The journalists at Good Morning America on Thursday were sufficiently provoked by a pro-American Cadillac commercial that they devoted a whole segment to wondering if the spot was "arrogant" and "xenophobic." GMA's reporters, who couldn't find any time to cover former IRS head Lois Lerner pleading the Fifth on Capitol Hill, devoted almost three minutes to the "backlash" against the car commercial.
The ad features a man strolling around his large house, praising the free enterprise system and the work ethic of Americans: "Other countries, they work. They stroll home. They stop by the café. They take August off. Off!" Co-host George Stephanopoulos worried, "Is it selling a confident take on America with a sense of humor or showing off an arrogant caricature that is just plain obnoxious?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Moving past gay marriage, ABC News on Monday pushed the "gospel" of polyamory, having multiple romantic and sexual partners in an open relationship. Co-anchor Dan Harris hyped, "More couples opting to become triples or fourples. Live-in lovers spicing up the marital bed, even helping raise the children." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Harris opened the segment by lecturing, "Just for a minute, let's do a thought experiment. Let's set aside all of the emotion and consider whether the evangelists for open marriage might have a point." Reporter Nick Watt profiled Michael, Kamela and Rachel, a threesome "couple" that has sex with numerous people, all while raising a child. Watt described, "They're spreading the gospel of polyamory, hoping to speed up societal acceptance of this kind of set-up."
Clint Eastwood appeared on Monday's Good Morning America to promote his new movie, but still had to deal with media fallout from his "controversial" "chair stunt" at the Republican National Convention.
Fill-in co-host Josh Elliott teased the segment by lecturing, "We'll have much more about that controversial speech." After talking to Eastwood about his soon-to-be released baseball film, Trouble With the Curve, reporter Nick Watt segued, "Eastwood's last role was, of course, guest star at the Republican National Convention. He controversially addressed an empty chair as if it were President Obama." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
ABC’s Good Morning America on Tuesday America continued to raise questions about the arrest of Roman Polanski in Europe, spinning the case as a "31 year-old prosecutorial obsession." According to reporter Nick Watt, the film director has "been hunted since 1978."
The network correspondent observed that Polanski, who is wanted for child rape and was detained in Switzerland, "has some powerful friends." He explained, "Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has released this statement. ‘We're calling on every filmmaker we can to help fix this terrible situation.’" Watt also featured a snippet of ex-child star Melissa Gilbert on The View: "I think [Polanski’s] tried to atone. I think the punishment at this point may be excessive." Actress Debra Winger fawned, "We stand by, awaiting his release and his next masterwork.
Now, ABC did include one clip of a critic of the filmmaker. Professor and child advocate Wendy Murphy asserted that the director should face justice and that "no matter how much you like the guy's movies, he did something really bad." Co-host Robin Roberts also asked Polanski’s agent, "What do you say to his critics, who say even though it's been three decades, that justice hasn't fully been served yet?"
Hosts and reporters on Monday's Good Morning America hyperventilated about the arrest of fugitive Roman Polanski. Co-anchor Diane Sawyer worried that the detention of the director accused of child rape has created a "true international incident." Co-host Robin Roberts played up the supposed complexity of situation, referring to the event as an "international chess game."
Reporter Nick Watt fretted, "When Polanski, who is a French citizen, walked into a police trap here at Zurich Airport, he sparked an international row." Highlighting French outrage, he parroted, "This morning, another French minister said, ‘There is a scary America that has just shown its face.’"
Youngsters' curiosity about sex used to be sated by late night, soft-core flicks on premium cable channels. Now, they simply have to tune into ABC.
ABC news programs have featured 76 segments about sexual activity in the last six months. The majority of these reports were related to political sex scandals or crime cases that contained a sexual element, but 11 promoted alternative sexual arrangements such as men who become women, Web sites dedicated to helping married people cheat on their spouses and even people who carry on romantic relationships with objects like F-15 fighter jets and the Eiffel Tower.
Despite evidence to the contrary, Tuesday's "Good Morning America" continued to hype the idea that there could soon be no Arctic sea ice at the North Pole. Co-host Robin Roberts began a segment on the subject by fretting, "But, can you imagine going to the beach and finding it's not there? Sounds like science fiction."
Referencing a group of scientists who are traveling 600 miles across the Arctic to test ice thickness she added, "Well, a new expedition is under way to find out if this could happen in the not-so-distant future." However, "Good Morning America" has been wrong on this issue in the past. On the June 28, 2008 GMA, weekend anchor Kate Snow introduced a story on polar bears by worrying, "You know, the polar bear has become the iconic face of climate change and this summer scientists are saying the North Pole could be without ice, another symptom of a warming planet." Yet, by the fall of last year, the arctic ice caps had grown by 150,000 square miles (which, while still low, is not the same as disappearing.)
