So, Newt Gingrich is a vampire? Over the course of two segments on Monday's Good Morning America, ABC's journalists goaded Gingrich to repeat his attacks on the "dishonest" Mitt Romney, while suggesting that the former Massachusetts governor is getting ready to "drive a stake" through the ex-Speaker's heart.
Playing up the fight between the two candidates, George Stephanopoulos pushed Gingrich, "You've made it clear again and again and again that you think Mitt Romney is a dishonest man... Will you still pledge to endorse him if he defeats you, and can you be effective, an effective campaigner for the ticket after what you said about him?"
Actual reporting is hard, isn't it? Snarky sound effects are so much more fun. Good Morning America's Jon Karl on Wednesday parroted DNC and White House talking points about Mitt Romney. Karl demanded to know just how Romney "get[s] away with paying so little" capital gains taxes. The segment was punctuated by dollar sign and coin audio clips. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Romney's investments were taxed at 15 percent. Karl cited the liberal Tax Policy Center asserting "the average rate for those making more than $1 million is more than 29 percent." Karl didn't identify the organization's left-wing leanings. (It's a joint project of two liberal think tanks.)
ABC's World News on Wednesday and Good Morning America on Thursday both reported on the revelation that Newt Gingrich received almost $2 million while consulting for Freddie Mac over an eight year span. Yet, the network ignored the fact that the company (with a Democratic President) is still giving massive bonuses and will now be asking the federal government for an additional $6 billion.
On World News, Jon Karl highlighted only the Gingrich connection, highlighting attacks by Michele Bachmann. Yet, while ABC focused on this, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell explained, "So, here's what set off the latest round of outrage. $13 million in bonuses for the two mortgage giants that had to be bailed out by taxpayers. Now these bonuses come after Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac actually lost $4 billion last quarter."
Good Morning America and the Today show on Monday fretted about the "ugly turn" the 2012 presidential race has taken in the wake of a pastor at a conservative conference decrying Mitt Romney's Mormonism as a "cult." Yet, these same programs promoted the "edgy" Book of Mormon play back in the spring.
On Monday, GMA's correspondent Jon Karl asserted, "The race for the Republican nomination has take an ugly turn with some now openly questioning whether Mitt Romney's Mormon faith should disqualify him from being president." Karl added that when Romney spoke at the Value Voters Summit, he "tried to take the high ground."
The network newscasts on Wednesday downplayed Democratic obstruction of Barack Obama's jobs bill, offering only minor coverage. Good Morning America and Early Show allowed brief mentions. In an otherwise unrelated segment, GMA's Jon Karl admitted that the President "has a problem with [congressional] Democrats."
Karl added, "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said yesterday, he does not plan to have a vote on the jobs bill in its entirety, rather he's gonna try to pass bits and pieces of it." CBS's Early Show highlighted the President's complaints about Republicans. Reporter Bill Plante explained, "...[Obama] attacked Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor by name for not passing his jobs bill and bringing it to the floor."
The Today show, which is a four hour program, on Wednesday devoted a scant 43 seconds of air time to a surprising loss by Democrats in a New York special congressional election. Both CBS and ABC offered more expansive coverage.
ABC's Good Morning America saw the election of Republican Bob Turner as a "stunning upset." Referencing another GOP win in Nevada, host George Stephanopoulos surprisingly speculated, "Landslide victories for Republicans in two key races. Could these early wins spell big trouble for President Obama?"
Good Morning America's Jon Karl on Thursday placed the blame for a partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration on House Republicans, ignoring the role Senate Democrats have played.
4000 thousand FAA workers have been furloughed, construction projects have been stopped, but Karl complained, "What's the hold up? Republicans are insisting on cuts to a program that subsidizes flights to small rural airports."
On Monday, Politico reported that "several sources" in a private meeting of House Democrats confirmed that Vice President Joe Biden accused Tea Party Republicans of having "acted like terrorists." CBS and ABC completely punted the story on their evening and morning newscasts. NBC made mention of the controversy, but only to further Biden's denial of having made the comment.
CBS's omission was particularly stunning given that Evening News anchor Scott Pelley interviewed the Vice President on Monday. Politico noted that Pelley actually did ask about the 'terrorist' remark: "'I did not use the terrorism word,' Biden told CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor Scott Pelley." However, Pelley's question and Biden's denial were completely scrubbed from the portion of the interview aired on Monday's Evening News or Tuesday's Early Show.
