Bye-Bye Barbara! The Top 20 Worst of Walters Countdown
Friday marks Barbara Walters’ retirement from ABC’s The View. On that show, and throughout her forty-year career at ABC News, the longtime reporter has shown an inclination to suck-up to liberal heroes like former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (“His bold actions on issues like gun safety...has inspired many”) and ask silly softball questions to the likes of Barack Obama (“If you were a superhero and you could have one super power, what would it be?”)
She even had a soft-spot for tyrants as she described Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad as “charming,” called Venezuelan strong man Hugo Chavez “friendly” and once bragged that she held Fidel Castro’s “gun in my lap.” Walters also hired ultra-liberal Rosie O’Donnell to rant crazily on The View and told Sarah Palin “many people find the thought of you as President a little scary.”
The following is a Top 20 Countdown of the Worst Walters Quotes from the MRC archives:
20. She Never Met a Nicer Tyrant
“He [Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad] was a very intelligent, a well-informed, thoughtful - he spoke perfect English, wants very much to have relations with this country, has some solutions for ending the war in Iraq. She [Assad’s wife] was educated in England, worked in this country, speaks English the way I’m talking to you, lovely, intelligent. I don’t want you to say, people say, ‘Oh, you’re brainwashed.’ But that was not it. They just were very charming and intelligent.”
— ABC’s Barbara Walters recounting her trip to Syria on The View, July 7, 2008.
19. Barbara Walters Loves Gun-Grabbing Bloomberg
“Michael Bloomberg has been more than just the mayor of New York City for the past 12 years. Some people think he’s the best mayor we’ve had. His bold actions on issues like gun safety, banishing smoking in public places has inspired many in and out of government. But just days from now he will be passing the torch to New York City’s New York City’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio. Mayor Bloomberg is also a very close friend of mine, so I’m always happy, we all are, to welcome him.”
— Walters introduces liberal New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg on ABC’s The View, December 16, 2013.
18. Hillary’s Grueling Chat with Babs
“You became First Lady like no other First Lady before you. You had your own interests, you got involved in public policy. No First Lady had done that without being severely criticized. Did you realize what you were getting into?...I don’t think people realize how strong your faith is.”
— Questions Walters posed to Hillary Clinton in a June 8, 2003 ABC special promoting her book, Living History.
17. Walters Spins Spitzer Scandal: Prostitution Is ‘in the Realm of Normalcy’
Barbara Walters: Well, what they said was on the one hand, it’s because he feels inadequate. But on the other hand it’s because he feels too adequate. You know? But on the other hand -- But on the other hand, because, you know, it’s somewhat deviant behavior. New York is -- I mean, we have the most wonderful mayor, and we have, I think, a terrific governor, but we do have some peculiarities. We have the former governor, Elliot Spitzer who --
Sherri Shepherd: With the call girls.
Joy Behar: He went to prostitutes.
Walters: Now, I said– I don’t know how to put it. I said that’s sort of in the realm of normalcy.
Lauren Sanchez: What?
Walters: Okay. Because it’s not kinky. It’s wrong, but it’s not kinky.
— ABC’s The View, July 30, 2013.
16. Barbara’s Plea: Stop Mocking Bill!
Joy Behar: I want to ask the audience: Clap if you would have your daughter be an in intern for Bill Clinton.
Barbara Walters: I think that’s so unfair. That’s so unfair.
Walters: Because the man was the President. He does need people to work in that office and come on, I mean, let it go already.
— Exchange on ABC’s The View on September 13, 2002.
15. Go See Al Gore’s Horror Flick
“Former Vice President Al Gore and his wife Tipper have been forces of nature in the fight to save the planet. And there is a wonderful movie you all have to see called An Inconvenient Truth. And in it, the Vice President, the former Vice President, lays out a compelling, horrifying, but ultimately hopeful case for finding a way to save an Earth that’s on the brink of disaster. And that means saving our lives and our children’s lives....We want to tell people, again, we don’t endorse a lot of things. We talk about a lot of movies, but its rare that we say to people: It’s very important to see this.”
