Shh! ABC Quiet on Obama’s Botched Effort to Sway Brexit

All three morning shows on Friday led with the “stunning” vote by Britain to exit the European Union, a move that is “rocking” the world. Yet, only ABC’s Good Morning America ignored the inconvenient fact that Barack Obama tried and failed to influence the vote this past spring. On CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose reminded, “President Obama visited in April and urged voters to stay in Europe.” 

He then played a clip of the President lobbying, “I am absolutely persuaded that the United Kingdom is stronger, more influential, and more prosperous if it stays in the European Union.” Yet, the morning show did not include Obama’s threat. While visiting Britain in April, he warned the country that, should it vote the wrong way, “The UK is going to be in the back of the queue.” 

On NBC’s Today, reporter Bill Neely explained, “Now, everyone has to deal with [the vote], including President Obama who came to Britain to urge voters to stay in Europe.” Yet, nothing in the two hour-long Good Morning America

Back in April, CBS saw Obama’s trip to Europe as “very controversial.” Then, as they did on Friday, the journalists at ABC ignored Obama’s lecturing Britain and his treat. 

As for the coverage itself, CBS This Morning’s Mark Phillips equivocated and noted that Boris Johnson, possibly the next Prime Minister, was “jeered” after the vote. 

PHILLIPS: Those who had argued to leave said the predictions of gloom was scare mongering. We'll see. The most recognizable face of the leave campaign, Boris Johnson, was jeered as he left his house this morning. Others could barely contain their glee. 

Rose opened the show by hyperventilating, “We begin with breaking news, a stunning and historic vote in Britain. The decision to leave the European Union will have a profound impact on the economic, political, and social fabric of the world.

On GMA, Terry Moran alerted, “People are in shock here. Some are celebrating deliriously. Some are actually in tears on the streets and most people just walking around in a daze almost. What's happened is Earth shaking.” 

Providing balance, he featured an unnamed British woman who cheered, “Winston Churchill would be proud of us. He'd be out there now looking down at us. 'Well done, Great Britain. Well done.'” 

On Today, reporter Neely blared, “The biggest political shock in Britain in half a century. Every political party here, big business, trade unions wanted Britain to say the people decided otherwise and decisively. And the shock isn't just being felt here. It's being felt in Europe and on the stock market.” 

In a follow-up NBC story, Daily Beast editor Christopher Dickey sneered that Brexit equals “fear, xenophobia and racism.” On CNN, Thursday, Christiane Amanpour saw Brexit as a win for “xenophobia” and “white identity” politics. 

[Thanks to MRC intern Remso Martinez for help with transcripts.] 

A transcript of the GMA segment is below: 

7am tease 

ROBIN ROBERTS: Breaking news, Britain voters stun the world choosing to go it alone and leave the European Union. Then suddenly, the Prime Minister vows to resign. 

DAVID CAMERON: I think the country requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction. 

ROBERTS: Markets plunging around the world as panic and confusion sets in. The U.S. stock market bracing for a deep dive. 

...

7:02:13

ROBIN ROBERTS: To wake up to this news this morning and it is rocking Europe could deal a blow to our economy right here at home as David said. Our team around the world standing by and begin with ABC's Terry Moran there for us in London. Good morning, Terry. 

TERRY MORAN: Good morning, Robin. People are in shock here. Some are celebrating deliriously. Some are actually in tears on the streets and most people just walking around in a daze almost. What's happened is Earth shaking. Prime minister David Cameron has been meeting with Queen Elizabeth after announcing that he will resign in the coming months. What comes next, no one really knows except that this is now a new Britain in a new Europe in a new world. Overnight as the votes were counted there was rising jubilation. 

WOMAN: 82,000. 

MORAN: And growing trepidation until early this morning when the stunning news became official. 

MAN: The British people have spoken and the answer is we're out. 

MORAN: The impact was instantaneous. Look at what happened to the value of the British Pound as the votes came in cratering in a few hours to the lowest level in decades. The next casualty, Prime Minister David Cameron who had urged his people to stay in Europe, arguing they would be poorer outside the free trade zone of the EU 

DAVID CAMERON: The shock to our economy after leaving Europe would tip the country into recession. This could be for the first time in history a recession brought on ourselves. 

MORAN: But this morning, choking back emotion, he resigned. 

CAMERON: I love this country and I feel honored to have served it. 

MORAN: But 17 million Britons who voted to get out of the EU are delighted. 

WOMAN: Winston Churchill would be proud of us. He'd be out there now looking down at us, well done, Great Britain. Well done. 

MORAN: This was a rebellion and immigration was a driving issue, low wage workers from Poland, Romania and other countries building resentment and the specter of refugees from the Middle East sparking fear. This controversial poster capturing the feeling of so many, breaking point. 

WOMAN: I think people have felt unheard. They have felt unlistened to. They felt ignored and alienated. 

MORAN: Now comes the hard part. Britain is going to have to negotiate the terms of divorce from the European Union. That could take years and the United Kingdom itself might own split apart. Scotland voting overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union. They've had one referendum already to split from the rest of Britain and go independent. It's likely they may have another. David. 

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections Brexit Vote Europe Britain ABC Good Morning America CBS CBS This Morning NBC Today Video Bill Neely Charlie Rose Terry Moran Barack Obama Boris Johnson
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