Good Morning America's Jon Karl on Wednesday chided a "broken down" Congress unable to get a debt ceiling deal done. Karl ignored Barack Obama's role in failing to secure legislation that would end the impasse.
Instead, he complained, "The whole place seems to have broken down. Republicans can't even convince some of their own members to vote for the Republican plan."
Karl made this point more than once, highlighting, "Republicans delayed a vote on their bill in the House because they don't even have enough Republican votes to pass their own bill."
ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday offered a dismissive take on two conservative females, Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. Reporter Jon Karl brushed aside Palin's bus tour as "another reality TV show" and wondered if the former governor is "just playing tourist."
George Stephanopoulos, meanwhile, played up conflict between the two. He prefaced a question to Bachmann by admitting it may be "sexist." He then asked it anyway, wondering of the two Republican women: "And I know you might resist the comparison. Some might even think that it's sexist. But is there enough room in this race for both of you, both Tea Party favorites?"
ABC's Jon Karl on Monday railed against the "obscene" profits of the oil companies and demanded to know what House Speaker John Boehner plans to do about it. World News anchor Diane Sawyer alerted viewers that "the five behemoths of the oil industry" are announcing record profits this week.
Using a highly judgmental word, Karl complained to Boehner, "Is there something obscene about gas company, oil and gas company profits being that high when Americans are struggling just to fill up the tank?"
An ABC report that preemptively identified possible victims of a government shutdown was so close to White House spin that Barack Obama touted it at a news conference, Wednesday. The President focused on J.T. Henderson, an American whose tax refund could be delayed, a story first highlighted on ABC, April 6.
Good Morning America's Jon Karl on Thursday proudly recounted, "President Obama saw Henderson's story on World News With Diane Sawyer and singled him out last night." An ABC graphic trumpeted, "Obama Singles Out Father: Kentucky man Counting on Refund." The President on Wednesday night quoted from Henderson on World News.
The original World News segment by Jake Tapper shamelessly featured sixth graders who have a field trip to Washington planned. One young girl lamented, "The government is mean." Karl also included this manipulative footage in his GMA report.
Although a government shutdown hasn't occurred yet, ABC's Good Morning America has already begun showcasing the possible dire impacts of such a budget impasse. Reporter Jake Tapper highlighted White House worries about "figuring out what this will mean in terms of parks that are closed, museums that are closed, veterans that are not able to get assistance for their benefits..."
Correspondent Jon Karl, in the same segment, warned that although a possible deal could fund the government for another week, "...It would also come at a steep price. Republicans are demanding $12 billion in spending cuts just for that one week of funding."
Karl, Tapper and co-anchor George Stephanopoulos repeatedly put the emphasis on the GOP's responsibility for a shutdown, not on Barack Obama to find more cuts to make. Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic operative, responded to Karl's remark on the $12 billion by declaring "that's not going to fly with the White House."
Good Morning America’s Jon Karl on Thursday used a new study by the liberal Environmental Working Group [EWG] to deride the calls of spending cuts by certain Tea Party Republicans as "hypocritical."
Karl didn’t raise any concerns about hyping the claims of the EWG, an organization that, as Michelle Malkin pointed out in 2002, has railed against hair spray, playgrounds and the conservative journalist John Stossel. Instead, Karl chided these House GOP members for receiving federal money for farm subsidies.
Co-anchor George Stephanopoulos excitedly introduced “[Karl] joins us now with a discovery that may cause some discomfort for some of those members of Congress and their supporters in the Tea Party.”
Covering a possible 2012 presidential run by Michele Bachmann, Good Morning America's Juju Chang on Thursday spun the Congresswoman as "one of the most controversial freshmen [sic] members of Congress." Aside from the obvious error, Bachmann has been a representative for four years, GMA never identified hard-left former Congressman Alan Grayson that way.
Reporter Jonathan Karl singled out Bachmann as "uncompromising" and "as conservative as they come." This type of labeling isn't uncommon for the journalist. On August 24, 2010, Karl hit Republican senatorial candidate Joe Miller as a "hard-line, Tea Party conservative."
On September 22, 2010, he deemed Christine O'Donnell's comments about witchcraft to be "infamous." On January 4, 2011, Karl derided incoming House Speaker John Boehner as "harshly partisan."
In a surprising move Sunday, the folks at ABC invited a Tea Partier to participate in its Roundtable segment on "This Week."
