Nightline's Yunji de Nies on Thursday offered a laudatory segment on the sex columnist Dan Savage. She has previouisly fawned on Twitter that the writer/activist was "hilarious." De Nies offered almost no mention of the outrageous statements Savage has made, including referring to Antonin Scalia as a "c–ksucker" and once asserting, "F–k John McCain."
The only hint about the radical nature of Savage came when de Nies explained, "Savage doesn't hide his politics. He famously went after Republican Rick Santorum after the former senator compared homosexuality to bestiality. Savage responded by calling on his fan base to redefine the word Santorum online."
Instead of pressing the syndicated gay columnist about his remarks, she blandly wondered, "Have you had a chance to talk to [Santorum] personally?...Do you have any interest in engaging with him on this?"
ABC on Monday night delivered an even shoddier than usual piece of advocacy for President Barack Obama in the guise of a news story, duplicity which started with fill-in anchor George Stephnopoulos, trying to make Obama’s comments seem well-timed and topical, falsely describing statistics, released more than two weeks ago, as “new numbers today show...” Stephanopoulos intoned:
Now to a stunning example of the U.S. falling behind where we shouldn't. New numbers today show eleven countries, including Canada, South Korea, and Russia, now lead the U.S. in the rate of young adults getting college degrees. That spells trouble, and President Obama said we can't afford to ignore it.
On screen, ABC credited the College Board and, indeed, the “College Board Advocacy & Policy Center” released such a report – but back on July 22 (press release). Reporter Yunji de Nies managed to produce a story on the administration’s promise “everything is on the table” to improve education, yet she failed to mention how the administration’s loyalty to teacher unions blocks public school reform.
Playing Stevie Wonder's version of 'Happy Birthday' at the end of Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Erica Hill reported: "The Obamas, of course, big Stevie Wonder fans. And President Obama, 49 years old today." After she observed that Obama looked a little grayer, co-host Harry Smith, who interviewed the President on Friday, chimed in: "He came bounding into the interview area full of energy."
Smith went on to note how "in terms of energy and sort of lines on the face or any of that other kind of stuff....looks like [Obama's] still got it together." Hill wondered: "He doesn't look tired or drawn or stressed?" Smith replied, "No, no. Nope," and started to joke about his own age: "[Obama] was probably very happy to see me....Because Lord knows, everybody likes it when they see the old- "
At that point, weatherman Dave Price interjected: "But keep in mind, you really never notice it until you see those pictures." He added: "...the only one who really came out looking just like he did was Reagan....left looking great." Smith couldn't resist getting in a quick shot at the late president: "...they insisted till the end that he never dyed his hair."
All three broadcast evening newscasts on Monday ran full reports on President Obama’s declaration that all combat troops would leave Iraq by the end of this month, leaving behind 50,000 troops designated for training and support. But only ABC’s World News bothered to point out how the end of American combat involvement in Iraq can be credited “in large part, because of the final actions of the last administration.”
Correspondent Yunji de Nies uniquely pointed out: “Just before leaving office, President Bush sent an additional 20,000 troops to Iraq and extended the tours of many more — a move then-Senator Obama opposed.”
ABC even showed a clip of Obama on the Senate floor in 2007 predicting the surge would fail: “I cannot in good conscience support this escalation. It is a policy that has already been tried and a policy that has failed.”
Neither CBS nor NBC pointed out how Obama was capitalizing on a policy he opposed, but all of the networks were skeptical of Obama’s claim that Iraq was a healed nation:
Good Morning America’s Yunji de Nies on Wednesday used the one year anniversary of Michelle Obama's tenure as First Lady to file a fawning look at the "every woman" who is "wowing the world." And while many were focusing on the crushing Democratic defeat in Massachusetts, de Nies gushed, "He may have won the presidency, but when she set foot on Pennsylvania Avenue, Michelle Obama captivated the country." [Audio available here.]
As though de Nies were a PR representative for the First Lady, the ABC reporter could hardly contain herself: "Her spotlight seems to only shine brighter. She's the cover girl on countless magazines with her belted cardigans and signature sleeveless style." Continuing to uncritically hype Mrs. Obama, the journalist rhapsodized, "Mrs. Obama's look is anything but traditional. She wears it all. High fashion to high function, all the while wowing the world."
De Nies recapped many of the press events the First Lady conducted in 2009, including hula hooping on the White House lawn to promote exercise: "She's the healthy host. Mrs. Obama proved that exercise can be fun with enviable results."
