Appearance Alert!
MRC's Brent Bozell talks about media bias on FNC's The Kelly File, 9:30pm ET/PT Thursday

Reuters Laugher: 'Media Bias Largely Unseen in Presidential Race' --11/10/2008


1. Reuters Laugher: 'Media Bias Largely Unseen in Presidential Race'
File under: Don't believe your lying eyes and ears. Barely two weeks after a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey determined that "by a margin of 70%-9%, Americans say most journalists want to see Obama, not John McCain, win on Nov. 4," as even 62 percent of Democrats recognized how journalists hoped Obama would be victorious, Reuters set out to prove any and all favorable Obama coverage had nothing to do with liberal bias. In a November 6 dispatch, "Media bias largely unseen in U.S. presidential race," Steve Gorman of the Los Angeles bureau focused his story on undermining the "perception that mainstream news organizations routinely gave Obama preferential treatment en route to his election as the first black U.S. president." Gorman contended: "But media scholars, including a former top aide to McCain, disagree. They said campaign coverage often did lean in Obama's favor, though not -- as many conservatives have suggested -- because of a hidden liberal agenda on the part of the media. Instead, academic experts said, Obama benefited largely from the dynamics of the campaign itself and the media's tendency to focus on the 'horse race'..."

2. Colby King on GOP's Make Up: Nationalist Party of South Africa
Washington Post columnist Colby King charged Friday night that a look those who attended McCain-Palin rallies -- presumably meaning all-white -- versus those who went to Obama events, plus a "look at the census projections and what do you see? The Nationalist Party of South Africa."

3. ABC Allows Jeremiah Wright to Spin Himself as Victim of Media
Good Morning America co-host Diane Sawyer on Friday uncritically highlighted an address given by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright on Thursday and parroted his talking points about being a scapegoat. In a tease for the segment, she recited: "Reverend Jeremiah Wright is now speaking out again. He says he was turned into a weapon of mass destruction." Regarding his speech, given in a church in Milford, Connecticut, Sawyer blandly added that Senator Barack Obama "distanced himself from Reverend Wright during the campaign and labeled some of his sermons divisive." She then proceeded to play a 47 second long clip of Wright complaining that the media intended to use his sermons to destroy Obama. An ABC graphic almost apologetically read, "First Comments From Rev Wright: Media's 'Weapon on Mass Destruction'"

4. CNN's Campbell Brown: 'Right-Wing Rage' at Obama Victory
CNN anchor Campbell Brown introduced a segment on Thursday's Election Center program by contrasting the "[p]eople all over the world dancing in the streets" over the election of Barack Obama to the "really, really angry" reaction of conservatives, which she then labeled "right-wing rage." A graphic with the same label flashed on-screen, accompanied by a picture of Obama smiling. During the segment, which aired just after the bottom-half of the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, CNN correspondent Joe Johns played an audio clip of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh as an example of such "rage." Limbaugh, who reacting to the appointment of liberal Illinois Representative Rahm Emanuel as Obama's White House Chief of Staff, called Emanuel a "good old-fashioned Chicago thug, just like Obama is a good old-fashioned Chicago thug," and gave an anecdote about how Emanuel used a steak knife to demonstrate his own anger towards Bill Clinton's enemies after the 1992 election. Johns' reply after the clip: "So if you were thinking the country is now unified, think again. There are still deep divisions."

5. ABC's Claire Shipman Bizarrely Spins Rahm Emanuel as 'Centrist'
Good Morning America reporter Claire Shipman continued a time honored media bias tradition on Friday when she mislabeled Congressman Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama's newly selected chief of staff, as "centrist." Emanuel, who was elected to Congress in 2002, has a lifetime American Conservative Union score of 13. In 2006, his rank was only four. In contrast, the House member's average from the liberal group Americans for Democratic Action is a very high 96. And yet, Shipman erroneously asserted: "More than anything, the 48-year-old Illinois representative is a pragmatic, centrist politician who likes to get things done. Clearly, Obama wants the same thing." So, can Americans expect Obama to be the same type of "centrist" that Emanuel has been?

