Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org site.
Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org website. Previously, he was a contributing editor and the MRC's senior news analyst. Scott's work has been published in The Washington Times, National Review and other outlets. He has been cited in publications such as The Washington Post, Red State, to name a few. Scott's articles have also repeatedly been linked to on the Drudge Report.
Scott is a graduate of George Mason University and grew up in Northern Virginia. He can be contacted at SWhitlock@MRC.org. You can also follow Scott on Twitter.
Latest from Scott Whitlock
"Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer used an interview with Senator Barack Obama on Wednesday to repeatedly plead for a truce between the Democratic presidential contender and his chief opponent, Hillary Clinton. Discussing the verbal battle that took place during Monday's debate, Sawyer implored, "We have heard a lot of people say they are exhausted by this charge, counter charge."
Later in the segment, the GMA co-host reiterated the need for calm, saying, "So, is this done? Is it a truce for future debates? No more of that kind of back and forth?" Clearly, a contentious conflict between the two liberal heavyweights bothered Sawyer. (This is, it should be restated, the same show that in early 2007 featured a reporter sizing up the Obama/Clinton battle as one between the Illinois senator's "fluid poetry" and the former first lady's "hot factor.") She closed the segment by, yet again, repeating the same question. After Obama speculated that further debates would relate to issues and not personal attacks, the ABC journalist hopefully queried, "Sounds as if you're really declaring a truce this morning. Different tone?"
ABC correspondent Nick Watt conducted a softball interview with the son of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden on Tuesday's "Good Morning America" and he credulously repeated Omar bin Laden's goals of being an "ambassador for peace." Host Diane Sawyer called the idea a "very curious proposal," while Watt announced that the younger bin Laden "wants to meet with President George W. Bush" and labeled the idea "astounding."
Watt expressed no skepticism over the proposed meeting. This, despite the fact that bin Laden lauded his father, responsible for countless thousands of deaths, as a "very kind man" and stated that he would not turn his dad over to American authorities, were he to know the location. Apparently, it didn't occur to Watt that this might not be the kind of person who would be best qualified to be an ambassador for peace or someone that President Bush would meet with. However, the GMA correspondent did find time to notice bin Laden's "glamorous, English wife."
Half a decade after observing the fifth anniversary of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, "Good Morning America" correspondent Claire Shipman filed a report on Monday's show that commemorated ten years since the event. Shipman used the January 21 piece to take a swipe at Lewinsky-gate figure Linda Tripp, snidely labeling her "that questionable, tape-recording friend" and pointing out that she "has remade her face and her life." After observing that Tripp has since opened a store selling Christmas trinkets in Virginia, Shipman mused, "Atonement? Simply irony? Who knows?"
During the fifth anniversary segment, on January 16, 2003, this same GMA reporter appeared dismissive of the Lewinsky scandal. She claimed, perhaps hopefully, "It may be, especially in this newly-sobered world, that the Lewinsky episode, as riveting as it seemed at the time, will have little lasting impact, will be little more than a memorable footnote in our political life." A similar tone pervaded Shipman's report on Monday when she described the event as the "national political episode that a decade later, and in a post-September 11th, Iraq-dominated world, seems surreal."
ABC reporter Kate Snow continued her long history of delivering generous Clinton spin during a segment on Friday's "Good Morning America." The GMA correspondent followed Chelsea Clinton as the former first daughter campaigned for her mother, repeating talking points along the way. Snow announced, "To be honest, [Chelsea] doesn't like cameras much. She let us tag along, but takes no questions." Later Snow repeated, "She doesn't want to be in the spotlight." The ABC reporter, who often covers the Clintons, didn't ask the obvious question: If Chelsea doesn't like the spotlight or cameras, why, exactly, did she allow ABC to follow her around with a camera crew?
GMA did balance the piece on the Clinton daughter with a sympathetic take on Mike Huckabee's wife, Janet. (At one point, reporter Claire Shipman asked about Mike Hucakbee's "legendary guitar playing.") However, Snow has developed a pattern of vigorously lauding the actions of various Clintons. On January 7th of 2008, she praised Hillary Clinton for seemingly ordinary actions. "No subject is too small. No issue too dense," Snow raved.
ABC weatherman and liberal environmentalist Sam Champion touted "fair trade" products on Thursday's "Good Morning America," as well as recycled razors that he encouraged viewers to purchase of with this enticing visual: "Consider this to be old yogurt cups."
"Freakonomics" co-author Stephen Dubner appeared on Thursday's "Good Morning America" to talk about crime and also to repeat his unsubstantiated argument that legalized abortions have resulted in less crime. The journalist and author asserted, "What happened when Roe V. Wade was handed down was that unwanted children are basically at a much greater risk for being born into the circumstances where they're more likely to lead a criminal life. Not every unwanted child by a long stretch, but typically."
