Nightline smears "conservative echo chamber"

While channel surfing last night, I watched a segment on ABC’s Nightline entitled “Classroom Bullies.” This short segment about Obama’s speech to government school students is a great example of why the American people find it so difficult to trust the mainstream media. The transcript for last night’s Nightline has not yet been posted, but you can view the video at http://abcnews.go.com/nightline.

The segment begins by asking, “How does a speech that focuses on kids staying in school and doing their homework become such a burning political issue at least in some corners?” Nightline than promised a blow-by-blow “Anatomy of a Controversy.”

Nightline’s timeline begins on August 26, when the White House announced the speech. “The next day,” Nightline says, “a conservative web site criticizes the speech without even knowing what the president will say exactly.” The web site, “The Daily Paul,” which was originally set up to promote Rep. Ron Paul’s presidential campaign, did not, as Nightline claims, criticize Obama’s speech. The site criticized the “menu of classroom activities” that the Department of Education asked teachers to implement before, during, and after Obama’s speech. http://www.dailypaul.com/node/104812

That “lesson plan” was the principal part of the controversy surrounding Obama’s speech, yet Nightline made no mention of it at all during the entire segment. They attempted to convince viewers that the speech itself was the only reason people had concerns, and that that concern was being whipped up by “bullies” on the conservative side.

Nightline goes on to claim that, “By September 2, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are all over it.” A clip of Limbaugh is then shown with him saying, “[Obama] goes out and tell kids, ‘You’ve got to take personal responsibility.’ He doesn’t even do that in his own life.” However, there is a bit of a problem with Nightline’s claim concerning Limbaugh. Limbaugh was on vacation in Hawaii last week and had guest hosts from August 31 to September 4. How could he have made that comment “by September 2? Could the clip of Limbaugh have come from before he went on vacation? No. In fact, the clip was from his September 8 program, i.e., after Obama delivered his speech. Limbaugh listeners who listened to his show yesterday would have realized that immediately. However, even non-listeners would know that Nightline tried to pull a fast one since, at the end of the segment, they played another clip of Limbaugh and noted that it was from “today’s” (September 8) program. Not only is Limbaugh wearing the very same shirt, the screen shot on his computer monitor is exactly the same as in the first clip.

Nightline then noted that when President George H.W. Bush delivered a similar speech to students in 1991, there was “some controversy, but it was nothing compared to the preemptive and fierce nature of this one.”

Of course, Nightline once again failed to note that the preemptive nature of this one was due to the lesson plan released by the DOE a week before the speech. There was no lesson plan in 1991. Nightline also failed to note that, among others on the left, Democrats, the National Education Association, and the Washington Post, strongly criticized Bush’s speech, which, like Obama’s, had a positive message for students. In fact, the Democrats had hearings on the speech and even directed the General Accounting Office to investigate it.

Liberals love to say that Fox News has a conservative bias, yet I suspect they would be hard-pressed to cite a single example of bias as egregious as this Nightline example. Unfortunately, the mainstream media’s smear jobs against the “conservative echo chamber” occur every day.