Good Morning America's John Hendren on Sunday dismissed the victory of Herman Cain in the Florida straw poll, condescendingly asserting that the "big winner is nobody." The ABC reporter made sure to repeatedly mention the business of the Republican presidential candidate: "That's right. The man who brought you Godfather's Pizza at 37 percent."
Hendren arrogantly explained, "What's notable about the Florida straw poll is less who won than who lost...The week's big winner in the Republican primary is nobody." It's odd for ABC to dismiss the straw poll's actual winner as a "nobody." But if the candidate hasn't broken through, perhaps the hosts at GMA should actually consider having him on as a guest. (This has yet to happen in 2011.)
[See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Was it just coincidence that of all the ways "Good Morning America" could have reported that Republicans are urging Chris Christie to get into the presidential race, the ABC show today spoke--twice--of Christie being "heavily" urged to run? Throw in GMA describing Christie supporters opining that the other candidates are "too small" for the job. Oh, and the show's decision to roll extended, less-than-flattering footage of Christie walking across an airport tarmac to greet President Obama.
Makes you wonder whether this was the opening salvo of an ABC attack on Christie's avoirdupois. Of course, such cheap shots have a history of back-firing. Just ask ex-NJ Governor Jon Corzine. Video after the jump.
Catching up on an item from last weekend, Friday’s World News on ABC, Saturday’s Good Morning America on ABC, Saturday’s CBS Evening News, and Saturday’s NBC Nightly News all highlighted California Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s defense of partial birth abortion as a procedure she had herself gone through as she berated New Jersey Republican Congressman Chris Smith for describing the horrific nature of the procedure during a debate over federal funding of Planned Parenthood. The sympathetic treatment of Speier's outrage over having to hear the technique's description contrasts with media eagerness to describe rough interrogation techniques used on detainees in the War on Terrorism during the Bush administration.
These same shows devoted little to no time to showing Smith’s description of the controversial abortion technique or his reading from the book, Unplanned, by Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director who famously turned against abortion after observing the ultrasound of an abortion as it was carried out. Rep. Smith had given a speech on the House floor that was over eight minutes long.
On ABC’s World News Saturday, correspondent John Hendren filed a report marking this year as the first time since 1947 that no members of the Kennedy family will hold public office in Washington, D.C. The piece began:
JOHN HENDREN: The sun has set on the Kennedy era. When Congress reconvenes next week, it will be the first time in 64 years that there has not been a Kennedy in office.
KATHLEEN KENNEDY TOWNSEND, DAUGHTER OF ROBERT F. KENNEDY: I think it's sad. I think that we need a Kennedy.
Hendren went on to recount the death of former Senator Ted Kennedy, "the Lion of the Senate," and the decision of Rhode Island Representative Patrick Kennedy to retire, as well as the shuffling of office space with the arrival of newly-elected Republicans. The ABC correspondent also noted that Tea Party-backed Rep. Ron Paul and Senator-elect Rand Paul are the only family members serving who will be serving concurrently in Congress.
Hendren concluded by offering a ray of hope for those would like to see the Kennedy family in government again:
Good Morning America's John Hendren on Saturday fretted that attendees to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) came "from the right" and "the far right." He allowed that conservative are "on fire" with optimism about the future, but opined that the movement is "fractious."
John Avlon, author of Winguts: How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America, was featured in a sound bite to deride intolerant conservatives: "Reagan's ideal of the big tent, which invited people in, is now seen as code language for liberal."
On February 19, Avlon appeared on CNN attacked the "saving freedom" agenda of CPAC as "a little extreme" and "a little far out."
Here are some of the choicer quotes from this issue; the entire package (with five audio/video clips) is posted at www.MRC.org. You can also sign up to get each issue sent to you via e-mail (next issue will be March 8).
Scolding “Harsh Rhetoric” of Tea Party “On the Fringe”
ABC’s John Berman: “The business of this first ever national Tea Party convention is the nuts and bolts of politics, like voter registration....But barely scratch the surface, and there’s a tone of anger and confrontation....When we asked delegates what they thought, their feelings about the President were almost universal.”
Unidentified Man: “I believe he is a socialist ideologue.”
Unidentified Woman: “You just read his history, he’s a Marxist.”...
Berman: “One of the goals of this convention is to turn this movement into a political force. The question is, does the harsh rhetoric keep them on the fringe?” — ABC’s World News, February 5.
Good Morning America on Sunday derided the idea that Democratic retirements in Congress spell bad news for the party in 2010. John Hendren, a day before Evan Bayh announced he's leaving the Senate, dismissed, "But, for now, despite all the passionate, anti-incumbent tea parties, the math suggests limited changes on Capitol Hill. A tempest in a teapot." [Audio available here.]
Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland appeared and offered an optimistic spin. However, Hendren failed to mention that Van Hollen is also the Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). So, when Van Hollen touted, "For new Presidents, the first midterm election can be very perilous for the President's party," wouldn't it be honest to inform viewers that it's the Congressman's job to offer happy talk?
He introduced the subsequent story: “Behind the scenes, Senator Ted Kennedy, a man who has called this his life's work, is playing a surprisingly large role, despite his brain tumor.” Reporter John Hendren fretted: “Senator Edward Kennedy is the missing man in the battle for health care reform. On Capitol Hill, nearly everyone agrees things would be different if the liberal lion were here.”
Hendren went back to March to show a clip of President Obama saluting Kennedy -- “To Sir Edward Kennedy. That's the kind of greeting a knight deserves. It is thrilling to see you here, Teddy” -- before effusing over how “in his absence, his colleagues invoke his name, hoping also to borrow his legislative prowess.” Nonetheless, Hendren concluded, passing Obama's health agenda has been “made harder by the absence of its top advocate on Capitol Hill.” As if that's a bad thing.
On the July 12 World News Sunday, ABC correspondent John Hendren filed a report relaying concerns by a former CIA agent that recent attacks on the CIA has hurt the agency’s morale and will weaken its ability to protect America. Hendren even ran clips of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Representative Jan Schakowsky accusing the CIA of lying as examples of "harsh accusations" that have created a "rift" between Congress and the CIA.
Anchor Dan Harris introduced the report: "The CIA is, of course, an agency that largely operates in secrecy. There are concerns tonight that two full-blown investigations of the agency might undermine its ability to gather intelligence. John Hendren has that part of the story."
Hendren introduced clips from former CIA agent Robert Baer:
JOHN HENDREN: This legendary spy sees dark days ahead.
ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA AGENT: It's one of the last nails in the CIA's coffin. It's finished. It's over. It's done.
HENDREN: Bob Baer, whose exploits as a case officer in the Middle East made him the model for George Clooney's role in Syriana, says the damage at CIA has already taken its toll.
BAER: It's demoralizing the rank and file completely. I've been getting e-mails from officers overseas, you know, they're talking about quitting.
Since its announcement in March, the University of Notre Dame's decision to invite President Barack Obama to give this year's commencement address and receive an honorary doctorate in law has been a big story for American Catholics. Pro-life Catholics were outraged and more than 366,000 people signed a petition urging Notre Dame to rescind the invitation. Somehow, though, the controversy didn't merit notice by the broadcast networks. They refused to cover it.
Yet after the fact, Obama's commencement address led ABC and NBC's evening news programs on May 17. (CBS' "Evening News" was preempted by golf, but anchor Russ Mitchell did offer a newsbreak that included a brief mention of Obama's address.) The broadcast networks' morning news programs, including CBS, also discussed Obama's speech. In each case they praised his words and ignored what had stirred so much controversy: the president's history of supporting even the most extreme abortion rights measures. And they turned to mostly liberal Catholics to provide context and perspective on the debate.
On the March 28 World News Saturday, ABC correspondent John Hendren observed that the "pure adulation" formerly shown for President Obama in Europe has now faded as the President prepares for the G-20 summit in London to convince the group of economic superpowers to adopt his plans to increase spending to stimulate the economy. After anchor Dan Harris introduced the report noting that "Mr. Obama is facing a huge challenge on this trip, convincing reluctant European leaders to rescue the global economy his way," Hendren began his piece:
JOHN HENDREN: "The last time President Obama came to Europe, it was pure adulation. But now, Mr. Obama is President in the midst of a global economic crisis. Next week, he will try to persuade 19 other heads of state that they must sign on to his rescue plan and increase government spending in their own countries as he has here, signing a $787 billion rescue plan. Germany's Angela Merkel has criticized the plan and European Union chief Mirek Topolanek calls it-
MIREK TOPOLANEK, EUROPEAN UNION: -a way to hell.
HENDREN: What a difference a few months make.
Hendren gave three soundbites to Cato economist Dan Mitchell, who pointed out that “government spending doesn’t work very well,” how “bad government policies got us into this mess,” and that while letting the free market run its course might be painful, “we can make that transition much quicker and have a faster and stronger recovery.”
Hendren termed the free market economists “do nothings,” but suggested they may be influential enough to at least block a little of the runaway spending. Hendren told co-anchor Bill Weir: “Now, the do-nothings know they’re going to lose this debate. But they’re hoping to hold down the size of the stimulus. As one economist told me, I can see them cutting $100 billion, and that ain’t chump change. Bill?”