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.)