Good Morning America
From television to newspapers, the media have gone wild over oil companies’ profit reports this week, asking “how much is too much?”
An interesting contrast occurred on the morning shows regarding ExxonMobil’s record high quarterly earnings. Over at CNN’s American Morning, Miles O’Brien and Andy Serwer fretted over ExxonMobil’s announcement, with O’Brien declaring it the, “outrage moment of the morning.” Meanwhile, Good Morning America’s financial contributor Mellody Hobson explained how the profits were a result of supply and demand.
As ABC, CBS, and NBC all dived into live coverage today to report the indictment of Vice President Cheney's top aide Scooter Libby, this is not at all the way the networks covered indictments of cabinet officers in the Clinton years.
During the Clinton scandals, the media repeated attack after attack put forth by the Clinton administration against the various independent counsels charged with investigating it. Remember the Ken Starr treatment? Well, the media has finally found a special prosecutor that they like.
ABC’s Andrea Canning on Sunday's “Good Morning America” did a report on Divorce Parties. That’s right, married women having a party to celebrate their divorces. In fact, Canning in her report referred to the party as “Part celebration, part exorcism.”
At this party, they play games like throwing the wedding ring into the toilet, as well as with voodoo doll figurines of the former husband.
Of particular note, the report made no mention of ex-husbands having such parties. Quite the contrary, the only person in this piece who wasn't celebrating was a divorced man: "I don't find anything about divorce to be funny at all. I find the whole experience rather tragic."
What follows is a full transcript of this report.
Over on CNN’s American Morning, co-host Miles O’Brien insisted to Major General Rick Lynch in Iraq that the participating soldiers were “coached.” Though Lynch repeatedly denied the soldiers were told what to say, O’Brien stuck to his claim they were “coached,” citing how the Pentagon official told them, “here's what he's going to say, here's what you might want to say in response, right?" Lynch maintained that “those soldiers yesterday were giving their opinion." To which an oblivious O’Brien replied: “Well, I guess it's too bad, if that's true, that people would have another impression this morning, because of the way they were coached." But the best O’Brien could come up with was how the Pentagon’s Allison Barber suggested how to segue to another soldier for an answer and that “a few smiles wouldn't hurt back here on the TV.” When news reader Carol Costello wondered: "Is anything spontaneous in politics, really? I don't think so," O'Brien heralded a left-winger: "Jeez. Dennis Kucinich, maybe?" O'Brien also had the gall to contend that “truth be told, if they were not coached, they would have said things that the administration would have liked to hear, I'm convinced. Because they are, you know, these troops are gung ho about their mission. And so it's a shame that they have cast this cloud." Wow, that’s chutzpah given it was O’Brien and the media which cast the “cloud.” (Full transcripts follow.)
The CBS Evening News, which in June never uttered a syllable about Democratic Senator Dick Durbin's incendiary comments, on the floor of the U.S. Senate, equating U.S. servicemens' treatment of detainees at Guantanamo with the Nazi regime and the Soviet gulags, on Friday led with remarks made by Bill Bennett, just two days earlier, on his morning radio show. With “Bennett Blunder” on screen, Wyatt Andrews teased his lead story: "He really did say it, that fewer black babies would reduce crime.” Anchor Bob Schieffer appeared stupefied: "We start tonight with a story that everyone seems to be talking about, and you have to ask, 'Just what was the man thinking?'” Andrews played an audio clip of Bennett saying that “you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down” as well as how “that would be an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do.” Andrews then seemed befuddled: "Abort black babies and the crime rate goes down?”
It may have been an impolitic formulation (aborting all male babies for a while would lead to much less crime 15-25 years later), but as the saying goes, a gaffe in Washington is when someone says a truth people don't want to hear -- though Bennett immediately denounced the notion as "morally reprehensible." Andrews quoted from Bennett's defense, but concluded by complaining that Bennett did not cave in to political correctness: “Bennett's written statement renounces all bigotry and asserts that over his career he's worked hard for minorities. But there's nothing in the statement even close to regret or to an apology.”
Friday's NBC Nightly News also pounced on Bennett with a full story before the first ad break. Back in June, the program ran just an anchor-read brief on Durbin. Friday night, unlike Andrews, Mike Taibbi pointed out how "Bennett said he based his comments on the book Freakonomics, which, among other things, theorizes a link between abortion generally and the crime rate, but that his comments in their entirety made his position unmistakable." ABC's World News Tonight aired nothing Friday, but had a short item Thursday night. Good Morning America, which waited more than week until Durbin's apology to touch his comments, aired a full story Friday morning on Bennett. NBC's Today, which also didn't get to Durbin until he apologized -- and then not until the 8am news update, put Bennett at the top of Friday's Today. “Under fire,” Katie Couric announced, “former Education Secretary William Bennett feeling the heat for saying this on the radio." Viewers then heard a clip which excluded Bennett's “morally reprehensible” clarification.
Full transcripts of the CBS, NBC and ABC stories follow, along with links to MRC CyberAlert coverage of the reticent approach to Durbin.
Criticism for budget deficits has been replaced by calls for big government