ABC’s Charles Gibson, Conventional Liberal
Charles Gibson, ABC's longtime co-host of Good Morning America was tapped to replace Elizabeth Vargas as solo anchor of World News Tonight, starting May 29, 2006. On his morning show, and as a frequent fill-in for Peter Jennings on World News Tonight, Gibson over the years has shown little willingness to stray from the media elite's liberal template. A notable exception was when Gibson hosted the 2004 town-hall style debate between President Bush and John Kerry. Unlike other journalists who have moderated similar events, Gibson chose a balanced set of audience questions that equally represented liberal and conservative concerns.
The following quotes, many accompanied by audio and video files, exemplify Gibson's conventional liberal approach to the issues of the day: favoring gun control and campaign finance reform, portraying tax cuts as costly, and once even boasting about a sign in his house proclaiming "War is not good for children and other living things."
Seeing Oil Profits as "Obscene"
"The estimates are that the six large U.S. [oil] companies will have a total of $135 billion in profits for the year 2006. Don't consumers have a right to be angry?"
"The public looks at a total of $135 billion over the year, that's larger than the gross domestic product of Israel, and says isn't that an obscene amount?"
Charles Gibson to ConocoPhillips Chairman James Mulva on ABC's Good Morning America, May 8, 2006.
Rush "Getting Off Too Easy"
"Rush Limbaugh is set to sign a deal with prosecutors today after three years of prescription drug fraud investigations. But did he get off easy? The controversy ahead... Coming up on Good Morning America, a rush to judgment? He's made a deal with prosecutors. Did Rush Limbaugh get off easy?...We're going to start the half hour with Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio talk show host. He's expected to sign a deal with prosecutors later today....But now there are new questions: Is Limbaugh getting off too easy?"
Good Morning America, May 1, 2006.
All Nastiness = Bush's Fault
"He [President Bush] tries to unite but, of course, a lot of Democrats feel this has not been a uniting President. They have gone down that road before, trying to work with the President and, of course, the old expression is, Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me more than once, fool me twice or ten times, shame on me."
During live coverage before President Bush's State of the Union address, January 31, 2006.
Lobbying for Higher Taxes
"Just before we went on the air, Diane and Robin, I asked her [Hillary Clinton] - given the fact that it's going to cost so much for recovery [from Katrina] and with what were spending in Iraq - whether were not going to have to raise taxes."
Gibson following an interview with Senator Clinton, September 7, 2005 Good Morning America.
"Are you going to maintain that we can pay for this, we can pay for the war in Iraq, and we can pay for the rising healthcare costs in this country without raising taxes? These are astronomical dollars were talking about that will cost the federal treasury."
Gibson to White House counselor Dan Bartlett on Good Morning America, September 15, 2005.
Reversing Past Judicial Activism = Legislating from the Bench
"The President has said John Roberts would not legislate from the bench. He didn't want a nominee who would legislate from the bench. Does that mean that this will be a justice who will not be overturning settled law, i.e. Roe v. Wade?"
Gibson to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on the July 21, 2005 Good Morning America.
Now Upset by "Clintonian Defense"
Charles Gibson: "Its been revealed that Karl Rove did leak to the media that the wife of an administration critic, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, worked for the CIA, part of an apparent effort to discredit his claims....Joe, if this had happened in the Clinton administration, the Republicans would be going nuts."
Republican political analyst Joe Watkins: "First of all, Karl Rove is not necessarily the target of this investigation. We don't know that he is and certainly he hasn't done anything wrong. He's done nothing illegal, and we know that from his lawyer, as well as from what he said."
Gibson: "Is that not a Clintonian defense? Yes, Karl Rove didn't specifically named this person. He just talked about Wilson's wife and he didn't actually say she was undercover, and so therefore he didn't technically break the law."
ABC's Good Morning America, July 12, 2005.
He's Obviously Too Conservative to Win
"German-born Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is also mentioned, but his extreme conservative views and his age might be his undoing when votes are cast in the Sistine Chapel."
Good Morning America, April 4, 2005.
Stirred by... John Kerry?
"For those who doubted John Kerry could pull off a stirring speech, doubts dispelled. For those who doubted John Kerry could unite a traditionally fractious party, doubts dispelled."
Good Morning America, July 30, 2004, morning after Kerry's convention address.
