A day after Barack Obama and many of his liberal media compatriots complained about ABC's Wednesday debate questioners daring to ask him about William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright and not wearing a flag pin, Friday's World News featured a story championing Obama's “bandwagon” momentum with his campaign “firing on all cylinders.” Anchor Charles Gibson teased, “Obama Bandwagon: The candidate picks up three big name endorsements, including the backing of a long-time Clinton friend.” Neither CBS or NBC were so excited over the endorsements.
ABC reporter David Wright, whose Thursday evening story was dominated by criticism of ABC's debate topics, trumpeted: “Despite all the focus on bitterness this week and the debate, the Obama campaign seems to be firing on all cylinders, gaining in the national polls, today gaining these endorsements...” Wright touted how Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich “was one of three elder statesmen to endorse Obama today, along with former Senators Sam Nunn and David Boren, both conservative Democrats with strong defense and foreign policy credentials.” With Nunn's words on screen, Wright heralded:
Today Nunn said: "I believe Senator Obama has a rare ability to restore America's credibility and moral authority and to get others to join us in tackling serious global problems."
Gibson described the three endorsers as “influential.” Super-delegates may know them, but I wonder how many Democratic voters in the remaining states have ever head of any of them?
Friday's CBS Evening News limited coverage of the endorsements to this one sentence in Jim Axelrod's story, “Today Obama picked up the endorsement of two former Democratic Senators: Sam Nunn from Georgia, David Boren from Oklahoma, both moderates.”
(So Nunn and Boren are “moderates” to CBS News, but “conservative Democrats” to ABC News.)
Over on the NBC Nightly News, Lee Cowan didn't mention Nunn or Boren and only gave a clause to Reich's endorsement of Obama.
My Thursday NewsBusters item, “Obama and Liberals Whine: ABC Contrite and CBS Shares His Pain,” recounted ABC's Thursday night approach:
...ABC hardly stood by Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos. David Wright cited “a grueling round of questions focused on issues such as Obama's patriotism, and his more controversial friends” -- though Wright only highlighted Jeremiah Wright and ignored William Ayers. After a clip of Obama complaining about how it was “45 minutes before we heard about health care. 45 minutes before we heard about Iraq. 45 minutes before we heard about jobs,” Wright ran four comments, three of the four critical of ABC: “Today, in Philadelphia's Redding market, we met plenty of others who shared those views.” A man declared: “I felt they wasted a whole hour, a good hour, talking about nothing.” Wright then read this e-mail: “This so-called debate will be shown to my communications students as an example of what shoddy journalism looks like.”
Wright concluded by helpfully promoting a far-left publicity effort: “There's now an organized campaign by the liberal group MoveOn and others to send a message to ABC.” A message ABC News and Wright himself delivered by framing an entire story around their agenda....
A transcript of the story on the Friday, April 18 World News on ABC:
CHARLES GIBSON: Next, turn to presidential politics, and new support today for Barack Obama. He picked up the endorsements of influential former Senators Sam Nunn and David Boren, as well as Robert Reich, Labor Secretary under Bill Clinton and a long-time Clinton friend. The Obama campaign is doing everything it can to signal momentum for its candidate. ABC's David Wright tonight is in Philadelphia again. David, good evening.
DAVID WRIGHT: Good evening, Charlie. Despite all the focus on bitterness this week and the debate, the Obama campaign seems to be firing on all cylinders, gaining in the national polls, today gaining these endorsements, just as the national party leadership is again signaling their wish to wrap this up. Today, Obama toured a steel plant in Erie, stopped off across the street at a brewery. Hillary Clinton started her final push in Radnor, accusing Obama of whining about the debate.
HILLARY CLINTON: I'm with Harry Truman on this: If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. I am very comfortable in the kitchen.
WRIGHT: But today the negative tone of her campaign, especially the attack ads she started this week, cost her the support of an old friend. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich has known the Clintons for 40 years.
ROBERT REICH: The economy going down the tubes, Iraq a mess. I mean, to distract the attention of the public and do that kind of old politics as usual, frankly, I just went over the top. I just couldn't be silent anymore.
WRIGHT: Reich was one of three elder statesmen to endorse Obama today, along with former Senators Sam Nunn and David Boren, both conservative Democrats with strong defense and foreign policy credentials. Both were short-listed to be Bill Clinton's Defense Secretary. Today Nunn said [text on screen]: “I believe Senator Obama has a rare ability to restore America's credibility and moral authority and to get others to join us in tackling serious global problems.”
TAD DEVINE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: I think what the party leadership right now is looking for closure. I think they want this process to come to a peaceful end.
WRIGHT: Last night the Democratic Party Chairman practically pleaded on CNN for super-delegates to make up their minds.
HOWARD DEAN, CHAIRMAN, DNC: We can not give up two or three months of active campaigning and healing time. We've got to know who our nominee is.
WRIGHT: Clinton has 23 more super-delegates than Obama, but since February 5th, she's had a net loss of two. During the same period, Obama has gained 77.
DEVINE: I think the results of the Pennsylvania primary will have a huge impact on the decisions that super-delegates make.
WRIGHT: Today, Hillary Clinton picked up three super-delegates, including two former governors of New Jersey. And for both of these campaigns, the timing of these endorsements is important -- coming just before the Pennsylvania primary -- because it does give that appearance of momentum. Charlie?
GIBSON: David Wright, reporting from Philadelphia tonight.