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
Reporter Claire Shipman did her level best to get California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to say the efforts to combat the state's wild fires were going poorly. Shipman interviewed the governor on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" and wondered about "the comparison to Katrina that everybody's making in the back of their mind..." At one point, Governor Schwarzenegger cut off Shipman's pleas for negative assessments of the effort by grabbing her arm. He bluntly scolded, "Trust me when I tell you, you're looking for a mistake and you won't find it because it's all good news, as much as you maybe hate it, but it's good news."
Earlier, the ABC correspondent attempted to deflate Schwarzenegger's sunny optimism by mentioning unnamed officials in Orange County who asserted the state doesn't have enough resources, including firefighting aircraft. The former actor simply wouldn't go along with this premise of victimization. He firmly retorted, "Anyone that is complaining about the planes, just wants to complain because it's a bunch of nonsense." Schwarzenegger then proceeded to point out that the state has 90 planes and only wind has hampered their use.
On Tuesday's "Good Morning America," reporter Brian Ross continued his critical series of investigations into Republican presidential candidates. Just two weeks after he slammed Fred Thompson for his role in the 1973 Watergate investigation, the ABC correspondent looked into the fact that Rudy Giuliani's consulting firm has employed a priest that has been accused of molesting children in the '70s.
Of course, neither Ross, nor "Good Morning America" have seen fit to investigate Hillary Clinton's hiring of Sandy Berger, a man who has been convicted of stealing documents from the National Archives and stuffing them down his pants. Ross has similarly ignored the growing scandal of poor Chinese workers donating large sums of money to the Hillary Clinton campaign
America should export generosity and hope instead of bombs and fear. Host Robin Roberts quoted these sentiments from Archbishop Desmond Tutu and columnist Thomas Friedman to Laura Bush on Monday's "Good Morning America." Roberts was traveling with the First Lady through the United Arab Emirates and other Middle Eastern countries as part of a tour to increase breast cancer awareness in that region. And while the ABC host mostly stuck to discussing the honorable nature of the trip, she couldn't resist a few pointed barbs.
The GMA anchor first cited New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman's suggestion that the U.S. "should export hope instead of fear." Roberts then regurgitated another bumper sticker slogan by mentioning a discussion with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. She recounted, "Desmond Tutu went even farther, saying the generosity of Americans, that's what we should export instead of our bombs." In a follow-up interview with Middle Eastern women who survived breast cancer, Roberts awkwardly asked, "Does it help with Mrs. Bush and the United States coming here?...Or is it seen as, 'Okay, the Americans are, again, trying to force something on us?'"
It would be quite the understatement to say that members of the media approved of Al Gore's Nobel Prize win. Sam Donaldson lauded Gore for doing something "very important." Cokie Roberts justified the former vice president's inaccuracies by claiming that even if it was propaganda, Gore made an important issue popular. Over on CNN, reporter Miles O'Brien, once again, declared that the debate over the subject is over.
Speaking of CNN, Margaret Carlson, a former panelist for the cable network, declared Gore's victory to be a "wonderful thing." The former Deputy Washington Bureau Chief for Time magazine also complimented the former VP for doing "a great thing" and referred to him as a "prophet." Just how do these journalists maintain such professional objectivity?
Hillary Clinton is smart and clearly knows health care better than any other 2008 candidate. That's according to ABC's medical expert, Dr. Tim Johnson. On Friday's "Good Morning America," the network contributor gushed, "She certainly knows health care better, I think, than any other candidate....I'm very impressed with her knowledge base." Johnson lauded Clinton for "offering a wide range of options" and regurgitated the candidate's use of the word choice in relation to her health care plan. He also failed to ever mention taxes or how the government would pay for universal health coverage.
Johnson may be a respected medical expert, but he's clearly a Clinton cheerleader. He has a long history of backing Bill and Hillary, as well as other liberal politicians. On Friday, the doctor casually asked Mrs. Clinton, "You have said that providing health insurance for everyone is a moral issue. Do you think the Republicans who are against it are immoral?" The ABC contributor also praised the 2008 contender for speaking "eloquently" on issues related to health care and, after noting that America has only had male presidents, sycophantically wondered, "Do you think being a female president would make any difference in leading the health care reform debate?"
On Wednesday, nationally syndicated radio show host Mark Levin picked up and expanded on the story of MSNBC host Joe Scarborough lauding Al Gore, first reported in NewsBusters. Levin described "Morning Schmo," what he calls "Morning Joe," as "a program I rarely watch" and railed against Scarborough's declaration that "Al Gore wins" on global warming. The host also cited "our friends at the Media Research Center and NewsBusters" for bringing the comments of the "MSLSD" host to light.
