of ABC's 20 minute-long interview with Michelle Obama, Nightline co-anchor Cynthia McFadden on Wednesday praised the First Lady's skill at "the art of the cut that doesn't draw blood." After playing a clip of Mrs. Obama at the Democratic National Convention, McFadden cued, "Do you think Mitt Romney is the kind of guy that slams the door behind himself [when it comes to allowing opportunity for others]?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The journalist hyped that the First Lady turns her husband's "cool persona just a little bit warmer." After three days of softball questions, McFadden's attempts at getting tough mostly fell flat. While talking about hopes for Barack Obama's presidency, the reporter wondered, "Have you had to pull back some of your own expectations; what was possible from even this perch?"
Tuesday's Nightline featured the second part of an exhaustive, three part interview with Michelle Obama. Once again, co-anchor Cynthia McFadden failed to ask any tough questions to the First Lady, instead offering only softballs and repeating White House spin.
McFadden followed Mrs. Obama as she did events promoting higher employment for returning veterans. Co-anchor Bill Weir teased the latest segment as yet another celebrity puff piece (complete with clips from Sesame Street and Extreme Makeover): "We got a little taste of Michelle Obama at home last night. Tonight, you two go on the road." Since military issues were the topic, where were the questions about the 2000th death in Afghanistan?
Nightline co-anchor Cynthia McFadden continued her fawning, multi-part profile of Michelle Obama on Monday night, worrying about the "extra responsibilities" that Mrs. Obama faces as an African American First Lady. She then offered this softball: "Is it different to be a black child growing up in America today than it was four years ago?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Fellow co-anchor Bill Weir bragged that his colleague had been "granted rare access" to Mrs. Obama. McFadden wondered if the President is "a bit intimidated, a little bit afraid" of his wife. The journalist then pushed Mrs. Obama to brag about the impact she's had.
ABC's Cynthia McFadden was dripping with sugary admiration on Monday for President Obama's "not-so-secret weapon," First Lady Michelle Obama. She touted Obama as a big hugger" and "very warm in person."
Obama made statements like this that went unchallenged by McFadden: "I rarely step foot in the West Wing. In fact, people are shocked when they see me there." That sentiment of a hands-off policy flatly contradicts Jodi Kantor's reporting in the New York Times of definitive friction between the First Lady and the President's staff. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Well known Hillary Clinton fan Cynthia McFadden on Tuesday pushed Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to agree that the former First Lady could do his job.
Talking to both Clinton and Gates for Good Morning America, McFadden noted that the Defense Secretary has pledged to leave within a year. Motioning her head to Clinton, sitting to the left of Gates, the ABC News anchor prompted, "Any thoughts about who might do a good job?"
Assuming a stance of modesty, Clinton protested. But, McFadden continued, "Could she do your job?" The Nightline co-host didn't let up, pushing Gates, "If [Obama] asked you whether she could do it, you'd say?"
Adultery did not fare well during a September 24 "Nightline" broadcast about the issue, but that didn't keep ABC's Cynthia McFadden from asking an evangelical pastor if he felt "a little intolerant" for his conservative views on the subject.
McFadden moderated a debate that tried to answer the question, "Are we born to cheat?" but appeared to mock Pastor Ed Young's responses whenever she could.
The proponents of adultery who appeared on the panel included Jenny Block, an author and participant in an open marriage, and Noel Biderman, the president and CEO of Ashley Madison, a Web site designed to help people begin extra-marital affairs. To be fair, Block and Biderman did face some tough questioning about their views, but they did not receive the same derision McFadden levied at Young.
Nightline correspondent Vicki Mabrey profiled self-described "financial terrorist" Bruce Marks on Friday, painting his actions in a religious light as a "revival of spirits" and "hopes." Co-host Cynthia McFadden began the show by rhapsodizing, "The financial terrorist. He’s on the front lines of the foreclosure front using guerrilla tactics on a crusade to restore the American dream."
She continued, "And he's taking dead aim at the big banks. Is there anything he could do for you?" Mabrey did offer Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) CEO Marks a few tough questions, noting that his organization, which tries to help homeowners restructure their loans, also uses extreme tactics, such as protesting outside the homes and schools of the children of financial executives.
