Will ABC Train Trip Resemble Liberal Town Hall?

On Friday, "Good Morning America" previewed five special editions of the ABC program that will air live from a train from September 15 through the 19. As the GMA anchors and reporters travel around America, will their election '08 questions follow the standard liberal perspective?

Robin Roberts previewed the type of queries that she asserted everyday Americans are concerned about. Three out of the four appeared to take the Democratic perspective or assume that the answers would always involve government doing more. In video clips, an unidentified male asked, "What do you plan on doing to make health care more affordable for the average American?" A child followed up by querying, "I'm wondering if you will lower the cost of college?" The next question saw a woman wanting to know, "When are you going to get our soldiers out of Iraq?"

Co-host Robin Roberts announced that the presidential candidates would both appear, starting with Obama on Monday. So, will GMA's "Whistle-Stop Tour '08," as the network is referring to it, resemble its town hall special editions that the program produced in 2007? These shows were billed as in depth interviews with the presidential candidates that each would span an entire episode of "Good Morning America." However, there only ended up being two, one with Democrat Hillary Clinton and the other with Democrat John Edwards. In total, "Good Morning America" devoted a combined 64 minutes to Democratic contenders and zero for Republicans.

Robin Roberts and Chris Cuomo, ABC, Other than not having any of the Republican primary contenders on to do a town hall, GMA also showed its bias by allowing the Democratic guests to talk for large chunks of time. During the March 26, 2007 show with Clinton, Roberts let the New York senator talk uninterrupted for three and a half minutes after posing a single query.

A transcript of the September 12 preview, which aired at 7:16, follows:

ROBIN ROBERTS: We've already shown you the awesome technology that goes into our big train trip. But you are the reason we're doing this. We want to know in this historic election year, what your concerns are. We'll be talking with both presidential candidates, starting with Senator Barack Obama on Monday. Asking them your questions


ROBERTS: Some of you have already gotten started. We have shown you the remarkable 874-foot long GMA express that will be taking us through the country. We've given you a glimpse of the technological marvel that will allow us to bring you a ground-breaking, live broadcast from the hills and valleys of this great nation. But at its heart, our journey is about you. Getting to know you. And hearing the real stories, concerns and questions that you have, for the candidates, as we head into this historic election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you plan on doing to make health care more affordable for the average American?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I'm wondering if you will lower the cost of college?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: When are you going to get our soldiers out of Iraq?

UNIDENTIFIED OLDER WOMAN: I would like to hear something that I can believe.

ROBERTS: All next week, we will be live on America's rails. Exploring the issues facing us in this incredibly important time. So, join us on our whistle-stop tour. Come aboard. We can't wait to share this journey with you.

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