Good Morning America on Friday promoted an attack piece by the liberal magazine The Nation against Lou Dobbs. In the two segments devoted to whether or not the populist host hired illegal immigrants, the show's hosts never identified the left-wing agenda of the publication.
Instead, an ABC graphic speculated, "American Hypocrite?" (This is also the title of The Nation's article.) Isabel MacDonald, the reporter who filed the story for the magazine, appeared with Dobbs to debate the issue. Co-host George Stephanopoulos teased, "One of America's loudest opponents of illegal immigration is called a hypocrite."
During the four references to The Nation on Friday's program, none of the show's journalists labeled the magazine left-wing or liberal. Instead, reporter David Muir would neutrally begin sentences by asserting, "The Nation magazine says..."
Additionally, Good Morning America does not treat scoops in the conservative National Review or Weekly Standard as the basis for eight minute segments.
Appearing on the show, Dobbs dismissed The Nation as a "left-wing, activist, advocacy publication."
He then directly took on supposedly neutral journalists: "My disappointment is with the national media that has just gone along with this as if it were somehow valid, without doing any reporting. And, by the way, not a single one of the organizations contacted me for a statement, other than CBS News."
The Evening News actually covered the story on Thursday night. Host Katie Couric explained, "Dobbs called the story a political assault and the reporter who wrote it admitted that a contractor had hired the illegal workers, not Dobbs." However, Couric, too, failed to note the liberal agenda of The Nation.
On GMA, Roberts put the responsibility on the ex-CNN host: "But knowing now what you do, will you change how you go about with your contractor? Have you looked into people that are now working for you on your properties?"
A transcript of the first segment, which aired at 7:13am EDT, follows:
ABC GRAPHIC: American Hypocrite?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Immigration firestorm. One of America's loudest opponents of illegal immigration is called a hypocrite. Lou Dobbs joins us live to answers to the reporter who charged his contractors employed undocumented workers for years.
ROBIN ROBERTS: Former CNN anchor Lou Dobbs is under fire this morning for allegedly hiring contractors who employed undocumented workers, people in this country illegally. Dobbs, of course, has long spoken out against illegal immigration. And now he is defending himself against charges he is a hypocrite. We're going to speak to him live in just a moment. He's there at his home in New Jersey. And also the journalist who broke the story, she's here in the studio. But, first, David Muir has more on the story.
MUIR: In a new report, The Nation magazine says radio host and former CNN anchor Lou Dobbs-
LOU DOBBS: Illegal immigration is costing this country and you as a taxpayer, hundreds of billions of dollars.
MUIR: -long outspoken on immigration and undocumented workers and the people who hire them, has himself relied on undocumented workers.
ISABEL MACDONALD (The Nation Magazine): There were undocumented workers caring for his million-dollar show jumping horses. And undocumented workers caring for the grounds of his estate in West Palm Beach.
MUIR: Dobbs, who has not ruled out a run for political office, took on the claims and the reporter, inviting the reporter on his radio show.
LOU DOBBS: A young lady, by the name of Isabel MacDonald, a reporter for the Nation has put together a fairly typical hit piece, smear piece. Did you say that I hired, or my firm hired, illegal immigrants?
MACDONALD: I am saying that for years undocumented immigrants looked after your show jumping horses. And, for years, they look after the grounds of your estate in West Palm Beach, Florida.
MUIR: The Nation magazine released video of what they say are the reporter's interviews with some of those undocumented workers. "I'm an immigrant who doesn't have papers. But I worked for him because he is a very important person." Dobbs has called the reporting a political assault. And is adamant he nor his company have ever hired undocumented workers. For Good Morning America David Muir, ABC News, New York.