ABC contributor Cokie Roberts apparently approves of propaganda, as long as she agrees with it. The veteran journalist appeared with George Will and Sam Donaldson on Sunday's "This Week." In response to a claim by token conservative Will that Al Gore grossly exaggerates the threat of global warming, Roberts positively assessed, "The truth is, there have always been propagandists who make something popular."
Using a strained comparison, Roberts continued to justify Gore's misinformation by arguing that the former Vice President popularizes the work of climate change scientists: "Go back to the revolution....You had Tom Paine and you had the Continental Congress. So you do have the two and they both work for a debate."
If there was any confusion about what Roberts thought of the useful nature of propaganda, she cleared it up by gushing, "But good for Al Gore. He worked hard on this. He got this prize." A few minutes earlier, host George Stephanopoulos allowed Will a few minutes to offer some token denunciations of Gore. Veteran ABC journalist Sam Donaldson apparently could only take so much. Like Roberts, he also lauded Gore for doing "very important" work and derided skeptics as being in denial. Addressing Will, he hyperbolically lectured, "Now, if you and Senator [James] Inhofe want to continue to stick your heads in the sand - I'm going to make it out. I'm old enough that I probably will get out of here before the Earth collapses, but I have grandchildren, George." A bewildered Will could only wonder, "How does the Earth collapse?"
On an unrelated note, host Stephanopoulos interviewed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier in the program. He closed the segment with some comments that seemed to be aimed at portraying the liberal Pelosi as a moderate. (Her lifetime score from the American Conservative Union, by the way, is three.) Stephanopoulos commented that the House Speaker has been facing "disaffection in the Democratic base, anti-war activists." After playing a clip of protester Cindy Sheehan attacking Pelosi, he marveled, "But how strange that is that for you, though? You know, your entire career you get attacked as a San Francisco liberal and now your most vociferous opponents are on your own side." The Congresswoman quickly retorted, "Well, I'm one of the most vociferous opponents of the war."
For a comprehensive look at Stephanopoulos's history of bias, check out the anchor's section in the MRC's Profiles in Bias.
Partial transcripts of the two segments, which aired at 10:15am and 10:33am on October 14, follow.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We're just about out of time. You know, the Congressional approval ratings have taken a hit this year. A lot of that, as you know, is because of disaffection in the Democratic base, anti-war activists -
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE NANCY PELOSI: Right.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Cindy Sheehan's running against you.
CINDY SHEEHAN [Speech clip]: And not only am I going to run against her, but I will beat her in California.
PELOSI: I respect the dissatisfaction with the war and myself would not give Congress high marks on ending the war. We don't have the veto - the pen to sign or not to veto. But we are doing all we can to change the debate. But I do think that many of the things we have done again that I mentioned and I won't go over again, about the safety and security of our country and the strengthening our families and protecting our environment are very important to our base and to the country. And for that reason, we are double-digit in every issue - practically every issue you can name would you vote for Democrat or Republican in relationship to health, education, and the economy, the environment, et cetera. So I'm not sad about our Democratic numbers. They're excellent. Turning Congress - the opinion of Congress around is a big task and we're working on it. And you're right, most of the - much of the dissatisfaction is from the Democratic base.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But how strange that is that for you, though? You know, your entire career you get attacked as a San Francisco liberal and now your most vociferous opponents are on your own side.
PELOSI: Well, I'm one of the most vociferous opponents of the war. And so that is more ironic. But again, I was an advocate myself. By their nature, they are dissatisfied, persistent, and just keep fighting. And I respect that. It's an important part of our democracy. And I, you know, wish this war would end as well. And we will continue to pass legislation to make that point. We happen to be blocked by 60-vote hurdle in the Senate, but the public doesn't care about that. They just want us to end the war.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Barney Frank says this is a moment of truth for liberals. Is he right?
PELOSI: It is. It's a dynamic. I don't know if it's a moment but it is a dynamic. And it is - and any issue you can name, we want it more for SCHIP, that's for sure. We want more - we want to end the war faster. Almost every category you can name, we would have rather had a higher minimum wage and done it even - well, almost every category you want to do more. And the legislative process is you do what you can pass, but you don't settle for anything that isn't bold enough, that isn't bold enough. And so I'm very proud of our caucus, the consensus we have on a bold agenda to take us in a new direction. And again, sometimes our base is not happy with that. But I think in the long run, we will prevail in next year's election with even a stronger majority and a Democrat in the White House. And I look forward to that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But I do want to begin, though, and I have to do this for George with the Al Gore Nobel Peace Prize because, George, when I heard this on Friday morning I said, this is designed to drive you, George Will, crazy. You don't like the Nobel Peace committee. You don't like Al Gore. You don't think global warming is a crisis.
GEORGE WILL: Right on all three counts. The New York Times, in one of those headlines that I'm sure it really believes is without editorial content said "Gore Vindicated." I suppose in that sense Yasser Arafat, world's foremost terrorist was vindicated by getting the Nobel Peace Prize. It actually was two prizes. They say he's sharing the price with the Intergovernmental Panel on -
STEPHANOPOULOS: Climate Change.
WILL: --on climate change, but they're doing two different things. The panel does the science. He does the hyperbole that gets people to pay attention to the science. And there are all kinds of scientists who are quite candid about this. The panel says over the next century we might anticipate a one-foot increase in the sea levels, approximately what we've had since 1860 without a planetary crisis. Mr. Gore says 20 feet, hence the scene in his movie where Ground Zero is inundated.
WILL: Because he assumes all of the ice in Greenland melts, which scientists say could happen in a thousand years or more.
SAM DONALDSON: Whoa, whoa. There are now studies which suggest that within 30 years the polar ice cap may melt.
Will: It's not polar. We're talking about Greenland. Go ahead.
DONALDSON: Well it's near enough for government work. Did Al Gore deserve the prize? I think he's pointed out something and he's been the leading exponent publicly of something that's very important. Now, if you and Senator Inhofe want to continue to stick your heads in the sand - I'm going to make it out. I'm old enough that I probably will get out of here before the Earth collapses, but I have grandchildren, George.
WILL: How does the Earth collapse?
DONALDSON: Well, the Earth collapses -
COKIE ROBERTS: Well there have always - The truth is, there have always been propagandists who make something popular. Go back to the revolution. You know, oh, you had Tom Paine and you had the Continental Congress. So you do have the two and they both work for a debate. But good for Al Gore. He worked hard on this. He got this prize. The question now is what does it mean politically?
STEPHANOPOULOS: The immediate question.
ROBERTS: That's right.