Sunday, January 11, 2009

I Think ABC & Stephanopoulos Learned A Lesson

Back in April during the primaries ABC sponsored a debate involving then Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

ABC’s Chief Washington Correspondent George Stephanopoulos dared to ask Obama questions he should have answered long before. Questions, for instance, about his relationships with the racist, anti-America Jeremiah Wright and the unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers.

Team Obama and its MSM flacks gasped; then went into attack mode. The Washington Post’s Tom Shales was typical of the “Anything for Obama” flacks. He called Stephanopoulos’ questions “shoddy” and “despicable.” Huffington Post fired with “The Gotcha Debate.”

The attacks went on for days.

I thought about them as I’m sure ABC and Stephanopoulos did as they prepared for Stephanopoulos’ one-on-one This Week interview with the President-elect.

In his blog post yesterday plugging the interview to be broadcast today, Stephanopoulos included excerpts.

Here’s some of the excerpts. I'm sure you’ll spot the big softball question among them (
the transcript shows two questions but they meld for purposes of interviewing) - -

Obama: "Our challenge is going to be identifying what works and putting more money into that, eliminating things that don’t work, and making things that we have more efficient. But I’m not suggesting, George, I want to be realistic here, not everything that we talked about during the campaign are we going to be able to do on the pace we had hoped," Obama told me in his first interview since arriving back in Washington, DC as president-elect.

Stephanopoulos: I asked the president-elect, "At the end of the day, are you really talking about over the course of your presidency some kind of grand bargain? That you have tax reform, healthcare reform, entitlement reform including Social Security and Medicare, where everybody in the country is going to have to sacrifice something, accept change for the greater good?"

"Yes," Obama said.

Sure you spotted that softball. So did Obama. Who could miss it?

If they ever build a Softball Question Hall of Fame, Stephanopoulas’ question deserves a place in the main rotunda.

Stephanopoulas ends his post gushing about the “big treat” of his day:

The big treat of the day was having Malia and Sasha Obama tour visit our This Week control room. The girls got on my executive producer's headset and gave me the question they most want their Dad to answer. Find out what it was and how Obama answered tomorrow on "This Week."
Whatever it was, it couldn't have been a bigger softball than Stephanopoulos tossed their Dad.

Did ABC and Stephanopoulas learned a lesson last April? I think so. What about you?

I posted on the April debate:
Obama bungled Ayers question (4/18/08)

National Review’s White House Correspondent Byron York was one of the few in the press corps who provided informed, balanced coverage of the debate, especially the portion dealing wih Obama’s response to the Ayers’ question. See here.


Anonymous said...

The problem with Stephanopoulos and with Chris Matthews of MSNBC (he was originally an NBC news operative) is that both were highly partisan operatives (Matthews was Tip O'Neill's chief of staff and Stephanopoulos was an aide to Clinton. There is no attempt on the part of either to be other that highly partisan. This is why here are so many who claim that the media is biased - it is one thing to have commentators (Juan Williams, Bill Kristol, etc) who make no bones about their political leanings and who present their views as such. It is quite another to pass off a host of a show as non-partisan when in fact they are anything but.
I do believe that the softball handling of Obama will come to an end - the quesion is who (in the liberal media) will throw not only the first strike but repeated strikes? Perhaps it will be the network (or large newspaper) that is experiencing the greatest economic woes? But then, perhaps a government bailout will serve as a means of muting any criticism. Perhaps the McCatchey (sp?) chain will see this as their means of boosting their precarious financial situation?

Anonymous said...

JinC - on another note. There was a report in the NY TImes that Caroline Kennedy met Saturday afternoon with Governor Patterson. The substance of the meeting was not divulged by either party. Additionally, the Kennedy camp has "given permission" for her close friends to talk to the press about her qualifications and what a wonderful, warm, witty and concerned (particularly about the citizens and state of New York [so concerned that she neglected to vote but then what are elections anyway/]) person she is. By the way, she does a lot of entertaining according to her friends and sometimes her husband even cooks! She does have several aides but she takes the subway like average New Yorkers since that is the quickest way to get somewhere. So, I guess her qualifications are 1) she takes public transportaion because a diver can's get her to her locations quickly enough 2) she can throw a party [although taking time out on the mommy track did not mean cooking] and 3) she is warm and witty with her own social circle. I believe the article (with a picture of her) is in the first section of the Times.
It is obvious that Kennedy feels that her thin resume (and the comments of Palin about the media's gentle treatment of Kennedy because of her social class) have hit a sore spot.

Anonymous said...

Re: Caroline Kennedy- I suppose no one is going to say, "Bored, menopausal socialite wants to become Senator of the state of New York to assuage feelings attendant to "empty nest syndrome."