6. On Friday Night, ABC & NBC Fail to Correct Obama's 'Seance' Gaffe
Friday night stories on ABC's World News and the NBC Nightly News ran a clip of President-elect Barack Obama's gaffe at his press conference in which he related he had talked to all of the "living" former Presidents, as "I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any seances." But both newscasts failed to note it was Hillary Clinton, not Nancy Reagan, who reportedly had seances in the White House. ABC's Jake Tapper called Obama's comment "a lighter moment" while NBC's Lee Cowan described it as "the only awkward moment of his first meeting with the press." FNC's Jim Angle, however, managed to point out in his 6 PM EST story: "It was actually Hillary Clinton who was reported to have engaged in seance-like sessions in which she communed with the spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt."

7. CBS's Smith: 'Will Obamas Return to Camelot in the White House?'
Continuing the narrative of Barack Obama as John F. Kennedy, on Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith described how: "As the nation prepares for President-Elect Barack Obama to move into the White House, many Americans can't help but draw similarities between him and the late President John F. Kennedy." Co-host Julie Chen earlier teased the segment: "The new first family has been compared to JFK and Jackie and their young children. Can the Obamas bring that 'one brief shining moment,' that was known as Camelot, back to the White House?" Smith narrated the segment, which juxtaposed images JFK with Obama: "It was a presidency filled with idealism, glamour, and excitement...A young Senator had been elected to lead his country. Now 47 years later, America has chosen another young Senator." Smith went on: "And the similarities are striking...."

8. CNN's Rick Sanchez Urges Obama to Bring Back FDR's WPA & CCC
President-elect Obama's economic plans aren't left-wing and government-centered enough for CNN anchor Rick Sanchez, who about 20 minutes after Obama's Friday afternoon press conference shared his personal suggestion for another WPA (Works Progress Administration) and/or CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), two government make-work programs from the 1930s. To a guest who lived through the Depression as a child, Sanchez proposed: "I'm thinking WPA, I'm thinking it may be time for Americans to do something like that once again because there's so many people unemployed and there's so much that needs to be done in this country." With another guest in the same 3:30 PM EST segment, Sanchez cited energy requirements and wondered: "Isn't this the kind of need that could be met by American workers if the government created a WPA or CCC plan?"


Reuters Laugher: 'Media Bias Largely
Unseen in Presidential Race'

File under: Don't believe your lying eyes and ears. Barely two weeks after a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey determined that "by a margin of 70%-9%, Americans say most journalists want to see Obama, not John McCain, win on Nov. 4," as even 62 percent of Democrats recognized how journalists hoped Obama would be victorious, Reuters set out to prove any and all favorable Obama coverage had nothing to do with liberal bias. In a November 6 dispatch, "Media bias largely unseen in U.S. presidential race," Steve Gorman of the Los Angeles bureau focused his story on undermining the "perception that mainstream news organizations routinely gave Obama preferential treatment en route to his election as the first black U.S. president." Gorman contended:
"But media scholars, including a former top aide to McCain, disagree. They said campaign coverage often did lean in Obama's favor, though not -- as many conservatives have suggested -- because of a hidden liberal agenda on the part of the media. Instead, academic experts said, Obama benefited largely from the dynamics of the campaign itself and the media's tendency to focus on the 'horse race,' emphasizing ups and downs in the polls and political tactics. As Obama's poll numbers rose in response to events, so did favorable press coverage for him, not the other way round."

Who said the liberal agenda was "hidden"? It was out in the open for all but Gorman to see.

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Sunday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Two of Gorman's equally blind experts:

"'Winning begets winning coverage,' said Mark Jurkowitz, an author of a study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism that tracked campaign coverage.

"Dan Schnur, communications director for McCain's 2000 presidential bid and now head of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California, agreed. 'I don't think there's partisan or ideological bias because the mainstream media tries not to take sides in policy disagreements,' he said. 'Favorable news coverage is...more a function of favorable poll numbers.'"