Imagine the outrage if any Republican President went on vacation during a recession and spent $4,000 a night on accommodations. On ABC’s Good Morning America Wednesday, correspondent Yunji de Nies seemed to suggest that President Obama’s family will be spending such an amount renting expensive living space at an estate house in Hawaii for a two-week Christmas vacation. De Nies: "Christmas trees here aren't cheap – neither is staying in this $8.9 million house, which runs $4,000 a night. The Obamas rented this one and the two next door for family and friends. When you spend that kind of money, people pay attention to detail."
De Nies did not specify exactly how much is being spent or where the money is coming from, though the amount may even be significantly more than $4,000 a day as she related that "the two next door" were also being rented for family and friends of the Obamas. The ABC correspondent also recounted that the estate house overlooks a beach popular with royalty: "But it's the master bedroom and its breathtaking view that is the crown jewel. Kailua Beach has been ranked the island's best, a favorite of Hawaiian royalty."
Anchor George Stephanopoulos gushed over Obama's plans for a two-week getaway to Hawaii as he introduced the report:
In the category of "intentional misunderstandings" about the political fiasco over the 2016 Summer Olympics, liberals win the gold medal. Cheers and laughs broke out in conservative offices and radio studios on the morning of October 2 when Chicago’s bid came in dead last. This was not an exercise in behavior so flagrantly unpatriotic that it’s almost like a flag-burning indoors. It was rejoicing over a come-uppance for the massive, media-enabled egomania of the Obamas and their team of so-called political geniuses inside the White House.
As the Drudge Report and Rush Limbaugh put it: "The Ego Has Landed."
Let’s not kid ourselves: The embarrassment over Chicago finishing dead last in Copenhagen was also felt by the multitude of Obama promoters in the media that almost unanimously jumped to the supine conclusion that victory for Chicago was assured once the president announced his plan to bless the International Olympic Committee with his presence.
On Friday, just hours before the International Olympic Committee rejected Barack Obama’s appeal for Chicago to be awarded the 2016 Olympic games, ABC’s Yunji de Nies swore that Michelle Obama and her husband thrilled the crowd. She enthused, "Their work here is done. They are on their way home. The presentation was everything they promised, emotional, heartfelt, energetic."
On Thursday, de Nies prognosticated this about Mrs. Obama’s address to IOC members in Copenhagen: "We're told there won't be a dry eye in the house by the time she's done." Now, video of the First Lady’s address mostly featured shots of Michelle Obama, but there didn’t appear to be any audible wailing and crying in the audience.
Good Morning America correspondent Yunji de Nies on Thursday touted White House talking points when she highlighted Michelle Obama’s pitch for the 2016 Olympics to be in Chicago. De Nies parroted, "We're told there won't be a dry eye in the house by the time she's done." She was "told" this?
Was she also told that the First Lady would "bring down the house" or that "Michelle will hit a home run?" De Nies was in Copenhagen, covering the lobbying by Mr. and Mrs. Obama and Oprah Winfrey to the International Olympic Committee. De Nies also enthused, "And the President and First Lady will share the stage at that final presentation. We're told that he will focus on the big picture, while she will get very personal. She'll speak from the heart."
With First Lady Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey now in Copenhagen, CBS anchor Katie Couric on Wednesday night declared “the 'Dream Team' pushing Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympic summer games is nearly complete” and is now just awaiting “the team captain” -- that would be President Barack Obama, who “arrives Friday ahead of the final vote.”
On ABC, reporter Yunji de Nies marveled at her discovery that members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are not as impressed by President Obama as are those in the American press corps: “Even the prospect of meeting President Obama on Friday leaves some of them unfazed.” She then showed a clip of herself asking an unidentified man: “So, you're not impressed by the President?” The man, who per a scan of the IOC site's pictures most-resembles Japan's Chiharu Igaya, confirmed: “Never, never.”
Over the weekend, ABC provided hyperbolic, worried reporting on the 9/12 protest in Washington D.C. And while the other networks had mixed results, Good Morning America co-host Bill Weir opened the program on Saturday by fretting, "This morning, outrage. Protesters descend on Washington to rally against the President's health care plan. As civility gives way to shouting, what's fueling all this anger?"
On Sunday’s GMA, Weir spun that the protesters were "rail[ing]" against higher taxes, government run health care and spending. Reporter Yunji de Nies highlighted a marcher who labeled Barack Obama a "communist." She then pounced, "Do you really believe the President is a communist?" Right after this exchange, de Nies told viewers that those rallying "insist they're not extremists."
