On Friday's "Good Morning America," reporter Kate Snow continued her habit of happily spinning Hillary Clinton's campaign maneuvering as nothing less than brilliant politics by the presidential candidate. She parroted talking points from the '08 contender's campaign about how smart it would be to target South Carolina voters who frequent hair salons. Sitting in a sylist booth, a smiling Snow gushed, "It makes a lot of sense, actually. Because women, when you think about it, we talk about everything in the hair salon from family to politics."
The segment, which focused on the battle between Obama and Hillary over the black vote, then cut to a quote from Kelly Adams, the South Carolina director of Clinton's campaign, who, unsurprisingly, expressed the same sentiment: "We talk politics....But, you know, there's a lot of conversations had in hair salon, serious political conversations and decisions are made there." The story, first reported over a month ago in the Washington Post, continued a template developed by Snow: Laud any action by the Clinton camp as political gold. On October 1, she reported on the former First Lady's laugh, which many found odd and off-putting. However, according to the GMA correspondent, the cackle is representative of someone either having a great time or "she's the master of a shrewd political skill, disarming her critics with a gleam in her eye and a roar straight from the belly." (A gallery of Snow, always smiling as she commits bias, can be found below.)
A few weeks later, on October 25, Snow rhapsodized over Hillary Clinton's 60th birthday and how Bill and Hillary are both "masters of spin" and are experts at "turning bad news into good." The ABC reporter, beaming once again, marveled that "instead of facing gray hair and retirement, for Hillary Clinton, being a member of AARP is fund-raising gold." She also credulously touted marriage talking points: "On the eve of this birthday, Hillary is trumpeting the strength of their marriage."
In early November, Snow reported on the then-developing scandal relating to planted questioners in Hillary Clinton's political events. Somehow, she managed to ignore her own networks' role in inserting a friendly query at a GMA event in March.
Regarding the November 30 hair salon story, it should be noted that "Good Morning America" appeared to crib much of the details from a piece that appeared on the front page of the October 14 Washington Post. Snow quoted Clinton's South Carolina state director, as did the Washington Post. Snow's piece did highlight the angle of which candidate, Clinton or Senator Barack Obama, would receive the black vote. But the tone of the GMA piece seems remarkably similar.
The GMA segment did feature one amusing moment, however. John Edwards, who has had his own hair-related issues, apparently doesn't believe in salon campaigning. Edwards supporter Linda Dogan commented, "Everybody that goes to a professional hair salon may not be a voter. And that's one of the things you should check out. You may be wasting your time."
A transcript of the November 30 segment, which aired at 7:17am, follows:
DAVID MUIR: And we turn now to the Democrats and this story. They're both looking for candidates-- voters anywhere they can find them. Barack Obama in New York, of course, last night to rally the black vote at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem. But the latest ABC News poll shows Hillary Clinton is leading among black voters by almost ten points. Both candidates are now looking for votes among some unconventional places and GMA weekend anchor Kate Snow has the story.
SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: We're going to shake up the world. We're going to shake up the world.
KATE SNOW: Obama came to Harlem to rally a constituency he desperately needs, African-American voters.
OBAMA: I don't want to wake up four years from now and discover that we still have more young black men in prison than in college.
ABC GRAPHIC: Obama Vs. Hillary: Who Gets the Hair Salon Vote?
SNOW: But while it might be tempting to think that Obama would automatically win black votes, that's not necessarily the case. Obama spoke just blocks away from the office of former President Bill Clinton. And down in South Carolina where black voters make up half of Democratic primary voters, Bill is the number one reason African-Americans cite for supporting Hillary Clinton. In this Palmetto state, Clinton and Obama are battling for black women voters, now evenly split between the two of them. And ground zero, the hair salon. It makes a lot of sense, actually. Because women, when you think about it, we talk about everything in the hair salon from family to politics.
KELLY ADAMS (State director, Hillary Clinton Organization, S.C.): We talk politics. We talk about men. We talk about everything. But, you know, there's a lot of conversations had in hair salon, serious political conversations and decisions are made there.
SNOW: Hillary Clinton's campaign claims they've recruited nearly 1,000 salon owners.
PROFESSOR LAURA WOLIVER, PhD (University of South Carolina): African-American women in South Carolina and in the south are registered to vote and they also turn out and vote.
JOYCE MCDOWELL: America needs a change.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Needs a change.
SNOW: Joyce McDowell spends three hours a month in this chair. Her vote, still up for grabs. So you went to a Hillary event. But you were telling me, if Oprah comes to town with Barack Obama, you'll be there, too?
JOYCE MCDOWELL: Yes, yes. I will, I will.
SNOW: John Edwards' campaign is dismissive of the hair salon strategy.
LINDA DOGAN (Edwards supporter): Everybody that goes to a professional hair salon may not be a voter. And that's one of the things you should check out. You may be wasting your time.
SNOW: But the Clinton and Obama camps don't see it a waste. Clinton's campaign found a use for all those bad hair day photos. A flyer they're giving out at salons reads, "Pay attention to your hair because everyone else will." For "Good Morning America," Kate Snow, ABC News, Greenville, South Carolina.