The Reuters story: www.reuters.com

Of course, the pro-Obama idolatry went far beyond horse race stories. Just take a look at the MRC's "Barack Obama's Media Groupies" collection of quotes. Here are several from long before Obama was above single-digits:

Run, Barack, Run!

"Obama's personal appeal is made manifest when he steps down from the podium and is swarmed by well-wishers of all ages and hues....Obama seemed the political equivalent of a rainbow -- a sudden preternatural event inspiring awe and ecstasy....He transcends the racial divide so effortlessly that it seems reasonable to expect that he can bridge all the other divisions -- and answer all the impossible questions plaguing American public life." -- Time's Joe Klein, October 23, 2006 cover story, "Why Barack Obama Could Be the Next President."

"Many people, afterwards [after Obama's 2004 convention speech], they weren't sure how to pronounce your name but they were moved by you. People were crying. You tapped into something. You touched people....If your party says to you, 'We need you,' and, and there's already a drumbeat out there, will you respond?" -- Co-host Meredith Vieira to Obama on NBC's Today, October 19, 2006.


Is He "The One?"

"You can see it in the crowds. The thrill, the hope. How they surge toward him. You're looking at an American political phenomenon....He inspires the party faithful and many others, like no one else on the scene today....And the question you can sense on everyone's mind, as they listen so intently to him, is he the one? Is Barack Obama the man, the black man, who could lead the Democrats back to the White House and maybe even unite the country?...Everywhere he goes, people want him to run for President, especially in Iowa, cradle of presidential contenders. Around here, they're even naming babies after him." -- ABC Nightline co-anchor Terry Moran, Nov. 6, 2006.


The Ultimate Obama Fan

Senator Barack Obama: "Let's roll back the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans, let's make certain that those resources go to the people who need it....We're not going to solve it by pretending that issues of poverty and struggle among working families are just going to go away magically because the stock market is going up." Moderator Chris Matthews: "So much of what you say just grabs people like me, because it sounds like Bobby Kennedy. It sounds like the '60s at its absolute best." -- Exchange at AFSCME Democratic candidates forum shown live on MSNBC, June 19, 2007.

For videos of those quotes, and many, many more, go to the "Campaign 2008 Review: Barack Obama's Media Groupies" special November 3 edition of Notable Quotables: www.mrc.org

More on the Pew poll: The October 24 CyberAlert item, "By Nearly 8-to-1, Voters Say Journalists Want Obama to Win," recounted:

"Voters overwhelmingly believe that the media wants Barack Obama to win the presidential election," a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey released Wednesday discovered. Specifically: "By a margin of 70%-9%, Americans say most journalists want to see Obama, not John McCain, win on Nov. 4. Another 8% say journalists don't favor either candidate, and 13% say they don't know which candidate most reporters support." The question: "Who do you think most newspaper reporters and TV journalists want to see win the presidential election -- Barack Obama or John McCain?" Unsurprisingly, 90 percent of Republicans recognized how journalists hope Obama is victorious, yet so did 62 percent of Democrats and independents.

Full rundown: www.mrc.org

For many more surveys this year which found the public saw a pro-Obama and/or anti-McCain or anti-Palin bias, check the "How the Public Views the Media" section of the MRC's "Media Bias Basics." Go to: www.mediaresearch.org

Thanks to James Taranto for highlighting the Reuters article in his Friday "Best of the Web Today" compilation, where he put the Reuters headline under this heading: "If They Do Say So Themselves." See: online.wsj.com

Colby King on GOP's Make Up: Nationalist
Party of South Africa

Washington Post columnist Colby King charged Friday night that a look those who attended McCain-Palin rallies -- presumably meaning all-white -- versus those who went to Obama events, plus a "look at the census projections and what do you see? The Nationalist Party of South Africa."

On Inside Washington, a weekly show produced and aired over the weekend by Washington, DC's ABC affiliate, but first broadcast Friday night on the local PBS station, the Post's deputy editorial page editor from 2000 to 2007 framed the challenge ahead for Republicans: "I think we're looking at something different here, a larger problem. If you just look at the optics, look at the Republican and Democratic conventions, look at the McCain-Palin rallies and Obama rallies, look at the demographics and then look at the census projections and what do you see? The Nationalist Party of South Africa -- not with the ideology, but in the make up -- in the future."

