“After 13 years with ABC News, correspondent Jim Sciutto is leaving the network and TV news. He’s moving to China where he’ll be Chief of Staff to U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke,” TVNewser’s Chris Ariens reported Thursday in noting the latest journalist to join the Obama administration, this time working for Locke, the former Democratic Governor of Washington.
Sciutto should certainly feel comfortable promoting Obama’s interests and how he is a blessing to the world since that’s what he used his ABC News position to do. The night after Obama’s inauguration, for instance, Sciutto delivered a piece for World News with soundbites from naive kids around the world sputtering beauty pageant-like simplicities about how President Barack Obama will bring “world peace” and inspires them to say “yes, we can!”
On Saturday’s World News, ABC anchor Dan Harris seemed to fret that the current debate over the budget is taking attention away from an "unprecedented assault" that is being "quietly" waged by conservatives "on environmental regulations." As the report from Blair, West Virginia, focused on a coal mining technique that destroys the tops of mountains, correspondent Jim Sciutto featured two soundbites supporting restrictions on such mining with only one opposed.
And, while Harris in his introduction shined a light on conservatives as the group who want fewer mining regulations, the one soundbite that Sciutto included in the report that was on the more anti-regulation side was centrist Democratic Congressman Nick Rahall of West Virginia. And no liberal label was used for those who were shown supporting the regulations, including environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Good Morning America's Jim Sciutto on Friday suggested Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as an example of a human rights "advocate" opposed to the execution of a woman in Virginia. The odd aside came from just one day after the Iranian leader blamed the United States for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Sciutto related the details of Teresa Lewis, who was executed on Thursday for plotting to kill her husband and stepson.
The ABC reporter then asserted, "But advocates, from crime novelist John Grisham, to Supreme Court justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, even to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, questioned whether she deserved the death penalty." [MP3 audio here.]
While MSNBC host Keith Olbermann was recently dismissive of conservatives for highlighting radical Islam’s persecution of homosexuals in some countries, the Countdown host also has a history of showing more interest in mocking conservatives who complain about the persecution of women by radical Muslims than of actually reporting on such mistreatment.
Last July, Olbermann ignored a story about an Iranian woman accused of adultery who was sentenced to death by stoning – a story carried by the NBC Nightly News and ABC’s World News – but on September, 28, 2007, when conservative activist David Horowitz mistakenly cited an image from a movie as if it were taken from an actual stoning, the MSNBC host pounced to slam Horowitz, calling him a "right-wing fringer," naming him "Worst Person in the World," as he sarcastically mocked the conservative activist’s attempt to draw attention to such persecution. Olbermann:
The image is actually from a 1994 film made in Holland... [The actress] has made at least three appearances on Dutch TV since. Evidently she’s okay. But keep plugging away, Mr. Horowitz. Let’s keep spending billions of dollars to stoke up religious hatred and send our kids to their deaths on the battlefield so we can prevent Dutch actresses from having to do scenes in which their characters are buried alive in a movie. Right-wing water carrier David, "I saw it in the movies, it must be real," Horowitz, today’s "Worst Person in the World!"
By contrast, on July 8, 2010, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams set up a report about a woman who was awaiting the sentence of stoning to death in Iran, and treated the issue with the seriousness that it deserves:
All three broadcast network evening newscasts conveyed to viewers that Israeli troops who boarded one of the flotilla of ships in the Mediterranean Sea were met with violent resistance, leading the troops to fight back with deadly results. But, during a report recounting anti-Israel protests in cities like London, ABC’s Jim Sciutto uniquely fretted that the incident would undermine President Obama’s efforts to reach out peacefully to the Muslim world: "A public outpouring like this one poses a danger for America's relations with the Muslim world as well – the possibility that the Obama administration’s recent pro-peace efforts and statements are overshadowed by a deadly operation by a U.S. ally."
And, even though the war on terrorism is already unpopular in the Muslim world, the ABC correspondent suggested that America’s war effort might be threatened by Israel’s actions, and, without informing viewers that Israel sends many humanitarian supplies into Gaza daily, tied in the "suffering in Gaza" that "has long been a rallying cry for Muslims." Sciutto: "The popular perception of America has real consequences for American soldiers, undermining already weak support for U.S. military action in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. The suffering in Gaza has long been a rallying cry for Muslims. Today's deadly operation has raised that anger to fever pitch."
Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Monday, May 31, World News on ABC:
According to the geniuses at ABC News, the flotilla incident between Israel and pro-Hamas activists Monday endangers American troops stationed in the Middle East.