On ABCnews.com’s blog Political Punch, Yunji de Nies reported on the first celebration of gay pride month held in the White House by President Obama.
“President Obama told the group he is committed to equality for their community,” she reported, continuing on to quote Obama himself: “‘This struggle continues today, for even as we face extraordinary challenges as a nation, we cannot and will not put aside issues of basic equality,’ he said, ‘We seek an America in which no one feels the pain of discrimination based on who you are or who you love.’”
De Nies noted the gay community’s disappointment in a president they had hoped would actively promote their agenda: “Many gay and lesbians believe the President has been slow to act on major issues like the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, and the Defense of Marriage Act,” she wrote, neglecting to report on Obama’s personal belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman, or his administration’s recent defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
An article on advocate.com also neglected to admit Obama’s personal belief, but did quote Richard Socarides, a former LGBT advisor to President Bill Clinton, as saying, “No one ever questioned whether President Obama's heart was in the right place, but now we have the beginning of some action …”
ABC reporter Yunji de Nies filed a gushing profile piece on Tuesday's "Nightline" for the first 100 days of Michelle Obama, showering praise on the President's wife. De Nies rhapsodized, “From her inaugural debut, Michelle Obama has been the belle of the ball.” Playing a clip of Mrs. Obama unveiling a statue for abolitionist Sojourner Truth, the ABC journalist described the First Lady as “perhaps the most powerful woman of the moment.” (If that's so, shouldn't reporters such as de Nies try to be slightly less fawning in their coverage?)
De Nies used the type of descriptions that have become typical from reporters who discuss the Obamas. She informed, “Her European tour solidified her rock star status," then added, “She held her own in a fashion face-off with model turned singer turned First Lady of France, Carla Bruni Sarkozy.”
"Good Morning America" reporter Yunji de Nies continued to fawn over Michelle Obama on Friday, lauding how the First Lady shared her "Cinderella story" with a girls school in London. An ABC graphic for the segment opined, "Michelle Wows Europe: First Trip Big Hit." Recounting the positive reception the speech received, de Nies cooed, "But it was her personal touch that made the biggest impact."
Tina Brown, liberal commentator and former editor of the New Yorker, was featured to rhapsodize, "I don't see any misstep from Michelle Obama on this trip. She really excited everybody. She's done it right." Of course, de Nies made no mention of Brown's left wing political views. Sounding more like a PR representative, the GMA correspondent asserted, "She [Michelle Obama] leaves the U.K., no longer a stranger, but, now, a friend."
"Good Morning America" reporter Yunji de Nies on Thursday gushed over Michelle Obama's appearance in London for the G-20 summit, thrilling about the First Lady's fashion and the fact that "Mrs. Obama hasn't lost touch with her sensible chic American roots." In contrast, GMA ignored the controversy over Mrs. Obama touching the Queen of England during her visit, which many consider a breach of protocol. Similarly, the show's hosts and reporters downplayed the fact that the Obamas gave Queen Elizabeth II an iPod loaded with Barack Obama's speeches.
This is despite the fact that the very same de Nies filed a report on Tuesday on the history of overseas presidential trips. She insisted, "But one unlucky misstep and everyone remembers." She then proceeded to feature supposed gaffes from Republican Presidents George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Two days later, however, de Nies ignored the missteps of the Obamas and filed an absolutely laudatory segment on the First Lady. She rhapsodized, "The First Lady showcased her signature sleeveless style, her bare arms reminiscent of Jackie Kennedy, the last First Lady to cause such a stir across the pond."
"Good Morning America" reporter Yunji de Nies on Tuesday touted supposed gaffes of past Republican presidents in a segment on Barack Obama's trip abroad. De Nies intoned, "But one unlucky misstep and everyone remembers." As she said this, video of George W. Bush's 2005 trip to Beijing appeared onscreen. (In the footage, the then-President can be seen trying to go out the wrong door.) More Republican footage followed.
First, 1992 video of George H.W. Bush throwing up in Japan was highlighted and then a 2006 picture of George W. Bush rubbing the neck of German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared. De Nies described these two events as "the upset stomach of a President" and an "awkward moment between two world leaders." Introducing a clip of veteran ABC correspondent Sam Donaldson, she continued, "Sam Donaldson remembers watching Ronald Reagan fight to stay awake at the G7 summit in Venice."