In other words, 35 years after the Roe V. Wade Supreme Court decision, "the generation of people around then included fewer unwanted children and therefore fewer criminals." At no point did Roberts question this assertion or mention that it has been repeatedly challenged since Dubner and his economist co-author Steven Levitt made it in their book. In fact, a study by another economist, John Lott, found that legalized abortion actually increased the murder rate by seven percent. However, unimpeded by contradictory arguments, Dubner simply told Roberts, "It's good to know what forces work in society, if for no other reason than to keep doing the right thing." The right thing, one presumes he means, is to keep aborting children.
[Warning: Profanity to follow]
Actress Diane Keaton appeared live on Tuesday's "Good Morning America" and dropped the F-bomb while attempting to compliment GMA co-host Diane Sawyer's looks. After gushing over how much better her life would be with "those lips," the movie star blurted, "I'd like to have lips like that. Then I wouldn't have worked on my fucking personality or my-- excuse me. My personality."
Sawyer, who had been attempting to get the actress to talk about "Mad Money," Keaton's new film, appeared momentarily shocked and then started laughing. She retorted, "My mother is going to work on your personality with soap in your mouth, is what she's going to do."
On Saturday's "Good Morning America," Kate Snow chatted with a woman who once wished death on Clarence Thomas and highlighted her as an expert on racial politics in America. The weekend GMA co-host interviewed Julianne Malveaux on the subject of racial overtones in the conflict between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
On November 4, 1994, Malveaux famously stated of Supreme Court Justice Thomas: "I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease....He is an absolutely reprehensible person." (Video in the MRC's 20th anniversary Notable Quotables, scroll down to "Damn Those Conservatives Award.") Of course, Snow made no mention of this. She simply introduced the well known liberal as "a noted commentator on American politics." Snow also skipped over the fact that Malveaux is a former talk show host for the leftist Pacifica Radio network.
ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos derided GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson as a "hit man" on Friday's "Good Morning America." Appearing on the program to discuss the previous night's Republican presidential debate, he alleged, "Well, [Fred Thompson has] never played a hit man, I think, in the movies or television. But he's taken on that role in the last two debates."
After completely ignoring the story, ABC investigative correspondent Brian Ross finally featured a segment on a questionable real estate deal by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. On Thursday's "Good Morning America," the reporter looked at the Illinois senator's relationship with Tony Rezko, a political operator who raised cash for candidates. Rezko, who will go on trial in February for charges related to bribes and extortion, played a role in a house purchase by Obama.
Although local Illinois media outlets, such as the Chicago Sun Times, have been covering the story for much of 2006 and 2007, a Nexis search finds only one mention on ABC, prior to the Ross report on Thursday. (On May 13, 2007, "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos briefly quizzed Obama on the subject.) Ross's investigations of Republicans often include a sneering, sarcastic tone that was lacking in his segment on Obama. In October of '07, he claimed that after listening to 1973 Watergate tapes of '08 Republican candidate Fred Thompson, a "much different, less valiant picture of Thompson emerges."
Former Bill Clinton aide, and current ABC anchor, George Stephanopoulos appeared on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" to gush over Hillary Clinton's mastery of the relatively simple task of stage management. Discussing the New York senator's win in New Hampshire with GMA co-host Diane Sawyer, he fawned over the placement of individuals at the victory speech: "Hillary Clinton alone at the podium. Young people, faces of hope, behind her. Where is Bill Clinton? Where is Chelsea Clinton? They are not there yet."
The segment seemed to be a cross between a football game and a campaign spot. Stephanopoulos, using a telestrator, circled the various individuals as they appeared onscreen. At the same time, he narrated what sounded like an ad for the '08 White House contender: "Hillary Clinton actually has to motion them up to the stage. Yes, they're reluctant. They don't want to come up. There's Chelsea. There's Bill Clinton, coming up, a little hang dog." The ABC anchor rhapsodized about how Bill Clinton mouthed the words "I'm so proud of you" to his wife. He ended the video replay by describing the New York Senator as "all alone at the podium, the sole victor." Sawyer solemnly added, "Taking charge."
On Tuesday's "Good Morning America," reporter Claire Shipman appeared touched by Hillary Clinton's emotional display at a New Hampshire diner on Monday. She exhibited no skepticism about the outpouring, describing it as "unexpected, spontaneous emotion." Not surprisingly, Shipman also speculated that Clinton could benefit in the polls from the event.
The ABC reporter rhapsodized, "From this woman in particular, who remains stoic publicly even as her emotional world caved in, who has cultivated such an image of strength and invulnerability, it was a surprise that just might pay off." Much of the segment related to crying in politics and whether it's now thought to be acceptable. However, Shipman clearly appeared to be fascinated with the New York senator's display of emotion in response to a question from a voter. She added, "And it's so fascinating when you are the first woman to make a serious stab at the presidency, every move, every emotion is fraught and scrutinized."
