ABC News decided to put the overtly biased and under-informed Christiane Amanpour in the host chair for “This Week.” Perhaps they thought she had star quality or that MSNBC’s netroot viewers could be lured. But the result is a weekly display of journalistic malpractice.
Today was no different. Questioning David Axelrod, Amanpour assumes that the blame for the blow-up of the peace talks will lie in Israel’s hands:
AMANPOUR: I want to first, though, ask you about something very close to what the president has been doing, and that’s Middle East peace. The moratorium expires tonight.
AMANPOUR: The president asked the Israeli prime minister to keep the moratorium on. He’s not going to do it. What is going to stop these talks from collapsing?
AXELROD: Well, look, I don’t want to prejudge what’s going to happen in the next many hours.
No possibility in the eyes of the pro-Palestinian Amanapour that the “collapse” is an orchestrated move for Abbas to flee in a huff.
Then there is this:
AMANPOUR: All right. But really a lot of people — I mean, people from all over the world, frankly, say to me here comes a president with a huge mandate, a huge reservoir of goodwill, huge promises to change, and with all of that, his popularity is down. People don’t appreciate some of the amazing legislative agenda that he’s accomplished. Is this a failure of leadership? Has he allowed the opposition to define him? [Emphasis added.]
Good grief. Is she on the White House payroll?
Not a single tough follow-up. No challenge when Axelrod went on a rant about Republican independent expenditures. She is, for all intents and purposes, doing the administration’s PR work. Contrast that with the questioning of Mitch McConnell:
AMANPOUR: You heard what David Axelrod said about the Republican plan on extending all the Bush-era tax cuts and that it would really, you know, put the country more in hock. Analysts say that’ll cause, you know, add some $4 trillion or so to the national debt. Are you really going to do that? Or do you think there would be a compromise on extending the middle-class tax cuts?
MCCONNELL: Well, let’s understand what we’re talking about here. This has been the tax rate for a decade. We’re talking about raising taxes in the middle of a recession. And most economists think that’s the worst thing you could do. The president himself was saying that was the worst thing you could do a year-and-a-half ago.
AMANPOUR: So do…
MCCONNELL: Raising taxes in the middle of a recession is a particularly bad idea, and Republicans don’t think that’s what we ought to do.
AMANPOUR: So do you not think you really, quote, unquote, “hold the middle-class tax cuts hostage” to all the tax cuts you want to…
MCCONNELL: Well, nothing’s being held hostage to anything. It was the Democrats themselves who decided not to have this debate.
AMANPOUR: But would you compromise on that, even after the election?
MCCONNELL: I — I was the only one who offered a bill. There was never a bill in the Senate. And you know why? Thirty-one Democrats in the House, five Democrats in the Senate said they agreed with me, that we ought not to raise taxes in the middle of a recession.
What might happen down the road is not the subject today. The question is, do we want to raise taxes in the middle of a very, very tough economy? All the Republicans think that’s a bad idea, and a substantial number of the Democrats think the same thing.
AMANPOUR: Right, but there’s also this huge thing that the people of the United States are worried about, and that is the deficit.
AMANPOUR: And adding — keeping the tax cuts will add trillions to that. And let me ask you this. According to Howard Gleckman at the Tax Policy Center — let’s see what he’s just written — “McConnell would have to abolish all the rest of the government to get a balance by 2020, everything. No more national parks, no more NIH, no more highway construction, no more homeland security, oh, and no more Congress.”
And on it went in that vein.
Maybe she is on the Harry Reid and Chris Coons campaigns:
AMANPOUR: Even — even in your own state. And I want to ask you, actually, what are the qualifications are — do these people have? For instance, what is Christine O’Donnell’s qualification for actually governing? What is Sharron Angle’s actual qualification for governing?
MCCONNELL: Well, they won the primary fair and square against real competition, and they emerged as the nominee. And Sharron Angle is running no worse than dead even against the majority leader of the Senate. I think that’s pretty significant.
No such questioning to Axelrod about his party’s hapless candidates or whether Alexi Giannoulias from Illinois is ethically fit to serve in the Senate.
The roundtable was even worse as she took the Obama administration’s defense (“there’s no depression. There’s — the recession has ended. … But doesn’t it just add to the deficit, all these tax cuts? … And it turned out quite well [Bob Woodward's book], would you say, for the administration?”) Never a skeptical comment or query about the administration’s position or performance.
ABC News execs have a choice: report the commercial sales from “This Week” as an in-kind donation to the Democratic Party or get a real journalist in that chair.