Heroic Kerry Painted as Victim
"We'll take A Closer Look tonight at John Kerry's distinguished war record. His opponents are trying hard to use it against him."
Filling in on World News Tonight, April 21, 2004.
Is Bush's the Most Vengeful White House Ever?
Charles Gibson: "George, have you ever seen an administration put on a sort of full-court press against one individual as they did yesterday?"
George Stephanopoulos: "On a book? No, never, its never happened before. You would have thought yesterday that Richard Clarke was John Kerry."
ABC's Good Morning America, March 23, 2004.
Still Enamored with John McCain
Charles Gibson: "A lot of Democrats say a dream ticket would be if John Kerry would reach across the aisle, take you as a vice presidential candidate. Are you going to say no, no how, no way, you won't do it?"
Senator John McCain: "Charlie, it's impossible to imagine...."
Gibson: "Let me imagine it. If he asked you, if he came across the aisle and asked you, would you even entertain the idea, or would you rule it out for good and all and ever right now?"
Good Morning America, March 10, 2004.
As If ABC Had No Part In Pushing Bush's Guard Story
"We're going to start now with President Bush's military record. It's a subject that seems to be consuming Washington these days. The questions about the President's National Guard service just wont stop."
Good Morning America, February 11, 2004.
Tax Cuts Cause Awful Deficits "On the domestic front, the President last night called for making the tax cuts permanent. Is that, in a sense, making deficits in the hundreds of billions of dollars permanent?"
Gibson to White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card on Good Morning America on January 21, 2004, the morning after President Bush's State of the Union address.
"Embarrassment" of Trying Saddam Hussein
"Could this trial be very embarrassing to the United States? We supported him for so long. We gave him some of the instruments that he used to terrorize his own people. Could it be embarrassing for the United States?"
Gibson to NYU law professor Noah Feldman on Good Morning America, December 15, 2003.
Bush Trip Can't Hide Iraq Failure
"There's obviously great symbolism to this trip, because it is important for a Commander-in-Chief to come and see his troops. But so is there symbolism in that things are so unstable that he had to sneak in, in darkness, that he never left the airport, that he could only stay two and a half hours?...Isn't there symbolism in the fact that it points up that not much has changed in eight months?"
Asking Condoleezza Rice about President Bush's Thanksgiving Day trip to Iraq, on the November 28, 2003 Good Morning America.
Will Mean Rush Now Feel Bill Clinton's Pain?
"I certainly have heard him being very hard on the weaknesses of human beings, particularly obviously Bill Clinton, and it seems to me something like that has to change."
Gibson to Bill Bennett on Good Morning America November 18, 2003, the day after Limbaugh ended five weeks of treatment for drug addiction.
Would He Appreciate the Lies?
"Michael, your dad comes, came from the Hollywood community, and he knows what the issues of artistic freedom are. How do you think he'd react?"
Gibson to Michael Reagan on Good Morning America, November 4, 2003, after CBS decided not to air a miniseries that portrayed former President Ronald Reagan in a derogatory light.
Tyranny Is Bad for Children, Too
"I grew up in the Vietnam era, which is probably one of the signal events of my life and I think affected everybody of my generation. And we used to have a little framed sign hanging in our bedroom, my wife and I, that said, War is not good for children and other living things, and I believe that. So I don't like covering war and I hate to see them occur."
Gibson during an appearance on CNN's Larry King Live, July 2, 2003.
Justice Gibson Has Ruled
"The President used a flash word yesterday. Everybody knows that America opposes quotas. This is not a quota system at the University of Michigan, and yet he used the word four times in saying he opposed quotas and this is a quota....It's not a quota system. It is a consideration of race, which the Supreme Court in 1978 said is perfectly proper.... The Supreme Court said you can consider race in admissions, you just can't have quotas. The President says he's for diversity, but he says, I'm against the only system that the Supreme Court has considered in 25 years."
Gibson to New York Post columnist Robert George on Good Morning America, January 16, 2003.
Fawning Over Jimmy the Great
"And now we turn to this morning's awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Jimmy Carter. To his supporters who nominated him seven times over the last 25 years, it was an honor long overdue....He was the unlikely President, who came out of nowhere. He has become, in the opinion of many, the greatest ex-President of modern times.
Good Morning America, Oct. 11, 2002.
Pushing GOP Intolerance Theme
"In leaving, you un-integrate the HouseRepublican Party."
