Megan McCormack

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As NewsBusters reported here, on the December 20, 2006 edition of The View, co-host Rosie O’Donnell sparked a war of words and the threat of a lawsuit over comments she made about real estate mogul Donald Trump. Her statement that he had been bankrupt "many times" was particularly infuriating to the billionaire. On the January 3 show, Barbara Walters, who noted O’Donnell’s absence from today’s show was due to a "long-planned vacation," was left to clean up the mess, and delivered this statement from ABC:

Barbara Walters: "Okay, guys, as I said earlier, Rosie is on a long-planned vacation with Kelli and the kids, and not, I can promise you, with Donald Trump. Now, speaking of which, ABC has asked me to say this, just to clarify things and I will quote, ‘Donald Trump has never filed for personal bankruptcy. Several of his casino companies have filed for business bankruptcies. They are out of bankruptcy now.’"

Walters then denied Trump’s charge that she regrets her decision to hire O’Donnell to replace Meredith Vieira:

In their first broadcast of 2007, ABC’s Nightline devoted the entire program to re-airing portions of stories from 2006 dealing with "power," including the shift in political power in the United States. The final segment of the newscast, entitled ‘Here Come the Democrats,’ featured three friendly profiles of prominent Democrats, including Cynthia McFadden’s tea with Senator Hillary Clinton and Terry Moran’s ‘Oba-mania’ during his interview with Illinois Senator Barack Obama. Here are some examples of the softball questions to Clinton and Obama re-broadcast Monday night:

Cynthia McFadden: "Do you actually like it? Do you actually like campaigning?...So, an association game, if you'll--if you will, a word or two about the following political folks, okay? President George Bush?

Senator Hillary Clinton: "Disappointing."

McFadden: "....So George Bush is disappointing....Is America ready for a female president? What do you think?"

Terry Moran: "Right now you're on a roll. You're--people, 'Oba-mania, they, they call it. The rock star. You get a big cheer when you get up there....It seems sometimes that much of your politics is about bridging divides....Republican-Democrat, black-white, red-blue. Is your politics about your biography?"

Not surprisingly, all three morning shows featured the Bob Woodward interview with recently deceased former President Gerald Ford, in which Ford criticized the Bush administration for its decision to go to war with Iraq.

New York Senator Hillary Clinton appeared on Wednesday’s The View to discuss politics and the re-release of her book, It Takes a Village. While there was some cheerleading for the 2008 Democratic presidential frontrunner by co-hosts Joy Behar and Rosie O’Donnell, for the most part, there seemed to be a great deal of restraint on all sides during Clinton’s two segments. Asked about a potential run for the White House, Clinton again said she was thinking about it "trying to sort all this out." On the war in Iraq, Clinton only got one challenging question in regards to her support of a "phased redeployment," from co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck:

Senator Hillary Clinton: "....So, if it's not going to change the mission, if it's not going to be a different strategy, I don't see where putting more troops will make a difference."

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: "Do you think pulling them out too early will–would equate to–sometimes I think of it as, you know, not finishing all of your antibiotics. Okay, there’s a problem there."

Clinton: "Right."

Hasselbeck: "So if you pull out too early, will that create more chaos?"

It has been widely speculated that President Bush will call for an increase in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq as part of his new war strategy. Though no changes have been officially announced, ABC's Dan Harris on Good Morning America Monday predicted gloom and doom in terms of public support for the war. Introducing a live report from reporter Jonathan Karl at the Pentagon, Harris prognosticated that this new policy would be 'very unpopular':

On Thursday’s edition of The View, the ladies, along with guest co-host Dari Alexander of Fox News, discussed Democratic Senator Tim Johnson’s emergency brain surgery and the potential political fallout.

Liberal New York Times columnist Frank Rich was among friends during his appearance on Wednesday’s edition of The View.

It was an all-Obama Monday as each of the three network morning shows highlighted the Illinois Senator’s weekend trip to New Hampshire. NBC, ABC and CBS all hyped the prospect of a potential Barack Obama presidential campaign as the senator made his rounds through the state, host of the first presidential primary. The trip was hailed as a successful venture by all the networks. ABC’s Jake Tapper on Good Morning America declared Obama’s appearance to be "very successful", while Norah O’Donnell over on Today, as the MRC’s Geoff Dickens noted, stated that Obama was "mobbed by supporters" and "ignited excitement," among New Hampshire Democrats. CBS’ Harry Smith on The Early Show went further, calling the buzz surrounding Obama’s trip a "sensation," during a question to political analyst Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report:

Harry Smith: "Front page USA Today, Barack Obama right there, front page, Washington Post, Barack Obama right there. I could go on and on and on and on and on. Why is this single appearance causing such a sensation?"