— Walters interviewing Al and Tipper Gore on ABC’s The View, June 29, 2006.
14. Walters’ Slobbering Interview With Obama: What Super Power Do You Want?
“I know that you answer people’s letters all the time. And what we thought that we might do. We asked middle-school and high school students to throw a few questions. I’d like to read their questions. ‘If you were a superhero and you could have one super power, what would it be?”
— Walters to President Barack Obama, ABC’s 20/20, December 23, 2011.
13. Wondering How the Obamas Get It On
“Mr. President, Mrs. Obama. There is a photograph of you [hugging] that went viral, became the most shared photograph in the history of Twitter. How do you keep the fire going?”
— Walters to the Obamas in an interview excerpt shown on ABC’s World News and Nightline, December 26, 2012.
12. Babs Plants a Smooch on the “Superb” Joe Biden
“Is one allowed to kiss a Vice President?...I don’t think there’s much doubt that you’re a superb Vice President.”
— Walters to Vice President Joe Biden during his appearance on ABC’s The View, February 25, 2014.
11. Pity the Poor Loveless Dictator
“Well, he was not what I expected. He was very dignified. He was warm, friendly. He likes the U.S. Its George Bush that he doesn’t like. He also was very personal. He talked about how hard his life was, that he wished he could be in love but you cant be when you are heading a country.”
— Walters recounting her interview with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, March 16, 2007 ABC’s Nightline.
10. Walters: It’s “Heartbreaking” to Force Women to View an Ultrasound Before an Abortion
Whoopi Goldberg: Now, there are lots of headlines right now about battles over birth control and abortion rights. A federal judge in Texas has is upholding a law that requires provides abortion providers to show or describe to women an ultrasound of the fetus before he can have an abortion.
Barbara Walters: And the heartbeat.
Joy Behar: It’s very totalitarian in my opinion. I mean, it smacks of forcing somebody to confront something that they have already decided they don’t want to deal with.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck: Can I ask you a question, though? Because I’m going to take my personal feelings about abortion out of this, but from a medical perspective- and I’ll ask this of anyone- you wouldn’t necessarily go in to get, I don’t know, say, a cyst removed or tooth extracted or a kidney that had to be, you know, examined and have surgery on, you would never go through any medical procedure without looking at an ultrasound, seeing an X-ray and the physician by no means want to do that procedure, go ahead with it without looking at the scientific evidence.
Behar: Doesn’t the doctor look at it though?
Hasselbeck: Hang on, as a patient I would just want information. To me, it doesn’t make sense why you wouldn’t- why you would ask for an X-ray for those things or an ultrasound but not in this case.
Walters: Let me try to answer you. First of all, it is interesting in every primary the subject of abortion comes up and it is always so controversial and so divisive and yet in the actual election, it plays a very small part. I always find that fascinating. It’s always an issue, but people, with it all, do not vote for the president on that issue. I think that in order to even think about having an abortion, to give up a child that is obviously unwanted, that’s why you’re doing it, it is such a tremendous decision, it’s involved with so much fear of what you’re doing and guilt.
Hasselbeck: But if that-
Walters: Wait! And then to have to go and be forced to hear, to see the fetus, to hear the heartbeat, to put more guilt on you, I think is heartbreaking.
— ABC’s The View, February 8, 2012.
9. Lost Communist Glory Years
“In the old Soviet Union, you never saw faces like these. The poor, the homeless, and the desperation of the Russian winter. Their numbers are growing. Tonight - Is this what democracy does? A look at the Russia you haven’t seen before....The people of Russia are learning this winter that the price of freedom can be painfully high.”
— Walters opening Nightline, January 14, 1992.
8. Dreaming About an Obama Dynasty?
“There have been rumors — if the President is not reelected [dramatic ‘God forbid!’ face], or that in the future, that you might consider running for political office....Would you ever?...You would be a very popular candidate.”