"But doesn't it say something, then, about the House Republican Party, which will now be all white?"
Gibson's first two questions to retiring GOP Representative J. C. Watts on ABC's Good Morning America, July 2, 2002.
Bush "Knew" About 9/11 Plot
"This is interesting news that we get now, and it may put the President under a lot of heat today as the public learns that he knew, through his daily CIA intelligence briefings, that bin Laden had potential terror attack plans under way....It also calls into question what happened when Andy Card, Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff, that morning went and whispered in the Presidents ear, as the President was talking to a group of school students in Florida. Was the President really surprised?"
Gibsons introduction and question to White House correspondent Terry Moran on ABC's Good Morning America, May 16, 2002.
Three Labels in 23 Seconds
"President Bush has been drawing fire for his handling of the Middle East crisis, and the first shots fired are coming from his own conservative wing. Joining us from Washington, William Kristol, conservative editor of The Weekly Standard. Bill, good to see you again. And also joining us is Gary Bauer, Christian conservative who now heads the group American Values, and I do welcome you both."
Introducing an April 22, 2002 Good Morning America segment.
Pushing Phony "Lock Box" Fears
"Politicians call Social Security the third rail of politics: Touch it, fool with it, and you can get a terrible shock. Well, today the non-partisan congressional office that crunches the budget numbers projected the government will have to use $9 billion in Social Security funds this year just to pay for the programs it already has in place. Democrats and Republicans alike have always sworn on a stack of Bibles that Social Security was absolutely, totally, completely off limits."
Substituting for Peter Jennings on World News Tonight, August 27, 2001.
"Fascinated" By Dazzling Clinton
Charles Gibson: "Good evening. He's been out of office six months now, but Bill Clinton is just as fascinating as ever. At least that's what the book industry is betting. The former President has struck what is said to be the largest non-fiction book deal in the history of publishing to write his memoirs...."
Reporter Jackie Judd: "Charlie, were also being told Mr. Clinton will write this himself no help from a ghostwriter, and the book will be in bookstores in 2003. It's a good time, probably the best of Mr. Clinton's post-presidency. Last week he dazzled Harlem, today Park Avenue publisher [Alfred] Knopf."
ABC's World News Tonight, August 6, 2001.
"I remember the great thing on Saturday Night Live where the fellow who does President Clinton said, You're going to miss me. And indeed people miss him, he's still a fascinating man even six months out of the White House."
Gibson, the next day on Good Morning America.
Charles Gibson: "Have you ever it just occurred to me have you ever, in the first hundred days, consulted or called former President Clinton?"
President Bush: "No, I haven't."
Gibson: "To talk to him?"
President Bush: "No, I have not."
Gibson: "Don't feel the need?"
Exchange during taped interview aired on the April 25, 2001 Good Morning America.
Getting to the Left of Teddy Kennedy
"Senator, there are some Democrats who say that as much money as is really needed for education will not be spent because of the tax cut that is on its way on a fast track through the Congress. Do you become, in cooperating with the President, do you become complicit in that?"
"As I understand this bill, he gives up, for now, on his voucher plan and you give up on some of the money that would have been spent for teachers and for the renovation of some crumbling schools. In some sense, is that a hollow compromise? I mean, does it really do much for schools and get more teachers in the system?"
Questions to Senator Ted Kennedy, May 3, 2001 Good Morning America.
Endorsing Daschle's Distortions
"Now Mr. Secretary, you may dispute the exact numbers, but in essence, he's correct, isn't he?"
Question to Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, after clip of Sen. Tom Daschle saying Bush's tax cuts would give millionaires enough money to buy a Lexus while a typical working person only gets enough for a muffler, Good Morning America, Feb. 9, 2001.
Can We Afford Tax Cut for the Rich?
"Today President George W. Bush starts the rollout of a centerpiece of his agenda, his $1.6 trillion tax cut plan. Now, his plan would reduce the 39.6 and 36 percent brackets down to 33 percent, and the 31 percent and 28 percent brackets would be reduced to 25 percent. Is it fair to give such a large percentage of the tax break to upper-income people? Can this country afford $1.6 trillion in tax cuts?"
To Bush economic adviser Larry Lindsey, February 5, 2001.
Do Voters Not Appreciate You, Mr. Vice President?