On Wednesday morning, the highly anticipated report from the Iraq Study Group [ISG] was released to the public. The ISG’s report contained seventy-nine recommendations for the United States in its effort to lessen the violence in Iraq and protect American forces. One of the major recommendations of the panel was a call for the withdrawal of most U.S. combat troops by early 2008.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman declared that the insurgency in Iraq has been defeating the U.S. military for the past four years during an interview Wednesday with Good Morning America’s Diane Sawyer. While making the argument that there is no "two to three year" solution for the violence occuring in Iraq, Friedman declared victory for the insurgents:

ABC’s John Stossel is well known for his libertarian views and for challenging liberal conventional wisdom. On Wednesday’s Good Morning America, Stossel was at it again as he debunked the widely held perception that liberals are more generous in their charitable contributions than conservatives. As part of a 20/20 special airing Wednesday night, Stossel interviewed Syracuse University professor Arthur Brooks, who conducted a study which found that conservatives, while making slightly less money than liberals, actually contribute more:

John Stossel: "But it turns out that this idea that liberals give more is a myth. These are the twenty-five states where people give an above average percent of their income, twenty-four were red states in the last presidential election."

Arthur Brooks, Who Really Cares, author: "When you look at the data, it turns out the conservatives give about thirty percent more per conservative-headed family than per liberal-headed family. And incidentally, conservative-headed families make slightly less money."

For the second day in a row, ABC’s Diane Sawyer questioned a guest as to whether the American voters are either secretly "more racist" or "more sexist" when they cast their ballots. During an interview with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd on Tuesday’s Good Morning America, Sawyer inquired:

Sawyer: "...Ninety percent of Americans say race and gender make absolutely no difference in their vote in the polls. I asked Senator Obama yesterday if he believes it, and he thinks it's case by case. Let me ask you, do you think that there is secret sexism, secret, secret genderism in this country?"

Of course, the liberal columnist agreed with Sawyer’s premise that American society is sexist, but asserted that it is not, in fact, a secret:

Maureen Dowd: "Oh, I don't think it's, I don't think it's very secret. I'm not sure we've gotten so much farther along than with Ferraro, where she didn't get any guys in the south...I do think there is obviously racism and sexism, but I think that these are both two extraordinary candidates [Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama] who, you know, might be able to triumph over some of that, but we'll see."

Sawyer: "More sexism than racism, racism than sexism?"

For the third time in as many weeks, ABC continued to showcase Democratic Senator Barack Obama. Anchor Diane Sawyer interviewed the first-term senator from Illinois on Monday's Good Morning America, and asked him about a range of topics, from the war in Iraq and a potential Obama run for the White House in 2008, to the groundbreaking of the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial on the National Mall.

One would have thought that the Democratic takeover of Congress and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation would have preseted plenty of fodder for the women of  ‘The View’ to debate on Thursday’s show. However, it was a discussion on Iraq and the war on terror that dominated today's 'Hot Topics' segment. Not surprisingly, co-host Rosie O’Donnell equated the post-September 11th America to the "McCarthy era" and claimed people were "blacklisted" and labeled "unpatriotic" if they expressed any dissent from the Bush administration. O’Donnell also defended the United Nations as a "world voice" and took a shot at Iraq war ally Britain for being "on our side and in our pocket." The liberal O’Donnell then went on to tell conservative co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck to not be afraid of terrorists:

Rosie O’Donnell: "Faith or fear, that's your choice. You can walk through life believing in the goodness of the world, or walk through life afraid of anyone who thinks different than you and trying to convert them to your way of thinking. And I think that this country–"

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: "Well, I'm a person of faith, so I, but I also believe–"

O’Donnell: "Well, then, get away from the fear. Don't fear the terrorists. They’re mothers and fathers."

On Monday night’s edition of Nightline, just hours before the polls opened for Tuesday’s midterm election, ABC’s Terry Moran prematurely promoted a potential 2008 Democratic presidential contender. Moran went along with Illinois Senator Barack Obama as he campaigned for Democrats across the country.