— ABC’s Barbara Walters to First Lady Michelle Obama on The View, May 29, 2012.
7. Saddened That Obama Wasn’t Actually “the Next Messiah”
“We thought that he was going to be — I shouldn’t say this at Christmastime, but — the next Messiah. And the whole ObamaCare, or whatever you want to call that, Affordable Health Act, it just hasn’t worked for him, and he’s stumbled around on it, and people feel very disappointed because they expected more. It’s very difficult when the expectations for you are very high. You’re almost better off when they’re low and then they rise and rise. His were very high and they’ve dropped. But you know he still has several years to go. What does he have? Three years more Piers? And you know there will be a lot of changes, one thinks, in that time.”
— Walters on CNN’s Piers Morgan Live, December 17, 2013.
6. You Were Robbed, President Gore
“Were you cheated out of the Presidency?....But you almost were President! Why aren’t you, I don’t know, bitter? Why aren’t you, you know, why don’t you say, I was this close [holds fingers together], I won the popular vote!? How can you sit here this calmly now and say ‘Oh well, its like a football game or something?’”
— Walters’ questions to Al Gore in an interview shown on ABC’s 20/20 on November 15, 2002.
5. Walters Slams ‘Uninformed’ Sarah Palin: Many Find the Idea of You as President ‘Scary’
“Well, you know, governor, many people find the thought of you as president a little scary. You hear, ‘Oh, she’s very charming, but she’s uninformed.’ Would you like to tell us what newspapers, magazines or books you are reading right now?”
— Walters previewing interview with Sarah Palin, aired on the December 9, 2010 edition of 10 Most Fascinating People of 2010.
4. Barbara Walters Warmly Recalls Holding Fidel Castro’s Gun In Her Lap
“I spent 10 days with him [Fidel Castro], traveled through the mountains and held his gun in my lap. People thought we had a romance, but we never did.”
— Walters in a spread about her most memorable moments published in the December 23, 2013 edition of People magazine.
3. Walters Cheers Hillary Clinton For President: “You Got To Run”
Barbara Walters: And now our choice for the most fascinating person of this year, and we believe the past 20. Remember at the beginning of the show when the president of ABC news told us who should be the most fascinating person of 1993? Well, I guess Roone Arledge knew a thing or two. This program was born at the start of the Clinton era, and it appears we might be at the dawn of another.
Walters: I listen to you and I think, “You got to run.” Something. You got to run.
Walters: I would like you to note that I have not asked you about your hair.
— Walters’ questions to Hillary Clinton aired on her 10 Most Fascinating People special in which she named Clinton to the top spot for the third time, December 18, 2013.
2. Let 1,000 Book Clubs Bloom
“For Castro, freedom starts with education. And if literacy alone were the yardstick, Cuba would rank as one of the freest nations on Earth. The literacy rate is 96 percent.”
— Walters narrating her interview with Fidel Castro on ABC’s 20/20, October 11, 2002.
1. Instead of Asking Hillary Clinton About Benghazi, Walters Pushes Her to Run for President
Barbara Walters: What most people are asking now about you is, will you consider running for president in 2016? Would you just like to make your declaration now and we could conclude this interview?
Hillary Clinton: Well that would be fascinating to me as well as everyone else. You know I’ve said I really don’t believe that that’s something that I will do again.
Walters: You know, your husband wants you to run in 2016. What do you want to say to him?
Clinton: He wants me to do what I want to do, and he has made that very clear, and some of what I want to do is just kick back. I mean it sounds-
Walters: Yeah, but after you have slept, kicked back, read those books-
Clinton: But I haven’t had a chance to do that yet.
Walters: Okay, so let’s give you three months.
Clinton: Oh, no.
Walters: What would it take to convince you to run in 2016?
Clinton: You know that’s all hypothetical because right now I have no intention of running.
— Walters’ questions to Hillary Clinton on the 10 Most Fascinating People of 2012, December 12, 2012.
— Geoffrey Dickens is Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center. Follow Geoffrey Dickens on Twitter.