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez described the Catholic Church’s refusal to allow filming on Church property of a movie prequel to "The DaVinci Code," starring Tom Hanks, this way: "...the battle between Tom Hanks and the Vatican. You know he's in Rome filming the prequel to 'The Da Vinci Code,' 'Angels and Demons,' and the Church there is up in arms, they're barring them from filming in churches. They believe the film, like the book, is sacrilegious."
On Wednesday, ABC’s "Good Morning America" featured a story on the controversy in which correspondent Nick Watt declared: "When the might of Rome clashes with a literary behemoth, expect some colorful language. 'An offense against God,' is what a diocese of Rome spokesman just called this book." Watt then later proclaimed: "The Dan Brown express will not be stopped," to which GMA co-host Diane Sawyer replied: "Yes, Nick, I mean that's the irony, isn't it? The more the Church complains, probably the better it is for the business."
Meanwhile, on Thursday’s "Early Show," correspondent Allen Pizzey explained: "Fans of the book, 'Angels and Demons,' keep streaming into the churches in Rome where the plot unfolds. But the film crew turning it into a movie has been banned from them and any other Church property. The plot is not overly anti-Church, but some of the most graphic scenes are not something with which the Church wants to be associated."
Good Morning America” on Tuesday continued the morning show drive of busting taboos by touting the romantic relationship between a half-brother and sister. GMA reporter Nick Watt informed viewers of the Scottish couple Danielle Heaney and Nick Cameron, now charged with incest, and rather neutrally explained, “Danielle and Nick are in love. But their love is taboo. They're half-brother and sister.” [audio available here]
At no time during the segment did Watt talk to anyone who might have expressed the argument that having a physical relationship between half-siblings could be a bad idea. After explaining how Danielle and Nick had the same mother, but lived apart as children, Watt simply observed “And one day they hope to move to France, where their love is legal.” Instead, Watt just dug for private details, such as this query to Heaney: “So, something made you kiss him?” Co-host Robin Roberts labeled the relationship "forbidden love." The network morning shows clearly enjoy promoting any type of relationship that can be seen as edgy, daring or somehow outside of the norm. And these segments are almost always delivered with a complete lack of judgment.
ABC reporter Nick Watt on Monday imagined the world as a better place without men, who he jokingly dismissed as war-hungry criminals only good for making pop music. The segment, which aired on "Nightline," featured the views of an Oxford professor, Bryan Sykes, who believes that the Y chromosome will disappear in about 125,000 years.
Apparently not seeing a downside, Watt mused, "But would the absence of men make the world a better place? There would be far fewer wars without men on the planet. The U.S. prison population would drop a colossal 97 percent. Road deaths in the U.S. would fall 70 percent." The ABC journalist flippantly discussed the subject in a way that would never be done if the professor had longed for a world without woman. At one point, Mr. Sykes derided, "To be frank, we're not really all that necessary." Watt helpfully added, "Our only hope, that women decide to keep us alive for their own amusement. For the pop music, perhaps." Can anyone imagine a mainstream journalist joking about keeping women around for the entertainment of men?
"Good Morning America" reporter Nick Watt smeared Dutch filmmaker Geert Wilders as a racist on Saturday's edition of the ABC program. Watt, who interviewed the director over his new movie about radical Islam's incompatibility with Dutch culture, sneered, "You believe the Western Judeo Christian culture is superior. You believe immigration should be stopped. I mean, you're a racist, no?"
Wilders is under fire from Islamic protests in much of the Middle East and has been criticized by the Netherlands prime minister. GMA co-host Kate Snow seemed skeptical as well. Speaking of Wilders's movie, she derided, "So, is this hate speech or free speech?" Snow failed to explain how, exactly "hate speech" is not also free speech. At one point, after Wilders touted the superiority of western culture, Watt incredulously replied, "What do you mean, better?" Leaving no doubt as to what his opinion is, Watt closed the segment by asserting, "Wilders calls this freedom of speech. Others call it fanning the flames."
ABC correspondent Nick Watt conducted a softball interview with the son of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden on Tuesday's "Good Morning America" and he credulously repeated Omar bin Laden's goals of being an "ambassador for peace." Host Diane Sawyer called the idea a "very curious proposal," while Watt announced that the younger bin Laden "wants to meet with President George W. Bush" and labeled the idea "astounding."
Watt expressed no skepticism over the proposed meeting. This, despite the fact that bin Laden lauded his father, responsible for countless thousands of deaths, as a "very kind man" and stated that he would not turn his dad over to American authorities, were he to know the location. Apparently, it didn't occur to Watt that this might not be the kind of person who would be best qualified to be an ambassador for peace or someone that President Bush would meet with. However, the GMA correspondent did find time to notice bin Laden's "glamorous, English wife."