On Wednesday, "Nightline" co-host Cynthia McFadden and correspondent David Wright condescendingly reported on the disparity in the media's coverage of Barack Obama and John McCain. McFadden began a segment on the Arizona senator by snidely asserting, "Now, if you have a younger sibling, you can probably relate to what Senator John McCain has been going through this week. Whatever he does, everybody seems to be talking about the new kid in town."
Expanding on a report he filed for the July 23 "World News," Wright, in an almost embarrassed tone, remarked, "Pity the poor Straight Talk Express. While, Barack Obama is off globe-trotting, grabbing all that high profile, high octane attention, we're here on the tarmac in Allentown, Pennsylvania." He also described the media's obsession with Obama in a passive tone, asking McCain, "Do you kind of feel like you're going to be stuck playing defense from now until November?" and stating, "...It seems like the narrative of this campaign is being driven by whatever Senator Obama does and you're left to kind of react to that." Wright confidently predicted that in the next few days, "What can you almost guarantee he [McCain] will be talking about? Obama." Something, one assumes, people like David Wright will make happen.
In a companion piece for Thursday's "Good Morning America," Wright complained, "Columbus, Ohio doesn't have quite the same flair as a European jaunt. You might call it a meat and potatoes campaign stop." He also pointed out that McCain had planned on touring an oil well, but had to cancel due to Hurricane Dolly. Wright opined, "Worse than that, an oil spill closed 29 miles of the Mississippi River, not exactly the best visual for McCain to make the case that America needs to drill more oil wells."
Wright has developed a long history of pro-Obama bias. On February 19, 2008, he suggested Obama rallies are like "Springsteen concerts, but the tickets are free." On April 30, 2008, reporting on the senator's break with his incendiary pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, David Wright (no relation) empathized: "For Obama, whose own father abandoned him as a child, this must have been another painful break."
A transcript of the "Nightline" segment, which aired at 11:56pm on July 23, follows:
CYNTHIA MCFADDEN: Now, if you have a younger sibling, you can probably relate to what Senator John McCain has been going through this week. Whatever he does, everybody seems to be talking about the new kid in town. With Barack Obama popping up in four international hot spots in as many days, with the press, including us at ABC News close behind, little wonder that the senator from Arizona has expressed a tad of frustration, as ABC's David Wright reports in tonight's "trail mix".
DAVID WRIGHT: Pity the poor Straight Talk Express. While, Barack Obama is off globe-trotting, grabbing all that high profile, high octane attention, we're here on the tarmac in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on our way to Columbus, Ohio, tonight. Well, the McCain campaign has printed out the new press credentials in English and French. They say, the "JV press squad." The varsity? Well, they are off on their grand tour. For Obama, it's a week of million dollar photo-ops. Meeting foreign dignitaries. Hobnobbing with generals. Shooting hoops with the grunts. It's easy to appear presidential when your chauffeur is a bona fide king. And McCain, well, he's touring the capitals of the rust belt.
SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN [talking to a voter]: And by the way I'll let you have the microphone again if you'd like.
WRIGHT: Patiently answering voters' questions, trying to focus on the economy but everywhere he goes --
UNIDENTIFIED VOTER: Senator, your, your opponent, your theoretical opponent in the fall campaign, Barack Obama --
WRIGHT: The JV press corps seems obsessed --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Apparently, just out of a meeting that Prime Minister Maliki had with Barack Obama--
WRIGHT: --it's all about him. Over there. Even Conan O'Brien won't leave it alone.
CONAN O'BRIEN: You have been critical of him because he hasn't been there before. Now he's been there, does that push this issue to rest?
MCCAIN: Well, I'm glad he's going.
WRIGHT: Do you kind of feel like you're going to be stuck playing defense from now until November?
MCCAIN: I'm happy with where we are, David. We are basically tied in the polls today, in every national poll or somewhat behind. I'm very happy with where we are. I'm playing offense throughout this thing.
WRIGHT: But I suppose what I meant by the question is that, you know, it seems like the narrative of this campaign is being driven by whatever Senator Obama does and you're left to kind of react to that.
MCCAIN: Well, it may seem like that to you. It doesn't seem like to me.
WRIGHT: What's maverick Republican to do? McCain had hoped to steal a little thunder from Obama by spending part of tomorrow on an oil rig off the coast of Louisiana.
SAM CHAMPION: This is what it looks like when a category two hurricane makes landfall.
WRIGHT: Mother Nature had other ideas. Real thunder stole his thunder. The trip was scrapped. So the McCain campaign is fighting back with another force of nature. Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong is expected to endorse him tomorrow night. We are told that Thursday is going to be a big show-stealing surprise. Are you going to name your vice president?
MCCAIN: We're not talking about it.
WRIGHT: Probably not?
MCCAIN: We're not talking about it.
WRIGHT: So that's not a denial?
MCCAIN: We're not talking about it. That's been my consistent statement throughout, David.
WRIGHT: What can you almost guarantee he will be talking about? Obama. I'm David Wright for "Nightline" in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
MCFADDEN: To add insult to injury, Barack Obama departs for Germany tomorrow where he will meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel and finishes his day with an outdoor speech that Berlin authorities could attract up to a million spectators.