After spending days denouncing a religious freedom bill in Arizona as
"anti-gay," all three network morning shows on Thursday hailed protester
celebrations following Governor Jan Brewer vetoing the proposed
legislation. Fill-in co-host Lara Spencer led off ABC's Good Morning America by excitedly announcing: "Vetoed! Protesters cheering the Arizona governor's decision to strike the controversial bill that would have given businesses the right to deny service to gay people for religious reasons." [Listen to the audio]
In the report that followed, correspondent Cecilia Vega described the joyous atmosphere: "Boy, a lot of celebrating here overnight....And that very moment outside Arizona's capitol, from cheers to tears." Vega talked to one protester who compared the vetoed bill to segregation: "Nobody rides at the back of the bus and everybody sits at the lunch counter. We fought that battle once and that's what this battle is. We shouldn't have to do this again and I hope this is the last time."
On NBC's Today, correspondent Mike Taibbi declared: "The Governor made the predicted decision to cheers of the protesters gathered outside the state house."
A protester he talked to recounted: "We were standing, shaking with
tears in our eyes that something finally – our voices have finally been
heard." Taibbi concluded of the bill: "Now it's history."
CBS This Morning co-host Norah O'Donnell proclaimed "Gay rights supporters are cheering and religious conservatives are fuming" as she reported the news. Correspondent Carter Evans observed: "A day of protests outside the capitol ended in celebration. Inside, Governor Jan Brewer announced her much anticipated decision."
While the networks hyped
and were responsible for "mounting pressure" on Governor Brewer to veto
the legislation, on Thursday, the Arizona Republican was suddenly a
ABC's Vega noted: "And in the end, the very group that had been protesting Jan Brewer, thanked her." Footage rolled of protesters cheering and chanting: "Thank you, Jan! Thank you, Jan!"
At the end of his Today report, Taibbi explained: "Now here's how certain even the protesters were that there'd be a veto. Even before the press conference they were distributing these pre-printed, high-quality posters saying 'Thank you, Governor. Arizona is now open for business for everyone.'"
On CBS This Morning, Evans mentioned: "Republican Arizona Senator John McCain commended Brewer's veto as did former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton." A sound bite followed of Clinton gloating: "Thankfully the Governor of Arizona has vetoed the discriminatory legislation that was passed."