At the conclusion of what had been a relatively well-balanced "World News" report concerning what happened off of the coast of Gaza early Monday morning, ABC's Jim Sciutto apprised viewers of the angry reaction to the event by Muslims in the region.
"While the facts remain in dispute, demonstrations extended across the Muslim world to Muslim communities in Europe," began Sciutto.
"A public outpouring like this one poses a danger for America's relations with the Muslim world as well," he continued.
"The popular perception of America has real consequences for American soldiers undermining already weak support for U.S. military action in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The broadcast networks couldn't ignore Holy Week, the pinnacle of the Christian calendar, so instead they used it this year to smear the Catholic Church as a harbor for abusive priests.
ABC, CBS and NBC featured 26 stories during Holy Week about Pope Benedict's perceived role in the sex abuse scandal the Catholic Church is now facing. Only one story focused on the measures the church has adopted in recent years to prevent abuse. In 69 percent of the stories (18 out of 26) reporters used language that presumed the pope's guilt. Only one made specific mention of the recent drop in the incidence of abuse allegations against the Catholic Church.
On Saturday's Good Morning America, ABC touted a German city that has rid itself of all cars. Complimenting the citizens of Vauban, reporter Jim Sciutto cheered, "And residents don't mind one bit." GMA weekend co-host Bill Weir wistfully introduced the segment by musing, "What if you could start everything over? Making over, not just your home, but your entire town?"
Describing Vauban, which relies on bicycles, Weir enthused, "Getting rid of all the carbon emissions, the energy wasters, even the cars?Well, one town has found a way to do it." Neither journalist explained the potential downside to not having automobiles. (What is one to do in the event of a heart attack?) Instead, Sciutto tried to find lessons for America: "So, what can we learn from here that would actually be followed in the States?"
Tuesday’s NBC Nightly News presented a more whitewashed view of prospects for better relations with Iran compared to ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson as NBC’s Brian Williams portrayed Iranians as receptive to Barack Obama’s recent call for talks between the two nations as long as there was "mutual respect." Williams: "President Obama called on Iran to send a signal that it was ready to talk, and it turns out the Iranians were apparently listening. Today President Ahmadinejad, at a rally marking the 30th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, said he would welcome talks with the U.S. as long as they were based on what he called ‘mutual respect.’"
By contrast, on the same night’s World News, correspondent Jim Sciutto relayed the presence of anti-America sentiment in Iran – recounting chants of "Down, down with America," that were shouted during the day’s Islamic Revolution commemoration – and the Iranian public’s support for the country’s nuclear program. And while the ABC correspondent did allude to Ahmadinejad being a less likely prospect for successful negotiation than the more moderate former President Khatami who is running for office again, even Sciutto did not remind viewers of Ahmadinejad’s past anti-Israel rhetoric and the country’s support for terrorism not only against Israel but against American troops in Iraq.
An epochal media moment Monday night on ABC’s World News? In an upbeat story about the election in Iraq “with virtually no violence,” reporter Jim Sciutto raised the possibility the war is now over -- just in time to enable President Barack Obama to fulfill his promise to reduce troop levels -- as Sciutto asked a member of Iraq's parliament: “Is this the end of the war?” Mahmoud Othman cautiously predicted: “If the Iraqi leaders could get together and work together sincerely, yes, this could be the end of the war.”
Anchor Charles Gibson set up the story by asserting the Saturday elections “mark a major turning point in the Iraqi effort to move forward and the U.S. desire to pull back.” Sciutto began with a woman who agreed with his premise “Iraq is ready to move on without the Americans.” Sciutto described how “almost every day there's another handover from American to Iraqi authority” and that “it was Iraqi soldiers who kept polling stations remarkably safe” while check points “used to be manned by American soldiers. Today, they are almost exclusively Iraqi security forces.”
ABC's World News on Wednesday night used limited news time to feature a silly piece with soundbites from naive kids around the world sputtering beauty pageant-like simplicities about how President Barack Obama will bring “world peace” and inspires them to say “yes, we can!” Reporter Jim Sciutto touted how “we heard children around the world expressing hope and fascination with the new American President.” Viewers heard a boy in Russia yearn for “peace, democracy and friendship” and a girl in the United Arab Emirates assert “he's interested in giving peace to the world and stopping wars,” all before a boy from Indonesia promised: “He's going to change the world and make world peace.” From Gaza, a kid hoped Obama will “prevent Israel from attacking us.”
