A mass shooting couldn't halt Good Morning America's continuing disintegration from a news program to a tabloid-obsessed entertainment show. On Tuesday, the show devoted more time to Britney Spears's new Las Vegas show and Dancing With the Stars than to the slaughter of 12 people in Washington D.C. The journalists at GMA allowed nine minutes and 24 seconds to the massacre at the Navy Yard. However, an interview with Spears and a full report on dissecting Dancing With the Stars (another ABC program) amounted to 11 minutes and 54 seconds.
At 7am, before even launching into a recounting of the attack near the nation's Capitol building, anchor George Stephanopoulos teased, "We do have a packed show this morning. There is Sam [Champion], right in the middle of the Nevada desert. Right there. We're going to get to him in a little bit for the Britney Spears live event." He then awkwardly shifted topics: "But right now, that major story in Washington, the massacre at the Navy Yard..." [See a video montage below. MP3 audio here.]
In the 7am hour, GMA focused on the shooting for the first eight minutes and 40 seconds before moving on. It wasn't until the 8am hour when news reader Josh Elliott returned to the grisly details, allowing a scant 44 seconds. Clearly, the focus of the day was Spears and Sam Champion's interview with the pop star.
ABC flew the weatherman to Las Vegas to interview Spears. Champion offered such penetrating questions as "If you had to look back and pick your favorite hit, which would be the one that you like the most?...How old were you when you had your first kiss?...Favorite dance move?"
In contrast, GMA devoted 45 minutes of air time (without commercial interruption) to Bill and Hillary Clinton in the wake of the 1999 Columbine massacre. On Tuesday, the show's hosts couldn't be bothered.
In July, ABC obsessed over the British royal baby for 62 minutes. In comparison, the network allowed just 24 minutes over two and a half months to the IRS scandal.