That was the party which enforced apartheid until 1994.

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Saturday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Washington Post bio of King: www.washingtonpost.com

ABC Allows Jeremiah Wright to Spin Himself
as Victim of Media

Good Morning America co-host Diane Sawyer on Friday uncritically highlighted an address given by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright on Thursday and parroted his talking points about being a scapegoat. In a tease for the segment, she recited: "Reverend Jeremiah Wright is now speaking out again. He says he was turned into a weapon of mass destruction."

Regarding his speech, given in a church in Milford, Connecticut, Sawyer blandly added that Senator Barack Obama "distanced himself from Reverend Wright during the campaign and labeled some of his sermons divisive." She then proceeded to play a 47 second long clip of Wright complaining that the media intended to use his sermons to destroy Obama. An ABC graphic almost apologetically read, "First Comments From Rev Wright: Media's 'Weapon on Mass Destruction'"

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

And yet, it was shows like Good Morning America that largely ignored many of Wright's more extreme sermons, such as in April of 2003 when he erroneously asserted, "The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color!"

In fact, far from trashing Wright, Good Morning America reporter David Wright cooed on April 25, 2008: "But the soft-spoken man who sits down with [journalist] Bill Moyers couldn't seem more different from that fire-brand preacher we've all seen in those soundbites." See an April 28 CyberAlert posting for more: www.mrc.org

On April 30, Wright followed up and sympathetically discussed Obama's very public break with his pastor: "Imagine having to publicly denounce the minister who married you, who baptized your kids, who prayed with you the day you announced your candidacy for president." See a May 1 CyberAlert posting for more: www.mrc.org

A transcript of the November 7 segment, which aired at 7:12am:

7am tease
DIANE SAWYER: And also, this morning, the man who created such an explosion during the campaign, then went silent. Reverend Jeremiah Wright is now speaking out again. He says he was turned into a weapon of mass destruction. And he tells how he feels about the election of Barack Obama.

7:12am
DIANE SAWYER: And now, last night, President-elect Obama's controversial former pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, reemerged, debating race, religion and American history at a Connecticut church. Senator Obama, of course, had distanced himself from Reverend Wright during the campaign and labeled some of his sermons divisive. Last night, Wright reflected on that and how the coverage of him affected, he says, his family.
ABC GRAPHIC: First Comments From Rev Wright: Media's "Weapon on Mass Destruction"
REVEREND JEREMIAH WRIGHT: My youngest child came home from school and said to me, "Are you and Barack cool? I said, "Of course, we are. Why do you ask that?" "I just had kids talking in school." I said, "Now, that's a media thing." 90 percent of people sitting in church do not agree with everything their pastor is saying. What I say or don't say, it is not an index in terms of what Senator Obama believed or believes. The media did not want that sermon heard. Their intention was to use me as a weapon of mass destruction to destroy that man's candidacy. Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Barack Obama, their successes individually should not lull us to sleep to think this is now it's all over. Everything is solved. There are some serious structural problems that keep people locked into poverty.
SAWYER: And, so, we hear from Reverend Wright once again.

CNN's Campbell Brown: 'Right-Wing Rage'
at Obama Victory

CNN anchor Campbell Brown introduced a segment on Thursday's Election Center program by contrasting the "[p]eople all over the world dancing in the streets" over the election of Barack Obama to the "really, really angry" reaction of conservatives, which she then labeled "right-wing rage." A graphic with the same label flashed on-screen, accompanied by a picture of Obama smiling.

During the segment, which aired just after the bottom-half of the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, CNN correspondent Joe Johns played an audio clip of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh as an example of such "rage." Limbaugh, who reacting to the appointment of liberal Illinois Representative Rahm Emanuel as Obama's White House Chief of Staff, called Emanuel a "good old-fashioned Chicago thug, just like Obama is a good old-fashioned Chicago thug," and gave an anecdote about how Emanuel used a steak knife to demonstrate his own anger towards Bill Clinton's enemies after the 1992 election. Johns' reply after the clip: "So if you were thinking the country is now unified, think again. There are still deep divisions."

