Networks Hype 'Steamy' Details from Obama's Ex-Girlfriend, Downplay False 'Composite' Relationship
Wednesday's nightly newscasts and Thursday's morning shows hyped
"steamy," "romantic" journal entries from an ex-girlfriend of Barack
Obama, but downplayed or ignored revelations that his autobiography
created a false "composite" relationship of multiple women.
On Thursday's Today, Natalie Morales gossiped like a school girl: "Steamy journal entries from a long-ago ex-girlfriend of President Obama are heating up the internet..." She revealed important details such as the fact that his apartment smelled like "running sweat" and "raisins."
However, Morales skipped the fact that, as reported by Politico, "the 'New York girlfriend' was actually a composite character, based off of multiple girlfriends he had both in New York City and in Chicago."
Diane Sawyer also didn't mention the compression information during Wednesday's World News.
Instead, she recounted the details and gushed, "Oh, we were all so romantic when we were young." [See audio here.]
On Thursday's Good Morning America, Jake Tapper did explain the compression, though in passing: "But Obama morphed a few inter-racial relationships into one composite in that book to discuss racial issues, providing few other details."
He informed viewers, "Young Barack Obama was trying to figure out just who he was."
CBS This Morning co-anchor Charlie Rose could barely contain his excitement over studying Obama's early days: "What comes across here is the notion that this is a young man clearly with a remarkable ability, but who was also ambitious."
Rose enthused that Obama "really had a plan and was looking to find his own way to the things that he wanted to do, which I find not unusual for someone of his talent."
The co-host interviewed historian Douglas Brinkley. He at least raised the issue of mashing together the stories of multiple girlfriends, acknowledging, "I mean, there's a lot of compression that President Obama used in his book. Some of the women that we read about now in the Vanity Fair piece were compressed by the President."
Wednesday's Nightly News and the CBS Evening News did not cover the story at all.
Obama admitted to practicing compression in the introduction to the 1995 book Dreams From My Father: He allowed, "For the sake of compression, some of the characters that appear are composites of people I've known, and some events appear out of precise chronology."
But Obama never explained, until now, which people and their stories were compressed and altered. One would think this is something journalists would be interested in.
A transcript of Thursday's Today segment and Wednesday's World News segment can be found below: