Meredith Vieira departed ABC's The View (registration required) today and she certainly went out with, uh, a bang. At 11:36AM EDT, co-host Joy Behar toasted Vieira, who will join the Today show in September. She remarked, "I’m so upset....And I just don’t know how to express it, you know? I thought to myself, what would Rosie O’Donnell do?"

Then Behar took Vieira in her arms and the two engaged in a long kiss. In case you missed it, ABC replayed it in slow-motion a few seconds later as they went to commercial.

A silly moment on an unserious show? Perhaps. But opponents of gay rights probably shouldn’t expect the new host of the Today show to give their arguments much credence.

If Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and all of al Qaeda’s leaders in Iraq and throughout the world laid down their arms and surrendered to American forces, would the media report it as good news?

Judging from the initial press reaction to the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq by the American military on Wednesday, the answer appears to be no.

In fact, this tepid response to the death of the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq – a man who has at times in the past couple of years been depicted as more vital to this terrorist network than the currently in-hiding bin Laden – suggests quite disturbingly that America’s media are fighting a different war than America’s soldiers.

According to NewsBusters, CNN’s senior editor for Arab affairs Octavia Nasr said the following about Zarqawi’s death on “American Morning” Thursday:

"Some people say it will enrage the insurgency, others say it will hurt it pretty bad. But if you think about the different groups in Iraq, you have to think that Zarqawi's death is not going to be a big deal for them."

However, CNN didn’t always feel that Zarqawi’s death or capture would be so inconsequential. Just days after Saddam Hussein was found in his spider hole, Paula Zahn brought CNN national correspondent Mike Boettcher on to discuss a new threat in Iraq. Zahn began the December 15, 2003 segment:

In March, I blogged about how some journalists who live in Chevy Chase, Maryland, were taking legal action to force their neighbors, Marc and Marianne Duffy, to tear down their home for violating zoning laws.

Washington Post editor William Hamilton, his wife Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, and former ABC correspondent Jackie Judd had complained about the Duffy renovations, which were erroneously approved by county bureaucrats.

It's sad that within minutes of announcing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death, the network morning shows were already carrying criticism of the Bush administration. Not only did NBC invite Sen. Joe Biden to attack Bush incompetence (funny day for that!), ABC's Bill Weir reminded the audience that Zarqawi beheaded American Nicholas Berg, and then replayed Berg's left-wing dad saying at the time that he had no desire for his son's killers to be killed.

As noted by Tim Graham and Mark Finkelstein, the Today show has already portrayed the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment as nothing more then pandering to conservatives. Liberals will be comforted to know that incoming Today host Meredith Vieira concurs. The View, which Ms.

While NBC interviewed Joe Scarborough on the "gay marriage" front (and CBS stayed out of the fray), ABC followed up their Claire Shipman report on "Good Morning America" with an interview with very liberal San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Typically, co-host Charles Gibson asked about whether this issue is pandering and good politics for Republicans, but not whether it's been pandering or good politics for Democrats.

While NBC's David Gregory described the marriage-amendment battle as a move to placate conservatives on Monday morning, ABC's Claire Shipman's story on "Good Morning America" highlighted opposition to the amendment within the White House. MRC's Brian Boyd found the labeling imbalance was here, too:

New York Times columnist and best-selling foreign-policy author/guru Thomas Friedman appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" Thursday, mostly to address the administration's Iran initiative.

The National Organization for Women doesn't seem to be the powerhouse it used to be. Paul Farhi reports in Monday's Washington Post that the old group is sending a letter (along with other feminist groups) protest the demotion of Elizabeth Vargas as anchor of ABC's "World News Tonight." Question: does it take a week to get a letter together?

Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz demonstrated on Friday how isolated ABC is on their embarrassing assertion that Speaker Dennis Hastert is "in the mix" of a federal corruption probe, called "potentially seismic" by former Clinton toady George Stephanopoulos:

As we wait for ABC to retract its strange Wednesday night leadoff story asserting Speaker Dennis Hastert was "included" in a federal bribery probe (and ex-Clinton flack George Stephanopoulos called it "potentially seismic"), it is quite obvious there is some serious liberal bias by placement here. The Hastert claims led "World News Tonight" on Wednesday.

As MRC’s Brent Baker pointed out Thursday, there appear to be some serious holes in a story reported by ABC’s Brian Ross on Wednesday’s “World News Tonight.” For those with short memory spans, Ross alleged that House Speaker Dennis Hastert is involved in a congressional bribery investigation. Though this has been fervently denied by the justice department, as well as Hastert's office which is demanding a retraction, ABC is standing by its report.

Well, radio host Laura Ingraham (hat tip to Expose the Left with audio link to follow) reported on Thursday that she received an e-mail message from somebody high up in ABC claiming that Ross’s report was “totally bogus” and “reporters in the press gallery were laughing out loud as the story aired on ABC last night.” Ingraham declared: “This is an example of an agenda driven story without fact-checking, and with shoddy sourcing.”

The e-mail message concluded (alluding to CBS’s embarrassing Memogate in 2004): “Maybe this will be Brian Ross’s Dan Rather moment.”

What follows is a partial transcript of this segment, along with an audio link, both courtesy of Expose the Left.