"Why is this election so close? When you look at this objectively and as people looked at it six months ago, the incumbent party dealt a very strong hand here. We have full employment in the United States, we have unparalleled prosperity in terms of wealth created, we have low interest rates, we have low inflation, we have few perils to our nation overseas. So you were dealt a very strong hand coming into this election, and yet its still close. Why?"
Gibson to Al Gore, November 6, 2000 Good Morning America.
Republican Platform Failed to Please Liberals
"The platform is, again, very strongly pro-life and rejects abortion rights, and the platform specifically comes out against gay unions, and against legal protections based on sexual preferences. So is this really an open, compassionate, tolerant party?"
Gibson to Lynne Cheney, August 2, 2000 Good Morning America, during the GOP convention.
Boasting of Bias
"We do turn first this morning to convicted killer Gary Graham, who as we said, is sentenced to die this evening on the strength of a single eyewitness. Over the past 10 days, we've been bringing you reports raising questions about the soundness of the death penalty across the nation and in the state of Texas. As in so many death penalty cases, this one is reaching a fever pitch."
Good Morning America, June 22, 2000.
Upset by Lack of "Progress" In Nullifying the Second Amendment
"I've got here a pile of all the gun legislation thats been proposed in the past year since we were here before. None of it has passed. By my count, we have more states rejecting new gun control legislation than have passed it. We have 15 states that have passed prohibitions on cities suing gun manufacturers. That hardly seems like progress."
To President Clinton during a May 12, 2000 Good Morning America town meeting promoting the Million Mom March.
W Too Far Right to Win in November
"You started this campaign knowing that the Republican Party would have to broaden its base in order to win in November. You were emphasizing compassion. Then you get in political trouble after New Hampshire, and you wrap yourself so tightly in the Republican Right that it may kill you in November."
Gibson to President George W. Bush, February 21, 2000 Good Morning America.
Cheering "Very Worthy" Liberal Cause
"I remember when Diane and I had just started this show, we celebrated your 89th birthday with you when you were just starting out in California. Today we celebrate your 90th, and this is very worthy work that you do, bringing attention to campaign finance reform."
Gibson to left-wing activist Granny D, who was in the midst of an attention-seeking walk across America, January 24, 2000 Good Morning America.
Pressing Clinton and Gore from Left on Guns
"When you went to Littleton, a friend of yours, who supports you on gun control, said to me in the last 48 hours, the President, because as he said Littleton has seared the national conscience, the President had a chance to roar on gun control and he meowed, and that was a friend of yours. There are very basic measures that could be taken that people agree on. We register every automobile in America. We don't register guns. That's a step that would make a difference."
From Good Morning Americas live interview with President Bill Clinton at the White House, June 4, 1999.
Charles Gibson: "But let me come back to you on that, the polls, I agree on that, the polls have shown that this country would accept registration of firearms and yet we don't do that and we're not fighting about regulation of guns. We regulate every other consumer product out there."
Bill Clinton: "The reason is this Congress came to power after the 1994 elections because in critical races the people who voted for more modest things like the Brady Bill, which the polls showed the voters support, got beat."
Gibson: "But hasn't the NRA won the debate at that point? Once we say its politically impossible, we can't do it, we won't propose it, hasn't the NRA basically framed the debate at that point?"
More from the same interview.
"But I'm curious, if you favor registration of every handgun, why didn't you put it in the proposal? If you want to regulate handguns, why not do that as well, as we do with every other consumer product?"
Gibson questioning Al Gore on Good Morning America, July 12, 1999.
Co-host Charles Gibson: "I don't want to politicize this, and this is not the time for political questions, but...do you think the 2000 campaign will largely be about guns?"
Al Gore: "You said you didn't want to politicize it. I can assure its the last thing that I want to do, and I just don't want to get into a discussion like that."
Gibson: "I'm just saying do you think that this is going to be a discussion in the year 2000, this country will sit down and have a frank discussion about guns?"
Exchange on the September 16, 1999 Good Morning America, the morning after a church shooting in Fort Worth, Texas.
Compassion Conflict with Conservatism
"Bush is using this term compassionate conservative as he campaigns, which is an interesting juxtaposition of two seemingly contradictory terms."
Gibson to columnist William Safire on the November 18, 1999 Good Morning America.
Good Morning, Liberal America
Co-host Charles Gibson: "You have been pushing campaign finance reform for quite some time."
Sen. John McCain: "And we will go at it again tonight."
