As the government shutdown neared its end, ABC's Jon Karl put the blame totally on House Republicans and allowed Barack Obama to escape responsibility. According to Karl on Tuesday night's World News, "...After bringing the economy to the brink, the Republicans, the conservatives who drove this, will have nothing to show for it." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Wednesday's Good Morning America, Karl upped the hyperbole, warning of the "dangerous brinkmanship" that could lead to "economic collapse." Shifting into opinion mode, Karl lectured, "As this showdown moves towards end game, House Republicans are the clear losers. They push to the brink and have nothing to show for it."
Combined over both segments, Karl featured three clips of Obama, one of Nancy Pelosi and none of Republicans. The journalist only vaguely insisted that there are "no winners" in this battle. However, he included Obama predicting, "The Republicans recognizing this was not a good strategy and seeing a horrible reaction from the American people, I'm pretty sure they're not going to run this play again."
At no time did Karl highlight the numerous different options House Republicans came up with to reopen the government. He failed to speculate what responsibility Obama carries for the near default.
NBC's Peter Alexander on Wednesday used nearly identical Democratic talking points to blame the shutdown as "led by House Republicans" and claim the GOP "has nothing to show for it."
A transcript of the October 15 World News segment is below:
DIANE SAWYER: So let's go straight to Washington. ABC's chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl there, and tracking this day of chaos and confusion. Jon?
JON KARL: Diane, tonight, the Obama administration is saying that that looming credit downgrade shows just how urgent it is that Congress to act and to act right away. As one senior White House official just told me just a short while ago, if Congress doesn't get this done by tomorrow, they are, quote, "taking a very big risk." Audrey Morrison, who was injured in a training accident while serving in the Michigan National Guard, drove all night to deliver a message to Washington. End the government shutdown now.
AUDREY MORRISON: It's kind of getting kicked while you're already down.
KARL: She's worried her disability checks will stop, and so is disabled Marine veteran Gary Benanatti (ph).
GARY BENANATTI: We don't need the bandage ripped off our wounds. And that's what this is. It's a bandage being ripped off our wounds.
KARL: It's nearing zero hour. The House is making one last ditch effort to pass a bill the Senate has already declared dead on arrival. And amidst all the last-minute scrambling, President Obama tonight, in an interview with WABC, said he doesn't even know if he can negotiate with Speaker of the House John Boehner anymore.
BARACK OBAMA: There have been repeated situations where we have agreements, then he goes back and it turns out that he can't control his caucus.
KARL: And if a deal is struck, they're only talking about a temporary fix, setting up another sky is falling showdown in a few months. House Republicans leaders are in disarray tonight. They are so deeply divided, they may not be able to pass anything anymore to help forestall this crisis. In fact, Diane, what I am hearing from top House aides privately is that they believe that they are simply at the end of this process, just going to have to accept whatever the Senate passes, if the Senate can pass anything. In other words, Diane, after all of this, after bringing the economy to the brink, the Republicans, the conservatives who drove this, will have nothing to show for it.
SAWYER: And this would be tomorrow, Jon?
KARL: It pretty much has to be tomorrow. You know, that deadline is Thursday, the day after tomorrow. So, something has to move and has to move quickly. But right now, we are still in that state of absolute deadlock, Diane, believe it or not.
SAWYER: As you say, after all that. Jonathan Karl at the White House tonight.