The website Women on the Web (Wow-o-Wow) convened a little forum last Friday about whether Elizabeth Edwards is right to stay with her adulterous husband. Sesame Street creator Joan Ganz Cooney expressed a distaste for Elizabeth's creation of a spectacle that's clearly not coming from Oprah Winfrey or Larry King or other publicists of Elizabeth's new opus: "I think she is making a mistake writing a book about the affair and publicizing it. She must really hate him to decide to be so publicly punitive. And it’s got to be an embarrassment to their children, particularly their grown daughter. I would have preferred that they work their marriage problems out in private."
But actress Candice Bergen really lets her anger flow against the Other Woman in this narrative:
According to "Nightline" co-anchor Cynthia McFadden, during the 2008 presidential campaign "many in the media" saw Barack Obama as a "bright hope in the distance." The ABC journalist made that admission during a "Morning Media Menu" podcast interview with TV Newser editor Steve Krakauer on Tuesday. In a justifying tone, she quickly added, "It's also clear that a lot of Americans thought that." McFadden didn't explain if she felt it was the role of journalists to simply reflect public will. [click play button in embed at right for audio excerpt]
The discussion on Obama media bias was prompted by Krakauer's mention of the new Bernie Goldberg book on the same subject, "A Slobbering Love Affair." Defending fellow co-anchor Terry Moran, McFadden asserted, "Anyone who knows Terry and his work would say there's nothing slobbering about him. I mean, he's as tough as they come. I think he brought a very jaundiced eye to the campaign." In actuality, with a few notable exceptions, Moran frequently slobbered over Barack Obama.
On November 6, 2006, he famously gushed that Obama was "an American political phenomenon" and, perhaps hopefully, he wondered, "Is Barack Obama the man, the black man, who could lead the Democrats back to the White House and maybe even unite the country?"
The inauguration of the first African-American president is an historic affair, one that should be properly celebrated by all. But when the so-called "objective" network anchors begin comparing a routine political ceremony to a spiritual awakening, have they gone too far?
"Sacred." "Majesty." "Sacrament." "Pilgrimage." These are words loaded with religious and spiritual meaning. And they're words used to describe the inauguration of President Barack Obama by CBS, NBC and ABC anchors on their evening and mornings news shows.
"Nightline" anchor Cynthia McFadden and ABC reporter John Donvan on Monday gushed over the possibility that Caroline Kennedy could replace Hillary Clinton as the senator from New York. McFadden (see file photo at right) teased the segment by cooing, "So, is another chapter in the Camelot story about to be written?"
Donvan repeatedly mentioned that Caroline Kennedy wouldn't have much experience for such a post. But, he didn't seem bothered at all by this, at one point stating, "All she will have at first is that name. But, at least she has kept it the way it was remembered, as part of a story that so many wanted to believe in." Contrast this with the coverage vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin received over a perceived lack of experience. Certainly, the media were not as forgiving for a non-Kennedy such as the governor of Alaska.
Donvan contributed the requisite vapid reminiscing of the Kennedy years. The ABC journalist described Washington D.C. as a place "where, when her dad was the president, we first came to know the little girl, riding his shoulders, saddled up on ponies."
On Tuesday's "Nightline," co-anchor Cynthia McFadden conducted her second interview this week with Hillary Clinton and, once again, offered no policy questions and focused only on pushing the New York senator to bash Governor Sarah Palin. The liberal journalist repeatedly questioned, five times in total, variations on whether or not Palin is qualified or good for women. At one point she even asserted, "But it must rankle you, I mean, to be compared to Sarah Palin."
Below are McFadden's (unsuccessful) attempts to get Clinton to slam the Republican vice presidential nominee.
CYNTHIA MCFADDEN: Is Sarah Palin good for women?
MCFADDEN: I feel like you're bending over backwards. I mean, I feel in some ways as if a man with the qualifications that Sarah Palin brings to this role, you'd have no problem with taking the gloves off and saying, hold it just a second.
MCFADDEN:Is she ready to serve as commander in chief, senator?
MCFADDEN: Does she deserve, does she have the right to stand on your shoulders in this regard?
"Nightline" co-anchor Cynthia McFadden on Monday used the opportunity of the first dual interview with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to gush over the two Democrats and offer no challenging questions. Speaking to the senators after a campaign rally in Florida, she fawned, "You looked pretty good up there together." The co-anchor also excitedly tossed this softball to Clinton and Obama: "Are you going to win? Are you going to win down here?"
Fully embracing Democratic talking points that the two once-bitter rivals are now friendly, McFadden fawned, "...Two weeks before the presidential election, they genuinely seemed to have bonded over their singular mission to put a Democrat in the White House." (Is that McFadden's mission too?)