[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The CNN correspondent then continued by stating how "[s]ome conservatives say the message that brought them to victory in Congress in the 90s is still viable. Remember, they rode in on a wave of pushing things like smaller government and less spending. It was a return to an update of classic Grand Old Party themes." He then played a clip from David Keene of the American Conservative Union, who outlined how Republicans strayed from conservative principles over the past six or eight years.

The full transcript of the segment from the November 6 Election Center:

CAMPBELL BROWN: We all saw the pictures on election night. People all over the world dancing in the streets. But some Americans, particularly conservatives, have very different feelings about President-Elect Obama. Many of them feeling really, really angry right now, and Joe Johns has been listening to what can only be called 'right-wing rage.' And Joe, tell us what these conservatives are saying.
JOE JOHNS: Well, Campbell, there is a certain amount of hand-wringing and that is to be expected. There are those who are already comparing this to the early 90s when Bill Clinton won. As everyone remembers, Republicans regrouped, and it wasn't long before Newt Gingrich and his conservative army swept to victory in the House. And guess who's also hammering away at the Democrats -- conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, blasting both Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama hours after the polls closed.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: He is [a] good old-fashioned Chicago thug, just like Obama is a good old-fashioned Chicago thug. On the night of the Clinton election, Rahm Emanuel was so angry at the president's enemies that he stood up at a celebratory dinner with colleagues from the campaign -- Rahm Emanuel grabbed a steak knife and he began rattling off a list of betrayers, and as he listed their names, he shouted, 'Dead! Dead! Dead!' And he plunged the steak knife into the table after every name. This is not a bunch of people that are going to [govern from the center] --
JOHNS: So if you were thinking the country is now unified, think again. There are still deep divisions. Some conservatives say the message that brought them to victory in Congress in the 90s is still viable. Remember, they rode in on a wave of pushing things like smaller government and less spending. It was a return to an update of classic Grand Old Party themes.
DAVID KEENE, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE UNION: All those lines got blurred during the course of the last six or eight years. Republicans in Congress began to act like the Democrats that they've gotten rid off in the 90s. The president began to spend money like he was Lyndon Johnson, and the result was that voters began to get very upset. So, yes, you have to go back to your basics.
JOHNS: That, of course, was David Keene of the American Conservative Union. But make no mistake, this whole thing would be rehashed a thousand times before there's another election. Campbell?
BROWN: All right. Joe Johns for us tonight. Joe, thanks.

ABC's Claire Shipman Bizarrely Spins
Rahm Emanuel as 'Centrist'

Good Morning America reporter Claire Shipman continued a time honored media bias tradition on Friday when she mislabeled Congressman Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama's newly selected chief of staff, as "centrist." Emanuel, who was elected to Congress in 2002, has a lifetime American Conservative Union score of 13. See ACU: www.acuratings.org

In 2006, his rank was only four. In contrast, the House member's average from the liberal group Americans for Democratic Action is a very high 96. See ADA: www.adaction.org

And yet, Shipman erroneously asserted: "More than anything, the 48-year-old Illinois representative is a pragmatic, centrist politician who likes to get things done. Clearly, Obama wants the same thing." So, can Americans expect Obama to be the same type of "centrist" that Emanuel has been?

Shipman is not the first journalist to try and spin the aggressive Illinois congressman as a moderate. On Wednesday's American Morning, CNN special correspondent Frank Sesno described Emanuel as someone who is seen to be "on the center to center-right." See a November 7 CyberAlert posting: www.mrc.org

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Interestingly, the rest of Shipman's report actually featured more negative descriptions of the soon to be chief of staff. Co-host Robin Roberts commented on his "abrasive style." She observed, "He once jokingly told the Chicago Tribune, quote, 'I wake up some mornings hating me, too.'" Shipman labeled him "hard-charging" and "in-your-face." She added, "Emanuel was so abrasive early on in the Clinton White House, Hillary Clinton wanted him fired."

