ABC’s Christiane Amanpour spent her last show before the election mimicking Democratic talking points. She cued up Democratic Senator Robert Menendez with how Americans don’t recognize the realities of Obama’s achievements so the Democratic shortcoming is not liberal policies but “bad messaging,” while she pressed Republican Senator John Cornyn about whether Republicans “will agree with President Obama's plan to raise taxes on the wealthiest and preserve them for the middle class?” She also fretted that it’s been a “very specific-free, substance-free, content-free election” before she scolded Cornyn for a “racist” ad.
Though ABC’s Jonathan Karl on Friday night noted how “a new study of campaign ads finds that more than half of negative Democratic ads [51%] are personal attacks, whereas the overwhelming majority of Republican ads attack Democratic policies [69%],” Amanpour relayed “strong complaints from the Democrats about a lot of the anonymous money that's going on ads.” She then ran a clip of an ad from Republican Senator David Vitter which contended his opponent favors illegal aliens, demanding of Cornyn: “So some people have called that racist. I want to know do you think it's appropriate to finger Hispanics in that way? Do you think it is appropriate?”
In her session with the respective chairmen of the two senatorial campaign committees, Amanpour never challenged Menendez as she did Cornyn and so didn’t play any questionable Democratic ad.
Instead, she provided Menendez with ammunition to support the Democratic spin that the voters are misinformed and it’s just been the inability of Obama and Democrats to communicate that has allowed Republicans and the Tea Party to fool the masses:
Why hasn't the message got out better, for instance, on precisely this issue? A recent Bloomberg poll found that most Americans think that taxes have gone up since President Obama took office, that the economy has shrunk, that TARP, the corporate bailout, won't be mostly paid back. I mean all of those are untrue. Why is the messaging so bad?
A sampling of Amanpour’s questions to Cornyn, on the October 31 This Week:
# Let me ask you, Senator, because so many of the people we talked to say that they really want to see cooperation, bipartisanship, less of the poison and solutions, and yet your leader, the Republican leader of the Senate, has said that if you win in November, “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term President.” The Republican leader in the House, John Boehner, said “this is not the time for compromise.” That doesn't sound like putting partisanship aside and working for the people. Is that the sum total of the policy?
# So the Democrats, it seems, the people are saying, simply have not succeeded in removing people's suspicions about what exactly is health care, what exactly is the stimulus, all of those policies that they’re still are not quite sure about. The Republicans, on the other hand, have basically said, no and moved on, but this has been a very specific-free, substance-free, content-free election. For instance, you talk about moving the economy. But there are no concrete proposals on, for instance, how to slash the deficit. You look at Britain. They have, whether you like it or not or agree with it or not, put out a really severe austerity program, chapter and verse, dollars and cents. None of that has happened here.
# Let me ask you about taxes because presumably that's going to be an immediate issue. People are talking about taxes and the battle for taxes starting right after this election. Is there any way, Senator, that Congress will agree with President Obama's plan to raise taxes on the wealthiest and preserve them for the middle class?
# Let me ask you about a lot of the money that's been spent in this campaign on ads, on all sorts of things. Not only have there been, you know, strong complaints from the Democrats about a lot of the anonymous money that's going on ads, but some of the ads have been quite, quite sharp in their tone, let's say. David Vitter has run one, which I want to put up right now. His campaign ad.
TV AD NARRATOR: Charlie Melancon. Thanks to him, we might as well put out a welcome sign for illegal aliens. Melancon voted to make it easier for illegals to get taxpayer-funded benefits. Melancon even voted against allowing police to arrest illegals. Thanks to Charlie Melancon, it's no wonder illegals keep coming.
So some people have called that racist. I want to know do you think it's appropriate to finger Hispanics in that way? Do you think it is appropriate?....But do you think it's appropriate in this way? I mean you're from Texas. You have a big Hispanic group there. Do you think it's appropriate? Would you have done that?
— Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.