2. Williams Declares 'Most Believe a Woman Has Right to an Abortion'
3. GMA Frets Pope 'Pushing Pulpit' & 'Interfering' in U.S. Politics
4. Moyers: 'Working Class Dying in Iraq...Rich Spend Their Tax Cuts'
Back on the September 5, 1989 Today show on NBC, previewing his prime-time special, "The Racial Attitudes and Consciousness Exam (RACE)," Bryant Gumbel asserted: "This test is not going to tell you whether you're a racist or a liberal." Check the MRC's collection of "Gumbel's Stumbles" at: www.mrc.org
[This item was posted Monday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The May 13 This Week opened with a pre-taped interview of Obama conducted by Stephanopoulos. The relevant portion of the roundtable panel, with Cokie Roberts and George Will in addition to Donaldson and Stephanopoulos, in which Donaldson referred back to the interview:
Sam Donaldson: "You raised something, let's just put on the table: He's an African-American. Is the country ready? Well, I think it is. And he said he thinks it is. He said he thinks he'll lose some votes because of that, and so the question is what does the word 'some' mean? In critical elections, not just in the South, it may mean something."
Television anchors must compress complicated subjects into simple sentences, but on Friday night NBC's Brian Williams delivered too simple of a presumption when he set up a story, on Rudy Giuliani's latest attempt to explain his abortion position, by trying to paint Republicans as out of the mainstream as he asserted that "most Americans believe a woman has a right to an abortion. Most Republicans do not." While it's true that most don't want abortion completely banned under all circumstances, the majority favor restrictions on such a "right" and only 16 percent, according to a February Washington Post poll, want it "legal in all cases." And interestingly, the latest abortion poll on the PollingReport.com's abortion page, a May 4-6 survey by CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, discovered that 50 percent identified themselves as "pro-life" compared to a minority of 45 percent who called themselves "pro-choice." NBC's own late April poll found that, by a fairly solid 53 to 34 percent, most agreed with the Supreme Court's decision upholding the federal law banning "partial-birth" abortions.
[This item was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Brian Williams set up the May 11 NBC Nightly News story from David Gregory: "Now to the big political story of the week, having to do with the leading GOP candidate for the President's job. Most Americans believe a woman has a right to an abortion. Most Republicans do not. Rudy Giuliani is running as a Republican with a pro-abortion rights record which he tried to explain again today."
ABC's World News also aired a piece by Jake Tapper on the same subject. Charles Gibson introduced it: "Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani gave a major speech today. In it, he reaffirmed his support of abortion rights. That is not something you normally hear from a Republican presidential candidate. And it raises the question of whether he could be the first Republican presidential nominee to favor a woman's right to choose since abortion became a political issue."
The May 4-6 CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll asked: "With respect to the abortion issue, would you consider yourself to be pro-choice or pro-life" 50 percent responded "pro-life" and 45 percent answered "pro-choice." PDF of the poll results: i.a.cnn.net
A February 22-25 Washington Post survey asked: "Do you think abortion should be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most cases, or illegal in all cases?" 16 percent replied "legal in all cases," 39 percent "legal in most cases," 31 percent "illegal in most cases" and 12 percent "illegal in all cases."
An April 20-23 NBC/News Wall Street Journal poll asked: "As you may know, the Supreme Court recently upheld a law that makes the procedure commonly known as a partial birth abortion illegal. Do you favor or oppose this ruling by the Supreme Court?" Favor: 53 percent; oppose: 34 percent.
For the PollingReport.com's page of surveys on abortion: www.pollingreport.com
On Friday's Good Morning America, ABC anchors and reporters worried that the Pope may be "interfering in American politics." Correspondent Dan Harris discussed the Pope's comments about pro-choice Catholic politicians and an ABC graphic offered this leading question, "Is Pope Pushing His Pulpit?"
Talking to conservative pollster Kellyanne Conway, Harris adopted a tone of surprise that the Pope, who lives way over in Europe, could have an impact on American politics: "So even though he doesn't vote here, he doesn't live here, wasn't elected here, he can impact the race here?"
[This item, by Scott Whitlock, was posted Friday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Now, certainly the Pope can have an effect on American Catholics and how they might vote, but Harris seemed slightly horrified over this possibility.
Earlier in the May 11 segment, after co-host Robin Roberts teased the piece by wondering if the Pope is "interfering in American politics from half a world away," Diane Sawyer speculated on the "tough spot" the head of the Catholic Church had placed certain candidates in: "Next up in the news now, politics and the Pope. Is the Pope trying to influence American politics? Change the race for the White House? Did his aides edit his transcript? He's putting some presidential contenders in a tough spot this morning. ABC's Dan Harris is here to explain. Diane?"
Harris went on to cite a speech given by the Pope that some took as a call for excommunication of Catholic, pro-choice politicians. (The Pope's spokseman has since clarified that he was calling for denial of communion, not excommunication.) Shortly thereafter, Harris cited a liberal theologian who suggested that some Catholics would object to the Pope "dictating our political policies": "Nonetheless, this comment will likely be taken to heart by many."
Back to Friday, Harris went on to focus on how this issue could effect two Republican candidates for the White House: "The Pope's comments shine a brighter light on a thorny, difficult issue for Catholic Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, a supporter of abortion rights."
To recap, the ABC reporter mentioned two candidates, both Republicans, who could be affected by the Pope's comments. First off, Mitt Romney isn't Catholic. So, if the criteria is simply prominent '08 contenders, why are no Democrats are mentioned?
The aforementioned MRC study noted how Harris sympathetically covered Democrat John Kerry's handing of the issue:
On Good Morning America April 9 , ABC's Diane Sawyer began the first network morning story by reporting, "There are some in the church, apparently, who believe that Kerry, although he is an observant Catholic, should not be allowed to take communion." Reporter Dan Harris said the Kerry campaign was not worried about "an implied threat from the city's top church official" that Kerry might be denied communion....The ABC reporter then shifted the "implied threat" from Kerry back on to church officials: "Even as the Boston archdiocese is still reeling from the priest sex scandals, the archbishop might not want to invite any more controversy."
END of Excerpt
The MRC study: www.mediaresearch.org
[This item is adapted from a Friday posting, by Tim Graham, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Here's how his logic unfolded in greater detail:
I couldn't help but think of Prince Harry, the Queen's grandson, who is headed for Iraq with a cavalry regiment, even though he's a conspicuous target for assassination or kidnapping. There's angst in official circles that other members of his regiment will be put at graver risk because of his celebrity. So guess what his comrades -- his fellow soldiers -- are doing? Rather than petition the Queen to keep the young man home, they have gotten shirts printed up with the words across them: "I'm Harry." Marvelous, no? The commoners and the Prince are in this together: one for all and all for one.
What a notion -- that war should be the great equalizer, that no one's son or daughter is privileged from duty or danger. You have to wonder how the last four years might have been different if only our President had asked sacrifice from everyone. Instead, mostly folks from the working class and professional soldiers are doing the dying in Iraq, while the rich spend their tax cuts. War on the cheap, except for those fighting it.
END of Excerpt
For the blog posting in full: www.huffingtonpost.com
-- Brent Baker