ABC Champions Clinton/Obama or Obama/Clinton 'Dream Ticket' --2/4/2008
2. ABC's Kate Snow: The Oscar Goes to Barack and Hillary
3. CNN's Roberts: 'Grandeur of History' with Clinton or Obama Win
4. Bill and Hilary Co-Presidency a 'Good Idea' to ABC's McFadden
5. As U.S. Troops Succeed, the Media Retreat from Iraq War Story
6. Jay Leno Prompts Tom Brokaw to Reminisce About Reagan-Bashing
7. Attending CPAC? Meet Bozell, He'll Sign His Book Thursday Morning
ABC on Friday night decided to devote an entire story to speculating about what is supposedly "the talk of the town" -- a potential Democratic "Dream Ticket" of Clinton and Obama or Obama and Clinton. With "Dream Ticket?" on screen, anchor Charles Gibson set up the piece by pointing out how, during the debate on CNN the night before, Clinton and Obama "were asked if they might run together -- one for President, the other for Vice President." Gibson insisted: "It has been on many people's minds."
In the subsequent story, Jake Tapper asserted with a black man or white woman "poised to make history," there is "one way to top it." He then played a clip of Wolf Blitzer asking during the debate: "Would you consider an Obama/Clinton or Clinton/Obama ticket going down the road?" Maintaining "the possibility is the talk of the town," Tapper backed his supposition by highlighting the belief of his colleague, ex-Clintonista George Stephanopoulos, who predicted: "Because they're both fighting this out through Super Tuesday, I think the chances are better than ever before." Challenged by Diane Sawyer to a bet in the clip Tapper played from Good Morning America, Stephanopoulos took her up: "Absolutely. I'll bet if she gets the nomination, she picks him."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
In item #2 below, the MRC's Scott Whitlock noted how in a Friday's Good Morning America piece Kate Snow raised the "dream ticket." Later in the program, Scott also noticed, Stephanopoulos blurted out "the dream ticket" when Diane Sawyer raised the possibility of "a Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton ticket, or Clinton/Obama ticket." The GMA exchange, from which Tapper excerpted for his story later in the day:
DIANE SAWYER: And the moment where it was a question about would there be a Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton ticket, or Clinton/Obama ticket.
Friday's NBC Nightly News didn't bring up the "dream ticket" and CBS's Katie Couric held herself to this short Evening News item: "But after all the campaign bitterness, could Clinton and Obama wind up on the same ticket? A Clinton aide told our Jim Axelrod don't rule it out as long as she's at the top of the ticket. The Obama campaign said 'forget it, he's running for President, not Vice President.'"
CHARLES GIBSON: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama debated last night, as you may know. And despite the fact they've been highly critical of one another, they were on their best behavior last night. And then they were asked if they might run together -- one for President, the other for Vice President. It has been on many people's minds. Was it on theirs? Here's Jake Tapper.
JAKE TAPPER: The image was striking -- a black man, a white woman. One of them poised to make history. Both bringing in tens of thousands of new voters. And there's one way to top it.
Good Morning America correspondent Kate Snow appeared ready to present Academy Award statues to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on Friday's show. The reporter gushed over the performance of the two Democrats at Thursday's Los Angeles-based Democratic debate. She rhapsodized: "So, the nominees for best performance in a televised debate go to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton..."
Snow, as well as GMA co-host Diane Sawyer and This Week anchor George Stephanopoulos, who appeared later on in the show, couldn't restrain themselves from mentioning the possibility of a Clinton/Obama or Obama/Clinton "dream ticket." Sawyer looked absolutely bubbly during GMA's opening. Lauding the friendly nature of the debate between the senators, she enthused: "And it's Friday, February 1st, 2008 and we all watched last night, right? What about that?!"
[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
By far, however, Snow exuded the most excitement. The ABC reporter has a long history of providing favorable coverage for the Clinton. She once famously described the much derided Hillary Clinton laugh as either an example of someone having a great time or "she's the master of a shrewd political skill, disarming her critics with a gleam in her eye and a roar straight from the belly." (For a round-up of Kate Snow's most egregious Clinton-related bias, see the December 3 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org )
It needs to be pointed out that ABC correspondent Jake Tapper provided some actual analysis of facts on Friday's GMA. He corrected misstatements and erroneous assertions by both Obama and Clinton on issues such as Iraq and health care. After an Obama clip that appeared to strike a tough stand on immigration, Tapper informed viewers:
OBAMA: We do have to crack down on those employers that are taking advantage of the situation.
This is not the first time that ABC has allowed Tapper to act as a truth monitor. These type of segments certainly seem more valuable than the hyperbole that Snow often dispenses.
