For the second day in a row, the journalists at Good Morning America failed to identify prostitution patron Eliot Spitzer as a Democrat. Yet, in a story on the politician's comeback, reporter Claire Shipman made sure to highlight former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford as a Republican. Regarding Spitzer's bid to be the New York City comptroller, Shipman enthused, "A new political lesson for Eliot Spitzer: Infamy might work to his advantage."
She continued, "It certainly brought the former New York governor crowds he could not have imagined before his prostitution scandal cost him his job in 2008." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] What the reporter conveniently ignored is that Spitzer was mercilessly heckled on Thursday. A Manhattan man screamed at the Democrat, "Why were you late? Were you with a hooker?"
Holly Bailey of Yahoo News explained:
"Did you leave your black socks on?" the man yelled at Spitzer, referring to one of the tawdry details Ashley Dupre, one of the prostitutes Spitzer patronized, revealed about their time together.
Of course, Shipman skipped all of this.
An onscreen graphic described Spitzer simply as a "former governor of New York." At no time did Shipman or any of the program's hosts identify the politician's political party. Yet, when talking about Sanford, a graphic revealed, "R-South Carolina."
The journalist concluded, "Why are repenting bad boys so appealing? They can seem more human, as long as the scandal is limited."
On Monday, GMA also avoided mentioning that Spitzer is a Democrat.
A transcript of the July 9 segment, which aired at 7:15am ET, follows:
ABC GRAPHIC: Spitzer's Second Act: Charges Back to Campaign Trail
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Who says there are no second acts in American lives? Politicians are proving F. Scott Fitzgerald wrong all the time. The latest one, Eliot Spitzer. After getting caught with prostitutes five years ago, the former New York governor resigned. But now he's running for office again, comptroller of New York City. ABC's Claire Shipman has the story.
CLAIRE SHIPMAN: A new political lesson for Eliot Spitzer: Infamy might work to his advantage. It certainly brought the former New York Governor crowds he could not have imagined before his prostitution scandal cost him his job in 2008.
ELIOT SPITZER: People do get second chances. Voters will make that determination.
SHIPMAN: A long, long way away from this day.
SPITZER (former Governor of New York): I am deeply sorry I did not live up to what was expected of me. I am resigning from the office of governor.
SHIPMAN: Maybe he was feeling left out after watching formerly disgraced Congressman--
ANTHONY WEINER: I did not send that tweet.
SHIPMAN: --ow extremely serious New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, not only jump in the race but hit a three-way tie in the polls.
WEINER (New York mayoral candidate): I know I have a lot of work to do to re-earn the trust of the voters and my colleagues in government.
SHIPMAN: And proceeding both, a veritable soap opera redemption story, starring love-lorn lothario and former South Carolina Governor, Mark Sanford.
MARK SANFORD (R-South Carolina): The bottom line is this: I've been unfaithful to my wife.
SHIPMAN: Voters didn't care. They recast him as a member of Congress, with the other woman, now his fiancee, proudly at his side.
SANFORD: I want to acknowledge a God, not just second chances. But third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth chances.
SHIPMAN: It's becoming a time-honored ritual. Think, of course, former president Bill Clinton, among others.
BILL CLINTON: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky. [Separate clip.] Indeed I did have a relationship with Ms. Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact, it was wrong.
SHIPMAN: Why are repenting bad boys so appealing? They can seem more human, as long as the scandal is limited.
RICK KLEIN (ABC News political director): A personal failing versus a public, professional failing. Someone being caught with their hand in the till different than their hand being somewhere it shouldn't be outside of marriage.
SHIPMAN: We don't want to suggest that a sex scandal is a good political strategy. And by the way, George and Robin, Silda Spitzer who was at her husband's side five yeas ago when he resigned, so far a notable no-show. Not clear if she'll be involved at all.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah, she was not campaigning yesterday. Okay, Claire, thanks very much.
ROBIN ROBERTS: Oh boy.