ABC's Yellin Pushes Liberal Group's Anti-Tony Snow Talking Points

All three broadcast morning shows this morning noted President Bush’s choice of Tony Snow as new White House press secretary, but only ABC’s Good Morning America saw the need to parrot from the thin list of anti-Bush quotes from Snow’s columns being passed around by the liberal Center for American Progress (although reporter Jessica Yellin presented the quotes as if they were the result of her own research, hiding the fact they came from Democratic partisans).

MRC news analyst Brian Boyd caught Yellin’s piece on Snow, which aired at about 7:05 EDT this morning (Wednesday), with the snarky headline "SNOW JOB" on the screen: “Snow knows both politics and the media. He was the director of speechwriting for George Bush, Sr., and has clocked a decade as a conservative commentator for Fox News,” Yellin began.

Snow has been a conservative commentator for Fox News, of course. But after Joe Lockhart became Bill Clinton’s White House press secretary in 1998, no one at ABC described him as a “former liberal producer for ABC News.”

After noting Snow’s recent bout with cancer and his concerns that the new job might not leave much time for his family, Yellin sourly added: “And there’s the potentially awkward fact that he’ll now be defending a president he has previously criticized. In a column last November he described President Bush as ‘newly passive’ and ‘something of an embarrassment.’ He also once wrote that his new boss’s speaking style was ‘like a soul tortured with Tourette’s.’ Snow has defended his writing, telling the Associated Press, ‘It’s a columnist’s job to offer praise and criticism.’”

The sheet of quotes was a piece of Democratic mischief-making. According to ABC’s own political tip sheet The Note (among other sources), those quotes came from a list distributed Tuesday afternoon by the liberal Center for American Progress, which includes ex-Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta is the group's president and ex-Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle is a "Distinguished Senior Fellow."

Not that the quotes make Snow look bad — indeed, the few swipes could be seen as showing that Snow is no toady for Bush, and that the President is happy to include strong-willed staffers who won’t be afraid to criticize him from time to time. But they are another example of how ABC takes Democratic talking points and uses them in news stories -- without giving the audience a heads-up about their partisan pedigree.

Rich Noyes
Rich Noyes
Rich Noyes is the Senior Editor for Newsbusters