A transcript of Kate Snow's segment, which aired at 7:05am on February 1:
7am tease, DIANE SAWYER: This morning, snubs to hugs. Inside the historic Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton debate as the stars came out in Hollywood to watch.
7:01, SAWYER: And it's Friday, February 1st, 2008 and we all watched last night, right? What about that?!
7:02am, SAWYER: But let us begin with this truly historic debate last night. ABC's Kate Snow is at the Oscar venue, the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. And, Kate, over to you.
On Friday, CNN's American Morning co-host John Roberts and CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley gushed over the "historic" nature of the Obama and Clinton race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Roberts seemed almost giddy over the coming primaries on Super Tuesday: "Yeah, it is going to be a transformational primary here on the Democratic side of things. Do you get a sense that people are recognizing this idea of the grandeur of history involved here?"
Roberts echoed his colleague at CNN Wolf Blitzer, who began the debate Thursday night by declaring: "This is truly an historic moment for the Democratic Party. It's the first time that we will see a woman and an African-American vying for the Democratic presidential nomination."
Barack Obama, in his opening statement, expressed his agreement with Blitzer by using two "history" lines of his own: "[I]t is a testimony to the Democratic Party, and it is a testimony to this country, that we have the opportunity to make history, because I think one of us two will end up being the next president of the United States of America." He later said: "I believe we're at a defining moment in our history."
After Roberts' "grandeur of history" line, Crowley answered by agreeing that there was a sense of "history" involved on the "Democratic side of things." "I think so, and I think that you have that sense all along, but now it's just so crystallized, because you didn't know exactly what was going to happen. But I recall standing out in very chilly Springfield, Illinois, when Barack Obama announced. And a lot of people I talked to there said, 'Oh, you're an Obama supporter?' I said no, but you know, this might be history. I wanted to bring my kid. Same with Hillary Clinton. I brought my daughter, you know, because I think this might be history."
The two CNN on-air personalities, who had this exchange at the top of the 8am Eastern hour on Friday's American Morning, were copied by two of the Big Three network morning shows, which also used "history" lines. ABC's Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America described the Democratic presidential debate between Obama and Clinton as "this truly historic debate last night," and CBS's Harry Smith began The Early Show with the line "a presidential debate for the history books."
At the close of the segment, Roberts apparent giddiness about the Hillary/Obama match-up reached its height: "Yeah, it caught some people by surprise. They suddenly said, 'Oh, my God, history will be made this year.'"
[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Friday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
CANDY CROWLEY: You know, afterwards, John, I talked to some people on both sides, and what they said was what they loved about last night was they thought that viewers now are really focused. It is very clear one of these two people is going to be the Democratic nominee and they think for the first time, each of them had a clear shot without the buffer....
Interviewing Hillary Clinton for Wednesday's Nightline, anchor Cynthia McFadden speculated that a Bill and Hillary co-presidency could be a "good idea" and wondered what the New York Senator thinks about late into the evening. She sympathetically asked: "When you lie awake at night...what worries you?" Following Clinton's long answer about how "to whom much is given, much is required," McFadden approvingly remarked: "Good Methodist girl." In turn, Clinton accepted the compliment and asserted: "It is, indeed, who I am."
Back in December, McFadden posed a similar query. For that interview, the ABC host asked: "There's never a night, when you go back to whatever hotel room, whatever city you're in that night, and crawl in a ball and say, 'I just, this just hurts too much?" For more on that, check the December 21 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
McFadden is clearly a journalist who appears to have chosen Clinton over Obama. She repeatedly peppered the former First Lady over whether or not the Senator from Illinois called to congratulate Clinton's meaningless primary victory in Florida. (The state lost all delegates after moving up its primary date.) After the Democratic presidential candidate told McFadden that Obama was "busy," the journalist complained: "Well, that's a little break with tradition, though, isn't it?" She impatiently added: "Usually, the loser calls the winner" and congratulated Clinton for "turning the other cheek."
A partial transcript of the January 30 segment:
CYNTHIA MCFADDEN: Newsweek magazine this week says flatly if you're elected, it will be a co-presidency.
After months of improving security in Iraq, the big network morning shows on Friday cited one horrific suicide bombing as proof that "mayhem and misery are back in Baghdad," as CBS correspondent Mark Strassmann put it. But over the last five months, the broadcast networks have consistently reduced their coverage of Iraq, as if the story of American success in Iraq is less worthy of attention than their old mantra of American failure in Iraq.
Media Research Center analysts tracked all coverage of the Iraq war on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts from September 1 through January 31, and we documented a steady decline in TV coverage of Iraq that has coincided with the improving situation in Iraq. Back in September, the three evening newscasts together broadcast 178 stories about the war in Iraq; in January, that number fell to just 47, a nearly fourfold decrease.