Rather than bringing on three liberals to battle lone conservative George Will while predictably presenting exclusively labor's side of the budget battle in Wisconsin, host Christiane Amanpour included freshman Congressman Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) to match wits with ABC's Jon Karl and Democrat strategist Donna Brazile (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Almost immediately after the shooting in Tucson that killed six people and left Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords severely wounded, the media establishment linked the attack with a debate about “civility,” suggesting an association between Jared Loughner’s rampage and the words and phrases used in national political debates.
Many of these network news stories offered ambiguous references to, as CBS’s Bob Schieffer put it on the January 9 edition of Sunday Morning, “the mean and hateful tone that now marks our modern politics.” Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter, in a soundbite on NBC’s Today the next morning, pointed his finger at “the left and the right” as contributing to what he termed “the climate of violence.”
There’s certainly no shortage of instances of the Left deploying violent rhetoric, but how evenly did the media divide the blame during the first few days of this national debate about civility? MRC analysts reviewed all 55 broadcast network stories or segments discussing the discourse from just after the shooting (January 8) through the evening of the national memorial service on January 12, reviewing the ABC, CBS and NBC morning, evening and Sunday talk shows.
Good Morning America's Jon Karl on Tuesday derided the incoming Republican Speaker of the House as "harshly partisan." The ABC correspondent joked that John Boehner can look "like the weeper of the House." In contrast, then-GMA co-host Diane Sawyer in 2007 lauded Speaker Nancy Pelosi's ascension, praising, "But her fellow politicians say she's galvanized steel with a smile."
While Karl dismissed Boehner as a "weeper," Sawyer, on January 19, 2007, rhapsodized over Pelosi as a sweeper, glowingly recounting how the first female Speaker picked up garbage: "We're walking along with the camera, [Pelosi] looks at the carpet. It has lint on it, little scraps of paper. She can't stand it. She gets down and cleans the carpet so we could walk."
Sawyer described this fairly mundane act as something "no Speaker of the House has ever done in the entire history of the United States of America."
[See video contrast below. Audio can be found here.]
Thursday's network newscasts and Friday's morning shows all ignored the report that an unidentified Democratic House member muttered, "F**k the President" during a closed door meeting on a compromise over taxes. Yet, many journalists professed outrage when Congressman Joe Wilson yelled "You lie" at President Obama in 2009.
ABC's The Note website on Thursday afternoon explained, "An unidentified Democratic lawmaker let slip his frustration at President Obama’s proposed tax compromise, apparently muttering "f**k the president," during a heated debate this morning."
Yet, when GMA reporter Jon Karl covered the story on Friday, he reported more sanitized details of conflict: "...Yesterday, you had the House Democrats actually chanting, 'no, we can't' at a private meeting."
Good Morning America's Jon Karl on Thursday offered misleading, sloppy reporting on a congressional tax deal, bizarrely suggesting that the proposal "slashes" the estate tax. In a follow-up piece, news anchor Juju Chang asserted that many Democrats "are still opposed, especially to the estate tax cut."
In reality, the so-called death tax is currently at zero. Under the deal, it will increase to 35 percent. Karl mangled, "Even Democratic leaders are fuming, especially unhappy with the provision that slashes the tax on inheritances."
On the CBS Early Show, news anchor Jeff Glor spun, "One of [the Democrats'] major objections, that proposal to lower estate taxes." Again, an increase from zero to 35 percent is not "lowering." (If no action had been taken the rate would have returned to 55 percent for individuals worth more than $1 million.) This may be slowing the rate of increase and increasing the exemption rate, but it's hardly "slashing."
Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell appeared on Thursday's Good Morning America and attacked the media's reaction to her comments about the First Amendment, pointing out that journalists ignored a gaffe by her opponent, Chris Coons. Her complaints apparently got results: The network played the Democrat's blunder.
Asked by reporter Jon Karl about her (correct) assertion that the words "separation of church and state" aren't anywhere in the Constitution, O'Donnell complained that "First, let me point out about that, it's really funny the way that the media reports things." She recounted the debate exchange: "I followed up with, 'Can you name the five freedoms that are guaranteed to us, that are protected by the First Amendment?' And [Coons] could not." [MP3 audio here. For video, click on article.]
ABC then, for the first time, played the clip of Coons being unable to list freedom of religion, speech, the press, the right to assembly and the right to petition the government. On Wednesday, GMA played the clip of O'Donnell's questioning of separation of church and state, but not of Coons' embarrassing moment. CBS's Early Show and NBC's Today have still yet to highlight the moment.