In what could be seen as a conflict of interest, former top Democratic aide-turned journalist George Stephanopoulos appeared in a follow up segment to talk about Emanuel, a colleague of his in the Clinton White House. He allowed that Emanuel could indeed be "abrasive at times." But he then defended his friend against charges by Republicans that Emanuel violates Obama's pledge to change Washington: "But, on the other hand, he's also built bridges with lots of Republicans, like John McCain's best friend, Senator Lindsey Graham. He had a working group in the House with Republican Congressman Ray LaHood where they would have a series of bipartisan dinners. So, there's two sides to that story."

Of course, there was no mention of the past association of the two.

A transcript of the November 7 Shipman segment, which aired at 7:05am:

ROBIN ROBERTS: Now, to more on Obama's new chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. He's a Democrat with a reputation for ruffling some feathers in Washington. His abrasive style has drawn some criticism, even from himself. He once jokingly told the Chicago Tribune, quote, "I wake up some mornings hating me, too." Our senior national correspondent Claire Shipman has the story from Washington. Good morning, Claire.

CLAIRE SHIPMAN: Good morning, Robin. That is classic Rahm Emanuel. And, yes, some Republicans are already grumbling that his temperament isn't exactly what Barack Obama promised when he talked about a more conciliatory style here. But the two men have been friends for years. Obama has told people privately he thinks Rahm's rough edges have been softened. And he can operate on Capitol Hill like nobody else. Hard-charging. In-your-face.
CONGRESSMAN RAHM EMANUEL: They have seen jobs be shredded.
SHIPMAN: Take no prisoners. The cliches describing Rahm Emanuel's style are stacking up fast. They may be on target, but they miss the point. More than anything, the 48-year-old Illinois representative is a pragmatic, centrist politician who likes to get things done. Clearly, Obama wants the same thing.
JOE LOCKHART (Fmr. Clinton White House press secretary): He knows the White House. He knows how the government, the executive branch works. And he knows how the hill works. Rahm is a very strong personality. But, I think everybody, you know, whether you like him or not, people respect him, because he gets the job done.
SHIPMAN: Emanuel was so abrasive early on in the Clinton White House, Hillary Clinton wanted him fired. But he later earned her respect as he helped to push up her husband's popularity and pushed through measures like welfare reform. He made millions later as an investment banker and then later ran for Congress in the same Chicago district where his immigrant doctor father used to make house calls. The Emanuel children were all expected to follow Benjamin's example of making good. The family joke is that only Ezekiel, a renowned oncologist, has gone into a respectable profession. But if art imitating life is at all a measure of success, Ari is a smooth-talking, A-list Hollywood agent. And the inspiration for Ari Gold in the hit TV show, "Entourage."
["Entourage" clip]
SHIPMAN: And Rahm's tenacious, impassioned, sometimes abrasive style, is said to have given birth to the Josh Lyman character on "West Wing."
["West Wing" clip]
SHIPMAN: Emanuel is a devout Jew and heavily focused on family. The toughest part of the decision, uprooting his family back to Washington.
EMANUEL: I've been in the White House. I used to joke in the White House that- on Fridays I would say, "It's two more work days to Monday."
SHIPMAN: Like all good characters, Emanuel has quirks to spare. And if you look closely, you'll see he's missing the middle finger of his right hand. He sliced it off as a teen, working at a fast food restaurant. But instead of going to the hospital, he went swimming. The wound became so infected, he almost died. He is also a former ballet dancer, talented enough have been offered a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet. He had some high praise for his many talents last night from one former White House resident.
SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I think that President-elect Obama made an excellent choice. Rahm Emanuel understands both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. He understands the private sector, where he was successful for a number of years. He gets things done.
SHIPMAN: And you can imagine, Diane, the primaries were tough for him. He had to remain very neutral between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

On Friday Night, ABC & NBC Fail to Correct
Obama's 'Seance' Gaffe

Friday night stories on ABC's World News and the NBC Nightly News ran a clip of President-elect Barack Obama's gaffe at his press conference in which he related he had talked to all of the "living" former Presidents, as "I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any seances." But both newscasts failed to note it was Hillary Clinton, not Nancy Reagan, who reportedly had seances in the White House. ABC's Jake Tapper called Obama's comment "a lighter moment" while NBC's Lee Cowan described it as "the only awkward moment of his first meeting with the press." FNC's Jim Angle, however, managed to point out in his 6 PM EST story: "It was actually Hillary Clinton who was reported to have engaged in seance-like sessions in which she communed with the spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt."