From Pakistan, Sciutto relayed, “hope for an American President with a Muslim father.” A boy then wished “he can make the citizens of the U.S. recognize that we, not all Muslims are terrorists and not all terrorists are Muslims.” And what story on foreign reaction would be complete without input from France? A French girl: “I think that he may stop the war in Iraq. At least I hope he will.”
Usually rude protesters who disrupt events by throwing objects at state leaders don't earn media celebrations, but instead of being embarrassed by their Iraqi media colleague who, as he spewed venomous hatreds, dangerously threw his shoes at President Bush on Sunday in Baghdad, ABC and CBS on Monday night championed his popularity amongst Iraqis. ABC put “Folk Hero?” on screen as fill-in anchor Elizabeth Vargas trumpeted how Muntathar al-Zaidi has “become an instant celebrity to many of his countrymen” while CBS anchor Katie Couric hailed how “many Iraqis are calling him a hero” before reporter Elizabeth Palmer snidely concluded: “Al-Zaidi should do jail time, said the Iraqi bloggers, because he missed.”
From London, ABC's Jim Sciutto maintained: “Shoes have become a new symbol of anti-Americanism in the Arab world. And the Iraqi reporter who threw them, Muntathar al-Zaidi, a folk hero.” Sciutto touted how “more than 100 lawyers volunteered to defend him. It was a heroic way to say goodbye to Bush, said one Iraqi.” Though Sciutto at least noted how “some Iraqis are embarrassed,” he countered: “Still, in news coverage, on new fan Web sites, in Arabic text messages, the overwhelming sentiment: giddy satisfaction.”
"Good Morning America" foreign correspondent Jim Sciutto rhapsodized about international reaction to Barack Obama's victory on Wednesday and described the president-elect as "the winner who's capturing the world's heart." Sciutto described much of the foreign response with the phrase "only in America."
Then, taking a shot at President Bush, he then added, "That's what we keep hearing in so many places around the world, a sense that Barack Obama embodies the American dream, a dream that, frankly, has been tarnished overseas in recent years by a very unpopular war in Iraq, a very unpopular president in President Bush."
For the second time in three days, a major network program has showcased the story of a 106-year-old nun in Rome who is voting for Senator Barack Obama. On Wednesday's "Good Morning America," reporter Jim Sciutto highlighted Sister Cecilia Gaudette, an elderly woman who has caught "election fever" for the Democrat. The journalist featured Gaudette gushing, "I think he's the man, really. I think so."
Although the story was touted on the October 12 edition of the "CBS Evening News," Sciutto acted as though there was some mystery as to who the women might vote for. "We didn't ask her to reveal who she chose, but she couldn't help telling us," he announced. (Would journalists trek all the way to Rome just to file a report on a nun voting for a conservative candidate, such as John McCain?) And just as with the CBS piece, there was no mention of any possible conflict over a Catholic nun supporting the pro-abortion Obama.
ABC senior foreign correspondent Jim Sciutto appeared on Friday's "Good Morning America" to complain that places such as Abu Ghraib and the Guantanamo Bay detention center are fueling Muslim anger in the Middle East against the U.S. Sciutto, who was promoting his new book on America's enemies in that region, responded to co-host Robin Robert's question about what was causing such Islamic fury by opining, "It's a combination of things. The first one is a sense that their culture, their religion, their land is under assault, by America and that the most pointed examples of that are the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions."
A great first day on national television news for Barack Obama as he began his much-hyped overseas trip with a stop in Kuwait before moving on to Afghanistan. CNN anchor Rick Sanchez, seemingly channeling the media's own excitement, on Saturday night hailed it as “a trip that seems to be captivating the rest of the world as much, if not more so, than many in the United States.”
ABC, CBS and CNN showcased video of Obama making a basketball shot at a gym with troops in Kuwait. Over video troops cheering Obama as he walked into the gym, on ABC's World News Jim Sciutto touted: “Though the destinations were new, the greeting was familiar. Senator Barack Obama signing autographs with soldiers on his first stop in Kuwait, even taking time to play some basketball...” Forrest Sawyer, anchoring the CBS Evening News on Saturday night, apparently with a new job after many years with ABC and MSNBC, highlighted how Obama “sank a shot from way outside the paint.” Sawyer announced over matching video:
Now, before Afghanistan Senator Obama stopped off in Kuwait to talk to the troops there. You remember all that grief Obama got for being a terrible bowler? Well, at a local gym someone handed him a basketball and he promptly sank a shot from way outside the paint. He made it look easy. You just have to pick the game.