ABC World News anchor Charles Gibson visited the ladies of The View Wednesday morning to discuss a range of topics, from next week’s midterm election and John Kerry’s controversial remark to liberal media bias. Gibson argued that the controversy surrounding Senator Kerry’s recent statement that those who fail to make use of their education will end up "stuck in Iraq," was in reference to President Bush and that Republicans "grabbed" onto the statement to energize the GOP base. When asked by Elisabeth Hasselbeck about a perceived liberal bias in the media, fellow co-host Rosie O’Donnell laughed off the notion, while Gibson stated that balance is something he strives for:

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: "What do you think about the, the fact that a lot of people are talking about a media bias? You know, that they can see seventy-some odd percent of the news stories that come out have a liberal slant versus maybe twelve that, that have a more conservative slant? How do you respond to that?"

Rosie O’Donnell: "I would say that’s a Fox poll and I don’t think it’s accurate..."

Charles Gibson: "...There is no such thing as objectivity, there is just lesser degrees of subjectivity...And you have to, all the time, say to yourself, are we being fair? Are we being down the middle, as we can? And I simply can tell you that is something which, which I try to implant on everybody at World News."

The real fireworks on today’s chat fest, however, occurred prior to the segment with Gibson, between Hasselbeck, the View's token conservative, and liberal Joy Behar:

Why was ABC’s George Stephanopoulos smiling during his segment on Tuesday's Good Morning America? About ten minutes into the 7am half hour, following a report on Karl Rove’s optimistic outlook for the Republicans in the upcoming midterm election, and an interview with Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Rahm Emanuel, Stephanopoulos grinned during this exchange with Diane Sawyer:

Diane Sawyer: "We just heard Rahm Emanuel say that the American public is going to turn over the tabletop for the Democrats. We also heard that Karl Rove is smiling. I think it's time to bring in ABC's chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos for a reality check this morning. Which way is it trending--"

George Stephanopoulos: "I'm smiling too, Diane."

It seems safe to assume Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton White House aide, was not smiling in agreement with Rove’s positive assessment of the GOP’s chances for maintaining their majorities in Congress. Perhaps Stephanopoulos' cheery disposition came from the good news he had to report for his Democratic friends and former colleagues:

Monday’s 'Good Morning America' highlighted anti-GOP sentiments from the American heartland during a report in the 7am half hour. Reporting from a diner in Columbus, Ohio, ABC’s Jake Tapper had assembled a group of five "real-life actual voters" to discuss the upcoming midterm elections. Amongst the group of voters in Tapper’s panel: a Republican voter voting Democratic this year; a Democratic Navy veteran who had been against the war;  a conservative Christian eager to express "I'm not pro-war"; a new U.S. citizen who believes that illegal immigrants are being treated unfairly; and a cynic who believes that the whole political system is corrupt. Not one of the voters expressed support for the President or Republicans. Furthermore, none of the panel members, except for the cynic, expressed any reservations about a potential Democratic takeover of Congress.

Some highlights from the panel discussion:

Tapper: "You're a Republican voter, but the war in Iraq, among other issues, has you thinking that you might vote Democratic this year. Why?"

Larry [no last name given; Republican voter]: "...I think we're in the wrong place, and I just think it's time for a change, someone who can help us and get out of the quagmire we have."

Tapper: "Now, Kenny, you disapproved of the war from the beginning and you're, you're a Navy veteran...But, you have an issue with the fact that you think that those who have questioned the war, their patriotism has been challenged, right...You're an independent voter. But what struck me was that you said that you don't think, even though you think that there's a lot of corruption amongst the Republicans controlling Congress, you don't think that it's necessarily going to be any different if the Democrats take control. Why is that?"

ABC’s Terry Moran featured three Republican campaign ads as examples of "mudslinging" in the run-up to November’s mid-term elections. On Thursday’s edition of "Nightline", Moran slammed Rush Limbaugh’s criticism of "beloved" actor Michael J. Fox and his Democratic pro-stem cell research campaign spots as a "vicious attack." On a GOP ad attacking Tennessee Democratic Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr.

In an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer on Wednesday’s 'Good Morning America,' Sean Hannity defended fellow talk radio host Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh has taken a lot of heat in the press for his criticism of Michael J. Fox’s campaign ads in favor of embryonic stem cell research and Democratic Senate candidates. Hannity fought the notion that Fox, who has injected himself through these ads into the political arena, is "immune" from critics, a view Sawyer seemed to express:

Sawyer: "Rush Limbaugh. What, what is going on here? Attacking Michael J. Fox?...Rush Limbaugh, even in his apology, said that Mike Fox was allowing his illness to be exploited, shilling for a Democratic candidate. If you have Parkinson’s disease, and you believe embryonic stem cell research is the, is the answer, a possible answer, a possible cure, don't you have a right to speak up?"