Levin derided Scarborough's assertion that Gore has been proved right. He exclaimed, "We have zero control over [weather cycles] and in about 15 or 20 years, the cycle will slowly be pushing in the other direction and Al Gore and all the other freaks will be very, very embarrassed..." A transcript of the segment can be found below. Audio can be found on Levin's website (about 15 minutes into the October 17 program.):
On Wednesday's edition of MSNBC's "Morning Joe," host Joe Scarborough declared, "Al Gore wins." Referencing a story in the New York Times on how global warming is dividing the 2008 GOP field, the former Republican congressman predicted that by the next election, all candidates would adopt Gore's agenda. He conceded, "Yeah. We called him an idiot in 1992, we Republicans, and about 16 years later, we agree with him."
Liberal co-host Mika Brzezinski, the daughter of Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was only too happy to pile on. In addition to calling Republicans "slow" for dismissing global warming, she claimed it "takes you guys a while" to come around. Scarborough could only reply, "You know what the good thing about being a Republican is? Never having to say you're sorry."
"Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer hosted a serious debate on Wednesday about whether Maine middle school students, children as young as 11, should have access to birth control pills. The ABC program engaged in a classic example of labeling bias with a graphic that identified talk show host Glenn Beck as a "conservative commentator." In contrast, Sawyer referred to the other guest, Logan Levkoff, not as a liberal, but simply a "sexual educator." This is despite the fact that the "educator" advocated not only for birth control for 11-year-olds, but wouldn't rule out giving it to elementary-aged children. Additionally, Levkoff has blogged about her distaste for President Bush and joy that the Democrats won Congress in 2006.
Despite a few tough questions to Levkoff, Sawyer clearly sympathized with her position. After explaining that a middle school in Portland is considering distributing the pill as well as the patch, she opened the debate by lecturing Beck: "You may not like it. You may want parents to go in and take care of their own children and make sure that they're not sexually active that young, but it's happening. It's happening." When Beck asserted that state law made sex under the age of 14 a crime, the GMA host retorted, "Well, but that's a legislative issue, what about these actual girls?"
ABC contributor Cokie Roberts apparently approves of propaganda, as long as she agrees with it. The veteran journalist appeared with George Will and Sam Donaldson on Sunday's "This Week." In response to a claim by token conservative Will that Al Gore grossly exaggerates the threat of global warming, Roberts positively assessed, "The truth is, there have always been propagandists who make something popular."
Using a strained comparison, Roberts continued to justify Gore's misinformation by arguing that the former Vice President popularizes the work of climate change scientists: "Go back to the revolution....You had Tom Paine and you had the Continental Congress. So you do have the two and they both work for a debate."
ABC host Diane Sawyer and 2008 Republican contender John McCain engaged in a friendly conversation on Monday about who would be the most conservative GOP candidate, certainly a rare sight on network television. Amazingly, the interview, which took place on "Good Morning America," didn't frame the quest to be the most right-leaning contender as a bad thing. Sawyer began by asking McCain about this "verbal brawl" among Republicans for the conservative crown. She then quizzed McCain over his contention that Mitt Romney isn't authentic in his current positions and wondered, "Is he a con artist? Is that what you were saying?"
Sawyer allowed McCain ample time to question Romney's pro-life credentials and to bring up past disparaging remarks the former Massachusetts governor made about Ronald Reagan. The GMA host even laughed at McCain's joke that "Time flies when you're having fun" on the campaign trail. On Monday, Sawyer did question some of McCain's attacks on Romney, but, in general, the show's coverage of the former governor has been harsher in tone. In June, reporter Dan Harris wondered if "uncomfortable questions" about the candidate's Mormonism would torpedo his White House Bid. In April, co-host Robin Roberts grilled Romney about the source of his fund-raising and fretted about how much money was coming from Utah.
Appearing on Wednesday's "Good Morning America," media critic Howard Kurtz and co-host Chris Cuomo marveled at the media's ability to turn Americans against the war in Iraq. Kurtz, who has a new book on the subject, claimed that the top three network anchors kept "framing the story in such a way" that the bad news finally had an impact. While Cuomo and Kurtz discussed the declining ratings of the network newscasts, somehow, media bias never came up as a reason. Over on FNC's "O'Reilly Factor," however, anchor Bill O'Reilly did broach the subject with Kurtz. Asked to name a conservative at either CBS or NBC, the media critic came up with the name of that well known right-winger, Brian Williams.
