World News anchor Charles Gibson appeared on Monday’s edition of The View to tout his own objectivity and to swear, "I'm very fond of John McCain. I carry no water for Obama." Speaking of the 2008 election, he marveled, "It was an amazing moment to say to the country that we have elected and African American as the 44th president of the United States.... It was just an amazing moment for the- for the progress of this country..." [Audio available here.]
Asked by co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck about the difficulty of maintaining objectivity, the ABC anchor, who famously grilled then-vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, piously explained, "But, you're always trying to breed that subjectivity out of anything that you may do. I've talked about this before. But, it's very controversial in my family and my children think I'm absolutely nuts. I don't vote."
Gibson said he came to this decision after becoming emotionally involved with a candidate who won his heart: "I covered a candidate once in an election and I came to care whether that candidate won or lost. And I thought, there's something wrong here and that may, in some way, permeate what you're saying on the air. And, because, I became very- I just liked the guy."
Who could this be? The World News host, who is retiring at the end of the week, would not name the mystery politician. He continued, "And I thought he was a guy of, just, great probity and honor and a guy who wanted to do the right thing. And then I listened to his rhetoric for, you know, day after day after day, and I just decided it was probably better just not to let that- not let that creep into your thoughts. But, it's hard to keep it out."
Regarding Barack Obama, Gibson certainly has been unable to keep "it," bias, out of his reporting. On June 4, 2008, the giddy journalist cooed to the new Democratic presidential nominee: "When everybody clears out, the staff is gone, you're in the hotel room at night, and you're alone, do you say to yourself, 'Son of a gun, I've done this?’"
Anchoring live coverage after Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize on October 9, 2009, Gibson rhapsodized, "The Nobel Committee feeling that he has inspired a new sense in the world."
On March 18, 2008, following Obama’s speech on race, in which he distanced himself from controversial Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Gibson could barely contain himself as he opened World News: "Tonight, Barack Obama delivers a major speech confronting the race issue head on....It may turn out to be the seminal speech of his presidential campaign....Obama challenged Americans to confront the country’s racial divide. An extraordinary speech."
And although he claims to "carry no water for Obama," Gibson chided Palin, during a September 12, 2008 interview for daring to criticize the Democratic candidate:
Why do you both keep saying that Obama is going to raise people's taxes? It's been pretty clear what he intends. He's talked about middle-class tax cuts, extending Bush tax cuts on everything but people who own or earn more than $250,000 a year -- cuts taxes on over 91 percent of the country. Why do you keep saying he's going to raise people's taxes?
A transcript of the December 14 segment, which aired at 11:42am EST, follows:
ELISABETH HASSELBECK: One thing I have to wonder, too, is- I'm sure- you're a great thinker, Charlie. How do you, and I wonder this of Barbara, too, maintain, outside of here-
CHARLES GIBSON: Great thinker? Goodness gracious!
HASSELBECK: Outside of here- How do you take your opinion out of things when something is going on in the world of news? I'm sure you have an opinion on it. But, yet, we never get it.
BARBARA WALTERS: We're always taught never to give opinions.
HASSELBECK: But it's such a discipline. I mean, I obviously lack that.
WALTERS: You know how careful I am here.
HASSELBECK: You're very careful.
GIBSON: Our former compatriot, that we used to work with, who was a hero in my life, David Brinkley, used to say there's no such thing as objectivity, there are just lesser degrees of subjectivity. But, you're always trying to breed that subjectivity out of anything that you may do. I've talked about this before. But, it's very controversial in my family and my children think I'm absolutely nuts. I don't vote. And I will after I retire and I’m not doing anything in the business. I'll go down and re-register.
JOY BEHAR: Well, you'll never be called for jury duty. When you vote-
GIBSON: No. You get called for jury duty because you have a driver's license.
BEHAR: Let me ask you about Obama. We were talking about President Obama- Sorry.
GIBSON: Let me come back to that because people are going to say how can you not vote? But, I won't go into the particulars. I covered a candidate once in an election and I came to care whether that candidate won or lost. And I thought, there's something wrong here and that may, in some way, permeate what you're saying on the air. And because I became very- I just liked the guy. And I thought he was a guy of, just, great probity and honor and a guy who wanted to do the right thing. And then I listened to his rhetoric for, you know, day after day after day, and, so, I just decided it was probably better just not to let that- not let that creep into your thoughts. But, it’s hard to keep it out.
WALTERS: Just to answer Joy's question-
BEHAR: The question I had, we were talking about Oprah's question for President Obama.
GIBSON: My kids, by the way, think I’m crazy.
BEHAR: Kay. The question she asked Obama was what would you grade yourself. Whoopi thinks it was a dumb question.
GIBSON: I agree with Barbara. Don’t do it. First of all, if you're going to do anything, give yourself an incomplete. He’s-
BEHAR: Incomplete is a good answer. I wish I'd thought of that.
GIBSON: He's been in office less than a year. He was saddled with an issue that he did not want to address, that came up during the campaign. When he started to run, the financial thing wasn't on him. He had to expend and enormous amount of political capital on that. He wants- I mean- From everything I can tell, he wants to be an transformative president.
WALTERS: What grade are you giving yourself?
CHARLIE GIBSON: It's been a terrific career. And this was, in many respects, no matter who won, this was an election of a lifetime that I- It was an amazing moment to say to the country that we have elected and African American as the 44th president of the United States, something that you, and I and I doubt any one of us ever thought would happen. I'm very fond of John McCain. I carry no water for Obama. It was just an amazing moment for the- for the progress of this country and where it's gone and I said after it happened, for- you know, 226 years ago, this was two years ago, 226 years ago, we wrote in one of our founding documents that all men are created equal and we hadn't lived up to that for a long time. And this was a manifestation that we are stepping up. So, it was an election of a lifetime. I got to cover the extraordinary 2000 election when we went through that national catharsis of figuring out who we had actually elected. It’s just been- I got to do a presidential debate. I got to do Democratic and Republican debates.
[Walters interrupts and wraps up segment.]