To highlight the announcement that Bianna Golodryga had been named co-anchor of the weekend Good Morning America, ABC blurred the lines of journalism on Sunday and brought on the host's fiancee, Barack Obama's Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Peter Orszag.
In a fawning piece on Golodryga's life story, an onscreen graphic identified Orszag only as the journalist's fiancee. At the end of the segment, the Democratic official strode onto the set, surprising the host. Only then, almost as an aside, did co-anchor Bill Weir explain, "...For those who may not know, Bianna's fiancee is in President Obama's cabinet." [Audio available here.]
Golodryga has a long history of finding the liberal spin for economic issues (her main subject). On February 10, 2009, she promoted the efforts of a left-wing, self-proclaimed "bank terrorist," but left out any identifiers.
On November 17, 2007, Golodryga touted liberal investor Warren Buffett as "Robin Hood," gushing over his plea for higher taxes.
Perhaps in an effort not to make things awkward, ABC again failed to note the fact that her fiancee, Orszag, recently had a love child with his previous girlfriend, after divorcing his first wife. ABC similarly skipped the story back in January. (NBC covered it.)
With this track record, viewers probably shouldn't hold out much hope for objectivity from Mrs. Peter Orszag.
A transcript of the May 16 segment, which aired at 8:38am EDT, follows:
BILL WEIR: It's time to take a peak behind the curtain, reveal the personal side of our co-host on the show. You ready for this?
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: I don't know.
WEIR: Trust me. You'll be all right. Here you go. Take a look.
RON CLAIBORNE: Trust us.
PETER ORSZAG: One of the amazing things about Bianna is that she's, sort of, fabulous in blue jeans or a black tie dinner.
UNIDENTIFIED FRIEND: She's JUST great fun. And she's great when you're having a bad day. Everything you could ever want in a girlfriend.
VITALY GOLODRYGA (Bianna's father): She was born in the former Soviet Union, state of Moldova. We just simply wanted to have better opportunities for our life and Bianna's life. We took a chance, and they let us go.
ZHANNA GOLODRYGA (Bianna's mother): She always was involved in a lot of activities. She started when she was really small. Three years old in gymnastics. That didn't go very well. She was taking piano for many years. I personally think she hated it.
VITALY GOLODRYGA: Also she was taking singing lessons.
ZHANNA GOLODRYGA: Both of us worked, so, we, none of us stayed at home. Obviously we had to keep her busy.
GINNY BALLARD (Bianna's high school English teacher): What I remember is her performances in theater, and that she was so comfortable.
RICK CAMPBELL (Bianna's high school history teacher): She had this sense of confidence, her work was stellar. Just an exceptionally bright student.
MARIA BARTIROMO (former colleague at CNBC): Bianna knew where she was going when she walked into the door at New York Stock Exchange applying for that job with me. Bianna, you know, does what she loves, does what she believes in, she follows her heart.
VITALY GOLODRYGA: The opportunity to do both economics, finance, very much satisfied what she wanted to do.
BOB PISANI (former colleague at CNBC): Bianna sat right here for three years, Bianna and I sat 18 inches apart. She sat working on those computers. Could see the guys on the floor of the stock exchange right there. There's our view of the floor of the stock exchange. She was a great producer, but more importantly to me, she was a really great friend. She had the looks and beauty, and I had the money and we were a great combination.
[clip from GMA]
DIANE SAWYER: How do you say I love you in Russian?
PETER ORSZAG (Bianna's fiancee): She will, occasionally, especially with family members, move, into full-on rapid fire Russian speak.
ZHANNA GOLODRYGA: It's her dad who enforced that when she was growing up.
VITALY GOLODRYGA: When she grew up, it was in the middle of the Cold War, Russia wasn't very popular at that time. But we wanted her to know and remember her heritage.
ORSZAG: I love to say [speaks Russian]- which means I speak Russian really badly. If she went into Russian speak with me, I think that would be a signal that I have done something very, very wrong. Hasn't happened so far. So, let's hope, knock on wood it doesn't happen in the future.
MICHELLE BARISH (Bianna's best friend): There's a little bit of a situation between Bianna and my yorkshire terrier, Miranda. They've had a couple of incidents a few years back, and Miranda is just now coming around to forgiving her for it. I know you're not completely over it.
ZHANNA GOLODRYGA: The appreciation of how she got there. What we went through as a family, how she was a big part of it. She will never forget that. She knows what it takes to get somewhere. Nothing was given to her on a silver spoon.
VITALY GOLODRYGA: I think she's very proud to be an American. This country means so much to her, and it will be very proud to be able to raise her that way.
WEIR: Yeah. They should be proud. What great parents.
[Peter Orszag walks on set.]
WEIR: Hey, Peter! Good to see you, man. So, I have to ask, for those who may not know, Bianna's fiancee is in President Obama's cabinet. You're the Director of Office of Budget and Management [sic]-
ORSZAG: Budget and Management.
WEIR: Something like that. But, I wondered, do you guys ever just open a bottle of Chardonnay to discuss discretionary versus entitlement spending?
GOLODRYGA: Well, everything but it's usually Pinot Noir.
WEIR: A little, robust economy discussion.
GOLODRYGA: We have the same discussions. My parents always talked about keeping me on a budget, and when I was growing up, the fundamentals of how important it is to stay within one's budget. I was like, you know, I don't think you have to worry given that I married someone who does a budget for a living.