Who would be the best candidate to help conservative Republican primary voters pick their nominee? That answer is, of course, obvious: Chris Matthews. The liberal anchor presided over a Republican debate this week and asked such insightful questions as whether the U.S. would "have gone to war in Iraq if we weren't so dependent on Middle East oil?" Chris, why not just chant, "No blood for oil"?
"Good Morning America" anchors and reporters effusively lauded Al Gore on Friday after he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on global warming. Diane Sawyer opened the program by breathlessly declaring, "Former Vice President Al Gore wins the Nobel Peace Prize for helping awaken the world to global warming. Now is it time to run for president again?" In her introduction to a piece on the subject, Sawyer gushed that the ex-VP is receiving the award for "for educating the world."
Reporter Kate Snow was no less laudatory. She asserted, "For Al Gore, winning the Nobel Peace Prize is a personal milestone, vindication of a sort." The ABC contributor also claimed that the victory is "a new entry for the history books." To be fair, Snow did inform her viewers that the American politician beat out some very worthy individuals, such as a 97-year-old woman who saved Jewish children from the Holocaust. However, the GMA correspondent never questioned whether there was a political element to Gore receiving the Peace Prize or about the film's factual inaccuracies. She simply labeled the win not just a personal victory for the former vice president, but also "a symbolic victory for his cause."
On Tuesday's "Good Morning America," co-host Chris Cuomo and media critic Howard Kurtz ignored the role that liberal bias has played in the decline of ratings for the network evening newscasts. At the same time, Cuomo and Washington Post reporter seemed to be proud of the media's ability to turn Americans against the war in Iraq. Kurtz, who has written a book on the subject, asserted, "I believe that these newscasts in 2005 and 2006 played the biggest single role in helping to turn public opinion against the war."
Cuomo agreed and complimented the journalist's analysis. He enthused, "It's easy to say, 'Oh, well. The war was unpopular. People were looking for the unpopularity of it. At some point, the networks gave that to them.' But you have a more penetrating look at it. You take a look at it in terms of the role of the nightly newscasts in shaping the ideas about the news..." According to Kurtz, the top three network anchors kept "framing the story in such a way" that the bad news finally had an impact. And while the two reporters wondered about the effect the iPod and internet are having on network low ratings, at no time did they discuss liberal bias or salient facts such as that journalists backed John Kerry over George Bush by a two-to-one margin.
On Tuesday's "Good Morning America," ABC contributor Brian Ross chose the day of Fred Thompson's first debate to slam the 2008 candidate for his work as a lawyer on the Watergate hearings 34 years ago and also play clips questioning the then-attorney's intelligence. The investigative correspondent intoned that although Thompson has touted his role in the hearings, "a much different, less valiant picture of Thompson emerges from listening to the White House audiotapes made at the time as President Nixon plotted strategy with his aides in the Oval Office." Ross proceeded to play several clips of Richard Nixon calling Thompson "dumb as hell" and of administration associates alleging that the lawyer will help the White House.
As all of this information is old news, the Ross report is clearly timed to injure Thompson on the day of his big debate. The New York Times reported the same allegations way back on August 27, 2007. The article, by Jo Becker, used many of the same Nixon quotes. (And, in fact, a report by ABC's own Jake Tapper preceded the NYT article and also mentioned Nixon's "dumb as hell" line.) Ross closed his October 9 segment by snidely noting, "We tried to get a response from Thompson but his staff did not return our phone calls and he walked right by us when we tried to put the question to him in person." However, the ABC reporter also referenced other Thompson associates, such as former Senator Howard Baker, who appointed Thompson to the Watergate investigation. And although Baker is very much still alive, did Ross seemed unable to find anyone of that era who would go on record and say something positive about Thompson.
On Monday's "Good Morning America," co-host Chris Cuomo conducted a sycophantic interview with former President Jimmy Carter. In the introduction alone, the ABC anchor glowingly described Carter as someone who is " waging peace, fighting disease and building hope." A few seconds later, he again cheerfully enthused that Carter is a "a man who is all about peace."
Cuomo even went so far as to tell the one-term president that, given some hindsight, America would now appreciate Carter's leadership during the hostage crisis. He described Carter's handling of the 444 day long spectacle of American hostages being held in Iran as the philosophy of saying, "'We will negotiate. We will not just go in and bomb and see what happens.'" To make it perfectly clear that Cuomo was praising Carter and simultaneously slamming President Bush, the ABC host elaborated, "It just seems that today in our political climate, restraint is seen as strength, because we've seen what happens when we use force." After a brief discussion of the 2008 campaign, Cuomo, the son of the former liberal governor Mario Cuomo, gushed that he hoped the Democrats pay "attention to your message. It certainly serves well with the current political situation."
