Surprised? Scandal for 'Rising Republican Star' Prompts ABC Coverage on Election 2014
Good Morning America is a profoundly superficial show. The ABC program on Monday devoted air time to Full House star Jonathan Stamos responding a blogger's criticism of the '90s show. So, what does it take for the program to cover the 2014 midterm elections? A Republican scandal helps. GMA reporter Mara Schiavocampo highlighted the revelation that Oregon GOP Senate candidate Monica Wehby's ex-boyfriend in 2013 called police, accusing her of stalking.
Referring to her former boyfriend, Andrew Miller, Schiavocampo made sure to note: "The millionaire timber executive claiming the rising Republican star is a stalker..." [MP3 audio here.] To underline the point, the journalist reiterated, "So far, Wehby has been leading her Republican opponent in the polls."
Schiavocampo made sure to contrast the new attack: "On her Twitter and campaign website for U.S. Senate, Oregon's Monica Wehby is shown as a single mom of four teens and compassionate pediatric neurosurgeon delicately caring for a newborn."
ABC political director Rick Klein appeared to point out that Oregon is a state with mail-in ballots, many of which have already been cast. He explained, "The timing of this suggests that someone had the general election in mind, much more than the primary."
Since the 2014 election season started, ABC hasn't offered much coverage of the coming midterms. In January, however, the network made sure to replay the "divisive" "family feud" between former 2014 candidate Liz Cheney and her sister over gay marriage. (On May 6, CBS This Morning even harassed mother Lynne Cheney about the primary fight.)
There are exceptions to this. On May 14, GMA's Amy Robach did note a win for the Tea Party in Nebraska. But even then, the victory got only a sentence and allegedly showed Republican disunity: "Tea Party favorite Ben Sasse has won the Republican nomination for Nebraska's Senate seat after a bitter and expensive race, highlighting differences within the GOP."
On Saturday, the MRC's Tim Graham pointed out that the Wehby story originated in Politico. The liberal newspaper made it seem like the incident with the candidate's ex-boyfriend was a current issue. In reality, Miller now regrets making the 911 call and has donated tens of thousands of dollars to her campaign.
A transcript of the May 19 GMA segment is below:
ABC GRAPHIC: U.S. Senate Candidate Accused of Stalking
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, we're going to begin with the stunning twist in this Oregon Senate race. Just days before the vote, a new report that the primary front runner once stalked her ex-boyfriend who called 911 to alert police about his concerns. ABC's Mara Schiavocampo is here with that call. Good morning. Mara.
MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO: George, good morning. That 911 recording surfaced over the weekend and the primary is tomorrow. In the call, the candidate's ex says she is harassing him and keeps showing up at his house, at one point, even walking right in. On her Twitter and campaign website for U.S. Senate, Oregon's Monica Wehby is shown as a single mom of four teens and compassionate pediatric neurosurgeon delicately caring for a newborn.
WEHBY CAMPAIGN AD: She will always do the right thing. She will act with integrity.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: But this morning, a newly released 911 call contains shocking claims she may have a completely different side.
ANDREW MILLER: There is a woman that has been stalking me that is at my home.
911 OPERATOR: And what is her name?
MILLER: Dr. Monica Wehby.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: The call to 911 made in April 2013 by Wehby's ex-boyfriend, Andrew Miller. The millionaire timber executive claiming the rising Republican star is a stalker, showing up at his home uninvited about five times in the last ten days.
MILLER: I had a relationship with her and the relationship has ended and she's very, very upset and angry.
911 OPERATOR: Okay.
MILLER: She's been coming to my workplace.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: In that police report Wehby admitted going into the house through an unlocked back door, telling an officer, Miller would not, quote, "answer, return her calls or talk to her at all," adding, quote, "She just wanted to speak with Miller to sort things out." The 911 tape was released just days before Tuesday's primary. So far, Wehby has been leading her Republican opponent in the polls. In an odd twist, Miller now says he supports his ex as a political candidate, even voting for her. But while the accusations are definitely a distraction, politicos say the harm to the campaign may be further down the road.
RICK KLEIN (ABC News political director): It's a state that votes by mail, which means you've got a huge chunk of votes that have already been signed and sealed. The timing of this suggests that someone had the general election in mind, much more than the primary.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: In a statement, Wehby says the relationship ended amicably and she is, quote, "Not pleased that it has been deemed newsworthy," a personal conflict turned political. Miller now says he regrets making the 911 call and never pursued any legal action against Wehby. We should also note Wehby was never arrested in connection with those accusations.
— Scott Whitlock is Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Scott Whitlock on Twitter.