Offering amateur psychology, the ABC host wondered, "How does it feel today? Still a little awkward or have we gotten over the awkward period in the relationship?" McFadden presented no questions about Obama running mate Joe Biden's assertion on Sunday that the Illinois senator would be tested by a major international crisis in the first six months of his potential presidency. In addition, there were no questions about terrorist bomber William Ayers or any other serious issue.
Despite featuring the story on its "Political Radar" blog on Monday morning, the ABC network ignored for almost 24 hours the claim by Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden that Barack Obama will be tested by a major international crisis in the first (potential) six months of his presidency. Monday's "Good Morning America" skipped the story, as did that evening's "World News With Charles Gibson" and "Nightline."
In fact, "Nightline" co-anchor Cynthia McFadden actually conducted an interview with Senator Obama after a campaign rally in Florida. Despite the fact that she had nabbed the first joint interview with Obama and Clinton since the Illinois senator won the nomination, she didn't address the issue. Rather than ask what his running mate meant when he said, "Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy," McFadden chose to limit her questions to how the relationship between Obama and Clinton had changed.
"Nightline" co-anchor Cynthia McFadden interviewed Pastor Rick Warren on Monday about the presidential forum he held with Senators Barack Obama and John McCain and pestered him to just admit that he's a Republican. At one point, she goaded, "You know, there are some people who feel that this is kind of a sham operation. That really, we know you, as an evangelical, are a Republican, a John McCain supporter."
Warren responded by asserting he's a registered independent, but the ABC correspondent kept trying to pin the pastor and author down as a GOP supporter. Speaking of Warren's parishioners and his own preference, she queried, "But do you feel like at some point, Rick, you owe the people who look to you for guidance more than that? I mean at some point before this election are you going to get up--" After Warren interrupted and replied that he wouldn't be telling anyone who to vote for, McFadden followed-up: "So if someone were to come to you and say, you know what, forget character, I'm going to vote for the guy who is opposed to abortion, would you say they need to go back and think a little harder?"
Cynthia McFadden didn't exactly say John McCain had no character, but she certainly implied it. In an interview with Pastor Rick Warren on ABC's "Nightline," McFadden was trying to get Warren to indicate if he would counsel his flock on who to vote for, and what he would say to people who say "forget character," pick the pro-lifer.
The feature on Warren came after the pastor's Civic Forum on the Presidency held over the weekend at his 22,000-member church in southern California. McFadden asked Warren if he "owed" it to "people who look up to you" to tell them for whom he was voting .
On Wednesday, "Nightline" co-host Cynthia McFadden and correspondent David Wright condescendingly reported on the disparity in the media's coverage of Barack Obama and John McCain. McFadden began a segment on the Arizona senator by snidely asserting, "Now, if you have a younger sibling, you can probably relate to what Senator John McCain has been going through this week. Whatever he does, everybody seems to be talking about the new kid in town."
Expanding on a report he filed for the July 23 "World News," Wright, in an almost embarrassed tone, remarked, "Pity the poor Straight Talk Express. While, Barack Obama is off globe-trotting, grabbing all that high profile, high octane attention, we're here on the tarmac in Allentown, Pennsylvania." He also described the media's obsession with Obama in a passive tone, asking McCain, "Do you kind of feel like you're going to be stuck playing defense from now until November?" and stating, "...It seems like the narrative of this campaign is being driven by whatever Senator Obama does and you're left to kind of react to that." Wright confidently predicted that in the next few days, "What can you almost guarantee he [McCain] will be talking about? Obama." Something, one assumes, people like David Wright will make happen.
ABC’s Nightline featured yet another Cynthia McFadden trip with Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail Thursday, but it wasn’t all sympathetic questions about how hard it is to be a feminist pioneer. (There was one about how all the criticism must be hard on her mother.) Instead, on the trail in Indiana, McFadden pushed hard from the left on how Barack Obama thought her gas-tax holiday proposal was "phony" and "pandering," and how columnist Thomas Friedman of the New York Times thought it was "ridiculous," and how Iran thought her remarks about them were irresponsible. She also wondered if the Reverend Wright issue was "guilt by association...Does it worry you a little bit about the taint of association? Because, you know, you’ve been tarred by the same brush over the years."
