Bias: ABC’s Good Morning America Questions McCains, Not Obamas, on Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 18, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Bias: ABC’s Good Morning America Questions McCains, Not Obamas, on Abortion

by Scott Whitlock
September 18, 2008 Note: Scott Whitlock is a news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing writer to NewsBusters, it’s blog where this item first appeared. Scott’s blogs have been featured in the "Inside Politics" section of the Washington Times and linked to on the Drudge Report. He is a graduate of George Mason University.

"Good Morning America" host Diane Sawyer on Wednesday grilled Cindy and John McCain about differences in the couple’s position on abortion and the subject of overturning Roe V. Wade.

And yet, when co-anchor Robin Roberts talked to Barack and Michelle Obama in May, she didn’t raise the issue, instead wondering if the Illinois senator would be prepared for all the negativity he would surely face as Democratic nominee.

In fact, on at least seven appearances in 2008, no GMA host asked Barack or Michelle Obama about abortion and that includes skipping issues such as the senator’s controversial opposition to a bill that would have offered protection to babies who survive botched abortions.

On Wednesday, Sawyer cited a CBS interview in which Mrs. McCain stated her opposition to overturning Roe V. Wade. The journalist then interrogated, "And yet, Senator McCain you have indicated in previous interviews that you would like the repeal of Roe versus Wade so that the states can make their decisions. What’s the difference in the two of your view of the issue?"

Sawyer followed up, But, Mrs. McCain, do you oppose the repeal of Roe versus Wade? Was that report correct?"

Sawyer could argue that she was simply trying to get a clarification from the potential first lady. But in a similar joint appearance by the Obamas, GMA reporters displayed no interest into delving into either the candidate or the spouse’s position on abortion.

During the May 19 interview, Roberts tossed softballs such as "What have you learned about yourself since that night in Iowa?" She also sympathized with Michelle Obama’s attitude towards political attacks: "I like how you said people make things up and things that you go, like, huh?" (Barack Obama appeared by himself on Monday’s show. The issue wasn’t discussed then either.)

In February, GMA reporter Deborah Roberts also skipped the issue of abortion and celebrated Michelle Obama as "the spouse of politics’ newest star." During the February 4 piece, she enthused that the couple "genuinely believe that people want to move beyond that [negative attacks], talk about something else."

Going all the way back to January of this year, when the presidential primaries were in full swing and voters could have been educated as to the nuances of differences between Obama and his opponent Hillary Clinton, GMA continued to ignore the issue of abortion while interviewing the Illinois senator.

On January 3, Sawyer focused instead on the issue of racism and wondered if, in Iowa, "people have shown they are willing to look beyond race in this country. Has that victory been won, whatever happens tonight?"

Later in the month, on January 23, Sawyer continued didn’t mention this important social issue and plead for calm between Obama and his primary opponent: "We have heard a lot of people say they are exhausted by this charge, counter charge."

Perhaps, since the militant abortion group NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) has given Barack Obama a 100 percent lifetime voting record for his time in the Senate, "Good Morning America" could ask him if his stance on the issue is in sync with the rest of the country.

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