ABC's Sawyer Touts Rosie O'Donnell's 'Singular Take' on the World

"Good Morning America's" Diane Sawyer featured 9/11 conspiracy theorist Rosie O'Donnell for over 15 minutes on Tuesday and failed to ask about any of her numerous controversial statements. Despite this, Sawyer did find the time to laud the former talk show host's "singular take on the world" and to make crafts with the hard core leftist who once asserted that "radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America."

Sawyer glossed over the controversial statements O'Donnell made during her tenure as a co-host of the ABC program "The View." At one point, the GMA co-anchor even admitted, "So, I don't want to go back and rehash all of 'The View' stuff again." Some of the "stuff" Sawyer might have been referring to, included telling the lone conservative voice on "The View," Elisabeth Hasselbeck, on November 9, 2006, "Don't fear the terrorists. They’re mothers and fathers." During her GMA appearance to promote a new book on crafts, O'Donnell stated that one factor in her quitting "The View" was control. For her earlier program, "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," "...There was no one with a conflicting point of view." In her role as an interviewer, Sawyer certainly offered no conflicting point of view and failed to ask tough questions.

The GMA host definitely appeared aware that O'Donnell could say something bizarre or controversial at any moment. Before asking the comedienne about the 2008 presidential race, Sawyer declared, "Politics. Not the views of the management, whatever they are here. Hillary or Obama?"

Finally, a humorous moment occurred early in the segment. Right as Sawyer proclaimed the "singular take" O'Donnell expresses on her web page, a screen shot of the ex-talk show host's site appeared. The grammatically incorrect, almost incomprehensible O'Donnell post read as follows:

cause i was drinking too much cause i didn't want to anymore cause it is hard to lose weight wen (sic) drinking cause i never have only one

A singular take, indeed.

[A second segment, in the 8am hour, followed. At that point, Sawyer and O'Donnell made crafts with the other hosts of GMA.]

A partial transcript of the April 8 segment, which aired at 7:31am, follows:


DIANE SAWYER: But first, 11 time Emmy winner Rosie O'Donnell joins us this morning back on live TV with us right here, a year now since she left "The View." And over the years, as you know, she's made her mark as a comedian, a stand-up comedian. 30 years ago she started out. An actress, a talk show host, author. And now she's getting ready to add another title to her resume. We'll tell you about that. Always outspoken, funny, original. Her own show debuted in 1996. Seconds later, with 11-Emmys she was queen of daytime TV.

[Clip of Rosie talking to Barbara Streisand on her first show.]

ROSIE O'DONNELL: I don't remember my life without you in it. It's the truth.


SAWYER: Ten years after that, she joined "The View," an odyssey of ratings success. With good days, combative days. Pop culture to politics.

["View" clip]

ROSIE O'DONNELL: You just said our enemies in Iraq. Did Iraq attack us?

ELISABETH HASSELBECK: No, I'm saying al Qaeda--

O'DONNELL: Okay. Did Iraq attack us, Elisabeth?

HASSELBECK: Iraq did not attack us, Rosie. We've been there.

O'DONNELL: Correct.

SAWYER: Everyone knows the story. It ended in controversy. Since then, she's continued to give her singular take on the world through her free association about so many things. [Onscreen graphic: "cause I was drinking too much cause I didn't want to anymore cause it is hard to lose weight wen (sic) drinking cause I never have only one"] For instance, how she feels about drinking. How the once queen of TV doesn't allow her own kids to watch TV and Rosie O'Donnell today. The next chapter. Rosie O'Donnell, right here.


SAWYER: Good morning.

O'DONNELL: Good morning.

SAWYER: Great to see you.

O'DONNELL: You too.

SAWYER: So, I don't want to go back and rehash all of "The View" stuff again. But I just want to know from this vantage point a year later, any regrets? Anything you would do differently?

O'DONNELL: You know, I think you can't be at a place that you haven't arrived at yet, you know? So what I was doing when Barbara asked me to do it, was I thought how is it going to feel to go back in the big wave, so to speak? It was a little bit of a trial period to see what I thought. And, you know, almost made it to the end. I did eight months. I got out -- two months early.

SAWYER: Short of the finish line. But talking to you now, are you, are you calmer now? Do you feel more in control now of yourself and who you are?

O'DONNELL: Yes, but I will say that if we start to talk about the current political situation, there's a chance that it might get heated.

SAWYER: I'm going to talk about that.

O'DONNELL: I'm the same person I always was. But on my show there was no one with a conflicting point of view. And I was also the boss of everything, which frankly for me works well.

SAWYER: Do you watch "The View?"

O'DONNELL: I do, occasionally. I catch it. Yes. I see it on YouTube when something big happens?

SAWYER: What about you and Elisabeth? Any contact?

O'DONNELL: Yes, after she had the baby, I e-mailed her. And, you know, she doesn't e-mail me back often, but she occasionally does. And, you know, I keep saying this and it's not in any way, shape or for to diminish or disparage, but she's very young. You know, when I was that young and had a newborn baby and one in diapers, you know, your life is a little bit more black and white than when you get to be 46 and you have gray hair all over.

SAWYER: You have no-- You have no gray hear. I'm skipping right over the all over.

O'DONNELL: Well, there are some parts of your hair you can dye. Yeah, exactly.

SAWYER: You have no gray hair.

O'DONNELL: Well, because there's a very expensive hair dye in there. But, frankly I would be all gray.

SAWYER: All right, then. With apologies then to your former gig let's do some topics.


SAWYER: Politics. Not the views of the management, whatever they are here. Hillary or Obama?

O'DONNELL: Both. I've been saying both from the beginning. I think that the only way that they're going to be able to really serve the nation and democracy is to put down their own egos and to combine forces, in some way, shape or form and save democracy, this 200-year-old experiment that we're trying to, you know, not have fall apart in this world. To be the beacon of hope that America used to be. This woman, this African-American need to look at each other and go, "Oh, my God can you believe we're here. Let's get together."

SAWYER: They're going to have to decide at some point.

O'DONNELL: Well, maybe they're going to get together. How do you know? That could be the dream ticket. I think if enough people believe it, if they hear it enough from America-- We need both of them is what I believe.

SAWYER: What about "Dancing with the Stars" moving from the sublime to the television here. You've said I will never do "Dancing With the Stars." Why not?

O'DONNELL: No, are you kidding me? First of all Marie fainted. Okay? I'm fatter than Marie and I'm more out of shape and I was never a dancer to begin with. I'm doing "No, No Nanette" at the City Center Encores.

SAWYER: Oh, right. I heard that.

O'DONNELL: Yeah, I'm doing that in April or May. And so I'm tapping now. So, I have a tap number in the show. And, that, believe me, learning one number has taken me three months. And there's no way I could do "Dancing With the Stars."

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's site.