[This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Friday, with a chart, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
On all three networks, however, journalists are admitting that the U.S. strategy is yielding success. "As a new year begins, overall violence is falling and hope seems to be rising," fill-in anchor Harry Smith announced on the January 1 CBS Evening News.
"The downturn in violence is being reflected in an upturn in the country's economy. Since the U.S. troop surge took hold, everything from Iraq's street markets to its stock market has been enjoying better days," anchor David Muir cheered on ABC's World News Saturday January 26. Baghdad reporter Hilary Brown translated the comments of one Iraqi businessmen: "'Each month is better than the month before,' says this shop owner. 'It used to be the other way around.'"
In a report for the January 12 NBC Nightly News, reporter John Yang seemed more bullish on the surge than the Bush administration. Noting how some U.S. troops have begun to return home without replacement, Yang fretted: "Military analysts fear the surge may be ending too soon." Yang then played a soundbite from NBC military analyst Jack Jacobs: "But at the end of the day, the administration has decided it's going to take troops out of Iraq, no matter what happens tactically and strategically." Are journalists suggesting that the surge is too successful to end?
Even as the tone of the networks' Iraq news has become more positive, much good news has gone unreported. Many Democrats have suggested that the surge may be a security success, but say a lack of political reconciliation still dooms our efforts in Iraq. Yet on January 12, the Iraqi parliament passed a law designed to promote national reconciliation, a long-sought development that was featured as the top story in the next morning's New York Times. But the CBS Evening News ignored the new law, while NBC's Nightly News gave it just a quick mention in a longer story about President Bush's trip to the Middle East.
Only ABC's World News gave the important development more than passing attention, mentioning the development the day it happened, and following up with a longer piece the next Monday. "A significant political breakthrough in Iraq," anchor Charles Gibson noted on the January 14 World News. "Iraqi lawmakers have put their differences aside and agreed to allow some members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party to take government jobs. It's a key benchmark sought by the United States." See: www.mrc.org
In a full report, reporter Hilary Brown echoed Gibson: "This law is being held up as a major step towards the rehabilitation of the Sunni minority into public life, and an essential part of political reform here."
Similarly, USA Today on January 18 blasted good news on its front page, with a large headline declaring "75% of areas in Baghdad secure; A year after U.S. buildup, forces 'own the streets'"
The story by Jim Michaels offered impressive data showing the scope of the U.S. military's success:
About 75% of Baghdad's neighborhoods are now secure, a dramatic increase from 8% a year ago when President Bush ordered more troops to the capital, U.S. military figures show.
The military classifies 356 of Baghdad's 474 neighborhoods in the "control" or "retain" category of its four-tier security rating system, meaning enemy activity in those areas has been mostly eliminated and normal economic activity is resuming.
The data given by the military to USA TODAY provide one of the clearest snapshots yet of how security has improved in Baghdad since roughly 30,000 additional American troops arrived in Iraq last year....
END of Excerpt
For the article in full: www.usatoday.com
Yet none of the broadcast evening news shows picked up on the upbeat report that night or in the days that followed. Only the CBS Evening News mentioned Iraq that night, with anchor Katie Couric reporting an awul attack: "In southern Iraq today, a religious celebration turned into a bloodbath. Gunmen from a messianic Shiite cult attacked worshipers preparing for the holiday of Ashura. Authorities say nearly 50 people were killed."
Throughout this long war, the broadcast networks have consistently been drawn to the bad news in Iraq -- car bombings, U.S. casualties, allegations of wrongdoing by our troops, etc. -- and the seemingly endless wave of bad news has obviously eroded public support for the mission. But now even network reporters are admitting that the news from the war front is good, yet the flood of war coverage has slowed to a trickle.
If the perception of American failure in Iraq is a big story, what about evidence of American success?
Jay Leno on Friday night reminisced about admiring Tom Brokaw for appearing on the cover of the far-left Mother Jones magazine back in 1983, an interview in which Brokaw denigrated then-President Reagan from the left for "pretty simplistic" values and over how he didn't understand "the enormous difficulty a lot of people have in just getting through life, because he's lived in this fantasy land for so long." With Brokaw on to promote his book, 'Boom!: Voices of the Sixties Personal Reflections on the '60s and Today,' Leno recalled: "I was just starting out in comedy and you'd been on the cover of kind of a left-wing, really left-wing magazine called Mother Jones. Then I thought this is really, wow, Tom Brokaw, 'cause you would have been the establishment and you're on the cover -- and that seemed, and I always wondered if NBC was annoyed or upset that you had done that?"
Not surprisingly, NBC wasn't bothered at all, Brokaw explained, "but Mrs. Reagan was really unhappy with me" for the interview, in which he acknowledged Ronald Reagan was poor as a child, but expressed how "I always thought that connection to people who were struggling was a little artificial because he really began to make it big at an early age." Brokaw proceeded to recount how he kissed and made up with Nancy Reagan.
