Good Morning America on Thursday allowed a mere 23 seconds to the latest on Susan Rice's possible Secretary of State nomination and her troubled role in providing false information on the Libya. Yet, the same program devoted over two minutes of the precious 7am half hour, supposedly the time for hard news, to the claim that Bigfoot is "real." [MP3 audio here.]
Guest co-host Amy Robach opened the show by enthusing, "Part-human, part-primate. Is Bigfoot real, after all?" Co-anchor George Stephanopoulos hyped "a prominent veterinarian who says she can prove Bigfoot exists and that he's related to all of us."
Reporter Nick Watt could barely contain himself: "Oh my goodness, I want to believe. Can you imagine if Bigfoot is actually real?" Contributor Laura Spencer declared, "Yeah, I believe. I totally believe."
The basis for all this excitement came from questionable claims by a veterinarian and a "Sasquatch" DNA study that has not yet been peer reviewed. Yet, this didn't stop the GMA crew.
Yet, less than 30 seconds were made available for the latest on Susan Rice. Josh Elliott quickly explained, "And more trouble for President Obama's expected nominee for Secretary of State, UN Ambassador Susan Rice." The news that moderate Republican Susan Collins has spoken out in opposition to Rice warranted little attention.
On Wednesday, GMA's Martha Raddatz displayed a similar lack of skepticism on delaying Rice's potential nomination, touting all the reasons to move fast: "You have got Iran that is trying to acquire a nuclear weapon. You have got North Korea. There's satellite photos just out showing that North Korea would like to test another long-range ballistic missile."
In December 2009, when Stephanopoulos took over GMA, the AP insisted:
The appointment of Stephanopoulos, the network's chief political correspondent, was announced only Thursday. But his selection coincides with a mission by "GMA" to shift more toward harder news, particularly in the show's first 45 minutes, and add reports on health, consumer and legal issues.
Harder news. Like Bigfoot.
A partial transcript of the November 29 segment can be found below:
AMY ROBACH: Part-human, part-primate. Is Bigfoot real, after all? The scientist who claims brand new DNA analysis reveals the six-to-ten foot sasquatch is related to us and definitely real. Is this monster mystery finally solved?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to switch gears now. Try to clear up an ancient mystery with the help of a prominent veterinarian who says she can prove Bigfoot exists and that he's related to all of us. ABC's Nick Watt tracked her down.
NICK WATT: He's illusive, almost human, a cornerstone of our mythology. And now, someone is saying Harry and the Hendersons could actually be like a documentary. To someone with a scientific background, a vet, who says Bigfoot is real and actually related to us humans.
MELBA KETCHUM: Well, I was a skeptic. I did not think these things existed at all prior to this study.
WATT: She's talking about analysis of sasquatch fur after a five year study, more than 100 DNA samples. Dr. Melba Ketchum believes the species developed more than 15,000 years ago, a hybrid cross between Homosapiens and an unknown primate.
WATT: Is Santa Claus more real than Santa Claus? He even has his own Animal Planet series.
WATT: Okay, maybe it's too weird. But even the possibility, oh, my goodness, I want to believe. Can you imagine if Bigfoot is actually real? For Good Morning America, Nick Watt, ABC News.
AMY ROBACH: How many of them are there?
JOSH ELLIOTT: That would make my year. That would totally make my year.
LAURA SPENCER: Yeah, I believe. I totally believe.
ELLIOTT: And more trouble for President Obama's expected nominee for Secretary of State, UN Ambassador Susan Rice. Moderate Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine now says that she will not back Rice for the job until more questions about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya are answered. Collins says if President Obama nominates Senator John Kerry instead, he would have no trouble winning confirmation.
-- Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.