The journalists at ABC News have not made an effort to hide their disgust with the conservative effort to oppose funding ObamaCare. On Wednesday, Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos derided Ted Cruz's fight against it as "bizarre." On Thursday night, World News's Jon Karl sneered that it was "absurd." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Karl described the possible government shutdown as a situation where "we've got a furious President calling his opponents crazy...and a Republican Party willing to go to the brink." The journalist brought up past confrontations between Obama and the GOP, petulantly wondering, "Lessons learned? Nah." The supposedly neutral Karl skewered, "The absurdities were on display when Tea Party hero Ted Cruz gave his 20 hour-plus speech demanding an end to ObamaCare in exchange for funding the government."
Late in the segment, Karl offered an equivalence between the two sides:
JON KARL: Instead of negotiating, they are name calling. Today, one of the President's top aides said of Republicans, quote, "what we're not for is negotiating with people with a bomb strapped to their chest." While senator Ted Cruz compared those willing to fund ObamaCare with those who appeased the Nazis in the 1940s. And that's where we are, Diane.
However, he did not refer to the White House as "absurd" or "bizarre."
Instead, the follow-up World News segment featured a snippet of Stephanopoulos's upcoming interview with his old boss, Bill Clinton. In the clip, the host offered no tough questions. Instead, he tossed this softball: "You're not going to negotiate. You're betting on the other side caving."
A transcript of the September 26 segment is below:
DIANE SAWYER: Now we head to Washington and the growing frustration in the country over another round of name calling and threats to bring the government to a standstill. ABC's George Stephanopoulos is standing by, but we begin with Jonathan Karl who tells us what the opposing sides are saying about each other tonight.
JON KARL: Here we go again. We've got a furious President calling his opponents crazy.
BARACK OBAMA: Congress needs to put an end to governing from crisis to crisis.
KARL: And a Republican Party willing to go to the brink.
REP. ERIC CANTOR: More debt and no reform is absolutely unacceptable.
KARL: The upshot for America, we're just days away from a government shutdown, and worse, today Republicans upped the ante, putting together a laundry list of demands including everything from delaying ObamaCare to more off shore oil drilling and spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. The President called that blackmail. Sound familiar? Of course it does. Two years ago, the same confrontation caused the stock market to tank and America, for the first time ever to lose its AAA credit rating. Lessons learned? Nah. The absurdities were on display when Tea Party hero Ted Cruz gave his 20 hour-plus speech demanding an end to ObamaCare in exchange for funding the government. Bedtime story included.
TED CRUZ: Do you like green eggs and ham?
KARL: John Stewart responded with his own Seuss-ism.
JON STEWART: In the land of D.C., in the Senate of snooze, lived the show boatiast blab whose name was Ted Cruz.
KARL: Over at the White House, they have decided the best way to strike a deal is not to try. [At the White House.] Let me be crystal clear. The President's position is you still not negotiate over the debt ceiling?
JAY CARNEY: Correct.
KARL: Instead of negotiating, they are name calling. Today, one of the President's top aides said of Republicans, quote, "what we're not for is negotiating with people with a bomb strapped to their chest." While senator Ted Cruz compared those willing to fund ObamaCare with those who appeased the Nazis in the 1940s. And that's where we are, Diane.
SAWYER: Ratcheting up the words, tonight. Thank you so much, Jon. And now I want to bring in ABC's co-anchor of Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos, for the bottom line. So, George, what's going to happen? October 1, is the government going to shut down?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: It could, but maybe only for a day or two. Most people I talked to in Washington today believed that even if the House doesn't match what the Senate did, they'll probably work that out within a couple of days. The big fight is over the debt limit and everyone I spoke to, Republicans and Democrats, House, Senate, White House, say that the waters are as unchartered as they've ever been.
SAWYER: So , here we go again. But it's October 17th, that is the one they're really worrying about?
STEPHANOPOULOS: And the consequences are so much more severe. Right now, Diane, both sides are betting that the other side is going to cave. And, you know, when I spoke to President Bill Clinton today, former President Clinton, he completely backed up President Obama's position on not negotiating over the debt limit. He said the Republican cuts are "chilling, almost spiteful." So, he said even though the consequences are severe, the President must not negotiate. Take a look. [To Clinton.] You're not going to negotiate. You're betting on the other side caving.
BILL CLINTON: That's right. This is the House Republicans and the Tea Party people saying we don't want to negotiate with the Democrats. We want to dictate over the Senate, over the House Democrats, over the Speaker of the House of our own party and over the President and we insist on dictating the course of the country
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you're saying you have to stand up to that no matter what the consequences?
CLINTON: I think you do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And the consequences are more severe than you can calculate. Everyone knows that this will create an economic catastrophe but right now no solution in sight.
SAWYER: He is saying dig in.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Dig in.
SAWYER: Thank you, George.