Gibson: "Given the fact that it is so important, what does it say about the system when one candidate raises more than $50 million. Is that obscene?"
Exchange on Good Morning America, October 12, 1999.
"Bush said that your party was trying to, the congressional leadership was trying to balance the budget on the backs of the poor. You agreed with him when he said that. Is the leadership of your party in Congress out of touch with the American public, and is the party too much a captive of the Right?"
Gibson, later in the same interview.
"So he's got a terrific platform, but it sounds like he's not going to run."
Gibson on left-wing actor Warren Beatty, reacting to George Stephanopoulos, September 30, 1999 Good Morning America.
No Sympathy for Linda Tripp
"I suspect a lot of people would find it the height of irony that Linda Tripp files a suit for invasion of privacy."
"But you charge there was an attempt to smear Ms. Tripp. The only thing that the Defense Department revealed was that she'd never committed a crime. That seems to be rather favorable to her."
"But Mr. Kohn, the person who revealed the fact that she had committed a crime was not the Defense Department, it was her own former stepmother."
Gibsons questions to Tripp lawyer Stephen Kohn on Good Morning America, September 28, 1999.
Poor, Brutalized Hillary
"And it started. [In] the New York Post today, a column, oh, I won't mention the woman who wrote it but it, it's like they're going after her already on day one: she exaggerates her accomplishments, she has a sense of grandeur, she is deluded, she bends the rules for herself, she has a narcissistic personality disorder. This is gonna get really, really rough."
Gibson to former Hillary Clinton aide Lisa Caputo, July 7, 1999 Good Morning America.
Morning Boos for Paula
"You said that you wanted to, if it went to trial, explore the pattern of conduct on the part of the President. That sounds to me like you're setting out simply to embarrass the White House."
Gibson to Paula Jones attorney Joseph Cammarata, May 28, 1997 Good Morning America.
"Sam, not trying to hurt the President? Did she say that with a straight face?...Why does anyone care what this woman has to say? ...Bottom line, Sam. Is she not trying to capitalize on this, in effect to profit from impugning the President?"
Questions to Sam Donaldson about his Paula Jones interview, Good Morning America, June 16, 1994.
How Dare They Attack King Bill
"Polls will tell you these days that people do not want much partisanship in their politics, but they got it at the Republican convention last night. There were attacks on President Clinton's credibility, integrity, even his eating habits."
ABC's Good Morning America, August 14, 1996.
Redford's Very Persuasive Boilerplate
"I think it is a travesty to stand silently while all the protections of the last 150 years are gutted and our priceless and precious national heritage is destroyed forever in order to benefit the few....The [GOP] bills themselves, if you look at them, are going to gut our sustainable environment. Clean air, clean water are going to be simply gutted, and so you're going to be affecting our health, our children's health."
Actor Robert Redford on Good Morning America, July 21, 1995.
"I suppose we're supposed to stay out of all these controversies and you shouldn't take but I find Redford's argument to be very persuasive....And after the series we did just recently on the national parks, um, you worry....When he gives the kind of testimony he did yesterday and makes those kinds of arguments, very persuasive."
Gibson reacting a few minutes later.
Referendum on Reaganomics?
"There seems to be an anti-tax sentiment, and yet everybody wants all of the services they have always had. Is this an election that said, sort of a reaffirmation of Reagan economics we want government on the cheap?"
ABC Good Morning America, November 7, 1990.
"This election, it seems to me, was a reaffirmation of Reaganomics. We want to repair the infrastructure. We want good education. We want the social services of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. But woe betide any politician who tries to exercise leadership, George, and perhaps institute taxes to pay for those things."
Gibson interviewing George Will on Good Morning America, November 12, 1990.
And He Admits Media "Intrinsically Liberal"
"I don't deny for a minute that I think that the basic political bent of most reporters is probably to the liberal side. Do, you know, do people try, David Brinkley always says there's no such thing as objectivity, there are just lesser degrees of subjectivity. Reporters try to get around that. I think, I don't think that's a particular problem for Bob Dole, I really don't. I mean if, you know, if it was, if it was so overwhelming, the press's influence, you know, why did we have the results we had in 1994? But, but is the press intrinsically liberal? Yeah, probably."
In response to a caller who asked about liberal bias and how it might impact Bob Dole's presidential campaign, on CNBC's Politics with Chris Matthews, May 21, 1996.