For the second day in a row, "Good Morning America" provided a gushing forum for Hillary Clinton's spin. On Tuesday's program, co-host Diane Sawyer asked the presidential candidate about her emotional display at a New Hampshire diner on Monday. The ABC journalist sympathetically wondered, "Is it different when a woman shows that kind of emotion and (sic) a man does?"
Sawyer certainly never broached the subject of whether Clinton contrived the wavering voice. Instead, she gingerly questioned, "Are you surprised so much is being made this morning?" Regarding the '08 candidate's recent defeat in Iowa, the GMA host carefully asked, "With those numbers coming in, what does President Clinton say to you at night or first thing in the morning? Is there a pep talk?" Sawyer followed up by speculating, "Does Chelsea write you notes and leave them under the door?"
Are the two major political parties hosting primaries this winter? Or is it just the Democrats? Viewers who saw Monday's edition of "Good Morning America" might assume the latter. The ABC program devoted a lopsided 14 minutes and 56 seconds to breaking down the race between Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. A scant 31 seconds were given to the competitive Republican race.
Over the course of the two hour program, GMA featured four segments on the Democrats and only a solitary (and brief) piece on the GOP contest. This included co-host Diane Sawyer interviewing Barack Obama twice. ABC anchor and former Bill Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos talked to Senator Hillary Clinton. Kate Snow discussed the state of the New York senator's White House bid. Aside from mentioning the latest GOP polls in the show's intro, the only analysis of the Republicans resulted from Sawyer asking Stephanopoulos this banal question: "And what about the Republicans?" The conversation that followed lasted 31 seconds.
ABC journalist Kate Snow continued her habit on Monday of parroting Hillary Clinton's campaign spin. Filing a report for "Good Morning America," she gushed over just how hard the senator is working for a resurgence in the polls. Snow raved, "No subject is too small. No issue too dense. Hillary Clinton is taking question after question from voters, from reporters."
Spinning seemingly ordinary tasks, Snow continued, "She's pounding the pavement, literally going door to door for votes." The GMA contributor also explained that "the new Hillary critiques Barack Obama for putting a lobbyist at the top of his New Hampshire campaign." Later in the segment, she repeated the phrase: "The new Hillary confronts Obama saying he's changed his positions." Snow has a long history of history of portraying Senator Clinton's every move as brilliant:
"Good Morning America" co-host Robin Roberts used the label "fundamentalist Christians" to describe the Iowa supporters of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. During an interview on Friday's program, she also noted that America "saw, there, in your offices in Iowa, right before the caucuses, people praying there in your, in your office."
The ABC journalist also grilled the '08 contender, fresh from his caucus victory, on the subject of creationism and evolution. Citing a new National Academy of Sciences report, Roberts asked, "Do you agree with that, that creationism should be kept out of our classrooms?" After Huckabee stated that, as governor, he never dealt with the question, the host repeated her question: "Should creationism be banned from the classroom. Yes or no?"
"Good Morning America" co-host Chris Cuomo, while discussing politics with Iowa voters on Thursday, spun foes of illegal immigrants as fans of simplistic solutions to a complicated issue. Maligning them, he complained, "Everybody wants to put up a big wall and then find who's not supposed to be here and throw them over that wall."
Cuomo, while speaking to a voter who favored allowing illegals to stay in the country, seemed to morph into a parody of an enforcement conservative. Attempting to channel that mind set, he derided, "But for a politician, you want that red meat. You want to be able to be strong and we want them out!"
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," reporter Chris Cuomo saw dark motives in Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's attacks on Democrat John Edwards and his "Two Americas" rhetoric. The GMA host conducted a combative interview with the 2008 contender and even alleged that Romney's comments could even be construed as an example of "ignorance."
After playing a clip of the former governor dismissing Edwards's contention that there is a rich and poor America, Cuomo argumentatively asserted, "When you say, 'This is one America,' that could be a unity statement or it could be one of, perhaps, ignorance to the fact that in this country you have the rich growing at ten times the rate as the working class. Do you deny that is the situation in this country?" The ABC journalist then helpfully added, "You trying to make a different point?"
For the second day in a row, and the sixth time in less than a year and a half, a "Good Morning America" anchor speculated on whether Senator Barack Obama can overcome racism in his presidential bid. During a particularly fawning interview on Thursday's program, host Diane Sawyer referenced a quote from the senator on the subject and hypothesized that, in a white state like Iowa, "people have shown they are willing to look beyond race in this country. Has that victory been won, whatever happens tonight?"
On Wednesday, GMA co-host Chris Cuomo posed the same question to fellow Democrat John Edwards. He asked the presidential aspirant about the nature of Iowa voters, theorizing, "When you think people get into the room, do you think race or gender may play an unspoken role in the caucus voting?" Cuomo, back on December 20, 2007, fretted over whether Obama could overcome "America's inherent...racism." Sawyer herself once asked the Illinois senator if America is "secretly...more racist or more sexist"