On Monday's "Good Morning America," co-host Diane Sawyer reported live from Mexico and repeatedly blamed U.S. rage for much of the controversy over illegal immigration. After introducing a segment on the problem, Sawyer lectured, "So a lot of Americans are erupting in anger. While others say, 'Who are we kidding? It's too late to complain.'" Sawyer then opined that efforts to stem the tide of illegals, such as building a 700 mile fence, are "fueled by anger."
Sawyer continued this theme of out of control, emotional Americans into an interview with Mexican President Felipe Calderon. She informed the GMA audience that "Felipe Calderon says it's time to stop yelling at each other and face the facts." Later, she described him as "urging less emotion, more strategy." And although Sawyer found time to describe Calderon as the "new action president" and mention that he went to Harvard University, she didn't ask him about the estimated $10 billion a year illegal immigration costs American taxpayers. (Although, the host did touch on the subject in the segment's introduction.)
ABC anchor, and former Clinton employee, George Stephanopoulos interviewed his old boss on ABC’s "This Week." Stephanopoulos sycophantically highlighted a story in The Atlantic about the ex-President's philanthropy. Stephanopoulos quoted the author, "'History may remember Bill Clinton as the philanthropist who happened to be President" and then asked if Clinton was "okay" with that description.
Why did President Bush veto a federal health insurance bill "for children?" Well, ABC painted the President as uncaring and not concerned about the poor, rather than mention the program actually covers more than just the destitute.
On Friday's "Good Morning America," reporter Claire Shipman fretted over the fact that local governments are aggressively fighting illegal immigration. An ABC graphic worried, "Crackdown on Illegal Immigrants: Have Communities Gone Too Far?" Discussing the efforts by a Texas town to stop the influx of illegals, Shipman claimed, "...Neighbors suddenly find they can't help themselves. The immigration debate exploding without the niceties." She also lamented the tone of the debate, saying that since the defeat of the Senate immigration bill, "...What had once been a lofty political debate has now become a gritty, explosive reality."
At no point did it occur to ABC to wonder if illegals had "gone too far" in breaking American laws. Rather, Shipman highlighted sympathetic stories of terrified immigrants. She asserted that in the small town of Irving, Texas, "Latino parents have grown so nervous, they're keeping their kids out of schools." The GMA reporter also talked to an anonymous illegal immigrant in Virginia who recounted the ordeal of having a child who "comes home and asked me, 'Why do they hate us?'"
On Friday's "Good Morning America," ABC reporter David Wright narrated a sympathetic look at Barack Obama's decision not to wear an American flag lapel pin and asserted that this country's "obsession with flag pins is relatively new." To further defend the Democratic presidential candidate, Wright pointedly noted that liberal bogeyman Richard Nixon wore such a pin. He observed, "Ike didn't wear one. JFK either. Nixon did wear the flag as he told the American people he had nothing to do with Watergate."
Of course, Wright himself was not wearing a pin with the U.S. flag on it. As the MRC has previously noted, ABC President David Westin banned on-air talent from having such pins adorn their lapels. In 2003, he deemed it the "patriotic duty" of reporters not to display the flag. At a journalist conference, he elaborated that "after 9/11, the question came up and we, as a matter of policy at ABC News, tell our people on the air, you shall not wear an American flag or any other symbol on the air."
On Wednesday’s "Good Morning America," co-host Robin Roberts, for the second day in a row, intimated that Clarence Thomas was guilty of sexually harassing Anita Hill. Interviewing Anucha Brown-Sanders about her successful harassment lawsuit against New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas, Roberts gratuitously segued, "Yesterday, sitting where you are right now, Anita Hill, who was here to talk about what happened 16 years ago when she was brought before the Judiciary Committee, with Clarence Thomas being a nominee for the Supreme Court..." Roberts then asked Browne-Sanders, "Do you think your decision in your court case can have a similar impact?"
Implicit in this question is the idea that Hill’s claims against the now-Supreme Court justice are true. Would Roberts use Clinton-accuser Paula Jones as a similar comparison to a modern case? On Tuesday’s GMA, the ABC host employed the same tactic in the interview with Anita Hill. Roberts sympathetically questioned, "Is it better now in the workplace for women?" Again, this leaves the assumption that for things to be "better," Thomas must have been guilty of making them worse for Hill.