Viewers who watched the three morning shows on Friday were greeted with a less than enthusiastic review of Harry Reid's debate performance on Thursday. On ABC's Good Morning America, Jon Karl announced, "Reid often rambled." On CBS's Early Show, Ben Tracy called the event "a debate that, at times, found Harry Reid exasperated." NBC's Today was the least critical, announcing only that Reid had "the most to lose."
Yet, only Karl on Good Morning America played a clip of a confused Reid at the podium, fumbling for his notes: "Okay. Got to find my little notes here...Okay. A lot of paper here."
Karl was also the only journalist who, after Reid denied that he got rich by being a senator, featured the Democrat asserting, "I've been on a fixed income since I went to Washington." Karl quipped, "By the way, the fixed income for a Senate Majority Leader is $193,000, $193,400. "
Good Morning America on Monday highlighted the "admission" by Tea Party backed candidate Joe Miller that he opposes the federal minimum wage.
Reporter Jon Karl breathlessly related, "In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Alaska's Joe Miller talked about rolling back the power of the federal government further than Republicans have talked about for more than 70 years."
An ABC graphic appeared onscreen touting, "Tea Party Candidate's Admission: Against Federal Minimum Wage." Of course, the admission came in the form of Miller simply answering this question from Karl: "Should the federal government be requiring a minimum wage?"
According to Good Morning America's Jon Karl, Christine O'Donnell's 1999 comments about dabbling in witchcraft are "infamous." The ABC political correspondent used the strong language, Wednesday, while reporting on an appearance the Republican senatorial candidate made on Fox News.
Describing O'Donnell's first week as a candidate, Karl opined, "First, liberal comedian Bill Maher released video of the infamous witchcraft comment and threatened to release more embarrassing clips."
Dictionary.com defines infamous as "deserving of or causing an evil reputation." Also: "shamefully malign; detestable."
A day after highlighting Sarah Palin's political "losing streak," Good Morning America's Jon Karl on Wednesday acknowledged the stunning turn in Alaska's Senatorial primary race: "But Joe Miller is a Tea Party candidate who had Sarah Palin's support. He, now, is ahead." [MP3 audio here.]
Karl on Wednesday didn't mention anything about the former governor's "losing streak" ending.
Instead, co-host Robin Roberts spun the results as a "GOP family feud." She also questioned the effectiveness of the grass roots organization, wondering, "So, is the Tea Party getting stronger? Weaker?" (Roberts' evidence was John McCain's victory in Arizona. However, he, too, was supported by Palin.)
Good Morning America's Jon Karl on Tuesday characterized a Republican senatorial candidate in Alaska as a "hard-line, Tea Party conservative" and someone who "has also been known to attract assault weapon-baring weapon supporters at his political rallies." He added, "In a recent interview on ABC's Top Line, [candidate Joe Miller] suggested that unemployment benefits are unconstitutional." [MP3 audio here.]
Karl played a clip of Miller asserting, "The unemployment compensation benefits have got to- first of all, is not constitutionally authorized. I think that's the first thing that has to be looked at. So, I do not favor their extension."
Yet, Karl and GMA ignored one of the day's other big primaries, involving Democratic senatorial candidate Jeff Greene. The Florida hopeful has endured gaffes revolving around drugs, strippers and Mike Tyson. But, Karl made no mention of this.
Good Morning America's Jon Karl on Tuesday highlighted a new report by two Republican senators on extreme examples of waste in the stimulus bill. Karl rattled off some eye catching data: "$71,000 for researchers at Wake Forest University to see how monkeys react under the influence of cocaine."
The ABC journalist informed viewers that Senators John McCain and Tom Coburn released their new report "exclusively to Good Morning America." Now that the information is public, will CBS and NBC follow up on the story?
Good Morning America continued its post-health care victory lap for the late Ted Kennedy on Tuesday. An ABC graphic enthused, "The Lion's Legacy: Kennedy's Widow on Health Care." Reporter Jon Karl talked to Vicki Kennedy and prompted her to lament Republican obstruction: "How disappointed would [Kennedy] have been to see that this was a vote without a single Republican in either chamber voting yes?"
As video of tea party protesters appeared onscreen, Karl wondered, "Did he anticipate in any way, the level of vitriol?" (It seemed lost on Karl that Ted Kennedy often attacked people with his own invective, such as in 1987 when he slimed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork's America as one of back alley abortions and segregation.)