All three morning shows on Friday skipped Senator Al Franken’s disrespectful snub of Joe Lieberman during a health care debate. Good Morning America, bizarrely, played video of the incident over a news brief, but never once mentioned what happened. While presiding over debate in the Senate on Thursday, Franken cut off Lieberman and then denied him an opportunity to finish his remarks.
A surprised Lieberman responded, "Really?" And yet, GMA, CBS’s Early Show and NBC’s Today all ignored the exchange. As ABC news anchor Juju Chang read a generalized report on health care, video from the dust-up can clearly be seen. (See above video.) Chang noted, "Nebraska hold out, Democrat Ben Nelson says changes to abortion funding limits were not strict enough. And he's doubting a deal can be reached."
The contentious remarks began when Franken interrupted, "The Senator has spoken for 10 minutes...In my capacity as the senator from Minnesota, I object." John McCain came to the defense of longtime friend: "I’ve been around for 20 some years, first time I’ve ever seen a member denied an extra minute or two to finish his remarks...I’ll tell you, I’ve never seen a member denied an extra minute or so, as the chair just did."
Considering that news outlets usually like dramatic video, not reporting the event is odd, to say the least. Unless, of course, the intent is to rescue Franken and the Democrats from embarrassment.
A transcript of the GMA news brief, which aired at 8:02am EST on December 18, follows:
JUJU CHANG: And the President is running into frustration on another big issue, health care reform. Democrats still don't have the 60 votes needed to pass their reform bill. Nebraska hold out, Democrat Ben Nelson says changes to abortion funding limits were not strict enough. And he's doubting a deal can be reached.