The AP also noted the error. "Obama slips in reference to seance by Nancy Reagan" announced the headline over a dispatch posted at 5:06 PM EST on Yahoo News. The AP's Kevin Freking recalled: "In his book, The Choice, Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward described how Clinton consulted with a spiritual adviser who led her through imaginary conversations with her personal hero, Eleanor Roosevelt. Newsweek magazine, which was promoting the book, characterized the visits as 'seances,' a term that White House officials quickly tried to squelch." Entire AP story: news.yahoo.com

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Friday's CBS Evening News skipped the "seance" remark.

From the November 7 Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC:

JIM ANGLE: He was asked what he's been doing to get ready for office and whether he talked to any previous Presidents.
PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA: I have spoken to all of them, that are living, obviously, President Clinton -- I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any seances.
ANGLE: Nancy Reagan consulted with an astrologer about Ronald Reagan's schedule after he was shot. It was actually Hillary Clinton who was reported to have engaged in seance-like sessions in which she communed with the spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt.


# ABC's World News:

JAKE TAPPER: Mr. Obama, in a lighter moment, said he was seeking advice from former Presidents.
PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA: So I have spoken to all of them that are living, obviously, President Clinton -- I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any seances.
TAPPER: Obama's day began with wife Michelle at parent-teacher conferences at the school of his young daughters Sasha and Malia. Perhaps the most substantive information Mr. Obama provided today was about the new puppy he's promised them...

(Later, on Nightline, Tapper did note Obama's error and apology to Nancy Reagan.)


# NBC Nightly News:

LEE COWAN: And he said he's been seeking the advice of past Presidents, which provided the only awkward moment of his first meeting with the press.
PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA: So I have spoken to all of them that are living, obviously, President Clinton -- I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any seances.
COWAN: Those lighter moments punctuated what had been a pretty casual press conference, but it was short, less than 19 minutes long, only 9 questions. He takes this weekend off, and then he heads to Washington where he has that meeting in the Oval Office with President Bush on Monday, an office that will soon be his.

CBS's Smith: 'Will Obamas Return to Camelot
in the White House?'

Continuing the narrative of Barack Obama as John F. Kennedy, on Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith described how: "As the nation prepares for President-Elect Barack Obama to move into the White House, many Americans can't help but draw similarities between him and the late President John F. Kennedy." Co-host Julie Chen earlier teased the segment: "The new first family has been compared to JFK and Jackie and their young children. Can the Obamas bring that 'one brief shining moment,' that was known as Camelot, back to the White House?" Smith narrated the segment, which juxtaposed images JFK with Obama: "It was a presidency filled with idealism, glamour, and excitement...A young Senator had been elected to lead his country. Now 47 years later, America has chosen another young Senator."

Smith went on: "And the similarities are striking. JFK was 43 when he was inaugurated. Obama is just three years older, bringing a certain youthful vigor to the White House, including, young children. Both Obama and Kennedy were criticized for lacking experience and both knew the power of well-chosen words...Kennedy had more than his share of charisma and Obama knows how to light up a room. But it's their wives who might be the real superstars. Both men overcame significant obstacles to become elected. Anti-Catholic sentiment was still widespread in the country but JFK was elected the first Roman Catholic President of the United States."

[This item, by the MRC's Kyle Drennen, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Smith concluded: "JFK was, and Obama is, someone who professes great optimism and one of the children of Camelot sees similarities." A clip of Caroline Kennedy's endorsement of Obama was played: "I have never had a candidate who inspires me the way people say that my father inspired them. But I do now! And that candidate is Barack Obama."