McFadden began somewhat sympathetically, although it wasn’t good news, about how Indiana superdelegate Joe Andrew switched sides to Obama, despite President Clinton making him DNC chairman in the late 1990s. Then she switched to arguing against any gas-tax relief:
“Tonight, $3.51 – that’s the average price nationwide of a single gallon of regular unleaded gasoline. That means a 15-gallon tank now costs more than $50 to fill. As a little reference point, the week George W. Bush was sworn in as president, the price of a gallon of gas was $1.47.”
Update at end of post: did ABC get these numbers from the DNC?
"Nightline" correspondent Cynthia McFadden filed another fawning profile on "rock star" Hillary Clinton for Thursday's program. The journalist, who has developed a long history of gushing over the former first lady, recited lines that read like Clinton press releases. Discussing the presidential candidate's Ohio campaign, she asserted, "...Clinton relishes the chance to talk concretely about the real problems in real people's lives."
Describing Clinton's appearance at a fast food diner, McFadden enthused, "Clinton is greeted like a rock star by patrons at the Bob Evans restaurant." During the interview, the ABC journalist asked penetrating questions such as inquiring, "So, how are you?" In an attempt to gingerly address Clinton's string of 11 straight primary losses to Senator Barack Obama, McFadden seemed to echo a famous Beatles song. "Can you really let go of yesterday," she queried.
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," ABC reporter Cynthia McFadden suggested that the aging, liberal singer Cher might want to think about running for office. After discussing the performer's new Las Vegas show, McFadden asked Cher about politics.
Explaining why she's pro-Hillary Clinton and not supporting Barack Obama, the performer segued into discussing the "saint" known as Jimmy Carter and how "all he talked about was what he wanted to do for this country. And because of his inexperience, they cut him off at the knees." McFadden's response to this glowing assessment of the one term president was to assert, "Maybe you should run for office."
Interviewing Hillary Clinton for Wednesday's "Nightline," anchor Cynthia McFadden speculated that a Bill and Hillary co-presidency could be a "good idea" and wondered what the New York Senator thinks about late into the evening. She sympathetically asked, "When you lie awake at night...what worries you?" Following Clinton's long answer about how "to whom much is given, much is required," McFadden approvingly remarked, "Good Methodist girl." In turn, Clinton accepted the compliment and asserted, "It is, indeed, who I am."
Back in December, McFadden posed a similar query. For that interview, the ABC host asked, "There's never a night when you go back to whatever hotel room, whatever city you're in that night, and crawl in a ball and say, 'I just, this just hurts too much?"
Do all those attacks against Hillary Clinton reduce the candidate to cowering in bed? "Nightline" co-anchor Cynthia McFadden posed this question to the former First Lady on Wednesday's program. She sympathetically asked, "There's never a night when you go back to whatever hotel room, whatever city you're in that night, and crawl in a ball and say, 'I just, this just hurts too much?"
As previously noted on NewsBusters, the ABC program also featured McFadden gushing that the presidential candidate's new campaign web site is "terribly sweet in so many ways" and yet it also shows the double standard that female politicians have to put up with. McFadden, who spent a day with Clinton in Iowa, protectively spun most of her questions. She observed that Barack Obama has been successful with "some people" at painting Clinton as an opportunist and then queried simply, "How do you fight back against that?"
Cuing up Hillary Clinton for an “I am Woman” moment, ABC's Cynthia McFadden on Wednesday's Nightline managed to turn the Clinton campaign's “TheHillaryIKnow” Web site, created to demonstrate her likeability, into evidence Hillary Clinton is the victim of a double-standard compared to men. McFadden oozed about how the site is “terribly sweet in so many ways, and yet, it sort of has this Sally Field quality to it. You know, 'they like me, they really like me.'” McFadden queried, without consideration for the possibility the other candidates really are nicer: “I wonder if there's not a double standard? I don't see the guys doing it. Are you judged differently, do you think, on the personal level?”
Clinton, naturally, agreed and used the prompting to channel Helen Reddy: “I think that that's the world we live in. I understand that. I accept it, but I don't let it deter me. You know that wonderful old line about women do everything, it's like Ginger Rogers who did everything that Fred Astaire did only backwards and in high heels? Well, we just have to go out and do it.”
Earlier, in concurring with McFadden that she was “reluctant” to ask friends to praise her, Clinton humbly explained: “I don't want to go around bragging about myself or saying, oh, you know, I helped to get health care for six million children or I helped to, you know, reform the education system in Arkansas. I'd rather just let that speak for itself.”