On Tuesday's "Nightline," ABC gushed over Michelle Obama with the enthusiasm and objectivity usually reserved for "Access Hollywood" reporters. Correspondent Yunji de Nies lauded the "rock star" first lady for her fashion sense and for speaking openly about balancing work and family. "Nightline" co-anchor Cynthia McFadden asserted that "with her muscular arms and outfits, she's become, well, a model first lady."
De Nies talked with liberal Washington Post journalist Sally Quinn, who has written for years about D.C. style. Asked about a recent Michelle Obama spread in Vogue magazine, Quinn enthused, "Well, for one thing, I think she's a sexual person. The pictures are attractive. They're womanly. They're sexy, but not in an overt way." She then went on to assert that Washington has often tried to force women to downplay their sexuality. This prompted de Nies to breathlessly wonder, "Is Washington and the world ready for such a modern first lady?"
At the top of Monday’s ABC Good Morning America, co-host Chris Cuomo teased a story on Barack Obama’s Christmas vacation plans: "And Aloha, President-elect Barack Obama says Mele Kalikimaka on a bright Hawaiian holiday. We'll take to you to the $30 million retreat where the future first family is spending Christmas." Later, fill-in co-host Elizabeth Vargas introduced the segment: "Barack Obama and his family arrived in Hawaii over the weekend to a multi-million dollar ocean-front home, where they will spend Christmas." At no point in the story did anyone contrast Obama’s lavish getaway with the tough economic times. In fact, Cuomo seemed to dismiss any such criticism at the end of the segment: "I can already hear the rumblings, ‘who paid for the house? Who paid for the house?’"
The report on the Obama vacation, by correspondent Yunji de Nies, seemed more like an episode of ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’ than a news story: "The Obamas are waking up to this, Kailua Beach, with 2 ½ miles of pure white sand. At the end sits the family's vacation paradise...The Obama's, along with close friends, rented three houses, worth more than $30 million. Each, a spaces 5,000 feet, with waterfalls and a lagoon pool that flows throughout." de Nies talked to the owner of the resort, David Zimel, who remarked: "It's a home fit for a king. It's a place where royalty actually gathered. So it's -- I think it's pretty fitting that we'd have our next president spend some time here and try to relax."
ABC's "Good Morning America" exposed many problems with Medicare's hotline number 1-800-MEDICARE September 11, including telephone operators "who couldn't answer the [questions],""gave out the wrong information" or were completely unreachable.
The onscreen caption for the ABC report read "Investigation Exposes Health Care Mess." The morning broadcast didn't disappoint, pointing to a Senate committee investigation that had staffers call the Medicare hotline more than 500 times.
Co-host Chris Cuomo teased to introduce Yunji de Nies' report:
Many seniors looking for answers to their questions often turn to help lines that can be anything but helpful.
Even though "Good Morning America" seems to have taken a recent interest in the glaring problems at the government-backed program, experts have been making the point for years.
Update (13:40 EDT): You can see in bold some of the questions I thought particularly biased. I've clipped Mark Smith's first question about turning the thermostat down and driving less and posted that video on EyeBlast.tv. You can find it embedded at right. [Official White House transcript available here.]
10:17 EDT: President Bush will hold a press conference in a few minutes, I'll be watching and live-blogging questions from the press corps. I'll update the blog post after the fact (assuming President Bush takes questions) with a link to the official White House transcript. If warranted, we may also post video of the most biased questions.
11:09 | President thanks reporters for their time, closes conference.
11:06 | Olivier (sp?): "Is President Karzai correct and do you think the new government in Pakistan is willing to combat terrorism?"
11:02 | Ryan: Do you think it [the economy] changes before you leave office?
10:59 | April Ryan, American Urban Radio Networks: "When in your guestimation will this country see a turnaround on the soft economy?" Also asks about what's happening in Sudan.
10:57 | Compton presses again on oil company question.
10:55 | Ann Compton, ABC Radio: "You never mention oil companies. Are you confident that American oil producers are tapping all the sources they have out there, including offshore?" Compton also asks about Iraq and what Bush will leave his successor.
10:53 | Smith of AP Radio asks if President Bush sees the "value" of a campaign to push for conservation.
10:52 | Mark Smith, AP Radio: "Mr. President, understanding what you say about energy supplies being tight and the debate over energy, which has gone on for years and will continue long through the campaign and into the next administration -- one thing nobody debates is that if Americans use less energy the current supply/demand equation would improve. Why have you not sort of called on Americans to drive less and to turn down the thermostat?"
10:50 | Roger Runningen, Bloomberg News on a second stimulus: "Is it too late to consider a second one?"