ABC's Jeff Zeleny Finds GOP 'Cracks Emerging'-- From Rep Who Already Opposed Shutdown
ABC reporter Jeff Zeleny on Tuesday afternoon excitedly told viewers that "cracks" are "emerging" in the Republican opposition to the government shutdown. His example of this? A GOP congressman already on record opposing a shutdown. Following live coverage of Barack Obama's speech, the journalist related, "But a couple cracks emerging, including a congressman from Virginia, a military district, Scott Rigell. He says, 'enough is enough. It's time to move on with this.'"
However, on the September 20 World News, Zeleny reported, "We caught up with Congressman Scott Rigell of Virginia, the only Republican to go against his party." On that day, the reporter featured a clip of Rigell exclaiming, "And I've not heard from any members who thinks that shutting this government down is a good idea." [MP3 audio here.]
So, "cracks" are "emerging" based on the fact that a Republican who already opposed the shutdown still opposes it? On Tuesday's Good Morning America, Zeleny previewed his argument, predicting that the GOP will "blink first."
Back on September 18, Rigell told the Daily Press that a shutdown "is not a wise alternative."
Zeleny may make the argument that Rigell has previously voted for House GOP efforts to approve a one year delay of ObamaCare. However, the congressman has long spoken out against a shutdown.
In contrast, Jon Karl, Zeleny's ABC colleague, shouted a tough question at Obama as the President departed the podium: "Mr. President, if you won't negotiate, how can you get a solution? How can you bring an end to this if you won't talk to the congressional leaders?"
When Zeleny worked for the New York Times in 2009, he lobbed a softball to Barack Obama, wondering what "enchanted" the Democrat about being President.
A transcript of the October 1 live coverage is below:
JON KARL: Mr. President, if you won't negotiate, how can you get a solution? How can you bring an end to this if you won't talk to the congressional leaders?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to go to our own Jeff Zeleny on Capitol Hill. So, the Republicans say they're ready to negotiate. No sign the Democrats are going do that. So how long does this shutdown last?
JEFF ZELENY: Well, George, that is the question. The answer is as long as Republicans stick together. The House Republican caucus is meeting behind closed doors right now. And the key question is how long they all stay together? Right now, our canvass of them shows them largely holding fast. But a couple cracks emerging, including a congressman from Virginia, a military district, Scott Rigell. He says enough is enough. It's time to move on with this. So, we're keeping an eye on that. But as of now, George, they're holding fast and there's no end in sight.
JEFF ZELENY: And to mess with all Americans if Congress doesn't reach a deal by October 1st when the government runs out of money. At that point, the CDC may stop monitoring diseases. Visas and passports would stop getting processed. And even some soldiers and federal workers won't get paid. We caught up with Congressman Scott Rigell of Virginia, the only Republican to go against his party.
REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT RIGELL (R-VA): And I've not heard from any members who thinks that shutting this government down is a good idea. We're gonna have to give a bit on both sides.
— Scott Whitlock is Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Scott Whitlock on Twitter.