Here is the full transcript of the November 7 segment:

7:17AM TEASE:
HARRY SMITH: Plus, will the Obamas return to Camelot in the White House?

7:30AM TEASE:
JULIE CHEN: The new first family has been compared to JFK and Jackie and their young children. Can the Obamas bring that 'one brief shining moment,' that was known as Camelot, back to the White House?

7:41AM SEGMENT:
HARRY SMITH: As the nation prepares for President-Elect Barack Obama to move into the White House, many Americans can't help but draw similarities between him and the late President John F. Kennedy. It was a presidency filled with idealism, glamour, and excitement.
JOHN F. KENNEDY: The torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.
SMITH: A young Senator had been elected to lead his country. Now 47 years later, America has chosen another young Senator.
BARACK OBAMA: Change has come to America.
SMITH: And the similarities are striking. JFK was 43 when he was inaugurated. Obama is just three years older, bringing a certain youthful vigor to the White House, including, young children. Both Obama and Kennedy were criticized for lacking experience and both knew the power of well-chosen words.
KENNEDY: Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.
OBAMA: The times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed, 'Yes, we can.'
KENNEDY: I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris and I've enjoyed it.
SMITH: Kennedy had more than his share of charisma and Obama knows how to light up a room. But it's their wives who might be the real superstars. Both men overcame significant obstacles to become elected. Anti-Catholic sentiment was still widespread in the country but JFK was elected the first Roman Catholic President of the United States.
KENNEDY: This nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal.
SMITH: And perhaps even Kennedy would have been surprised that four decades after that speech, the first African-American was elected president. JFK was, and Obama is, someone who professes great optimism and one of the children of Camelot sees similarities.
CAROLINE KENNEDY: I have never had a candidate who inspires me the way people say that my father inspired them. But I do now! And that candidate is Barack Obama.
SMITH: This notion of Camelot, though, was never invoked during the actual presidency. It wasn't until the president had been assassinated that his widow, in an interview with Theodore White, said 'I want people to remember this one bright shining moment,' which is a line, literally, from the play itself, which happened to open in 1960.
JULIE CHEN: Wow. Alright.

CNN's Rick Sanchez Urges Obama to Bring
Back FDR's WPA & CCC

President-elect Obama's economic plans aren't left-wing and government-centered enough for CNN anchor Rick Sanchez, who about 20 minutes after Obama's Friday afternoon press conference shared his personal suggestion for another WPA (Works Progress Administration) and/or CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), two government make-work programs from the 1930s. To a guest who lived through the Depression as a child, Sanchez proposed: "I'm thinking WPA, I'm thinking it may be time for Americans to do something like that once again because there's so many people unemployed and there's so much that needs to be done in this country."

With another guest in the same 3:30 PM EST segment, Sanchez cited energy requirements and wondered: "Isn't this the kind of need that could be met by American workers if the government created a WPA or CCC plan?"

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Sanchez's comments:

RICK SANCHEZ: I want to bring in John, because John's a World War II veteran which means he's old enough to remember when this country had to pull itself from its boot straps in the past. John's sitting in the middle of our everyman panel over here. You know, John, as I listen to these conversations and I read these numbers about how bad things are, I'm thinking WPA, I'm thinking it may be time for Americans to do something like that once again because there's so many people unemployed and there's so much that needs to be done in this country. Give us your own personal historical reference to this.
JOHN GALLAGHER: I'm one who grew up during the depression and I know a great amount of frustration that people had. The WPA did a lot. The CCC did even more to give people something to do to improve their spirit and just give them a sense of purpose.
SANCHEZ: Do you think something like that would be effective at a time like this?
GALLAGHER: For people who don't have work to do: yes.

....

SANCHEZ: Patricia Murphy joins now us as well. You know, that conversation we had moments ago about this country, you know, there's so much that we need when it comes to energy, the possibility, as Boone Pickins has mentioned, that we can go to wind, to solar. Isn't this the kind of need that could be met by American workers if the government created a WPA or CCC plan like we had as John, our World War II veteran, mentioned moment ago?

-- Brent Baker