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Saturday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Two quotes from Brokaw's interview in the April 1983 Mother Jones magazine:
# "Pretty simplistic [values]. Pretty old-fashioned. And I don't think they have much application to what's currently wrong or troubling a lot of people....Nor do I think he really understands the enormous difficulty a lot of people have in just getting through life, because he's lived in this fantasy land for so long."
# "But I thought from the outset that his 'supply side' [theory] was just a disaster. I knew of no one who felt that it was going to work, outside of a small collection of zealots in Washington and at USC -- Arthur Laffer, Jack Kemp. What I thought quite outrageous was the business community, which for years carped and complained that it could never get a President sympathetic to its needs, finally got its champion, Ronald Reagan. Then, to its horror, it discovered that he was actually going to press ahead with supply side -- a theory whose disastrous consequences businesspeople began desperately to prepare for, but did not publicly warn the rest of the country about. They knew it simply could not work. But what they did was look to their own little life raft and not to anyone else's."
For more of Brokaw's liberal views, see the MRC's September of 2003 Media Reality Check, "Marking Tom Brokaw's Twenty Years of Tilt: NBC Anchor Boasted 'We've Worked Hard to Drain the Bias' but Viewers Still Swimming in Liberalism," online at: www.mediaresearch.org
For a thorough collection of examples of the antipathy toward Ronald Reagan displayed by journalists over the years, check the MRC's Special Report released just after the 40th President passed away in June of 2004, "Ronald Reagan: The 40th President and the Press: The Record." Go to: www.mediaresearch.org
Leno certainly sees the world from the left, so his interest in Mother Jones is not a surprise, as he revealed his left-wing perspectives in a local newspaper interview back in 2004, an interview in which he boasted of reading Mother Jones. The September 17, 2004 CyberAlert item, "Jay Leno Echoes Howard Dean's Views, Praises Michael Moore," recounted:
Jay Leno is quite liberal, and echoes Howard Dean, a LA Weekly story this week documented. The alternative weekly's Nikki Finke summarized her interview with the host of NBC's Tonight Show: "Jay Leno says, 'I'm not conservative. I've never voted that way in my life.' He 'really worries' what a Dubya victory in November will do to the makeup of the Supreme Court. He believes 'the wool was pulled over our eyes' with the Iraq war. He thinks the White House began using terrorism 'as a crutch' after 9/11. He feels that during the campaign Kerry should 'make Bush look as stupid as possible.' He believes 'the media is in the pocket of the government, and they don't do their job' so 'you have people like Michael Moore who do it for them.' He has on his joke-writing staff a number of former professional speechwriters for Democratic candidates. 'No Republicans.' When it comes to Bush, he doesn't think his politics are much different from Letterman's. 'Does he show his dislike maybe a little more than I do? Probably.' Leno used to read Mother Jones magazine." Plus he took shots at the Fox News Channel and talk radio.
For much more from Leno, check the September 17, 2004 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
In that interview, Leno remembered: "When I was a kid, I used to read everything: Mother Jones, Time, Newsweek and The New Republic."
Everything except anything not liberal.
The Leno-Brokaw exchange on the February 1 Tonight Show:
JAY LENO: The thing I find fascinating about this book is, you're the same age as my brother, so I see a lot of my life in your life -- in my brother's life -- in this book, in just some of the shared experiences that we have. Like I remember, I was just starting out in comedy and you'd been on the cover of kind of a left-wing, really left-wing magazine called Mother Jones. Then I thought this is really, wow, Tom Brokaw, 'cause you would have been the establishment and you're on the cover -- and that seemed, and I always wondered if NBC was annoyed or upset that you had done that?
Special Invitation to CPAC 2008 Attendees: Visit the Exhibit Hall on Thursday, February 7th at 11:30am to meet L. Brent Bozell III, MRC President and author of the recently published book, Whitewash: What the Media Won't Tell You About Hillary Clinton, But Conservatives Will. Brent will be there in person to sign your copy of Whitewash and to answer your questions about what he and co-author Tim Graham uncover in the pages of their acclaimed book:
# Sean Hannity: "This is the defining book that needed to be written on Hillary Clinton, and anybody who votes in 2008 needs to examine this thoroughly."
# Phil Brennan of Newsmax: "With this invaluable expose, Brent Bozell has broken through the soft curtain the media has kept between Hillary Clinton and the American people."
If you are planning to attend CPAC 2008 in Washington, DC, don't miss this chance to meet Brent Bozell in person and get your autographed copy of this fast and fascinating read, Whitewash: What the Media Won't Tell You About Hillary Clinton, But Conservatives Will.
Amazon's page for the book: www.amazon.com
-- Brent Baker